Re-Launch: Stop calling me!! (Unless I like you!)

I found this great post that I wrote ‘way back in 2005 that I thought you might enjoy again.  To this day, anytime my phone rings and it’s an 800 number, I remember this ridiculous conversation.

And yes, he truly did say, “You are only harassing yourself.”  


Whenever my phone rings, I check the caller ID. If it’s an 800 number, I usually have a good idea who is calling, so I refuse to answer. More than likely it’s yet another telemarketing company.

Yes, I know about the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but I never got around to adding my number to it. Now I’m paying the price. I get calls every day from various outfits offering me a chance to “Win a million dollars by entering our contest” or “Get a quote for siding on your home” or “Refinance your mortgage.”

Of course, most of these calls are recordings, but the “actors” on the other end have recorded their voices in such a quasi-conversational style that it borders on sickening.

Occasionally, however, I will get a call from a live person, and usually this person is not from the United States. They always SAY they are calling from the United States, but the heavy Indian accent tells me otherwise.

The other day, I made the mistake of picking up one of those calls. I’ve seen this number repeatedly on my Caller ID, so I wanted to know just what the heck they wanted. I also wanted to ask that they remove my number from their list, which they are SUPPOSED to do, but rarely ever follow through.

So I answered the call.

Me: Hello.

Telemarketer With Thick Indian Accent: Hello Sir?

Me: Yes.

TWTIA: I am calling because you have been selected to participate in a contest for…

Me: Hold on just one minute, please.

TWTIA: …and if you act now…


TWTIA: Yes, sir?

Me: I have asked you at least once before to please remove my number from your calling list and you have failed to do so. Please do not call me anymore. I am not interested.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Why do I need to tell you why? I am simply asking you to no longer call me. I get 5-6 calls a DAY from you, and I am not interested in anything you have to say.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Are you deaf? I just said why. Now stop calling me.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (getting extremely irritated) Listen, I am not going to argue with you. You are harassing me. I am not interested in your products or services. Now STOP CALLING ME!

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (now totally angry) STOP CALLING ME!!!!!

I hang up the phone.

The phone rings AGAIN.

I can’t believe this guy. Is he SERIOUS?

I click to answer and hang up again.

It rings AGAIN.

I hang up again.


I go to Google and find the National Do-Not-Call Registry. I sign up my phone number– ALL of my phone numbers. This shit has got to stop.


I pick up the phone.

I answer.

Me: What part of STOP CALLING ME do you not understand!?!?

TWTIA: But Why?

Me: I’m through with you. I want your supervisor.

TWTIA: I am the supervisor.

Me: Then you are an idiot. Why would I buy anything from you? Why would I even listen to anything you have to say? Is this how you do business– to harass people?

TWTIA: You are only harassing yourself.

Me: That doesn’t even make sense! Stop calling me. I will not answer the phone any more. I’ll find a way to report you if you continue. Goodbye.

I hang up the phone.

It rings once more and then I never hear from them again.

I have no idea what the product or service was… but these FREAKS are out there, people. If you haven’t done so yet, go directly to the National Do Not Call Registry right now and add ALL of your phone numbers– Work, Cell, and Home– to the list. It will take 30 days for everything to get squared away, but after that, if you get calls like this one, you can report them and they can be fined for harassment. Don’t put up with what I did. Do it now.

Re-Launch: Snausages, Pup-peronis and Jerky Treats

Originally posted on October 24, 2004

Before I had my cats, my family was a dog family.

When I was born, my mom and dad had a dog that they adopted right after they got married. His name was Peanut.

Peanut was a terrier mix, all black except for a white stripe down his chest. He was a small dog, extremely agile and active, and would tear around the backyard, or out the driveway gate if it was left open, which it rarely ever was. Peanut was incredibly loyal and loving. I remember many a time when I would be crying about something, and Peanut would be right there with a gentle lick and a wag of the tail.

Peanut was aptly named, because when my parents got him, they said he was so tiny that he resembled a peanut. In fact, my dad said, it was cold when they got him, so he carried him out of the shelter under his jacket. Of course, I can only envision this, as Peanut arrived in my parents’ house five years before I even existed.

He was my dad’s dog, no doubt. He was his buddy. Dad would take him to “Potty Park,” which was actually Southport Park in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Peanut would run free and wild through the open expanse of fields along the lakefront. I remember trips to “Potty Park” fondly. They were Sundy morning excursions, usually after Mass. We’d load up the station wagon and spend the afternoon at “Potty Park,” taking in the lakefront view and letting Peanut run free and enjoy the fresh air.

Peanut ate table scraps. Sure, we tried to feed him Alpo, but he mostly turned his nose up at it. He loved his Jerky Treats though. Ate ’em like candy.

Peanut lived a long life. He was 16 years old when we finally put him to sleep. He was very sick, and probably should have been put down much earlier. But my sister, who was only 11 at the time, didn’t understand any of this, and wouldn’t let my father put him down. By then Peanut was living in the basement, and had lost control of many of his abilities. It was awful. I will never let that happen to an animal again, ever.

When Peanut died, I saw my dad cry for the first time, ever. I’ll never forget it, and still remember it vividly. I thought we would never get another pet.

But then Cubby came along.

Three years after Peanut died, my sister and I got the itch to have another dog. We bugged our parents about it incessantly. Finally, after hearing our pleas one too many times, we began our exploration. First we visited the Humane Society. There were only a few pups there, and most of them were of breeds that would grow to be huge dogs. We didn’t want a huge dog. So we kept looking.

So we searched the newspaper. There we found an ad for Cocker Mix puppies. (The mix was with a Poodle. They were Cockapoos.) We called and visited the breeder. There, in the front yard of their home, was a huge cage with five black cocker mix puppies. They were absolutely adorable. I picked out one and my sister picked up another. They were tiny. Wriggly. Cute as all get-out. And the puppy breath was to die for. My puppy was all black except for a very faint white chest, just like Peanut. My sister’s puppy was black with white paws. We chose my puppy.

We had nothing to take him home in, since we didn’t expect to take a puppy home right away. So we went home, got a box out of the basement, got an old (clean) rug, and then went to the pet store and got some supplies. Food, collar, leash, toys. And we went to get the puppy.

The first day home, the puppy immediately took a liking to my dad. And his toes. And his shoes. He was so tiny, he fit (and slept) in my dad’s old Army hat. We have pictures of that somewhere.

I named Cubby. We sat in our living room and had a family meeting on what to name him. Oreo was close to being a winner. But then I saw a Chicago Cubs newsletter in my dad’s magazine rack and I said, matter-of-factly, “How about ‘Cubby?'” The discussion was over.

Cubby was an absolute joy. Just the sweetest, most lovable dog I have ever known. He would cry when we would leave and go absolutely insane when we came home. I loved when we would pull into the driveway and his little head would appear between the drapes in the living room. He’d yelp and screech and run to the door and run circles around us when we’d open the door. What a way to be greeted home.

We had so many fun games that we played with Cubby. We taught him to crawl across the room, roll over, and turn a circle. That was probably the funniest of all. You would hold a treat high in the air, and by golly, the dog would spin around in a circle to catch the treat. He was such an acrobat.

Cubby got first place in Obedience School. But you’d never know it the way he’d selectively listen to you when you told him to come here, or get off the sofa. But nobody ever minded. He was so darn cute, you didn’t care.

His favorite treats were Pup-peronis. You could just say the word “Pup-peroni” and he would flip out. Other words like “Go for a walk?” and “Go for a ride?” would also induce a frenzied reaction.

He loved snow, and would play “Snowplow” all the time. His fur was so long and kinky that he would just be encased in snow on really snowy days. It would take a good dry towel to get him clean again.

We got Cubby in the summer of 1986. I was 15 years old.

I moved out in 1997. I was 26. Cubby was 11.

In 1999, Cubby started to show signs of age. His scruff started to show gray. He wasn’t so limber anymore. He was still lovable and sweet, but his eyes were gray. He could still see, but not as well anymore. He would still greet you at the door with a wagging tail and an occasional jump for joy, but then he would sleep and sleep.

In late 1999, Cubby started to have mild seizures. This worried my mom and dad, who took him the vet. She declared that he was just getting old, and if they worsened, they should consider putting him down.

In May of 2000, Cubby had a terrible seizure during the night. My mom called my sister, who still lived in Kenosha, over to the house. The brought him down to the vet in the morning, and all stood by him and petted him gently as they administered the shot. In moments, Cubby was gone.

Dad called me with the news. He was sobbing. I never heard him cry so hard– not even when his own mother died.

Mom and Dad thought about getting another dog, but they quickly decided they couldn’t go through the pain of losing another one. And in their own advanced ages, they just couldn’t keep up with one anymore. So Cubby was the last.

Cubby was an extremely special dog. Every time I go home, I expect to see him bounding around a corner or jumping on the sofa. I think of him often, and still have his picture at work at my desk.

I love my cats. They are a joy, and they are my companions. But there is something so wonderful and special about a family dog. And my family had two of the most wonderful dogs I have ever known. I’m not exactly sure why I felt the need to share this with you, but I’m glad I did. They were a part of my life, and will always be.

And so, they should be a part of this blog.

Peanut in December of 1968, two years before I was born.

Cubby in my bedroom with his favorite toy

Cubby giving me a “Kissy”

Best of the Pad: Three-Day Weekends

In honor of Martin Luther King Day (and because I have the day off from work, so I should also get a day off from coming up with an original post), I am re-running this, one of my favorite posts, which ran on January 16, 2006.  Enjoy your day off (if you have it)!

I love three-day weekends.

They’re like manna from Heaven. $10 in the pocket of freshly laundered jeans. An extra Chicken McNugget in a 9-piece order.

You get the picture.

I wish every month had a mandatory three-day weekend. We need more of them.

I love Martin Luther King. Yes, he was a great man, and did great things for a great many people. And I’m very sorry he died in such a senseless and tragic way. But because of him and because of his great legacy, we now have Martin Luther King Day. Thanks, Martin.

I love Memorial Day. I love President’s Day (although I don’t have President’s Day off this year. Dammit.)

I also love that many years ago the government proclaimed that these particular holidays should always be on Mondays. Because Mondays suck, and EVERYONE can agree on that.

Mondays at work suck… but Mondays spent shutting off the alarm clock and sleeping a little later rule.

I love Independence Day because this year it falls on a Tuesday and so my company decided to give us a four-day weekend.

And four-day weekends rule in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

I don’t like Easter because it’s always on a Sunday. It’s such a waste of a holiday. If we could have Easter Monday, we’d get another holiday off from work. Sure, many people don’t celebrate Easter, but many people don’t celebrate Christmas either, and we get that day off every year. And because Christmas falls on the same date every year (as does Independence Day), and the day changes from year to year, we still get a day off because we get whatever day is closest to that day as a “company holiday.” Now that’s cool.

But as I stated, the problem with all these holidays is that there just isn’t enough of them. After Martin Luther King Day in January and President’s Day in February, there is a ridiculously long stretch until Memorial Day. March and April need something going on. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t good enough for March. We need something more significant — like “End of Winter Day” or “Cherry Blossom Celebration” or something.

April needs a good Monday holiday, too. How about “Daylight Savings Time Adjustment Day” or “April Showers Day?”

May is covered. June needs one, though. And it’s an easy choice: “Beginning of Summer Day.” Or even “Summer Solstice Day.” Summer is SO something to celebrate.

Why not “Gay Pride Day?” Most Pride celebrations are held in June– why not make it a national holiday? That would be neato.

July is covered, but August is left holiday-less. I suggest “It’s Too Hot To Work So Let’s Go To The Beach Day.” We could shorten that (and celebrate the legacy of Cole Porter) with “Too Darn Hot Day.” Sweet.

September is covered with Labor Day. And I’ve already discussed the wonderful gifts that Labor Day has given us in this post.

October is without a true national holiday, but that’s easily rectified. Just make Columbus Day a National Holiday on the same caliber as Martin Luther King. Without Columbus we wouldn’t have America. So we owe him that much.

Halloween just can’t cut it as a national holiday. Unless, of course, you’re gay. Then you can just call in gay and say you need to celebrate the high holy days like a good little gay. Companies need to be more understanding about such rituals.

November is covered with Thanksgiving, and of course December is covered with Christmas.

So there you go… a full year of holidays. And all can be somehow converted to either three-day or four-day weekends.

Let’s get cracking on this now, shall we?

A low-key New Year

This was definitely a quiet New Year’s Eve weekend for me.

I got home from work on Friday and didn’t leave my apartment until Sunday night to go to a small gathering at my friend Shawn’s place for New Year’s Eve. I got a lot of sleep, did a little cooking, and spent time with my kitties. It was wonderful.

Of course, part of the reason for my sequestering was because I really couldn’t go out if I wanted to. Not too many bars will let you in without an ID– and while I have fooled people before into thinking I’m in my 20s (ok… LATE 20s…), I still get carded at bars just like everyone else. So without a card, I am stuck at home.

But that was just as well. I wasn’t really in the mood for the crowds at the bars anyway. That’s why I never usually go to bars for New Year’s Eve. It seems like every Tom, Dick, Harry, Susan, Maxine and Charley come out of the woodwork (and from the suburbs), crowd into the bars until they can’t move, and drink until they get WORSE than stupid. Then when midnight comes, Charley grabs someone– anyone– to make out with her, just to have SOMEONE to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Then the chosen person– Susan, probably– starts a fight with her assailant, which starts a brawl between everyone and their friends, and everyone gets kicked out to the street. There they all try to find a cab. But the cabs are all taken, so they walk to the train (which offers rides for a penny every New Year’s Eve). Along the way, Susan starts pulling Maxine’s hair, and Charley starts screaming at Harry to get his girl off of Charley’s girl or he’ll kick his ass. Harry screams at Tom and Dick about holding hands in public, and Tom and Dick start screaming at Harry and Charley for being stupid breeders with overblown egos. Someone calls the cops to break up the fight, but not before Harry and Charley start wrestling in the middle of Addison street while Susan and Maxine start hitting each other with their 5-inch heels. Tom and Dick proceed to make out on the sidewalk, oblivious to the action around them, and eventually a crowd gathers. The cops finally arrive, and they shove everyone into their paddywagon and zoom away from the scene, and the crowd disperses as the rest of the revelers go about their business.

And that, my dear folks, is why I prefer to stay in or go to a friend’s intimate party on New Year’s Eve.

There’s too many frickin’ crazy people out there.

Musical Homocide?

I think my co-workers are going to kill me.

I didn’t do anything really bad, mind you.

I didn’t take a long lunch or talk on the phone for too long. I didn’t push off a project that I didn’t want to do so they would be overloaded with work. It wasn’t anything like that at all.

It was much worse, apparently.

See, when I come in to work, I hook up my iPod to my cheap $10 speakers and plug it into the wall. Then I select a playlist and let it go for the day. Usually my music selection is office-friendly. In fact, it’s usually always office-friendly. I’m not one to play “gangsta” rap or slash metal or anything along those lines. I’m a pretty mellow guy when it comes to my musical tastes. Jazz, light rock, pop, 70’s, 80’s… you get the idea.

Today, however, I think I crossed a line.

“Is that on repeat?” my co-worker who sits closest to me asked me with a sly grin.

“What, the music?” I responded, playing dumb.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” she said. “Is that the only song you have today?”

“It’s not the ONLY song that’s played,” I retorted. “There have been others.”

“Yeah, but it’s been the same artist the whole time hasn’t it?

“Yes, it’s The Carpenters. Why?”

“I’m just asking,” she stated.

I started laughing.

“I was wondering when you’d ask me about it, actually,” I said.

The song being played was “Top of the World.” Just one of literally hundreds of Carpenters songs on my iPod that had been playing random from about 10:00 in the morning to about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Now c’mon, that isn’t so bad, is it?