Archive for October, 2009

What is going on here? Change the policy–it’s easy….

October 30, 2009

I am not rich. These days, I can barely pay my bills.  However, because I am not  buying new  anything unless I need it… had to buy a new freezer last week—-or would have stood to lose about $50 in food), I am staying afloat.

I know my credit score is 725.  Not bad for someone making under $30,000 a year.  But it’s because I do budget & plan, don’t have kids, I am not gettting my hair done, going out to lunch or to a movie.  I can’t afford luxuries right now.

I have 2 credit cards.  I pay off the balances every month.

1 is for ‘business’, & the other is for  daily expenses.  At one time,  would have been  horrified to put  groceries on a credit card, but  these days, with  even 1% cash back—it sort of cancels out part of the sales tax.  It would be foolish to NOT use a credit card.

Last year, when the economy tanked, we stopped getting the weekly credit card offers..  You may know how it is.  Even though YOU know you are at your COMFORTABLE credit limit—-the credit card companies—the banks—still send you offers.  & your own credit card companies send you the checks—the checks with no interest for  X months if you pay them off (well—not really ‘no’ interest…you have to read the fine print). That all stopped.

A few days over a year since then, they are back:  The credit card offers & the checks.

Those checks we have to tear up so someone doesn’t steal our identities out of the trash.  I recycle, so I have to tear them into small pieces.  More to recycle.

I’ve heard several news reposts that —-after the first of the year—there will be no ‘no-fee’ credit cards.  That means  we’ll all have to pay a fee for the ‘privilege’ of using a credit card (since checks are so passe’).  I may switch to a debit card if that is free….but  that also means there will be no advantage to having a card unless I start making about $30,000 more & travel or buy junk I don’t need.

I’ve decided to send those checks to my elected officials.  I am voiding them out & sending them to my  rep in Congress, Jan Schakowsky, & my senators—Durbin & Burris—& telling THEM to not allow the  credit card companies to use my money to market taking on more debt that isn’t clear—to me.  I AM ENCOURAGING YOU TO DO THE SAME.

You know how it is. “they” (the people who work for the credit card companies) say I am not paying for it.  Really?  If I am not paying for it, who is?

This is what being a ‘free country’ is all about. ‘Health Insurance ‘ companies you  pay a monthly fee to that don’t really provide any health  coverage at all;  the  bogus companies that are allowed to slide a fee onto your telephone bill (that if you don’t scrutinize your telephone bill, you don’t  recognize as bogus), and  finance companies that trick you into  thinking you are getting free credit.

A friend asked me what I hoped to be doing in 5 years.  I told him, “Well, I hope to not be on the phone  with all these companies asking them to remove bogus charges, and I hope that I don’t have to spend time  finding out  the right people at these companies to tell I don’t want any more credit, and that they are endangering my financial security.”

What the…?

October 23, 2009

I listen to National Public Radio.  It’s the closest thing to ‘real news’ that you get in the U.S.  It’s because of the BBC (not thsat they don’t filter—but it’s al;most like the  Economist on the radio.  & I am fond of This American Life and Jerome McDonnell’s Worldview( both of which are produced in Chicago at WBEZ).

So…the national news—this rainy morning–this is what they reported…is that Pres. Obama wanted to expand hate crime protection to  include  sexual orientation & transgender people…and disabilities.  And—I kid you not—it was reported that the Republicans—the folks that brought us Sarah Palin among others—were opposed to this because it affected the right of free expression due to religious beliefs.  REally.

So—apparently the Republicans think it’s ok to beat up on people different than them if their religions tell them to do that.

I think it’s time to  really consider expatriating myself.

You are so….strange

October 6, 2009

Is sarcasm a form of humor? How about a comment made  facetiously?  If you are cynical, are you humorless?

So much for …’marching to the beat of a different drummer.’  People become dog groomers for all sorts of reasons.   We say we love dogs.   How many of us continue to learn about dogs?  I wonder.

I know I chose to groom dogs because I  not only loved being with dogs, but I wanted to learn to make them look good. That’s not really important in the general scheme of things, but I am going to spill a secret:  I have Asperger’s Syndrome.  I am  odd.  I  realized that’s what it was when I read Tempel Grandin’s Book, Thinking in Pictures.  At least 2 of my siblings have it, & it’s not unusual for Jews to be afflicted.  We  are ‘flappers’ as  toddlers:  waving our hands & screaming in frustration.  We are visually oriented and  very articulate.  Most important, we tend to either miss or disregard social cues.

One of the most unfriendly things someone said to me  was being called rude for hanging up a telephone without saying “Good-bye.”  The person I allegedly hung up on didn’t call me rude. She hung up first!  Someone was listening to my end of the conversation!  She had no idea that the person I was talking to  also had Asperger’s & she hung up first.  That person had a Ph.D. in psychology!

Yep—-guilty.  I have Asperger’s.  Google that.  I know my personality was why I chose to work with dogs.  I also  got an undergraduate degree in anthropology (those wacky humans!)…

I don’t have a filter.  I will tell you straight out what I think, & if the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, oh, well.    I try to be tactful and use humor, but if you  neglect your dog or take advantage of me, I don’t suffer fools gladly. I have no patience for stupidity or for people who expect others to compensate for their lack of  research or forethought, impulsive behavior,  or greed.  I was raised that way, and it is  difficult enough  to be Jewish in a gentile world.  We Jews have had to assimilate and operate on a Christian calendar.  We have to pay for  your unplanned for & unwanted children and pets when you all think it’s ‘God’s Will’, so YOU won’t take responsibility.

I have compassion for the kids, but contempt for the parents.  American society is set up to accommodate these people.  The elites cater to their  carelessness…it createa a cheap labor pool.  In reality, it creates a pool of thugs who prey on the rest of us.  Capitalist economics can not absorb that many humans.  Jobs are not created fast enough.  If we don’t have a  social safety net (which we need for the elderly & handicapped), and are not providing food, health care, & housing, the only way the  surplus humans can survive is by stealing, thievery, and scamming.

It was that accident of fate:  me working for Ashish Sen, and  his suggestion that I apply to his  program —Urban Planning & Policy at the University of Illinois—that  was the reason I got a master’s degree in planning.    If I wanted to be employed, however, I would have had to leave my home and community. I did that by joining Peace Corps.

What  Peace Corps doesn’t  address is the emotional stress you  will endure.  Some do better than others.  Many  ‘early terminate‘.  Most early terminate due to lack of support from Peace Corps  or other entities  which could provide support, but don’t.  No matter.

When I returned from Peace Corps service, my mentor told me to take any job I could find (this was at the end of the 1st President Bush admin—in the early 1990s). So, I worked for  some badly run not-f0r-profits.  I finally returned to grooming dogs. The pay and hours were much better and not nearly as frustrating.  But more—-people are afraid to bother you when you have a scissors in your hands.  It’s you—& the dog.  Strange?  If you know you are strange, that you might be mentally ill (or has a syndrome) are you  not as good as the people who judge you?