The $89,000 in my Checking Account . . .


I am sitting here, alone in my sparse bedroom, looking at the balance in my checking account.

It’s $89,000.

It’s not mine. More than $55,000 belongs to the Federal Government. The rest, about $35,000, goes to the State of California. Capital Gains, unmet by the discount for moving away and leasing my house for four years.

I needed the money, to survive. A part of my San Francisco life had come to an end, but not quite as long as I held onto the house. Now, it’s gone. I purchased the loft in 1995. About $250,000. Sold it for $995,000. Powerful investment, you say?

Not so much. I looked up how hard it would be to move to Ireland this morning. A bit hard, unless I had a job. Perhaps I could go onto an Irish Dating Site and meet someone, be whisked away to a grey-with-cool-mold and ivy covered castle perched on a cliff above the sea . . . Too Heathcliff.

Two things hurt my feelings this morning.

I loved my 30 years in San Francisco. And, while the move was a good idea at the moment, the selling is not so bad.  I didn’t end up in broke Oklahoma or Kansas [these places have become third world with Republicans in charge . . . ]

Republicans. Their new leader has not paid taxes since God threw the unworthy into the sea. He will lower taxes for those richer than Satan himself, all hot and groping with stringy fingers. He didn’t win the most votes. But, this doesn’t do me or the people I care about, any good.

This hurts. I would rather give the money to help people get educated . . . those steel workers, coal miners who only know how to dig the dirty stuff out of the ground. I’d send them to school to learn something  21st century . . . as fossil fuels are not going to last forever. And how much steel can you push in one day, as opposed to installing solar panels?  Or learning a new language? Or opening your own business?

I would rather give the money to set up wellness clinics, keep people healthy, as we are all about the loose the affordability of healthcare. Over the past 18 months, I didn’t have to pay for a mammogram, annual checkup, colonoscopy, about $3000 per year extra . . . but gone when Affordable becomes “Pay for it, you sucker.” If Social Security had been ‘private’ in 2008, we would all be poorer than peons in Mexico.

I would rather set up a quiet place, on a cliff overlooking the sea . . . which I would have, if $89,000 were to be mine. I would purchase. I would pay taxes. I would support a community and, best of all, give back.

Now, all I have to give is a link to places that have been set up to help people cope with the end-of-democracy as we know it . . .

I’m laughing. And will be until 2018, when – gerrymandering and voter suppression aside – we might have a chance to get America back from a disaster worse than what the Bush Depression left us with in 2008.

I’m laughing and want to shake Obama’s hand for pulling us out, in spite of Republican opposition from the first night of his inauguration. Obama didn’t go far enough, but I want to thank him anyway.

I am laughing as I shredded all my credit cards. I owe not a penny. I urge you to do the same, as the regulations set up to protect consumers from bank fraud and worse, this regulations will disappear faster than Affordable Healthcare.

Now, it will take some time to find the right pen – a fountain pen loaded with charcoal ink that stays on your hands for about a week after you’ve spilled it on the back of the checkbook.

Then off to the mailbox. Which one? The one down by the sea, not far from a little house that I could have put a down payment on, and finished my novel in the little office with a view.

Oh stop, I can write here. In my little room. Stay tuned.

California, I love You!

If you live in California, and are breathing after January 1, 2017, you will be able to

Have one free beer while having your hair cut in a barbershop or beauty salon – this will make a bad new-do appear better.

Wear your Denim with pride as it’s the official California fabric – rest easy, my 1960s high school superintendents who wouldn’t allow patten leather shoes or Levis.

Companies with 25 or more employees will pay $10.50 per hour, up by 50 cents – this will put me out of business, as I am my boss and go shopping too often.

Drivers for Uber or Lyft can’t have a blood alcohol level of 0.04% or more – wish some of my passengers had the same content rule.

Ban on Text While Driving now includes searching for Pokemon Go characters – who does this?

A program providing electric-car rebates will now only be available to people making $150,000 or less – The X P90D starts at $109,000m so I could spend my savings and get $7500 income tax credit and in California, at $2500 tax rebate, which would mean I could drive 24 hours a day for Uber and eat once a day.

Every autographed collectible sold in California must come with a certificate guaranteeing that it’s not a forgery. Thanks Mark Hamill of Star Wars who must have had a real challenge with documents that came from far, far away.

If you see an animal trapped in a heated car, you may break the window – after calling law enforcement – do they ever come when you need them?

MOST IMPORTANT, getting ready for the 2018 election . . . you can legally take a selfie of you and your BALLOT. I needed this in November.WalkCake.jpg

How Many Cenks at LAX?


The Young Turks

Most of the time, my Uber celebrity experience means that I’m the only soon-to-be-famous person in the car.

Not so, late one Friday afternoon.

The name on the ‘ping’ was unusual.

“Couldn’t be,” I muttered. It was awkward. First time picking someone up at LAX. I’d waited 12 minutes before, got a ride who cancelled [do NOT cancel when you’re ordering an Uber at LAX. It takes 20 minutes to get back to the holding pattern!]

So, the second time, I waited 15 minutes.

Pick up at Terminal Three. I called, just to make certain. And to let him know that my car wasn’t black. It is silver grey. The shot of my car on Uber isn’t right. Many times, people don’t see me.

Even though I recognized the name, he didn’t sound familiar.

I lurched into World Way then pulled up toe Terminal Three. I went past him; called again and this patient man sat down in my back seat. I turned around, just to check if this person were the one I thought it might be.

It was. The Cenk of The Young Turks!

I think I scared him. “Oh my goodness! It’s YOU!. You’re The Young Turk of the Turks! I’m on your list. Get twitter feeds all day long from TYT!”

“So, we’re working for each other, here.” Yes. An Uber driver who thinks Cenk Turks is something that everyone should listen to. Why? Because, I was a Young Republican. For many years, standing alone for capitalism, working hard to get more work, figuring out how to get myself out of danger, then getting back into it. Not so since GWB took a huge bonus and destroyed the Middle East . . . but you know all that.

Last year, at Politicon, I’d met Newt Gingrich. Tried to get an answer as to why he never responded to my letter of resignation to the Republican Party. If I’d seen the light, where were anyone else with a brain?

“Where is everyone else?” I would ask myself, after I’d realized that the [R] didn’t stand for Abe, Ike or anyone with a heart anymore.

Now, in my back seat, was another one. Only famous and noteworthy as a spokesperson.

We talked of current events, most notably the Turkish upheaval into right-wing camps. And, the one we have here, with the [R] party’s final – they’ve been working on this since Nixon – take into the realm that begins takes on 20th century fascism.

He also told me about where he asked his wife to marry him. Not far from where I grew up.

At the end, he shot me in my grey car, and I heaved a sigh of relief. I’d gotten him home, while engaging in a decent conversation.

That’s what Uber-ing is all about. Oh, check Cenk and the rest of what the world needs to hear at The Young Turks!


The Bag Theory


What industry would be ‘hurt’ when SB 270 takes effect in July 2015? Will you sign the petition started by oil and chemical companies to overrule this common-sense statute because you cannot live without C2H4)nH2?

Stand your ground. Choose to live without the poison produced by DOW Chemicals, DuPont, not to mention the raw materials from Exxon, Mobile and other petroleum concerns.

The plastic bags you cannot live without came from deep beneath the earth, in an oil field.

What will it take to reverse the propaganda oil and chemical companies spew out like Kool-Aid to the ill-informed and ignorant who can’t think for themselves?

The Beginning of the End

The anti-bag-ban movement began long before SB 270 was signed by Gov. Brown. Fact: the ‘ban’ opens up opportunity for thousands of new jobs in California alone. The Sacramento Bee reports “Padilla’s new version includes a $2 million subsidy to help factories change from making disposable plastic bags to re-usable plastic bags. That subsidy removed some industry opposition to the bill, but major bag makers remain opposed.” This is just a start. Yet, the plastic people, already worth billions of dollars, insist that jobs will be lost. They miss the point.

Compounds used to produce the ‘re-usable plastic bags” would remain. Do oil and chemical corporations fear that old-fashioned American inventiveness might come up with an alternative to the current manufacturing process? We should celebrate, not fear, the possibility that a new industry could be carved out of an obsolete, toxic enterprise, most likely controlled by the likes of the Koch Brothers, George Kaiser, Harold Hamm, and the Bass Brothers.


In the meantime, simply form a new habit, now. Start schlepping a bag from your car to the store. I have a plethora of cotton, rag, and paper sacks that I use over and over. I’m the one in the check-out line proudly announcing “No bag please. Haven’t used one since 2010.” I can also be annoying when I have to run out to my car to get the bag I forgot.

Go future, young people! Form your own bag company. The name would not be too challenging: “The Bag Lady,” “B. Baggins, Inc.,” “Buy-Gone Bags,” or “Bag to the Bone.” I know someone who could give your new enterprise a kick start. Her name is Alexandra Watkins. She’s my next-door neighbor in San Francisco. Read her book “Hello My Name Is Awesome: How To Create Names That Stick.”

About the wads of flimsy, toxic plastic bags in my garage. I used them as poop vessels and never expected to have more than one or two. But, my dog poofed and I’ve been left holding the bags – empty of course. I can’t see the point of taking them to the supermarket and recycling them. Just seems stupid.

What happens to them?

Sinking Our Teeth into the Economy


As reported on my Facebook page Wednesday, February 20, 2013, my granddaughter’s 24d tooth came out.

This unleashed a flurry of activity on this otherwise very ordinary Wednesday evening.

“Where is my Tooth Fairy pillow?”

“I have no idea. Auntie Vanilla gave it to your mom at your baby shower, three months before you were born.”

Hayden is almost six. We contacted Mom via mobile phone. She told us where to find the pillow. and I thought all was settled.

Wrong. This granddaughter has some traits that are familiar. Uncomfortably familiar.

“I’m not using that pillow. It’s not right.”


“There’s no room for the money in the pocket.”

“Yes there is.”

“No. I’m not using it. I’m putting the tooth by itself. Under my pillow.”

“But, Auntie Vanilla gave you that pillow. The Tooth Fairy won’t be able to find your tooth. Look how small it is.”

“Sorry. I’ll use the pillow next time.”

At this point, her mother had returned from work, and calls were going out to inform the family of the event. Meanwhile, I was contacting Auntie Vanilla to have her diplomatically intercede on behalf of using the tooth pillow AS IT WAS INTENDED.

Auntie Vanilla explained the reasoning to no avail. My pal Jef in San Francisco simply said “Don’t make her use the pillow. You didn’t have a Tooth Fairy pillow and if she wants the raw tooth under her head instead of the puffy tooth, let her. She’s just as stubborn as you are!”

I let it go. I placed a ‘LIKE’ on the shot of Hayden and her tooth and waited for results. [What did we do before the Internet? I know. I got $.10 per tooth and $1 per molar but that was just after the Korean War. We’ll talk about raising the minimum wage later.]

This morning, at 5:45 am, Hayden crawls into bed with me. This is a daily event, as she watches Woody Woodpecker cartoons on my iPad before we go to breakfast. Today, however, she needed to finish writing her name at the top of the homework pages due. So, she requested music, chose the sound of crickets on Calm Radio, and went back to sleep. At 6 am, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Did the Tooth Fairy leave you anything?”

“I forgot.”

She ran into her room, discovered a wrinkled dollar bill under her pillow and the day of life with an excited human being began.

Tooth Fairy Calculations

In writing this, I found an App I could have used last night.  The Tooth Fairy Calculator.

As for inflation, ABC News Consumer Report states that in 2012, the average was $3 per tooth.

My teeth are costing me thousands, as I am at the ‘need a new crown of cubic zirconia and perhaps a root canal’ on the life spectrum. It’s so bad, I have to remove a substantial amount from my cash reserves. Sell my house? Maybe. If only I’d gotten more for my deciduous offerings and saved the money. After all, when I was a kid, our house in San Marino, California, cost about $50,000. I paid almost that much for a car a couple of years ago. Median price for San Marino homes clock in at more than $1million in 2010, and is the 63rd most expensive place to live in the United States.

Back to the Tooth Fairy. Maybe it’s time to re-think value. At least raise the minimum wage so that the Tooth Fairy can continue to operate. Plus, equal pay for women.

I need to go brush my teeth, er, tooth.