Monday, August 8, 2005

Do not call Redux

Well, I know they are in UT.. At least that's what I get when I Google the number..   When I call the number back that was on my caller ID there is a whole thing about who they are and why they called. Nothing to make sure we get on their do not call list

So I went to which is the URL they give on the message.  They have no way, on the site, to add yourself to a do-not-call list. The site does show they are in UT, however.

I searched in their privacy policy and found, towards the end, instructions on how to opt-out of their surveys.. give them a call at 801-373-7735.

I called. It rang 4 times and then went to a fast-busy. I tried again and got an person who clearly spoke English (take that to mean the interviewers didn't) and informed her that we were called last night- and asked to be placed on the DNC list and then received another call this evening. She said "He didn't" and asked for my number. I provided it to her and she assured me I would be added to their DNC list "Right now".

I'd love to put together a list of all the survey companies and how you opt-out of their surveys. This way we can centralize the information so people can quickly opt-out.  Does anyone know of such a thing existing already?

I know it seems I always end my postings with "it's time...." (I noticed this myself last night) so:

It's time to opt out!

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Do not call means do not call...

AOL Note: YAY! The bot is fixed.. of course I am not using it this time..

Technically- it was legal. They were calling with a survey and it was only 8:54PM. They did not violate the federal or state do not call list.

So what?

I joined the list for a reason- I do not want people calling me at random. I do not want to hear about your political motivation. I do not want to take your survey. I do not want to be converted and I certainly will never be interested in sending you any money for whatever cause you might be calling about. The sure fire way to get on my "never give money" list is to call me and ask for money.

The current do not call lists do not go far enough..

At 8:54PM I had two young children in bed.  iVillage says that my 9 year old needs 10+ hours of sleep a night. This means, with a wake-up of about 6:45 that she should be in bed, sleeping, by 8:45. They also say my 4 year old needs in excess of 11 1/2 hours sleep! Since he wakes up around the same time-- he should be long asleep - having gone to sleep at about 6PM.. (OK, not realistic we all know- but it makes the point.)  TO let people make unsolicited calls to my home until 9PM the government is saying that my child's sleep and their personal space is less important than their right to ask what I think of the Village at Manalapan.

I disagree.  As much as SPAM has invaded our lives and seem out of control, so are these survey companies. In the past month I have received no less than 6 different survey phone calls.

It is time for the government to stop *ALL* phone calls with a comprehensive Do Not Call list that will require ANYONE calling my home, without a darn good reason (and, as the victim, I get to decide if it's a good reason.) to pay horrendeous fines.

My phone is not a marketing tool. It's not a survey tool. It's not a soapbox and it's certainly no house of worship... It's time for the DNC List to cover all phone calls.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

WHERE is your mother?

JCPenney might be running some of the most "offensive" TV commercials (at least to a dad) in recent memory.

Scene: Outside the house a man is doing lawn work. Clearly he is confused by the missing sprinkler that he had placed on the lawn. Looking towards the house he sees the hose connected to the spigot. He follows the hose, which is leaking and taped up in one spot  (perhaps a sign of his inability to do home repairs?), visually, into the front door. He then looks up and sees the great picture window being splattered with water.  Cut to inside where the kids and the family dog are playing in the water. The father walks in, hose in hand, and gives an exasperated look. He then folds over the hose, looks at the kids, and says "WHERE is your Mother?"  Cut to a parking lot with mom holding JCPenney bags. The voice over says something about how mom is busy shopping. (I will edit this later with more details if I see it again.)

I would think that the general public would clearly understand why this commercial is offensive. However, since this commercial (and others with the same theme from the same company) have continued to play on TV for months, it seems no one is getting it. At least no one with the power to stop them.

In some ways it seems like the "White Male" is the last safe place to aim your off-color jokes.

I know, it sounds like I am whining that the fathers are somehow a class that deserves protection. The fact is, I don't think we are. I can take it. I think we can all take it. The actual point here is the unfairness of saying it's OK to target white males, fathers in particular, but some other class of people requires protection.

I am offended because I am expected to laugh at a man who is unable to take care of his own children but I am ridiculed if I laugh at a joke about Arabs or Blacks or Women. Boycotts are set up and people are fired because a radio station makes a parody song about Asians.

It is time for parity.. it is time for everyone to learn to take a joke. 

Livid at AOL

Someone really has to address the design flaws with this system.

I spent 45 minutes editing a post to be greeted by "AOL Journals is unavailible" and not so much as a screen I could copy and paste from so I could save my work. Hit back and all the editing is gone. I was trying to edit my Meet Mister Mom post.. I guess I'll go back to that now.. but this time copy it before I submit.

This kind of shoddy work is just the thing to make people not use AOL Journals.

[EDIT: I was able to go back and re-edit.. tho I think the last version that I lost was better.]

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Meet Mister Mom...

I guess I should start each entry with a message to AOL: How about fixing the bot.

This summer, as with the past few summers, TV networks fill the airwaves with inexpensive to produce TV Shows. These shows are commonly called "Reality TV".   Of all the shows that were new this year,  Meet Mister Mom brought to us by the NBC Network was the one I was most anxious to see.

My anxiety was caused by the premise. Which was to see what happens when Mom goes on a vacation and Dad has to take care of this kids all by himself with lots of TV cameras following him around. This was sure to be a show about the incompetence of Fathers and their inability to take care of the kids.

This theme is gaining in popularity these days in TV Commercials (discussed below a bit) so I guess it was only time before someone decided to make a pogram (Happy Birthday Jimmy) on the subject.

The show was amazingly predictable. Fathers start out being unable to handle the family and, through the miracle of editing, have some kind of epiphany about 1/2 way through the show that turns them into "super parent". In an attempt to make a very boring show more interesting, the producers have two families competing against each other in various "projects". In the end, the fathers are graded on their performance as parents. As the show progresses, when one of the fathers does something good, a little "Bing" sound is played and we see an icon showing what they did good. For example: a housecleaning icon when the father does some laundry (or when the cleaning crew from Merry Maids he won in a go-cart race cleans the house for him).

On the subject of Merry Maids. I think they found the only two English speaking employees to be on the show- at least based on the phone call I made a year ago to my local Merry Maids office.

Anyway, back to the show. So these icon reminds me of the Buddy Christ from that brilliant movie Dogma. With cheesy thumbs-up graphic.

In the first episode the scores were B+ and A-. What did the winning family get? a $25,000 Educational account from one of the sponsors. See if you can guess which one.

Not only is $25,000 minimal money when looking at the costs of higher education today (Imagine it in 10 years when those kids might be considering college) but it is a pittance for the embarrassment heaped upon those families and men, in general. If your going to insult my sex, at least pay us well for it!

I cant say I found the show offensive. It was too boring to offend me. Even the supposed "projects" did nothing to save the tedium. This might be the worst reality program on TV. OK- Date my Mom on MTV might be worse with that scripted and phony excitement that they use. I could rant on that show for an hour, and I only saw about 20 minutes of one episode.

I guess there is some good news in this that has nothing to do with car insurance. The show wasn't so offensive that I would have to stop watching NBC. I was too bored to be offended. This would have really cramped my TV addiction as I have already put the kibosh on CBS after canceling both Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia. (OK, I admit I watch CBS a little- but anything I can get somewhere else- I go elsewhere for it.)

The advertising was the most offensive part of the whole show. Particularly the JCPenney advertising (even look at the slug-line on the sponsors page! "Watch as JCPenney helps Dad fill Mom's shoes.") I have not shopped there in years because of their "Where is your mother..." campaign which they seem to have revived for this show. I will probably address the advertising in another post.

Time to get the kids to bed....