Wednesday, April 01, 2009

2335 Bits

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Afghanistan isn't in the news much. I think there's more actual fighting going on there than we realize. Here is a photo essay from those Boston folks.

I thought that the Taliban, when they were running things, forbade the growing of opium poppies, and that's why the farmers were happy to get rid of the Taliban. But captions on some of the photos say that the Taliban is funded by opium.

I don't understand.


My house has been filled for the past three days by the sounds of chain saws. The Hairless Hunk and his assistant have been cleaning up all those trees I lost in the ice storm a few months ago. They'll finish tomorrow or Saturday.

There's a huge bonfire in my front yard (for which I do not have a burn permit). I dug through the pantry for marshmallows, but they were old and hard. Phooey. I'll try to remember to pick up some potatoes and marshmallows tomorrow. (I LOVE potatoes wrapped in foil and baked in a wood fire.)


I had a three-hour lunch with Roman today. I'm glad we're still friends. For the past two years he's been working his way through the local single lady population, and is now dating a woman in Vermont - a five hour drive away. She sounds really nice. I hopes she proves as good as she sounds.


I am the ombudsman for the local Mensa chapter (mediator for disputes in the group). First Woman was reelected president, and Roman had told me about an incident at a dinner two weeks ago, where FW went off on the treasurer, in his opinion completely unreasonably, and the treasurer promptly resigned. The treasurer, by the way, is the one I call "The Ditz". She wasn't exactly reasonable either. Apparently Ditz was unaware that you don't cross, correct, or push FW.

I thought about it for about 50 seconds, and decided that I really don't want to get involved in any disputes that involve FW, and that's looking more and more like it might eventually happen, so I fired off an email to the members of the Board, resigning as 0mbudsman. Yeah, I'm chicken. Read that "About Me" where it says "no stress allowed".

That was two weeks ago, and I have heard nothing. I realize now that I didn't include an "as of" date. Hmmm. National requires that a local group have an 0mbudsman, so I might not be allowed to resign until they find another, and that might be difficult, especially if they make no effort to find another.

I may have to go to the next Board business meeting and resign in person, and I really really really REALLY! don't want to do that.

Damn. If I weren't a life member, I'd be tempted to resign from the group completely for a year or so. That would solve more than one problem. Maybe I can get myself reassigned to the Albany group. From what I've seen, they're more fun, anyway.


I have been getting several calls a day for several weeks now from each of two entities - one that shows on the screen as "Phone-a-thon 866-800-2202", and the other as "Nielson tv rati 813-366-9800". I haven't answered, and I'm wondering how long it will take for them to give up on me.

They seem to know that my recorder picks up on the fifth ring. They let it ring exactly four times, then drop. It's getting to be very annoying, because when the phone rings, I leave wherever I am and whatever I'm doing to go look at the screen. They're going to force me to carry the handset around with me.

Whoever you are, I hate you! And at this point, you really don't want me to answer! You might learn some new words.


Later - Googled the Nielson number. Got this:

According to other people who hate them, they want you to take a tv survey, and they'll KEEP CALLING until you answer, and if you don't agree to take the survey they keep calling until you do. It seems the only way to get rid of them is to tell them, the first time you answer the phone, that you are blind and don't watch tv.

The other number is Ruffalo Cody, a non-profit telemarketing firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that is hired by universities, archdioses, healthcare and many others. They never let it ring more than four times.

I also found the FCC site where you can report telemarketers who bug you, and those calls that drive me up a tree - when you answer, there's no one there, known as an "abandoned call". Report them to


Even Later: Boy, I keep finding more information! This on a complaint forum:
"I used to work for RuffaloCODY. What the company does, is make calls for various non-profits. All that is needed for the calls to stop, is for one to answer the phone (wait, for a few seconds after answering), make sure that you know where the call is coming from (ex. WHYY, Geisinger, Univ. of xxxx) and state that you'd like to be removed from the call list. You must make sure that the caller states where they're calling from before saying "Do Not Call", otherwise, you'll be called back. There is a list for each company, and your number is sent to the client as a DNC. It's as simple as answering the phone. The calls persist until one answers. Reporting to the FCC, Attorney General is useless, as what is done is legal."

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