‘His World Is So, So Small’: Former Adviser Says He Cracked During White House Isolation
Now I Know
He Could See Fine. But He Still Wore His Glasses and Why the NFL Doesn’t Play on Saturdays in October and November and The Town in Alabama That Has Huge, Random Sculpture and The Mystery of the “p” in “pH”
Eight versions of the Tom Lehrer classic Hanukkah in Santa Monica. It also includes the Maccabees ‘ Latke Recipe. which is to the tune of Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon, a song from 2014 that I managed to have missed.
I heard this song called Way Less Sad by AJR this week for the first time last week. It came out in February 2021. For the life of me, I recognized but could not immediately place the horn riff. No, not Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears or Earth, Wind and Fire. Finally, it came to me, without looking it up: the way too sad My Little Town by Simon and Garfunkel! Paul Simon even gets a writing credit for Way Less Sad.
Mia Birdsong is the host of More Than Enough, a Nation podcast that uses the concept of universal basic income to start a conversation about dignity, deservedness, and the country America can and should be.
An idea: buy a postcard, send it to Temporary Occupant, 1600 Black Lives Plaza, Washington, DC 20500 (ZIP Code should get it there), and send your message of disdain. (Postage is 35 cents, but hey, spend 20 cents more, slap that first-class stamp on it, and support the USPS.)
As a librarian, I’ve been hearing about the digital divide practically from the beginning of my career.
It is defined as “the growing gap between the underprivileged members of society, especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped portion of the population who do not have access to computers or the internet; and the wealthy, middle-class, and young Americans living in urban and suburban areas who have access.” Three years ago, it was a quarter of the nation.
I’m wondering if the previous arguments have been off. People I know speak of the digital divide in terms such as “economic justice” or “fairness.” That might attract us liberals, but meh. They see underserved as one letter off from undeserved. We need to sell it as a Defense Initiative. Internet Force! Y’know, like Space Force.
And there’s a lot of history behind this. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has funded projects that “have provided significant technologies that influenced many non-military fields, such as computer networking and the basis for the modern Internet, and graphical user interfaces in information technology.”
There may be not enough money in the domestic budget for such an initiative. But there seems to always be money in the Defense budget. This is a national security issue. This will keep us safe in the next disaster. The interstate highway system was purportedly built, in part, “in case of atomic attack on our key cities, the road net [would] permit quick evacuation of target areas.” In the case of the next disaster, we need our people to have access to the information highway as well.
I had thought to “break away from the box” in the new decade. The sheer, and repeated, incompetence of Spectrum, part of Charter Communications, has made this mission-critical. And it started off so casually.
Thursday: I get home from the choir rehearsal. Deciding to watch JEOPARDY! before going to bed, I turn on the TV. Soon, the DVR flashes 10:41 several times and dies. OK, stuff happens.
Friday: Taking the disconnected DVR with me, I take the bus to Colonie Center. I go to the Spectrum store. Unable to discern how one gets into the queue, I ask a customer. He tells me I need to talk to the guy talking to someone in the corner. I’m seventh in the queue, and 15 minutes later, some other rep takes my old device and gives me a new one.
Interestingly, it doesn’t have the time on the front. “Do you WANT that? You can get Spectrum Mobile…?” Don’t try to upsell me. I just want to walk into the room and see the time. I was so annoyed, I went to the Christmas Tree store next door and bought a $5 analog clock.
When I get home, I think I’ve reconnected the wires correctly. Yet I get the message:
You’re in Limited Mode
“We’re sorry, your Spectrum receiver is in Limited Mode and some features may be temporarily available.” Actually, there are no features that are available.
“We’re working to resolve this issue, but please check your cables for a loose connection that could affect your service.” I think it’s my technological incompetence in play.
Friday evening: I call the help line for Spectrum. This is always a chore. The automated system wants to offer “help” even when I know it won’t solve the problem. When I finally talk to a real person, he tells me something useful. I was under the old Time Warner/Spectrum.net account. The DVR is for the newer Spectrum.com service. They gave me the wrong DVR. NOT my fault – yay! (40 minutes)
Saturday: I call the ordering department. This guy promises me a recurring monthly charge of $80 less what I’m paying for now. The package also offers a greater number of channels, what they call the Silver level. He also suggested AppleTV+ which I decided to try on our second TV. He needs a payment, though. I use my primary credit card.
(Sidebar: the charge was rejected on my Chase VISA because I don’t use it often enough. I’ll have to make some small charges with it.)
Later, I check the email confirmation. “The technician is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday” between 11 and 12. At an address in the 321 ZIP Code of Florida.
The great undo
Sunday: I call the ordering department again. I have to explain, in great detail, what has happened so far, a recurring theme. He has an email address and phone number for me. They are both incorrect. Essentially, he has to undo what the previous dude did.
This includes changing the service call from Florida to my Albany, NY address to Tuesday at 1 to 2 pm. He also notes that AppleTV+ would NOT be a good choice for me, and I get remove that. (100 minutes)
I get the email conformation, and the amount is far greater than what I had been told.
Monday: I call the billing department. The previous person had expressed admiration with my calm demeanor. By this point, however, that had deteriorated. The prices I had been quoted by the Saturday guy was for new customers only. What she could do was give me a $25 credit towards the Silver upgrade for the month, since I would not have taken it had I known the cost.
She also asked if I knew that I would be charged $50 for the installation on Tuesday. I did not. As I had asked for her supervisor, she said someone would call back in a couple hours. (40 minutes)
More than four hours on the phone later…
Tuesday: I receive a call back for the supervisor who deals with stuff when issues “escalate.” He apologized profusely, and agreed to waive the installation fee. It would not have applied if the Spectrum store had given me the right DVR box in the first place. He is also crediting the money I spent on Saturday, though it might take a few days. (25 minutes)
The technician showed up a few minutes after 2. He had gone to a house two doors down, then called me from his cell to see if I were home. He started fixing the cable, determining the box the store had given me was, in his word, “junk,” and switched it out. Then he replaced the modem so that it was four times faster. Why didn’t that happen before? Then back downstairs to finish with the cable.
After he left, I checked the channel choices. Far fewer than I had been promised. The local channels, C-SPAN a couple shopping channels, and TBS, pretty much. I went to the Spectrum website, found some instruction, rebooted the box, and suddenly I had the channels I desired.
In the next couple days, I got to see the shows on demand that I had recorded but had not watched, such as a 60 Minutes from the week prior, and the Kennedy Center Honors. Still, this was an organizational clusterf@(# at a level I do not believe I have ever experienced. My resolution in 2020 is to get a divorce from Spectrum and its alleged “communications” services.