The Case Against Hamilton Burger

Upfront Disclaimer:  This blog post pertains to the television program from the 1950s & 1960s starring Raymond Burr and others.  Not the books or any other television programs or movies.

Ok, for those of you unfamiliar with the Perry Mason television program none of this will mean anything to you, so I feel no obligation to explain it all and provide loads of background.  Cut your loses now and click on to the next post.  For those of you who are familiar with the program this will make sense, though you may strongly disagree with my premise here.  Hamilton is very popular among Perry Mason fans, and for good reason, he does indeed have some endearing qualities, but that’s not what I’m kvetching about.

Hamilton Burger is incompetent.  There, I said it.  In the series Hamilton Burger (played by William Talman shown in the photo at right) is the Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) who almost always goes up against Perry Mason (defense attorney), and I claim is a very bad, a very poor, attorney.  And that’s what fans will disagree with me about.  But here’s my evidence, circumstantial as it may be…

  1. The premise goes that only a competent attorney could ever be a DA, hence Hamilton must be a competent attorney.  But… he loses pretty much every case.  Against Perry, at least, but isn’t that enough?  No competent attorney would have that bad a record against a single adversary.
  2. Maybe he wins against all the other attorneys, people say.  Ok, then if his record is consistent, and he continually prosecutes innocent people against Perry, then he sends a lot of innocent people to prison when he faces others, and he would send a lot more if Perry weren’t so good.  Hardly inspiring.
  3. Even in the five or six episodes with a “guest defense attorney”, when Raymond Burr was out with a real-life injury, Hamilton still loses to every single one of them.  Yes, it’s just a tv show, but c’mon…

Some like to point out Hamilton is interested in truth and justice and not winning… which highlights the “it’s only a tv show” aspect because real life certainly wouldn’t be that way, and it still doesn’t excuse his overall inadequacy as a prosecutor.

Some also like to speculate he wins most other cases, but we have no evidence for that.  All we have to go by is what we see in the show, and it shows constant ineptitude.  Sorry, I calls ’em as I see’s ’em.  In other words, Hamilton Burger is… wait for it… irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.

Rant: Stadium Naming

How much importance do you place in stadium names? How much effort do you put into keeping up?

For example, Yankee Stadium is Yankee Stadium. Say “Yankee Stadium” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. Same with Dodger Stadium. Even Wrigley Field is named after people and/or corporation, and Fenway Park is named after the neighborhood it is in, but they still have long-standing history and and tradition and are immediately recognizable.

But what about the more recent trend of stadium names changing every few years based on nothing more than who is willing to pay the most money? Guaranteed Rate Field, anyone? Third name for the same place, btw. I still call it Comiskey Park. If you were to walk up to me and mention a game in Truist Park I’d have to ask you which team or city. No lie. “Truist Park” means nothing to me.

I still call Oracle Park “Pac Bell Park”… it never had a legit name so I go with the first brain dead iteration. Oracle is what, the 4th or 5th iteration? I am a long-time Oakland A’s fan, yet as far as I am concerned they still play in the Oakland Coliseum (I know, originally Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, I’m not doing tongue-twisters, either), and always will. O.co, my ass.

Basically, stadiums names have become absurd and for the most part meaningless. When the name right’s holder sends me a check I will comply. Until then I feel zero obligation… Braves Field it is.

Rant: Everything’s a Chore… ATMs, Passwords, and Bears, Oh My!

Everything’s a chore

Computers and technology were supposed to make life easier.  Computers and technology were supposed to give us more free time.  Granted, most of us aren’t churning our own butter anymore, so there are certainly benefits to our modem lifestyle in the information age, but it’s not all a cakewalk, either.  Now, the following examples aren’t life threatening, they aren’t going to bring you to your knees, and they most certainly aren’t the most important thing you will deal with.  But they are annoying, frustrating, high blood pressure inducing… and they are most certainly unnecessary time stealers, and they’re all a byproduct of computers and technology.  Here’s just a few of them…

Getting a new debit card

I am the Treasurer for a local Toastmasters club.  The old debit card had expired and I got a new card in the mail.  Called and activated it and set the PIN.  So far, so good.  Then kept getting declined when I went to pay people’s dues, so I called the bank. Turns out I have to use it at an ATM as a second step, then it would work fine. *sigh*  Ok, thank you, I cheerily said.

So, I had to get in the car, drive to a bank, check my balance, and drive back home. Then it worked fine. *smh*

“For your protection…”

Last Saturday I had a photo shoot and on my way out of town stopped at a convenience store for some drinks for the ride.  My debit card (from a small local credit union) got declined.  Hmmm, that’s weird, I know there’s plenty of money in the account.  I try four times, declined every time, so I pull out a credit card and pay.

I then go to the ATM at said credit union which happened to be right next door.  The ATM looks suspicious like when I computer has been reset.  Had to go to the photo shoot, so I can’t call the credit union until Monday… which is another pet peeve of mine… you want people to abandon big banks and go local, then have someone to answer phones and deal with people during off hours.  But I digress.

Monday morning and I try the card again.  No go.  Good thing I had cash on me, which I normally don’t anymore.  I decide to visit said credit union branch in person.

To cut to the chase, through three visits to their ATM, and two visits inside to talk to a person, it turns out there was a “scheduled maintenance” (skeptical, there is no email evidence of such in my email) of the system on Saturday morning and my card usage was bad timing.  Then, because I tried four times, which is one more than the maximum of three allowed, my card was locked.

I’m sorry, but if it’s YOUR down time, then shouldn’t YOU be aware enough to make sure these things don’t happen?  Plus, back to the big bank vs credit union thing, big banks don’t have down times for “scheduled maintenance”, yet small banks and credit unions do.  It’s the 21st century, get with the program.

Passwords

How do you do your passwords for internet sites?  Do you have one for everything?  Do you mix them up?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you want to do, you can’t do that.

You can’t have a single password for everything (which they say is a bad idea).  All require letters, but some require at least one capital letter, some require at least one number, some require at least one “special character” (i.e.: !@#$%, etc., and not all allow the same special characters), and none all have the same requirements, it’s a mix-and-match, so even if you wanted to have one password you can’t.

So, you have many different passwords.  Ok.  How do you remember them all?  Do you write them down on a piece of paper or a computer file?  They say you’re not supposed to do that either, btw.

How about one of those password organization sites?  I would think the chances of that getting hacked is greater than little ol’ me getting hacked.

There is no perfect answer.  And don’t even get me started on requirements to change my password every so often.

Money and ATMs

One of the great things where small banks and credit unions shine over the big banks is doing the small things to make life easier for the customer.  (That’s you and me, btw.)  One of these things is allowing ATM withdrawals in $5 increments.  This is so handy.  Sometimes I just need $5 or $10 for something small, and there is no need to force me to drain my account more than necessary.

Within the last year two of my credit unions have changed their policy and now only allow $20 increments.  This does not serve me well, and removes one of the key points for being with a credit union.  If I’m going to be treated like I’m at a big bank I might as well do business with a big bank and gain the added benefits, like the ability to call on a Saturday evening and talk to someone and get my issues solved.  (See what I did there?)

Conclusion

This turned out wordy.  😛

Thanks for… nothing, really

Anyone on Facebook for more than a day has noticed this trend:  People apply to join a closed group, and once they’re approved will create an initial post that says something like…

Thanks for the add

😐

In true Grump fashion I have to ask:  Why is this necessary?  Ok, it’s… nice.  It’s polite.  It doesn’t hurt anything… except forcing everyone to spend time and knuckle muscles to scroll by that tripe.  But is it necessary?  Does it help anything?

One has to wonder… what are they really trying to say?  They’re such a renown a-hole known the world over they’re literally surprised any group would actually accept them?  Shocking even to them.

My grandpa used to say if someone goes out of their way to tell you what a horrible person they are… believe them.  Hmmm… maybe they should be denied.

Rant: How strong are your convictions?

Facebook is many things to many people, and one of those things Facebook is is something of a political discussion forum, like it or not.  People post their particular views, other people respond, and all that’s fine as long as people aren’t abusive.  And here’s the rub, some take forceful responses as something they aren’t prepared to deal with.

Call me crazy, but I would think if all you want is a forum from which to spout your opinion, and are too thinned-skinned to suffer feedback, then maybe a public forum like Facebook isn’t for you.  You should probably start a private blog instead of creating something like a public Facebook account which is designed specifically to be interactive.

Here’s a hint: If you post something that other people can read, those other people may respond… and they may not agree with you. Shocking, I know.  Grow a thicker skin and get over it.  If you find yourself blocking or unfriending people over it, maybe your convictions aren’t as strong as you think they are.

/rant off

Servers: Respect is a two-way street

We’ve all been there.  Sit down for a meal at a restaurant, giving our order to the server, and the server asks, “Would you like to add <insert special feature here>?”

You think that sounds good, so you say, “Yes, please.”

Fast forward about half an hour and you’re presented with the bill and there’s an unexpected charge included.  😐  What the deuce?

Now, to be clear, we’re not talking about adding a skewer of shrimp.  Of course that’s going to cost more and is usually listed on the menu.  We’re talking about adding a side of BBQ sauce, or some onions, things that are small and insignificant and not listed on the menu.  (Steak houses are really bad about charging $2 for 2c worth of onion.)

There’s a place we frequent that has everything ala carte.  In other words, if you want fries with your burger you have to order fries separate.  At this place I ask if I could substitute a croissant for the bun on a chicken sandwich.  The server said, “Sure.”  The whole way it went down told me it would be an even exchange.  Nope, it was an extra $2.  (This place also does not list prices for it’s specials.)

Bottom line, it’s dishonest in a lying-by-omission way, not to mention rude, to take an order that includes a charge and not warn the customer they will be upcharged.  Stop it.  Just stop it.

One more thing…

Servers… know your job.  And I mean prices.  For example, almost no menu anyplace includes prices for soft drinks… so I ask.  (I have an arbitrary limit I’m willing to pay.)  The most common answers I get are, “I think it’s <whatever>.”, or simply, “I don’t know.”, followed by them just standing there like a statue.  Ummm, could you go check?

I will say yesterday we had a wonderful server who knew the price and quoted it confidently.  Unfortunately, sodas were $3, which is way too much, so we had ice water… which is better for us anyway.  That being said…

I make them go check because I’ve been burned several times when I accepted the, “I think…”, answer and it turned out to be more.  Servers, know your job, that includes prices.

The Unnecessary Hyperbole of “Perfect”

There’s a chain steakhouse nearby and all the servers are obsessed with “perfect”.  For example, you’re eating your meal and the server comes by to check on you and instead of asking, “How is everything?”, they ask, “Is everything perfect?”

😐

First off, nothing is ‘perfect’.  Second, it puts me in a corner.  The first option is open-ended and I get to set my own standard.  In the second option I have to either agree it’s perfect or come off as I’m complaining, because anything less than ‘perfect’… i.e. ‘very good’… is somehow less than acceptable.  And we/they know most people don’t want to complain, so we’re pressured into giving impeccable reviews.  (I suspected at the time management told servers to do this because they all did it.)  The Grump’s response?:  “It’s very good.”

 perfect: adjective

Definition of perfect

(Entry 1 of 3)
1a : being entirely without fault or defect

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfect

It’s become ubiquitous.  Now I can’t talk to anyone without this word coming up.  I go to the doctor and they ask me to verify my information.  “What’s your phone number?”

“867-5309”

“Perfect.”

-facepalm-  Is that really necessary?  All I did was answer correctly.  If my number had changed would it have been less than perfect?

Stop the insane hyperbole.

What Adults Do

Our society is getting too soft, and it’s evidenced by how we are willing… or not… to do certain tasks.

Call me “old school” if you want, but there are things every adult… especially men… should know how to do whether they want to know or not.  One of them is changing a tire.  If you are 18 years of age, and you own and/or drive a vehicle, you should know how to change a tire and you should have done it at least once.

Spare me that you have AAA or some other roadside service.  Don’t be so soft.  Are you an independent adult, or not?

Now, once you know how, I don’t care if you use a roadside service, that’s fine.  But if in a position where said service is not available you won’t be stranded and helpless.

I also believe that everyone, including women, should be routinely checking their own oil and water.  It’s your vehicle, be responsible for it.  Again, if you come to me and say your oil is low, ok, I’ll go fill it, but you need to be responsible and aware of your own vehicle.

Toughness

The Grump is a watcher, an observer, and this year has been really screwed up.  Watching people and how they react to adversity has been… interesting… to say the least.  Literally every month so far there’s been some event or incident to test people, but we’re going to focus only on two examples.

The Events and Resulting Issues

Coronavirus / Covid-19:  There are several measures to fight the spread the virus such as “social distancing”, quarantining, mask wearing, and so on.  Mask wearing, in particular, seems to have triggered the most extreme reactions.  Most people are complying pretty well.  Most people understand mask wearing helps slow the spread.  Most people understand others may not be as physically resistant as they are and are willing to help keep them as safe as possible.

Then there’s people who don’t seem to care about others at all.  Then there’s people who have turned it into a political issue… who claim the Constitution yet clearly have no clue what the Constitution actually says.

Then we had the derecho earlier this month:  The devastation has been incredible.  Hundreds of thousands of people were without power for varying times.  Some were up right away.  As of 14 days afterward 99% of people had been restored.  We were without power for six days, for example.  Which leads us to…

The Observations and Those Issues

With covid and masks those refusing to wear masks whined and complained and made up excuses as to why they shouldn’t have to, others be damned.  It’s hot.  My glasses fog up.  I have breathing issues (which I personally suspect 90% of people making this claim are flat-out lying).

With the deracho most people have been pretty stoic, riding it out, adapting as necessary, figuring out workarounds to normal life, etc.  But I also kept reading on Facebook things like… I don’t have AC… it’s hot (it was warm, it wasn’t hot)… after two days some people started complaining how long it was taking to get power re-established, and so on.

The Question and Conclusion

Have we lost all sense of toughness?  Can we really not hang for a week or so without power when extreme circumstances call for it?  This does not bode well for our society, IMO.

Now, some are reading this and thinking, “Sure, Grump, but what about the elderly and the ill and others not as well off as you?”

Of course those people exist and are less equipped to handle adversities like this.  I’m not talking about those people.  And there are people who suffered greater losses than I did with the derecho, like the complete destruction of their homes.  I’m not talking about them, either.  Who I’m talking about is otherwise healthy and normal people who have had their lives interrupted and inconvenienced for sure, but in the grand scheme of things are not that bad off.

And for masks, you seriously can’t hang with wearing a mask for an hour or less?  Seriously?  You’re that weak?  Employees wear them for their entire shifts.  Suck it up, you only need to wear one in limited situations.

Be a little tougher.

 

Summer is here, and why that’s not necessarily a good thing

Yesterday was the first day of Summer, and The Grump© is not happy about it.  Don’t get The Grump© wrong, The Grump© likes long sunny days just as much as the next (third-)person… and that’s why The Grump© is not happy about it.  Hear The Grump© out.

When The Grump© lived in California Spring started in mid-February, even in the northern part of the state where The Grump© lived.  That was nice.  Gave everyone plenty of time to enjoy it.

In Iowa, Spring might start in early March or it might start in mid-May, like this year.  Iowa has had almost exactly one month of Spring… and now the days are going to get shorter and shorter for the next six months.  The Grump© feels cheated.

😐

The Grump© loves Iowa, only a few things that suck… this is one of them.