July 15th, 2016

Günaydın! (A fine Turkish “Good Morning” to you !!!)

Its been a nice week here in San Diego. The weather never far from perfect, hit is just right this week. The sun was out, the breeze was gentle and it was just good to be right here. I watched with everyone else in helpless horror as the police officers in Dallas fell. All lives matter and protesting wrong doing is our duty when our hearts compels us to such action. We should be protected by our empowered police officers. We need to hold accountable all those who would break our laws and deprive us of our rights, even if they are policemen. But its time we put down our guns.

I am reminded of something my Grandmother told me one time. I forget the exact circumstances but I was a boy excising a privilege of some kind. Perhaps, I was using knife or scissors or glue or something but whatever it was, when she discovered that I did not execute with the precision and care that privilege called for. She said, “You have demonstrated that you cannot be trusted in this matter so you no longer are allowed to do so.” I had to demonstrate that I was sufficient in my maturity and understanding of the rules to get that privilege re-instated.

If I was the all knowing and all powerful OZ, I would confiscate all of our weapons and give our country a time out from the convoluted way the 2nd Amendment has been interpreted unless and until such time that we as individuals and collectively demonstrate a need and a capacity to manage that privilege. Oh, I know all the gun “rights” bubbas will be all up in arms about even saying such blasphemes but I would like to remind them that they were all fully loaded and packing and we still some how elected a highly principled and intelligent black man as President! 🙂

Lets face it… we are taking ourselves and our determination to be “right” way too seriously to be trusted with firearms. We need a time out to learn to appreciate each other and limit the damage to bad language and fists. If we do good, we can get our toys back once we demonstrate our ability to store and use them safely. So there !

This week I learned some stuff:
• We have been refinishing our bed. This week we got to move our box springs and mattress off the floor for the first time in several weeks. I learned it feels real good to have our bed back. Thanks to Jess and the incredible Hulk (BJ) for all their help in getting the old folks back into their bed.
• I learned that my hosting service does not include back ups. So the entire Kitchen Drawer was lost last week. I can recreate the UJTs but not the quotes. I am sorry. I still do not know how it was deleted.

Website Update
• Last week for the “New” Vocabulary quiz!
• I am starting to replace the quotes and the lost UJTs in the Kitchen Drawer.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I continued to sketch and do some value drawings of the back yard this week.

• The circle is unbroken. As a young man, I remember a few times where I had to take my kids to the doctor. Mostly while I was slaying some business dragon, my wife took the kids for their shots or check ups both dental and physical. But sometimes I did it. It was always a strange event because I was there. The kid on the little table thing and me standing or sitting in the little room but the doctor always seemed to talk to me not his patient while the touched, probed or stuck their little victim. Well this week, the roles reversed. My daughter went with me to my doctors appointment. Let me start by saying right up front, I am a terrible patient. Oh, I follow the directions given by the medical professionals I employ but I don’t make it easy for them to them. I grew up in medical school so along the way, I figured out that Doctors generally take themselves and what they do way too seriously. So put a geek in a white coat in front me and I am going to mess with him. I just can’t help it. I tell jokes and make fun of the asinine terminology. But mostly I just refuse to join in their “superior being passing wisdom” schtick that they all fall into to varying degrees. These folks are mechanics who work on really important machines – our bodies and that can get a little weird for all concerned. So I try to help them out. Anyway, I was doing my doctor thing with my new Pulmonologist. I think I embarrassed my daughter, who has worked in the medical profession for many years, to the extent she might not want to accompany the geezer to any more medical sessions. She might, she is pretty tough but maybe not.
• I saw a couple of incredible shows on HBO this week. Bill Mayer and John Oliver were both outstanding. Bill Mayer almost seems like a bully but that is only because Trump gives him so much to work with – all of the shots are easy if you actually think and get specific about the thoughts. John Oliver’s show was really informative about the Debt industry in the US. I am not sure if any of you have bumped into this horrible situation. Depending upon what state you live in, the ability of Debt Buyers to make life miserable can be overwhelming. It is as dishonest and unethical as it is profitable. This is how it works:

You are accused of a unpaid debt anytime. You can be alive or dead. The debt can be new (within the year) or written off years ago. The Debt can be real or a complete mistake in the paperwork or the lawsuit or in the information developed since.
The debt is unpaid and un-collectable. The Debtor may not even know of the debt. They may have skipped out on the debt. The debt may be expired according to the state it was incurred.
The Creditor writes off the debt (a business expense from a taxable perspective) but then sells it to a Debt Buyer for a fraction of the original uncollected amount. The creditor gives all of the information about the Debtor to the 3rd party Debt Buyer.
The Debt Buyer pursues the debtor using a myriad of methods not all of which are legal in all states and many of which maybe more effective than ethical or even a good business practice. 3rd Party Debt Buyers bring more lawsuits than any other type of entity using our legal system. Typically, the person being sued does not know that they are being sued. And if the do not answer the suit, the courts award to the Debt Buyer. Once the suit is awarded to the Debt Buyer they no longer have any requirement to validate or prove the original debt. The Debt Buyer is authorized by the court to collect the amount awarded in the suit. The Debt Buyer does not care about people or customers or repeat business. They will only ever have that one transaction to pursue with that “debtor”. And they pursue it diligently. In some states they can stop mortgage processing or garnish wages. The make life miserable for “debtors”, their employers or even their families in all states.
If you are caught in one of these things. They will not show you any original documentation for the debt. They will provide the suit information only. They will use any number of means to find a person who will pay them money. They will mix up social security information with siblings or children or spouses names and place hits in all their credit reports. These people can challenge the hit but if the information in the hit matches the information in the suit, you are stuck because the suit information is the new “truth”. In the process the debt buyer can negotiate a payment to “make it go away”. If the debt buyer do not collect the entire amount awarded in the suit, they can sell the remaining debt to another debt buyer even after they agreed not to pursue the debt with the payor at the time of their agreement to “make it go away”. Of course, when the sell the debt again, all of the information accumulated goes with it and the process begins again with a new debt buyer.
You do not need a license in most states to buy debt or to become a 3rd party collector. As part of his story, John Oliver established a debt collection corporation in Mississippi, stood up a website offering to buy debt and was presented an offer to buy over $14million in debts (with all the information) for $.005 (1/2 cent) on the dollar. He accepted the offer and was able to enter the business. The fee to incorporate in Mississippi? $50.
I discovered the wonderful world of Debt Buying, after I returned from living in Europe for almost 5 years and was buying a home in southern California. While I was in Europe, it turns out an unscrupulous and now defunct “insurance” company claimed to have sold me an automobile policy. This company was in fact a loan company who used the financing of insurance as there means of ripping off people. The insurance policy was in effect for less than a month but the loan was in full affect. So according to the suit information the state of Texas awarded some $9,000 in principal and fees to this Debt Buyer allowing them to try to collect it from me. My Mortgage broker told me that this happens all the time and that I must settle the debt or include the settlement of the debt in the mortgage for it to be processed. Anyway, I ended up talking to a guy in a boiler room in Trenton, New Jersey that told me that we needed to negotiate a settlement of this debt (that I never owed) to get into my house. He told me not to worry about it. The amount would only add pennies to my mortgage payment and I would get into my house as planned. He said he was authorized to negotiate in good faith which he explained meant that I didn’t have to pay the entire amount awarded in the suit just.. say 50-80% of it. So I did two things. I promised that he would never see a penny of that money from me and I told the mortgage broker to process the settlement into my loan and go forward. I think still have that check in my drawer.

Music Update:

• Alabama Shakes – Over My Head — This group is so different than most of the musicians that I listen to but there is something compelling about them. Its purposeful messy music and it grabs me.
• The Everly Brothers – Breakdown — This is an old (from 1971) Kris Kristofferson song that Phil and Don covered. Originally, this one was from one of my favorite Kristofferson albums, “Silver Tongued Devil and I. A sad song sung well.
• Santana – Migra — From their, “Supernatural” album. Just tight rhythms, sweet horns and oh yeah, the guy with the guitar is good too 🙂 This is just a fun tune that gets my face smiling and my butt to shaking:)
• Steve Winwood – While You See a Chance — Steve is one of those musicians that just permeates my world. His music is so distinctive in its style, grace and tightness that it captures your senses or at least it does mine,
• The Steve Miller Band – Little Girl — From their “Your Saving Grace” album released in 1969. This album is some of my favorite SM songs. His voice and guitar work is soon cool. Its timeless for me. I hope you enjoy it too.
• Phil Collins – Papa Was a Rolling Stone – This one of my favorite cuts from his Going Back album. You can hear the reverence that Phil has for these old Motown Players, in this case, The Temptations. The band he assembled for this album is soon impressive. The guitars and horns really stand out on this tune.
• The Police – Walking on the Moon — This one is from their Regatta De Blanc album. Giant Steps is what you take … I just love this release from 1979.
• The Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic — Forgive my indulgence in The Police for a moment. I remember this song and especially the video with such fondness. It kind of fitting that I get to hear it this week when I am celebrating 43 years of that feeling of when I first met Tippy. We had been married for 8 years when this song came out, it still said something to me about those first magic days that refreshes and sustains me even now. ”Its a big enough umbrella… “ Sweet song …fun video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aENX1Sf3fgQ )

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; And always remember … The best is yet to come!

As always, thank you for being my friend!