When breaking the law is just business as usual

I have at least 3-4 bad parenting moments every day.  But my aim is to teach SOS that life is governed by a set of rules:

  • if you do something, then you live with the consequences;
  • never, ever, implicate someone who is innocent;
  • if you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler;
  • if you feel guilty at night, then you need to apologize to someone in the morning;
  • if you’ve done something bad, you have to own up to it and try to make it right; and
  • if you lie, it only postpones the inevitable reckoning and aggravates anyone who would have been sympathetic to you.

SOS asked me about LIBOR and what exactly was being manipulated.  I tried to explain it simply and, to be honest, I was marginally successful (that is to say, inept).

I have been thinking about the Federal Reserve’s expressing concern 3 or 4 years ago, the Bank of England’s having to answer to Parliament, and a venerated international banking institution’s being rocked to its core.  And, there are many banks under scrutiny.  Then I read an article about the cheating, self-dealing and insider-trading done by Wall-Streeters that are just part of business as usual.

This week, I paid a sick amount of money in life insurance, long term care and disability insurance.  Am I a schmuck?  Are all these institutions houses of cards waiting to collapse and shatter my dreams and hopes of providing for my family?

I am tired of people cheating with my future.  If you want to mess up your life, hell, it is your life.  But when what you do affects POB, SOS and me, just be careful never to meet me in person, because, if you are putting my family at risk, I am capable of anything.  Anything.

Something. Anything.

Some days (ok, weeks), I feel in suspended animation, waiting for a sign, a direction, something.  I don’t think it is just me alone; the news, the economy, the pundits all talk about uncertainty and the absence of bold action.  Universal stagnation.

The Eurozone has been on the verge of collapsing, or recovering, for months.  Every day, European leaders are frantically accomplishing nothing while “contagion” threatens to spread.  

And who let Cyprus into the euro-zone?  Aren’t Greece and Turkey still fighting over that island?  Does it really need a bail-out or did it just get in line because it didn’t want to be left out of all the fun?

And, of course, we on the other side of the big pond are frightened and our markets volatile and businesses unsure. 

So we sit.  And we wait.  This is like watching a documentary on the Black Death Plague in slooooooow moooooootion. 

And the Supreme Court doesn’t often hand down a landmark decision that also tosses a curve ball into a presidential election (ok, other than in 2000) and so the Supremes are teasing this out to the very last day.  Ok ok ok, Messrs. and Mses. Justices, we all agree that you are so fabulous and powerful.  Now, give us the f%@#ing decision, ok?

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why some of the Justices don’t like broccoli so much, and why that seems absurdly relevant to the court decision. 

And then there is Taxmaggedon: the economic cliff that our nation slides off on January 1, 2013.  We spent too much on our national credit card and still no one wants to admit that, first, we need to pay the bill and, then, we can shoot the spendthrifts.

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why every event has to have a catchy (or actually not-so-catchy) name in order to signal that it is a big deal.  Taxmaggedon is apparently catchier than “elected officials not doing their jobs and compromising for the good of our nation and our economy”.  I think “Operation Nero” might be better, althought Congress is playing with something other than its collective fiddle.

And then there are Syria and Iran.  Syria has a vague “window of time” until it implodes with civil war.  Iran has a vague “window of time” before it can explode a nuclear bomb.  What should we do?  And when?

So we sit.  And we wait. And what does a window have to do with time, anyway?  And if it turns out we blew that window with Iran, do I really need to keep saving for retirement or going to the gym?

I could go on.  (No, really, I could.)  And I fear that either the resolutions that won’t come or, if they do, they give rise to more questions and more uncertainty.  

Sooo, I’m sittin’ and I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’ . . . .


Confluence of events and blogs

Last night I was at the gym, in my usual (and clean), well-worn yet dorky gym attire, when I came upon the Sniffer at the water fountain.

As you may recall, the Sniffer (http://40andoverblog.com/?p=3247) feigned an allergy to perfumes so that he could come over to where SOB and I were companionably and half-heartedly “working out” (read, “chatting”) on side-by-side elliptical machines.  He sniffed and sniffed around us and then said, “I knew by looking at you that you weren’t the type to wear perfume. . . . ” And then he took the elliptical machine next to mine.  I think that line would turn off straight girls much less an almost-married lesbian.

The Sniffer has since tried to make conversation with me about various, incredibly odd, things.  I now think that he is socially inept and just wants to chat the way others do at the gym.  I started to feel bad for him, until . . . .

Back to the water fountain.  Sniffer half-turns to me and says in that loud voice that suggests he doesn’t know how to modulate volume:

“I almost didn’t recognize you without your “Friendships are Recession-Proof” t-shirt.  Do you have just one or is the recession over?”

This is what the shirt looks like.

For the story behind the t-shirt, click http://40andoverblog.com/?p=127

Really, sniffer?

Of course, I have to tell him in an equally loud voice that I had them made for my friends and they were popular enough that I had to do a second “printing” and ended up with six or so EXTRA of them.

“And they are always clean!” I bellow in a last exhausted gasp.

“So the recession isn’t over in your eyes?  Technically, it ended in . . . .”

Ok, I had to walk away.  His disquisition on economic markers (which I had overheard before) is mundane yet pedantic, jargon-y yet shallow, almost exquisitely so.

I met POB for dinner after the gym.  “How was your day?” she asked.  “I need new gym clothes,” was my response.


Life American Style

You want to know why our society is crumbling?  Why we are losing our preeminence in education and innovation?  Look in the mirror.

These are the items that get equal billing in the news re-cycle in the US.  These are taken from CNN, Yahoo, MSNBC and FOX.  Ok, I cherry-picked.  And I re-ordered to prove a point.  So what?  I bet that I gave us more credit than we are due.  In order of (my manipulated) importance, accompanied by my snide remarks:

  • US consumer confidence is at an all time low.  No one is buying off-road vehicles for the urban terrain.
  • Banks are not lending and companies are not hiring because of confusion over the new laws that will go into effect over time.  Would you like us to re-enact Glass-Steagull (that was eviscerated when the GOP was in control)?  I bet you would take Dodd-Frank in a heart-beat.  So, shut up.
  • Did Anderson Cooper flub a critical question to Michele (Night of the Living Dead) Bachmann (two n’s so she is not a secret Jew) in the GOP Debate on Tuesday night?  Does she have a cause of action if she loses the GOP nomination?
  • The housing bubble has not bottomed out.  So, the economy has to stop and wait for that.
  • Unemployment is over 9% which is a reflection of the last 2.5 years and not of the implosion caused in the years that preceded it.
  • People are occupying Wall Street and financial centers across the country because they don’t understand why the American Dream is out of reach, but aren’t they anarchists?
  • Lindsay Lohan has to go back to jail because she overslept on her first day of community service.
  • Stock prices are lower.  “Euro Contagion,” baby.  (Wait, don’t tell me, it must be an ad for “The Black Death Has Returned,” in movie theaters everywhere.)
  • Qaddafi is dead after an insurrection against his brutal rule, but enough about that, oil prices are dropping and it is a sign of Obama’s failed domestic policies (I am still figuring out the latter).
  • The Queen didn’t mind a curtsey malfunction in Australia.  She is a woman of the people.
  • Not all of the 99% pay federal tax (but they do pay state, local and sales tax).  Nevertheless, they should be deported.
  • The GOP candidates are talking crazy talk in their debates about how much less taxes we ought to pay (and Herman Cain would not tax used goods but food — which cannot be sold “used” or “pre-owned” — would be more expensive than ever) and how we need a fence across our entire southern border because Martians and other aliens are landing and illegally entering our country and taking our jobs.  Who said the GOP doesn’t believe in UFOs?
  • Israel negotiated with terrorists because the release of one soldier was worth freeing 1,000 Palestinians non-POWs (“If you save a life, it is as if you saved the world,” said a great rabbi; it was also a smart move to undermine Abbas and his UN bid for statehood).
  • There are almost 9 billion humans in the world, at least 8 billion of whom live in abject poverty.  And I worry about my retirement accounts.
  • There is a faster and easier way to lose flab around your abs.  You mean I can watch TV, drink red wine and eat french fries (not together) and the fat will melt away?
  • Ashton’s and Demi’s marriage is on the rocks.  I didn’t know they actually got married.  Apparently, he thinks politics is sexy because . . . RIGHT before he was shtumping (I mean, stumping) for Obama.
  • The best and worst Versace styles are available at H&M stores.  He is dead, so I don’t get it.
  • Jessica Simpson (who IS she?) wants money to talk about her pregnancy.  It may be cheaper to buy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.
  • There are ten HOT Halloween costumes for this year.  You mean the French chambermaid outfit won’t work again this year?

Res ipsa loquitur.









I love POB (partner of blogger).  She is the better half of my soul.  She is extraordinary.

She is also “at liberty” these days, since losing her job in a corporate restructuring.  To my mind, she can rest on her laurels and eat bon-bons for the rest of her life. I want her to be happy.  But recently, I think she needs to have a job for her sanity and well, frankly, for mine.

A few weeks ago, I learned from POB all about the scam of recycling plastic bottles.  The bottles are shipped to China (add to carbon footprint) where the process of recycling those bottles causes noxious gases to be released into the atmosphere (EPA would not allow such recycling in our country) and then the recycled product is shipped back to us (add to carbon footprint). All this, over dinner, after a long day trying to woo clients and bring in business.

Last night, we were at dinner at a restaurant with friends and POB had questions about the fish special.  Was it farmed? Was it certified as “happy fish” before it was fooled by bait and impaled on a hook?  Where was it fished? (as in, was it fished in a place that is overfished?)  I had an extra glass of wine that had a huge carbon footprint.  I felt bad but the wine felt good.

But it was really the other week that I decided that POB needs a job, ANY job, with or without pay.  POB announced over a gluten-free, nut-free and (dare I say) taste-free dinner that we should get one of those apartment-size composting kits so that we can create fertilizer and then drop it off at compost-receiving stations in Central Park.  That way, the parks will be greener and we will be, too.  Ok, ok, ok, ok, at age 47, I am composting nicely, thank you.  I will disintegrate enough just in time for the worms, etc. to break down the rest of my cells at my death.  POB is not mollified by the knowledge that I am in slow-burn compost mode.

What, am I not compost enough for POB????  At long last, has it come to this?