Today in history

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

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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.

I’ve saved these items that appeared in my mail and doorstop 15 years ago.

For 15 years, the “New Yorker,” with the pages from the “San Francisco Chronicle”, folded not-so-neatly inside, have been near me. On a bookshelf beside my bed. Stuffed into the bottom of a basket by my living room couch.

I can’t throw them away.

Almost at once, I wondered where the fingers would point. First, why would 19 Saudis want to attack us? That was hard to know, as the fact that the men were Saudis didn’t make the headlines. All we knew was that there were several days when no planes flew overhead. Then, three days after the attack, members of the Bin Laden were pulled from where the FBI had hidden them in Texas, and flown home in chartered planes.

The fear was rising. CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBS September 30, 2001, 4:57 PM, ”It’s a tragedy,” Prince Bandar told the Times. “The elders” of the students “came to see me, and one of them was a bright boy from Harvard who like the others had absolutely nothing to do with this and yet we had to tell him to go home and wait until the emotions calmed down. And he told me that he never really appreciated why the Japanese wanted a memorial or an apology for their treatment in World War II.

“The student added, according to the prince, “I understand now that when you are innocent, in the face of emotion, nothing, not even common sense, can help argue your case.”

As to why, the San Francisco Chronicle had a column of “Two Cents Opinion” letters answering a call for readers to address “Whether the president shown strong leadership?”
Six letters were published. Two mentioned Bush’s sorrow, “the way he walked across the White House lawn, straight and determined.” The letter at the bottom of the page, a man named Michael Katz, from Berkeley, is chilling as it foresaw our future, the one that leads to a demonic Republican candidate who might one day stroll across the lawn into the White House. And push a button.

Katz’s letter: “Two generations of Presidents Bush have ‘led’ us toward oblivion. As vice president, the elder Bush presided over the CIA’s creation of the Taliban and the training of Osama bin Laden. As president, Bush was blundered into a needless, devastating – and ultimately failed – war against Saddam Hussein. The resulting US military presence in Saudi Arabia reportedly generation bin Laden’s obsessive hatred of America. Distracted by fantasies of a magical missile defense, the current Preside Bush has presided over an unforgivable failure of basic intelligence and homeland defense.”

This was 20 months before May 2003, when he and Chaney and the rest, would announced that our invasion war would be paid for with the Iraq oil.

History repeats itself, so the saying goes. This time, repeating the inadvertence could be deadly.

 

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One cannot go home again. Or, even try.

homelessness-ignor

Back on Gilbert . . . fixing my home after being gone since just before Christmas, 2011.

That’s what the paint can listed as the date of my last paint job. 2011? I thought it had been a couple of years, since I left The City for San Clemente, to help my daughter through a rough patch.

Turned out, it was my rough patch. I leased my house to two dim-witted graduate business majors at Stanford who trashed things so I had to re-paint in August 2012.

Then, lost my job. One that I had thought would last at least one year. All right, keep going. Just keep swimming.

I did. And here I am, 2016. Another business that didn’t work [I am great at marketing for other people. Not so much myself.]

It’s Tuesday morning on Gilbert Street. 6 July 2016. The trash truck is here. Somewhere two sirens are wailing across Brannan. I miss these sounds.

I miss The City. If someone had transported me here while I was sleeping, I wouldn’t know where I was. Candlestick Park is gone. So are the 49ers. Not much is left of my neighborhood. Expo Center is gone . . . where will the Antiquarian Book Faire be held this year? The costumed revelers on New Years? All disappeared.

A homeless encampment is being built as fast and sprawling as new construction towers reach for the sky. The Expo Center has been replaced by a massive box of condos that looks like a Lego set assembled by an Occupational Character Recognition robot. Wait. No San Francisco robot – the place for Flower Power, Herb Caen, Willy Mayes, and leagues of famous and infamous characters, living next to each other – would build an ode to boredom. There would be a triangle or twist somewhere.

Eighth Street and Bryant holds a Mercedes Dealership. There’s a median in the middle of Eighth Street, that holds one homeless person, who gets up long before the Mercedes employees show up, wash the windows and open the doors.

I walked by the dealer last night. A couple, in their early thirties, were finishing up a purchase of a S-Class Maybach. The salesman reached out and shook the man’s hand.

The woman nodded, turned her head toward the middle of the road, anticipating what it would feel like to drive off, surrounded by supple leather.

She looked through the man setting up his garbage bag tent, just a few feet away.

I do not think she saw him.

Let’s start again

Collins Chu

Put it together.

The Mayans and Egyptians had help from intelligent life.

How else would two civilizations – one stuck in a desert, the other swallowed in a rainforest – both decide to build pyramids that were accurate depictions of the solar system?

“Let’s give ‘em a little hint, on the offside chance that intelligent life will take hold,” the Visitors proposed to the funders of the expedition back in the home solar system.

“Fat chance of that. Let’s see what happens when we give them an ultimatum. An expiration date.”

The Mayans got the prize, while the Egyptians went in the other direction, letting the one percent make slaves build massive pointy things to hold their bodies and belongings.  After all, the Cayman Islands had not been discovered yet.

The Mayans made a calendar that predicts the approximate length of each of the 12 astrological ages.  If you choose this theory [is gravity a theory?] then we are indeed at the dawn of a new age today, December 21, 2012. I found this information on the Internet, so it’s gotta be true.

Make something nice today. Start something good. Whatever you do will stick to your behind like glue.

It’s Aquarius, pal. Regulus [the star that nods to the colon regimen] moves out of the sign Leo and into Virgo.

We now have another 26,000 years, give or take a few hundred, before the next jolt.

Use your time wisely. This is not a dress rehearsal.

Happy Holidays to everyone. I didn’t take Christ out of Christmas. The retailers did. My Holiday means Holy Day. Make yours count.

PS. Collins Chu was a fabulously creative ad agency in the early 1990s. I have no idea where they are today, but I still have their holiday promo pin. No.L.

PPS. As for intelligent life, I don’t see very much from posts from “Freedom” and “Keep My 2nd Amendment” tags these days on Facebook. Maybe it will be the end for them? What do YOU THINK? There will be a test.

I Scream. You Scream Some Scheme to Steal The Scream

The Scream

“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red . . .”

August 31, 2006. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” recovered in a raid by Norwegian police. If I had more time I try to find out what it had been doing since stolen a little more than two years before (August 22, 2004).

No. I’ve always been curious as to 1] what was Munch’s motivation for such a horrific depiction of human suffering? 2] why would someone want to have it hanging on a wall, in the place the children could see when they were tall enough.

A Little History

There are four “Screams” on earth. The one that sold in May 2012 went for $120 million to a secret bidder via telephone. Considered to be the most valuable of the four versions, as it is the only one with a poem written on the hand-painted frame.

His words:

“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city.

My friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

I hope Mitt Romney takes a second look at his purchase (the piece is probably hanging in the car elevator) and takes heed.

Today at the Hotline

Suicide Hotline, may I help you? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?
Yes.
I am listening.
You can’t help me.
I am listening.
(Silence)
Are you still there?
Yes. That’s the problem.
What’s the problem?
That I’m still here.
You sound like you’re in cave? Are you in a cave?
No.
The echo makes it hard for me to understand you.
I am not in a cave. I’m in a chamber.
Are you alone?
Aren’t we all?
I’m listening.
(Silence)
You can’t help me.
I’m listening.
Did you hear that?
What?
Hissing.
I hear something crackling. Are you eating popcorn?
What’s popcorn?
What’s crackling?
Nothing.
Now I can hear it. Hissing. Crackling.
Good. Then you’ll know.
Know what?
How.
How what?
How serious I am.
I’m not going to ask you about what. I am going to ask you something. I want an honest answer.
I’ll bite.
Do you have an asp?
(Silence)

August 30
30 B.C. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and conquerer of Caesar and Anthony (and a few others) commits suicide. More