Greed, Money, Capitalism

arguingI’m primarily a Liberal.  But I’m also a writer.  And what that means is I don’t arbitrarily hate what is different from me.  Not saying that Liberals do… nor their Conservative counterparts…. what I’m saying is I can see the logic and benefits of many sides of any issue.  I guess some would call me a Centrist in attitude and a Liberal in practice.

Couple months ago I went to a financial planning institution to straighten out my investments.  See, a few years back I did SUCH a good job at cutting costs (streamlining) and sales at my mother’s business that I got a SEP contribution.   My (then) husband was a trained financial planner so he opened a TD Waterhouse (now Ameritrade) account with it.  What he neglected to impress upon me tell me was I had to take charge of where I dispersed it.  And since I was raising 3 kids (4 if you counted him), working and going through peri- menopause, I completely ignored that account for 4 years.  Where it sat there, not even collecting interest!

In calling the company that handled my Roth IRA investments to see about name changes, etc last year I found out it wasn’t set up the way I wanted it originally.  See 17 years ago when I left a job to marry and move to Texas I had somehow accumulated a pension.  So I rolled it over into a Roth IRA through my new brother-in-law who worked for AmEx Financial Planning (now Ameriprise – don’t you love the erie similarity in names).  I told him I wanted it put into socially responsible mutual funds.   He frowned but I was firm and so I thought he’d done that.   I contributed to it a bit in the early years of our marriage but after the third kid, pretty much left it alone.  It grew.

After the recent phone call though I found out it wasn’t in socially responsible funds.  And after talking to him I didn’t feel he was willing to help me move it to where I wanted.   And then after talking to the Ameritrade woman, personally, I realized this attitude was a permanent structure in the entire investment community.   Those who lived and breathed Capitalism would never understand or connect with the likes of me.   They were ruled by the “More money at any costs” greed aspect that extreme Capitalism generates.

Her explanation that an investor had the right to expect “as much return as he could get” from a company just because he had chosen THAT company in which to invest his money.  Yes, it had a level of logic.  And I saw that logic.  What I noticed was SHE didn’t see was the greed in the statement “as much as he could get.”   And that is the true core problem in Capitalism.  Yes, investing in companies with great ideas moves forward progress and is a wonderful way to use excess money to benefit society.  BUT (and this is a HUGE but, a Baby Got Back butt) it should NEVER become more important than the people in the company working for the company or the customers supporting/benefiting from the company.  And THAT is a part of Capitalism that Greed has blinded most people from realizing.

She sited GM and Unions as an example.  I kept my mouth shut.  Yes, the Auto Union in GM seemed to have wound its way into wounding the company.  Yes, many of the positive need for Unions had disappeared as we grew a social conscience as a society.  But did she see that cutting salaries from the top down makes more of a social impression than gutting pensions?  No.  And I knew at that moment she never would.   So I didn’t bring up Costco vs Walmart as a better business plan.  I didn’t bring up how big business has finagled into their pockets all the gov. subsides meant to help the smaller business [farms].  I didn’t mention the business owner who took a giant pay cut so his employees could all make $70,000 a year.

I didn’t say any of that, because she was old school.  I could tell this from her over tanned, bleach blond, fake nail manicure, over 50 at least appearance… and her conversation of tickets to the Derby opening as Santa Anita and how she had 2 horses running.   Times are changing, albeit slowly, and she and I will be dead before we see the complete change, but social media is allowing people to put their money where their beliefs are and more and more people are standing up against greed.   Not as many as their needs to be in my opinion, but I also think (or perhaps I’m being idealistic)  the NEW entrepreneurs are going to go more in the way of the Costco, Starbucks business model than the GM or Walmart.

Either way, I realized then that, again, I was on my own in making sure this investment went where I wanted it to go.    So I’ve got some research to do on socially responsible mutual funds.  And maybe a quick tutorial on “balancing” a portfolio lol.  But I was firm about TWO stocks I wanted to buy.  Costco and Tesla.   She babbled about how no one purchases stocks unless its in 50 share bundles because that’s how you sell it.  But when I went online to handle my account, the computer had NO problem using half the funds to buy what Costco stocks I could afford and the other half to buy what Tesla stocks I could get with the balance.  See… what she doesn’t understand is I don’t plan on selling these.  This is my way of letting my money support business’s I believe in.  If it makes a profit, yay… if it doesn’t, well, it’s money that was more of a gift than earned.

I would rather live a poor but happy life than get sucked into the level of SOULLESS GREED is see at the top.

Go Bernie Sanders!!!  heeheehee

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Bastille – another 98.7fm concert win

Yes, I did it again.  Hey!  Don’t hate!  I just happen to be one of the FEW who enter the online contests instead of trying to win over the phone.  Of course, this win was last November (2014) and that’s how far behind I am in WRITING my blog posts!

Sex God and I

Sex God and I

The most interesting part was this win was at a bar instead of at the 987 Penthouse.  (I’ve since learned they have a new penthouse so perhaps back then they were in the process of being evicted.. lol.. they DID blow out the electrical several times!)   It was also smack dab in the daytime and downtown Hollywood.  So parking was challenging, we drank before noon and the small bar was crowded while we waited to get into the band area.   I did get a portable charger out of it 😀

Bastille (at that time) was my favorite band.  I was eating up their music and seeing them live was on my concert list.  Ironically, I was almost blase about the whole thing.   I was smack in the middle of seasonal work at Costco and I’d been scheduled to work a shift that day.  They managed to push my start time back but they said, “Get here when you can, we’ll take care of it.” not…  come in at 2pm.  So I was planning to rush to work after the concert to try and NOT piss them off.  It kind of took the thrill and excitement out of the concert.  Plus I couldn’t drink more than one light drink if I was going to be working!

032The band played their usual 4 songs and they were wonderful!  But we wanted to enjoy their music and performance more than wanted to see them up close so we ended up in a corner.  We had a great SIDE view of the band!    And they were introduced by the new morning crew of 98.7 The Woody Show.  I dislike the new morning show IMMENSELY and  seeing the crew didn’t change my impression of them in any way.

Once the concert was over, they didn’t mention anything about getting pix with the band and I was fretting about Costco so we scampered out and went on our way.  (I forgot to bring my tennies so I did my shift in my boots!  Ouch!)

I still enjoy Bastille’s music (even if they aren’t my fave anymore) and I would definitely choose to see them if they were at a festival.  But not so much in a single concert.   Single Concert choices is a SHORT list…   Mumford & Sons, Panic at the Disco, Saint Motel, Imagine Dragons & Twenty One Pilots are so far the only ones on THAT list.

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The Humor Gene

I inherited quite the snarky humor gene from my father.  So did my brother and to a smaller extent my sister.  I managed to pass it on completely to my youngest two sons, and to a lesser degree, my oldest.  So, obviously, this is a dominant gene!

Conor (red head, youngest, 13 yrs, middle school) had to make up about 10 journal entries for English class.  He’s soooo bad at doing it in the classroom we now have a Word Template for him at home.  So I give him the list and template and insist he get started.  His mood is COMPLETELY negative and when I read the entries they are dark and mean and absolutely NOT what the teacher is looking for.  We leave it for the next day and this time I get him in a joking mood and go over answering the first journal question with him.  This is usually all it takes to get his creative juices percolating.   And THIS is some of what he turned in.  (Which I didn’t read until after his teacher graded it with lots of “Haha, I love it” all over it.

If you could eat anything what would it be?

Lots and lots of junk food.  Such as cake, cookies, ice cream, brownies, candy, brownies, chocolate candy!, ice cream cake, cake flavored pizza, pizza flavored cake, CANDY, and some stomach medicine.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

I went on a vacation a little while ago.  I did absolutely nothing and I regret nothing.  Deal with it (proceeds to put on sunglasses)  And I should also mention that it was in Palm Springs.

What is your favorite movie?

Lord of the Rings.  Great storytelling, amazing presentation, memorable characters, and a fandom so great to this day it still puts up a fight to all the Whovians of the worlds.

THIS is one of the reasons hanging with my kids is so hilarious.   And probably one of the reasons their teachers rarely give up on them.  When they DO participate they are smart,  insightful and usually pretty funny.

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What you say to kids

A few weeks ago my kids, Evan and Conor came home from their Easter weekend with their father.  And Evan was very upset.   FACT…. He’s not a social being, just like his father was at his age.  Hell, just like I was at his age!  And he doesn’t like to socialize in general, much less with people he feels consider him an antisocial sociopath.   With me and people he feels accepted and comfortable with Evan is a very fun person to be around, in a caustic humor kind of way.  It’s not impossible to get him to open up but sarcasm and a mocking tone isn’t the way to do it.  Socializing is not something that comes instant and easy for him.  His father either does not see this or feels that it is somehow a character flaw that he much change.

Why was Evan upset THIS time?  Because their father and his girlfriend, lets call her Boney, decided to celebrate Easter with an Egg Hunt.  Now.. lets set the stage.  The people in this household consist of my Ex- Brian (52); his girlfriend Boney (age undetermined… looks over 60) who owns the house; Boney’s daughter (over 20) and sometimes that daughter’s boyfriend; Boney’s son (over 18); and two weekends a month my son Evan (15) and my son Conor (13).   There are no little kids in this group, so WHY an egg hunt?  Because YOU want to have a social gathering.  Fine.  Do you factor in, encourage empathetically, or even ask the most reticent of social situations member in this household?  No, you bully or snark comments.

Was my son entirely in the right?  Absolutely not.  Was my Ex entirely in the wrong? No.  Did my Ex make is worse by venting at “the court” for what he has to pay to me monthly, the fact he longer gets to claim a kid on his taxes, and makes statements to his sons like “Beware who you marry” on the drive to drop them off?   Yes, apparently he does this EVERY TIME the kids get in the car with him.     Do I get to try and repair the emotional damage my Ex does?  Yes, every time.   Does this make getting schoolwork cooperation from Evan more difficult?  Yes.  Is my Ex really bad at parenting?  Yes.   Do I want to have a strong verbal battle with him, his girlfriend, and the principal of her school where she works?  Oh yes… very much yes, so much yes it gives me pleasure to think about it.    Do I want to write him a letter  with copies to the judge who saw our last court appearance about how insulting his children and their mother to his children drives them to such sadness?  Oh yes!

On this subject, Evan’s solution is to not have to spend any more time with his father, nor with a group of people who he feels hate him.   People who certainly do not truly understand him nor accept him for who he is.  On the one hand I feel sorry for THEM.  They don’t get Evan’s wonderfully fun humor because they don’t create a safe, loving, accepting place for it to come out.  And it is wonderful, that humor.  So wonderful I’ve told him that HE is the son I want taking care of me when I’m old & stroked out.   (My father and his life after stroke brings this home to me every week when I see him.)

And who will my Ex have to care for him if HE has a stroke?  Assuming he doesn’t get tossed out of the house where he mooches off this girlfriend.  Assuming she outlives him.   He certainly won’t have his older children as he’s pretty well burned his bridges there by his actions, no matter how much I “reinterpret” his probable intentions to them.  “Maybe your father mean to say this,” only flies so far with kids, particularly teens.

Sidebar example….  Luke came home from a dinner with sibs and Dad and said “Dad said Autism was not a genetic defect because it would have been bred away by now.”  After a lengthy discussion of the falsehood of that statement and how genetics have A LOT of disorders you would think would have been “bred out”.  I then turned to Luke and said, “Maybe what your father is trying to say is YOU’RE not defective, just cuz you have Aspergers.”   It’s THIS kind of translating I do ALL the time for my Ex to try to keep the kids from hating him.  Cuz, well, guess who also has Aspergers.   Aaaaanyway….

My Ex is probably relying on Conor who understands him better than his other kids because Conor has my perception and empathy about people.  Evan actually has the most sensitivity and perception but its just driven him away from people.  Conor and I have a certain autonomous distance.   This was how I understood my Ex.  It was why I could marry him, and also why I divorced him.  If Conor volunteers to be there for his father when his father gets debilitated I will be right next to my son.  Reminding him that the State has program to pay for a home.   In Wisconsin.

But the real point of this blog is this.  Divorced parents should talk more between them.   Married parents discuss these miscommunications and help their kids deal with the emotions of teen frustration, etc (I say etc cuz teens have soooo many emotions!).   And my angry sons are teens!!!   When divorced parents don’t talk then the only information one has is what is relayed by the teen.  And we all know how accurate THAT can be.  My sons aren’t lying to me, but their narrative is colored by their emotions and its difficult for me NOT to get angry when my kids are needlessly damaged by comments from “adults”.   They get enough of it from the idiot kids at school.

But if communication were a strong point between my Ex and I….  well we wouldn’t have needed lawyers.

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