Computer Withdrawal

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm
By: Doug Lund
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(Cue music from The Godfather)

 Thursday’s congressional hearing on the insane increases of fuel prices, in which the heads of the five major oil companies were summoned to justify their record high profits while continuing to receive taxpayer subsidies, reminded me of those federal hearings in the Godfather II movie in which a congressional committee was looking into the activities of New York’s five Mafia crime families.

oil michael

 And, just like in the film when they couldn’t make charges against Michael Corleone stick, this effort to call the oil execs on the carpet, was, as Senator Orin Hatch predicted: (with a visual aid) A Dog and Pony Show.

Senate Finance Committee members yuk it up at Oil Executive hearing.

Senate Finance Committee members yuk it up at Oil Executives hearing.

The oil big wigs say the high pump prices aren’t their fault and the Congressmen say the execs are out of touch with an angry American people..blah, blah blah.

oil execs

There was a lot of blame passing and name calling..but analysts say a bill aimed at cutting subsidies to big oil has little or no chance of passing. So here we are having to shell out money most of us can’t spare, not only to pay through the nose at the pump but for all commodities that are shipped by trucks or planes or trains or burros (Animal feed costs have gone up too, ya know) and it’s nobody’s fault and  nobody can do a dadblame thing about it. I wish whomever is getting filthy rich off of our misery would get a visit from Vito Corleone’s top persuader, Luca Brasi. Oh, wait. He, like Osama bin Laden, sleeps with the fishes.

On another matter: “My name is Doug and I’m a computerholic.” 

Up until Thursday, I had convinced myself that time spent at the computer was not wasted but important toward the betterment of personal knowledge, good clean fun socializing and vital to researching information for these blogs. Then when I went to boot up yesterday I got booted in the internet.  Okay, I thought, this has happened before. Midco must be doing some junk that’s taken me off line. Just wait a few minutes and it’ll come back. But time passed and it DIDN’T return. Now what? Panic began to set in. I felt like the old days when I’d reach for a cigarette and discover I was out and the stores were closed. So, I got on the phone to Midco Cable and, after dancing to the electronic lady’s voice prompts, I pushed the correct button to speak to a real live person. The robo woman put me on hold until the next real live person was available. In the meantime, the piped-in music was not only awful but sounded like someone had set the tuner between two radio stations so I’d hear a staticky version of Muskrat Love mixed with a little “Do You Know The Way to San Jose.” Every now and then, that phoney female voice returned to remind me how busy all the real people were, pleaded with me to stay on the line and then suggested  I consider making a couple Midco purchases while waiting.  I became stressed and hung up.

I got to thinking about it and wondered if my modem somehow got bumped and unplugged so I went to investigate. I’m sure glad Linda didn’t take a picture of me wallowing under the computer desk trying to sort through the big nest of wires in my vane attempt to find a simple solution. Nothing worked. Back to the phone. More fake voices, more static music, more reminders how important my call was and then….Voila…Tim came on the line. “You’re the real person I’ve been waiting for,” I said. “How can I help,” replied Tim..just as Linda pointed out that our Midco phone line was dead too. After explaining my plight and doing a bit of sweet talking, Tim agreed to move us up on the priority repair list and within a couple hours, the Midco panel truck pulled up out front with a guy named David at the wheel. When he got out of the vehicle..he just kept getting out of the vehicle. David easily stands six foot 8 or 9 and makes ME look like one of the Seven Dwarfs. (Grumpy or Dopey) I quickly deduced that Tim only sends David out on calls that could potentially involve a problem customer because he looked pretty intimidating.  Well, it turns out, the big guy was a big Teddy Bear who really knows his stuff. He spent a lot of time dealing with the maze of cables and splitters in our house eventually finding and fixing a problem with the line and replacing a faulty modem. He even volunteered to return Saturday to upgrade our cable wires and install a couple digital TV boxes.

The main thing is I quickly came out of my computer withdrawal to find that I really hadn’t missed all that much and it was actually rather nice catching up on a couple of South Dakota Magazine back issues.

I have a feeling, though, that Linda might now sneak in and unplug the computer so I’ll get off my butt and mow the yard.


  1. Sweeps says:

    Oh, how well I can relate to the Midco helpline! I called two nights ago because 2 days before that the TV in my bedroom quit working (you know, the one I just received the dang digital adapter for that they said I had to have?). After 12 minutes and 30 seconds of Do You Know The Way To San Jose I gave up. I might have to try that 123 thing they talk about until one of their live representatives will finish the previous person’s call.

  2. Tom Simmons says:

    Doug: As you may have heard we have been overloaded in customer service due to the digital conversion. That’s what those “dang digital adapters” are all about. While we have been trying to get our customers to get ready for the past 3 months they are apparently like me and don’t do anything until the last possible moment. We greatly appreciate the patience of all of our customers. We even appreciate the unpatient ones! Thankfully our CSR’s are cut from the same cloth as David and work very hard for their customers. We’ll get through this and get back to the short hold times our customers expect. In the meantime, are you sure Linda didn’t snap a photo of you wallowing under the desk? In the old days we’d save those shots for the Christmas party!

  3. Donn says:

    Tom, I will try to have patience again this weekend. I hooked up my fathers digital box last weekend, and everything went according to plan, except that it didn’t work. While I was on hold for 42 minutes, I tried the backup ideas suggested, but to no avail. So I unhooked the box so they could have TV again. The music is beyond awful, but it’s better than silence.

  4. Mike H says:

    I wish people would use the word “dadblame” more often! Nice touch. :-)

  5. daniel Johnson says:

    2/3 of daily oil transactions are carried out by Speculators gaming the mid-east crisis even though we get most of our oil from other sources. This speculation generates fictious demand unrelated to actual usage driving up prices. Simple legislation could curtail this flim flam but our Washinton Reps would rather cater to the Plutocracy than the people doing the heavy lifting in our nation. We can only hope that there is a special place in Hell for most of those who are supposed to look out for our interests but could not care less.

  6. Deb says:

    hi Doug, i just wanted to tell ya i to go thru computer withdrawal when the internet or computer isn’t working. my hubby laughs at me .but thats fine.a person doesn’t realize how much you miss stuff til you don’t have it etc. LOL!! keep up your blogs Doug, i look forward to reading them.and i always get a smile on my face.your alot like David Letterman, not afraid to belittle or pick on yourself.take care and have a good evening.

  7. ron says:

    one of the oil kings said that if it were just supply/demand, the price of a barrel of oil would be 60-70 dollars. speculators need to be controlled. The biggest oil barrons need to give back their subsidies (our money) that in 2005, they said they didnt need when a barrel of oil was 50 bucks. Now at 100 bucks, we are to believe them that the world will come to an end if they can’t have their subsidies? (our money) Alot of politicians won’t help because their pockets are lined with big oil money. Many of those are republicans if anyone is paying attention. So let’s do it their way…. change nothing pertaining to the oil companies, but by all means, gut medicare, medicaid and social security.
    thanks for the blogs Doug… I would have thought this oil topic would have opened pandora’s box more than missing the internet. thank goodness my Wireless internet still works for the time being…. at least if it goes belly up I can climb under the desk. Maybe I’ll see some politicians under there……..

  8. Crawford T. says:

    In regard to the computerholism, I for one am lamenting the fact that was probably snatched right up as a registered domain name the moment the latest news broke about it.

    (Even if it’s not, I haven’t got any cash in the account and the bank doesn’t open up again till Monday morning. Oh well.)

  9. Bruiser says:

    Doug, please dont ever stop the blog. The only withdrawal i would have is if i werent able to get my fix of wit an humor you provide for me each time i log on. What you provide to your loyal subjects I truely believe is alot more important than you think. There’s nothin like a good belly laugh to start the day. Thank You..

  10. grouse says:

    Because Sytendde Mai is coming up on Tuesday, maybe it’s time to mention a little known group of Norwegian Lutheran families known in underground circles as the Uffdia. For a relatively small consideration, these good fellas, can make some of the oil company execs, speculators, drug company ceo’s, wall street bankers and politicians start listening to reason.
    First, they will grab a couple of oil execs off the street, and take them tied and bound to the basement of a rural Lutheran church where they will be met by elderly Norwegian Lutheran ladies with their hair in a bun, dressed in print dresses, wearing sensible shoes, and of course a copy of Luther’s Small Catechism in their apron pocket.
    The next part is a highly controversial but very effective method of behavior modification. It’s called “Lutefisk Boarding”. The oil execs would be force fed leftover, cold lutefisk without butter or salt until the price of a barrel of oil reached $25. It doesn’t take long.
    After the oil prices are back down, the Uffdia can take on the pharmaceutical ceos and wall street crooks. They’ll make an offer they can’t refuse. Harsh tactics, buy hey, it’s a harsh world. This is most certainly true.

  11. SQUIBBY says:

    “2/3 of daily oil transactions are carried out by Speculators gaming the mid-east crisis even though we get most of our oil from other sources. This speculation generates fictious demand unrelated to actual usage driving up prices. Simple legislation could curtail this flim flam but our Washinton Reps would rather cater to the Plutocracy than the people doing the heavy lifting in our nation. We can only hope that there is a special place in Hell for most of those who are supposed to look out for our interests but could not care less.”

    BINGO!!!!! There were 2 acts passed by congress in 1999 and 2000 that allowed further, deregulated speculation on oil and other commodities. These should be repealed.

    We the people should make the Senators wear corporate logo’s of their “sponsors” by like they do in european sports so we can see who’s working for who!

  12. Char says:

    The only withdrawal I have, is when you do not blog. Love your comments as you are usually right on target with Mr. and Mrs. Mainstream America, whose life blood is being sucked dry by the big corporations.
    The Godfather analogy is perfect. Maybe a Senator or two should wake up with the equivalent of a bloody horse head, then they might remember they are supposed to work for us. Elections are coming up-time to clean the House and the Senate.

  13. Michael says:

    “2/3 of daily oil transactions are carried out by Speculators gaming the mid-east crisis even though we get most of our oil from other sources. This speculation generates fictious demand unrelated to actual usage driving up prices. Simple legislation could curtail this flim flam but our Washinton Reps would rather cater to the Plutocracy than the people doing the heavy lifting in our nation. We can only hope that there is a special place in Hell for most of those who are supposed to look out for our interests but could not care less.”

    EXACTLY! While both parties are guilty of catering to the oil lobby, some Democratic legislators have at least tried to regulate the oil industry and bring prices down for the consumer. The Republicans are complete, bought-out whores of the oil industry. Thune is a major whore. He votes pro-corporate oil and anti-consumer every time. Try to get him to talk about oil sometime. Ol’ Johnny Boy doesn’t like to talk about oil or any of the corporate troughs he has his snout buried in.

  14. Dennis Gene says:

    An article in todays argus-leader put out by McClatchy Newspapers states “Most likely culprit for high prices at pump:speculators.” While most of us already knew that I believe it should be a major part of the next election campaign to get the regulations changed back to the way they were before the 1990’s. I don’t know which party was mostly to blame for the changes probably both. But the article did mention the government in the 10th year of Reagan Republicanism was happy to reduce market regulations.

  15. Doug Lund says:

    Michael..we have a long history of conflict in this blogosphere; usually at polar opposite ends of the political spectrum. But I’ve appreciated your more recent comments on the various, sometimes silly, topics I’ve written about and thought..well we can get along here…SQUIBBY TOO. HE EVEN STOPPED WRITING IN CAPS. But when I became the solo blogger at, I made it clear that I’m not putting up with outrageous, vulgar, politically motivated slanderous commentary and am leaving your post up as an example. I’ve known John Thune for a long time and we don’t agree on many political issues.. but for you to suggest that he and other Republicans are whores of the oil industry is not only an unfair vulgar sweeping generalization it reflects the underside of democratic extreamism that allows no wiggle room for those of differering views..and leaves me cold. John Thune is the son of a World War II hero and a God fearing family man who is as concerned about this country as you claim to be. Michael, please stay here..offer opinions..suggestions..humorous observations..we’d all like to hear what you have to say. But if you can’t make a point without resorting to unjustified profane’ll be losing this forum .

  16. Jerry says:

    I think you’ve made your point Mr. Lund.My point is who did what to whom first?While John Thune is not “a whore”, I no longer believe he represents me and my family anymore.As far as “God- fearing”,If I ask his help, and he says “this is what I believe is the problem,and allows right-wingers to insult me with names instead of helping me with my delema,I have the right to disagree with the use of the term “God fearing.”Repubs have extreamists also.I do agree with you the tax breaks should end.But Mr. Thune doesn’t.”God fearing” has nothing to do with it.

  17. Lynn Parker says:

    Grouse – well said. You have a gift that allows you to write the verbage to give me the best visuals ever. Thanks

  18. GMAX9 says:

    The heck with all of you. I vote we send Grouse’s Lutheran ladies to Congress and let them interview the oil execs and any other overpaid CEO’s who’d be willing to risk their lives. I’d trust those Lutheran ladies to have our country back on track in no time. Of course, if we wanted to send the Lutheran ladies we’d have to decide which synod we’d back – and then we’d be in trouble again.

    Doug, keep on keeping us on our toes when it comes to politics – not that I always agree with you but that’s my privilege. More importantly to most of us is your ability to keep the smiles coming and we need people like that more than we need anything else these days. At least we can still afford to smile – and maybe we should do more of it. Try gifting someone with 1 of your best smiles the next time you’re out shopping. The reaction might surprise you.

  19. Michael says:

    Okay, Doug. I’ll try to tone it down. For the record, my dad was a World War II hero, too. Not sure where that comes into play for either Senator Thune or myself, though.

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