A Tale from Banking’s Dinosaur Days

If you’re one of those who lived in those days the calendar calls BC or BCE. [Before Computer Era], please prepare to explain some things to our younger compatriots. Here’s how – and why – I pulled my own credit check so I could buy a house.

I’d just moved to a new city to take a new job. After the usual house-hunting hassle and mortgage application paperwork nightmare, I went about my business, expecting to close and move into my new place in about a month or so.

Then I got the phone call.

The loan officer told me it wasn’t that I had bad credit, I had no credit file at all. He couldn’t lend money to someone who didn’t have a paper trail. Read More

Trump & friends – where life imitates art

Trump, LePen, Brexit and the rest all share common fertilizer: it’s the disenchanted, disaffected and economically disenfranchised telling the system to f*^k off. Globalisation and its economic cousins have stolen self-respect and economic security from everyday people.

The right wing populism pushing Trump and his cousins into power comes from the movie-generated mythos of striking a blow against unresponsive institutions. Be it Spartacus, Robin Hood, Zapata, Ned Kelly or Butch & Sundance, the image of loners against power strikes a resonant chord among the powerless. Left-wing support for Bernie Sanders and assorted 99% and Occupy movements are different expressions of the same force. Read More

Hearing less but listening more.

A friend observed something interesting about me the other night. It’s not too surprising, since we’re usually blind, deaf and dumb to so much of ourselves. After a wonderful concert I was talking about some interesting things the musicians had been doing. “How come you can hear individual players on stage but have problems with individual voices in a crowded room or pub?” Translation: “How can you hear each of the instruments and talk about chord progressions when you can’t hear a word I say most of the time?” Read More

Book me father, I don’t think I’ve sinned

My past life’s come back to haunt me – and I’m enjoying it.

After years of living in places I filled with shelves and shelves and floors full of books, I dematerialized. I sold my house and gave away most of its contents. “If it doesn’t fit in the flight’s overhead compartment I really don’t need it.” One full room [3-1/2 walls] of shelved books: gone. More shelves of books in the bedroom, living room and office: gone. One last collection – on the Celtic Literary Revival and 1916’s Easter Rising: donated to academia, where I’d used them for myself when I was researching and teaching. But it’s better that they’re living with someone who can use them, which a Colorado storage locker couldn’t do. Read More

Slowly ripping off the dressing – and hair, skin and scab, too.

That’s what it felt like. I’d put it off. Procrastinated. Made excuses. Denied it would hurt.

But it did. And it still does. Saying goodbye aint easy.

I’ve known for years I’d eventually do it. In my soul I knew a part of my life has been over for a while. A part that was good to me [and I hope I was good to it, as well.] But it was time. Actually long past time. But we’re dealing with an emotion-laden memory here, not logic or logistics. It was time to purge myself of the last tangible elements, the last touchstones, the last talismans of a life that brought me to where I am today. Read More

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

Thank you – several million times – to all of you who’ve been following this blog for the past few years. If you also see it on social media, you’ve probably already seen some of its new features. For the rest, feel free to click on the page to see the new look –

New – The Thoughts section is re-vamped and expanded. To nobody’s surprise, I’ve found that today’s people resonate more with a soundbite than a 400-600-word post. I’ll keep adding items here, but won’t burden your inbox with them. If you’d like to share a particular image, feel free to click on it. You’ll see options for emailing as well as social media. https://jpmaney.com/thoughts/

NewThe Tao. This classic of Chinese wisdom is much, much more than the saccharine “journey begins with a single step” posters that have been inflicted on us for years. It’s an ironic, sarcastic collection of sayings that only fools took literally.

  • When you click on My Tao https://tao-not-dow.org/ you’ll see my take on it, which isn’t going to resemble much of what you’ll see in calendars and inspirational books.
  • Clicking on Tao-not-Dow https://tao-not-dow.org/tao-not-dow/ will bring you to images tied to each of the book’s chapters. While they’re currently organized to match the book’s structure, I’ll be re-arranging things by topic and intent as my knowledge and understanding expand. As with Thoughts, I’ll be adding images on a regular basis and you’ll be able to share individual images as you’d like. Since I’m writing multiple responses to each of the book’s 81 chapters, I’ll post them on the site and social media, but not to your mailbox.

Continuing – The blog itself. My periodic venting of whatever opinion or feeling strikes me at the moment. For the most part, they’ll stay as they’ve been for the past couple of years, written for a 2-3 minute reading time. https://jpmaney.com/

Again, many many thanks. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. And, as always, if you like what you see, please tell your friends. If you don’t, tell your enemies.

My year of living carless

Imagine if you will…

It’s winter in Colorado. The wind’s howling and the snow’s blowing. You’re in a car with me, just a few cars behind a convoy of snow plows. They were three abreast, followed by brine-spreaders.  When we came to a traffic light, everyone stopped. When the light turned green, a brine spreader turned on his sprayer too early and thoroughly doused two of the cars behind him with the salty solution. Fortunately, not us. Did I mention that car washes are closed because of the sub-freezing temps?

It’s not my worry anymore.

It’s been a year – almost to the day – since I turned in my vehicle registration. Read More

Remembering Dublin City in the Old Times

In a galaxy long ago but not so far away, before the euro replaced the punt, the EU begat the Celtic Tiger and the Tiger morphed into a financial litter box, I was dead broke in Dublin. I didn’t know anyone in town, was sleeping on a sagging dormitory couch, had an airline ticket a week away from being useful, and was otherwise having a good time. That is, if you consider that many of the things I wanted to do and see in town were free – except eating and drinking. Read More

Is technology’s edge dulling us?

Technology’s a two-edged sword. Remember back when you’d see someone fall or suffer a painful accident? You’d feel for them, maybe even help them. That was real life. Now life’s virtual – online and divorced from the here and now, except for a like, laugh or sad click. On the other hand, a powerful photo, song or well-made film can evoke deep feelings that provoke us to what’s become significant action in today’s world: a share or comment. Read More

Technology and its Discontents

There’s a new book out called Funny Business, where Karl Toomey recounts his experiences telling jokes to the people and bots of corporate “help” sites.

The concept’s been around for a while, where people recount their experiences with impersonal institutions. The only real difference is that we’ve moved from legally-vetted say-nothing form letters to legally-vetted, say-less scripted bots and overworked underpaid live chat reps juggling their scripts among four complaining customers at once. Today’s society, more than any other, values immediacy over thoughtfulness, rapid reaction rather than reflected response. Toomey throws a spanner into its works. While every now and then a rep responded appreciatively as a real person, he also blew some bot minds and actually had his IP number reported to someone/something at “the next level”. Read More