Sunday, November 29, 2009

Here, there, and everywhere.

The Beatles wrote some good songs.


I dreamed I had Japanese toilet paper.

No, I don't know what that means.

I dreamed I had an Arabic language Previews (my comic ordering form); and that I was testifying in Congress about it.

And no. I do not know what that means -- except that it's ordering weekend.


Apparently, Wabi Sabi has opened, over on Brooks St. near the Pine Tavern, and it's all Japanese stuff.

I can see some of you rolling your eyes, but you know what? It isn't as crazy as it sounds. They'll have a strong reaction from the Japanese-philes; and the material is unique and interesting enough to probably garner a curiosity purchase from most browsers.

It's apparently not as Otaku oriented as I had expected; not much manga or anime. (Wiki: OTAKU: "... a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and video games.")

Which means there is still someone out there who has expressed an interest in opening a comic shop downtown.

I'm hoping the Wabi Sabi people willl be friendly; and send people my way who ask for Otaku stuff, and I can send all my Otaku customers their way.


I can just see it. The Desert Sun guys scam a bunch of money and buy two Dodge Vipers. Someone takes them aside and says, "Dudes. Vipers are so redneck!"

So they go out and buy a Ferrari....


Every time they profile a family in need in the paper, I have the opposite reaction I'm supposed to have. I think I'm supposed to feel compassion, but I just see them wasting money, mismanaging their money, being incredibly unwise. And sure enough, the Mom is shown smoking a cigarette. Her excuses -- paying 900.00 a month for a motel room because she can't save the money for a down payment for cheaper lodging; buying only microwavables; and so on....are just hard to take.

It's like saying:

"I only eat steak, because the only restaurant within walking distance is a steak house."

"I only drive a new car, because there isn't a used car lot near by."

"I had to buy the big screen T.V., because it's the only one the fits the empty space in my motel."

But I suppose if they had brains, or willpower, or common sense, they probably wouldn't be in that position in the first place.

But, damn. I just want to take that money and show them how to handle it...except, they'd probably be right back where they started the minute they were on their own.


So Black Friday sales were down .5%? Baloney. Stuff and Nonsense. They have no possible conceivable way of really knowing that. Hell, they were talking about Black Friday being better by 2:00 in the afternoon!

No one asked me.

Nor, I suspect a single store in Bend. Or Redmond. Or anywhere else around here.

It's putting too fine a point on a basically unknowable number.


We're open on Sundays again. I'm hoping we won't have to start from scratch again. Last time, it took years before enough people knew and it paid off.



blackdog said...

"But I suppose if they had brains, or willpower, or common sense, they probably wouldn't be in that position in the first place."

Jeez, Dunc, as soon as you come into a little money you start sounding like a Rush Limbaugh clone.

It would be nice if life was fair and all the rich folks got that way through hard work and virtue and all the poor folks got that way because they were lazy drunks and drug addicts.

It ain't necessarily so.

Read Nicholas Kristof's column in today's NY Times about a guy in his early 20s who's being slowly killed by a vascular problem in his brain. Surgery could fix it but he has no insurance, so -- adios, friend. Meanwhile his family is losing everything it had.

Only in America.

If you assessed your own position carefully and objectively I bet you would discover you are only one or two disasters away from poverty yourself. A little less self-righteousness on your part would be appreciated. Thank you.

Duncan McGeary said...

Did you read the article?

I believe everyone needs help, at some point in their life -- everyone.

I believe some people have bad things happen, and need help.

I believe that people who make bad decisions, or lack "brains, or willpower, or common sense" can't be consigned to the streets.

But, damn. Isn't there a way to teach this woman to be self-reliant?

The amounts of money talked about in this article are MORE than I've lived on at points in my life, MORE than Linda and I and two boys have lived on.

It's frustrating.

The second guy in the article at least seemed to be getting by with the help, and truly looking to get out of the lifestyle.

By the way, if you've read my blog, you'll know that I've had the same reaction more than once to these kinds of articles.

In theory I'm all for these programs, but why are the examples always so egregious?

Duncan McGeary said...

I'll stand by what I wrote, HBM.

But if you use this in your blog, I'd appreciate if you also used my answer.

I think this woman is a bad example.

I don't think the program itself should be junked.

Duncan McGeary said...

For the nine-hundred dollars she's paying for a motel room, she could get an apartment with a kitchen and pay all her utilities...

For 650.00 worth of food stamps, she could stock her pantry with basic footstuffs; potatoes, rice, noodles, etc. and have enough left over for few small luxuries.

I don't know. How much do cigs cost these days? How many weeks would it take to save up for a deposit?

When I say, "they wouldn't be in that position in the first place," I mean it as answer. That is why they find themselves in that position, don't you think? Moving to Bend for a job? Good idea.

Living on microwavable meals?

I don't buy it. Rice and water. Noodles and water. Potatoes and water. Many foods can be used in a microwave.

I eat sandwiches every day at work. Take, oh, bread and peanut butter.

I just don't buy that she's down and out; but it's o.k. to keep making stupid decisions.

Duncan McGeary said...

Did you notice the numbers don't add up? For instance, she's getting 647.00 in cash but she paying for a 900.00 motel room?

Later in the article it says, "I'm thankful for my parents and we live together." and "...her father receives disability benefits..."

O.K. Tell us about that. So we can get a clearer picture. Are there other payments from S.S. for mom and dad, and how about the boyfriend?

If you are going to use this family as an example, it's important to tell us everything, don't you think?

Telling us that she's receiving an amount less than she's actually making, but telling us the full amount of her expenses is kinda cheating.

blackdog said...

"Rice and water. Noodles and water. Potatoes and water."

Not a very nutritious diet, although I guess you could survive on it -- until you got beri-beri, anyway.

Seriously: I didn't read the story (When did it run? I was out of town over Thanksgiving) and you may be completely right. I just didn't like the implication (or what I took to be the implication) that poor people are poor because they have no brains and/or willpower and/or common sense.

Yes, poor people sometimes make bad decisions. So do rich people. If you want examples I could find hundreds. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if rich people made more bad decisions, on a per capita basis, than poor ones. The difference is that rich people are protected from the consequences of their bad decisions.

blackdog said...

"The amounts of money talked about in this article are MORE than I've lived on at points in my life, MORE than Linda and I and two boys have lived on."

When I was first married my wife and I lived on $200 a week. Of course that was in 1968.

Duncan McGeary said...

It's on the Bulletin website, Bruce, if you want to check it out.

I'm not saying living on 1500.00 or thereabouts would be easy, but it can be done, even today, even for four people.

I suspect they are actually receiving more than that....

Duncan McGeary said...

Tell me what you think, BD.

The joker is the 'disability' payment, and I just have a strong feeling with that many people that there are other resources.

But let's imagine the 1550.00 we actually know they spend is all there is. (Obviously, not -- because that just pays for food and housing...)

But let's just say.

That money would stretch considerably farther with a 600.00 a month apartment, basic utilities, a kitchen.

So that would be step one, right?

No talk whatsoever of that in the article. Just a forlorn hope she'll get a job, or her mom will, or her dad, or her boyfriend.

shopping monkey said...

Yeah, I'd like to speet on those Vipers. It still galls me that in the "flush" years (more than one meaning to that one), banks were so willing to fork over millions to any builder who asked (even those in their mid-20s with no experience), but for us small businesses trying to grow: zip. Just try and get a tiny $5k line of credit today. Ha ha.

On the family living in a motel: that cigarette thing gets me, too. Seems like the cost of a pack of cigs would get a kid into a movie. But then, it's too easy to judge from afar. Maybe it's their only indulgence (too bad the kids have to breath it). I do hope it's temporary for them; an apartment with a kitchen and laundry facilities (and bedrooms) would be so much healthier and cheaper. That's when living near a bigger city comes in handy: there might be actual jobs there, plus public transport and family services. Jobs in Bend? I don't think so...

Just wish our schools had the funds to offer more basic 'life' courses: how to get a job, take care of yourself, build some skills, learn a trade, know how to cook, balance the checkbook. Plan for a family, before they just start showing up.