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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

American businesses can be ruthlessly self-serving. You only have to look at the headlines to realize that. And even if, as is the case with me lately, you never get past the headlines, itís pretty clear that thereís not much people wonít do to wring an extra buck out of the next guy down the food chain.

Banks are notorious for inventing new fees and charging for services that used to be free. In fact, most of the ďservicesĒ used to be considered part of the way banks did business, back when there was such a thing as your local banker who knew your name and was part of the community. Now the branch where I do business has a new manager every month. No wonder they can get away with charging for returning checks with my statement.

As diabolical as the business is, though, I have a hard time believing that the credit card company deliberately kept their web site off line all day, just because today was the due date for the payment I wasnít able to make last week because of my personal cash crunch. I mean, really. How could they know?

And yet, it was kind of suspicious when the site came back on line shortly after the deadline, so that my online payment would be posted tomorrow, a day late (and therefore subject to exorbitant fees and possible loss of favorable rates). Iím not saying they did it on purpose. Iím just saying it smells funny.

19 March 2005

Tiny patch of blue.

Insurance companies? Donít get me started. I have to deal with them all the time, and I always need a shower afterward. But I shouldnít talk. The contracting business is as bad as any other. There are probably more crooks and shady characters in construction per capita than any other business. Except banking and insurance, of course.

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I found a little time to study my driverís manual today. Itís a good thing, or I might not have remembered never to park in a tunnel or on a railroad track. Itís good to know youíre supposed to park within 18 inches of the curb. I thought you were supposed to scrape your tires against the curb. Thatís one of my worst habits.

Recent recommendations used to be found on the links page.

One year ago: Stolen Moment
"So now I live in a hut with two giraffes and an elephant, and I come to class by boat."

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