Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Downton Abbey

I have little liking for Julian Fellowes, the author of the Downton Abbey series.  He's utterly reactionary.  But I do love the Castle and the Clothes. Yes, I do recognize that no women have lives where we sit around in silk all day, chatting and drinking tea, but the dresses are beautiful.  Such disappointment, then, to find that the Highclere Castle website sells the same schlock you could find in Old Sacramento.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How Could They Not Know

that as the System Administrator, Edward Snowden had complete access to the system?  Uh, that's how it works.  And as J, who knows more about these things that I do, notes, there's a trade-off between efficiency and security, and the NSA has opted for efficiency. Yeesh!

Oh, and I think that getting metadumps of phone records is both an invasion of privacy and a waste of time.

Monday, June 10, 2013

We'll Take Friends Where We Find Them

Not that long ago, your blogger received email denouncing her as the Handmaiden of the Devil or the Spawn of Satan for informing tenants in foreclosed properties of their rights.  She reveled in these denunciations, believing that it meant she was doing something right.

But now she has friends in unexpected places.  First the $%@# Rahm Emanuel indicated support for legislation in Chicago that would require foreclosing lenders to either provide tenants with a lease limiting rent increases to two percent or, if the lender chose to evict the tenants, pay each household $10,600 in relocation costs.  (This would cover some of the costs involved in finding a new home and moving, something economists don't even recognize, believing that the rental housing market is "frictionless".)

Another new buddy is Angela Merkel.  Yeah, the woman from Germany who is destroying the economies of a bunch of European countries to protect German banks from having to be accountable for their bad loans. Her.  And what is she advocating?  Rent control.  Yeah, limits on the amount landlords can increase rents when tenants move.  Yeah, vacancy control.

Just as long as they don't invite me to dinner...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

108 in the Shade

Yesterday morning I went out to sit on my patio.  It was 8:30 A.M.  It was above 80 degrees.  I came inside at about 10 to discover (from my weather gadget on my computer) that it was 89 degrees.  We closed the doors.  We turned on the A/C.  We stayed indoors.  The cats stayed indoors.  J went out to obtain necessaries.  He returned.  He did not go out again.

A little reminder spurring me to find a house in the coastal regions.

Oh, last night J and I watched the latest version of Anna Karenina.  Don't.  Really.  Like Mick LaSalle, the reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, I found myself rooting for the train, as in "oh god, let this be over, where is the train?"  J, in fact, quit watching midway through and started reading to me from the latest Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

College Costs

My father used to rattle on about how difficult things were in his youth, that young people had so much more, were expected to do so little...  My mother said that sometimes he sounded like Ronald Reagan, but that the difference was that Ronald Reagan actually believed it, while my father knew better.

One of the things that the boomers natter on about is that students wouldn't accumulate debt if they did what the boomers did (well, some of them) and work their way through college.  What they prove here is that they can't add.  Not only have the costs of college increased, but the wages the students can earn are very much lower.  And here's the evidence, from the University of Wisconsin.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Disabled Access

Now that my arthritis has become "moderately severe" (I don't want to know what just plain severe is like), J often hauls out the wheelchair that Kaiser kindly provides for us to take me places that involve lots of walking.  The last such occasion was the Sacramento Music Festival in Old Sacramento.

Now Old Sacramento has gotten it before over their lack of access.  The cutesy wooden sidewalks were built sufficiently below grade that there were steps required to every store in the area.  Sacramento has a dubious distinction: it spent many years fighting the ADA requirement that they make sidewalks accessible to the mobility-challenged--putting in curb cuts and fixing broken sidewalks, in particular.  The city, of course, lost the suit and now has to spend considerable funds performing the work it should have done 20 years ago.

But back to Old Sacramento.  Old Sacramento is a tourist trap, insofar as Sacramento has anything worthy of that name.  It has one good expensive restaurant (The Firehouse) and one good cheap restaurant (Indo), but absolutely nothing else to recommend it.  The stores sell boring schlock that they couldn't even unload elsewhere in Sacramento.  So it's not a place we frequent often.

So J packed me and my wheelchair into the car, drove us downtown, parked five or six blocks from Old Sac, put me into the wheelchair and took me off to the festival.  Please note that there was no formal disabled parking near the entrance.  In fact, the parking lots at Old Sac were full.  Then we went to the Festival trailer to obtain our wristbands where, had I been traveling alone, I would have faced--STEPS.  I discovered later that there were other places to get wristbands but they required a trip of several blocks along

COBBLESTONES.  Yep.  Ever traveled over cobblestones in a wheelchair?  Don't.  It hurts.  A lot.  And the cutesy wooden sidewalks aren't much better.  Bounce.  Bounce.  Jangle. Jangle.  Even my attendant/husband noticed the bouncing as particularly uncomfortable.  By the end of the day my whole body ached from all that bouncing.

Someone should sue, but why bother?  It's only Old Sac, after all.