Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

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Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

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He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

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Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

Now twitter is doing it.

As if the mother Zucker wasn’t bad enough with obvious societal conditioning techniques built into his flakebook algorithm, now twitter is showing its hand. They too have had their user privacy issues, but twitter was always a place where you didn’t feel as controlled and manipulated. You could reach out to people the world over, and if you added them to a list, you could see everything they posted. If they were not English speaking, you could click the translate button to see what was on the minds of people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. . . to gain a more honest global perspective than what we are offered in American media.

That ended today!

Twitter has been ramming the “New Twitter” down our throats for a while, but we had the option to revert to “Legacy Twitter” which many users did. It wasn’t an option today, and the Translate Tweet function was gone in addition to some other user niceties.

‘We can’t have American minds being contaminated by other countries.’

They are closing up the box with us in it.

This final straw will hasten my departure from anti-social media. They just keep taking away all that was good about these platforms and replacing them with more ads and user data collection. I don’t need to stick around to watch the death of social media, I’m just glad to see it go.

Turkey News

Dinner conversation for know-it-all’s:

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Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Contrary to popular belief, tryptophan induced turkey comas are not a result of turkey containing a greater quantity of the amino acid than other foods, but only our overindulgence at this time of year. You most likely do not go back for seconds when you eat other poultry, nor do smaller birds allow for days of leftovers in sandwiches and soups or stews.

Enjoy your holiday.

Check out my latest interview with Fiona Mcvie.

Thank you authorsinterviews, I enjoyed your questions.

E. A.

 

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Gather ’round kids, so cocky uncle E. A. can tell you a story.

Cocky? Cockier? Cockiest?

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While I don’t live in the United States of America, Canada and most countries in “the West” do share common legal approaches. My OPINIONS should not be considered legal advice, but should make for a good starting point for those of you who have been witness to the latest travesty in indie-authordom. Unless the reprobates currently running the U.S.A. have completely flushed America down the proverbial turlet, then what I am about to share with you will probably still be upheld in their courts.

What is a Trade Mark?

I rarely use Wikipedia as a source, but they did offer a sound definition in this case.

“A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings.”

IF some poor misinformed soul did want to Trade Mark the word cocky, they are completely within their legal rights to do so. HOWEVER, as no person or corporate entity may hold title of a commonly used word, the Trade Mark office requires that the word in question be presented in an original form, a.k.a. artwork and even a custom font or in an existing font USED WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION.

You can Trade Mark a LOGO containing a word, but not the word itself.

We might as well cover all the bases while we are on this ridiculous topic.

What  is a Patent?

“A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.”

So unless the individual in question INVENTED the word, they can’t go down this road.

What is a Copyright?

“The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.”

Every time a writer PUBLISHES, they are protected by Copyright law. HOWEVER, we live in an age where everyone sues their neighbor over the slightest thing. Thanks for that America. This translates into a shit pile of lawyers making money on every tiny fender-bender or slip-and-fall. Authors would be well advised to actually get Copyright protection in their own country at the very least, as it carries a bit more weight than a mere publishing date.

Can you Copyright a word?

Yes, if it is the title of your work and no one has ever used it before. HOWEVER, this only protects the Copyright holder from having others use the EXACT SAME TITLE. It does not give the Copyright holder EXCLUSIVE rights to the word.

pexels-photo-726478.jpegWhat is a frivolous lawsuit?

They are not called “sharks” for nothing.

“Is the practice of starting or carrying on lawsuits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won.

Yes kids, this is probably what is going on here. Some law firm is exploiting this poor author knowing full well the case has no chance.

So why is Amazon allegedly pulling down books with the word cocky in the title or in the key words?

There are any number of possibilities. But first, why am I not worried about using the word Amazon in this piece? It’s simple, they don’t own the word—just the presentation of the word as a Trade Marked corporate logo in context with a certain type of business. The Amazon river was there long before the company, and it will be there long after the company is gone.

  1. Indie authors are not that important to Amazon as they represent only 16% of the company’s total book sales. (See the Publishers Weekly article.)
  2. Lawyers are expensive; even to a corporate giant. There is no upside for Amazon to challenge the alleged letter sent from this author’s law firm. It is easier, and w-a-y cheaper, to just piss off a few inconsequential indie authors than it is to wage a legal battle on their behalf.
  3. A less likely, but plausible reason might be that some middle manager panicked when the legal notice arrived on their desk, causing them to make “an executive decision” without running it up the flagpole first.

Smashwords and Ingram Spark are looking better and better, aren’t they?

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If and when . . .

. . . I get a cease and desist order telling me to take down this blog because it contains the word cocky, I will have my lawyer fire one back telling them what a cocky prick I am, and that I suggested ‘they should all have intercourse with themselves’. Of course what I would actually say to my lawyer in this hypothetical instance would be: Tell them they can all go f*ck themselves.

And here kids is the moral of the story.

A frivolous lawsuit is there to incite an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. My lawyer is there to START A NEGOTIATION, as is the lawyer of this author. My lawyer will water down my message to make me appear more reasonable so A RESOLUTION CAN BE REACHED.

Both authors pay.

Both law firms get paid.

Amazon was the only one to make a good business decision.

As usual, my mind is questioning the motivations involved here. Is this a PR stunt? Did the-powers-that-be create a new distraction just for indie authors so we won’t pay attention to a US administration just itching for a war with anybody? I guess time will tell. Until then, stay cocky everyone.

 

 

Of Squirrels and Airplanes

It’s been a long, long, long time since I have had a day like this-literally years since I published a slightly impaired blog titled: An Intoxicated Tirade, or words to that effect. A conscientious blogger would create a link, but I don’t care.

Life as a struggling author is tough, and full of duties and obligations. Today was different though; I fulfilled all those daily tasks by 2:00 p.m. on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon which allowed me a shopping trip including a visit to the liquor store.

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It should be noted that I mark the return of warm weather with a cocktail we Canadians call a Caesar-made from tomato/clam cocktail, vodka, and spices, including salt, pepper, celery salt, Worchestershire sauce (Did you seriously expect me to spell it right?) and Tobasco sauce. (Ditto.)

I spent TWO magical hours alone with my thoughts (and the booze) in direct sunlight which has always been my drug of choice when I needed to re-energize and refocus. There was a part of me who screamed I should have a book with me or what will the neighbors think? F*ck ’em.

ancient-arched-window-architecture-532902I moved to this neighborhood to be amongst the poor and down-trodden. Granted, houses in this area sell between one and two million dollars, but that does not mean the people here are rich; they just have good credit. As property values have gone from ridiculous to insane while I have been here, it led me to think about the retirees on a fixed income being displaced because they could not keep up with their property taxes as their property’s value exploded, forcing many to take out equity loans just to keep their homes.

After the second drink, I noticed a deep exhalation that I am certain has not been a part of my existence for some time. Some people meditate to accomplish this state-of-being, but I have not been making the time for any spiritual journeys of this nature lately. I am just too damn busy.

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So, about the squirrels . . . Ever notice the squirrel who is busting his (or her) ass (Who can tell?); digging up chestnuts and running across a busy street to bring home the bacon? He/she is unlike the other squirrels who have trained humans to feed them, and who unknowingly have become reliant on their trainees. I respect the hustler’s choice. I hope he/she doesn’t get squished by one of the vehicles travelling much too fast in our school zone.

It occurred to me upon sipping my third drink, I could really use more days like this. This prompted a revised want ad stolen from my book.

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WANTED: A good woman.

  • This old dog is tired and in need of a porch to sleep on.
  • Please send photo of your porch.
  • Applicants with a wrap-around-porch will automatically advance to the next round.
  • A porch swing will score bonus points.
  • If you have both a wrap-around-porch and a boat, you are gold. Please send photo of the boat as well.
  • If your porch overlooks a unicorn ranch, it is important you include this information.

Dinner Update: One part is burnt, and one part is still frozen. Balance is key.

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On to the airplanes-you can’t help but notice them while you are positioned to be face-first into the setting sun in the West, which coincidentally, is also where our airports are, relative to where I live. There are fast-movers, a.k.a. military stuff, at serious altitudes leaving twin contrails. Those are our F-18s. I did however see a fast-mover with a single contrail; I hope we didn’t buy one of those piece of sh*t single engine F-35s.

FYI: The texture of my chicken patties can be best equated with cutting cardboard with your standard cutlery. And again, I don’t care. Two hours of direct sunlight and four cocktails will do that to a person.

My man-bun-daddy neighbor with way too many health issues for his age and I just talked about using some of our more useless neighbors as food when the apocalypse comes. I suggested a barbecue sauce.

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What are the passers-by thinking as they acknowledge my smile, nod, or wave as I sit in my lawn chair basking in the sun? Are they jealous of my leisure time inactivity, or do they think I am hurting property values in the neighborhood? At the moment, I can confidently state I don’t give a flying f*ck about what others think.

One neighbor who regularly parks her car in front of my house chatted about her court day with our street’s bandit parking cop, and how she was kayaking on a river today. She does lead an interesting life.

autumn-beautiful-blur-658945I chatted briefly with my hot neighbor about how confusing this time of year was for her when it came to choosing what to wear. She was in sandals and a sweater coat. I suggested she remove the coat.

I saw some kids playing road hockey while armed with squirt guns. I guess I didn’t get that memo.

Birds chirping; the sounds of motorcycles and children at play; and the guy with saws. Dude, give it a f*cking rest already.

I thought up a killer book idea, but I’ve thought that before . . .

Much can happen in two hours if you go outside to figuratively stop and smell the flowers.

I admit I have been neglecting this blog, but sh*t happens. My Ms. Creant site blog has kept me busy with a ten-ish part series on the book publishing game. If you are a soon-to-be-published author not picked up by the big 5, you would be well-advised to tune in.

It’s now 10:30 p.m. and my nightcap is almost gone.

Ever notice how I only use contractions when I’m drinking?

Talk soon.