Thursday, May 25, 2006

Phone-y Solicitors

Terrel and I must get 5 or 6 calls a day about student lone consolidation. Telemarketers plagueo our landline from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM every day. We are constantly screening our calls, and I have gotten to where I won't even check our answering machine any more. If I didn't want to hear it on the phone, I don't want to hear it on the answering machine either. I hate sifting through the endless "Hi, this is a courtesy call from blah blah blah!"

Anywho--I think these jokers are getting smarter; their routines are evolving. They know now that we're wise to all of the phone solicitor give-aways. For example you never say "Hello" twice. If there is a pause after "Hello" hang up immediately! If the person on the other line can't pronounce your name, you simply say, "There's no one hear by that name." It's the truth.
Today I got a call and for some reason I actually picked up the phone--I thought it was Terrel. When I said hello, there was a pause, and again I deviated from the plan and waited that extra second. The person on the other line called be by my first name, "Sarah?" So, I responded in the affirmative and he launched off into his gimmie money repetoir. It was all I could do to get off the phone politely. Maybe I should have hung up, but it was the "support your local fire department" business, and I try to be nice to them.

This acting-like-its-a-personal-call thing must be the new gimmick. A couple of weeks ago a woman called and asked for Terrel. I had a pretty good idea it was a school loans call because she was speaking with a heavy middle-eastern accent. So, in an attempt to cut her off at the pass, I said, "May I ask who's speaking?" And she says, "This is Anitia." I had to kind of chuckle. Where I come from you just don't call up a woman and ask for her husband without offering some kind of explanation. "May I ask who's calling" can be roughly translated as "Who are you, you strange woman, and what business do you have with my husband?" But she didn't offer any kind of explanation, as if it's just the most normal thing for some woman you've never heard of to call your husband at home.
Giggling, I asked "May I ask what your call is pertaining to?" to which she responded (quite curtly), "Why do you laugh? Do I make joke?" In laughing I did not intend to be rude, I was just a little shocked by her brazen attempt to dupe me into putting Terrel on the phone so that she could make her sales pitch. I politely informed her that I was not interested in doing business with her, especially since she had not been very considereate to me as the lady of the household.

What I should have done is just go ape accusing Terrel of cheating on me and asking who this "Anita" was. "Anita!? a-NIT-a!? Who is Anita and what is she doing calling you at OUR house! You two have got a lot of nerve!"
That would have been funny. (Terrel would NEVER do anything dishonest, BTW. I trust him completely. But that lady would have gotten the shock of her life!) The crazy thing was, she called back twice within the next 10 minutes and changed her name to Jessica. Persistent.

So, beware. They think they've got our numbers. Actually, they do have our numers, and they're not at all afraid to use them!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not a Christian? Don't be a lemming.

Don't make the decision not to be a Christian based on the Da Vinci Code. I have to say that I am increasingly shocked by the American public and how ready and willing they are to accept the inaccuracies Dan Brown portrays as truth. Respect yourself enough to do a little research before you join the mass of lemmings following Brown around with their tongues wagging, ready for another earth shattering "truth" fall from his pen. I'll even give you a leg up. Here are some of the flagrant fallacies from Brown's Code:

The following are from the May 15 issue of USA Today in an article entitled, Where's the passion over 'Da Vinci Code'? by Amy Welborn. Welborn has a master of arts in church history from Vanderbilt University. She has written two books on Brown's best seller: De-Coding Mary Magdalene: Truth, Legend, and Lies and De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code.
1. Fiction: The Priory of Sion is an ancient group charged with protecting the secret of the real Holy Grail, and Leonardo da Vinci was a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.
Fact: The Priory of Sion was extablished in 1956 by a crackpot Frenchman who was exposed as a fraud in the French media in the 1980's. The documents claiming Leonardo's role were forged and planted in the French archives in teh 1960's. Since theere was no Priory of Sion in the way that The Da Vinci Code describes it, Leonardo couldn't have been a part of it. Simple logic.

2. Fiction: Politics determined what Gospels made it into the Bible.
Fact: By the mid-second century, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John were widely accepted as the foundational texts of Christianity. The criteria had nothing to do with gender or power. It was all about whether they reflected the witness of the apostles about Jesus, how old they were, and how useful they were for the entire church, instead of just a small group.
[This also may be helpful to those who might have questions concerning the Gospel of Judas and whatever super secret version of Jesus's life, mission, death, and divinity that might arise from it's recent "discovery."]

3. Fiction: Constantine invented the divinty of Christ in 325.
Fact: Even a cursory look at textual evidence shows tat Christians worshipped Jesus as Lord long before Constantine's reign. The Council of Nicea was called to address a heresy called Arianism, which taught that Jesus wasn't fully divine.

4. Fiction: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.
Fact: The Gospels are all very forthright about Jesus' familial relations, and they don't hide the existence of Mary Magdalene, either. If they had been married, there would have been no reason to hide the fact.
[And if you caught last week's edition of The Enquirer, you'll be disappointed to learn that the Gospel of Judas reveals an even more shocking truth: they got a divorce too!]

5. Fiction: Christianity demonized Mary Magdalene in order to suppress her influence.
Fact: Mary Magdalene is a saint. In every Gospel, she is cited as the fist person to find the empty tomb. She was the second-most revered saint of the Middle Ages, after Mary, Jesus' mother. That's an odd way to demonize.
I've read The Da Vinci Code, and to be honest with you, it scared me. And I was raised in the church. So, I did some reading. Did I believe any of it--no, not really, but I'm not some super-Christian who is impervious to doubt. I refused to be a lemming either way. Over the next few days I will post a few of the inaccuracies that were brought to my attention by scholars who have greater access to historical documents, better understanding of ancient languages, and are more experienced in the area of historical study (complete with references and page numbers which, might I add, you'll find none of in Brown's so-called factual novel--an oxymoron if there ever was one). I hope you will check in, even if you don't believe in Christianity. At the very least, be well-informed. Don't let Dan Brown dupe you into believing that "almost everything our fathers taught us about Jesus is false" (Code, 235).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back in Weezie!

Well, for the past few days I've had the pleasure of being at home and visiting with family and all my BR friends. To get here I had to navigate the ATL airport by myself! Can you believe I made it? I was actually pretty nervous about it. I've spent the last few days eating the best food in the whole world and having the best laughs! Terrel comes down on Friday and we'll celebrate my sister's graduation as well as mine and Terrel's 2 year anniversary! There will be cook-outs and fish fries and cajun food galore! (I feel like Templeton at the fair! I'll have to work out every day for three weeks when I get back!)

Fried pickles, catfish poboys, Hello Sushi Johnny rolls, Izzos, (Sadly Ingas was bulldozed to make room for an apartment complex.), Brewbachers, that crazy gas station next to dad's office with the awesome Greek food, Dempsey's...All I can say is: "Wish you were here!"