Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning, Wells, Maine – Review


 

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on my blog but I feel so strongly about this that I simply had to warn people.

If you don’t feel like reading this entire posting, the bottom line is, in my opinion, DO NOT HIRE BEN OLIVER FROM LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS CLEANING IN WELLS, MAINE

If you search online for Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning service in Wells, ME, you won’t find much, if any, information. No web site for this company exists, no HomeAdvisor.com listing, and I could find no listing, even on generic indexes of business through various services like the online Yellow Pages.  I assumed this was a small business with not much of an online presence.  I should have seen a red flag. But I was in a hurry and made a rushed decision.

Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning, or specifically its owner, Ben Oliver of Wells, ME, was recommended to me by the person who cleans my carpets.  I found my carpet cleaner through Home Advisor.  He was excellent, professional, friendly, and stood behind his work.  He’s great at what he does and I will use him again.  I gave him high marks on HomeAdvisor.com where I found his company.  I don’t want to name his company here so it doesn’t get mixed up with this review. But, I trusted his judgment and recommendation.

I first met Ben Oliver when we scheduled a meeting at my apartment so I could get an estimate.  He seemed friendly, actually overly friendly, but nice enough.  When he entered my apartment he immediately started evaluating my “stuff” (my belongings), not the job itself.

I am a smoker and after 15 years of living here, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get everything cleaned perfectly. The landlord won’t repaint, so I was considering paying for it myself.  But to do that, everything needed to be cleaned including the walls and ceiling.  Ben Oliver assured me that he would talk care of that.  I was told that his company always starts a new customer with a “big cleaning”; which meant everything from top to bottom including walls, ceiling, baseboards, behind the fridge, etc.  He wanted to charge me $200 for this cleaning.  I asked if he could come down at all on that and we agreed on $175.  I thought, for that, it was worth it.

We scheduled it for a few days later.  I gave him my house keys during the first meeting because I intended to use him on a regular basis, once a month, after the “big cleaning”.  On the morning he was to arrive, I left a check for $175.00

When I got home that day, at first glance the place appeared to look good.  The first thing I noticed was a broken light bulb, still in its socket, in the bathroom.  I wasn’t too upset by that but thought it was odd he didn’t tell me.  When he was there giving the estimate we talked about previous cleaners I had used and how they had broken things and never told me.  I assured him that if something were to happen, it’s not that big of a deal, just tell me and if its something of value, we’ll work it out in some way.  He agreed.

The next thing I noticed was some white powdery stuff (it looked like comet cleanser) in front of my fridge.  I got out the all purpose cleaner and a paper tower to wipe it up.  But when I wiped it up, the paper towel came up completely BLACK.  i sprayed a little more Fantastik farther away from the original spot and the same thing happened; completely Black. I took a picture where I re-sprayed the original spot a second time.

kitchenfloor

So this is after I cleaned it once.  I should have taken a pic of the first one but didn’t think about the bigger problem until I had already thrown the first one away and took out the garbage. But this is what it looked like AFTER I cleaned the spot.  And as I cleaned further, it just got worse.

This is a picture of my range hood where he used BLEACH!  Can you see the white discoloration and permanent drip mark?

rangehood

And this is a picture of the space between my fridge and the wall where some plastic molding from my fridge is wedged in there and I can’t get it out.. I don’t even know where it belongs.

fridge part

The Walls and Ceiling were NEVER cleaned.

When I called Ben Oliver of Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning, he acted like he didn’t know who I was.  How may people with my name did he have as a customer?  on that day?  When I started explaining the first issue of the kitchen floor, his response was “To be honest, your whole house was black”.  First, that’s insulting.  Second, it’s unprofessional. Third, we had already talked about smoke damage issues, and the linoleum flooring in my kitchen is something I’ve cleaned myself in the past and it’s never been black.  After a long day of work, I wasn’t in the mood to have some argument with him.  In my opinion, he was more concerned about being “right” than about the job he had done that was substandard  at best.  His response should have been “I’m so sorry, let me come back and take a look at it and fix it” to keep his customer happy and stand behind his work.  At the very least he should have agreed to come and look at it.

But in my opinion his personality, and ego, prevented him from being professional. It seemed that in his mind, he is right, he’s always right, and how dare I question him.

So I wrote an email to him about the issue.  I explained my concerns and gave him every opportunity to make good on is cleaning job.

He never responded to the email. I sent him a text asking if he’d read the email.  His text response was that he hadn’t received it and if I wanted to contact him I should do it between business hours Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

At that point, I was done trying to rectify the situation.  I sent him a text asking for my keys back.  I work in the town where he lives. So I asked him to drop off my keys at my office with the receptionist.  It wasn’t far out of his way and I was scheduled to be off that next day anyway; I didn’t want a run-in with him.  But as it turn out I did have to go into work that next day.

At one point during that day, I heard front door to our office slam and the owner of the company for whom I work came into my office with my house keys dangling in her hand and said “Some guy just dropped these off for you and said to tell you to never call him again!”.  She sort of stared at me funny.  My mouth dropped.  I was mortified.  To walk into a place of business, as a business owner himself, and make a scene over a set of keys, is reprehensible behavior.  It was none of anyone’s business but he made it personal.

The bottom line here is DON’T HIRE Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning in Wells, Maine.  From my experience, you will be overcharged for shoddy work, and he won’t take any responsibility for work that wasn’t done or for work done poorly.  He is unprofessional, and while I try very hard not to judge people based their personality, or who they are, or aren’t, in this case, all of those issues play and were a big part in how all of this went down.   Additionally, there are things missing from my house that I can’t explain or prove. I never even got into that with him.  I’m not a lawyer and can’t accuse without proof, and just wanted it all out of my life.

As I said at the start, I don’t post to my blog very often these days.  However, this situation warranted some action on my part.  I couldn’t find any reviews of him or his company, so somebody needed to speak up.  I wish I had some sort of review to go on; instead I took the word of someone I trusted.  I believe that Lighthouse Keepers Cleaning can’t be found online because he doesn’t want a place online for anyone to review him.

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Heidi Johnston – Allstate should be ashamed, and her license should be pulled


For openers, I have the email, voice mail, and recorded phone calls to prove this.

– – – – – – –

Heidi Johnston and her staff of 1 – Jeramy Wyatt, participate in Scam “insurance inquires” and Johnston buys bulk data from data-mining companies like HomeTownQuotes.com.

This agency contacted an employee of our company on his company cell phone number claiming they were calling him based on his inquiry and that they could save him money on his car insurance. This was totally false. The employee in question is a kid barely out of high school who is not Internet savvy. All he knew was that he paid a lot (for him) for car insurance through State Farm (although he is very happy with State Farm). But when someone calls from “Allstate” claiming they can get you car insurance for $39/month (I listened to the voice mail that originated the exchange between Johnston and our employee) why wouldn’t he contact them.

I got involved because after the conversation with Allstate/Johnston/Wyatt (for which Johnston admitted later to me on the phone that she “wrote the script”) our employee thought about it a bit a realized something might be amiss. Since I’m the IT Manager and handle all things Internet, he told me about the call.

I called and spoke with both Wyatt and Johnston. They claimed that our employee initiated the inquiry even though what started this whole exchange was a voice mail from Wyatt. Our employee never inquired to anyone or any company about car insurance. In fact, at the exact time of day when Heidi Johnston claims they received the information from HomeTownQuotes.com (and she confirmed they get those inquiries instantly) he was working here in the office with no access to a computer. In fact he was in MY office at the time working on a cell phone issue. I had his phone which is his only access to the Internet during the day.

The bottom line is that I am shocked as a former Allstate customer that they allow agent like Heidi Johnston and/or Jeramy Wyatt (yes that’s how you spell it) to purchase bulk data from scam artists, and then cold call unsuspecting people claiming they are “returning a call in response to their request”.

When I asked Heidi Johnston about this, her response was “yeah,, I was 20 years old once too, but I knew better than to give out my information to anyone over the phone or otherwise”.

So they won’t admit that they were scamming our employee but DID admit they our employee should have been wary of Heidi Johnston in the first place.

Frank & Oak last rites


I have to hand it to Frank & Oak for trying.  If you read my last post about them, they were concerned about the bad press generated by said blog post, and offered my readers a 20% discount.

I also received a free item from F&O because I told them I wouldn’t rescind anything I said about the company unless I tested the products again:  It was a french terry pullover in dark blue.

To be frank (no pun intended), the pullover was “just ok” for quality.  The french terry was a very tight weave.  Even in an extra large (and I’m not really that big, but I ordered larger due to my experience with their sizes), I had to shimmy into the thing.  The fabric doesn’t move with you, or stretch at all.  It’s tight – like wearing burlap.  I gave it to a female friend of mine who is much smaller than I am, and while she liked the “idea” of it, she won’t wear it either because it is simply not comfortable.

With all that has happened between me and the company of Frank & Oak, I have to say I am finally done with them.  From what I can tell based on responses to my original review of Frank & Oak, there are many, many of you out there who are also “done” and will not do business with Frank & Oak any longer.

I wish the company the best; I honestly do.  But until they up their game in merchandise quality, accurate, detailed descriptions of their products, and better customer service, I don’t see Frank & Oak as a survivor.  Not unless they are relying on pseudo-style-conscious “men” who don’t give a damn about quality, of course.

I know pronounce my relationship with Frank & Oak dead.  I’m calling it.  Time of Death – 11:54 AM February 12, 2014.  It lingered way longer than it should have.

Frank & Oak is taking itself seriously, finally. Offers Discount Code.


frankandoak-logojpg

It’s been a little over a year since I wrote my review of Frank & Oak – the online men’s clothing box service.  To my surprise, in the past year I’ve had about 14,000 people visit/read that one individual posting.  It’s received far more attention than anything else I’ve written on this blog.

Two days ago I received another comment from a visitor which I did not approve to be posted onto my blog.  The comment was from someone who worked at Frank & Oak.  It was an apology to me and my readers for the troubles that I or anyone else had experienced.  It went on to say the F&O had done a lot to improve and then, at the end, offered a 10% discount code to me and/or my readers.

I wasn’t too happy with that.  First, I didn’t feel that an employee of a company should use a comment section my blog as a marketing tool in response to a bad review of their company.  My blog is personal opinion.  I have no agenda other than to tell the truth about things that have happened to me.  Second, 10 percent??  That barely would cover the sales tax for most people.  So it all came off a bit hollow.  I responded to the commenter with my thoughts.  But it all turned out much differently than I thought it would.

As it turns our Roger Emeka is a very sincere gentleman (guy) who is truly trying to restore the Frank & Oak brand.  He’s honest, and generous, and very straight-forward.  There was no disrespect intended.  I asked him to change the comment a bit and offer a:

20% discount to my readers. 

which he did,

The discount code is FRANKCARES20

I approved his edited comment.  To see his comment, go to the original post and scroll down to the comment section: https://noagenda.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/frank-oak-is-frankly-a-joke/

I’ll have more on Frank & Oak coming soon.  To anyone who was disappointed with Frank & Oak, at this point, at least consider giving them a second look.

Birthdays, Diabetes, Underwear, and Skyscrapers


That’s quite a title; 4 seemingly unrelated topics……..

Today is September 11, 2012. It’s a gorgeous Tuesday morning here, just like it was on September 11, 2001. I turned 37 years old that day. Today I turn 48.

I don’t know if having a September 11 birthday made what happened that day worse for me or not. What I do know is that “celebrating” on my birthday since September 11, 2011 has been difficult. The horror of that day is ingrained in me, as I’m sure it is for everyone. I’ve held a special connection with that day because it all unfolded on what was formerly, to me, “my day”.

When I’m asked in conversation when my birthday is, invariably, when I tell them it’s September 11th, I hear “oh, I know someone with a September 11th birthday, too”. It’s someone’s aunt, or husband, or sister, or nephew, or friend that has the same birthday that I have. They say it flatly. No excitement, no melancholy. They simply say it. And I think I’m supposed to understand what that means. It’s the unspoken feeling of those with a September 11th birthday, and I do understand.

I seems, although I have no scientific proof, that September 11th has more birthdays than other dates, although statistically, it can’t possibly be true. I do believe, however, that I am one of the very last “baby boomers” ever born. From 1946 to 1964 (they say) is the baby boomer period. It all ended about 9 months after JFK was shot on November 22, 1963.  After JFK’s assassination, America was scared, and no longer in the throes of the post-WWII euphoria. I don’t know if it was couples clinging to each other during a time of great crisis in this country or not, but I can imagine that to be true. People who wanted babies wanted one last chance before the world seemingly went to hell.

So, as I say again, unscientifically, there are a lot of birthdays on September 11, and in September in general  It’s a popular month for birthdays. In my family alone, with 6 children, three of us have September birthdays, and one more on August 31.

OK, so that’s the background. I’m going to change topics a bit, but I promise I’ll bring it all back around.

When I was younger, people thought of me as a clothes horse. To people who didn’t know me, I guess I can understand why they thought so. I was young, gay, and seemed like a stereo-typical 80’s gay kid. But to me it wasn’t true. As an overweight gay kid (those two things alone paint a picture of the real ostracism, bullying, and borderline hate crimes that I was subjected to) I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. My own family (you know – the people around whom you are supposed to feel loved and accepted) made fun of me for my weight. I’ve struggled with weight and body image my whole life. There were times when I was not overweight, worked out all the time, and looked good (and for me to say I looked good is quite a rare occurrence). But more often than not (and I find I do it still today) I can’t walk into a crowded room, or a room with just a few people, or a store at the mall, or the mall itself without looking down at the ground like I did in high school, hoping to god that nobody notices me. If they don’t see me, they won’t call me names and throw spit balls at me.  If they don’t notice me, I won’t die a little more inside and waste time hoping that someone will rescue me from hell.

After I turned 40, and realized that I would probably be single for the rest of my life, I sort of gave up. I live alone; I stopped taking care of myself, and had a heart attack at the age of 40, just two weeks before my 41st birthday. By the time I turned 47 I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I felt, and looked like hell. And I pretended that I didn’t care. That was the persona I tried to put forth to the world. “Screw it – I’m going to die too young, just like my father, and I don’t have anyone special in my life to love me and that I can love back. So who cares if I’m not here anymore”. I didn’t wish for death, but thought that one day, as my body decayed, eventually I would be thin enough to be accepted.

Something changed, and I don’t exactly know what. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I couldn’t imagine having to inject myself with a needle to control my insulin. Enough was enough.  I immediately turned to a hero of mine “Dr. Atkins” who is no longer with us, but whose legacy lives on. I had lived the Atkins lifestyle back in 1999 and continued it, very successfully for several years. But like all things for me, when the depression takes over, I gave up and didn’t care anymore because no matter what I did, I didn’t love myself, couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, especially naked, without turning away in disgust. I know that if you don’t care about yourself, you probably won’t find someone special who will care about you as well. So I turned back to Atkins not only to lose weight, but to gain control of my Diabetes. After one long year, almost to the day after I was diagnosed, I had new blood work done. As a result of Atkins, my numbers were phenomenal. I don’t even take medication for diabetes any more (and haven’t since about 3 months after being diagnosed). I lost about 40 or 45 pounds. Everything from my cholesterol to triglycerides to my blood sugar levels were within normal ranges or even well below.  My primary care provider is a bit perplexed at how I was able to do what I did.  I could write an entire post just about Atkins and the destruction caused by empty carbohydrates in the American diet, but that is for another day.

My point here is that even with all of that good news, I still see myself as an overweight kid, and always will. I don’t buy clothing very often because I hate having to try things on that might not fit because I’m too fat. No matter how much I actually weigh.  I can’t look at or touch my own body.  I can’t put sun tan lotion because I would have to touch my own body.  I don’t like stooping over to pick up something I dropped because when I do, I might feel my own flesh touching another part of my flesh.  I don’t go to the beach or the lake (where two of my family members have homes) because I can’t bear the thought of taking off my shirt or wearing a bathing suit.  If I can’t do it when I’m alone, imagine how terrifying it is to face it in full view of other people.  I am a prisoner of my own mind.

And that’s how we get to my love affair with underwear. Nice segue, huh? When you’re not feeling good about how you look, buying/wearing underwear (and I mean good quality underwear) can’t make you feel sexy. Feeling that way doesn’t come easy to someone with a poor self-image or body image issues. I bought boxer briefs from Banana Republic and Calvin Klein, and many other major brands. Sometimes retail, but more likely at discount places like Marshalls. I liked them and wore them with pride. Nobody ever saw them, but I knew I had them on and it made me feel good. Strange but true. But I was looking for something more, something different.  When I started to lose weight and feel just a little bit good about myself, I realized I don’t need to wear XXL or XL underwear, and I wanted something new.

I don’t remember, now, how I originally found out about Andrew Christian underwear. Andrew Christian is a designer based in LA. who came into public awareness during a stint on Bravo’s “The Fashion Show”; a reality show with a clothing designer theme. He turned that notoriety into a full-fledged fashion industry, based on (but not limited to) the highest quality, most innovatively designed men’s underwear.

His underwear and clothing lines aren’t inexpensive if you compare them to what you might find at Wal-Mart or Target, but they are actually quite affordable. I decided to try a few items, and on each payday, if I could afford it, I bought one or two pairs. And I LOVED it. Andrew Christian underwear is truly unique. His has various design elements never seen before in mens underwear. I have touted the benefits of, and demanded that my underwear be, 100% cotton. I never thought in a million years I would be swayed into thinking about it differently. Not that A/C doesn’t have 100% cotton underwear, but that’s not what their big sellers are (from what I can tell). I won’t get into the entire line; you can check that out for yourself at http://www.andrewchristianshop.com .

At one point, I had an issue with one of my purchases and wrote a scathing email to Andrew Christian himself via Facebook. I think I was just having a bad day, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I was extremely unhappy with a purchase. That email was answered by a man named Gregory who is in customer service. Gregory explained a lot of things to me including a more detailed explanation of the Andrew Christian return policy (which is liberal, but not quite explained as well on the site). He not only quelled my distaste for the company, he literally turned it around and made me a fan by how well he (and Mr. Christian) handled the situation. I was truly amazed at the customer service I received, even after I was poised to write awful reviews of this company and wanted to sever all ties with them as a customer. I realized then, that Andrew Christian wasn’t what I thought it was. They were instead, a company of integrity. And I am now a happy customer, again.

But, A/C doesn’t just sell underwear. On one of my earliest visits to the Andrew Christian web site, I saw a necklace that I really liked. I don’t really wear much jewelry, at least not conventional jewelry like a watch. I do have two toe rings on one toe, I wear two stainless steel rings on one finger, and recently got both of my ears pierced (body piercings – not the staple gun at the mall). That sounds like a lot for someone who doesn’t wear jewelry and actually, it is. But these items have significance to me that I won’t get into now. I don’t wear them as a show piece for the world. I wear them for me.

So I saw this necklace on the A/C website and it was hard to discern exactly what it looked like up close. I thought it was a long flat bar of metal with three dots engraved into it toward the bottom. I only saw it briefly that one day on the web site – then it disappeared. In my emails with Gregory at Andrew Christian a few weeks later, Gregory he told me the necklace was no longer made but he described it to me and gave it a name. It was called the 3- Squared Skyscraper Necklace”. It is literally an elongated, square box with three windows carved into it. It’s an amazing piece – so simple, but beautiful, and it immediately reminded me of the World Trade Center. I don’t know if that was the intention or not. But interpretation of art is in the eye of the beholder.

OK – so now we’re ready to go full circle.

A few weeks ago, after scouring the Internet, looking for someone who had one of these necklaces to sell, I had absolutely no luck. There were a few sketchy European web sites that supposedly had some but these sites were not what I would call reputable and I’ve never bought anything from an overseas company and then had it shipped to the US. I had no idea how that would go and honestly thought there was no way I would ever get what I paid for. Right or wrong, I just didn’t want to do it that way.

I wrote back to Gregory at Andrew Christian and asked him if there was any chance they would release that necklace again. I explained about my birthday being on September 11 and how buying the 3-Squared Skyscraper necklace for myself, for my birthday, would be a great symbolic way for me to honor those who died on that day, and their loved ones, while taking back a little piece of that day for myself. I believe then, as I do now, that symbolically I could finally celebrate my birthday without detracting from the nation, and me, as we mourn and remember that day every year.

I received an out-of-office reply from Gregory. But I had dealt with him before and knew he would get back to me when he could. Around September 6, I received an email from Gregory letting me know that he got my email, and that while the chances were very slim (to none) that Andrew Christian (the company) would release a new batch of that particular necklace, he would see what he could find out.

And that was it. I waited to hear back, hoping that eventually I would be able to buy one.

Yesterday, September 10, I got home from work at about 7:00 PM. It had been a long day and I had a bunch of errands I had to run after work. All around – it was a crappy and tiring day. I don’t normally check the mailbox very often at the entrance to my apartment building because it’s just bad news anyway. But something made me check it last night. It had been at least a week or more since I last checked it for bills and junk mail. I saw a package in a Fedex envelope. I picked it up and honestly thought it was a registered letter of some sort. The package was from Andrew Christian (the company) in Los Angeles. I couldn’t remember ordering anything so I just scooped it up with the other mail and went upstairs to my apartment. When I opened the package and dumped out the contents into my hand, three small black pouches fell out. I was confused for just a second and then I thought “It can’t be”. It was.

I received not one, but three “3 Squared Skyscraper” necklaces. I opened each one and literally had tears in my eyes. It was the night before my birthday, a day I have come to dread, and I get a package from someone who doesn’t know me and lives on the other side of the country. We’ve never met; we’ve only exchanged a few emails. But somehow, Gregory (and I don’t know yet if anyone else was involved) reached out to me from a place of pure empathy and humanity and gave me a gift for which I can never repay him. I wrote him a thank you email, and had difficulty doing it because my eyes were so filled with tears.

Today is September 11, 2012. I turn 48 today. And I’m wearing two skyscraper necklaces on one chain to symbolize and remember not only what happened on 9/11/2011, but also that today is my birthday. I finally found a way to reconcile the two. I finally found a way to celebrate, and yet remember, all at the same time. And it all happened because I really like underwear, because it’s my birthday, and because Gregory at Andrew Christian has an amazing heart, unflappable intuition, and endless human kindness for someone he doesn’t even know.  See – I told you they weren’t unrelated topics.

I don’t know how to say thank you for this. There’s nothing I can say that truly expresses what I feel. So I decided to write this piece to try to put some perspective on it so that Gregory, Andrew Christian, and the world (if they read this) will understand the power that an unselfish act of human kindness has.

This is America. For all of the partisan bickering and the endless cable news, self-induced panic about how our nation is divided and falling apart, the real America is made up of people who care about each other, who are more than willing to work together, and are kind, decent human beings.

If you can, I’d like you to support the Andrew Christian company. They are a fine example of the American dream and a company who truly has the customer’s best interests in mind. While some may not be drawn to some of their marketing, I can guarantee you this: it’s just marketing. They sell exemplary products, stand behind them, and love their customers. I want to make it clear that I do not work for the company. I am only a customer, and only for a short time. I don’t know if Gregory or Andrew Christian even want anyone to know what they did. There was no note in the package, and no name on the package to indicate who it was from or why.  For all I know, Gregory could have passed along my story and someone else, even Andrew Christian himself, could have sent me the necklace.  But in my heart, I know Gregory was involved. (update: I have sinced heard from Gregory after a few days of radio silence and her confirmed what I suspected, and he read this blog posting).

Please visit them at http://www.andrewchristianshop.com. They really do make a great product, the best in fact. But more than that they are good people.

And thank you Gregory.  From an overweight kid, with a 9/11 birthday, who struggles with body image issues and being a single gay man for a long time, thank you for making this birthday the happiest I’ve had in at least 11 years, and probably the happiest birthday I’ve ever had.

Frank and Oak is Frankly a Joke


Update (8/23/13) – see recent post: https://noagenda.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/frank-oak-is-taking-itself-seriously-finally-offers-discount-code/

Original Post:

Frank & Oak is one of a growing number of web sites that offer “convenience shopping” also called “crate services” on the web.  These services deliver products to your door monthly.  Some call it a crate, some call it a gift box, or just a box, but the theory here is that you sign up for their “service”.  They do you the favor of hand picking items just for you.  Each month you receive package.  Sometimes it’s a surprise and sometimes you are allowed to specifically pick what you want.  Products available via one of these “crate”services range from clothing, to home goods, to cosmetics and personal care items, and even food.  They sound like a good idea until you get down into the nitty-gritty.

Make no mistake, you aren’t saving any money (although some of these web site would argue with that).  The bottom line is, as it always is – BUYER BEWARE.

Frank & Oak is an online clothing store.  You don’t have to, but if you sign up for their “Hunt Club” you will be a member of the “crate” brigade.  On the first of the month you get an email informing you that they have released the hounds.  Supposedly, you can pick between one and three items of clothing and/or accessories that they are offering for that month.  You can’t pick from what will be their entire monthly collection; they hand pick certain items to offer the Create People.   Dress shirts,  Tees, Ties, Accessories, etc.  They claim it’s all hand picked, high-quality, and made locally. For them, locally is Montreal, Canada.  Frank & Oak claims to help “twentysomethings” dress better and they claim there is NO COMMITMENT.

Here’s how it really works.  First, you are notified on the First of the month that the Club is open for members.  You log in and TRY to select a few items you might like.  The first problem is that they aren’t prepared for that many users logging in and the site crashed the first time I tried it.  When I finally got in (the NEXT DAY), everything that “looked” decent enough to try was already SOLD OUT.  So for those exclusive members who got a chance at early pickings, there was nothing available – it was all sold out.  Except for a few scraps that nobody wanted.

I finally found ONE T-Shirt that I thought I would try just to see how this works.  After I placed that order for my crate, I got an email saying that since I picked something, they wouldn’t charge my credit card (already given to them when I joined) a $45 fee.  What?!. Yes, apparently if I decided I didn’t want to try anything and didn’t tell them that I wanted to officially “Skip this month”, they would have charged my credit card $45 and credited it to my Hunt Club account.  OK so I get it.  If I don’t want the crap you’re selling, or if one or two of the quality items are sold out, I have to tell you officially that I don’t want it or I’ll get a “store credit” for something I never bought.  Got it.

Now, the shirt I ordered was sent to me with no shipping charges and I had 5 days to decided if I wanted to keep it.  I didn’t.  My god, is 50% polyester/cotton considered high quality?  You can buy that at Walmart.  This was the most cheaply made T Shirt I had ever seen in my life.  The web site doesn’t give exact specifications on most of it’s clothing in terms of the exact materials the clothing is made of.  It will say “cotton blend” or something like that.

So I immediately sent the shirt back and I was not charged for it the shirt or for return shipping.

The following month came, and the same thing happened.  I got the email saying “release the hounds” and almost everything offered for the “membership has its privileges” crowd was sold out in seconds and the site crashed.  That left scraps for the rest of us.

Let me interject here.  The way these sites attempt to make more money and increase their customer base is if you can get X amount of “friends” to join the site, you build up credits.  It took seven friends to join before I got a $15 dollar credit on my account.  I made that happen and I’ll explain more later. But since I had that $15 credit on my account, I selected a passable T-shirt from the site as part of my monthly “crate” in the second month.

Except, they changed the web site and even though you click on the email link to choose your monthly crate times, you suddenly had to then select an item or items, and decide whether it was going into your CRATE or your CART.  See what they did there??  They confused the customer base.  They changed how the system works.  And if you didn’t specifically request that the item you selected go into your CRATE, then it went into your CART and they charge your credit card for the full price of the item.  No free shipping, no 5 days to try it on and decide, you bought it baby. And all because they relied on your memory of how things used to work.

When I went to go return the crappy T-Shirt (and I mean this thing I wouldn’t let my dog sleep on) I went online to get return authorization like I did the previous month.  There was no such thing because I had bought it already.  After numerous attempts at trying to contact “Frank & Oak” by phone (which was next to impossible) I finally talked to someone who explained that they had changed the way “things work” and that the customer had the responsibility to read the fine print of the web site.  Long story short, I about had a cow.  I yelled and screamed and returned the item and removed myself from their “club” and told them to shove it.

The joke, however, is on them.  Do you know how easy it is to make up 7 fake email addresses with fake names on Yahoo, Gmail, etc.  All I had to do was keep track the accounts I made up and sign in and become a member under those name.  You don’t even have to join the Hunt Club. They just want these “people” to join the site so that Frank & Oak can bombard them with marketing emails.

But is the joke really on them, or me.  I’ve broken ties with Frank & Oak because honestly, their products are crap and their customer service is worse. If their clothing is what qualifies as “quality, low-cost fashion” we are in BIG trouble.  I now have a $15 credit on my Frank & Oak account that I will never use because there is not one thing this “men’s fashion” web site sells that is worth buying.  It is all junk, every last bit of it.  This brand new T-Shirt I bought (and returned) was pilled when it arrived, freshly packed in its original packaging.  God, if it pilled on the way over, what’s is going to do when I touch it, or wash it.

Do yourself a favor, Don’t buy the come-on of places like Frank & Oak.  Maybe some of these “crate” sites are worth it, but not this one.  It all sounded like a fantastic idea.  In fact, when I first found out about crate services, I really thought that this was what Internet shopping was morphing into – and I liked it.  It was personalized shopping and a birthday gift (so to speak) every month.  It was fun.  But after seeing what it was all about, it was a huge let down.  If only Frank & Oak truly offered high quality merchandise that was readily available to its members, it could have been a beautiful thing.  It wasn’t.  It was a joke.

I can guarantee you Frank & Oak will fail.  I know this because let’s face it, this kind of shopping service is tailored made for the gay crowd (yes I am a member).  We may put up with snotty customer service one in a while, but there’s no way in HELL we’ll put up with cheap clothes.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 and why RIM is still #1


If you believe all of the media hype, RIM (Research in Motion, the company that makes BlackBerry) is about ready to shut its doors, its products are useless, and they have lost all of their market share. Nothing could be further from the truth.   BlackBerry somehow became the Microsoft of the smart phone world.  Everyone started to hate BlackBerry because they were at the top of the heap.  I’m not saying RIM hasn’t made mistakes, but like all global companies who grew very fast, sometimes the growing pains aren’t so easy to take.  But BlackBerry is getting itself back on track and is poised to retake the industry in the number one spot.

First, some house-cleaning.  Worldwide there are still more BlackBerry subscribers than any other smart phone.  Sure, maybe in the US, BlackBerry fell out of favor for a while, but worldwide, a BlackBerry is still number one.  And the BlackBerry does things that no other smart phone can do.  Three of the five top downloaded smart phone applications across all platforms are BlackBerry Apps.  They are BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter for BlackBerry, and FaceBook for BlackBerry.  I believe the number one downloaded app was “Angry Birds” – go figure.  Overall, worldwide the top cell phones are not BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android.  The top sellers are non-smart-phones, meaning regular old mobile phones, by Samsung, LG, and Motorola.  Consider that most people in the world can’t afford to purchase, let alone keep up with the monthly service charges on, a smart phone.

Now to the BlackBerry Bold 9900.  This is AT&T/T-Mobile’s version.  Each carrier  (like Verizon, T-Mobile, and other global companies like Vodafone-UK, Rogers-Canada) have or will have their own model with its own unique features.  Even the AT&T and T-Mobile 9900 versions are not the same.

As the mobile communications coordinator for my company, I have had the opportunity to work on many BlackBerry models including the 8800, 8820, 8310, 8320, 9000, 9700, 9800, 9810, and now the 9900.  I have also been exposed to iPhones of all types, and Android phones.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the finest piece of smart phone hardware I have ever laid my hands on.  I LOVE it.  The full keyboard in a phenomenal achievement and never have I been able to glide and fly over that keyboard to type out an email or text like I can on the Bold 9900.  The phone is solid, the battery life is good, the screen images are crisp and clear; there isn’t anything I don’t like about the Bold 9900.

Here is why I like BlackBerry in general:

  1.  You don’t need to connect the phone to your computer to download and/or install applications. With the iPhone, you do, and that need to do so, is a pain in the ass.
  2. RIM/BlackBerry provides a full desktop software interface that can manage a whole host of things. This includes wirelessly syncing your media to your device whenever you are in range of your computer. The software can also help me rebuild a broken BlackBerry that won’t boot up.  It’s quite amazing what you can do with the tools RIM provides.  And the more technical you are, the more you can do on your own and not have to call someone and wait on hold.  Try to manage your Android with their desktop software – oops, there isn’t such a thing.
  3. Attachments – BlackBerrys handle them with ease.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an Excel, Word, PowerPoint or PDF, you can save it and view it later.  You can also edit it.  Try to do that with an iPhone.  If you don’t forever save the email that contained the attachment, you’ll never see it again.
  4. BlackBerry Messenger – think of it as the way Instant Messaging or Text Messaging should be.  Between BlackBerry users, there is no limit on the number of characters you can type into a BBM message, and you don’t need a special text messaging plan to use it.  It’s free if you are a BlackBerry subscriber.
  5. The BlackBerry Network – You probably heard something in the news back in October 2011 about how BlackBerry services crashed in Europe and eventually affected North America for a time.  It was bad.  But the truth is, there is an entire network of BlackBerry servers and services around the globe, all inter-connected, allowing for BlackBerry users to do the things they do, like BBM to people all over the world at no additional cost.  Everyone with a smart phone needs a data plan, but you don’t need a separate Text Messaging plan if you are messaging other people with BlackBerry’s.  When RIM experienced the big outage, they responded to it by offering several application from its App World for free to its customers.  And they weren’t silly apps like themes or games (although they offered some of those for free as well) but rather some of them were Super Apps, like Vlingo.
  6. BESX – The original product is called BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BES.  BES is used by companies to link and manage all of their BlackBerry devices, push out custom applications to its users, and connect the users to data on servers within that company’s network.  BESX is a somewhat scaled down version FOR FREE.  Smaller companies or companies that don’t need EVERY SINGLE bell and whistle that BES offers, will do just fine with BESX.  Our company moved from BES to BESX and had absolutely no problem with functionality, in fact, just the opposite, we actually gained some functionality that was not yet included in the standard BES product.
  7. Self-Service – While I don’t expect every smart phone user to have access to an IT guy like me, for the people at my company, I am that guy.  And I can fix any problem myself, load any operating system on any device, control which apps are installed, and through IT Policies on the BES or BESX servers, I can control what my users can and can not do with their BlackBerry.  For example, let’s say I didn’t want them to be able to download apps from App World and be able to charge them to our company cell phone bill (this is an option available within BlackBerry App World – try THAT with an iPhone or Android).  I can prevent them from doing that.  OR, I can allow them to do it if the company want to do it as a perk.  Overall, I rarely have to call AT&T for any repair, functionality, or maintenance issues.  I can do it all myself.  The only time I really have to involve our mobile carrier is if a phone gets dropped and broken, and we have to file an insurance claim, or if a phone is so far beyond repair that I can’t fix it.  I haven’t had this last one happen yet.
  8. NFC – stands for Near Field Communications.  The best way to understand it is to think of a Mobil Speed Pass where you wave a key fob near the pump, and your purchase is automatically charged to the account you set up (credit card, debit card, Mobil gas card, etc).  This is just one function.  You will also be able to tap (or bump) your BlackBerry against another to share media like music, photos, and music.

When people try to put BlackBerry in a box, and say that the company is “dead in the water” they seem to forget that RIM is truly a global company.  There are places in Asia where 70% of the population use BlackBerry for personal use – not for business.  BlackBerry is the most respected smart phone world-wide.  I was recently in Boston for the weekend staying at a very large, upscale hotel.  I was surprised that most of the young people I saw walking around with smart phones had BlackBerry’s, not iPhones, not Androids, like the media would have you think.  iPhones and Androids may have great sales right now, but customer loyalty for those platforms isn’t there.  Many people are returning to BlackBerry once they got their taste of being “trendy” and keeping up with the Jones’s and it didn’t work out quite how they had hoped.  And luckily, RIM is ready for them.  In 2012 RIM will be releasing even more new models and the new QNX Operating System (which was supposed to be called BBX but RIM got sued over the use of that name – it will probably be called simply BlackBerry X or something like that).   The new OS will bring the BlackBerry smart phone (and tablet) closer to a fully functioning computer in your hand.

So folks, don’t count out BlackBerry just yet.  Many predicted that when Microsoft Vista came out, it was the end of Microsoft.  There was a mass exodus to Mac….until Windows 7 showed up.  RIM is in the midst of readjusting, refocusing, scaling down, and paring out the dead wood in the company.  They got fat and happy, and then realized it was time to get to the gym.  Now they are well on their way to being sexy, and desirable, all over again.

AT&T and T-Mobile Merger – what were they thinking?


The Wall Street Journal Online recently posted a story about Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s top lobbyist, and his disappointment (well, he actually had a hissy fit) regarding the FCC’s report on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger deal. (link to article at the bottom of this post).

What is AT&T thinking.  Right now, in the U.S., where both AT&T and T-Mobile are based, these are the only two major GSM network players of any note and size.  There are some other small regional GSM networks, but when it comes to the overall customer base, AT&T and T-Mobile own the GSM market.  Why would AT&T be surprised that the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) report said “no way”.  If the FCC agreed to it, that would be the same as if they said “if you want cable TV at your house, you only have one choice of providers”.  Oh WAIT!!  That’s exactly what we do have.  And that’s exactly why the consumer gets screwed, with no choice in supplier, resulting in price gouging.  That’s why the FCC’s report said it wasn’t a good idea for AT&T and T-Mobile to merge.  Because it would create the same type of monopoly that screwed the public with cable TV.

For those that don’t understand the GSM network issues, I’ll try to keep it basic just so you have the general idea.  AT&T and T-Mobile phones use a SIM card to identify the user, the device, etc., on the mobile phone network.  You can switch to another phone by putting your SIM card in another phone and that’s where your phone will now ring.  You can also go to other countries and buy a SIM card from a local phone company.  That local SIM card would come with so many talk minutes, and a data plan for using the Internet or email (if you have a smart phone like a BlackBerry).  Buying a local SIM card means you can pay significantly reduced rates over what you US based mobile provider would charge you while traveling.  This is a simplified version of the whole picture.

The two big players on the other side of the technology fence are Verizon and Sprint.  They use CDMA technology.  These phones do not require SIM cards in order to function.  But they are not as versatile as a GSM phone.  While CDMA network phone are beginning to have some usability in other countries, it’s still an evolving technology and not something that I, personally, would rely on.

The CDMA mobile phone network and the GSM mobile phone network, are two completely different technologies and never the two shall meet.

With the advent of 4G, the lines between the technology that each mobile carrier uses is becoming blurred.  Each mobile phone network can use 4G LTE and other 4G technologies.  However, AT&T and T-Mobile will still use a SIM card, while Verizon and Sprint will not.

If you, as a consumer, like the options available to you by going with the GSM network phones, you currently have a two main choices, as I said.  AT&T or T-Mobile.  Again, there are other smaller carriers out there using SIM cards but they are not big players in the market.  If AT&T and T-Mobile were allowed to merge, there would be virtually NO COMPETITION and the consumer would have NO OPTIONS if they want a GSM network phone.  It would be AT&T or nothing.

The competition between AT&T and T-Mobile is healthy.  AT&T allows users to multitask even when not in range of a Wi-fi connection.  With AT&T you can talk on your phone (using the speaker phone), while you surf the Internet, check email, look at your calendar, and use other apps on your phone.  With T-Mobile, you can’t, for the most part.  You have some possibilities of multitasking when you are in range of Wi-fi but it certainly is nowhere near the smooth operation of how AT&T does it.  Second, T-Mobile allows the use of Wi-fi to make phone calls; AT&T does not.  Yup, that’s what the current generation of smart phones is supposed to be all about.  Voice over IP (VoIP) calls over Wi-fi.  AT&T’s technology allows it, but AT&T as a company doesn’t.  T-Mobile does.

So, depending on what you want and what you are willing to pay for, you have options.  That’s good for the consumer and can drive prices down; including the prices of devices, and prices of service.  If AT&T and T-Mobile merged, the public would be left flapping in the breeze with only one option for this technology.  Keep in mind that conventional telephone service is controlled as a public utility.  Mobile phone service is NOT.  They can charge what they want, any time they want.  So with only one major company providing a service, the consumer loses.  This is why the FCC does not want to allow AT&T to buy the majority interest (52%) of T-Mobile, thereby creating one big monopoly; regardless of what Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s top lobbyist, says:

AT&T Slams FCC, Says Report on Deal Is Unfair Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577072270368230262.html#ixzz1fOGwhm8P

Your comments are welcomed.

BlackberryandBeyond.com web site gay bashes staff


Many “BlackBerry-centric” web sites exist on the Internet.  These aren’t sites owned by Research in Motion (RIM – makers of BlackBerry), but rather third parties who run Forums which double as “news” sites.   There is a lot of competition among these sites and when one of them get’s a scoop, the others immediately jump into action, trying NOT to be the very last site to post the scoop.  The goal of these sites is to make money, obviously. The income can be generated from advertising dollars if they get enough traffic or, if they are lucky, from an online store where they might sell BlackBerry Applications, BlackBerry Accessories, etc.

The list of these sites goes on and on:  They include, but are not limited to, BlackberryForums.com, Driphter.com, BlackberryOS.com, EverythingBerry.com, PinStack.com, Berryreview.com, BBGeeks.com, and the grand daddy of them all – Crackberry.com.  And trust me, this is a short list.

BlackBerryandBeyond.com is a new web site created recently and owned by Tom Evans, John Hodges, a guy named “Jeff” who goes by the call sign “Shimmyshine”, and one other individual who goes by the name “wraithwatcher”.  To demonstrate how these sites rise up, seemingly overnight  – the “owners” of BlackberryandBeyond.com used to be contributors to BlackberryOS.com.  There were personality clashes and accusations of poor management, so the 4 horsemen decided to go off on their own.   The site’s official opening isn’t until late February/early March, but they are well under way now.

A few months back, BlackberryOS.com was looking for contributors.  I showed interest in writing for a Blackberry web site because I had spent so much time on My.BlackBerry.Com (a user forum site run by RIM), and had worked with users to solve technical problems as a fellow BlackBerry user.  My experience comes from running a BlackBerry Enterprise as part of my job.  I noticed that many visitors who submitted questions to My.BlackBerry.Com were asking the same questions over and over and over again.  So I wanted a change of pace.  I’m a decent writer had developed some standard wording in plain language to answer common BlackBerry questions.   When I approached Tom Evans, he was familiar with my work at My.BlackBerry.Com.   In two months I posted almost two thousand responses to forum visitors who requested help with a Blackberry Issue or Problem.  Mr. Evans told me he knew of my work and wanted me to write for BlackberryOS.com.  The problem at the time was that they wanted me to commit to posting one article every day on their site.  I did not feel I could meet their expectations and did not want to promise something I could not live up to.  So in the end, I did not take the “position”.

I use the term “position” loosely.  These sites don’t actually pay people like me to write.  You have to be an owner, and insider, or work you way up.   I wasn’t getting paid to write, although I would have been called a “staff” writer of some sort.

I heard through the grapevine that several people from BlackberryOS.com had left to start their own site – BlackberryandBeyond.com.  I approached Mr. Evans again and asked if there was a place for me in his organization either in Moderating or Writing.  I actually wanted to do both.  I like working with the end-users, but also enjoyed writing; focusing on “How-To” type articles.   Mr. Evans and I had one discussion about where I might fit in.  I was clear that I wanted to play both roles; a moderator and a writer.  Mr. Evans was eager to get me on board.  I had the chops, and the talent, and he knew I would be a good “get”.  He suggested I start as a writer.  I thought that was acceptable.  I had no experience or knowledge in contributing to a web site before.  I immediately began contributing articles to BlackBerryandBeyond.com.  I didn’t sign anything or agree to anything specific number of articles – I just wrote when I could.

When I became a “member” of the group, I was added to their BlackBerry Messenger group.  For those that don’t use BBM or the group function, it’s like Instant Messaging but in group format.  There were about 12 individuals in the B and B group.  Anyone who posted a message into the BBM group had it read by all other members of the group.  It’s an effective way to communicate with everyone at once, especially when big news is breaking, like a new Operating System release, or our web site is down – stuff like that.  Again, the primary players of BlackberryandBeyond.com spend a great deal of time monitoring all of the other BlackBerry forum sites to see what they are posting, so they also spend time trying to get the “staff” to write similar articles so we don’t look like we’re not on top of things.  To me, it’s a strange way to run a “business” – no direct news sources of your own – always playing catch up with what others are posting. 

On Friday, February 4, 2011, RIM announced a new BlackBerry trade-up program.  It was announced by RIM and every single BlackBerry Forum site wrote the same basic article.  I was asked to get something up a quickly as possible.  We didn’t want to be the last ones with the same news as everybody else.  God forbid. 

On Sunday morning, February 6, 2011, I was at home.  I could hear my BlackBerry “pinging” away.  I have a tone set to make a sound when people are posting to the BlackBerry Messenger Group for BlackBerry and Beyond.   What I saw was a bit disturbing to me.  I had become accustomed to this group of “guys” making crude sexual comments and grammar school “jokes” about sex, and women.  It was so unprofessional to me, but I tried to let it just roll of my back.  But on the Sunday morning in question I had enough when I saw them making “gay” jokes.  I didn’t want to be “that guy” who causes problem when they don’t exist.  But I couldn’t stand by any longer and keep my mouth shut.  Here is the conversation I watched go by.  The initials indicate the person “speaking”:

FM – “Steelers. +1”

R – “Packers here….by 14”

JSS – “I can’t vote for gaybay. Lol”

R – Lmao

FM –  Steelers. 24-21 I think. I can’t root for the packers. Ever. I’m a bears fan. Hey shimmy, you a lions fan by any chance?

JSS –  Nah, I’m a tampa bay shittyeers fan..

JSS –  They both suck sadly.

FM –  Lol. Bucs had a chance this year…

FM –  Hodges is probably still sleeping. But since he is gay he’ll probably root for the packers

I saw where this was going, or had already gone.  After watching them talk about wives and girlfriends and “cialis” earlier, I was not about to let this conversation go where it could easily go.  In 2011, the “innocent” gay slur or misogynistic comment just isn’t cool, it isn’t acceptable, and it isn’t appropriate for a “business” conversation.  After all, BlackberryandBeyond.com is a business.  They may act like it’s a junior high locker room, but it’s a business.

So I spoke up – and this is what I said:

“I really didn’t think I would have to say this in 2011, but I don’t appreciate the gay slurs. If you want to act like 12-year-olds in private messages, that your prerogative.. But in a group chat?  You should be ashamed of yourselves. I am gay. If that’s a problem for anyone, then you let me know right now, and we’ll take it from there.  This is not an LOL or LMAO or any of the other terms this group overuses. This is for real.”

The reason I said the part about LOL and LMAO is because in the 14 days or so that I was a member of this group, I watched as comment after comment after comment is posted the BBM group about all kinds of things, and everyone ends or begins their comment with LOL, ROFL, LMAO, as if EVERYTHING is so damned funny that their all rolling on the floor in stitches.  It’s childish and nothing more than verbal filler because these people have nothing important to say to each other.  I should have seen the writing on the wall then.

After my comment I got a few responses.  The first was this:

R –  ….no one meant any offense at all. Everyone in this group except a few, yourself included, have been friends for quite some time. As such we tend to lose sight to the new people in the group.  I’m sure it won’t happen again.

That was the right answer.  Just acknowledge that things got out of hand, that  no offense were meant, and let’s move on.  I had absolutely no problem with that at all. 

But then, THIS, from one of the “owners” – verbatim:

H –  I was driving when this msg came in (name redacted) I’m glad u commented  to play off what you said.  Yes (name redacted)  you are correct this is 2011 and as fucked up as the world is its unfortunate that there are still people in this world that feed of society.. However on the other side of the  coin I myself am not a homosexual but I am half black half puertorican and I have been called every racial name under the sun.. At times it  was meant towards me and at times it was in a joking manner.. You have to know when to be able to decipher the two.. Its obvious these guys weren’t talking negativatly towards you or anyone in the gay community.. As rick said we are all friends my friends call me a nigger all the time but its funny and in a joking manner just sayin”

This above is a comment from John Hodges – Owner of BlackberryandBeyond.com.  Instead of acting like an “owner” and responding with “hey no offense – and guys, he’s got a point, let’s keep our conversations a bit more elevated”, John Hodges basically said – “I’m called a nigger and it doesn’t bother me – so don’t be so sensitive”.

Is that any way for the Owner of a company to respond??  Not to mention that Tom Evans, another Owners, who is NEVER not listening to what’s going on in the group conversation, was in complete radio silence.  Nor did any of the other “Owners” weigh in on the subject. 

We had one female member of our group when I joined.  She resigned unexpectedly and nobody would tell me why except that it was personal.  I can only glean that if she reacted to the misogynistic “talk” the way I reacted to the gay slurs, she had way more reason to be pissed off than I had.  What they said about gays, in comparison to what they’ve said about women, is tame.  And I admit, I don’t think anyone was intentionally trying to gay bash, I just decided to speak up before anyone took it any further.

For the Owner of an organization to defend the actions of the group by saying he’s OK with being called a “nigger” once in a while, is repulsive.  And for the other owners to not say a word about what happened is indefensible.

I deleted all of the articles I wrote for BlackberryandBeyond.com.  They are my intellectual property and I didn’t sign any agreement with them.

I am now looking for somewhere else where I can write – with and for adults.

Toyota recall conspiracy removes Connecticut from New England


In a recent press release Toyota announced it was recalling 1.5 million vehicles, this time for a break fluid leak – or so they say.

I’ve uncovered some classified company information that sheds light on the real issues.  Toyota is rewriting history, and the history books themselves.   On October 20, 2010, I saw a television commercial for “New England Toyota Dealers”.  The commercial featured that guy who used to do the Toyota commercials back in the 90’s.  Toyota started using him again in an attempt to gin up customer confidence in Toyota after the recent  “uncontrolled acceleration” disasters.   To my surprise, the map of New England used in that commercial did not include the State of  Connecticut.  Yes, only Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are “New England” states according to Toyota.  I figured it had to be an honest mistake, right?  – until I did a little more digging.

I scoured the Internet for the video of this commercial but could not find it.  I thought it was odd that I could not find the video since every commercial in the world makes it to YouTube.  I theorized that Toyota was involved in a conspiracy:  I scoured further.

As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a web site that Toyota forgot to hide.   This forgotten page proves that the company does not consider Connecticut to be part of New England.  Here is a screen shot from the web site in question.  It has not been altered.  Please – only read further at your own risk, since once you see this, you will be part of the select few who know where the roots of this conspiracy reside.


Notice that next to “Locate a Dealer”, Connecticut is not listed.  Further, the URL for this page is:

http://www.newenglandtoyota.com/dealerLocator/dealerLocatorStart.aspx.

I know for a fact that Connecticut is part of New England.  Check any source you can find – other than Toyota – and you will see that I am correct on this point.  Only 4 States were considered to be “New England” when our country was formed by the original 13 colonies.  Those 4 States are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and CONNECTICUT.  Vermont was not yet a State and Maine was owned by Massachusetts at the time.  Maine didn’t even become a State until 1821.

And how does all of this relate to Toyota’s recent recall?  There are approximately 1.5 million Toyota vehicles registered in the State of Connecticut.  Toyota’s most recent recall is 1.5 million vehicles.  So one can deduce that Toyota is trying to remove Connecticut from New England and remove all of Connecticut’s Toyotas so that no proof is left behind.  This recall is one big conspiracy in Toyota’s evil plan to eliminate Connecticut from New England.  They’ve already done it in their advertising.  Toyota knows that America has become so stupid and complacent, that if Toyota tells them that Connecticut is not part of New England, Americans will believe them.  All Toyota has to do is say it over and over and over again until fiction becomes fact.

Don’t let them do it, I BEG YOU!  I may live in Maine now, but in my heart, I will always be a Connecticutter (yes that’s the real name for people from Connecticut).  Don’t let Toyota rewrite history, or our maps.

PLEASE CALL TOYOTA’S “CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CENTER”
AT 800-331-4331.

Ask them to put Connecticut BACK ON THE NEW ENGLAND MAP.

This is not a political issue, nor is it a partisan issue.  This is an American Issue.

Be strong.  Take New England Back!