Happy 4th of July all you US readers. “Remembrance Day”

tattered US flagI call this “Remembrance Day”. To me this day celebrates this nation’s independence from tyranny, oppression, and the beginning of an experiment unequaled in the history of mankind. What have we, the descendants who have inherited this gift beyond price, done with this glorious legacy?

We figured out how to vote for the lock box. The treasury. The goodies. We have voted willingly for shysters and scumbags who in another life would have been chased off a used car lot for being too dishonest. We have traded freedom for perceived comfort. We live under the burden of an unending stream of taxes, regulations and laws that make all of us criminals. We live at the sufferance of our government, instead of the way it should be, the government at our mercy.

In this nation, one of our states yesterday put a gag order on a couple to prevent them from commenting on the case they lost for refusing to do something based upon their religious beliefs.

THE GOVERNMENT TOLD THEM TO SHUT UP OR ELSE.

I’ll say it again…A gag order was imposed.

In an ongoing investigation where there could be harm committed by blabbing, I get it. But this is AFTER THE FACT.

I hope we all have a great time watching the fireworks. But in the scheme of things, we are no longer free, nor have we been for a very long time.

I’ll leave this post with a few quotes from a far seeing man who lived a long time ago, but was nearly prescient in his observations:

1.  The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

2.  Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

3.  In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.

—Alexis de Tocqueville

Remembering their bitter end

First off, I’m a vet. I enlisted in the US Navy in 1979, and served honorably until 1986.

This is the day to remember those who fell in service to our country.

On this day,  I see this: “they died so you can be free“(tm)…repeated ad nauseam.  If we are remembering 1776, 1861 and 1941, then that is more or less true.

AFTER THAT, they died supporting political causes by suited men in halls far from the blood and guts and bullets to assert political agendas.

The threats, directly, to our nation? That was the cold war, and if we are to remember the fallen, they would be our foreign service agents who are not remembered…by anyone.

Instead, remember those whose lives were cut short, not defending America, but sent to their bitter ends by evil men furthering their own power while reducing this country’s freedom.

Mourn the lives cut short.

Don’t confuse remembering fallen heroes with patriotism or DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM(tm). This nation hasn’t the first clue about that anymore, hasn’t for a very long time, and THAT realization makes this day a very sad one for me.

The picture in this post infuriates me.  A life cut short for what? A son/daughter left alone without a Father, a wife without her Beloved, Parents outliving their children…for what?

It is a helpless fury, as there is almost zero I can do to change anything.

But, hey….”happy memorial day!(tm)”

Earth Day–a Rant.

Earth day.

Let’s see. What did I do to celebrate? Well I walked on it a bit. I breathed in some of its atmosphere.  I drove via a fossil fuel powered car to get and then eat some well seasoned dead animal flesh and some well seasoned plant life that grew in the Earth’s dirt that was cooked using some more fossil fuels which of course COME from the Earth. I used some electricity (more of those well mucked up fossils again) to surf the net, watch some videos, write some words, edit some others.

Thanks Earth.  Oh wait a minute, the EARTH didn’t DO any of that.  People made it so I could do all of that taking advantage of what is available ON the thin crust of this tiny little blue ball floating in the vastness of the cosmos.

(Except the bits about air, but as that is a product of the very nature of how the universe works at this distance from our type of star in combination with ALL of the life upon said globe, I’m not going to give credit to natural processes that happen whether we celebrate it or not.)

I’d rather have “Productive People” day I’m thinking, because without them, its caves/n/bears/n/short brutish lives of woeful ignorance, worshipping whatever boogieman robe wearing sly con artists can gin up to lighten the wallets of others.

People who blindly follow whatever meme happens to tickle their “foolish follow” bones have very little understanding of just how magnificent the mind of humanity can be.  (Or how stupid…never forget that part.)

Earth day? How about Intelligent Life day? Celebrate our ability to comprehend the universe around us.

“Earth Day”…yet another feel good meme that doesn’t mean a hill of beans without an intellect to comprehend it. Also, with intellect, wisdom and technology, comes another natural progression…a cleaner better environment in which to live.

Some will say that “Earth Day” is about protecting it.  When we can stop earthquakes, or cap volcanos that spew more bad crap into the air in A SINGLE DAY than we have managed in 50,000 years, when we can stop asteroids from annihilating everything in a single earthshattering kaboom!, then maybe I’ll listen.  Until then its political crap from those same old con artists mentioned earlier, only this time they are wearing green cassocks instead of black ones.

HAPPY PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE DAY!  🙂

It’s NOT the money.

I keep seeing this statement around the internets and elsewhere anytime someone has an issue with XY or Z (usually the government or some powerful conglomerate plotting evil death for its customers):

” It’s about money and NOTHING else.”

This annoys me to no end.

This is one of those memes that has been said so often, by so many, that now it’s assumed to be truth…when it is actually complete and utter tosh.

Money is merely a measuring stick for value. THAT’S ALL IT IS. The more you have, the more value you possess/control. It is POWER and CONTROL that should be eyeballed. Use money as a barometer of those two things, yes, but without money, the measure of control and power would be bullets, rifles, tanks, guns, whips and chains.

With money as the measuring stick and limited governments reined in from excesses, we are spared a 5,000 year span of REAL “haves and have nots”, slavery and agonizing death at the hands of others.

This irritation of mine applies even more so when applied to governments…who already control every aspect of currency. The only concern about money for a government is how much they can take from the governed to further their power and control over said governed without being reined in.

If you are having heartburn over an issue, and you stop and focus on “money”, then you haven’t reached the root cause of the issue, whatever that issue may be.

Annoyed about E-readers

So anyway,  I’ve been researching a bit prior to taking the plunge and getting an e-ink reader.  And I’m a bit annoyed about all of it.

I’ve looked at a ton of brands, with these three being the top picks of the bunch:

http://www.kobo.com/koboglo

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/nook-simple-touch-with-glowlight-barnes-noble/1108046469

and the one I THOUGHT I wanted:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GEKXUO/ref=fs_cl

 

But…after a field trip to my local B&N, Bestbuy and then Walmart, I discover that they all feel damned awkard to hold…and the price for what they actually do seems bloated.

 

So after all of that, and even with a Benjamin burning a hole in my pocket, I realize that I much prefer the aldiko e-book reader and the kindle app on my phone.

With a 4.5″ screen on my ol’ EVO 4g, these apps seem to work just as well/better than the dedicated hardware…AND the phone is comfy sitting in my hand.  ESPECIALLY in the taxi.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hbWF6b24ua2luZGxlIl0.

The ongoing red-eyeball saga CONTINUES!

I’ve been posting about this a bit on FB, but this a longer one, so we go:

More on the ongoing eyeball saga!
File this under:
#eyeproblem #medicalinsanity #idiots

So today was my eye doctor appointment.  I go, and have to repeat, yet again, what is going on.  I was referred here (1 block away from the referrer) and was surprised (somewhat) that the doc didn’t have ANY info from the ER…at all.

I go through the exact same process, AGAIN, that I was subjected to in the ER a few days back.  Following that, the doc decided he couldn’t tell what was going on, so did a full dilation (which is a strange feeling) and takes a longer look.  He discounts the dilation problem in the right eye as there are issues in the left eye which can change how the pair operate.

After much humming and hawing around, he announces that he is not sure what could be causing the distended veins in the inner/lower portion of the eye, but that after the deep viewing, there is no evidence of tumors or any other issue…the eye itself is in perfect health.  He then suggests that it might be something in the orbit further back that is putting pressure on the eye (possibly sinus related).

I am biting my tongue at this point, as I had suspected this very thing for the last few weeks, as other than some pressure and a bit of blurring to that eye as a RESULT of the pressure, I have NO SYMPTOMS of anything at all other than it looks like I’ve got mild conjunctivitus.

He says he wants a CT scan scheduled so he can get a better idea of what is going on.

I nod, seeing $$$ start to fly out of my non-existant self-pay-starving artist pocket.

Back in the waiting room now, a flouncing-middle-aged-overweight-texas-big-haired spinster flounces out to me (looking very much like the scary woman in Office Space).

To the room at large, she announces in a cheerfully loud voice,
“Well, since you’re SELF-PAY, we can get you set up for a CT scan!  It will only cost you 1100 dollars…UP FRONT, and then you can make payments after that!”

I look around the room at the people now staring at me for just a moment before bursting out laughing.

“So you think that’s great?”  I ask.

“Well, sure,” she replies, oblivious to my mounting righteous fury and indignation.

“So for this to happen I have to come up with more money than I would to buy a used car up front.  For a procedure that has been in place for twenty years, on equipment that has been bought and paid for at least 10-15 years ago, so that I can lay down for 5-10 minutes while a technician pushes a couple of buttons to generate a picture….ARE YOU INSANE?”

She was now obviously butt-hurt, and looked around nervously.
“Why are you angry with me?”

“I’m not, ma’am,” I replied with my best cab driver “pay up or die” look which indicates the very opposite of my words.  “I’m infuriated that you would think that I could pull that out of my butt in an instant and that it is no big deal for a procedure that IN ANY OTHER FIELD would be no more than a quick reasonably priced service ancillary to the main cost which should be TO THE DOCTOR for his expertise.”

“Well,” she stammered…”I could check into prices more in depth and get back to you.”

“You do that,” I replied.  She flounced off.

At this point, I grabbed the doc, who was passing by slowly, obviously listening in.

“I have no issue with paying for a procedure, but is it necessary to have this immediately?”

“Oh no, you’re not getting worse, and there is no sign of disease in this.  Within the next few weeks should be okay.”

“So stay on the steroid drops for now then?”

“Sure!”  and off he went to the next patient’s room.

Cost for this awesome visit: 70$.

—————————–

Aftermath:

I did a little research (10 minute googling) at home this evening.  I can find CT scans listed online for as little as 190 dollars in Colorado (WITH NO INSURANCE required), and my procedure looks to run about $360.

Our system is broken.  The idiotic mandatory do it or else solution by our government does NOTHING to fix the problem of spiraling costs, because it CREATES the issue.  A little research on CT scan pricing shows that when medicaid/care/insurance is involved these prices go to nearly $8000, with a average median of at least $4000.

We need to stand up and start demanding the REAL COSTS when going to the doctor.  A little research goes a long way.

I’ll schedule my own CT scan and take care of this myself.  More on the saga soonish!

We’ve been treaded…but good

Gadsden Flag

I wanted to save this. It was a response to yet another facebook meme photo of the gadsden flag. I do not knock the person who posted it, nor do I knock what that old flag/n/snake stood for, but I believe it is far too late for it to be meaningful anymore. The only way for our nation to regain what has been lost would be through a real revolution…and I seriously doubt that something like that is possible in this time without some sort of apocalypse or total economic collapse as most people are so completely inured to what is going on as to prevent any meaningful change to occur.

So the saved response. Take it as you will…or not. It is what I have come to realize after 5 decades in the land of U.S. Bizarro World. —-

…Too bad that is meaningless. In our lifetime, we have NEVER experienced true freedom. We are coerced at the point of the gun to assist in the theft of our income on a yearly basis, we pay even MORE in the form of taxation for EVERYTHING all of the time, to the point of losing up to 40% of our disposable income to it AFTER the primary taxation method… we allow our government to continue its current form and allow them to gerrymander the districts to keep the same evil people in positions of authority.

We have long since abdicated any responsibility. In fact, we are NOT a free nation at all, but rather a thinly disguised fascist state that pays mere lip service to “freedom”. Even those on the conservative side, when questioned about how to change things have said “we need to litigate”. a quote of Mark Levin when asked what should be done on his radio show.

Our nation was founded upon principles the founders KNEW couldn’t survive…and they were correct, as progressive thought and politics began a long quiet struggle in the late 1800’s and took center stage with Woodrow Wilson’s administration in the early 1900’s.

When “we the people” understand that we have been sold down the river…a LONG time ago, that will be the beginning of change…but I have no hope for this occuring in our lifetime…unless the nation collapses under the unsustainable weight of its debt burden…but remember the government is in control of the military and the law enforcement branches, so what comes after…will probably just shed the veneer of a republic.

Sorry for piling on here on your page, but the constant barage of facebook memes/photos/slogans angers me to my core, as it is lip service rather than reality. “Reality”…is police geared and equipped to appear exactly as soldiers breaking and entering supposed private residences hunting for a ‘terrorist’…and no one…NOONE blinks an eye, rather they cheer in the streets.

We’ve been firmly tread upon, and we cheer.

 

A “Guide to Publishing” rant…sorta’.

Just finished reading some Young Adult fantasy guidelines and suggestions online. Now that the first brick is complete and out to test readers, I am starting the process of looking for an agent to represent my work.

What I find humorous in a sad Catch-22 sorta’ way is that all of the guidelines say:

1.Do THIS!
2. Don’t do THIS!
3. god help you if you do THIS!
4. Stephanie Meyer and Terry Goodkind suck ass. (but are now zillionaires.) 😀

And yet…and yet…many of the writers who are selling like hotcakes break all of those rules. I’m not talking about well established previously published types, rather relative newcomers.

The other gripe I’ve got is that if you READ about getting your work published, you will get the impression that its impossible or nigh unto that nether region…BUT. (always a but eh?)…

99% of the paper tween jackets at your local B&N is utter dreck. I remember picking up a YA adventure fantasy novel a few months ago, and by page 10 I wondered if the writer had an editor, and if said editor was f’ing blind, because what had reached the print stage was worse than my first rough draft.

Of course my work might be no better than that to some, as each set of eyes sees something different, but it does give me hope for my own stuff.

And then, OF COURSE, I read a blog that says that High Fantasy doesn’t sell to the YA market and that its all been done. And then I cry…until I read the meat of the blog entry which whines about stuff like Eragon. (which of course made its writer a ton of moola’.) Then I feel better again.

Back at it!

This Cabbie rants to his blog!

Okay so not soo much a rant as blank stare at the movie camera….kinda’ like Eddie Murphy did in Trading Places when they were trying to teach him about pork bellies in the market.  That “you’ve gotta be f’ing kidding me, right?” look.

Its really quite simple.  You call the cab.  The cab arrives.  You go to your destination.  You PAY THE FARE.  End of story.  Simple right?  Well you’d think so.

But noooo.  I’m getting used to it now after a few months of driving, but tonight reiterated how utterly STUPID some people are, as well as how without morals, scruples and other bits n’ bobs that make people “human”.

Fare:

“How much to go from here to blah blah blah?”

Me:

“20 bucks roughly.”

Fare:

“Oh, I’ve only got 10 bucks.”

Me:

“Then you’ll get about halfway there.”

Fare:

“Oh, can you break a 50?”

Me…………………FACEPALM.

—————–

A fare from last week had a credit card decline.  A fairly decent fella and one I’ve driven about before with no issues.  After we do a bit of deliberation, he cuts me a check to hold for a week until the weekend.  Normally this isn’t done, but as I’ve mentioned, he’s been good for it up till now, so I cut him some slack.  (older guy on Social security.)

Tonight I not only get a bell (dispatch HQ job) for him,  but its the agreed to night to pay up.  I roll on over to his place.

Fare:

“I don’t have the fare…but my girlfriend is going to pay for it.” —aside, I’ve taken his girl friend about as well, and she has always been a good tipper.

Me:

“Person blah blah…is over off of blah blah street?”

Fare:

“Yep.”

Me:

“So you’re going to square this all up, including last week’s 30 bucks, over there?”

Fare:

“Yes sir.”

Me:

“Get in.”

—so we roll.

We get to said girlfriend’s place….a 40 dollar cab fare from the start point.  He goes in to get the money.  I wait.  I’ve got his phone, his address, his full name as well as the girlfriend’s info PLUS I’m sitting in front of her home, so its not like I’m sweating a “runner”.  Ten minutes roll, and I’m looking at the bid board on the computer just STUFFED with jobs (read: greenbacks I could be making) and about the time I’m reaching for my cell phone to call the fare to say “wtf mate”, he comes slouching out to the car.

I can tell just from his posture that something is up…and after just a few months of this gig, I can tell that the “mooch” is about to be tried.

Fare:

“We’ve got 20 bucks.”  which he tries to stuff in my hands. (mostly ones.)

Me: (pulling my hands away and raising my voice in what I’m hoping was a sufficient rendition of Sam Jackson from Pulp Fiction –probably not quite that good, but the look I got wasn’t shabby. )….

“Dude, you are now into me for 70 bucks, 30 of which I gave you a week’s grace time to pay up.  Now you go back inside and get me the fare.  You have five minutes until I place the 911 call and file the police report for theft.  You either pay me, or you pay THE MAN, and then he makes you pay me plus him. Comprende’?”

Fare:

“Aww man its such bullshit.”

Me:

“Scuse me?”

Fare:

“Oh not you, its just……” -starts to go on a rant about social security.

Me interrupting the start of a long winded rant of “woe-is-me-isms”:

“I could give two shits.  You get the money now, or you get to ‘splain to ze Officer why you are stealing the ride.”

Fare goes back in the house…five MORE minutes go by and he comes back out.

Fare:

“All we’ve got is 35 bucks.”

Me: –Facepalm first.  “That doesn’t even cover the ride HERE.”  I reach for the cell phone as I’m done with this.

Fare: “SSI pays me on tuesday.”

Me:  theatrically looking at my cell phone wondering if I should just tell this sodden toss pot to frack off  and call the cops…but…

“Give me the thirty five.  I will be at your door to swipe your SSI card Tuesday evening for the remainder.  If that card declines, you my friend are going to have charges filed.  Got it?”

Fare:
“Yes sir.”

I take the thirty five and roll…and Tuesday, old fart is either paying….or PAYING.

———————

Now before folks think I’m easy or something, this guy was a semi-regular who previously paid for his ride.  Just an example of the teeth pulling this can be from time to time.

———–

Bell call for an apartment complex over near Federal Heights right after bar rush.  The background is that this area is seedy and can actually be a bit dangerous…but I’ve just finished rolling three AWESOME fares from Platinum 84 (strip club nearby) and feeling pretty good, so what the heck, I roll.

I call the number given to me by dispatch for the customer when I get to the complex.  (No apartment number was given, so I’m not wandering about aimlessly looking for a customer.)

Me:

“Your cab has arrived, but which building are you at?”

Fare:

“Um…ahhm not suah” -spelled like it sounded…at a guess a black female from the south.  I’m pretty good with general regional accents having traveled all over the country for several years.

Me:

“You’re not sure which building you’re in?”

Fare:

“Ahhm et mah sisters crib.”

Me:

“Then I’ll wait at the complex entrance by the mail boxes.  Will that work?”

Fare:

“Okay, I’ll be right there.”

Almost ten minutes go by.  Its now the tail end of the evening and its not like I’m in a hurry to get the next ride at this point, but even so, ten minutes is pushing things.  Out of the rear view mirror, at last, I see the customer walking toward the car…and even from a distance, I could tell a few things.

1. hooker.

2. CHEAP hooker.

3.  Cheap DRUNK hooker.

I unlock the door, and a wave of alcohol and bad body odor waft in ahead of the person…and here is where I find the stupidity of some folks to be awesome in its purity.

Fare:

“ahh ain’t got no money…but mah fiance’ will pay it when we get there.”

Translation:  There is a runner in the car.  Two months ago, I’d have probably fallen for this…and did a couple times.  Now? nopers.

Me:

“And where is your destination?”

Fare:

“uh. um.  welllum….oh…its ovah’ dere at the 7-11 on ‘blah blah street’.”

Me:

“Your fiance lives in a 7-11?”

Fare:

“Oh uh…no…but its right by there.”

Me:

“Address?”

Fare:

“7-11”

——FACEPALM and then………

At this point, the gig is basically up, and the driver has the right to demand at least collateral or a deposit up front for the ride.

Me:

“I’ll need a credit card or a cash deposit up front before we go anywhere ma’am.”

“ahh don’ have none of those.”

“Then what about your ID or cell phone?”

“I lef’ mah ID at my boyfriend’s place and mah cellphone is broken.”

—-She had it in her hand, it was on and it was the number I had JUST TALKED TO HER ON…oh and suddenly there’s a boyfriend as well as a fiancé’. -sigh.

Me:

“Get out of the car, go back to your sister’s place and sleep it off.”

She started to snap at me, and I gave her the cab driver “don’t even start” stare.

She got out of the car.  I rolled as another Platinum 84 call hit the board.

(The sister was almost guaranteed to be a “john” who took one look at her from the door way and said, “hell-b-no”.)

—————————

I had my first customer barf in the car tonight, but as I’m MR. prepared, she did so in a nice big plastic bag (I keep a box of em’ in the glove box and a “Ready-Steady-HURL! one tucked in the map sleeve of the passenger seat for those “just in case-break glass moments.)

It reminded me why I HATE barfing.  I’m a sympathetic detonator, and just hearing that in the back seat had me ready to hurl.

I felt no sympathy though once her sister told me they’d been doing shots of Jamison’s AND tequila…for the last three hours.  Frickin’ amateur night.

——————————-

Next time around these here parts I’ll toss a few anecdotes that make me love the crap out of this job, but for now, I feel better.  😀

no income tax

Gonna have to do a lil’ more research on this, BUT…just heard something so boggling that it took a couple hours for me to stop my head from swiveling.

Basically of the Federal Government’s yearly budget, roughly 40% of that is paid for with income tax.

If we were to roll back our Federal spending levels to the year 2006, we could COMPLETELY get rid of personal income tax, and all of the spending requirements would still be met.

Yet…the nation is going broke and the government is STILL thinking about rolling back the bush tax cuts.  This just fxxks with my mind something horrible.  200 years ago, we told the Brits to take a powder over a TEA tax and some representation issues.   We truly have become a nation of sheep.  But wasn’t Lady Gaga’s meat dress wicked cool?

sigh.