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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 one elephant in the room 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.  It looked terrific.  (My father was a cigar smoker.)   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 in a big hotel on Broad Street.  A mixture of musicians and some local entertainers were hosting the party and they had invited a musical group from Detroit, who were doing a gig and were 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 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 what I gave up. 
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 or held it that long in our lungs, like you do with weed..  The  yellow stain on the hanky was oily, ugly as hell and hard to wash out of the hanky.  I  never saw anyone do that 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, 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!

YOU are getting, SCREWED!!.

 Take it easy, will ya,           (
Keep some 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.
Who the hell figured out that late fee thing?   You take someone who can't pay his/her bill, who is paying an extra 12% to  18% interest penalty for not paying it, and then, you charge that person a late fee because somebody figured out 'late fees' are not named in any regulations.  This is outrageous.  Its interest and what they are doing, its just another lube job.  In some instances you can actually charge the 47%, and everybody else, what amounts to two hundred to four hundred percent (200% to 400%) or even higher interest and 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 get money on the street at better rates. (Was the lender mobbed up? I only know I didn't want him to get mad at me.) And when I moved to Florida, if you charged somebody more than 15% interest, you were breaking the law.
But the thing is, you can't bring transparency and emphasize all this kind of 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.  A few guys at the top of Europe's  banking business were sitting around having lunch and determining what interest rate to make effective throughout Europe.  To go into effect after they paid their luncheon check.  Just a routine day.  Something their grandfather's grandfathers had been doing before passing the rights to do it, to them.   I think it was 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 people would profit from knowing  this kind of information in advance, do you?
Omg!!!   Bankers and the financial community had a fit.  The Libor people couldn't understand what all the hullabaloo was about.  It was  the same way they had been doing it forever.
But 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 inspires more poop like this, after the innovation wears off a little.  Its so prevalent nobody even thinks about it and if they did, it might be a catastrophe.   Example???  Pfffft!  How about every time you pass by a
Ink Jets plus
trash heap.  What's in that trash heap that's blocking your view of the sky?  Its just your old ink jet and stuff like the discarded cartridges from your 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 (some new and unused) 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, 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 U.S. market share.
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.  So their computers are right at the places where all 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 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' back to Wall Street.  But not before they siphon off the  added amount (excess by a penny or less).  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 per day 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 orders.  Of course the  Chicago Board of Trade (futures)  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 nozzle, when you 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.)
So here is my solution to the milliseconds stuff.   Instead of screaming and yelling sick birds, 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, and on the middle class and on small businesses, and on anything else they can think of, and also to promote health care.
Even the bad guys, who thought this up, can come out good.  They just take the fifth to avoid prosecution 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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