Tube City Almanac

April 13, 2007

Random Thoughts From a Specific Mind

Category: default || By officerjim

(Guest Commentary: Officer Jim)

Iím starting to get the feeling that I need to rectify the previously mentioned lack of Internet service at home, if only so that I can begin paying my bills online. Heretofore, Iíve been quite content with writing out a check and affixing a stamp to an envelope.

But in the month of February, I apparently somehow never received a billing statement from the holder of my student loans and now, as I found out Thursday, from my cell phone provider.

As a result, in March I had to make a double payment on my loan which was quite a hit all at once. Itís also resulted in repeated phone calls from my ďloan counselor.Ē Not that I know exactly what he wants, because every time he calls I donít recognize the number so I donít answer it.

But I can only assume it has something to do with the missed payment (the one missed payment, in the last five years, by the way) and theyíre trying to cover their arses if I should default on the loan.

'Cause, ya know, missing one payment in five years is certainly an indicator that Iím a deadbeat.

Not that Iím not a deadbeat, mind you. (I swear, Iíll pay my brother the $230 bucks I owe him from the trip to North Carolina. Eventually.) But surely my track record isnít that bad. (No itís not, and donít call me Shirley.)

Granted, itís not the fault of the United States Postal Service, the loan holder, or the phone company to keep track of what statements Iíve received or what bills Iíve paid.

But I have several bills that come in each month, not counting my rent payments. And while Iím usually pretty good at keeping my unpaid bills organized, and paying them on time, I canít remember everything. So there are only two conclusions I can make:

  1. I received the statements in the mail, but simply ignored them or threw them out, then used a mind-altering device or substance to totally wipe out any memory of them, or;

  2. They were never delivered to me in the first place.

Now, I hate to cast dispersions on the good men and women of the Postal Service. They do a fine job of delivering a fistful of junk mail to my doorstep six days a week.

But I suspect they dropped the ball on this one. Or, more accurately, they dropped my mail down a sewer grate or something. And seeing as how I canít afford to have my credit screwed up with missed bill payments (okay, okay, screwed up any more), I guess Iíll have to stumble just a little more into the late 20th Century and start exploring Internet Service Providers.

Iím sure that the USPS is quivering in fear right now. I just hope Wilfred Brimley doesnít show up on my doorstep.

. . .

I followed a car yesterday with a NASCAR license plate, duly issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I donít know why this bothers me, but it does.

A plate for wildlife conservation? Sure, I can support that.

Something showing support for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission? Yeah, okay.

A plate for our nationís veterans? Absolutely!

But really, NASCAR? I know that itís one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the country. But what on Godís green earth made PennDOT decide that we needed to approve a NASCAR license plate?

Maybe Iím just a grump on this (maybe?), but the proliferation of license plates is really getting on my nerves. You canít tell where the heck a plate is from anymore until youíre right on top of it. Can we just get back to simple two-color plates with bold, clearly legible letter and numbers? Is it too much to ask to be able to distinguish a Pennsylvania plate from an Ohio or Kentucky plate without resorting to a guide book?

. . .

And from the Department of Pointing Out the Obvious, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story in yesterdayís paper detailing several lawsuits filed by candidates for positions on the McKeesport school board.

Iím not going to go into details of the maneuverings being performed and challenged by various sitting board members who are candidates but not for their current seats but for another seat but who want to hold their current seat but want to run for a different seat, blah blah blah ...

It's an interesting, creative, and in my opinion dubious attempt being made to circumvent the electoral process in my opinion, but I don't want to get into that just now.

Instead, Iíd just like to point out the headline that One of Americaís Great Newspapers used for the story:

ďMcKeesport school board candidates playing politicsĒ

No! Really? I donít believe that! I am shocked, shocked I tells ya!

No offense to the editorial staff of the P-G, but couldnít you have come up with a better headline? After all, theyíre candidates for political office in the Mon Valley: What the heck would they be playing, backgammon?

The headline in The Daily News at least didnít point out the bloody obvious.

Your Comments are Welcome!

About the license plates — you’re not alone.

NASCAR? oh brother.
Lane in McK - April 13, 2007

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