April 03, 2016

Eviction, Starvation and Other Unlovely Things

I've always said (along with many others) that, if there is a God, He is one unbelievably nasty, sadistic SOB. It would be just like God to have arranged events in this manner. After all this time, when I am finally able to write again -- and when I am eager to do a lot of writing once more -- I will be unable to pay the rent. After publishing a new essay several days ago, I put up a comparatively brief post offering a few observations about this and that, at the end of which I mentioned that I only have enough money to pay about half of this month's rent. I have no money at all for anything else: internet service, a few other bills and, oh yes, non-essential items like food. I offer my sincere thanks to the seven people who responded. They made donations totaling $220. I still can't pay the April rent.

If I'm still unable to pay the rent by the end of tomorrow, my rent will officially be late. (It's not considered late until after the fifth, but if I don't have the rent payment by the end of tomorrow, the landlord won't get it until the sixth or later.) The new owners may well decide to begin the eviction process as soon as I'm late. They are definitely planning to demolish this building and the one next to it and then to construct one big new apartment building, with many more units than the two small buildings now contain. That's the business they're in; we know these buildings are on their list of projects, but we don't know exactly when they will get around to them. It appears most likely that it will be sometime in the next year. A local ordinance mandates that owners must pay tenants certain amounts as relocation expenses when they tell the tenants they must move so that the building they live in can be torn down. Given my age and the length of time I've lived here, they will have to pay me about $20,000. I'm one of only three or four tenants due to receive that much. I think we can assume that the owners might well be delighted to avoid that payment in my case. If I hand them an easy excuse to get rid of me, they might pounce on it eagerly.

I'll also be unable to pay the internet bill. So in a couple of weeks, that will be gone. I have four or five days' worth of food. After that, nothing. A couple of weeks from now, I'll be in very bad shape. I can't buy other items, either --- like toilet paper. Almost out of it. Well, I have some notebooks where I sometimes write down ideas or issues I'm thinking about (I make lots of notes on the computer, but yes, I occasionally still make notes with an actual pen on actual paper). I can tear some pages out of those notebooks, and use that paper to wipe my ass. I won't be able to flush it down the toilet, so I guess I'll collect it in a bag and throw it out with the garbage.

Donations to the blog are my only source of income. If I'm unable to gather sufficient funds to pay these basic expenses, this is over. I obviously won't have money to move anywhere else, so ... Well, I've known for quite a while that this day might come, if I lived long enough. Frankly, I expected to be dead by now, given the number of physical ailments I contend with, starting, but hardly ending, with a steadily weakening heart. But I am unaccountably still here. And after a long absence, I'm ready to do some writing.

I suppose I could point to some of my articles to try to convince people to make donations. The posts listed under "Major Essays" in the right-hand column should take care of that. And all of those articles contain many links taking you to still more essays. That's what I have to offer. I'd like to offer more along those lines.

Hey, God! Here's an idea: go damn Yourself, you sickening bastard. Now, now, don't worry. I was going to Hell anyway.

April 01, 2016

Hey Now!

"Hey now!" was the catchphrase used by Larry Sanders's sidekick on The Larry Sanders Show. Garry Shandling played Sanders, and Jeffrey Tambor was the sidekick; both were wonderful. The show was genuinely smart and clever, and very, very funny. The derivation and significance of "Hey now!" became the subject of some philosophical and psychological investigation in one episode. One hugely funny episode involved David Duchovny's crush on Larry; here's a bit of it. I loved that show, and I liked Shandling's earlier show a lot as well. You probably know that Garry Shandling died recently. He was a wonderful talent. I found his death somewhat unnerving. He was only 66. I'm at the age now where people who've been around for most of my life are dying in significant numbers; Shandling was a year younger than I am, so his death was a bit more startling to me. Another recent loss was Patty Duke. She was also just about my age. I saw Duke in the original Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, which I still remember very clearly. I was 12 when I saw it; Anne Bancroft had already left the production and been replaced by Suzanne Pleshette, who was absolutely wonderful. Patty Duke was utterly astonishing as Helen Keller. The 1962 film made from the play is very fine, and Bancroft and Duke are both superb. But the impact of that play in the theater was overwhelming; the extended "fight" scene between Keller and Annie Sullivan was often terrifying.

Since I'm nattering here about this and that, I'll mention that there has recently been an extended discussion on my opera list about declining attendance at the Metropolitan Opera. Apparently, attendance has dropped to alarmingly low levels. Some of those at recent performances describe "acres" of empty seats. Most observers agree that prohibitively expensive ticket prices are a large part of the explanation. "Prohibitively expensive" for all us ordinary folks, that is. But we don't matter, of course. As one person noted, the huge rise in ticket prices at the Met is merely another part of the incredibly expensive cost of living in Manhattan, a phenomenon which is now spreading to the other boroughs, too. As this commenter noted, the message from the ruling class is: "Get rich or get out." I'd put the general issue a bit differently: "Get rich, or die." The ruling class would prefer that we simply die, you realize. I've discussed this New York problem, as it were, in this essay (and the ruling class's die-off plan is discussed here -- briefly glancing at that essay reminds me that we should properly call it a "kill-off" plan). And the New York problem is now, of course, spreading to other cities. It's become very noticeable in Los Angeles; from my reading, it appears that similar developments are occurring in many other places.

Well, that's enough of that for now. I hope you've seen the new piece from yesterday. A new piece! Hooray! I know, I know; it's been a long time coming. This last month has been godawful. I've had a bunch of computer problems. I seem to have fixed the worst of them, although the computer still does a few peculiar things at unexpected moments. I'm not entirely sure how much longer this computer will hold up (or until it requires serious professional attention), but it seems to be sort of okay for now. On the health front, I was confined to bed for most of March. All that rest seems to have helped a bit, and I feel somewhat better now. Not good, by a long shot, but better. And I finally decided I had to start writing again. Either that, or just die and get it over with. So I started writing. I was very glad to find that I still could write. I think the new article is pretty good, and it has a few nice touches. If I felt stronger, I probably wouldn't have split the essay into two parts, but made it one long article. But that would have taken a full day's work, easily eight or nine hours, given what my speed has been in the past and the material I have yet to cover. I just can't do that any longer. It took me five to six hours to put that post together; I powered through the last two or three hours on sheer will power, because I felt like absolute shit. I wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with Sasha. That's not true; I wanted one thing more than that: to finish at least the first part of the article. So I did. I got a good night's rest, and I'm into the second part and hope to publish it in the next several days. It's complicated material, so it may take me a while to pull it together.

Part of the reason I nattered at the beginning of this entry is that writing something helps me a lot. When I'm unable to work on "serious" posts (ugh, dread word, "serious" -- yeah, screw that, let's just say more "complicated"), I've often thought of posting little entries, just a few paragraphs about a story I've seen or an issue I've been mulling over. So I may do that. I finally feel again that I must write; if I don't, I may truly go mad. So when I feel especially rotten physically, I may write some lighter, even frivolous items, just to keep my hand in.

Oh, yes: it's the goddamned first of the month again. I'm very sorry, but I have to report that I have only half of the April rent. And I have some other bills that have to be paid, including the internet bill. I'm a prisoner of Time Warner Cable. I first got the Time Warner service three, maybe four years ago; I can't remember exactly at the moment. They offered five or six different levels of service; I opted for what I recall was the second from the bottom (i.e., the next-to-cheapest), which then cost $50 a month. Now, the bill for this month is $80! I hate these people. The bill just keeps going up and up and up. It increases a little bit almost every month. Did I mention that I hate these people?

I should get the money for the rent together by Monday, if I'm going to be timely and all. So I would be tremendously grateful for any help you dear readers might be able to provide. I wouldn't be here at all but for you; I wouldn't have come back but for you. And for my own sanity, natch. As always, I offer my sincere and deep gratitude for your attention and kindness.