Category Archives: Opinions

gird

Hi everyone! Long time. Please join me at the soapbox.

Gird up your pocketbooks, people. If you’re not debt-free, get that way, and get an emergency fund in place.

Everything’s about to get really expensive when the taxes go up drastically in January and all the ObamaCare regulations roll in on the businesses you work for and buy from (some already have, and companies have already stopped hiring full-time workers so they don’t have to pay the massive ObamaCare tax of being required by the government to buy health insurance for their employees), and the less debt you have, the better you’ll be able to deal with it!

We’ve been working through Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps since May 2011, and you should too. We’re almost done with our emergency fund, and then the real fun starts. We haven’t had any non-mortgage debt since March — no car payments, student loans, credit cards. We only have the mortgage. How much money could you save every month if you bought cars only with cash, paid off your student loans and credit cards, and quit buying things on credit? We have a significant amount per month more now that we’re out of debt, and we’re putting almost all of it into savings. After the emergency fund is in place, we will start chucking a ton at retirement and college funds, and the rest will go toward paying off our house. Can you imagine not having a mortgage? Can you imagine having that extra thousand, 2K, 3K a month? I can (for us it’s $1200). That’s when the real fun starts. That’s when you get to take big vacations and buy stupid things (only with cash, though!), and give a lot more to charity (real charity, not prison-enforced “charity” that you pay to the IRS), as long as it’s in the budget.

Eat beans & rice and cut out the luxuries (including eating out, alcohol — really, look at your alcohol expenditures and see how much money you’d save if you cut that out, tobacco, expensive clothes), and GET ON A BUDGET. Frank and I each still have an allowance. We each get a small amount every month that we can spend on anything we want. And that’s all. We don’t say, “Oh, I really want this, though, and it’s only $30, and we have $30, so I’ll just buy it.” If I don’t have enough in my allowance right now, I wait until I have enough saved up (we carry balances forward month-to-month, and I just make sure I mark in the budget that the full allowance amount was spent). It’s frustrating when I want something *right now* but it’s necessary. I live in a 1st-world country, so it’s all luxury. I’m not suffering if I have to wait until next month to buy the next Harry Potter book for my Kindle or wait two months to buy my Big Shot. We started with the allowance system back in 2007 when we realized that we weren’t making any headway with our finances, and that’s when everything started turning around. We also take 10% from any extra money (bonuses, royalty checks, etc.) that happens our way, and we put that in our “fun money” fund. We use that for eating out and non-fancy vacations, and if we don’t have money in our fun money fund, we don’t eat out, I don’t make sushi, and we don’t go anywhere that isn’t free. We have a small amount budgeted for vacation savings each month — yes, this is a luxury, but we need to visit family every couple of years, so we budget that. We also budget a small amount for Christmas savings each month so we don’t get hit with the whole thing in December — and it is a small budget. We don’t buy a lot of gifts for each other or for other people right now. It’s not in the budget. We occasionally splurge (for Buttercup’s birthday, we bought her a doll house), but only after both approving the splurge and putting it in the budget. Yes, we get each other’s permission to spend money that isn’t budgeted, because we’re married.

Set a limit for yourselves on money you get to blow, and you have a lot more money for the more important things, like life insurance, gas, saving for your next car (we’re about to save for a minivan so that when the new baby comes, we’ll have a nice used van for me to haul the kids around in), and groceries — which are about to get even more expensive. I’ve seen my grocery prices at least double in the last 4 years, and I expect them to skyrocket when we hit the fiscal cliff, which is coming, and it’s not racism telling you that, it’s math. January should be fun and/or horrific for everyone, especially people dealing with debt payments they can’t afford.

And teach your kids about living on a budget so perhaps the next gen of politicians can understand the importance of not spending more than you make and of saving money. And that people will vote for fiscally sane politicians in the future.

Twitter haters

I love all these people who say “I don’t get Twitter” and then get all presumptuous and say “All people do is post that they’re in the car or looking at birds.”

Clearly, you do not get Twitter.

Tracey wrote a post asking people to tell her why she needs to be on Facebook or Twitter. For Facebook, I’ll just say: Twitter totally owns Facebook, and I have to make myself go to Facebook these days for anything other than playing Scrabble. But hey! Online Scrabble! So I do play Scrabble on Facebook. But I got so tired of everyone throwing sheep at me and asking me to feed their Farmtown cows and suggesting that I join their cause or become a fan of their hotel (no, really–someone suggested that I become a fan of some hotel in Dallas) or whatever that I stopped going there very much after I became obsessed with Twitter. Facebook is nice for sort of staying in touch with family and old friends and people whose names you recognize but you’re not sure where you know them from. It’s nice to see what people you’ve wondered about over the years are doing these days. And I used to like it because it was more private than my blog, so I could be more personal there, but Facebook’s new privacy policy makes it less private. But Twitter is better for news, politics, entertainment, hilarity, and conversation. And talking to all these bloggers I’ve been reading for years.

Yes, there are people who post only the “I just ate breakfast” types of updates. Unless I have a personal relationship with them, I don’t follow those people. See, you get to choose who you follow. You don’t have to read anyone’s tweets if you don’t want to.

The following is a sample of tweets currently in my tweetstream:

“Nothing good can come out of Obama, Holder, and Napolitano being in the same room… If Biden is there we’re definitely screwed.” — Informative about what’s going on in the world and also snarky.

“I know you need these shoes. Link” — These are shoes made out of bread, and I never would have known they existed if not for Twitter. (I retweeted this, and someone replied that they’re loafers. Get it?)

“By Valentine’s someone will come up with some edible Snuggie suit made of chocolate, I’m sure. Stay in. Hide.” — Funny. My main reason for being on Twitter is that there is so much funny on Twitter.

“You ever get drunk and buy something online but forget all about it until she shows up on your porch, yelling something in Russia-talk?” — Again. Funny.

“Michael Yon arrested for not revealing his income at the airport Link” — Information on how much our border security sucks.

“The tens digit changed so it’s a new decade. Get over it.” — This was a tweet by my husband which set off a squabble that turned into Twitter psychological abuse when I threatened to punch Frank in the face. Because he’s wrong about this.

“Gosh, but it’s cold! Throw another Global Warming Alarmist on the fire!” — these are the one-liners you don’t get on blogs. Very few people write blog posts that are just one-line zingers.

“BONG BONG BONG BONG” — This is a tweet by the Big Ben Clock, and it cracks me up every hour when it tweets the time in London.

Last night my tweetstream was dominated by 1) The Fiesta Bowl. I did much of the dominating here. 2) Erick Erickson’s (of RedState) appearance on the Colbert Report. 3) Brit Hume on O’Reilly. I ignored #2 and #3 because I was watching football, but I made note in my head that I would need to watch the clip of Brit Hume and DVR a later recording of the Colbert Report. I wouldn’t have known to watch either otherwise.

I follow a ton of people who only do politics or news. I follow a lot of people who only do random, funny thoughts. I follow a lot who do a number of things. Some sports people. A few authors. Paula Abdul. A few politicians. A few celebrities. Me? I tweet politics, news, football, hockey, pecan vs. pumpkin pie debates, my loathing of Elvis and “Blue Christmas”, my excitement over American Idol, Twilight, and I play a lot of hashtag games, which require their own explanation. I tweet a lot of the conversation snippets between Frank and myself. I also tweet when I burn myself or eat something exciting, but I try to make it interesting. Like “I simply DO NOT CARE how much I will suffer for eating this deviled egg” or “Tip: If you grab onto metal in the fireplace when the fire is blazing, you will burn the crap out of your finger.” See, much better than “Eating a deviled egg–yum!” or “Ow! I burned my finger in the fireplace!” Some people find me boring, so they don’t follow me, or they follow for a while and then unfollow. Some people think I tweet too much. They don’t have to follow me either.

And when you go look at someone’s Twitter profile, you’ll see a lot of @Bob @Mary, etc. That’s when the person you’re following tweets a reply at someone’s previous tweet. But when you follow someone on Twitter, you’re only going to see that reply in your tweetstream if you’re following both the replier and the original tweeter. You only see all of a person’s replies if you go to their profile page, which you usually don’t unless you’re going there to follow them or unfollow them. Or if you both follow all the same people, which would be rare.

You’ll see people throw out a question to all of their followers. I did this when I sparked the great pie debate of 2009. Another tweeter recently asked for fantasy book recommendations.

Hashtag games are my favorite part of Twitter. A hashtag game is where someone picks a topic and tweets it, and then it just spreads all over Twitter. For instance, I once picked the topic #GlobalWarmingMovies, where we took movie titles and changed them up to be about Global Warming or the religion of Climate Change (Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Science, etc.). So I tweeted a few, and people who followed me picked up on it and tweeted their own global warming movie titles, and then people that they followed did the same, and we all played along for a while. Those are fun comedy jam sessions where everyone tries to be as creative and funny as possible. I love them because they make me exercise my funny bone and creativity and keep me from going stale. And because I usually get several new followers during those games, because I’m fairly good at them, so I get a lot of retweets during those. A retweet happens when I tweet something, and one of my followers decides that all of their followers should see my tweet, so they copy it, put an RT and my name in front of it, and tweet it. So that tweets my comment to their followers, and their followers see that I’m funny (or lame), and sometimes they decide to follow me.

Twitter is not blogging. Twitter is tweeting lots of different thoughts in 140 characters or less. And a lot of thoughts only need 140 characters and not an entire blog post. I can write an entire post on how little I want to see the movie Avatar and why. Or I can just tweet, “I have less than zero interest in seeing Avatar because it’s leftist and the smurf people look stupid.”

On the aesthetically displeasing Twitter pages: You can customize your own page, and you only go to other people’s pages when you follow or unfollow. You go to your own page to see what people you follow are saying and you go to your own page to see your replies. And you install a desktop app like Tweetdeck or Twhirl, anyway, so you never actually go to Twitter on the web unless you want to check your follower count, see what lists you are on, or follow/unfollow someone.

One of Tracey’s commenters got it right, though–it’s very ego-centric. But it’s not only about egos and telling everyone what you ate for breakfast. It’s news sharing, riffing on each other, exchanging ideas, and going crazy over a football game with like-minded people (and a few token liberals). And no one sends you stupid little hearts and asks for your help in finding their lost turtles.

Hot centenarians. Nothing wrong with that.

From tWits. [It's New Moon week, so I can think of nothing but vampires.]

Every time I tell my husband that I don’t have time to chit-chat or make his dinner or have sex because I’m reading about sexy vampires or watching the Cullen boys play sparkly baseball, he tries to tell me that vampires are creepy. Not because of the fangs or the blood-drinking—he’s a guy, so that stuff probably makes them cool—but because they’re hundreds of years old and pursuing teenage girls.

Now, I’ve thought about it. I’m trying to be a supportive wife and see his point so he’ll drop the argument and just let me get back to my toothily-enhanced hotties, but I can’t do it—I can’t even see the merits in his argument. Because he’s wrong. And here’s why there’s nothing wrong with hot vampires dating much, much, much, much younger women.

READ THE REST AT TWITS…

Do we have a language problem? Yes we do.

From tWits

Conversation? We’ve got a problem. I’m about to abandon you altogether and crawl into my cave and talk only to the voices in my head. And I think you know why: the voices in my head occasionally make statements.

I am seriously on the verge of hitting my crazy every time I talk to people, watch TV, listen to the radio, and catch the news. People won’t stop asking themselves questions, and I’m about to lose my mind over it. Whether for stabbing my eardrums to relieve myself of the misery or stabbing the offending parties to relieve myself of the misery is unclear, but lately I find myself reaching often for an ice pick. Why? Because suddenly everyone is interviewing himself.

READ THE REST AT tWits…

This is how capitalism works

Full disclosure: I’m not an economist, and my high school economics course was taught by a Democrat, who did not teach me the things I’m about to say. Also, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

In a beautiful demonstration of capitalism at work, J.P. Morgan Chase bought WaMu last night. Captain Ed notes that Chase eventually will run out of money to buy these banks (they also bought Bear Stearns earlier this year).

First off, if Chase runs out of money to buy up failed banks, other winners will step in and buy the other losers. They can buy these banks for cheap and use good business practices to build up what they bought into something good. My first reaction to the news was, “Chase bought our bank? I’m fine with that, because I’ve been pleased with them.” We do other business with Chase, and they’re fairly breezy to work with. Bank of America would have been a different story, because the second they bought MBNA, they raised the interest rate on my credit card with them by ten points. All that does is tick people off, and I no longer use that card. Ever. My second thought was, “Hey, this is how things should happen. Let the government seize them one at a time and sell them off, rather than the government buying them all, hoping the assets that back the bad loans appreciate in value someday, and sticking it to the taxpayers when they don’t.”

Second, this is capitalism (for now). Yes, the people who have invested in WaMu are going to lose a lot of money. That’s the way things go. If WaMu had done well, the investors would have gained a lot of money. You invest your money wisely, you make money. You invest your money in a bank that loans out its capital to un-creditworthy individuals, you lose money. If you don’t like that they’re making bad loans, you take your money elsewhere. We’ve known for a few years now that these bad loans were going to make a lot of trouble.

Yes, it’s sad that people will lose jobs. It happens, and that sucks. But it isn’t as bad as socializing the economy. The Paulson plan was a bad plan, thank goodness it’s pretty much defunct. And Democrats were making it worse. They’d slipped in unsecured credit card loans, bad student loans (also unsecured), and other things that the government has no business helping. I mean, just think about that. Bad credit card loans. They’re not secured, so there is nothing the creditor can do to get the money back, other than threaten to trash your credit. So if I default on my credit cards and don’t pay them back, and the government buys up my credit card debt on the *hope* that I’ll *change* my mind and pay them back, and I never do… then you, the American taxpayer, have to pay for things like my wedding ring, my honeymoon cruise, my dog’s heartworm pills, that guitar I’ve always wanted, my new stainless steel refrigerator (I mean, the white one just wasn’t pretty enough)… do you see what a bad idea this is? Say I run up $10,000 in debt, maxing out my credit line. I make my minimum payments, and then one day, I get a bonus (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). I decide to pay $1,000 on my credit card, which is still sitting at about $10,000, because those minimum payments barely cover the interest. A few weeks later, I get a letter in the mail from my credit card company: my credit line has been increased by $2,000. And we know it’s because I paid more than the minimum payment. It’s almost automatic. So I run up $2,000 more buying that new plasma TV I just have to have. And then, you know what? I don’t feel like paying my credit card bills anymore. So you, the American taxpayer, have just bought my plasma TV, my beautiful diamonds, my jaunt to the Caribbean, and that lovely icebox in the kitchen. And you know what? I’m not even going to thank you, because I feel like I was entitled to all that stuff, because some of you have the same things. It’s not *fair* if I don’t have them too.

I have to go to work now. I don’t know where I was going with this post. I only know that history tells us that you never just have socialism for a little while. You can’t just decide you don’t want that social program anymore, thanks FDR. You have it forEVER.

Later I want to talk about how if the government buys any bad debt, they’ll be able to lock up anyone who doesn’t pay and isn’t connected to a Congressman. I mean, if the government could actually keep track of its money.

There’s only one drawback to the new SUV Ford is producing.

It’s butt ugly.

I almost started to get excited when I read on Instapundit that Ford is now producing the Flex, an SUV that will get 24 mpg on the highway (my Explorer gets roughly 15-16, and the Flex would get about the same as Frank’s Santa Fe). The engine will certainly drop out of my Explorer in the next five minutes, and I’ll be looking for a new SUV or truck, if we decide we even need one (carpooling is awesome when gas is so expensive). But then I went and looked at the picture, and my head immediately tilted to the right, as it does when I’m making my “really?” face. First of all, I’m not even sure that is a truck wheelbase. As low as that sucker sits to the ground, it may be sitting on a car wheelbase. The Santa Fe is on a car wheelbase, too, but it doesn’t look like someone just stuck a camper on the back of a low-rider truck and called it an SUV — it looks more like a bubble on wheels. Second, shorten the front and curve the windshield a little more, and you have what is known as the minivan. And it’s not the boxy thing. I love Volvos, and the XC90 is my dream machine. It’s that I’m not such a fan of the low-rider truck/SUV hybrid look. And also, one of the purposes of the SUV is that you can see over everyone in traffic, and all the people around you get to be miffed that they can’t see over you.

Am I alone? It is unattractive, yes?

What next? Earth Year?

I’m so freaking tired of all this green talk. I can’t escape it, you can’t escape it, and it’s all becoming a little suffocating and a *lot* infuriating. Especially on TV. (If you’re one of those people who doesn’t watch TV because you’re better than the rest of us and like to feel superior, then carry on — you’re not as affected by this as I am, and yay for you. Yet another reason you can shout every chance you get about how you don’t watch TV. If you’re one of those who doesn’t watch TV because you don’t have time or don’t really care for it, I have no passive-aggressive opinion on your choice.) The green stuff we’re having to ingest daily with our TV shows, news, commercials, interwebz, billboards, signs next to the dam — it’s giving me green, grassy diarrhea.


What are we gonna do? Food color it blue? What does that even mean? Don’t litter? Only little punk retards litter anyway — the rest of us know that it’s bad, because you don’t just throw trash all over the place where you live. That’s where all your stuff is.

Aside: Damming rivers is unnatural, unless you’re a beaver. So stop lecturing on your religious signs about the greenery until you stop damming the natural flow of the river to suit your own needs and save your homes.

You know what my religious signs say?


Jesus loves you.

Know what they don’t say? “You must love Jesus. I command it.”

So last week was Earth Week. Remember when it used to be Earth Day? The creeping socialists and forced mediocrats have moved us so far away from reality that there’s now an Earth Week during which we are all commanded to worship Gaia and use only 100% biodiesel. Watch, within a few years, we’ll have Earth Month. Then Earth Quarter. Earth Christmas. No, wait — we can’t say Christmas anymore.

You know what would be better than all the lecturing and billboards? Leading by example (I’m looking at you, Goracle). If you really and truly believe that the earth is suffering because humans dare to live upon it, live like Leo DiCaprio. I actually have respect for him. However wrong I think he is about the effect that minimizing and living “green” actually has on anything at all, he doesn’t preach it — he lives it. He believes it, so he changed his lifestyle.

My friend Mensa doesn’t preach to me about being green — she went green a couple of years ago, and when she and I talked about how I have to eat fresh foods now because of celiac(ish) and how expensive it is to eat that way, she simply stated that yes, she and her household started buying organic and using natural cleaners “for other reasons” a couple of years ago, and she knows it is expensive. She didn’t tell me, “Yeah, it’s good that you have that celiac problem, because you need to be green anyway so you don’t singlehandedly cause the death of Mother Earth.” I know her well, and she has always been mildly into the environment (not rabidly like the Goracle and his religious friends), so I knew exactly what she was saying to me: “We went green because we believe it’s the right thing to do for the environment.” But the thing is, she didn’t preach it, or even say it, for that matter. She just acknowledged that she’s living that way. And hey, more power to her for that. Now, if she got all preachy about it, I’d roll my eyes and tell her she has bought into a steaming pile of green manure and that we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Just like when we were in high school, and she was a Jehovah’s Witness, and I was a member of the church of Christ (she’s not anymore, I still am). We didn’t agree on a lot of things, but we had open discussions on religion, neither of us forcing the other to accept a point of view, and neither of us ridiculing what the other believed.

How much hot air is produced by all the preaching and chest-thumping about the baloney that is global “climate change” (I can be all preachy here, because this is where I vent my own hot air) and about how enlightened the people are who have jumped on the Church of Climatology’s front pew because it’s in vogue at the moment? More than you “save” when you’re spending more petroleum just to *produce* the ethanol you’ve embraced as your corny god than you are to produce a gallon of gas.

When I walk into the Co-Op here, I always want to wear a sign on my forehead that says, “NO! I’m not buying organic because I’m like you hippies! I have health problems!” Organic coconut oil or not, I won’t be the girl buying up all the “Blue Girl Red State” stickers a the membership counter. Blerg. That’s why I like to drive Frank’s car to the Co-Op — there is no NRA sticker on mine, and I feel like I need to hold on to some semblance of reality when I get around so many hippies at once. But I don’t (wear the sign on the forehead). Because I’m not a pushy twit who needs to guilt others into being just like me so I can feel a superior sense of accomplishment.

All of that is not to say that I don’t think we need to reduce waste and pwn every kid we see throwing a candy wrapper out of his car window. No, really — in 2008, I actually saw that the other day. This little punk was sitting in his car in front of me at the intersection, banging his head to heavy metal, paying very little attention to anything besides how totally, like, awesome he looked shaking his head in the mirror. He was even air guitaring, I’m not lying — surely he thought he was totally killing on Guitar Hero at that moment. He held his arm straight out of the window (during a pause in his awesome head antics), looked with disdain upon the candy wrapper in his hand, and threw it down onto the pavement with such vigor and such a look of satisfaction on his face (I watched his snot-nosed facial expressions in his sideview mirror) that you would have thought he had just been made King of the Pavement. I wanted to throttle his little punk head. Just wail on him for awhile. If that weren’t enough, he reached down and scooped up all the crumbs off of his stomach, held them in his hand, stuck his arm straight out the window *again*, and dropped the crumbs on top of the discarded wrapper.

I, of course, was ranting and raving to Frank. I was yelling something like, “You’d better be glad he’s holding me back!”

Where was I? Oh yeah. There’s respect for one’s surroundings (and I am a bit of a nature freak, so believe me, I don’t want to trash the planet), and there’s religion. I don’t buy what the Church of Climatology is selling. And selling. And selling. And selling. And selling.

Enough already. Let me live in peace.

This is my favorite clip from that one week when NBC decided to pay homage to the green peacock:

I love the disdain on Adam Baldwin’s face. Praise Gaia for that.

Seems like the worst thing that happened to these wealthy was having to talk to the NYT

Check it. I found this at HuffPo.

Pain of Foreclosures Spreads to the Affluent” is the name of the NY Times article. Wait. Let’s stop right there. Last I heard, all of the foreclosures were because the evil mortgage people tricked the dumb poor people into taking mortgages they can’t afford to pay. Are you telling me that the rich people were “tricked” too? I’m guessing all of these rich folks feeling the heat from the mortgage companies — they’re all either trust fund babies or pro athletes, right? Because people smart enough to become affluent couldn’t ever be “tricked” into taking these mortgages.

I know it’s not possible that people knew what they were getting into when they signed their papers (because some people do actually read a piece of paper that is going to put them in debt for 10, 15, or 30 years), because the media tells me that the evil mortgage companies did it.

Let’s read the article together, shall we? We’re in Greenwich, Connecticut.

On Stanwich Road, for example, a house worth $2.6 million is close to going on the block. On Hettiefred Road, the owner of a 2,720-square-foot, four-bedroom colonial featuring a luxury kitchen, swimming pool and tennis court, has been threatened with foreclosure for months. Several dozen other owners in Greenwich have received foreclosure notices this year.

Oh. Oh. So we’re talking about a house that is “close” to going on the block and another that has been “threatened with foreclosure.” And people who have received foreclosure notices. All of that would suck, yes, but are the affluent of Greenwich really feeling the pain of foreclosure? I would think the pain of foreclosure is when you’re actually, um… foreclosed upon, and you have to move out quickly and have a hard time finding a place to stay because no one wants to rent to you when you just defaulted on your loan for whatever reason.

But there is a difference from most other communities. Auctioning off such homes is a far greater challenge here than elsewhere, as affluent but cash-squeezed owners often find ways to delay losing their homes, sometimes by coming up with just enough to make last-minute payments avoiding a final sale — for a while, anyway.

Come again? I thought the article was going to say that auctioning off such homes is a far greater challenge in Greenwich because the homes are outrageously expensive and people don’t want to pay so much for a house. But no. Auctions are a “greater challenge” there because people are able to make their payments. Oh noes!

Just ask John Thygerson, who parked his Jeep sport utility vehicle in front of the empty house on Hettiefred Road on the flawless spring day last Saturday.

As a foreclosure auctioneer, he was scheduled — for the third time since January — to sell the house. But the owner, a construction business owner who has fallen on hard times, made a last-minute mortgage payment and the foreclosure was postponed yet again.

Poor John Thygerson! Postponed yet again! Poor guy just wants to foreclose on a house on a flawless spring day, and the evil homeowner made a payment!

So Mr. Thygerson was there to shoo prospective buyers off the property, nod at inquisitive neighbors and stake out a new spot for a fourth set of foreclosure signs after the first three had been mysteriously torn down.

Here’s a clue to your mystery: The owner did it. Case solved. And poor guy, having to shoo off prospective buyers. Work is hard.

“We never had a case that had gone through three separate sales attempts,” he said, still dazed that the auction failed to take place. “Greenwich being Greenwich, foreclosures are a rare occurrence.”

And there you go. The pain of foreclosures is hitting the Greenwich affluent because… foreclosures are a rare occurrence. Those poor people in Greenwich who aren’t being foreclosed. I’d just go ahead and off myself if I were them, being able to make their mortgage payments and keep their homes and all.

Rare, perhaps, but not unheard-of, as the housing industry collapse starts to claim victims among the affluent. Personal traumas like business reversal, illness and divorce play a role. There’s no real pattern, with people as diverse as builders, restaurateurs and poker players at risk of losing their homes.

What? The evil mortgage company isn’t at fault? I don’t follow.

But even the most financially stressed of Greenwich homeowners have generally been able to ward off actually losing their homes.

Well, that’s just awful. People keeping their homes.

In the last 30 days, none of the three Greenwich properties listed for auction were actually sold.

Terrible, that.

In Greenwich, foreclosure filings were made against 100 homes last year, according to RealtyTrac. That translates into less than half of 1 percent of Greenwich’s 24,511 households, compared with a rate higher than 1 percent nationwide.

Note, that’s the number of filings, not the number of actual foreclosures. This article is doing such a great job of showing me how painful it is to not lose your house due to wealth.

By 2007, the Connecticut Economic Resources Center reported, the median household income had risen to $122,849, with many homeowners earning far more.

I’d hope they’re earning far more if they’re buying multi-million-dollar homes.

The tearing down of existing homes to make room for new ones has continued despite the mortgage crisis that began last summer. And while prices and sales volume are dropping, Greenwich is not suffering as badly as nearby towns.

Greenwich is growing and building and not suffering as badly as nearby towns? I’m sorry, I missed how this article is about what the title says?

Through April 23 this year, 160 co-ops, condos and single-family homes sold for $290,000 to $30 million. That compares with 240 sales, from $385,000 to $12 million, for the period in 2007, according to the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service.

Just curious, are you comparing apples to apples? Was the $30 million sale a 10,000 sq. ft. house while the $12 million house is only 4,000? You can’t just throw stats out without the important supporting information or they mean nothing.

Still, lawyers working on Greenwich’s early foreclosure cases predict that most will never reach the auction stage because their homeowners almost always have other options.

Did Harvey write this?

As for the four-bedroom colonial that just avoided going on the block, Zbigniew Skwarek, the 41-year-old owner, came up with his own money to postpone the auction. Court records show he stopped paying on his mortgage on Feb. 1, 2007. But three days before the scheduled auction, he said, he gave his lender a check for $50,000.

Mr. Skwarek may not live in one of Greenwich’s most coveted neighborhoods. But like many residents here, he owns other properties, including an apartment in Greenwich and a home in Florida, and he can tap into that equity.

Now, there’s your problem. The poor rich guy who *didn’t* lose his house even though he didn’t pay his mortgage for over a year owns another apartment nearby and a house in Florida? He couldn’t have sold something to make his payments? Maybe he just forgot that he had three mortgages and only remembered the other two. I’m crying for him, really.

“I don’t want to lose this house,” Mr. Skwarek said in a telephone interview.

Then make your payments. Sell something else. We can’t have it all, dude.

Mr. Skwarek rented out the house after he divorced his wife, Renata, in 2004, because, he said, it felt too big to live in alone. But last year, he said, his renters, John and Arline Josephberg, stopped paying their monthly rent of $10,000.

Oh, it’s the renters’ fault! Of course! And if it’s too big to live in alone, maybe you should sell it. Do you really not want to lose the house if you don’t even care to live in it?

But public records show that Mr. Skwarek had trouble paying his bills even before he rented out his home. Court documents show that he also owes construction and supply companies more than $200,000 for unpaid bills on his home.

Good grief. I don’t even think I can make it through the rest of the article. The title suggests we’re supposed to be sad, but all I’ve read is that people are keeping their houses and/or are deadbeats.

He has a felony conviction for not paying wages to his workers and a misdemeanor for issuing a bad check.

Who gave this guy a mortgage?

Vincent Scorese, who owns a house next door and also faces the risk of foreclosure, moved out and rented out his home after he went through a divorce. He said that as a builder he became overextended and found it difficult to make his mortgage payments on the five properties he owns in the area. So he has put them all up for sale.

Finally, someone with sense. He can’t afford his mortgages, so he’s selling his five houses.

Mr. Skwarek says he is eager to hold onto his home, especially because it represents the culmination of his longstanding immigrant dream. Mr. Skwarek said he grew up outside of Warsaw and studied construction in Germany, France and Britain.

And studying not paying his bills in America.

Mr. Skwarek has still not figured out how he will hold on to his home. He will try to rent it again, he said. If that doesn’t work, he plans to move in and rent out his apartment. He remains optimistic that foreclosure will never happen and that his lender will help him find a way to escape his financial trap.

“They want to work with people like me,” he said.

People who haven’t paid them even the price of a steak dinner in over a year.

Mr. Thygerson, the auctioneer, agrees that he may never get a chance to do his job.

I hope he doesn’t work on commission.

When the government fails me, God is my backup plan

That’s what Barack Obama wants you to think. The ludicrousness of his now oft-repeated theory that people only turn to religion when the government fails them completely floors me; the second that ridiculous comment got to the media, he should have told America, “I was smoking crack when I said it, so I’m sorry. I’ll try to keep the crack smoking to a minimum on the campaign trail in the future.” That would have gone over a lot better than letting on that he’s too snobby to understand why people of faith would be offended by his remarks. I know I shouldn’t be surprised since his church’s official slogan is something like “Kill Whitey,” but I still am. He probably does believe that religion is only for the bitter. We know his pastor is bitter and delusional, so I draw the conclusion that Obama is too.

This statement that God is a backup plan after the government fails tells me all I need to know about Obama: Government is his god; God is just there as a fall-back. This is why it’s so important to him and people like him that we have a huge government. He doesn’t believe God will take care of his needs and thinks that the U.S. government is more powerful than God — pretty sad for someone who claims to be a Christian. Why does he even profess faith in God and Christ if he has none? Oh yeah, I forgot. Sweet, sweet Chicago votes.

We went to Bible study last night (we’re bitter, so we needed us some religion), and on the way home, I was thinking about how in tune I am with our preacher. Everything he’s ever said in a sermon or a class (we’re in his Ezekiel class), I’ve agreed with; actually, I take that back. He made a vague comment one time, and I didn’t agree with what I read between the lines. Not surprising that I agree with him on pretty much everything, I know, but I’ve had several preachers over the years, and I’ve disagreed with them on a number of things — I don’t think any preacher is infallible, because last I checked, they’re all human. We’ve also talked politics with the preacher several times (he doesn’t get political in his sermons unless you count that Christian beliefs form a lot of our political beliefs). One day we sat with him at lunch, and we talked politics much of the time. You know what he believes in? Small government, just like me. Basic freedoms and inalienable rights come from God, not the government. That the government needs to get out of the daily lives of Americans and let us live. That the government’s main job is security and defense and that we need to rely on our God-given talents and work ethic to fulfill our needs, not the government’s policies and forced redistribution of wealth and mandatory mediocrity.

But what does he know? He clings to religion, so he’s obviously given up hope in government. What do Frank and I know? We cling to religion and guns. We’re just a couple of bitter typical white people.

mooch desuhhhved sex

Occasionally, we two crazy kids will have us a good old roll in the sack and then… well… we talk British. Or Oirish. We cahn’t tell the defferehnse, really. I think we switch back and forth a little. The funny thing is, I find the accent soooo sexy, so it’d probably do us better to drop into our fake accents before we actually hit the sack.

I felt like I deserved a lettle bet of sax cuunsedering ai’ve behn a lettle bet preoccupied with paying taxes so you lazy lot can live off our contribution to what was once a capitalist society and what grows to be more socialist (and ridiculous) every day. Some days I think it’s hardly worth making money off a blog, because at the end of the day, we only get half of what we make. Still, part of that half that the government gets (I’d say maybe 10%) goes to defending this great nation, and I fully support that. In fact, let’s get all the moochers who just don’t feel like working (I don’t consider the disabled and the elderly to be moochers, obviously, but maybe I need to make myself clear), toss them in a bog, and let the whole half go to raising military salaries and whatnot. Then I wouldn’t complain on tax day.

Alas, that’s not going to happen without a fair tax and a constitutional amendment (way harder in real life than it is in my dreams), so we suck it up and pay for plasma screens for the lazy. Whatevs. It is what it is, because it always is what it is. Have I ever mentioned the passion with which I hate that stupid phrase? I’m sure I have, because every time I hear it, I roll my eyes so furiously that I really think they will disconnect permanently from the optic nerve holding them inside my head, because really I just want to scream, “When is it NOT what it IS, people?” Stupid phrase. Whoever made it up is forever on my list.

At least I got sex out of the whole deal. Before:

Me: It’s bedtime. If you hurry, we can DO IT.
He: [All I really heard was something like a tornado around the house. I think he put away dinner, took the dog out to pee, turned off all the lights, and came upstairs within thirty seconds of my declaration. Men are easy.]

After [we'd been in full-on British mode for several minutes now]:

He: Things seem to be looking up right now…
Me: Of course things ahhh looking up. Ye jest hahd sex.

He was talking about the house sale, prospect of work, and whatnot. But in the back of his mind, I know he meant sex.

As for taxes, I’m still working on 2006. I have finally finished the corporate return for NTM. Had to prepare an extra form, and TurboTax couldn’t file it online just because of this extra form, but it’s ok. I had overpaid with the extension for NTM (that does not make me happy, but I only overpaid by $66), and I already did the personal return about a year ago, so now I just drop the info from NTM into the personal return and be done with 2006. 2007 will be easy. NTM was winding down, blog stuff is easily obtained from Paypal, and holy Spartacus, y’all, I’m pretty sure we are going to get money back considering our moving costs, COBRA payments, and all that we had to pay in 2007. Again, I don’t get all giddy about giving the government an interest-free loan for the amount we will get back, but I’ll be so happy to be done with it for another year that I just don’t give a crap. And 2008 will be so much more simple.

I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hence the sex.

I hope your tax returns resulted in such fun times too, pippa. Tracey, I said pippa! Please forgive.

One more thing. Those people who write the tax code and the instructions for the tax forms? Crack smokers, every one of them. CAN I get an amen, y’all.

the best coconut oil

Kris has ordered Nutiva’s EV unrefined coconut oil and also Nutiva’s hempseed oil (I don’t know much about hempseed oil except that it is also good for you). And I don’t think I’ve ever told y’all which brand of the coconut oil I prefer. Kris reminded me that you all need this information.

Nutiva is the best coconut oil I’ve had. I’ve also tried Spectrum refined coconut oil (before I knew that it’s only good for you if it is *unrefined*). That oil has no flavor and basically tastes like canola. And the refining process takes away all of the good stuff and makes it unhealthy. I’ve also had another brand that I bought at the co-op when it was on sale. I don’t remember the brand, but it had a bluish label. It was EV and unrefined as well, but the flavor wasn’t quite as good as Nutiva’s. I’ve never tried Garden of Life EV coconut oil, so I can’t opine in that case, but I’m particularly fond of the Garden of Life company and its founder, Jordan Rubin, who wrote The Maker’s Diet book. That book and his probiotics cured someone I dearly love who was dying, and they’ve helped me a lot as well. I know there are sites that call him a quack, but real life results are pretty darned convincing.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, Nutiva is my coconut oil brand.

benevolence

Jennifer brought up a good point in the comments to my previous post, and I got so long-winded that I figured I might as well post it. Y’all don’t have much else to read over here lately anyway. Oh, and since I wrote this as a comment, it’s disjointed and rambly. You understand.

non-profits do take on a lot of the social programs, and have been feeling the squeeze over the last decade due to drastic cuts in government funding…not enough people give to non-profits of their own free will for your idea to really be feasible.

We would if the government would severely cut spending and then cut taxes more. America is the most charitable nation on the planet, and the more money we have in our pockets, the more we’ll give. I’m sure the non-profits would feel the crunch until people started getting more money in their paychecks, but I truly believe we’re benevolent, and once people stop expecting that the government should take care of the less fortunate, we’ll step up and do it like we did in the olden days. But I think the subconscious mindset these days is that the government is taking our tax dollars for this purpose and is therefore supposed to take care of the less fortunate people, so there is no need to give to non-profits. When the government gets out of the way and we don’t have to pay so much to fund the social government agencies, we’ll give more. And if I’m not mistaken, the cuts started coming after 9/11 and it was less of a cut in program spending than a shift to different programs (big agencies with big names saw more money, and smaller agencies with smaller — but not lesser — programs saw less). That was the complaint at the non-profits I audited, that money was being shifted to bigger agencies, and you couldn’t get any money without the United Way, because all of these corporations were basically pressuring their employees to give to UW, so the UW was administrating most of the smaller programs, which were having a harder and harder time getting UW money. But I could be totally talking out of my butt on that one.

I used to audit a lot of non-profits, and I was there when the squeeze started happening, but so little of the money set aside within the government for the programs actually trickles down to the non-profits running the programs. Giant sucking whole of administrative costs, and that’s on the government end. There is still more money used on administrative costs at the non-profits themselves, and those are the only admin costs that make any sense. Non-profits have rules that the government doesn’t have. If more than a certain percentage of contributions and funding for a non-profit’s program is spent on administrative costs, they will lose their government grants. But the government doesn’t have that restriction and never will. You get capitalists doing the majority funding of charities, and there will be even less waste, and more of the money can actually be spent on those who need it. Any capitalist running an agency (and I don’t mean sitting on the board of directors, I mean owner or CEO or Executive Director) is going to want to compete with the capitalists running the other agencies (that’s what capitalism is all about) and make sure that their program is the best. Which means better fundraising more often.

I really think the government needs to do away with entire agencies so we’re not paying so much to run the agencies that have so many levels of bureaucracy. We pay the people who audit the non-profit programs, the people who read all of the applications for grants, the people who write the grant requirements, their bosses, their bosses, and it goes on and on and on. Why are so many people required in order for America to give to the poor? At the end of the day, so much of the money that’s spent on running the programs goes to pay salaries of government workers instead of going to the needy. America will give more if we’re not mandated to do so and are allowed to choose where our money goes. For the most part, we’re good people. The government just needs to get out of our way.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Call me a sucker for power ballady-type songs. We saw The Scarlet Pimpernel Friday night in Nampa. I really liked it! Some of the singing was a little eh, but the songs were great, and the dialogue is so much fun. Especially Percy Blakeney. And the guy playing him and the girl playing the French prostitute were excellent. The best part? Nobody sold their hair to pay for a watch fob no one could use!

the gifts of the blahhhhh

Ok, so we’re going to see a musical tonight, and when Frank’s mom asked if we wanted to go, that reminded me that I never blogged about the musical we saw in December. We went with the whole family to see The Gifts of the Magi. Hmm. Well, this post isn’t about the performance of the show, it’s about the show itself. The writing. First of all, I think the story is dumb, boring, and depressing. And in the car on the way home, I learned that this is actually a children’s story! That they tell to kids! Because they want kids to be sad every time Christmas rolls around, I guess. “Santa’s coming. That makes me think of those sad people who sold their stuff to buy each other irrelevant Christmas presents! Waaaah!” If someone had read that to me as a child, I would have dreaded Christmas, I’m sure of it. I would have dreaded Christmas just knowing someone would be reading me that story! Even the end is depressing. At least with Les Mis, there is redemption and a marriage at the end and beautiful music throughout, and you are mesmerized. You don’t care that you’re crying over Fantine and Eponine and poor little Gavroche, because for the love of pete, the music when they die is heartwrenchingly beautiful. Not so with The Gifts of the Magi. The music is awful. Most of the songs are monotone, and when they’re not, the melodies make no musical sense. When I saw Les Mis (and I do realize that this is an unfair comparison), I never wanted it to end. I have the entire soundtrack memorized! Both parts of the Confrontation, even! But I couldn’t *wait* for the Magi musical to be over. To be fair, there are some funny parts to the musical. And most of the performers we saw were very good. But yeah. Why anyone ever decided to tell that story to kids is beyond me. Much less make it into a musical.

Ok, so since I’m pretty much a theater idiot, y’all tell me. Is it just me?

small child dies in Grand Canyon

I’ve seen this Grand Canyon story pretty much everywhere now. First one of my readers pointed it out to me (she was actually at the Canyon that day), and now I’ve seen it on a ton of blogs. It’s a very sad story, and it’s apparently turning some people off of going to the Grand Canyon. So here are my thoughts on the whole thing.

I’m not a parent, but I have been around a lot of small children and was even one myself. I’ve been at the Grand Canyon with Essay, and her toddlers were there (one still a baby) to greet us when we finished our overnight hike. I’ve seen so many children on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, so I can only imagine that even more children go to the South Rim every year (South Rim gets about 90% of Grand Canyon’s annual visitors). This is the first time a four-year old has died in the recorded history of the Canyon, and before this, the youngest to die was thirteen. There is generally at least one death per year at the Grand Canyon (average is two to three), and child deaths are very rare. Why? Because parents know what non-parents know: the Grand Canyon is a giant hole in the ground with massive rock face and deadly drops everywhere. This is no big secret — if you can’t figure it out for yourself, there are park rangers everywhere that let you know. There are signs up everywhere. Danger! Danger! Falling over the edge is really bad and could result in death!

Most people are overly careful (I know I am) at the Canyon, especially with their children. And parents should be careful with their children no matter where they are, and no matter what dangers are nearby. On a Disney Cruise, at Disney World with a bunch of strangers hanging around, when there’s a big hole in the ground a few feet away, when they’re playing at the park, when they’re around large dogs, camping at the lake, when they’re around people they don’t know, near a swimming pool… It’s called parental responsibility. I know the parents probably only looked away for a few seconds, but a few seconds is all it takes.

And there are ample railings at the Canyon. Generally, all of the edges at the topmost part of the rims have either stone walls or steel rails as impediments. Any place we visited that didn’t have railings, we made sure to stay a good two to three feet away from the edge (even where there were stone walls, because they’re high enough to block children but not so high that an adult can’t easily fall over them), and if it was windy, we basically hugged the wall of the Canyon (when we were down in it) or stayed even farther away from the railings (on the rim). The kid was with her family where there wasn’t a railing — I’m guessing they were on one of the hiking trails, and after you’re away from the highest elevations, the rails disappear and the trails (usually three to four feet wide) are very plainly laid out. It’s very clear: you do not deviate from the trails, or you could die at any second. Even on the trail, you don’t lean over the edge to get a good picture, you don’t slide down a shallow smooth face to get a little closer to nature (how will you get back up?), and you do not feed the wildlife. And you hold on to your kids. Responsible parents should have no problems with their kids at the Canyon — like I said, kids are on the rims and in the Canyon every day. I feel really bad for the family here, especially considering that her dad is a fighter pilot and risks his life for the country every time he goes up in a fighter, but the girl didn’t die because the Grand Canyon is dangerous — and it is dangerous — but because they didn’t keep a close enough eye on their daughter. It’s horrifyingly sad, but it’s the truth. It’s a little understandable because they apparently had multiple children there, but you just can’t let go of your small children on the trails — really you need to hold on to them no matter where you are at the rims. One couple says they heard a parent say, “Don’t move,” and then she went over the edge. So even catching your child right at the edge is not safe enough. You need to be able to catch them ten feet away from the edge and don’t let them venture any closer than that without your holding on to them, at least until they’re old enough to really understand what “your life is in danger if you disobey my instructions” means.

Do you know who is most likely to die at the Grand Canyon? Not children. Not women. Adult males. I was really scared before my first backcountry hike at the Canyon, so I asked one of the park rangers how likely it was that I would die. He told me the statistics and noted that adult males die more often than any other group and that it’s usually because the adult male decides it will be hilarious to pee over the side of the rim. So just don’t do anything stupid, and you’ll be fine, he told me.

All that said, I wouldn’t take my kids once they’re out of strollers until they’re about ten or twelve. Not necessarily because of the danger, but because younger kids (from what I’ve witnessed just watching the people at the Canyon) have fun for about five minutes, and then they’re bored. That’s when the crying and chasing and scream-giggling and whining starts, and that makes the serene Grand Canyon experience much less enjoyable for the rest of the family and the complete strangers, most of whom want peace when they go to the Canyon. Seriously, on the patio of the Lodge where you get the overall expansive view of the Canyon? People whisper their conversations out of respect for the other visitors. Most people don’t talk at all, they just soak in the surroundings.

and another thing!

Don’t be lazy! Show me pictures of the inside of the house. Yes, the outside is important, too, show show me that, but seriously. If you have no pictures of the inside of the house, I just go right on ahead and assume that there is something dreadfully wrong.

no respect

Horrible people in our county. And not just the people burning cars. Check out the comments. lilsunshine is a nice example. No compassion, just “Oh great. They’ll probably just leave the cars where they are.” Forget that these people just lost their cars and could have lost their homes and their lives. And the comments are all about code enforcement and basically calling people who live in Palm Bay trash just because they don’t live in Melbourne Beach. Snobbery in its most refined state. Newsflash, Melbourne Beach: even with your big mansions on zero lot lines, you still have ugly cabbage palms all along A1A and ugly ceramic tile roofs, so your community is as ugly as any other around here. Had it been your cars set on fire, I suppose you would have been victims, but since the city these people live in is not up to your standards of wealth, the people deserved it. Nice.

And some people actually wonder why I try to avoid people when I can.

i may just loathe scalpers

A couple of months ago, I did a search for a URL/URI, whatever the heck they’re supposed to be called, and no, I don’t care which. The URL was not registered — perfectly available. I went to register it this morning and before I did, I put in the URL and noticed that it is now “for sale.” Someone went and bought it up and is now selling it and would like me to call them at one of two long-distance phone numbers, apparently to discuss a price. No thanks. I’ll just go with the .us version, because I refuse to pay extra for the domain because someone decided they’d like to scalp it.

And before y’all get all SarahK-hates-capitalism on me, I’ll just say that I love capitalism, blah blah blah. I just don’t like scummy people.

rot

After seeing so many football players get away with so many reprehensible things and be allowed to keep on playing, I’m overjoyed with the news that Michael Vick has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. I do think they left something out of this, though:

“Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions.”

And, um, the dogs. They were hurt, too. (In the previous sentence, Vick’s actions are called “cruel”; I just thought that of everyone hurt by Michael Vick, the dogs were hurt a lot worse than everyone mentioned above.)

So. Now that that’s settled, can we throw this guy and his friends in the pen and forget about him forever? Kthx.

food allergies and greedy, stupid people

Of course he did it on purpose (prof in link). Probably had his EpiPen sitting on the TV tray right next to the food in his well-lit room (just to make sure he didn’t die on the way to the hospital).

And um, most people with a severe milk allergy have a severe cheese allergy. Some aged cheeses are completely free of lactose, but that’s just going to get you around lactose intolerance — not a milk allergy (two entirely different things — one screws with your digestion and can give you other symptoms, while the other affects your whole body and can send you into anaphylactic shock). Most people with milk allergy are allergic to both casein (the protein in cheese) and whey (the protein in milk).

That said, if you know you are deathly allergic to milk, you either eat at restaurants (not fast food) where you can call ahead and talk to the chef to find out if you can eat safely at his restaurant, or you cook for yourself! You don’t play chicken with your food allergy. It’s just stupid, and it’s your own fault if you get sick or go into shock.

I am not allergic to wheat, rye, and barley, but I am incredibly intolerant (they cause massive vitamin deficiencies in me and give me seizures, muscle aches, nerve pain, heartburn, other not-fun gastric symptoms, migraines, pain in my teeth… I could list more). I’m so sensitive to wheat that I generally can’t eat any packaged foods that were made in facilities where wheat is even processed. So I do NOT go to McDonalds and order a burger without the bun. I know they’re just going to take the bun off of a burger they’d already made, and even if they make a new bun-less burger for me, I don’t trust that they didn’t change their gloves before they touched my food. I’m not stupid. In fact, before I go to any fast food restaurant (very rare), I do my research to make sure of what I can eat there. Meaning that I check the website before I eat there and see what on their menu is completely free of my food intolerances. And when I get there, I ask if their french fry fryer is a dedicated fryer (even though I know it is, because the website told me so). I know before I get to the restaurant that I can eat about four things there. French fries, hashbrowns, hot mustard sauce, and the parfait (without the granola). And if Frank has ordered anything containing wheat, I ask them to put my part in a separate bag from his. Because I know that if I get sick, it’s my fault for not cooking my own food and for trusting my health to someone else.

Recently at Chipotle, I asked the girl who warms the tortillas to change her gloves before she made my burrito bowl, and she did (I watched her). But then I forgot to ask the girl who folds the burritos to change hers before handling my cheese. And I got sick just from her gloves that had previously touched wheat touching my cheese. That wasn’t her fault. It was mine, because I forgot to ask.

It all boils down to trust for me. I don’t trust that other people are as diligent with my food preparation and as concerned about my getting sick as I am.

DOs and DON’Ts for realtors

Ok, more like DON’Ts and DON’Ts that I’m framing as DOs.

And this isn’t addressed to all realtors… mainly just the one we met with about a month ago.

1) Do smile. It helps if you smile, ever, during the tour of the house. Don’t walk around the house and say, “Oh yes, white appliances sell just fine!” with a big huge grimace on your face. “Yes, the walls are painted lovely!” while you glare at them with scorn and contempt. Your voice sounds reassuring, but your eyes say you’re a liar.
2) Do dial back the gloom and doom. Don’t tell potential clients, who have not looked at paperwork, who have not signed paperwork, who have not made a decision that you are the realtor for them, that you see doom, DOOOOOOM in their future. Dude. We watch the news. We know the real estate market is low. We know that if we want to maximize our profit, our house will be on the market for a while (though all this staging work and the golf course thing will help a lot).
3) Do meet the dog. Otherwise she’s just gonna whine in her crate the whole time. It’s good you met the dog and weren’t afraid of her puppy butt making her entire body wag in excitement.
4) Do compliment my mad decorating skillz. Seriously, you should have offered me a job staging your listings after seeing just what was finished of the house, and you couldn’t have been less interested? This also goes along with #1. I am a girl, and my ego needs stroking. Hmm. Maybe I need a girl realtor.
5) Don’t tell me my husband has the option of offing me if he wants to sell the house without me. I thought it was kinda funny, though. “The house is only in his name, but you’re married, so now he can’t legally sell it without your signature.” “SCORE!” “Well, don’t be too excited, because now his only option for getting rid of it without your permission is to kill you.” “He’s given me guns on two separate Christmases. It wouldn’t be smart of him to try.”
6) Do look surprised if I say that. He didn’t. Like he was not surprised at all that I would kill the man I love. I adore him!
7) Do know what faux wood blinds are. At the very least, pretend to know what faux wood blinds are. I told this guy that we were replacing all of our miniblinds with faux wood blinds. He barely nodded. When we got to the master bath during the tour, I motioned to the window and noted that we would be putting up the faux wood blinds in there as well… and when we got to the den, and he saw a set of faux wood blinds sitting out (preparing for installation)? He reached out and stroked them and said, “Are these the kind of blinds you were talking about?” And y’all, he’s been in the business for AGES and owns his own branch.
8) Don’t show me every house in the neighborhood that sold for way too cheap and NOT show me the ones that sold for decent prices. I already did some research before you came, so I’m onto your act. You want to sell the house at a major discount so you can get a quick commission. We’re willing to stay here longer if we have to in order to get what the house is worth. It might mean Florida for a little longer, and it’s not exactly a luxury home, but it sure is nice enough to stay in now that we’ve fixed it up.
9) Don’t try to tell me we’re not on a premium lot. I know that having a house on the golf course is going to get us more than $3K to $5K over what’s across the street. If the lot premium was $10K five years ago, I’m not going to buy your ocean-front property in the Painted Desert.

In case it’s not clear, we are most definitely NOT letting this guy put a sign in our yard. We’re going to put our own sign in the yard for a couple of weeks, and if we don’t sell the house quickly, we’ll talk to a different company. Not the man who hasn’t seen the inside of a house in fifty years.

new lights!

These are the new light fixtures we installed over both bathroom vanities. Actually, Frank did most of the work, I just helped. The one in the master bath (pictured below) has four globes, and the front bath fixture has three globes. All bulbs are incandescent, of course (don’t y’all want to know what kind of lightbulbs the Js use? Yes, you do.). Those fluorescent bulbs aren’t so good for people with epilepsy (me included!), not to mention that I drop stuff all the time, and if you break a fluorescent bulb, a HazMat team has to come clean up the spill for you. Oh, and if global warming is real (it’s not — you know, in the ’70s, “they” were convinced we were heading for an ice age), we’re not going to fix it by running our cars on corn and putting ugly fluorescents in our houses. I’m convinced that anything we do to try to fix it will just make it worse — did y’all know that whatever it is that replaced CFCs in aerosol sprays is so much worse for the ozone layer than the CFCs were? Yeah.

Wait, how did my light fixture post go from there to global warming? I just want to show y’all a picture. Here it is.

UPDATE: I’m stupid. But I was really tired when I wrote this. Thanks Rod!

Sorry dog-abusing idiots

I’ve been wanting to post about the whole Michael-Vick-is-(allegedly)-evil-and-abuses- dogs thing ever since I heard the story (profanity in link). No, wait. I don’t want to leave out his partners. Filthy, putrid scum. However, as my head still explodes in rage over the whole thing (and rage is bad, peeps, rage is bad), I don’t know how coherent I can be about it.

Ok, I’ll keep it brief, because if I go into detail, I’ll start off my day in a most unpleasant mood.

You have to have pure evil in your heart to treat animals like that — human or furry (or furry human). First off, forcing dogs to fight for sport? So do you think their parents ever took them into poorly-lit, dingy arenas, put them in there with another kid, and told them that if they didn’t beat the crap out of the other kid and win the fight, they’d be in big trouble? And after they lost their fights, did their parents electrocute them, slam them into the ground so hard they died, drown them, hang them? Or did they do that to them for making poor grades (I mean, how could such right idiots get good ones)? But then, Vick and his moron friends don’t actually see these dogs as actual living creatures, do they? They’re just sport, playthings, things for people with minimal brain capacity to torture and gamble on. Evil, rotten [self-edit]s.

Hmm, I wonder why pit bulls have such a bad rep for fighting? Yeah, I know it’s in the genes, but they’re dogs first, and when you’re not forcing them to do it and give them exercise and a little bit of (non-torturous) discipline, they’re sweet, loyal dogs. The fight can be trained out, and so can the prey instinct. And the fight is only there in the first place because other dog-abusing freaks started breeding them to fight.

And don’t even get me started on his purchase of this land. Bad Newz Kennels? What’s in a name, right?

I wonder what Vic’s business cards say. “Michael Vick. Quarterback. Abusive Moron who Tortures Dogs.”

8 random facts about me

Ahem, blogchildren, I hate memes! Haha, just kidding. But this one’s HARD! digitalKaren tagged me, so I’m supposed to just tell y’all eight random facts about me. Then I’m s’posed to tag people. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged.

  1. I am a member of the church of Christ. I grew up in it, and I’m a big fan of the Bible. And I think more people who have opinions about religious people should actually know what it says.
  2. If Frank and the pack of wild animals and I could live at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (on the Rim) and blog for a living, hiking and biking on our breaks and the weekends, I’d beg and beg until Frank said yes. Since that’s not likely an option, I dream of retiring to Flagstaff someday.
  3. I’ve never read a Jane Austen book.
  4. I can’t stand seeing chicks in bikinis, showing off their cleavage, or wearing shorts or skirts above about an inch or two above the knee. I hate that there is so little modesty left in our society. Put some clothes on.
  5. I like guns. I especially like cleaning and shooting them.
  6. I trust very few people. I also have very good creepdar. Thank you, Psycho X!
  7. I love kitty cats. I don’t like dogs.
  8. Like Pauler Abdul, I’ve never been drunk in my entire life, and I’ve never done recreational drugs. Except I’m for real about that.

i call pit bullcrap

This is not suitable for children.

Venomous Kate linked to this story about a family pit bull apparently sexually assaulting the family toddler. VK has something to say on the matter… and pit bull apologist or not, I disagree that the dog should be destroyed right away; I think there should be an investigation, especially since there is so much wrong with this story. I mean, first of all, this just sounds hinky.

Seriously.

I mean, was it really the dog? (Btw, how many times must we say pit bull in the news articles? Had it been a golden retriever, you would have called it a golden retriever once, just to let everyone know that it wasn’t an *evil* pit bull or Rottweiller, and thereafter, you would have called him a DOG. But it’s a pit bull, so you make sure that the breed is repeated and repeated. After all, his pit bull-ness made him do it, right?) Or was it the dad or another male in the family, or a neighbor, and they blamed the dog as a scapegoat so the hospital wouldn’t figure it out and call child services? Or was it the dog, but because the owners were playing out some deviant sexual fantasy involving their child and a dog? Yes, there are sick people in this world, and I’m just saying, this DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Were neighbors really there helping pull off the dog like the officer said, or is the family just saying that? Or are the neighbor witnesses really good friends of family who would say anything? It just seems really incredible to me that the dog pulled the clothes and the diaper off of the toddler and knew where he was going and everything. I can’t wrap my head around the logic.

No wait. Another link.

Det. Capt. Larry Eggert says the mother was changing the baby’s diaper and briefly left the room.

I’m not going to fault her for leaving the room in the middle of a changing. Whatever. Maybe the phone rang, maybe he peed in her eye, and she forgot the baby wipes. But. Left her neckid baby alone in the room either with her two-year-old (primo hormonal age), apparently intact male DOG, or without knowing where the DOG was?? (That’s if I’m buying this story, which I’m not. I’m *so* not.)

Second, the officer said that the toddler has had surgeries to repair damage caused by the dog, but there were no bites? Really? Ok, first of all, *graphic alert*, how would the dog have turned the boy over (mothers do still change diapers with children lying on their backs, yes?) to mount the boy without putting some kind of bite marks or scratches on the boy? How? I guess we’re to assume that the toddler just got up and started walking around, and the dog knocked him back down for some dominance behavior and promptly mounted him? And put NO OTHER MARKS ON THE BOY? I’m sorry, but if Rowdi hi-fives me too hard and barely misses my hand and hits my arm instead? I end up with a welp on my arm for half the day. So there would have been some kind of marks — maybe not bites, but at least scratches. Come ON. And by the way, I feel most horrible for this little child and do wish him a speedy recovery. His parents? I’d like a word with them.

And then the Det. Capt. says:

“She heard some screams, returned very quickly found the dog in the act of doing what it was doing. She screamed apparently that must have caused the dog to become afraid.” The dog ran outside, still attached to the boy. Neighbors stepped in to help, beating on the dog to get it off the boy. (sic)

And now is where I really get going. IF this story is actually true, I have some questions.

First question. Does the dog still have his balls? If so, why so? There is absolutely NO reason for pit bulls to breed. Or goldens or labs or any of them for that matter. But pit bulls? Even lovers of the breed like me can go down to any pound and find plenty on any given week that are going to be put down for a number of different reasons. Abuse, neglect, family didn’t understand that pit bulls have a lot of energy, too much work to make the dog *actually* behave, and in Rowdi’s case, the excuse the family gave the pound was that they were moving. Moving. “We’re sorry, Family Member, we can’t take you with us, we’re moving, and it’s simply too much work to take you along. Farewell, hope someone else wants you. Otherwise, happy death to you.” We actually learned later from a random person on the street who knew Rowdi that they gave her up because she barked all the time, and the neighbors kept calling the cops on the owners, so they were going to have to move if they *didn’t* give her up. Yeah, funny how we don’t have that problem with her. Discipline does interesting things for a dog. /tangent

Anyway, as I said, no reason for the dog to have his balls, and I’m betting that either he has his balls, or he runs the show around there (probably both). Humping is a dominance thing for dogs. If the dog actually mounted the baby on his own, it means that the dog doesn’t respect his owners. Dogs don’t harm owners’ pups unless the dogs don’t see the owners as being in charge. Am I wrong on this one?

Next question. How in the world do you leave your toddler alone with your two-year-old dog, and I don’t care what kind of dog he is? You don’t. You know where your dog is at all times. And if the dog gets within two feet of your child (or kitty cat, as our case is), or further out with that fixated prowling look on his face, you handle up on your business and OWN YOUR FREAKING DOG.

And having to beat the dog off of the child as the dog is running around outside with the baby dangling from his privates? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Picture it. Pit bulls are not tall dogs. Rowdi is taller than most because she’s also part Shepherd and part Lab. But go to that first link and look at the picture of the dog. That is all pit bull. So I wanna know. Is the child’s head all bashed up from scraping along the ground when the dog ran outside with him?

UPDATE: The second link has updated, and the neighbors are now down to one neighbor who heard the woman screaming?

“The dog had the baby by the front leg. And the baby’s stomach….then I had to beat up on the dog to take him away from the baby.”

And then the dog ran outside. And the baby threw up, and the neighbor saw rectal bleeding.

The family apparently wants it euthanized but that won’t happen until the investigation is finished.

Excellent. Because yeah, I am not so quick to judge the dog in this situation. Parents? Um, yeah. Put them down ASAP. This whole thing reeks.

Oh, and they’re bringing in an animal behaviorist (the 2nd link previously said that it was one from out-of-town, but that 2nd link also keeps mysteriously erasing strange components of itself). I hope it’s Cesar. Also, I really like this SPCA chief, who is adamant about not putting the dog down until the investigation is over.

Whew. Ok, I’m done. I guess y’all know how I feel about it. And apparently I’m not the only one not buying it.

I actually might follow this story. I don’t tend to follow up on things, because I see shiny things and forget, but I haven’t been able to get this one out of my head all day (except during my date with Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes). So stay tuned.

coming up

Ugh. I had a post already written about this story, which I found at Electric Venom. I had written the whole post in Kate’s comments and decided I needed to do my ranting over here; however, I was stupid, cut my comment, and went and copied the link to the story before pasting my comment into the blog post I’ve already started about this, and therefore lost my whole post. So. My rant will have to wait until later. And NOOOO. I will *not* hold back my feelings about the child’s parents.

But. I have a date with my husband and Dumbledore’s Army. So this will be a little later.

Also coming up, I’m really trying to get y’all some karaoke, way better than that other karaoke we posted. I finally have the karaoke, at least most of it, on my own computer, and I finally have it in a program that will let me work with it (for some reason the video editing software that we have actually paid good money for WILL NOT LOAD on my computer). Now I just have to learn how to make the one big long karaoke video into little 3 and 4 minute clips then upload the video to the interwebz.

But. I have a date with my husband and a Prophecy. So this, too, will be later.

Be good, musees. And avoid all the Bat-Bogey Hexes that may come your way.

argh

I do not know whose bright idea it was to make Arial the grand default font for all things Microsoft, but I’d hereby like it noted that that is the ugliest font in the history of fonts. I can hardly bear to read a spreadsheet that’s in Arial, much less work with one. If I’m having a hard time reading a spreadsheet, what’s the first thing I do? Switch the font from Arial. I hates it for my number stuff.

I ranted

Imus/Rutgers
Duke rape case
Rosie O
Free speech
Racism

It’s all there.

i wouldn’t believe it if i didn’t hear it

If it weren’t Rosie, I wouldn’t have believed it came out of a human’s mouth. He’s Kalid Shaikh Mohammed. You’ve never heard of this animal, Rosie? He deserves to be treated like an animal, because he is an animal. He is treated far better than he deserves.

note to doctors: you are not gods

More to come on this subject.

“Pitbulls Not Involved in Attacks, Animal Control Not Surprised”

Hahahaha*, SarahK not surprised either.

Animal control says a mastiff bit a woman near a house in the 300 block of West Decatur Street.

The woman is out of the hospital, but lost part of her right breast in the attack.

First of all, ouch. I hope she recuperates well. Second of all… What? You mean other dogs besides “pit bulls” bite people? Are you sure?

A chow mix bit an 87-year-old woman, amputating her left leg.

Bit her leg off? Again, ouch. I wish her a speedy recovery. And what? You mean other dogs besides “pit bulls” bite people? Are you sure?

Animal control says they’re not surprised to see dogs other than pitbulls involed in a viscious attack.

Are they crazy? Don’t they know every dog that bites is a pit bull wearing a dog suit to imitate other breeds?

In fact, Macon County’s animal control warden says recent statistics at the shelter show pitbulls at the bottom of the bite list.

Macon County Animal Shelter volunteer Melinda Rueter says you never know when a dog might bite.

Pitbulls are a common suspect for attacking humans. But Reuter says the bad reputation comes from dog fighting.

She says pitbulls are not any more aggressive to humans than any other breed.

What? Of all the breeds responsible for bites in Decatur, IL, pit bulls are at the bottom of the list? What? And wow, that’s a lot of paragraphs for 5 sentences.

Reuter says they have many pitbulls that come into the shelter that are wonderful, affectionate dogs who are great with kids. She says and you can find many owners in the community that have pitbulls that are very happy with their dogs and don’t have any issues with aggression.

Wook at the sweet wittle puppy…

Oh no! She’s biting something! Ban her!

Earlier this month a Decatur attorney, spearheading an effort to ban pit bulls, addressed the Decatur city council.

Awww, the racist lawyer must be planning to run for DA or mayor or something. He needs a false cause to boost his public profile.

But many say a breed specific ban won’t stop dog fighting, abuse, or irresponsible owners.

What? Are you sure?

* I don’t want to make light of the women’s injuries… It’s just my… you know… pet cause.

(HT Best of the Web via Frank J.)