I Fought Junk Mail and Won (One Battle)

One of my more satisfying accomplishments in 2016 was defeating a junk mailer who had repeatedly violated my credit reporting opt-out. The first part of this post comes from a draft letter I wrote, but never sent, to the three mail credit reporting agencies. It summarizes what happened between February 2015 and May 2016: at least five “pre-qualified” automobile loans sent to me in the mail, despite the fact I have never had a drivers license.

Here’s the story:

In February 2015 I received a notice in the mail that I was “prequalified” for an automobile loan by [Name Redacted] Auto, [Address Redacted].

This was a surprise, as I have never in my life had a drivers license. I called the telephone number on the letter and attempted to explain that they were wasting their time and mine, but was put on hold, transferred to voicemail, transferred to a number that rang but was never answered, and generally ignored. So later that day I called the “Prescreen Opt Out” number on the back of the notice and opted out of such notices.

A few weeks later I received another notice from the same company. Not sure if my opt out hadn’t yet “percolated” through the system or if I had not completed the process correctly on the phone, I again opted out using the Internet address provided. This time I received an on-screen confirmation, so I knew it had been completed correctly.

Continue reading

Forced from Home

All four of my grandparents were immigrants. They arrived in New York City in the 1920s, in their late teens or early twenties, seeking better jobs, adventure, or true love. (Or so my grandmother thought, until she met and married somebody other than her brother’s best friend.) They all wanted lives that were better than what they experienced between the World Wars in their native countries.

Yet things weren’t all that terrible back home. Difficult, yes; but not life threatening.

Today we see the largest number of displaced people since the Second World War: 60 to 65 million (depending on which statistics you read) people fleeing war, oppression, even genocide. They risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in rickety boats, or travel long distances on foot. In their eyes the risk is worth it, because to stay where they are is even greater risk of death.

figuresataglance-16jun2016
Credit: UNHCR website, http://www.UNHCR.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html

Continue reading

Updating My Blog

You’ve probably noticed that I recently did a major update to the design of this blog. I’m very pleased with the outcome and I hope that you, as a reader, are also happy with it. (If you’re not, please leave a comment and let me know what’s not working–and what device, browser, app, etc. you’re using.)

As I mentioned in my first post this year, I’ve been expanding my scope to include other online forms. One of those is SlideShare, so I made a SlideShare presentation to explain how I updated Circle of Ignorance.

 

New and Improving

Sometimes you need to take a step back.

Entering 2014 seemed a good time to make some changes to Circle of Ignorance.

First, a little history. When I started blogging in 2008, it was an experiment and learning experience. (That blog was written on Blogger under a pen name and has been deleted.) In particular, I planned to learn a little about blogging and help a writer friend start her own blog. She didn’t bite, and after a few months I realized that the only way to generate real conversation was to blog under my own name.

So after giving the matter some thought, I started Circle of Ignorance on WordPress in 2010. At the same time I joined Twitter. For almost a year I posted regularly twice a week; but in 2011 my Dad needed major surgery followed by a month of physical therapy that derailed my blogging. I was trying to resume in 2012 when hurricane Sandy derailed me again.

Continue reading