The pen is mightier than the sword but no match for a gun

Nothing is simple.

Another young man goes on a shooting rampage.  This country wrings it’s hands.  The gun whack jobs will say that if the other students had been armed he could have been stopped.  I’m just not sure how they can all be so sure that it would end like that.

When it comes to extreme stress situations and emergencies, you never know how someone is going to react.  Unless they have been trained, they don’t know.    Who knows how much bravado dies because they froze.  Studies have found that some possess an ability to rise to the occasion while others are destine to be victims even if they have the opportunity to save themselves, they won’t.  They won’t leave a burning airplane.  They say that’s the difference between the ones that survive things like plane crashes and train or bus crashes.  If they aren’t killed in the initial incident, they have the ability to get out and many times lead others out.  A lot like the World Trade Center.  Others freeze.  They don’t make it.  I find that fascinating.  I’m pretty certain I would be the one to survive, if I had a moment to make a split second decision.

I used to live on Sabado Tarde.  The Brother lived in Isla Vista at one point too.  We both know where all of this took place.  Isla Vista is cut off from the rest of the world.  It’s a series of mostly 1950 and 1960’s era apartments each jam packed with students trying to stretch their funds.  Del Playa is the beach.  Back in the 60’s there were plenty of demonstrations there including the famous burning of the Bank of America.    We could have used the Class of 1970 in 2008.

I am getting more and more fascinated in what makes people tick.  What makes them do what they do.  Why they say what they say.  Why they can’t just say what they want.

This particular young man was afflicted with Asparger’s Syndrome.  Highly functioning until Saturday night.  He had been putting up a series of youtube videos that were becoming more and more disturbed.  His family was concerned and called the Sheriff who did a welfare check.  Here is the thing, you can’t just haul somebody off to a mental hospital any more.  This guy was 22.  His parents couldn’t do anything more than ask for a welfare check.  If the patient doesn’t want help, we are all screwed.  He didn’t want help and did not appear to be in a state where the sheriff could haul him off on a 5150 or a 5250.

Now you could get all up in arms about the injustice of that, before you do that let me remind you that in California it was the work of both Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan that got us to this point.  And I don’t know that it is a bad thing.  I don’t know what the solution is either.

Whenever I think of this subject, I think of Rosemary Kennedy.  At 23 years old her father Joseph Kennedy authorized a lobotomy for her “irritable and difficult” behavior.  She spent the next 53 years of her life institutionalized.  Rosemary is a perfect example of why the laws had to be changed.  In those early IQ tests, Rosemary Kennedy tested very low, in the 60’s and 70’s.  As the story goes, when she was born, the nurse would not deliver her until the Doctor arrived.   The delay resulted in a lack of oxygen and her intellectual disability.  She was functioning until the lobotomy.   What’s interesting is that lobotomies were outlawed in the USSR in 1950 but to this day not in the US, although several states have banned them.

The thing is, we cannot apply our morals and our thought processes to the mentally ill, because they are mentally ill.  Their head doesn’t work like ours, that’s why they are ill.   And there is a plethora of illnesses and afflictions.  Manic depression, now called bi-polar, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, autism spectrum, unless we are in the middle of it, we don’t understand it.  Our rules, our morals don’t apply.  An autistic child doesn’t function like we do.  We have no idea what goes on in there.  Until something bad happens.  Parents trying to do the right thing struggle mightily.

I’m not a mental health professional.  I’m a Realtor.  I’m lucky some days to get my pants on before a walk out the front door, but that’s just because I can be a little absent minded.   Jenny McCarthy, also not a mental health professional thinks autism is caused by vaccines.  I think it makes more sense that it’s caused by the bastardization of our food supply.  When we are mutating our vegetables by adding Round-up to the seeds, we are screwing around with something we shouldn’t be.  Kind of like lobotomies.  But I’m not a scientist either.  I never dissected a frog.  The idea of taking apart a little animal was never interesting to me.  I am still a little damaged by the little lizard that ran under my bike yesterday and I killed.  It was about 4 inches long.  Frogs have always been off the table.  Which is also why veganism is easy for me.  I just don’t like killing animals and it has never set well with me.  But I digress.

We don’t know what causes any of it.  We’d like to think we can fix things with a pill but we can’t.  And a lot of pills make a lot of mental patients feel awful and the don’t like that which is why they go off of their meds.  Sometimes horrific things happen like last Saturday night in Isla Vista.  You can’t take the horror out of that situation.  The 10 families that are now going to bury their college students who they sent to idyllic Santa Barbara where nothing should have gone wrong.   The 7 injured who will never be the same.  The other thousands who are indelibly damaged by what just happened at their school, in their neighborhood.

Bottom line, there is only a couple of ways in and out of Isla Vista.  One of the is the ocean.  The Alpha Phi sorority had a chance to live or die and they made the right decision and did not open the door or this would have been much worse than it was.  And it is awful.  And I have know idea what the solution might be.

 

One day you’re a diamond and then you’re a stone

The last two weeks have been ridiculous.  The Brother got himself some nasty ass shit that kicked his ass pretty badly.  People die from what he had…but he beat it.  But he was super super sick.  I’m used to his never ending stream of respiratory bullshit but this took things to a whole new level.

One of my good friends found out her husband, a guy in his 40’s has a mass on his bladder.  Another lost a member of her inner circle to cancer of the freaking everything.  I think she didn’t have it in her stomach and that was it.   I saw this woman two months ago and she was in remission and doing just fine.  Then it roared back.  She went into the hospital on Tuesday, hospice on Friday and was gone the following Monday.  Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot.  There are seriously three or four other people in my life who are dealing with similar serious serious shit right now.  Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot.

Another situation has resolved itself.  My friends in San Marcos returned to their home yesterday.  I really didn’t think I would be writing that sentence two days ago.  This is their home at 30 seconds in, with the fire tornado in the background and the fire truck in her driveway. The audio is about a different house in a different neighborhood. The fire fighters are walking around in her backyard in some of the other video.

And on a much more minor note, I strained the holy hell out of my hamstring two weeks ago and it still hasn’t resolved.  I was going to put some gas in the truck and then go see Cousin Jeanne at the Clayton Art and Wine Festival.  I loaded Bill up in the truck and headed down to the gas station.  Well, the truck had other ideas and took a powder at the pump.  The battery was dead.  It was 10am two Sundays ago.  I called AAA to all that bitch back home and I think they ordered a tow from Reno.  It took over an hour to get there.  Funny, they never sent me a “How did we do” survey on that tow.  The driver was great, AAA dropped the ball.

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Well, the gas station guy wants me to push the truck away from the pumps even though it’s Sunday morning the business is light.  Like an asshole I agree.  I should have told him I buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gas from him and deal with it or I’ll go to the guy next door who has the same prices.  Hindsight.  We push the truck away from the pump.  I have to door open so I can reach in and steer it.  Then comes time to hop up in the truck and brake because we are now in the driveway which is sloped towards the street.  And the truck is rolling a little faster.

Did I mention I rode 90 miles the day before?  Over Mt. Diablo?  Yeah, that matters in this story.  I didn’t have any “hop” in my legs and missed.  I caught my right heel and got stuck.  And the truck kept rolling.  And I could feel the tearing in my hamstring.  First thought “drop out”.  Then I would be run over by my own pick up truck.  Even stupider than the situation I was in.  I pulled hard to see if I could pull myself up with my arms as the hamstring tore more.  Finally I took a hop with the leg that was down and shoved my shoulder into the truck and stopped it.  Did I mention Bill was sitting up in the truck the whole time?  I’m still badly hurt two weeks later in spite of some really great ART work but my truck isn’t wrecked and my dog did not go rolling or running out into traffic and get killed so I’m calling it a win.

They told me I was going to lose the fight

I got exactly one thing done this weekend.  One.  I fiddle farted around with a bunch of things but only one got finished.  I was pretty much numb and sleep walking up until I gave blood yesterday and then I came back to life.

I went out onto the healthcare marketplace and bought insurance.  And it was no big deal.  It took about 10 minutes.  The hardest part was figuring out that the system didn’t like Chrome and wanted Safari.  Once I got through that it was no big deal.  It worked smoothly like any other website.  Well almost any.

Because with all of the hullabaloo about how difficult everything was, it wasn’t hard at all.  I got the perfect policy for me.  I don’t have to screw around with any of that 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70% bullshit.  My policy is simple.  I pay $6350 out of pocket and then it goes to 100%.  And I get three visits per year for free.  So if I get hit by a car, I have it will cost me $6350.  I get some shitty disease, it will cost me $6350.  If I keep rolling like I’ve been rolling, it costs me the premiums and that’s it.

Now I would prefer that this was built into the tax system and I could just go to any Dr. and get fixed like it was in Germany and Italy, but because a bunch of dumbasses that haven’t ever gone more than 50 miles from their birthplace don’t get it, that’s not on the table.  This makes Obama the worst socialist ever.

I just want to point out to all of those people who acted like every website should work perfectly every time that The Brother will be here in California for my birthday this year.  He didn’t want to be.  He got up at 2:30 in the morning to buy Kate Bush tickets.  She is performing in London for the first time in freaking forever.  35 years.  That’s freaking forever.  He had tickets in his queue and while they system was verifying his credit card, the website locked up, threw him out and the 22 shows, 77,000 tickets sold out from under him.

So all of you asshats complaining about the healthcare websites, you can log back in and get health insurance.  Kate Bush is still sold out.  Maybe.  Bookies have her at 5/2 that she adds shows outside of London.

We did the monster mash

I kind of love that the guy whose name I did not mention also had his name not mentioned by Rachel Maddow.  And I thought I was so freaking clever.

 

As well it should.

Then there is this little gem which just makes me smile.

Part of me is sick of youtube cutesy pranks but this one is clever.  Some of the other ones are just stupid.  This one is not stupid.

And I have to say the news is pretty amusing to me right now.

CNN spent about 10 days being all about the missing plane while Fox News continued to “report” on Obamacare and I can’t remember the other fake controversy irrelevant thing they were talking about.  The minute it looked like there might be a terrorist link to the flight they were on it like stink on…well, they’re just stink so let’s leave it at that.

A night flight, how would you know the pilots changed course, and off you go into the wild blue yonder, forever.  Scary shit.

King Nothing

Bad people die every day in this world.  This week a really bad man died.  Good riddance.

While part of me would like to see a protest of such a magnitude that the march on Washington would be dwarfed, a bigger part of me says the most poignant thing that can be done is nothing.  Not give him any ink.  Not say his name.  And not protest his funeral if there is one.  There are reports that there will be no funeral.  What a bunch of pussies.

Because he is not worth the gasoline to drive there.  He is not worth the time off work.  He is not worth the time at all.  He is not worth the keystrokes I type out right now.  And his afterlife is not going the way he thought it would.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

A doleful damsel I heard cry

One of my biggest fears came to fruition for 239 people over the China Sea on Friday.  You have no idea how much I have to steel myself to get on an airplane any more.  It’s kind of amazing that this world is so big and so small all at the same time.  It’s hard to get away with anything with all of the surveillance cameras and cell phones and GPS and everything else.  But drop a 777 in the China Sea and poof!  It’s gone!

The last time something like this happened Air France dumped one into the drink.  And they screwed up and dumped it in the drink.  That shit scares the hell out of me.  It’s easy to blame the pilots and it was pilot error, the reporter says “He’s on 32 years old” her voice dripping with judgement.  The last words were the Captain asking “but what’s going on?”  He had 11,000 flight hours.  The 32 year old first officer had 2900 flight hours.  He didn’t make the right decision but I think a hero is a hero and Bonin wasn’t.  And the flight went down.

That’s the thing.  How do you if there is a Sully or a Bonin in your cockpit?  99% of the time it just doesn’t matter, but in the oft chance it does…it matters.

The thing is, where that plane went down was such a rugged place in the ocean that it took over two years to find it all.  The underwater mountains were so severe that sonar was useless.

The idea of a watery grave is a little freaky to me.  I’d like to think I’m long gone and can watch from somewhere else by then.  So yeah, the lost Malaysia flight makes me itchy.  And sad for the families who probably have at least several months in front of them of waiting for their loved ones to be recovered.

I’m your reasoned alibis

I’ve just got a lot of stuff that’s been keeping me thinking.  I could not have debunked this is five minutes as well as this guy does.

How rich is this guy?  He co-founded Museum Quality Framing Company, was an original investor in Amazon, founded gear.com that merged into Overstock and sold his other company Avenue A Media to Microsoft for $6.4 billion dollars.  How rich is this guy?  About a billion dollars worth of rich.

Good morning.

This is old news, but I just re-read it.  Sometimes somebody writes something so poignent that it bears revisiting over and over again.  No one could write this better than this man.

Good morning.

End of the night, it’s going down

I got a piece of information last week that is making my head spin.  Where is a good place to start on this one?  I’m sure I’m the last person on the planet to hear this, I’m just, well, it doesn’t compute.

Better?

Yeah that’s not better.  But somebody somewhere along the line taught that girl how to sing.

Seems okie dokey, but here’s the part that doesn’t compute.  Both of her parents are Pentecostal pastors.  No shit.

We all know I like to pick on organized religion.  Especially the piss poor state of it.  Of course I wonder if it ever wasn’t piss poor.  Some sterling examples?  How about this gem?   Seriously, a $500. meet and greet package with Uncle Si at the Temple Baptist Church.

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a robber’s den.”

Well played Uncle Si.  Just remember what your idiot brother said, marry’em young, like 15.  Yeah.  Dumbasses.  At least you were smart enough to walk away from your show before anyone else figured out you were complete frauds.

Head spinning yet?  Mine too.  Russell Brand’s mother in law was a Pentecostal pastor.  Chew on that for a while.

OK, that was really too much.  Let’s try this on for size instead.  How about a sin and tonic?  Oh why the hell not?

We’re a Christian nation doncha know.  That’s why we’re all pissed off at this guy.

Why the hell not?

Yeah, I feel like this guy more often than not.

 

 

 

He sings the songs that remember of the better times

I am so done with 2013.  Over.  Done.

Do I need to go back to the PBE posts of why I’m done?  Let’s start with the Old Woman breaking her hip two days before Christmas and 2012 and all that it entailed.  Now the Old Woman has healed well and gets around pretty good, I would venture to say as well as she did before, but it was pretty adventuresome all that was involved in getting her on the road to recovery.  Needless to say there is a lot more involvement of all concerned.

And my body.  Surely you saw the two broken toes.  The right foot in January, the left the following November.  You’re probably sick of pictures of my feet.  Or the tick bite.  Yeah that was fun.  Or the death of Princess.  Or hurting my neck on the AIDS ride.  The AIDS ride that I barely trained for because I had the worst flu on the planet?  I didn’t even mention the have a little too much wine and miss the step in the dark adventure.  It’s been over 3 months and I still can’t kneel.  My assumption is I chipped the bone in my leg when I went down.  Not that I’m bitching but goddamn.

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If ever there was a year to say “See ya” to, it was last year.  Goals went like this:

  1. Lose the last 31 pounds Who are you kidding?
  2. Raise $7500 for the AIDS/Lifecycle Rough ride last year.  $4020.
  3. Six closings every month Rough year last year.  Averaged 2 per month for a total of 22
  4. Raise average sale price to $375,000.  It’s currently $315,000 Rough year last year.  $266,000.
  5. Ride at 15mph 11.7
  6. Squat 230, bench 300, dead lift 435 Missed this one bad.  Currently squatting 135, benching 135 and deadliftting 200.
  7. New car Sonofabitch!  I actually accomplished something.
  8. Eliminate personal debt Made some serious progress here.  Me and the IRS aren’t seeing eye to eye though.
  9. Landscape Not even close.
  10. Remodel main bath Not even close.
  11. Build mud room Not even close.

But as usual, I made chicken salad out of chicken shit.  I got to meet and talk with Rip Esselstyn.  I did get the new car I needed.  And it’s freaking gorgeous.  I sold a bunch of real estate and I did ok.  I am President-elect for our marketing association and VP of my BNI.  I was selected to be Realtor of the Year by my peers.  And this really curtails my freedom to be an asshat.  I rescued some dogs.  I lost Miss Cleo, but that was to be expected, she was ancient.  And she went in peace.

I tried to go on vacation but Bill and Bubba decided to have the brawl to end it all.  And the new dogwalker didn’t hear and/or take seriously my instructions to not let any of the boys out together when I was gone.  So I missed the reason I went on vacation in the first place.  I’m going to try a vacation again this year.  Maybe two.  I’m tired.  Really tired.  And I need a break.  First big break is scheduled for April.  The Nabisco Championship in Palm Springs.  There is a powerlifting meet in Laughlin that Friday.  I think I have a plan.  I hope.

And I just hired someone to work with me.  Someone to manage all of my marketing.  She has a degree in marketing and a grandfather, father, uncle and sister who sell real estate.  And her Aunt is a lender.  We’re starting very slow but if my marketing is consistent like it should be, the business will grow.  Because I’m maxed out right now.  I can be paid on my referrals and her sister works for KW and needs more business.  See?  Always thinking.  So here we go.  2014, you will be my bitch!

  1. Lose that last 35 pounds.
  2. Ride at 15mph
  3. Eliminate the rest of the debt
  4. Eliminate the IRS issue
  5. Practice the daily 10 five days a week
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Build mud room
  8. Get Mustang closer to if not on the road
  9. Add a buyer’s agent
  10. Squat 230, bench 300, dead lift 435
  11. Have 6 months reserves in the bank
  12. Eliminate tolerations within 30 days of them presenting themselves.
  13. Follow my schedule 80% of the time

The last one may not make sense to all but as Realtors it’s easy to be a little free spirited.  For the most part I work pretty hard but if I followed my schedule rather than let people dictate what I was supposed to do at any given moment, I would get about three times as much done.  That is about setting boundaries.  It’s not about necessarily saying “No” but “not now”.  Yes, I will do that for you by 3pm today.  Or by week’s end or whatever is appropriate.  And then doing it.  But not “Let me drop everything for something that doesn’t really matter right now and not take care of that which does matter right now.”  See how that works?

mustang

 

And that would be bad ass.

It’s on like Donkey Kong.  Let the games begin.

 

 

Through the night with a light from above

Today was a good day to witness the collapse of civilization.  Because collapse it did.

Maybe they call it Black Friday because it brings out the worst in us.  It’s Friday night and I did not start the car today.  I did not go to a store.  I did not buy a thing online and yes, I am a smug old bitch tonight.

I spent Thanksgiving with friends.  Lots of them.  I was supposed to hit four houses, I made it to two.  I had BBQ’ed oysters in a garlic sauce that was not to be beat.  The guy got them off of the pier in Oakland.  They were that fresh.  I spent time with the world’s cutest Golden Retriever puppy ever.  EVER.

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You cannot beat that picture.  This is Ben.  He stopped by one of the houses I was at last night.  But in everything I did yesterday, not once did I set foot into a store.  Now, occasionally I’ve had to go to a store on Thanksgiving…you know, you thought you had eggs and didn’t.  You were out of cinnamon.  Shit happens.  Not once did I consider running out to buy an Xbox.  On Wednesday I did have to run out to the wine store, which is always allowed.  Always.

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This little sweetheart was the sneaker.  I’m not well versed in Italian wine and I didn’t want to bring all Pinot Noir.  The wine guy said “How about a Dolcetto?”  Keep talking.  It was nice.  Had some earthiness to it, a little sweetness that finished dry.  Some cherries.  Just a nice wine from the Piedmont area.  Next up?

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I wanted a Pinot from the Santa Lucia Highlands.  This one was a winner.  A perfect California Pinot with some earthiness to it.  Not a total fruit bomb but enough to make you want some cranberries in your Brussel sprouts.

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For Thanksgiving Day I showed up with this one.  My all time favorite Pinot.  People were straight up blown away.  It never, ever disappoints.  And even after all of that wine, I did not want to go to the mall with a stun gun.  Or any other kind of gun.  And I sure didn’t want to shoot an Alzheimer’s patient.  Joe Hendrix gets my Responsible Gun Owner/Douche of the Day award.  The old guy wasn’t a threat and was walking away.  Must be a proud day to be from Georgia.  I’m certainly proud to be an American.  Mr. Westbrook served this country for 33 years only to be shot dead by a trigger happy douchebag.  Wonder if the little asshat thanked him for his service.  SMH.

In other news, I love the hashtag #brawlmart.  Why wouldn’t it?  It’s the lowest form of humanity and it’s right here in ‘Murca.  God bless ‘Murca.  And my new favorite website, Black Friday Death Count.

This country needs to take a real hard look in the mirror, because it’s just not pretty.