Saturday, January 19, 2008

Passwords! Who the Hell thought up THAT one??

OK, OK, I know, we have to have passwords to protect our identity. But I ask you, is it working? My understanding is, the majority of the folks that steal identities are relatives.

So here's my problem. I am not rich, but, I have a portfolio with investments in different financial institutes. Because we live in this new, wonderful modern world where we do things on the Internet, and with all kinds of electronic equipment, and we don't go to our neighborhood bank, we have to "prove" our identity before we can proceed to find out the simplest things about our own finances. It wouldn't be so bad, but I can't remember what I ate this morning and I'm damned sure I can't remember what my password is. Consequently, I have a little notebook with all the numbers, symbols and letters, that I've used in different ways to make up my personal passwords. I think the list is up to about 150 right about now. The problem I have is, I can't remember where I put the notebook. I'm in deep trouble...very big trouble.

At my office, in order to open up my computer I have 7 different passwords that must be kept under lock and key. God help the USA if someone finds out some of the stuff that's in my "my documents" file....(cripes, they may find all the stored e-mail jokes or pictures of my grandkids....).

I have to call in and be "voice recognized" in order to go from one area of the company to another. (What are we the: CIA? FBI? NATO? League of Nations? Super Heroes? What?) The same company, just different divisions. I have to prove who I am at every connection. How paranoid have we become?

My personal favorite is the one password I have to give in two parts, one part to one person and one part to another. I think one person is sitting in an office in Greenland, the other is in Siberia, at least....maybe.

The real reason for this password stuff is to give someone justification for their existence. I swear to God, I truly believe it. Some paranoid jerk decided that we all have to become as paranoid as he/she is and developed a need for the passwords. Then the jerk figured he/she could make a bundle of money if they could convince corporate America that there was a huge risk of corporate espionage and they had to protect their investment. Some other CEO jerk, (who is probably the Uncle of the original jerk who thought up this whole scam in the first place) made sure that the board of directors took the paranoid pills and they all agreed to go this multi-functional-stupid password scam. It makes perfect sense to me.

Every single day I hear on the news, or in a newspaper about someone who's had their identity stolen and they are in all kinds of trouble through no fault of their own. My question is this, I thought this was supposed to be a country that believed in someone being innocent until proven guilty. I guess in the case of identity theft, the operative word is "theft" which means that something, usually money, has been taken from someone else and it's all about the money, not how the money was taken, or by whom. Whomever is at the front of the suspect line IS the culprit, no matter what they say.

I'm lucky, I live in an area that still has neighborhood banks that haven't been swallowed whole by the giant banking conglomerates. I think it's time for me to rethink this Internet, electronic banking system in this country and become better acquainted with my neighborhood banker.

Now if only I could find the original jerk who thought up this password dilemma my life would be complete...after I strangle him/her with my bare hands... hmmm.. I wonder if he/she knows where my "password notebook" is?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm afraid....I'm very afraid

I know when folks get older they tend to look to the younger generation and think...."Holy Cow, what's to become of us...this new generation is: nuts, crazy, lazy, inefficient, slow, unthinking, selfish, etc...". I swear to God I thought I, being an educated, enlightened person, would not be one to look around and say things about the younger folks, but believe me, was I wrong.

Point in case:

Does anyone under 30 know how to make change without the use of a cash register??? I think not.

Whatever happened to "playing store" as a kid and learning how to count back the change?

There's a chain letter going around the Internet about someone going to Mickey D's. It goes something like this"

My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, "You gave me too much money." I said,"Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back." She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said "We're sorry but we can not do that kind of thing." The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Now, maybe you think this is funny, and it is, but it's a pretty sad state of affairs as well.

I thought, "well, it's on the Internet and how true can that be?...I know some times we all get ruffled at times and make mistakes. Probably that's some kind of urban legend stuff, rearing it's head again. I really didn't think too much about it until last weekend.

My husband and I went to a local farm stand to buy some apples. The woman in front of me decided to buy a bag of apples ( now, this is the God's truth....I swear...I should be stricken down with a horrible death if I'm lying.....). She proceeded go to the counter and asked the cashier ( a man about 25) if he could tell her how much the apples were by the pound. The bag was clearly written that it contained 10 pounds. The price for the 10 pounds was $6.95. To me it was pretty obvious the price per pound was .69 cents. (.69 X10= 6.90 , OK so .69 and a half cents). The guy looked at her as though she asked him to solve a world crisis....He stammered, "Well, I have to take the bag to the scale over in the other part of the store and it will tell me, come this way..." . They both marched to the other side of the store where he proceeded to place the bag on the scale, plug the scale into the socket (apparently it was an "electronic device") wait for it to warm up(what the Hell....warm up?? give me a break!). I finally walked over and said, " The price per pound is approximately .69 cents. " They both looked at me as I explained how to divide $6.95 by 10 to solve their complicated mathematics problem....

The woman buying the apples said, " I was an English major in college. Math was never my thing". The guy behind the counter said, " Oh, I'm in graduate school, for EDUCATION(!!!) I was never a good math student"

We're all in freaking trouble!!! We better start learning, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, forget the Spanish....

Be very afraid

I'm afraid....I

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Male of the Species

Can I ask why it's so much more intense when the male portion of a family has a problem? I don't care if it's to do with clothing, eating, drinking, doing chores, or worst of all, being sick.

My significant other has a cold...mind you, a cold; sneezing, running nose, coughing, sore ears, sore throat, you get the picture. Now, before you start thinking I'm an uncaring female, let me enlighten you to the myriad of things that happen when he feels less than his best.

1. He dresses in clothes that I'm sure a homeless person would know the kind I mean: old shapeless flannel pants with the rear end blown out, but repaired some what, a sweat shirt that saw better days in the 1960's, a ski hat, huge wool socks with slippers over the top, but you can still see the socks because of the holes in the soles of the slippers. Over the flannel and sweats, a quilted flannel work shirt that any self respecting redneck would reject, even if they were going out to dig a new outhouse hole.

2. He sits in his chair with the remote in his hand. The side table is filled with all the things he will need while he sits and complains: tissue, Tums, saline spray, sore throat lozenges, cough drops, aspirin, Tylenol, water, soda, something that with slide down his throat easily. (From my side of the room I look at him and wonder if a knife would slide down easily.

3. Every so often I hear, "Oh God, just take me away." "Is this what my final days will be like?" "Cough, cough-Oh my God....when will it end?"" $%#@ this #$@% cold, I'm freakin' dying here, and nobody cares." "Just leave me to die here...I'll go slowly-just not quietly."

4. When anything is suggested to help alleviate the pain/nausea/headache, whatever, he looks across at me as though I should be drawn and quartered for suggesting anything so benign to help him get through this deadly sickness he alone must endure. When I suggest he do something as logical as "gargle with salt water." I become the victim of eye daggers thrown from across the room to pierce my body, and leave me bloodied.

and so it goes....

Finally, I put my foot down and throw him into the car and head out to the Doctor. He looks as if fire will flame from his eyes as he tries to refuse to go, but I know his vulnerabilities and I've had enough. He knows better than to defy me when I'm in this frame of mind.

The ride to the Doctor is one in silence. He's angry. I'm angry. We're both tired.

The receptionist tries to do her job, asking all the questions she needs to ask to fulfill her paperwork. He's mad. She gets up to go to the printer. He looks at me and says, "Why does she have to ask all the same things that she can read on the computer? she can just read the answers that are on the computer....She's a dope." I say, "I think she has to verify all the information and be sure it's up to date." "No," he says, "she's a dope." I look at him and wonder what happened to the man I married and fathered my kids. Surely this man sitting next to me isn't the same one.

The receptionist comes back and takes us to a "sick room." He looks at me as if to say, "See, they know I'm sick."

The Doctor finally comes in. Asks some of the same questions again. She looks down the throat, checks in the ears, listens to the chest. She sits down and says, " Looks as if you have a cold, and probably a little sinusitis. It's not bad. We'll give you some stuff to take and in a couple of days you'll be back to normal...No problem." She leaves and I look at him. He looks at me and says, "What the Hell is she talking about? I have pneumonia at the very least, probably Bubonic Plague as well."

The Doctor comes back in,, hands him the script and walks out. The nurse says, "OK out you go, Enjoy the rest of your day."

I watch him as he walks to the car. His head is down, he's coughing and sputtering about the lack of caring of all of the females in the world. I hear him say, "They just don't know the pain I'm in...I'm dying here...and nobody cares."

He's fine. A couple of days on the medicine, a good night's rest, doing what I tell him to do to alleviate the discomfort, and he'll be right as rain...Thank the Gods for small favors.