Friday, November 28, 2008


PUBLIC NOTICE: During the last fifty years or so, I have “loaned” favorite books, vinyl records, cassette and video tapes, CDs, DVDs, and a wonderful collection of nudist magazines to a shitload of my “dearest friends.” Never mind that I have no idea who those dearest friends were, nor do I have the faintest idea what I loaned them. All I remember for sure is that each and every one of them said, “I promise that I’ll return this in a couple of weeks.” Yeah, well, your time is up, dearest assholes: I want my stuff back in a couple of weeks. Inquire within.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Charlie in Love

Sometimes, on the spur of the moment, I can really freak me out. Like week before last, when Martha went to Kansas City for two days for business meetings.

She had a late flight out at eight p.m., so at six she was ready to leave and said her goodbyes. She patted my head and said, "Good boy!", gave each of the dogs a big loving kiss, and then pulled her carry-on bag-on-wheels to the front door. “God, how little she looks,” I thought for the ten-millionth time since we met in February 1974. And that’s when I freaked me out.

“What if that was the last time I will ever see her again?” I thought not two minutes after she was gone, the tears starting to roll down my cheeks. I wondered, “What would life be like without her?” Martha is the one who makes this house a home, the one whose spirit has made this place alive for thirty-four years. How could she suddenly not be here anymore?

Yes, she has her faults just like everyone. But there is only one that I have not adjusted to: Martha is a reader of "romance" novels.

I jest, but the mind-picture of her walking away with her baggage is still as strong as it was two weeks ago. It isn’t a foreboding glimpse into the future or anything psychic; rather, it is a reminder of how much I love and care for her. How much I want to hold and hug her.

How much I want her to be here with me until death do us part.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sick and Tired

I’m not really sick and tired, fellow bloggers. Rather, I’m sick and fucking tired, but if I used fucking in the title I would probably be de-bloggered. Perhaps I should use the Irish pronunciation, fooking, but I haven’t time to fook around with it right now.

No, I’m more concerned with current media buzzwords like “financial crisis,” “bailout,” and the winner, “700 billion dollars.”

Allow me to tell you a story (geeze, I can hear the snoring already!).

Five years ago August, Martha and I bought our little home, Casa la Dumpa, for $135,000. We qualified for a larger and more expensive house, but we didn’t need a larger and more expensive house: This one had plenty of closet space for Martha’s shoes, so it was just the right fit (a little footwear humor there).

For financing, I insisted on a conventional mortgage: That is, we made a $10,000 down payment from money we had saved while renting for six years, and in return we got a fixed percentage rate and a fixed payment amount for 30 years from a reputable lender. The rate was a little high, but our payment was still $300 less a month than our rent had been.

Our real estate agent, however, told me he could have arranged a better financing deal—something along the lines of almost no money down, a ridiculously low payment of $300 or $400 a month for five years, at the end of which both the rate and payment would change. What he was talking about was an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and the “sub-prime mortgage market”—another current buzzword.

“No fucking way,” I told the agent, who thought I was an asshole for going conventional. The whole deal smelled bad to me, a public accountant who’d smelled bad business deals for thirty years. “What’s going to happen in five years when $300 payments turn into $1,800 or $2,000?” I asked.

Well, we all know what happened, don’t we. I could sit here and gloat about my extreme smartivity, but I won’t: As a result of the sub-prime market, the entire global economy is in the dumper with little or no relief in sight. We still have our little house on the desert with the fixed rate and payment, but Martha has lost ALL of the gains in her two retirement accounts and, as of yesterday, $20,000 of hard-earned principal—and we are helpless to do anything but watch it go up in smoke.

This “financial crisis” may have started with sub-primes and peoples’ greed for expensive houses they neither needed nor saved for, but beyond that I think we’re deep in the middle of a scam again—remember the Saddam and his WMDs scam seven years ago?

I will not, and I cannot, believe that banks, investment houses, and insurance companies need a taxpayer bailout. Like the oil companies, they are all so filthy rich that it is mind-boggling. Talk about greed, shylocking, and usury—banks make millions of dollars a day on credit cards alone, and some credit card rates are as high as 29.9% if ONE payment is missed (JPMorgan/Chase Bank, to be exact).

What makes me skeptical about the aforementioned industries (including oil) is that they have the most powerful lobbyists and PACS (political action committees, which actually write portions of bills for Congress). Isn’t it coincidental, or at the least odd, that the same industries who finance the Republican Party and political campaigns are about to lose their golden-haired boy?

I know that all of you are in the same boat as we are, perhaps much worse, so this rant is for all of us.

[I’ll save my rant on the economy, job losses, outsourcing, free trade agreements, and cheap Chinese-made shit for another time]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


POSITION AVAILABLE: Dog to train human. Must be gentle and patient because I am a slow learner and easily distracted. Desire to learn new sleeping position (on back with arms in air and hands bent loosely at wrist), screaming my brains out at solicitors and religious nuts who ring the doorbell, eating from a bowl without utensils or fingers (except for finger food), and a deep spiritual appreciation for tummy rubs. No leashes or chains as I am not into S&M! Prefer M&Ms for treats and reinforcement. Inquire within.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blog o' the Day: Kim Ayres

Please read Kim Ayres's guest blog, Barack Obama and the normalcy of difference.

After that, Please watch the video Yes We Can Melanie posted on her blog.

Now you know where I stand. Or sit, actually, with a few tears and a tremendous sense of hope for the future. Thank you, Kim and Mel.