Sign of the Times

I suppose, by now, we, who’ve been staggering around like extras in some zombie apocalypse film, have become a bit desensitized; have slightly adapted to our pandemic redefined world. Nonetheless, I really did get spooked out just last week. I wouldn’t even be blogging about this, now, were it not for my still being unable to shake that weird feeling.

I mean, this STILL is Earth. Yes? No? Maybe?

Setting the drama aside, IT all began when I needed to transact some mundane biz at the very same bank I’ve been frequenting since I was a four-year-young lad. Hey, what can I say? My impoverished, public school teacher folks’ lesson plans included instructing me to be thrifty.

Hell, even banks, of that bygone era, had encouraged that DIY, build a nest egg ethic, too, by paying out 4% interest on our savings accounts.

Granted, thru the ages, “my” bank has undergone numerous ownership changes as well several minor physical renovations, but, to me, I’m still seeing that same old brick and mortar institution thru my mind’s eye. In a sense, it feels as if I’m traveling back to that far more pleasant era; experiencing, anew, the flood of fond memories; e.g. the facial recognition; the personable bank personnel greeting me, by name (and vice versa), each time I set foot inside.

Of course, these days, there’s not much setting foot inside, anymore.

After all, even while masked / socially distanced, face to face, indoor transactions still (potentially) expose everyone to COVID-19. Beyond that, I’m sure that management doesn’t want customers spooking out their tellers; i.e. now that our being masked makes the same “fashion statement” that the bank robbers do.

Hmm, seeing how I’ve now digressed a bit too much, let’s time travel back to last week, again. Upon my arrival at the bank drive-thru destination, there IT was. The Sign. The Sign of the Times:

IT had been taped over the pneumatic tube system’s access port. IT read: “This branch office is temporarily closed.” They neither elaborated THE WHY this had happened nor THE HOW they were defining “temporarily”.

I actually began to worry. What would happen if “temporarily” actually meant forever AND my modest DIY nest egg had suddenly vanished, POOF, into thin air? Got gobbled up by some zombies?

Be it intentional or not, that sign’s evasiveness, did erode consumer confidence. It had been ill-timed, too, considering how, pandemic or not, retailers / e-tailers always depend on the holiday gift giving season to make their fourth quarter merry and bright.

More to the point, when our funds cease to be available on demand, even “temporarily”, this could compound the problem; i.e. result in a run on the banks.

At the very least, this episode certainly got me out of the shopping mood. From the drive thru exit I just drove home. And, for a fleeting moment, it felt as if the zombie apocalypse was starting to spill out from the big screen and into the real world.

Epilogue: Fortunately, this past Monday, my bank’s drive-thru lane reopened; finally allowing me to complete last week’s transaction.

As for the zombies? For the moment, they’ve been driven off.

For the moment.

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!


Cans and Cannots

As I type this, I’m bundled up in a down parka, which tops off an entire multilayered, winter outfit. My exposed fingers are icy cold due to ambient indoor temperatures that can dip as low as 13°C / 55°F. To convert that numbing number into something more tangible, my shelved, surplus 24-pack of Coca Cola™ is chilling out nearly as much as the cans already inside my refrigerator.

So, why would anyone ever opt to “live” like that?

  • To (hopefully) coax at least one more heating season out of a natural gas fired furnace; a model so ancient (manufactured in 1959) that replacement parts are no longer available. In fact, one repairman’s recent miracle involved an ingenious retrofit (btw, he could’ve wowed a bevy / galaxy of Star Trek’s Chief Engineers; namely, Montgomery Scott, Geordi La Forge, Miles O’Brien, B’Elanna Torres, Trip Tucker, et al).
  • My concerted effort to maintain a respectable checking account balance; to delay becoming a homeless man, who’ll wind up freezing to death on some dead of winter, inhospitable, Michigan night.

There’s a side effect to such frugality, too. The outward appearance of financial stability; so much so that, for the past six weeks, a robocaller has been trying to sucker me in with the following spiel; words to the effect:

Your history of making timely, utility payments now qualifies you for a 20 to 25% reduction on all future energy bills. To speak to a rep, press “1”.

Here’s why I won’t be pressing onward:

  • These telemarketers called, even tho my phone number is listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
  • I make it a rule to never transact business over the phone with suspected scammers.
  • They’ve been inordinately (perhaps illegally) nosing around my sensitive, purportedly private data.
  • Godforsaken corporations rarely, if ever, are renown for magnanimity.

Such concerns do beg at least two questions, too.

  • Seeing how consumers would never object to lower energy bills, why can’t these alleged benefactors simply pass along the savings; i.e., minus all of the jumping thru the hoops hoopla?
  • Why do they perpetuate the ass backwards notion of offering that 20 – 25% reward to people who CAN pay their bills?

After all, it’s the folks who CANNOT, who need such help the most.


Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!






Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do?

Let’s pay a call on, CORRECTION, call out a high end auto manufacturer’s recently aired and streamed commercial.

Now, don’t ask me to name this big biz entity by name. The tone deafness of the ad, itself, proved to be such an enormous distraction, I cannot recall, for the life of me, the specific corporation.

And, even if I could remember, I’d never want to afford this insensitive entity any additional publicity; not even via my barely noticeable website.

That said, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the ad:

Young, money grubby hubby ushers wifey out to the driveway (presumably on Christmas morn), to present to her two… mind you… TWO, luxury, showroom-new, gas guzzler SUVs; one red, the other blue. She promptly goes gaga, and assuming the blue one is hers, instantly takes ownership. Meanwhile, he glumly deadpans the ad’s allegedly humorous punch line; (words to the effect) Oh well, I suppose I could learn to love the red one.

Aside: Let’s hope he’s not scarred for life; so much so that it’d take decades of psychoanalysis for him to get over his “disappointment”.

The tone deafness of this scenario is toxic.

First of all, HIS and HERS vehicles? At $60,000 a pop? REALLY? WTF kind of relationship do these stick-figure characters have, anyway? I mean, they cannot get along well enough to carpool it to work for an hour or two each day? Of course, that’d be assuming they’d ever do a lick of work that’d go beyond managing their fat, Fat, FAT stock portfolios; oh, say, by phoning up their stockbroker(s) for speedy, greedy chats?

Far be it from me to begrudge “successful” people their materialism-centric “lives”; their getting off on such dubious “pleasure”; but my gawd, let’s keep everything down to earth!

This IS 2020 after all! That godforsaken pandemic has been, literally, snuffing out lives and livelihoods. Average Janes and Joes are not making their rent / mortgage payments to keep roofs over their kitchen tables; are having a tough time paying their utility bills to “fire up” the requisite cook tops / ovens to prepare meals for said tables; are purchasing cheapo grub to toss into their cookware that’s being heated up by said contrivances.

To bottom line real life for the edification of this avarice driven, tone deaf auto manufacturer and his like-minded, mindless Madison Avenue admen:

When the underemployed and out of work, working class don’t earn enough to readily pay their bills, their drab soundtrack of life does not contain the notes Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do.

But then, again, you don’t sing Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do, either.

Were you to ever, truthfully, set that above-mentioned, tone deaf ad to music; it’s dreary “lyrics” would go:

Dough Dough Dough Dough Dough Dough Dough Dough


Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!






What Takes Precedence

Ever since the raging pandemic tanked out our lives, livelihoods and tomorrows, very few of us have been in a spend like there’s no tomorrow mood. Consequently, our belt tightening efforts must prioritize securing adequate sustenance and livable accommodations.

Yet, all too often, YouTube’s advertising content fails to conform to our pandemic altered, stripped down to the bare essentials, state of consumerism.

I mean, we, the sensible people, are not about to buy into that platform’s vast array of products which, by and large, involve [1] unregulated, unsafe potions / shoddy wares that no one would dare sell at the retail level and [2] quasi-legal, get rich quick schemes. Neither would we want to deal with service providers who, were they to set up shop in the real world, would be rapidly run out of town.

And, so long as I’m already airing my grievances, why are such snake oil salesmen so effing long-winded? I mean, if it takes a guy an hour to dupe the gullible, maybe he isn’t even good at being a crook? Of course, such shortcomings would be a good thing.

Let’s look at this, conversely, too. YouTubers, who post content that’s vital to surviving the pandemic, should not have their messages preceded / interrupted / followed by advertising at all. Ditto that for content addressing discrimination and loss of liberty issues.

I must also pause to make my gripes more America-specific.

If I see even one more godforsaken campaign ad dripping with White House B.S. to whitewash that so-called leader’s grotesque white supremacism and/or promote his concerted efforts to incite urban wars and/or to downplay his DIY pandemic, I do believe my head will explode.

Returning to the basic fiscal matters:

While it’s vital to salvage what little may be left of each and every nation’s economy, what takes precedence is rescuing what’s left of humanity. Once that becomes a done deal, everything else should fall back into place.

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!


Anyone in a shop-till-you-drop mood?


One would think that Confederate Prez Donny, who fancies himself the stable genius and consummate businessman, would be able to grasp onto the economic fundamentals… namely…

RULE #1: Unemployed, destitute grown-ups will not be in a let’s-shop-till-we-drop mood when [1] worried sick that COVID-19 will come home to roost [2] paying for the roof overhead and food on the table proves difficult, AND [3] the Fascist overthrow of America may already be a fait accompli.

That stark deficit of consumer confidence should come as no shocker to that science denier / autocrat who’s totally to blame for COVID-19’s physical and fiscal devastation and the dismantling of democracy.

Obviously, I cannot speak for everyone, but, under such grim circumstances, aside from paying for life’s bare essentials, the only way I’d ever go on a shopping spree is to [1] prepare for the worst by prearranging my own funeral and [2] hope for the best by booking a one way flight to the nearest progressive nation with outstretched, welcoming arms.


Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy!







Another Holy Week Resurrection To Mull Over?


IF you’re [1] an overworked, overtaxed, underpaid, underappreciated working stiff, who [2] hauls around a wallet cram-packed with credit cards, which are [3] issued by banks that charge usurious, 21+ percent interest rates and exorbitant fees while [4] these same banksters pay out only a fraction of 1% interest on your saved, minuscule nest-egg and, concurrently, [5] you can only count on amassing a lifetime of staggering debt from [6] oft purchasing steeply priced, shoddily constructed, broken down (beyond repair) after 90 days “durable goods”, THEN…

Gasp – Gasp – Gasp… Congratulations!

You’ve been doing your (unfair) share to prop up Donny the Kid, his like-minded gang of infantile, sleazeball cronies and their smoke and mirrors economy… a rigged system, which is akin to a figurative choo-choo train, which they’ve permitted to [1] leave the depot sans an engineer [2] chug along full throttle and [3] chase you DOWN, Down, down the rickety clickety railroad tracks until… Until… UNTIL…

UNTIL the Coronavirus had easily caught Trump napping in the “Roundhouse”. At this juncture, that man-child’s crazy train left the tracks and crashed into the face of one of them thar Rocky Mountains… oh… you know… out there… that-a-way… in one of them thar Wild West Red States.

And… ever since… Dow Jones Donny has been [1] chomping at the bit to jump start / breathe new life into his shimmering mirage “economy” while [2] denying ventilators to the Coronavirus victims, who cannot breathe.

Key Question: Is Donny the Kid’s economy… one, which he’s willfully manipulated to favor ONLY THE WEALTHY, really worthy of resurrection?

Hmm… I’m sure you’ll readily agree that this serves up plenty of food for thought for all of us socially isolating souls… especially of the Christian persuasion. We can only hope that… be you devout, secular or anything in between… WE all realize that… no matter what Donny may say to the contrary… in actuality, he has left us nowhere to go during Holy Week and, likely, for plenty more weeks after that.



Wellness to you all! If you’re ailing, you have my hopes and prayers for a full, speedy recovery. Wherever / whenever we discover a leadership vacuum, it’ll be incumbent on us to do everything we can to save humanity. Staying safe and healthy depends on our flipping off egotistical, partisan hacks while heeding the advice of reputable doctors and scientists. That also depends on our paying attention to these vital to our survival tips…

[1] Practice good hygiene (scrub hands often at least 20 seconds), [2] Cover coughs and sneezes, [3] Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, [4] observe social distancing protocols (remain at least 2 meters / 6 feet apart [5] wear a protective face mask [6] avoid large crowds, [7] socially isolate /  hunker down at home and [8] self-quarantine if you feel ill.








What Next? A Crime Wave of Tsunami Proportions?


A wise leader prepares for the worst and hopes for the best.

However, America has no such leader. He does not seem to fully grasp that… due to his being a short-sighted science denier… his response to the coronavirus has, all along, been too little too late. Instead of reacting proactively to stay ahead / afloat, he has become the Captain of the Titanic.

Before this all blows over, the sickness’ fever, itself, could become secondary to the temperature of society going up in literal flames.

Fact of life… to fight the virus, America has had to go into shutdown mode and the resultant, out-of-work people, already, are having a rough time making their rent / mortgage payments and buying their groceries. Once homeless and hungry, their very survival instincts will drive them to act out in ways that are… to say the least… uncivilized.

Factor in how, stateside, we exist in an armed to the teeth, gun sick society and indeed, we could be facing down a resultant crime wave of tsunami proportions.

Is Martial Law inevitable? Will that become that so-called leader’s “perfect” excuse to suspend the November presidential elections? How convenient, huh?

Of course, a forward thinking leader could normally avoid such an extreme by proactively calling for the emergency set up of federal programs designed to keep everyone fed and housed.

BUT… due to the very nature of that damned virus… how would social distancing even be possible for folks who’d be [1] waiting in long, slow moving breadlines, [2] dining in overcrowded soup kitchens AND [3] crashing each night in cramped, federally run flophouses?

Let’s hope that my concerns prove dead wrong. If not…

Prepare for the worst.







The Run On TP


In a different time and setting… the following tissue issue could even be humorous. Long sigh… we’re now discussing a coronavirus side-effect, namely, the hoarding of toilet paper.

Admittedly, upon first spotting my local supermarket’s utterly barren shelves, last week, I had to consciously stifle my own laughter. I mean, unless the hoarders are privy to some “inside poop” I am not, this strain of the flu doesn’t even cause “the runs” so… why the run on TP?

Let’s keep it real, folks. The only way the stores won’t be able to keep the shelves stocked is if the panic stricken public insists on needlessly “warehousing” it.

Worse yet, is how this “practice” leaves the rest of the non-hoarding TP consuming public SOL.

So, how best to get this prob under control? I could gross everyone out with the details… butt… I mean but… I don’t need to.

As one who lives on my own, and has also quantified the consumption rate of nearly every product I consume, I know that it takes me approximately one month to go through each TP roll. Yes, I do write the start date on the inside of each new roll (btw, this also alerts me to a related problem… namely… when manufacturers deceptively downsize their products).

Even if you don’t live alone, like me, it is still possible to quantify your own family’s rate of consumption.

What this all means is that my recently purchased 12 pack of TP will last me ONE FULL YEAR!

Needless to say…

• I won’t be needlessly stocking up any time soon.

• Hoarders, who wipe out their oft limited funds, are now stuck with a sheet-load of TP that could take an eternity to use up.








Off in the Land of Milk and Honey

Avarice Adulterated Altruism


My local supermarket chain’s owners, at present, are extending a helping hand to their customers, who are having a tough time making ends meet. At the checkout lanes, their cashiers will be asking people to donate one gallon of milk. Even better, is the owners’ dollar for dollar match… to the tune of $20,000.

While such altruism is always admirable, why is it that this very same store’s prices… nearly item for item… typically range 50 cents to $1 higher when compared to their competition?

Why would anyone… even the wealthy folk…. not be feeling the same as poor little old me? Why would we not all be fleeing out of town, to patronize the more reasonably priced stores? I know I am!

True, such a glaring price disparity might be easier to buy into if… IF… it involved ONLY their gourmet product line… i.e., the type of food / libations that their more affluent customers typically toss into their shopping carts. However… this business’ godforsaken price gouging runs both store wide and yearlong.

The truly altruistic store owner would own up to the fact that poverty is a year round prospect and that fair pricing would go much further towards, ultimately, eliminating this problem.

When any business makes its fortune at the expense of the less fortunate, this is akin to…

Milking the poor people dry.