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Diatribe: “Happy Valentine’s Day. I Named A Roach For You”

Seal It With a HissSingles Awareness Day is just around the corner and the world is awash in all things red and pink.  What used to be a day set aside for gentlemen to bring their special ladies a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers has turned into a national holiday of enormous proportions … a marketing extravaganza to bridge the gap between Superbowl Sunday and March Madness.  A trip to any supermarket reveals that just about anything can be sold in a heart-shaped package.

I saw a commercial during the news this morning for Heart-Shaped Pizzas!

Jet's Heart Pizza

It just goes to show that, when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, there’s something for everyone … even those with a soft spot for Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

That’s right.  Continuing its Name-A-Roach program begun in 2011, the Bronx Zoo is once again offering us the opportunity to name one of their hissing cockroaches in honor of our special someone this Valentines Day.  For a ten dollar donation, our valentine will receive a unique certificate of honor featuring the name of a roach named specifically for him or her.  Plus, our donation will benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Yay!

Not.

We don’t celebrate this holiday at my house but, if we did, I’m pretty sure I’d be in a heck of a lot of trouble if I presented my loved one a certificate announcing “Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey, I named a roach for you.”

Then again, this might be someone else’s cup of tea.

What do you think?

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation: Alfred Ajani’s Pay-It-Forward Train Station Job Search.

AjaniToward the very end of my college career, I attended a few seminars that the school offered centered around topics like “Building a Resume” and “How To Prepare For An Interview”.  That was pretty much the extent of the recruitment and staffing industry.  Many colleges and universities had a couple of people on staff called “placement agents” whose job it was to work with large, often local, companies to help graduates find work after receiving their diplomas.  It behooved the university, after all, to have a high percentage of graduates in the workforce right after graduation.

Everyone else embarked on their own job search by building a resume and preparing for interviews.  Back then, this meant printing resume’s on special paper with matching envelopes and scouring the want ads … in the newspapers … for potential employment.

Anyone who’s embarked on a job search recently knows that there are, literally, dozens of online job search engines claiming that they can help find the perfect job for you.  Since most of them are free, those who are unemployed or unhappily employed could spend endless hours completing questionnaires and updating profiles to be included in employment databases and career building websites around the world.  Or, they could take a more unconventional approach like Alfred Ajani used to successfully begin his career after he graduated from Coventry University in Coventry, England, last year.

Last August, Nigerian-born Ajani, 22, after applying for more than three hundred positions with little luck, put his marketing degree to work when he tried his luck standing in London’s Waterloo train station holding a sign with his qualifications written on it while handing out his resume.  He caught the attention of recruitment company Asoria Group, who offered him a position via LinkedIn.

“I knew my idea would work but didn’t expect the media attention so I have stayed humble. Most graduates are going to have to go to extreme lengths to get the job they want.” – Alfred Ajani.

Last week, Ajani returned to that same spot in the Waterloo train station with a new sign.  This time it came with a very different message … “Now Hiring”.

“I didn’t expect to be so popular. If I see anyone at the station with a sign I will do my best to get in touch with them.” – Alfred Ajani

I remember sending out dozens and dozens of resumes and collecting rejection letters in a folder as they came back to me in the mail.  I can’t imagine the agony of being rejected three hundred times and admire this young man for her determination and humility.  His advice for today’s job-seekers … “Don’t be scared to try something new. Safe is risky.”

It appears that his advice might be worth taking.

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Diatribe: Assh*le Brown’s Comcast Bill

Asshole Brown's Comcast BillOne day last week we noticed a van in our neighbors’ driveway.  It belonged to the man with an extension ladder who was installing a satellite dish on their roof.  Apparently, they’d decided that it was time for them to make the switch away from cable.  We’ve thought about it, too, over the years because the only cable provider available in our neighborhood is Comcast.  I speak from personal experience when I say the company’s reputation for notoriously bad customer service is warranted and I don’t blame them one bit for switching.

We, too, need to make changes to our service but have been dreading the telephone call followed by the drive to their “center” and the wait in the long line just to explain the situation once again.  I can only imagine the private hell that Ricardo and Lisa Brown of Spokane, Washington encountered before someone at Comcast took it upon themselves to change the name their account to “Assh*le Brown”.

Consumer advocate Christopher Elliott reported that Mrs. Brown had called the company to cancel the cable portion of her family’s service to save money.  As anyone who’s ever tried to cancel cable television service knows, they don’t like to see a customer go and the company’s “retention specialists” very aggressively work to convince you to change your mind.  Comcast does not make the cancellation process easy for their customers … that’s for certain.  Sometimes a customer has to get a little angry to get the results that they want.  We have to fight back a little.

When their next monthly statement arrived in the mail, she saw that her husband’s first name had been changed to Assh*le.  Not surprisingly, calls to the cable company and even a visit to a Comcast office couldn’t get the name changed.

Eventually, Comcast confirmed that the statement was and that they would take action.

“We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change.  We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened.  We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.” – Steve Kipp, Comcast Spokesman via email.

Comcast plans to fix Mr. Brown’s last name in their system, terminate the employee responsible for the name change, give the Brown family a refund for the previous two years of service and add two more years of service for free.

What an ordeal.

And now they’re stuck with cable for two more years.  Maybe our neighbor knows something we don’t.

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Ovation: I Hope Billy Crystal & Michael Urie Can Still Be Friends.

I’ve always loved to watch television.  As a child, this meant choosing from three network channels, PBS and a couple of spotty local UHF stations.  I loved to watch old sitcom re-runs after school and my folks would let me watch a few things in the evenings.  I loved every game show and I remember The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday evenings was always something that I looked forward to.  I could always find something to watch.  Later, when every house eventually had satellite or cable television, we found ourselves with hundreds of channels from which to choose yet there was never “anything on”.

Recently, we reevaluated our cable television subscription and eliminated all of the “subscription services” because we determined that we rarely, if ever, watched those channels.  In fact, a quick review of all the saved programs on our DVR revealed that everything we had saved was broadcast on either ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS (Downtown Abbey!).  Apparently, I’ve reverted back to watching network television.  Apparently I’ve learned, over the years, that I don’t have to watch EVERYTHING.

Last week, Billy Crystal, whose breakout television role was that of the first regularly openly gay character, Jodie Dallas on ABC’s controversial sitcom SOAP (1977-1981), made statements suggesting that he thinks there is currently too much gay sex on television.  “Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste” he’s quoted as saying.

Yesterday, actor Michael Urie, of Ugly Betty and Partners fame, joined the conversation and suggested that Mr. Crystal might want to change the channel.

“I don’t think it’s overexposed.  If gay sex on TV is too much for you, change the channel and don’t watch it, it’s not for you.  I think there is far too much football on TV.  But I’m not going around saying they should take football off the air, I’m changing the channel.” – Michael Urie

Emmy and Tony Award winner Crystal later clarified his comments.

“What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind, gay or straight, is gratuitous to the plot or story it becomes a little too much for my taste.” – Billy Crystal

I agree with both of them.  Like Crystal, if a sex scene is included for “shock value” or any other reason other than plot or character development I find it distracting and unnecessary.  Also, I completely agree with Urie … turn it off if you don’t want to see it!

I’ve always been annoyed by groups like The Parents Television Council or One Million Moms who try to get television programs, books and movies cancelled or banned because they disagree with the content or message of the work.  Instead of spending time, energy and money boycotting advertisers, picketing corporate headquarters and appearing on right-wing radio programs, their time would certainly be better spent turning off their televisions and reading to their children.

Yes, from a young age I’ve watched a lot of television (arguably, too much television) but my mother let me watch it as a reward … after my homework was done … and she tried really hard to keep me from watching Laugh-In because it was “too dirty”.  (Can you imagine?)  She taught me that watching television was a privilege.  Watching television is not mandatory.  One may turn it off at any time.

Even Billy Crystal and Michael Urie.

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Diatribe: Designer Rick Owens Flashes Paris Fashion Week.

OWENSI watch enough Project Runway to know that avant garde fashion isn’t for everyone.  Defined as leading edge, progressive and experimental, clothes of this nature are intended to prevent the industry from becoming stagnant and repetitive.  Avant garde fashions featured on catwalks and runways as part of new designer collections, however, are generally toned down to create more wearable garments that can be sold in retail stores.

This was certainly not the case last night when designer Rick Owens presented his Autumn/Winter 2015 menswear line that included loose hanging, draped smocks featuring cut-out peepholes that placed their manhood on exhibit!

Yes, that’s right … call it Full-Frontal Fashion!

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Every once in a while one of the designer/contestants on Project Runway cuts a skirt too short or a neckline too low and inadvertently shows too much of a model’s skin … but that’s an accident!

I think some of the outerwear that Owens has created is really quite nice.  It’s understandable that some men enjoy the freedom of dressing without underwear … going “commando” is what they call it … but, seriously, would they really buy and wear clothes that don’t cover their junk?  I don’t think these garments are avant garde, I think they’re “avant weird”!

I do find it amusing, however, that while uptight Americans are upset by a beautiful woman in a bikini eating a hamburger in an upcoming Superbowl commercial, the French don’t seem to be bothered at all by penis-exposing men walking the fashion runway of Paris.

Is it even legal for a man to wear these clothes in public?

Wow.

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Ovation: Smoker Fined For Throwing Butts Out Of Window.

cigarette-litterOne Saturday evening last month, we had a few friends over for a holiday party.  We prepared for weeks and, knowing that some of our guests would be seeing our home for the first time, we found ourselves motivated to spruce things up a bit.  In addition to the many projects on our list of “Things To Do Before The Party”, we made certain to remember ash trays.  Because we wanted to be sure that our friends who smoke cigarettes enjoyed the evening, we planned to make arrangements for them to sit on both our front porch and the deck on the back of our house.

The night of the party we arranged tables, chairs and benches with pillows and throws for comfort and warmth and plenty of ash trays.

  1. We wanted our guests to have a good time.
  2. We didn’t want them to smoke in our house.
  3. We hate to find cigarette butts in our yard.

We knew from experience that at least one party guest was a “butt flicker”.  He/she has been chastised in the past for flicking cigarette butts into our yard and thought it best to make it easy for other smokers to refrain from doing the same.

A smoker in Singapore was recently fined $15,000.00 for throwing cigarette butts out of his apartment window.  The man was fined six hundred Singapore Dollars per cigarette for the first thirty-three offenses and ordered to do community services for a thirty-fourth, allegedly the highest ever such fine.  The 38-year-old smoker, who was caught on surveillance camera “butt flicking” during a four day period, will have to clean a public area for five hours wearing a brightly-colored vest.

Apparently in Singapore, a city so famous for cleanliness that it bans chewing gum, there are cameras in nearly six hundred locations and more than two hundred people were arrested for “high-rise littering” in 2014.

It is unknown on which floor this particular “butt flicker” lived.  I certainly hope he learned his lesson.  I wish there were stiffer fines for cigarette littering everywhere.

Our party was a success (our yard remained “butt free”) and I look forward to hosting another next year.

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Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page.  There’s also an opportunity to follow on Twitter and/or LIKE our page on Facebook so you won’t miss a daily post.  Click on buttons at the end of each post to share on other social media sites, too!  Thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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