Don’t Ever Try to Unsubscribe to the New York Times. Ever.

September 17, 2019

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I wanted to support journalism in the age of an aspiring fascist child running the government and trying to crush freedom of the press. So, shortly after the stolen 2016 election, I subscribed to the New York Times and the Washington Post. After three years, because I work in retail, I could no longer afford news subscriptions, so I went to the Post & hit the unsubscribe button.

I then went to my account in the Times, but they don’t have that option. Instead, you are instructed to call or open a chat window. On my first two attempts, they didn’t connect me with anyone. Clever Times. But the third time, a rep answered to talk me out of unsubscribing and to transfer me to a second rep apparently in the hope that I’d give up & keep paying.

Here is our transcript:

(After I clicked Unsubscribe as the reason for the chat)

Nicole: Hello, thank you for contacting The Customer Care Team at The New York Times, my name is Nicole I will be assisting you today. I want to thank you for your loyal readership with the New York Times.

Nicole: I was able to locate your Basic Digital Access associated with the email address (redacted). We want to thank you for your loyal readership to the New York Times.

Me: I would like to unsubscribe.

Nicole: I am sorry to hear you want to cancel your subscription, may I ask why?

Me: I work in retail. I can’t afford any subscriptions at this time.

Nicole: I understand, Please allow me a few moments to transfer your to the Account Specialists where they can better assist you.

Me: Why can’t I just press an unsubscribe button like any other site in the world would let me do?

Info: Please wait while your chat is transferred to the appropriate group.

Info: You are now chatting with Kyle.

Kyle: Thank You for contacting The New York Times. My name is Kyle and I will be happy to further assist you today.

May I have the account number or email address associated with your account?

Me: Account number 76926944 Email (redacted)

Me: Unsubscribe me, Kyle. Thank you .

Kyle: Thank You for that information. I was able to verify this account associated with your email address: (redacted) and account number 76926944 .

We do want to thank you for the Basic Digital Access  subscription (insert first part of my email address as if it were my name).

I see your wanting to cancel your account today due to no time is that right? ​​​​​​​

Me: Dear God in Heaven. Please just unsubscribe me.

Kyle: We can offer you a Basic Digital subscription at a special rate of only $2.00 per week for 52 weeks, That’s only $8.00 every 4 weeks for 1 year! Is this something you would like to take advantage of today?

Me: I don’t hold you personally responsible for any of this BS. But I am getting angry. unsubscribe me so I don’t have to sue you.

Me: Unless you want to pay me to be a customer.

Me: I will accept a $100 yearly payment to stay subscribed.

Kyle: Before we cancel out your Subscription we do see we can offer you a Basic Digital subscription at a special rate of only $1.00 per week for 52 weeks, That’s only $4.00 every 4 weeks for 1 year! Is this something you would like to take advantage of today?

Me:: I will only accept a $100 payment.

Kyle: The subscription is now cancelled.
You will continue to enjoy all your subscription benefits for the rest of your billing cycle, which ends on September 19, 2019. Unfortunately we cannot issue any credits or refunds for the remainder of this billing cycle.

Kyle: If there is anything additional we can do for you, please reach out to us at 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (ET).Also, I would like to make you aware of the many self-service options available to you at myaccount.nytimes.com

Kyle: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Me: bye

Kyle: Thank you for being the best part of The New York Times. Have a wonderful day!

Info: Thank you for chatting with us.


For my delightful conversation with Comcast, click here:

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Loving-Kindness is the Key to Everything

September 11, 2019

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Every day, I do a loving-kindness meditation, and it feels good. But what is “loving-kindness” and what distinguishes it from regular kindness? And how is it, as the title of this post promises, the key to Everything?

I do love kindness, I mean, it feels good when someone is kind to you. So I guess I am in the state of loving (verb) kindness (noun). But some kindness is kinder than other kindness. If a crossing guard helps you cross a street, that’s an act of kindness, but they’re just doing their job. If, on their day off, that crossing guard sees a person who needs assistance and helps them cross the street out of concern for their well-being and safety, that’s an act of loving kindness – it is generated from love.

Loving-kindness is predicated on the belief that we are, at our core, creations of love, that love is the energy that manifests as people, rocks, salamanders and everything else. Loving-Kindness is the truest expression of that love, the most honest way of interacting with the world. Everything else is just a facade, or a misguided expression of love.

When I start every day with the affirmation, “May I give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with my true nature and the true nature of the Universe,” I am recognizing that we are all made out of the same divine energy and it is through the expression of unconditional love, i.e. loving-kindness, that we can be at peace with ourselves and with all of creation.

Recognize that you are Qi, the circulating energy of life, and that you therefore live in the flow of Qi. All good things will flow to and from you – all things in harmony with the nature of the Universe, all things love, through infinite acts of loving-kindness. It’s the key to everything – to all good, all understanding, all peace, and all freedom.

Try it.

___

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Loving-Kindness Meditation

September 7, 2019

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Every morning, I practice a loving-kindness, or Buhddist mettā meditation. The words are always evolving in order to maintain their meaning for me. Here is a shortened version of my current mettā meditation. Note that it starts with love for oneself, often the most difficult part to get through. But, just as you can’t make a meal for a friend if you haven’t cultivated any food to have in your own kitchen, you need to cultivate self-love in order to authentically project love to others.

This version incorporates thoughts of loving-kindness for the people in the Bahamas who are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Dorian. It’s important to back up your thoughts of love with actions of love, so I have included links to ways for you to send material aid to the Bahamas.

First, I sit with a straight spine and take a few deep, slow centering breaths. Then, I say out loud or silently:

*

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I ride the waves of my life

May I give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with my true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May (insert name of family member) be happy

May (insert name of family member) be healthy

May (insert name of family member) ride the waves of their life

May (insert name of family member) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all of my family be happy

May all of my family be healthy

May all of my family ride the waves of our lives

May all of my family give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with our true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May (insert name of friend) be happy

May (insert name of friend) be healthy

May (insert name of friend) ride the waves of their life

May (insert name of friend) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all of my friends be happy

May all of my friends be healthy

May all of my friends ride the waves of their lives

May all of my friends give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May (insert name of any kind of teacher) be happy

May (insert name of any kind of teacher) be healthy

May (insert name of any kind of teacher) ride the waves of their life

May (insert name of any kind of teacher) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all of my teachers be happy

May all of my teachers be healthy

May all of my teachers ride the waves of their lives

May all of my teachers give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May (insert name of someone you barely know) be happy

May (insert name of someone you barely know) be healthy

May (insert name of someone you barely know) ride the waves of their life

May (insert name of someone you barely know) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May (insert name or description of someone with whom you have been in conflict) be happy

May (insert name or description of someone with whom you have been in conflict) be healthy

May (insert name or description of someone with whom you have been in conflict) ride the waves of their life

May (insert name or description of someone with whom you have been in conflict) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May everyone I’ve ever had any conflict with be happy

May everyone I’ve ever had any conflict with be healthy

May everyone I’ve ever had any conflict with ride the waves of their lives

May everyone I’ve ever had any conflict with give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May everyone in (insert name of your current location) be happy

May everyone in (insert name of your current location) be healthy

May everyone in (insert name of your current location) ride the waves of their lives

May everyone in (insert name of your current location) give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May everyone in the Bahamas be happy

May everyone in the Bahamas be healthy

May everyone in the Bahamas ride the waves of their lives

May everyone in the Bahamas give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings in front of me be happy

May all beings in front of me be healthy

May all beings in front of me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings in front of me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings behind me be happy

May all beings behind me be healthy

May all beings behind me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings behind me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings to the left of me be happy

May all beings to the left of me be healthy

May all beings to the left of me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings to the left of me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings to the right of me be happy

May all beings to the right of me be healthy

May all beings to the right of me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings to the right of me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings above me be happy

May all beings above me be healthy

May all beings above me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings above me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings below me be happy

May all beings below me be healthy

May all beings below me ride the waves of their lives

May all beings below me give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with their true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

May all beings – in me, on me, me myself, in the Earth, on the Earth, above the Earth, in the water, on the water, above the water, in the air, above the air, all beings everywhere, on all worlds, in all universes, in all dimensions, in all realities be happy

May all beings – in me, on me, me myself, in the Earth, on the Earth, above the Earth, in the water, on the water, above the water, in the air, above the air, all beings everywhere, on all worlds, in all universes, in all dimensions, in all realities be healthy

May all beings – in me, on me, me myself, in the Earth, on the Earth, above the Earth, in the water, on the water, above the water, in the air, above the air, all beings everywhere, on all worlds, in all universes, in all dimensions, in all realities ride the waves of their lives

May all beings – in me, on me, me myself, in the Earth, on the Earth, above the Earth, in the water, on the water, above the water, in the air, above the air, all beings everywhere, on all worlds, in all universes, in all dimensions, in all realities give and receive only loving-kindness in harmony with our true nature and the true nature of the Universe

*

Here are some ways to help people in the Bahamas:

● The Bahamas Disaster Relief Fund, set up by the Bahamian government, is accepting wire transfers. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency has posted instructions here.

Mercy Corps has sent a field team that’s meeting with emergency managers and other organizations to coordinate response efforts. The organization is accepting money here.

Global Giving, a global crowdfunding platform, has set up the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund to help local organizations purchase food, water and medicine.

World Central Kitchen has sent teams to provide food on Grand Bahama and the Abacos. The organization, founded by chef José Andrés, is accepting money here.


This daisy links to another Daisybrain post:

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Trump’s Big, Beautiful War – the Video!

September 3, 2019

In 1990, I recorded a couple of poems about the impending invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, it seemed time to create an updated version, so here it is:


And now this:

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Justice

August 20, 2019

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Nearly every aspect of the criminal justice system of the United States is designed to perpetually punish, demoralize and dehumanize, abolish autonomy and to crush successful reintegration into society.

Rehabilitation is not taken seriously. There is rarely any benefit to society and almost never any benefit to the individual caught up in it.

This is borne of a warped understanding that people have of justice. Justice is considered synonymous with punishment. And punishment makes us feel good because some people are good and some are bad and there’s nothing in-between.

Our justice system comes from a retributive orientation, not a restorative one. We care about pushing away people who remind us of our own demons. We care about eliminating those who have done harm. We don’t think much about repairing relationships, healing victims and offenders, addressing harmful conditions or healing the world.

It’s a comic book view of the world, with heroes and villains. All we have to do is kill the bad guys. And it’s expected to be a never-ending war. The idea that some people are bad and therefore less than human is crucial to the criminal justice system. It’s why a major liberal candidate for President can advocate the removal of voting rights for inmates. It is also at the center of every racist ideology and is a necessary propaganda component of every war we have ever fought. It enables slavery. And it enables locking up people who have broken the law.

As far as I can tell, our entire species is trapped in this morally primitive thinking. The psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg may have deemed this to be Stage Four of Conventional Moral Development. But to put it in black and white terms, we see everything in black and white, right and wrong. I used to think that this was peculiar to college-age people, which can lead to great social movements and upheaval. These movements can be progressive or regressive, depending on their worldview. That is, depending on whom they put in the camp of “good” and whom they deem to be “bad.”

Black and White Thinking, which psychologists also term “Splitting,” is a symptom of a world-wide, mass borderline personality disorder that humans have suffered from forever. I could end this post with a joke about everyone either agreeing with me or being one of “them,” but it’s just too depressing a situation. Even noble causes, like saving the planet or liberating the oppressed, get caught up in the delusion that the issue is about which people are good and which people are our enemies. This is lazy thinking. Everyone who thinks differently from me in any way is one of “them.” It doesn’t solve problems; problems are bigger than individual people. You can kill a terrorist, but you can’t kill terrorism. You have to do the hard work to address the conflicts that lead to terrorism. And if it makes you feel good to kill someone, or lock them up, or control their life through probation, fine. But all of the energy that we direct at people is energy not directed at solving the problems that people are perpetuating.

In case I have caused confusion, I do believe in temporarily separating someone from society when it’s necessary to protect people. But I don’t believe in punishment, and I don’t believe that giving in to hatred and simplistic black and white thinking will lead to a healed or a safe world.


Here’s some more writing, from the past:

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Flow and OCD

August 7, 2019

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Living in the flow of life means being OK with where you are right now. It doesn’t mean you’re not going anywhere, it is just a release from the anxiety that swells up when you believe you are  not where of when you are supposed to be. And it feels really good.

When I was plagued by OCD, I thought that without my vigilance, the flow of life would wash by me instead of taking me with it. For example, if I had to go back in my apartment to fetch my phone, I would think that I was now several yards behind where I would have otherwise been, so I’d better jog a bit to catch up. If I delayed walking through a door and then some *else* walked through it, well that would just throw me completely off – I walked through the door when that person was supposed to walk through it!

Of course, this is all irrational and would make no sense to someone who hasn’t experienced living in the uncompromising clutches of obsessive compulsive disorder.

If you are able to free yourself from the grip of this type of OCD, to become unstuck in time and space, you can be at peace with the knowledge that a complex myriad of events throughout time and space has placed you where you are right now; you are always in the exact right spot. Think about it: The Universe itself has put you on the isle of cereal in the grocery store at 3:00 am. I mean, first the Big Bang, then the galaxies, stars, the Earth… war, peace, murder, sex over generations created you at this time and a mind-boggling series of seemingly random events, each contingent on other events put you right here in the cereal isle, or behind that desk at the office, or in line at that ice cream shop. You can’t have been anywhere else.

So, instead of thinking that you are late or early, behind or ahead, regardless of whether or not you have the added burden of OCD telling you to go back and touch that light post, look around and appreciate the miracle of where you are.

At this very moment, you might be in a terrible uncomfortable situation. Perhaps you’re incarcerated or in a crappy job or relationship – that’s about 95% of us at any given time. But you are a living manifestation of the Universe – a piece of cosmic dust – that finds itself exactly where it’s supposed to be. So, you might as well make the most of it.

If you’re late for work, you are meant to be late for work! Work will survive! Maybe you’ll get fired and end up in the next job you were meant to have. If you hurry to get where you think you should be, you’ll miss everything that makes life worthwhile. For God’s sake, stop to smell the roses. And if there are no roses in the county jail, breath in deeply and be thankful for experiencing this very strange and perfectly flawed life.

May you be one with the flow.


Here’s a post:

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Trumps’ Best War

August 5, 2019

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Your base is in place

But that’s not a lock on the race 

You tried racist tweets

But still face defeat

Destroying the environment

Won’t prevent your forced retirement

Read the rest of this entry »


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