Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dangling Dough

Tomorrow the rent is technically due.

Only I ain't paying - not my normal $2,500 anyway; not without some serious *concessions* like a favorably priced standard lease that allows us to stay through the summer in this coastal community.

Between the pre-paid *last month*, the water bill I covered, and 2.5 years of interest on my *last month*...he owes me roughly $3,600.

My plan at the moment is to not pay tomorrow and tell him to consider March my last month. Of course, I won't give written notice to that effect. And I won't convey any more details about how serious I am about moving to - where to and whatnot.

I'll just watch his broke-a$$ blow his lid.

Then, after he cools down in a day or so, I'll dangle a $1,500 check in front of him.

It could be his....if he signs a new lease I just drew up - a lease that reduces my rent to $1,500 per month for the next 19 months (through next summer!). There are some other provisions in there that are laughably favorable to me as well, e.g. there is no penalty for late rent until 90 days delinquency, I can sublet at will, I can terminate the lease with only 14 days notice, etc.

I must say, it was quite fun to download a standard lease from the web, one that's been written to protect the landlord, and TOTALLY RE-WRITE it in my favor!

Of course, he might not care to sign the lease. He is pretty dumb after all. I'm probably going to have to helpfully remind him that physically evicting me will cost him a cool $4,000. So he can take what I'm offering him....or he can starve, in the dark, and hitchhike!

For those of you unaware of the background, my landlord is facing imminent foreclosure. At that time, the bank or new owner will probably boot me out after 60 days. My only possible defense is to have a standard lease agreement. So that's why I'm intent on wresting one from my dingbat landlord.

There's simply no telling how the Moron responds to my *coercive negotiations*. My wife thinks the lease I drew up is too aggressive - to the point where he'll irrationally refuse the money.

But I think he's really, really, really, really broke.

Confiscation Time

The last couple of days I've been busy on account my long lost sister being in town. I haven't seen her, a Phoenix denizen, or her babies in over a year.

Today I've been home and at my PC all day. But blogging has been put on hold as I try to get the taxes out of the way. This year I attempted to upload my trades (all 300) directly into TurboTax - and they did come through. Only I've already found some major *discrepancies*. So I'll have to do what I always do, manually input each and every one of them. And it goes without saying....that it ain't too fun rehashing my results, post-March anyway.

It's always a good idea to get the *confiscation* done sooner rather than later. But this year I have too much other nonsense to deal with. For one thing, my landlord is getting foreclosed upon any day now. Furthermore, I am still hoping to hit the road in a few weeks; call me a dreamer but I'm still hoping to pull off April in Naples!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Smoke Of Human Sacrifice

So, do women pregnant with twins get special dispensation to eat meat on Lenten Fridays?

I say *NO*. Again, they already GET all new (maternity) clothes, ecstatic drugs during delivery, and the bonding of late-night breast-feeding!

But no one was putting the question to me. That's a conundrum that my wife and her pagan girlfriends are discussing on that Headbook thingy at the moment.

Of course they all concur that the prego princess should get a pass!

I've been very remiss so far this season in my carnal sacrificing. I unconsciously ate meat on Ash Wednesday, last Friday, and today already. I sort of got all depressed last year when a more *upright* friend of mine informed me that if one complained about fasting....that if one gave up meat but COMPLAINED about it, then the fast doesn't even count. And he actually sent me the relevant proscribing Bible passage.

BTW, don't mess around with that *dispensation* fraud. My MIL once served me up a nasty plate of sausage on Good Friday. After I ate half of it, and we realized the oversight, she tried to grant me *special dispensation*.

But not an hour later, while running to the car in a downpour, I hurriedly opened the car door RIGHT INTO MY EYE SOCKET.

I spent the next several hours in the ER of ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL. Not only did I have a laceration that needed stitching, the sausage declared war on my digestive system. While 'old coots' with *chest pains* kept jumping ahead of me in line for treatment, I spent the entire time alternately curled up in the fetal position or rocking the *comfort station* with the loudest ones my wife still claims to have ever heard (clear across the entire ER!).

Two little stitches is all I got - that and a smug doctor laughing hysterically at me for breaking the meat fast.

Yoga Goddesses - In Harmony With Men

So my wife actually got me a subscription to some yoga magazine for Christmas. I look oh-so-manly reading it out in public!

The first few issues just came and I've been perusing them.

I've NEVER seen more beautiful women in my life! And that counts robbing my friend's perverted uncle of a stack of Hustler magazines back in the prime of my pre-pubescence.

It did just hit me the other day, the basis for this attraction.

One might conclusion-jump and figure it's these broads' slender frames, their rock hard butts and abs, unimaginable flexibility, and beautifully perfect posture.

And that's what I had erroneously thought before my recent eureka moment...

Yoga chicks, like the diehards featured in industry periodicals, are goddesses, not because of their bods, but because they are *at peace with their souls* and *in harmony with the planet*!

The man's ideal woman would be teeming with chi, no? I just can't imagine any of these über-yoga women screaming at me because I, say, left dishes in the sink, or if I cut a juicy one at the dinner table.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cavemen And Their Cheat-Sheets

This is definitely not worth *9 minutes* of your precious time.

So skip ahead; start at the 3 or 4 minute mark and feel free to hit the FF button.

The guy at 6:38 is hilarious - with his freakin' cue card!

What the heck did he say anyway?

Surrogate Homeschooling Parents

My wife and I have been reading a $hitload to our kids - particularly my wife, and particularly to our son.

As he's gotten older, his books have gotten less *infantile* and hence more bearable. But still, we've about had it will the silly kid plots. After all, how much of this junk can you read before your mind turns to mush? Between the two of us, the 5.26 year old Prince probably gets read to 1.5 hours every day.

While I had discovered the wonders of audiobooks some months back, Mrs. C-Nut just improved upon that.

With this A-Z Mystery series he's been enjoying, now my wife is getting him the book along with the audiobook! This way he can read along with. WHEW!!! We really needed a break from *Josh, Ruth Rose, and Dink*. (And who the [bleep] names a kid 'Dink' anyway?!)

A little while ago, around 9pm, I went up to check on my son. He had just read/listened to a whole 85 page book all on his own since he mother *put him to bed*....and he was up to Chapter 7 of the next book. I made him turn if off - not because I care about him staying up late, but because I can't have him exhausting all the audiobooks we just checked out, not so soon anyway!

Hoarding Wealth

Yesterday morning I saw this headline about the penultimate town I lived in:

Newton Ranked 2nd Wealthiest Urban Area

Then, later that same day, I received this pic from one of my relatives:

He said he took it at Newton's (2nd wealthiest in USA) town hall!

So, not everyone in Newton is loaded, right?

I wouldn't jump to that conclusion. These clutterers and hoarders are psychologically afflicted. The owner of that car is most likely a millionaire - probably some 'old coot' that re-uses stamps not properly postmarked.

For sure, if you see a car like that, you ought to superglue some coins to the ground near it, urinate on them, and stand ready with popcorn and a fully charged camera.

G.K. Chesterton - The Everlasting Man

Upon the advice of DU I found (it wasn't easy) and read a copy of G.K. Chesterton's - The Everlasting Man.

The Wikipedia link above provides a better outline than I can. Below find some notable excerpts that I mined from the text:

But in reality the rivers of mythology and philosophy run parallel and do not mingle until they meet in the sea of Christendom. Simple secularists still talk as if the Church had introduced a sort of schism between reason and religion. The truth is that the Church was actually the first thing that ever tried to combine reason and religion. (p122)

There comes an hour in the afternoon when the child is tired of 'pretending'; when he is weary of being a robber or a Red Indian. It is then that he torments the cat. There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilisation when the man is tired of playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all the drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares.

At that stage even of paganism therefore the peasant songs and dances sound fainter and fainter in the forest. For one thing the peasant civilisation was fading, or had already faded from the whole countryside. The Empire at the end was organised more and more on that servile system which generally goes with the boast of organisation; indeed it was almost as servile as the modern schemes for the organisation of industry. It is proverbial that what once would have been a peasantry became a mere populace of the town dependent for bread and circuses; which may again suggest to some a mob dependent upon doles and cinemas. In this as in many other respects, the modern return to heathenism has been a return not to the heathen youth but rather to the heathen old age....The Old Man of the Forest was too old; he was already dying. It is said truly in a sense that Pan died because Christ was born. It is almost as true in another sense that men knew Christ was born because Pan was already dead. A void was made by the vanishing of the whole mythology of mankind, which would have asphyxiated like a vacuum if it had not been filled with theology. But the point for the moment is that the mythology could not have lasted like a theology in any case. Theology is thought, whether we agree with it or not. Mythology was never thought, and nobody could really agree with it or disagree with it. It was a mere mood of glamour and when the mood went it could not be recovered. Men not only ceased to believe in the gods, but they realised that they had never believed in them. They had sung their praises; they had danced round their altars. They had played the flute; they had played the fool. (p189-191)

Another example might be found, not in the problem of evil, but in what is called the problem of progress. One of the ablest agnostics of the age once asked me whether I thought mankind grew better or grew worse or remained the same. He was confident that the alternative covered all possibilities. He did not see that it only covered patterns and not pictures; processes and not stories. I asked him whether he thought that Mr. Smith of Golder's Green got better or worse or remained exactly the same between the age of thirty and forty. It then seemed to dawn on him that it would rather depend on Mr. Smith; and how he chose to go on. It had never occurred to him that it might depend on how mankind chose to go on; and that its course was not a straight line or an upward or downward curve, but a track like that of a man across a valley, going where he liked and stopping where he chose, going into a church or falling drunk in a ditch. The life of man is a story; an adventure story; and in our vision the same is true even of the story of God.

The Catholic faith is the reconciliation because it is the realisation both of mythology and philosophy. It is a story and in that sense one of a hundred stories; only it is a true story. It is a philosophy and in that sense one of a hundred philosophies; only it is a philosophy that is like life. But above all, it is a reconciliation because it is something that can only be called the philosophy of stories. That normal narrative instinct which produced all the fairy tales is something that is neglected by all the philosophies - except one. The Faith is the justification of that popular instinct; the finding of a philosophy for it or the analysis of the philosophy in it. Exactly as a man in an adventure story has to pass various tests to save his life, so the man in this philosophy has to pass several tests to save his soul. In both there is an idea of free will operating under conditions of design; in other words, there is an aim and it is the business of the man to aim at it; we therefore watch to see whether he will hit it. Now this deep and democratic and dramatic instinct is derided and dismissed in all the other philosophies. For all the other philosophies avowedly end where they begin; and it is the definition of a story that it ends differently; that it begins in one place and ends in another. From Buddha and his wheel to Akhen Aten and his disc, from Pythagoras with his abstraction of number to Confucius with his religion of routine, there is not one of them that does not in some way sin against the soul of a story. There is none of them that really grasps this human notion of the tale, the test, the adventure; the ordeal of the free man. (p 306-307)

It met the mythological search for romance by being a story and the philosophical search for truth by being a true story. That is why the ideal figure had to be a historical character, as nobody had ever felt Adonis or Pan to be a historical character. But that is also why the historical character had to be the ideal figure; and even fulfill many of the functions given to these other ideal figures; why he was at once the sacrifice and the feast, why he could be shown under the emblems of the growing vine or the rising sun. The more deeply we think of the matter the more we shall conclude that, if there be indeed a God, his creation could hardly have reached any other culmination than this granting of a real romance to the world. Otherwise the two sides of the human mind could never have touched at all; and the brain of man would have remained cloven and double; one lobe of it dreaming impossible dreams and the other repeating invariable calculations. The picture-makers would have remained forever painting the portrait of nobody. The sages would have remained for ever adding up numerals that came to nothing. It was that abyss that nothing but an incarnation could cover; a divine embodiment of our dreams; and he stands above that chasm whose name is more than priest and older than Christendom; Pontifex Maximus, the mightiest maker of a bridge.

But even with that we return to the more specially Christian symbol in the same tradition; the perfect pattern of the keys. This is a historical and not a theological outline, and it is not my duty here to defend in detail that theology, but merely to point out that it could not even be justified in design without being justified in detail - like a key. Beyond the broad suggestion of this chapter I attempt no apologetic about why the creed should be accepted. But in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life. It is one among many stories; only it happens to be a true story. It is one among may philosophies; only it happens to be the truth. We accept it; and the ground is solid under our feet and the road is open before us. It does not imprison us in a dream of destiny or a consciousness of the universal delusion. It opens to us not only incredible heavens, but what seems to some an equally incredible earth, and makes it credible. This is the sort of truth that is hard to explain because it is a fact; but it is a fact to which we can call witnesses. We are Christians and Catholics not because we worship a key, but because we have passed a door; and felt the wind that is the trumpet of liberty blow over the land of the living. (p310-311)

It was a bit of a tough book to read, at first anyway. I almost tossed it aside after 60 pages. Those Brits with their never-ending, circular sentences can be off-putting. But I'm glad not only that I finished the book, but more so that I finally got around to typing up my notes. Time and again I had to re-read passages of The Everlasting Man - these were some heady subjects he was treating.

For me, this book was a classic case, a forceful argument in defense of my comprehensive approach to reading. With every single book I read, I always highlight important passages and then go back and type them up into a dedicated Google Doc. Only after transcribing my notes tonight on this book did much of his thesis set in.

I really do prefer the older, classical books - this one was published in 1925. I find the writing to be far superior, and far more colorful than anything churned out today. When I read people like Will Durant and Chesterton, in the face of their scholarly lexicon and rich imagery I feel like an ignorant Moron! That's opposed to how smart I feel when reading contemporary BS like the Wall Street Journal or the Boston Globe!

A few of the words/items on my notes that I have to research: "prig", "dryad", "tarradiddles", "heresiarch", "eclogue", "syncretism", "pentacle", "Manichees", "Gnostics", and "Mumbo-Jumbo".

Hey, if I'm going to spend all this time reading and taking notes....I may as well learn something!

Next I'm going to cue up Chesterton's - Orthodoxy, and then probably some of C.S. Lewis' work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Blog Is On Fire!

The other day Marginalizing Morons received its 400,000th recorded hit!

While I don't measure the success of this endeavor by *hits*, it's nonetheless a feat worthy of some self-admiration.

Recall I have set my ambitious goal for 2010 to reach 1 million hits. Obviously, that will require a geometric leap in my daily blog hits.

To that end, I've been trying to increase my posting output. Every month has to have over 100 posts.

And, believe it or not, these days I spend less time on my computer than I have at any point in the last five years, when I started MM.

More than a few people have asked me exactly what I get out of blogging. Fair question.

Putting aside the bottomless well of self-amusement, self-education, and therapeutic benefits of being CaptiousNut...

Consider that through blogging I discovered the boon of HOMESCHOOLING.

Go ahead, try to put a value on that!

Make sure y'all are following my son - The Youngest Blogger.

Spreading Out, In New Garb

ACORN dissolved as a national structure

The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed.

"ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations," said a senior official close to the group, who declined to be identified by name because of the fierce conservative attacks on the group that began when a conservative filmmaker caught some staffers of its tax advisory arms on tape appearing to offer advice on incorporating a prostitution business.

The videos proved a rallying point for conservatives who had long accused the group of fomenting voting fraud. Though the videos did not produce criminal charges, they appear to have been fatal to the national organization.

"Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency," said the official, citing ACORN's "diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks."

The new organizations, he said "will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance," he said, consistent with the recommendations of an outside panel.

I'd say that's actually a pretty wise idea for ACORN. No doubt the directive came from their politicians who have tired of the public marriage.

Anderson Consulting disbanded after its complicity in the Enron fraud.

ValuJet morphed into AirTran after one of its planes crashed in the Everglades.

And after being caught stealing billions from taxpayers, Goldman Sachs....well, they just went on doing business as usual!

So ACORN, an entity that I never even heard of before the Obama coronation, they are wise to lose the nominal national footprint. *Vote fraud* should never have been federalized in the first place; allow each state to improvise and compete on its own! (Now if only they'd apply that logic to government schools and healthcare.)

The Republican Party should similarly diffuse. Last month I wrote:

Rightfully, the Republicans ought to disband. Let there only be *one party* versus a Remnant. The Democrats, and hence Big Government, would have a much harder time operating without an institutionalized scapegoat. They really would.

See also one of my older, semi-relevant posts - Marginalizing Republicans.

Healthy Humility Reminder

That's what my aching back feels like at the moment!

I was sitting down on the floor the other day, just about to start my yoga....I leaned forward ever so slightly when my back wretched.

I was screaming and couldn't get off the ground for almost five minutes.

This happened to me once before in the course of my yoga - last year when I was trying to reach my toes from a sitting position.

Over the nearly 11 years since my initial injury, I've had a handful of these kinds of incidents. It's not fun. I can hardly put my socks on and my shoes have been untied since Sunday morning. Even sitting in this $900 ergonomic desk chair has been painful.

Hence the recent low blog output...

It's feeling a little better each day. I should be fine in a week or two, I hope.

But when it happened, it was so painful I wondered whether or not I've swung a golf club for the last time. One can eat right (organic!), wear their seatbelt, and exercise all they want - but still, their health and well-being remains essentially out of their hands. In that sense, the flash of excruciating pain indeed felt like a lightning bolt from above.

See also - On Yoga.

Movie Rec - Once Upon A Time In America

I had never even heard of this classic motion picture until seeing it on color TV last week.

It is LONG (229 minutes) and CHEESY - definitely far from one of the all-time best mobster flicks.

But still, I found it decent. I'm partial to these older, low-dialogue films (another example would be The Deerhunter). In general, there's too much talking in life all-around; I really only enjoy hearing myself anyway! And, for us budding 'old coots', it's interesting to see what today's stars were like 25 years ago: Robert Di Niro, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Danny Aiello, Burt Young, et al.

IMDB readers agree with me. They rate it highly (8.4 out of 10 stars) despite the weak story-line and despite the competition within this genre.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Informative Bull-Poop

Alright, I just had to take a shower after a 45 minute *negotiation* with my criminally deadbeat landlord.

I went in there, intent on delivering him some bad news; I was going to tell him to reduce my rent AND to give me a long term lease that would protect me against getting booted out by a new post-auction owner.

I don't want to say I *wimped* out....but in a sense I did. At least I delayed my hardball pitch for the moment anyway.

This clown yapped, and yapped the entire time. And I must say, his body was positively shaking and his hands trembling throughout. Meanwhile, I leaned back in his deficit-financed office furniture and crossed my legs leisurely.

He essentially didn't tell me anything substantive, except that he was going to fight foreclosure; that there was still no auction date set.

Okay. Fine. Prove that to me. Of course he couldn't. I asked him for the contact number of someone at the bank; let me talk to someone there who can reassure me.

Nothing. He said *no way*. I asked three different times but he wouldn't budge. After the last time, I was felt like I was drowning in an ocean of BS.

He played dumb (easy act of him!); he said he had no idea about the *legal notice* to foreclose that was in last week's paper.

And he played *liar*; he said that he had an offer in-hand from a group of *investors* to buy this house for $675k. That, I don't believe for a millisecond! This house was worth, MAYBE, 700k at the peak of the market in 2005-6, for about ten minutes. So the suggestion that *a group of investors* are bidding 675k right now, with the housing market imploding is downright laughable.

He also confessed to me what I had presumed. From Landlord Lockdown:

And it's not enough that he's now renting out two of his properties, reaping at least $5,500 a month for himself while stiffing the banks (and in all likelihood income-taxing authorities!).

No, he's trying to get them AGAIN on the way out. For these short sales, he's also trying to GET PAID. He's going to give the official listings to a subprime co-conspirator of his in an obvious *kickback ploy*. Even if they sell my house for a cheap 500k, he's thinking that's $25,000 or so to his cohort - plenty enough to be divvied up on the down low.

In other words, he admitted to me that he thinks he can get a *commission* by selling the house - the same house the bank will be taking a 700k+ bath on.

I told him that the bank was in all likelihood *using him* - that they had no intention of ever paying a scumbag like him a $25,000 commission. I also told him that everyone knows this house is *distressed*; and that the people expressing an interest in the house are also really just *using him*....they want to go inside and get a look so they can make better informed bids at the auction. Would you bid several hundred thousand dollars on a place sight-unseen? I certainly wouldn't. This isn't Florida where homes are near facsimiles in developments - each is its own animal, with its own idiosyncratic problems.

Believe it or not, when I informed him of all this, I actually saw a faint flicker of a light come on his hollow dome! And that might be the first such cranial illumination I've ever seen in him, over the past 2.5 years!

The quivering deadbeat also said something about utilizing the Homestead provision to hold up foreclosure. Recall that is what that guy in Naples did as well. My landlord has four properties and he boldly declared that he could switch the *Homestead* to any one of them. I asked my neighbor, a lawyer, about this and he said that the scumbag currently has the McMansion, i.e. not my abode, listed as his *home*. But I think he's right, that he can switch it very easily. There is apparently some strategy in how to play this game but I don't quite understand it; and will have to do some research.

The only positive that came out of this meeting was the fact the scumbag said he was amenable to drawing up a new lease - for 6 or even 12 months at the same rate of $2,500 per month. That's at least a rational point to start negotiating from.

But get this, he said to do that he'd need a new *security deposit* upfront!!!

Would any of y'all hand over additional monies to such a manifest deadbeat? To a guy who just told you he's planning on declaring personal bankruptcy?

In the fog of this BS conversation, I did make some reference to possibly lowering the rent with a new lease and having me pay him the difference under the table (of course, I'd never do that). But get this, he was dead-set against that. He said the bank already has all of our information; that they have a copy of my lease in hand; and it seemed like he feared what the bank would do to his *possible short sale where he would get to steal another $25,000 from them*. Again, that's all nonsense. There's no way he's going to get paid on that.

But behold the ridiculous irony. Here's a guy who did everything imaginable to screw mortgage lenders to the tune of millions. But when I try to get him to do something that might be slightly below-board for a mere pittance....he runs away scared!!!

Given all the uncertainty of how much time I have left, minimally that $867.44 water bill is coming out of the rent for March 1st. Surprisingly, he only argued that one for 5 minutes!

But I'm also considering not paying him a nickel come the first of the month. I can tell him to consider it my *last* month. This will set him off and force him to either evict me ($4,000 total cost) or become more amenable to a new long term lease, at a reduced rate.

I just can't imagine a housing court judge treating me too harshly for clawing back my money given all these extenuating circumstances.

My wife?

Mrs. C-Nut alternately wants me to *pay nothing*, *just pay him*, *fight him in court*, *don't fight him, it's not worth it*.... She wants to talk about it *all night long*, then she doesn't want to hear *a peep about it*,

So like most husbands, I feel like I'm forever fighting a two-front war!

Unmasking Criminal Morons

How hard will it be to find this criminal, with his conspicuous *M&M* jacket?

Another gaffe:

Police also believe a communication slip during the robbery revealed the masked man in the black ski mask is named "Jason."

Hah! I give these two clowns weeks before they are rounded up.

And, not for nothing, but the one above looks like my deadbeat landlord!

Water-Boarding My Landlord

And y'all thought my *eviction chronicles* were over...

Recall that I just found out the house I rent is going to auction - so my landlord's LIE that we *have until October* has been exposed.

And recall that when he was trying to evict me, I found out my water bill (which he is SUPPOSED to pay) was 9 months delinquent and that shutoff was pending. So I paid that $867.44 bill with the intention of one day deducting it from my rent. You see, I'd do anything just to make sure HE doesn't get my rent money. What he would of done, perhaps, if he made any payment at all would be to throw a minimum payment in the direction of the utility. Instead, I effectively made him pay it all!

I hadn't told him about this....until Friday night. As can be expected, he went ballistic. He said he *never got a shutoff notice*. Yeah, right! And he was demanding to know, over text-messages, why I paid it. I typed up a response and then erased it. Screw him. I paid what he was supposed to pay. The money is coming out of his end no matter what. He doesn't deserve an explanation, nor can I get bogged down in this BS when there are other matters at hand to reconcile - i.e. me possibly getting kicked out of here by the bank or a new owner....RIGHT AT THE START OF SUMMER. We live in a freakin' beach town; I'm not going to suffer the 6 month winter only to pack up and leave in June!

I simply cannot tell when the auction is based upon the legal notice I saw in the newspaper. The only date on it was March 15th - which was listed as a deadline for *contesting* the bank's seizure. As far was what that means for auction date I haven't been able to infer. But I have to assume, to be on the safe side, that my house could be sold in mid-late March, and that I'd get a 60-90 notice from the new owner, and might have to leave, as I said above, right at the start of summer.

Aside from getting booted out earlier than I'd like, there's also the financial aspect of it. This scumbag landlord still technically owes me: the $867.44 water bill, about $320 in interest, and my $2,500 last month's rent. I fully intend to AT LEAST get all that back.

Water-boarding *negotiation* over my lease and financial matters will take place this afternoon - expect him to blow his lid to a new 52 week high. As always, I'll keep y'all abreast.

See also - Water Torture.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Midnight Warfare

This is what my wife does.

She goes to bed *overdressed* - with flannels and once in a while even socks!

Consequently, she's sweating right from the get-go; and then all night long she's throwing the covers all onto my side. Then I'm over-covered, and have to ventilate by periodically dangling my leg off the edge.

BUT, in the morning, she's freezing. She gets pissed AT ME for cover theft, grabs the blankets with two hands, and not only pulls them hard, she performs a *rollover and pin* to punctuate her rage. The *pin* prevents any re-acquisition.

And there I lay in my naked glory, completely uncovered and freezing my unvasectomized stones off!

Now being a little hot or a little cold at night....I can handle that.

BUT the self-oblivious, belligerent accusations that I *stole* the covers....that might very well one day drive me to a divorce attorney!

Or, minimally, I might round-up all those flannel PJs of hers and set them ablaze.

Twin beds....not a bad idea!

Due To My Rank Negligence...

Recall I do in fact have two children - the 5.25 year old Prince and the 3.68 year old Princess.

Most of my homeschooling posts have focused on my son because, well, he's the guinea pig and she's still a little young.

Many of these days where I was sitting at the kitchen table for a couple hours teaching my son arithmetic, my poor daughter was left to herself. Innumerable times she was yelled at to *Go away* or *Stop bothering us*.

My wife has oft accused me of systematically neglecting the little one and she was absolutely correct. So I've always had it in the back of my mind that the Princess was being educationally short-changed. Additionally, I had no idea how she'd take to my martinet-like approach to the same subject matter. Let's just say that she can be extremely willful (gene from both grandmothers). I had no idea whether or not my perceived success with my son would prove an outlier or not.

But today she finished the above Kumon book - My Book of Numbers 1-120 - and just for kicks, I dug out my son's workbook for comparison.

Guess what. It turns out the Princess is a full 3.5 months ahead of her brother's pace!

See - Homeschooling Update.

So I guess I'm going to have to work harder at *neglecting* her...

Knife-Catching Nightmare

Who's that chick?

Apparently she is some children's book author - website here.

My buddy in Naples told me that 18 months ago she bought a house there for $1.4 million; and that she put in another $300,000 worth of improvements.

Who knows what happened, but she decided to auction the place off herself. It was one of those events where the seller isn't even allowed to assert a minimum asking price. So if no one shows up, it could be theoretically be had for a song.

The winning bid was somewhere in the 800s - so she lost a sizable amount of money from her $1.7 million *investment*. And I believe an unhappy Ms. Lane is trying to contest the auction somehow, to boot. But that's between her and the buyer.

The only thing interesting to me in this story is the fact that a children's book author could somehow afford a $1.7 million abode. Perhaps she comes from money, or her life partner is successful. Who knows? But it could very well be that her childish books pay the bills.

In that case, I ought to re-examine what I had always thought was a non-lucrative line of business! After all, what simpleton couldn't come up with some of these ridiculous plot lines?

(Note that 18 months ago, the Florida housing market was already deep into implosion. So losing 50% in that short time period is quite the knife-catching disaster!)

See also - Beachfront Foreclosure - Dodge The First Falling Knife.

Roadside Marginalizing

We've been fortunate here in Boston to have gone 7 full weeks - January 1st to Feb 16th - without any snow.

And we didn't get much on this past Tuesday (the 16th) either but the roads got pretty dicey out there in the afternoon. Between picking one kid up at LEGO camp and dropping another off at Annie Camp, my car must have skidded badly five times. Everyone was driving 15 mph on a major road here where the limit is 45 mph - it was that bad.

So after I pick-up my daughter, I am driving slowly down the road described above. But some knucklehead decided to tailgate me for the 1.5 mile stretch. The fact that the road was a skating rink apparently didn't scare him - not as much as it scared me seeing him on my bumper.

I reach the traffic light, get into the left hand turning lane, and this clown pulls up alongside. I roll down my window and motion for him to do the same.

CaptiousNut - So, the roads are covered in ice,....nobody has any brakes,....and you have to tailgate me?

He was clearly taken aback by my question - because he probably thought I was going to ask him for directions or something.

Dude - [gruffly] WHAT is your point?

CaptiousNut - My point? [serenely]....My point is that you are a total *%&$-ing idiot.

Now he was really taken aback! He grunted unintelligibly while fumes filled his reddening skull.

Dude - That's real nice! I have my 13 year-old daughter here with me!

CaptiousNut - So you're tailgating on an icy road with your daughter in the front seat....Like I said, you're a total *%&$-ing idiot.

And that really set him off, into a face redder than anything I've seen since my lunatic high school basketball coach.

Dude - [mustering all his powers of articulation] GO F*CK YOURSELF!!!

CaptiousNut - [still serene] That's real nice....I have my two small children in the car here.

Then he sped off.

Note that he didn't even deny tailgating me or accuse me of driving too slowly, when first confronted.

Is this a potentially risky game I'm playing - antagonizing randoms on our raging roads?

Will some [crazier] guy one day pull out a gun on me?


But I submit that Roadside Marginalizing is 1/500th as risky as tailgating.

This type of altercating takes nothing away from my energy or my chi; not only is it effortless on my part, but it's often hilarious!

The way I figure it, that guy deserves to go home all hot and bothered. He deserved to be chastised and embarrassed in front of his daughter.

It's funny, you know I once saw my father harshly scolded - by the rude-a$$ pastrami guy at Katz's Delicatessen - and I'll never, ever forget watching him, my ultimate authority figure, get smacked down like he did.

This morning, my 5.25 year old son said to me, "Dad, what's tailgating?"

I was beside myself laughing. He waited three full days before asking!

The all-ears, precocious little bugger has also been know to say *the bank owns our house*. I wonder where he got such a notion?

Massachusetts Misers

I heard this on the radio late last night:

Massachusetts is dead last in 'giving' per capita.


Check out the National Generosity Index. You'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom of that webpage!

Of course, as long-time readers are well-aware, it's been my contention all along that Massholes are the dumbest, most anti-social people around.

It's also the *most educated* State in the union.

You can certainly draw your own conclusions but mine is this:

Prolonged organized schooling creates anti-social, selfish monsters.

Meanwhile, everyone kids themselves that schools *socialize* children.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Dumb Doctor

From the WSJ:

When Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000.

It is the result of her deferring loan payments while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates. Among the charges: a single $53,870 fee for when her loan was turned over to a collection agency.

"Maybe half of it was my fault because I didn't look at the fine print," Dr. Bisutti says. "But this is just outrageous now."

Unlike other kinds of debt, student loans can be particularly hard to wriggle out of. Homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments can hand over the keys to their house to their lender. Credit-card and even gambling debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. But ditching a student loan is virtually impossible, especially once a collection agency gets involved. Although lenders may trim payments, getting fees or principals waived seldom happens.

She says she knew when she started medical school in 1999 that she would have to borrow heavily. But she reasoned that her future income as a doctor would make paying off the loans easy. While in school, her loans racked up interest with variable rates ranging from 3% to 11%.

She maxed out on federal loans, borrowing $152,000 over four years, and sought private loans from Sallie Mae to help make up the difference. She also took out two loans from Wells Fargo & Co. for $20,000 each. Each had a $2,000 origination fee. The total amount she borrowed at the time: $250,000.

In 2005, the bill for the Wells Fargo loans came due. Representatives from the bank called her father, Michael Bisutti, every day for two months demanding payment. Mr. Bisutti, who had co-signed on the loans, finally decided to cover the $550 monthly payments for a year.

After completing her fellowship in 2007, Dr. Bisutti juggled other debts, including her credit-card balance, and was having trouble making her $1,000-a-month student-loan payments. That year, she defaulted on both her federal and private loans. That is when the "collection cost" fee of $53,870 was added on to her private loan.

Meanwhile, the variable interest rates continue to compound on her balance and fees. She recently applied for income-based repayment, but she still isn't sure if she will qualify. She makes $550-a-month payments to Wells Fargo for the two loans she hasn't defaulted on. By the time she is done, she will have paid the bank $128,000 -- over three times the $36,000 she received.

She recently entered a rehabilitation agreement on her defaulted federal loans, which now carry an additional $31,942 collection cost. She makes monthly payments on those loans -- now $209,399 -- for $990 a month, with only $100 of it going toward her original balance. The entire balance of her federal loans will be paid off in 351 months. Dr. Bisutti will be 70 years old.

Real Life Eco-Pagans!

Might be one of funniest, and most tragic, clips I have ever posted!

It's a slipperly slope you know - they all started out simply *recycling* aluminum cans and paper...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Competitive Thievery - One-Upping My Landlord?

There's a local hardware chain here on Boston's South Shore that was recently shuttered by creditors.

Joseph's Hardware had a handful of locations - one of which in Hingham, pictured above, closed sometime last year. I remember reading the sign on the door and scoffing; it said the closing was purely for *medical reasons*. Yeah, right.

But there was more going on here than the usual, cruel boom-and-bust cycles of the business world.

Apparently the guy was a bit of scam artist - stiffing banks and government tax collectors to the tune of millions.

Last week, sheriff’s deputies and moving trucks pulled up in front of Joseph’s hardware stores in Norwell, Cohasset, Marshfield and Plymouth and seized inventory after the company defaulted on a $500,000 bank loan. The Patriot Ledger later reported that Joseph had amassed nearly $6 million in taxes owed to the state, including state income taxes, which he withheld from employee paychecks but never forwarded to the Department of Revenue.

Someone in the comment section of that article pointed out that *Joseph* suns himself in a $750,000 boat, that is docked locally.

My neighbor told me a story of this crumb yesterday.

He said that a while back, he and his wife went to Joseph's Hardware and ordered a $1,500 patio set. After sleeping on the transaction, they decided to cancel the order. Joe said, "No problem. I'll take it off your card."

But two weeks went by and the charge was still there. My neighbor called several times and Joe insisted he'd *take care of it*, but nothing happened. Now it's been a month and the credit card bill was due. My neighbor went down there and Joe started whining about his *wife being sick* (the *medical* excuse from above) - but what the heck does that have to do with anything?

The moment that guy said he'd take the $1,500 charge off, AND DIDN'T, this was a case of blatant thievery.

Eventually, after two hours of huffing and puffing, and refusing to leave the store, Joe took out a checkbook and made my neighbor whole. (I'd have probably punched him in the mouth!)

Joe's wife is in fact very sick. And he's doing his best to milk that defense.

Joseph, 47, the Scituate entrepreneur who opened his first hardware store in 1982 and expanded the chain to half a dozen locations on the South Shore, said in an interview on Monday that more than 40 workers lost their jobs when the stores closed. He insisted the company belonged to his wife, Jenny Madden, who is listed as president and borrowed the money from Holbrook Cooperative Bank.

So while his wife is battling - PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis), a rare and progressive neuromuscular disease - this scumbag is also going to lay the fraud and tax evasion all on his wife!!!

I wonder if he's going to BLAME HER for that attempted theft of my neighbor's $1,500?

So far three people this week have drawn the analogy of Joseph to my scumbag, thievin' landlord.

I still say *my guy* is worse - while his theft total stands at $5 million to Joe's $6 million, guy arguably killed someone!


Crap. That ain't Boston. No, those are the distinctive row homes and side streets of Philadelphia.

While we up here in Boston didn't get ANY snow from January 1 through February 16th....they've been hammered in the Mid-Atlantic region. I believe they were dealt 27 inches two weeks ago, followed by another 12 inches last week.

Today I called one of my South Philly GutterBuddies. I actually had to call him with somewhat of a *secret passcode*. I call, let it ring once and then hang-up. I wait a minute, then I dial him back. The lone ring is a signal to him that it isn't one of his normal PIA callers. Who needs caller ID?!?!?!

GB - I had to go the the bank the other day but had to walk. Because if I drove there someone would steal my parking space. I've already shoveled out three different spots.

CaptiousNut - How much snow is on the ground right now?

GB - I've got my Camaro parked out front right now. It's completely covered across the top!


Even when there's no snow the *brotherly love* types will kill each other over parking spots.

I remember one such incident. A co-worker of mine's grandfather(!), the crazy 'old coot' killed his life-long best friend over a parking spot dispute.

Boston Globe - Full Of Nothing!

Check out today's Boston Globe...

Cake, chicken, soup, meatloaf, and hot chocolate have been decreed, by its readers, its most important content today!

I feel like we are just about due for another round of labor strife/budgetary cuts for the Globies...

The New York Times Co., parent of the Globe, recently reported *income*. Here I have the predictably interesting, AND cryptic, article where the company reports on itself!

But some of the relevant numbers were in fact in there:

The New England Media Group’s advertising revenue fell 20.3 percent in the quarter, to $62.6 million.

Price increases at the Globe last year boosted the New England group’s circulation revenue by 8.5 percent in the quarter, to nearly $44 million. The higher prices more than made up for a decline in the number of papers sold.

Now I don't know how they can cheer-lead about the tiny boost in circulation income.

Let's put some real numbers on that.

The circulation revenue went up by $3.26 million.

But advertising revenue fell by $15.65 million!

Ad spending is dropping anyway, but when you raise the newsstand price, you automatically shed readership (negative sloped demand curve); and fewer readers, automatically lowers the ad rates for those few remaining, Moronic sponsors.

*More than made up*....I think not!

Click here - for my master link on the embattled Boston Globe.

The End Is Nigh

The bank has finally decided to foreclose on my deadbeat landlord. I was informed today of a *legal notice* to that effect in a recent edition of the local newspaper.

So now I have to figure out how long I might have left. Ideally, I want to stay through August or September - This is a pretty nice beach town after all.

In addition to that bit of maneuvering, it's probably time for the game of *hardball* between me and the scumbag to recommence!

Dog People - Muy Loca

Pet idolators have given the clip a 5-star YouTube rating.

Meanwhile, I could put a clip of my *impressive* 5 year old doing algebra on YouTube, but it'd get only 1/1000th as many hits.

This frivolous, sterile world is self-amusing itself into extinction.

Though, I admit, that dog really can dance - probably better than most to boot!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Debt Collecting Vultures

So my phone was ringing off the hook today. It was some debt collection agency calling for my landlord. Three different people have called so far (a few times each) - and I offered them all the same deal.

CaptiousNut - If you tell me how much he owes, and who he owes it to....I will give you his contact information.

All three of them turned me down!

I really tried to sell my propostion too:

CaptiousNut - I have his address, his cell phone, his work phone, his email addresses....he changes addresses and uses different names. It's going to be hard to find him...

But still, none of them bit!

One of the debt collectors tried to turn my *deal* against me. After I told her that her company was calling me all day, she essentially said they would continue to bother me if I didn't give up his actual contact info.

CaptiousNut - Wait, let me get this straight. YOU ARE THREATENING TO HARASS ME IF I DON'T TELL YOU HOW TO REACH HIM?!?!?!

That one hung up quickly. But she's right. Until I *give it up*, I'll most likely be bearing the brunt of the harassment meant for my scumbag landlord!

Of course, I do very much want them molesting him; I won't play this game for long.

But the next time they call and ask if I am him....I will simply say * much do I owe?*.

I say good luck to these hopeful debt-collectors, because there's no meat left!

That Crooked Clown Landlord

Quick note on that clown landlord of mine...

Recall that last weekend he folded and dropped the eviction proceeding against me when I threatened to sue him for *triple damages* - for failing to properly escrow my security deposit.

One of the things I was planning to do to *disarm* him was to threaten him with alerting his other tenants (past and present) about the *triple damages* statute. Surely he didn't escrow their funds either!

While it never (or hasn't yet) came to that, I did find out some information today on the unfortunate couple who was renting his vacated and soon-to-be-foreclosed McMansion.

They came from out-of-state, probably used a relo specialist, and from afar were duped into renting this other house of his for the ridiculous sum of $5,000 per month. (Rent market value is more like $3,400.)

But at least they were smart enough to limit the lease duration; and they did, after several months find a house nearby and purchase it. Of course, on the move-out, the crook decided not to return their security deposit. I believe he shorted them $2,000-$3,000 or so of the original 5k deposit. Surprise, surprise,...right?

Hold on, it gets worse.

Supposedly, while renting the McMansion, one of their parents came for a visit. This grandmother slept in the guest room or something. The poor woman caught pneumonia and died.

Now I'm not positing a causal relationship, but supposedly the room she slept in WAS NOT INSULATED. And that might very well be illegal or minimally a serious code violation.

Again, I don't know if you can blame *the room*. Every house has cold rooms, people either bundle up or go sleep somewhere else. *Cold* is certainly not indiscernible (like pig flu!). Nonetheless, some building inspector was either incompetent and/or bought off - I think.

And if my landlord had any real assets, I'd imagine he (or his insurance company) could easily be the target of some *wrong death* suit or something.

Consider for a minute how pissed off this couple is. They were over-paying a scumbag, for a place that supposedly had its share of issues. Their mother/in-law catches pneumonia while staying in this $5,000 per month McMansion - AND DIES. And then, on the way out, the (our) landlord decides to keep half of their security deposit!

The third party who conveyed this story to me said that this couple was *very fired up* to get back at the landlord. And being the charitable fellow that I am, I will reach out to them, and avail them of my *services*. I'm right sure I can get their security deposit back pretty quickly - even if the scumbag landlord has to sell one of his kidneys to come up with the cash!

Florida Trip, Now In The Balance

First, visit - Florida, The Path Is Clear!.

Shortly after I received spousal approval to rent that same Naples condo (that I rented last winter) for the month of April, for the bargain price of $600, I emailed the dude.

But guess what. He reneged on the deal!

He said the foreclosure was staved off and thus he now wanted *market rent* for April - $1,400.


I knew it was too good to be true.

How did he forestall the foreclosure?

Well, he decided to technically move into this particular condo. By declaring it his primary residence, that makes it more difficult for the bank to throw him out. He said, "Now they have to offer me a loan modification....and maybe even a principal reduction."

He's probably not going to move in until the summer (how's that for a scam!) so I could still rent it from him *under the table*. His phrasing was, "You'd be my guest."

The bank, getting yanked is SunTrust.

At the end of the phone call he emphasized, twice, that he was *willing to be flexible* which meant of course that I could counteroffer to his $1,400 rate.

And I might very well do so - BUT not until a week or two into March. This is how you negotiate, people!

I won't pay $1,400, not in this economy. The most I'd pay is $1,100 total - including electric and the internet. I'll even offer to pay him in cash or with a cashier's check in deference to his *tax management*.

So would I skip this entire trip over a mere $800, $400, or $200?

I ABSOLUTELY WOULD. I'm price sensitive on crap like this. Heck, I walked away from that great house over what would have been only $10-$15,000. And I've even jumped out of slowly-moving cabs over a couple dollars!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Short Those Canucks!

With the focus on the Winter Olympics in Vancouver at the moment, it's a good time to address Canada's economy - that is with every other economy in the world imploding.

But it turns out, that Canada's housing market is supposedly back to its peak!

From the WSJ:

Last Wednesday, a housing-price index for Canada's six biggest cities posted its seventh straight monthly gain, showing home prices in November are now back to their prerecession peak. Another broader measure shows the average home price in 2009 hitting a record.

From Bloomberg:
The average five-year mortgage rate was 5.39 percent on Feb. 10. In May it was 5.25 percent, the lowest since 1951, according to Bank of Canada figures.

Bank of Canada Adviser David Wolf said in a January speech that it’s "premature" to conclude there’s a bubble in the housing market, and a rate increase to slow it would "be dousing the entire Canadian economy with cold water, just as it emerges from recession."

Say what?

Prices are at an all-time high, BUT they are *just emerging* from a recesion???

So why the [bleep] are house prices skyrocketing, when *shelter* over the rest of the world is deflating?

Look no further than the *bubble blowers* of Big Government:
The Department of Finance in 2008 said Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. would limit amortizations to 35 years and offer loan insurance on only 95 percent of the loan value. The government’s housing agency had offered mortgage insurance on loans worth as much as 100 percent of the home value and amortization periods of as many as 40 years since 2006.


40 year mortgages, with no money-down, backed by the government!

No doubt when it inevitably collapses, the *free market* will be blamed...

Short candidates appear to be - BMO, CM, TD, RY, BNS:

Obviously, I'd rather short a *basket* of these financials. There appears to be a Canadian Financial ETF, but alas it doesn't trade here (I think).

Appalachian Bigotry

Susie Lee done fell in love,
she planned to marry Joe.
She was so happy 'bout it all,
she told her Pappy so.

Pappy told her, Susie gal,
You'll have to find another.
I'd just as soon yo' Ma don't know,
But Joe is yo' half brother.

So Susie put aside her Joe
and planned to marry Will.
But after telling Pappy this,
he said, 'There's trouble still.'

You can't marry Will, my gal,
And please don't tell yo' mother.
But Will and Joe, and several mo'
I know is yo' half brother.

But Mama knew and said, 'My child,
just do what makes yo' happy.
Marry Will or marry Joe;
you ain't no kin to Pappy.'

Thanks to the PrivateCaller clan for this one.

See also:

True Redneck Tanktop!

This Is Rank Bigotry

It's Not Funny....It's Regional Bigotry

Learn How To Turn A Phone Off!

So I just called *someone* I know. The phone rang twice and I heard a beep and some static. It was a bad connection, or so I thought. I hollered this guy's name but only heard his voice faintly in the background.

We did indeed have a connection.

And for the next 6.5 minutes I heard him and his life-partner going at it. I right away grabbed my camera, pressed *record*, and put it up against my Droid's earpiece.


What a tiger!

It all makes sense now. I met this broad once before (at least I think it's her) and let's just say that she can *talk the balls off a pool table*.

So I'm going to email him this blog post....and contemplate what I should do with the 105 MB of feisty audio I just uploaded to my computer.