Google Webmaster Central

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It has been four days now since Irene screamed through my neck of the woods, knocking down trees and power lines and basically annoying the daylights out of everyone I know.  We are lucky to be alive, so that's not my issue -- what concerns me now is the apparent inability of alleged "customer service" people to provide simply that.

So far I've received voice mails from AT&T with respect to my phone and data service. I've no idea what is in them because I can't open or hear them.  Ditto for the emails I received  from Cox Communications about my internet service. 

National Grid has kept me in the dark, literally and figuratively, about when they plan to reinstate my electric service. More voice mails I can't hear. 

The best part has been listening to their local "public relations" dolt for the last few days, a woman who keeps popping up on local radio spewing even more tired platitudes than political P.R. hacks. You know the drill, terms like "working closely" and "getting the job done" and "commitment to customer satisfaction." Blah, blah, blah. 

I applaud the men and women out in the field, those technicians who ride bucket trucks and stand dangerously close to downed power lines and huge, fallen tree branches in horrible conditions. They don't pay you enough. 

But customer service? These clowns are lucky they don't work for me because I would have fired the lot of them. Customers who are in the dark and concerned after such an event deserve more than just platitudes.

What would these turkeys have done if Irene had turned into Katrina? Maybe we should ask the folks in New Orleans, I'm sure they have some choice words.

Amen, and pass the mustard -- carefully, because I can't see you or hear you -- my electricity is out and my phone is not working.

Friday, August 26, 2011


So at the supermarket this afternoon -- I spot a woman with at least ten packages of raw hamburger in her basket, presumably to stock up for whatever will happen with respect to Hurricane Irene.
I couldn't help but wonder -- what did she think would happen to all that meat if the power went out and her refrigerator went kaput? Steak tartare, anyone?
That's exactly what I mused on my Facebook page.
Then there were the people who responded to those ramblings pointing out how she might possibly have a grill on which she intended to cook all of that food.
My question is -- there she would be, risking her life outdoors in 100 mile per hour winds in torrential rains to what end? Why not just open a can of tuna and be done with it?
The odds that those burgers would cook are astronomical -- never mind that they could possibly airlift and wind up a splatted meat pizza who knows how far down the road.
I don't comprehend how people who are presented with something as stupendous as this monster storm still blithely think that they can carry out any part of a normal existence while such an event is swirling around them. 
Hamburger woman is right up there with the people who install generators in their basements so that they can continue to have electricity, completely oblivious to the fact that lethal amounts of noxious gases would build up in their houses and well, they could die from what they perceived was a solution to a problem.
News flash for the hurricane impaired: when Nature doles out major weather, we mere mortals should hunker down in a safe place and cope with the fact that our lives are going to be disrupted, so we might have to weather a few days in the dark, eating cold tuna and gadzooks, being unable to check our emails or send out text messages. And consider ourselves fortunate that we made it through with our lives.
As the Borg used to say on Star Trek, "Resistance is futile."
Amen, and pass the mustard.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Some years ago I was fortunate enough to live in the Cayman Islands.
Yes, THAT place. It is a little bit of paradise in the Caribbean, a teeny island where if you drive just a couple of seconds the views are spectacular. Views of a sea that looks like somebody turned the lights on in the swimming pool in the middle of the night. 
An incredible shade of green that makes you want to cry when you see it.
A classic and gorgeous house in Cayman, minus bats.
I've been writing about bats in New England, about how I know some friends whose homes are infested with the blasted critters flying about. 
What I neglected to mention in my last post was how in Cayman, the bats don't necessarily bug you inside the house, but more accurately, when you are hanging about the swimming pool in the early evening.
My dear friend D. (you know who you are) and I were killing time one warmish summer evening when a different sort of bat from what you see in New England was making its presence known in the area of the swimming pool where we all hung out in the evenings.
D had jumped into the water and I was just about to join her when...yowsa, they came out of the rafters, bam bam bam splat.
Within seconds, one bat had managed to hit her on the head, just two seconds before I was going into the pool. All of our neighbors froze right where they were -- nobody really wanted to swim in a lovely pool where bats were zooming and zooming overhead.
Call us cruel, we just sat there and watched it happen until D. leaped from the pool and joined us on the perimeter of the pool to view more zooming and zooming.
There is nothing like a warm summer evening in the Caribbean region. Any of us who have lived there can testify to that, but there is a bunch of stuff the tourist brochures won't tell you, including the bats and, oh, yeah, the crunchy crabs on the roadways.  Maybe I'll write about that soon.
Amen, and pass the turtle stew.

Friday, August 12, 2011


August is Bat Month.
At least it's considered that by some slightly batty friends, all of whom, including myself, have had Close Encounters of the Bat Kind. Bats, like many college students, pick up a lot of steam in summer and right about now engage in swarming behavior, which basically means that they fly around in large groups dive bombing everything in sight (differing from the college kids because the bats are not bombed). 
And since they can weasel their way through the smallest cracks, well, you get the drift.
Merlin the Bat Cat
My cat Merlin undoubtedly holds a dubious history within the local environmental department, having caught eight (count 'em) bats in mid-flight and presented them to her favorite human, still alive, of course. One of the last times I took the living critter in a mayonnaise jar (more on that later) for rabies testing (it wasn't) and the officer, on hearing my street address, said jovially, "Oh, yes, you're the lady with the bat situation." 
I was a situation?
That honor should belong to a friend's mother, who I will refer to as M. Years ago a bunch of us were on the porch when a blood boiling scream came from the house interior, and we looked up just in time to see M running through the dining room with a solitary bat flying circles around her.
Bats in that house were a customary enough sight so that the family had its act together. Another night we were again hunkered down on the porch (it is a cool spot) and spotted, well, you know what we saw. There was no cell phone (this was back in the Dark Ages) so we slithered out of the house and went to a pay phone and my friend C called her father.
The conversation went something like --
Pause. "It's me." 
Pause.  "I'm fine, I am just down the street because there's a bat in the house. You have to catch it."
We ran back to the house in time to spot B, C's brother and M's son, bolting down stairs in his official Bat Fighting Gear: a vintage pith helmet over which he had thrown mosquito netting, a plunger, a mop and a large, empty mayonnaise jar. (Now you get it?)
After a lot of thumping and fumbling and thwacking, the unfortunate bat was ensconced in the aforementioned jar (holes on the top so it could breathe) until we could go to a nearby park and set it free, far from the house.
But somehow the jar ended up in the trash, and the following morning the creature had managed to escape and was making its way up the side of the barrel. 
More screaming.
The most recent escapades occurred about a week ago, the first at E's house -- B's daughter and C's niece. This one was flapping around her bedroom until she managed to shoo it away.  Meanwhile A (who is related to this motley via someone named Pinhead -- don't ask) reported that there were bats "flapping and crapping" at the church where she works. 
Yes, this is one batty bunch. 
I'm keeping an eye on Merlin, too, since Bat Love Potion Number 9 might put me over the edge.
Amen, and pass the mayonnaise jar.