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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Marsha & Chickee

Marsha was my first child.  Wow.  All the wonders and other amazing stuff that starts when you begin dealing with girl babies, they all started with her arrival.  After you kinda get older and life has moved on, even memories can't explain what that whole wonderful  thing was all about.  Not to me.  Of course, at the time, for me it was perfect because I could do all kinds of nutty stuff and when someone asked what was I doing, I could  say I was amusing Marsha.  I just luxuriated in it.  And Marsha, she would always say stuff that often got me out of trouble.  Like that time when Rae came back from shopping early and walked in when I was bouncing a big air inflated plastic ball off of Marsha's head.  Rae gave one look and was in the middle of "What in the world are you doing?"  When this little thing, said, "When is it my turn Daddy?"  She just seemed to (me) always to be in magical mode and she kept me in the 'can't wait to get home stage'.  It got to be such a habit, it never wore off, even after all the kids had left the coop. Many, many times after Rae was asleep, I would look at her, to see that expression she always wore while she was sleeping.  No matter how many years passed, I could always see where all that magical stuff came from in her expression. 
So I never stopped running home. 
this day I was downtown and Easter was coming up.  And in a large window of a store you could see these little chicks running around, on the floor of the window.  Oh wow!     How would a not yet 2 year old Marsha react to an Easter Chick.   Thoughtless me never considered anything else except mentally marveling about Marsha with the chick.  So I went in.  They put one in a corrugated carrier and I went home with a  chick inside the box.  I don't remember much about what Rae said, except, "What the hell is that noise??"
Marsh is gonna visit Chickee
Well, if you don't remember, or you never had a chick, there were a lot of peep, peep, peeps and poop on the floor and after Marsha decided we were going to keep the chick, I insisted it would be me that cleaned up the poop.  The thing about that was, I was always away during the day and most times a lot of the early evening.  I don't remember ever seeing any poop on the floor, unless I caught the chick in the act.
So I suggested and we got a cardboard container.  I got a box and a single edged razor so I could slice most of the sides off high enough, you know, so it would keep the chick inside, and then I put some straw on the bottom.  That was Chickee's own box.  The whole thing was kept in the bathroom and  during the night we kept the bathroom door closed.
There was some minor glaring and stuff but it was nothing compared to the delight of watching Marsha and the chick.  And you could hardly hear the peeps from the bathroom during the night.  You know, hardly. . Well, days and days  passed, the chick kept getting bigger and Marsha, she insisted on helping to feed the chick and she even cleaned up a poop or two. And then, on this morning, I got up to go, and I couldn't find the chick.  When I looked into the bathroom, after being careful with the door, she was not in the box, you could see into it when you opened the bathroom door, and then you could see she was not anyplace in the bathroom..
It didn't take long to look around the rest of the place and, nope, no chick anywhere.  
But, I did have to go and when I reentered the bathroom and went to the john, there was the chick.  In the john.   I hadn't realized, what with her flopping around and flapping her wings, that she could navigate to out of the box, let alone get as high as the edge of the john.  
Oh, my.  Oh my.  I quickly got a paper bag to put her in.  Don't ask me how I disposed of the bag.  Its a hidden insight on the real me.  Then I just got back into bed.  Sleep?  Forget about it.
When Marsha got up she shook me and said, "Daddy, where is Chickee? we can't find Chickee."  The best I could do was , "Did you ask your mother?  Did you look in the closet?  How bout the lower drawers in the dresser?"  Not there or any place else.  Chickee was gone alright.. 
So I sat down with Marsha, and said,
"Marsha, did you notice Chickee was not a person?  You know, like you, and me, and mommy?  Or even Pop Pop?" Marsha had one of her patented, concerned, thoughtful expressions.  I continued, "Probably she went looking for her chick family so she could run around outside and not have to stay in a bathroom.  She must have gone to be with  her chick family.  Tell you what.  We are going to the beach in the summer.  When we drive down to go to the beach, in Atlantic City, we will have to pass a lot of chick families because Atlantic City is in New Jersey and that is where they have a lot of chick farms.  You remind me so I can show you some of the chick families and we  will look for Chickee." 
She sat there for a long time seemingly in thought.  Maybe more than a couple of minutes and then she got up and went over and asked Rae,
"Mommy, when we go to the beach can we go see chickee?"
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Trump vs Coking . . . ('Hair' Overmatched)

Vera's 3 story Bldg. & Trump Plaza
The combination of gamblers, money, and the prospect of making money was just to much for the politicians in New Jersey, to resist.  So when casino gambling got on the ballot in New Jersey, the hottest spot to corral campaign volunteers was a practically new high-rise near the boardwalk in Ventnor.  A city that abuts Atlantic City.  The high-rise was the residence of senior citizens and many advocates who had fought hard to promote Affordable Housing for Seniors near the beach and boardwalk. They won that struggle.  Now, the politicians swarmed all over the place like locusts.  They came in with Danish and coffee klatches, and promises, and, well . . . what do you want to hear?  That time period, the time just before the election, it was lively and life was fun. It was an enjoyable time to be a senior citizen in Atlantic City.  Hatchets were buried, new friends were made, and . . . . you had to be there.  The excitement of the election itself, the free stuff, bubbly too, the singing and the dancing on the boardwalk,  and the sheer joy  . . . . Especially after the election was over.  We won!! We won!!  Oh my . .  all over the place. You could not escape the frivolity (I think that's the right word). Boy oh boy.

Like most of our elections, this one was held on a Tuesday. 
Not much more than a week later a senior lady resident of the Ventnor high rise came into the lobby with tears in her eyes.  Her lease was up 2 months following next month and the letter she was waving, it was her 30 day notice.  It told her, her lease would not be renewed. 
I don't like maudlin stuff so, if you are reading this, I won't bore you with condo conversions, lies poop, or true poop, 'or trying to get richer'  politicians, lets just fast forward . . .
The gold rush is on, hotels and motels have been built and new ones are starting all over the  place.  The 'White House Sub Shop' is flourishing and so  much money is being made that Trump has one of his strokes of genius.  He will build a Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City.  With such a famous name, surely it will attract the tourists away from the other casino places . . . . ..
His real-estate agent suggests this particular property.  Its not the best site.  The best sites were already sold.  Its not as big as he would like, but that will help him get it at a lower price.  And the property next to the site, a 3 story apartment building, that the 'present hotel site owner' had tried  to buy himself, it was perfect for additional on-site parking.  And after all, who could resist the Trump charm.   Certainly not a little old lady.  Piece of cake.
All this is not new news. The lady, Vera Coking, became a local legend, folklore stuff.  One of the mildest things the 70 year old said about Trump, "If he's waiting for me to die, he has a long wait."   She did not like the Donald or the methods he used or that thing that sits on his head, or anything else named Trump. The years passed.  She became like a senior rock star in Atlantic City..  And, as I said, in an earlier post, "Trump in charge of a gambling casino?  No way.  Gambling interests know their business and are brutal when it comes to 'in fighting'.  He was in over his head."  At the time of the opening of Trump Plaza my friend Jerry was there.  He attended opening nite and he received what he considered one of his highest compliments ever.  He was ushered out of the casino, with some modest winnings, and told to never come back because they had his picture and he was not welcome at Trump Plaza.  "They think I'm a card counter", he said with what could only be described as 'glee'. 
Its a bird. Its a plane. Its The Donald's hair!!
I cant help it.  Right now I'm laughing.  Every time I think of it, I'm laughing.  Tears are literally in my eyes.  His phone call to me about it, I lived in Ohio at the time, is such a wonderful memory.  Jerry was such a gambling loser (sucker) that when he told one of the hotel owners, (the casino where he gambled), that his friend (meaning me) was coming to visit for a week or so, they sent a limo to pick me and my lovely wife Rae up, at the airport.   The airport is in Philadelphia.  Only sixty (60) miles away.  That 120  miles both ways.  Jerry told them I gambled too, more magic  words, and everything became 'on the house'.  It may be my imagination but it seems to me that if you're the beneficiary of such largess, having fun is much easier.
Getting back to Vera and the underside of the birds-nest.  What we are dealing with here is the ultimate test of power.  Bristling little old lady vs. 'proud to be a mogul' guy with extraordinary hair and political connections.
Remember, this is really happened stuff.  Talk about power, the city filed to acquire the property by 'immanent domain'.  (A legal land grab  tactic to be used only in matters verifiably 'for the good of the community'.) 
"Get out of here!!!  I'm not impressed with the Donald's connections.  After all it is Atlantic City.  I suppose doing that  in New Jersey
was legal.  But, even if it was legal it was disgusting.  And evidently it didn't pass muster because Vera prevailed. 
She said the Donald 'was a maggot, a cockroach, and a crumb,' in that order.  I disagree, calling Trump a crumb, that's a little much. 
But, today, gambling in New Jersey is in a different situation.  New York and Pennsylvania both now have gambling.  The high rollers from these states, who all went to the Las Vegas of the east, come less often.  Some stopped coming altogether.  As for Trump Plaza, it was not around for the early prosperity like the other hotels, and it is slated to close in September.  Without a larger parking lot.  Trump genius???
Here is what I think about Donald Trump.  I can't explain Ivanna his first wife, lovely lady, except she met him when he was young, you know, when he still had his first hair.  But all the other good looking babes, who came afterwards, who are drawn to him by the aura of money, must be afraid to tell him what they really think about that bird's nest.  I bet he wears that thing to bed. I really think he does. 
And, I also think that the line, the one the bad fairy in the Disney film used, is the same as what the Donald says to his mirror before he gets into bed.  If memory serves me  . . . It goes something like, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me,  who is the fairest one of all?"

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pee Poop

I experienced an unexpected urinary infection that resulted in a fast visit to the hospital.
Hospital people?
Medical tragic errors that had negative effects of some of my loved ones have been with me all through my life. And these events happened in spite of the well meaning medical people involved in the situations.  As a result I am always wary when it comes to medical attention.  But truthfully I think its 'wanting a good outcome' that makes it difficult to not delegate decisions to others, in times like these.  The fact is, people do shit.  And most of the time, if its 'care givers' who are responsible, they do the poop because they get so used to doing the same thing, for what looks like the same condition, for many people.  Its so similar, they do not notice that 'this time', there may be something different.   In this instance I'm talking about what happened to me when I had to go to  the hospital.
Of course I'm not talking about those who do poop because they think it will help them become a decision maker.  That poop is done on purpose and its world wide and its part of the human condition.  Always was and always will be.  What's that old 'saw'?  "Give him a hammer and he'll start looking for nails." (Got that one just in time for this post.)
Like this started out, I didn't know it but I had an urinary infection and it resulted in my being almost completely disoriented.  It happened while I was laying on my divan watching TV.  CSPAN had someone on who was being creative with the truth.  You know waving his hammer.  Reminding me of that guy from Texas who I believe is a nut and stupid.    There's a whole 'Cruz' of them.  Wait a minute.  (Why is this kinda stuff getting through like this?)
This is when I became aware that something unusual was happening, I reached over and picked up my phone to call my daughter . . .  and I couldn't do it.  Now, there's a shocker.  The physical part of getting the phone wasn't a problem.  I could reach it from the divan.  My cel phone was in my pocket.  My pocket was in my pants.  My pants were hanging up near the bed.  And I could think of lifting myself off of the divan, but I couldn't do it.
Well let me try calling again with my line phone.  Nope.  Wont work.  Get out of here.  Try it again.  Nope.  My mind said, "Try counting to o 25."   And my mind knew I was disoriented.  25, shit, anybody can count to 25.  Why would you even have to try it??  But, I could not get to eleven without going back to ten.  And I was aware of it.  And then I could make it to 25 if you don't count one or more back ups.  I actually thought I had passed away and it was just like it is in one of those heaven themed movie, movies.  I was on my way to visit with the man upstairs when this nutty stuff started happening.   
Wait a minute, anybody can dial a freakin phone.  Give me that thing.  Nope.  It felt like the first time I picked up an ipod.  I have one of those and I'm still not good with some stuff on it.  But now I'm getting scared.  I know what I'll do, I'll dial 9.1.1.  Anybody can do that.  Right?  Wanna bet?  What the hell?  Dialing 9,1,1 doesn't do it.  Get the freak out of here.  What the hell am I doing wrong?  Everybody knows if you have an emergency you pick up a phone and dial 911.  That will get you the emergency response.  No it wont.  Not if you have to get a dial tone first.  And if you have a new tech walk-around phone, like I have, you have to push a button that indicates its ready, and then you can hear that the dial tone is dial toning.  That was what this phone was not doing.  (For the future, I can solve this problem.  Simple.  All walk- around phones should  have another way of turning on.  The additional way?  The number 9.)   That's just common sense.  Like James Carville always said or Ed Whitacre when he was explaining how he could do magical-like stuff in businesses he had no experience with.   But I don't expect businesses to spend the money to fix this problem because the scale of the problem is too small.  Fix it and it would only help a few people and the cost might affect their bonuses.  So forget it.  To hell with people falling through cracks. 
Back to what was happening  to me.  So?  What did I do?  Common sense.  I know, I thought, I'll just keep dialing 911 until it works. Didn't work?  Then do it again.  And again.  What with dropping the damn phone, seems like a couple of times, a voice finally comes on and says, (I think)  are you calling 911?   Whooops!
I don't remember what I said.  But it was said very fast and included,  "I'm disoriented.  My front  door is open.  (I hadn't locked it yet.)  If somebody comes, tell them to just walk in, turn left and go into my bedroom.  (Get out of here, its a right turn.) That's where I am."  She asked a lot of questions and I remember answering, yes, yes, yes, yes, or, no, no, no, no.. You know questions like "are you alone?"  That's one of the yesses.   
I remember saying they're not here yet.  After I told her my address I thought  to myself, "She has my address, its probably on her screen."  That was me in my mind.  Good.  I am still in it.  How did that get through the disorientation.  And then it seemed like a lot of people were in the house..  Next thing I remember is almost all complete disorientation and more disorientation with some small amount of clear 'thinking' mixed in, and then why the hell isn't somebody taking care of me.  I know where I am.  I'm in the emergency ward at Mount Sinai.  Maybe, probably, they have some people here with more important stuff wrong with them and they'll get to the old fart in a minute.  Disorientation . . . ceilings . . . elevators . . . but I wouldn't bet on the elevators. 
Next thing.  I hear, "He hasn't passed any urine.  Yet."  Now this I positively remember.  I had finished my toiletries and I was ready for bed.  That was at the onset of this nonsense.  So I wasn't ready to pee, I had just peed.  And, I have a platelet problem that has to be considered.  So maybe . . . . . things  
slowed down  a bit, and then I heard 'catheter'.  "Wait a minute!!"
It hurts!! (Shutterstock)
I think I yelled it, "Don't you have to ask the patient on stuff like that."  Somebody said, "Yes."  "Good", I said, "NO CATHETER!! GOT IT?? NO CATHETER!!"  Next thing I remember, I'm awake.  The back of my hand hurts.  There is some kind of contraption  covering the back of my hand.  Its held on with scotch tape.  And, my pecker hurts!!  Shit, I look down, its hard to find the little guy, and the sheet or blanket or sheet blanket is all covered with blood stains.  I'm thinking, "If this was during the HIV scare the whole hospital would  be evacuated."  And not only that, the little guy, he is hurting like hell.  I must have moved while sleeping and caused the catheter to scrape his insides causing blood to flow.  And now, I do have to go. 
I have a premonition; "This not going to go well."  So cautiously, and I mean cautiously, I start to pee.  Omg.  Its pure blood.  At least it looks like pure blood.  And it hurts, hurts, hurts!  A nice looking nurse comes in.  She asks me how do I feel?  Her timing was perfect.    I say,  "Is this the way it should go?"  She says, "what are you talking about?"  I say, "Well, I came into the hospital completely disoriented and now, I am not only disoriented, I'm hurting like hell, and I'm peeing pure blood.  Is this on purpose??  First, get that catheter the hell out of there.  If you cant find it easily, just follow the yellow (brick) tube." 
"You're laughing and so am I.  But one of us is secretly crying and it ain't you.  So get that thing out of there.  The sooner the better,  and if you are going to do it, tell me, so I  can close my eyes.  I certainly don't want to associate something as pretty as you with the pain in my pecker." 
The catheter is out.   I pee 2 more times and it looks a lot less red and then . . . .  suddenly;  ITS OVER.  The disorientation is gone! 
My mind was clear.  I got out of the bed and walked to the toilet.  My pee looked beautiful. (Just a little red)  I called the nurse  to tell her,  and ask, "When is the doctor going to see me?"  And she says in the morning.  I say, "Well its all over, and I want to get the hell out of here as soon as possible.  How early do they let you out of here in the morning?"  She says, "You are scheduled for some tests in the morning.  A scan . . . . ."
"Hold it" I say, . . "No tests.  That means NO TESTS!!"  She is trying to protest and I say, "Look I am looking for ways to get out of here and you are looking for ways to keep me in here.  So forget it.  You have to get my permission, don't you?  Well, I aint disoriented and I'm not giving anybody any permission to do anything if there is not something indicating it should be done."  I'm astonished they paid any attention at all.  But thankfully, it was, over. 
As soon as I got  home I ate one of those new Brownie Bites that tastes like a 'Tasty-Cake' cup cake.  Tasted so good I thought,    
"Can't be good for me."
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Sunday, July 27, 2014


In a fast food check-out line with one of my tennis kids, I say to Victor, "Damn" Vic, I'm 4 cents short and I only have a $50.00 bill. (As a volunteer I ran a city authorized tennis program on Miami Beach.  (One of my stand out pupils, Tammy Encina, was featured in a two page center spread in the USTA magazine.) Damn.  Do you have any change? " "Nope" "He says, "I don't have any money at all." An arm comes over my shoulder with a hand upside down, the finger tips coming to a point.  I put my hand underneath the finger tips which spread apart to let 4 pennies drop into my hand.  I turn and look.  Think of a slender, medium height black guy with unkempt whiskers who looks homeless.  "Thank you.  What's your name?" I ask.  He says, "John".  I say,   "John my name is Howard and this is Vic.  Very nice of you.  Thanks."
A coupla weeks later, John comes walking on the narrow walkway that cuts through the tennis center from 72nd street to 73rd street.  He looks smaller and skinnier than I remembered.
I see him and call out, "Hey John." He stops and looks at me while I walk over and ask, "What size shoes do you wear?" 
"My size is 8 & 1/2 but I wear any size." he says. 
I say, "well, I have some size 11 sneakers that are in pretty good shape.  Can you use them?"  "Sure." he says.    "OK, I'll put them in my car.  Next time I see you, you can have them."
He starts staying in the park and the park kind of adopts him.  He is always polite, shows a quick wit and he is available to do stuff, if someone asks.  And he was always, always pleasant.  I might offer him a buck or so which he always accepted with a certain grace considering, and I would always say something like,      " Now remember, this is not for food.  Not for food!  Got it.  Wine is OK, beer too or you know what you like, but no food."  He never had that surprised look again, the one he had the first time I said something dumb like that.
And then there was the time he went missing for about 8 days.  "John", I said when he showed up, "You didn't do something stupid like getting married or going to work did you?"
"No, no", he said,  "Don't worry,  I didn't take no job."
So he became kinda of a fixture. 
One time there was this kid who came running into the park.  It looked like he was being chased.  John took a racket from a kid's bag, and handed it to the running kid.   He took it, not missing a step, and joined a foursome, one court over, which was changing sides.  This made an odd man of one of the kids who had been playing.   This guy slowly walked into the men's room as a policeman entered the park.. The policeman slowed down and then continued walking (and puffing) slowly down the path, scrutinizing all the kids.. He kept walking that way until he left the park through the exit gate on the 72nd street side.
Another day.  I'm talking to John and he tells me its his birthday on Saturday.  "No kidding," I say "How old are you going to be?"  "50", he says.  "50?" I ask?  "John" I say, "Wow, you don't look a day over 84". . . .  He never took offense at my smartass remarks.
Happy 50th John
On Saturday its drizzling a bit.  I go into the staff office and tell Darlene that its John's birthday. I ask if she will help me put some stuff together for a party.  She knows John and is very agreeable.  I go and come back from Publix with a chocolate cake, some candles, a few large bottles of pop, a bag of ice and bags of Doritos and Potato Chips and other like stuff and some paper plates and cups and . . . .
Back at the park I manage to get the stuff into the office unobserved and after we prepare everything I go and get John.  All the kids in the park gather and are watching.  Three of us pick up the card table with party stuff on it, carry it outside  and put it under the overhang and start singing,  "Happy birthday to you,  happy . . . . . ."
For a moment or two he doesn't get it .  We lite the 6 candles on the cake (1 for good luck, 1 for each 10 years.)  He doesn't know how to behave. We get him to make a wish and blow the candles out.  He looks at me and I say, "Look John, its just a trick to get you to eat some food." 
He didn't cry or anything, but his eyes did look a little misty.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LeBron. . . .A letter to:

3 Defenders??? Not enough!!!
Thinking about LeBron evokes great memories.
LeBron, except in sports, the childhood you reminisce about in your letter, that childhood ended when you left Cleveland!  The on court chemistry that happened in Miami, that ended for you too, when you left Miami.  Hopefully things will come out the way you want now that you are back in Cleveland, but the odds are against you.  This may be hard for you to believe but there is a different world out there than the one you live in, especially the one you had with your Miami teammates. 
When you sat down with Dan Gilbert you were in over your head.  The real Gilbert was the one who revealed  himself when you left the Cavs.  That's the real Cleveland.  And I hope when you did sit down  to deal with him, you  dealt with an understanding of who he was.  It looks like you might have done just that when you signed the kind of contract you can opt out of in the second year.  But watch your back.
That is such a hard thing for you to do by yourself, coming from a 4 year magical experience in front of adoring fans, with unbelievable teammates like Dwayne and Chris and the rest of the Heat.  The magic that happened, that wasn't you by yourself.  That was the whole team AND. . .That was Mickey Arison.  That was Pat Riley.  That was Spoelstra. 
That wasn't the Harlem Shake Lebron.  That was the Miami Shake.  All of that stuff, that was Miami.  Guess what Miami's real nickname is; its 'The Magic City'.  Wasn't your experience here, magic? 
What a wonderful experience we had.  What a wonderful memory.
Look at me.  I'm in MIAMI !!!

Each time you watch the Miami Shake, you can see what all of us can see, the whole 40 to 50 million (and growing) of us viewers. Thank you for joining in with  us.  You did help increase the fun and I hope you can repeat that kind of memory.  I hope poop stays away from your door.  And  I  hope you win every game you play, on the floor and in life, except when your team is playing the Heat.
So here is what I have to say to you.  This time when you left, you left my team, The Heat, and like the fans in Cleveland, I didn't like it, but here's the thing, its not so bad for me and Heat fans.  We can still do the Miami Shake and other magic stuff.  But Cavs fans, "they have to LIVE IN CLEVELAND".

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Friday, June 20, 2014

More lube needed!

I got my mobile phone bill today and it made me reach for my lube tube.

A few months ago I cancelled a mobile phone extra service charge that was on my monthly bill.  This reduced my last month's bill to $78.35.  My new bill is for $99.75 because, it says, it includes a ‘one time' charge of 21.40.  If you read the bill, the damn thing  says the charge is for 'discontinuing the service' that included insurance in case I lost the gadget.  At decision time for that service I thought the cost was a little excessive but I took it anyway.  Months later I find out if I lose the thing there’s a $150.00 deductible which I have to pay if I try to collect.  What the hell is going on here?   I think they found out I listen to Fox News every once in a while.  You know, to get the sound bite of the day.  Do you think that's the reason all this stuff is happening?  Did I make some kind of Fox News listener list?  I know Fox tells their listeners how to think, but I'm not a regular listener so I don't belong in that category. 
Also spelled 'Stuff'
In the old days if your were late paying a debt you could just hide until you came up with the money.  And in those days you could always find a pay phone.  People were so busy working they didn't have much time for phone gossip.  And the electric bill was a pittance.  But not today. Today you need electricity to warm you, cool you, keep your gadgets charged, keep food cold, cook it, use it to connect to the tv and the internet and all kinds of other things including shaving your legs.. You're out of luck during hurricanes though.
But the biggest 'stuff' affecting bills today, is executive bonuses.  Today executives who make bonuses get a lot of their bonus money from their customers who pay their bill late.  Customers get charged interest for being late and then exorbitant interest is added, camouflaged as a late fee.  And its charged to these same customers.   Guess who figured all of this 'stuff'' out.  Doesn't anybody realize the real reason for paying a bill late?  It's because you don't have money to pay the thing early.   And if you make the amount owed larger,  paying it is harder.  Where are they going with all this 'stuff'? 
When Charles Dickens was writing all those stories about kids and people who couldn't pay their bills, many of them were about people who lived in debtors prison.  Mothers, fathers, whole families lived in prison.  That's what this 'stuff' reminds me of.  And you know what eventually  happened in England.  After making everybody who didn't pay bills a 'criminal', they put them in jail.  They had so many criminals there wasn't enough jails. So they put the 'didn't-pay-your-bill' criminals on boats with real criminals and shipped the whole shebang to colonize Australia. Just thinking about that makes me seasick.  Months later, when they got there, they treated the aborigines like we treated the Indians.  So, no matter who you are  you have to be careful.  You have to  watch out.  
If I take the night job . . .
If phone bills don't get paid, they will surely turn the damn thing off.  Zzzap!!! And worse, they will turn your internet off.  This is the worst because if they do that they have another way of raising your interest rate for paying late.  They call this one a reconnection fee.  And it boils me when they look for the best football game or basketball game to turn the service off in the middle of.  That's diabolical.  These bonus people are really creative.  Put ways to make bonus money in front of them and anything can happen. 
And its now standard operating procedure to put 'stuff' on the bill that is hard to understand.  Like my one time charge or the AT&T bill.  I have never been able to figure my AT&T bill out.

Stop that.
And now the State of Florida can and does suspend your driving license if you don't pay a bill.   So, you know what happens?  Right?  You get stopped because an officer wants to notify you, the flap cover on you gas tank was not closed properly and it is sticking out.  If he checks you out, for whatever reason, your a goner.  Driving without a valid license makes you a felon, a natural enemy of the police force.  He takes your license away from you and gives you a ticket for driving without a license. What the hell?  This one's expensive, and you ain't even home yet. 
So somehow you get into the car to go home and of course you have to drive carefully.  You don't want to get stopped for jumping any traffic lights, or driving faster than 10 miles over the speed limit.  Impossible not to do stuff.  But, if  you are lucky you do get home where, if  there is one beer left and the power is still on, it can cool you down a bit.  But the State is getting ready for you.  They are hearing ideas and plans coming from smooth talking lobbyists for private companies who's business is; building jails. 
I mean you are in big trouble.  Because periodically you may have to go to court, where judges keep adding penalties for not paying up.  Some people get jail time . . . .  added . . . . again, just for not paying, like in olde England.  I'm  not researching this 'stuff' so it could be even  worse . . . .And your relatives and your friends don't take phone calls from you anymore . . . . this is really deep poop. 

What's the upshot?  For me?  I decided to pay the $20.40.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Medical Advancements, NEW

Emmanuel, me, Ashish
The world of new medical technology is mind   boggling.  Here we see 2 . . . football players?  Wait a minute . . . wait a minute . . .  actors trying out for a role in a new action movie?   Wait a minute . . . wait a minute, I remember now because I was there.  Its at graduation for medical doctors and its Emmanuel and Ashish.  They're with that guy, who is saving money by keeping his Halloween 'old man' costume' on.  
Line up girls, if you need a suggestion for a question or two on what ails you, I have some left over from those that I asked some of the new female graduates.  One was,  "What did it look like I was suffering from?"
These really are, yep,  two, brand new  . . . doctors.  The guy in the Heat hat?  That's me.  The medical world?  It's moving forward..
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mary ju wanna & Elephants

The good stuff
I don't care if you want to smoke weed or you don't want to smoke weed but there is an elephant in the room and it seems to be getting very little notice.
When I was eleven my father caught me lighting my first cigarette.  I had lit the match, but when I saw my father I put the match out.  He gave me a long non threatening look  and said, "OK light it up".  So I did and I took a mouth full of smoke, blowing it out without inhaling.  He said, "What's the matter with you.  That's not the way to smoke a cigarette."  Here he said, "Watch me."  He took my cigarette, took a big drag, and then rounded  his lips and blew some very perfectly round smoke rings.  He smoked cigars and I had seen him do it before.  It looked terrific.  Real cool.  He gave the cigarette back to me and I took a deep drag . . . I was still puking three days later.  I didn't smoke again till I was about fifteen.  And after that, my first and only weed tryout was not til years later.  I was an accomplished smoker by then and I could blow smoke rings just like my pop.  But, my first drag on a weed made me just as sick as my first cigarette, except the puking.  It only lasted about one very long, very painful puke.  

  In Colorado.  (Cartoon:Mark Brayer)
Before I got married I was the manager for the largest record store in Philadelphia.  High Point Record Shop, on 19th and Market Streets.  I was  hired away from my job at the Decca  Records distributor.  In less than a year I became the manager of the store. (Just bragging.)  While working there I made many fiends and they and some other customers invited me to a party on the weekend.  So I went.  It was held at a big hotel on Broad Street.  A mixture of musicians and some local entertainers were hosting the party and they had invited some locals and a musical group from Detroit, who were doing a gig which was featured at one of our most advertised night clubs..  Everybody was talking about the 'shit' (the name for weed in those days) they had brought to the party and that it was the best.  No doubt about it, the way everybody was reacting, they were right.  When my turn to try it  came, I said, "No thanks, I don't smoke shit."    Omg!!  The reaction was astounding.  You would have thought my collar was turned around and I had a bible in my hand.  They were ready to bounce me.  The door to the hall was already open when I said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute.  Tell me whatever the %&8##  hell it is, that you will do, after you get  high, that you think I wont do, without the pot?  I'll probably do it and I don't need any of that 'shit' as an excuse for doing  it. And you ought to try doing some of that stuff without getting high, you might enjoy it more, just like me.  Especially you (I forgot her name) she was a customer of the store.  I went over to her, pulled her to me and gave her a long kiss.  Ummummm.  It got a laugh and some people who knew me said, "He's hip.  He's ok. He's hip."  So somehow I lasted to the end of the party.  And believe me it was some party.  The smoke was so heavy in the rooms that when you walked in the hallway you could inhale and get high on the second hand smoke before you made it to the elevator or your room.  Boy oh boy, those were the days.  When I got married my wife didn't appreciate all the stuff I stopped doing.
But what is overlooked here is, if smoking regular cigarettes damages your lungs and your health system, how much damage does smoking weed do?   I mean, you drag the smoke deep into your lungs.  We used to do the handkerchief test with cigarettes all the time.  You know, when you take a  drag and then blow the smoke right from your lungs through your stretched tight hanky.  But we never inhaled the smoke that deep, like a weed drag,  or held it that long in our lungs, like you do with weed..  And yet the  yellow stain on the hanky was oily, ugly as hell and hard to wash out of the hanky.  I  never saw anyone do the hanky thing with weed.  And if you are still smoking, try it.  For most people, the arguments over, thank goodness.  But, forget about it.  I'm not a doctor and I'm not qualified to give medical advice, but to me its a no brainer.  I'm not moralizing either.  I have been  in the middle of clouds of weed smoke with entertainers and wanna be entertainers, and others just hanging out or having fun, like the party above, who were or got higher than the proverbial kite.  But to me common sense says, "It must do damage to your lungs, just like cigarettes."   Just common sense.  The elephant?   There he is!

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YOU are getting, SCREWED!!.

 Take it easy, will ya,           (
Keep some soft lubricant handy.  We are all getting screwed.  All the time. 
And socking it to the guy who is having trouble paying his bills has been the name of the game, forever.
And who the hell figured out that 'late fee' thing?   Late fee?  That's an euphemism for exorbitant interest rates.   You take someone who already is having trouble  paying his/her bill, who you then charge  an extra 12% to  18% interest penalty for not paying it, (that's the actual annual interest rate on 1% or 1,5% monthly interest charge penalty) and then, you charge that person a late fee.  Why?  How?  Because some bonus creating executive figured out charging 'late fees' are not in any state regulations protecting the public from being gouged.  This is outrageous.  It is also interest and what they are doing, its just another lube job.  In some instances the public gets charged, the 47%, and everybody else, what amounts to two hundred to four hundred percent (200% to 400%) of interest or even higher than that interest and they get away with it!    Us suckers might as well carry a mattress around with us, and keep the cap on the lube tube loose.  How egregious is this?  When I was in Philadelphia I could borrow money on the street at better rates. (Was the lender mobbed up?  I don't know.  I only know I didn't want him to get mad at me.)  Like in the Rocky movie.  And when I moved to Florida, if a company harged somebody more than 15% interest for late bills, you were breaking the law.
But the thing is, you can't bring in transparency and emphasize all this kind of legal stealing poop.  Like switching a light on or off.  If you switched the transparency light on everything, all hell could break loose.  Tubes of lubricants would fly off the shelves. 
Like that Libor thing in England.  (London Inter Bank Offered Rate)   A few guys in London, at the top of Europe's  banking business, who were charged with setting the Libor interest rate for banks throughout most of Europe,  were sitting around having tea and determining what interest rate to make effective.  Normally the new Libor rates go into effect after they paid their luncheon check.  Just a routine day.  Something their grandfather's grandfathers had been doing forever before they passed down the rights to do it, to them.   I think its a Royal family inheritance thing.  You know for Lords and stuff.   Now, somebody put the light on.  All they were doing is something like knowing the opening price of a commodity before the futures market opens.   You don't think bankers would profit from knowing  this kind of information in advance, do you?  And then, when the light was turned on. . . .Omg!!!   The banking and the financial community had a fit.  But the Libor people couldn't understand what all the hullabaloo was about.  They have always been doing it that way.
So here is the thing.  Things like Libor are only indicative of what almost all businesses, who can do stuff, do, and have been doing to the public forever.  And new technology?  After the innovation wears off, a little. It just inspires more poop like this.   Its so prevalent nobody even thinks about it and if they did, it might be a catastrophe for doing business in the Democratic free world.  Example???  Pfffft! 
Ink Jets plus
How about every time you pass by a trash heap.  What's in that trash heap?  What is it that's blocking your view of the sky?  Along  with other stuff is your old ink jet and  the discarded cartridges from that old inkjet.  What possible reason could there be for the buyer, of a new printer, with the same ink jet technology as the old one, not being able to use the remaining ink in the cartridges (including new and unused spares) from his old 'outdated' printer??  Right?  Open the tube.
When did this poop start?  Forget about it.  Its always been going on.  Its just that new technology, which we think is being used for ever-new products, well, a big chunk of it gets bought up by these brain dead, park your money off-shore people, who are only looking for  new ways to screw the 47%. 

Remember when new cars were bought to keep up with the Joneses?  I remember wondering why you should buy a new car, when the only change of any consequence, was a different bumper.   No question, the American automobile manufactures are the reason Japanese car makers were able to gain such a large share of the U.S. market.
Now, here comes Michael Lewis who writes a book (Flash Boys), revealing  another way to really make money.  Pffffffttt!!!  Money!!!   And believe it or not it has little or nothing to do with the 47%. 
The best part of these shenanigans?   Most of  the rip off  is to the  48 and over percent.  And the bending over guys are mostly on Wall Street.  You know, the guys who think lubricant is for keeping the sun off..    How the hell did Romney miss this one?  Or did they go to Mitt first?  ("You make money  by doing it to somebody else.")  That's his stock in trade.
The scam?  You order shares of stock from a Wall Street connected firm.  Doesn't matter the number of shares. A separate company (we'll call them 'XYZ'), that has their own exchange, arranged to have a computer located alongside all computers that do the trading for the Wall Street exchanges.  The deal allowed them to rent computer space right in the places where most of the originating transactions are executed.  That seems harmless enough.  I guess they said they only  wanted to receive more timely information.  So, the 'stated purpose' of each monitoring computer, is to send a copy of the trades to 'XYZ'. 

Pink Panther
Now, in milliseconds, (and I thought running a 4 minute mile was fast) before a transaction can be completed, the information is forwarded to the 'XYZ'  exchange by the monitoring computer.  When it gets there, remember in milliseconds, they add a penny or a  fraction of a penny to the price of a transaction, also in milliseconds, and then they send that 'higher by a penny or piece of a penny price' (for them) back to Wall Street.  Its an extra transaction but executed so fast, with such a small additional amount, who's going to notice?  Got it?   All of this stuff is finished before returning the  transaction, now with the higher price, for completion on Wall Street.  Whew!!. Now that is fast.  Even before you can feel anything!! 
Because the added on amount, per transaction, is so small, a mere pittance, it goes completely unnoticed.   The total amount can be millions.  Even I wouldn't get that one.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.   And, since this stuff was happening without any notice of it, there were no  complaints.  I love it.   The pink  panther would be having spasms.
I thought of something like this myself, many years ago, but it was based on the slowness of executing orders on one side of 'futures' orders.  Of course the  Chicago Board of Trade caught on after I made a few bucks.  So they changed some stuff and it stopped me. They speeded up the trades.  But not too fast for them to do it themselves.  They called it arbitrage.  That is what I called it.   'Ce le guerre.'
This computer genius stuff is kind of like figuring out a way of catching the excess drops of gas, which spill out of the gas pump nozzle, when you pull it out of your car and replace it to its slot at the pump, after putting gas in your car.  Excess droplets of gas captured at every gas pump in the country.  If you could do that, you could drive from here to there without paying to refuel, no matter where 'there' was.  And nobody the wiser.  And in this one not only does nobody get hurt, its good for the environment.  (I don't have a patent on this idea yet so you're on your honor not to steal it.)  And, did you feel anything when you were eased into putting gas in your own car gas tank?  With gas prices getting higher, not lower, because you, the driver of the car  were doing it yourselves and employees who used to do it were getting fired?
Who pockets the savings caused by eliminating all those gas station jobs?
Lets go back to the milliseconds stuff.  I have a solution.  Instead of screaming and yelling sick birds (ill eagles), the government makes a settlement with the perpetrators, resulting in no jail time, just some community service, and then, the government takes over the whole shebang. (There is precedent.)  The syphoned off millions can be used by the government to pay for food stamps and other good stuff for the 47%.  And maybe even for tubes of lubricant.
But, after nationalization, it should not become  operational until the black guy is out of office. Because if he is still the president, the Republicans will call it a tax and say its just another way for him to raise taxes on farmers, on the air we breath or on the middle class or on small businesses,  and anything else they can think of, and also to promote Obama care.
Even the bad guys, who thought this up, can come out good.  They can take the fifth to avoid prosecution on any laws they broke and then they can move to Florida and run for governor.  But if they win they have to promise; no more of that peeing into bottles stuff.

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