aging · Community

History of Street Vending

Bertolucci’s Pizza truck just went by, hawking pizza with carne asada for $4.99. Don’t you love the industry? Making money in the pandemic.

Do you know we have a knife sharpener man? He whistles. He sharpened my mezza luna.

We used to have a fruits and vegetables man. He worked from his well-stocked truck with his wife and sometimes one or the other of his children. He always had the best cacahuates, roasted plain, no salt.

The tamale lady comes early in the mornings of a weekend, but lately she doesn’t come as regularly as before.

Before school, there are ladies on the way to who sell hot champurrados, tamales, all sorts.

There are a couple of traditional, diesel-powered ice-cream trucks that I really want to dismantle because they are selling some really horrible ersatz.

There’s a paleta man, a couple of corn sellers, the bicycle rider with the some stuff I don’t even know what it is.

They all come through with varying degrees of PPE, at least a mask.

Long live our tradition of street vending.

aging · art · Community · friendship · time · Travel

Rowing my boat through Life; — alaskaman.org

At 74 years + I have rowed that boat a damn long way, and I am nearing the end of my journey…..I rowed through childhood in a Chicago Ghetto, you know that place, it was called “Mother Cabrini projects”, then I rowed my way through a Catholic Orphanage, a few years of that and I […]

Rowing my boat through Life; — alaskaman.org

Here is a story from a wonderful spirit in Alaska. Do read and savor.

aging · Community · death · Disaster · excess death · Health and wellness · Migrants · observations · power · racism · social observation · sociological imagination · trauma

What I’m Seeing

Don’t go for a run in Georgia. Don’t try to enforce masking rules and laws. Don’t respect your neighbor’s legitimate fear of infection and go right ahead and wipe your nose on them or spit on them. This is what I’m seeing.

Sick people are processing the meat some people desperately want. We have no decent information about this virus, which seems to have mutated and become more virulent while it has the ability to hide in plain sight in asymptomatic people. If the virus could jump from meat to humans just through exposure, not consumption, might it have the ability to jump from asymptomatic meat handlers into the meat? The virus does not like warm, moist environments. Could it possibly like cold, raw meat? I don’t know about you, but I’m going meatless unless I know for certain where the meat was processed. I loved Peculiar, Missouri. There were meat processors in the rurals who hunted, slaughtered, and dressed all the meats they sold. They catered to the exotic selling squirrel, opossum, and chitterlings! Of course, I didn’t eat these meats, but it was interesting to know there were some people who still possessed the skills to get their own meat independent of the corporate processors.

I want to see the sick people get care. I want to see them get food and shelter for themselves and their families. I want to see corporations place people before profits.

I believe I’m gonna go blind.

aging · Community · Disaster · Diversions · friendship · Health and wellness · observations · social observation

Ramadan in a Time of Virus

This is a fascinating time. La Peste taught me that you do not go back to normal before the virus has been eliminated. I liked that book because it really did suggest how to get through a pandemic. Keep busy. Do something for someone else. Reflect on yourself and make yourself better.

I said at the beginning of this stay-at-home interval that Americans have no discipline and they are proving me correct. Ramadan is a discipline as well as a requirement of Islam. Military service will instill discipline, but who wants to serve under the Orange Menace?

Can you believe this government that does not want to have the people access safety-net benefits? Employers do not want to pay unemployment benefits. That’s why the big push to “reopen the economy.” Codswallop. Cheapskates.

Have you gotten the idea that our government does not give a rap about any of us? Have you gotten the idea that those muckety mucks who want their mani-pedis and haircuts and other frou frou perks just want to be catered to at the expense of the working classes? Working classes better wake up and rise up, else we’ll all be dead.

Every time I read the Qur’an I learn something new or read something new. My Qur’an has many notes of commentary, appendices, and a copious index. It is very easy to get lost in the commentary and get behind in my daily portion reading.

Hope you are all coping as well as you can. May you avoid infection.

PEACE

aging · Authors · Books · Craft · Disaster · Diversions · Fiction · Literacy

La Peste and other readings

There are 25 minutes left until the end, but I am stuck on Fr Paneloux. He is now dead, but I think he was suffering a crisis of faith. He came out and told the people they deserved the plague because their faith was tepid, more letter than spirit, if you will.

The bugger goes and dies, refusing the care of Dr Rieux, throwing up something red before his passing. Wonder if it was his doubt…

This got me thinking about the crazy evangelical rapturists. If you so in love with Jesus, go to him. Don’t sit and wish evil upon the land that you might be among the preordained number of the saved to witness the horror before being taken…up. Good Lord, what a morning.

I have been distracting myself from finishing the reading by contemplating the development of my Southern Gothic writers in my virtual library. Completely forgot about Eudora, so acquired thirteen of her stories. Made a stab at Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying as there has to be an antidote to Sanctuary. I may watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for a wonderful escape into Tennessee’s brand of SG. Have to see if any of Flannery’s stories are offered, maybe through the libraries. Some of her stories have been turned into film.

Also picked up Heavy by Kiese Laymon. It reads like SG, but isn’t fiction.

I will finish The Plague today.

aging · AS · Books · Craft · Diversions · Health and wellness · observations · social observation · Therapeutics

A Good Day

I found the new Phryne Fisher movie on AcornTV through Prime Video. I confess a great fondness for the adventures of Phryne and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne has a very healthy sexual appetite, uses a diaphragm, flies a plane, is polyglot, dances tango, has a diverse set of friends, and always looks like she just stepped out of a band box even after being pulled from quicksand! I adore Phryne. I can watch her for no additional charge for 30 days. I’m going to enjoy myself some more for my birthday.

Birthdays are to be celebrated for an entire month. They should be danced in and danced out, as with death. There must always be dancing.

Reading a most hideous book by Willie Faulkner, who was a dark and dirty guy! Jeez, Sanctuary is a wreck of a story. Good competition for reality.

Got some beautiful cotton yarn today. I imagined I’d make myself a blanket, but maybe a dress or skirt.

Actually had a really positive time on Twitter. Lots of fun watching people think Patrick of TX should fuck off or lead the way to the gas chambers because he thinks seniors, grandparents should be willing to die for the Dow. What a putz.

Then, there’s the Hate Yam and his ill-advised and ill-considered desire to get the economy rolling again. He cares not a whit for anyone, ya know it? He seems to be running scared. I want to see the showdown between him and the States if he tries to override the lockdowns to send people back to work, vulnerable to the virus.

Have you seen what has to be done to try and treat the pneumonia that results from the virus infiltrating the lungs? Haven’t worked in hospital in a long time, so I was fascinated with the gear that looks like a bubble, placed over the head of the patient, pumped with O2, to attempt to equalize the pressure in the lungs. I read something that said just before things really go south, patients bring up a pink froth or foam. That’s bubbling up from the infiltrated lungs. Next comes high fever, then unconsciousness. I couldn’t unsee that post, though I tried.

The day started off particularly well when I saw people proposing a general strike if the Hate Yam wanted to send people back to work against the advice of public health medical professionals. He must be unfamiliar with the 1918 Spanish Flu. That spread because people refused to follow admonitions from public health officials to not gather in crowds. The people had a parade to welcome the returning soldiers home. The rest is history.

I found I, Claudius on AcornTV. This is my last bit of advertising. I love I, Claudius as much, or more, than I do Phryne, but for different reasons. I don’t watch much television because I can’t stand the commercials. Always selling crazy sounding drugs for ailments they try to convince you you have. Ridiculous. But there are movies and documentaries, theatrical productions, and music that I can access through a tv, and I’m grateful for the entertainment and company sans commercials.

A little reading, a little social media, a little creative craft planning, new yarn, and I am well.

Thanks for reading. Hope you had a good day, too.

aging · AS · Health and wellness · Language

Selective Mutism

Sometimes, I simply have to be quiet because the sense of words and their effectiveness have left me.

I only think I am speaking words in languages that anyone with ears to hear could understand.

I have to stop talking to listen effectively. What I hear does not please me.

Sometimes, I have to stop talking to have the internal room to process all of the outside that bombards me.

When I stopped talking, I started making notes.

aging · AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Class · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · documents analyses · Economic Anger · ethnography · fraud · gentrification · Homeless People · Homeownership · housing · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · observations · Paralegal Studies · power · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · racism · social observation · trauma

What I’ve Lost

I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.

My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.

We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse.  We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.

I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.

All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.

I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.

I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.

The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.

I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.

In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.

I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools.  Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.

I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.

I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.

Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either.  This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.

If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.

I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.

I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….

aging · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · fraud · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Paralegal Studies

Safeco and the Department of Insurance

Safeco defrauded me. Adjuster Kent Stiles scammed me with the assistance of Nahal Mazandarani, Field Adjuster and a contractor, Vince Paglia and Associates.

Mazandarani brought Paglia to my home and insisted that I should use his services as I would be afforded warranties and work guarantees for three years. I was assured I was working with a preferred contractor through their Innovations program. My project would by supervised from start to finish, and I would have no worries … except that instead of repairing only one room, I’d have to have a completely new house … because my home had no foundation. This news was conveyed orally. I never saw the whole-house red tag that was allegedly issued by Los Angeles County Public Works and used to justify destroying my home of over 60 years. Kent Stiles “approved” the rebuild, but carried the project as repair only. He never reported to Underwriting that my entire home was rebuilt. Paglia never submitted plans for a rebuild, but had this structure built from a rough drawing of my home.

Now, the scapegoat subcontractor is dead and Paglia has called to intimidate me into making a settlement for much less than I am owed. He told me straight out that I would never get the more than $80K he was paid for materials and services not in existence here. At the end of his call, made from his car so no one could hear him, he said I should just forget we had this conversation. Really?

All of this has been reported to the Insurance Commission, but that agency is only as good as the agents who work the claims. My agent is working for Safeco. I am blocked from making any more claims without the approval of the adjuster and his minions in charge of plundering my claim funds. They had me state I wanted to make a new claim. I had to swear I was not .trying to get any more money on the old claim, which was supposed to be closed. Except it is never closed and my file is forever under surveillance. I had to provide a date of loss different from the old claim. I had to provide a cause of loss. My date of loss was taken from the Contractors State License Board citation of Paglia, wherein it is stated that the date of occurrence was 6.20.2016, three days after Kent Stiles took over my claim from the original adjuster who had worked it through to final payment, $48K. Stiles pushed the costs up to $430K, at least on paper. Many receipts in my claim file are for materials that are not here. There are documents full of misrepresentations. None of the documents cited as reasons for destroying my home exist. The contractor had the nerve to list himself as the owner of my property in order to demolish structures that were not damaged.

Through over two years of correspondence, the agent from the Department of Insurance failed to get answers to pertinent questions about my claim, failed to get requested documents, and he has treated me with contempt and condescension. He sees nothing wrong with the way my claim has been handled by Safeco. He is the reason I wrote to Consumer Affairs to question why DOI is the only agency consumers have to appeal to when being defrauded by insurance companies.

Safeco is corrupted through and through. I have a thing for chain of command, so went through the hierarchy in an attempt to have someone check the adjuster. Safeco has a Presidential Service Team, the last resort after talking with supervisors and managers. That representative was supposed to assist me resolve the problems I was having with Stiles. Instead, she also worked to support Stiles and his lies, assisting in the gaslighting that is a hallmark of this scam. All interactions have been documented in emails that are in my claim file, but the DOI agent has not bothered to review any of them. He allows Safeco to abuse me in the hope that I will quietly go away in utter frustration.

Well, I am as frustrated as I’ll ever be. Now, this is an obsession to find out just what the consumer has to do to be heard and helped to stop unscrupulous corporations, criminal insurance companies that are supposed to have a fiduciary responsibility to consumers, from defrauding us.