Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Where Is Cool Hand Luke When We Need Him?

I have led a few community groups in the past. I'm not volunteering now for this AOL debacle, however. Just trying to gather my thoughts on paper, or whatever this is.

I got a dog leash law in one town. You may not like me for that.  But the elderly lady around the corner couldn't walk to my house because she was accosted by dogs. My former husband was attacked at night when he ran.  And my kids couldn't play outside because my neighbor's overly friendly dog scared them. This isn't Colorado, Utah, Montana or Wyoming where dogs are people and can vote.

At the well attended hearing, my neighbor, who was opposed to the leash law stood up to say that his dog wouldn't hurt anyone, that he was very friendly and he stayed on the property, He finished with the classic dog owners' mantra: "Nobody has a problem with my dog." His dog was the one that was terrifying my children.

When he sat down, I stood up and said, "I have a problem with your dog."  The ordinance passed unanimously.  

I got a stop sign erected where no stop sign had ever been before, along a one mile stretch of narrow, winding road that people used as a shortcut. Unfortunate for those of us who lived on the road. Often the imprint of somebody's front grill was left on a tree, one in particular, especially on the weekends. The stop sign would at least slow them down, if only temporarily.

A group of women wanted to sign petitions and march on city hall. A large number met a my house and I said that ain't happening. So I had a questionnaire distributed along the entire road. That way everybody affected could have input. We got a fifty per cent response. A few days before the village board meeting I presented the returned questionnaires to them for their perusal.  And I showed up at the meeting alone. Before it began, I was called up ahead of time and told we could have a stop sign and I didn't need to stay.

Three years ago I said I would head up my neighborhood effort to make the village take responsibility for allowing a new construction homeowner to raise his grade and flood eight of our yards, ruining the entire lawn in a couple of cases.

We had three meetings where the village tried to say there was just extra rain or we had added vegetation that reduced drainage, blah blah blah. They made an offer. We could get things fixed for $1500 each. No thanks. I had to be careful as the leader of this group. As the only divorced person, let alone a woman over fifty who lives alone, I knew that I couldn't come across as a bitch with an ax to grind. It was true, but they didn't have to know.

So I played my best hand at the last meeting. One of my neighbors had just had a baby. She was in flames about losing her back yard to mud. She was a former flight attendant who had married a college football star. Think Nicole Kidman and a tall Tom Cruise. There were lots of comments at the gathering about how great she looked for having such a little baby. She got up in front of those bozos, holding her three week old infant in her arms and rearranged all their sphinctors in about two minutes. When she was done screeching at them in a voice from Hell, she sat down and the room was silent. I didn't have to say a word. Somehow the village found a way to solve our problem for free. Nothing like an angry woman with a baby.

I guess what I'm saying is that we have to get creative to fight these banners.

First of all, instead of boycotting AOL, I would boycott their advertisers. You can't make changes by leaving.

The larger issue here is that AOL often seems disinclined to ask our opinion before they do things. And only a members' advocate[s] can rectify this failure to communicate.

I'm thinking of a person who is a combination of Norma Rae and Cool Hand Luke. Who rides a motorcycle like Steve McQueen. [If you have to ask who Steve McQueen is, stop reading now and rent The Great Escape]. Someone who won't run to another blog site. Someone who will stand and fight.  

Let's be honest, one thing it helps to have is money. Money, as everyone knows, is power. That's why I am stepping up to the plate tonight.

And buying a Mege Millions ticket.  If I win, I'll be powerful. People will listen to me. AOL will isten to me. They'll ask me if they can get me something to drink. I'll say sure, and then I'll start firing people.

Fair and square, not like they treat us.

I'll fire the idiots who created the new AOL alerts message with that teeny tiny type that they haven't fixed yet.  Along with the people who can't figure out how to make MAC journals more compatible with AOL. I'll fire the yokels who screwed up the save button on FIREFOX [Don't ask].

As for the marketing genius who came up with the idea for the banners on our journals?  Let's hot wax the hair on his, uh, body parts. You just know it's a guy.

Anyway, if I win the lottery, after I fire everyone, sorry, only the people who deserve it, I'll throw a party for AOL journalers so we can hash this mess out among ourselves over a long weekend in, say, Las Vegas. No way we can be effective until we act like ants and move as a coordinated unit.

So Armand, besides moving our blogs to another place, you got any other thoughts?


mosie1944 said...

Darn... I was counting on all the popular folks leaving so I could win some sort of award.  It would have been so easy, with all of them gone.   Foiled again.

jevanslink said...

so Mo, are you behind all this?  Mrs. L

ksquester said...

I hope somebody figures out how to get them by the "short and curlys!"  I think YOU can lead this parade.......I'm behind you all the way. I am also passing out the bullet proof vests, because you know what they say about the messenger.  Anne

mosie1944 said...

I confess.  I talked to somebody in India and asked them to put ads on all the AOL journals because I knew it was my only chance of winning an award.

jckfrstross said...

I elect you to be our leader:)


jevanslink said...

I'll be your leader, only if I win the lottery.  So it's not looking good.  Haa. Mrs. L

meforevermore said...

Woo! Vegas baby! I'm up for that! lol


swibirun said...

I was just speaking with Alexis about this crap and came to a hard cold realization.

I run a business and thought about the economics of this.

If this boneheaded move makes 80 people cancel their accounts at $25 a month, AOL would loose $2,000 a month.  How much do you think they are getting from Skank of America and Kodak?  I am SURE it is more than that.

I would like to think more people will cancel their accounts but I don't think so.

We are trampled beneath the dollar....but AOL is a business.  But, at least they won't get my money.


emmapeeldallas said...

I'm here via AIM, so I haven't really seen a change.  I'd love to know what y'all see, 'cause I get lots of banners and pop-ups, but I've always gotten banners and pop-ups, but I don't get alerts.  I've signed up for them numerous times, but I never got them to work so I finally gave up.  I couldn't access the AIM chat room on Award Night (just as well, as I was a big losah) and was told it was because I wasn't on AIM.  Wrong.  I'd signed in and read all my e-mail on my AIM account, it's just that a lot of the stuff that's supposed to work doesn't work, soooooo...I think you're right, a mass exodus isn't gonna do it.  Clearly, AOL doesn't give a damn, my dear.


floralilia said...

somebody oughta put a leash on aol...

they're out of control.

the easy thing is...at least I know which businesses to boycott - they're flashing all over aol...

go sic 'em, mrs. l.

bluwave9 said...

Whew.  The save button on Firefox doesn't work for you either, eh?  Talk about a major party foul for Mac Users everywhere.  I know when I sign on tomorrow the ads will still be there, but at least give me back my Firefox.

- Distressed in CA.

salemslot9 said...

...and be able to eat 50 hard cooked eggs-hehe :)

ally123130585918 said...

Mrs L - We havn't got Banners here in England YET. I don't doubt they are coming - but I agree with you a mass exodus isn't the answer - Boycotting the advertisers sounds a much better way of dealing with this issue....We get Ads and Pop ups all the time - but unlike the Banners we can click them off...I havn't been able to add an entry to my Journal for days...So aol really has messed up....So win the lottery and sack the idiots who thought this one up.....Ally

tillysweetchops said...

I think you're right to fight tooth and nail over the browser and technical issues but as you suggest also, AOL won't care if 50 people or so leave the service (@ approx $25 per month each, the loss isn't even going to dent the corporate entertainment bill).  I'd be surprised if AOL budge an inch over this, and personally the ads don't offend me. They are so part of life that they are INVISIBLE especially when I scroll down half an inch to read the entry. I for one don't recoil whenever I visit an AIM journal.

Sad that lots of people are prepared to abandon this "community" with such ease. They'll find it mighty chilly over at Blogspot where the J-Land hierarchy won't count for nothing. The other bloggers wil be like "WTF's a Fartsy Essay?" Sad but true.

I hope people reconsider and some will be sadly missed, but J-Land will go on. I suspect that quite a few will regret leaving.

thisismary said...

Mrs. L, as always you are an inspiration.  For my part, I believe that I will spend more time talking about what I do for a living, in detail, including all of the names of the advertisers that appear in the banner while I am creating my journal.  I wonder how the advertisers are going to feel about someone googling their name and finding that name mentioned in the same journal entry as poop.  Yep, less poetry, more poop. That is my plan.

sunnyside46 said...

yeah, i wish everyone wouldn't leave.It's kina like cutting your nose off to spite your own face, KWIM?