It is unwise to call your ISP at 1:12 AM because the internet has gone away. There is nothing they can do and the person to whom you will direct your dismay had nothing to do with it, and either doesn’t need a random person being tight and curt, or doesn’t care. It is unwise. No good can come of it.

So I called the number, and punched in my callback number, and my zip code, and waited. It was the second night the internet had gone out. I had missed on thing I had to do in the morning; I did not want to miss another. I only wanted to know that they knew and were on it, Johnny on the spot and all that.


Of course the first thing the tech asked for was a callback number, which I had already provided. I asked when the internet would be fixed.

She said it was fixed 48 hours ago. Do tell! I didn’t have a problem 48 hours ago. It’s the last 36 hours that have been oh-so-merry. It doesn’t work now.

She said did not know the internet was broken. I’m looking at the same old chancre I saw the night before on, and was . . . fascinated by the fact that she can’t pull up the same data. She said she would put me on hold while she asked someone. Seven minutes of listening to how great my high-speed interent was. How I could download movies and music. Really! Can I play games? I CAN PLAY GAMES!

My call was very important to them, I was informed; thus reassured, I hung on. She came back to say she didn’t know if my internet was down because the technical support people that the first tier of technical support relies upon - well, they weren't’t answering their phone."It is a busy night," she says. YES. What with all the INTERNET OUTAGES, the existence of which you are attempting to prove. She said she would try again and please hold on thank you Mr. Leekus.

More of the same in the hold-music department; I wanted to kill the guy who kept telling me what I could do with my high-speed internet. This really isn't the place to make that pitch, pal. It's like crime-prevention tips for people on hold for 911.

By now I was committed. I was going to see this to the end. When she came back eleven minutes later she was happy to tell me that my internet was, indeed, down.

Yes. This I know. Any estimates on its return.

She said it was a box that not bouncing. They did not get a bounce on the box. They hoped to restore bouncing in the morning.

I went to bed seething. Which is like going to bed being mad over lousy water pressure or half-hearted tree-trimming. What was the point of what I just did? I knew it was bootless and yet there I went. Well, my fault; I should have just trusted that it would be back in the morning. At least I’d asked for a bill adjustment, and got two free days. So, victory.

In the morning: no internet. I had a Skype call at 11, so I called technical support. I punched in my callback number and got Jim, who asked me for a callback number. Also my zipcode, in case I was pretending to be someone who didn’t have internet and was trying to spoof and fool them into giving out my social security number. He said he didn’t have any information on when it would be up, but I could speak to his supervisor. Fine. I said I know you didn’t put a firecracker in the junction box, it’s not your fault, but if there’s someone who’s paid to deal with ire, let me talk to him or her.

“Can you hold?”

No, the entirety of my previous statement indicated I want to hang up now. YES I CAN HOLD.

Pre-recorded cheery voice telling me how fast my internet is and how I can watch movies. Another guy comes on, and I ask if this is a manager

“No, this is tech support.”

“Can I speak to a manager.”

“Can I get your phone number?”

OH for God’s sake. I give it to him, and he types, and says “I’m not seeing your account.”

Right. Because this is an elaborate jape on my part. I’ve all the time in the world, so I’m pretending to be someone who has an account with you. For the grins. For the giggles. Next up I’m calling the people who make Price Albert in a can and ask them if their refrigerator is running. Then he says:

“How long have you been a customer? Were you with Qwest?” As he explains it, they haven’t quite absorbed Qwest into their merged company yet. I’m a legacy customer. So he can’t really see anything from where he’s sitting.

At this point Taser bolts shoot out of my skull and stick in the cabinets, the ceiling, the side of the fridge. I thank him for his time and go on with my life. The podcast is supposed to start at 11; I am on the phone at 10:55, because that’s the way we’re going to have to do it.

The Internet light pops on at 10:58.

Do you know what it felt like? Like 2003. Like I was dealing with Earthlink. Every so often you confront the jury-rigged mess that is the Old System, the copper, the pre-DSL installs. You consider a cable alternative. (No TimeWarner here.) You consider Comcast, but remember:

Right, Comcast.

The company that was set up by the other companies to terrify people into staying with their current provider.



Good Borden ads being rare these days, we have to take what we can. This is from the 50s ads, when the style of art changed towards the Modern look, and the clock was reset so the twins were newborns again.



Elmer, as usual, is all bluster, with few facts, ready to have his nose-ring yanked by the happy, chipper, isntructional Elsie

It is somewhat depression to realize that he's still railing on about her Borden-centric discussions after all these years; nothing will turn her away from her monomania.

By now he has a thriving line of glue; it's a wonder he doesn't throw that in her face. Figuretively.

Elmer is signalling he has tired of the subject; Elsie, who is never the aggressor in these situations but leaps on any pretext to prattle on about all things Borden - and it's no longer wartime, so her advice doesn't have the same sense of patriotic urgency - well, Elsie just can't take a clue.

Elmer reacts by being poorly drawn.

There's daughter Beulah - but who's the other one? Oh, of course. Beauregard.

In the next panel the glasses all slip from their hooves because they lack opposable thumbs.

Fascism, you mean?

No, burned toast. Well, it's almost as bad as fascism.


Here's a Disney movie of which you may be unaware:

Authentic! Really. If you're wondering why Friskies was sponsoring the ad, that's because Savage Sam was . . . Old Yeller's Son. Yes, this is the sequel to Old Yeller, without the childhood-rending ending. It did poorly. There was another Yeller sequel, Little Arliss, but it's not dog-centric at all, and was published posthumously when the manuscript was found in the author's papers.

Oddly enough, the original title was "Go Set a Coon Trap."

Finally - and I'm short on Product this week for some reason - here's a collection of gorgeous old radios. I'd pay three times the price to have one today.

That's three times the 1950 price. Forty bucks then is four hundred dollars now.

The "Town and Country," by the way, was a "Slim, Trim Beauty," and you know what that means, right? Fell over all the time.

That'll do. What sort of ingenious inventing is Frank Reade Jr. up to this week? Let's find out together!



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