(Originally posted 12/30/13.)
George F. Will’s 12/21/13 column, “A dazzling bright future dawns in New Jersey,” is an infomercial for a fusion energy project.
“Because of its large scale and long time horizon, the fusion project is a perfect example of a public good the private sector cannot pursue and the public sector should not slight.”
Whatever became of the concept of venture capital?
“Most government revenues now feed the public’s unslakable appetite for transfer payments.”
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I have never owned a television, and seldom ever saw a TV commercial until I became homeless.
Know for certain, that every detail of the appearance of every person who appears in a TV commercial, is by design: the hair style, the shirt or blouse, the cut of the pants, the color of the shoes, the specific jewelry (if any), and what kind; etc., etc., etc. Every point is specifically intended to have an effect —
— namely, that the viewer will respond, “I am like that,” or “I want to be like that” and “I can be like that.” The message is, you can be like that if you use the product.
Pillsbury dough product commercials currently feature families, black and white, who aren’t just doing OK; these people are ALL very well off.
Hair Cuttery commercials are meant to appeal to people who want to look in the mirror and admire their hair cuts. I can’t relate.
McDonald’s commercials, ever since I became homeless, have left me feeling vaguely disturbed. They made a decision to depict McDonald’s customers as scruffy-looking. Why anyone would want to be like that is beyond me. Monday night 12/24/13 I looked around the room and confirmed to myself: the men at my shelter are, in fact, better dressed and better groomed than the people who appear in McDonald’s commercials.
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18:15 Wednesday 12/25/2013
I am composing this on-screen in real time, at Pastor’s residence.
On holidays, I often make arrangements with Pastor that he can let me in to the church, so that I can spend the day online at the church’s computer lab, inside, and with access to “facilities.” We did this again today. I left church and arrived at the shelter at 16:00.
The gate was locked. This normally means they’re full, and normally that won’t happen until a much later hour.
Normally also, given my having been there practically every day for — since March 7, 2011 — they secretly save “my” bunk for me, and under these circumstances I can go to the front desk and be admitted through the back door, as it were. Having shouted a loud expletive when I first saw the locked gate, I now went across the street to smoke a cigarette and cool down before trying the front desk thing.
A.L. happened by, another “regular,” and I hailed him before he’d turn that way to find the locked gate. He came across the street and told me there were no bunks. This seemed inappropriate given the direction from which he’d come. He said he was heading for the Four Seasons, and I was welcome to stay with “us,” and gave me directions that in the event were highly erroneous. He was sloshed. A.L. and money are a bad combination. I thanked him for the invitation, said I wanted to give it one more try, and we parted.
There was no room at the inn.
However it had happened, the joint had filled to capacity long before I arrived. There was no bunk for me.
I headed off after A.L. He’d told me, “You go down here [westward on Baltimore Street], and there’s a circle, and it’s right there. It’s a coffee shop.” I knew perfectly well there is no such “circle” on Baltimore Street, but there is one not far away on Lombard Street, so I headed there.
No Four Seasons.
A Marriott Fairfield Inn is just past there on Lombard Street, so I stopped in there to ask directions. They told me to go “ALLLL the way” down President Street, and there was a circle with a gold statue, and the Four Seasons was there on the right.
“Allll the way” proved to be “allll the way,” and I found the place, sort of, and was now nearly a mile from the mission. Also in a very high-rent district. Stopped for a smoke.
The entrance to the Four Seasons was yet another block away, down International Drive, to yet another circle, where it is on the right. I went to the desk and, as A.L. had told me to, asked for him by name. The attendant told me he’d just been there and had inquired about rates but not taken a room.
Time to take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
I went back out front and saw the coffee shop. Irony of ironies, I knew myself to be right now in Pastor’s own neighborhood, not at all far from his apartment.
I phoned him, explained the situation, and asked if he could put me up for the night. He said yes. He happened to be at a dinner party, but would call me back with arrangements.
We no sooner finished talking, than here comes A.L. leaving the coffee shop; with R.E. in tow. R.E. is a.k.a. Bad News, quickly becoming the most notorious drunk in our circle. He can be high as a kite and show no signs whatsoever until he blows his stack at some unsuspecting unfortunate. So this is what A.L. had meant by “us.” I was most happy to have just made my own arrangements, as I had absolutely no intention of spending the night with them.
Would I have spent the night on the street instead? Maybe moot. R.E. told me they were headed for the Holiday Inn, which they could likely afford — Four Seasons had proved to be out of A.L.’s reach financially. — but I anticipate they’ll be sleeping outside. Nothing new for either of them.
God is good.
All the time.
Aside: I went in to the coffee shop to kill time, and drink coffee, until Pastor should call me back. This led me into a world the likes of which I’d never imagined. I didn’t know how to act. When I got to the bathroom, I didn’t know how to use the devices. How on earth all these people have all this money is quite beyond me. Nevertheless:
God is good.
All the time.