Racy Recall

The most famous artist for this type of saucy postcards was Donald McGill.

He was nearly 80 years old when he was put on trial (1954) under the Obscene Publications Act, found guilty and fined. Today the postcards are worth a fortune.

I recall scanning postcard racks while on vacation and buying several of these to send to friends.

Old News-Day 44-Quarantine-Senior Living

Providing seniors with living accommodations is big business. All around the Chicago area there are numerous senior living communities that cover all the desires of older people and their wish to live independently. Not all seniors want independence, many want security, safety, and health care. Many of these businesses offer all levels of care. If all you want is an apartment without any extras, you can have it, If you want someone to look in on you every day, you can have it, if you need help getting dressed, or with bathing and toileting, you can get it. If your memory is shot and you can’t remember your name but you are physically in good shape there is an app for that too.

I don’t call my brother very often, but when the Covid-19 thing was still being referred to as the Corona virus from China I called him. When we do talk we will spend an hour covering all the kids and everything family related, then we go on to the important things in life, like world peace, war, terrorism, and corona.

Seniors at play

Two years ago, my brother Bill sold his house, and checked himself into a senior retirement community near where he lived. He likes it. His wife died four years ago and he got tired of keeping a house going. It was his time. I am wresting with the same decision myself. Getting back to my point. When the President announced his guidelines for how to deal with the virus I began my diary, and my brother’s community went into a lock-down. The management recognized that if the bug got into their halls there would be hell to pay. Immediately, they took the conservative approach. All they needed to hear is that the virus prefers older people. It wasn’t a difficult decision to make, after all the home is a money making machine. Death ends the money coming in and without money the place goes broke. That is the practical side, the human side is that pre-mature death ends the life of some really amazing people. This is a Christian home, and Christians believe in the right to life. They will expend monumental effort to sustain it.

Here are some of the things he told me today. His meals are delivered to his room every day. Normally, meal time is when seniors socialize in the dining room, but not anymore, the dining room is closed. They do not allow any visitors. Service people are allowed only after they have been checked for the virus and on a need for service basis. Relatives are not allowed. Social activities are held virtually, i.e. over the in-house tv channel. They conduct activities where you are allowed to stand in your open doorway while the activity director at the end of the hall uses a megaphone to give instructions on the game being played, or the exercise being done. Bill takes walks on the grounds and on the golf course next to the home. Any congregation of people outside is not permitted and broken up by the staff. Staff is checked every day before they are allowed to enter. They are screened for symptoms, those with symptoms are immediately sent home.

I asked Bill if they had anyone with the virus yet. “No,” he said and the residents will probably kill anyone who gets it. None of them wants to be known as the ‘one.’

When I listened to the news today, I heard a reporter interview the head of the VA. The question was a typical liberal question trying to find someone to place the blame on for the horrible stories we have heard regarding deaths at nursing homes. In this case she asked about what went wrong at the Massachusetts State run nursing home where seventy veterans died. VA Director Robert Wilkie answered the questions with a narrative of what the VA has been doing to control the virus inside the VA hospitals. He has it all right. They are not doing a single thing that can be criticized. Regardless, the reporter was relentlessly pushing to get someone to blame. My answer which was not heard because my voice doesn’t carry to New York was this: any jerk who wants an answer should look into the home where the problem is and start asking questions at the very top of the management. Read their mission statement, did they follow it? Do they even have a mission statement? Examine the records for their audit inspections, have they been cited for violations of their procedures? Do they have procedures?

I don’t know, but these reporters make some pretty big money yet they don’t seem to be able to engage their brains with any logic. I looked up reporter’s salaries and found that the one I was listening to makes eight million dollars a year. That is a lot of dollars for reading questions from a teleprompter, and watching a timer to know when to end the segment.

If COVID-19 Has any value it will be in the way we run our country and the way we live our lives from this point on. There is a good chance that the word ‘virtual’ will predominate our future. Until such a time as we can kill the COVID-19 permanently we will be social distancing, and avoiding crowds.

Today, I took package to the post office and was surprised by the crowd that lined up all the way out of the building. Everyone was staying six feet away from the one in front of him. The PO erected a barrier from the ceiling to the countertop with plastic film to separate us from them. We are paying serious attention to the recommendations. We all have the attitude that the guy next to me might be the one who gives it to me, and he is thinking the same about you.

Anyway, as the country begins to open up it is more and more apparent that seniors will have to live by a different set of rules. There is one problem with that, people like me don’t think we are old, we think we are twenty-five even though our bodies may be eighty-five. In my mind a senior is someone who is pushing a hundred years.

He is ninety-four, she is ninety-one

There is an old Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.” This is an interesting time.

A Wordy Post About Stuff

One problem with writing a post everyday is finding themes. In that regard I admire Daniel Greenfield who writes for his blog called Sultan of Knish. He posts several times a week and each time it is an academic essay on some aspect of politics or world affairs. His posts are between 1200 and 3200 words each time. On the other hand, when I am in good form I will post about three times a week and average about 600 words. Lately, my posts are about four times a month, and I am having difficulty thinking of stuff to write about.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone labels me racist again, because when Obama was president he did so many things I disagreed with that I couldn’t stop writing negatively about him. When Trump was president, I didn’t want to fan the fires of those who were against him because the press didn’t need any help from me. Biden on the other hand hasn’t done anything I like, and I believe he is destroying the country. Biden is making Obama look like an amateur when it comes to stupid policies and stupid governance. I don’t want to waste my time repeating what the daily news is already doing. Besides sleepy Joe is an old timer like me, and I won’t pick on someone who can’t help himself because his brain has stopped functioning. There is nothing sadder in life than watching a person who was a fireball while younger, and who has lost it to Alzheimer’s. I saw what happened with my wife, and it is truly saddening that so many people end their time on earth by slowly losing their memory to the point where they forget how to breath.

One memory invoked by Sleepy Joe is the era of Jimmy Carter when inflation kept rising and the Federal Reserve couldn’t do anything but raise interest rates to 16%. It was a great time for people with cash who could buy Certificates of Deposit earning a 16% return for a five year period. They advanced the size of their savings dramatically. The high interest rate eventually worked, and the economy adjusted so the rates began to drop, and about the time the 16% CD’s matured the rates were back to a paltry 3%. So for anyone looking at how long this pain will last history says it will be at least five years after the current rates rise to 16%.

For the past twelve years we have enjoyed an economy that was operating on free money. Loans were down to the low 3.0% range and that allowed many people to buy the house of their dreams. Those who had cash in the bank were sadly only making 0.1 % on their savings. Most people invested in stocks to make decent money. My retirement has been happy because of the earnings I have received, but I’m not so sure I will be happy moving forward as the economy begins to falter. My advisor continues to admonish me to look at the long run, and not the short term. Excuse me, but just how much longer do I have? Ten minutes, ten days, ten months, ten years? I worry that my paltry portfolio will not be strong enough to keep me going for the duration.

Last week I went into a McAllister’s deli for a sandwich($20 for a cup of soup and a six inch sandwich), and I swear the lady who took my order was older than me. I had a vision of me behind the counter making sandwiches, and that is not appealing. I’d rather spend my time standing in the middle of busy intersection dodging traffic with a bucket in my shaky hand collecting money for my Lions club.

In the good old days everyone was a farmer who worked until he died. It was only after the industrial revolution, and the Great Depression that people began looking at work as a forty-five year duration. Pensions, vacation, and medical insurance all became perks for workers. These benefits were being offered by companies desperate for help. With Trump’s economy we saw a huge shortage of help, but I didn’t see anyone offering huge new benefits to lure workers to their factories. About the most extreme benefit I saw was the work from home model which came because of Covid. Let’s hope things get better sooner than later.

.

Influencers & Monetization

Too many times I wonder how it is that people can make money using social media. Maybe because it is my age that puts me at a disadvantage, but I really am interested in how it works. Whenever I find something like a book, or a video that will explain the simple dynamics of using Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc I devour it.

I just finished reading a book titled “City of Like” by author Jenny Mollen. Jenny has crafted a fictional story which involves the life of of a simple New York mom who wants to raise her kids and have a job too. I won’t get into the plot any further because I would be a spoiler. In this story the characters are very different people who live for building their audience on social media. All that matters to them is getting “liked, friended, subscribed to, or followed.” The numbers become the game. The more followers one has the better the chances are the content producer will be monetized. Monetized, now thats an interesting word which has risen from obscurity in the business world to one of everyday usage by the masses of social media users. It means that that the content being presented by someone of Facebook derives revenue from the content. Companies like Youtube (Google) have learned that profit can be had by using the content of the masses. It doesn’t matter what the content is but rather depends on how many viewers see the work. It is not much different than selling newspapers.

The social media companies get all of the content free from their users. It costs very little to store the content digitally, and their computers can track viewership easily. Then it becomes a matter of deciding how to make money, and how to reward content producers for their creative efforts.

I had not heard the term “influencer” used before reading this book. An influencer is one who builds an audience of tens of thousands of viewers and pitches products and services to this audience. The influencer is rewarded with free samples of the products they pitch. Some of them are in such demand that they hire agents to agents to negotiate for them. That is when the big money begins to flow.

Recently, I watched a Youtube video of a young man in his twenties explain the mathematics of building audience for the purpose of achieving monetization. He went through the process from the ground up and explained how a blogger, vlogger, etc. will have to produce several posts daily in order to succeed. I get people clicking to follow my blog and when someone does I get an email notification. I then visit the persons blog to see what he/she is about. Most times the follower is someone who sells a product on his blog. One reason I check them out is to decide if they are genuine or in business. If they are real bloggers and are just interested in writing stories I will befriend them and continue a dialog. Some of my best friends are people I have never met in person, but with whom I communicate almost daily.

Nevertheless, with inflation eating away at my fixed income I am becoming more interested in a developing a new income stream to help me along. I have resolved that I can do it, but will wind up giving up the freedom of retirement by making my blog into a job. The formula for success requires producing several content posts daily, reading, commenting, and following hundreds of other bloggers daily. It makes sense to me now as to why so many bloggers have people on their payroll who submit content daily.

At this point in life, I feel that my sciatic nerve will allow me only a couple of hours a day to sit at a computer before my toes begin to tingle, my right hip is on fire, and the nerve between the head and shoulder is screaming for help.

Four Score and Four

Today is the day on this planet that my odometer turns to four score and four. Yesterday, when I started this post I awoke early to get a jump on the day because Lovely left me a honey-do list which I promised to take care of: Vacuum the carpets, and thin the native perennials from the more civilized flower beds. My plan was to get up early (8:00 a.m. is early) to get the coffee started, and to then hop into the car to ACE Hardware. I tried to get this done last evening but the store was closed when I arrived. Like a fool, I jumped into the vacuuming last night, but decided to change the dirt bag first. I trashed the very full old bag and went to the drawer in the laundry room where such things are kept. Guess what? No bags, thus the need for an early run to the ACE.

Being an engineer, and having used a vacuum cleaner many times before, I did not seek information on how to install a new bag, how hard could that be? I went for it, and then powered up the machine to test it; it had no suck power at all. WHAT? I went to my trusty PC and opened Youtube for a seminar. A pretty young lady in short-shorts and a tight-tee instructed me on how to remove blockages that kill sucking ability. I wound up disassembling the entire Hoover sucking system. There were a number of blockages at various bends in the tubing. The lady in short-shorts also mentioned something about changing the drive belt. I looked in the same drawer that normally holds Hoover parts, but there was no drive belt. Since the old belt was about twice as long as a new one, and the beater-bar brush could be spun easily by hand I decided to take another run to ACE for a belt. While at it, I made the mistake of mentioning to Lovely where I was going, and she gave me a list of things she needed from the grocery store which is opposite the ACE. Not a problem. While at the grocery, my stomach began to send me pangs of hunger, so I added a really neat Italian sub sandwich to the basket.

After eating half of a foot long sandwich, I resumed working on the vacuum. Installing the new belt was a little laborious, but I managed. I began a test by vacuuming, and after awhile decided to check how the bag was performing, and found a giant mess. Evidently, I botched the oh-so easy bag install procedure and got it in wrong. As I did that I also managed to tear the bag. The result was a pile of raw dirt and fine dust all around the bag but nothing in it. GRRRR! Once again I disassembled the entire plumbing system to find the problem. I did, by shoving a broom handle down the entire length of the flexible hose. To my surprise, a plug resembling a birds nest squirted out the end. What baffled me though was that the entire inside of the machine was packed with new dust and the bag was clean, but torn.

I went back to Youtube school and found another video on how to install a fresh bag. I froze the screen looking for the knack that I had missed. I kept trying and on the third try realized that the card board collar around the bag-opening slides into a special track. I was trying to slide it over the top of the slide thus missing the crucial track and kept getting it wrong. One, two, buckle my shoe a new bag slipped into place with great ease.

The vacuum job took forty minutes, but it was five p.m. when I finished; “Wine Time.” I put off the attack on the native perennials (weeds) till another time. Meanwhile, I just completed the first of my posts for August after a July hiatus. July is a separate story which may or not be told depending upon which side of the bed I get out on.