A decision to make

On Sunday, I returned from a visit with cousins. I was there for about a week.

They live in a much different part of the country; very large distance from here.

It is a whole new way of life. it is considered country and rural; the nearest large city is about 3 hours away.

Living is pretty cheap there; you can rent for next to nothing –half of what the rent is here — or buy a home at a fraction of the cost (and a fraction of the property taxes) of a home purchased out here. There is no urban sprawl and no infiltration of developers. There are homes here where the norm is 2 acres of land with a real nice ranch that goes for maybe 200K. No way can you touch a deal like that in New Jersey.

The thing is this: where does everyone work? I saw no companies, no office parks.

The towns themselves are large — a hundred square miles each in most cases. There are houses and then stretches of land with nothing on them. it’s desert.

If I could find a job out there, I’d be there in no time flat.

I would consider moving to that area in another 2 or 3 years to be sure.

What have I got here? Who have I got here, that is in my corner?

I never heard from Bro again. To be expected. To tell the truth, he could be anywhere; that lease on that apartment was up in September; they could have moved away, maybe not.

I am having a hard time finding good places and good situations where I can meet a bona fide friend. The silence now is deafening. This is now over 7 months of this nonsense where I am completely on my own and alone. It is bothering me now and bothering me greatly.

If I was 30 or even 40, there would be groups to join where I could meet somebody in my age category; where does a 59 year old go, to make a bona fide good friend? Who will you meet that is in the same boat as you — that is not on the hubby track and the grandkiddo track? That shit’s not for me.

I had an art show about a month ago; it was a large contingency of local artists that display every year in this one locale. 6 of us were in the room where we showed art; I know one guy slightly, another guy kind of kept to himself and there was a Hispanic couple who did not speak much English.

The other 3 artists I kind of got to know are good to keep in touch with for art shows and anything art but as bona fide friends I can do things and go places with: no.

(What I am looking for: a group of women and men that I can more or less have as an ‘extended family’ — all of us in the same category and those of us who are more or less free of family. No egos, no hangups, no phonies, no temper tantrums; this would be broad-minded, fun and smart adults) 

I haven’t got that many relatives left: one cousin is 50 miles away and the other 2 are the 2 I visited for Thanksgiving week. I had the time of my life out there.

To pick up and just move there: to me, right now, it is mind blowing. I haven’t got a job here; as I said, where are the jobs out there? I asked about it awhile back and my cousin said nobody was really hiring out there.

I still don’t know how you transcend having no job. How do you move on and get on with life? A therapist helps you get it off your chest but you are still left with the fact that there is no job you are working at.

And in July it looked like things were picking up. Nope. The ads dried up again and the last interview I had was 4 months ago.

I am disappointed with everyone and everything. There were things that didn’t pan out and acquaintances that didn’t deepen into a real friendship. I am better off with new people — people who do not know what happened to me — maybe I can start over with a clean slate.

A friend of mine said “move to a locale that brings nothing  but a smile to your face.” He was talking to a group of us about where he lives, which is New Mexico.

And also a factor, regarding how unsettled I feel right now: the fact those 2 friends took off: now it’s really starting to make me angry. I think I glossed it over when it happened but now I’m mad as hell. And I guarantee you Miss Broadway Tickets is disclosing every confidence of mine and she hasn’t got one nice thing to say about me.

This is real ambivalence: when I think about the 2 of them, I wonder “what the heck was really in this for me, either one of these 2 ‘friendships’?” How often did I see them? Where did we go? what kind of concessions were made for me?

I suggest a really cool trip and I get “I haven’t thought that far ahead right now…” Not the first time she has said it, when I suggest a really cool trip we can take. That is her-ese for “No. I don’t want to go on an exciting vacation.” Bully to her.

In fact, last year in June, I mentioned to her that my cousin was somebody I was planning to visit and she retorted, “Somebody sure must have a lot of money if they are talking about taking all of these trips.”:(

I replied, “he has offered to fly me out and pay my fare.” She shut her damn jealous mouth.

Maybe I should have bidden her adieu months ago. Geez…you are going to be 60 soon and you are acting like you are SIX??? Who makes a comment like that, really?

But still you are mad the 2 of them took off, and rightfully so. When will somebody come along to fill the void? We need people and we all need friends. We need them: but never again 2 “friends” like the  2 who took off on me.  And I will be damned if I make the same mistake and decide to have more sticks in the mud as friends: NO MORE.

All of this is why I am really tempted to move to the area where my cousins are…but as I said: what about a job???

I would at least have next of kin nearby: how do you think I feel about that? I have no next of kin. Not out here .

Don’t kid yourself — bro would NEVER come to my aid and he would give a fuck less what happened to me. You don’t think I am not scared of that? What about me: who have I got? There is nobody I can call if I have an emergency.

And shit: Remember the episode last year where my heart sped up?

When I told the both of them what happened to me, neither one of these 2 friends said to me “I will leave my cell phone on. If you need somebody to help, you can call me.”

And back in  May, right after I had that nosebleed that I wound up going to the emergency room for — I told my other friend what happened.

At the conclusion of the story, she did not say to me “call me if you need somebody in case of an emergency.”

So how much did either one of them care? Perhaps I should have been the one to take the high road in a hurry…a long long time ago.

But I “had” to be available when Miss Tickets had trouble with that asshole boyfriend 2 years back (The one she resumed seeing this past October: this is the one she claimed chased her car and banged on the windows, that time 2 years ago) — she called me on a Sunday morning in August, 2 years ago, crying  about how scared she was and that she needed somebody to talk to and somewhere to go.

Guess who said “come on over.” Now I regret it deeply.

The best place for her was down at the police station, across the street from her apartment building: not at my house: suppose he followed her?

And 7 years ago, I had to be available for her at nearly midnight, when her other boyfriend was dying and she needed somebody to drive her 40 miles up the road to his hospital.

I guess I am a damn dunce, then. And a sucker for everyone.:(

Nobody returns the favor for me when I am the one who needs somebody in case of an emergency.

I just wonder when it is that I get out from under.

As for the one who stiffed me when it came to that Broadway show: she would never come to my apartment building — I think I mentioned this — I gave her 5 sets of directions in April, right after I moved in — and she put up a fuss with all of them, claiming they put her into too much traffic or the directions were tough to follow, etc.

Something was very wrong there. I even went as far as to conclude — a month after she was out of my life — that she must have gotten into a pack of trouble with somebody or something from this town: maybe it’s a RO or an arrest or she was banned from coming to this town? That is my only conclusion.

I am 15 minutes from her apartment. Closer than my old locale…yet she would not come here. Very strange.

There is no way she told me what happened to her, when it happened. If she got into some kind of trouble, then I sure don’t need a friend like this. Makes you wonder what she did with her time that she got into a pickle like that one which possibly can be a legal one indeed. C’mon: why else is she refusing to COME here?

So that is where I stand right now.

I guess I am still trying to get my bearings. 🙁

Reaping the Whirlwind

Madam President

Shortly before the election, Newsweek went to press with an issue commemorating Hillary Clinton’s victory.  They made a business decision and took a calculated risk, and they lost.  But some of the inside front cover copy caught my attention:

…But as the tone of the election went darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton “went high” when her opponent and his supporters went ever lower….

Well, maybe.  Much of Hillary Clinton’s campaigning was built around the notion that she is not Donald Trump.  But, in any event, she didn’t have to run a negative campaign.  The media ran it for her.

It’s normal in politics to favor one candidate over another, and it’s normal (and appropriate) to point out a candidate’s shortcomings.  Ultimately, the voters assess the good and the bad about the candidates, and make their decision.

Donald Trump has made many insensitive remarks, some of them borderline racist.   But there is a big difference between making a racist remark and being an actual racist.  We all know people who are given to running off at the mouth and saying stupid things, but we know that they don’t mean anything by it.  (Alternately, there are some who would say that racism is America’s original sin and that we’re all racists.  But even then, there is a big difference between a mere sinner and a Ku Klux Klansman.)

The media seemed to overlook this essential difference.  Perhaps it’s that in the modern world, no story is worth telling if it can’t be told in five seconds.  Perhaps it helped to sell newspapers.

And Trump refused to play the game.  He could have walked back his statements and gotten all mumbly, and shown himself to be Just Another Useless Politician.

The media came to tell us that Trump is not just a man who runs off at the mouth, he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot.

It’s normal in politics for a candidate to call his opponent nasty names.  But among politicians, there are limits: after all, you might need a favor from your opponent, or his party, in the future.  This is the first time I’ve seen the news media vilify a candidate on their own power.

In fairness, there have been radio announcers and other public figures who lost their jobs over making insensitive remarks.  It’s totally OK, when assessing candidates for office, to make a similar judgement and hold a candidate’s remarks against him.  It’s OK for a newspaper to run an editorial endorsing whatever candidate the newspaper prefers, under whatever criteria they care to use.  What isn’t OK is for a newspaper or TV network to let their editorial viewpoints color their non-editorial reporting of events.

Perhaps it makes for exciting television.  But it can backfire, not just for the news media, but for the rest of us: what happens if the ‘evil’ candidate wins?

*          *          *

In other news, South Korea has been overtaken by political protests: people are very angry at their President, who is resisting calls to resign.  It seems that Madam President in Seoul, among other things, has been sharing government secrets with a female personal advisor who has no security clearance.

And we’ve hardly heard a peep about it in the US.  I wonder why….

Popping the Bubble

Fire Hydrant

Perhaps.  But you could say the same thing about Hillary Clinton.

Last night, I was watching election returns in a restaurant with some friends in the Upper East Side.  It was a little before 9:00: early returns put Trump and Clinton about even.  We had just paid the check.

“Do I want to see the 9:00 projections?  No, I don’t.” I told the group, and left.

I headed down Second Avenue, got a Citibike, rode it across the Queensborough Bridge to Long Island City, and got a G train home.  The ride cleared my head.

But I’ve had a bellyful of this election, and I didn’t want any more.  When I got home, I finished some paperwork—studiously avoiding anything that even smelled like a news report—took a shower, and went to bed.

And now it’s 5:09 Wednesday morning, and I still don’t know who won.

But having lived through a few Presidential elections, I can tell when my preferred candidate is about to lose.  It’s not that I think Trump is a great guy.  But we need a new direction in this country, and Clinton, as far as I can tell, will continue the policies of her predecessor and keep us limping along for another few years.

I actually bought a copy of Stronger Together, the Clinton campaign book, to try and understand where she was coming from.  While the description of our problems in the first chapter is spot-on, the solutions she proposes are either vague, ineffective, or will make the problem worse.  I realized just last night that the vague policy prescriptions are a feature, not a bug: if you don’t put forward specific policies, people won’t be able to object to them.

Yesterday, I discussed the vote at some length with my son.  He voted for Clinton.  His reactions to events were almost the opposite of mine: Clinton’s private e-mail server, which hit me like a punch in the gut (she’s disrespecting her office and the American people!), seemed a bit of abstract technological trivia to him.  And Trump’s offhand remarks, which struck me as the mark of a man given to running off at the mouth, hit my son like a punch in the gut (how dare Trump even consider messing with a woman’s right to choose?).

In any case, it’s time to pop the bubble.

Trump won!

My sense of ‘a candidate about to lose’ was off this year.

There may be hope for us, after all….

12:31 EST and not looking so good for HRC

Holy God.

it’s like a bomb hit the Javits Center — those people are silent, blank eyed and devastated.

What happened here?

This jerkoff broke every rule and pissed off everybody from here to Alpha Centauri. He’s insulted everybody he can find and stopped at nothing to say everything and anything disgusting and stomach turning.

It’s like everybody in the states “nobody really lives in” voted for him.

All of a sudden, this was….just gone, for her. When they announced Florida swung in his direction, it was over after that.

I will be up for awhile, probably until about 3 am.

Unfuckingbelievable. The Big Tangerine Pussy Snatcher has won the election.

Three people have told me they are shit scared — told me this all along and said so again, this morning — both of them don’t know what to do or where to go.

And now we have to “wait for Wisconsin.” Another stupid state that’s like some kind of a joke – what happened here??

This is the end of everything as we know it. Simply because a nonpolitician won — and because this fruitcake won.

244 to 215. I can’t see how she can win. 5 states are on the map that can go any way.

God help us all. What a sad sad thing for us and what a travesty and heartbreaker. You and I know he has no intention of keeping any promise he has made.

The Seeds of Its Own Destruction

Twenty-five years ago, when the Soviet Union imploded, I remarked that ‘Communism carried the seeds of its own destruction:’ the Communists worked really hard at educating their own people (when in the past education had been limited to the very wealthy and to royalty), and after a couple of generations, the newly educated people realized that they didn’t want to be Communist.  The Reagan Republicans were so proud that they had defeated Communism, and while they doubtless accelerated events, the writing was on the wall before they started.

As I’ve been watching a lackluster economy muddle through the last few years, I’m starting to wonder if capitalism doesn’t carry the seeds of its own destruction, as well.  I always understood capitalism as somewhat of a competitive sport, and competition brings the need for optimization: why do X when Y is easier/better/cheaper/faster?  If you don’t optimize, your competitors will.

But what if optimization leads to destruction?

The other day, my wife was watching a speech by Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook.  (The introduction and the graphics are in Korean, but the speech and the Q&A session afterward are in English.)

And about five minutes in, I heard something that was jaw-dropping:

People mistakenly think that ‘capitalism’ and ‘competition’ are somehow synonyms.  I think they are antonyms.

On one level, of course, Thiel is right.  The most profitable businesses are those that don’t have to compete.  The ideal case is a monopoly, but running an enterprise subject to heavy government regulation (which has the effect of making competition impossible) or being a member of a cartel (so that you don’t have to compete on price) is almost as good.  Once an enterprise gets to a certain size, it can lobby the government to enact regulations to ‘protect the public’ (that sounds good!) but more practically serve to entrench the enterprise and preclude competition.

Moreover, competition is, well, wasteful.  It means that companies must do things that won’t always succeed, and will sometimes lose.  If we could optimize away the need for competition, the waste could be turned into profit.

While that may be a charming thought, competition is what keeps capitalism dynamic.  Capitalism without competition is… something else.  It may be corporatism, or fascism, or even feudalism.  Capitalism without competition is the fat, dumb, and happy getting fatter, dumber, and happier, and the rest of us getting screwed over.

And there is the nub: in optimizing past the need for competition, capitalism has defeated itself.  It no longer does the things we expect capitalism to do: it doesn’t provide opportunities on a broad scale; it doesn’t inspire us to do better and try harder.  Unless you have connections or are spectacularly lucky, post-competitive capitalism has nothing to offer you.

This election and my official endorsement

While watching the debates and all the media I am reminded of so many things but mostly the issues with racism and sexism. like it or not, this election is a reflection of our values, good or bad.  This election is such a horrible situation that I was inclined at one time to vote third party. However, that would be a poor choice.

Before I official announce who I endorse let me state: I don’t like either one but I hate one and think that person is the most unqualified person to ever run.  Therefore, I am endorsing Hillary Clinton.  Quite frankly, Trump scares me. Do I have questions about the emails? yes but I have more questions about Trump’s hatred towards others, especially women. He is demeaning too many women. I was leaning towards Gary Johnson but he stands little chance.

Is This What the End Looks Like?

About a week ago, a fluorescent desk lamp in the office failed.  No problem, I thought: the bulb must have burned out.  I was ordering office supplies anyway, so I threw in a couple of replacement bulbs for this particular lamp.

The next day, the bulbs arrived, and my assistant changed out the bulb.  It didn’t work.  Further investigation revealed that the little electronic module in the base had burned out.

Oh, crap.

It is now illegal in New York City to throw electronics in the trash.  On the other hand, light fixtures can be tossed.  So what was this thing sitting disassembled on my desk?

I deemed it a light fixture, bound up the cord neatly, and threw it in the wastebasket.

If I disappear all of a sudden, now you know: I was hauled off by the trash police.

This morning, I passed Staples on my way to work.  This particular Staples opened not too many years ago.  Whenever I’ve been there, it’s always as quiet as a library.  I’ve never seen it busy.  But as I had bought the lamp in question from them a few years ago, I thought I could pop in and get a new one.

“Desk lamps?  We don’t carry then anymore.  You’ll have to order them through the Web site,” not one but two staffers told me.

So here I am, in midtown Manhattan, presumably the focal point of the entire known universe, and I am unable to buy a simple desk lamp.  In another time, not that long ago, there would have been a half-dozen commercial office supply shops within spitting distance, any one of which could supply a desk lamp.  But now there is just Staples, and they no longer carry them.

Fluorescent desk lamps used to be somewhat clunky things, with the tubes in a steel enclosure topped with a red button to turn the lamp on and a black button to turn it off.  I remember them from my youth and my first experiences in the working world.  They were clunky but pretty much indestructible.  Surely someone must still make them, right?

A peek at Amazon turned up something similar to what I remember.   But the customer comments told a sad story: a couple of years ago, the manufacturer changed the internals of the lamp, replacing them with cheap Chinese junk.

You really can’t go home again.

*          *          *

Recently, Samsung had the distressing position of having to recall millions of their latest Note 7 phone because its battery had a tendency to explode.  But Samsung’s woes are far from over.  This afternoon brought another tale of things falling apart.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about Samsung washing machines, recommending that people use only the gentle cycle to wash some items because the machines had a tendency to shake themselves to bits.

C’mon, people: it isn’t rocket science: it’s a bloody washing machine.

*          *          *

And just as I was wrapping up my thoughts about Samsung washing machines, my laptop screen went dark.  I rushed to plug it in, and my text was still OK, but the screen was flickering terribly.  A restart brought everything back to normal, but that was another unpleasant surprise.

But then again, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.  My laptop, after all, is more cheap Chinese junk.

The Genius of ISIS

A week ago Saturday, at about 9:30 am, a pipe bomb went off in Seaside, New Jersey, along the route of a charity race.  Nobody was there because the race had been delayed (ironically enough, by a suspicious package): if things had gone as planned, the consequences would have been more severe.

That night, at around 8:00 pm, an explosive device went off in a dumpster on West 23rd Street, injuring 29.  Another device, in a pressure cooker, was found by police a few blocks away.

Mayor DeBlasio was quick to note that the 23rd Street explosion had ‘no evidence at this point of a terror connection.’   After it happened, given recent events in San Bernadino and Orlando, and the guy who tried to set off an SUV bomb in Times Square a few years ago, I imagined the perpetrators of these events as people who were born in the United States, grew up here, and then turned to radical Islam.

I was close.  The alleged perpetrator of both the Seaside and New York events arrived in the US as a refugee from Afghanistan as a child, became a naturalized citizen, went to high school in New Jersey, and worked as a fry cook at his father’s fried chicken place.

So what happened?  Therein lies the genius of ISIS: they don’t actually have to do anything, in terms of actually committing violence, to be effective.  This isn’t to say that ISIS isn’t doing anything, or that we don’t have be mindful of the possibility that they might do something, but that’s not the real problem.  All ISIS has to do to be effective, and encourage others to commit violence on their behalf, is present a compelling alternative to the vapid cultural neutrality of our time.

Consider the case of a young Muslim male growing up in this country.  His parents tell him that he has to keep his religion under wraps when dealing with others.  Even if there isn’t overt discrimination, those who might otherwise be his friends would be weirded out.  And many Christian and Jewish parents, I’m sure, tell their children the same thing.

As he grows up and sees the world around him, it doesn’t fit with his upbringing.  It isn’t so much a matter whether it fits with Islam or not.  Our secular culture encourages us to indulge in whatever physical pleasures come to hand, and reminds us that morality is a quaint anachronism.

And then what?  Well, find some more physical pleasures.

And if you’re still unhappy?  Then there must be something wrong with you.  We have pills for that.

And then our young man finds out about ISIS, and it’s a revelation.  There are rules; there is right and wrong; there is honor in doing the right thing.  ISIS is bold, strong, compelling, and dangerous.  And if you fail, you will have died with honor, with 72 virgins waiting for you.

Indeed, it’s a compelling alternative even if you aren’t a Muslim.

So what do we do about it?

The icky part is that the government can’t fix it.  The best they can do is to turn the country into a police state, watching everything we do and say and read.  And if they could monitor our thoughts, they’d do that too.

For my part, I don’t want to live in a police state, even if they can effectively protect me from terrorists and terrorist wannabes. Imagine the most officious, overbearing boss you can, and then imagine him in charge of your entire life, and if you disagree with him, he can kill you or throw you in prison to rot. I’d rather take my chances with terrorists.

The government can also address the threat of terrorism by going to war, i.e. ‘taking the fight to the enemy.’  We’ve been at it for 15 years now, having accomplished, well, zilch.

This isn’t to say that government doesn’t have a role in fighting terrorism at all.  The government should be looking out for threats from abroad, as well as such domestic threats as can be discerned while respecting our Constitutional rights.  A few years ago, people asked ‘should terrorism be dealt with as a law enforcement matter?’ with the notion that those who answered in the affirmative were really soft on terrorists and the real answer was to use the military.  But having seen how that worked out, I’m not so sure.

But the real answer, the more difficult answer, is that we—all of us—need to build a society in which the nihilism of ISIS is not a compelling alternative for a young person looking to make something of his life.  And the government, by itself, can’t do that.

I don’t think she “gets it” at all.

Long story short: it is tough to find a good therapist in this area.

I cannot use the group that I used when I was getting divorced; they do not accept clients from this county.

I was given the phone numbers of 3 referrals when I called that group I just mentioned — one is way too expensive, one is at the more or less county hospital (too many stories about that place and right now, its status is in jeopardy; it may close…or perhaps be bought out by some private group)…and I cannot seem to get an appointment with the third group. They are supposed to be very good but you have to call in the AM to see if there is somebody available to meet with you…and you’re supposed to call each morning to see if one is available??? Why can’t I just make an appointment?

I have had no success with that group. This morning, they didn’t even answer the phone. On Thursday and Friday they told me nobody was available and I called right at 9 am when they opened for business.

So I am meeting with this other therapist. One I found by happenstance when I was involved with Bro and the partition; they are in the same building as the atty I used.

To make a long story short, I don’t think she “gets” what the real scope of the problem is.

She can’t seem to understand what it means to be alone: I told her I have no next of kin — she can’t seem to get it I am isolated.

There is nobody at all now — and as far as family goes, it’s only 3 cousins who are left and I haven’t seen  them in years — you hear from them by phone or FB but man, it still is not family you are close to — she doesn’t seem to grasp that concept…

And is this possible? “everyone” is gone???

Isn’t this a problem indigenous to somebody much older, who might have outlived a child or spouse and other family members??

She is suggesting I go to meet up groups to get some friends??? Gee, I know about the meet up groups. If I thought they were a good idea, man, I’d have been there already, a long time ago.

Those meet up groups are like ships passing in the night — there also is no core group; that is to say, this is not an organization with a cadre of officers and a membership attached — and even so, I have belonged to groups like those: people come and go and the core group usually turns out to be a stale bunch. IT’s even like that with things like tennis parties, which used to be a major event for singles — you get the same group of people who attend those functions…usually they’re “paired off” with friends and you wind up feeling like an outsider.

I think also there is a fee to attend the event. They are all based in the city and the events are in pricey venues.

And any women who come to events or meet up groups usually are there for one thing: to meet some guy ASAP and to pair up immediately. You can tell which ones are desparate; you can feel it when they are there.:(

I saw this myself at those singles dances — all of the women looked alike: same black dress with the spaghetti straps, the same black pumps, the same shortish dark hairstyles and they all had a patina about them: all in a hurry to meet some guy.

(I was never a fan of those dances; I went to a bunch with that crazy girl I mentioned — the one who I told not to come to my art reception. This was wow, almost 20 years ago. The guys were fixtures — they use these dances as a social outlet; mostly they are talking to other guys who are “regulars”! —  and the women were too hard up. I saw nothing great about those dances at all)

She cannot seem to figure out what to do with the job issue, either.

I am looking for somebody older who is skilled with those who are out of work for awhile. I don’t know if anybody fits that bill. Unless you have been out of work yourself and unless you were out of work for awhile, you won’t understand where it is at at all.

I seem to be “Stuck” with this therapist. I don’t know who else I can call and “try out” — I would hate to throw my money away.

I wanted at least 3 I could compare and from that 3, I was going to take the one I felt the most comfortable with.

This counselor reminds me too much of this “for free” “therapy” group that I stopped into 3 years ago when this mess with the partition was starting up. They didn’t seem to know what to say or what to do. They didn’t understand what a partition was or why I would be suing a sibling.  See? An immediate failure.

I am coping with isolation, being uprooted, not being able to find a niche  where I am living right now (I told you guys I would NOT mix with anyone in this neighborhood) , I am coping with safety issues that this neighborhood has, no job, no next of kin — and I got uprooted not once but twice: when I left the house and when I moved to this neighborhood. Plus my poor dog is gone.:(

And there also is the issue of what happened to those 2 crazy “friends” that I used to have. That somebody took off and you have no closure just plain sucks. Not to mention it makes you mighty edgy and paranoid — you don’t know who or what could have gotten into the mix that caused her to jet.

An empty bench and no contact with anybody that is a friend. The silence is deafening in here most days.:( And that silence won’t end until I can bring in even one person that I would consider to have as a friend.

“These don’t sound like friends to me” is all she said.

No shit.:(

“Oh, you’re lonesome…”

Uh…..it is isolation that I am trying to grapple with. How the heck do you fix the fact that your bench dried up and now you’ve got nobody left as a friend???

I don’t know if this was bad luck or these 2 simply met their expiration dates or what it is but all I do know is that there’s nobody. I am now going to places alone and doing things by myself. There’s nobody to call and ask me how I am doing. No friendly voice at the end of the line nobody to say “let’s go here today” or “this weekend, let’s do such and such.”

(I have dozens of acquaintances, like I said — and I am afraid to get close to them as it is…who wants a friend with no job — and what the heck DO you say when they ask you “so what do you do for a living?” Expected you will have this friend for a long time and won’t they eventually say, “Why can’t this chick find a job? Why won’t she return to work?” You won’t be looked upon favorably.

I am trying not to come across like the 3 of us are 12 years old, or to make it seem like I am only there for a lonely hearts club meeting of sorts. The problem I have is immense — I want to nip this in the bud but now it’s a matter of wondering if you are wasting your time with the therapist you saw.

I had one meeting with her on Friday.

Plus there is the problem of being an older adult and being an older adult that has a chronic illness. What do you do when there is nobody at all in your corner? I have had 2 emergencies: nobody around to call where they’d be right over.:( Son of a bitch.:(

Finding new friends is going to be like dating…

And we all know how shitty dating is.

This will be no quick fix. No quick fix at all. You are weeding out the undesirable and weeding out those who won’t “work” for you. Time for me to be picky and choosy as all fark — I don’t want any more rejects or behavior problems.

No idea who else to call — I am at a loss. The universities here used to have a rolling fee counseling service available — that’s long long gone.

She may also think it’s just plain strange that I sued Bro. Suing a family member….uh, who does that, right???

These counselors also have to be ‘schooled” in what a partition agreement is…and why I had to do it. Already this is awkward and strange.

See where this is going?

I got slammed from all sides — over the last 3 years and especially over the last 12 months.

I am wondering now will I ever get restitution and help at all?:(

I concluded that I was doomed when Bro got into the picture, period — yes, as in the day he was born — and that the only thing that would have saved me from all of this would have been to marry somewhere in my 20s and still be with that guy. I’d have had a family — and probably kids — and more or less Bro would have been off my hands and somebody else’s frigging problem and not mine. What can you do?:(

Always a problem. My mother should have sent him off to a child psychologist when he started that nonsense in 5th grade. All of the lying started a couple of years after that. That merited intervention. She would not do it.

This is too good not to add: I just went to my “junk” email addy — which I use for certain things — and in that mailbox is a message from one of the meet up groups. They apparently won’t welcome you into the group unless you more or less ‘sit” for a 45 minute interview.

Good night, nurse….suppose you simply want to check out the event they are meeting up at??? This is a little invasive and asking for way too much.

So I am more or less “stuck” with that counselor.:(

Ten Reasons

I’ve become disgusted with the Daily News of late.  The newspaper has become a fount of left-wing propaganda, and they seem to believe that there is a special place in Hell set aside for Donald Trump.  The other day, Trump surrendered to the reality that running around and deporting all 11,424,767 illegal immigrants is probably not a practical course of action.  The News ran an editorial calling him out for flip-flopping on what had been his signature issue.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to stop reading the News, and it was in that frame of mind that I read the headline on last Friday’s paper:

Here's what I have to lose...

I was hoping for some cogent analysis of what was wrong with Trump: was there something I was missing?

Well, maybe.

The article is basically list of the things that the author believes he would be giving up by supporting Trump.  The top ten:

  1. My dignity.
  2. My self-respect.
  3. My standing among family and friends, black or white, and anyone who has ever held me in high regard.
  4. My future.
  5. My children’s future.
  6. Their children’s future.
  7. My mind.
  8. My soul.
  9. All rational thought.
  10. My lunch.

While it would be fun to ridicule this list, that isn’t my point.  The items that the author believes that he will lose by supporting Trump all relate to his feelings, and only very indirectly, if at all, to the candidate’s policy positions.  The author has come to believe that Trump is a dangerous bigot, and there is probably nothing that Trump could do or say to change his mind.

In fairness, it’s probably true that Trump’s candidacy, by going beyond the bounds of politically correct discourse, has encouraged the genuine bigots who are out there: they believe they’ve found a friend.  But that can’t be helped: if not for Trump, the bigots might have latched onto Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.

*          *          *

Yesterday’s News put forward the notion that ISIS would rather see Trump become President, because they believe that a President Trump wouldn’t know what to do with them.

OK, this one I will ridicule:

  • ISIS is, supposedly, the enemy. Why would we seriously believe their opinions on the American political process?  There is such a thing as disinformation.
  • Our ‘strong and competent’ leadership has been running around and chasing their tails for three years or so now, with very little to show for it.
  • The solution to ISIS is, in fact, simple. We created ISIS when we wanted to go after the Syrian government, but there was no political appetite for direct military action.  So we armed ‘the moderate rebels’ instead.  We need to stop doing things like that.

Almost embarrassed to admit it

Wow.

I don’t know where to begin.

I am pretty sure I lost the last friend that I have left.

I have acquaintances a plenty but as I said: my circle of friends has always been small.

I am not sure what happened behind the scenes but I can suspect and surmise.

Hesitant to talk about it because I don’t want to sound trite or like this is a middle school girl’s zone.

Bear with me because all of this is going to sound crazy and maybe even silly  but please, this matters to me, so here goes:

Cast of Characters:
Pat – the friend and subject of this gripe
Debbie – former friend I had that ticket mess with back in April
Tina – somebody I parted ways with nearly 4 years ago (she moved away to a town maybe 30 miles from me some dozen years ago  and after that, Tina didn’t seem to want to continue the friendship. We more or less grew apart and I sort of lost touch with her. It more or less a became distant acquaintanceship 2 years after she moved away)
Now for the story:

I do not hear from Pat very much. We are not very close friends. We go to a movie every so often or grab coffee but that’s about it. We talk once a week.

The last time I talked to her was a couple of days after that event that happened here on Saturday morning, 3 weeks ago.

She’s got a bad situation with a very ill father. We talked about that 3 weeks ago. I guess I spent maybe an hour and change on the phone with her that day.

I called her that Friday; she did not ring back.  I finally reached her on Monday and we spoke briefly. She ended the conversation with “I have to go; I’m waiting to hear back from my mother.” I said goodbye and hung up.

I called there again on Friday of that week, no call back. Ditto for Monday and Wednesday.

There is no way she can be that busy with her father.  Something is wrong here and I think I know what it is…get ready, because this is going to sound crazy:

Flashback to last fall.  Pat said to me, “How is Debbie?”

I said “Okay, I guess. I talked to her a couple of days ago” and then Pat said, “Does she ever mention Tina? Because Tina hasn’t called me back and I am wondering if she is mad at me…”

I said “Tina?? Debbie and I are out of the loop on that one; we haven’t spoken to her in 3 years…”

Why would she even mention Tina? Pat knew about this mess with Tina when it happened 3 years ago. She knew I was not on speaking terms with Tina. So why is she even asking if Debbie has heard Tina say something about her?

I will bet you any amount of money that during that phone call last fall, Pat accidentally outted Debbie (as well as Tina too)  — and Debbie is thick with Tina again and has been since at least the fall.

And now I am wondering if the 2 of them have said God knows what to Pat and now I’ve got Pat leaving me out in the cold. As they say, stranger things have happened.

This no calls back stuff cannot be “because of her father.” My mother was in a hospital and was critical upon arrival; she was gone by Day 12 — I still made time to shop, do laundry and yes, call friends. I even had time to go to my local little mall and buy a few things on winter sale!

Albeit the calls would not consist of  a long conversation; I would have a brief conversation or leave a message.

So, no — this is not a “father” thing and no, I do not feel like a guilty little shit for saying it.

Something is weird here.

I don’t have a good feeling about this.

Why am I getting the idea that something happened behind the scenes and Debbie and Tina are involved in this?

Tina and last fall is a whole other story in itself. During that same conversation with Pat last fall, after I made the comment about being out of the loop with Tina, I said “gee, I was not even there at Debbie’s house that nightand I haven’t spoken to Tina in nearly 3 years but come on; that wasn’t right what Tina said about me” to which Pat replied “Tina doesn’t see that the same way.”

WHAT??? You are not even taking my side in this — you are siding with Tina???

I should have known and then and there I should have said, “Pat, listen: you and I cannot be friends right now. I’ve got to go” and hung up.

Maybe I didn’t say that but I did tell Pat about the rotten things that Tina said or did over the years — including how she was taking bets on how long my marriage would last — and how she said to me during the phone call I made, telling her that I and the spouse split up — “Well, if you want to meet a younger guy, I know lots of them. My boyfriend has a lot of friends who are younger guys.” Who the eff says this to somebody who’s poured their heart out and who is in a critical and sad time of their life???

I said exactly that to Pat…

And all she did was listen. No “this is terrible” and “this is not right” — to me, the silence means “I do not agree with you.” Eff that noyze.

I have concluded that Pat accidentally outted Debbie during that phone call last fall and that friendship with Tina is now happening again. Stranger things have happened and you know how secretive Debbie is, from what I told all of you. You think she’s going to tell me that Tina and she are friends again???

I never gave this a thought last fall. What am I supposed to do — read into everything? (and as it is Debbie has a lot of confidential information about me.  She’s really pissed at me and I would not put it past her to violate every confidence I disclosed to her)

And even if this is not Tina and Debbie or one of the other… something is terribly wrong here. You do not just stop contacting somebody. I doubt if this is a depression thing or a “I can’t bring myself to call Dude” thing.

And all this time later, Tina — nearly 4 years later — and you, Debbie, four months later — and you still both have your bats on for me and you’re both hell bent for slander and lies and damage???

How sick. How sick and how vile.

I feel just awful. How does one get along without friends? What do I do if I have a real emergency? there is now nobody I can call. What do I do when I need to get something off my chest or if I need to see a friendly face or hear a friendly voice?

I don’t think I am wrong. Something is terribly amiss here — now I have Pat vanishing on me. This is not like her and if I am right — c’mon, there is no such thing as not being able to call somebody sometime — why did she do it this way? She left me hanging with no reason behind it and no closure? Man, I am not even assured of what really DID happen here!!

And you went and you believed all of this — 100% and hook line and sinker — and you don’t even call me and say “Dude, listen; I heard something and I want to know if it is true” and then tell me what you heard???

This is what value I had to you, as a friend.

Has anybody here experienced anything like this?  Has anyone been high and dry minus a friend?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had this odd nagging feeling — I never had a good feeling about Pat during those few weeks. Your gut has a funny way of telling you things.  I don’t care how crazy it sounds — somebody somewhere in Pat’s travels had to say something about me and Pat didn’t like what she heard. I suspect strongly it is  Tina and/or Debbie.

So this is what you do, you just take off and leave no closure behind it? You accept what you heard and I’m the shithead and culprit? This is what you do to a friend of 18 years?

And whatever it was that was said: how harmful is it to ME??? Suppose somebody said something really lousy that is not even true? This could be bordering on slander and defamation of character.

I thought Pat was so intelligent and so thoughtful. What is going on here? You were with me 1000% of the way all through that garbage with Bro and with me 1000% of the way during this past year that the devil himself sent me — yeah, and you felt oh so bad after my marriage ended —- and you felt oh so bad about my dog and what happened to him…you were allegedly so concerned about my nose bleed that sent me to a hospital and concerned last fall when I mentioned that speeded up heart rate thing to you…

And now all of a sudden, your ass is gone???

Your gut? how do you confront this person? All you have is a nagging bad feeling. Where does this leave you??

Again, this is not a “dad is sick and she has her hands full with him and she cannot call” thing. Gee, her father isn’t even IN a  hospital; he is home and they are still contacting physicians over in the city, trying to figure out what to do. My mother was dying in a hospital and I still called Pat and whoever it is that was in my loop!

All of this is enough to make you hate people.

And getting back to Tina: after I was told by Debbie that I was cursed out by Tina and Tina said a lot of rotten things about me, I picked up my phone and uninvited Tina to my art reception. How funny…Tina cared so much about me that she never called me immediately upon hearing the message with “Dude, what happened? You and I are friends; why can’t I come to your reception?”

Considering how undependable and wow, effing queer these 3 have been, this is no loss. I should have gotten rid of Pat, perhaps after that “Tina thinks otherwise”  statement.  You don’t have my back and you didn’t even say “This is my friend, cut it out”? How the eff old are you, really, Pat? And why is there no solidarity for me?    You let her run rampant and ramshackle over me? Why??

We’ve got 2 whole weekends that passed since I spoke to Pat — last weekend and this one — and not one sound out of Pat. Gee, I always thought that if a parent was dying you’d want to turn to your friends — yes I might be putting it in a  crass and shitty way — but it is very very odd that I can’t seem to raise her. I cannot be wrong; she’s gone and I have no reason behind any of it.

It’s manipulative and childish and just plain rotten.

You can call on your lunch hour or you can call right before you leave for work — Christ, you can leave a message saying you are okay.

I am upset. Find new friends? that will take awhile. I am nearing 60 so there are not that many meet-up things for people in that age category. I want friends who are intelligent and fun and are not hung up on the adult child/grandma track.  I more or less want women and men who are in the same boat as I am — perhaps have the friends as an extended family of sorts.

There is a divorced/widowed group that meets/socializes and is based in a church — I have never had any success with those groups. The people in them seem to be maladjusted and antisocial.

What a rotten 12 months this has been. I was prepared for the fallout with bro — I couldn’t let that garbage continue; that house would have been recalled by the town for nonpayment of taxes; that usually takes 2 or 3 years and this would have been Year 3.  So that house would have been gone by now. I at least had the option of getting it sold so it would not be a monetary loss.

I have no human factor at this point. And wow, the last time I saw Pat? My birthday — that was in October. So what did  I have here, a phone friend thing? That is awful.

I suggest I not tarry and get out there and start trying to meet people — but this is horrible. HORRID.  I feel like I am living inside some kind of Twilight Zone episode or a Lovecraft short story. You don’t even know why this person’s missing in action? And she calls herself a good Catholic? To the devil with her; you ain’t worth SHIT to me, lady.

You are up the creek with no paddle. There is no way you can ask this person what happened. I do not cross paths with her. T here’s not even a group we meet at or some common point where I’d encounter her fairly often where I would be able to say to her “Pat, what’s going on? where have you been?” I’m STUCK. and this MIA nonsense shall forever remain a mystery and so will it remain a mystery if she heard something about me. That’s the ONLY thing I can think of: somebody said I said something about her.

Lady, use your brain: would I ever do that to you???

….Or maybe she got sick of having a friend who has had too much trouble in her life. Gee, right now her friend is in a shitty  building with all Section 8 people and 2 of them are known mental cases. Poor Dude. Yes, Poor Dude but I can’t continue this friendship.

Is that where it’s at??

The loneliness factor is indescribable. I told you guys I cannot and will not mix with this neighborhood. I can’t really “make friends” with the neighbors — I see but 3 of them: that lady with the kids and the other 2 I told you about. There is “nothing” here for me.

Had things worked out in another way for me: I’d have bought a home years ago and moved to an actual locale where there’d be a lot going in it for me. I’d make the new friends and have the new experiences.

I didn’t want to come to this neighborhood — I have talked about this before. For the entire time being, I have only myself. And my options are getting out there and doing something each day and finding things I can attend where I can at least talk to people.  As for the friends? that takes time to nurture the friendship.

So I am uprooted yet again and for whatever reason it is, Pat’s gone.  I have no substantiated reason why and I am guessing I never will — it will be open to debate and I can only guess at what happened. Though I think “She heard something about me that involved her” is a very very good guess.

Suggestions or aid? or anything??? I need it badly.

Kind words will help, too. Thanks.

 

Paid visit to the cops…

Not a formal complaint, just to see where all of this with that neighbor is at.

On Monday, at about 6pm, I hear a knock at my door.

Who else knocks, right?

I went to the door (did not open it) and asked who was out there.

Neighbor identified herself and then said “do you still live here?”

I told her to go away and that if she bothered me again, I’d call the cops and I added “Just what is it you want, anyway?” She replied hurriedly “nothing” and went into her apartment.

Yesterday I saw the cops. To tell them what’s happened and just to ask them what’s what.

Turns out they seem to know her well. “We deal with her on a daily basis; she has mental problems and she is in a protection program. She is harmless. We will tell her not to bother the neighbors.”

I asked if anybody else occupied that apartment and he said “No; she is there by herself.”

Why in the world did Landlord tell me she lived with a guy, then….and why did he say the guy was in and out, all the time, spending time at his mother’s place???

I think I remember mentioning that I never heard another voice coming out of there or heard another person’s footsteps in there, not at any time at all after I moved in. I also heard nobody but her when I was here that week when I was cleaning and p ainting .

It’s been quieter in there than the proverbial mouse, when she is not occupying that apartment. It was fantastic for that 2 weeks when she was not here at all.

I can’t see how she’d be in a protection program. Wouldn’t somebody, like a caseworker or social worker or maybe even a probation officer of sorts, come to her place at least once a month to check on her? Wouldn’t they have to also see her apartment, you know, to make sure she can handle living on her own, if there’s enough food in it and so forth?  I am sure she has to take medication — who checks on that? Nobody’s shown up at her place.

This is a shitty building for somebody in a protection program.

This is no neighborhood for anyone. I also told them everything was shaky enough as it was, being this neighborhood is not a good one and there have been lots of incidents since I moved in.

I wish I could have had other options and a better place to move into. I was under the gun as it was; I could not stay where I was indefinitely and seemed that apartments were in short supply. IF there was anything available, it was too large, too expensive or the realtor wanted a background check and a whole employment history.

This is a whole year since that other mess has been over. I am not happy; nothing seems to be getting better. There are no other opportunities for me.

I asked my cousin what the job prospects were like out in California; she more or less said not that great. I can scratch that idea; I can’t and won’t move to an area where I am not guaranteed a job. It would defeat the purpose of the whole thing. If there were jobs, I’d head out there; I’d also have the benefit of family living nearby.

So my only choice is to hang in where I am living right now. I don’t see anything else “out there” for me; I tried registering with realtors and they didn’t pan out; one of them never called me back when I called her 2 weeks ago to see if there was any progress with an apartment for me; another one had me lined up to see a place — I called him 2 days later to see what time they planned to meet me the following afternoon (they were going to meet me at a central locale and I was going to see the apartment)…and he never called me back. Odd.

I never mentioned a dog so it wasn’t that. I told him I was open to a 3 room apartment in any town in this area. Beats me why he never called me.

Running Off at the Mouth

It’s a common occurrence during a political campaign: the candidate says something that’s a little off-message, or represents a contradiction to his past record, and is called out for it.  And the candidate goes mumbly, acknowledges his mistake, and goes forward with his message a little more muted.

Donald Trump is different.  He runs off at the mouth on a regular basis, gets called out for it, and regrets nothing.  And it seems crazy.

But I don’t believe that Trump is approaching the campaign as a politician running for office.  He’s approaching it as something like a business deal, although a little different in the need for public involvement.  To this end:

  • There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they spell your name right. During the primaries, Trump would say this or that and get free press coverage, which accomplished far more than he could through even an aggressive advertising campaign.  He was able to effectively bring his name and his ideas across the country, and present himself as a compelling alternative to the more ordinary sort of Republicans.
  • Manage your counterparty’s expectations. In negotiating a deal, besides resolving the actual terms of a deal to one’s best advantage, the smart negotiator endeavors to manage the counterparty’s expectations, so that the one’s interests are preserved and the deal will be executed smoothly.  In Trump’s case, the terms of the deal are fixed: he’s running for President.  But if he gets mealy-mouthed every time he gets called out, it will hamper his ability to be President if he should be elected.  So he regrets nothing.
  • Be prepared to walk away. In business, there is such a thing as a bad deal.  You negotiate with someone, and for whatever reason, you can’t secure a deal that advances your interests.  When that happens, there is no dishonor in abandoning the effort and walking away.  But a politician running for office is normally overtaken with the desire to win at any cost.  He will almost literally sell his soul and say whatever he believes he needs to say.  While Trump prides himself on being a winner, he isn’t going to change himself into a conventional politician: he doesn’t have the temperament for it.  And he has enough self-respect (some would say ego) not to try.

So I can’t get upset with Trump for running off at the mouth: it’s part of who he is, what he learned from a lifetime in business and not politics.  While I personally think it’s admirable, I expect that not everyone will agree.  Fortunately, there’s a ready remedy: vote for someone else.

Just a Friday Morning Observation

Isn’t it funny how absolutely nobody is talking about “Steve from Virginia”….

But everybody wants to hear what the Kardashians or Taylor Swift or Kanye have to say.

Isn’t it funny how the topic of “Steve From Virginia” left the scene the second the news coverage ended. Nobody is even discussing amongst themselves who he is, whee he came from, why he did it or anything else.

Poof…. just gone.

The owner of the building didn’t even mention the climber.

How odd. He didn’t weigh in with the press or issue a statement…and you can bet your hat he didn’t meet with “Steve from Virginia,” either

(He no doubt is in a federal prison and not likely we will hear from him, or about him, again. I watched his youTube video; he didn’t have much to say. He’s a youngish guy, about 25 maybe)

My point is this: we have become brainwashed. We no longer demand answers nor do we have a quest for any kind of knowledge, nor do we ask “what was really behind that climb? What’s his game?”

It is them….and not us job candidates. Nobody intelligent is doing the hiring.

This is on the job interviewer 100% of the way.

And with companies run as shoddily as this one, they are the ones who are nobody to work for. Don’t blame yourself if you never hear from them again.

I would NOT work for this company if you gave me a trillion dollars and man, I can sure use the cash. This place was worse than the last 3. Yah, it’s been some month.:(

Another interview yesterday. I was leery about attending, considering the first 3 were wild goose chases.

I found the job ad by accident while I was doing a search for something else.

I decided to attend anyway and if they asked me for my salary requirements, I decided to say it/write it with GUSTO. No way I was going to hesitate after that last silly bunch last Tuesday. Know your worth.

I got there 15 minutes ahead of time. When the interviewer, somebody by the name of Mary,  contacted me she told me I’d be there 15 minutes; it would be a screening interview.

Gee, Mary — you could have done this by phone.:(

First question I was asked by Mary: “How long did it take you to get here?”

Looks like she did not even read my resume.

She couldn’t have — anybody knows the town where I am coming from is about 11 miles and perhaps 20 minutes away!

This was already the end of the ball game but I decided to stay around.

She also asked me “Are you currently employed?”

If you looked at my resume, you’d have known the answer to that question…no, I do not think this is a “let’s see if I catch her in a lie thing.” This is somebody’s error (not reading a resume before I arrived) plain and simple.

Other questions I was asked: are you married. Do you have kids. Do you have health insurance coverage from your husband.

My goodness: why are you asking me these questions? You didn’t even say “We are not asking to be sexist but we are looking to see if you will be needing coverage for your dependents.” And even so, you can say “Coverage for employee only” or “We cover the spouse and dependents” whichever applied and SKIP asking me personal questions.

Husband? Gee, maybe I have a wife!

Not so LGBTiqq2s friendly or broad minded, I see.

A bunch of general questions followed — we got on the subject of shipping and logistics and I mentioned I did a lot of that in one of my past jobs. Again, she proved 100% she did not review or read my resume — because if she had, she’d have noted the logistics and maybe written it down.

She looked at that section of my resume and that was it.

A second interview and you’re required to bring 3 references with you. Yeah, even if you are not the choice which means more of your sensitive info is lying around. (I will only supply an email address for my references but it is still the principle: don’t ask for a list of references if you are not going to hire the candidate)

This is going to be another “I asked for too much money” thing — there is but a week’s vacation and 5 sick days and that means the pay is terrible. I have never seen it fail.

“We have been looking for awhile…”?

Why hasn’t the job been filled? The ad that I found had an August 1 date listed and I am sure that is not the first time the ad has run. Very curious. Most likely everybody wants a livable wage and this bunch is not keen on supplying it.

I know I am not “running against” another candidate. I found the job ad by accident and I sent that resume on Saturday evening. On Monday I got a call from Mary and she pushed to get me in there for an interview next day (yesterday).

Stupid and silly little people like these actually exist. And I can imagine the mistakes she makes on a daily basis…but yet they want detail oriented. Haha, probably to pick up after HER and fix her errors.

I just did a google search for her. Led me to LinkedIn and she’s got a silly little certificate in horticulture. Listed that as her “education.”

I also wonder if she is the owner’s girlfriend or maybe even his wife. She also reminds me too much of that little sneak that was the operations manager at my last company. This is all bad news and doesn’t bode well for anybody who gets the job.

I know companies like these — I worked for too many of them and all of them have ended horrendously for me. I would not accept this job if it was offered to me. I know I will only be there a handful of months or maybe a year, if I am lucky. I will guess, though, that my “big” salary requirement got me out of the running. Guessing I am safe.:)

Notice she mentioned no more benefits other than that puny week off and 5 sick days. No 401K, no profit sharing, no nothing. They don’t go for ice water.

She also left the door open and a gent who was there (who was very nice to me) got to hear the whole inerview. Gee, do I need him hearing my salary requirement? Unless he is a bookkeeper and in charge of payroll…but I doubt it.

It is them and not us. How sad for us all. Looks like all that is left are companies that want somebody for cheap. YOu will get what you pay for.

Backtracking my life to remove some mistakes

I often talk about my experiences with employment and all the problems I’ve encountered. I’ve discussed the sexism, ageism, immigration and every thing related. I’ve discussed how I am skilled and come so close, only to get rejected. What I rarely, if ever, discuss is how someone like me got here.

Let’s go back to my junior year in high school to see what went wrong.  My junior year I was an impressive student with honors classes, a high GPA and a letter in cross country. I was considering a career as a psychologist and had the grades to do it. I enjoyed journalism and many other activities but figured they would be just hobbies. Except Spanish, I was figuring with my very high Spanish grade (I would be promoted into the honors Spanish program) that could be my major. I started getting flyers from colleges galore and many were already starting to come visit me at school.

However, I started getting recruited by the military branches and considered going into the reserves or ROTC. The Air Force in particular kept calling me to offer me a ROTC scholarship. Stupidly, I fell for the navy. The navy didn’t offer me a scholarship, nope, instead they told me I was too stupid to get ROTC or reserves and the only way I would get in the military was as enlisted. I enlisted, to the dismay of my school counselor and my parents who all thought I was better than that for lack of a better word. I would go to pre boot camp meeting where both ROTC students and enlisted students were and noticed something funny: the kids in the ROTC were in my classes, the enlistment kids were not (they were mostly remedial kids). This should have been my clue but was so brainwashed by the navy telling me how wonderful boot was and how you got lots of money for nothing and I could start college right away paid for! My thinking was after boot I could then attend college but they don’t tell you this may not happen.

In another post I will discuss what did happen in boot but let’s just say I was not the best recruit. Ever see Private Benjamin? Sort of like that. I did get a medical discharge so while I was at boot a month I did get money.  I was discharged in May and as it turned out got out a week before high school graduation (I graduated that previous January). I was able to attend my graduation and the senior athlete breakfast. Of course because I turned down scholarships and colleges (thinking the navy would take care of this)this meant I couldn’t attend college in the fall. So that fall I saw my classmates all leave for school while I was stuck at home working a variety of horrible jobs. The worst was when a childhood friend came into McDonalds where I was cashiering and talking about her scholarship and her happiness. Like her I was in the top 10 percent of the class but made a foolish decision without thinking.

So that summer I had some extra money and decided to take a class in psychology at the local community college. I got bored because it was summer and who knows why but didn’t reach my full potential. I decided to go back to school but found I waited too long for financial aid. I waited for the following fall and found I received a full scholarship,  including books, and a stipend. I discovered community colleges really like honors students because so few go there. I attended a full year and did mostly well except for a conflict with my job at Venture during the fall season. By the following season I was modeling which fit perfect.

The following fall I decided to go to a school about a half hour away and since I didn’t have a car, to come home on weekends. Because I was a bit older than most sophomores (I should have been a senior at this point)I didn’t fit in. By now I had switched from psychology to communications and had a radio show. I lasted there a semester and I returned the following summer (the one about 18 months later) to  the community college to take several classes. The winter after that I started broadcasting classes at an art college known for their program. I attended for a year and didn’t return for a few years due to money issues. In the meantime I worked in radio, and public relations and modeled and took more summer classes at the community college. When I did return to the college to finish my degree I was two semesters shy of my BA. I finished it, and decided to go for a MA in communications. By this time I was still working in radio but not as much because there weren’t as many jobs. However I thought with a MA it would give me options. It actually did, I got offered several jobs, and took the one I now regret.

As it turns out, I am returning to the school where I received my MA and getting a degree in counseling. Since I attended over 12 years ago it has gone from a commuter college mostly with older students to one where they now have undergrads and dorms. Incidentally, the art college I mention did the same thing and the second time I attended felt weird because of it. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had I stuck with my original psychology major and chosen better job wise. I like to think I would have attended college on scholarship and now be in god financial shape. I also wish I had realized that I had plenty of options, only I didn’t see it at the time.

A Really Subjective View of Atlantic City Casinos

There are two basic ways to make money in a casino: the “Circus Circus” small bettor/grind out every dollar approach and catering to the high rollers as the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood and owned by Harrah’s) tried to do with the London Club, which had the first million-dollar chip in the gaming industry. If you are going to cater to high rollers, casino management has to be willing to live with more variance in the casino’s “win” month to month. William Bennett, former CEO of Circus Circus, took an ax to the baccarat tables after they lost too much to some high roller.

Atlantic City started as a day-tripper place because only 300 rooms were required to qualify for a casino-hotel license. For about a year, Resorts International had a lock on the casino market in Atlantic City because they were the first to open. When Atlantic City casinos first opened, and you took one of the buses that went to the casinos, you got back more than your bus fare in quarters and a free buffet coupon. In the summer of 1977, a friend of mine who looked 21 did nothing but ride the bus back and forth to Atlantic City all day to collect the extra money because he couldn’t find a summer job. By the time that I went there last in 2008, the refund had dropped to about half of your bus fare on weekdays, a third of it on weekends, and maybe $5 off the buffet. If you took the Greyhound bus out of Baltimore, Silver Spring or Washington, DC, as I have, Trump Plaza was the first casino drop-off and the last place to be picked up, which allowed people to maximize the time that they spent gambling. I learned that it is better to be picked up at the first pickup place so that I could choose my seat. The order of stops in Atlantic City was the main bus station, casino #1, and casino #2, with this order reversed on departure.

The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas had their workers strike for six and a half years, ending in 1998. This doesn’t make the failure to settle the strike at the Taj Mahal right, but it is not unprecedented. There have been books written about Donald Trump and the building and management of the Taj Mahal. For instance, three of Trump’s top managers for the Taj Mahal were killed in a helicopter crash in 1989. The dominant color in the Taj Mahal’s decoration is red, which is geared to attract the Chinese and Koreans because they think that red is lucky. I can say that the rooms in Trump Plaza were nice, but I never stayed at the Taj Mahal.

Casinos are a high fixed-cost business, and Trump overpaid for all of his properties, if you compare construction costs per square foot for comparable properties, adjusting for when they were built. He wanted the prettiest buildings, and didn’t understand gamblers, many of whom would trade lower table minimums and lower hold percentages for a pretty building. Trump Plaza sold for $20 million in 2013, and it cost $210 million to build in 1984. Trump Marina sold for $38 Million in 2011. If you look at the sales on a “per hotel room” basis. they are comparable prices.

A trend that crept into the gaming industry sometime in the 1990s was that every department had to make money. This gets to ridiculous degrees, such as allowing a pit boss to give away only ten packs of cigarettes per shift to players at one casino in Cripple Creek, CO. The longer trend of flat to declining wages affected the gaming industry, but even so, we spent more on gambling than any other leisure pursuit. Looking at the player club formulas for complimentary goods is instructive. In 2008, one had to gamble $5 on the slots to get one cent of credit toward complimentary items at Harrah’s properties. There were also efforts to increase the house edge on table games, such as paying 6:5 for a blackjack rather than 3:2. Resorts International had a deal in 2010 or so where you were paid 90% of your bet if you won on blackjack. To bet only $5, you had to put up an extra fifty cents. if you won, you’d be paid $5, but they would take the fifty cents.

Trump would have done well to do what Steve Wynn did: build a casino and sell it for a profit some years later, but this would have cost him the opportunity to continue to extract money from the company. Wynn opened the Golden Nugget casino in 1980 in Atlantic City, but sold it to Bally’s in 1987. The former Golden Nugget had three other owners/managers before it closed permanently in 2014. It is easy to ask what could have been. Had the money that was supposed to go to Atlantic City redevelopment actually been spent on redevelopment over the first 30 years or so of casino gambling in Atlantic City, it would be a far different place. Unlike Las Vegas and most other towns where casino gambling is legal, casino workers didn’t move into town(or a nearby town) to a large degree, and there was still satellite parking for them about two miles outside of town as of 2008.

Demicans

There are lots of ways to organize a world, and many of them work, at least in the short run:

  • There can be such a thing as a benevolent dictator. But they usually don’t last: they either get corrupted by power, or their successors have other plans.
  • When I traveled to Chile a few years ago, I had the sense of it as a country that had gone through the wrenching transformations we are facing now, and come out the other end. But Chile had been under a military dictatorship for over two decades.
  • Soviet Communism had a pretty good run: for a time, they were our only real rival on the world stage. But Soviet Communism carried the seeds of its own destruction, in their belief in educating—really educating—the populace.  After a couple of generations, people realized that they didn’t want to be Communists any more.

But all of that is beside the point now: our leadership knows the one, the only, and the proper and correct way forward.  They’ve been to college, studied real hard, and unearthed the Awesome Nugget of Eternal Truth.  The news media knows and understands the Awesome Nugget as well, but knowing which side their bread is buttered on, won’t explain it out loud.

And so, whether Democratic or Republican, our leaders subscribe to the same basic tenets:

  • Big government: Since the United States is the world’s most powerful nation, it stands to reason that we should have the most powerful government.
  • Big surveillance: And our big government has its first responsibility to protect us from the evil terrorists.
  • America the global hegemon: And of course, we have the absolute right, if not duty, to throw our weight around the world.  All in the name of freedom, of course, and protecting ourselves from the terrorists.
  • Entitlements forever: It isn’t just that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: contemplating cuts to entitlements would be an admission that we aren’t the nation we used to be.
  • Free trade: The market works most efficiently when it is unconstrained by artificial rules like borders.  So let’s not have any.
  • Open borders: And while we’re having open borders for things, why not people too?  Immigrants do wonderful things for our country: we should be glad to have as many as want to arrive here.  (Having not studied the Awesome Nugget myself, I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work, but I’m sure that’s my own shortcoming.)
  • Fiat money: Money is an abstraction, and deficits don’t matter, if we have a big enough rug under which they can be swept.  Fiscal responsibility is a quaint virtue from another time, like waiting until you get married to move in together.  Tying ourselves to a known scarce commodity (like gold or silver) is a relic of the past, and unnecessarily limits our ability to implement our plans.
  • Too big to fail: Our big government lives in symbiosis with big business.  Just as it would be disastrous if government itself were to fail, it would be almost as bad for a Citibank or a General Motors to fail.   The effects would not be confined to that one firm, and would spread through the economy, to catastrophic effect.  So we won’t let that happen.
  • The Constitution as a dead letter: We can’t say this one out loud: after all, the President’s oath of office still calls for him to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.’  But the Constitution is really a quaint anachronism, not suitable for a modern superpower.
  • Climate Change: Whether it’s real or not doesn’t matter: without an overarching ‘emergency,’ how else could we advance the rest of our agenda?

Now an individual politician, running for office, might rail against a couple of these points: whatever works to get him elected.  Once in office, however, he will follow the program.

This, then, is the Demican party platform.  You may think of other elements, but I think I’ve covered the basics.

Now, in fact, the two ‘radical’ candidates for President, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, have in fact accepted most of these tenets as gospel.  Each has only really challenged a couple of them.

What makes them dangerous is that, having amassed a following by challenging the Demicans, they might actually follow through if elected.

The Curious Case of Donald…this is getting more strange by the second…

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/03/politics/donald-trump-paul-ryan-john-mccain-election-2016/index.html

Trump’s comments — delivered to a newspaper he’s banned from attending his events since mid-June — capped a bizarre day on the campaign trail that also included asking for a crying baby to be removed from a rally and causing a stir over Purple Heart recipients.
In his interview with the Post, Trump criticized Ryan, saying, “We need very strong leadership.”
“We need very, very strong leadership,” Trump said. “And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
At a rally in family-friendly suburban Northern Virginia, Trump reversed the stereotype of baby-kissing politicians when he called for a wailing infant to be ejected — spurring laughter after initially saying how much he loved babies. He also caused a stir when a military veteran gave Trump a Purple Heart, prompting Trump to say he “always wanted a Purple Heart” and this was “much easier” than serving in combat.
In another example of a scattershot campaign, Trump’s son, Eric, was drawn into a discussion about workplace behavior following the resignation of Fox News chief Roger Ailes over sexual harassment allegations.
He told CBS’ Charlie Rose that said his sister Ivanka was “strong” and “powerful” and would never allow herself to be sexually harassed by her boss
The comment drew a one-word tweet from Fox News host Megyn Kelly: “Sigh.”
Still despite the gathering chaos around Trump, lingering questions still surround his campaign and those who criticize him.
He is so unorthodox that it is sometimes tough for those caught up in the maelstrom to judge what is happening against a credible political scale. His antics often beg the question of whether Trump has so skewed campaign logic that he has tapped into a connection with voters that normal politicians don’t even recognize. That makes it far too early to write him off.
But equally, it’s possible America is currently watching the meltdown of the billionaire’s campaign. Perhaps the most unorthodox, unpredictable candidate ever has hit limits of political convention that even he can’t trump?
American political sages are not alone in trying to figure out the riotous election — the world is watching too.

 

And this is who the masses wanted?

In another interview elsewhere,  he was asked about abortion. “I am pro-life” he said and when pressed by the interviewer what he should or would do, all he kept saying is “they should  be punished….Oh I am pro life…” He went on and on in a circle on the same kick all throughout.

That clip is on You Tube; you can find it if you wish.

So what is he planning to do? get a list of who has had a TAB and then round them up…or something??? This is sickening. Truly sickening.

That info is highly confidential due to HIPPA rules. Who knows what he’d do to obtain it?? And what about the women who had abortions in the days when it was illegal???  (ask my bio prof about that, what he saw when he was an RA in a large well known Midwest university. The girls used Vanish and Drano and soft drinks to induce the abortion. Most died or were in poor medical shape when all was said and done)

(Possible also that he is just talking out his arse just to say something and either way, this just sucks. You wonder why other countries laugh at us — They have even more of a reason to laugh at us now, thanks to him)  

What do we do if he wins?

There is a chance, yanno: 50-50 by virtue of the fact only he and she are running (no third party will have a snowball’s steamin’ chance in hell)

How many more a-hole comments is he going to make? What’s the intent and purpose here? to further divide us all?

There is zero chance he will be pulled as a candidate: it just isn’t done.

Neither he nor she is qualified to run for President. She was under investigation and was  permitted to do so, run for President? There was no lengthy Congressional hearing — no lengthy anything — just a cameo appearance by the FBI who  swiftly concurred “nothing wrong here, folks. Let’s move along.”

And now he is asking — 2 or 3 times during one conversation — why we cannot use nukes if we have them.

Is it possible he is this stupid? This crazy??

What’s going on here, really? Why is he the candidate? Did somebody “pick” him and made sure he got the nom, or what?

That little gem of his wide-eyed and breathless-as-a-superfan innocent little question is in the link below:

Trump Asks, ‘If We Have [Nuclear Weapons], Why Can’t We Use Them?’

Who keeps the republic safe??

Too hilarious NOT to share….what a comedy…

It is quarter of 5 in the morning as I key in this post….

I am drifting in and out of sleep — I do not sleep clear through the night anymore — and I hear a voice outside my door.

Now I am wide awake. I looked at my beside clock.

It is 3:45 am.

What the hell? I said…

And with that, I hear a knock at my front door.

I got up and headed to the door.

I looked through the peephole.

Who, of all people, is standing on my landing: why, that same woman I mentioned in prior threads. I referred to her as Odd Neighbor; her name is Jane…or so I thought [and more on that a bit later…]

Ordinarily I’d have ignored Jane, particularly at quarter of four in the morn,   but after she pulled the “I locked myself out” incident in June, it is likely she will knock all night. She knocked on my door for 45 minutes that afternoon until she went and got the guy from the back apartment to jimmy the door open for her.

I said “Who is it?” (I did NOT open the door)

It’s Jane.

She goes,  “I can’t get into my house.”

I said — and angrily — “I cannot help you with that. Wow, it’s quarter of 4 in the morning!”

“Quarter. Of. Four.” I heard her say.

I snapped,  “Yes; it’s quarter of FOUR! ” I added “I cannot and will not help you break in.”

To this she said nothing; presumably she left.

10 minutes later, I hear people coming up the front hall steps.

It’s her…with a cop! .The cop rattled her doorknob and said “I can’t help you with that…”

They headed down the stairs and then outside; there was some indistinguishable chatter (I didn’t hear any of it except “garage” because a streetcleaner, of all things, came up the block and drowned out the whole thing)

Well, it is quarter of 5 and she is outside, still roaming the streets! I just saw her heading down this block and to this building; she was outside talking to somebody (herself, I think)  and then I didn’t hear her anymore.

That guy next door is still away, then. No way she is house sitting or watching the place until he returns — he’s been gone 2 and a half weeks; what the heck is she doing here, at this hour?

I have a good mind to call that landlord and tell him what happened. Nobody sane  knocks on a neighbor’s door at quarter of four, period.

What kind of a comedy is Landlord running? This is even more hilarious than the primary election we just held!

And a cop came to the aid of  somebody who is locked out of an apartmentt??? And he didn’t ask her for an ID. Really, is he kidding???

These are cops, not a concierge or a locksmith! I think they still come to help you when you are locked out of your car, but not your home.

Around 6:30 she came back and let herself in. The cop must have told her to use an ATM card or something (it works in a pinch; I have tried it) …. because no way did any locksmith or anyone else come to open that door.

Absolutely insane. This ain’t an apartment sitting thing. She is now here round the clock and to me, she is unlawfully in somebody’s apartment; you are if you are here at quarter of 4 in the morning . Then again, seems as though when you have the key you can do what you want…hahaha, I learned that through the trial of fire with Bro!

5:13 pm: My goodness, how interesting…

I waited until 8:30 am and then I called Landlord and told him what happened.

He said to me, “Are you sure this was Jane?” He paused and said, “Jane lives in another part of the building.

I gave him Jane’s description.

He said, “That isn’t Jane; that is Nancy; she lives in there with John Smith; Jane lives in another part of the building.”

Then he said “I am trying to evict her.” Really? Trying? All he has to do is DO IT.

A little backstory — and this is how I found out her name is not Jane, the name she gave me…. 4 1/2 months ago, when I was set to move in, I got only 1 key. That is the key to the front and back door.

I am guessing in the confusion of upcoming surgery, he forgot to give me the other 3 keys.

I now need 3 more keys: one for the top lock on the back door, one for the top lock on the front door (both doors have 2 locks and that one key opens only the bottom lock to both the front and back doors) and one for the front ground floor door. This is the street entrance to the front of the building.

I live on the second floor in the rear; that door leads from the street to the second floor and my front door is the door I had the one key for. I did not have the key to the street level door.

Landlord was having surgery so he was not available to deliver the rest of the keys to me.

So here it was, 2 weeks before I was to officially move in (He told me I would have the last 2 weeks in March free of charge)  I decided to pick up the ball — I  called his  wife and told her what I needed: the key to the front door (I figured skip the other keys for now; the front door is essential). “You can borrow that front door key for the ground floor entrance; make a copy. Knock on the door of the apartment next to you and ask for Jane.  She lives in there.  She’s really nice. Borrow the key from her, make a copy and bring the original back to Jane.”

OKay, sounds like a good idea.

I went over to the building (The front door was locked) and by coincidence while I was in front of the building, this very tall thin and nearly skeletal woman was crossing the street. She came over to me and stopped.

She’s looking at me and not saying anything.

I said, “Do you live here?” She said yes. I said “Are youJane?” She said yes…and I told her what I needed.

“Oh, I can’t do that. That key belongs to the guy up on the second floor and I do not live here. This is his key.”

So here is why I thought she was Jane, and not Nancy…and why did she tell me her name was Jane and why did she say she did not live there????

Apparently she (Nancy) is living with that guy in the apartment next to mine.

She is not his companion who drops in and she is not housesitting whilst he is away…but nonetheless, you can see what I’ve got here: a nutcase. Can’t even give her right name??? I distinctly said “are you Jane?”

I am guessing Landlord’s wife has the tenants mixed up., But still…I’m telling him it’s Jane and I could have gotten Jane into a lot of trouble, thanks to Nancy!

I don’t know where  Jane’s boyfriend John Smith is; apparently he is not in there. He’d have opened the door for her, am I right? So no, he is not on premise.

As I said, that apartment was empty for 2 weeks and I am guessing he is still away at wherever they are and she is back here by herself…maybe??? If he was in there, surely he’d have come to the door.

Screw this….I had plans to move out anyway. I can’t stay here.

This whole building (and also the neighborhood)  is like a British farce.  There sure are enough doors and enough oddball events happening here for it to BE an English farce!

If I find out there is a Brooke Ashton, a Freddy Fellowes or a Poppy living here, I’ll lose my shit. hehe

I felt like a fool explaining this mess to Landlord (he sounded concerned) and felt like a bigger one after I explained to him how I thought Nancy was Jane! Well, Nancy was the one who said YES when I asked “are you Jane” — right???

How strange, all of it. Very odd and sorry, too much. You do not knock on a door at quarter of 4 in the morning  unless it is the direst of emergencies! It would have to be the building is being evacuated or perhaps somebody in there is ill and needs help and even so, you can call an ambulance! Why are you bothering me at 3:45 am; you can’t get into your house? Not my problem!

She has knocked before at odd hours – 6 am and 7 am —  and I refused to get the door. I had to ask her what she wanted this morning otherwise she will knock for another 45 minutes.

Dreadful.

How odd she never called Landlord in June; you lock yourself out, you call the landlord, no?

There is a Wendy’s up the block she could have sat in, until 8 am or so, when she could have called either Landlord or a locksmith. Why she never called the landlord in June is mighty odd.

I’ve got my feelers out for a couple of apartments, both are far less expensive than this joint.

It will be interested to see how this plays out. And maybe I should have called a cop when she was knocking this morning.

Ghostbusters 2016

Yesterday, my wife and I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie.  I’ve grown accustomed to present-day remakes and ‘reboots’ being a disappointment, but in that respect, the new version did well.  The characters fit the story, and the story flowed well.  I was entertained.  To its credit, the movie contemplates aspects of the Ghostbusters story that the original skipped, like the characters’ pasts, and the development of the tools.

To be sure, the movie turns, like most modern remakes, on overwrought computer-enhanced visuals rather than dialogue.  It has its funny moments, but lacks the sparkle and wit of the original.  I waited in vain for someone to say something like, “When someone asks if you’re a god, you say ‘YES!’!”  The scenes set in the subway were a bit lame, as well: I used to work for the outfit, and know how things are supposed to work.  But on the whole, I was enjoying myself, so these are minor quibbles.

What’s more distressing is in the details, where we see how the world has changed in the last 30 years.  It isn’t that the Ghostbusters are women this time around: it’s that they don’t know to call themselves ‘Ghostbusters’ until someone on television calls them that.  The original Ghostbusters entered the trade to ‘get rich,’ i.e. to make a productive living: the new ones don’t worry about that.  And the relationship between the Ghostbusters and the government is different: in the original, the Ghostbusters are left alone until an EPA bureaucrat decides they may be harming the environment; in the new version, they’re called before the Mayor before anything really happens, and are told to go about their business, even though they will be denounced as a fraud.

It’s a pleasant entertainment for a Saturday afternoon, but, alas, you can’t go home again.

The building, the neighborhood and the dog.:(

I’ve come to the conclusion I cannot stay in this building.

Some backstory: I took this apartment on half a moment’s notice because where I was staying was a king’s ransom. It was a do or die thing and I looked at a few apartments before this one and had no success. Too expensive.

This is a commercial building that consists of 10 apartments and a chiropractor. I am in the rear on the second floor. I have a back entry and a front entryway.

3 apartments are in this third of the  building. I and another resident are on the top floor; a youngish guy lives in the apartment at the front.

There is another neighbor who resides in a ground floor apartment; he is right under my apartment.

This neighborhood and building are not good.

I have had relatives living in this town for decades — my aunt and grandmother lived about 10 blocks west of here — and I had no idea that this quadrant of town was flat busted.

Most of the residents are Section 8. You can see it in the houses and you can see how seedy things are…and this whole building is Section 8.

I was more or less desperate to get out of where I was.

So I moved here…and I thought I’d be out and gone by September (very long story and my plans are not going to pan out where I can be out of here by fall) Not going to be out in September.

It is questionable and dangerous here, I believe:

1-Drunken kids arguing under my window. One of the drunk punks lives across the street. Funny how one of his parents never came outside and told him to get into the house.

2-Some Hispanic guy in a car, parked under my window. I could not see him but I cold hear him, screaming at somebody in murderous Spanish. I heard “pinga” and “mericon” and I heard thumping and banging, all this while he screamed blue murder in Spanish. Was he hitting somebody or was he banging something in that car out of anger??? I did not know.

The screaming went on for 3 minutes; I called the cops. I should have dialed the local cops directly; I called 911 and got a switchboard that Iguess is for the group of towns here. by the time the cops came, they were 10 seconds too late — the guy started the car and left and 10 seconds later, the cops got here.

3-People across the street had a party on 4th of July weekend and at midnight as the guests were leaving, the departure of the guests turned into a screaming match between a guy and a girl. He kept screaming at her to “get in this car…” And it went on for a good half hour. No lack of four letter words, either.

4-Odd neighbor that lives here, in this building. I avoid her like the plague. My thought is she is dangerous, too.

5-And the guy under me in the other ground floor apartment screams. Loudly. And I hear him possibly banging or throwing furniture. I think he is in there alone; he seems to be disadvantage. Why this guy is living on his own, I have no idea.

More backstory why this place is just the pits:

Back in April, there was a bag of trash and a chewed up box in the vestibule.  The box was flat and behind the vestibule door.

Nobody laid claim to any of the items; we are 3 residents in this section of the building that uses that front vestibule.

That trash has been here since I looked at this apartment and that was February 29. I suspect it was there for years.

Nobody has claimed it or thrown it away. Apparently they jut walk around it and past it.  Lots easier than tossing it out. (and also a big box of gadgets from Verizon — unopened — with the name of a former female resident on the shipping label.)

About a month after I got here, I asked Landlord if I could toss the stuff out.  He said yes.

Odd neighbor didn’t like this; she cornered me outside as i was taking out the trash — and claimed that the chewed up box was hers and gave me hell about “how can you just move in here and just throw things away.”

I was outside of the  building when she said all of this. I reached for my house keys — they were in my pocket — and she asked me “Do you have a weapon in there?”

I reported this to nobody. Because I would look like the bad guy. that’s why.

After the “have you got a weapon” inquiry, she huffed and puffed and then  vanished into the apartment next to mine and called me wow, about a thousand different names, including “helldog.” What the  hell is a helldog??? anyone know???

After that, I avoided the front entrance; I enter and leave using the back entry — she is always here; she lives in the other half of the  building but she is a fixture with some guy who is my next door neighbor.  I don’t know if this is his girlfriend or what but no matter: I avoid her like the plague.

When I’d leave out my front door that leads to the street, she’d be on it in a flash: that door to the apartment next to mine would slam open and she’d watch me leave. She’d do the same upon my arrival…

And did the same when I had Verizon here and a furniture delivery here: the door opened and she’d stand there and watch me and whoever it is.

See why I avoid her?

I justr asked Landlord if I could have a dog for protection and I told him there were questionable happenings here. He got kind of rude about it and said “No. Not here. Insurance purposes…”

But he’s got a stress fracture a good inch wide and a good 3 feet long, in the front vestibule…and the back steps that I am now using to enter and leave is…scary. Needs a painting and he fixes nothing.

That front hall was a pigsty. I had to be the one to vacuum it (Odd neighbor asked me why  I was vaccuming it. WHY as in “Why are you doing it” or why as in “It’s hella clean, why bother?” Good grief, chick…go away!) and this hall reeks of smoke, courtesy of Odd Neighbor.

It took me weeks to get him to get me moulding — the wall to wall was replaced with vinyl tile and there were actual holes in the wall where the carpet was, after the carpet was torn out .

His handimen are not the best. They are no shows or they don’t answer their cells.

Nor are the people in this building.

And I really really want a dog. I can’t go without one.

I am giving serious thought to looking for another place to live, starting in January — it will take me awhile to find a better place.

It would have to be relatively cheap, in a good neighborhood and a dog would have to be permitted and NONE of this pet fee shit, either. Bastards all think every dog is dangerous or bites? Bullshit….CATS are not the greatest to keep around: the apartment will never be free of that cat stink, even long after the cat people are gone. No matter how scrupulous you are about a litter box, you still get that cat smell.

So sorry I came here. And let me guess….

IF I had my dog, I wouldn’t get this shit apartment, either?

I am sad enough he is gone — there is a hole that exists — these people do not get it a dog is a family member.

Going to start looking. Enough is enough and I’ve had it with this place…

And oh yeah, I am not getting all of my mail and nobody can seem to figure that one out, either…

So back to school

So I have come to the conclusion that I have two worthless degrees in communication. I have been unemployed a long time and the fields I do have experience are increasingly harder to get into and notorious ageist. Okay so I decide to go back to become a counselor because there are jobs in this field (I am specializing in addictions which interests me and I know). I am waiting to see if I get a scholarship and I can get a possible job at a social service agency that pays horrible but gives me some money and experience.

Great you say? Mostly but I’ve run into a snag. Because my undergraduate was communications I have to take 9 credits of undergraduate credits that won’t transfer into the degree. Okay since I don’t have my degree I get this. However, I found out that I have to take an undergraduate research class. Did I mention I took a GRADUATE research class? yeah apparently that’s not accepted but the undergraduate class (where I won’t get credit)is. At least it’s only 12 credits which can be done in one semester. I originally checked into being a teacher and would have had to take another math class, two science classes and a few other classes amounting to an extra year of school. I think most of these can be taken online so I don’t have to deal with other students. The school originally was mostly older students (the average age was around 40) but now takes undergrads and quite simply younger people often annoy me. I know, once I take these classes I can go onto the other classes but having to take 4 classes is going to drive me crazy.

Back into the interview world…

And the lot of you are just as bloody insane as ever, I see.

And perhaps even more so.

5 hours after I left the first interview, my phone rings.

It’s that interviewer.

“Hi, Dude…this is Ms. X from the X company. I’d like to thank you for coming in….”

I can tell by her voice what the deal is.

“Calling to say we hired somebody a little more suitable.”

She spoke the rest of her piece and rang off.

You’re utterly kidding. You are calling me 5 hours after I left your interview to tell me I did not get the job?

How tacky. How uncalled for, how uncouth and how “it’s simply not done and you could have waited until MONDAY!”

Btw, what happened to the second interviews you mentioned, when I was there? I guess that was a lie, too.

Here is what I saw at the interview:

The job was typical office work. The company was a realty company.

The job entailed running what’s pretty much “the whole thing” — this was a 2 person office (excluding the ancient receptionist who misheard my last name albeit I slowly and distinctly pronounced it, within a foot of her).

There was too much work for one person — that “one person” being who is hired for the job.

There is also a mound of paperwork that is attached to the job — mountains of insurance-related paper work and nothing but paperwork surrounding  that?

And when the owners come in, they bring lots of work, more or less. Plus it’s be Ms. X’s assistant. Another 2 fer one job. Wonderful.

The company’s purpose is condo association realty, repairs to the buildings and a third division who builds houses?

Then this company has the bucks. This is a job that should have paid at least 55K as the starting salary, minus experience. For somebody with a good chunk of experience? perhaps 60K — but who knows what they were paying?

This could have been a 30K a year job for all I know.

She also never mentioned the salary to me at any time during the interview. How can I possibly even consider the job if I don’t know what it pays?

(Is this something new: not disclosing the salary? is this now the norm and routine? or is this nondisclosure strictly reserved for those who are not in the running for the job? ) 

And perhaps I earn more right now — a great deal more — than what you are paying! Do not waste the interviewee’s time. Do what they used to do back in the day: state the salary when you run the ad or say what the salary is at the interview.

Called me 5 hours after the interview.

This reminds me of the time bro went to an interview and the next day, in the mail, here’s a rejection letter!

To tell you the truth, I ruled the job out because it would have been an hour and a half commute each way and the job simply was too much work for one person. Considering I didn’t hear anything that even remotely indicated I was a candidate for the job, I thought I was pretty safe to rule out the job, even if it was only on “my” end.

How are you ever a serious candidate if you never are told the salary?  Impossible that you are being considered.  Suppose they call, say you are hired and then they disclose the salary and it is way too low for you to consider? Waste of time all around. I cannot even see a company even doing anything like that.

The interviewer was over 70, also and she said somebody in there is retiring. Wow, how old are you all anyway???

So in essence I was rejected immediately. Who the Christ knows what happened here?

I had a second interview 4 hours later; this was a rep/account executive job.

The place was sad: they just moved into that building and to me, it looks like they can hardly wait to leave. There are 6 reps there now and you can tell by looking that this is perhaps a $15 an hour job.

Guy interviewed me at a conference table where 2 other people showed up after me to interview for the job! He doesn’t have an office or another section of the room where he and I can speak in private???

And you had to see the condition of the other 2 candidates: one was a much older woman who wore white leggings and a shirt that looked like it belonged in the trash. Send that slob HOME!!! HOME! There are inexpensive much more “interview-ey” articles of clothing you can buy in a Sears or a TJ Maxx!

I didn’t like any of this, either…and he also did not tell me what the job paid. He did say that they made X in sales and that the campus had a 3 shift operation (rare these days) — and when I started to ask him more about that, he clammed up and wouldn’t answer any more questions. How peculiar.

These were my first interviews in 13 months.

And what I got was more desolation and phoniness.

So.

What do I do?

Where do I go from here?

And to tell ya the truth, I couldn’t believe it: Ms. X had an intelligent, enthusiastic and efficient candidate right in front of her — you don’t want nice? or decent? or somebody with a proven track record???

And sure, when you talk up your skills, they’re all going to show enthusiasm when they are probably thinking “this stinks. How do I get rid of her?”

How very sad. For her, not for me.

She was not honest, anyway. Was there or was there not a second interview? Got another message completely different when she called to tell me I did not get the job; yes, what happened to “we are having second interviews with the owners of the company”??

And as I said: calling 5 hours later is tacky and just wrong. Wait until Monday: benny of the doubt.

I would also like to know what happened to the usual questions we were asked: Why are you leaving your job? Why did you leave the job before this one? What did you like about your company? What were your duties at your current job/ the job before that? How long were you there? Where were your companies located? Were they large or small companies?  How were you treated by your boss?

You are also no longer asked “can we get you coffee or something to drink?” You are no longer given a tour of the place — this is important to US! We’d like to see who is there and if things are neat and orderly and safe and what we can “pick up” as we make our way through.

A friend of mine is suggesting I call ms. X and ask her “how can I improve for my next interview” — right away they are thinking you are the one who handled it wrong.    She won’t tell me anything and it is likely that if I get her voicemail I will not get a call back. Out of sight and out of mind.

Too much work for that one person and a fleatrap, in that consecutive order. Wonderful jobs in our area. Just Wonderful.

Gender, Reconsidered

I’ve had a ‘well, maybe’ moment.

Look Past Pink and Blue

The graphic above is part of a publicity campaign from the city government.  While I’ve been railing against the notion of equal access to restrooms, it has, in fact, been the law in New York City since 2002.  It hasn’t been a problem: in fact, it’s been such a total absence of a problem that I didn’t even know that we had such a law until this graphic crossed my desk.

So I must withdraw my objection that allowing equal access to restrooms is a license for perverts.  It hasn’t happened, at least not to an extent that would suggest a problem.  I stand corrected.

Being able to go to the bathroom should not be a civil rights issue.

And yet, I wonder about the animus against the binary notion of male and female.  ‘Look past pink and blue,’ the ad says.  But for more than 99% of us, our reality is that we are pink or blue, female or male, one or the other, not both, and not neither.  And even for the transgendered, the notion of ‘pink or blue’ persists: a person is transgendered if his perception of himself as male or female does not match his equipment.  ‘Charlie,’ in the graphic above, seeks to present himself as male, whatever his origins.  If I met him on the street or at work, and didn’t know the back story, I ’d think of him as a dude, and not consider the matter further.

What is so horrible about pink and blue?

Post Dated Tickets are a Fraud and Farce…and $800+ ticket prices for “Hamilfraudton”….

Part One of this post…..

No Broadway theatre has any intention of honoring a postdate.

What is a postdate?

A postdate is a Broadway show ticket that has not been used by the purchaser on the day of the ticket’s performance.

The idea of it is to permit the patron to use that ticket for any performance available during the run of the show.

The catch is that the patron is to call Tele Charge after 11 on the day of the performance you wish to attend after the date of the original ticket performance has passed. The idea of it is that you are permitted to use that ticket for that day’s performance if space allows.

Sounds good, right?

I am still trying to find a way to see the show before the run of the show ends. I figured I’d see it once more and eat the cost of the second ticket or try to get in to see it for 2 performances, thusly utilizing both postdates.

Sounds easy, right?

Back on April 30, I was told by Tele Charge that I have until October 9 to use the 2 tickets.

I found out by accident that the run of the show is ending on June 26. It was last Wednesday that I found this out.

I have called Tele Charge daily — and on numerous other times since then, asking if the postdate can be honored this evening…

And every time, the answer is no.

Including 10 minutes ago. “No postdates for this run or any show up until Sunday when the show closes.”

If you ask me, I don’t think Tele Charge has any intention of honoring a postdate — I got stuck with my ticket for another show when I found out after the show closed that the show CLOSED.

This also means you cannot go to the theatre, get your 2 hard copy tickets and sell them to somebody on line. The theatre wants to sell 2 fresh and new tickets and make money. NOT let you sell YOURS in front of the theatre. Not honoring postdates so you cannot do that!

Telecharge does not tell you when a show is closing, if you have postdates for that show.

I got a bad nosebleed the day before the performance of American Psycho and I very well could not see the show with packing in my nose and with a sinus headache to boot, thanks to the tampon that was shoved up my right nostril. There was only one ticket. I wanted to see the show and I was going to go by myself. No such luck.

It is a fraud and rip off.

Part 2 of this post:

The $800+ legitimate ticket prices (as in not scalped) for “Hamilton”

You read right! $800+ for a premium seat! and over $100 and more for one of the cheaper seats way up in the never-lands of the theatre.

And the producers had the brass ones to complain about the scalpers? Uh, these ARE now scalped ticket prices! Where is the FTC? Where is the state board that regulates prices for consumers???

Hamil-fraud-ton, as I like to call it, will run indefinitely and these horrifically inflated ticket prices will be the norm.  And no consumer will complain about the price.

The even scarier thing is that there will be some sap ready to fork over the money for the performance and damn the inflated price.

That show can run at least 5 years and I will bet you a billion dollars in profit will be made from this show. A BILLION!

Chicago is running 20 years. Imagine what Hamilfrauditon will rake in over a 20 year period of time!

$800+ for a ticket that’s an orchestra  seat and nobody that’s a huge draw and commands a crush of patrons is in the cast. Sting could not save The Last Ship and who is a bigger name than Sting???

Sad and horrific — if you want to take a date to see the show and eat in the city, expect to fork over half a week’s pay, if you get the cheaper seats. $150 each,  plus a good $100 for dinner, including tip???

No such luck if you wish to take your spouse and kids to see that show. Will cost you a fortune.

And if by chance you cannot make it to the theatre to see the performance, you are shit out of luck for a postdate. Imagine being out $1700 for 2 tickets! Doubtful you will find somebody who can get to you with that cash and pick up the tickets well in advance of the curtain time!

The FTC needs to look into the dishonor of postdates and end these inflated prices. Somebody or someone or some entity is behind these scalped “legit” prices and nobody in charge is ending it.

Screw you, Broadway. That is what I think.

PS, Lin Manuel: Tommy is by far the most original concept for a staged show. Who did this in 1969??? Nobody. Nobody picked up the ball and tried to transition it from concept LP to legitimate rock opera… a rock opera in 1969 -1970, in he midst of 1776 and Oh! Calcutta and Company?

Not likely.

The Orlando shooting

I don’t think we can stop the shootings or “get” the shooters.

Gun control isn’t it. There will be a way to obtain a gun or guns illegally.

Ban a certain religious group? Won’t help. We have plenty of home grown nuts who are shooters.

And we will not ban them or inter them because we will piss somebody off.

They are also a fast growing demographic in the United States. I cannot figure out why: we are a secular nation and this simply is not home to them.

There is something “in us” — we have turned into a divisive and confrontational lot. Who knows why?

It will be the same thing over and over again: “oh how horrible” from person after person who hears or reads about it…the press will run the story and then there will be another shooting somewhere else. Will we get mad enough when the list of those dead is over a thousand? Uh, maybe.

How do we stop these shootings?

I can only guess how.

What I do know is this: if an entity shows up with a weapon and kills 2 or more people, that is a WAR, not just a shooting. We are at war with an unseen enemy: “how to stop the shootings.” And we are at war with every entity who shows up with his bats on for a person, place or thing.

Ole Omar was gay. He was a patron at Pulse quite a few times; he was boisterous and drunk on more than one occasion. The management recognized him.

He also was a regular on gay dating apps.

This was an anti-gay massacre, not an “I support ISIS” massacre. I’ll bet you ISIS doesn’t know Omar from Adam. That he called and pledged solidarity to them? Means nothing.

This was also a massacre of black and Hispanics. Fine young people who were going places…and lo and behold, straight women were in there also. One of them liked Pulse because she could be herself. (and you know how tough it is if you are a single woman and you ‘re looking for a decent place to go on a weekend night; we can’t find anymore places to go, either)
So what do we do?

Plan for the future?

Which way to go or what to do.

I will be 60 in October of next year.

I am guessing you can see which way this is going.

Nothing has turned up in the employment world for me — 2 weeks ago, I tried a bagel/breakfast shop; the “help wanted” sign in the window got me nowhere; never heard from them manager but he’s got all third world help in there…and that’s another story altogether.

The “help wanted” sign still remains in the window. I saw it on Wednesday when I was at the laundromat. (the sign was there for several weeks before I asked about the job so what the eff do these people want??? Are you serious about hiring somebody? or is this a game? Did the manager/owner forget to remove the sign; perhaps the job is taken???)

The full time job ads are few and far in between and I have no idea what criteria they are using to contact those they wish to interview. I heard nothing from the last 2 most recent places I sent a resume to. Those resumes were received end of April. This is now mid-June and nothing. Call to follow up and nobody returns your call. I left messages at both places 2 and a half weeks ago. No call back.

When I called, I was not happy with the way they handed the call. Willing to bet this is another little hole in the wall with employees who have been there since the Nixon Administration. Nothing progressive and nobody educated. Just another bunch of underpaid undermotivated and dumb little workers.

I found no information about them on the net, either. Just a link that gave the phone number, address and company name. There wasn’t even a website for both of them.

I do not know what criteria or qualifications apply anymore or how these hiring managers are deciding who is a candidate. All I know is the resume I used in the past — the resume that got me at least 2 interviews a week and in short time (I’d usually hear from the company anywhere from immediately to a few days after the ad was run) — is getting me nowhere now.

I need a plan for the immediate future.

Opening a small business without using a brick and mortar “headquarters” is iffy and dicey — you don’t have cash flow right away and no telling when you might. It is not a guarantee for “employment”

I have tried running a small business without going the brick and mortar route and have not been successful. I have a lot of artistic talent but wow, how do you get the word out and how do you retain customers?

I did a street fair 2 years ago. I had about 10 visitors over a 2 day span; there looked like there might have been some interest from about 5 of them but nobody ever called me to see about an order.

I did a business breakfast 2 years ago. Mixed and met with about 15 small business owners. Wrote follow up letters. No dice. Probably went into their spam folder.

And even if I had the money for a brick and mortar business — for the heck of it, let’s say that I do and I start that business tomorrow; let’s say I have the place all set up and ready to roll — I don’t even have a guarantee that that business will pay off or be a success. It takes time to build a business and takes time to retain customers and a following.

Even if I started that business tomorrow, they say it takes 3 or 4 years to establish it as a success. That would make me 62 by the time this thing got off the ground. This is the time when people are retiring. What am I supposed to do — work until I am 70 or older, to maybe break even or try to recoup the loss I had from these last many years of no job and that other disaster?

My town now has a lot of small businesses – lots of hair design places, jewelers, small restaurants, dog groomers, bookstores and more — they all seem to be alive. I don’t know about their customer base or how busy they are or what kind of a profit the business is pulling in,  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of companies that go out of business.

And I am supposed to try to see if this thing works for the next 4 years of my life.

Same thing if I signed up for a culinary arts class tomorrow: will anybody hire a nearly 60 year old cook, baker or chef?

You are perceived as not energetic enough to do the job. Sad and true fact. None of us are bronzed in the fountain of youth. We do not look like we are 22 or 23 or even 30. Or even FORTY.

BIG drawback.

And even if I got that bagel place job, I am sure that I will be working with those with a language barrier problem, the job will be very part time and I will be paid in one lump sum, under the table. …and I also can be let go at any time. Maybe an employee’s friend  or relative wants the job or things will be slow or a frigging thousand other things. (you also do not get to speak to the owner when you inquire about the job — lots of these owners possess more than one establishment and he or she may not even live locally! This is no longer the day where the owner slaves tirelessly in that establishment day or night or where his or her teenage kids also work there, too)

My age is now a problem to me.

Oh sure — you see all these stories about people who reinvented themselves and are now doing this or that successfully at a very advanced age. This is not the majority of us! We are in the minority.:(

I have no idea what way to turn or what to do. And I have had enough time pass by.

There are schoolmates of mine who are retiring! Yes, at 58!

Not to mention they are public servants and one has a husband who is a retired municipal cop. I don’t even want to go there on what kind of pensions the 2 of them have coming in between them. hearing she was retiring was like somebody took me and beat the shit out of me in half a second flat: forced to realize that I do not have that kind of wonderful luck — not to mention that I never had a job like that, where your job is solid and you cannot ever be fired —-  and never ever will. You ask yourself why life is like this. And YES you are resentful of these people, as nice as they are and albeit you grew up with them.

Also a painful reminder that seeing this person’s family at a retirement dinner makes you realize you’re screwed on that front, too: my damn brother doesn’t care where I am, or know where I am, or if I am okay — and my family members? 2 cousins, and both at a distance. They are not local. No family no legacy and I am all alone.  I don’t even know if I even have the chance to remarry and to tell you the truth: the thought of dating a guy my age is dismal and distraughtful — are they healthy? Do they have kids who will scream for their inheritance? Are these guys interested in marriage at all, at age 58 and up?

UGH.

I do not know which way to turn. I am out of ideas and solutions — potential ones, anyway — and none of them is a guarantee.

No ideas, no anything.

No interviews — the last one I had was over a year ago.

And no guarantees.

How sad.

Pray for a miracle — it’s all I can do. I don’t know how or where a full time job or a good plan for the future will turn up for me.  There are not even any companies from past interviews I can call and  more or less revisit and ask if they are hiring. Even former employers are out. There are 2 employers left out of all of them; one of them has a new owner and I have never met the guy. I cannot call and say who I am and can I possibly work there again — I also have not seen a job for that company in years. Possibly 9 or 10 years ago was the last ad that I saw: where are they getting their shop people, their welders and their engineers and where are they getting their office support people, if any of them quit? Not one ad has been in the paper.

I am at a loss.

Any suggestions would be great.

Gender

When I was very little, I learned the concept of what I now know as ‘gender:’ people are male and female, boys and girls, men and women.  I was really young when I learned this concept, so young that I can’t remember not knowing it.  And along with gender, I learned some other concepts, which I never really thought about until much later:

  • Essentiality: A person must have a gender.
  • Binary states: One is male or female: there is no other alternative.
  • Mutual exclusivity: A person must be male or female. One cannot be both at the same time.
  • Immutability: One cannot change one’s gender.  (One can impersonate the other gender, but it isn’t the same thing.)

I learned all of this just by observing the world around me.  So far as I know, my parents never had to explain this to me, nor did I have to explain it to my son when he was little.

So now we’re facing the onslaught of people who believe that requiring men and women to use different bathrooms is somehow evil: you’re denying people their basic human right to a comfortable place to pee!  We’re told that we have to look out for the transsexuals, who need to go to a bathroom that does not correspond to their physical gender.

Since this is ludicrous on its face, it’s actually pointless to argue logically against it.  Ayn Rand said, ‘Don’t bother to examine a folly—ask yourself what it accomplishes.’  Nevertheless, to establish that the issue in question is a folly, it is necessary to argue against it:

  • Yes, there are some (very few) transgendered people who have issues with using one restroom or another. But there are many more maladjusted but otherwise normal men who enjoy peeping at women’s private parts.
  • There are also many more non-transgendered people who have no question about which restroom to use, but are nevertheless uncomfortable with public restrooms. I used to be one of them, and I got over it as I got older.  It isn’t the responsibility of the world at large to furnish me a comfortable place to pee wherever and whenever I need it.

And what does this accomplish?

  • It raises what seems on its surface to be an affectation to a ‘protected class,’ where to even identify it is to be discriminatory.
  • It’s another way to get people who disagree to shut up for fear of offending someone. (Remember that liability makes cowards of us all.)
  • It’s another effort to erase the distinction between men and women. But this difference has been part of our nature since the beginning, and has been integrated into every human society to date.  It seems pointless at best and dangerous at worst to try and eliminate it.

None of this means that men and women shouldn’t have civil equality.  Men and women should have the same rights before the law and in commercial transactions, including receiving the same pay for the same work (this last has, in fact, been the law in the US for over 50 years).

But underneath it all, men and women are different.  That difference is to be respected, admired, cherished, and enjoyed.  To deny, disparage, or deprecate it is to deny reality.

End of an era: goodbye “old friend.”

This is all about the same person I asked about some time ago. I decided not to be party to being lied to and mistreated and decided no to being treated shabbily.

This “friendship” is over.

As per my own request.

Here is what happened:

She had a birthday coming up. About 7 weeks ago I bought a ticket to see a Broadway show. I liked the show and thought that it would be an ideal gift for my friend.

I asked her when she would like to see the show. She picked the date — this past Saturday — and I ordered the tickets. They were at the will-call desk. Which means you pick them up at the box office when you arrive.

I was all set to have a great time in the city.

The last time I talked to her was Thursday of last week. We decided how we’d get into the city. (she ws going to meet me at the PATH).

Zoom ahead to Thursday, about 6:30 pm.

I was in the bathroom cleaning out the tub when I hear my cell phone ringing (I have a landline now and everybody’s been calling here  via the landline so I couldn’t imagine who this was at the end of the line).

I answered the phone.

it was her.

I said hello and I hear her say “I have to go see the baby on Saturday.”

I said “what are you talking about? what baby?” I was thrown wy off base and I had no idea what she was talking about.

And then she explains: her niece went into labor and gave birth on Wednesday — on Saturday the new parents wwere having a meet-and-greet for the new baby (at their home) and my friend said to me “….so I have to be there. I can’t go to the show.”

I blew sky high.  You made plans with me and you have a commitment with me and now you are ditching your plans with me???

More in a bit, but first this backstory:
 
Bear this in mind: also on the scene — since last June or maybe earlier is my guess — is this creepy guy she was dating a couple years ago. That ended badly; she showed up at my house on a Sunday morning in August, crying copiously and telling me how scared she was. They’d had some sort of fight and she said he gave her a lot of trouble.

I found out on Tuesday — by more or less putting 2 and 2 together during the conversation — that she was seeing “Sam” again. She lied about it at first and when she mentioned “where he works” I put 2 and 2 together and that’s where I lost my S.

She claimed everything was fine and she was in counseling with him, etc. “It’s not what you think,” she said.

What the heck does that mean, exactly???

I said “are you dating this guy?” Pause. “Well, sort of…” No ‘sort of”.  This has to be a fairly serious thing if you are getting counseling together with him. (and rebooting a relationship and getting counseling, with a person who is broken to begin with. Yeah, that sure is promising indeed) 

“BIG MISTAKE” I said to her…which is what I said 2 years ago, too. To this….she said nothing. She said nothing 2 Junes ago, too!!!

Now that you have that backstory, back to Thursday and how she couldn’t go to the show and why….

I got mad. “Wow,” I said, “I went through a lot of time and trouble and now you can’t go? I am inconvenienced! What do I do with the tickets???”

To this she says nothing. She more or less let me yell!

I rang off a short time later.

I called the venue on Saturday. I cannot get a refund; I have to use the 2 tickets sometime before early October.

So now I am stuck with 2 tickets to a show I do not wish to see at this point. I know nobody who wants to go.

While I had her on the line on Thursday, I told her to pay for her ticket — why should she get off scot free, right? She agreed to it.

Fast forward to today:

She emails me and tells me she’s going to send me a check for her ticket. And she signed off with “Love always.”

I waited about an hour and I requested of her that she pay for my ticket, also. (I did this with great reservation — I had no idea if I should or should not ask but heck; I paid for them and what do I do — eat MY $50???))

I did not use my ticket; I do not plan on seeing the show in the future. As I said I do not know if this is out of line to ask her to pay for both…. but then again, why should I eat $50?

She very kindly sent me a one sentence response: “Stop bothering me, you complainer!!!!!”

I did not want to start an email war — but I had to say it — I told her she was acting oddly since Sam arrived back on the scene and that I went through a great deal of time and trouble to arrange a special day for her; I also said that she did not honor her prior commitment with me and that that was out of line.

I also said the tickets were unusable.

She did not hollaback with a reply.

And….that was it.

This is the end of her.

Too many things have happened since January, really — she vanished for about 21/2 weeks right after the new year and she was out of the loop: never called me, no emails.  She did the same thing — vanished — for most of April. I called her and emailed her to say Happy Birthday and never got a reply.

And this is another thing — she has not returned my phone calls nor has she phoned me — and this has been going on since about the first of the year.

On Tuesday I pointed this out about the lax in returning my call — she had nothing to say to any of this.  The disappearing and no phone calls is odd and unsettling. (This almost sounds like the fly by night baloney some uncaring guy would pull on you)

I wonder if Sam is controlling her and there is possible abuse: he has a terrible anger management problem — that is why she called me in a panic that day in August a couple years ago.

I met him 2 or 3 times over the past many years (He was a friend of some former boyfriend of hers so she socialized with Sam and his then-girlfriend a lot; had him up to her house for parties and things like that.) and he did not seem friendly.  A friend of mine saw Sam and her in a mall a couple years ago and Friend said “They did not seem friendly.”

Whether or not Sam is the root cause of her behavior, who knows. I am not God or Father Flanagan or Sam’s case worker,  Sam’s CO or Sam’s shrink. And I am not Kreskin or a mind reader.

But I do know this:

I cannot permit myself to be lied to, treated shabbily, nor can I permit myself to be a Plan B or even a Plan C or Plan D. I refuse to allow myself to be hosed when I and somebody have a commitment to go somewhere or to do something together.  I can’t be anything less than a good friend that somebody is interested in being friends with.

I am not used goods or a tenth fiddle.

If I “keep her around”  I will get more of the same — the treatment will worsen. This is a fool me twice thing now, if I do stay around.

And I cannot trust her now: who knows what will be a lie or will be the truth???

Email her in a couple weeks to say ‘goodbye”??? Meh.

So so sad. I have not had a good many last years and I am still worn out from last year’s partition.

I am upset because my bench is not deep. I have never had a large circle of friends; I have a small one…but the circle seems to be decreasing more and more. Wow; my own brother doesn’t care to know where I live.:( How sad is all of this???

I was always envious of the girls who have had a “neat” friend since grammar school — they are friends allll the way up until now; were in each other’s weddings, there when the y each had kids and so on and so forth. I never had that kind of a friend. Never ever.

And are still friends now — their KIDS are marrying; they also became grandparents together with the “neat” friend! All of their kids got married the same time…and had children the same time!

My bench isn’t deep but I will not settle for less than the best when it comes to a friend. Let this chick keep it. She’s in the wrong… and if this thing crashes and burns with Sam again — as I suspect it will — up yer hole with a mello roll; I will not be available for you, former friend..

 

 

Feeling the Bern

Every Sunday night for the last three weeks, I’ve reminded myself that Tuesday is Primary Day and I have to vote.  And for the previous two Mondays (but not today), I’ve corrected myself that the New York primary election is on the 19th.

On one level, I shouldn’t care.  I’ve written in these pages previously that all of the candidates are, to put it politely, useless.  And I could reasonably say that I don’t have time: my duties this week have me leaving the house at 0530; I have to catch up with paperwork after hours; the polling place is in a really awkward spot, not near a subway station.

Beyond that, I’m a registered Democrat.  My parents were, and up until maybe 2000, I would consider the candidates for an office and often decide that while the Republican candidate’s views were closer to my own, the Democrat seemed to be less of an arrogant asshole.  I’ve thought about changing, but to vote in the Republican primaries this year, I would have had to change my party registration by last October.  And it wasn’t clear back then that the Republican primaries would be as interesting as they turned out to be.

Still, it’s Election Day, and I have a choice.  And our country is troubled: I have to make the effort, pointless though it may be.

And my choice, for tomorrow, is Bernie Sanders.

I actually disagree with Sanders on many of his policy decisions.  While I believe that there may be room for the rich to pay more in taxes, I don’t believe that we can tax enough to finance some of Sanders’s more grandiose schemes.

But if Bernie Sanders is elected President, with a Republican Congress, the result will be gridlock.  And that is, in fact, a good thing: it means that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will be able to make things worse.  Gridlock worked for the deficit: after years of trillion-dollar deficits, the figure has dropped to less than half that.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton is just another Demican (Republicrat?).  The Republicans will rail against her, as they do against Obama, but in the end will go along to get along. (And I’ll skip, for today, all the other reasons I don’t believe Hillary Clinton is unsuitable to be President.)

Our country needs a change.  Unfortunately, the change we really need will be necessarily painful and disruptive, especially in the short term.  And the government—even if it were an absolute dictatorship—can’t fix our problems by fiat.  Until we can face reality, then, the next best alternative is a government that does nothing, so that at least it can’t make things worse.

And so tonight, I’m feeling the Bern.

(Or is it that I just had too much to eat?)

 

Mixed Bag

“Donald Trump is not a gentleman,” remarked my wife the other day.  She’s right, but then again, neither is Ted Cruz.  The two of the got embroiled in what seemed a bar fight over pictures of the candidates’ wives.  (I’m not going to fill in the details here: if the whole soggy saga gets lost to posterity, it can only be an improvement!)  At this point, I may end up voting for Bernie Sanders as the only candidate who (a) acts like a responsible adult, and (b) isn’t dead on the vine.

  • One might vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman, or because she presents herself as the logical continuation of the Obama administration. But Clinton, sadly, embodies everything that we love to hate about male politicians, and many people, myself included, believe that Obama is the worst President in modern times.  Moreover, she across as stale and tired in her speeches.  Even if I were on the fence and willing to consider her as a candidate, she needs to present herself as someone who actually wants the job.
  • John Kasich probably has the best head for figures of any of the candidates, and is the most likely to actually fix our problems. Alas, unless he can get people’s attention, his candidacy will go nowhere.  But that seems to be the plan.  I can almost imagine some Republican Party guy making the pitch: “We want you to run for President.  But realize that you won’t be the nominee: we just want you to be there to take momentum away from any oddballs that might show up.”  I’d have told the Party guy to fuck off, but that’s just me.

*          *          *

I initially had nothing useful to say about last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.  But as news reports came out that the perpetrators were already known to the intelligence services, but that the Belgians were somehow unable to stop them, I began to wonder.  Apparently, what we’re supposed to do is let the potential terrorists into our midst, then maintain a police state to monitor what they’re doing and jump on them just as they’re about to attack.  Wouldn’t it be far simpler and cheaper not to let the potential terrorists into the country in the first place?

*          *          *

And for that reason, I can’t get upset with President Obama for not aborting his trip to Cuba to address the Brussels attacks.  When he woke up in the morning, the attacks were already a fait accompli.  It wasn’t like 11 September, when the United States was actually under attack while President Bush continued his visit to a Texas kindergarten.  (On that day it would have been so simple to say, “I’m very sorry, but something has happened that requires my immediate attention.  I have to go.”)  But this time, the deed was done: the Belgians have emergency services that can clean up the mess: all that’s left for our President is to utter the usual rot about how we stand with the victims.

What was creepy about the Cuba visit, however, was the President’s decision to have himself and his entourage photographed in the shadow of the Che Guevara mural in Revolution Square.  The Cubans had planned something different, but the President had everyone move so that Che was in the background.

For many years, I though the Cuban embargo was pointless and stupid, but it’s probably not practical for us to simply admit that.  But that isn’t what I think is happening now.  We’re reopening relations with Cuba not because we acknowledge that the embargo hasn’t accomplished anything useful, but because Cuba and the United States are converging.

“But Cuba is a totalitarian surveillance state!” I hear you cry.

And what are we becoming?

The real immigration crisis no one is talking about

While we hear Trump’s rather creepy comments about illegals and Muslims, we don’t hear the real immigration problem. Sure, many illegals are taking jobs but they are taking jobs from the lower income part of society. That is a problem but not for everyone. With Muslims, yes many are coming for welfare and terrorism and taking jobs but in general we haven’t had all that much Muslim immigration throughout history. This is not to say neither situation is a problem but rather there is one that is overlooked: Indian immigration.

While I give Indians credit for being educated and having a very low rate of welfare usage (practically zero), especially compared to other groups, they are hurting our more educated. Like me. In the last 10 years (and yes I was actually employed while seeking a new job, and in fact I had been seeking a new job 2 years while working)I have applied at probably thousands, if not millions of jobs. I have lost track of how many actual interviews I had but no doubt it numbers in the hundreds. I’ve applied for anything really, even jobs I was extremely overqualified for. I’ve applied for every job I have fit to a t, every job I wasn’t sure I was qualified for, even jobs I felt I was unqualified for. The result? almost every job I had an interview for were the ones I wasn’t sure I was qualified for or those I felt I was under qualified. The jobs I fit to a T? Rarely did I get a call. Or I would get a phone interview if that. Honestly, I should have a job yet all I can seem to find lately are freelance jobs.

How does this tie into immigration? Well courtesy of search engines, social media and company websites I can usually find out who got the job. Almost every time I lost a job I found an Indian worker got it. I then see they graduated from an Indian university and it makes sense. Occasionally, I see other immigrants, like the one time I applied for a public relations job and that went to an immigrant from Brazil WHO COULD BARELY SPEAK ENGLISH. I know this because I saw her Linked-In profile and this was mentioned. Other times I lost to younger candidates but it has mostly been Indian candidates.

I have called various politicians and would you believe the Democratic Party actually told me it made sense because these are jobs needing to be filled? I told them they were jobs I could do and there was no reason to bring in visa workers. They used to be the party of the working class what happened? Ironically I called my then congressperson (a Republican)and his worker told me he was aware of the problem and working on it. Unfortunately my district was switched and our congressperson ended up being a leftwing crook who then went to prison and was taken over by a racist kook (racist as in she hates white people).

When does it get better for Americans? Why don’t people get that the visa workers move up the chain then hire more of their own, meaning less working Americans.

The Vast Two-Winged Conspiracy

I didn’t want to write another Donald Trump piece, but recent events have been too compelling.

Last Friday, a Trump rally in Chicago had to be cancelled because it was overrun with protestors and became a civil disturbance.  Yesterday, the Daily News issued yet another editorial remarking that ‘Trump must be stopped.’

It’s the nature of politics that one is ‘for’ one’s preferred candidate, and ‘against’ the other guy.  But there is a big difference between ‘I’m against X,’ and ‘X must be stopped.’  To say that someone ‘must be stopped’ is to call for some extra-political force to smite one’s opponent.  That isn’t politics: it is, at best, a bar fight.

So now, in addition to the Republican establishment calling for ‘Trump to be stopped,’ we now have left-wing agitators trying to stop Trump, literally.  The convergence is unsettling.  It’s not just a left- or right-wing conspiracy anymore: it’s a two-winged, capable-of-flying-around-on-its-own-power conspiracy.

But I still don’t understand what’s actually evil about Trump.  I can understand why one may not like him, or might want someone else to be President, but that’s not the same as saying Trump is evil.

It seems to be the vogue to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, or at least to raise the thought before abruptly backing off.  But let’s do the comparison:

Adolf Hitler was a pathetic loser in real life until he discovered politics.  Donald Trump has had his ups and downs, but, on balance, has been a big, big winner.

Hitler targeted the Jews because it was convenient, and advanced his agenda, even though Jewish people had nothing to do with Germany’s troubles at the time.  Trump is identifying the Mexicans and Muslims as our adversaries because they either really are our adversaries, or there is a reasonable association.

In fairness to the Mexicans, the actual movement of individual Mexicans across the southern border has been going on for over a century, and, on the grand scale of things, isn’t a major national security problem.  But that doesn’t mean the border shouldn’t be secured, as more dangerous things and people than impoverished Mexicans can cross a porous border.  And since Mexico would necessarily be on the other side of a fortified border, it’s a reasonable simplification to say that Mexico is the problem.

As far as the Muslims, imagine that the couple alleged to be responsible for last December’s San Bernadino attack were overly pious Christians, taking up assault rifles against people for not going to church every Sunday and for listening to rock music.  The notion of Christians shooting up a workplace in the name of their religion is ludicrous, in part because Christian scripture doesn’t admit such behavior.

But Islamic scripture is different.

Moreover, throughout our history, we have chosen to restrict immigration when we deemed it in the national interest.  We don’t have the moral obligation to bring the refugees of the world to our shores, and, in particular, don’t have the obligation to provide such refugees government help.  When ‘The New Colossus’ (‘…give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’) was set into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, we were not a welfare state.  The bargain was that we would let you in, and you would then have the opportunity to work for a living.

In another time, we wouldn’t have to be concerned that an Islamic terrorist might slip through as a refugee.  A century ago, we expected that immigrants would assimilate to American culture.  They could hang on to their cuisine and many of their traditions, but they were expected to drive on the right side of the road and respect our laws and our Constitution.  And if someone wanted to resort to violence, others would try to talk him out of it, and if that failed, report the matter to the authorities.

But individuals have to take part in this process.  Alas, we’ve become afraid to call someone out for fear of offending him, or appearing to be Islamophobic or whatever.  While it is possible to leave this matter to the government, in order to try to protect us, the government will necessarily have to turn into a police state.

Or the government can do the simpler, less intrusive thing, and not admit Muslims as refugees.

Yes, Trump is petulant, and he’s thin-skinned.  But so is our Dear Leader.

Yes, Trump is an elitist.  But so are all the other candidates: he’s just more open about it.

Yes, Trump is a fraud and a liar.  But Trump is unlike the other candidates in that he has had to suffer the consequences of his actions.  He’s been sued and gone bankrupt… and recovered.

No, Trump will not ‘make America great again.’  No President can, single-handedly.

The bottom line: Trump is a rotten candidate for President, just like all the others.  But he isn’t evil.

And if you believe that Trump ‘must be stopped,’ check your premises.  You’ll find something is seriously wrong.

They’re All Frauds

My life would probably be easier if I simply disregarded Presidential politics.  Even though I’ve come to believe that Democrats are mostly useless, I haven’t changed my party registration, so my choices in the upcoming primary are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  I don’t like either of them, but pressed to a choice, I’d vote for Sanders: Clinton has demonstrated such disdain for the American people that she has disqualified herself.  But I suspect that’s a lost cause.

And New York has traditionally been a Democratic state, to the point where Presidential candidates haven’t bothered visiting in years, except to attend fund-raisers.  Then again, Trump is a New Yorker.  So unless Trump is the Republican candidate, New York will almost certainly go to Clinton.  And nothing I could do, even if I had ten thousand like-minded friends, would change that.

So if I put this all out of my mind, I can make my life much easier.  I’ll worry about it in November.  And even then, what I think about the candidates won’t matter.

Alas, the temptation to talk about politics is irresistible.  Some brief observations:

  • My opinion of Trump has gone down in the past weeks.  It isn’t so much his past (which I’ve known about) as his attitude.  He’s petulant, and a sore loser.  He also gets demerits for referring to one of his opponents as ‘little Marco.’
  • If Trump becomes President, I’m not sure how he would be able to satisfy people’s expectations that he would ‘make America great again.’  The government cannot create prosperity: the best it can do is create an environment in which people can be prosperous for themselves.
  • Nevertheless, I’d rather have Trump than Clinton.
  • And on the subject of Clinton, many support her on the grounds that she will continue the policy directions of President Obama. That, in itself, makes sense.  What’s strange is that President Obama has been the worst President that I can ever remember, and his policy directions have been, on average, breathtakingly bad.
  • I don’t take seriously this month’s polls about ‘Republican candidate X vs. Democratic candidate Y.’  We’re still learning about the candidates, particularly the Republicans.
  • For all we hear about Rubio’s modest upbringing, he has become curiously rich, not through his own productive effort, but through miraculous real estate transactions.
  • I want to like Cruz and Rubio: it’s encouraging to see young talent.  But both are supporters of more war (why, oh why, did we feel the need to get involved with Syria to begin with?) and enthusiastic supporters of the surveillance state.
  • John Kasich gave the best performance in last Thursday’s debate: he came across as the only adult among the candidates.  But he needs to make a more compelling presentation of himself in order to have a chance.

The essential problem is that all of the candidates are frauds.  Some are more fraudulent than others, but they’re all pretty much useless.

  • The United States is not an exceptional nation because like to think of ourselves as exceptional, or because we were somehow blessed by God.  We are an exceptional nation because we were founded on exceptional ideas.  We have strayed from those ideas, and are suffering the consequences.
  • We were able to field the world’s most powerful military because we had the most powerful productive economy at home to support it.  A productive economy includes things like manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.  It does not include trading in third-hand, second-rate mortgages, health care as an industry, or consultancies to establish and maintain regulatory compliance.
  • To return to our core values will be difficult and painful.  As we’ve moved away from genuinely productive activities, we’ve filled in the void with non-productive activities that nevertheless transact trillions of dollars and hire millions of people.

The last President to level with us was Jimmy Carter.  He failed, not because he picked bad policy directions, but because he was politically inept.  Every President since then has tried to blow up the American people with happy talk, while the underlying rot continues.

And none of the current candidates are any different.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment hunting ranch….

Not going well.

Here is the thing — I have mentioned this before — now it’s like trying to find a job.

The landlord wants your financial info and your employment info and they want a credit check.

I think I got bait and switched today.

I saw an apartment for rent and after I spoke to the guy and set up an appointment to see the place, I figured the rent was a touch too much but I thought I’d go to see what happens.

I saw the apartment — a scootch too much room for me (all I want is a 3 roomer or a studio).

When I spoke to the guy via phone I told him I was leery of the credit check along with the other personal info asked for: I told him I was afraid of identity theft and I had a means to prove I could pay the rent, up front.

He assured me that only that piece of info would be fine…

And hence the bait and switch. He gets done with the apartment tour and he says “Oh well there will be a credit check and you’ll have to sign a lease…”

I explained again why I would not be parting with my personal info and then he said “We had this guy who wanted to rent. He made over 100K a year but he didn’t pay his gas and electric…”

So what? Maybe it was an oversight or perhaps he had an assistant he entrusted tht to and somehow the utility never got paid; maybe he had a boyfriend or girlfriend who was supposed to be in charge of paying the bills and the payment never happened, etc.

I told him I wasn’t interested and I said goodbye.

Leery is right.

The landlord was not on premise. How about I meet this person first? Suppose after all fo this nonsense I don’t like the landlord?

How do I know how safe my info is? How do I know this guy won’t compromise it?

This is all too much.

I have to get out of here; I cannot continue to live here; it’s too expensive and I told you guys: I am isolated and there are no neighbors and the fact my dog is gone is creating even a bigger emptiness here for me.

I also would not need the place for a year, as it stands right now. I am not crazy about being locked into a lease.

Possibly baited and switched. Maybe he said okay to what I wanted to do to get me to come out there. I don’t know.:(

The Ninny State

Mayor DeBlasio: Stay Indoors!

Yes, it was cold last weekend.

When I was a kid, we had a name for that.  We called it, ‘winter,’ and expected that every year would bring a week’s worth of really cold weather requiring one to bundle up, think warm thoughts, and, yes, not go outside without a good reason.  There were also snowstorms, and the one or two oddly warm days that made one believe that beach season was only a week away.  We accepted it all as normal, and somehow got through it without guidance from our political leaders.

So I’d like to believe that anyone with half a brain can figure that it’s cold and it’s best to stay inside without a pronouncement from our Dear Local Leader, Mayor DeBlasio.

Does he really think his citizenry is that stupid?

But then again…

b160215b

Variations of the above image, with straight and gay couples, have been plastered everywhere in the city.  They are on subway stations, trains, buses, and advertising wraparounds of the free newspapers that one picks up on the way to the subway.

Perhaps I’m an old fudd, but I’ve always believed (even when I was a young fudd) that sex is best enjoyed in the context of a committed relationship.  I have to question the wisdom of the city government encouraging people to swing from the chandeliers (as long as they play sure!) when it apparently believes those same people don’t have the sense to get out of the cold.

And then again…

A while back, I went to the Department of Health offices to get a copy of my birth certificate.  It’s an ordinary enough government office, and the process is simple enough: get the form, fill it out while waiting on line, hand in the form with $10 (may have changed of late) and your ID, and walk out with the document.

But in addition to the stacks of forms, the Department of Health office was also stocked with fishbowls full of condoms.  I had to wonder: were some people overtaken with desire that they had to do each other on the spot?  And should the government be encouraging such activity?

Rejected immediately upon sight….why?

*sigh*

This is apparently the nucleus of my problem.

I am called as I am waiting to be interviewed. I get up, I say hello to the interviewer, that person does the same, we sit down and….

Usually within 7 minutes, the interview is over.

Or rarely, I get small talk, some information about the job and then the interviewer fills the rest of the interview time with catch me all go-through-the motions, information. And then the interview is over.

I never hear from these people again.

I can’t name the last time I had a real interview.

I am asked nothing but very general questions…and that is if they ask me anything at all.

Usually it’s “Hello; I’m Mr. Jones and nice to meet you. Well, here is what the job consists of…”  He gives me a description of the job that is being offered (like he’s reading the ad back to me) maybe some small talk about the benefits and then it’s “Well, thanks for coming in. We will let you know.”

If you are dismissed immediately: to me, this can mean only one thing: they do not like your looks.

I am not frightening. I am near 60 and I don’t know  what it cold be– is it my haircolor? ( It was too red and too phoney — I changed it back to what I more or less originally had) Is it what I wear? (I dress neatly and in interview attire)

I guarantee you I am not a blimp. I am not in the greatest of shape but a Sherman tank I am not.

I’ve got bags under my eyes that I can’t seem to  diminish, no matter what I try — I don’t know; maybe they think I get no sleep or I don’t look well — for love of God, I am out of answers and I have no idea why I am rejected immediately, when they see me.

And it is not a race or creed or religion factor.

ANd it is not a marital factor.

Nor do I wind up disclosing information about my family. Shit, nobody asks questions like that anymore. That usually happened in the 1980s.

I would not run an interview as a contest to see who ahs the best clothes or best figure or who is handsome or not. What’ sgoing on here?

The close second:

They want a much younger candidate.

The people who interview me are older — much older than me — maybe they figure a kid is easier to handle and easier to intimidate — I even tried to hide my age on my resume; I used a shortened form of my name so they can’t match my age to the decade my first name was popular in.  On my resume, I’ve also used my first 2 initials and my last name istead of my first and last name.

I cannot seem to get past “hello” and “if” I do, I never warrant a genuine interview. Like I said, it is small talk and then a “nice meeting you” and that’s all I get.

I can’t seem to avoid being dismissed. I don’t know what is wrong here. Ha; we can’t even blame this on better competition or “some other factor.”

Are there jobs available where specifically an older person would be welcome — or more or less required??? and  desired even more so than somebody even a decade younger?  “Mature” candidates? That’s a meaningless wording in a job advertisement.

I will be 60 in a bit more than a year and a half from now.  (and I don’t  believe I just said that.)

How can I end this turned-away-immediately pattern?

Does anyone know?

The rare interviews — I had ONE last year!! — is being destroyed by this turned-away nonsense. I need a cure all for this.

So…where did all of the job ads go?

A friend of mine and I were discussing this today.

There is simply nothing at all in my daily paper or in the Sunday ads and there is nothing on line for our local want ads from the same publication.

I can name you at least 20 occupations that do not have job ads posted and have not had job ads posted in the last year: Med tech, radiology tech, respiratory tech, admin assistant, welder,  shipping manager, shipping clerk,  office manager, dental hygienist, exec admin, receptionist, welder, machinist, accounting assistant, bookkeeper, CAD/CAM operator, chemist, purchasing assistant, paralegal, and telemarketer.

And the rest….I don’t know about….

If you are an engineer, involved in some sort of medical research or in some other specialized field, where do you go to find another job? Do they resort to a trade magazine or what?

We used to have ads for many medical positions — all of the local hospitals were advertising for just about everything you can name that was “hospital”, including the support staff — even those jobs are gone, too?

It is sign of the times in lots of hospitals — many are down to 1 pathologist and one who “cover” when that one is away, off duty or what have you — because the trend is towards outpatient surgery. Need for less medical support staff, etc…

But surely the local hospitals have personnel who have resigned or retired — there aren’t even any ads for the dreaded 12-7 am shift — usually those jobs were impossible to fill; nobody wants to work the lobster shift. There are no per diem jobs posted. Not all of those jobs have gone to visaed employees.

The “Factory lab jobs” are not hiring: no LabCorp, no Quest Diagnostics — no med techs are quitting their jobs? ALL of these jobs are reliant upon imported workers??? The odds of that are pretty shitty, no???

(I also heard today that Quest Diagnostics in Teterboro — formerly MetPath Labs — is shutting their operation in that building. This is a yowlingly huge plant — running 3 shifts….or was running 3 shifts, last I heard,  ad was teeming with staff, last I heard — at any rate, even if there are 100 med techs left in that lab…now where do they go to find jobs? I do not know if there is another lab for that company in the area: There is a building that’s got Quest’s name on it, in Lyndhurst — but I do not know what staff is working there: it could be administrative or data or anything BUT medical technologists.

I am sure it is just that building…if that lab, period, is going out of business…what the xyz happened to that company????)

Everything seems to have vanished. The only admin jobs I see are for jobs in Korean owned companies; they require the applicant to speak and write fluent Korean. (this is another very large contingency that is moving into our area; a hospital in that area has found their ace in the hole: make the hospital Korean-friendly: offer Korean speaking staff, Korean meals, etc.)  It’s the same with all of the jobs these Korean companies are posting ads for: bookkeepers, accounting staff and so forth: must speak Korean.

They are telling us we’ve hired X number of people a month and the job outlook is good.

Where are all the ads for these jobs? All of them hired from within or posted ads in trade mags or hired temps that were once temporary?

Somebody is always quitting or retiring and yes, believe it or not there are companies that are expanding.

Where did all the job ads go???

What Happened To Educated Republican Women?

I was watching the video of Sarah Palin and while she amuses me she also horrifies me. In fact she has always horrified me with her stupidity and while she is a joke to some she’s not. I was thinking this as I watched another woman, Elizabeth Dole on television. Like Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Dole is a Republican but that’s where the similarities end. Dole is very educated with a JD and a Master’s. Unlike Palin, Dole is childless and apparently very career obsessed. I remember during the 1996 campaigns many commenting that there wasn’t a difference between Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole and there really isn’t in terms of education and work. Yes, one is Democrat and one is Republican but both benefit from education. In fact if one looks at older female Republican women you can find many impressive such as Olympia Snowe, senator of Maine.

It’s not limited to women who are actually politicians but look at the previous First Ladies. Whether one likes them, the last three First Ladies (Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton all had advanced degrees).  Since Lucy Hayes was the first to receive a degree, this has generally been the standard. Even when women were generally not going to college, First Ladies were. Of course it should be noted that most were from a higher income level than the majority of the American public, but they still didn’t have to go to receive advanced degrees like the last three. Incidentally, it was another Republican First Lady, Pat Nxon, who received an advanced degree.

Why bring up First Ladies? quite frankly I do not want someone as a First Lady who is not bright. I want someone smarter and more educated than the average American. Several of the potential First Ladies are either stay at home moms or not educated or both. One candidate (Marco Rubio) has a wife who did not even finish college and has not worked. Let’s not forget Mitt Romney’s wife who never worked outside the home. Why should this matter? Because simply put, if a Republican gets into the Oval Office it will have an effect on women and their lives.It should be noted of course that many of these same candidates also voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act and various other women issues. My experience out in the real world is that men with these wives think all of us are brainless bimbos who only desire to be moms. While you can be educated and only desire to be a stay at home mom, studies show that many women become stay at home wives because of no other choices. This is not an attack on stay at home moms but rather those who decided not to become educated.

Why not bring up Democratic candidates? Let’s be honest here and think of a stupid Democratic woman. Yes there are many but most are celebrities and non political people. Not that I like the Democrats better, I dislike them equally. However I give them credit for not having an idiot. The Republicans used to also have quality women but something happened along the way that we went from Betty Ford (one of my favorite First Ladies in history)to someone who did not even finish college.

 

Supermarkets

When my wife and I moved into our current apartment in 2003, there were three nearby supermarkets.

The Key Food on Court Street closed a few weeks after we moved there.  It was replaced by a drugstore.  At the time, we didn’t think much about it.

A couple of years ago, the Met Food on Smith Street closed.  It wasn’t the nearest supermarket, but it was close enough, and near a subway station, so it was convenient, and they had good meat.  It now appears that the building will be demolished and replaced with overpriced apartments.

That left the Pathmark, a bigger, almost suburban supermarket in an industrial space by the Gowanus Canal, with a parking lot out front.  But Pathmark is an A&P brand: A&P went bust last year, and the store closed just before Thanksgiving.  (‘A&P,’ short for ‘The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company,’ was one of my earliest childhood memories.  Oh, well….)

One used to be able to take for granted that living in the city meant being no more than 10 minutes’ walk, at the absolute limit, from a functional supermarket.  But not anymore.

Now, there are still plenty of places to buy food:

  • There are a couple of gourmet grocery stores on Court Street, with good produce and really expensive meat.
  • There is a Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue, in a former temple-of-capitalism bank building. Trader Joe’s turns on the notion that if one carefully selects the merchandise, one can have a functional grocery store in a relatively small space.  And it works: about 90% of the foodstuffs we buy come from there.  But the place is maniacally crowded on Sundays and the day before a holiday (or snowstorm).
  • There is a Fairway in Red Hook, about 15 minutes away on the bus. They include a full selection of packaged goods, as well as a full gourmet grocery selection.  But they’re expensive and a bit awkward to get to.
  • And there is the nearest old-school supermarket, the Key Food on Atlantic Avenue. I was in high school when the place opened in the 1970s.  It’s cramped and a bit decrepit.  While it’s a serviceable supermarket, it’s a hike from our apartment.

While we’re not at risk of going hungry, there is no longer one place that we can readily visit that has meats and vegetables and pasta sauce and diet Coke and dish soap and toilet paper, all under one roof, at reasonable prices

While Trader Joe’s has most of the foodstuffs covered, they’re wanting in the packaged goods department.  Some of the drugstores sell detergent and other household items, and cases of soda, but it’s a bit hit-or-miss.

I found that Amazon, of all places, has many of the packaged goods, in larger sizes than the grocery stores (e.g. 27-roll packages of toilet paper), but at competitive prices with free (postal service/UPS) delivery.  It boggles the mind that, someone in a far-off warehouse can box six cans of pasta sauce, and post them to my house, for about the same price (actually a little cheaper!) that I would pay in a supermarket.

The only non-perishables that Amazon doesn’t do well are beverages: bottled water and soda.  I could pay for Prime Fresh, but the extra $200/year over Amazon Prime isn’t worth it.  (Prime Fresh also has groceries—including perishables—for overnight or later-the-same-day delivery.  But having tried them before they raised the price, they’re only so-so at meats and produce.)  But I’ve found other sources for those items, as well.

It used to be so simple, and now it’s gotten so weird.

Hm….very very odd (a “personal” event, not job related)

Since I am just bears and aces for odd happenings today —- wow, that blizzard was brutal and it’s depressing enough that it hit us — try this on for size:

I have a friend I will call Jane. Jane and I have known each other over 2 decades.

She is prone to being a little bizzare but I think this one took the cake:

She seems to have vanished without a sound.

The last time I heard from Jane was maybe a week and a half ago. I do not see her very often; I do not get to hear from her by phone often (and this is annoying too becaue I will leave a message saying hi and she never rings back). I usually hear from her from her workplace; she will email a few times a week and vice versa.

I sent her an email last Monday — there was a little sale and I picked up a buy one the other half off ; I figured I’d give the other one to jane — I told her I had a little something for her and added some small talk and got no reply. I figured she was busy with work or what not. Who reads into that, right?

I didn’t think of this  no reply stuff until maybe Friday — I emailed asking “where are you” and I left a message on Friday asking her if she was okay being the storm kicked in….

No hollaback….

The storm came and went — and no Jane.

She will pull these little “leave of absences” every so often; it is odd and I am not crazy about any of it.

And now I am wondering given all of these oddities, maybe I should let well enough alone and lave well enough alone: do not contact her again.

End this bent — and now what looks to be one sided — friendship[ right here; there are people I know who have done the same: they housecleaned. They got sick of being the pariah, the straight woman, the second or third or fourth fiddle, or tired of being the complaint department, got tired of being the one who had to call them first, etc — they simply houseclean and that is the end of the “friendship.”

Something happened a few months back — I won’t go into detail but I feel like she hocked me into doing it — and I never got a thank you for my efforts.

I find this disappearance odd inasmuch as that we just had that horrifc snowstorm — she knows I more or less am alone back here — where I am living is very isolated and it was downright frigging spooky here when that storm kicked in — and that I do not run with many people — and I never once heard from her at all.

And when she cries over whatever it is and you are there when she cries? Shit, it’s like she expects YOU to fix whatever is wrong right on the spot.

THis is why I am saying this is a disappearance. Fuckall, everybody’s got a cellphone — even her — so there is no reason and no excuse for not calling.

And no. Nothing “happened” to her. Unless you are at death’s door and you positively and absolutely are unable to USE a phone? This is a disappearance.

I refuse to call her again. “You left one message on Friday saying you hope she is safe and secure” — that is what I said, right? And even still, no call back?

Don’t settle for the crumbs or fish where the fishing isn’t good. That is my take on it.

What happened to her and why I am evidently being frozen out, who knows. Did somebody else get into the mix? who knows. Did she start seeing that crazy guy again…and maybe she doesn’t want me to know, and she covered her footprints and footsteps simply by deciding not to speak to me anymore? Who knows. Who knows what it is and who cares.

No more calls and no more emails to Jane. End of story.

Who knows what happened here?  it’s irrational and it is crazy — to me, if you are a full grown adult and you are upset at something a friend said or did:

You have it out with the friend.

You don’t just take off and more or less emotionally blackmail the other person. It’s also juvenile and bullshit:: you vanish and not tells this person how mad you are?

What can I tell you?

Time for a couple new friends. Get a full grown adult who is a great deal more broadminded. You don’t need this kind of scene.

Hello from me

Haven’t been here for awhile; thought I’d check in to see what’s doing and to report what’s new.

Nothing really is new. The partition wrapped up and was over back in September.

How has everyone been?

(where I am living is a little unnerving today — we are in the midst of that hellacious blizzard and where I am living is more than a bit isolated. I am trying to “keep moving” so this doesn’t turn into a chapter of the Shining.)

I hope to be out of here soon and living in a real place, where there are neighbors and everything.

My poor dog went home to his reward around Christmastime. He got sick out of nowhere — he had kidney failure and I knew this back in July.

The vet thinks it might have been a lymphoma — he developed a cough that I did not like and at the end, he refused to eat.

He also developed a nasty swelling underneath his jaw; originally I thought it was abscess — he is nearly 14 and may have a bad tooth back there; a week later, after antibiotics, I felt the area and a lump was still there…and one on the other size also.  Swollen glands despite no fever is bad news.

The cough was some sort of lung involvement, either from the lymphoma or some other issue. That he coughed upon arising from a prone position suggested something that was blocking his lungs or windpipe.

Between July and the end of December, he’d lost 15 pounds — and about 7 of them during the last 2 weeks of his life.

I miss the dog but I cannot possibly get another dog until I move on to a real place to live.

Still applying for jobs — there have been a few ads but nothing promising — and you all remember that “job fair” I went to over a year ago — the company just moved to the town it was in and they were looking to add about 5 or 6 more people?

They said that only 28 people currently worked there. Perhaps 20 cars were in their lot that day.

I took a ride past their building yesterday….and the lot is full of cars. There had to be about 100 cars in the lot versus maybe 15 on the day I went to the job fair — so this is 75 more jobs added in 15 months? Strong.:(

The last time I was in that area was maybe summer — there is an outlet store across the street and I don’t recall noting that a trillion cars were in that parking lot.

I am wondering if the cars are those of just that company or if the building is being shared by another company.

If it’s not “another company” when the heck did this company add all of thjose jobs??? None of the jobs open were made public, either. THis sucks for us — again, we are shit out of luck.

Other than that, nothing new.

My home is gone; it was razed 2 weeks ago by the developer. I stopped past and took photos; I will also return to sprinkle some of my dog’s ashes there. He loved his “newspaper” that used to be out front of the house.”

Donald Trump

Donald Trump burst on the political scene last summer, declaring himself a candidate for President and telling us that he would get Mexico to build a fence on our southern border, because:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

On one level, it was ludicrous: Mexico (i.e. the Mexican government) doesn’t send anyone to the US, except a handful of diplomatic personnel.  The influx of Mexicans represents ordinary people, both good and bad.  (In fact, net migration from Mexico has almost zeroed out in recent years: the US economy has been so rotten that many Mexicans have found better opportunities at home.)  And it strains the imagination to conceive of the means by which Trump would force Mexico to pay for the wall.

But it resonated with many people, including me, because it seems clear that our current leadership is not serious about securing the border, and one of the essential attributes of a place that wants to call itself a ‘country’ is that it has a functioning border.

And Trump has gone on, since then, gaining popularity to the point where he is the leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.  It’s been interesting:

  • There was a minor dustup a few months ago when Trump did not did not rebuke a questioner for asserting that President Obama is a Muslim. In fairness, Trump, as a Republican, is a member of the opposition, and doesn’t have a duty to correct what may be a mistaken impression of our President.  But beyond that, a person’s religion is not just the sort of building he visits to pray, or the day he does it: it’s a set of values in one’s soul.  Our Dear Leader has made any number of speeches extolling Islam and deprecating Christianity: judge for yourself.
  • Shortly after, while we were considering admitting Syrian refugees, Trump proposed that we halt all legal admission of Muslims (even for business or tourism!) to the US. That would be, perhaps, a step too far, but far better than admitting tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees.  Contrary to our Dear Leader’s assertions of ‘who we are as a people,’ historically we have restricted entry to the US, either generally or selectively, when we believed that such was in our national interest.  And we have no moral obligation to take refugees from war-torn areas, even where we are one of the belligerents: war is supposed to be a temporary condition, and peace is supposed to return… eventually.  (Alas, our Dear Leader is taking refugees by executive order, and the Republicans, to their eternal discredit, agreed to fund the effort.)
  • In the earlier debates, Trump and Ted Cruz seemed to be, if not allies, at least sharing common views. But more recently, now that Cruz is doing better in the polls, Trump has questioned whether Cruz, born in Canada to a US citizen mother, is eligible to be President.

It is this last point that seems most telling about Trump.  Underneath it all, there are no principles: he does and says whatever advances his interests at the moment.  Cruz was an ally, until he started doing better in the polls and became a threat, and then he wasn’t.

Trump is also one of the croniest of the crony capitalists, having made much of his money by playing local governments to get tax abatements and the like for his projects.  And some of his remarks as a real estate developer give pause.  He remarked that Fifth Avenue in Midtown should be given over to luxury retail, and stores addressing a more modest audience should be elsewhere.  (Alas, I can’t put my hand on the exact quote.)  Fifth Avenue (a stone’s throw from my office) is successful as a commercial venue because it has something for everyone.  It isn’t Rodeo Drive, and I hope it never will be.  There are parts of Manhattan that are given over to luxury retail.  I don’t go there: they’re boring.

Still, Trump is willing to name the elephant in the room that nobody else will dare discuss, and the policy directions that he has discussed so far are at least pointed in the right direction.  And it is for that reason that he is the candidate that, right now, I dislike the least.

Alas, even if he should be elected, I’m sure that, in short order, he’ll turn into just another politician.

Still, one can at least hope.

Song of the Year 2015

The end of the year is closing in, and once again, it’s time to consider my Song of the Year for 2015.  But first…

I didn’t write a post on the subject last year, but if you must know, my Song of the Year for 2014 was:

Word Crimes, Weird Al Yankovic

After initially watching the videos on YouTube and being disappointed by the music, I later bought a copy of Mandatory Fun in a moment of desperation.  But listening to the music while doing something is not the same as watching a YouTube video.  The music started to grow on me.  ‘Word Crimes’ is energetic and rails against sloppy English, one of the persistent annoyances in my life.

And then a really strange thing happened: I started noticing the original songs on which the Weird Al parodies are based.  It seemed that the Weird Al version was correct, tight and clean, and the original was a sloppy imitation.  What does it mean when Weird Al and his group are better musicians than the original artists?

Anyway, on to this year:

Penalty Box: Almost There, but So Wrong

Writing’s on the Wall, Sam Smith (Theme from Spectre)

I’ve written about this song before.  The music is beautiful, but the lyrics are full of doubt rather than confidence, and are delivered in a whiny countertenor.  It isn’t what you want in a James Bond theme, unless your intent is to defrock Bond as a hero.

Runners Up, in No Particular Order

What Are the Chances, Duran Duran

Paper Gods, this year’s album, was a disappointment, but not a total wasteland.  ‘What Are the Chances’ is one of the best contemplative Duran Duran songs ever.  It’s beautiful, but for me, the Song of the Year has to be more energetic.

Danceophobia, Duran Duran

Also from Paper Gods, this song is more energetic.  While it has many of the flourishes that make Duran Duran songs so cool, it’s lacking in substance.  (And if you’re burning with curiosity, the real word for ‘fear of dancing’ is ‘chorophobia.’)

Confident, Demi Lovato

I was watching the American Music Awards with my wife a few weeks ago.  The music was listless, dreary, annoying.  And then this came on.  It’s energetic, exciting, and brassy (not much brass in popular music these days!).

And the Winner

Who Can You Trust, Ivy Levan (Theme from Spy)

My wife and I missed Spy when it came out in theaters earlier this year, but watched it as an in-flight movie.  The movie itself is silly and fun, in a way that too many current movies aren’t, without being inane.  The theme song is expressive and powerful and everything that a real James Bond theme song should be.

The Scripted Emergency

A week and a half ago Wednesday, three men with rifles shot up a conference room in a center for the developmentally disabled (try saying that ten times fast!) in San Bernadino, California, killing 14 and injuring about 20.  I found out about it at the gym that day: I was annoyed because I wanted to watch Judge Judy while on the treadmill, but all the major networks had been pre-empted.

The reporting came across as less of a news event and more of a manufactured pageant: the announcers regurgitating the same three sentences’ worth of facts while we saw the same shots of the outside of a building and distressed people.  It was, in brief, a scripted emergency.

Later the story changed: there were not three assailants but two: a native-born American citizen and his Pakistani/Saudi wife, conveniently shot dead by police.  One of the shooters just quietly disappeared from the narrative.  And on Friday, the news media were invited to rummage around the couple’s home, with all sorts of documents left behind by the FBI, barely two days after the event.

The story has been leading the network news programs ever since, even though there still isn’t much to tell.  The event has been labeled ‘terrorism,’ as if that declaring the event as such is somehow momentous.

Yes, the event is what we, today, call terrorism.  From what we know about the motives of the killers, we now know that it was an event of Islamic terrorism.  But this type of terrorism only has power to terrify if the people are told about it.  Does this event merit wall-to-wall coverage, when all we really know fits in a couple of paragraphs?

The news media are as much terrorists as the shooters themselves.

Sunday night, President Obama, our Dear Leader, addressed the nation, telling us nothing we didn’t already know.  He ducked out of the Kennedy Center awards to make a 13-minute Oval Office appearance, and then returned to the festivities.  He wants people who are on terror watch lists (‘no-fly lists’) to be denied the right to buy guns.

It’s a charming thought, but it wouldn’t have stopped the San Bernadino shooters, who had squeaky-clean records until last Wednesday.  And it flies in the face of our Fifth Amendment (no person shall be denied life, liberty, or property without due process): the process by which one is added to the terror watch list is a deep dark secret, with no way of finding out about it until you try to fly somewhere.  For all I know, I may be earning myself a spot on the list by writing and posting this essay.

The Dear Leader also wants us to embrace the hundreds of thousands of Islamic refugees that he proposes to bring from the Middle East.  What they are seeking refuge from is not entirely clear, given that the vast majority are Muslims.  We have no moral justification (a story for another day) to bring then here, and even though they may not be associated with ISIS or al-Qaeda or any of those groups, I can’t see how they can bring anything but trouble.

I don’t really know how a young American-born man and his Middle Eastern wife embarked on a path of terrorism.  I’m not sure it really matters.

But it’s clear to me that the government and the media are doing far more to advance the cause of Islamic terrorism than the terrorists themselves.

They should stop.

Political Correctness gone wild

Today at church the priest gave a fantastic sermon on political correctness. Basically he was talking about how people are so afraid of saying “Merry Christmas” or talking about the holiday and all of that. That many Christians are afraid to admit they are Christian  because they are afraid of being called names. This is odd because I was going to talk about South Park and how this season is one of their best and how they are taking on the PC crowd. If you haven’t seen it, it’s online and a show that gets it. Too many write too many PC things.

Think about this, in  the last few months we’ve dealt with a lot of political correctness to the point of overload. First off, there was Bruce/Caitlyn/Freak Jenner. I’m all for being transgender and some people believe they are another gender but this one isn’t that. Rather it’s a guy who is with a family who thrives on attention grabbing the latest pc thing for attention. I bet once the attention (hopefully) goes away he’ll decide to be a man again. Actually he is a man because he’s never had the surgery.

Then there is the cop shootings. Yes, there is police brutality and some of the victims were victims. Some were authentic but others were thugs. If you shoot a cop or do something like that you’re going to get shot. Many of these “victims” had robbed people and committed other crimes. Many came from families that were less than desirable. Related to these are the gang shootings that have been on the news. Yes it is a tragedy but so many came from families where this is common. One victim was the son of a gang member.

Then there is the whole refugee issue and Obama calling people names for not wanting them here. The fact is many of them might be terrorists or at the very least moochers.  What has been sickening me has been  people attacking those in the military saying they deserve less help than refugees. Yet if you say you’d rather help the vets some call names like racist. America first does mean vets over refugees. Speaking of immigration it’s become  a buzz word if you disapprove of illegal immigration. I do not oppose Hispanics, I just want immigrants to be here legally and be law abiding and not on welfare,   I don’t care what ethnicity they are.

I tell people Merry Christmas and if they are offended they have problems. I have had people tell me Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and no I’m not offended. Why would I? they are being nice. People get offended easily. I don’t know if I mentioned this but I had a parent complain about what I was teaching last year. We were discussing the sacraments and I mentioned sacraments and marriage. One asked me about multiple marriages and I explained the Catholic view. A parent got mad because according to her I should explain the church has no problem with someone marrying several times. Huh? The church requires an annulment before remarriage in most cases. I didn’t make this rule. I’ve gotten banned from three message boards in the last few months. The first message board because I said these two women were ugly who were trying to model. They weren’t ugly because they were black, they were ugly no matter the race, A second time because I said about the Catholic views ON A CATHOLIC SITE. I had an atheist (why was one on there?)attacking the Catholic views. A third message board because I said the Kardashians should be the Kartrashians because they are trash. I also said people that watch were morons.

To quote Rizzo from Grease (Grease is probably banned in some areas because of PC) “some people are so touchy”. If something offends you IGNORE IT. If your kid doesn’t win, don’t complain, have them work harder. If you don’t agree with the Catholic view, maybe the church isn’t for you. I haven’t even chatted about my avoidance of single dads and how people get offended. Worry about your life instead of being offended.

Remembering Paris

A week ago Friday, Islamic terrorists associated with ISIS executed a series of attacks in Paris, at a sports arena, a music hall, a restaurant, and several other sites.  They killed 129 people and left over 300 wounded.

I was horrified, but not particularly surprised.  Two weeks before, ISIS planted a bomb on a Russian airliner full of tourists returning home from Egypt.  The plane dropped out of the sky, and all 224 on board was killed.  The Russians, more than us, have stirred up the ISIS hornet’s nest, and now we’re facing the consequences.  (Then again, we built ISIS, but that’s another story.)

The next day (a week ago Saturday), my wife and I went to see the new James Bond movie, Spectre.  One of the trailers was for London has Fallen, an upcoming action movie in which terrorists blow up, well, London.  It seemed in poor taste after the events of the previous day.  But I suppose that the show must go on.

Spectre was a pleasant afternoon’s entertainment, without so much emphasis on Bond’s personal problems.  But it’s consistent with the new generation of Bond films in that Bond’s adversary resolves into a non-rogue agent of the same government that Bond himself serves.  The plot revolves around a ‘Nine Eyes’ surveillance initiative by which nine countries would pool their resources and share surveillance data on all their citizens.  But, in real life, there is a ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance agreement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  It seems pointless for Bond to appear in a movie trying to thwart a plot that is already in operation in real life.

Saturday night, the Democratic Presidential candidates had a debate.  I watched some of it after the fact, and lost interest: the candidates are too much in agreement with each other.  But Hillary Clinton was called out for not wanting to say that we were at war with ‘radical Islam.’

On one level, I agree with her: it’s ludicrous to say that one is ‘at war with Islam.’  A religion is a set of ideas: software for the brain.  It’s almost like saying one is at war with Microsoft Word.   But the principles of Islam are a driving force for the terrorists.  That’s why I prefer to refer to our adversary as ‘Islamic terrorists,’ and what makes Hillary’s use of ‘jihadist’ evasive.

As I watched the evening news this week, and they regurgitated the Paris attacks, I realized that I was supposed to be frightened.  I don’t see the point: quivering in fear accomplishes nothing.  Even the Parisians understand that: they have been coming together at the Place de la Republique to talk, and heal, and move forward.

But our leadership is latching on to the event to tell us that we need yet more surveillance, and that those evil companies, Apple and Google, have released software that enables individuals to send encrypted messages that the government can’t read!  They have to be stopped!  And, by the way, you can blame this all on Edward Snowden, for spilling the beans about the NSA.

Well, maybe.  If the volume of data to be transferred is small enough, it’s easy to make an unbreakable code, with or without a smartphone app, because the party who would break the code does not have enough input to begin to try.  And no, the government does not have the right to read our communications in transit, any more than it has the right to read our paper mail.

Meanwhile, President Obama wants to bring at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US per year over the next two years, and perhaps many more.  He says that it’s in the American tradition of looking after the downtrodden.

Again, well, maybe.  Our Dear Leader sent out a graphic noting that in the past five years, we’ve accepted 2,000 refugees, none of whom have been arrested for terrorism… yet.  But now he’s proposing bringing in an order of magnitude more in a shorter time, and somehow things will just work out?

Moreover, we’re broke.  You might say that it’s only a few billion, and barely moves the needle in terms of the national debt.  But it still pains me to see our President playing Lady Bountiful, spending money he doesn’t have.

All of which has taken me a bit afield from what I started with, the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.  To be sure, it’s sad and horrifying, but life goes on.  I speak from experience: we had terrorist death and destruction in New York City not that long ago.

But more horrifying than the destruction wrought by the terrorists is the realization that, in both instances, our leadership brought the terrorists into existence to play some other geopolitical games, and they turned on us when circumstances changed.

We have to start doing something different.  And we need to start, as individuals, by not letting our leadership and the media fearmongers frighten us.

So….we are expecting who knows how many refugees…..

2 words:

A nightmare.

And a nightmare in every way:logistically, financially and security wise.

There is a town in Germany, population 102, who was told to expect 800 brand new imported residents.

And this is like it or not.

Where does a tiny little town — that might be sandwiched between several other town, and tightly, put 800 people?

They probably have a school the size of 2 2 family homes put together — where do they put new students! Certainly these illegals are coming in with kids!

They also do not speak English. That’s now the official language of the EU, correct?? . How is it that they are pemitted to live there?  You can just walk in and that’s the end of it??? Aren’t there rules and other channels and interviews and such? I guess that was just eliminated

Picture the population of your town and multiply it by 8…and then use that number and apply it to the Syrian influx you are going to get.

Picture that number moving in to yoru town where there is hardly room for other people…and picture *8 times* your school populations coming into our schools. I guess now they will be getting bilingual Arabic teachers, too???? And we get to expand the schools and add more teachers, too? Who pays for that, us again?

it is all a trickle down effect.

They are contributing nothing to their new town, new country and new community: they keep to themselves and surely they must be uneducated and skillless — yet the US of A has a plan to put these people to work, more or less — giving them working status??

They do not speak English. Not trained and cannot read; at best, they will get menial jobs and probably those that pay them under the table…and that’s if anybody wants to hire them. There is enough animosity already; nobody wants this bunch.

In this morning’s Bergen Record, we have this — and get ready for this eyeful:

“Refugees cannot pick which country to settle in. If they’re taken to the United States, they get placement services from one of nine non-profit agencies. An agency moves them to an area with decent job or housing opportunity, or where they may have relatives, with input from refugee coordinators in state governments.

“The federal government provides $1,900 per refugee, but they’re required to pay back the government for air travel to the United States. The goal is for them to be self-sufficient in 90 days. Their refugee status entitles them to work. A year after they arrive, they can apply for a green card. Five years later, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.”

Preference is being given to female head of households, homosexuals and those in need of health care! Huh??? Ellis Island would turn you away and send you back if you came here with a communicable disease!

And there is no such thing as a female head of household in these Muslim countries — you are more or less thrown away if you are a widow — and to admit you are gay, in a Muslim country???? You’ll probably suffer dire consequences! Gays *do not exist* in Muslim countries!  They will say they are gay, are a victim of violence or a widow with a family! They’ll be allowed in no questions asked.

Are they planning on following up on these new residents of our country? Not likely.

I will bet the youths fall in with street gangs. Its going to be just like that bunch from Vietnam that we took in awhile ago.

All of this is a done deal:

http://www.northjersey.com/news/refugees-coming-to-u-s-face-tight-scrutiny-advocates-and-officials-say-1.1456676

Governors saying “we don’t want them” won’t mean SHIT. It’s take them and like it and too damn bad.

We do not know what we are getting.

They could be mentally ill, have drug and alcohol problems, be pregnant, have communicable diseases,  problematic in school, hooked into gangs and other organized crime groups (not just terrorists exists in these countries), are drug runners or have a police record a mile long.

We do not know what we are getting and for that reason, do not take them. Let the tired and the poor and those who yearn to be free stay HOME. Sorry, but we cannot accommodate you.

This bunch will go straight to GA — and who is there to translate for THEM??? Those offices are packed to the brim now and yes, nice middle class people are part of the scene….

Andnot to mention this bunch is given worker status????

No English and they do not read or write and they have no skills or education! What jobs do you expect to hire them for??

And if they DO have an education and skill, you mean to tell me they are given first preference for a job WE may be competing for????

NO to this bunch. It’s OVER. And so is the free lunch and free everything else!

The world is changing…