The People Of Neverwhere

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

(I’m actually posting this on both of my blogs)

The BBC did a miniseries called “Neverwhere” a number of years ago that was written by Niel Gaiman and Lenny Henry. It was a very good SciFi series that mainly dealt with a fictional underground world in London. One of the lines one of the characters said had to do with how we really never notice people and how quickly we forget about many of the people that we do see, especially those that are homeless.
As I watched more and more of it, it make me realize how we really don’t notice and ignore those that are homeless. We go about our merry way in our own lives and some will even criticize them saying how they need to get a job, stop living off of the government, that they actually have fancy cars and homes, and how they really need to try harder. For some of the homeless that we do see this is true, but for many they are trying but the truth of the matter is that because they are in truth unseen by most they don’t get the chance to change their situation.
People are critical of the unemployment rate during the term of the current President saying that it is higher than what is reported because people have stopped looking for work, when the truth is that it has always been that way regardless of who that President is. As long as it has been possible, people have tried to live off of the government, in some cases it has been been businesses. Now the businesses that I am referring to are not small ones, but ones making billions of dollars a year in profits. Money like this is going to oil companies and companies that own large and profitable farms among others.
But yet we as a nation are more concerned about a small group of poor people who are ripping the government off and not the big businesses that truly can afford to survive quite well without government help. I learned something the other day that I had not realized, that being when Walmart began to get bigger and bigger, their aim was to hire people who only needed to have a little extra income, mainly housewives who were looking for something to do during the day. FedEx was designed to be for College students to help them have spending money through college. There are many cases like this throughout the country, but things like this have changed because people were not making the money needed to be able to pay for just basic needs to survive.
We often simply ignore people who clearly need our small change in order to even get something to eat. Now I am not saying that we all should be giving our change to all of those who claim to be homeless and need money, but I am sure that you have seen people sleeping at night in a doorway or elsewhere outside. Why not bring that “doggy bag” of food that you didn’t finish and leave it with them? Think about it and the Bible Story of the Fish & Bread. Think about yourself if you were in that position. I have some friends who carry non-perishable items in their cars and when they come across people begging in traffic for money they give them a small bag of the foods. This has helped some of them when they have had car trouble and a person whom they have help have come over and helped them. I helped to start a weekly lunch program that gave bags of food to those in need at a park. I would take some of the bags to other areas where I knew homeless and needy were and would give them to people there. As the people got to know me, they would talk with me and tell me their story. Their were those that were addicts, just gotten out of prison and many others, some of whom would say that when they were in a better position that they would looked down upon those that were homeless.
I had gone over to San Francisco one evening, and had a box that contained some of the left over lunches and did my usual bit of just walking around. Before I knew it, it had become dark so I decided that I would head back home and give the lunches to the people in the area that I knew were homeless. With the ones that were in my neighborhood, I knew that many of them ate on a daily basis, but I would give them one as a knew that it could help them stretch their food for a meal longer. As I walked down Market Street (the major road in San Francisco,) I saw people laying in doorways and beside lampposts sleeping. After passing a few it hit me that I had more lunches in my bag than I really needed, so as I would pass someone, I would drop off a bag. Before I knew it I was down to just two bags. I thought about the people in my neighborhood and knew that their were a couple of people who always had a hard time finding something to eat, so I would save those bags for them. As I continued to walk there were a couple of guys pushing a shopping cart full of their possessions. They seemed to be acting a little crazy, and it appeared that most people were stepping as far as possible away from them, but I didn’t as I could tell that they were harmless and that these were just a couple of guys enjoying life even though they were living in the streets. I asked one of them if they were hungry, and he said that he was, so I gave the two of them the last two bags. As I rode home I felt a little bad, for I didn’t have any for the main two people that I was planning on giving the bags to, but figured that I would stop at a place and get them something to eat when I got into the neighborhood. Much to my surprise, when I got home I found the two of them eating a hardy meal. A few weeks later I had to go into San Francisco for something, and as I walked down Market Street, the two guys I had given the bag to walked up to me and thanked me for being so kind and giving them the food.
I have looked closer into the world that the downtrodden live in, and it is a fascinating world. The barter system us highly used in many ways. Most people think that they are mainly using the money that they are begging for to buy drugs and alcohol (which some do use the money for,) but much of it is used to buy the basics. Items are traded with each other in order to survive. They are living in a world that many humans either do or have lived in.
The people in our Neverwhere world take care of each other in that they make sure that for those who don’t cause trouble or problems within it are taken care of . While being in and around those living in Neverwhere, it makes me wonder what the country would be like if we went and learned from those living there. We have “Experts” in this country who go in and try to “fix” the problems within Neverwhere, but they don’t talk about the things that they have learned from the people in there. The “experts” come in with a preconceived idea on what should be done, but they really aren’t willing to listen to the needs and desires of the people. They aren’t willing to watch and see what really goes on that they can bring to the rest of the country that would truly make things better for all of us.
With the group I was with that was doing the lunches each week, we started in many ways like we had solutions to some of their problems, but once we changed our outlook and began to ask them what they needed, things became great between them and us, in that we became one community. They stopped looking at us as though we were coming to fulfill a need to help the pitiful, but that we looked at them as fellow humans. They would do their best to protect us from the bad events that could and did occur. At first the police would come by and watch. The police would slowly drive by and look. Finally one day I walked up to one of the officers and explained to him who we were and what we were doing. I didn’t realize as I was walking up that this was a commanding officer, and after I explained things to me he said that he wondered, then thanked us for what we were doing and said that he had wondered why problems had stopped there during the time we were there. He must of informed the others, as they stopped coming by and watching.
Some of the people began to turn there life around. Some stopped drinking, doing drugs, committing crimes and would jump up and help us with stuff even though we never asked for it. When kids where there they would make sure that they were the first to be given food, and the same was true with the elderly and physically handicapped. Now think about how often you would see that among those who have wealth.
So the next time that you find yourself looking down upon those in Neverwhere, or simply walk past them only to know that you will forget about them real soon, as yourself what you can learn from them that will make you a better person.

What Happened?

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

 I know that I have blogged about this before, but after watching what goes on at the Bellagio during the water show I feel that I need to blog about this again.

 What ever happened to the Patriotism that was so high here in the USA? Seriously, it seems to of vanished. My job requires that I stand in the front of Ballys, which is nice as I get to watch all of the tourist go by and I get to see the water show that Bellagio’s does. One of the things that they normally start off with is the National Anthem of the United States. I normally stand there and watch the show and quietly sing along.

 I was standing there not to long ago while the anthem was being played when one of the people that I work with came and stood beside me. As the Anthem came to an end, I leaned over and said to him that it was amazing that nobody was stopping for the National Anthem. He look around and said that I was right.

 So what has happened to all of the “Go USA” stuff that was going on in this country after September 11, 2001? I mean one couldn’t walk down the street without seeing the flag of the country. People were driving down the street blasting “Born In The USA” from their cars, businesses and homes. People had their flags flying from their places. What I found interesting was that over the years the only people that I saw flying the flag of the USA were people who had immigrated here from other countries.

 I also noticed that when people from other countries would get out and protest about immigration issues, some people in the USA were getting upset because the protesters weren’t waving the flag of the USA. Personally I witnessed several of these protest and would see people waving the USA flag, but the reports given by the media never showed that. Still I looked around and noticed the lack of people flying the flag outside of their homes.

 The thought of the flag and patriotism didn’t come to mind again until I saw what noticed with people and Bellagio playing the national anthem. Now I am not saying that these people are Republicans, Democrats or belong to any other political party, as I am sure that they belong to them all, but I am sure that some of these same people get into political debated about how one party is more “American” than the other, but yet when the National Anthem is being played they continue walking along. I bet if they thought about it, then they may wonder how “American” that their claims may be.

 Like some people, I support my country, the President, the Congress, etc. I may not always agree with the things that they have done or the direction that they take the country, but I awake every morning knowing that I am living in the land of freedoms that others don’t have.


Posted: January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

I promise I will write a new blog post soon…
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They Work Hard For The Money

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 Where I work there are a number of street performers around. There are some who are in costumes, others who play music, some who dance and some who do other things. I have gotten to know some of them a little outside of there act, and they are all really nice people. Most of them come out daily and take photographs with the tourist in town (locals sometimes will take pictures with them, but mostly it is visitors.)
Now the city doesn’t pay these people, but they do help to promote the city and make people smile. For the ones who are in a costume, they will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for them. I was chatting with one guy who is on of the many Elvis impersonators here,and he is a young guy who is going to college and he does it to pay for his schooling and extra money. I asked him how much the costume cost, and to my surprise he said it was around $1,200 dollars, and that he had bought the cheapest one that he could find. It took him a while to make that much in tips, but he them said that when he looked around not that long ago, the cheapest one that he could find was over twice what he had paid.
Another person has a Mickey Mouse outfit, which ran him almost $700 when he got it, and that it took him nearly 6 weeks in tips to be able to cover the cost of the outfit. I also see women dressed in “Showgirl” outfits, and I am sure that they spent a great deal of money on them. I see a bunch of different outfits which I am sure cost the people a lot of money.
The thing that bothers me are the tourist that come here. Now I am not saying this off all the tourist, but there are a number of them who will come up and take a picture with these folks and not even bother to give them people, who gave them a moment of joy, a single dollar. I watch as people walk along and pull out there cameras and snap a photograph. I notice that people get upset when the characters turn away from the camera. I watch as people will rush up to snap a picture while someone who has tipped was getting their picture taken, and I am sure that many of these pictures are being put onto “social networks” with these strangers being in them. Now because of where I stand, I am sure that I am in pictures on the Internet in the background, but I don’t worry about that.
Now one of my favorites is a guy called “The Stone Arts Man”, who has no big problem with the ones who don’t tip, but with those who do tip him,he makes them feel real special. Yes I have heard about the people in costumes who get very rude and swear at people who don’t tip, but there are a large number of these people that are getting shafted who treat people with respect. This reminds me of something from the Bible and that can be found in other religions as well. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Now would you like to go out and spend a bunch of money for a costume, stand out on a busy street, have people come along and take pictures with and of you, then not offering a single dollar?
With the two ladies in the “Fashion Show” outfits. As I left the office I grabbed two bottles of water and gave it to them as I left. It brought smiles to their faces.

The Need To Cuss

Posted: October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 I have never really understood it, and maybe someone will write in the comments below this blog, but I really don’t understand the need and desire to cuss during normal conversation. As I write this, there is a beautiful female sitting a couple of rows behind me that I was working up the nerve to talk to, who got a phone call and during the conversation got to cussing during it.
I remember as a child me and my best friend at the time would go into the den of my parents house. My father had this big thick dictionary that for some strange reason we decided to look through one day. We came across the word “Daddy Long Legger ” and thought it was the dirtiest word that we had ever seen. We knew that if our fathers were to catch us looking at the word that we would be in BIG trouble. Seriously.
With the woman that basically held my heart for a long time, the one thing that I really admired about her was the fact that she never swore in any way. I had never noticed it until a group of us were together and instead of using a swear word, she used a word that was more kid friendly. We laughed when she said it, then she said that she never used swear words. I thought about it and realized that I had never heard her swear.
My parents took us to a basketball game at the Philadelphia Spectrum, and there were a couple of guys sitting behind us. Time and time again these guys would swear as the game was going on. After a bit of time of these guys swearing over and over again, my father turned around and asked them to stop as he didn’t want his kids hearing it. They stopped with the swearing.
I worked for a company and a group of us always sat and ate lunch together. As apart of the conversations that would go on, swearing would go on. I don’t recall how to topic came up, but somehow we got into the topic of swearing. One of the people suddenly looked at me and said that they had never heard me swear. I said that I saw no point into swearing in normal conversation. They all said that it was a strong way of getting a point across, and I explained that in my opinion that when one uses it in normal conversation that the power of the swearing became lesser and lesser. I did tell them that I do swear, but because when I do it is so rare that the power of the words meant something at that point. The person of the group who swore the most looked at and said that I wttas right, but continued to swear as part of normal conversation. A time did come where I did swear and it came to such a surprise to them that they saw how powerful it was.
But I still don’t understand the point of doing it during normal conversations. What point does it serve doing it? I can somewhat understand why teens do it, as it makes them feel like adults, but after a certain point it serves no real purpose.
I would love to read your comments below…

 I had gone to the inauguration of someone who was elected Mayor of Oakland California about 6 years ago. Even though I did vote for the person, I really wasn’t a fan of this person. Oh he did a number of wonderful things when he served in the US Congress, but for some reason I just didn’t like him.
As I sat and waited for things to begin, I saw people wearing bluetooth pieces in an ear, and suddenly I began to wonder who these people were. Yes having a cell phone is nice, but I was wondering how important these people with the bluetooths must think that they are? Were their calls so important that they couldn’t shut off the phone for this event?
As time went on over the years, and seeing more and more people wearing bluetooths, I began to wonder if wearing one causes people to call you more often? I mean hardly anyone ever called me, and when I called people they would be upset that I hadn’t called in a while. When I would say something about the fact that they could of called me, they always had (and still do) have worthless excuses as to why I should be calling them instead of them calling me. Are these people really that important? Anyway, back to where I was actually headed.
I went and bought me a bluetooth for the phone that I had at the time. I noticed something. The number of calls that I got didn’t increase. I wore the thing religiously like I saw others doing for a few months, but the number of called that I got didn’t increase. The hook that I had to help keep it in my ear broke, and I simply stopped using it. In fact I had even forgotten where I had put it for a while until I happen to discover it while doing something.
I started paying attention to the conversations that we going on with people who have cell phones, then I realized something as I would “ear hustle” from time to time. I don’t think that I heard anything that was so important that it couldn’t wait until people were face-to-face. In fact, I would hear people talk about stuff that they really shouldn’t of been talking about in public. I have heard all kinds of secrets being talked about, where the people would say,”Don’t tell anybody about this”, and the person is saying this on a crowded bus. For all that one knows, a friend of that person or the person themselves could be not far away hearing what you are saying.
Now I am not saying that the world should get rid of cellphones, in fact I find it interesting that because of them we are seeing less and less pay phones (when was the last time that you saw and actual phone booth, you know the kind that had the doors?) My thought is that we have become to reliant one them. How many conversations do you have on them when in reality you could of waited to see the person and had a “face to face”?
As I think about this, I think of the problems that the USPS is having money wise. We have become so reliant on calling someone on our cellphones, or even emailing them, that I think that it is part of the reason that the USPS is having money trouble. When was the last time that you sat down and wrote a letter to someone or even received a letter from someone? I know, I know, it is so much easier now, but wouldn’t it put a smile on someone’s face if you wrote them a letter? Now because we are in a world where we no longer remember such things are people’s telephone numbers and addresses, I say that you write yourself a letter and give it to a friend, and to tell them to hold on to it for a while them mail it. In that letter give yourself positive reinforcements. Have your friend address the envelope to you so that you may not realize who it is coming from. I bet you will feel great once you read that letter from yourself.
Anyhow, really think about how important that cellphone call is that you are about to make when you are out somewhere. Maybe spend that time looking at the beauty that this universe has to offer, as I am sure that you will see things that you have never seen before that you had passed many a time.

Aside  —  Posted: September 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Death Of A Nation

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

I guess that it really became noticeable right after the tragic events that killed so many people on September 11, 2001, but it seems as though the United States is in the process of heading towards its end. Now I don’t expect it to happen in the next few months, nor in the next few years, but there is a divide going on in this country which is killing it.
Even though this country has been divided over many issues though its existence, we are seeing a divide that is almost to the level it was before the Civil War. If this country should go into a Civil War again, it won’t be two sides, but three, and even then there will divides among the three. The divide with the second three will result in squabbling, among them, but no huge battling between them like the first three.
The war that will take place will be between the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Moderates. The Moderates really won’t want to be involved, but the other two sides will give them no choice in the matter.
We are seeing the early stages of the war no. If you watch the news, and especially if you watch the political talk shows, you will see the battle between the main two sides. The Conservatives will spend their time complaining about the Liberals, and the Liberals will spend their time complaining about the Conservatives. When they are together, they will spend their time bashing each other. Each side is so determined to prove that they are right that they fail to find what they have in common and work on trying to bring all sides together.
How will this war end? It will take other countries to slice the USA up into parts and into new governments to run the countries. Take a look at the now defunct USSR and you will see how the USA will be. Canada will have new territories, Mexico will get back some of the land that they once had, but the USA as a whole will be a thing written about in history books far into the future.
How can we stop this from happening? Put and end to people giving “Talking Points” and the people of the country really need to stop voting for people who mainly talk about how Conservative or Liberal they are, but are willing to work towards things that will benefit ALL of this country.

The Making Of A Book

Posted: August 6, 2013 in Misc

 Someone that I follow in Twitter asked a question about the need of Literacy Agents in this day and age of the book world. She wanted to know if we felt that they were still needed. My response basically that since I had spent a large number of years in the book business, that I felt that they were needed once fame had hit.
Now I don’t want to put people out of work, but in this day and age of “self-publishing”, many people really don’t need agents to get their works out there. When I put together my book () I had choices on what I could do. I could of sent small portions of it to different publishers with the hope that one of them would of been interested, I could of sent it to an agent in hopes that one of them would be able to get it into a publisher, I could of gone to a place like Kinkos and had them make copies, or I could of done which I did and gone to a “print on demand” place.
Now each of these have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is really up to the author as to which way they want to try. I choose the way that I did because my title is a religious service book and where I am hoping to be able to push in places that I don’t think publishers would think of going, plus a new author has to do most of their own promotion anyway. Publishers also have the right to stop carrying the book and can make other choices that one may not like and Royalty payments aren’t always that great. But publishers can be a great help in promoting a title.
What is nice with an agent is that depending on what type of book you have, not only can they push it harder for publishers to carry, but in some cases they can help one get an author and their title into signings at book stores and other places. Agents do much of the work that some authors really don’t have the time to do. Yes it is going to cut into ones royalty, and one of the problems an author has to deal with is the fact that unless one is already well known, they won’t always have the time to really give it the full and proper attention that ones needs.

 Agents are also great in that even though you may of gotten your title edited by someone, they know editors in the book business whose job is not only to edit ones book, but they have a great idea on what sells based upon the look of a book. As much as we say “Don’t judge a book buy it’s cover”, each of us have passed by or bought a book based on the cover. One of my favorite books is titled “Coal” by J. Jason Grant. It was the cover of the book that caught my eye and caused me to buy it. When I put my own book together it took me a while to figure out what to use as the cover and in fact the new book that I am working on I am spending a good amount of time thinking about what I want to use as the cover.
With the way that things are going in that more and more books are being made for iPads, Kindles and other electronic readers, and with with the Internet making it so easy to upload ones works, agents are and will become harder harder to find as their services are less and less needed.
But what are some of the advantages of “self-publishing” and why did I choose to go the way that I did? I knew what how I wanted things in the book to be, and I really didn’t want anybody else changing things around. One of the things also is that even though one has to purchase an ISBN#, it’s ones to keep (in my case I used one from the place that I self-published through,) so if the title went from one publisher to another the ISBN# would most likely change. With the company that I went through, and also with many others, my book went onto Amazon and I was able to get it onto the Barnes & Noble website along with other places.
With fewer and fewer book wholesale and distribution companies around, along with fewer and fewer independent book stores around, getting ones book onto shelves has become even harder. I think that the best thing for a new author in most cases is for one to self-publish and to work at getting it onto Best Seller Lists, as once that happens publishers and agents will be reaching out to you.

Just Go Away

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Over the last few years I have noticed a number of sites have added this thing where you can log onto the site via your Facebook and/or Twitter account. Not long ago I used another computer to get onto the Internet, and I used Google Chrome to do it. What I found interesting was that all of my bookmarks were available to me. This surprised me, and it bothered me. When I finished on the machine I made sure that I logged off of Google Chrome.

As much as the idea is nice as it makes it means not having to remember passwords, I think that this is a very dangerous practice in that you could find not only your Facebook account hacked, but other sites that you go to also hacked. Oh yes I can hear companies saying how this is something that should stay, but the truth is that they will use it in order to try and make money off of you, but this is a hacker’s dream. By people doing things this way, it makes it so much easier for hackers to be able to go in and get your information.

Sometimes I will get asked why I have so many email addresses? I use them for different purposes. For a number of sites I don’t use my main email address, but use another address that I have. One of the nice things about having ones own domain is that you can create email addresses based upon a website that you aren’t sure about. I have left websites who have sold their email list, and the reason that I know that they did was because the address used by other companies have sent it by the address used.

Now Microsoft tried the same thing a while ago where it wanted all of the websites to use a Microsoft ID, but it didn’t work, but for some reason it seems to of worked for Facebook and Twitter. I have been on sites where you are suppose to be able to be anonymous where one has the option of logging on through ones Facebook account.

I’m wondering how many people will have to have their accounts hacked and identities stolen before this practice comes to an end. If you have the choice with a website to use your Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or any other site besides the sites, please be careful.

The Killing of History

Posted: June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Now before you read this, I am warning you now that this has SPOILERS for the film “Man Of Steel” in it, so if you don’t want your mind clouded by the things I will say, then go to another one of blogs post and read it. I will do my best not to give many examples, but some have to be given.

When it comes to entertainment things get interesting. I find it interesting on how histories get changed like people won’t notice. Oh sure I know that it is done sometimes for the newer generations, but the killing of decades of how things have been really shouldn’t be changed.
I went to the movies today and say the new Superman movie. “Man of Steel” was just OK in my opinion. I saw the 3D version, and frankly I think that I may of enjoyed it more if I had seen the regular version. I don’t understand the reason for many of the movies that are coming out to have to come out in 3D as the effect really doesn’t add anything to the film, and in this case it really didn’t. From time to time while watching the film I removed the glasses and the effects were far better than with them on.
One of my biggest problems was how they changed the life story of Superman. They had Clark Kent doing stuff as a child that surely would of gotten him national notice. Time and time again they show flashbacks of him using his super powers in different situations and yet it seemed as though the press is left clueless as to what is going on.
Now I grew up in a period of time where Clark Kent worked for the newspaper, yet nobody realized that he was superman also. In this case, not only does Louis Lane find him and his mother’s house before he comes to work for the paper, but the military and others from his home planet find it. Now what is funny is that at the end of the movie he talks about trying to “lay low” on the planet, but he shows up to start working at the Daily Planet with his glasses on and people seem to stupid to realize who he is.
As I sat their during the main battle I realized that it appears that the best thing that this world could do to improve the economy and get people jobs is to have battles like what we see in this movie. The amount of destruction that occurs would give millions of people jobs, from construction to other occupations.
With some of the film I got to thinking that the writers had been hooked on other films like “Men In Black”, “Star Trek” as the of the scenes seemed to of come directly from them. Time and time again I keep thinking of other movies and realized how unoriginal the movie was.
I really didn’t find the acting in many cases that great, and was making me wish that I was watching either George Reeves or Christopher Reeves Superman style movies. Yes I know that those were different style movies and that the TV show only had 30 minutes to come to a conclusion, but they entertained a person where from early on in this one I realized that this was done with sequels in mind, but the major studios don’t want to come out with something original anyhow with all of the remakes that they have been making over the last few years.
Another thing that came to mind is how NOBODY has had a problem with Superman being in this country Illegally. I mean come on people, if you are so against Illegals in this country, then surely you can’t be a fan of Superman.
Now this film did have some enjoyable stuff in it, and if one is looking to watch a “no brain” movie, this is one to see, but I would suggest not spending the extra money to see it in 3D.

I am going to give the film a C+