Complain Hard & Always Make a Good First Impression

I swear to god or Hecate I’m gonna start a business called “The Complainer” because companies seem to develop their own rules, language and idiosyncrasies in regards to the value of a single customer.

Is the value of a customer nil? Yes, they subscribe to the “We want classes of people, i.e.  seniors, millennials or boomers as a whole rather than on the individual level where their little preferences and perfectionistic expectations deviate from Big Corporate’s goal.

Here’s one complaint for a good company that has given me years of shopping pleasure, especially the W 36th Street Manhattan location, in the shadow the Empire State Building where my Mets Regalia’d out friends were repeatedly photoed and selfie’d by Japanese tourists. Nice memory. Didn’t have the heart to tell the tourists they were from Connecticut. Here’s to the individual customer. The one that used to get individualized treatment from all the George Bailey’s in the world. Now, they’re slapped by the drunken pharmacist and on the bad end of a corporate policy mistake, just as if George  had NEVER been born. It’s a wonderful life 🙁


I was very happy to receive an unsolicited coupon for a 20oz Pepsi Product.

When I went through the register it rang up with .16 cents due. Yes, I understand the bottle deposit is required and the coupon clearly states: up to a $1.89 value… But it seems a little gimmicky almost bait and switchy in nature. First, couldn’t you have lowered the price to match the coupon, requiring only bottle deposit? Second, as a satisfied long term Walgreen’s and Duane Reade customer who spends a light to moderate amount (about $675 per annum) there each year, I found that the customer service rep (check-out) and the very well dressed asst. manager took a little too much pleasure in being correct about the owed .16 cents. His tone body language and demeanor was akin to;

“Haha, you’re totally wrong and WE, of course are right!”

Couldn’t he have waived the .16 cents? Is it really worth leaving a bad taste in the mouth of a satisfied customer who gratefully chooses to spend a light to moderate amount there annually?

I know; “If we did that for you we’d have to do it for everybody”

But seriously, how many coupons did he have to deal with that day. It’s not like there’s a Black Friday line around the block. But my complaint isn’t with the money. It’s with:
             The misleading nature of the FREE coupon.
             The “attitudinal righteousness” of your Coupon enforcement team

             And the poor judgement used on the “Almost Free” product pricing                policy.  

With regards and acknowledgement that I will most likely continue to patronized Walgreen’s, despite this non-customer-centic anomaly. I do hope you”ll find time to respond, but I also have my doubts as to that scenario also.

Guardedly Yours;

Tim Protzman


Bird Report from Cocktail Hill

There’s a dingy summer cottage on the Sound. It’s surrounded by a marsh. In the backyard is a small rise about five feet above sea level, topped by a very primitive looking brick patio. There are two decent folding lawn chairs, a wrought iron rusted Mediterranean Garden style lumbar torture rack from the Torquemada Collection and a high back kitchen chair that started out as dining room chair but lost its social standing. A parade of cheap lawn and squatty beach chairs, each disposable and anonymous. In the middle of all this is a solid, sturdy Coleman cooler that serves as refrigerator and coffee table. We call it “Cocktail Hill”.

There are two configurations for seating on the Hill. The best, facing east southeast looks out over the harbor entrance at Guilford Point. Wide sky and views of the birdfeeder that seems only to attract house sparrows, chickadees and mocking birds. The second configuration is facing northwest. The highlights are the sunsets, Arcturus rising as the evening’s brightest star and the eagle aerie.

Over 1,000 beers have been consumed on the summit, but the main drink is vodka martinis, which is in my regard a true martini, although I prefer gin as the base. My secret learned from the uber-wacko Peggy is not to use ice. Never let the spirit touch ice. Put the bottle in the freezer for 90 minutes. Pour into a glass with the olive on the bottom and about a quarter teaspoon of olive juice. Then add the vermouth last and watch it mix around. I started keeping the vermouth in the refrigerator just to preserve the chill. Occasionally, fresh sour mix and tonic water change things up for the vodka and hill huggers.

At night, directly overhead are Vega, Altair and Deneb, with Fomalhaut sparkling in the southern sky and Capella in the adjoining corner giving Polaris a run for its money.

There’s always a contest to spot the first visible star, although sometimes it’s not a star at all but a planet.

Dusk brings swifts and then bats for a mosquito meal. It’s a delicacy this year because the drought left their breeding grounds dry.

The birds were in pre-migration mode, but the dragonflies were queuing up for their cross Sound mass migration. They go south for the winter too.

The actually bird report is: a great blue heron flying southwest, the hummingbird bee lining through the backyard and over the hill, several ospreys, (which are now as thick as the “always there” Gulls) gulls, a Red Tailed Hawk and a goldfinch. The sight of the day however was two soaring birds, a half mile away. The lower, darker shape was an eagle. Catching a thermal. Higher up was an osprey gaining altitude for its dive across Long Island to Asbury Park and points south. The secret privilege of the sight was watching them move in and out of the clouds, at first growing hazy and disappearing;  then popping out all brightly lit again in the sunlight. Gradually  the circling became higher and farther until they were invisible from the Hill.

Soon the flyway will be filled with bird migrants and our breath will fog from the chill. Perhaps the martinis will stay cold right on the Coleman coffee table. Just one of life’s little hopes.

Bird of the Shore

I swear my old president looks like a sketch of the suspect in the Yale coed murder. Had a sad fall from grace. Hope he’s well. Once people get power, even in the sanitized quasi-chivalric corpo-governemnt, they change.  They start to practice the Hitler management method; keep your reports fighting amongst themselves, and they won’t come after you. And put off major decisions till someone (not you) must take ownership and therefore, any subsequent blame. Corpo-gov has raised feudal warfare to a bloodless level, even though most are still serfs.

Guilford is hard on young people. They drink and drug and die and suffer. Endless young people killed in car crashes. Now, heroin and opiates are killing as fast. Two brothers died together, of a fentanyl overdose. both found equally dead. But that was in Burlington, Vermont.

The weather was nice and I saw an Aquarid meteor one night. The eagles are gone? or I didn’t see any, but Scales sees them on State & Main. A hummingbird made several appearances as did a torrent of ospreys which chirp and screech too much. Just wanna slap them. A red tailed hawk seems to visit a dead tree between 2pm and 4pm daily. And I saw my second goldfinches, a skittery couple eating seeds from a weed with yellow flowers. And the sharp shinned hawk that swooped over the yard in a tight aerodynamic tuck.  The Canada geese are gone but they’ll be back pooping on the soccer pitch and waves  of bird armies will pass overhead to soar up, up over Long Island and glide down to catch up with the land again over northern Jersey.



Connecticut man, 81, accused of performing sex act with shrubbery

STRATFORD >> An 81-year-old Stratford man has been charged with public indecency, accused of performing a sex act with some shrubbery.

Police tell the Connecticut Post they arrested Wallace Berg on Monday after a neighbor showed them a video he took of a naked Berg in the bushes outside Berg’s home.

Police say the neighbor told them he confronted Berg who then stopped the indecent behavior, covered himself with a grill cover, apologized and went into his house.

Berg was charged with public indecency and second-degree breach of peace. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond and is due in Superior Court on Aug. 5.

He did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday from the Associated Press seeking comment.

  • WOW That’s a new one!

    Sounds like something from a Monty Python skit.

Birds I have seen and Mocked.

Yesterday I saw an albino starling. Last weekend there were 27 ospreys in Guilford and they were besieged by either pipets or whimbrels peeping out an angry tune. There are turkeys across from Dairy Queen. Herons; both Great Blue and Black crowned Night Herons fly above the Mill River. And Friole has come around from the “They’re Chicken Hawks” stage to actually seeing eagles. Not imaginary ones, but ones in the correct location of their flyways and feeding routes. Although the one he saw on the Mt. Carmel Connector sitting on a tall aluminum lamp post was probably only a  Chicken Hawk, a name which denotes raptors that have the capacity to kill small chickens. Eagles eat fish and generally don’t perch on high exposed aeries.

And the Mockingbirds have raised their young and gone off. The blackberries are ripening and soon they will be thousands of avians traveling the mighty Atlantic Flyway to different places.

I look forward migration more this year because the No Worries Brewery and Tap Room is opening on State Street and it’s only a block from prime eagle sighting turf. I wonder if eagles drink?

God send me humming birds!

The Rat Colony is About to Explode

I used to live in a dorm named after John C. Calhoun. And while he died ten years before the first Civil War, he was a noted States Righter and Slavery Advocate. I was pleased to see it was renamed when I drove by in the summer of 2001. I think that America would be a lesser country, a meaner, more backwards place if there had not been black people here. They add to society and our culture in a most aleatory way.

We look back at Nazi Germany and we ask; “Why didn’t the people stop them?” They did. Ever hear of the White Rose Society? A peaceful student protest group. They were beheaded. It take guts to Occupy Wall Street. It’s not easy to stand in the hot Missouri street with other dispossessed and rally. Today the White Rose Society is venerated. In life they were reviled. Just like the Ferguson patriots of today.

The Rat Colony is from an experiment by John B. Calhoun who observed and documented the effects of overcrowding on contained rat colonies. The conclusions are not good. It’s a thing called Behavioral Sink, which means as the stress in the society increases  so do the behaviors we call deviant.

I think that people have forgotten the normal rules of society and  they overlook injustice because of the Niemoller Principle, which says you remain silent and therefore pliant until it hits home. Neimoller said; “When they came for the Communists, I did not speak up because I wasn’t a Communist…and when they finally came for me just before the end, no one was left to stand up for me.

Most Americans just wanna be left alone. But there are those who, by using social media join a much larger community than was even available even back in 2001. Technology has outpaced our social mastery of it. And when was the first porno picture taken? Right after the first portrait? And who invented the now defunct obscene call? I bet Graham Bell was alive. Guns & Drones, filming a car accident instead of helping are symptoms of the tunnel vision people have about “just doing their thing”. People wanna be left alone but today, you can’t just opt out of societal norms, the stakes are to high. We need to put caring and civic responsibility back into people. It seems like everyone just wants to get there “cheese” at all costs.

But the human race needs to turn the corner into the Age of Aquarius and start putting the greater good of the society ahead of feathering their own nest. The poor need to engage a passion or simply get out and clean up their block. The wealthy need to share more and use their wealth to facilitate things.  It’s an attitude change and I fear it will never come. I think that there were always people who took and dominated and hurt for their gain, but not everyone. Today, I fear it’s a universal attitude and the rat colony is about to explode.


She Dresses Like One of Don Draper’s Wives

And boy can she talk. An_Noy_Ing. And unpleasant. High nasal voice. Always throwing in “Just Kidding” at the end of her outrageous statements. Even more annoying than that train foamer who talked from Brattleboro to New Haven. Mercifully, I passed out from my third Bloody Mary.

It had started so nice. On the way up we got off in Rattleboro, but the Train went to Fellow’s Balls, so we embarked there on the return trip. We’d seen an eagle flying up the Connecticut at the depot and we snuck off to spark a bowl behind the station, with the impressive Gibraltar-like Fall Mountain over in New Hampshire dominating the clear blue sky. On the train I saw another eagle, perched in a tree as we slid through a bend in the river where the bank dropped off in a near palisade providing a natural perch nearly invisible to prey below. The water sparkled.

The dude started talking and the college student next to him was soon asleep. Two coeds were watching an ipad with earbuds and were oblivious. The story I remember from the kid with the Suzyn Waldman voice was about his brush with fame in the person of Ben Savage, mega-star.  There was more mix-up as we entered the twilight zone of “the Palmer Turnaround” where the tracks head 8 miles east, towards Boston, before the train switches tracks and finishs the trip backwards with the engineer driving from the  rear control cab, now upfront. But soon after he was quiet and my Bloodies were soothing.

On the 1960’s TV sitcom That Girl, Marlo Thomas’ boyfriend shops for an engagement ring. He hears the word baguette for the first time. Jewelry baguettes are the little surrounding diamonds that highlight the larger stone. Ted, the boyfriend says; “I just heard that word for the first time yesterday, now it’s popping up every five minutes.” Too bad annoying girl wasn’t more like Marlo and less like Megan. But here’s a real life version of the first occurrence followed by multiple reoccurrence phenomenon.

Grindr, the hookup app is not named for a sandwich. It’s named for the humpy pumpy dance two males do during physical love as they smash their pudentia together.

I never meant to open this door, but I’m just getting all this out of my system. Like Poop Beard. Saw a couple of stories on the web where they swabbed dudes’ beards and cultivated the swabbing samples in a petri dish. And they claim it was identical to germs found in fecal material. The explanations were sickening. How did it get there? Sex? Improper hand washing? So what i came up with is this: a beard can harbor dead skin and old food and germs from the hands, because we beardies know how nice it is to lovingly stroke our whiskers. Maybe the petri samples are from a germy mix that imitates buggies found in the colon?

It is hard to segue to lunch now, but that’s what begat my new occurrence/multiple reoccurrence tale.

Being interested in regional food, I innocently asked a citizen of Arizona what they call a grinder sandwich out there. The answer was snippy. They call it a sub, or whatever, we understand it all out here, no one is actually from here, they all moved in after life in the other 49.  What a crank ass.

Then during karmic retribution he was listening to Boomer and Carton and the topic of unregulated New York city hotdogs came up. The law says prices must be displayed, but several sting operations found prices varied from the standard $5 to $8 or even as high as $30 for the more distractedly meek tourist.

The radio conversation turned to what do you call a sandwich on an oblong roll. Grinder, hoagie, sub, zeppelin, torpedo, hero, po boy and muffuletta? And which regional variations they knew, loved and remembered. We laughed and he was less cranky.

Today at work he got free lunch. They had giant six foot sandwiches. Babs, the old trainer who showed him around Webbing & Casing asked him;

“Do they have sandwiches like this back east?”

Which started a discussion on regional foods and how soda is pop and tonic and other various names around the country.  We talked  that night and I told him about Donald, Marlo’s boyfriend and he was like;

“How did you sidetrack off to a 1960’s TV show? We were talking about food?” But he thought the occurrence/reoccurrence theory was interesting.

Later he would tell me;

“After we got off the phone last night, Chris came in and asked me if I wanted a sandwich, cause he had rolls from work.”

Here it goes again he thought.  Sandwiches and the initial occurrence/ multiple reoccurrence theory all in one.

“What kinda bread did you get?” He asked his bro; “Baguettes” Chris answered.

“He got them from this bakery called Hollinger’s, it’s really good and old”

“You won’t believe this,” I said; “but the boyfriend’s name  on That Girl was Hollinger.”

Now we’re longing for a “That Girl” remake starring Nicki Minaj and Ben Savage.


While writing this I took a break and attended a tasteful, civilized Jack & Jill party for my niece and a woman guest brought her two pubic aged boys named: Chianti and Minaj.




Cottonwood Fluff

It looked like snow. It clumped together, clung to your shoes and covered the trail in fibrous hoarfrost. I might have seen an osprey over the town center wending along the Mill River.  Found $2 and saw a marmot or groundchuck. And the otter. It could be a different one, but who else lives in the area and rides a mini bike? Once he came to the Duane Reade and went inside with his helmet on. Today I only saw the helmet but the skinny frame was what I used for proof. And that’s the funny thing about truth, rarely is it not subjective, assumptive intuition creeps into the equation and our minds accept that as truth.

Election Day

Here in Hamlet we are electing a new mayor. The old ones were pretty good. The town has a nice sanitation department that offers twice a year bulk removal of bigger items in addition to the weekly trash pick-up. The  transfer station (dump) is nice. The Arts Commission puts on farmer’s markets and concerts. The fire department does a great fireworks show. The snow gets plowed most of the time. There’s a temporary mayor and three candidates. The old elected mayor got a nice job with the state and he’ll probably run for office again. He was part of the commission for the school shooting report. That was a sad day, when that shooting happened. I was hoping it was only a domestic violence killing, like someone shot a lunch lady, or teacher. but it wasn’t. And it’s kinda sick that I hoped it would be ONLY a domestic or maybe a workplace shooting. I think I thought that if the people knew each other it would be easier to create a motive.

“Oh, someone was fired and they shot their boss.”

So the horror of that random act could somehow be lessened by mitigating circumstances. That was the saddest day.

There’s been a hullabaloo about a university and the housing of students. Mostly parties, cars and parking, kids crowding together in what was once single family homes and a promise to create enough room on campus.

Both sides, town and gown have merit but it’s so complex. Is it resistance to change? Preserving peace and property values? Unfulfilled obligations? Sheer nuisance and youthful stupidity? Then there was TV and the chief got pilloried. I think I’ll vote and try to come in on the side of suffer the children and clean up your messes. Hamlet has an excellent sanitation department

Stupidity Under Fire

Every time I take the online Jeopardy test I fail, miserably; no- spectacularly! But sometimes the contestants are just as dumb. But it’s not ignorance or  lack of knowledge, it’s pressure.

Most of the time the Jeopardy question/answer is embedded in the answer, which is revealed verbal and visually. Usually, in champions and generals, instinct and intuition take over and reveal the path to true knowledge. It’s only when we second guess, go against our intuition, that wrongness prevails. We doubt and allow our minds to  fall downward into a plausible, but often incorrect second choice.

Scenario One.

Just before the last commercial break Alex Trebek announces the Final Category. It was “Islands”. I guessed Manhattan, before the commercial and before the answer was revealed. Then when I heard the answer. “It’s population of 2 million has not changed since 1886.” I over thought and changed my mind to Hong Kong. I would have lost. I probably would have written Manhattan and then scratched it out and put Hong Kong. It’s a teachable moment.

The other night the Final Category was Animated Characters. The answer was;

“This character is based on a composite of Clara “Two Doves” Liscomb, who is her direct descendant and supermodel Christy Turlington.

Now the question is in the answer theory would lead towards Pocahontas, i.e. the Two Doves in quotations reference. Of course I, guided by my field marshals sense of intuitive correctness choose the right response. But only one of the three contestants also guessed the answer. One guessed Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, which was a good try. The other guessed Ariel, from the Little Mermaid. Dumbest question answer ever. I’ve seen Clara “Two Doves” Liscomb, and she doesn’t look Mermish at all.