Category Archives: Media

I Saved The Day

Saturday was blustery and rainy here, a good day to stay home and clean and cook. I made some Tuscan white bean and chard soup, and Husband made goat leg in the tagine.

We stream MPR classical when we are home. About 3:00 the music went silent. We had lost wifi and the Internet, and our land line phone went dead. I waited about 20 minutes for it to go back on, and then phoned the local phone company that provides our cable, land line, and Internet. First I talked with an Internet guy who transferred me to a phone woman. I guess phone service takes priority over Internet service and he thought I would get better results talking to the phone person. She had me unplug and then restart the modem that controls all the services, but that didn’t help. She then transferred me to a very nice man named Leonard, who said we probably needed a new modem, and that he would get in his truck and come right over to replace it.

All the support folks I spoke with said there were no reports of service interruptions in my neighborhood. We waited for Leonard for more than an hour when he finally phoned and said that something on top of a utility pole at the end of our street had melted, and that he and another guy were fixing it. All their custmers in our neighborhood had lost their service and I was the only one who phoned to report it. Husband took the dog for a walk and saw Leonard and his coworker up the pole fixing whatever it was that melted. By 6:30, everything was working again.

I am waiting for the neighbors to hold a parade in my honor for saving the day. I also am impressed with the local phone company for sending out service technicians on rainy Saturday afternoons.

What are some positive and/or interesting customer service experiences you have had? Have you ever saved the day?

What’s My Logo?

I am the chairperson of the regulatory and licensing board for psychologists in my state. We are all appointed by the governor. They are entirely volunteer positions. We receive no remuneration for our services. The Board is self funded by fees our licensees pay, and those fees mainly go toward secretarial and legal services. There are only seven of us on our Board, as well as a secretary from an agency we contract for services. I am proud of the work we do protecting the public and efficiently licensing providers in our state.

Our Board must abide by State procurement rules for acquiring goods and services. Because of my role as chairperson, I get all the emails from the Office of Management and Budget Procurement Office that the head of every State agency receives. I was tickled last week to get an unintentionally funny email from the Procurement Office asking if we were interested in purchasing clothing for our agency that had our logo on it. If we were, the Procurement Office would send us a list of vendors who could provide the clothing and logos at State approved rates. They suggested we set up a room where employees/members could go to purchase the clothing. I should mention that we don’t have a logo.

Husband thought we should order berets. (He is the Board complaint investigator by virtue of being married to me, and the Board not having anyone else who would do it pro bono. ) I thought mortar boards would be fun. I also thought our logo could be a brain with lightening bolts coming out it. As there are so few of us, though, it probably wouldn’t be cost effective to put in an order.

Did you ever wear special clothing for your workplace? What do you want your logo to be?

Classical Ads

I was at home on sick leave yesterday and had ample time to lie on the sofa and listen to MPR. I was tickled to hear the Oscar Mayer Weiner song played on Performance Today. The announcer commented that the Oscar Mayer song catapulted the company into national prominence.

The link between advertising and classical music was fascinating. There were apparently two competing harp manufacturers in France in the early 1900’s. Debussy was commissioned by one, the Pleyel company, Ravel by the other, the Erard company, to compose pieces for harp that the companies could lay claim to and use to promote their harps. Both pieces are favorites of mine.

Neither company manufactures harps any longer, but the musical pieces remain. I wonder how long Oscar Mayer will make wieners?

What is your favorite brand of wiener? What are your favorite and least favorite advertising jingles? Know any harpists?


This is another tidbit of news from the Rock County Star Herald, the weekly newspaper from Luverne, MN.

After considerable discussion, angst, and protest, Luverne’s Board of Appeals and Adjustments approved the variance request for a 73-foot-tall nutcracker on South Highway 75.

The nutcracker motif is an attempt by a faction of some of the more forward thinkers at the Chamber of Commerce and supporters of the very elderly woman in charge of the Rock County Historical Society to capitalize on her donation to the museum of thousands of nutcrackers she used to keep in her home. She taught with my mother, so I am sure she is in her late 90’s.

The city wants a way to allure people to town to look at the nutcracker collection and spend money and move to Luverne. I suppose nutcrackers are interesting to some people. Hard to say how appealing this will be. It has been quite a city controversy.

What mascot or symbol would you like erect outside your town? What have been interesting controversies in your community?


My home town of Luverne, MN got some press many years ago as one of the communities featured in the Ken Burns documentary The War. There is a Veteran’s nursing home, as well as a really nice military museum in the courthouse. I believe my paternal grandfather’s First World War gas mask is displayed there. He served in with the US Army Engineering Corps in France. When my cousins and I were young we would play with that gas mask and take turns wearing it. It was pretty weird and fascinating. Luverne loves its veterans.

Today I will mail an application as well as a 8 x10 photo of my father in his Second World War Army Air Corps uniform to the Luverne Chamber of Commerce so that his photo and rank can be displayed on a banner on Main Street. The Chamber is putting up 82 banners of veterans on all the lamp posts. They also do this every year for the graduating high school seniors. I think this is swell.

Any veterans in your families? Whose faces would you want to see on banners on the lampposts in your town?

Project Hail Mary

I don’t to think of myself as any author’s shill but…..

Spent pretty much all of three days doing not much besides reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.  I’d say I couldn’t put it down but was listening to it on CD so not physically holding it.  I don’t want to give much of a recap because there are about a million spoiler alerts but suffice it to say, here is a list of why you might like it if:

  • You liked The Martian
  • You like science fiction
  • You like stories about space
  • You like science explained in a way you can understand it
  • You like humor mixed in with your science
  • You like a main character who is flawed but still very likeable
  • You like books that draw direct comparisons to current issues without bludgeoning you with them
  • You like stories that draw out a little of your emotion

I sent an email to Andy Weir telling him how much I liked it (and he emailed me back within a couple of hours!).  If there were an Andy Weir Fan Club, I suppose I would now officially be a member.  With today’s social media, are there even fan clubs anymore?

What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?

Vanity Plates

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

I read a funny story online a couple of days ago.  Apparently the State of Maine has recalled 274 license plates because they were deemed inappropriate.  “How did they GET these inappropriate plates in the first place?” you may ask.  I certainly did.

Until the last few years Maine has been one of the few states that didn’t seriously police their vanity plate program.  In fact about 7 years back, they did away with the review process for vanity plates.  If you asked for it and it wasn’t taken (and you were willing to cough up the fee), it was yours.  As you can imagine, some very interesting plates were issued.  VERY interesting.

Maine decided it had gotten out of hand, so now they have re-instituted a review policy AND recalled 274 plates that crossed their new, arbitrary line.  Including the one in the photo above.  The family with the plate are vegan.  It’s hard to tell in the photo but there are other tofu- and vegan-related stickers on the car.  But because the word tofu ends in FU and the phrase is “suggestive”, Maine says they can’t drive around town with this plate on their car.  They appealed and lost their case.  In fact, no one who has appealed has gotten their questionable plates restored.  The next step is to file suit in the Maine Supreme Court but nobody has gone that far yet. 

Seems like a big kerfuffle for me after being a vegetarian for 50+ years, I would certainly read it correctly.  Part of me thinks so what if somebody has a blatantly foul license plate and part of me thinks I might not be too happy to stuck in traffic behind someone with a racist or outright pornographic plate.  Aah, the dilemmas of our modern age.

If you had to design your own license plates (no cost to you), what would you want on them?


I made a mistake over the weekend.  I accidentally clicked on a YouTube of a couple building a tiny house from the ground up.  I didn’t watch the whole thing but it was enough for cyberspace to jump on it.  This morning my YouTube feed is filled with tiny house videos.  They have not completely supplanted my usual card-making, dogs, Harry/Meghan (proverbial train wreck) videos, but there are A LOT of tiny house stuff.  Sigh.  I know that if I don’t open any more, they will eventually fade away but it’s a little irritating that cyberspace is so completely curating my online experience. 

Then yesterday I opened up YouTube on my work laptop to look for a band for a client.  The feed was nothing like my home feed and had a preponderant amount of “relaxing music” videos.  This didn’t surprise me at first because my main use of YouTube at work has always been background soothing, relaxing music.  When I started to think about it, I wondered how YouTube knew this… after all, this laptop is not the laptop I had before I retired.  And I haven’t logged onto YouTube using a work address since August.  So how did YouTube know, without my even asking, that relaxing music is likely to be what I want?  This is just a hypothetical question – I’m sure I wouldn’t understand a real answer about the algorithms used by YT, FB, etc.  But it is a little eerie and does make me wonder what my feed would look like if I searched for other random items every few days?

Do you care enough about anything to follow it in cyberspace?

Crest vs Colgate

Husband and I have an extremely loving relationship, but we have never been able to agree about toothpaste. I find Colgate toothpaste too chalky. He doesn’t like the way my Crest toothpaste tastes like fluoride. Neither of us will change our toothpaste preferences. I guess that is what you might call brand loyalty.

I am the most fussy about food ingredients, so that I try to bake with King Arthur Flour products and cook with this Turkish olive oil we get at the Syrian grocery store in Fargo. We also buy Barilla or De Cecco pasta, organic cream, and Land O Lakes butter.

I wonder if the days of exclusive brand loyalty are over for marketing agencies, or if they still try to make people exclusive Ford purchasers, for example.

What brands are you “loyal” to? What are some “off brands” you would recommend? What kind of toothpaste do you prefer?


Big warehouse stores don’t do it for me.  While I have a huge house, I’ve never found it convenient to buy massive quantities to keep the price a bit down.  (With the exception of toilet paper, of course.)

However there is one thing that I use a lot of: postage stamps.  Most months I send out 10-12 birthday cards and then there are the anniversary cards, get well cards, sympathy cards, thank you cards and then all the other things that I feel the need to note. At least one card a month goes overseas. 

So when I noticed a news story about postage going up (it increased yesterday), I thought maybe stamps was one thing I would load up on.  Apparently I’m not the only one to think this…. a couple of the stamps that I like were out of stock at my local post office.  So I chose some others and then came home and ordered a bunch more online.  I figure I won’t have to buy stamps until August!

What do you never like to run out of?