(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.
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.
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.
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 gut..no 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.