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Becoming A Singularity July 16, 2016

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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We know a singularity is not unique in the cosmos, but it is clearly unique to this world.  We have no event horizon to compare, therefore no directions or exit strategy exist to fix it.  Or even try.  In our existence – for all practical purposes, it is one of a kind. And because we truly believe history repeats itself*, it becomes an accelerated waiting game. Momentum is building faster than we imagined and like momentum it simply goes on until the end.  Imploding. A black hole. Ask a physicist all about it. But chaos has begun, in my eyes, to ensue.

The world is panicking.  If you describe it in terms of “hotspots”, we have created a new circle of hell.   If you are a firefighter, we are engaged in a global inferno and if you are an American you are becoming more and more afraid.  I think it’s an understandable reaction.  As we have established America as the place on the planet from whence all things come – good and bad (and might I add, in error).  We are ill-equipped for the bad part.  American pride has been worn as a badge for 240 years.  And just as we exported ourselves as champions of freedom, justice and the American way – we have also exported bad habits, excess, precedents that should never have been, propaganda, and just about everything we could to inculcate ourselves into the collectives minds of the world.  It seems to me that we did not export any brains, morality or genuine goodwill, because all we thought we sent was all we thought was important.  The lapses in judgment of our history are far too serious to ignore; but ignore them we do.

We have a world in which flags stay at half mast – as if with electronic media one needs a reminder. And electronic media surely bears some of the blame; lots of the blame.  It is not better to know it all , all the time.  Perhaps millennials believe they can handle it but I think it’s bravado.  They can’t imagine they can’t.  The app genius that created instant access to every damn thing did not  have the time to  experience or posit all the ramifications.  If there is a world left; we will soon not have to ever think for ourselves.  Every sci-fi scenario you have read will be an app. And this can be a game of sorts – a sad game – add your comment to the list of

 Some things one will not have to learn:

How to drive and park a car.

How to actually search for information w/o

the Smartphone (where the only thing that is smart IS the phone)

How to start a coup.

Methods of mass murder

All the words to all the songs

Having an opinion

Directions

How to humiliate, shame and possibly drive to suicide, a peer.

How to lie effectively (excellent news for hatchling politicians)

How to hate.

The new kids will never have to worry about keeping a secret.  The gender of their baby.  Which politician is being indicted.  Time to learn knowledge that forms human experience.  Because when you live “in the moment” – it starts to become the tunnel of life.  They will have things that do things for them.  And because the ones who came before will reach their out of code date and soon expire; there won’t even be a memory to be  had. But there will be an app for that.

Life on Mars.  Elon – stifle yourself.  Read Mary Roach.  Ask an astronaut.  It sounds like a fun idea – but I wouldn’t count on that. And if we fuck up this planet – how dare we start on another?

Peace is a construct – we have never had it.  We are a bellicose species.  We LIKE blood and death.  If we didn’t we would try very hard not to do it.  We are trying it with “companion animals”, trials on humans will not happen soon.

Money is the root of all evil. But it has been upgraded to a revenue stream – like the Granta or the Charles or the Seine.   If you accept greed as a virtue there will always haves and have nots.

BIGOTS.  Like cockroaches, they may inherit the remains. Racial hatred is alive and well and online. Quick fixes have not worked for centuries and those who may be able  think outside the box will likely try to find an app to fix it soon.  It may not be Jews or Black people – but it will still exist.

Do you worry about your online info?  I hear so many folks who won’t do somethings, yet offer their info up for others.  Get a clue – THEY know.  The way you blithely microchip your pet will one day be the way you do the same to your baby.   I am surprised it isn’t done to convicts in the privately owned, for profit, prisons today.  Or dementia sufferers.  Your naughty pix online?  If you did it and posted it – it is always there.  Yup Kim Kardashian’s ass and twat will forever appear in two shakes of a nano.  Oh Aldous, George, Arthur how did you know? (Were they a warning  or how-to guides?).

And in closing – The Almighty? Those who choose “yes” should stop praying and start being very angry.  The Deity appears to prefer hate and bloodlust very well and is hypocrite.  For others.  Is it, as alien astronaut theorists suggest, them? If so, then it is clearly evident that whoever did it,  is disgusted.  Is it simply the cosmos, as Carl Sagan insisted, then it is completely strange to seem to be a one-off in the universe.  All votes are not in.  But the Giant Fan of Life on Earth is definitely being hit.  Will anyone see this and turn it off?

*History seems to be repetitive but it does not set any examples we absorb.  Therefore it is an exercise in futility whose course cannot be changed. So we don’t bother.

 

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Crappy Earth Day 2015 April 22, 2015

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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I skipped March. It was in like lamb and out like a lamb and I did not hear the Baaa. I woke up very angry. Earth Day. Wow. I remember the first one – now we talk more and still fuck up. Everyday should be earth day on earth. Every single day. And we know it but we are small minded, greedy and wasteful and there is a tipping point. We are teetering. When it first became a day of “Saving the Planet” I was very excited because my generation tried hard. We did more than talk – but talk is cheap. We are a cheap species. We have created more and more waste and crap and bad stuff and we are not even imagining an end to it.. What will stop eventually is us. And I doubt it will be a single thing that happens – I simply think we will tip and stay tipped. That was one thing I was angry about. I also am going to try not to rag on the GOP handlers about greed and hating the less moneyed folks; the 1% who are using the planet like they own it. I suspect they do in large parts. They do not want to give up a penny of their money and this is a given. If the other 99% of us starve, rot, shoot, stab and cheat each other – they do not give a good goddam. They are playing the Jesus Card because it is there. They are the folks who have enabled the rest of Religion Card players to sit down at the game. My tribe – will find itself becoming crypto-Jews (think Inquisition) because they are too embroiled in money politics to see what is happening. Muslims of real faith should practice real love for their almighty. Everyone should be free to believe or not and the rule of civility is about ten things and the rest is commentary. The balance of power and money for the Muslims is so skewed I can almost see why they are angry and commit murder. Almost. And their 1% can fix it but they won’t. This country is a shame, a snare and a delusion. We are NOT going to leave the planet and colonize Mars. We are going to dissolve in our own filth, waste and murder. There will be no Lord to help and there will be no Rapture. It is looking pretty bleak. And guess what – even those in “power” will be powerless. All their money will be useless and that is a tragic irony because all that money could fix many problems and still create revenue streams for them. If you have no customers, you will make no money. Enabling the 99% is the cost of business. Growing the consumers is what grows the business. I will continue to sinle out GOP members who piss me off. I am angry and not even started – but this is how I feel right now on Earth Day 2015. Comments are welcome. Stream of consciousness is about all I can say for my screed. Feel free to screed too.

Arrogance of Empire in the Land of the Free December 1, 2010

Posted by voolavex in common sense, despicable, Economics, freedom, Golden door, Politics, Politics & Religion, Social Issues, solutions.
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Each fabulous empire had it peak and then fell like the ones before it. Without this shit we would not have archaeology. Basic fact.

 It is audacious, therefore,  for this country to imagine it will last forever as the bright shining symbol of all that is good and great on this planet. We refuse or simply fail to see ourselves reflected in the mirror of  history. Other countries learn far better from their pasts and accept truths we think were made true at Disney Studios. 

As mentioned today in the media:  If the only reason for the GOP is to destroy the Dems –  a word of warning; they will  also fall on  their swords and we will have some kind of new and very scary government.  Our vaudeville Congress and “partiers”  have made us a joke worldwide for our retro revivalist politics, bigotry and narrow views.  Step back a little – We are no longer a great nation of hopes and promises kept – we are a nation of angry, obsolete petty snake oil salesmen – promises are made and the Loyal Opp makes it its job to see they cannot be fulfilled. 

This is no longer a country I recognize.  One party systems fast become one man systems and in this country we hold our politics in such high esteem we barely pay attention to how many rotten apples sit in the halls of  Congress waiting for job.   It must smell like hard cider by now.  I would advise those  southwest of our country – those who think they can achieve the American Dream to pack warmer clothes and keep moving until they hit Canada.

It is hard to continue loving a land that gave so much to so many only to have shot itself in the foot over bigotry and imaginary fears. Those who fear the  “Nanny” state are the ones who need supervision and limits the most.  People who know what their limits are have no reason to fear anything in terms of grift, graft and greed.  It’s not the crime that brings regrets to the political thieves – it’s the getting  caught.  The United States is out of control.  And it scares me to death.

Guerrilla Flotillas June 4, 2010

Posted by voolavex in common sense, freedom, Gaza, IDF, illegal, Israel, Jews, Politics, Social Issues, solutions, war.
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Part 1.  A little background
 
 
It is hard not to hate Israel.  Here is a little country that just won’t go away.  And it’s got an army of willing soldiers – no burnt out prison drop outs recruits – the IDF loves Israel.  They know how to do their jobs and more than that – they know why they are doing them.  Sitting on a piece of spiritually important land that has been under siege since time immemorial – they cover their borders and do what they must to protect their country. 
 
 
Israel’s larger problem – one of many – is that it is full of Jews.  Nobody likes Jews – a case in point was the nastiness in WW2 that Hitler didn’t solve, to his regret.  But Hitler’s idea had a huge family tree and Jew hating, Jew-berating and Jew-baiting has been an historical pastime since easily 93 CE.  Well a game that can last that long isn’t gonna disappear quickly.
 
 
Israel became Israel a long time ago and before other newer religions co-opted the area – Jews held the stewardship of Israel and they held it seriously.  The West Wall of the Temple – in size alone – is an indication of just what the Israelis were able to create a long time ago. Smitten, smited, smote – they soldiered on moving like a tribe of outcasts throughout their Diaspora.  In Arab lands they became “dhimmies”.  “Dhimmies can never be citizens but they do have to pay and they pay and pay and pay at the whim of whomever is in charge. The do NOT have equal rights.  They serve a purpose because they know how to work and take care of their own.  The image of a Jewish dhimmi laying around sucking on a hookah, out of work,  may have happened – but I haven’t found any reference to it. SO  the fact they contribute – despite Draconian code and laws – is just another reason to hate them.  Fact is that Judaism follows so many holy observances that it’s hard to have time to work and pray and plot.
 
 
Israel is a productive country. What?  Jews aren’t farmers or factory workers. It has scientific and manufacturing sectors, garment trades, agriculture and all the talents the Diaspora brought together in 1948 (and of course before). And Jews are a creative and talented people.  In the 101 year history of Alfred Nobel’s Prize – 180 of the winners have been Jews – from various countries – but Jews.  People hate that.  For the record nine Muslims have won the Nobel Prize; five of which have been for Peace*.  (*There is an interesting argument about this which is too long to discuss here.) Mostly they figure some huge Jewish conspiracy rigged it all and so the prizes aren’t all that important.  But ask someone casually if they were to win the Nobel Prize  for anything – how would they feel?  The answer is usually the same.  The time for the International Zionist New World Order speech never goes away but you all know what it is.
I won’t bore you.
 
 
Part 2  A little foreground.
 
 
And now it comes to Gaza.  Gaza is a political and ideological and religious mess.  There are so many sanctions related to it that I would never get them all in order and/or I would bore you to tears.  Let’s just say that Israel relinquished the Gaza Strip by accord and let it go.  When a terror group (Hamas) won the elections in Gaza – the surrounding countries seemed to have a problem with that, including Israel.  Israel built a big wall.  Not very neighborly but ghetto mentality creates ghetto ingenuity.  Gazans went south to their brother in faith and purpose – Egypt – Egypt built a wall.  Draw your own conclusions.
 
 
Into the picture comes the Guerilla Flotillas.  “Humanitarian” ships that have been offered docking and offloading in two countries – Egypt and Israel.  The offering countries also agreed to get the goods to Gaza right away. Cyprus refused to allow to dock.  How rude. I can see not trusting Israel – but Egypt.  What’s the problem?  Israel told the ships not to approach an embargoed Gaza.  The Guerilla Flotillas did it anyway.  Israel went to stop them and all hell broke loose.   People were shot, people were injured and people are mad.  Now some idiot Irish ship is chugging to where it doesn’t belong to try the same thing.  Turkey (who thinks someone recently died and put them in charge) has issued stern warnings to “dem Jews”.
 Part 3  My own observation
In my opinion there is not a two state resolution – a simple look at the map of the area will show a first grader you cannot accept a country in pieces in another country you hate.  Illogical, a waste of effort, time and money.   Humanitarian aid is abundantly available from dozens on non-allied agencies – their books are clean and show no ties to Jihadis.  (Oops – forgot Jihad – the engine that drives all this).
 
 
The received wisdom is that Gaza is a peace seeking, failed and barren state under siege with clean hands.  This happened because Israel set it free and then Hamas took over.  I would say it speaks more to the ability of  Hamas to oversee a country than it does Israel letting it go.  From the pix I have seen recently Gaza has a lot of food, people drinking coffee at cafes and plenty of potatoes.  Smart Jews probably photo shopped them – but they look real to me.
 
 
So I can see why so many people hate Israel.  And those crafty, clever, money making, smart productive Jews.  What I cannot see is the rationale.  Just as the QED in the Guerilla Flotillas. They sound more like a stupid, provocative act designed to force Israel’s hand and bring in things other than food and medicine.  After the last 9 years – Why is this so hard for people to imagine.  Or shall I dust off my burqua?
Comments are invited.  Try to be civil.

No More Days at the Beach May 30, 2010

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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 BP has this to consider:  The Planet Earth.

 
Marine life – mammals, fish, and birds destroyed, habitats gone, fishing industry destroyed. Economy plummets. Pollutants become part of the weather cycle. Rain despoiled. Humans suffer effects. Illness rises. People die .  Hospitals overwhelmed.
 
Tourism devastated. Economy plummets. Jobs of every kind, eliminated due to lack of  disappeared funds and  factors undetermined. Seawater tainted for ages and ages unknown ages.  Beaches ruined. Travel suffers. Economy plummets. Worldwide.
 
Food chain altered for foreseeable future. Fish vanish from diets. Fish based foreign economies die due to lack of trade. Eventual extinction of water breathing and other aquatic creatures. Marshlands, mangroves, small islands face ruin or worse.  Decaying aquatic life introduces bacteria and other elements into food chain and water supply with unpredictable effect.  Deep currents pick up oil and allow it to flow worldwide. Into deep sea beds, coral reefs and places we cannot even predict.
 
Be angry. Be very angry. Be angry at offshore drilling which had this scenario written large in it since the first drill hit the sea bed. Be angry at governments who place petroleum profits and hunger before the health of this one small planet.  Be angry there is nowhere to go to escape this. Think about the ice and what will happen when it is part oil and part water. Think about penguins,polar bears, seals and otters. Realize that BP (or any other drilling op) NEVER had a plan B . Never had a real fix. Did not care. 
 
When you are pointing fingers, blame ALL the countries who supported this – including our own.  Don’t pin it on the individual heads of state who are here now and came when it began . They were not alone.  Politicians still exist for whom the words “drill baby drill”  resonates with gusto.  But we started drilling a long time ago.  It was always risky.  What the hell.  Take the risks and worry about the results later.  In fact don’t worry – there’s oil in them thar’ waters.  Black gold.  Texas tea. 
When did we actually start to believe we could do whatever we wanted on this planet and not  have to pay one day.  I think 36 days ago the note came due.  Now what?  Now what?  Now?  What?

The Nobel Door Prize December 15, 2009

Posted by voolavex in carbon emmissions, global warming, green, Pakistan, Politics, Politics & Religion, war.
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Taking stock of Stockholm and Copenhagen in the last week has led me to some conclusions that may not sound very patriotic, but honesty should not be usurped by mislaid love of country.  You can love your country without loving some of what is done in its name.   The same goes for your neighbor.

Copenhagen.  In order to speed greed you have to be able to use every tool you have to get there.  Greed is a global goal.  Or the spoils of greed.  And why not – I think we have reached a tipping point (thank you MG) where all the fingers in all the dikes are not going to make enough of an impact to save much of anything.  Sounds hopeless but it may be more truth than anyone can bear to utter.  I was green in the 70’s – what fun being laughed out of conversations about destroying the planet and the small steps that could be taken to slow this down. And if that wasn’t annoying enough – being green was expensive (as it is now) and impeded by the newest in living better through chemistry.  No one cared about Three Mile Island or Union Carbide or the Woburn Cancer Cluster.  A few (hundred thousand) souls were a small sacrifice for Big Biz to absorb in the pursuit of money. Collateral damage without even a war. That was 40 years ago. 

We have made huge strides in our pursuit of the Money and the Brand.  As Pogo said “We have met the enemy and he is us”.  He is.  No one wants to lower emissions by charter.  If they sign up then they have to be responsible and we cannot have that and corporate sovereignty.    Copenhagen was not quite what we had in mind.  So while the planet slimes and slurps and melts and freezes and generally goes the way of a Styrofoam cup – there is good news too – we have found water on the Moon.  Get ready to play the collectible, limited edition of Lunar Monopoly.

Stockholm.  White tie is never unpleasant to see.  And President Obama looked wonderful and a little confused in his as he accepted the Nobel Prize. 

But the point is this: Any president in 2009 has inherited 8 years of a war without a point. Obama is doing what Sadam-obsessed W should have continued to do when he deployed Oct 7 2001. Instead he drained our country of soldier’s blood to get an imaginary enemy. We are now back to square one/Oct 7 2001 when the target was Al Qaeda in Afghani/Pakistan. He is merely doing – and not something I like either – what W should have done and won

I am not sure Mr. Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.  I doubt he thinks so either. And as he sends troops into no-win Afghanistan it is an even harder accolade to accept or deserve. Ah well. Unfortunately they do not yet have a Nobel War Prize.  Or a Nobel Door Prize. 

 
 

 

We Must Not Close Gitmo November 14, 2008

Posted by voolavex in Politics & Religion, Uncategorized.
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According to his prepared testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Greenspan lamented that “those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder’s equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief.”  
Alan Greenspan – former disciple of Ayn Rand and former Chairman of the Fed
 
 
Why must we waste a perfectly lovely detention facility right in the luxurious Caribbean.  Of course it should be emptied of foreign detainees who are there without representation or any other right to which they may be entitled (we might ask John Cain about being detained for 5 years without a lawyer).  It seems these presumed terrorists (and I don’t doubt there are some there) are protected under several international acts that are reserved for presumed war criminals.  We have overlooked these pacts for 6+ years despite being signatories of each one.   We have created trumped up “acts” and rules to justify every sort of torture and deprivation imaginable.  The same stuff we condemned loudly for decades when others did it.  Apparently knocking down the WTC relieves us of every single law and rule in the book when it comes to enemy combatants.  The George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld Law of Double Standards.  It is my belief every person detained in that camp be channeled to a legally authorized facility with counsel available and allowed real justice to be meted out to each person based on facts and due process.
 
But we have this fabulous, large, working prison camp on balmy Guantanamo Bay – escape proof – like the Rock – and ready to go.  Let’s not be hasty.  Right here in this very country we have many yet to be indicted (but readily) indictable white collar crooks from our own terror locations right in New York, Washington and other large cities.  These are referred to as CEO’s, Board Chairmans, Bankers, Mortgage lender and Hedge Funders.  And of course political mischief makers.  In fact they are all basically crooks. I might start filling the place with the people who destroyed Valerie Plame’s career.   Next on my list would be the chairman of the Fed. The lovable and much respected Alan Greenspan who naively believed (because Ayn Rand said so?) that given a free reign – financial institutions would regulate themselves – no problem.  If that were actually true then it would be the very first time in the history of the universe – since the Big Bang – such a thing ever happened.  Even toddlers know that the king was in his counting house counting all his money.  It makes me chuckle when I think of the gasps and moans folks let out whenever the Mafia is mentioned.  All the bad things they do and how they rob and cheat and lie.  Right.  Even the mob has regulation – it may be harsh – but someone takes charge.  Recently Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute for {Get Rich and Run with the Money – oops} – Individual Rights said that Atlas Shrugged had foreseen it all.  That the government was at fault – oh crap – you read it:

Washington, D.C. –“Despite overwhelming evidence that government policies caused the current financial crisis, Congress is blaming businessmen,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “What’s worse, the capitalists who have been shackled with unprecedented regulatory burdens are unable to defend themselves morally. Though the events are different, this pattern of abuse and submission is straight out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

“The cycle starts with government intervening into the economy and imposing regulations and controls on business. This distorts the free market, leading to economic dislocations. When the problems caused by these distortions inevitably follow, everyone blames the free market and its greedy capitalists. The proposed solution? More government controls. Over the years, conservative critics of creeping government have repeatedly exposed this illogic but have always been helpless to explain why the cycle keeps repeating, decade after decade.

“The pattern keeps recurring because businessmen are willing to take the blame. From capitalism’s inception, its defenders have been morally disarmed by the widespread view that self-interest is morally suspect, and disinterested service to others is a moral ideal. So each new spate of controls has been grudgingly accepted as a fair price to pay for society’s toleration of the selfish pursuit of profit.

Atlas Shrugged depicted a society in economic collapse due to this recurring cycle, and today’s parallels are obvious. Government manipulation of money, credit, and lending standards over several decades caused the mess we’re in. Now, the offered solution is more of the poison that sickened the economy–more bailouts, more cheap money, more government-guaranteed loans, and above all, more regulations.

“This chronic cycle will not end until businessmen accept that their production of profit is neither immoral nor amoral–it is the capstone of moral virtue. Once they shrug off the role of scapegoat, businessmen can demand with moral certitude that government punish fraud and enforce contracts but refrain from interfering with voluntary trades among consenting adults.

“When America’s markets are finally free of all coercion–in other words, when laissez-faire is achieved–financial crises such as the one we’re experiencing will never happen again.”

Basing the current crisis on this rationale is not going to produce many guilty pleas in Federal Courts.  But there will be trials and there will be verdicts and yes, Virginia, people will go to jail.

Why not turn the ugly history of Gitmo into a place that houses the people that did this to our nation – not  alleged enemy combatants – but greedy, cheating, lying men and women who should know what it’s like to lose your home, your family, your income, your future, your sanity as you fill their bottomless pit of greed.  Let them live in a little bitty cell – like the family car  has become an itty bitty cell for the unemployed, disenfranchised, hopeless and homeless taxpayers of this country.  I would suggest a dress code – jumpsuits of khaki and oxford blue.  And cheap tacky slip-ons.  Nutritious food with no flavor and no variety.  No wine.  No bottled water.  Minimal health care ( just like everyone else’s) and no Ayn Rand tomes.  Let them know that Atlas has indeed shrugged and it has all landed on them.  Envision these detainees in the tropical splendor of Cuba’s southeastern shores hunting endlessly for John Galt as they try to jump start the engine of the world perpetually in motion but only in their direction.

Guantanamo Prison Camp is too symbolic and too perfect to  be closed and made into a museum – who would actually visit it owing to its location and the situation in Cuba?  But as a slammer.  It’s just perfect.  Please share your thoughts on this idea. 

And, if you are fans, supporters or believers in Ayn Rand and her Objectivism – you are welcome to comment – but I am personally not interested in her philosophy.  I have read her books and taken in her website and considered her views.  She is not my cup of tea.  I will read your comments but I will not post screeds, rants, apologies or propaganda on her ideas.  Sorry – but I did it once before and I found it distasteful.

Inflammation at Tiffany’s August 6, 2008

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Tiffany & Co made gift giving and jewelry buying a no brainer in 1974 when they signed Elsa Peretti to their company and started what became a very engaging habit for me since then.  I am not a jewelry lover per se (fancy diamonds and Mikimoto pearls notwithstanding) but Elsa’s perfect silver designs spoke to me in two words “Buy me”.  And I did. In New York and Los Angeles.  The prices were ridiculously low even for the times – it was easy to go to the Elsa case and buy something for $20.  From the age of 14 I bought my daughter Tiffany for every special occasion.  My best friend and I made countless trips there in 33 years answering Elsa’s simple call.  Corporate owners came and went and until about 1998 it beat out Disneyland for the happiest place on Earth.  And then something happened and they broke my heart (and my one stop jewelry shopping).

It started with the chains which got noticably short –  not shorter because there were few long ones on anything anymore . What might have hung gracefully mid-chest was now sitting around the clavicles.  Then came the crummy silk cord; replacing in many cases any chain at all.   Years back their long, finished silk cord came  in a range of colors – I still have two.  At first this new cord just tied and good luck if it fell off. I believe now it may have a clasp – not much of an improvement but I assume there were complaints.  Repairs and reshines?  These also used to be gratis or inexpensive for customers.  Now there’s a price chart.  And on the subject of prices – I wish I knew where to start .   At this writing silver is a little over $16.00/oz –  and slowly going down.  This is the everyday low price for anyone who buys silver today.  And while the prices of Elsa increased- she stayed affordable.  True they clopped along with times but the place was still packed with 20-Somethings buying Elsa -affording Elsa – Elsa with integrity- a little piece of style icon we could all afford.  Even when Avon ( you know Ding Dong) owned it, the bean crunchers seemed to be reasonable; balancing prices with the joy of lots of happy customers. And then one day not too long ago, a big holding company knocked it over and threw out the welcome mat, inscribed with GREED in big letters. Selection narrowed, prices soared (and after all silver is silver – Tiffany shoppers are paying for style and hallmark) and then, as if nothing worse could happen – quality changed.

 
So this brings us to Summer of 2008 when a thoughtful gift from the big T came my way.  Elsa too – by chance – the giver had no clue.  I wore it immediately until I started to notice red,  itchy bumps along my hairline and right when the piece lay on my breast bone.  So I scratched for a few days -it never occurred to me it was the pendant.  Why would it?  I never itched from Elsa before.  When it stopped being uncomfortable and became sore and I looked into the mirror, I saw the piece was discolored from chain to pendant.  This in a span of four days.  When I took it off I noticed there was some minor roughness to the piece itself and I started to research how this may have happened.
 
Ever worn cheap earrings?  They usually have silver looking stems that are actually mostly nickel.  Nickel is what cost cutting jewelry makers use to make silver workable – it’s cheap and plentiful.  Quality jewelers usecopper to alloy silver to make it sterling and for it to be marked sterling it must .925 silver.  Pure silver is too soft to shape.  And copper is used because it is non-reactive except in extraordinary cases. Platinum and titanium may also be used – but the low end alloy is nickel.   Many people are allergic to it – the reaction is tiny bumps, red spots and itching – fast.  Even without scientific analysis (and this is not CSI) it was not hard to conclude that there was  substantial nickel in the alloy – which of course considerably ups the profit and I guess many people wouldn’t notice.  I noticed and I was not happy.
 
Customer service at Tiffany in Beverly Hills is no longer the pleasure it was once.  Less than a decade ago one could go in with a problem and some really professional and charming person would fix it.  One way or another.  Along with the above changes – customer service has become quite sucky.  I brought my little pendant to the desk and explained the situation without any ruffles or flourishes – just offered it as a bad piece and said I felt terrible because it was a special gift and what did they think?  They thought I was crazy.  The person who handled my query informed me that it was merely tarnish and that once it was polished it would be fine.  That “silver does tarnish and it was tarnish.”  The word got into the conversation far too many times.  What began as a conciliatory approach quickly got heated.  When this happens – and it’s rare – I like to unload my purse on the counter and establish territory right away.  So that’s what I did as I asked for a second opinion.  When it arrived, the word tarnish was conspicuously absent.  The second opinion giver and I chatted amiably about alloys, copper, nickel, allergies, quality assurance and the fact that coincidentally I too worked with silver often and knew what I was talking about.   The Tarnish Lady said nothing.  She didn’t look happy at all. She asked me if I wanted to exchange it for another but I demurred and said I would go back to the case and see what else I could find.  And so I did.  Slim pickins’.
 
What have I learned from this?  That even revered companies eventually become corporations driven by greed.  That a new generation will not have anything to compare so why not cut corners and hence quality and get all you can from a $16 oz of silver.  And hope there are not too many complaints.  Tell them it’s tarnished.  Look intimidating. Sadly this has concluded my business with Tiffany after 34 years.  I have the old,  really good  stuff and I am grateful for that.  The Tiffany mark has became tarnished in recent years; as have the items on which it is stamped.  Let there be eBay.  Let there be buyers.  At this point I personally think the silver in the copies may be even better. And I no longer care much at all.


Eight Belles’ Death Knell May 5, 2008

Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
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My mother rode horses when she was girl in high school and so did I.  Mine, however,  was a very brief foray into the equestrian world.  Clearly not for me.  From the first day the idea of putting in and then pulling something in an animal’s mouth to make it obey made me very uneasy.  I was 14 and had no idea about very much – but this just didn’t seem right.  Years later we had a Shetland pony, Cashew, when my siblings were kids.  He threw people.  I never said a word (I was an adult by then) but I secretly admired and respected him for his unwillingness to become a broken fool.  My brother now owns a racehorse that lives a quiet life in a safe home with lots of freedom to be just a horse.  He rescued her.  I love him for that.

 

It is hard to reconcile a horse running fine and free with being broken and bridled for the needs of men.  It is even more disturbing when it serves no purpose other than spectator sport and its life partner greed.  I don’t think horses like it.  I don’t imagine they believe – as some would like to us think- that they are doing something majestic when they Run for the Roses or go to Royal Ascot.  I think – given a choice – they would rather run free and allow their foals to do the same.  I resent the conjecture of owners, trainers and racing fans that horses “like”  being driven to run on command and are forced – daily – to train for something that is so obviously not good for their health. I think this in the same way I don’t think Greyhounds “like”  chasing Swifty.  But it is easier to rescue a Greyhound than a horse and the stakes in dog racing are clearly less high end . 

There is something both fascinating and repugnant about horse races.  From the touts at the fence to the Royal Box at Ascot – the sport attracts extremes from the corner to the crown.  Yet it all boils down to the same issue – cruelty to animals who cannot protest or advocate for themselves.  When Eight Belles laid down to die on the turf at Churchill Downs she illustrated – in all its tragic proportions just how cruel racing is.  Her huge, tired body – raced to death on those beautiful, delicate legs – died for money and glory – not for herself but for the people who stole her life.

 

It is quite one thing for humans to ask their bodies to run and jump and perform to the extremes required by sport – they have the ability to stop when they decide to stop.  Animals do not have that choice.   Eight Belles stopped too and because did, there was no win yesterday.  There was only an ugly, unnecessary, public death of a beautiful creature.  We can be grateful perhaps that she was euthanized – had it been another time she would have been shot to put her out of her misery.  So the answer to the question; “they shoot horses, don’t they?” is yes, but it starts before they are born.

Eight Belles’ death should make us all stop and think about The Sport of Kings for what it really is.  Just an upscale blood sport that ennobles no one.   

 

NB – Sorry for the on and off run-on graphs.  This is a WordPress problem and they are trying to fix it.