Archive

Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! BLASTOFFF

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I love waking up only to open Facebook and find I have been:

1-the last thing on someone mind before they hit the sheets.
2-the first thing they thought of when they awaken.
3-the one they dream of all night long.

It’s astounding that I; an overweight, ( I hate the word “OBESE” it sounds like a mythological animal that passes OBOES, which I also hate,) aging, pedantic curmudgeon has such a profound impact on people.

Really the whole curmudgeon bit is an affectation that I adopted for self protection since I am now too old to beat up 65% of the neighborhood!

So all I have to say is:

GOOD MORNING, PLEASE HAVE A CUPCAKE, CUPCAKE,

20120915-084227.jpg

Advertisements

Forget what I said, I’m suing the realtor…

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Dateline April 2011 – I have to admit it, I was wrong and I spoke two soon. Every realtor I’ve ever had in the last 30 years has basically turned out to be a dufus, or a inept clown or at worst a fraud.

How in the world do we allow these people to take 5 or 6 percent of right off the top of the most expensive items we own. Think about it, if you have a house that you spent 20 years paying off you’ve ended up working a year for somebody with access to the Multiple Listing Service, a cell phone and a lock box.

They don’t sell your house, at least most of them. Typically it seems they just sit around waiting to see if somebody finds your house and has a mortgage approval.

First there was BC, my realtor in CT, convinced me to list my house at 30% below the appraised value and then spent 10 months telling me the house was only worth 60% of the listing price…. Thank God he finally found me a renter who can at least cover the costs even thought he took 10% of the rent……

Take may house in Missouri, PLEASE! My realtor, will call him Bud, told me about all the work he was going to do to market my house, photos, videos, premier listings and if I was willing to take a small loss he would sell it in 90 to 100 days… Seeing as I needed to move for a new job I was willing to. Expedite the deal.

The net result 210 days and counting and only one totally unacceptable offer.

Then there’s my wonderful agent in Colorado, the guy who was going to reimburse me for repairs caused when his scumbag brother failed to honor the purchase contract on my new home in Colorado. Poor guy, after he got the invoices, pre approved mind you, all of a sudden don’t you know he made a mistake on his taxes and the IRS suddenly emptied his bank account. Poor realtor, bad IRS.

Boy what kind of schmuck does he think I am, the IRS doesn’t just decide to empty your bank account!

Yes I do know the market is bad, but the problem is that there are very, very few people who can qualify for mortgages, and why is that?

Basically it the net result of years of permissiveness and dishonesty, dishonest brokers, secured lier’s loans from dishonest financiers, who bundled the bad paper and sold notes hyped by dishonest bond raters.

There’s no skill, little truth and no values in the industry from my perspective at this time.

Now I need to find a good honest shyster, I mean lawyer to straighten this all out……

_____________________________________________________

Update April 2012

Well frankly I didn’t post the original rant, perhaps I was embarrassed to admit that I was too casual and not cynical enough to have prevented the troubles. But I am doggedly determined, I did sue in small claims and recovered the maximum allowed under Colorado State Law! Score one for the Good Guy!

Categories: Change, Life, Ramblings, Society

The Need to be Indispensable and Irreplaceable.

February 21, 2012 1 comment

I was fortunate to have some hard-working role models in my early life.

Most notably my step-father.  He was an enlisted man in the Air Force, a Staff Sargent or E5 whose earnings peaked in 1965 at $244.80 a month pay and a family allowance of $105.00 for my Mother, two brothers and sister.  So Woody, that’s what my brother Walter and I called our step-father, took as many as outside jobs as he could find; cleaning bowling alleys and doing the window dressing at the local Sears at night.  Picking up what ever odd job he could.

It was the financial pressures that finally forced him to leave the Air Force, with I think about 16 years service.  Now as a civilian life was a bit better; but we never had a new car, we never had our own house, the most upscale store was Sears, and the best vacation was when Uncle Bill Meyer lent us his cabin on the beach in Clinton.

He was my primary role model; as I result by age 10 I was taking farm work picking peas and mowing lawns outside Greenleaf, Idaho.  By the way I went to a two room schoolhouse and the lawn I mowed was my closet neighbor’s 1 acre lawn for $3 a pop.  Did I mention he didn’t have a mower and his house was a 1.4 mile away? Thank God the out house didn’t stink.

We eventually moved to denser population centers.  Wall, South Dakota for example, where  I got better jobs.  I  clean windshields, pumped gas and checked your oil at the local Sinclair station for awhile until I got the position of town paper boy.  The only one; seven days a week; sun, rain or snow.  I visited more houses than the post office.

By the time I turned 16 farm work, but not paper routes, were set aside.  By the time I entered the Navy in 1972 I had worked at McDonald’s, my morning motor paper route was 200 houses, cleaned a bowling alley with the old man and delivered auto parts; all at the same time.  Ok so I exaggerate a bit, I did give up the bowling alley and only delivered auto parts on school vacations and eventually the wear and tear on my pink 1960 Dodge Pheonix caused me to give up the paper route.  However, until I graduated from College at the ripe young age of 33 in 1986 I never had less than 2 jobs.

A college degree changed everything; not only did I make more Ca Ching! but I only had to work one job!

But that’s the crux of my current dilemma, the monkey on my now curving back.  I only work one job, and while the work isn’t physical labor, I don’t work any less or fewer hours, in fact I work more. See I am free to work any time, all the time, even in my sleep. I dream work.  I’ve recently realised I rarely dream about my darling 5 year old daughter, my wife, my car, my dream friends. No,  I dream of solutions that will allow me to use eForms in new creative ways, how to resolve business problems with creative implementations of business process management and how to use analytics to create out-of-the box solutions.  I am driven to make the work of others, more productive, more easy, more, more, more, more….

Whenever someone else stumbles I try to be there to catch them, even if that means working any time of the day or night.  Mentor someone in India at 11PM I’m there, talk to a project team across three continents at 5 AM I’ll be there.  Why not, I’m dreaming about work anyway right?

Why?  I mean why do I do this, why? 

For one thing, I have developed a neurosis.  I heard on the TV recently that a new neurosis has been submitted for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I think it was called “nocellphoneanosis” or something like that found in  younger members of our society.  Some of these people live in constant fear that their smart phones are going to be lost or stop working and they no longer have the ability to interact except via SMS, Twitter and the occasional obligatory call to Mom.

I now believe that shortly after Y2K. when suddenly all those thousands of off-shore technology workers and “consulting” firms suddenly had to, and I might add very successfully, change into real consulting and staffing firmsl there has been constant competitive pressure on my job, not from the bottom up, but from the top down and either side.

Second, certain former manager’s have found this to be a marvelous motivational tool.  Yes, I one time had a manager say to me, in public, “I don’t like you and if I could I would get rid of you“, it became an innate neurotic need to ensure my talents were indispensable and irreplaceable. Now in his defense I do have to add I am not the most loveable person who ever walked God’s Green Earth, I accept that and I work very hard at being personally acceptable; I’ve resigned myself to possessing a limited LQ or Loveabilty Quotient.

I want to interject a little thank you to my wife who has an LQ of “adorable” , so when we got married my LQ increased from “cretin” to “average guy“.

So I’ve been much more fortunate than many of my peers, lost over the intervening years to the great off shore body snatch.  First of all I didn’t get married and start a family until I was 53 freeing me to work 26×8 (consultants do double book,) and I fell into a niche with lots of demand, where I seemed to posses a modicrum of talent.  With very little  competition and comparatively good opportunities for self-study and work I’ve continued to do well.   I have  been able to leverage my work ethic, these opportunities and my skills to be that critical need person.

I was doubly fortunate to secure my current position.  I’ve likened it to the Elephant’s Graveyard for the IT professional.  Here to my chagrin most of my peers had anywhere from 15 to 35 years employment  in many respects I was mid career not end career. OH JOY OH JOY!

But the one thing I don’t know about the Elephant’s Graveyard is this, once and awhile an elephant is cut from the herd and is forced out to die a cold and lonely death.  If the King of the Elephant’s decides Dumbo’s peaked and he’s hogging the hay, well say la vie Dumbo.  It doesn’t happen often and there are earmarks when it will, but it’s happened here and it will happen again.  I am determined to be Jumbo not Dumbo.

So even though I really haven’t cut back on my work, my laborious dreams,  I’ve been happy these last 18 months.  But after some of the herd disappeared I sense the neurosis returning, becoming more impatient, more infected with my own personal neurosis: “ICANDOIT“!

I have to confess I am scared, scared how this neurosis will affect my LQ and even a realization and expectation of what happens if I don’t disappear from the herd too soon, I can deal with that I still have mad skills. But what if I make it to retirement. How the hell can I turn this thing off and how much worse can it get?

________________________________________

By the way if this story bores you, look up the history of elephant’s like Hanno, Pope Leo the X’s pet white elephant and Muderous Mary.   I would rather be Dumbo!

…and there’s no you.

Everyone has heard the cliché  There’s no ‘i’ in team…”  although sometime later Michael Jordan pointed out “…there is an ‘i’ in WIN.”   Earlier this year I was struck by similar truism, “There’s no U in teamwork.” 

Feel free to use it…

Categories: Ramblings, Society

The Quest for Mediocracy; An Easy 12 Step Recovery Program

I’ve been grappling with the idea that all my ‘conservative’ friends believe me to be a “raging liberal” and thereby patently, clinically and categorically insane; while my significantly fewer-in-number ‘liberal’ friends, consider me to somewhat backward, parsimonious and genetically deficient.  Fruitlessly, I’ve proclaimed myself to be a moderate, perhaps a progressive moderate.  Regardless, if I didn’t agree with some popularized Gorish or Limbaughian commentary, I was outted.

This confuses me greatly.  Needing some perspective, I recalled a time in my youth at High School.   Nixon was running for his second term as President and 18 year olds had been given our franchise to vote.    I registered as a Democrat for three key reasons;  a fondness for JFK,  a fear of Nixon, and I assumed my Mother would ground me for treason if I went GOP.   However, there was only one active group welcoming to us Baby Boomers, the Young Republicans.  Even while admitting that I was a registered Democrat, they allowed me to I join, plan and participate, it was an ideologically agnostic, altruistic and magnanimous experience.

This experience set my expectations and provided direction 30 years later as the Democratic Chairman of Coventry’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a board of seven; four Democrats and thee Republicans.  It was perhaps the most rewarding political experience of my life.   We worked together famously, without rancour or derisive behaviour and we performed extremely well;  we were all so blissfully innocent and preternaturally wise. 

My first bitter taste came in the last year of my second term, when asked privately by the then Democratic Town Council Chair,  if I could somehow ensure that someone with a pending appeal was granted their exception. She feared the Republicans and since it appeared that I had good control of the board she was certain I could see it through.  She was not terribly thrilled when I informed her that;

  • I didn’t control the board we all made an effort to work together.
  • The Republican members were as good and decent as the Democratic members. 
  • My advice, make sure they satisfied the legal requirements, if they did so they would prevail. 

Predictably, the petitioners presented no evidence or justifications and consequently the were unanimously denied their request.  Subsequently, the Town’s Democratic Party apparatchiks  found me wanting and I was asked not to run for a third term. 

That was nearly 10 years ago. 

I came believe that both parties are at their core inherently corrupt, corrupted or corruptible.  The corruption is driving further change in the political landscape. Politicians today are ever so much more derisive, so binary, so monochromatic that we’re no longer permitted to identify ourselves with a recognizable centrist identity.   The resulting rancour and polarization is a terribly damaging affliction affecting our society and our country and even our basic relationships with one another.  

Our past President put it best during his farewell address, that is President George Washington in 1796.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”   

Old George wasn’t just the tallest rich-guy sporting Rock Maple Dentures, he was damn smart.

I believe that one possible solution is to give the “Silent Majority” a political identity.  To that end, I propose an organization of ‘affiliated centrists’, the politically laid back people who want balanced benefits, common sense morality and their just desserts.  Who prefer reasonable discussion over fevered rhetoric,  humor over anger, serenity to angst.    That organization is the Mediocratic Party, a party of moderation, where under-achievement is acceptable so long as your intentions are good, where we believe in opportunity to fail,  where blind obedience to the left or right is doomed to fail.  A party truly for the concerned independent.  

There will be no party conventions, no dues, no platforms, no PAC, no funds.  We will only wag our favorite flying digits at those shameful ner do wells and extremists that cause us to consume Tums and Prilosec.

Now since it appears that both the Democratic and Republican parties contain constituent extremists, and we should too.  Amongst the unaffiliated extremist wings have been identified;

  1. Those totally “unconcerned” with societal matters, unless it affects the cost of beer and cigarrettes or the requirement to wear a motorcyle helmet
  2.  and those who are wish to demonstrate their independence through lack of committal or feigned indifference.   

Now if you want to join in, simply follow the following steps, or just a few, or just do nothing.   All I ask is that when asked what your belive in adopt a blissfull gaze and say, Moderate, moderate in all things, including moderation…”  For repentant Democrats, Republicans, Tea or Coffee partiers and extreme centrists I suggest following the entire 12 step recovery program.

Step 1. I admit that the typical registered Democrat or Republican is really powerless and thereby unable determine their own destiny.
Step 2. I believe that there is a Mediocre Power capable of restoring us to sanity.
Step 3.  I’ve decided to trust our care to leaders who are  neither charismatic or bombastic;  blissfully so-so but really mean well.
Step 4.  I’ve made a moral inventory of  our county and it scares me.
Step 5.  I’ve admitted to posting on Facebook humorous anecdotes and one liners to mask my true feeling or unfriending  or blocking some of my more extremist acquaintances.
Step 6.  I am ready for God to remove all signs of extremism.
Step 7. I humbly ask that you not burden me with your shortcomings, or at least keep them to yourself.
Step 8.  I have a list and I’m checking it twice.
Step 9.  I belive apologising is for Democrats, proselytizing is for Republicans.
Step 10.  What you don’t know, hasn’t hurt you, just saying.
Step 11.   I gave this a  little thought.
Step 12.  I’ve got a headache, we might just be better off as practicing alcoholics.

To those few of you who have managed to process all of this and are ready to not commit, I grant you all manumission, you are now free to emancipate the country.

Categories: Political, Ramblings, Rants

Is it all about survival…

No matter where I turn it seems we’ve all become, perhaps out of necessity, survivalists; not survivors, but survivalists.   The American Heritage dictionary defines a survivalist as: 

  • One who has personal or group survival as a primary goal in the face of difficulty, opposition, and especially the threat of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse.

It seems to be fundamentally different situation from that of a survivor; which according to the same source is someone who perseveres.  See a survivor’s done it, finished it, defeated it.  A survivalist on the other hand is on the perseverance treadmill, ever vigilant, constantly dealing with threats real and imagined.  The modern survivalist is inundated;  terrorism, BP’s Oil Debacle, the Taliban, the Great Recession, healthcare, identity theft, social oppression  and the cheerleaders of doom and gloom, (not me see Glen Beck.)   Have we evolved from the gun toting, forest deweling, toilet paper hoarding Survivalists and Militias so prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, or have we all become  more common survivalists, yet more accepted and casually attired?

Consider again the Tea Party;  give Billy and Betty Jo Stump a Smart Phone, a mantra and change the camo into chinos; age them 11 years, add a Sarah Palin badge and viola, instant Tea Party activist!

Lately I’ve been focussed on a new kind of employment the “survival job“.   While I’m far from a coal miner, no need to shake coal dust from my hair, have a Canary at work,  or worry about black lung, I am not what I set out to be.  Neither are many of my friends and acquaintances.   Sometimes, when discouragement sets in, I’ve had to resort to an aphoristic behavior: I read the Desiderata.  It helps me to realize that it’s yet better here in the US then it is in most of the world.  Why else is our primary immigration issue one of influx and not outflow, it’s becuase we have something of value and we don’t want to lose it!  

So maybe as whacky and capricious as those Tea Partiests seem to me perhaps they’re doing some good.  I may just be tired, grumpy and fearful, but I hope to survive being a survivalist, I certainly pray I will.

Much Love! 

 Tom

Please take our poll.

Categories: Political, Ramblings, Rants, Society

Play me a song big boy…

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I may finally be able to get a chance to perform my orignal blues song,”Booger Blues“. in public for the first time since 1980!  We’ve even written the first new verse in over twenty years.  Here’s how it goes, (no in your head you need to supply the the music, something bluesey, like dum dummm, dummm dummm, dummm…

One day I’s jes driven’ down an ole lonely road,
a workin’ my finger in a boogie load.
I picked and dug,
boogies snot what I gots.
dam boogies hard as ole bubble gum!

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Saw the Doctor, man were’nt no fool
done invented a boogie picken tool!
Doctor tells me, says “you’ll be fine..
jes sabe dem boogies, make ya some boogie wine!”

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Fill up dat bottle
wit a batch o’ wine
Slap on a label call it
Chateau de neuf Nez 1989….

Categories: Ramblings