Once upon a time, I left home to attend Stetson University. While there are horrible roommate stories for just about every college experience anyone has ever had, I somehow lucked out and got my ideal first roommate. Will and I had almost the exact same taste in entertainment and turned our dorm into the hall commune within the first week of school. Long story short, dude just made a movie, so let’s give his trailer a look.
Recently I received my energy bill and, as I typically do, turned straight to the balance due section. The total balance due this month was $0.00.
I scratched my head for a minute, double-checked and then triple-checked. Still $0.00.
At this point I decided to give my light bill more than the usual twenty seconds of consideration and read the whole thing. Under the heading, “Important Information About Your Bill,” read the following:
“The CE bill credit of $100 per residential distribution customer account is a condition of the Maryland Public Service Comission’s approval of the transaction between Constellation Energy and EDF Group.”
This means, ostensibly, that my next two bills are paid because of a major corporate buyout. Being a relatively new resident here in Baltimore, I had no idea that I would be on the receiving end of such a credit. The only question remains: what should I do? For a moment, I considered sending a thank you note and a $100 check to BGE, but that moment was short-lived.
As decidedly non-liberal as it is of me to say, maybe this isn’t a bad thing, environmental issues aside. I’m the first person to say that monopolies are bad. I said a million times that the end result of the recession would be mass consolidation of banking power into even fewer institutions than had it in the first place. That is most certainly bad. When it comes to energy, however, I’m a little more tolerant.
A cautionary tale: natural gas used to be the cheapest commodity you could have in Georgia. Millions of residents went out of their way to heat their homes, dry their clothes, and cook their food with gas, not just because it’s better, but because it’s cheaper. Then somebody got wise to the fact that Atlanta Gas Light had a monopoly on natural gas in Georgia, so deregulation legislation was passed which would allow consumers to have a choice in who they chose as their natural gas provider. Unfortunately, no matter who you picked as your gas provider, they were getting the gas to your house through Atlanta Gas Light pipes. What was once an $11 a month bill became a $92 a month bill, since all of the new companies had to rely on AGL’s existing infrastructure.
Monopolies aside, I pay less for gas and electricity every month than I do for my cellular phone, less than I would for cable if I had it, and certainly less than most people my age pay for a credit card bill. Constellation wants to keep its customers, so I doubt prices are going up anytime soon. The nightmare future where the evil energy empire jacks up the prices for the consumer to the point that you have to decide whether your child freezes or starves to death this month could one day happen, but I’m willing to put my faith into our future selves that we won’t let that happen. For once, let’s just let this one slide.
Everyone’s favorite pop-culture saucier, and my occasional business partner, Dekker Dreyer, has just published a book of short fiction to Kindle and iPhone. Check it out if you’ve got an extra $1.29 lying around.
- Reason Comcast blows #1,862: Dropped my call to the Adam Carolla podcast after being on hold for an hour and 20 minutes.
- The Jamison endorses the West Atlanta Registry and Report: http://www.jamisonousley.com/?p=300
- There should totally be an issue of Deadpool Team-Up with Rockslide from the New X-Men
- Huh, if you’ve ever seen the West Wing, the opening scene of X2 is kinda ridiculous, since the only people in the Oval are Secret Service.
I’ve been catching up on the new season of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which is my favorite show when it comes to liberal commentary. During the season premiere, Bill was talking about the way that the Senate can now filibuster without standing and reading the phone book for 8 hours without going to the bathroom or drinking water and referenced the “Star Trek” episode where the society just fed people into an incinerator rather than having wars. He then turned to Seth and prompted him to give the Kirk speech from said episode.
You can see that scene here alongside the original “Star Trek” clip.
I knew a guy in college named Zach Johnson. Zach was a guitar major with an affinity for Tennessee whiskey which would sometimes cause him to morph into a personality we affectionately referred to as “Zach Daniels.” Zach also possessed a photographic memory and an incredible knack for mimicry. For instance, you could name any episode of “The Simpsons” and Zach would reproduce the dialogue from that scene complete with all the necessary voices. His Homer impression was particularly perfect. Zach was also a big-time Trekker, which means that, hypothetically, I could have sat with Zach in the commons, given him the same lead that Maher gave MacFarlane, and the scene would have been exactly the same, except for the fact that Zach’s Shatner would be less mockery and more mimicry.
This moment reveals another facet to an already fascinating human being. MacFarlane is a brilliant voice actor, comedian, writer, animator, singer and producer. Is it possible that he also possesses a perfect memory? Can he do this with any movie or TV show that he’s ever seen? My guess is yes, so that can only mean that I now must hate Seth MacFarlane.
Shaun and I have been friends since the period of limbo in my life between working for my dad and starting Illusion where I managed an Italian restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. When I left Pasta Da Pulcinella, he stepped up to the manager role, but he’s kept his artistic cred as a part time musician, film editor, and now blogger. For a little background you should know that about a year ago Shaun bought a house in West Atlanta near Six Flags over Georgia where a lot of the neighborhoods can be considered optimistically “up-and-coming.” The West Atlanta Registry and Report is a chronicle of Shaun’s experiences interacting with his neighbors. Anyway, the less time you spend reading this post, the better. Check out Shaun’s blog through the picture above.
I just want to give a shout out to the good people of the University of Mississippi for the overwhelming amount of consideration they’re giving to making Admiral Ackbar of “Return of the Jedi” and “IT’S A TRAP” fame their mascot. Let’s face it, how better to replace the Colonel Reb, a relic of a failed rebellion against the United States with a leader in a successful rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire. If you’re interested in more background on the Mon Calamari Admiral, click here. Facebook fan page here.
Am I the only one who looks at this book cover and thinks, “Gay Nazi”?
My best friend, Zippy, has a masters in Computer Security. That means in the last few years I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined knowing about Security Theory (most importantly, that such a thing exists). The last time I saw him, Zip said the thing that most amazed him is that in the United Kingdom, the people at one point said, “The only way to be safe is to turn our country into a police state,” and the UK became a police state. In the United States, however, we’re becoming a police state, and we never had the conversation to decide that that’s what we want to be.
That conversation is happening right now. Members of Congress are now calling for the use of full-body scanners, that, near as I can tell, are computers that do what every 13-year-old boy who’s seen too much Skinemax can do. These machines can look at a fully-clothed person and create a digital image of what they look like naked. Apparently this contraption could also reveal whether or not you’re hiding plastic explosives in your bra or have a ceramic knife in your colon.
The debate the news outlets are highlighting is the obvious one: security or privacy? Of course the conservatives want the machines because they’ll make us safer and the liberals don’t want them because they’re arguably an invasion of privacy. Of course the truth of the matter is that liberals rely on the ACLU for money and votes, but the liberals and conservatives both rely on donations from the security companies, so these things are a foregone conclusion.
I just want to take a moment to reflect on the reason they’re all going to give us that this is absolutely necessary: A man who is so stupid that he gives all other Nigerians and Muslims a bad name tried to blow up a plane on the way to Detroit, arguably the least-valuable major city in America. His name was on a terrorist watch list, he was thwarted in his attempt, and he will unquestionably spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
Am I the only person who thinks that this is like your alarm system malfunctioning when a burgler breaks into your house, your neighbors call the cops and the guy gets caught, but instead of fixing the alarm system you nail your windows shut?
Every time someone in this society commits a terrorist act, there are warnings. The 9/11 hijackers were reported to the FBI, the Fort Hood shooter had made multiple outbursts that implied he was becoming increasingly unstable, and the most recent would-be terrorist was reported by his own father. Shouldn’t we be looking into fixing a system that doesn’t do the one thing it was designed to do? If we make one system that doesn’t work, who’s to say the next system is going to tell us anything useful? Remember those journalists who proved the heightened security after 9/11 couldn’t stop this kind of contraband in the first place?
Fortunately, our democratically elected leaders are on the case. Here’s George Carlin saying it better than I ever could: