Germany, history, videos, YouTube

A fascinating video I saw by total chance yesterday…

Today has gotten off to an extremely annoying start. In my travel blog last weekend, I wrote about how I was trying to book our vacation for next week. USAA immediately declined my credit card, which led to my having to call them. Likewise, PenFed allowed me to make two hotel bookings, but then blocked my card when I tried to make a third booking. I will be calling them later today, which doesn’t make me happy, because USAA blocked my debit card this morning when I tried to use it to buy sweaters.

USAA used to send text messages to my phone whenever there were questionable purchases made. Now, they don’t do that, because they don’t want to pay for international texts. So they just decline and restrict the card, causing me to have to call them. It wastes time and costs me money, plus it’s just a huge inconvenience. The real kicker is, an hour after I called USAA, I got an automated phone call from USAA to confirm the charges weren’t fraudulent. Of course, they didn’t go through, and now I am not wanting to use the card because I don’t want to cause another block.

Anyway… none of that has anything to do with today’s post. I just needed to get it out of my system. Today’s post is actually about something much more incredible and life changing.

Yesterday, I was watching a brief YouTube video about a Holocaust survivor. It was a very short video, and I was in the middle of something when it ended, so I didn’t immediately turn off the autoplay. I’m glad I didn’t turn it off, for that is how I became acquainted with Eva Clarke and her amazing story of how she was born in a concentration camp the day before Adolf Hitler committed suicide, and just two days after the Germans ran out of gas in the gas chambers at Mauthausen.

This video is about an hour long, but it is SO worth the time. It was taped at the University of California San Diego in 2018.

Eva Clarke is half Czech, half German. Her parents were both Jewish. Her father had moved to Prague to escape the Nazis. He thought that was far enough away from Germany to escape persecution during the Hitler era. It wasn’t, and unfortunately, he was a Holocaust victim. However, he did meet Eva’s mother, Anka, there, and they married before they were sent to live in a ghetto and were later sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

Eva’s mother, Anka, was an incredible woman with a tremendous will to survive, as well as great pride for who she was. Against incredible odds, and with many strokes of good luck, she managed to survive the Holocaust and lived to the ripe old age of 95. That, in an of itself, is incredible… but Eva is also a tremendous speaker and storyteller. She is very engaging. I wish I could have had teachers like her. Maybe I would have ended up better prepared for life.

I showed this video to Bill last night. Just as I had when I watched it the first time, I ended up in tears because I was so moved by how Eva and her mom managed to survive and thrive, even though Hitler had wanted to destroy them and anyone else he hated. Also, Eva mentions that the American Army were their saviors, as they were the ones to liberate Mauthausen. Since Bill is an Army veteran, it does my heart good to hear good things about the Army… and reminders of a time when U.S. Soldiers and other servicemembers were truly thought of as heroes.

Bill also got a bit teary listening to Eva’s story. He hadn’t meant to learn more about the Holocaust last night, but he did tell me that he didn’t regret hearing Eva talk about how she came to be. Nine days after Eva’s birth, World War II ended. And now, she is a lovely, elegant, eloquent speaker, who is telling the world about why we can’t ever let someone like Hitler come back into power.

This is why I am so vociferous about Donald Trump and his ilk. While I realize that Trump hasn’t started a genocide, some of his ideas and techniques are very much like Hitler’s. He emboldens people to be divisive and racist, and he craves money, fame, and power. I worry that he will influence otherwise good people to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of racism and we could, one day, have another genocide as horrifying as the Holocaust is. And this is not to say that genocide on a smaller scale isn’t already happening. It is.

Anyway, if you have time and are interested, I highly recommend watching the above video. And if you find any other videos by Eva Clarke, I would recommend those, too. I will probably watch another video by Eva… maybe it would calm me down a bit and remind me that my problems are truly first world problems. At least for now.

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condescending twatbags, Duggars, rants

Nurie’s new baby, why the WSJ sucks, and disrespectful jerks…

Wow… I have a lot to write about today. I could write several posts, or I could just stick with one. Since I’m feeling kind of lazy, I think I’ll just stick with one post. I see Jetpack’s SEO tester likes my title and gave me the “green light”.

First thing– I know a lot of people find my blog because I occasionally keep up with fundies. My posts about Nurie (Rodrigues) Keller get a lot of hits. I noticed a lot of hits last night, as Nurie’s nutty mom, Jill, announced that Nurie delivered her son, reportedly named Nehemiah, on October 11th. Mother and son appear to be healthy and happy, which is a good thing. Jill also shared many photos and reported that Nurie and her husband, Nathan, will be going live to discuss all of the details of the birth.

Nurie and Nathan and their new arrival in a shot publicly shared by Nurie’s mom, Jill.

Personally, I think if I were a brand new, first-time mom, I’d want to take a few days to rest up and recover before going on camera to talk about birthing. But evidently, Nurie is raring to share her precious bundle of joy with everyone. So if you’re interested in the details, you can tune in on Facebook at 4pm– I assume eastern time– and hear all about it. Or you can just follow the Duggar Family News page and/or group, like I do. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t know anything about the Rodrigues family.

I seem to remember that Nurie was due October 12. Looks like they were very accurate in predicting the lad’s arrival.

I’m glad for Nurie that she has a healthy son. She looks genuinely happy, radiant, and beautiful in the post pregnancy photos I’ve seen. I don’t really follow her family, but I know a lot of people think they’re interesting. I wish health and happiness to the Kellers… and I hope they keep their son away from his Uncle Josh Duggar. But I suspect that won’t be too much of an issue, as Josh’s trial looms next month.

Speaking of the Duggars… I also learned that Jill Duggar Dillard, wife of Derick and former fundie Kool-Aid drinker, just had a miscarriage. I am genuinely sorry to hear about that, especially since I know that she and Derick very responsibly waited before trying for another baby after their son, Sam, was born in 2017 in what was reportedly a medically dramatic fashion. I hope they will soon have a rainbow baby, if that’s what they want.

Very sad news for the Dillards.

As for Anna Duggar, she’s reportedly ready to give birth any day now. As far as I know, her due date hasn’t been publicly announced, but based on the pictures I recently saw of her accompanying Josh to a court proceeding, she looks ready to pop. Hopefully, this baby will be her last… particularly with Josh. But, as they say, God only really knows.

Now… on to the next topic.

A year ago, I decided to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It was late October 2020, we were locked down, and there were articles I wanted to read. They were offering a good deal, and I don’t mind supporting journalism, even though the WSJ is a bit more right wing than I am. Little did I know when I subscribed, the Wall Street Journal makes it fucking difficult to unsubscribe. Like– it’s SO easy to subscribe to the paper online. No issues whatsoever. But, unless you live in an area with local laws that require businesses to allow people to unsubscribe in the same way they subscribed, you have to fucking CALL the WSJ to get them to turn off your subscription.

Fuck this noise.

I became aware of this issue a couple of weeks ago, when the paper sent me a notice that as of the end of October 2021, the WSJ would start charging me by the month. I didn’t like that option. I prefer to pay for subscriptions by the year, if I can. Also, I noticed that the monthly charge was significantly higher than what I paid when I signed up. I don’t mind paying more for content if I use it, but I almost never read the WSJ. I pay monthly for the New York Times, and it’s pretty expensive. But I use it all the time, can share articles with my friends, and have even shared the subscription with Bill and my mother-in-law. I can’t do any of that with the WSJ.

I was originally going to pay by the year if I could, but even that required me to call the fucking customer service center. The WSJ does have an office in Germany, but that would mean having to deal with language barriers. I don’t even enjoy calling people in the United States. I really hate doing it in Germany, where my terrible German skills are of even less use on the phone.

Then I realized that it doesn’t sit well with me that the WSJ basically forces subscribers to waste time running the gauntlet of long phone queues and high pressure sales tactics by requiring them to speak to a person in order to deal with their subscriptions. If their paper was really worth a damn, they wouldn’t have to resort to these kinds of shady maneuvers to get people to keep paying for their content. I mean, one of the best votes of confidence for a product is when it sells itself. If you have to make it super annoying and inconvenient for people to opt out, that kind of says something about the quality of the product you’re offering.

I’m sure the WSJ offers a good product to people who are right wing and want expert finance news. But I am neither of those things. I occasionally like some of their travel pieces and it’s sometimes fun to read the comments on some articles. Otherwise, I rarely use my subscription, and I don’t like being stuck paying for subscriptions because it’s inconvenient to call and cancel. Although we can easily afford the 10 euros a month, I decided that I don’t want a subscription to a paper that employs annoying and deceptive sales tactics to keep people paying.

I asked Bill if he wouldn’t mind helping me call the German call center, since his German is better than mine is. But then I did some research and found a way to turn off the auto-renew. It involved a little duplicity, but it was ultimately effective. By the way, as I was researching how to unhook myself from the WSJ, I discovered another subscription service that might be useful to some. It’s called DoNotPay, and it bills itself as a “robot lawyer”. If I’d wanted to, I could have subscribed to that service and they would have fixed this WSJ problem for me. The fact that there’s a dedicated page on the DoNotPay Web site for unsubscribing to the WSJ is really telling, isn’t it?

As it turned out, there actually is a really easy way to unsubscribe without having to call. All you have to do is change your billing address to a place where the ability to unsubscribe online is required by law. When you do that, you’ll get the option to unsubscribe online. So that’s what I did. The WSJ really should make this option available to everyone, especially since we’re in the 21st century, and calling people on phones is becoming an obsolete practice. It’s the decent thing to do. But– as this is a paper that caters to Trump supporters– I guess I can understand why wringing money out of people by inconveniencing them is the way they do business. What a pity.

And finally, disrespectful jerks on the Internet…

Apologies to those readers who hate it when I complain about commenters on Facebook. I’m gonna do it again today. I’ll try to be brief.

I genuinely like to read news articles and editorials. I genuinely enjoy reading what other people think of items that are shared on social media. What I don’t like, however, are the disgusting and disrespectful comments left by so many people. It really does irritate me, because I wonder if those people are that obnoxious and rude in person.

Here’s an example of what I mean. This morning, Rachel Maddow shared an opinion piece about why religious exemptions should not be allowed for the COVID-19 vaccine. I thought it was a good article. It made a lot of sense. I understand why some people want to be allowed to opt out of taking the vaccine. Personally, I think doing so for religious reasons is kind of absurd.

There are plenty of things a person can’t do in the name of religion. What if you belong to a religious group that requires human sacrifices as a condition of being a believer? Should society allow such a religious organization to carry out those human sacrifices in the name of their religion? How about if a religion promotes the idea that people shouldn’t wear clothes, since clothes aren’t from God? Should we just allow people to walk around naked in public everywhere, because that’s the way God made them?

Over the past 19 months or so, it’s become very clear that COVID-19 spreads through the air. Everyone has to breathe. A person can be infected with COVID-19 and not know they’re infected. They can spread the virus to people who will die if they get sick with it. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are. If you’re a human being, you can spread COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to help limit the spread and severity of COVID-19. And we’ve seen plenty of “religious” people swearing off the vaccine, only to die of COVID. Seriously, all you have to do is Google.

A lot of the people who are against the vaccine are politicians and religious people, and also conservative talk show hosts… How fitting is it that these people who are using their lungs to spread misinformation and hate are winding up dying as their lungs fail, thanks to a rogue, novel virus that so many of them will admit is very real?

So… on to the disrespectful jerks… I noticed a woman wrote something along the lines of, “There shouldn’t be religious exemptions for anything in the 21st century.”

She got a few “angry” reactions to that comment. But one guy– a southern, Christian, God fearing MAGA zealot, complete with a pretty blonde wife and a love of hunting and fishing– posted “How much did your husband pay when he ordered you?”

I hadn’t yet had more than a couple of sips of my morning coffee at that point. I almost responded in kind to the guy, but instead, I wrote “What a disgusting and disrespectful comment. Shame on you.”

What prompts people to write such personal and insulting comments to total strangers, anyway? It just makes me wonder if this man was ever taught anything good by decent people. Is this how he speaks to people in person? Is that how he got his pretty wife to marry him– by insinuating that she’s a mail order bride?

If you disagree with someone’s opinions, why not just write that and explain why, instead of insulting them and insinuating that they’re a mail order bride? The original commenter, by the way, appears to be a well-educated young mother who lives up north. I didn’t see any reason why anyone should suspect her of being a mail order bride. I think if a person is going to be snarky and rude, they should at least be astute. That MAGA loving zealot didn’t even hit the mark of being insightful about the commenter. I wonder how he’d like it someone insulted his wife in such a way.

Yesterday, USAA posted a meme in support of “National Coming Out Day”. USAA is a bank and insurance company that is well-known for serving military and government employees. It’s also based in Texas and has come out publicly in support of Greg Abbott, the infamously medieval governor of Texas. So lots of commenters were pointing out that it’s tone deaf to be in support of the LGBTQ community, while also supporting a governor who wishes to deny fundamental medical rights to women. Others were annoyed because they think USAA is “virtue signaling”.

I noticed a few people were making anti-abortion statements. One guy made a comment about how some people “enjoy aborting babies”. Once again, I had to interject. I wrote, “No one ‘enjoys aborting babies’. What a crappy thing to write.” I think it would be a very rare individual who took any joy or pleasure in having or performing an abortion. It’s just something that needs to be done in some regrettable situations. Either way, it’s no one else’s fucking business. Especially when so few people who are supposedly pro-life care about supporting the lives of people who have already been born… for example, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 or not toting their guns to places where people can be easily shot and killed. When the so-called pro-lifers start giving more of a damn about people who are already born and have a concept of life and death, then I might pay more attention to their lame protests about abortion.

Sigh… well, it’s time to end today’s post. I have some research to do. We’re going to attempt to take a trip at the end of the month. Also, I have to put in my guitar practice. So I leave you with my wishes for a happy Tuesday. May you not encounter any disrespectful jerks today.

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business, politicians, politics, true crime

Seagull leadership and scary Facebook posts…

Yesterday, as Bill and I were preparing to eat at our second culinary destination in one day, I noticed a scary Facebook post in a local group I’m in. It seems there is a gang of women in our town who have been trying to break into houses. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Bill told me that one of his coworkers, who happens to live in our town, caught someone trying to break into his car. And there have been two posts in our group about criminals trying to break into people’s homes, even when they have gates. These criminal bitches have tools and have been caught trying to breach the gates.

Naturally, reading about this made me nervous… so as we sat in a Parkhaus turned Michelin one star restaurant (until the usual venue can be rebuilt after a fire), I went on USAA and upped our insurance coverage. It may not have been necessary, but it wasn’t like the extra coverage cost that much. And it did offer peace of mind. On the other hand, how sad is it that I was looking at my phone before a Michelin one star meal? And how sad is it that I could buy extra insurance coverage in a matter of minutes, using my phone? Technology is a double edged sword.

Then, while we were waiting for dessert, I happened to notice a post from a former colleague of mine. Actually, colleague is a stretch. I worked as the cook at a summer camp, and he was one of my dishwashers. He posted a rude meme about Joe Biden, likening him to the Taliban’s greatest employee. I had to have a laugh at that. If anyone is the Taliban’s employee of the month, it’s Trump. Trump made the deal with The Taliban in the first place. And this pullout was destined to be a mess regardless.

I was reminded once again of a post I wrote for my original blog, in which I wrote about how Trump’s leadership is the perfect example of “seagull leadership”. You know what that is? Basically, the seagull comes in, makes a huge mess, and leaves, expecting others to clean up their shit. I think Trump is the poster child for the seagull style of management. I really don’t think he would have been better or done more to make this transition better.

What is sad, though, is that so many Americans WANT to see him fail. They are screaming about impeachment, seemingly forgetting that if he leaves office, their worst nightmare will happen. Kamala Harris, a biracial woman, would take over. Do they think they would get better treatment from her? I don’t know. I think she can do the job, but I’m not sure that’s what the Republicans really want. A lot of them are both racist and sexist.

I read a comment last night from some guy who said he didn’t vote for Biden became of WHO he is– even though he knows Trump is a narcissist. Sorry… I just don’t get it. Trump, as a narcissist, is the worst kind of person to be leading. Narcissists don’t care about other people. I voted for Biden because of WHO he is… and who Trump is. I say, if you know your party’s candidate is a bastard, why not demand better? I would prefer a younger, more dynamic candidate myself… but I would easily choose Biden over Trump. Biden isn’t a narcissist, and that automatically makes him much more qualified, in my opinion. But I realize that not everyone understands why narcissists are such bad news.

Anyway… we just had a huge lunch, and I am about to fall into a food coma. So I will quit writing now… and hope that shit will improve soon. I see that ISIS is coming in now, complicating matters and, for sure, delaying our departure, forcing us to deal with the aftermath of the pullout…

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up. I hope people are on their guard. I wouldn’t be surprised if ISIS has something planned, while we’re dealing with Afghanistan.

So… until next time… sayonara. I have to take a nap now and digest the fabulous fresh trout we had for lunch.

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rants

God forbid I say that out loud…

Today’s post is a bona-fide rant. And no, I’m not “mad”. I’m irritated and annoyed, as usual. This is just a vent.

This morning, I read a very depressing (to me) article about how to train children to wear face masks. The tips were in The New York Times, and they were accompanied by pictures of adults trying to coax little kids into tolerating masks at school. Even though I don’t have children, and thus, have no skin in the game, I read the article and looked at the pictures. Then, against my better judgment, I left a comment on the Facebook page for the New York Times. I wrote “How depressing.”

It is depressing to me that small children have to worry about coronavirus at a time when they should be free to explore their environments, interact with their peers, and learn lots of new things using all of their senses. It is depressing to me that many very young children are going to be taught to fear germs before they even know how to count or recite the alphabet. Some of them will still lose friends and loved ones to the virus even though they wear masks, wash their hands, and eschew playdates. To me, that’s sad, even if I understand why children are being forced to “mask up” and can’t freely go play with their pals on the swings.

But God forbid I should mention that out loud. I knew that when I posted, and sure enough, along comes a busybody to remind me of what’s “important”, because we all need a member of the thought police to slap us upside the head and remind us of how “wrong” our thoughts are…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. We have to remind ourselves of the doom and gloom that is happening daily right now, thanks to COVID-19. Thank GOD for masks. They will save us all. And thank God for the lady who set me straight. Thanks, I needed that. /sarcasm

If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s some all-knower who can’t simply let people make a statement without adding some obnoxious one-upping, thought policing, virtue-signaling comment of their own. And it’s not just the issue of masks that get this treatment, either.

For example, today happens to be the one year anniversary that we learned that our sweet, loving, amazing dog, Zane, had lymphoma. I remember how I felt one year ago, when Bill took Zane to our local vet because I had felt swellings where his lymph nodes were under his jaw. I hoped it was an infection, but knew deep down that it was cancer. And Bill brought Zane home to tell me the news. I knew that Zane would be dead very soon. I commented on Facebook that I was very upset and my life “sucked”.

Sure enough, I got lots of responses from people telling me that my life doesn’t suck. One person argued with me about my statement. Another person told me to “buck up”. Still another said I should “get a grip”. After a few comments such as those, I posted this:

This was my admittedly snippy response. That was a legitimately AWFUL weekend.

I seem to remember that the evening that we learned about Zane’s cancer, we also spent responding to a truly ridiculous letter from our former landlady’s lawyer. Precious time that we could have spent with Zane was spent with Bill writing in German that, “no”, we didn’t steal a refrigerator from the ex landlady and we can prove it. And “no”, Americans don’t routinely clog up toilets with toilet paper. Hers was the only toilet I’ve used in my 48 years of shitting that has ever routinely clogged up, and I have taken dumps in MANY countries. It is sad that we had to spend an evening on that bullshit instead of enjoying sweet Zane’s company. But God forbid I say that out loud, either.

One week after I posted the above status, Bill and I drove Zane to the vet for the last time. Sometime during the night, he started bleeding internally. I don’t know for certain, but I think he had tumors in his spleen that had ruptured. When we awoke on August 31st of last year, Zane looked like he had grown teats. They were full of blood. I do take comfort that his last week was relatively pleasant, as cancer deaths go. He spent the week enjoying the outside, agreeable temperatures, sunshine, eating what he wanted, and being with his people. But losing him hurt me a lot. I still think of him every day. This is the first time I’ve lost a dog and not replaced him soon afterwards. Some of you will remember that a few months ago, we did try to give a new dog a home as the COVID crisis was beginning. Our attempt to take in a dog ended in senseless tragedy. Guess I should “buck up”, though, because things aren’t so bad.

Dealing with COVID-19, a year after losing Zane, is depressing for different reasons. The world has changed so much in such a short span of time. I think people want and need to talk about it. Many aspects of the pandemic world are, indeed, very depressing. But if you dare mention it out loud, you run the risk of some asshole reminding you of what’s “really important” (in their minds). If you acknowledge that small children wearing face masks is abnormal, you have to brace yourself for an upbraiding by self-important twits who have to contradict you. You know what? Fuck those people. I have about had my fill of dealing with them.

I have a feeling the one person who “laughed” at my comment to the busybody did so because he’s also sick of dealing with this type of person who can’t just let people just express a thought without correcting them. Honestly, I think people like the woman who retorted to me are the reason we have people like Trump in charge. Most folks don’t want to be lectured to or told what is “right” by holier-than-thou people. And, as much as I now identify as more of a liberal type, I also understand that sometimes preachy liberal types are “insufferable” and tiresome. I can understand why that makes a loudmouthed cretin like Donald Trump seem refreshing to certain people.

I remember sometime last year, I wanted to issue a complaint to USAA about their two-factor authentication system. I would have done so privately, but was unable to find an email where I could send my feedback. So I posted my comment on their Facebook page. Sure enough, someone had to come along and contradict me. She couldn’t just let a fellow customer voice a valid complaint. She had to discount my comment by praising USAA, and reprimanding me for daring to make it in the first place, even though I’m a paying customer, too, and have a right to voice my concerns.

I know people don’t like complainers, but there has to be room for criticism in every situation. Nay-sayers provide information about what could be improved about something. Take the face masks, for instance. Lots of people are just fine with them. They happily strap them on before they do anything, from shopping to having sex. Some are even expressing delight in how they can make them fashionable and how the masks might help them avoid getting sick as they also hide their resting bitch faces. They actually enjoy smelling their own breath. They probably enjoy the smell of their own farts, too. And you know what? That’s fine and dandy for them.

But there are other people who have legitimate issues with wearing face masks. For instance, there are people who have trouble wearing them because they wear hearing aids and the ear loops on most masks knock the hearing aids out of their ears. Some people feel claustrophobic or super anxious when they wear them. Some people need to be able to read lips and can’t because of the masks. Some people make their living or just really enjoy playing woodwind instruments or singing. And some people literally lack ears! I’ve actually known a couple of people in that situation. One was a guy whose ears were deformed due to years of wrestling and being grabbed by his ears. Another was a man who’d lost part of his ears at war. Yes, there are masks available that tie in the back, but in the case of the war veteran, that was also problematic because he also had arthritis in his hands.

These people have needs that should be considered. They don’t need to be shut up by self-righteous dipshits who can’t simply let people have their say without a virtue-signaling, “one size fits all” rebuttal. People have a right to point out why masks are problematic for some folks and should strictly be a TEMPORARY measure. If no one complains, what incentive do we have to make things better for everyone— not just the cheerful, super responsible, self-righteous types who revere the masks?

It’s not normal, natural, or fun for most children to be forced to wear face masks. Really young children are just starting out in the world, learning how to socialize and communicate with other people. I do think it’s depressing that they have to be “trained” to wear a mask, which will hinder their ability to communicate, instead of being allowed to interact with others the way generations of people before them have been allowed to. I can make that statement without failing to realize why the masks are currently necessary and needing a fucking lecture from some stranger about how people are getting sick and dying of COVID-19. DUH. I’ve gotten the news. It’s on EVERY channel.

I can also make a statement about being really upset about my dog dying and my life temporarily sucking without some twit reminding me of how good I have it (especially since most of the people making those comments have NO IDEA what my life is actually like– they can only make assumptions).

People need to let people say their piece without contradicting them with their own virtue-signaling bullshit. Although to be fair, there’s a reason why I rarely bother posting comments on newspaper articles. It’s mainly because I hate dealing with people like the woman who corrected me this morning with her parental wisdom. Thanks, lady. You sure set me straight. I learned something new from you and am suitably chastened. Now run along, pick out your favorite mask for today, and let me go back to being my cranky self.

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complaints

Do you mind? I wasn’t talking to you.

Happy Friday, everyone. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and I’m a bit cranky. I feel this way, even though it’s Friday, and we’re leaving town. Eh… I’ll get over it eventually… perhaps even after I’m finished writing this post. It’s another one of my venting posts, so brace yourself for negativity, inappropriateness, and bitterness. Here goes.

Recently, USAA has decided to employ an annoying new security feature on its Web site. It wasn’t enough for USAA to force its customers to answer their two security questions with every log in. Now, you must have them send a code by text or email. This is supposed to help thwart hackers.

One would think I’d be all for thwarting thieves from plundering my bank account, and of course I do want my accounts to be secure. However, this new system is really annoying to me, because they send a different code with every log in. The codes are usually on a time limit and sometimes they don’t come immediately. Sometimes, I’m not in a place where it’s possible to access private email accounts. For instance, Bill can’t get on his Gmail account when he’s at work, neither is he allowed to have his cell phone with him. I don’t want to have to go to my email account every time, just so I can access my banking information. Then, there are people who are low or no Internet users, like my mom. This new level of security could be onerous for a person like her.

Bill and I have a few joint accounts which are accessible from my account, but every once in awhile, I need to get into his USAA account. With this new system, they would be sending the code to his email instead of mine, which would not be helpful. That’s annoying, too, especially since we didn’t ask for this new level of security. By the way, Bill is fine with me accessing his account when I need to. Sometimes, he goes to places where he can’t get to it himself, so it’s good that I can. We’re married, and he trusts me.

So anyway, I have endured this new system for just under two weeks. Yesterday, I decided to make my displeasure known to USAA. I know… what nerve! But how to do it? I started with the obvious.

I went on their Web site and looked for a way to leave a general comment. I searched for several minutes for a simple email link or comment form. The only way I could leave a comment, though, was by using a form that restricted the subjects only to comments about investments or insurance. I could find no way to offer general feedback using a form; I would have had to engage in a chat, which is not what I felt like doing yesterday. Oh, I guess I could have also called them– or Skyped– but I didn’t feel the need to engage with a human over this. I just wanted to make my voice heard without a big “to do”. It seemed an impossible feat, which I’m sure is entirely by design.

Frustrated that I couldn’t send a simple, private comment to USAA, I went to their Facebook page. I left the following comment, which was answered by a USAA customer service rep, and then rebutted by another customer…

Who asked you?

All I wanted to do was leave a simple comment about the new system. I would have preferred to be able to do it privately, but since that wasn’t an option that I could find within a few minutes of looking, I posted on Facebook. I got what I wanted when the rep said he would forward my feedback to the right people. Whether or not he actually does it, I will never know. But it made me feel better to make my voice heard. This is how systems improve. If no one ever raises issues or complains, the system stays the way it is– inconvenient, annoying, and not functional for everyone. Speaking up is a very useful American value. It’s how things evolve.

But then, I get a comment from a total stranger, who feels the need to invalidate my comment with her praise. The new system doesn’t bother her; ergo, I should shut up and color, or… since I don’t like the new security measures, I obviously don’t understand them and need her to explain them to me. At least that’s how it seemed to me in my cranky, pre-caffeinated state of mind this morning. I was tempted to leave a response that matched my crabby mood, but decided to simply be blunt. Hopefully, she’ll get the message that I wasn’t talking to her and don’t necessarily value her input. She can always leave her own positive comment to USAA, which I guess would nullify mine.

I’m sure the lady who left her comment thought she was being helpful. I guess she thinks USAA needs someone to defend them from little ol’ me. She apparently assumed that I don’t know about two party security systems. She has no way of knowing that my husband has an advanced degree in cybersecurity and has already told me all about it, plus I can Google with the best of them. I get that. However, I find it very irritating when someone basically tries to tell another person to “shut up” by contradicting them, trying to school them, or both. I do understand that this is the way of the Internet. People are always going to “chime in” on these things and meddle in other people’s business. I can’t change that, and I know it. It’s still exasperating. Mind if I vent?

This probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much if it hadn’t been a running theme my whole life. People have been trying to shut me up since birth, even when I’m being polite. It only makes me more determined to communicate.

I’m sick and tired of people trying to silence other people whose opinions they either don’t appreciate or haven’t considered. And, maybe it’s childish of me, but I’m especially tired of people telling me how I should respond, what tone I should be using, and what my feelings should be. As a fellow member of USAA, I have as much right to be heard as anyone else does. Most of the time, I don’t even leave a lot of comments or complaints. When I do speak up, I’d simply like to be heard and acknowledged. To USAA’s credit, they did hear and respond to me, and quickly, too. Responses from the peanut gallery are not required.

Yeah, I know this rant probably makes me sound like a nut. Fortunately, I don’t go out unsupervised very often.

Sigh… ah well. I need to pack my bags and get ready to blow out of here for a much needed respite. With any luck, my Scottish friends will make me laugh with repeated and unapologetic utterances of random swear words as we walk down the street. Maybe I’ll find time to write. Maybe I won’t. Bless my sweet husband for putting up with his sourpussed wife.

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