Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Money ... Thats What I Want

If I Were A Rich Man...

Current mood: slightly angry

The Money Store

All hail the almighty dollar! Collect'em, trade'm, work yourself to the bone for them, horde as many as you can. The more you have, the happier you will be and the more POWER you will have over your enemies.

I won't be going into a long rant about the love of money or the depressing aspects of the capitalistic society and how it demeans us all and makes the rest of the world hate us. No, I will save those for sometime later when I don't have anything really good to say. Today, I am going to talk about something a little bit closer to home.

First some structure for the lecture. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I know from traveling to other cities that Phoenix is much different than most other places in America. There are things that pass for 'normal' here that others would find to be downright insane, but such is the way of life in the desert southwest.

You have to realize something about Phoenix if you do not live here. This is the 'wild' west. That is meant to be read literally. There isn't really any law enforcement here. Ow, sure, if you rob someone with a gun, or stick someone with a knife, they are going to beat your ass and drag you off to 'tent city', which is actually a holding jail in the middle of the desert for low risk offenders. A fun place when it is 110 degrees in the summer. However; if you manage to steal something with a pen and a briefcase (say, having some old lady sign over her life saving to you or selling someone a car that isn't yours), they are not going to do anything to you in this state. I have worked in the regulatory branches of Arizona State government and still know folks that do. There is not enough funding or manpower in this state to even begin to catch all the white collar criminals here. So this is the land of buyer beware (Caviat Emptor). This is the state where you buy your little slice of heaven in the middle of no-where, put up a fence, buy some flood lights, get a shotgun and live happily ever after...owe and blow away anyone that dares cross your fence. Screw that 'Howdy Neighbor' crap. It is everyone for himself out here under the Arizona Sunset.

But wait! What the hell does this have to do with money and the almighty dollar you are asking? Hold your horses Bozo, I am getting to that point.

With the reality that Arizona is a haven for any illegal, felon, spouse on the run or just plain whacko nut job, how is that going to manifest itself?

Well, one way is "The Money Store" or any other name that these operations go by. You have seen them, they have sprouted up around here like weeds. It is well known that every street corner in Phoenix has three things. A Circle K, a Walgreen's Drug Store and a Money Store. The Circle K is so you can gas up your Hummer or your F-150 while you get a six pack of beer before going to work. The Walgreen's is so you can buy all the medication that folks need out here just to be able to cope with the stress and the Money store is so you can cash your check and not get caught by all the folks that are trying to find you.

My real beef here is the acceptability of that these new establishments try and put forth on the populous while all the time covering up what they do. These check cashing stores exist for one reason only. They cash checks for people who cannot cash them anywhere else. Now let's hold on a minute and take stock of who these people are. Folks that don't have bank accounts are who? Let me guess, maybe the following:

Illegal aliens, sort of hard to have a bank account when can't speak the language and don't have a social security number.

Folks with warrants out for their arrest, does not do you much good to open up a bank account and give the law enforcement authorities a neon sign showing where you live now does it?

People who are having their wages garnished, either by the courts or through bankruptcy or by ex-spouses. Better to pay 10% of the check and get something than to give it to MasterCard or your Ex-Wife.

Making the assumption that the folks that run these stores are not going to do so if they can't make a profit means that there is enough of a population of the above mentioned upstanding citizens to keep these establishments in business. There are at least 100 to 200 in the Phoenix area, so they surely out number the amount of bank branches we have. How many folks go to these places? One quarter of the population?, a third, maybe half? So these fine entrepreneurs are setting up shop in my neighbor (and eventually yours) to service the human cockroaches of society. All so they can make a buck at 10% to 20% of the paycheck from the individual that needs to stay 'under the radar' of society.

Land of the Free and home of the Brave, Indeed! Land of the vermin and home of the money changers is more like it. But don't worry, coming to a street corner near you...."Feel Good Plasma Donation Center" .... where only healthy people give blood for $20 a pop.

There...now I feel better.

Friday, May 20, 2005

We Have All Thought About This... Admit It

"Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me"
Nothing like cute little fuzzy bunnies singing about sexual paranoia, God I live the Internet! (Click the bunny for the video)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Garage / Gateway to Hell...

The Garage...

If you know me, you have probably heard me rant about this before. If not, fasten your seatbelts. If there is one thing that highlights the downfall of the American society and ideal it has to be the garage. This may sound stupid, but follow me here folks.

Once upon a time in the old / perfect days. We didn’t have them. If we did, they were in the back of the house, detached and hidden from the street. It was where you put your vehicle to keep it from getting dirty or stolen because it was an investment. In the front of the house was this thing called a porch, where people would sit and watch the world go by or cool off on a hot day because there was no air conditioning. You would wave to your neighbor, watch your kids play in the yard and generally admire your handy work as a gardener or landscaper.

Fast forward to the wonderful 21 century. The garage is now the ‘center’ of the house. It is often the only thing visible form the street and is the major in / out corridor to your living space. Gone are the porches, yards, kids and community of the past. Basically, the garage door is the gateway to your ‘bunker’ and you always keep it closed, unless you are coming or going.

But wait, this is not the reason for the downfall. This is just the pre-amble. It is the ‘use’ of the garage that really shows me the level of sickness of today’s society. They are no longer used to store the family vehicle. They are used to store ‘stuff’. All that crap that we consumer obsessed American collect that is in effect, worthless...but we just can’t part with it. Where does it go? In the garage. Where does the car go? In the driveway, or in the street, or more often than no, in the front yard up on blocks. We have all heard the storey. Someday you are going to get it running and take that road trip, when you can clear out the garage and pull the engine right.

I have taken walks in the evening through my middle class neighborhood and been amazed at the number of cars on the street and in driveways. There seemed to be hundreds. I counted on average about 4 per house. (One for Mom, one for dad, one for Junior, and one for a project). None of them were in the garage. After looking into the few garages that had their doors opened, I figured out why. They were stuffed to the rafters with junk... treadmills, work benches, televisions, the kids bikes (last ridden in the 80s), endless cardboard boxes holding stuffed animals and baby cribs never to be used again, but that have sooo much sentimental value.

This is the end chapter in the great American capitalistic saga. We are approaching the time when our homes are basically landfills and we each have our own private dump. It call became clear on my late night walks through my neighborhood, when I realized how much nicer of a place it would be if all the damn cars weren’t parked all over the place. It would be a side boulevard with sidewalks and trees, not a used car lot that surrounds my home for miles in ever direction.

So here is your challenge folks. Get rid of it all. Empty the garage, haul away the cars, get some lawn chairs and sit in your rage with the door open. You might be surprised. When you relieve yourself of the burden that society has told you, you just HAVE to have, it is a liberating experience, although you have to go through withdrawal to get to it. Throw away the television, throw away your junk, go back to school just to meet and interact with people, live IN your world, don’t just hide from it in your bunker full of hoarded stuff.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Media Insanity / The Hollywood Cocaine Diet

Hollywood Skanks Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan

originally uploaded by lotus_07.
Current mood: slightly stressed

I just have to get something off my chest.

A little background here. I don't watch television. I was raised on the damn thing and watched almost all the time up until about 2 or 3 years ago when it suddenly dawned on me, "This stuff is all CRAP". Reality TV, lame local news casts, national news that was nothing but a mouth peice for the corporations that own the networks and the 'cult' of celebrity that was getting down right creepy. So off it went, and the only thing that comes on the television now is the occational DVD that I burn or create.

With that said, one of the things I do to get my NEWS these days, is to browse the web for the obscure and bizarre. Looking across different sources tends to give you a better view than one persons editorial slant on an event. In my travels I have come across some excellent ones, namely; The Superficial (www.thesuperficial.com) and The Bastardly (www.bastardly.com). There are others like Drudge and Fark, but these two are hilarious. They really take aim at the personality cults that are spoon fed into the dead eyes of most of the 'children' under 30 these days.

After having not actually been fed this media hype thorugh the cathode ray tube IV, you start to really see the sickness of this country in a whole different light. It is actually pretty liberating to be able to go to the grocery store and look at all the celebrities crack whores on the magazines and realize that you don't know who any of them are and at how funny they look. Wake Up America. Live your own life and don't be seduced by the dark side of the media empires into thinking that these people are anybody you should care about or emmulate!!!

There..........now that I got that off my chest...I feel much better.

Until next time.....keep ranting.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Bruce In The Canyon

Bruce In The Canyon
Bruce In The Canyon,
originally uploaded by lotus_07.
This is just a test entry in the Blog to test out the Flickr image posting.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Lives Of Quiet Desparation...

Seems that things always come in waves. Celebrity deaths always come in threes, and when was the last really big natural disaster that wasn't followed by something else, Tsunami ... then ... Mt. St. Helens (again). So just when things are going well and the snow is melting and the sun is shining... my garage door opener breaks, gas pipe line gets a leak and I get a flat tire on my motorcycle. It is as though God is talking to me: "Thought that spring was here and things were going to be great , silly humans!".