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!

Disrespect for the Mets

Daily News, 24 Oct 2015

I don’t usually read the newspaper on Saturdays, but today I was reading the Daily News, whose front page highlighted an opinion piece about how the author (Joe Dziemianowicz, the News theater critic) couldn’t root for Mets star hitter Daniel Murphy because, back in March, Murphy remarked that he disagreed with the gay lifestyle ‘100%.’

The text of the article itself is focused: Dziemianowicz disagrees with what this particular Met said on a subject that he feels strongly about. That’s OK: every man has a right to his opinions. And he makes it clear that he’s still a Mets fan, and wishes the team well in the World Series.

But running an item like this with color pictures on Page 5, and featuring it on the front page is, at best, a breathtaking lapse of editorial judgement. It doesn’t matter that the Mets made it to the World Series (for the first time since 2000!) through exquisite skill and determination; it only matters that Daniel Murphy is a quasi-bigot.  But then again, most of his teammates, if not constrained by political correctness, would probably agree with him: perhaps they’re all quasi-bigots.

And then there’s the line that appears on the front page to entice the reader into turning to page 5: ‘I can’t root for a guy who hates me for wanting to score with Harvey.’  I had to read it three times before I was sure of what it meant: are you sure you really want to put that on the front page of a family newspaper?

Thank you, Daily News, for a totally ugly act of disrespect for my home team.

In Another Time…

In Back to the Future, Part II, Marty McFly traveled from 1985 to yesterday, 21 October 2015, to look in on his future family and possibly save his own son from a life of crime.  The subject has been done to death in the media this week, but I can’t resist plucking at a couple of the less-noted details of this fictive future.  I’m immensely relieved, for example, that double neckties never caught on.

Double Necktie

The movie also imagined that we would essentially be taken over by the Japanese.  When it came out in 1989, Japan was making ‘all the best stuff,’ but they’ve since wilted, perhaps victims of their own success.

We’re also not too far from 2019, the time frame of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man.  The notion of America as a poverty-stricken police state doubtless seemed laughable in 1987, but as 2019 approaches, the laughable seems to be becoming all too real.

The other day, I was watching The Hunt for Red October, the 1989 movie about a Soviet submarine captain who wanted to defect to the United States.  It was a cool movie back then, and still holds its own 26 years later.  But I’m compelled to believe that if Red October happened today, the American leadership would probably bend over backwards to return the sub to the Russians, and probably the captain as well.  Either that, or help the Russians to sink it.

And then there’s Tony Manero, the John Travolta character from Saturday Night Fever.  Back in the 1970s, it wasn’t outlandish to get an ordinary sort of job out of high school, and make a modest living at it.  But the little hardware stores that used to be a fixture in Brooklyn–and pretty much everywhere else–are going the way of the dodo.  And there was his boss, who paid him on Monday so he’d have money all week.  Sensible, but hopelessly quaint.  It’s hard to imagine Tony Manero working for Lowe’s.

Afghanistan

Our Dear Leader announced this week that we would not be leaving Afghanistan as planned at the end of 2016.  We will continue to have several thousand troops there for the foreseeable future, beyond the end of the Obama administration in January 2017.

Will someone remind me how we got into Afghanistan in the first place?

Oh yes, that’s right: after 11 September, we believed that the Taliban, the Afghan leadership, was harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.  So we partnered with the ‘Northern Alliance’ and routed the Taliban.  We then fumbled around in the mountains for a few weeks, but never found Osama there.

OK, the Taliban’s out.  What did we expect would happen next?

Did we believe the Afghan people were pining for limited republican government like we like to believe we have ourselves?  Building that would have been a major, major project that could not have been done on the cheap.

So we installed something resembling a government, not even a very good government, and the Taliban was able to recover as a militant force.

It’s now 14 years later, Osama is dead, and al-Qaeda are now our friends because they’re attacking Syrian President Assad.

What do we expect to achieve with our continued efforts there?  For my part, I have no clue.

The USSR went into Afghanistan in 1979 to support an allied government, as an exercise in geopolitical gamesmanship.  They left in 1989, having accomplished pretty much nothing.  Meanwhile, the USSR itself was much weakened, and fell apart two years later.

Do we believe that we can do better?  If so, what?

My mother used to say, ‘Don’t throw good money after bad.’

It may be time to pull the plug.

Writing’s on the Wall

For the last twelve years or so, I’ve thirsted for good music, or at least what I think is good music.  I’m looking for something propulsive and exciting, that makes me want to get up and do something.

Earlier this year, I joined a gym to work off my middle-aged spread.  One of the things that keeps me coming back is their music mix.  I don’t like all the songs, but the music keeps me moving.  Once in a while, they play something that I’ve never heard before that I really like.  I then look it up to find that it came out perhaps ten years ago.  Nevertheless, it’s a discovery.

This year, I was looking forward to two events: the new Duran Duran album, Paper Gods, which came out last month, and the theme from the new James Bond movie, Spectre.

Paper Gods was a disappointment, but that will be a discussion for another day.

‘Writing’s on the Wall,’ the theme from Spectre, is music with the power and sweep of a proper James Bond theme.  On that level, it succeeds.

But the voice!  If it had been performed by a woman, it would work perfectly.  It might still work if performed in a lower register by a man.  But the song was performed by Sam Smith in a warbly countertenor that just doesn’t fit for a James Bond movie.

Let me explain: most of the Bond themes are sung by women.  When a man sings a James Bond theme, the music is necessarily very strongly associated with the character: one can (or should be able to) readily imagine Commander Bond taking the microphone at Karaoke Night in the MI6 Lounge (in the third sub-basement) and singing it himself.

‘From Russia with Love’ passes this test, although as the second Bond film, there was still room for experimentation. ‘Thunderball,’  ‘Live and Let Die,’ and ‘You Know My Name’ pass the test with flying colors.  ‘View to a Kill’ and ‘The Living Daylights’ pass as well, although they’re more difficult to sing.  But ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ flunks spectacularly.  How could such an insecure wimp be a master spy?

But perhaps it’s consistent with the mood of the ‘rebooted’ Bond movies.

We all have our inner demons.  We conquer them, coexist with them, or find a way to make them work for us.  And we talk about them, if at all, only to our closest friends and family, or possibly to trained professional help if they’re really troublesome.  We do not share our demons in our working lives.  (At least, that’s the way I was brought up.)

The pre-Daniel Craig movies present James Bond as a man at work.  He may have his fears and insecurities, but he sets them aside and presses on with the mission.  We don’t see them in the movies because the mission is not the time or the place to contemplate them.

In contrast, we’re aware of the ‘rebooted’ Bond’s personal problems.  He isn’t the stainless hero that we imagined.  Perhaps the producers imagined they were making him more human, and more interesting, but it took away the cool factor.

So perhaps our new Bond could take the microphone and sing:

A million shards of glass
That haunt me from my past
As the stars begin to gather
And the light begins to fade
When all hope begins to shatter
Know that I won’t be afraid

But it just isn’t the same.

The writing is, indeed, on the wall.

Getting Schooled

Over the last week, Vladimir Putin has been addressing ISIS with brisk dispatch, while our President is running around bloviating.  This morning our Dear Leader told us:

Mr. Putin had to go into Syria not out of strength but out of weakness, because his client, Mr. Assad, was crumbling.  And it was insufficient for him simply to send them arms and money; now he’s got to put in his own planes and his own pilots.  And the notion that he put forward a plan and that somehow the international community sees that as viable because there is a vacuum there — I didn’t see, after he made that speech in the United Nations, suddenly the 60-nation coalition that we have start lining up behind him.

Where do I begin?

  • The weakness of which Obama speaks is Syria’s, not Russia’s. It’s expected, from time to time, that a stronger country will have to support its weaker allies.  And Russia is politically and culturally more ready to engage in direct military action than we are, for a variety of reasons.
  • If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. If we haven’t learned the value of doing it yourself from years of proxy warfare, where last year’s ally is this year’s enemy, we probably never will.
  • I don’t know if our Dear Leader has noticed, but I don’t believe that Putin cares what the international community thinks of his actions. He is convinced of the rightness of his plan and proceeding accordingly.  He doesn’t need to go to the UN for validation.
  • In any case, the ‘international community’ just wants ISIS to go away, without any effort on their part.
  • And our ’60-nation coalition’ has so far been, in a word, useless.

Beyond that, Syria’s ‘weakness’ is a result of our finagling.  Our issues with Syria, as far as I can tell, go back to the Bush administration, when we believed that Syria and Iran were supporting terrorists who were working to destabilize Iraq.  I’m not sure why the trying-to-be-secular government of Syria would embroil itself in the morass of Iraq, but then again, our leaders had told us a few years earlier that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and had to be stopped, so I’m sure they were also right about Syria partnering with Iran.

Then, more recently, there was the ‘Arab Spring.’  In hindsight, it was a move by the Islamists to install Islamic governments in the countries in the region that didn’t have them.  In Egypt, they succeeded in installing a new President loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, but he was so inept at leading the country that he was deposed in a military coup.

President Assad was a little more astute and saw the Arab Spring movement for what it was.  He endeavored to shut it down.  And we took the side of the Islamists, and our enemies from ten years ago—who had engaged in actual terrorism on US soil—were now our allies.

That took brains!

So while we rail against ISIS, and our Dear Leader says that we will ‘degrade and destroy’ it, it actually serves our purposes in oppressing the Syrian government.  I’ve framed the issue in previous posts as our wanting to support ‘moderate Syrian rebels’ who realized that running their own little state would be easier and safer, as if it were an innocent error on the part of our leadership.

I was being polite.  Mistakes of this magnitude are not made innocently.

And now Vladimir Putin is sending his air force, and ultimately his army, to mop up our mess.  He isn’t spending six months in the UN to build a consensus.  His leadership supports him.  He doesn’t have to worry about his plan gaining political traction within Russia.  I’m sure that he doesn’t have teams of lawyers scrutinizing target lists (like we did) to avoid collateral damage: you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.  And I would expect the Russians to ultimately dispatch ISIS in a few months.

We’re getting schooled… the hard way.  Hopefully we will have learned something, at least.

That Could Have Been Me

Ahmed Mohamed
Ahmed Mohamed

Earlier this week, a 14-year-old high school student was arrested for bringing to school…

Ahmed's clock
Ahmed’s clock

…a homemade digital clock.

Like Ahmed Mohamed, I was into electronics when I was in high school.  I even built a digital clock from a kit when I was a little older than him.  It looked very similar to his clock, except that the display was smaller (it was the 1970s, after all) and I didn’t mount mine in a case.  I also didn’t think to bring it to school, not so much because I feared my teachers might consider it dangerous, but because I didn’t think it was that interesting.  It was, after all, just a clock, and it wouldn’t do anything unless plugged in.

But I did build my own baby computer, and I did bring that to school.  Computers weren’t quite ordinary consumer products in the late 1970s, and I couldn’t imagine asking my parents to buy me one.  So I set about building one for myself.

My little machine had a Z80 processor and 256 bytes of memory.  It had a panel with lights that flashed; I could hook up a speaker and make buzzing noises.  It fit comfortably in a shoe box, but it looked way creepier than Ahmed’s clock.  My physics teacher was interested, but didn’t say much.  None of the other teachers noticed.  Certainly, nobody thought it was anything nefarious.  (And my real reason for bringing to school was so that I could tinker with it at lunchtime and show my friends.)

Later, on graduation day, I won a $200 prize for experimental physics. It was a total surprise: my only clue was the day before, during the graduation rehearsal, when I was told to sit in the corner of the auditorium reserved for the prize winners.  I spent the money on more computer parts.

Ahmed, alas, wasn’t so lucky.  He was arrested on the suspicion that the clock was a ‘hoax bomb.’  OK, perhaps it is: if you were making a movie and looking for a bomb prop, Ahmed’s clock would be a plausible candidate.  And yes, it could probably configured to function as a timer for a real bomb.

But if it’s a timer you want, there are far cheaper and simpler alternatives out there.  And if the thought was that the clock was meant to perpetrate a disturbance, the simplest way to deal with that is to deny the disturbance: confiscate the clock until the end of the day, and return it with a stern warning.

And yes, Ahmed is a Moslem.  While I’m fully aware of the dangers of Islamic extremists, some judgement is still needed: sometimes a clock is just a clock.  I’ll take the school and police authorities at their word: if Ahmed had been some other color, the events would probably have unfolded the same way.  There are, after all, evil Tea Party types out there who believe in the (gasp!) Constitution.

Have we gotten so thoroughly stupid that we can’t recognize a smart kid who likes to build stuff?

Done and out….

And it was a  brutal  brutal experience.

I was still throwing garbage and other items out (and taking them to storage) up until the time I was supposed to be out.

It was a shame — there was furniture that I could not sell or give away — it wound up being carted away by theDPW (and did I get a dirty look from them when they showed up). I did manage to give away the sofa and loveseat; some guy and his wife came and took it away in a truck.

For now I am in a hotel because I could not find an apartment that will accept a dog!  This is 2015 and this kind of entality still exists.  There is the next dog friendly town about 3 miles from here but the rents are much too high for me.

I have to chase Bro in court for the damages; I am awaiting his address (the law firm that did the closing has his address) so I can get the proceedings underway.

The final tally for back property taxes was ab out $9200.

if I had to do it all over again: Sell this house outright — and hired another realtor. The one I had wasn’t all thqat great — she was the one who told me to “Sell everything you have and b e ready to move out after Labor Day” and suggested I give away my dog, to get rooms faster.

This was a suck azz and rotten experience and I felt like I got treated like a common criminal.  (Yeah, this from the person who sent me the wrong info in the email and did not proofread it before she hit send. Lots to b e desired.  Not quality help)

Bro was 90 minutes late for the closing — he called and told them he was delayed somewhere. 3pm is 3pm and you are to BE THERE.

My goal right now is to find a permanent place to live. What I have seen so far are dumps and the landlord wants a fortune for these crappy rooms. I may have to look into the shore area or something further out.

That damage money was supposed to be held in escrow. that did not happen in the end and I am still pretty pissed.  Then again , I am wondering if the escrow withhold would have worked in my  favor abnd accomplished what I wanted “faster.”

(and I think this atty is po’d that I did not hire him for my next endeavor. Another long story and I did not get what I paid for this go round)

Syrian Flim-Flam

The world has been transfixed by the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees streaming through Greece and Turkey, into Hungary, seeking refuge in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia.  For a time, thousands of them were effectively detained at the Budapest railway station, but the Hungarian authorities relented and let them continue on.  Germany has indicated that they are prepared to take one million refugees; Austria has already taken tens of thousands.

Many of the refugees are from Syria.  Some may be from other places, and some may even be Islamic terrorists: we can’t really tell, and the refugees themselves know that they can simply ditch whatever identification they may be carrying and tell the authorities whatever they want.  But let’s go back to Syria for a moment.

About two years ago, we almost went to war over the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.  But two years before that, we were pretty much OK with Syria.  And then something happened—well before the chemical weapon attack—that turned him into an adversary.  And we felt the need to arm the ‘Syrian rebels’ to fight the government, in the process building what we now know as ISIS, a de facto fundamentalist Islamic government in control of big pieces of Iraq and Syria.

Bashar Assad, the Syrian President, is a dictatorial strongman, but he was running a secular, moderate government.  When fundamentalist Islamic fighters appeared, proclaiming themselves to be fighting for freedom and democracy, Assad counterattacked.  He knew, as we should, that an election with fundamentalist Islamists is like an election with Communists: if they win, it will be the last meaningful election for quite some time.

But we bought the Islamists’ line and supported the ‘Syrian rebels.’  Our leadership was flim-flammed.  (Either that, or they actually want the world to be taken over by a new Islamic caliphate.  But that’s an issue for another day.)

In writing this post, I dug up a quote from the then-National Security Adviser, Susan Rice in the abortive 2013 runup to war:

…in the first instance, Assad and his backers in Iran and Hezbollah, do not have any interest in seeing this escalate…

And the next day, we came to understand that Assad’s main backer was not Iran or Hezbollah, but Vladimir Putin.  Oops.

In the meantime, we have hundreds of thousands of refugees piling into Europe.  Many are Christians, and many are Moslems.  Remember that fundamentalist Christianity admits that not everyone is a fundamentalist, and indeed that not everyone is Christian.  Fundamentalist Islam makes no such concession: anyone who isn’t a true believer is to be forcibly converted, taxed, or killed.

The Germans seem to believe that many of these million refugees can be integrated into the labor force to address chronic labor shortages resulting from, among other things, Germany’s low birth rate.  I hope, for their sake, that they’re right.

Village Voice

The Village Voice didn’t mean that much to me growing up, but once I finished high school and started out in the world, it meant something.   I tried placing a couple of personal ads back when the notion of getting to meet another person through a written note wasn’t thoroughly obsolete; I found their leftist tack on the issues of the day enlightening, although I often disagreed with it.

When I was living in Pittsburgh in the early 1990s, recently divorced, broke, in exile from the city where I was born, the Voice (available every Monday in the newsstand at Ross Park Mall) was a beacon of what was waiting for me on my return.

And the Voice, oddly, brought a special disappointment every June when I would pick it up and find… the Gay Issue.  I’m just not interested.

But the classified ads in the Voice were the stuff of legend.  Besides the personals, there were apartments and jobs and all manner of human services, some of which I wasn’t quite sure were legal.  When we last moved to a new place, in 2003, I found our new apartment through the Village Voice.

But that was then; not anymore.  (Except, perhaps, for the Gay Issue in June.)

Last night, indulging my idle curiosity, I picked up the current Village Voice from a box in my neighborhood.  (In the mid-1990s, if memory serves, they went from paid to free circulation.)  My immediate thought was that I was missing something: the old Voice was over 100 pages, but this one was 36: barely larger than the throwaway dailies that I pick up for Sudoku.

There was one news story, about how the city was putting more chlorine in the drinking water in the summer months, so if you noticed your tap water smelling funny, that’s why.  The Voice readers of another time would have probably never noticed; the report from another time would have discussed a vast corporate conspiracy to put toxic chemicals in our drinking water.  Alas, no more.

The cover story was a collection of 30 emoji that supposedly represented life in New York.  Too many of them were overly detailed to fit in an emoji.  Some were clever, but in the end, it was tiresome.  In fairness, I don’t really use emoji, and perhaps there are already emoji for what I think are the essential New York goods, services, or states of mind.  But emoji hardly count as edgy counterculture.

And in the back, there were just two ads for rental apartments: a 2-bedroom in Carroll Gardens for $3500/month, and a 1-bedroom in Jackson Heights (‘Clone Manhattan’) for $1750.  I remember looking for my first apartment, in 1982, making $7.50/hour or so, and coming across a dozen plausible candidates in every issue.

Those were the days….

What happened here???

The house is sold. We had 2 oil tanks to be removed before we could close on the house.

The buyer sent a tester for soil back in June. The soil came up positive for oil.

Removed the tanks (this was about 3weeks ago) and the close date was postponed pending Test #2 from soil 22 feet down — right near the bedrock.

The close date was projected to  be about August 22.

The soil test came up negative.

Here is the fun part:

Via an email from the realtor, sent to my atty (2 days ago) who forwarded it to me this past Monday, here is what I find out:

The soil report goes to the state and 2 weeks after that report is received by the state, we close.

The email then said that bro was all set to move out and “Dude has over 2 months to move.”

Today I called the realtor to ask her if she found any places for me to live — my dog is ill and has kidney failure; I need a place where dogs are accepted.

Realtor to me: Yes we have to get you moving right away.
Me, dopily: Moving right away? what do you mean? I have over 2 months left until I move out.
Realtor: No you don’t.
Me: Yes, I do — you said so yourself, via an email you sent Mr. G…
Realtor: I don’t remember an email like that…
ME: I will read it to you…(I get email and I read her the entire copy) and that’s what you said 2 days ago, via my atty. I have over 2 months to move.
Realtor: Oh. I sometimes write like that. You have 2 weeks to get out, not 2 months.

WHAT?????

You “sometimes write like that” and this is your egregious error….and now I am in a jam, because of YOU???

She did not apologize for the error or say much at all. WOW — how could you make such an error!

I’m telling her that I am not ready to move yet and why did she even say it at all, that I’ve got over 2 months to move out…I went on and on like some kind of moron — she never apologized!!!! and holy crap, the suggestions I got:

1-Give away my dog.

2-Move in with somebody. “Maybe you can go to CA with your cousin you mentioned; sell all of your furniture in 2 weeks…It’s like a vacation when you go out there!”

“I can put you in an apartment for a year but you have to pay the entire 12 months up front. You haven’t got a full time job and they want paystubs and a credit report…”

Uh huh — that is 22 grand of my money and suppose the landlord isn’t the greatest or things go unfixed or something happens on his end? “Oh you will have to eat it…”

BULLSHIT!

A landlord may not even approve of such an arrangement! That would be full of liability for me, if I was the landlord. I’d say no!

HOW could the both of you made such an egregious error??? She got it all wrong and ATTY didn’t even READ HER ERROR????

I called Atty. “Oh yeah I just saw that email just now…” HE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE MUCH TO SAY! HE SHOULD BE STARK RAVING MAD…

And he didn’t even NOTICE the error she made when he got her email??? How is it you never noticed that, Atty?HOW???

what do I do with these 2? Fire their asses? String ’em up by their thumbs? Try her as a witch and then burn her at the stake and run him outta town on a rail?!

How could they both fark this up and fark this up so badly that it’s mind blowing???

As of right before I called realtor this afternoon at 2pm, is that I had over 2 months to move out — and suppose I did not call her today…or at any time from here and now until September 1???? I get a big surprise when the developer-buyer shows up here and has equipment with him or whatever he does for step one of razing a house???

I would like to revoke her commission and tell ATTY to shit in his hat and not pay him at all. What a fuck up and what a MAJOR MAJOR one!!!

My cousin from CA says “Stay there and let the buyer evict you” — holy crap, none of this advice is good! I had the realtor tell me “give away your dog…sell all of your furniture and move to CA and it’ll be like a vacation for you…” Woman, are you THIS dumb, really??? ARE YOU???

This is bad news, all around. HOW can anybody be this stupid?

Apartments yielded nothing on my own end. Nobody much within reasonable distance is advertising something I can afford. And I sure don’t believe nobody wants to take a tenant with a dog.

I also do not buy it that nobody will rent to somebody who can pay cash up front, employed, self employed per diem seasonal or OTHER.

Atty is telling me to try Jersey City and Hoboken! Jersey City is expensive and Hoboken is out of my reach!

This is a mess and a fark up and big time.

I don’t have any more solutions.

And suppose I tell the landlord I am a displaced divorcee (say my husband and I just split up and the last job I had was 14 years ago and I was a homemaker all along until we split up) or that I am retired??? Suppose I show the landlord what my bank account balance is, right after the sale closes and I get my share of the proceeds??? Going to have a problem believing me when I say I can pay? Very doubtful.

What a mess. And a big one.

Hitting the Wall

To the Wall Street economists, it’s an article of faith that the wants of mankind are infinite. And the best way to satisfy these infinite wants is for the economy to freely adapt to new means of production, new technologies, new systems. Sometimes the old ways of doing things get swept aside, but it’s ‘creative destruction,’ and it’s all good.

For example, when we went from horses to cars for personal transportation, the buggy-whip manufacturers went out of business. But the new machines brought a need for mechanics to look after them.

And for that reason, we’re not supposed to complain when all the manufacturing jobs that enabled vast numbers of us to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle get shipped off to China. Some great new endeavor will appear, bringing new worlds to conquer, new jobs, and new prosperity.

But is that really true?

When the Internet became a popular phenomenon in the 1990s, I thought it a useful means of communication and media distribution, but it wouldn’t be more than that unless we evolved a new sense organ. I fancifully imagined an Ethernet jack growing behind one’s left ear.

But we do have a new sense organ in the form of the smartphone. And it has enabled the Internet to become more than it was in the 1990s.

And yet, as an economic driver, the smartphone hasn’t given us new worlds to conquer:

– There are only so many of us, and each one of us has only two ears and one brain.

– Smartphones have gotten to the point where there is little room for technical improvement. (Apple calls the displays on their newer devices ‘Retina’ because the resolution of the display is comparable to the human eyeball: any further improvement would be of little practical use.)

– Facebook and Twitter have changed the way people communicate, and while they have been profitable for their founders, they employ relatively few people, with the vast majority of their services rendered by machines.

– Time spent on one’s smartphone is generally not productive time, and displaces other activities that are more productive, or at least more engaging.

So while smartphones are fun, and some of us find them useful, they are not the engine of prosperity we’d imagine them to be.

But what is the next engine of prosperity?

Meanwhile, events this week brought another perspective: our Senator, Chuck Schumer, was proposing that the commuter rail authorities and Amtrak pool their resources and create a new joint authority to build new rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River.

The original tunnels were built over a century ago by the Pennsylvania Railroad. They financed the construction with their own corporate resources and no government subsidies. They built them to last and they serve us to this day.

And if the Pennsy hadn’t been run into the ground after World War II, they might have built additional tunnels in the 1950s or 1960s. But now, there is no government or business entity capable of managing an essential piece of new infrastructure.

And the only solution is apparently to create yet another government agency.

I’m not the only jerk that did it…check this out…

I am guessing by “partner” the writer of the letter is romantically entwined with this deadbeat. How oh so familiar this scenario is:

Dear Amy: I’m struggling with how to address financial issues with my partner. When he first moved in with me, I was assured that it would be a partnership.

He made no efforts to contribute to the monthly maintenance costs and only after arguing about it did my partner take over paying for the cable/Wi-Fi.

While I endure stress to save and manage bills and real estate taxes, my partner clearly stated that this wasn’t his problem.

Yes, I own the apartment, but how did I suddenly get stuck with 99% of the responsibility for living in a home, and how is this considered a partnership”

If we were renting somewhere, would I get stuck with the majority of the bills? I feel taken advantage of while I spend every day working to make sure that at least one of us has the fiscal health to keep a roof over our heads. When I try to discuss this, he argues and complains about how I make more money than he does. Mind you, my “lifestyle” includes wearing the same two pairs of jeans and sneakers that are 10 years old, spending on bills first and saving for occasional dinners out.

I just feel like I’m enabling someone who can’t get his finances together, and then I get attacked for being a jerk when I bring it up. I can’t win this argument and my partner sees nothing wrong with it.

How should I bring this up? What can I do? — Frustrated Enabler

Dear Enabler: Before your guy moved in with you, you say you “were assured” it would be a partnership. Who, exactly, assured you? Was this an assumption on your part? And how do you each define a partnership?

You would gain clarity by seeing an accountant together. You should each bring your pay stubs, monthly bills, expenses, and a credit report. There should be transparency regarding income and debts and he should contribute in proportion to his income.

I assume he would refuse to participate in this process, because making you feel bad makes economic sense for him, enabling him to kick the problem down the road until this boils over again.

Your real issue is not financial but relational. If you are not able to work together to arrive at an equitable partnership, you should consider finding another roommate.

http://www.freep.com/story/life/advice/2015/07/13/domestic-partnership-finances-unequal/30095411/

Cannot reach this one particular attorney…anybody have any suggestions???

I do not wish to give away much of a backstory or front story, since I’ve already been through the wringer and I don’t to disclose too many more private details.

Here is what is happening:

I need to reach this one particular attorney — who I will call Mr. Smith (so he doesn’t get confused with my atty, who is also part of this story), in regard to an issue that more or less has to do with my future.

This thing started on May 28 and it’s now July 11 and I still don’t have an answer from Mr. Smith.  All he needs to do is examine data and the data is readily available. It should not take long for a yes or a no. I should have had an answer by June 5. Splitting the atom is not involved.

I spoke to him on the 28 of May at his office . Mr. Smith assured me he’d have an answer relatively quickly. A second person is also involved and Smith said he’d speak to “Jim” and discuss  with Jim what I wished to do.

10 days went by. No word from Smith. He did not reply to my atty’s emails, either.

I called Smith on June 8 and told him I was awaiting his reply and decision.  He never called me.

2 more weeks went by; now it is June 22. I left another message and said I still needed to know whether it was yes or no.

Nothing. Not a call, not an email, not a word. My atty did not get a reply, either from Smith.

On June 30, I drove to Smith’s office (a good 70 miles from here); I arrived at 3:00 — since he met with me at 4:30 the last time I needed to see him, I stayed around until 5. The office was closed and nobody was on site. I figured I’d wait for him.

As I was all set to leave, my atty phoned me. He said he heard from Smith and he woud call me later on.

I heard from Smith the next morning. “Refesh my memory what’s going on…” Refesh your memory?!  I already got kind of pissed –I lost FOUR WEEKS of time!!! He should have had a decision for me!!! (if you ask me that “refresh my memory” is bunk — he tried to cover for not replying to me long before he finally called me back on June 30 — Smith knew the entire time what the story was. Man.)

And what happened to JIM??? I didn’t even get a phone call from Jim anywhere during the time span of May 28- June 30! Didn’t Smith even mention what I wanted to Jim at all???

I had to recant the whole story to Smith. He assured me he would let me know if it is yes or no in a few days and what I was asking sounded like a good idea and that all he had to do was call Jim and then Smith would let me know if it is yes or no…….

And here it is, nearly 2 weeks later.. and I still cannot reach Mr. Smith. I did not hear from Jim, either.

He has no admin on site in his office. The admin who works for him is either part time or telecommutes, I think.

Whenever I call the office, all I get is voicemail. Nobody “live” ever gets the phone.

He’s got another attorney who shares the office (and he said he was covering for that atty since he is on vacation — but still…wow,, who doesn’t return a call in a reasonable amount of time???)

I don’t know whether Smith is part time, semi retired or what, but how long CAN you go without returning somebody’s call within a reasonable length of time???

(and I still do not know if Jim knows or not what’s going on! I never heard from him — which means I am being disregarded by Jim…or maybe Jim has no clue I requested what I requested!)

I sent a certified mail letter to Jim, telling him what I just told you guys — I did not load it up with a lot of conjecture; just the facts — and I asked Jim to call me asap and for him to give me his decision; I told him that I am under a severe time constraint and I need a yes or a no immediately.

That’s a long story why I don’t have anther phone number for him or email addy (Smith says that the number I have — I think it is a cell phone and not a landline —  is the only number he has for Jim. Not possible— how does Smith reach Jim, then??? When I call the number I have for Jim, I get a recording that goes “the mailbox is full; please enter your password…” That is all I have ever gotten when I’ve dialed that number. Something is flim flammy with that telephone number. Not possible your phone is out of commission since I’ve had that telephone number you gave me.

What’s going on here? Why hasn’t either person called me to let me know if it is YES or NO???? No reply from either party!

I cannot see how you can conduct business like this or leave somebody hanging regarding a vital issue.

Does anybody have any suggestions?? I can’t seem to get the ball moving on this and I need an answer now.

Disgustipated

My mother used to say ‘disgustipating’ to refer to things that she thought were really rotten.  I hadn’t thought of it for a while, until this week.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision that gay marriage is a Constitutional right, and that the remaining states where gay marriage is forbidden will have to allow it.

Hooray for Marriage Equality
Hooray for Marriage Equality

While I was out this morning, I saw the sign above at a parking lot.

I really have no problem with gay civil marriage: gay people should be able to express their commitment to each other, and secure their legal rights with respect to each other, the same as heterosexual couples.

But is it ‘marriage equality’?  Hardly.

All but a tiny handful of the seven billion of us walking the planet today are here because, at some point in the past, a man and a woman came together and caused us to be.  Not all of them were married, but it is that essential fact of our existence that is the origin of marriage.

And until and unless there is a race of literal Amazons who reproduce through parthenogenesis, so it will continue to be.

What bothers me about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is that, first, there is nothing in my reading of the Constitution that infers a right to gay marriage, either directly or indirectly.  Many, many decisions are made (in business, politics, and life in general) by coming up with the answer first, and assembling whatever arguments are needed to support it.  But I expected the Supreme Court to be above that sort of crap.

What’s far worse, though, is that the government is now empowered to clonk those of us who believe that ‘equal under the law’ is not ‘the same thing’ upside the head and tell us to get with the program.  We already have laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation: those, together with yesterday’s decision, mean that gay civil marriage will not be containable as ‘civil’ for very long.

*          *          *

The other disgustipating Supreme Court decision concerned Obamacare.  The law, as written, indicated that subsidies would be available for individuals who had purchased insurance through ‘an exchange established by the State.’  We normally don’t say that in American law.  You might say ‘a State’ or ‘the States,’ referring to one or more of the 50 state governments, or ‘the States or the Federal government’ if that’s what you meant.

We had understood that the intent was that a state would have to set up an insurance exchange for its residents to get the subsidies, as a means of encouraging states to set up exchanges.  But most states didn’t do that, leaving it to the Federal exchange.

But if people couldn’t get subsidies, the insurance wouldn’t be affordable, so an executive decision was made to allow subsidies to residents of all of the states.  You could reasonably read ‘an exchange established by the State’ to refer to, not a particular one of the 50 states, but the government in general.

Ultimately, this one doesn’t really matter for me.  New York did set up an Obamacare exchange. (Alas, I earn too much to be eligible for a subsidy, and even if I got one, it wouldn’t make a dent in the actual premium.)  Nevertheless, with or without the subsidy, Obamacare remains the most breathtakingly bad public policy decision that I can remember in my life.

But I’m sure something will come to top it later this year.

Gay Marriage: A Moral Issue?

I really didn’t want to write another gay marriage piece: it’s getting tiresome. But I wanted to get my thoughts out ahead of the Supreme Court decision that’s due any day now.

Some of my conservative readings rail against gay marriage as a moral issue. Homosexuality is identified in the Bible as sinful, so admitting gay marriage in law is sinful and immoral. Then again, the proponents of gay marriage sometimes frame their position as a moral issue, a matter of justice and equality for all. So which end is up?

“You can’t legislate morality,” my mother told me years ago. It fit my view of the world as a teenager, and I didn’t challenge her on it. But now, thinking about it, one can legislate morality. Alas, one ends up with a state like Iran or Saudi Arabia, where the church is the state and the state is the church and the government can do no wrong as it is run by men of Allah.

In our society, it is not the responsibility of the government to enforce morality. It is the responsibility of each of us to live a moral life. Religion is useful in pointing the way to a moral life, but it’s not the only way.   (Indeed, the functional purpose of religion in society is teaching morality to children.)

But the conservatives who frame gay marriage as a moral issue have a useful concept: ‘natural marriage.’ Natural marriage is that which has been around with us for millennia. Natural marriage is exclusively, by definition, between a man and a woman. If you’re religious, it is a gift from God; if you’re not, it’s a consequence of our nature as sexual beings whose young require years of care and upbringing before they can be fully functional. It is also immutable.

To reconcile natural marriage to the government, which needs to track such things, there is civil marriage. Civil marriage is a construct of law and regulation. When a community legalizes gay marriage, they are legalizing gay civil marriage. They cannot change the definition of natural marriage.

And alongside natural marriage (which can’t be changed) and civil marriage (a construct of government) is popular marriage, i.e. marriage as understood in the culture. Gay marriage wouldn’t be worth getting bothered about if it was accepted as a bureaucratic workaround by which gay couples who were committed to each other could secure their rights with respect to each other, and for the rest of us, a curiosity, a weird exception to the rule, and nothing more.

But that wasn’t what happened, or at least not how it’s being presented in the mass media. People are apparently falling all over each other to embrace gay marriage, even though the vast majority of them are unlikely to participate in one. And if you’re not embracing the concept, you must be hateful or, worse, homophobic. (And calling people ‘chicken’ or ‘afraid’ or ‘phobic’ to shame them into agreement is, if not the oldest trick in the book, somewhere in the top ten.)

That the popular culture is so quick to ditch natural marriage (which was already happening well before gay marriage became an issue) is sad, but does that mean that we all have to embrace gay civil marriage as equivalent to natural marriage? I’d like to think not.

It certainly isn’t the same as racial discrimination. At one time, some places denied people of different races the right to natural as well as civil marriage. Thankfully, we’re long past that. But all our good thinking about fairness and equality will not turn civil marriage into natural marriage. And it’s not fair to anyone to maintain the delusion that they’re the same.

As for the question before the Court—is there a Constitutional right to gay marriage?—I’m not a legal scholar. But a commonsense interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment—the right to equal protection of the laws—doesn’t get me there. Natural marriage is gender-neutral: you need to have one of each. And if someone had suggested a century and a half ago that the Amendment would one day be used as the basis for a right to gay marriage, nobody would have believed such a ludicrous notion.

It remains to be seen if the Justices are, um, phobic….

Post sale of house…here comes the fallout…from a friend, yet…

Sometimes I feel like I am listening to a 9 year old girl.

*sigh*

Here is the problem…and the problem is the way my friend E. is acting.

She knows the whole kit and caboodle of what happened here.

Mind you, she has always been touchy about money — commenting on who at her workplace has what house, who is driving around in what car and how much her coworkers earn (this is public service and she knows what their salaries are). Who cares and why is this so irritating to her?

She’s been like this for as long as I’ve known her. Maybe I should have realized the squeeze was not worth the juice and ditched her back then.

Yesterday I mentioned that I might take a trip to see a cousin of mine — he lives out in California.

“You must have an awful lot of money if you are talking about taking all these trips.”

I blew sky high — I didn’t care who on that boardwalk bloody heard me — ha, they probably heard me clear across the water to Coney Island somewhere — and I said, “This again from you??? Suppose I tell you HE is paying for the TICKET???” (Cuz offered pay for my expenses to and from; “door is open and let me know if you’re coming to see me; I’ll pay for the ticket to and from”)

My goodness — didn’t we get quiet. I flat out told her if she made a comment like that again, the friendship will be over.

I said “I went through a lot this past decade; I lost a job and I gave up a lot of blood sweat and tears to get Bro out of the picture…” She has to “match” me and go “Oh so did I…I go through a lot at work and I lost a job, too…”

Ever feel like just turning around and leaving somebody right there?

I said “how much money do you think I am getting from the sale of this home? You think it’s a mansion???” To this, she looks down at the floor.

%&*%&#$ if I have to justify this to her or anybody.

This isn’t the first time she’s said something like this — she’s done it in the past more than one time. But yet she gets all touchy if somebody comments about what she is driving ,etc. it’s like she is taking this out on me.

I am seriously rethinking the friendship. I already have enough on my hands and the next thing I am grappling with is where to live — suppose I find a for-cheap house I can rent or maybe even buy? (it would have to be a tiny little house with maybe 6 rooms in it on a tiny piece of property; we still have quite a few of fhem left that fit into that category and that’s the only house I’d consider buying; I might even luck out and be able to get some kind of a loan to buy it) It’s account to her for what I am renting/paying for it?? What good is this to me?

I feel like I am living in a glass box.

The world is changing…