When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

30 October 2009

I think Josie may be starting to feel at home. Just guessing.

Barry Campbell
+01.919.442.8298 (GoogleVoice)
"enrevanche" @ Skype, Facebook, Twitter...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Posted via email from Barry's posterous

28 October 2009

Dear Enterprise Rent-A-Car [UPDATED]

28 October 2009

Andy Taylor, CEO
Enterprise Car Rental

Dear Mr. Taylor,

On 20 October 2009, Enterprise’s Citations Department sent me a letter informing me that on 24 September 2009 at 9:11 AM, a red light camera captured a photograph of an Enterprise vehicle rented to me, running a red light in Cary, NC.

They were kind enough to inform me that Enterprise would be charging me $10 as a fee for passing on this information to me, and also for the service of transferring my information in turn to the private firm that runs Cary, North Carolina’s red light camera system. Happily, I had six days from the date of this letter to dispute this amount.

Since I received the letter on 27 October, I fear that it is impossible to dispute that amount within your firm’s stated timeframe. And when I tried to call the Citations Department, I was on hold for a long, long time before I finally concluded that I was wasting my time, in fact.

(The service at your Franklin Street branch in Chapel Hill, NC could not be better, which is why I’m mystified that these same high standards of customer service don’t apply on the phone.)

Mr Taylor, here are the facts of the matter:

(1) I did indeed rent a car from Enterprise for several days, from 23 to 27 September. It was, if memory serves, a Chevrolet Impala, and there are rather a lot of them on the road, I’ve noticed.

(2) I was nowhere near Cary, NC on the morning of 24 September; I was hard at work in my home office in Chapel Hill, and I have several date- and time-stamped e-mails (with many recipients, all of whom can corroborate time of receipt) to prove it. These are, if I may say so, long, thoughtful and detailed e-mails, and to put it mildly they are not the sort of thing one could manage while driving, even if one were stupid enough to text and drive simultaneously.

(3) I accept that Safelight Cary, the private company running Cary, NC’s red-light camera revenue generation—pardon me, traffic enforcement—service, feels that they have identified a car that has been linked to me as a renter, and clearly they have reached out to Enterprise to identify the wrongdoer.

(4) Since we’ve eliminated the possibility that I was driving in Cary on the 24th of September, the remaining possibilities would seem to be -

a. The red-light camera company is mistaken. (This strikes me as likeliest.)

b. My wife is lying to me when she tells me that she was driving our Mazda 5 that day, and she has dark reasons of her own for wanting to be in Cary, NC at 9 o’clock on a random morning, in a car that I rented for myself. (This strikes me as rather unlikely.)

c. Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa materialized in my yard on the morning of the 24th and decided to take a joyride… to Cary. In my rentacar. Poor bastards.

I’m sure there’s got to be some mechanism for resolving this within your company—and with Safelight Cary, the private firm running their red-light cameras--but so far I can’t figure out what it is. Can you help me? I’ve found an attorney here in town, but I’d really rather not go down that path.

Yours sincerely,

Barry T. Campbell

Confirming copies to:

Enterprise Car Rental – Citations Department
PO Box 22233
Tulsa, OK 74121

21 October 2009

Thought for the day

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. - Richard Feynman

16 October 2009

Meet Josie

A wee black dog. (Well, 41 pounds.)

Put a gun to my head and make me guess, I'd say a lot of Chow and a fair bit of retriever in her.

Barry T Campbell
Skype, Twitter, Facebook: enrevanche

Posted via email from Barry's posterous

Prisoner AAA11269 has been released into the custody of her new family...

...and shall henceforth be known as Josie Weiner-Campbell.

Josie, with Chow Bella, just outside the animal shelter:

More pix soon, including amusing cat interactions. We got lucky... this dog likes cats, and our cat already knows and likes dogs.

Posted via email from Barry's posterous

15 October 2009

We're gonna break out the hats and hooters when Josie comes home...

Meet Josie. She has accepted a junior position in our pack, and joins us tomorrow. Please make a point of making her feel welcome. :-)

Barry T Campbell
Skype, Twitter, Facebook: enrevanche

Posted via email from Barry's posterous

13 October 2009

05 October 2009

04 October 2009

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart

[The rabbi started Stan's burial service today with Psalm 15. It couldn't have been more appropriate to describe this good man. - bc]

(Book of Psalms)
Chapter 15

A Psalm of David. HaShem, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell upon Thy holy mountain?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart;
That hath no slander upon his tongue, nor doeth evil to his fellow, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honoureth them that fear HaShem; he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not;
He that putteth not out his money on interest, nor taketh a bribe against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

03 October 2009

Stanley Paul Weiner, of blessed memory

Stanley Paul Weiner, 68, of Leawood, KS, passed away suddenly on Thursday, October 1, 2009. Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, October 4, at Congregation Beth Torah, 6100 W. 127th St. in Overland Park. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Born July 22, 1941, in Kansas City, Stan was the second son of Norman and Gertrude Weiner. He graduated from Southwest High School and then the University of Michigan, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.

In 1962, he married his high school sweetheart, Suzi Levin.

After a clerkship with the chief judge of the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C., and a stint with the Philadelphia law firm Duane, Morris & Heckscher, Stan returned with his family in 1973 to the Kansas City area and joined the firm Smith Gill Fisher & Butts. He spent 25 years as a specialist in complex tax issues at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, from which he retired in July 2009 as a partner.

Stan served as chairman of the Heart of America Tax Institute and president of the Lawyers Association of KC. Working with the Ewing Kauffman Foundation and the IRS, he designed a successful plan that kept the Royals in KC until the team could be sold to a new owner; the proceeds from the eventual sale went to charity. He helped establish the IOLTA Foundation, which directs to charity the interest earned on lawyers' trust- account funds; since inception, the fund has generated millions of dollars for Legal Aid.

Outside his career, he served as president of the Jewish Community Center, vice president of the Jewish Heritage Foundation, president of Camp Quality USA, and a board member of Harvesters Community Food Network.

He is survived by his wife, Suzi; their children, Caren, Scott and Tracy; son-in- law Barry Campbell; daughter-in-law Wendy Coopersmith Weiner; and two grandchildren, Alec and Alisa Weiner.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Harvesters.

Online guestbook available.

Previously on the blog, and in the Kansas City Star: Stanley P. Weiner, key figure in Royals’ plan to stay in KC, retires from law firm - Kansas City Star (29 June 2009)

02 October 2009

How to have a rational debate about healthcare reform

You should go immediately to this article and read every word; it's wisdom. I'd like to excerpt the whole thing, but I'll just call out these points:
First, we need to decide which of the three – access, quality, and cost – are most important. Then we need to decide what we are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve that goal.

Do you want to improve access? Then you need to admit to the American people that it’s going to cost money, and you have to discuss how we are going to raise that money. You may also want to address how this will affect the quality of everyone’s care, because it might.

Do you want to bring costs down? Tell us how. It’s going to have to come in the form of either covering less people or spending less on health care. That can negatively impact quality as well.

You know what you can’t do? Scream about the cost and the deficit and then lose your mind whenever someone discusses limiting coverage (rationing) or removing the profit incentive from insurance (public option). Both of those things have been shown, empirically and theoretically, to reduce cost.

You know what else you can’t do? Demand universal coverage and then lose your mind whenever someone remarks that costs may skyrocket and that quality may suffer. Pointing those things out does not make you evil or mean you don’t care.

It’s easy to demonize those who disagree. We have to stop - right now. People who disagree with me or with you don’t hate America. Nor do they hate the poor. They don’t hate insurance companies, they don’t hate sick people, and they don’t hate capitalism. It’s a myth that only one solution is available or that we can’t disagree about what to do. We should debate this; we should argue with each other passionately. That’s what Americans do.
Aaron E. Carroll, MD: How to have a rational debate about health-care reform (Huffington Post)

01 October 2009

Thought for the day

You must not think me necessarily foolish because I am facetious, nor will I consider you necessarily wise because you are grave.  - Sydney Smith