10 August, 2010

Dear America,

Grow up.

I was reading this morning on the BBC that America is minting more $1 Dollar Coins even though the American public is resistant to them. In my typical fashion, I have a way to get Americans to suck it up and start using the new dollar coins that are cheeper to produce, last way longer and just look cooler than dollar bills.
Step one. Issue a press release saying that dollar bills (the paper ones) will be no longer be accepted as real money. You can change them at your local bank for coins for the next few months, but starting on X date, they are no longer considered money. And before you get your pants in a wad, it happens here every so often when they change the notes. I found an old 20 the other day and swapped it at the bank for a proper one.

Step two. Follow through with it. Not like that dumb-ass "switch to digital" thing that cable was supposed to do. Actually stop taking the money. Full Stop.

The article quotes US Mint Director Edmund Moy saying, "We have tried every major idea that we can come up with, with limited success." Really? Have you tried telling people that dollar bills are no long going to be accepted? I didn't think so. The article goes on to say that legislation halting the use of paper dollar bills or halting the minting of the coins would not likely pass given the partisan condition of congress at the moment, and to that I say "America! Grow UP!"

Good hell, if most of the countries in the G8 (of which you are a member) have stopped circulating paper singles due to their short lifespan (just a few years versus four decades for a coin) what makes you so good that you have to keep them? Is it the massive strength of the American Economy? Is it just because America is so cool? Is it because we have Sarah Palin and she is looking out for us and representing america? If America would switch to the coin from the paper, it would save between 500 and 700 million dollars a year. That is enough to put a dent in the health care coverage cost, or if you prefer blowing shit up, buy a few new planes and maybe a tank* or two.

I will admit. There might be a potential side effect from switching to the dollar coin from the dollar bill. Someone is going to have to retro-fit all the vending machines that so many school-children get their lunch from every day. Plumbers are going to have to buy belts to hold their trousers up from the extra pocket weight. But you know what I call that? Job Creation! Sorting the vending machines out alone should knock a percent point off the unemployment rate. There are factories in Detroit just housing crack addicts, lets put them to good use! 

In closing, President Obama, Congress, and Americans at large, here is a small ladder. Please step down off of your high horse, and join the rest of the world in coinage use. Use the money you save to fund a school, or feed children, or buy Haiti, (I bet property rates there are low) or tanks, guns, bombs and bullets to take over Mexico and end the immigration dispute. I don't care what you do with it but it kills me to hear you argue about the cost of something America needs (schools, police, health care) when you are pissing away money on something you don't (dolla, dolla bills, y'all).
And while we are on the subject of growing up, can you please learn to use your Inside Voice when you are inside? If not I am going to give you a time out and you are all going to have to sit on your bed for the next ten years and think about what you have done. 

*That isn't really a tank. It is a Self-propelled artillery vehicle capable of launching 155 mm rounds 42 kilometers downrange, at a rate of 10 a minute. That means it can blow your house up from two towns away then start in on the surrounding neighborhood just for practice. Mexico, we are coming for you. 

05 August, 2010

The nice man at Apple.

Say what  you will about the Evil Apple Empire. They may throw little Chinese men that loose the secret new products out upper story windows, they might call you all idiots for holding your phone wrong, and they may come out with a brand-new, must-have product the day after you bought the old one, but they are good with the customer service.

I went into the Apple store on Regent street today and was gobsmacked by the horde of people standing in queue waiting to buy something. I got ready to be pissed off and angry at the first people I spoke to -- this stems from the fact that I was 8 minutes late to my appointment at the Genius bar because tourists don't understand what to do in London when it rains. Did you not buy the guide book? It rains here. Often. Be prepared. Sheesh! Anyway, late to my appointment, went to the wrong genius bar (because  there are two now) but the nice lady let me into  the queue anyway. Woo Hoo!

I was promptly collected from the queue by a nice man named Nick, but not before I sent off a quick pic to my little brother. (He too is an Apple Genius and works in Phoenix.*) I knew that this nice man's name was Nick because the Appleites wear little tags around their necks. Nick asked me what the problem was and I explained that the vibrate feature on my iphone has started thinking it is 1990 and it should sound like this 'WAAAAAHHH!' Instead of the nice 'Bzzzzt' that I was used to. With it wailing like that, I can't say I didn't hear it when people call me and I can't be bothered to answer. Nick looked at my phone, listened to the noise a couple times then asked me if it was okay if he gave me a new one. 

UH... Okay. If you have to give me a brand new one, I guess I can deal with that. He grabbed a new one out of the back. Swapped my SIM and asked if I was going straight home? Otherwise he would have tried to collect my data from the old phone and pass it on to the new one... As it was Stupid-Busy in the store, I said I would just go home. I signed to say I had collected the new pieces and was on my way. But not before Nick very patiently explained how I would get all my old info back onto the phone. What a trooper. 

I was so impressed with the staff at the store, that I started looking around at iphone cases. This was a bad idea as I was elbowed aside by four different people trying to be in the same spot I was standing. Given the crowd at the ipod/iphone case area, I thought I would walk over and look at the bags for my Mac Book Pro.  Somehow, the assish customers followed me to this, the least popular section of the store and again attempted to stand in my back pockets while I looked at laptop sleeves. Obviously, this is not the time or place to attempt to purchase anything, so I crowed back down the stairs to gawp at the queue waiting to pay. On the way out the door, I think I figured out what all the people were doing there. 

London is plagued blessed with a load of tourists right now. It is so bad in my area, that you can't walk down the streets at night from the mass of bodies toking up at the hookah cafes on my street and the council is so fed up that it has started clamping cars outside Harrods. What do those drivers think? That they own the place or something?  We have rules in this country and the number one rule is "No aviators in my neighborhood. Especially after dark." Personally, I think they clamped the cars because they are painted such a hideous color. I don't care if it is the livery of the Royal Family. Toothpaste Blue is not a color for a supercar. 

* Notes: Thank you Apple. Please don't shut off my accounts because I said you tossed an Asian out the window. 
If anyone is curious about my little brother and his new baby (that would be my Niece) you can track the progress of her little, cue-ball head on her own blog. She updates about half as much as I do but, to be fair, she can't really read or write and she just got teeth. But I am sure she will be driving next week. Ask her mom.