Three things…

June 24th, 2014 | Leave a comment | Life
Three things…

1. It would be really nice if the Publisher’s Clearing House shows up at The Whiner’s house on June 30 with one of those oversized checks that they allegedly deliver regularly to winners of their sweepstakes. One has to wonder, though — if they really do deliver oversized checks to winners regularly, why have they been showing the same video footage of the same people at the same “winner’s house” for the last seven years? Have all of the winners since then refused to sign releases?

2. It would be really, really nice if members of Congress spent their time worrying about things like the budget, wars which never really end, and the disappearance of the word “compromise” from our national dialogue — rather than wasting time holding hearings to rail against manufacturers of electronic cigarettes who offer flavored products.

3. It would be really, really, really nice if there was some way to find out whether a medication is still necessary — other than just discontinuing the medication, and waiting to see if the problem returns.

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On False Starts and The Muppets

March 08th, 2014 | Leave a comment | Food, Life, TV
On False Starts and The Muppets

OK, OK, so maybe The Whiner wasn’t quite ready to start blogging again last summer.

Shit happens, especially to someone as shit-prone as The Whiner.

At any rate, he’s ready to make another attempt at regular whines (please, hold your applause and don’t bother throwing things, he’s behind one of those cages that the Blues Brothers used when they performed at dives).

On to business…..

The over-commercialization of the Muppets has been sort of a sad thing to watch over the years – although totally understandable, since there’s so much money out there for iconic performers and characters ready to sell their souls.

There comes a time, though, when things just go too far. This abomination assailed The Whiner’s senses last night:

Now,The Whiner has been drinking Lipton Tea for decades. The Whiner will also freely admit that just about anything with Animal in it makes him laugh. And it’s nice to see Animal finally get a starring role in something.

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The Whiner Returns…

August 19th, 2013 | Leave a comment | Life
The Whiner Returns…

So, where has the Whiner been? This may be hard to believe, but he’s been on a two year medication break.

A couple of years ago, he started taking a prescription medication to help with “rage issues.” It worked really well – so well, in fact, that life’s minor (and major) irritations only lasted a few moments before miraculously vanishing. And that means that the need to vent on this blog basically went away.

The problem was that the medication also has a few “minor” side effects. (You know, the ones they slip by you during the barely understandable disclaimer that the soothing female voice races through on the commercials while you look at beautiful sunsets and adorable puppies.) For this med, the side effects include the possibility (likelihood?) of major weight gain, and a considerable impact on glucose levels.

So 35 pounds and a highly elevated glucose level later, it was time to stop the medication and return to rage city.

The Whiner is now back at his original weight (still weighing too much, but not grossly overweight), a little less worried about diabetes, and not spending his evenings thinking about what he’s going to have for his midnight meal.

And he is still mad about things 30 minutes after the fact, giving him enough time to sit down at the computer and share.

Is that a good thing or bad thing? Hard to say. It probably means he’ll live longer – at least, long enough to share lots of whines.

How many calories in popcorn? Don’t ask Orville…

May 18th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Food
How many calories in popcorn? Don’t ask Orville…

So I bought a box of microwave popcorn – it has three envelopes inside.

I wanted to know how many calories, how much fat, how many carbs were in one envelope. So, I looked at the side of the box.

Big mistake.

Serving size: 3 Tbsp (37g) unpopped (makes about 7.5 cups popped)
Servings per Bag: about 2

Amount Per Serving:
3 Tbsp unpopped — Calories: 120
1 cup popped — Calories: 15
…and so on.

First: why the F do we need to know how many calories are in 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn? No one is going to eat it before it pops.

Second: If I understand correctly, if there are two servings in a bag, this means there are 15 cups of popped popcorn in a bag when you take it out of the microwave?

Um…..sorry. Don’t think so. Not even close. It wasn’t even ten cups.

So. I ate a bag of popcorn. And apparently I’ll never know how many calories were in that bag – less than 150 (10 cups x 15 calories)? About 225 (About 7.5 cups x 2 servings x 15 calories)? 240? (120 calories per 3 Tbsp x 2 servings)?

Hey, Orville. Maybe you’re going by some bizarre federal guidelines in putting the “Nutrition Facts” on the side of the box.

But would it be too much to ask, for you to just put another line of text on there, telling us how many calories are in a popped bag of popcorn — you know, the way people really eat it?

Thanks so much.

Customer Service is Job 1…

April 30th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Customer Service
Customer Service is Job 1…

I have a problem with a medical bill – billed for the same procedure supposedly performed twice in 13 days.

I call to inquire – “you have to dispute it in writing.” What about the bill? “It won’t go to collections for three months, if you get another bill, just call to tell us you’ve disputed it.”

I get another bill. I call back.

Friendly computer-generated voice: “Your estimated wait time is 60 seconds”
…five minutes later…..
“Thank you for calling, our hours of operation are 9am-5pm. If you have reached this recording and it is between those hours, we apologize. Please try your call again later.”

Friendly computer-generated voice, who doesn’t seem at all apologetic at how our last encounter ended: “Your estimated wait time is 1 minute, 10 seconds.”

Less friendly human, who comes on the line two minutes later: “I see that you called last month.”
Me: “Yes, and I was told to call again this month if this hadn’t been settled, to let you know why it hadn’t been paid.”
Somewhat human: “Well, it won’t stop the bill from going to collections.”
Me: “I was told last month it was nowhere near going to collections.”
Allegedly human, after a long pause: “No, not for two months.”
Me: “So then I don’t have to worry about it going to collections.”
Perhaps human: “This won’t stop it from going to collections.”
Me: “So, will you make a notation on the account that it hasn’t been paid because of a written dispute?”
Human-like, after a longer pause: “I’ve made a notation. But that won’t stop it from going to collections. Is there anything else?”
Me: “No. Thanks so much for your courtesy and help.”

Next time, I think I’ll stick with the friendly computer voice.


April 24th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Sports, TV

No, I am NOT watching ESPN on ABC.

I am watching ABC on ABC.

ESPN is a cable outlet. It is NOT a program.

Branding and synergy are desirable at a corporate level. But Disney has NO idea when to stop. ESPN does not need superfluous branding.

If Disney wants to pull the trigger and make ABC a broadcast outlet for ESPN, it would be an interesting gamble. But if that’s the plan, do it. Don’t bother with the moronic “ESPN on ABC” crap. It’s not only stupid, it’s disrespectful to the ONLY division that kept ABC afloat for decades, ABC Sports.

(Should I still be looking for stuff on the “Go Network?” How did that purchase and branding exercise work out for you?)

It’s NOT Beantown.

April 24th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Sports, TV
It’s NOT Beantown.

The Whiner doesn’t expect people to know the vagaries of regions other than their own. He doesn’t even expect sports announcers who zip in and out of a city in 24 hours or less to be expert on the areas they visit briefly.


Sports announcers have been broadcasting games in Boston for many, many decades. Their bosses have been assigning sports announcers to broadcast in Boston for many, many decades. Their bosses have also been assigning in-house announcers to do promos for games played in Boston for many, many decades.

It is not too much to ask that somewhere in that collection of experience, at least one person knows that the only people who call Boston “Beantown” – are outsiders who sound moronic when they use the term. Especially when they use it on the air.

Undoubtedly, the same is true for cliches used to describe other cities; the Whiner guesses that no one who is a born-and-bred New Yorker calls New York “The Apple” and that no self-respecting Chicagoan calls his city “Chi-town.” But he knows that the only people who tell us that “TOMORROW, THE SERIES RETURNS TO BEANTOWN!” are the ones who haven’t been told that they sound like idiots when they say it.

Luckily, The Whiner is on the case. I’m telling you. Stop it.

At least they realize their limitations…

April 16th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Retail Stores
At least they realize their limitations…

Usually, stores hire kids who can’t add or subtract and put them on a cash register – probably just to annoy and aggrevate the customers who can add and subtract.

The Whiner likes to think of this as a step forward (of sorts); at least this store realizes that they hire incompetent help.

incompetent help

(Photo actually taken on a Whiner shopping trip.)

What could they POSSIBLY be thinking?

April 16th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Computers, Life
What could they POSSIBLY be thinking?

The Whiner understands that humans seek challenges.
The Whiner understands that in this digital age, “mischievous” can quickly become “nasty” or even “malevolent.”
The Whiner also understands that some people are just naturally bad people.

What The Whiner does not understand — is why some people would create a virus/trojan/rootkit package so virulent and evil that its only real purpose is to destroy the hard drives of people who just happen to “be there.”

And not being able to comprehend the thought process behind something like that is probably a good thing.

At any rate, The Whiner is back – and so is his computer.

How many customers could they possibly have?

April 08th, 2011 | Leave a comment | Utilities
How many customers could they possibly have?

I paid my cable bill today, and as I usually do, I put my account number on the check. But this time, something occurred to me: my account number has 16 digits. SIXTEEN.

There are approximately 300,000,000 people in the US. I would venture to guess that not all of them are Time Warner customers. But even if they are – only using TEN digits would give every single American their own account number, with about 700 million accounts left over for future population growth.

Why do I have to write 16-digits on my check – punch 16 digits into my phone keypad when I call for customer service – repeat 16-digits to the person who comes on the phone AFTER I’ve punched the 16 digits into the phone keypad?

Speak up. Help STOP account number inflation before it gets even more out of hand.


The Whiner is finally going public, after decades of annoying, aggravating and trying the patience of friends and family. The Whiner’s background is in media, business and the internet, so his Whines often focus on stupid or incomprehensible events in those areas. However, they also focus on the incredible incompetence and obliviousness he encounters in his everyday life.

You may encounter the same level of daily frustration as the Whiner does. However, he doubts it.

In real life, The Whiner does have a name, an MBA, and a consulting business specializing in common sense solutions to media and internet problems. Reach him via email – or join him on Facebook or Twitter.


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