Here’s the thing …

I hate jury duty.  “Duty?”  I pay over half of my income in taxes of one kind or another:  30 percent income tax rate, then there are payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) and taxes on every fucking thing the government can find to tax, from booze to gasoline to food and telephone and internet connections, hell, everything up to and including the air I breathe, here in California.

Isn’t that enough?  I also have to sit in a courtroom for hours and listen to some swine in a long black dress lecture me about my civic duty (all I could think during the entire lecture was that I pay your fucking salary, you goddamn useless snout in the public trough)?  Godammit!  Then I’m expected to help these goblins to enforce a system of laws I find immoral at best and oppressive in practice.  Fuck jury duty.

I could understand the idea of jury duty, not to mention some expectation that citizens would participate in governing themselves, but not when they’re bleeding me dry with taxation, for which I can find no discernible advantage in my life.  Adding this insult to injury every year is in very poor taste, and having to take all that guff from a bunch of swine who are dependent on my wealth is appalling.  So far, I’ve never served on a jury and if I’m ever forced to sit in one I plan to do everything I can to disrupt the proceedings and will vote the opposite of whatever the rest of the jury votes, just to hang it up and blow the trial.  Consider yourselves warned, legal lackeys!

Fuck them.  I pay their salaries, I don’t need to jump through their hoops as well.

***

And now, in other news, today for the umpteenth time in this City That Reality Forgot (San Francisco), some idiot told me that Trump will soon destroy the economy and we’ll all be thrown into a horrible depression worse than the 1930s.

At the time, I simply grunted and went back to my Kindle, like I usually do when homeless lunatics talk to me on the bus.  What a load of drivel.

If President Trump is attempting to destroy the economy, he’s doing it all wrong.

Let’s look at some numbers, shall we:

  1. Wall Street is heading straight towards outer space like a Saturn rocket.  Seriously.  The Dow closed today at 21,182.53.  This connotes a gain of at least $3 trillion dollars since the election.  Good GOD!!  How much wealth will we gain before someone notices we’re in a boom??!!
  2.  Unemployment is the lowest its been in decades.  Just this morning, I got an email from LinkedIn telling me of over 146,000 job openings in the Bay Area today.  Also, since the beginning of the year I’ve personally received three job offers:  me, a 61-year-old washed up has-been on his way to retirement as quickly as he can get there.  If I’m getting offers, I assume others are as well.
  3. My law firm is having its busiest year ever.  I can personally vouch that my own production rate has doubled over last year at this time.  Everyone around me complains of how much work they have these days.

Does any of that sound like the economy is being destroyed?  It sounds more like the biggest boom I’ve seen in years, and hot damn!  Combined with the coming tax reduction I so richly deserve, it shows all indications of being a phenomenal year.

I can’t understand the paranoia about the economy:  every indication is that it’s doing great and will just do better over the foreseeable future.  Yet I’ve overheard Democrats telling each other that the economy is bound to collapse soon because Trump will cut taxes.  Seriously, they believe that cutting taxes will hurt the economy.  Madness.

And here’s the thing:  I have Quicken, right?  It tracks all of my family’s savings accounts, retirement accounts and mutual funds.  Every month, at the end of the month, it gives me a report of our net worth.

Now, for the past eight years since my wife and I have been married, we have been saving and putting away in our retirement accounts about $3500 a month.  When I look at the chart I’ve created showing our net wealth, month by month, I see that from the beginning of our marriage until October 2016, our wealth increased by about $3000 a month, on average (yes, I’ve checked it on Excel).  I can only conclude that putting money into the stock market as we’ve been doing has only profited us as much as we put into that market — no appreciable gain except for the money we put into it.  Zero profit margin.

In other words, throughout the entire Obama presidency, we barely managed to break even.

Now, if you look at that same net wealth chart starting in November 2016, the average gain in our net worth each month has been $10,000.  This in spite of the fact that we are still putting away about $3500 a month.  It’s a startling chart to see — slow, gradual growth for years, then a sudden upward leap starting at the end of November 2016.  Gee, what a coincidence!

As I tell my Democrat acquaintances, so far I have about 70,000 good reasons to have voted for Trump, and counting.

Trump is the wind beneath my financial wings, and yes he has become my hero.  Yowsah!

UPDATE:

You know, I got to thinking, and it suddenly occurred to me that all these youngsters worried about a looming financial disaster are simply people who have never seen an economic boom first hand, and therefore don’t know one when it slaps them in the face.

Oh, they think they remember boom times during the Clinton presidency, but that wasn’t a boom, it was a bubble.  I’ll explain:

I’m old enough to remember the 1980s — it’s when my present career first started.  I arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981, when I was 25, just when Ronald Reagan’s presidency got off the ground.  Because I was at loose ends, I attended an office training program, which promised to teach me to become that brand new thing, a word processing operator.

 

At the time, when you looked at the Sunday paper (what we had before Craigslist), you found several pages of word processing operator ads, every Sunday going on into the late 1980s.  Within three weeks of my finishing that training school, I was employed at a nationwide insurance company as a word processing operator, making $14,000 a year.  After about a year, I found another job making $18,000 a year.  By the end of the 1980s, I was making $40,000 a year.  My income grew like an olive tree, and birds made their nests in the branches therein (almost literally, since I raised two kids during that period).

This is called wage inflation — it happens when there are so many job openings that employers are desperate and offer higher and higher salaries.  That hasn’t happened this time (yet), but I won’t be surprised when it does.

The other thing I recall is that the stock market didn’t just rise, it broke records on an almost daily basis.  I’ll never forget the astonishment everyone had when the Dow reached 1000 points for the very first time.  It turned out to be only the beginning.

All during the 1980s, by the way, I was BUSY at work, and so was everyone else.  Seriously.  I remember bringing a book to work every day, but only having time to read it on my lunch break.  There were no breaks during work hours, because there was so much damn work.  We had large word processing departments in those days, because there was too much work for one or two operators to keep up with it.

On the other hand, all during the alleged Clinton boom, people had time to watch drunken baby videos and email each other pictures of kittens.  Suddenly we had lots of free time at work.  That’s not the sign of a boom, but its opposite.  I recall being stuck in a really awful job all during the Clinton years, because there were no other jobs to be had.  Finding new jobs was a problem that didn’t go away when Bush was in office, either, in spite of all the economic growth posted during his presidency.  It was nice, but it wasn’t a boom, and in fact it was just the bubble that followed the dot.com “boom” under Clinton, this time involving mainly real estate.

This has been the way it’s been up until the Trump election, when suddenly I don’t have time to watch movies on my Kindle at work anymore but instead spend all my time working on documents.  Suddenly I start getting job offers in my email inbox and on LinkedIn.  Suddenly my retirement accounts start going through the ceiling (as I pointed out earlier, we’re seeing almost $7000 a month growth in our accounts over and above our contributions).

Now THAT’S a boom.  Watch and learn, kids.

A Not So Modest Proposal

By now I’m sure everyone has heard about the Manchester bombing.  Once again we’re told that this is just the new normal, and that we’ll all have to just get used to our children being blown to bits when they go out for a little evening fun.

As Mark Twain used to say, people all talk about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

I’d like to make the following proposal to President Donald Trump, in the interests of finding a solution to the problem of Islamic terrorism:  Nuke Mecca.

No, I’m not kidding.  Here’s the thing:  Islam has not stopped terrorism, nor will they.  Why should they?  Terrorism is giving Islam what it wants.  So here’s my solution:  nuke Mecca.

What would happen to Islam if Mecca were suddenly a radioactive black hole in the ground?  What would next year’s hajj be like?  Oh, right, there wouldn’t be one.

Imagine the message sent:  your religion is your excuse for killing our children?  Here’s what we think of your religion.  Your holy relics are now carbonized.  Forever.  The qaaba is just a memory now, Mustafa.

The only thing that will stop Islamic terrorism, jihad, is to fight back.  We have nuclear powers, they don’t (well, not much to speak of anyway).  We destroy their religion, the terrorism will stop.  I guarantee it.

If it doesn’t, what’s next?  Nuke Medina?  Nuke Riyadh?  Nuke whatever is left, kill them.  Kill. Them.

It’s the only thing that will work for the people who only respect the strong horse.  Bring them a strong horse and let it stomp them into a bad memory.

Or would you rather just wait for them to kill your children?

“There is no text”

I’ve been a word processor now for 35 years, man and boy.  You know, like the guy in After Hours.  And I’ve been at it since word processing was done on dedicated machines, little more than memory typewriter-type devices that printed out their documents onto paper with daisy wheel printers.

It all seems so primitive now, but I unwittingly was part of the digital revolution.  I watched business and legal documents go from pieces of paper to digitized e-documents that are, in fact, small computer programs that consist of nothing more than ones and zeroes (bits) processed by hexameter memory circuits as eight-bit bytes which in the aggregate make up this sentence.

This has changed the job itself, from being a typist to being a program converter of sorts.  My most popular assignment, for example, is to convert a PDF file of a document into an editable Word document, and I do several of them a day.  Most people I work with believe that what happens in that OCR (optical character recognition) process is that the OCR software (also known as an engine) will extract the text from the PDF file and drop it into a Word document, where it can be edited and formatted.

The only problem with that idea is that there is no text.  That is, there is nowhere in a PDF file where there are actual letters and words embossed somewhere, like on a piece of paper.  Instead, the PDF file contains coding, which at its most basic level are ones and zeroes.  What the OCR engine does is to read the PDF coding and more or less convert it to Word coding.  It’s a digital world, remember?  Then, I have to run several other subroutines to more or less distill the newly created coding into a properly coded Word document.  You know, the kind that can do tricks.

Thinking in terms of “text,” to me, is throwing things back into their analog days.  I find it incredibly annoying and have to check myself when talking about it to co-workers.

It bothers me because it simply reminds me that this is the way of the future:  people coming up with lies to explain reality.  For example, Islam is really a peaceful religion.  Or if governments just use the correct method of taxation and regulations, humans can control the climate of the planet.  Or that if the government takes away enough of our money, the world will become a better place.

I mean, yuck.

The Sad Results of Divorce Culture

Like many rascals out there, I married a younger woman; she’s eleven years my junior.  But what a difference eleven years made.

See, I grew up in the Baby Boom, in a heavily Catholic part of the country.  Believe it or not, I was surrounded by loving families who were happy.  Every week we all piled into the car and went to the movies:  musicals were our particular favorite genre.  As I recall, we were all very sentimental — many people my generation still are.  I know I am:  I just watched The Unsinkable Molly Brown and had a good cry, like always.

My wife’s generation, almost to a man, hate musicals.  They despise seeing people happily singing clever and sweet songs, dancing joyfully, and falling ecstatically in love with one another.  When I was a kid, we all looked forward to the day when we’d be as happy as Robert Preston and Shirley Jones seemed to be in The Music Man.  Younger generations are much more cynical.

Why is that, I kept wondering?  I got a clue the other day watching a YouTube video.  There’s a young man who does videos examining the historical accuracy of different movies; this particular movie was We Were Soldiers, a movie about the Viet Nam war.  The young man spoke with dripping contempt about the scenes that showed one of the character’s large brood of adorable children.  He found the scenes showing the family praying together at night or riding in a car, singing, to be completely unbelievable.  Nobody had cute families like that, the young man maintained.

I was surprised; when I saw the movie, I remember thinking that they certainly got THAT detail right.  When we were kids (Catholic ones at that), we did have large families, our parents did pray with us at night (particularly when we were preparing for first communion) and we did sing in the car on road trips.  Oh, and we were cute, as I recall.

So why the harsh, cynical attitude?  My theory is that it has to do with divorce culture.  People in the younger generations didn’t grow up in happy families, they grew up in split families riddled with guilt feelings, resentment, betrayal and rage.  No wonder musicals seem so unrealistic to them:  who ever heard of people being so happy in their lives?

It’s why I sadly watched the Women’s March the day after Trump was inaugurated, and all the other ugly riots since then.  I look at all those profane, empty-eyed, angry young people and all I can do is feel sorry for them.  What awful lives they must be leading.  How badly they were raised.

Lies Liberals Have Told Me

Where to begin?  Let’s start with health care.  Liberals were leaping about in unbridled glee a few years ago because of the ACA, which was going to bring health care to everyone.  It’s as if liberals thought of health care as a trip to Disneyland — won’t it be fun!

In my own life, I’ve had four surgeries.  Two of them were complete write-offs that didn’t do anything they were supposed to do — the cyst is still behind my right knee and my hiatal hernia is still active.  I also had my tonsils out when I was a kid, which I later found out was totally unnecessary and caused more problems than it solved.  The only “successful” surgery I had was a vasectomy, which I’m told now makes me five times more likely to develop prostate cancer.  Success!

Then there were all the misdiagnoses I’ve dealt with in the past 12 years — one medication I was mistakenly given sent me to the emergency room and nearly killed me.  My last experience with health care was my (eventual) diagnosis this year of hypothyroidism.  Three of the health care professionals I saw for this condition are still convinced that I don’t have hypothyroidism, in spite of the blood tests and results of medication that prove I have it.

In short, after my own personal experiences with health care, when people asked me if I wasn’t happy that, now that Obamacare has gone into effect, everyone has access to health care?  My response to that has always been that I wouldn’t wish health care on my worst enemy.

Then there’s the concept of “racism.”  If you question a liberal about it, you’ll find that they believe that racism is some kind of virus that people carry inside themselves that has no cause or reason.  (Some people tell me that we get racism from our parents, as if children always do whatever their parents tell them to do.  Anyone who has been a parent, or indeed a child, will tell you this is hilariously bogus.)

Liberals always decry “white supremacy,” as if it’s an error to believe that white cultures are superior to black cultures.  If black cultures are equal, why don’t people go to Zimbabwe for their vacations instead of to Europe?  Obviously they are not equal, and this means that one of those cultures is the superior culture.  Guess which one it is?

My take on racism is that it’s an opinion.  If I say I don’t like Brussel Sprouts, that’s an opinion based on my own experience.  Why isn’t it the same if I say I don’t like black people, based on my own experience?  If I’d had more good experiences than bad involving black people, I might have a different opinion, but the experiences weren’t my fault or idea.

Then there’s feminism, which has ruined families and the workplace simultaneously.  I remember a time in my youth when people at work could say any damn thing they wanted.  We had this thing called “free speech.”  Women apparently can’t handle free speech, therefore it’s been banned from the workplace.  And every time I’ve complained about it, either online or in person, the argument I get is that the First Amendment only says that “government shall make no law abridging freedom of speech.”  Apparently any other entity can abridge freedom of speech, just not the government.  We either have free speech or we don’t, but try convincing some left wing harpy of that.

I recall my first real job, working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The walls were completely covered with pictures of naked women — I used to describe it as pink wallpaper.  It had no negative effect on the work, and at that time doing the work was all that employers expected of you.  Naked pictures of women cheer men up, as has been proven in tests many times.  It isn’t all about masturbation, and even if it were, who cares?

Now, men can lose their jobs just for telling a woman she’s pretty at work.  Or for saying that gays shouldn’t marry, since it’s an absurdity and a mockery of what marriage is all about.  Heck, where I work I’m afraid to say that I voted for Trump, even though John Bolton works in my firm.  All because people are terrified that some woman somewhere might get offended.  Thanks to “hostile workplace environment” lawsuits, men have to tiptoe around at work and say nothing at all, which is supposed to be somehow less hostile.

I’ve read many articles recently that Trump’s election marks a turning point in that kind of thinking.  I sincerely hope so.

My Goodness (an update)

So, oddly enough, since the Trump victory (doesn’t that sound like the punchline to something wonderful?), things have been FANTASTIC.

Sorry, can’t help gloating a little.

“‘The Dow’s 8% gain in the five weeks after Donald Trump ’s victory is the biggest surge following any U.S. presidential election in history,’ according to the Wall Street Journal.

On Wednesday the dollar became the strongest it has been against the Euro since 2003 according to Bloomberg. The rise came amidst the Fed announcement of optimism and a rate hike the same day.”

Think of that; a rate hike and optimism at the same time.  That hasn’t happened in a looong time, friends and neighbors.  As I seem to recall, all during what’s-his-name’s (Borax Alabama?  Boogaloo Hissing-Insane (Hussein? Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?  Seriously?)  Whama-Lama-Ding-Dong?) well, what can we call it, two horrific terms of mediocrity, I mean, um, those historic times when a, well, what shall we charitably say, take him as he was, he was a, well, frankly a national nightmare that is finally ending, or, um, the end of the eight-year-long complaints-from-the-people-who-used-to-be-getting-drinks-for-us, as Hillary’s beard used to say, and now has confirmed every suspicion we’ve had about these wonderfully rhythmic, happy-go-lucky, whining, blaming-everything-bad-that-happens-as-a-result-of-my-own-bad-decisions-but-I’ll-label-that-white-privilege (and am I the only man in America who finds that so tediously boring he could just scream?), and — well, shit, what can I say, I’m on a roll here and the scotch and the medication (it helps to say the last with a long, slow, Russian accent, a la “meed-ee-KA-shun” and that could mean a few things, here in the land of the free and the home of the trial-and-error health care system here in the land of the cock-eye-d-ly optimistic, if you follow my South Pacifican drift — pant, pant –).

I gasp for breath.  Anyway, if I sound like some leftist on amphetamines, it’s because I’m imitating my most disgusting local columnist, and I won’t even mention his name except to say that he’s presently writing for the local newspaper and his initials are the same as a very popular chocolate candy that melts in your mouth but not … well you get the idea.  But I digress.  Like I said, gloating…

Anyway, to get back to things that matter:  that “8% gain” signifies a $1 trillion dollar gain since the election.  Let that sink in.  Since November 8th, all U.S. markets have shown a $1 trillion dollar gain since the election.  Trump hasn’t come close to being sworn in (it’s still a month and three days away, as of this scribble), and already consumer confidence is surging like I don’t know what.  Hot damn.  We may all get rich.  Seriously.

Why is that a bad thing?  This is bigger than the Reagan revolution, when I watched my salary increase from $14K a year to $38K a year in a five year period.  (Note:  these are monetary amounts that seem horrendously small at this point, but back in 1982, $14K was a sufficient salary to raise at least one very small baby and a very large wife on, so there).  I just watched my measly (well, not so measly, but modesty compels) retirement accounts increase in an almost alarming amount, as well as receiving the first dividends over one digit (seriously) of a percentage point on my savings accounts in, um, eight years.

Yowsah.

If this be treason, let us make the most of it.  I feel so … vindicated.

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted

Where was I?  I just rediscovered this blog thingie, and decided I needed an outlet, and it’s 10:30 pm and my thyroid medication is zooming along brilliantly, and I’m sixty years old and wondering how long this thing is going to go on.  The blog, I mean.

So, as of now, it’s December 16th of the year of our Lord 2016 and here we all are.  Trump won — first presidential candidate I ever voted for who won, and like I said I’m a sexagarian to boot.  Sadly, all my liberal compatriots (I’m not sure what else to call the annoying self-righteous smug assholes who surround me here in the liberal utopia that is San Francisco in all its filth and shame and pity and horror, sheesh, where was I?) um … perhaps I should start again anew, like the country after a fairly won election.  Which actually just happened.

Anyway, in many ways my life is better than ever, a generous raise and bonus just having been handed to me today at work, which follows panting heavily after my return from two and a half months and four days of disability leave (that pesky thyroid of mine).  This means that, so far, I have been paid in full, including very large 401k contributions throughout my entire disability, and have heard nothing but extremely nice things from my employers.  To boot, they’ve just given me a (second in three years!) gift at the Christmas party, which I declined to attend for the third year in a row, a gift consisting of a very expensive weekend for two at a pricey spa resort in southern California, yowsa.

In short, they spoil me rotten.  Meanwhile, Trump won!  Castro died!  It’s been a great end of year holiday season, hasn’t it?

I’ve learned to answer the question, “I guess you’re kind of depressed like everyone else?” by looking down, shuffling my feet, sighing and saying, “Yes, Leonard Cohen dying was something I’ve had to come to terms with.”

Fuck their feelings.  Leftists don’t understand that, right now, at the end of 2016, they’ve become the reactionaries.  What they also don’t understand is that the revolution was a rightist one, which means nobody gets stood up against walls and shot.  As Richard Conti said in The Godfather, “After all, we are not communists.”

Also, my wife got this “yuge” raise.  Now, between the two of us (I got a raise, she got a raise, all God’s chill’en got raises) we make a pretty large amount of money between us.  In addition, the state just decided that I was really really sick for the past three months and therefore granted me a large wad of cash for the privilege.

Perforce, therefore, in a sort of overwrought Merchant of Venice fashion, we find ourselves in the position of having frightful amounts of lucre lying about, or more accurately leaping about in stock markets and various trust funds and savings accounts.  Hmm.

What it means is that my beloved and myself are the wealthiest members of both families, with the exception of my mother-in-law, who is ostensibly still a multi-millionaire, in spite of herself, God bless her and keep her.  Our strategy for living here in the liberal hell of San Francisco is starting to pay off.  There are four tactics that have served us well.  To wit:

  1. Find a rent-controlled, comfortable apartment in a decent neighborhood with a landlord who is young enough to outlive you.  This is a pretty tricky tactic — it only works when a recession causes rents to drop enough to make it possible, and you also have to find a real sucker, er, I mean a real sweetheart of a landlord who is younger than you are and wants to hold onto a sure thing of reasonable rent income as opposed to hounding you out of your apartment in hopes of snagging bigger suckers than you.  I know it’s complex, but try to keep up.
  2. Live cheaply and channel most of the inflated salaries you share into retirement accounts, savings accounts and don’t buy big ticket items like fancy cars or big expensive vacations, unless of course you budget for them, being the cheapskate you are.  Important tactic!
  3. Stick to the plan.  It’s important to be flexible when necessary, but stick to the original plan.  Everyone likes to go to the party, but nobody wants to clean up afterwards, so stick to the plan.  Yes, I know it sounds repetitive, but Stick. To. The. Plan.  It’s important.
  4. Vote Republican.  Think:  Trump won the election only a month and a week ago, and so far the stock market has risen over 8 percent, the most impressive Wall Street reaction to a new president in America’s history.  And he hasn’t been inaugurated yet.  If you want to grow your own wealth, vote Republican.  If you want to pay more taxes and spend your retirement years in poverty, vote Democrat.

And that’s why I’m 60 years old, still have all my teeth (if you count bridges), have no life-threatening conditions, can still show some life now and then, and still impress over-educated professionals into squeezing large denomination bills into my large and grasping claws each and every business day.

As Leonard Cohen used to say, Hallelujah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Liberalism

The title explains what it feels like, for me, going to visit my in-laws.  Nearly all of them either work for the state government (California), or are retired bureaucrats.  They are as liberal as liberal can be.  Image
Anywhoo, (dang, I wish I could film some of these visits), here’s the transcript (as near as I can remember) of my last encounter (family dinner).

The participants were my brother-in-law, Fred, my wife’s cousin and Hollywood actor (not big, but steady working), Tim.  The names have been cunningly changed.

The following dialogue came after I was asked what I’d read lately.  The family myth about me is that I’m a bookworm.  Since I’m not a Democrat, and didn’t go to school in California, I read.  For them, it’s a freakish phenomenon they can’t understand.  I’ve never forgotten the silence that overtook the family gathering when I once announced that I’d actually read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at least twice through and several times in various parts of it.  Why not?  It’s no harder than reading Gone With The Wind a couple of times, although not as fun.

Anyhow, I had just announced that I’d re-read Case Closed, the book which exhaustively and very conclusively proved that John Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Like a retriever sniffing a quail, Fred said:  Didn’t you see JFK?

Me:  Yes.  I also saw Miracle on 34th Street, but I don’t believe in Santa Claus.

Fred:  It’s not the same thing.

Me:  Actually, yes it is.  Tim, I think you’ll back me up on this, right?

Tim:  Eh?

Me:  See, movies are actually a series of films of actors wearing costumes and speaking lines someone else wrote for them.  It’s not reality at all, it’s a fantasy.  I think Tim will bear me out.

Tim:  (Rolling his eyes) Leave me out of this…

Me: Tim, when you were doing that Star Trek: Next Generation episode, were you actually in outer space?

Tim:  (Falls out of his chair, laughing).

The rest of it was a lot of scowls and rolling eyes.  But the part I found most interesting was, here’s a government civil servant, believing that his employers do things like conspire to assassinate presidents.  Sheesh.

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