Thursday, June 30, 2016

But before I leave on vacation again….is 316-630-8031 a scam operation or a cheesy ambulance chasing lawyer?

I don’t know who got hold of my phone number, but I live with a constant barrage of scam phone calls. Sometimes I get as many as ten a day. 

This is outrageous because I’m on a FCC no-call list. I’m beginning to suspect that all these phantom callers got my number directly from the list of people who it's against the law to call.

Many of the calls are from “engineers” purporting to be from Microsoft (oddly, they all have Indian accents) telling me I have to get in front of my Windows computer and type in some code that will help them get rid of viruses they have detected on my computer.

Yeah, right. And don’t think my Mac wasn’t insulted to hear that the guys in a Mumbai boiler room thinks it’s a Windows machine.

Some callers promise to reduce my credit card interest payments. That's tempting, except for one thing. I don't have any credit card debt.

About twice a month I get congratulated on winning a “free” cruise. I’m beginning to think “free cruise” is the most deceitful phrase in the English language after “I love you”.

Today, I got a new one from 316-630-8031. When I picked up the phone, a robot played a recorded announcement informing me that if I had taken Xarelto, I might have a cause to take legal action and I should stay on the line. 

No, I don't take Xarelto. But I stayed on the line anyway.

When a live person finally came on, I asked for the name of the organization she was calling from.   

“Legal Assistance Help Line,” she said. Then I asked her what attorney or law firm the "help line" represented.

She immediately hung up.

If this operation is a bottom-feeding lawyer or law firm trying to siphon up business from the sewer, he or it ought to be dragged naked before the bar association and have his or its law licenses burned at the stake while the naked lawyers themselves are clubbed over the head with a judge’s gavel.

If it’s a scamming operation representing themselves as lawyers, the scammers ought to be dragged naked to a negligence law firm. What will happen next? It’s likely too cruel and prolonged to go into here. 

That’s it. I’m outta here. Happy July 4th. And don’t forget to disconnect your phone before you go.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit at Tiffany’s, Johnson and Trump, bad hair — and other reasons I’m sorry I came back from vacation

 So I’m back in New York, rested, refreshed, even re-quirked after spending time in Yellow Springs, Ohio. And what’s the first thing that smacks me in the face? Boris Johnson, the leader of the British Brexit movement, who got what he asked for and now seems to be suffering from snake oil salesman’s’s remorse.

Brexit, as you almost certainly know by now, is not a morning meal you eat while dashing out the door because you’re late to work. Brexit is the exit of Britain from the European Common Market and the European Union. 

Britain, egged on by yet another fair haired bullshit artist with a bad haircut, a spiritual and coiffure-cousin of Donald Trump named Boris Johnson, bought the notion that all their problems would be solved if only they got out from under the thumb of Common Market bureaucrats in Brussels.

Like followers of Trump, a large mass of dopey Brits said, in effect, yeah, Brexit is a great idea. We’ll keep out all those Mooooslims who are free to travel to Britain under Common Market rules, and we won’t have to do any more bureaucratic paperwork or pay money to Europe. In effect, the Brits thought they were building a wall around the British Isles and making Europe pay for it.

So they cast their ballots, and with remarkable speed reaped a whirlwind of financial and political nightmares. The bottom fell out not only of the European stock market but of the British securities market. In case you haven’t checked your own 401(k) or investment account in a while, I’ve got bad news for you. While screwing themselves, the Brits also screwed you. The Dow has dropped so fast, far, and hard in the last few days, it’s amazing it hasn’t been followed by bodies tumbling out of windows on Wall Street.

Further, the canny Scots, who mostly liked Brexit, are now thinking of pulling out of the British Commonwealth. Which would leave Britain vastly diminished in territory, population, and industrial output.

Now Boris is pulling a Donald and saying, well, he didn’t really mean a total Brexit. The Brits hope, to quote a story in The New York Times, that “Britain could, while leaving the European Union, somehow maintain access to its signature achievement: the world’s largest common market.”

It’s as if I walked out of your dinner party declaring, “Your food is sewage, your culinary skills are disgusting, your dining room looks like a toilet, and your ugly guests have body odor.” And then, ten seconds later, I rang the door bell and told my shocked hostess, “However, I’ve always like your key lime pie, so I will come back in for dessert.”

The hostess would slam the door in my face, which is exactly what the Continent should do to the Brits.

This will not only teach the Brits a lesson, it will also teach other dissident European nations a lesson:

If in unity there is strength, in disunity there is nothing but chaos, disaster,  financial collapse, the potential for bloody revolution, and an open invitation for Vladimir Putin to come in and take his Iron Curtain back.

The British pound is, at least compared to last week, toilet paper. That’s fine. It means strong dollar Americans and Continental Europeans loaded with Euros can traipse around Britain, lording it over those remorseful Brits and rubbing their noses in one of the greatest acts of self destructions since the lemmings invented mass suicide.

And that object lesson may help keep Europe together. It may also serve as an object lesson to Americans as to what is almost certainly going to happen if you elect any blubber mouthed blusterer with a bad haircut and a penchant for going it alone in an interconnected world. Yes, I’m looking at you, Donald.

If the Brits want back in to the EU, I hope the Continent will make sure it’s all or nothing. And I also hope Europe makes the Brits pay for their folly. How to make them pay is easy. Charge them a one trillion pound re-entry fee. Cash only.

Meanwhile, I hope there will be no “gradual” Brexit. Europe ought to grab Britain by the armpits and give it the bum’s rush out the door.

Oh, and should you happen to go shopping in Tiffany’s here in New York, odds have it that the gentleman at the diamond counter buying bright shiny rocks for his third and much younger wife is not a Brit. However, a real Brit’s $20 million New York apartment is, I'll betcha, going to be up for sale soon, at distressed prices, one supposes.

That said, I find all the Brexit news nauseating. So I’m going back on vacation for a while. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


This is not a picture of me, but it's a pretty good representation of how I
feel about blogging at the moment.
That's it! That's all. For the moment at least, I've had it. I'm done. I have nothing more to say. Kaput!

Nothing about Donald Trump, even though every time I mention his name in a headline, my page visits soar.

Nothing about Hillary either. Or Bernie. Or DeBlasio. Or about anything else.

My brains cells ache. My hair hurts. My nose is twisted out of joint.

Maybe you've noticed that my pace of posting has slowed noticeably in recent months. Every time I sit down at the computer and look at my blog, a loud voice inside my head screams, "Noooooo! Not again! No mas, no mas!"

So I'm going to stop posting for a week or two. Given the rate at which I have been posting recently, you should hardly notice.

And I'm going next week to my favorite quirky American small town, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Maybe somewhere on the main street, Xenia Avenue, between a shop called Mr. Fub's Party and The Gulch Saloon (well, that's around the corner from Xenia Avenue, but even so) maybe there I'll find my soul sitting on a quirky, psychedelically-painted street bench, waiting for the next flash mob of dancing grandmas. (Yes, such things really happen in that town.)

"I wondered when you'd finally come back to me" my soul will say.

And I will put it on like an old glove, or an old shoe, or an old sweatshirt, or maybe a brand new hat, and I will feel comforted enough to start muttering about politics again. Or potty mouthed politicians. Or potholes in Manhattan. Or why I have a blog in the first place.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Are you insane enough to be President of the United States?

No matter what happens, the next President of the United
States will be nuts. The question is, how nuts?
Let’s face it, you’ve got to be nuts to want to be President. 

You’ll spend a year in a grueling, voice-killing, health-wrecking political campaign. 

You’ll be lied about and vilified by the opposite side as the devil incarnate, while you throw similar charges at them.

I admit, it's possible that you may undergo all this, and a gauntlet of press scrutiny, and of violently negative commentary, a bit more serenely than most of the Republican candidates for nomination have this year. You may not have to fight a self-evident urge to whip out a ruler, zip down your fly, and measure your penis on television. But you’ll undergo an unbearable ordeal all the same.

Then, if you win the election, you’ll spend four years away from home, sleeping in a public building . That’s almost exactly what homeless people do on freezing nights in New York.

Furthermore, regardless of where you stand on anything, the Other Side will be out to fling mud and manure at you. They will try to wreck your reputation and destroy you by any means possible, some of those means extra-legal.

Your life will be in danger. There will be all kinds of enraged people out to kill you, from stray drunks, and unemployed and politically disaffected malcontents, to Al Queda and ISIS. You, and your family, will need to be guarded day and night by phalanxes of Secret Service agents, some of them so unreliable that when they should be guarding you, their minds are likely to be on booze and hookers.

Little wonder the hair of most American presidents  to date has turned white while they were in office, if it wasn’t already white by the time they got there.

Nixon and John F. Kennedy clandestinely filled their medicine cabinets with psychotropic drugs, recently uncovered documents reveal. In fact, Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. suggested in his journals that several modern presidents were mentally unbalanced; he recorded top aides arguing whether President Lyndon Johnson was clinically paranoid or a manic-depressive, and fretted that there was no constitutional “procedure for dealing with nuts.”
As I said, you’ve got to be nuts. It seems to be a prerequisite of the job.

Donald Trump is so nuts that he has received mental status diagnoses that range from "classic narcissistic personality disorder” to full blown “psychotic.”

Not that Hillary isn’t nuts, too. What’s with her obsessive-compulsive need, as demonstrated by the whole e-mail server brouhaha,  to shoot herself in the foot? And then what's with her other obsessive-compulsive need to tough it out and pretend her toe isn't bleeding, instead of fessing up and putting the whole matter to rest by admitting she made a dumb mistake and apologizing? 

Bernie Sanders? He thinks he can start a revolution of the human spirit. He thinks he can inspire civil behavior, human kindness, and social consciences, by sheer force of will, from coast to coast, right here in the United States of America. Right. And I am the King of England and Slobovia.

Jill Stein of the Green Party? If she gets so much as a significant fraction of one percent of the vote, and the Democratic candidate loses by a similar fraction, she’ll forever after be vilified with the same kind of opprobrium that Ralph Nader suffered when Gore lost to Bush. And yet she insists on running.

So what are we Americans to do?

Here's what. This nation needs to design a presidential insanity scale. It should measure a variety of psychological factors and first of all avoid vetting  for nomination any candidate who is not nuts. That's because any sane person won’t want to run. (Case in point, Elizabeth Warren.) 

Nor should anybody who is one of  the wildly, totally, unstoppably  out of control whackos be permitted to run, because that person might, during his first 72 hours in office, sink the United States economy, loot the U.S. Treasury, set off a nuclear bomb, unleash a nuclear war, and get us all incinerated. (I’m lookin’ at you, Donald Trump.)

No, what we need is somebody who is certifiably half nuts. Crazy enough to run. But not crazy enough to do  more than a generation or two of lasting harm. And we need a diagnostic scale to measure that person by.

Psychiatrists, do your stuff!