Many A Poet, Not So Much Poetry

I came upon Bukowski in 1992 or thereabouts. Carla had brought in some of his books to The College Market; he’d recently been re-discovered and marketed through Black Sparrow Press. Carla had a friend who was a fan and we joined what was back then a relatively small group of people who were drawn to his particular style of illuminating the pain and indignity of humanity.

I saw the movie, ‘Barfly’ with Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. Which reinforced what seemed a reasonable interpretation of his life based on his books.

I was in my late 20’s then. By the time I got to my 40’s. Buk had become more fashionable thanks to some celeb publicity which I think made him pretty uncomfortable. He always seemed most at home in anonymity. At least from the clips I’ve seen of him.

Anyway, I always have one of his books of poetry on my desk and read a few each day. Here is an old favorite.

A couple of new nicknames for Pops.

Snack-Crackle-Pop

And one more. He is now also called ‘Dick’. Pops has now bitten 4 people. None bad. Just scratches. I have not see any of them although I did see him growl at a friend and have a go at the neighbors dog.

So the old cranky bastard will become increasingly isolated at those times when I am not right by his side. Still trying to digest what this really means. My current plan when I go biking out west for a week is to have the dog-walker stay at my house. I think that will be okay as they seem to get along. But I might need a plan B in case something goes sideways. Like a kennel? I hate to do it, but I also don’t want the dog-walker to be here alone if Pops gets weird and she gets scared. And I am not sure we’ll have cell coverage at the mountain-top yurts where we are staying.

In all cases, Pops has only gotten angry when someone comes up to him. If he goes to them and his tail is wagging, he is fine. I don’t think his eyesight or sense of smell is much good anymore and so he might be scared when larger animals or beings come up to him and he hasn’t yet had the chance to inspect and understand who they are.

We were talking taxes last weekend with the family. And homes. Taxes, because we all need various K-1’s in order to file our personal returns.

We are an entrepreneurial family.

Here’s how it comes down I think.

Larry: Effectus LLC; EpicErie LLC; Fourth and Sunset LLC

Terri: Rosy Reds Flowers (sole proprietor); EpicErie LLC; Fourth and Sunset LLC

Rob: Pyramid PgM LLC; Earth-Explore LLC; Fourth and Sunset LLC; M&M LLC; Mondesa Youth Opportunities (Trust)

Shannon: Fourth and Sunset LLC; M&M LLC; + 1 other LLC with her boyfriend for a few investment properties they have

And here are the various businesses we are involved in.

Fourth and Sunset: Me and Sibs have 3 houses. One is a rental; one is for mom and dad and one is for our oldest sister. Fourth and Sunset is the corner where our house sat that we all grew up in.

M&M LLC: Shannon and me for a rental house

Effectus: Larry’s consulting business

EpicErie: Larry and Terri’s restaurant

Rosy Reds: Terri’s flower business

Pyramid PgM: My consulting business

Earth-Explore: Me and Brian’s camp trailer start-up

MYO: The registered trust in Namibia that I founded in 2004

My past businesses that I started or participated in are: College Market Books and Coffee; Myres Bros (tri-plex apartments in Idaho); Senang Wine Bar & Tapas Bistro; Kinport Junction (commercial building); Sundance Consulting; Tortuga LLC (condos in Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Here are the homes I’ve owned over the years:

  • Cincinnati (Norwood)
  • San Diego (Carlsbad)
  • Chicago (condo in west loop)
  • Idaho (tri-plex in University district, Spence Place, Mountain top home at Juniper, Cabin in Lava Hot Springs)
  • Columbus (Blendonbrook)
  • Cleveland (Bratenhal)
  • Mexico (Condos with Jess in Akumal)
  • Somerset (3 homes with Sibs + getting ready to buy a rental with Shannon)

I honestly sometimes forget about time I spent in a specific place. Hell I might have even owned other homes I’ve forgotten about. Thankfully I’ll have this blog to remind me when I am old and senile.

Good weekend with the family, although it is getting harder and harder with Dad. His memory is failing very fast now. This makes him much more sullen and angry even than usual. He was never a tower of optimism or support, but he is always negative now about everything. He is often reflective, and wants to discuss matters he considers important, but he is not rationale in the discussion. He constantly brings up the idea that he may die soon and ‘his wife’ is not capable of taking care of herself. This is crazy talk.

Mom is about 1,000% more capable than the rest of us and has been Dad’s caretaker his entire adult life. She works harder 7 days a week than anyone I know. She never sits down. With her big magnifying glass and light and glasses she can squint through and read what she needs to. She has a razor sharp memory (she probably knows at least 100 phone numbers). She is super smart, thoughtful, engaged in the community, has lots of friends and loved by everyone. My siblings and I call daily and make sure they have everything they need. We bought the house they live in. So the thought that us kids are not prepared to take care of mom in the event something happens to dad is crazy. But he won’t listen. He continues to insist that we must somehow do more, although no one including himself knows what that even means.

Of course it is just him obsessed with his own mortality. He has essentially no hobbies any more. He sulks and watches TV. Drives mom to the store when she needs to go. Occasionally he will do something silly like buy a truck that they don’t need or buy other junk that just sits around and doesn’t get used. Recently he bought a laptop computer, which he sent back after a week because he can no longer grasp technology. We have bought him multiple devices over the years but his ability to learn is gone.

It’s not a pleasant thing watching someone deteriorate and succumb to the vagaries of life. I intend to continue to live life as completely and enjoyably as possible until my mind and body go; then I hope to accept the end with dignity. Over the years, I’ve thought a bit about trying to have more control over the whole situation. Just hard to know until we get there. Just can’t wait too long, but don’t want to be too hasty either. Hopefully as society evolves, we will have more easily accessible and legal choices over our own death.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

One of MYO’s alumni, Glorische, is on her way via scholarship to medical school in Namibia. She was always a top student and has worked very hard. And now she is setting off on a trajectory that will be life-transforming for a young girl raised by her grandmother in the impoverished township of Mondesa. It’s impossible to know if these young children would have achieved their goals without the 2,500 hours of academic subsidy they receive from MYO over 5 years, but it’s also impossible not to understand that it must help. I happened to be visiting at our annual prize-giving ceremony when Glorische was awarded the top learner at MYO in her final year. I bought her a cell phone as an extra prize.

I had to get a COVID test today since I have a doctors appointment on Friday. Cleveland Clinic has done major construction in one of the underground parking garages at main campus. It’s a drive through testing gig and they have built out little offices and test areas right there in the garage. Went smooth but I was the only car there.

I’ve been trying to understand how we can live in a country with so much disparity in views. How people I went to school with and grew up with are so certain that getting a vaccination for COVID is not safe or is part of a conspiracy. How the bartender at my local, who from my keen observation doesn’t seem to have much training in hard sciences, is absolutely sure that she knows more about COVID and pandemics and vaccination programs than the legions of docs and public health professionals who have dedicated their careers to this moment in time. And she is not alone. I read this morning that they expect somewhere around 30% of the people to not get the vaccinations.

How people are obsessed with the concept that Hillary Clinton is involved with child-sex trafficking. That whole pizzagate and QAnon conspiracy. I mean this is so far out there that I doubt Kurt Vonnegut could have come up with it. And yet there are millions of Americans who believe that there are satanic-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles running a global sex-trafficking racket. And, that these folks for some bizarre reason plotted against Donald Trump. Perhaps because Donald is so well known for sticking up for the vulnerable? There are even a couple of members of US Congress who apparently are believers in Q.

There is so much to unpack here. And yes, I realize that is an over-used term, but I still like it. Hats off to whoever coined that term. And who coined the term ‘coined’?

At the core of at least much of these discussions is that some people become obsessed with the idea that others may be getting a little something extra that they are not getting. One of my family members is constantly railing on ‘welfare recipients’. She hates the idea that someone who needs help is getting it. Actually she characterizes it as if everyone who is getting a little government assistance is too lazy to get a job. She of course is not alone. And she has also been the beneficiary of significant government handouts–so there is a hypocrisy element as well.

This is a very common theme and I hear it all the time. This concept, that people in need are just lazy and not willing to work, has no factual basis that I have ever read. It is a myth that has existed for as long as I can remember. Best data I have seen suggests that perhaps around 5% or 6% of people are trying to game the system to get extra free benefits of some nature; disability, food stamps, housing subsidies etc. But to get that number down to zero or 1% would take a massive investment of additional government oversight, which would almost certainly cost more than the small amount of wastage. Also, few people are really getting up in arms over the massive corporate giveaways that happen every year. I just read this morning that so far in the tax filing year, already around 55 large corporations are shown to have paid no taxes at all, in spite of large profits. It is a maze of off-shoring and exploiting loop holes and generally taking every possible step to pay nothing in taxes. Where’s the outrage over that fraud?

At the root of all this is some sort of crazy jealousy I guess. Not sure that’s exactly the right word. Perhaps people think if they were able to save an extra 4 or 5 hundred dollars off their tax bill each year that their lives would be magically transformed? But honestly, how does it diminish me if a few dollars are given even to someone undeserving? I don’t agree that my tax dollars are spent to build weapons of mass destruction, but I have no say there either. What is worse for the world, using tax dollars to build killing machines or to give a few bucks to a handful of people who don’t want to work?

You might think that Americans would be proud when we send food or other aid including money to developing nations whose citizens are suffering. But time and again we see that people 1) routinely wildly, and I mean wildly, over-estimate how much foreign aid we provide to other countries and 2) resent that we are helping someone else. My oldest sister said that she felt American’s should get vaccinated before anyone else in the world. To paraphrase her belief system then, an American life must be worth more than non-American lives. How do you get to that point? Although we do it all the time. We started two massive wars in middle east and killed or maimed or misplaced hundreds of thousands or even millions under the illusion that it was for a greater good. That somehow these brutal violations would engender love for America? History told us the outcomes before we even invaded and yet we did so anyway. Because 3,000 American lives had been taken, we felt justified to kill hundreds of thousands of people who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.

Regarding American foreign aid; In a survey done some years ago, respondents estimated US foreign aid to be around 27% of GDP. The actual amount is around .16%.

Charles Blow, always an elegant editorialist, has written an excellent, passionate piece on racism in America in response to the George Floyd killing.

No other news of note.

Humbly submitted

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