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Archive for May, 2009

…On Problem Solving.

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2009

Problem solving: this man understands how it’s done. Lian Jiansheng saw a problem, saw the solution, and implemented the solution. Simple, quick, effective. He’s earned my respect.


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…On Sprouts.

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2009

I remember there used to be this stuff called “sprouts” on salad bars (even at Wendy’s – yes, I remember when Wendy’s had a salad bar). When I was a kid, I called it hair because that’s what it looked like: a medusan tangle of white & green hairlike strands, about three or four inches long each. I remember my mom would buy cartons of it, like the cartons mushrooms or grape tomatoes come in, to put on salads at home. More recently, I remember sandwich shops like Subway or the bagel shop around the corner would offer it as a veggie you could put on your sandwich. And I remember that I liked them, even though for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what they were sprouts of in any more detail than “Not beans” (I know bean sprouts, bean sprouts are the thick sprouts in pad thai and chow mein). And I remember that I liked them on sandwiches and on salads – they added a nice texture to roast beef & swiss, and they were a good compliment to a sliver of lettuce and a load of shredded cheddar drenched in Italian.

Well, I’m starting to think that the Sprout Plant has gone extinct – which is really unlikely since I’m guessing it was something domesticated and grown on farms. Nonetheless, they’ve disappeared. None of the grocery stores I’ve been in lately have had them. None of the salad bars I’ve been to in months have had them. The sandwich places where I could get them last year, they don’t have them anymore. So what happened to sprouts?

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…On Identity Theft.

Posted by Steve on May 18, 2009

I’ve never been a victim of identity theft, thankfully. Two of my friends have, and from their experiences I’ve learned that it really, really, really sucks. One of my friends has had the theft going on for years, and even though she’s able to give them the thief’s address (when someone uses your stolen identity to set up utility service at their home, it’s a pretty good bet where you’ll find them) three law enforcement agencies haven’t done anything about it, all claiming it’s outside their jurisdiction.

Well, today the fact that I’ve never been a victim of identity theft didn’t change. Instead, I learned that last year I unknowingly blundered into an identity theft that’s been going on since 2005.

See, ever since I got my new cell phone and number last year, I’ve started getting periodic calls on it that were for someone who isn’t me. Every time, it’s been a recorded message telling some guy (let’s call him Ozzy Freer, based on what his name really is) that it’s urgent he call back “about your account”. I, of course, figured it was something akin to those assholes the FTC’s busting. On a side note, I like to imagine the FTC’s staffed entirely by Robocops and Terminators. Something about sicking remorseless cyborgs on fraudulent advertisers and telemarketers just warms the cockles of my heart.

Anyway, I figured the calls for Mr. Freer were all a telemarketer and ignored them. But then, today, I got a call. A call from an actual human, a human explained that she was very sorry to be calling me, but I wouldn’t happen to know anything about the person who stole her husband’s name and social security number and registered for a phone in his name at my number, would I? When I asked if her husband was me (in hindsight, a very stupid question – I’d know if I were husband, and I’m not. I’m not anybody’s husband – at least, not unless I was married by proxy without my knowledge), she said no, her husband is Ozzy Freer. It appears that there is a real Ozzy Freer, and while he was deployed to Iraq back in 2005, someone stole his identity and got a cell phone in his name – a cell phone with the number that became mine last May. And it appears a collection agency’s been hired to collect several hundred dollars in unpaid bills on that old phone account. Got to say, that’s got to absolutely suck for them. So, I wrote her number down and offered to give her a call the next time I get a voice mail for Ozzy Freer. I figure, it might be a little helpful to them, and it should definitely help me quit getting calls that aren’t for me. About which, you’d think that collection agency would’ve been able to figure out that the phone number belongs to somebody else now.

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