Thursday, September 29, 2011

Greed, Betrayal and The House Guest Who Almost Stayed Forever

Okay, this is about my wife's business, a personal concierge enterprise, with a touch of "limo" work. She works full time and runs it. Frankly, she's "break even" at this point after only three or four months of the business. Now, we're sort of on to "The House Guest Who Almost Stayed Forever."

This woman, a desparate almost 70 got married last year, or maybe a few months ago. She was, indeed, desparate, marrying a fellow a couple of years younger, apparently desparate also.

The woman has a job, makes a decent living. They just bought a condo and, of all things, a Cadillac (an earlier post).

Now, this guy does nothing for a living. Literally, he sits at home and watches TV all day while she works.

My wife provided him with work. I'm not going to tell you what it is, as it might reveal who I am or who she is. He picks up just under $14 an hour for really easy work.

This sniveling SOB called me today and said, "I have to have $5 more an hour." I'm thinking that such an increase cuts her margins and this fellow does nothing all day.

And, why the hell is he calling me? I'm not his boss. I don't own the business. Sure, I help her with marketing, but it's not mine.

What kind of sniveling creep does that. More so, he wants to cut her margins to a point where there's no way to make a profit.

The problem is that right now she has no one else and she is beside herself. However, I told her we'd have it worked within 30 days. I've got a network and there are enough folks out there looking for work, responsible and loyal.

I did tell my wife, though, that I didn't want this guy or his wife anywhere near me ever again – Oh, she considers the woman her "best friend." I never thought so, but she knows better now – she told me the woman was sitting right next to her husband when he called.

He will soon find himself back on the couch watching TV all day; and his wife will go on thinking he's right. Two desparate people living dishonest lives.

Pain in the ass that my wife frequently is, she's worked very hard on this and I am going to ensure that she makes it with this business…and she will.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The GOP Wants To Cut The FDA Budget?

Canteloupe

The Nation’s Most Shameful Former Publisher

For nearly two years now, a Las Vegas, Nevada newspaper, The Las Vegas Review-Journal has been teamed up with a bunch of second, probably third tier (unless there's something lower) lawyers to launch "no warning" lawsuits over copyright violation. The now "retired" (read "fired" and disgraced, though he's not smart enough to recognize that, publisher, Sherman Frederick got together with a group known as "Righthaven."

They launched nearly 300 suits, for the most part against bloggers, almost all of whom were small potatoes, really small.

It scared the hell out of many on the Internet, as most, if not all, were not aware they were violating copyright law – after all, for at least a decade folks had been posting complete articles from newspapers, generally with appropriate links.

A few of the bloggers settled, but most didn't – and, as it turns out well they shouldn't have.

Righthaven, as it turns out, probably doesn't have standing in these cases, according to The Las Vegas Sun, which, aside from a couple of stories in The New York Times a while back, is the only newspaper covering this matter – Right, it constantly scoops its competitor: The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is, in fact, bringing the suits.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal originally "invested" $300,000 in Righthaven and has probably piled in more. As a result, it's clearly lost that investment, plus it's facing huge legal fees in counter lawsuits.

This former publisher, Frederick, in my opinion, couldn't find creative, newspaper oriented revenue sources in these difficult times so he came up with litigation and single handedly destroyed a newspaper, already known for his embarrassing antics and editorials regarding Senator Harry Reid. It's okay, by the way, to knock other party, but do it intellectually – something this fool couldn't do, so he relied on base canards and outright fabrication.

My understanding is that he's a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame – I don't know what the hell that is, but he sure doesn't belong there.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Was Wrong

…but not entirely. This morning was just a pain. I took my wife to work, which was uncharacteristically not unpleasant. Upon returning to my office, I did a bit of work, then decided to take my car in for registration, it expires on September 30. I take it to a service station that smogs it for $25 and for an extra sawbuck, will register it. So, it was about $150 for the entire process, well worth it not to have to go through the DMV online, or worse, in person; and they toss in a carwash.

Well, I arrived there at about 8 and saw one car in the bay. I pulled in behind it and a few seconds later an older woman, probably a bit older than I, is banging on my window, yelling. With a British accent, she curses me for "charging in line." I explained that I didn't see the sign behind one must line up – it hasn't been there before – and, of course, realizing my error (and considering that this woman was possibly batty because of her reaction), moved in behind her.

She pulls up to have her car inspected, which normally takes no more than ten minutes or so. Well, 20 minutes later, I'm still waiting; then 30 minutes until and attendant arrives at my car and said she had a dead battery. They had to push the damned out of the way; a large SUV and an hour later I was done.

I think I showed remarkable restraint, as I was tempted to walk up and tell the woman that she ought to maintain her car, but I didn't.

Then my wife calls: "I brought the wrong jacket to work. Can you drop the right off?" I said, "Sure." Then she proceeds to call me four times on my cell asking me where I am. I abhor those things and I just said, "en route."

Then, there was the market for a few things, then back to work finally…until that idiot, drunk attorney from California called to talk politics. "I don't talk about politics anymore," I told him. "Then what am I going to talk to you about?" he asked.

"17th Century Literature," I responded. "I don't know anything about that," he said. "Read," was my response as I hung up.

I hope the week goes better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Facebook

Why and who really cares, over the age of 12.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The “Debate”

I don't want this venue to become fraught with politics; but how anyone can even consider a candidate who has no affinity for society, social responsibility and wants to tear the fabric of society, already so threadbare that the numbers of our citizens who are falling through it to the thin safety net below of our Federal Government tells me that those folks are either quite affluent, or simply unread.


 

Those are the same voters who elected George Bush, who got us into this mess in the first place.


 

How dreadful these candidates, all quite wealthy if you weren't aware, are; and how incredibly negligent they are; uncaring of their fellow citizens.

It was an embarrassment to watch the "debate," a spectacle for the world to see a nation, once dedicated to equality, now serving up potential "leaders" dedicated to widening the ever increasing gap between rich and poor.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Drunken Wife…Again

Well, it's just three days since my wife has been home. She's drunk again. First time I've noticed it in a while. What a bloody bitch – today it was, "You never told me about a new client for my business." Well, not only do I work all day at mine, but I handle hers as she has a full time job at the same time.

I responded that "First, I sent you an email; and Second, the prospective client sent you one." She responded loudly, "No, it's not on my phone."

It, of course, was…she has two email accounts on this piece of crap Android and doesn't check them both.

But she is drunk, and as her oldest friend, a "recovering" alcoholic, says, "You can't talk to drunks." You can't.

And even worse is talking to narcissistic drunks. Despite what the AMA says, I don't believe alcoholism is a disease – I believe it's a choice – So, if you're drunk, it's your own damned fault.

Thank goodness she returns to work tomorrow.

Wife’s Back; Life Yuk!

I forgot how pleasant it is to "live" alone. My wife's been back for three days and continues her bitchy ways. Unfortunately, she didn't go to work today because she has laryngitis; and doubly unfortunately, she keeps talking.
 

Let's see, today, first thing, she decides to clean the refrigerator which of course had to involve me to some extent – I just told her I was busy, working, trying to earn a living and she, of course, got angry.

And now I learn that I've got to go to dinner, yet again with the Houseguest Who Almost Stayed Forever. Another weekend evening blown with pedantics and boredom. And don't try to tell me that "…at least the food will be good," as when those in attendance drone through their lives, which are absolutely unextraordinary, everything loses its taste.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an elitist, but I abhor having to listen to people about whom all converstation revolves. I frankly don't care if they bought a new car, or did their laundry, or went here or there.

I can't tell you exactly what I care about, however, I can tell you that I enjoy engaging in conversation, rather than simply being a listener to drivel.

My rant for the day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Unparallel Universe

Rarely to I jump to a contemporaneous post, however, equally rarely to I recall specifics when I post.

That said, I just past my wife who was on the family room couch with her computer: "They have Town Cars on here for $14,000," she said. She lives in some sort of parallel universe where she's incredibly wealthy – and she expects me to go in debt for a new car in this economy?

Who lives in that kind of world?

The First Day Back

Well, my wife returned yesterday and there was a brief time of "peace," when she didn't complain, grouse or define "annoying," but it was just the ride from the airport to the house.

She almost made it without a complaint, but why should I expect it. I've not had the fortitude to ask her how much she spent on her trip – she stayed with her "aunt" and anyone's expenses when staying with someone are usually low. Who knows?

And, of course, she came home "ill," with laryngitis and something "wrong" with her ear. She's turning into my second ex-wife, who was almost a definition of hypochondria – whatever ailment was in vogue she had it.

Me, I woke up a bit tired this morning, but I've got work to do and can't be bothered with her inanity, no or ever, really.

That's it for now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Something To Look Forward To

My week+ long vacation without my wife comes to an end today. I'll have to pick her up at the airport early this afternoon.

This respite was grand; just my dog and cats and me.

However, it didn't erase or even slightly mitigate the malaise I feel for the nation and its future.

The President will "unveil" his "Deficit Reduction" plan in about a half hour and, according to all the polls, including me, no one really gives a damn about "Deficit Reduction." Well, a vast majority doesn't and no matter what the President proposes, our obstreperous House of Representatives is going to toss it aside; most of it anyway. That which benefits the rich will remain.

According to The New York Times, "Mr. Obama will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, primarily on the wealthy, through a combination of letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire, closing loopholes and limiting the amount that high earners can deduct. The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid. Administration officials said that the Medicare cuts would not come from an increase in the Medicare eligibility age."

Who do these people "represent?" It's certainly not their local constituencies who overwhelming don't care about the deficit; only jobs and good jobs at that.

It seems as if I'm railing against everything these days. I'm so tired of television pundits who predict the future, only to be wrong the next day; yet seem to have so much sway over the nation, whatever side of the aisle a person is on.

As most, if not all of us know, Washington has simply become the land of the lobbyist and Congress, for the most part, doesn't give damn about the way of the world, save to collect their dollars from "K Street" and make merry at cocktail parties. Of course, the Republicans have a simple goal: Get President Obama out of the White House.

That's a helluva goal: The nation is boiling with poverty and recession and all these guys want is a new President, rather than lending a helping hand.

Enough of this. It brings on nausea just to think about it, let alone write about it.

At least the new television season starts tonight. Something to look forward to…escape.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Last Day Of Freedom

Again, it has been a while, but I have had a week to myself with my wife out of town visiting her aunt and writing has falled somewhat by the wayside.

It has been quiet and I have filled myself with movies with the potential of turning my brain to gel, Thor, The Green Hornet and one other I can't recall. However, I have watched a couple of Cary Grant classics.

I did watch the USC-Syracuse game yesterday; USC a bit sloppy at the outset, but won nonetheless, with more than the squeaker of last week.

Pro-Football is not my cup of tea; it seems so mechanical, lacking the verve of college games, though even those have become increasingly so, if not professional, given the University of Miami scandal. I watched some of that game as well, noting the the announcers said nothing of that issue. If you're not aware of it, here's just one of the stories: University of Miami scandal brings out hypocrisy on campuses.

Ah, even my Yankees were caught up in a steriod scandal this year.

It's beginning to look like Curling is the only legitimate sport around any more.

Even the new Harlan Coben novel, Shelter, disappoints me. It arrived on my Kindle, pre-ordered from Amazon a couple of weeks ago (No, this is not a commercial), described as the new "Mickey Bolitar" novel. I probably didn't notice that it was first described as a "teen" novel. Now it's not bad, but it's not even close to his others. What is it with my favorite mystery writers these days; the last Lawrence Block "Matt Scudder" book was more about Matt's move into AA and sobriety than anything else.

Well, it's my last day of "freedom," as my wife gets home tomorrow afternoon. I'll spend the day prone on the couch, watching old movies and playing with my dog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quiet

It's so quiet in my house with my wife away…writing for this blog was something I wanted to do. However, there's little to write: We all know of the nation's politics – awful, just plain awful. I could speak of the Republican debate, but it was too unbelievable to even consider: An audience applauding letting someone die if the person had no money to pay for treatment.

What kind of world has this become?

I was born in '43 and actually remember the 50s when I was a real kid. The 60s I remember well, when I really learned to play blues and folk – I was never one to smoke or use drugs. It never appealed to me, so I do remember the 60s.

I do not recall, however, the population being so, well, stupid, poorly read and badly informed, to say nothing of uncaring.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Respite!

My wife's leaving town tomorrow for a week to visit her aunt. It'll be like a vacation…and as I've grown older, I've felt literally no need for a wife or companion – I love being alone with my dog.

This has nothing to do with sex or conversation – I just have a preference for being by myself.

Do I enjoy people? Well, very few. Conversation? Sure, by not if it's drawn out and rarely does anyone have real conversations. Think about it? Well, maybe you might look up the definition of "conversation."

In any event, I have a week!

There’s No Bloody Privacy Anymore

My sister has become a damned pain in the ass. Text messages. Emails. Phone calls. Every damned day she does it to tell me she went to the gym, she did this, she did that and I really don't care. Now it's not that I don't love her; it's that she's a pain in the butt.

Think about it. Here's a series of text messages today:

"You up and have time to chat?"

"Later"

"R u ok?"

"Yes, going out." (It should have ended there, though I might have been more explicit: "F*** Off! I want downtime on the weekend…But no, it didn't" But I thought "…Going out" was explicit enough.)

However, then I get "Ok, have fun." I need her approval?

Two hours later: "Are you still busy."

"I'll call you tomorrow," respond.

But the woman doesn't let up: "I won't be available until after noon [I care?] Sounds like fun.[I need the judgement?] etc…

I have been a fan of technology for years, since the PC1 in fact. However, it's now gotten out of hand.

Everyone needs constant communication.

When the hell do we get some quiet time? It used to be that one could just take the phone off the hook. But when that happens, someone who's trying to get you is likely to send the police over to your house to make sure you're alive.

Now, we've got cell phones. I turn the damned think off when I'm driving and rarely answer it anyway.

But that's not enough…people text; they email.

Does not anyone any longer understand that perhaps CONSTANT communication that is not urgent is NOT necessary?


 


 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11

I want very much to write something of this day. However, so much has already been written, televised and, unfortunately, exploited.

In all honesty, it was not the worst day in my life, but certainly the most shocking. I had two "worst days;" those on which my parents died.

Like most who were not there, on 9/11, I sat before the television mesmerized, too much so to be tearful. For hours I sat there, not knowing what to think.

In the past, I'd seen death in wars and on the street. I certainly hadn't and haven't become inured to it, but, well, "shock" was the only word that comes to mind; and sadness, confusion.

New York City is my home. I was born and raised there. I had been many times to the Trade Center and dined at Windows on the World. Now it was crumbling.

But it was not, as we all know, only New York: The field over Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

Did I have any friends or acquaintances who were killed; who were helping. I had no idea. Phone lines were jammed.

I sat quietly wondering what was next.

Today I see the political battles continue over health care for those who were first responders and rescuers and wonder why we can't simply say, "We'll take care of you. Don't worry. We'll take care of you." I don't want to get political here, but do you really care if a very few happen to "scam" that system, if those who really deserve the help get it. I certainly don't.

I am not a religious man; I'm a "secular" Jew who lights candles appropriately for those in my family who have died. I pray unconsciously daily for the world and its population.

Tonight I will light one for those who died on that awful day…and I have already hung out my flag.

Though it sounds almost impossible to do otherwise, given the television and newspaper "specials" about that fateful day, I think we all should give more than just a moment of silence for the heroes of that day; and for those who died.

In death we are all equal.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Commenting on News Stories

It never ceases to amaze me and to some extent, concern, if not frighten me, the number of commenters on news stories who have absolutely no basis in fact for there assumptions and so frequently post what they believe to be "facts" because they read them somewhere on the Internet.

And don't give me any First Amendment feedback garbage. It doesn't apply.

One of the problems with the media is that there are too many self-proclaimed experts (just look at Fox and MSNBC) and the Internet is exactly the same – Leave reporting to serious, diligent, intelligent reporters.

The Debate

With the exception of Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, neither of whom would I support, the Republican field proved categorically last night (at the "Debate") that its candidates are, in the vernacular, wingnuts.

Perry compared himself to a piƱata, which is true on virtually all levels, as he's not nearly as smart as one. Bachmann's gone, thank goodness, Huntsman stands no chance and what the hell is Cain doing in there with his "9-9-9" plan, whatever the hell that is.

I was ashamed to see the audience applauding at the executions of 230+ felons in Texas. Whether or not one believes in capital punishment is one thing (I have remarkably mixed feelings about it), but applause?

The constant references to Reagan, who raised taxes three times (?), were patently absurd: Homelessness rose to historic levels under his administration. Sure, he did some positive things…oddly missing were references to Cowboy Bush, except for the GOP saw about tax cuts.

What's frightening to me is that, given the collective intelligence of this nation; the apparent racism; the hatred for President Obama, one of these guys might actually get elected.

As they say folks, "You gets what you pay for." And if you vote for one of these guys, you're going to be paying way up and extend this recession; and you may well be unemployed in short order…Unless, of course, you or your folks are extraordinarily affluent.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

"Consider that what the media call economics reporting is largely finance reporting. Once upon a time, a lively band of labor reporters covered the world of work and unions. If you stipulate that the decline of unions makes the old labor beat a bit less compelling, there are still tens of millions of workers who do their jobs every day. But when the labor beat withered, it was rarely replaced by a work beat. Workers have vanished…" I thought E.J. Dionne's column today, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-last-labor-day/2011/09/04/gIQA11Ob2J_story.html, was worth a read.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The House Guest Who Almost Stayed Forever…redux

Okay, to update you, this 70 year old woman got married a few months ago to a fellow three years younger. No big deal, except, "Why?"

Now I can't figure it out at all. She's an academic of sorts. She's got a doctorate, but was fired from her previous job. She now works for a university here, though I've not got the slightest idea what she does.

But she did get married after knowing a guy she met online for just a few months. But this guy doesn't work at all. My wife has offered him jobs in her new business at $12.00 an hour, not much, but it's easy work. He's taken a couple of hours "as a favor." A favor? You don't work and you got paid. That's not a "favor." A favor's if you don't get paid.

Anyway, my wife wanted him to do a bit more work, but he told her he was just helping out before as, what? A "favor."

Today she spoke with the houseguest who almost stayed forever. "What does your husband do all day?" she asked. "Oh, he's on the computer," was the response.

What the hell is that?

Oh, yeah, this woman has applied for a major grant overseas, an academic grant. "I was invited to apply," she said. Well, for this particular fellowship, you are required to apply, but only after to request an application.

Now, I went to graduate school on a Danforth Fellowship. The chances of a 70 year old woman getting that for which she applies define unlikely. After all, they should be awarded to those far younger. Beyond that, what contribution would she make following such an award, if she got it? None, save being able to say that she got one.

Beyond that, it's remarkably selfish, in my opinion, to throw yourself into that mix, with that in mind.