Time Warner Cable


Well, the big suits at another corporate world have done it again. They sat around and talked about how they could squeeze more money out of their watchers. And decided to go all digital. But, and this is a big but, not everyone can get their channels, even though we have cable in our apartments.

It goes like this. I live in city-assisted housing. We get standard cable. It is in my lease. And I pay $8 a month for it. I pay that with my rent. Now this is a good deal because I’m certain HACA pays a lot more in their contract than all of their many residents pay in at the great rate. This does not include the premium channels, or a lot of sports channels, but it is good enough for me. I spend most of my time on TCM or other movie channels, the news not being all that great these days.

So back in the fall of 2014, I got a letter from TWC telling me I can get a free cable box to attach to my television to be sure my cable keeps coming to me. Eventually I would have to start paying for the box, at a rate of $4 or $5 a month, but that would be from 2-5 years off. At the age of 74, and retired, I don’t worry about things that will happen in the future because I live for today. Later on, I kept getting the same type of letter telling me something just a little bit different, always addressed to apartment resident, and then my apartment number, and a number assigned to me.

So I called the number given right away, only to discover that because it is a non-personal account, that I can get it, but I have to sign up with Time Warner Cable, a personal account, that I would not get charged on right away. Yeah, right, what could go wrong with that. I do not want a personal account with Time Warner Cable; I have had one (about 20 years ago), and I got charged more money than I signed up for, and I never paid that bill, figuring I did not owe them, and my credit was already pretty bad. I suspect if I got a personal account with them, they would dig up that old bill, and tell me I would have to pay them the $60+ before I could get my free box. I don’t want to reopen that hassle.

Instead, I went out on January 3, 2015, and bought myself a brand new Sharp, 32″, 1080p, HD, digital/analog television set. I needed a new TV set anyway, and I was assured by several people who know electronics, including the clerk in the store, that I would not need to get the box. Then I heard from some people who said I would need the box anyway, so I got on TWC’s website, and had an IM conversation with three, count them, three people who told me that since I was already getting digital and analog, I would not need a box.

I was told this would all come to pass on April 15, two days ago.

Yesterday, I turned on my TV about nine o’clock last night, and voila, no cable television. Or perhaps I should rephrase that, cable for the regular networks, one Spanish-language, one channel for Discovery (not the good one), and El Rey (and El Rey has already disappeared). Not even a TWC channel. Here’s the kicker; I have a schedule for the digital stations, and every single one of them has the old analog channel number, except, of course, the channels I can pick up, which still have digital numbers. So Tuesday I had 82 digital channels and 49 analog channels (which only have messages about how to “get your channel back”), and I could probably get those channels if I disconnected the cable, at their analog channels. So say ABC is channel 24. But I can’t get 24. What would I have to do to get ABC without cable? I don’t know, maybe the old channel 3. (This is Austin, TX – you may have a totally different channel number.) Or maybe there is no such thing as an analog channel any longer at all.

And last night I ran a channel scan, and as of then, I now have 9 digital channels, and still have 49 analog channels, but no picture on any of them.

This has got to be illegal. I am thinking anti-trust because TWC sure antied my trust in them, which wasn’t much to begin with. I’m not sure how it would work, but if I wanted to pay for my own cable, I would not buy it from TWC.

Still, I have a lease which says I should get free cable through HACA (with the minor charge included in my rent), but I cannot get cable now because TWC wants me to have a box. I paid good money, real cash, for a new television that I was assured by numerous people would work without a little box. I can get the box “free” (yeah, right, and how long will that last), but I have to have a personal account with the company before I can get one.

So my solution to this, temporary perhaps, is to write this blog, which will show up on my Facebook page, which is public, and send it to them by email. And I’ll look up anti-trust and send it to them. And anyone else I can find to send it to. I may even send it to HACA.

I love my apartment, and have no desire to move. I know HACA is in new negotiations with TWC for a new contract, and have been told that once that contract is made final, we residents will have to pay a little more money since TWC is likely to charge HACA more for the contract to provide all of its residents with “free” cable. I have no problem with that – I just look at it as a subcharge for the convenience.

Hey, I did this with my bank several years ago, and sent it to them, and it solved all my problems with them. They do not like bad publicity.

I could call them, but I would get some poor phone person who has nothing to do with this, and my getting angry with that person would only give him/her grief s/he does not deserve. It is not that person’s fault, and they would not have anyone “big” enough to give my telephone call to.

So that is how it sits at this moment. We shall see if I can take on another big corporation and win.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Crime, Economics, Finance, Other media, personal thoughts | Leave a comment

Staying low


Lately I have been staying off the computer a lot because there is so much stupidity going on in politics, and in talichristians.

The Texas School Board has approved a new history textbook for the students proclaiming that Moses was one of the founding fathers, and was the writer of the Ten Commandments, which were where the Constitution came from. No, I am not kidding. And sadly, several of the adjoining states use Texas schoolbooks. These are the people who believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, and claim to be able to prove it by the bible. What ignorance.

Then there are those who believe horrible weather is caused by homosexuals. How stupid is that? Are they trying to tell me that blizzards in the Northeast, Hurricane Katrina, the San Francisco earthquake, Mount Hood blowing up as a renewed volcano – and all other events like these – are caused by homosexuals? Like they, and God/dess, are willing to kill the good, compassionate folk, and innocent children, just because s/he is mad at a relatively few people? I’m sorry, I don’t believe in a God/dess that would be that cruel.

Then we’ve got this anti-Obama congress that is still trying to annul the ACA, aka Obamacare. And 47 treasonous (yes, I believe they are, by the Constitution, Article III, Section 3) senators trying to rule this land (yes, I mean rule).

It is all so foolish, and does not bode well for the United States of America.

Well, if these people have their way, you must be getting ready for two events. One is that while the US has never been gutted in a war, other than the Civil War where we gutted ourselves, and if we go to another big war, we won’t get off so easily. There are those who would say the US would never be hit by a bomb, but I say we are not as protected as we were in the past.

Second, if this country were to come anywhere near being ruled by religious factions, you can expect another internal war. Because Christianity was originally Catholic, and the many protestant factions will all believe theirs is the only right religion. So you will see warring between the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Mormon, Lutheran, Pentecosts, Seventh Day Adventists, and all the rest of the sub-sects of all of these different Protestant religions, as they all start trying to decide which of these religions must be the official religion of the United States of America.

Anyway, I expect to stay hunkered down in my spot of the earth, and continue to live with love and compassion for all my fellow human beings. And the animals, fish, and birds, and nature in all its glory. I know what my priorities are.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Crime, Economics, Equality, Family, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Friends, Gay Rights, global warming, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious | Leave a comment

Family


In the past couple of weeks, my biological family has started coming together.  I have now located another granddaughter, the daughter of my eldest daughter, who is now deceased.  So I am going to use this venue to try and find my second daughter, if, of course, she wants to be found.

Tracey Elayne Stepp (changed to Tracey Elaine Partin by her adoptive family) was born on February 25 at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas NV (I am leaving out the birth year purposely against stolen identity possibilities).  Just say it was sometime in the hippie years.  The last known location I had for her was Hawaii.  That information is old.

Tracey, if you get this, the family discovered, and all talking to one another on an IM on Facebook, would love to get you involved, if you want to be.  Since I don’t know how your life turned out, but I expect it was happy, you may not want to get involved.

You might remember your sister Marcy since you were two and she was five when I decided to give you up (I was an alcoholic, and I wanted you kids to have a better life).  You also have another sister originally named Stacey, but who name was changed by her adoptive parents.

If you are curious about your former life, before the Partins, you can find me on Facebook under the name Carol Stepp.  We would love to hear from you, but no pressure.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Family, Friends, personal thoughts | Leave a comment

What Really is Christianity?


I just posted this on my Facebook page, and then decided it might fit here in my blogspace.

Today on TCM, I saw Inherit the Wind for the very first time. I don’t know why I have never seen some of the amazing movies – perhaps because until now, I did not have TCM. I am quite certain my mother would never have permitted me to see it when it came out – she being Church of Christ and all that. I was thinking as I watched it – are there any people in the Bible Belt any longer who don’t feel the way those people in that fictitional town did? I have read the Bible through at least three times, and many “scriptures” many times. When Spencer Tracy’s character chose passages to read to that man, who claimed the earth was only 6000 years old based on the Old Testament, I wish the persons (Clifford Odets and someone else) who wrote that script would have mentioned the verse that says, “to God, a day can be a thousand years, and a thousand years can be a day”. I also have wondered, and have said so many times, why do so-called “christians” want us to live by the Old Testament, and post the Ten Commandments, instead of The Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12). There was no Jesus, surnamed Christ, anywhere in the Old Testament. Yes, I’m a pagan of the Celtic Heritage, and definitely believe in a higher being, a God/dess, a spirit entity without a person’s face, but really, I know the Bible very well, and that is what really gets me about those who call themselves Christians, when they don’t even seem to know what that means.

I can pick apart many bible passages, especially these days, but it is something I don’t regularly do unless I have been challenged by something like this movie Inherit the Wind which I just saw for the first time.

I simply do not understand how anyone can take this bible, put together by catholic priests in 326 AD, so seriously. At the time the bible was put together, there was no Christian church except the catholic church – the protestant churches didn’t even exist until Martin Luther posted his however many edicts there were on that church door. And then men came along and chose what they wanted to become their own churches – like Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. etc. etc.

I just don’t understand at all.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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Bain Corporation and Mitt Romney Redux


Since it seems our Mitt Romney is planning to run for President again, I thought I would repost this blog I wrote about him last time he ran for president, a direct rebuttal of his claiming to have “made jobs” for we the people. It got a lot of attention back then, and maybe it will remind you all of how the man really operates. He does not have the general population in mind when he wants to become the “strongest man in the American government”.

Repost of a previous blog.

While listening to the news shows yesterday, I was hearing all the stories from people on political ads talking about how they lost their jobs when Bain Corporation took their companies over. For those who are confused about how Mitt Romney can claim creating new jobs through Bain, while many were losing their jobs, I thought I’d throw an analogy out here so you can understand better.

We the people love our entertainment, and our celebrities. And many of you get your stories from the late-night shows. So I am sure a lot of you have seen the movie “Pretty Woman” with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

If you remember, Richard hires Julia for a week to be his companion at functions he needs to attend on behalf of his company, which is a holding company, much like Bain Corporation. His company goes in and buys companies that are failing, or at least not making much money, and then he takes them apart and turns them into smaller companies, firing the employees of the big companies along the way. The smaller companies then start to make money, hire their own personnel (thus new jobs), and then who knows, go off into the sunset. In the meantime, the holding company that bought the original company at a lower-than average price because of its failings, takes its money off the top from reselling the broken apart companies, and leaves it in the hands of the people who bought those smaller companies. The holding company couldn’t care less about what happens to those smaller companies after they’ve taken their profits off the top. They walk away. Sometimes those larger companies are raided and bought against the owner’s will, which was the story of Pretty Woman, and of course, the fuzzy warm feeling you got when Gere’s character was changed by the actions of a pretty call girl. It was just a movie.

But, this is the sort of company Bain Corporation is. Whether or not Mitt Romney still has his fingers in the pie or not (he says not, but we know him for a liar, and he is refusing to meet with news people to talk about how he made his money, as I write this), some of his millions were made by doing this very thing – buying up troubled companies, tearing them apart, taking away jobs, and then selling the smaller companies off for high premiums, pocketing the money, and then walking away to let the new owner fend for himself, hiring people, taking the new smaller business to new heights, or possibly new lows. Who knows?

Just be aware that while you are listening to ads from the Romney campaign talking about all the jobs “he” has provided, the real truth is not nearly so rosy. At the same time, remember that while jobs in government were lost because of the House No-Repubs, and jobs are not being funded for government, particularly in the infrastructure of this country (remember those bridges you drive across that could end up like the one near Minneapolis-St. Paul, or the pothole that destroyed your last expensive tire), or in helping pay for training for the new manufacturing jobs which many would be happy to have that are now left wanting for lack of personnel, private industry is thriving under President Obama, and many jobs have been opened. Remember the women’s group that Romney did a speech in front of, trying to make it appear that women like him, but was a group that established a company of women, run by women, which is thriving, all under Obama’s watch.

Don’t let the ads fool you. If you don’t want to take time to pay attention to what is really happening, let the movies like Dave or Pretty Woman show you what reality is, even if in a fantasy world. Or let one like Wall Street teach you what the men at the top are really like. Don’t forget companies like Enron, under GWB’s watch, or what is happening to your money with JP Morgan Chase right now, a bank that was bailed out by GWB’s Congress. And do think about what President Obama did for the automotive business when the government LOANED them the money to bail themselves out, and which is being paid back, with interest, with thousands of jobs saved.

Pay attention, especially if you are an independent, or swing, voter who has not yet made up his or her mind on who you will vote for.

This last paragraph probably does not apply so much right now since we don’t know who will actually be running against Romney, if he gets the nod. But the truth still stands about Ann Romney.

And my own gentle nudge here: remember to think about who the First Lady will be – one who buys her and her girls’ clothes at chain stores, or one who buys $990 tee-shirts. There was only one Jackie Kennedy, and we loved her designer clothes because she was Jackie (not so much Nancy Reagan), and while we might love Michelle Obama if she bought designer clothes, I think we appreciate her much more because she doesn’t.

Just pay attention.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

Posted in Economics, Finance, Politics | Leave a comment

My year in review


Altogether this year, I had a very good year. Some ups and downs, but certainly more ups than downs, by at least ten to one. The best as far as blogs are concerned, that my blog about Christmas for the Elderly went viral. First time that has ever happened. The worst – finding out about my sister’s death a year and a half after it happened. Knowing that family really does hate me that much.

I did not post my college football bowl picks this year, nor did I enter them in any contest. Too bad. Today, after 21 games, I have had only five losses. Pretty good for an old woman, but football is not a no-no for older women. After all, I played in high school band, and I love Daryl LaMonica. So today I was delighted that Notre Dame won their bowl, even though they played one of my three 2nd favourite teams, LSU. Another Tiger team won – Clemson, wow, did they wipe out Oklahoma. And that leaves Auburn, which plays New Year’s Day against Wisconsin.

I am all tucked up in my apartment for the next four days. Temperatures starting tomorrow are going the be the coldest so far this winter, though you gotta remember this is Central Texas where I am, and we rarely get really cold weather. But I’ve got my food, my cigarettes, and a dozen bowl games for the next four days (plus two more today). I have my field peas and collards and Texas Toast for Thursday, so I’ll be warm and cozy. I even have three bottles of hard cider for tomorrow night, which does not seem to affect me like beer or any other type of alcohol.

I want to wish everyone a good coming new year. I always feel funny trying to say Happy New Year because that usually refers only to the day itself. And I truly hope all my friends and readers have good days all 2015 long.

Love to you all, ta for now, from

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Friends, Medicine, Mental health, personal thoughts, Sports | Leave a comment

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Crime, Economics, Equality, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Friends, Gay Rights, global warming, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Music, Olympics, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, Science fiction, Sports, States Rights, Voting Rights, weather, Women's Rights | Leave a comment