There just comes a time when there are things to complain about, and seemingly no easy way to settle those complaints. The glory of a newspaper column is that I can vent publicly in the hopes that those reading can nod that they, too, share the same problem or frustration. Maybe if we join forces, we won’t be so angry.

I am tired of getting home faxes from unsolicited companies which not only wake me up in the middle of the night (my fax machine is in the room next to where I sleep), but they are using my paper and my ink cartridge to push for their products.

Although there is now a number at the bottom I can call to get off their fax list, that involves my time and my effort to shut them down. And then, they add insult to injury by sending me a fax, again on my paper and with my ink, to let me know that they will not solicit me again. Since Congress has been able to provide a list of naysayers to telephone solicitors, cannot Congress also shut down the fax raiders?

I spend half my life in Springfield, the state’s capital. In my rented house, I have access to a great cable television company which provides me with all sorts of stations I can enjoy watching. And then I get back to Riverside where Comcast, to whom I play close to $50 a month, has just removed the Science Fiction Channel to digital TV, encouraging me to buy some kind of a box or something and pay more so that I can see a station which was one of the few I watched in the second tier of programs offered.

I would not even go a second tier but for the fact I could not get news stations with basic service. As a result, I get all sorts of channels I will never watch. It is a waste of time and money, and I wish Riverside would consider other companies in the future when Comcast’s contract with the village runs out. Maybe they could consider what North Riverside gets, as we get plenty of good service in our North Riverside constituent/political office.

On another note, thank goodness that various hotel chains are now considering changing their room clocks so that normal people can use them without having to go through numerous and complicated steps at the end of a travel day.

I use hotels fairly often as I move around the state as state treasurer, not to mention going out of state or the country on pleasure when I can squeeze it in. I have managed to tuck away at least five old-fashioned wind-up alarm clocks from estate sales, since the clocks are no longer being produced. Wind-up anythings are now passe, you know.

I am usually flummoxed by how to get the usual hotel clock/radio operating and set for my use. And, because I can’t seem to get the hang of it, there is nothing like having the thing go off in the middle of the night, where the previous guest had it set. It is my understanding that others, too, have had the problem, causing hotels to get a more simplified version of a clock for us challenged travelers. Until then, it will be the windup or a wakeup call from the desk.

I am beyond complaining about videotape/DVD players and the prospect of programming them. One needs a rent-a-teen to make them operate. I am thrilled when I can get a tape or a DVD to work and then get the TV back into play when it is over?”a major accomplishment.

Why are so many motion pictures today remakes of really good motion pictures of the past? The remakes are rarely, if ever, better, and they feature people we don’t know nor probably will ever see again as the old, Hollywood star system is gone.

And Hollywood wonders why people do not go to the theatre any more. Sadly, most of the stuff shown is directed toward young boys and men, leaving the rest of us wondering why we want to pay the now exorbitant ticket prices to get in.

I will not even get into gas prices, as no one seems to know what to do about them other than to suffer with the thought that heating oil and natural gas will be even more expensive come the winter.

So, what is the good news? No matter what the complaints and glitches, we all have it pretty darn good in America. I only hope and pray that the situation in Iraq an Afghanistan is resolved sooner rather than later and that our soldiers come home again, safe and sound to enjoy what we are all enjoying, in spite of our superficial tizzies.