OUT OF WARRANTY ALREADY…?

The other day, I received a transcribed (i.e. recorded message) on my phone where a woman’s voice informed me that my car’s warranty was about to expire. This company, who was not mentioned in this message, was trying to contact me without success. Now that they finally did attempt to reach out to me (so to speak), that I was eligible to extend my auto’s warranty for future repairs that may come around or not. All I had to do was to press the “one” key on my phone where I would have been connected to a customer service rep that would give me the lowdown on how I can protect my car no matter how old it was.

One would think that I would be very lucky to receive such a call out of the blue. “Just think..”, or so I was supposed to declare.. “This company was making an attempt to contact me stating that my car was ready to have a warranty extended!” So how did I react to this bit of good news?

I did what millions (yes..millions) of others that received such a phone call did. I hung up on the call.

This type of phone call is part of the ever growing number of calls people receive on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Thanks to modern technology, there are companies, and in some cases, individuals, that make such calls to these millions of phone numbers at the same time! These systems do not know who is behind the numbers dialed. Some may be for real people compared to other robots. Some call numbers that have been long disconnected, while the rest call phone numbers not connected to anybody or anything. And these type of phone calls are not necessarily limited to selling auto warranty programs. Some are impersonating a government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or the Social Security Administration (SSA), the FBI, or even the CIA informing the caller that they own some kind of bill that they must pay up, or to inform the not-so-lucky individual that their social security number will be “cancelled” due to suspicious activity. And maybe the FBI is looking for somebody for whatever reason. And yes, the Central Intelligence Agency wants to spy for you, or for you to spy on somebody else!! (Don’t laugh folks! This writer once received such a message as that one some time back!)

Let’s face it. Thanks to technology and the fact that nearly everyone over the age of twelve has a cell phone within reach, people have been getting these types of calls more than every before. Some are humorous for what they are, while others are attempting to give you a moment to them to plot a scam with whatever method they could muster up. Many folks just get annoyed over these calls, while others fall for this trap, and thus, release themselves into their clutches.

These types of phone calls are a far cry to the occasional phone solicitation call one may have received back in the day when hard line telephone systems were part of the domestic communications landscape. Usually these kinds of phone calls were made and received between the hours of five to eight in the evening during the weekdays. There was always a live person on the other end of the phone line informing the person on the other end that they may be eligible to win some prize of some kind, or to maybe sell the called person some kind of item and/or service. The services pushed were connected to a home improvement jobs such as new door replacements or window treatments. These calls were usually when people were having their dinner, or after they came home from their remote jobs. But whatever the nature of the call was all about, it always involved a payment of some sort or anything that had to do with money.

Because a robot is a lot easier (and cheaper) than the use of a human being to pitch a product or service via phone, these companies use these ‘bots to make calls on a massive scale. And they don’t wait around the dinner hours to do this anymore. These calls come as early at 7:00 AM local time, to as late as 10:00 PM. And it’s no longer limited to a Monday through Friday window. These calls are made and received seven days a week. Same hours, too!

Of course, there is the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) with their “Do Not Call” listing. This is where one lists their phone number through the FCC where they pass off (or should pass off) to these telemarketing companies not to call a phone number as submitted. Many of these companies or groups that create such mass calling reside outside of the USA, where the FCC holds no jurisdiction to anyplace beyond the US borders. These companies tend to be located in some foreign nation, not necessarily limited to North America. So placing one’s self on a “Do Not Call” list winds up receiving more of these phone messages.

So what can one do to stop these calls from coming in? Perhaps the best way to avoid such calls is to not answer them. Many of the phone carriers out there that’s totally aware of these calls have phone ID messages labeled as “Possible Scam” or some kind of verbiage to that effect. That just means to not answer them. Of course, a few calls may go be ID-ed as a local number. However, most (again, not all) of these calls would be noted as a scam call.

So as more folks become wired up with phones in hand, the robot call will keep coming in. However, if one feels like it, one can “scam the scammer” by taking a phone solicit call and ordering up the product or service they are attempting to sell you. Just give them a phony phone name, address, and even credit card number. It doesn’t matter if the info provided is fake. One can label such type of call as a “reverse crank call” where the caller calls you! All you have to do is to provide them with the fake messages. And while you are on that, ask them if their refrigerator is running, if there any walls there, or if they have Prince Albert in a can. They may not get the joke at first, but what difference dose this all make anyway???


Shanit Keter Schwartz’s solo show DAUGHTER OF THE WICKED, a performance memoir of her life within the country of Israel and her quest to find her missing sibling, appears as a guest production of The Odyssey Theater in West Los Angeles.

In this presentation, Shanit emotes about her upbringing in this region of the middle east around the time that Israel became an independent nation a few years after the end of World War II. Saanit’s father was a rabbi that practiced in a method of Kabbalah, known within a structure of Jewish based theosophy, mysticism, and thaumaturgy marked by a trust in creation through emanation and a cipher method of interpreting scripture as told and retold throughout many generations.

As she progresses upon her journey through her motherland, she is out to find the whereabouts of a sister that became a target of the what was called the Yemenite Children Affair, where the young children of immigrants that migrated to Israel from Yemen were abducted from their families, informing these same families that their children had died, only to be kidnapped and later adapted by outside families living in Europe and North America seeking those of a Jewish persuasion. This shifting a population of young children was a common occurrence within this setting during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Using the methods of the Kabbalah, Shanit expresses her exposure of what occurred within her family as they were seeking refuge to their ideal “land of milk and honey”, only to experience turbulence through these political and spiritual beliefs and faiths.

This performance by Shanit Keter Schwartz tells this tale that provides a collection of emotions that she, along with the millions that went through this passage has gone through. These emotions range in terms of hope, fear, strife, deep hearted loyalty, and the mystical spirit of the notions of what Kabbalah practices speaks of and for.

Shanit shows her theatrical senses toward an upbeat life, never to plan any elements downward as well as expressing that the Kabbalah may seem mystical, perhaps too mystical from those that are not as structured in these strategies these beliefs convey, but through the perceptions that her family and tribal orders have really discovered for themselves.

The stage setting where the show is presented consists of three screens arranged in a trifold setting where both still and moving imagery are back projected during the various monologues voiced by Shanit as created by Fritz Davis. A selection of what is projected as text are extracted from the Kabbalistic writings from the book The Bronze Serpent, in addition to the stock footage photographing the population of Israel setting into their new country via kibitz and tribal camps. (These scriptural texts are also embedded upon the flooring of the stage itself.) These multimedia visuals assist as a guide that Shanit faced through those trying times. James Newton Howard provides the musical score that play as the audible soundtrack enhancing these tales of hope and wonder.

Directed by Zeke Rettman, DAUGHTER OF THE WICKED isn’t anything “wicked” in the traditional sense as the title may suggest. Its methods as emoted just serves as a unique passage through a physical, emotional, and spiritual state of being. And the talents that Shanit Keter Schwartz holds toward serves as your expert guide that caters to those that are now aware of these conditions more than ever beforehand.

DAUGHTER OF THE WICKED, presented by Lions Bay Productions, performs at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles through April 10th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM; and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For tickets and for further information, call 310-477- 2055 or via online at http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

WE STILL SCREAM FOR A STREAM!

As the nation approaches the fist anniversary of the start of what’s been called everything from “The Pandemic”, “COVIG-19” ,“The Beginning of the End”, “When All Hell Broke Loose” and other phrases that are not suitable to print within these pages, millions that been doing their best in keeping safe, sane, or otherwise, while hunkering down in where they live. These folks have been doing anything and everything from cooking, cleaning up their dwelling spaces, fixing things around the house that until recently they never got around in doing, as well as other activities from the aggressive to passive.

In the latter category, folks have been ramping up in their viewing of programming and content that can be consumed through an electronic device that sports a video screen i.e. a traditional television set, a desktop/laptop computer, an electronic pad (“iPad”, etc.) as well as a smart phone that’s gotten a whole lot smarter in recent times.

One of those ways to consume moving imagery (“video”) is through a streaming service or portal. Many of these services are available for free since they are advertiser supported. Yes, they show commercials that run from 15 through sixty seconds each, but not as many spots verses what the cable and over-the-air channels would program. The rest are based on paid subscriptions, akin to what “pay-TV” used to be when HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, etc. dominated cable TV pay services since the 1980’s.

According to a survey report entitled 2021 State of Industry Report: Customer Retention in Subscription Businesses filed by Brightback, a consumer retention software company, it stated that some 98% of domestic video consumers now subscribe to at least one streaming media service, and three quarters (75%) subscribe to two or more services.

Based on their poll taken within the last two weeks of 2020 from a little over one thousand responses by those aged eighteen and up dwelling in the USA that have access to any streaming media service (paid or otherwise), the report notes that a little over half of those (53%) subscribe to a service accessible through their phones. (A “mobile app”). These mobile apps are not necessarily limited to media content. It could be anything from a program that rates one’s health, dealing with scheduling, or anything that holds a practical function that where one pays for per each billing period. (Usually it’s on a monthly basis, but could be extended as much as a year’s time!) 39% pay for news from such sources as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and other traditional news outlets that started out as print newspapers. 37% have a “box subscription”-subscribing to more that one service as a package deal, 34% have a subscription based on health and fitness (one can assume that this health and fitness is both physical and/or emotionally based) 31% is based on food and cooking, while the rest (33%) state as “other”. That “other” can range from everything from sports news and views, online gambling, even porn! (Yep! In 2020, PornHub.com reported an uptick in paid subscription for that year, while it increased its traffic for its “free” services.)

Although there are many streaming service to choose from that caters to many tastes in programming as well as the demographics that go along with it, Netflix is the given choose with a multitude of programs to view from traditional TV-esque series to feature length “movies”. And interestingly enough, that portal has the easiest cancellation option! (23% stated that they called it quits with Netflix without any problems.) On the other end, Hulu had it worse, as 4.7% admitted that bailing out had its compilations. Comparing, Netflix came in second place with 2.7% of cancellation difficulty.

But what would it take for those that wish to bail out with one service to make ‘em stay? Some kind of discount or premium incentive! Almost half (49%) stated that if a channel or service gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse, they would hang around for a while! For a lot of people, filing for “divorce” with a streaming service can be as easy as it is difficult! And if a service offered a “cancel button” on their website or visual portal, it would be the best method to cancel verses cancelling over the phone, by way of e-mail, a “live chat” outlet, or through an app. Of course, depending on one’s age, those preferred choices would vary. 69% of younger Millenniums (aged 25-34) would use the “cancel button”. Older Gen-Xers (45-54) would make a phone call. (25%) Those that were older than Baby Boomers (65 and up) would be the second level to make that phone call at 24%. However, a simple “cancel button” would be the preferred choice by all ages!

For those that desire to read all of the facts and figures from this report, take a visit to Brightback’s website at https://brightback.com/, and view the report for yourself!

As of this writing, although the numbers of cases are down and vaccinations are up or at least as steady, it will be quite a while until things get back to a “normal” that folks would recognize. Until that day (or days) finally arrive, people will still be hunkering down at home to watch the latest and perhaps greatest of what the streaming channels have to offer. And there will be more to look at in the future. Paramount+, a channel operated by CBSViacom, will offer “A Mountain of Entertainment”–or says the advertising campaign for this new entry in the streaming wars. It will offer what CBS All Access (its one time name for this service) presented, as well as properties from Paramount Pictures. It isn’t known if the entire of library of features from Paramount will be available, so it’s going to be wait and see. Then again, even through Paramount has been around in many ways going back to 1912, they don’t necessarily has their entire output on hand.

The studio sold its library of releases from 1927 through 1947 to Universal (MCA Television as it was known at the time) back in 1957, while selling its cartoon unit to Associated Artists Productions (later United Artist Television) around the same time. So much of their output had been resourced. Universal still owns the ’27-’47 collection, and has no plans to get it go. However, Universal is connected to NBC what has its own streaming service named Peacock, named after a bird that’s been NBC’s mascot since 1956 when it first introduced color pictures into the TV landscape. But that’s for another story, and for another feat of technology!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!