Wednesday, February 6, 2008

“Dear Constituents” or “Hey you”

My desire to stay out of the current race for President of The United States is fading. As I watch the actions, in-actions, re-actions, and other-actions of the current candidates, I am left with one prevailing thought:

“Should I have worn this tie today because it doesn’t seem to match my shirt very well?”

Wait. Sorry. That’s the wrong thought. Here it is:

“How can we avoid going to hell in a hand-basket if any of these possible nominees actually win?”

The answer, as I’m quickly discovering, is only by way of a miracle, such as during the general election in November, everyone forgets to show-up and we are left to pick straws, thereby giving me a pretty good shot because I have a lot of straws. I really like the bendy ones with stripes on them. I have tons of those!

In all seriousness, however, I have pulled some strings and managed to get an off-the-record debate live via satellite into my studio office and spouse’ scrap booking room (*shameless plug for wife’s blog: Here, if it had actually happened, might have been the transcript of such a debate:

Moderator: “Hello everybody and welcome to Von’s scrap booking room,” (moderator interrupted by Candidate Frank, who whispers something to him over the cutter and nearly knocks off the Craft Robo), “sorry about that folks, from the Campaign Office of Candidate Frank Tinney. This debate is sponsored by:”


Moderator: “Welcome back. Our first question is from an undecided voter in Wilmot, Kansas. He asks: What should I have for dinner? I can’t decide?”

McCain: “Have the Roast Beef. NO! Make that the Soup. Yes. Soup is good.”
Romney: “There you go again, flip-flopping.”
Clinton: “Let me just say, when I am President, I will tell everyone what they should eat and how they should eat it. I plan on heading up a government task force on diet control and putting 1.5Gazillion dollars into a fund and signing a bill into law enforcing diet control.”
Me: “Food”
Obama: “I stand for change. Now let’s change the subject ‘cause I’m starving.”

Moderator: “Our next question is from an elderly woman in Florida – What do you plan to do to fix social security?”

Obama: “I’m going to bring change to social security. Yup. All about change, people.”
McCain: “I bet you can’t even change a light bulb. Have you ever shot a man and watched him die? You aren’t qualified to be President.”
Romney: “I’m proposing a tax cut. Wait? What was the question?”
Clinton: “Let me just say, when I am President, I’m going to give old people, like this lady right here, money. I mean lots of money. Blazing piles of burning cash exceeding 25.5Gazillion dollars on day one.”
Me: “Social Security is broke? Already? I’m not even fifty yet.”

Moderator: “Thank you all. Our next question comes from a caller outside the United States who has asked to be identified only as O.B’Laden, an undecided voter, who is calling from “a cave in the middle east” – He asks - If you are elected as President, will you stop chasing suspected, but not confirmed, terrorist leaders into caves and bombing them until they are deaf?”

Clinton: “Let me just say, when I am President, I plan to bomb everyone with money. I mean just crazy, money falling from the sky, money bombs where everyone is as filthy rich as I am and all the poor people won’t have to live in caves anyway because the United States government will just bleed money on them. From day one of my Presidency. At least 987.5Gazillion in money bombs Daily.”
Obama: “I am going to change the way we bomb terrorists because America, we need change now.”
Romney: “You always talk so quietly. How is this deaf guy in a cave half way around the world going to hear you? I WILL BOMB YOU TO DEATH SO DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR HEARING ANYMORE!”
McCain: “You bunch of wimps. You’ve never stabbed a man in the face seventy-two times, danced the jig on his corpse, and raised the American flag by using his ribs for a stand in your lives. I’ll bomb terrorists so much, we’ll exceed that 987.5Gazillion Clinton over there is talking about in explosive device purchases alone. Wussies”
Me: “Bomb? Are you sure he didn’t say “Bong” ‘cause he sounds really high?”

Moderator: “We just got word that our first caller is no longer undecided and has picked the Frank Tinney campaign, the second caller has decided to support doctor-assisted suicide legislature in her state, and our third undecided caller is ready to vote for Ms. Clinton or any other Clinton on the ticket.”

“Are there any parting comments from any of the candidates?”

McCain: “I’ll arm wrestle anyone of you weaklings for the White House right here and now.”
Romney: “Vote for me so you don’t get the nutcase.”
Me: “Which nutcase?”
Clinton: “Let me just say, when I am President, I will be the best nutcase of the bunch. I will setup a trust of 999Gazillion dollars to look into nutcases, improve nutcases, and make America the top producer of nutcases. Thank you.”
Obama: “I think we should change the word nutcase and spell it n-u-t-k-a-s because change is important. I’m going to go change my socks right now.”

This debate makes several things clear and obvious:

1. I am THE best candidate if you consider sanity.
2. McCain is dangerous in a cantankerous neighbor who chases kids out of his yard with a shotgun sort of way.
3. Romney is scared, physically, of McCain. And of Clinton, too. So am I.
4. Clinton is going to spend some money, but at least she is letting us know how she plans to pay… oh, never mind.
5. Obama stands for change, change, change, and women on buses because he’s really polite.

So, for those of you who have not yet voted in a delegate election, remember how to spell my name for a write in. Just be sure and use permanent marker if you are voting on one of those touch-screen things so the guy behind you doesn’t erase it.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

“Super Tuesday” or “We need change (does anybody have a dime?)”

With Super Tuesday finally here, and I say finally so the ads will cut down until the general election run starts up, we can now get an idea who might be each party’s nominee.

With that in mind, it is time for me to make my announcement, that I might someday announce, a run for President of The United States of America on a write-in basis during the upcoming general election. I stand on a firm platform of the following key ideas and another platform made out of wood and stuff so people can see me when I talk:

Religion: I believe everybody should have some. If you don’t have some, go get it. It’s intoxicating, but not in a “can’t operate a motor vehicle” kind of way. It’s just really cool.

Abortion Rights: I stand firmly on the side you do. That’s right. You are reading this and I believe whatever you do. It’s ok. Don’t be confused. It means you are thinking about it way to hard. This works for every other candidate so let it go.

Same-sex Marriage: I believe that we are getting off the subject with this issue. The actually, original bill introduced to Congress was to ban “Some-sex Marriages” and was written by a legislator who was 92 years-old and near death. I understand why he would want to band some sex in marriage: he might croak. However, I am firmly against banning “Some-sex” in marriage and am backed by my running mate (*shameless blog plug for wife:*). Unless, of course, she is mad at me. Then, she flip-flops on the issue and is a part of the “No Sex In Marriage” caucus who once introduced the “Don’t Even Speak To Me” bill in 2004.

The National Deficit: We have one at my house so why not at the White House? Seriously, though, this is important stuff. I have developed an economic stimulus plan to get this rough economy back on its feet. If you would like to read more on my plan just go to Don’t be intimidated by the “now searching your computer for banking, credit, and immigration information” pop-up window. Unless you are here illegally, then I would recommend you run away screaming.

Illegal Aliens: This is complete bunk. We are spending millions, if not billions of U. S. Taxpayer money on stopping these so called “Illegal Aliens” from entering the United States. I am appalled. First, how do we really know they are here illegally? Just because YOU didn’t invite them doesn’t prove anything. Second, how are we supposed to stop them, huh? Do you KNOW how very fast those flying saucers are? Geesh.

Healthcare Reform: Let me just state for the record that this is what I believe to be the most important issue out there today. After a careful viewing of “Sicko” by Michael Moore, I am convinced that the U. S. Healthcare System is in trouble. I was especially disgusted by the scene showing how expensive a simple surgery can be. I guess all the blood was bothering me or something. Anyway, I believe the U. S. Government should provide healthcare coverage to every single American citizen. Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, Frank, that’s got to be expensive. How are you going to pay for all that?” Well, dear friend, I’m glad you asked. Please send ideas on how to pay for it to: cause I don’t have a clue.

My fellow Americans, as we approach the November election, please let me clearly state my position: I am sitting down. If I stand when I type, I get a terrible back-ache.

Furthermore, I promise to promise often. I’m all about change. I want to bring change to America. Not the kind of change you don’t want, but the change you probably might like. Change is good. Change is what we need, and I promise to bring change. I promise to change my promise so that we can keep change alive. Damn am I confused, are you? Good.

Anyway… when you go to vote, either for Super Tuesday today or in November, just remember I am running. Well, I’ll probably be mostly walking, but I promise to do it really fast. I am a candidate for the people, by the people, and who is a people. A vote for me is a vote for change, promises, and other really neat stuff, like making all DirecTV Pay-per-view events free and banning nude sun-bathing in retirement communities.

I further promise never to make stupid remarks and fumble over my words during a press conference unless I am blazing drunk. Hey, the current guy does it sober, so that’s a change, right? Say yes to change.

God bless each and every one of you (except those of you who drive really slowly on the freeways and the guy who cut me off yesterday morning).

Now get out there and vote.

Monday, February 4, 2008

“Please Choose From the Following Menu” or “Press One to Die Holding”

I am a patient person. If you don’t believe me, just ask my lovely wife (*instant blog plug!*). I have, however, of late met my ultimate match. Just when I thought surviving some of the big, blockbuster patience tests of life assured me a place in the “Can’t Rattle Me Hall of Fame,” I met:

Duh duh duh!!!!!!

I have endured many patience tests in my forty years, including, but not limited to:

1. The United States Military Service – well known for making us stand in line for two-hundred hours in order to obtain anything lasting last than 13 seconds, including complete meals. Also known as the “hurry-up-and-wait” system.
2. My three-year-old daughter – yes, believe it or not, hearing “no!” six-hundred times per hour does try the staying power eventually.
3. The Neighbor War of 2006 – another blog in itself, but suffice it to say that the neighbors army of dogs are still camped out in my front yard and my wife’s criminal record remained clean, though it was a close call!
4. Flat tires – multiple
5. Bad drivers – daily
6. Life in general

However: I may have met my match! I have discovered the one thing that can, and will, cause me to actually yell at someone through the phone. I have found that one particular call where you are relieved that you cannot actually physically reach the person on the other end of the line because murder is illegal in most states and India where they actually are. DIRECTV HAS ASSAULTED ME WITH:

THE $4.00 OVERDUE BALANCE, PHONE MARATHON, EXTRAVEGANZA! (movie rights are available for a fee)

To make this easy to understand, I have setup the following short list of events leading up to this overdue balance so that we can concentrate on the actual effort taken to remove it:

1. Ordered expensive paper view MONTHS AGO
2. Didn’t come on television despite phone call actually lasting longer than the event itself with “tech support” person who kept saying “are you sure you can’t see it?” over and over.
3. Promised credit to account for amount.
4. After not receiving credit two months in a row and being told it was “pending” by operators’ number 1034, 4458, and 8288 respectively, was charged late fee for not paying the “overdue” amount relating to said “unapplied” credit.
5. Whopping overdue fee? $2.00 per month

I have spent approximately one day of my life, if you count all of the calls, hold-times, and tech support from the actual first night, trying to basically avoid this $4.00 fee. Why not just give in you ask? Why not just pay the stinking $4.00 you might wonder? I have an easy answer: I don’t know.

Anyway, I digress. The menu system when you call DIRECTV is a typical one where you can choose “one of the following options” at any time. However, it is worthy to note that:

1. You cannot, at any time, actually choose good ‘ole zero for an operator, and
2. You cannot, at any time, breath or otherwise make a sound because the system is also a “speak to me” system.

What this means, for those of you who are not mute, don’t have zero children, no animals, or never breath out of your face, is that some noise, cough, or scream from any neighboring house causes the voice activated system to take over. The following is what occurs when this happens:

System: “Hello, and welcome to…”
Me: Small cough
System: “OK. You said you want to order Girls Gone Wild? Is this correct?”
Me: What? Hello?
System: “OK. Can I help you with anything else?”
Me: No! I mean Yes! I don’t want that!
System: “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that?”
Me: Operator!
System: “OK. But before I connect you with an operator who can assist you, please provide the phone number of the billing account”
Me: 540 872-4596
System: “You said 334 892-0099, is that correct?”
Me: Huh? (Three-year-old screams something about chocolate milk in the background)
System: “OK. That’s Hot Chocolate Babes on channel 150 for $69.95. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

After saying “Operator” four hundred twenty two times in sixteen different call attempts during which everyone in my home is playing “freeze and shut up,” I finally got Otto on the phone. Good ‘ole Otto! My buddy from, as he said it, “cruchtomer serbice”:

Otto: “Tank you for calling DirecTV, how may a chelp ju?”
Me: You guys keep charging me an overdue fee even though I have a credit pending.
Otto: “Ok. Let me look at your achount Mr. Trimey, sir. Can I am pleasing to place you on hold pleasing?”
Otto: “Ok Mr. Trimey, it appears dis credit has been akplyed to chor achounting. Is there anything elsing I can service to you this day?”
Me: Huh?
Otto: “The credit has been akplyed to chor achounting. OK?”
Me: Are you sure, because the last seventeen people have told me the same thing.
Otto: “What?”
Me: Huh?!
Otto: Click

Otto did not get the credit applied. Neither did “Robert”, who’s accent was so severe he confused himself, “Susie” who’s English resembled someone running on a treadmill set on nine while talking, or “Bill” who understood only the word “credit” and hung up on me in frustration. Sorry about that Bill.

I ultimately, just today, got Oliver. Oliver spoke clearly. Oliver did not put me on hold. Oliver credited my account within one minute, and in a language I could understand, apologized on behalf of DirecTV, and presumably, Otto, Robert, Susie, and Bill as well. I’m not sure how I got Oliver. I fumbled through the “speak” system to get him by continually chanting “Billing Department” for several minutes and hiding in my office. I found if you yell “Billing Department” intermittently while placing your hand on and off the receiver speaker you will:

1. Get through eventually and get an “Oliver” vice a “Susie”
2. Get a hand cramp
3. Get interesting looks from your co-workers

If I have learned anything from this experience, it’s these three things in particular:

1. I hate DirecTV’s automated system and the person who created it
2. Their stance on outsourcing U. S. Jobs overseas is now one of my major gauges for picking candidates in any political race
3. I have a headache

So.. the next time you call one of these automated systems and hear the “speak” system take over, remember this important fact…

… you are screwed.