1984: 30 Years On

I regret not making the most of my excellent education. It was an interesting blend of science and the classics. At the time I tended to scoff at the “Arts”, believing the Sciences were worthy of study but arguing about what an author was thinking when they wrote a particular book seemed pointless. Nonetheless, I spent 4 years at high school reading English Literature in addition to my science studies. Of all the literature I read few books can I remember in any detail, save Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, several Shakespearean plays, some Dickens, DH Lawrence, and “1984”. Oddly, the current shenanigans in Congress and histrionics from the White House can all draw parallels from the events unfolding in the books I remember. I first thought about entitling this blog Bleak House. It reminded me of the pall hanging over the White House. Congress mirrors Lord of the Flies and you can pick your favorite Shakespearian play to match the way Democrats behave; mine is Hamlet. From what I remember of DH Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”, I feel the same way every time Obama opens his mouth; but without being kissed first.

With all that said, Orwell’s “1984” became frighteningly real when recently I heard El Presidente repeat his oft repeated assurance that “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan, period” but looked down at his notes and followed that comment with, “if your plan …” God in heaven! Orwell was right but 30 years late. Despite dozens of recorded examples of what Obama actually said, there’s the Liar In Chief actually telling us that what we heard him say time and time again, was wrong because what he actually said was … not what we thought. We all had hearing problems. He was actually re-writing a small part of history. Forget the crap Democrats and their lemmings say to justify the President’s lies, there was never an “IF” in his promise. Forget about what he should have said; what he meant to say; that your plan was rubbish but now you’re better off. The President DID NOT follow “period” with an “if”.

More surprisingly, few pundits, journalists, or news anchors have said much about this. Yes, they argue about his lie, but no one has actually compared his attempt at a do-over to the tactics of those armies of human drones in Orwell’s book whose days were spent literally republishing past news to match the all-powerful government’s – Big Brother’s – propaganda. His performance was stunning. I’m really quite worried by this. It’s not WHAT Obama said, it’s THAT he said his remarks on national TV and few have commented on the implications of a President having the audacity to believe that we’re all too dim to realize what he’s doing. So here we are, 1984: 30 years on. / December 5, 2013

60893249 People Can Be Wrong

voteIt’s been quite some time since I last posted something on my blog. It’s not for the lack of things to say; those who know me understand that I always have something to say. Instead, I’ve been absent many weeks because I’ve a new job. And I’m very grateful to have one. In stark contrast, something like 23 million do not; or at least if they have one it’s nowhere near as good as the one they had before the great economic down-turn. By all accounts a large number of unemployed have simply given up looking for work. If for no other reason than those millions less fortunate than me, I am humbled by being employed and I try every day to not grumble about silly pin-pricks of daily life. Given the choice, I’ll deal with silliness in the workplace in preference to the far more serious matters that unemployed people face; not the least of which is facing your family with the same news as yesterday: I didn’t get a job.

And that segues quite nicely into the subject of the country’s recent election. This blog is devoted – as the name implies – to the daft things people do and say; things that cause me to ask “what’s wrong with people?” Usually my interest is captured by an individual –sometimes even a small group of people – that demonstrated they were thoughtless and quite possibly genetically stupid. People who, if laws of nature were allowed to operate, would have long since been removed from the gene-pool. But on this occasion the group is large: 60,893,249 to be exact. They are all those who renewed our previous President’s 4 year lease on the oval office. “WTF” is an obvious and simplistic reaction; “YHTBFJ” (you figure out the acroym) was actually my response to the news, that Wednesday night, when it became obvious that a slim majority of the voting electorate decided we needed to go Barakwards for another 4 years. Although I remain baffled and confused by their choice, the fog of bewilderment has lifted as I read, and listen to, daily analysis of “what went wrong?”; even weeks after the seismic event.

The Wall Street Journal – to which I subscribe – had an interesting opinion piece on Wednesday November 7th in which they tried to make sense of what had just happened at the polls. Setting aside what arguably was Sandy’s October surprise for Obama, and the love-fest with Governor Christie, I get the impression several single-issue demographics help Obama: young voters, single women, Latinos, African Americans, and the gay community. Each appeared to have a narrow agenda for which they perceived Obama was their champion. I think it’s safe to assume that African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats (odd given the history of racism by Democrats against Blacks in this country) so they would have helped any Democrat, not just Obama. But they have – as far as unemployment goes – done worse under Obama’s rule than his predecessors’. Young voters – who could be forgiven for their choice because they haven’t yet learnt to think outside their dorms – seemed enthralled by the President’s idealistic stance on education. Single women appeared to think they have the right to unlimited and unfettered access to abortions on demand, and that tax payers ought to pay for their birth-control methods. Latinos were bothered by the idea that Republicans want immigration laws to be enforced and that 12M illegal immigrants ought not to be here, let alone encouraging more of the same by offering all many of enticements and government emoluments. And gays have this truly strange idea that Obama’s flip-flop – sorry, “evolving opinion” because only Republicans can flip-flop – on gay marriage secures them safe passage past the electorate to wedding bliss.
Allow me to now summarize some of the more important (at least to me) statistics that exemplify the result of Obama’s first 4 year reign:

1. $16T in debt and counting fast with current expectation that we’ll see $22T by the end of Obama’s 2nd and, thankfully, last term.
2. With the debt we have now, and projected to have, plus spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the Federal government will spent 92c for every dollar it receives in revenue; leaving of course a mere 8c to cover all other costs. Can you imagine an average household with an ever-increasing credit balance spending 92c of every dollar from take-home pay on the mortgage and credit card interest only; leaving 8c to buy clothes, food, gas for the car etc.?
3. Gas is nearly 4 x the price it was when Obama took office.
4. Home-owners – for those still lucky enough to have one – are smaller in number and in many cases their homes are still worth less than they owe the bank.
5. Healthcare costs increasing several times faster than inflation; try annual increases of 30% or more!
6. Un/Under-employment is higher than when Obama took office; 7.9% vs. 7.8%.
7. Economic growth has been shrinking each year since 2009 when Obama and economists declared the recession was over and we had apparently turned the corner.

There are many more examples but those items will do for now. So in light of the above I have to ask the following unfashionable questions of 60,893,249 brain-dead voters:-

1. Young voters: I know you think Obama is “qewl” and you follow him like any other celebrity, but if you graduate from what you hope will be your tax-payer funded education, remember that your demographic has the highest unemployment rate in the country. So your vote for Mr. Qewl will lead you back home (which is why you and your buddies are called Boomerang kids) where you will continue to sponge off your parents because 50% of you can’t get a job. Like, you know, good choice dudes.
2. Single women: do you seriously believe that your right to commit the murder of an unborn child, and flush the evidence down the toilet, is more important than 23M people in need of work so they can feed the children they preferred to keep rather than kill? Are you honestly so selfish you reckon tax-payers should be on the hook to pay for your sexual proclivities and the prophylactics you want? Do you honestly believe that Mitt Romney would suddenly have the power to repeal abortion laws and force a rape victim to carry the child to full term? Seriously? Are you that narrow-minded?
3. Latinos: Why do you think it’s morally – let along legally – right to steal your way into the USA, take advantage of tax-payer funded benefits, and expect to be given free-passage to citizenship in addition to your extended family? If you think you offer the USA skills we don’t already have, try applying for a work permit and proving your worth before arriving! Oh, and if you are here illegally and have managed to get a forged Social Security card, you might want to keep quiet rather the bitch about the taxes you’ve paid that you reckon you’ll not collect. And another thing, when you protest about all the rights to which you reckon your illegal butt deserves, try waving the American, not the Mexican, flag.
4. African Americans: Your unemployment is significantly higher than any other minority – by about 2% – and the gap has grown since Obama was elected. How’s that “hope and change” working for you? Tell me again what exactly Obama has done for you that warranted you reelecting him? Do you not realize that political representation isn’t tied to economic success? Asian immigrants are THE most successful minority in this country topping the number of college graduates and per capita income. Yet they have next to no representation in Congress. So why would you think voting for an “African-American” President 2nd time around is going to make any difference to you?
5. Gays: Do you think your “right” to wear a ring on your finger trumps the economic plight of millions of people? Can you honestly say your vote for Obama because he changed his stance on gay marriage – and you have to know it was contrived – is worth the economic misery we’re all going to suffer?

As a middle-aged WASP perhaps I’m used to not having the attention of an elected official. My demographic is not considered “endangered” or discriminated against so I haven’t the luxury of voting on a single issue because it won’t get anyone’s attention. With all the fiscal and business challenges that face this country, it would have been nice if you single-issue folk had thought a little more broadly about the wider implications of your vote for Obama. His policies have made matters worse for pretty much everyone – including yourselves if you had only paid attention long enough – and current trends indicate we’re heading for yet more financial pain. The cruel irony in your vote is that your specific issue isn’t likely to be Obama’s top priority anyway. Gay marriage is a States’ issue; women were never in danger anyway (it was just a typically Liberal ploy to demonize Conservatives) so your vote was wasted; college kids ‘aint going to find a job; black voters will remain disproportionately unemployed; the Latino community isn’t going to get citizenship for 12mm illegal aliens (they have already rattled their sabers when Obama recently used the words “Legal Status” instead of citizenship).

All in all, I have to wonder, what’s wrong with 60,893,249 people?

The Truth Is What I Say It Is

Obamacare, now called the Affordable Care Act because the chief architect no longer likes the piece of crap carrying his name, is giving the entire population of the USA so much to talk about, it’s difficult to keep up. I like following political dialogue. It’s a form of addiction for which there is no cure. Obamacare now fills the airwaves and has saturated my reading and watching TV. There are so many aspects to the Orwellian approach Obama is taking to defend what he has said that it’s tough to know what to write. But wait. Today I heard that someone else was to blame for what’s going wrong with the implementation and roll-out of ObamaCare.

Not surprisingly, Obama is directing blame for cancelled policies at the insurance companies. Of course their decision had nothing to do with the new rules and regulations ObamaCare has imposed on them. Oh no. It couldn’t be that simple could it. Apparently insurance companies are at fault because they didn’t need to cancel policies. All they had to do was issue policy change notices. Canceling policies has spooked the consumer. It’s frightened the consumer and made Obamacare look bad. “Crap” I hear the insurance companies say. “If only we’d thought of that.” Boy, this Obama fellow sure is smart. If only the world would do as Obama says. We’d all be locking arms and singing Kumbaya. Oceans would recede. The globe would cool. Polar bears would multiply. Seas would part. There’d be no more wars. And everyone would have what they need. Cats and dogs would live together in perfect harmony. If only …

Back here on earth I’m wondering if I heard the President correctly. So let me see if I correctly understand his position by using an analogy. I bought a car last year. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but at the price it pretty much gave me what I needed. My wife and I had researched our choice over the course of many weekends and we visited several dealerships. After comparing cars, prices, and features, we finally settled on a vehicle that suited out needs and met our budget. A year later, Obummer imposes new safety and environmental standards on cars. As our year old car doesn’t meet these new standards, the dealer contacted us to advise that we needed to return our car and buy a new one that would meet these new standards.

Apparently vehicles must now have an electric motor, a solar panel instead of a sun roof, mileage of 50mpg, velour seats instead of leather, low profile alloy wheels, 18 air bags, cross brace seat belts, and run flat tires. We, like many others, are pissed. Word reaches Obummer on the golf course that millions of car owners are seriously bent out of shape over these changes. His answer is to respond by saying that the dealers are wrong to recall “sub-standard” cars. They should have told owners they needed to bring back their cars for an “upgrade”.

To any clear-thinking human, these changes amount to a bloody re-build of your freakin’ car, but Obummer wants to call them an upgrade. Anyone not saying so is not telling the truth. They are undermining Obama’s grand, global, plan. True to form, he thinks “the truth is what I say it is.” (With apology to Ned Beatty in the movie “The Shooter”)

The Unaffordable Don’t Care Act

The debate has been raging for years about how the ACA was going to affect every person living in the USA. Now we are starting to see the fiasco unfold and I for one have started to see the practical, and adverse, effect on my wife and me. Not content to poke a finger in the financial eye of millions of Americans, those acolytes and Democratic lemmings following King Barak Hussain Obama add considerable insult to injury by suggesting that those of us who spent hours of our lives analyzing and comparing dozens of healthcare plans, chose poorly. That the plans we ultimately chose were crap and we were too dumb to know it. That we were living in ignorance until the light of our Democrat savior shone upon us, and delivered us from the evil of self-reliance and knowledge.

Rather than admit the President lied through his back teeth about us being able to keep our plan, “period”, the left wing apologists divert attention and impugn the intelligence of the American people. They try to convince us that we’re better off with ObamaCare and that we’ll get a much better plan; even if it costs a lot more. In recent days I’ve witnessed the best example of Orwellian behavior in the form of Democrats actually trying to suggest that Obama’s “you can keep your plan, period” promise had a “provided …” caveat we apparently missed. It seems the entire nation was suddenly afflicted with narcolepsy just as the President started to explain what “period” meant. Could it be that Obama had his fingers crossed behind his back when he made these promises? That’s the wonderful thing about 7 x 24 news, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. There’s no escaping what you actually said. There’s no legitimate way anyone can claim the President’s comment was taken out of context.

I’m sorry to be the one to break this piece of news to the left, but use of the word “period” implies end of story; nothing to follow; no qualifications; no caveats; nothing more to add. The statement is unequivocal. “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. Period.” means just that. You can keep it without conditions. But apparently not. I may lose my plan because it doesn’t meet standards the Democrats have decided I need. I can’t fight this so I may as well enjoy the features my plan will soon offer. After all, if – as a 58 year old man – I have to buy a plan with coverage for things I didn’t know I needed, I may as well take full advantage. Last week I had my 1st pap smear test. I had no idea what to expect, so it came as a surprise when I was told to drop not only my pants and underwear, but I had to place my feet in stirrups.

Exposing my wedding tackle was bad enough, and had the nurse been more attractive the outcome could have been better. But Nurse Brunhilder (Yukon arm wrestling champion of 1898) wanted to use something called a speculum; and that’s when the fight started. There was no way on earth that piece of equipment was going anywhere near my cavities. Mary mother of Jesus, there has to be a better way to do this. I’m not sure if she got what she needed but I’ve only just started walking again in a straight line. Next, the mammogram. I’ve heard that small breasted women have a more difficult and painful time of it. I’m nervous. My chest size is 44″, but I have broad shoulders and a wide back. I reckon I’m an A-cup at best and can look forward to a painful experience.

If all goes well with the mammogram, and after the pain goes and I can once again comfortably button my shirt, I’ll be scheduling my pediatric dental care visit. I’m struggling to find the words to describe how much I’m looking forward to a speech impediment and to picking food out of a mouthful of shrapnel for the next three years. By the way. The result of my home pregnancy test was negative. I shouldn’t have worried. My healthcare plan covers pre and post natal care. Had the test been positive, I’d have started to drink rather heavily. But that too wouldn’t have been cause for concern. I’m covered for addictions too.

When all is said and done I’ve paid a lot more for this plan and I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste it. Having been forced to buy an Unaffordable Don’t Care Act healthcare plan, I may as well use every stupid provision.

Railing Against Bart

I hate Unions. I can’t recall a time when I knew enough about them and liked them. My first brush with unions was back in 1978 when I and my then wife were going out to dinner. It wasn’t a big occasion and we didn’t have much money. But we’d saved a little and decided dinner on a Saturday night was a good idea. So off we went to a steakhouse. Upon arrival, after an unpleasant train ride into central London, we noticed a load of people walking up and down the street outside the restaurant. They were shouting, carrying placards, and generally making a lot of din.

Not being overly aware of what this spectacle meant, we naively tried to step through the line of noisy people and made our way into the restaurant. We were blocked. Someone yelled something about this being a picket line and asked if I was blind. Unruffled, we tried again, stepping aside those standing in our way. Once again we were blocked. To cut a longer story short, we eventually made it into the restaurant but only after a rather dangerous confrontation between me and the “leader” of the picket line. I was young, newly married, and had far more testosterone that sense. I had a point to make and so did the Socialist SOB who insisted that he cause was more important than me wanting a steak dinner. Inside the restaurant we discovered that the gist of the “strike” – and how ironic that word was given the combative approach directed toward us folk looking to have a steak – was that one of the servers in the restaurant had been caught leaving the rest room without washing his hand, and he had been fired. The restaurant chain was not a union shop, but the unions of “something or other” wanted to picket all their restaurants to protest what their signs said was unfair dismissal. Really? So let me see if I understand matters: a server was caught walking out of the restroom without washing his hands – having laid to rest Browns in the porcelain pool – got fired, and that was unfair? REALLY?

From that point on I took greater interest in unions, lived in London during the winter of discontent, witnessed the disgusting condition of central London with uncollected garbage everywhere, delighted in Margaret Thatcher breaking the back of the unions, and have to this day seen no value in them whatsoever. They are bullies, thugs, miscreants; mobs content to make your life a misery if they don’t get their way. And their way more often than not includes demanding more money and better conditions of employment than anyone else in the real world has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting.

Cross the Atlantic and fast forward many decades and we arrive at the recent BART strike. Once again the basis of the dispute was money. The Union and its membership wanted more money, didn’t want to contribute more to their healthcare, nothing toward their pension benefits, and had a tantrum when management said no. So BART workers went on strike – the nearly adult version of laying on the floor and drumming your heels while faking a cry – and for a few days life for commuters was miserable. Governor Brown, in an unusually brave move, halted BART’s truancy by imposing a mandatory 60 day cooling off period so that negotiations between petulant children and their parents could continue.

Let’s take a look at the starting position of the negotiations. BART workers earned an average of $76,500 per annum, contributed nothing to their pension fund, and paid $92 toward their very generous healthcare plans. Oh, I nearly forgot, they also had a really neat option to take a day off sick, yet get paid overtime for working more than the remaining 32 hours in the week. Apparently these overworked, hard done by, BART workers hadn’t “received a meaningful raise in four years.” So they were adamant they were going to fight for their rights and those of all blue-collar workers. Apparently BART employees have had raises over the years but none that were, by their definition, meaningful. This, in contrast to tens of millions of Americans who have lost jobs and with them their benefits. Jobs on which they worked a full week that did not include driving a self-drive train or sitting in a booth getting paid to be surly to their customers.

What really peeves me is that the unions initially wanted something like a 29% pay increase and keep the low healthcare contributions. Adding fuel to a raging fire, the more sanctimonious union representatives suggested that this strike was “for the public.” Would someone please explain to me WTF these greedy swines demanding more money could possibly have to do with the public? Naturally, now that BART workers have an even sweeter deal, the trains run more smoothly, are impeccably clean, feel so much more secure, and agents are so gregarious and engaging, passengers are in danger of missing their trains because of the sparkling wit and repartee to which they are subjected when the gate fails to open and they have to ask for help from an agent. NOT! Rather than having a laugh and getting stock tips from agents, they are the same – albeit more expensive – miserable bastards they have always been. The trains are still filthy, no safer, still have scheduling problems, and train drivers continue to mumble unintelligible comments on lousy speaker systems.

So in the end, the self-serving, selfish, care less about you, union members have extracted more money for the mediocre job they continue doing. In return for at least a 12% salary increase, paying a magnanimous 4% contribution to THEIR pension fund, and putting their short arms in their deep pockets to the tune of $142 a month for a cadillac healthcare plan, they agreed to return to work. How benevolent of them. To my way of thinking, they should have all been fired. I’m sure there are many more members of the long-suffering public who agree with me, and they too have been railing against BART.

Bring Balance To The Force = Forced To Bring Balance

man-under-scalesI’m not an economist. But I have a morbid fascination for economics. Mainly because I’ve tried over many years to understand “how things work.” But each time I read another book or article on economics, and think I’ve taken another step closer to at least a rudimentary understanding, politicians and economists – many of whom disagree with one another which doesn’t help matters – fire off some policy that contradicts all I’ve read. I then close the book, and prepare to launch it through my home office window, and into the pool. Were it not for the fact the book might clog my pool filter, I’d probably do it.

So here’s the gist of my angst: I know that running a country is not like running your home finances. Oh that we could just print money (some have tried but apparently it’s illegal), make policy changes, change interest rates etc. But we can’t. Somewhere amongst the complicated ideas that politicians love to throw around – mainly, I believe, to make themselves appear clever and important – there has to be at least one law of nature (mathematics) that applies. Knowing the frailty of using home economics to describe our national plight and the fiscal cliff off which we may yet be pushed, I reckon it’s worth trying; so here goes my simple parody …

… Over the years I’ve been consistently spending more than I’ve been earning. On top of that I’ve been buying bigger and bigger houses, adding more and more energy consuming goods, and refinancing my home so I can spend the equity. My mortgage and utilities are non-negotiable and have to be paid. These monthly payments now consume nearly 60% of my salary. I’ve also been spending money like water and have amassed a credit card debt that by Christmas will exceed my annual income. I’m paying next to nothing on interest because the bank’s been keeping interest rates really low. When I add my credit card interest payments to my mortgage and utilities, I’m spending 65% of my salary. What I have left (discretionary spending) goes toward food, clothing, gas for my car etc. My worry is that I don’t seem to be able to quit spending, and there’s a rumor credit card interest will go up. If that happens, I’ll have even less money left over from my salary. But I have a plan.

I’ll go to my bank and ask the manager to increase my line of credit; again. He’s done that every year for, like, forever. He’ll understand that I need this in order to pay my obligations. If he doesn’t increase my line of credit, I’ll be in the crapper. I’ll tell him I’ll have to declare bankruptcy and won’t be able to pay my credit card bill; and those checks I wrote yesterday will bounce. The good news is that I’ve been cutting back on my spending. Over the last 4 months I’ve not been spending as much as I was. I’ve actually been reducing my debt! I have no doubt he’ll be impressed by my spending cuts. Yeah, I know I’m still spending more than I earn but it’s not as bad as it used to be earlier this year. And yes, my credit card is max’ed out so I guess “technically, you know, like” my total debt is, well, sort of still going up but all the same I need that line of credit increased. The kids need new iPhones, we have a big vacation planned (we haven’t had one this year), and I need a new car. This model is, like, so 2 years old.

… I’ve just got back from a meeting with my bank manager, and he was p-i-s-s-e-d. He’s like so-right wing I don’t how he made it to bank manager. The guy just doesn’t understand anything about money. Can you believe it? He actually told me that before he’d even discuss increasing my line of credit, he wanted me to do some math (I’ve never been good at math) and come back to him with something he called a “budget”. I’m not sure what the hell a budget is, but it has something to do with figuring out how I’m going to spend the money I have; and nothing more. Who does that? DAH! He even said I’d have to cut back on things like new iPhones and a new car because the old ones still work. What a dork. I thought he’d just increase my line of credit and we’d sit down some other time and talk about my spending less; maybe after Xmas or something. But I tell you what, I’m NOT going to quit buying things I need, and I’m going to tell everyone I know that if I end up in financial trouble, it’ll be his fault. The guy’s crazy. I even told him I was going to get a Xmas bonus and salary increase next year, and you know what? He said that money should be used to pay off some of my credit card debt and that we shouldn’t go on that big vacation. W h a t e v e r.

Okay, I’ve had some fun with this but to me the essence of the debt ceiling debt boils down to this: El Presidente seems to feel that by slowing down his excessive spending, he’s “reduced the deficit in 4 consecutive years.” No, numb-nuts. Try again. The debt is still climbing. We are heading toward $17T before year’s end. When interest rates start to climb, we’ll be in the crapper because we’ll still owe more than our entire GDP and interest payments on the debt will be huge. Ah ha, but … I hear my Liberal friends say, our debt to GDP ratio is lower now than it was. True, but a windfall in tax revenue given to Obama by the reluctant Republicans, together with sequester cuts which he fought against tooth and nail, should not be looked upon as some economic brilliance that’s going to save our bacon. You’re not going to get more tax increases and the sequester cuts are not likely to go away. Try this … SPEND LESS.

Put in terms of my little parody, try downsizing the house, use the hot tub once a week not twice a night, have a “stay-vacation”, dine at home every night instead of dining out, and no new phones or cars. In short, the only way we’ll bring balance to the force is for you and the Democrats to be forced – by the Republicans (the bank manager) – to bring balance to the force; a.k.a The Budget.

PLEASE, Leave Home Without It

dogI’ve nothing against pets. Generally I like most pets. Snakes; not so much but otherwise pretty much anything goes in my book. I grew up in a family that routinely had at least 4 or more cats. Friends have dogs. And until recently my wife and I had a parrot. So I’m the last person to complain about people and their pooches. Except … Last weekend my wife and I decided to run away from home and head for Napa. We’ve had a long hard year and we just needed a break. An escape from the routine of daily life that’s included a year long remodeling project, work, job changes, car problems, and spending far too much time listening to those idiots called politicians. So off to NapaValley we went in the happy knowledge that we’d be spending two days and two nights in a place called the Silverado Spa and Resort; right in the middle of a golf course, and right in the middle of nowhere near anything. I was starting to relax before we arrived; and I was driving.

Imagine then, our disappointment when we returned to our suite after a wonderful meal, and had to listen to an hour of Taco Bell’s mascot barking, howling, and whining. Once woo-woo got used to the idea that we’d taken up residence next door and were not trying to break in and steal its food, it stop yapping. But not soon enough to stop us from calling the front desk and asking for intervention. Apparently pets are not allowed on the resort. We were pleased when they said they’d send security to investigate because, “they shouldn’t have a dog.” And calm washed over us again. Until, that is, 7:15 the next morning when the little burrito on legs needed to go out for a pee. We weren’t looking for a wakeup call, but we got one anyway. This time, Mom and Dad were in the room and Daddy yelled, “shuddup” And it was thus. Shortly after that the owners were up and out, and when we started to move around our suite, angry dog started growling and barking; again.

We stopped by the front desk for a visit before banqueting on their breakfast buffet. And there we met Susie-smart-mouth. A senior Concierge who suggested that although there is a “no pets” rule, there MAY be a resident with a “service dog”, which is, “like, you know legal”. So there! Take that you ungrateful-$400-a-night-trouble-makers-who-came-here-for-a-quiet-weekend-people you. Telling us that there could be someone with a service dog was bad enough, but insisting that Chimichangas with an attitude was a legitimate choice was steering us on a collision course. My wife pointed out that IF this mutt really was a service dog, why was it left in the room alone from dawn to late at night? We were then lectured on the difference between what was legally permissible and the possible immorality of registering a service dog and not using it. Thanks for the advice; coming from someone younger than any of my slippers.

Incapable of actually engaging in conversation that was going to last longer than a Tweet or Facebook post Miss Priss rolled her eyes and pointed to someone at the check-in desk, saying, “He can help you.” And so he did. We repeated our story and he was sympathetic to our cause. Furthermore, he agreed that a Chihuahua was not likely to be a service dog, and even it was, why had it been left in a room alone all day and most of the night? Inquiring minds (ours) wanted to know and apparently so did this fellow. His action plan was to a) find out who was in the suite next to us, b) did they really have a service dog, and c) if not … well, he wasn’t too sure what would be done at that point. In any event, we would get a call from management, during the day, with an update. Off we went for breakfast and then on our Saturday jaunt to Castillo di Amorosa. If you can, and haven’t, then you MUST visit. It’s a wonderful place to tour and taste wine.

We got back to our room late afternoon and was greeted by a round of barking and howling, and a call from resort management; Actually, a spokesman for resort management. The gist of their feedback was … the suite was owned by the occupants so they could do what they wanted. The “no pets” rule didn’t apply to owner/occupiers. Mmmm. Makes sense but, I asked, “how about changing your marketing material to mention that you could be checked into a suite next to an owner/occupier with a dog that barks, whines, and howls?” At least then people looking forward to spending $400 a night for peace and tranquility know the risks. That suggestion didn’t go down well. But the financial accommodation he gave went down well with us.

Here’s the thing: I admired the resort staff for the way they dealt with an unpalatable situation not of their making. You could argue they were not quite as efficient as they might have been, but in the end the problem was caused by 2 selfish residents who knew about the pet rule, yet decided as owners they had no obligation to someone else’s fee-paying guests. The suite we were in was also owned by someone. Aside from being cruel to their little pooch, they were just plain, ordinary, inconsiderate, dullards.

When I asked myself, “what’s wrong with these people?” I had no answer. But in my caustic note slipped under the door I, amongst several crude observations, suggested that next time they visited their resort suite, their dog and neighbors would like them to PLEASE, leave home without it! Morons.


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