Sunday, February 19, 2012

Contractors, Brokers and Banks - Oh My!

The other night I visited the apartment I'm supposed to be buying.  I just walked by the building on my way to meet a friend for dinner in that neighborhood - but it was great to be reminded just how much I love that street.  I especially like walking down the hill, turning a little bend in the road and seeing the George Washington Bridge.  It's not exactly like this picture from the internet, but it's close:

Plus there are cute little restaurants, a wine store and a corner pub once you get closer to my (potential) place.  It's all very lovely, except that right now I'm stuck in limbo waiting on lawyers to figure out if the building itself is so screwed up that I'm walking into a money pit.  I'm also in the process of getting documents to the mortgage broker whose apparent attitude is pissing me off.

Now, I've barely talked to the woman in person and she may be perfectly lovely.  People sound abrupt when they're sending one line emails from their phones, so maybe she's not a condescending, dismissive prig who thinks my clerical skills suck.  And we must acknowledge that the minute I hear the words, "Mortagage," and "bank," somewhere in the back of my mind, I start imagining people sharpening up the blade of a guillotine.


It's a couple of days later, and I just woke up from a bad dream about borrowing money from a Loan Shark.  Nothing in the dream was identifiable - so it was generalized anxiety, I suppose.  No big deal.  My real estate agent- an actress with whom I have been friendly for years peripherally and trust completely - said that if Mortgage Broker A was unresponsive, then let's go with Mortgage Broker B or C.

But I feel like I'm swimming in a shark infested cesspool when it comes to bankers since they've got you by the short and curlies.  Contractors are easier because they're just goofballs in a van, for the most part.  Some are good; some are not.  The one who provided me with an estimate on the work I want done in the new apartment, for example, clearly wasn't interested in getting the job.  I'm not a bit worried about that, though, because the friend I met for dinner knows a guy who used to be a super in the neighborhood who can do everything on the cheap - and my mother is already making plans to come up here and boss Velvet around so we can do the less complicated tasks our own selves.  Life is better when you can do things for your own self.

Yesterday, I was cranky because of Israel and Iran, and how for some reason the Media seems to think that no one will suspect there's no weapons of mass destruction in Iran either.  Then Rick Santorum keeps spouting shit - it's no wonder we call him Frothy since the shit slides out of his mouth so slick and fast it must be mixed with lube.  There have always been politicians mouthing stupid shit, but people didn't flock to them in droves like they do today.  George Wallace is the closest thing I can remember to a shit spewer - and at least he sincerely believed what he was saying.  At least I think he did.  I was just a kid.  I'm pretty sure the Republicans believe what they're saying when they say it because they're good enough liars to follow Wanda Sykes advice and Believe the Lie.

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I would say I hate all those political motherfuckers, too, just like I hate bankers and propaganda artists who act like they're journalists reporting real news except that I'm trying to be all Zen about that shit these days. But it's hard to remain unruffled when people say things like: Women who are in the military should expect to be raped (Liz Trotta).

If I understand the theory that the World is an Illusion - and all that shit is of the World - then we just need to let that shit go and focus on Being the Change.  I honestly believe being the change is the only way to go and I fully believe that when we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun - the world will be a better place.

In the meantime, however, I wish Americans would take a lesson from the Greeks and start working to restore our Democracy.  I don't know what's going to happen over there.  I don't know what's going to happen over here.  But I'll say this much:  At the end of the day, it all goes back to the same rich motherfuckers.  They could have been Dukes and Viscounts back in the day, or Slave Traders or Nabobs with the British East India Company or Boers and Afrikaners or Conquistadors working for Queen Isabella.  The Owners, as George Carlin so famously called them.

With The Church, The Schools and The Television, the Owners have things sewed up so well that even if Americans did have a mass uprising, the best we can hope for is about the same amount of change as we saw during the 60's and early 70's.   That's good enough, though.  I hope things in America don't get as alarming as they are in Greece, but if they do, maybe our police will show some balls and make a statement like this one from the police union in Greece:
'Since you are continuing this destructive policy, we warn you that you cannot make us fight against our brothers. We refuse to stand against our parents, our brothers, our children or any citizen who protests and demands a change of policy,' said the union, which represents more than two-thirds of Greek policemen (from The Globe and Mail).
I have a feeling that most American cops get a hard-on from beating up hippies, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for our paramilitary police force to tell the Owners to Suck It.  That's going to make life a little trickier for the Occupation, but plans are underway for the spring no matter what the cops have to say.

October2011 and others are calling people to National Occupy Washington on March 30 to kick off the American Spring.   And we can't forget May Day.  It's even on Facebook: Occupy May Day - General Strike


ellen abbott said...

Well, if I had a job I'd strike but being a self employed artist that has no work because the economy still sucks and Americans have zero appreciation of art I guess I'm already on strike. Anyway rant on. What is up with Santorum and sex. The guy obviously considers sex a duty instead of an enjoyable past time. How fucked up is that? And he's not satisfied living by his own scewed moral standard, wants the rest of us to be just as fucked up as he is. Even married people shouldn't have sex unless it's to make a baby. Why is it people who hate sex and bodies want to force everyone to their way?

And I wish you would get rid of this new word's too much trouble.

homer said...

I hope things in America don't get as alarming as they are in Greece,

Alarming? Such understatement. Greece is close to defaulting on its debt, just like a lot of Americans with mortgages they can't afford.

However, if Greece defaults because the Greeks refuse to balance their books, it's possible we'll see a listing for the Parthenon on eBay.

...from the police union in Greece:
'Since you are continuing this destructive policy, we warn you that you cannot make us fight against our brothers. We refuse to stand against our parents, our brothers, our children or any citizen who protests and demands a change of policy,' said the union...

They don't get it. It's not the cops against the people. It's the Greeks against themselves. They spent too much. They already know their FUTURE pension and healthcare bills are going to exceed their revenue by a mile.

The Greeks already tax themselves out the wazoo to pay for today's benefits, which are already more than they can afford. In the future, the shortfall will increase.

This is the definition of bankruptcy, and, as a result, the Europeans are on the verge of throwing Greece out of the European Union.

Small countries can sometimes get away with overspending. Greece is small, only 12 million people. But eventually the neighbors get tired of helping out.

In the end, the Greeks will have to give up their Zorba attitude and take a big cut to benefits. We know they will, because to do otherwise means they will be kicked out of the European Union, and that would mean they'd have to pay all their own bills, which they refuse to do.

If they were abandoned by Europe and forced to take full responsbility for their irresponsible spending, the country would collapse into anarchy. At that point, nothing would help. That's when you get an Arab Spring, which lets loose all the aspiring dictators.

Comrade Kevin said...

George Wallace was at least entertaining with his demagoguery. I doubt he even meant half the things he said. He was pandering to the voters of the state of Alabama, and then later, to the voters of the South.

But this doesn't mean he wasn't a destructive force. Santorum really does believe what he says, which is even scarier. He's not a particularly compelling leader or personality, which is a weakness that will eventually be exploited.

I wish you the best as you navigate the high seas of finding a new place.

PENolan said...

ellen - I haven't monkeyed with my settings lately, so the word verification difficulty will have to be blamed on blogger. Sorry

homer, a lot of my buddies are Anarchists so I'm taking your remarks as a good sign. Predatory lending is a big issue in this country - just look at student loans.

I always enjoy your insights.

homer said...

You can't borrow money from anarchists to buy a home.

PENolan said...

There's the rub, Darling. And those bandanas don't really work in the bar at Bergdorf's. That's why I'll always be a capitalist, longing for the days when Mom and Pop shops still operated in the town square, and nobody ever heard of Walmart.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

The street looks wonderful! The things that are freaking me out lately is this push in both state and federal governments to outlaw contraception.

PENolan said...

V.V. - My mom has been warning me about the Conservative Christians wanting to take away The Pill for years and years. I figure with the prices White Babies fetch in the private adoption market, we'll be in a Margaret Atwood novel next, and that's No Joke.

Cali said...

I really hope the new place is everything you hope and more. Also, I hope the loan sharks don't get you!

I can't stand all the saber rattling going on over Iran! It's driving me crazy! The citizenry will NOT take ANOTHER war lying down!

I spent the weekend doing streamer support for a live streamer from San Francisco who was covering TruthCon or more accurately, The Whistle Blower's Conference at the University of California. (That is Berkley's actual name. People call it UC Berkley, but that's not what it is, it's Cal. The Original University of California.) Daniel Ellsberg was one of the panelists, as was Rev. Billy. It was the most amazing weekend, ever! I really enjoyed every moment, and I got to tell Rev. Billy that his movie changed my life.

And as if we didn't have enough to do Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday, my streamer also streamed the weekly Fuck The Police march in Oakland. (13 hours on duty in this chair that day!) Only this week they marched all the way to the Cal campus, about three and a half miles!

At Cal they raised a general ruckus, and campus security sent an armed team in riot gear to the very same building we'd been in all day. One of the chants when they saw the small squad of riot cops was "I'm used to OPD! Do you wanna fuck with me?" It was the winner of the night.

You really should come watch some time. I think we'd have a grand old time in the chat I moderate. Don't worry, I keep the meanies, the Ron Paul Drones and other assorted weirdos out. You can find out when I'm doing streamer support by either checking my Facebook Wall or following me on Twitter where I'm Cali_chef.

I guess all those hours were worth it though since my streamer/partner found OccuLove at the march. I'm really enjoying watching several couples from Occupy Oakland fall in love. Only time will tell how the OccuCouples fare.

PENolan said...

Lordy - the Punk Patriot fell into OccuLove when he was here with a young woman from the sustainability committee. She was earnest and relentless and I wish she would have washed her clothes more often - but they seemed dedicated to the relationship.

I'm so excited for you! Daniel Elsberg is one of my total heroes, and of course, Rev Billy remains one of my favorite activists.

How's your body after all this running around? Will check you out on FB. I never really go to twitter much, but I'll find you there too. If you wind up in my FB family, it's so your posts don't get buried on the feed.
Much Love

Kulkuri said...

George Wallace is the closest thing I can remember to a shit spewer - and at least he sincerely believed what he was saying.
George Wallace wasn't always the way he came across. After he lost his first election for public office, he vowed he'd never be "out niggered" again!!

Anonymous said...

The thing is there WAS some change in the 60s and 70s. And that's hopeful, THAT's what we're hanging on to, no? Nobody wants to wind up in a Margaret Atwood story. Much as I love the gal.

Jennifer said...

Oops - that wasn't Anonymous - it was me! What the...?

PENolan said...

Jenn - that's exactly what we're hanging on to. What's so scary now, though, is all this Homeland Security and the paramilitary police force.

Noam Chomsky told the younger OWS crowd to be prepared for a fight that lasts generations and to build structures to last through the "dark times" kind of like Adbusters did after all that WTO stuff back before 9-11 in Seattle.

It's going to be a long, hot summer.

Susan Tiner said...

You have a good job, good credit and are an all-around responsible person so you should get the best possible loan product. Don't settle for less and don't borrow a penny more than you need. xoxo

Cali said...

You misunderstood, I wasn't physically at Cal. Physically, I was right here. My streamer was at Cal, and on the march. I never left home. I don't leave home unless I absolutely MUST. Believe me, there is much discussion over the fact that I have refused to continue driving 18 miles each direction to pick up my son and his g/f from the bus after school every day. (She's got some REAL weirdness about cars, parking and travel in general.)

PENolan said...

Susan - it looks like it's all going to work out fine especially now that I'm holding a Good Faith Estimate in my hot little hands.
But as always, your mouth to G*d's ears ;)

Cali - Oy with that g/f!
I was wondering how you managed the whole thing. This new fangled technology is MAGIC

PENolan said...

Kilkuri, I didn't mean to overlook your comment. But I still don't know how to respond to "out-niggered"
Imagine if Rick Santorum, Newt and them stopped trying to be so PC and said what they really thought!

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