It All Comes Down to Money

Here’s a scenario:  You get into a car accident and your car is out of commission for a couple of weeks.  Good thing you have rental coverage on your insurance policy.

So you go to the car rental company that the insurance company contracts with (which just so happens to be the same car rental company just about every insurance company contracts with).  They don’t even have any vehicles comparable to your own vehicle which is a SUV.  So they stick you in a Chevy Malibu.  The rental car employee inspects the car in your presence and supposedly finds no dings or scratches on the car.  You don’t notice any either but then again, you’re not looking on the roof or on the window.  Then again, you don’t notice the employee looking on the roof of the car either.

Two weeks later you finally get your vehicle back.  Upon returning the rental you start to get the run around from the rental agent that “your insurance hasn’t authorized payment on the rental” and “we haven’t been able to get in touch with your insurance company”.  Then they begin pointing out all these scratches all over the vehicle, which supposedly weren’t there when you rented it.  There’s even a scratch on the roof of the car.  The employee actually has the nerve to ask if you have taken a shovel to the roof of the car to remove snow.  Why would you do that?  You don’t even do that to your own car.  This guy’s an ass for even accusing you of doing such a thing.

You’re asked what happened to the car.  How the hell would you know?  You’ve had the damn car for two weeks and have gone back and forth to work, to the store, to other various places.  If any of this damage they’re accusing you of occurred while in your possession, how could you possibly know exactly where and when and how it happened?  The rental company forces you to file a claim with your insurance company right then and there.  More money gone from your pocket into theirs.  This is how these rental companies work.

As someone who worked within the insurance industry for many years, this scenario is very common.  Both insurance companies and rental car companies may say they hark on good customer service but mainly what they’re interested in is making money.  And when they see an opportunity to make money, they will do it.  If I had a dollar for every person who is forced to file an insurance claim with their company for damage to a rental that was allegedly discovered upon return, I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping Mai Tai’s.

A solution to the problem?  Something a friend of mine did once.  She rented a car.  After they went over the details of the car and noted there were no damages, she took pictures of the car with her cell phone while still in their parking lot.  The pictures were dated and timed.  Sure enough upon returning the car they began accusing her of causing all kinds of damage to the car.  A scratch here.  A ding there.  When they demanded she call her insurance company, she whipped out her phone and showed them the pictures she took.  With the date and the time stamped on them.  In their parking lot.  Guess what?  The scratches and the dings that they accused her of causing had already been there.  She not only proved them to be crooks but she also saved herself the cost of her deductible and having to file an insurance claim.

So why do rental car companies pull this shit?  I believe it’s because they don’t make as much money off a rental set up through an insurance company as they do from someone going on vacation.  So they have to make up for the difference somewhere.

Basically it all comes down to money.

Louie The Clown

Well, we can all finally rest peacefully.  Louie the Wurlitzer-playing creepy clown has finally been found.  Louie disappeared years ago from his home at Joyland, a Wichita, Kansas amusement park.

Louie went AWOL shortly after the park closed in 2004.  He was found earlier this week at the home of an imprisoned sex offender who once worked at Joyland.  Apparently this pervert was planning on making Louie his own personal bitch!

Considering his age of 50 and value of $10,000, Louie was in great physical condition with a big smile on his stupid face when authorities discovered him.  He was in the process of starting a poker game with fellow clowns Bubbles, Koko, Bozo and Ronald McDonald.  It should be noted that the authorities discovered a large supply of alcohol, marijuana and Happy Meals on the premises and that Koko chain-smoked the entire time they were there.  When asked what he’s been doing for all these years, Louie had no comment and left the home with the authorities without incident.  It’s believed that Bubbles, Koko, Bozo and Ronald are still in the middle of their poker game but will soon be returning to their rightful circuses and restaurant.  Once that last bottle of booze is empty.

Louie the Clown - missing from Joyland has been found

Louie the Clown – missing from Joyland has been found

Koko The Clown chain-smoked while the authorities questioned him.

Koko The Clown chain-smoked while the authorities questioned him.

Bubbles was found hunkered in a corner making animal balloons when authorities arrived

Bubbles was found hunkered in a corner making animal balloons when authorities arrived

Bozo, the well-known TV clown has known Louie since his beginnings at Joyland

Bozo, the well-known TV clown has known Louie since his beginnings at Joyland

Ronald, famous for his restaurants, was downing a Big Mac when Louie was discovered

Ronald, famous for his restaurants, was downing a Big Mac when Louie was discovered

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Why leave Massachusetts?

I’m not really certain why anyone would move away from Massachusetts.1375272_480846765349110_5041656448222417871_n

Okay, maybe the sub-zero temps and mountains of snow causes many to start looking for real estate in a warmer time zone.

However, one thing I’ve learned about the people I know who have moved from Massachusetts to somewhere south of the border is that you may be able to take them out of Massachusetts, but you can never take the Massachusetts out of them!

Here are some things that no one will ever tell you about leaving Massachusetts:

1.  Everyone else runs on Starbucks.  A true Masshole needs their Dunks.  Personally, I actually prefer the specialty drinks from Cumby’s (and they’re only a buck!).

2.  Change your frappe thinking to milkshake.  Order a frappe in Florida and you’ll be looked at like you have three heads.

3.  Everyone thinks they can do a Boston accent.  The thing is not everyone who lives in Mass lives in Boston.  And we all don’t talk like Marky Mark.

4.  If Atlanta, GA gets a dusting of snow the city shuts down.  If Boston gets a dusting, it’s business as usual.  Same with a blizzard.

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5.  We do St. Patrick’s Day better than anywhere else in the world.  Including Ireland.

6.  You’ll never find better lobstah rolls and New England clam chowder anywhere than in Mass (especially on the Cape).

7.  Speaking of the “Cape”, real Massachusettsians don’t “go to the Cape”; we go “down the Cape”.

8.  Our sports teams have spoiled us.  Especially those Pats.

9.  Speaking of the Pats, not everyone outside of Mass will understand your deep abiding love for Tom Brady

9thwonder

10.  You know the best ice cream in the world is Brigham’s.  Except for Ben & Jerry’s.

11.  People you get to know in other parts of the country will assume you know Matt and Ben because of your Massachusetts roots.  Tell them you do.  If you’re reading this and don’t know who the hell Matt and Ben are, then you’re not a pure Massachusettsian.  Shame on you!

MATTBEN

12.  Candlepin bowling rules.

13.  So do sprinkles and jimmies

14.  We get four real seasons.  Some tend to last longer than others, but there are four of them.

15.  Autumn in Mass (and New England) is incredible

autumn

16.  It’s always fun to correct other’s spellings of certain Mass towns.  Worcester does not have an “h” in it.

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The New England Patriots: Beyond Champions

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl last night.  Chances are you know the details of the game and how it was won, so I won’t go into them here.  Speaking as a Patriots fan, they are great details!

So, what makes up a Super Bowl champion?  Is it scoring a touchdown, then in celebration spinning the football around, simulating pulling your pants down and then simulating defecating on the football?  How about flashing your fingers to the camera, holding up two fingers on one hand and four on the other in reference to a player on the opposing team who you know is better than you are but because you’re an asshole you’ll never admit it.  Funny thing is, most of us football fans had no idea Richard Sherman knew how to count!  And he went to Stanford…go figure.  I know a Super Bowl champion can’t be a player who refuses to talk to the media and makes a mockery out of media day during Super Bowl week by repeatedly saying, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”.  Then the ass manages to get fined anyway for the fucking hat he was wearing!

Maybe a Super Bowl champion is a sore loser who can’t control himself so he decides to throw punches at the winning team’s tight ends.  No, I don’t think any of these qualities are the make up of a Super Bowl champion.

A Super Bowl champion is a quarterback who was selected 199th overall, who would spend a year, possibly more, sitting on the bench behind a multi-million dollar quarterback.  Then by pure chance, luck, miracle, hell, call it what you want, this quarterback taken at number 199 takes over the helm and gets his team to the Super Bowl.  Then he does it again five more times, winning four of the six.  Guess how many other quarterbacks have ever done that?  Only two others.  That’s pretty elite territory for a quarterback to be in.  But that’s what makes a Super Bowl champion.

A Super Bowl champion is a man who undoubtedly is the best cornerback in the league.  His former coach even told him so.  So considering that statement, the player asked for more money and the team he was on basically told him to pound sand.  So he moves on to Tampa Bay where he just about rots in hell.  Nobody can afford this guy.  He knows what he’s worth and all that.  There’s no way the Patriots can get him.  But they do.  At first it’s rough for this cornerback.  He gets sent home after showing up late for practice.  That is not how Super Bowl caliber teams work.  He learns and he does well.  Shit, the man has his own fucking ISLAND!  And now he has a Super Bowl ring to go with it!

A Super Bowl champion is a feisty wide receiver who shares the same fondness for Joe Montana that his quarterback does.  He becomes emotional at the amount of hate and trash talking his team has to endure.  He may be small in stature, but he’s big in spirit and strength.  He tears up when talking about the quarterback and about his father, who the wide receiver says has encouraged him always in all he does as a player and as a person.

We can’t forget that a Super Bowl champion is the goofy, lovable fan favorite tight end.  Off the field he may emit a sense of aloofness.  But on the field he is all business.  He is built like a brick shithouse and he won’t ever hesitate to “throw you outta the club”.  Despite his size, he has incredible hands and has made beast-like catches that just seem impossible.  To top it off, he’s got the hippest ride around in the family “party bus”.  He’s just an awesome guy to have on a Super Bowl Championship team.

It may seem unlikely at first but believe it or not, a Super Bowl Champion is an unknown, undrafted rookie who barely played college ball and actually cut his college football teeth at Hinds Community College.  He wasn’t even part of the rotation to start the Super Bowl.  With twenty-six seconds to go and a final chance by Seattle to score and win, this unknown, undrafted rookie “nobody” became an instant “somebody” when he intercepted the ball.

The rest is history.

Tomorrow these Super Bowl champions will take to the duckboats and ride through the streets of Boston.  They will lovingly hoist the Lombardi trophy and wave to the fans who venture out in the snow and cold to see their beloved Patriots and celebrate victory.

As Bob Kraft said when he accepted the Lombardi trophy for the fourth time:  “We are ALL Patriots”.  Yes, we are, Mr. Kraft.  And we are ALL champions!

 

 

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I’m A Proud New England Patriots Fan

With the Super Bowl upon us, I’ve been reflecting on why I consider myself a fan of The New England Patriots.

Although there are many who will tell you they’ve been a fan all their lives, I can only say I’ve been a fan since the 2001 season.  I wasn’t completely oblivious to the Patriots before that time.  I’d heard of Steve Grogan.  I even got to meet Steve Nelson at a DARE program held at the local elementary school back in the 90’s.  I still remember what one kid said to him:  “You don’t look 57”.  To which Nelson replied, “I’m not.  That was my number”.  I saw Doug Flutie coming out of the Natick service plaza on the Mass Pike.

I know Bill Parcells once coached the team.  I know Pete Carroll once coached the team also.  I remember the whole “squish the fish” thing in 1986 and I know the Bears killed us in the Super Bowl.  I know Drew Bledsoe took the team to the Super Bowl in 1996 and lost to Green Bay.  Gillette was not always Gillette.  It once was Sullivan Stadium.  Then Foxboro Stadium.  The team was once in the rumor mill to be moved to Providence or Hartford.

Then along came Tommy and my viewing of Patriots football went from zilch to just about every week.

Here is how my introduction to Tom Brady went:

It was the Monday after the Patriots’ season opener in the year 2001.  My husband had just informed me that Bledsoe had gotten hurt during the game.

“Oh, great,” I said, rolling my eyes.  I had always thought Bledsoe was like a bull in a China shop.  “So who’s taking over?”

“Some guy named Tom Brady.”

“Never heard of him,” I replied.

Then my husband spoke the three words that would haunt him for the next fourteen years:  “He’s nothing special”.

As they say, the rest is history.  That “nothing special” quarterback only went on to take The New England Patriots to the Super Bowl and win the damn thing, becoming the youngest quarterback in history to do so.  Sunday will mark Tom Brady’s sixth appearance in the Super Bowl.  That’s more than any other quarterback.  Not bad for “nothing special”.

To really put The New England Patriots Super Bowl appearances into perspective, and to see that, yes, this team REALLY is THAT good, keep in mind that there are 32 teams in the NFL.

Looking back over the past 15 Super Bowls:

Twelve of the teams that went to the Super Bowl within the past 15 years have only been in the Super Bowl once during that time:  St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Oakland, North Carolina, Philly, Baltimore, Chicago, Arizona, New Orleans, Green Bay, San Fran, and Denver.

In that same time frame, only two teams have been to the Super Bowl twice:  Indy and New York

In that same time frame, only two teams have been to the Super Bowl three times:  Pittsburgh and Seattle (this Sunday will be their third appearance)

Standing alone in that time frame is the one and only New England Patriots.  They have the honor of having been in the Super Bowl SIX times (this Sunday will be their sixth).

When all the peanuts have been counted, only 17 out of 32 teams have been in the Super Bowl at least once within the past 15 years.  The Patriots have been there SIX of those times!

People can say what they want about the Patriots.  They can associate them with Spygate, Deflategate, Hategate.  Whatever.  For these people what it all comes down to is that their team is not the Patriots.  They don’t have a Tom Brady, a Gronk or a Belichick.  Their stadium sucks.  Their team has never been to the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl.  Hey, fans of those teams—newsflash:  Patriots fans feel your pain.  AT ONE TIME THE PATRIOTS DIDN’T HAVE ANY OF THAT EITHER!  We sucked.  To even mention The New England Patriots in the same breath as the playoffs or the Super Bowl was a joke.  There is an urban legend that one time the fans got so pissed off they ripped out a goalpost and carried it down Rte. 1.  Another one is that during a game the quarterback sucked so badly, a fan from the crowd who used to play quarterback in college was called in to take his place.  So we know what it’s like to be on the losing end.

The Super Bowl is in less than twenty-four hours.  I don’t know if the Patriots will win or lose.  It’s been a long season and this team has come a long way.  They have done their job as a team and I have done my job as a fan.  No matter what happens I’m proud of this team and I’m even prouder to say I’m a New England Patriots fan.

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The Deflategate Debate

As comical as the whole deflategate thing has been this past week, like everyone else, I’m tired of hearing about it.

The game causing so much controversy occurred a week ago tonight.  After a week of speculation, finger pointing, name calling, hating, bashing, references to footballs and how they feel, how much air they hold, how plump this one likes his and three press conferences later, the NFL still has not said a word.  This is just a shot in the dark but my guess is they have nothing to say.

The great thing about the New England Patriots is that no sooner had the first crazed journalist struck, this topic was already dead.  As Brady said last Monday morning, “I’ve heard it all now”.  And this week we did hear it all.  I will never look at a football the same way ever again.  Not that I’ve looked at many to begin with.  It’s a fucking football, for chrissakes!

Tomorrow the New England Patriots get on a plane to head for sunny Arizona.  There they will continue to prepare for the Super Bowl.  To them “deflategate” is history, as well it should be.

As for the NFL, well, they can keep inspecting their balls, investigating the air in the balls, test how the balls function, etc. but it still won’t change the fact that New England steamrolled over Indy in a 45-7 rampage to win the AFC title and move on to the Super Bowl.

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Feeling Threatened? Good!

“The beauty of knowing people feel threatened by you is that their inferiority enhances the confidence you already possessed” – unknown

The Tradition Continues: War On Christmas

The holidays are upon us and so are the yearly traditions:  drinking eggnog, sending greetings, decorating trees, watching “Rudolph” and putting up controversial billboards.  The latter is at least a tradition for the organization known as American Atheists.  For the rest of us it’s an opportune time to raise our glasses of eggnog, roll our eyes and say “whatever”.  These billboards have become so old hat, most people briefly glance at them and say “ho hum”.

This year’s billboard kind of made me chuckle:

SANTAHAT

First of all, the kid depicted in this photo looks devious.  Secondly, I believe the statement “I’m too old for fairy tales” could be considered an oxymoron.  Too old for fairy tales?  Yet in the billboard the child is “writing” a letter to Santa and is wearing a Santa hat!  Dear child, which fairy tale are you too old for?

I feel skipping church is perfectly fine.  I haven’t been to church in years but I still believe in God.  My belief is that you don’t need to go to a church to believe in God, to pray to God or to practice your religion.  Just as it is my belief that atheists don’t need to spend their money on putting up billboards to let others know they don’t believe in God.  We know you don’t believe in God.  You don’t need to throw it at us.

I’m not letting any religious groups off the hook either.  I know some of them spend money on a yearly billboard or advertisement of some sort pushing the real “reason for the season”.  The believers know what the reason for the season is.  Again, we don’t need you to throw it at us.

Here’s an idea for both of these groups of people:  take the goddamn money you spend on the billboard, the newspaper ads, the commercials, etc. and give it to a worthy cause.  All that money you waste telling people what they already know about your belief or non-belief could be used to feed the hungry, clothe the needy or care for the sick.

Kindness towards your fellow human being:  THAT is what Christmas is REALLY about!

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So You Want To Be A Writer

Yes, despite the cynicism of this poem, I still certainly DO want to be a writer!

So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Thanksgiving Is The New Black Friday

It seems that more and more stores are opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving instead of waiting until what was once the traditional “Black Friday”.  For my state of Massachusetts, this doesn’t apply.   Stores cannot open on Thanksgiving, thanks to the existing “Blue Laws”.

For years there has been a great deal of bellyaching from consumers regarding stores that are open on Thanksgiving.  I can see their point.  After all, Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be spent with the family, not shopping or even worse–working.  For the employees who feel they are being wronged for having to work on turkey day, consider these points:

1.  If you were an emergency room nurse or doctor you probably would be working.

2.  If you were a chef, waitress or restaurant owner you probably would be working.

3.  You will be earning extra money.

4.  Thanksgiving is a day where we have a meal.  We do that every day.  It’s just a bigger meal but it shouldn’t be an all day food-fest.  If it is, you are missing the meaning behind Thanksgiving.

5.  You can still have your Thanksgiving dinner when you are done working.

6.  Just think of all the family bickering you get to miss!

7.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become quite lame.  You won’t be missing anything.

8.  Working on Thanksgiving may not be as bad as working on Black Friday.  Sure the stores have Thanksgiving Day sales, but they usually are not as lucrative sales as the ones on Black Friday.

9.  Just think of all the calories you’ll save in not being able to eat as much.  Plus you’ll burn some calories as you work.

10.  When you took a job in retail, this is something you should have thought about.

As a veteran Black Friday shopper I’m trying something new this year.  Luckily I live near the Connecticut border.  Since I have to head that way to pick up one of my relatives for dinner, I’m going to stop in at KMart for their Thanksgiving Day sale.  Then later on that day when I bring my relative home, I’m planning on hitting the 24-hour Walmart for their sale that starts at 6:00 p.m.  Assuming I can get all I need to get in Connecticut, this can free me up to go home, have another piece of pie, rest a bit and gear up for the Holyoke Mall at midnight.

The beauty of stores opening earlier and earlier is that I get done shopping earlier.  Instead of spending my entire Friday out and about shopping like I used to in the past, I’ll be home by late morning and I’ll have the rest of the day to do what I want.  Works for me!

 

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