Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Call Center

I don’t know how much money American companies save by “outsourcing” telephone support jobs overseas, but it better be a shitload. Today I spoke to two different women from God Knows Where that couldn’t seem to understand the concept of my call, much less actually help me. Let’s face facts here… Most people that answer the phones to help you when you have an issue with your cable TV, cell phone, computer, etc are total fucking morons. They didn’t take these jobs because of the good pay, opportunity for advancement, and exciting interaction with the customer base. They took these jobs because they didn’t have any other decent paying option that didn’t include having a stranger’s sexual organs in their mouth and/or anus. Whenever you wonder what happened to that stoner kid in your history class, chances are he’s pecking away on a computer trying to figure out why your NFL Sunday Ticket HD is out.

Still, these people need jobs. If these companies don’t hire that stoner kid, or the woman that decided to have three kids with three men by age 24, who is? Nobody, that’s who. They fall right into our social support net. Then they have to get covered by government aid programs that we all pay for out of our always increasing taxes. The other option is to have them try to scrape by as corporate serfs at a Fast Food Hellhole, which is impossible. Now crime goes up, and there is an entire layer of society watching Judge Judy and smoking weed all day waiting for their government check. Meanwhile common American citizens find their taxes go up, because the corporation has already set up some shifty tax dodge so they can max out profits.

For example, today I called Sirius Radio to ask why I don’t get some channel they were running a promo for on air. I first spoke to some woman that really struggled with my questions. She just didn’t have the language skills to answer “Why don’t I get a channel I just heard on a promo?”. I think she said “Cobra bit eye. No channel. Bye-bye!” I then asked to be transferred to speak to someone else, hoping I would get lucky and stumble onto someone that could converse in English. She hung up on me. So Sirius probably saved $8 on that call that left me pissed off.

Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin gets paid a salary of $1.5 million, and a whopping $8.4 million dollar bonus in 2010 from a public company that is by all accounts struggling. I don’t think that guy gives a fuck about my experience with the Third World people he has installed as his first line of contact with the company. He just wants to push the accounting spreadsheets in any way possible to give him the most money each quarter and end of year.

And that is what is wrong with the United States of America.

The CEO guys that get the payoffs write their own rules on how they get paid. How sweet is that deal? If that means they gut the lower and middle class along the way, so what? They don’t give a fuck. While these naïve losers in the Occupy Wall Street movement need to wake up and get in the game, they do have a point about the problem. There is little incentive to run a company dedicated to long term success. The Old Boys Club of CEO’s in their class ties have created a game where you make a company look good on paper for a year, rake in a monster “bonus”, and then leave someone else to pick up the pieces. “Oh, you all lost your jobs when I cut all the expenses to get myself a $13 million dollar bonus? Now the company is in The Shitter? Sorry, but I have to drive around in my mink rocket car now.”

While it may not be time to pull people out of corner offices and into the guillotine, it may not be a bad idea to sharpen up some blades and light a few torches. Let some folks know that we are serious. I’m not even asking for that much. Frankly, I’ll relax if I can just get someone to answer a help line that speaks my language as their primary form of communication. Americans need jobs, and since we don’t really produce anything anymore except Culture, we better find something for the bottom of the totem pole to do besides fuck and smoke weed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Chuck E. Cheese

When you spend a great deal of time in a van with other like-minded individuals, you begin to develop a language or shorthand of your own. For example, in our van, if you say something is “an Eel”, that means it is a mirage with dangerous potential consequences. As in, “Dude, don’t pull the van off at that exit. It’s a total Eel.” This means that while the exit allegedly is filled with a virtual wonderland of tasty food options and convenient gas stations, it is probably a desolate hellhole with pre-packaged sandwiches from the Nixon Administration and meth addict cashiers that will give you a filthy wooden stick with a men’s room key attached to it that unlocks a bathroom filled with horrors beyond your imagination.

This whole “Eel Concept” began with us imagining that a new species of giant eel had evolved into a Venus flytrap that hunted humans. So let’s say you were driving on a horrible section of I-80 in Indiana (i.e. any section of I-80 in Indiana) and you see an exit with a 16 pump sparkly Shell station with a Starbucks, Panera, and Super Discount Fireworks Warehouse called “Absolutely Free Fireworks”. When you step out of the van, a giant eel will emerge from a small previously unnoticed waterway and bite you in half. As you get pulled under the water to be devoured by the eel, you would take a closer look at the exit. The exit oasis would then be revealed to be nothing more than a two-dimensional Hollywood set. (I would like to point out that through much of the Midwest there isn’t much to look at on the interstate system, so one tends to rely on one’s imagination to pass the time.)

Let me really let you into the inner circle. There’s a phrase we use when you have been caught completely unprepared. You are “like a mouse without shoes”. Example: “I climbed up on my roof to fix those tiles, and when I got up there I realized I forgot to bring the friggin nail gun. I was like a mouse without shoes up there!”

Here’s the back story… Leo P. Love has always been involved in “showbiz”. He hasn’t always been here this close to the top where a man drinks complimentary beer and gets an occasional free sandwich for his trouble. No, he paid his dues. He has played drums for years, but what really put him on the map was a job he took when he was around 18. After answering an ad, Leo found himself cast as one of America’s most loveable icons, and faced with the massive responsibility of bringing that character to life on a near daily basis. Yes friends, Leo was Chuck E. Cheese.

As Chuck E. Cheese, Leo quickly discovered he could smoke massive amounts of marijuana and complete his assigned tasks with relative ease. The parents had no idea that the guy in the oversized creepy mouse costume was as baked as a college kid at Burning Man. As long as he popped out after the animatronic band in the restaurant kicked out their last tune, who cared? He quickly became the “go-to” Chuck E. when it was discovered he could skate. If you attended an Ice Capades show at the old Richfield Coliseum in the mid Eighties and saw Chuck E Cheese skate around handing out coupons and promo bullshit, you saw a really high Leo in a mouse costume. I think he got high by the zamboni with former Cleveland Cavalier World B. Free before he went out there on the ice, but that might just be urban legend.

Leo’s career as Chuck E. Cheese was going as well as a career as a freakishly oversized cartoon trademark mouse could go. Then one day he went to walk the parade route at Strongsville Home Days as Chuck E., hand out some coupons, and spread general corporate restaurant goodwill. When he got there, he discovered he had left the giant mouse feet at home. This may have been due to the massive amounts of weed he had been smoking, but hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? Faced with marching in the parade slightly out of uniform, or not doing the parade at all, Leo made a judgment call and walked in the Chuck E. Cheese costume with the exception of wearing his Chuck Taylors in place of the giant mouse feet. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but people got all worked up. Mothers actually called Leo’s Chuck E. Cheese location to complain he was out of uniform. I mean, it’s not like he was in the Air Force walking down the street in an Air Force dress shirt with medals and cutoff jean shorts. He was an 18-year-old kid in a fucking company mouse costume. What, were kids going to think Chuck E. wasn’t real?

Regardless, that put Leo on the radar at the Pearl Rd Chuck E. Cheese location. When he knocked a kid over after popping out of Chuck E’s hiding place post animatronic band jamboree days later, that wasn’t good. It was especially bad when the kid freaked out when Leo (as Chuck E.) leaned over to pick him up. Who wants to be picked up by an obviously high cartoon mascot mouse when you just got dumped on the ground by this clearly dangerous creature? It was over. He turned in his costume in shame.

Let this serve as a cautionary tale. Be prepared. Don’t be like a mouse without shoes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Tim Tebow

People are very excited about this Tim Tebow fella aren’t they? Why, that good Christian boy threw for 316 yards last week… as in John 3:16. Yes, there is only one conclusion we can come to by the success of this young man as a quarterback of an NFL team in nine games. He is blessed, and God’s favorite QB. This also means that everyone else Tebow faces has somehow fallen out of favor with his eminence, and God will always insure a victory for The Chosen One. There is no longer any point in fighting it. It is real. It as if it has been preordained.

I believe that Tim Tebow will lead the Broncos to victory on Sunday, because he is God’s Chosen Vessel. It is only through conspicuous rooting for the Broncos can we, as but mere mortals, become closer with God. I am a believer. I will not be surprised when Tim Tebow will score a late touchdown, and then majestically ascend towards the heavens while Broncoettes, clad only in white flowing robes strum hymns on lutes and harps. A single blinding white ray of light will beam down on Thy Second Coming, and men and women both will fall to the ground wailing for the suffering awaiting them in eternal torment of Hell as they have dared to doubt the work of the Lord. Hands will turn to fire that dared to hold a ticket with a wager against the Lord and His Denver Broncos. The Colorado River will run red with the blood of the fallen.

While it is apparent that Tebow is The Chosen One, it is only logical to think this through. God is a Denver Broncos fan, which of course places AFC West rival the Raiders as Lucifer’s team. This goes a long way to explaining things like the JaMarcus Russell draft pick, Terrell Pryor, the coaching merry-go-round, etc. But what of the Patriots? They also stand in thy way of Saint Tim. This also places Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as also part of Satan’s minions. Belichick, like Death Himself in his unwashed hoodie, emotionlessly moving ahead with his work. Sure of his charge. Certain of the eventual outcome of events. Plotting and planning. For only death could stop what has already been foretold.

Tim Tebow jerseys will replace “Sunday Best” clothes in churches. All various religions will fold under the one common banner of “Tebowists”, leaving only a few foolish skeptics and Raider fans behind. The planet will enjoy a peace and prosperity only spoken of in hushed whispers in the past. We will have enjoy knowing smiles each Sunday as Saint Tim will lead “Earth’s Team”, the Denver Broncos to inevitable victory after inevitable victory each Sunday.

It is a New Age. Let us embrace it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Wild Card Weekend

This is my favorite gambling day of the year. Sure, March Madness is awesome, but I actually know something about the teams I am betting on today. Well, better put, I think I know a few things about these teams. With the Saturday 430 kickoff, it lays out perfectly to fill my home with some of my real degenerate friends that have no problem settling in for a day of heavy beer drinking and wild irresponsible wagering. Last year a guy so overextended himself on a late game loser, he openly spoke of "stringing himself up in the shower" when he got home. It's a glorious day.

The first game is two teams that will immediately be eliminated in the next round, no matter who wins. Houston will start one armed Yates at QB over Jake Delomme, probably because Delomme may have already fumbled the ball or tossed a pick six. Houston wins by playing good defense and running the ball. I think today they will try to play good defense and run the ball. (You see what an expert I am?) That means the game should go UNDER 38. Will the Bengals win this one on the road? If ever there was a scenario for them to do so, this would be it. They haven't beaten a winning team all year, so why would they now? The Bengals are young, this is their first time in the Playoffs, and they are on the road. No thanks. The spread has moved to four, which is a number I really don't care for. I am going to sack up and take Houston to win on the money line at -200.

New Orleans is red hot, and it seems like every media outlet has anointed them the Super Bowl champion already. It's amazing how quickly Green Bay has been forgotten after their one loss. Two weeks ago they lose at KC, and suddenly it's as if everyone forgot they went 15-1 while lighting the Lions up for 50 points with their backup quarterback last week. Still, I get it. New Orleans does look like a real buzzsaw. The common thinking is that the Saints will score 50 today and the Lions will be the Lions. In my heart of hearts, I know this to be true. The Lions will self destruct, and embarrass themselves on national TV. They will fall apart, guys will be ejected for sticking shivs in the sides of Saint linemen, and some guy in silver facepaint will be shown looking dejected in the fourth quarter. This is why I believe the time tested "counter selection" method needs to be applied here. I am taking Detroit +10.5 and hoping for some backdoor meaningless touchdown late for the cover. I have no rationale other than if the rest of America thinks the Saints will win big, it isn't going to happen. If you are playing for that Lion cover, you might as well go on the OVER too. It's at an all time NFL Playoff high of 59.5 too. God help me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate the DUI

The best DUI story I ever heard was about a brother of a guy I knew pretty well. His brother had a real problem. He was literally destroying himself with alcohol. The pattern was always the same. He would emerge from rehab. He would get out and secure a good paying sales job. It was always easy for him to get that job because he was so charismatic, but at the same time having to reinvent yourself every 6 months had to be pretty tiresome. No matter how fucked up he was, he could always sell. In that one little way, he was lucky.

He was living in the Washington DC area, and after about his usual six months of working, he had become the #1 sales guy for the company. He also had just fallen off the wagon. He wasn’t a guy that drank a few too many beers. This was a guy that hit the vodka as soon as he got up in the morning on the way to sloppy violent blackouts. I think we can all agree that when you are drinking in the shower on a Tuesday morning, things may have gotten away from you a little bit.

This particular Tuesday morning he had a couple sales calls scheduled. He blew those off and went to a bar in town instead where he proceeded to get completely shitfaced. At some point he decided to leave the bar and drive somewhere. Within a few minutes, he had been pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated. Having had a great number of DUIs, he knew the drill. He got in the back of the police car, and went to the station to sleep it off like Otis from “The Andy Griffith Show”.

After sleeping in the cell for hours, he got up and posted bail. He knew he was going to be repeating the same pattern. He would not be able to drive to make sales appointments. He probably had lost his job again. He was on the downward spiral yet again. He walked down the street, and tried to come up with a plan on how to proceed. As he walked, he started to feel like he was in a familiar place. It was like a dream. He knew he had been there before, but couldn’t figure out when. Then he saw it. His car.

The police had left his car parked on the side of the road, and had not arranged for a tow. He reached into his pocket, and found his keys. What the hell. Might as well get the car home, right? He climbs into the car, starts it and starts to drive home. A few miles later, he sees the lights flashing in his rearview mirror. He gets pulled over. The cop smells the booze on him, and gives him a field sobriety test. He fails. Just like that, he records his second DUI on the same day from the same drinking binge.

When he eventually went to court, the proceedings were described as “unpleasant” to me. It couldn’t have been easy to explain that incident away. I think his license was finally taken for good that day. He agreed to go to rehab, and his parents flew across the country to pay for it and hear his hollow promises on how this would be the last time (again). He then went to a somewhat real jail where he earned the nickname “Iceman” for the silent demeanor he used to mask his total terror of being locked in with violent career criminals. Since then, I think he has been back to rehab another four times and counting.

His brother still laughs when he tells the 2 DUIs in one day story though…

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NFL Playoffs

I have been very quietly putting my gambling empire back together this December. My unstoppable (and probably soon to be trademarked) Impossible To Lose Bowl Game Gambling System has paid off handsomely. (See the Defend Cleveland Show website for details.) I now am in a position to go absolutely wild on the NFL Playoffs. This is absolutely foolhardy behavior as these games are analyzed with more intensity than the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination. There is no edge to be had, but I will not let that stop me. I will confidently walk into this fire storm throwing money at everything, and in the end, I will be proven right.

Or not.

The Playoffs are especially interesting this year as every one of these teams has some legitimate concerns. Even though the Packers are 15-1, doesn’t it seem odd that they can’t seem to stop anyone? Can New England stop anyone? The Saints? Can Pittsburgh score? How about San Francisco? Let’s break it down, shall we? The teams can be divided into two groups. Let’s call the first group “They might actually win this thing!”.

The AFC has two of those teams, New England and Pittsburgh. The Patriots are an offensive juggernaut that can’t play a lick of defense. For all the play Belichick gets for being a defensive guru, has anyone else noticed he hasn’t had a good defense up there in about six years? There is one sure fire way to beat New England. You have to hit Brady, and hit him early. When Brady gets hit, he stops being the All Pro Wonder Boy that broadcast teams like to all but fellate during gamecasts. He kinda turns into Kelly Holcomb. However, most teams don’t hit Brady. In fact, most teams get penalized 15 yards for even glancing in his general direction. If James Harrison had hit Brady the way he hit Colt McCoy, he would be doing 15 years in solitary at Riker’s Island. Still, Harrison would probably take that tradeoff. That is why Pittsburgh is the only other team in the AFC that might win it all.

Pittsburgh can’t score. They have no running game to speak of, and their best running back is now hurt. Roethlesberger is playing on one leg throwing the ball to a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of. The team plays the way they usually do. They grind. They hang around. They stop the other team. They don’t do anything when they get the ball. Then Polamalu makes a big play with three minutes left, and they win 13-10. It’s why you have to take them seriously, even though they will have to win all their games on the road.

Houston, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Denver are teams we can put in the “No Fucking Chance” category. Baltimore is the most interesting of these teams. Since they will host at least one game, you have to like their chances to get to the AFC Championship game. But can you actually see those guys put together three wins in a row over quality opponents? I can’t. Despite all the play Joe Flacco gets as being an “elite” quarterback, I think of him as Kevin Kolb on a pretty good team. Joe Flacco is not going to take a game over and win the thing for you. He is going to miss open receivers, throw a costly INT, and talk at the postgame press conference about “building on this next year and making the next step”.

The other three are just opening round fodder. Houston v Cincinnati is meaningless. Houston will have to decide to play next week with TJ Yates and his separated shoulder or Jake Delomme under center. All experts agree that Yates would be the better option even if his non-throwing arm needs to be amputated early this week. On the other sideline, Cincinnati hasn’t had a win over a good team all year, and they sure as hell aren’t going on the road and doing that now. Denver just plain blows. I think Denver is the 4th best team in the AFC West right now. Have you seen them play lately? I believe the NFL has “solved” Tim Tebow. It is safe to say Pittsburgh’s defense might shut down Tebow and Company after New England, Buffalo and Kansas City shut them down in successive weeks. Quick, which game would be higher scoring? The Pirates v Rockies or Steelers vs. Broncos?

The NFC has three “They Just Might Win This Thing” teams in Green Bay, New Orleans, and San Francisco. I think we can all agree that Green Bay and New Orleans are good teams. Can they stop anyone? Does it matter? New Orleans has not only won eight in a row, but also covered all eight. The over/under for the Detroit v New Orleans is 58.5, the highest total in Vegas history. I think it will go over. Didn’t Green Bay just drop something like 67 points on Detroit with Flynn at QB? How is Detroit going to stop Brees on turf inside?

San Francisco is the sleeper. No one takes them seriously because of Alex Smith. Hey, I get it. But that defense is a monster, and it will keep them in any game. In the NFL Playoffs, I love the defensive teams. They aren’t the sexy pick because everyone loves high scoring highlight reels. But I’ll tell you this; New Orleans doesn’t want anything to do with going out to a drizzly muddy Candlestick and playing those guys. If San Francisco can get lucky with the weather, I’ll take them against anyone.

Detroit, Giants, and Atlanta are hard to believe in. Detroit is going to get outclassed by New Orleans. That’s all there is to that. Atlanta is a pretty good little team, but they just always seem to be a play away don’t they? Matt Ryan, a.k.a. Joe Flacco 2, will hold the same press conference Flacco does but with a better stat line. The Giants can beat anyone. Unfortunately, they can also lose to anyone. They’ll probably win at home this week. Or maybe they’ll lose by 20. Who the hell knows with those guys? Like Baltimore, there’s no way in hell they win three games in a row against big time teams.

The current odds to win the Super Bowl are as follows:

Green Bay 3-2
New England 3 ½ -1
New Orleans 5-1
Baltimore 6-1
Pittsburgh 10-1
San Francisco 12-1
New York Giants 20-1
Houston 35-1
Atlanta 40-1
Detroit 50-1
Denver 60-1
Cincinnati 70-1

I think the play is to take an aggressive stance on New Orleans at 5-1 and cover that with Green Bay. If you want to get really wild, take a flier on San Fran and Pitt. Besides the nice payday, it would be great to swagger around all next year talking about how you “had the fucker the whole way”. Let's get all in on this thing...