I was going to blog about this myself, but Crooks and Liars has all the links. I was reading this morning about pedophile William Devlin confessing to his attempt to kill Shawn Hornbeck, and Hornbeck convincing him not to by promising to do anything. The first thing that came into my head was O’Reilly’s assertion that Hornbeck didn’t want to escape because he had it pretty good with Devlin, a life that was more fun than the one he had with his parents. No matter how many times people called him on it, no matter how many demands were made from all corners of the media, he wouldn’t back down. He tried “explaining”, and he gave the world a “notpology” (I’m sorry you all have a problem with what I said, essentially) and now it has surfaced again, showing even more what a despicable person he is. Nobody has forgotten, and now his reprehensible statements are being re-aired, so O’R can’t possibly be ignorant of the lingering effect of having said, and defended, something so ignominious. So what will we get this time in response? I’ll betcha it won’t be anything even approaching an apology or retraction. It’ll certainly be worth waiting for, though.
I indulged this evening in a bit of websurfing, and came across a site that really made my brain hurt. I shouldn’t have been visiting the blog that linked to it, but hey, these things happen. Anywho, the guy is identifying himself as Jewish, contributing to jewish blogs, but in reality he’s christian. I mean, he’s written all these books and calls it “Jewish Trinitarianism,” but let’s be honest – you worship christ, that’s kinda where the word “Christian” came from. He is a creationist, uses links to Answers in Genesis, but simultaneously sneers at Ken Ham’s vision of dinosaurs. He links atheism with all the other ills of the world, and uses a quote by G. K. Chesterton to sum them up (Chesterton abhorred the treatment of Jews by the Nazis, but was otherwise known for his anti-semitism, partly from frequent mentions of “the Jewish problem” in many of his writings.) He cheers the Christians who support Israel, apparently unaware that many of them do so because they believe the “End times” will begin once all the Jews are over there. He’s quite liberal with “scientists say this” and “studies prove” to support his seriously non-scientific viewpoints, like that T-Rex was a swimmer, and many of the broken rib bones in fossils came from the big guys doing belly flops. However, he provides no links or any other information that might lead you to the supposed research that supports him. Plenty of links, though, to sites that “disprove evolution” and malign non-theists, all of which spew out the same religionist pap that makes up sciency-sounding stuff that reaches exactly the conclusion you’d get if you were trying to prove the bible without actually doing any science. Oh, wait, that’s what they do. Nevermind.
He throws in some stuff about software and electronic gadgets, with his advice about what’s good and what’s not, but if his technology expertise is anything like his scientific knowledge, I’d steer clear of it. He also photoshopped a picture so you could see the UFO in it (so you know it must be true, ‘cuz photoshop doesn’t make fake pictures???) and further supports his evidence by saying that Greeks and Romans saw UFOs, too.
I’m debating here, should I link, and risk drawing his attention? Might the blog I shouldn’t have been at in the first place become aware that I’m sneaking in looks here and there? Heck, I haven’t even pasted in some of the more egregious or bizarre quotes, for fear that someone looking for a quoted passage might find both me and him on the same Google search page. Worst of all, some of you, my few but treasured readers, might find your brains or your beverages spewed all over your monitors if you clicked on the link! The horror! Only if you think you can take it – I’m willing to take the chance of being invaded if you’re willing to handle the stupid-fication.
I stayed up last night researching, hoping to find what else might have happened to Rhonda, Dave, and Toby – I guess because the idea of a human predator was so gut-wrenching. I found news articles about all kinds of wild predators, when and why they might attack cats, and nothing seemed too likely because of the time of year or time of day, except when I came upon articles about eastern coyotes and fishers in the area. The habitat around here is suitable for both of them, they’ve been seen recently, and they actively seek cats as prey (whereas the other local wildlife is more likely to kill them in defense). Some of the news was disturbing – a coyote had attacked a child in June, and the fishers had been deliberately relocated and are voracious eaters. Wanting to grieve a little and also warn people, I got onto the Pets forum at NJ.com and posted this:
The first one disappeared at the beginning of August, the third sometime yesterday. We were doing our darndest to keep the cats indoors, but they were used to coming and going through the dog door. The last of our outdoor cats may meet the same fate, because keeping him in means keeping a constant watch on him, since he shows his displeasure by urinating and defecating all over the house. (He uses the box just fine when he gets his own way.)
We moved to Ocean County a couple of years ago, and this is the first time we’ve had this happen. The cats were healthy and safe, and kept their prey to rodents for the most part. When we moved here and found out the kind of damage chipmunks and voles do to houses, gardens, and pond liners, their hunting habits worked out pretty well.
At first, we thought that there might be some horrible person trapping and killing cats, but we couldn’t imagine someone doing that to a cat that clearly was a pet, not a stray – collar, name/phone tags, town license – but it was eating us up inside. Last night, though, I was reading that not only have there been coyote sightings, including a child being hurt by one in June, but government wildlife officials have introduced fishers into the area. They’re a species that was endangered by overhunting, since their fur is valuable. It’s a win-win for the dept. of fish and wildlife AND fur trappers. The former gets to crow that they saved an endangered species, the latter will be able to profit from hunting them again. In the meantime, they’re voracious, and cats are one of their favorite meals. (Of course, they won’t be out eating the voles or chipmunks, so our ponds and gardens will be toast.)
I suppose the idea that my beloved pets were killed by an efficient predator rather than a sick human is a little less disturbing, but it’s still awful. I have two cats now who are perfectly content to stay indoors – at least I won’t have to wonder what happened to them.
O. M. G. Immediately, the responses started coming. I’m lying. I ‘m a wackjob. I’m too stupid to realize that my cats are safer indoors. I deserved to lose my cats because I installed a dog door. I’m irresponsible. Amazing.
I ended up explaining how and why the cats were allowed out (or in Rhonda’s case, got out accidentally) and what happened when we attempted to keep them in. I let them know that I always have had, and still do have, cats that are kept indoors, and that indoors is the first choice. I’m not too good at letting attacks on my character stand, even when they come from a bunch of insensitive strangers on a forum. Now, though, I think I’ve addressed all the possible snark, and anyone who comes in with more isn’t reading and is just looking for an opportunity for anonymous sniping. But so much for pet owners being sensitive and sympathetic people. Geez Louise.
Last night, we pulled up all the dropcloths, dabbed ceiling white on the spots that got speckled (damn popcorn ceilings!!!!) and put the living room furniture back in some semblance of order. Hubby hung the blinds back up. I need to go out and survey the potted plants. I fear that some of them were not terribly happy to take a vacation outdoors. I’ll bring the live ones indoors and find spots for them, clean out the pots of the recently deceased, and see what else needs attention. If I can find rugs, I’ll get them and put them down and put up pics later. Right now the living room looks kind of stark. However, it’s not covered with dusty plastic, blue tape, and newspaper, so it’s an improvement.
I have tons of laundry – some clean and ready to fold, some needing ironing, some still awaiting a trip through the washer. You’d think I never washed clothes around here.
Bits and pieces of furniture and decorative items are still scattered about in the wrong places. We have to decide what’s going to get moved back and what’s going to get moved elsewhere. Soooooo much crap! Some things I’ll freecycle. I think the oriental rugs will go in the classifieds, though. They weren’t cheap enough to give away to just anyone. The cedar chest will go. Outdoor light fixtures and some indoor lamps will go. Ugh. And now the art studio beckons. Gotta sand and prime and paint, then insulate, then cut and install moulding and paint that. . .but not today.
I have prescriptions to refill, and since I have to go to the ShopRite to fill them, I need to make up menus and shopping lists. My stomach is roiling from the morning fish oil capsule, and the last thing I want to think about is food. I’ll get on the treadmill, take a shower and get dressed, and think about it then.
Mornings are the hardest part of the day for me. I wake up, I never feel as if I’ve slept well, and my brain immediately kicks into high gear with the to-do list, and all the other wishful thoughts it can possibly cram in. At the same time, my attention span is short, so I’m both mentally and physically bopping from one thing to another. I can’t finish reading the paper. I’ll start to unload the dishwasher and then do something else. I know that when the Adderall kicks in I can breathe a sigh of relief because I’ll be able to relegate the extraneous thoughts back into storage and take a rational look around me and decide what needs to be done and in what order, and look at the chaos around me as just stuff instead of an entity intent on destroying me. It takes about an hour and a half, and it’s just kicking in now, gradually. I functioned, more or less, like this for all my life. Now that I know it can be better, though, I have a lot less tolerance for it.
Now, one thing I did manage to read today was a story about two brothers, ages 48 and 51, visiting relatives in Rutherford, NJ, from South Carolina. They were in the car together, and decided to go around the gates blocking train tracks. The engineer was going below the speed limit, had blown the horn multiple times as he approached the crossing, and the gates and warning lights were in working order. Needless to say, they’re both dead, but at least nobody on the train was injured because of their actions. So in the article about the accident, relatives are making comments about this “accident” and “why did this happen to them?” Well, gee. . .ya think? The train was close enough that the engineer saw them as they began to cross the tracks and applied the emergency brakes right away. It wasn’t an accident, it was stupidity. It didn’t “happen” to them, they did it to themselves. I have loads of sympathy for people who are accident victims, and I feel sorry for people who lose a loved one, regardless, but this is a pretty cut-and-dried case of people paying the price for doing something they should have known not to do. The article says 17 people have been killed on NJ Transit train tracks so far this year and mentions a pedestrian who was hit in Red Bank as another recent one. It doesn’t go into detail about which categories the deaths fall into, but I’d lay odds that there are only two categories – suicides, and people who drive around warning gates. Both types make me angry, because they’re completely preventable, and they leave train operators and crew with horrific images and undeserved guilt to contend with. Many of them end up leaving their jobs because of traumatic stress. Sorry, I just can’t feel bad for these two guys. They were old enough to know better. My sympathies go out to the two people operating the train.
Now the piss and vinegar is flowing! Woohoo! I’ll put on some medical show I recorded and hop on the treadmill and be able to accomplish at least a few things today. Oh, and it reminds me of one I was watching yesterday while folding laundry. Only paying half attention because I didn’t have my glasses on and couldn’t really see it, but one of the patients was a girl who went off the road in her car. The focus was on her love of dancing and how her injuries to her foot and legs might end ballet for her. Well, everything turned out OK, and some doctor or paramedic said that it would have been worse if she’d hit one of the trees head on instead of going between them. The dad, I think (again, no glasses, only half my attention) said “God must have been looking out for her and made her go between the trees.” Geez Louise. If God was watching out for her, he’d have made it so she didn’t have an accident. Yeah, God, the sadistic bastige, was watching her and decided he’d have a little fun and only nearly cripple her. Give her a little scare. C’mon, can’t you guys take a joke?
So anyway, off I go to try to make order out of chaos. I might be back later today, might not. If your weather looks as lovely as ours does, go out and enjoy it!
I just didn’t have the time or motivation yesterday to blog about this, although the story appeared in the Star-Ledger and got me all riled up. Mrs. Acuna had gone to her gynecologist, Dr. Turkish, complaining of abdominal pains, and Dr. Turkish informed her that she was about 6-8 weeks pregnant. Acuna has had a kidney problem since she was in high school (she is now 29 years old). Now, what she says Dr. Turkish said was that she’d be dead in 3 months if she didn’t get an abortion, and that she wasn’t carrying a baby, just a bunch of blood. What Dr. Turkish testified was that Acuna asked him specifically about getting an abortion, and an assistant concurred that she had made a statement that it was just too soon to be pregnant again, as she had two children already under the age of three. Dr. Turkish also said that while he might refer to a 6-8 week old embryo as “tissue” rather than a baby, the “bunch of blood” statement is not one that he would have made.
So, what was the point of all this? This woman wanted a law established that would order doctors to tell women that they are carrying a complete individual human being and that aborting would be tantamount to killing a member of their families. In addition, this woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant when she went to the doctor, gave the aborted fetus a name, post-mortem, and filed additional complaints related to its pain and suffering and her post-abortion trauma. Now, of course, this could all have been engineered by her lawyer, in order to further an anti-abortion agenda, although it looks more like someone trying to make a buck off her rich doctor, but either way it’s a scam, and the NJ State Supreme Court did right by dismissing it.
My thought is that a 29-year-old who doesn’t know what an abortion does is in no position to be telling doctors how to do their job. And someone who is that ignorant of what has been common knowledge since before she was born should probably rethink the whole parenting thing, as well. Sorry, that was snark, but I couldn’t help it. Finally, someone who files suit against a doctor on behalf of a child she wasn’t aware she was carrying and wants compensation for a procedure she agreed to in writing but regretted later should probably be paying Dr. Turkish and the NJ taxpayers back all the money that was spent on this frivolous lawsuit.
Yeah, the repairman said it was fine, and it worked OK for a couple of weeks. Yesterday it was making the most horrible screeching sounds, so today I threw in a load of rags, and we went from horrible screeching to nails down a blackboard screeching. By the time I noticed the smell, the tub had filled with smoke. I opened the lid, and you’d think the washer was a car with a blown radiator. What a mess. The kids took the rags out, I got the water out with the shop vac. A new washing machine is arriving Saturday, and it is not a Maytag or a Whirlpool or an Amana (all manufactured by whirlpool now.) I’m not buying American because the American products suck. So there. The new machine is a Bosch front-loader, which will help with the electric bill, too, because it spins more moisture out. That’s good, because we still have a Maytag dryer, which is electric and takes forever and costs a fortune to run. When it dies, its replacement will not be an American product, either, unless something changes dramatically and quality becomes a priority. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that.
Hubby noticed last night after having ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup (yum!) that he was feeling a bit shaky. He checked some labels and found the high-fructose corn syrup. . .in the corn syrup!
Man, this pisses me off. Why in the world would anyone need to add high-fructose corn syrup to corn syrup? I check labels all the time for this stuff, because even a small amount gives me the shakes – give me enough and you can even see me vibrate all over. It doesn’t affect the kids much, but I don’t want to give it to them, either, because it’s just not a good thing. It’s being used as a substitute for sugar because some smart dudes in DC decided that money spent on sugar was going out of the country, so we should manufacture a substitute here in the good ol’ USofA instead. So now subsidies (that’s your tax money and mine) are going to corn growers and processors. Lest you think that this is money that helps American farmers, let me put you straight – you have to grow a certain amount, so farmers who want to sell their corn either have to be giant corporations that own their own farmland, or small farmers who’ll take a lower price for their corn in exchange for a guarantee that it’ll be purchased. Joe Farmer, the one who’s supposed to benefit from this (err. . .the one the government wants everyone to think is benefitting, so that nobody complains about their tax dollars supporting corporations that are already turning a hefty profit, that is) is actually suffering a loss. He’s growing corn because it’s a sure sell, because if he were growing other crops, a bad season or poor market conditions could ruin him.
How else is this bad for us? Well, when the corporation tells Joe Farmer that he has to plant x number of acres of corn, and they’ll give him x number of dollars for him, they can also tell him that he needs to plant this particular variety to maximize production, and that variety is very likely a genetically modified one that is causing a lot of problems. For Joe, it means he has to buy a particular seed from a particular supplier at a set price. You don’t think the company making the rules for him is gonna give him the seed, do you? Oh, nononono. More impact on his profit margin, but again, he’s trying to bet on a sure thing. The bad part of this sure thing, though, is that in order to keep the soil viable, you need to rotate crops. After a few seasons, corn has sucked out all the nutrients it needs, and won’t grow well, so either you plant something else there that uses different nutrients (and allows the corn-favored ones to build up again) or you add fertilizers. For us, the fertilizers aren’t too good, because the manufacturing process is a big pollutant, and the runoff and seepage after it’s applied gets into waterways and underground water supplies, killing or poisoning fish, birds, and insects, and causing overgrowth of algae and plants that then lead to more problems for aquatic life and humans. For Joe, it’s another expense, because unless he’s really huge and makes a good living from alternate crops, he’s got to buy those fertilizers, which just so happen to be manufactured by the same folks who make the seed. All the money keeps going to the same place, and we’re supposed to believe that our taxes are supporting the US economy. It’s a big lie. Another side effect of the GMO corn and fertilizers is that it hurts other crops and pollinating insects. The seed is modified to contain Bacillus Thurigensis, which organic gardeners will use with caution to eliminate harmful insects. It’s a bacterium that’s a pretty potent insecticide. It’ll kill the insects that eat the crops, but it’ll also kill the insects that pollinate them. GMO corn is a big suspect in the disappearance of honeybees in the US. It’s also genetically engineered to be infertile. You can’t grow more corn from the corn kernels. This keeps the money coming to Monsanto, because they’re the only source for the seed. But if the corn cross-pollinates (not unlikely, because corn pollinates by wind) then other varieties will have that infertile gene, so they’ll be lost.
Now, what else happens? Let’s see. . .the subsidies make it more profitable to grow corn, so more corn is grown, and the more corn there is, the more money the “growers” and processors get, so they grow more than we need. Therefore, more uses for the excess have to be invented. There’s only so much high fructose corn syrup a person can eat – even an American living on packaged food. So, more uses for the excess corn have to be found. The starch can be used for packaging, which is an OK use, since it’s biodegradable. Some of it can be used for animal feed, which keeps all those chemicals and genetic material in the food chain, hurrah. Still, there’s too much. So they come up with ethanol. Woohoo! The government tells us that ethanol is good, because it’s a renewable resource and pollutes less than straight gasoline. A few people, people who have done actual studies (as opposed to government spin doctors, who believe all sort of crazy things) find that ethanol production creates more pollution than it saves, costs more to produce than gas, and wouldn’t be necessary to make if we didn’t grow so friggin’ much corn, are out-shouted by the government, which enacts laws to require that ethanol be added. This protects the corporations that are profiting from the subsidies AND the various corn products, thereby keeping the corporate subsidies to the government flowing as well. All the money people win. It’s like the circle of life. We’re always the antelopes, though.
But back to the corn syrup. I thought I didn’t feel it so much, because the pharmacy didn’t have one of my prescriptions, and I was all woozy from taking a five-hour nap earlier. Normally, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep because of the corn syrup, but I had other reasons for suspecting why I kept waking up. When I found out about my unknown consumption of the high-fructose crap, I realized that I could have been having problems because of that, as well. Yeah, I’ve blogged about this and ranted about the same thing before, but each time I find that despite my careful avoidance of the stuff, it’s been snuck into my body somehow it angers me again, and I have to say it again in case anyone missed it the first time. We are paying, over and over again, to make a product (and its by-products and corrolary products) that is bad for us, bad for the environment, bad for other plants and living creatures, all so that money stays in the pockets of major campaign contributors. And no matter how hard we try to avoid it, to vote with our spending money what we can’t avoid supporting with our tax dollars, it’s snuck in and forced on us.
Got this in from Netflix yesterday, watched it last night. There were many, many laugh out loud moments, and overall it was quite funny despite its shortcomings. I think a lot of it has to do with the charm of Luke Wilson as the star, but it also helped that we were prepared to enjoy it no matter what.
The premise is that stupid people breed at an incredible rate, while intelligent ones have fewer children or none at all. The illustration of this at the beginning is pretty hilarious. So. . .Wilson’s character, a man chosen for his complete averageness in every regard to participate in a cryogenics experiment which goes on for 500 years longer than expected, wakes up to find himself in a world in which he’s the smartest man on the planet. He goes from being a fugitive to Secretary of the Interior under a president who’s a former pro wrestler and porn star in a script that’s essentially a bunch of jokes and skits tied together into a plot, which is why the humor is a bit spotty. The good bits are well worth sitting through the less amusing ones.
Now, the night before, we sat down with “Forbidden Planet”. We’re trying to watch movies that are influential and referential in popular culture, so that when something is mentioned, or spoofed, or is the basis for a story, song, movie, etc., the kids will understand. This means that not only are we exposing them to Hitchcock movies, classics like “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane”, but also stuff like the Brat Pack movies of the 80’s and early SF like “The Andromeda Strain”. Clearly, FP was a necessary part of the education, despite the fact that it’s a silly, silly movie. It had been so long since I’d watched it that I had almost forgotten how truly awful it was. (We kept waiting for Leslie Nielsen to say something funny, too. . .) It gave us the chance to show the kids that “scientific” language at that point just had to sound sciency, because nobody was fact-checking, and how amazing it was to see credits that listed only four guys for special effects. Yeah, it was bad, but now they understand the tie-in between FP and other “The Tempest”-based stories, the Ann Francis reference in the Rocky Horror Picture Show song, who Robbie the Robot is, and why Mom and Dad laughed so hard at “Amazon Women on the Moon”.
While we haven’t yet gotten them to reading much more of the newspapers besides comics and advice (sometimes local news or human interest pieces will attract Carolyn’s attention), we spend enough time talking with them about politics and world events, and explaining (less and less so all the time) what John Stewart or Stephen Colbert are talking about that they’re pretty savvy. Because of my fondness for blogs on the skeptical and scientific sides, I see a lot of news items about, and comments by, parents whose interest in protecting their children from the world is so intense that they want everyone else to follow their lead and get rid of anything in libraries, schools, TV, movies, and government that might taint their precious little ones’ minds. This just seems foolish to me. Just as not learning anything about cancer won’t protect you from ever getting it, not learning about the world will not make the world go away. The people who learn about cancer can do what they need to to avoid the risks, and the people who know about the world know how to protect themselves – and how to make it better. You can’t change things by pretending the bad things don’t exist. You need to understand the bad things, find out how and why they happen, and THEN you know how, not only to avoid them yourself, but perhaps also how to make things better.
At this point in my life, I know that I’m not going to be a major world influence, I’m not going to be famous, I won’t be mentioned, much less extolled, in history books. But I’ve done what I can by reading books to children who might otherwise not have had much interest in reading. I’ve taught children cool little bits of trivia to spark their creative instincts on field trips, projects, science experiments. . .I doubt that anyone but my own children will ever come back to me and say that I was an influence on an important decision in their lives, but I like to feel that somehow an adult telling them what they can do and not what they can’t could put a more positive direction on their lives than any burning, banning, or threats of damnation ever could.
So we watch all these movies, we enjoy them or ridicule them, we talk about their connections to the times in which they were made and their influence on the times afterwards, and watch as our kids’ understanding of all kinds of things grows. They’re armed not by parents who insulate and sheild them, but by their own powerful knowledge. And a pretty darned good sense of humor, too, I’d say.
Here’s an interesting take on the news photo of Duggar baby number seventeen I think that this attitude of creating as many children for god is pretty reprehensible, no matter which god is mandating the excessive reproduction. Partly because of the nominalization of women to a single role, and the indoctrination of their children into a gender-determined future regardless of their strengths and interests. (However, I do laugh, darkly, when I see the phrases “It’s a vagina, not a clown car” or “It’s a vagina, not a Pez dispenser”.) Partly because of the religious aspect, the blind obedience to a set of laws made by primitive people – and in this case, especially since the Quiverfull movement is “raising an army for god”, and is loosely structured enough that most Quiverfull families do not have the means or the community support to provide food, shelter, and clothing for all their brood the way the Duggars seem to be able to. If you read the comments after the entry, a lot of people are focused on the environmental impact, or on the birthing of multiple babies while there are so many children awaiting adoption. These are valid, too, but I think they miss the point that I feel is the most important.
These children are part of such a large group that they will never know what it’s like to have a parent’s undivided attention, to be encouraged to pursue their dreams and to hone their special skills. In fact, they will never know what it’s like to be truly special because of who they are. They will learn that they are special only in that they were produced to fulfill the edict of the invisible man in the sky – they are special in that they are a religious commodity. The praise they might get in a smaller family for their musical or artistic talent, their mathematical aptitude, the robot they made all by themselves, their role in the school play, the gift they have for chemistry, will mean nothing. It will pale by comparison (if it is acknowledged at all, since they’re being homeschooled in their religious tradition, all at once, by mom) to the girls’ accomplishments in housewifery, and the boys’ knowledge of scripture, and the alacrity with which they continue the family tradition of poppin’ out them puppies.
We hear talk about “throwaway children” all the time – they’re growing up poor, uncared for, eking out an existence on public support. The Duggars benefit from donations from private sources, have money from their Discovery Channel show, live in a large house, pay no taxes on property since daddy Jim Bob delcared their house a church, but these kids are “throwaways” too, just in a different way.
And you never know what might happen. Hubby took the kids off to the water park, and I stayed home. I’m joining them later for Go-Karts and all that. The idea was that I’d have some quiet time and maybe even take out the clay. BWAHAHAHA!
I swam for a bit. The water’s perfect after all these hot days. Then I got an idea. I had put potted tropical plants around the pool to make it a bit less glaringly obvious, but you can’t really see them if you’re IN the pool. So I went to the wood pile and got some nice chunky logs and put the plants on those. But then you could see more of the blue plastic from outside of the pool. So I took the blueberries that I hadn’t gotten around to planting, put them in pots, and put those pots in between the logs. There was a space I didn’t like, still, so I took some cuttings from the butterfly bush, dipped them in rooting hormone, and potted them. Now I didn’t like the other side, so I moved a couple of other pots from around the yard, added a little more log action. While I was at it, I had four cacti and a cactus dish that needed to be put together, so I did that. Note to self – just break the little cactus pots instead of trying to pry the cacti out. Ouch. So I start cleaning up a bit and see the tent I’d bought for the kids, still in its original packaging. Oh, heck. I got the heavy duty rake and a spade, dug and leveled in the back corner until I reached a balance of even ground and being sick of digging and raking, and assembled the tent. Then back in the pool for a bit. Then showered and dressed. I have somewhere around an hour before it’s time to go.
As I was doing all this, though, I started to think about something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while, and I’m thirsty and hungry, and I can eat and drink and blog more easily than eat and drink and clay, dontchaknow.
So what is it with people trying to sell their houses around here? I know the market has gone soft everywhere, but there’s a strange reaction in these parts. Wherever I drive, I see more “For Sale By Owner” signs than realtor placards. Plus, the prices on the FSBOs is higher than the multiple listed properties. I really don’t understand this. If it’s a buyers’ market, and prices have gone down, why would you do something that would drive buyers away? If you don’t list your house, you have to market it and show it all by yourself, to a much more limited audience. Buyers will go to a realtor, who can drive them to multiple properties and tell them about the various neighborhoods, and take them through houses that meet their criteria or come close. If they are from out of state or out of town, they’re not going to want to do all the legwork themselves. Sure, they might look at the properties on a website, but they’re not going to go through multiple FSBO websites and try to schedule walkthroughs with all the different owners whose properties have nice pictures. Owners won’t be able to count on the help of realtors who might think half a commission is better than none, either. There are so many houses on the market, a realtor could show to a dozen buyers a day without needing to look outside of the MLS.
From a practical standpoint, unless you really like spending money on advertising and sitting around your house waiting for a potential buyer who might or might not show up to see the property, and having to keep everything spic and span all the time in case someone decides to pop in at a moment’s notice (and for a longer time, too, since your house will be on the market much longer than a listed house!), it makes no sense. Now, what often happens is that owners will get a market analysis to price out their homes, and use the number the realtor suggests – but list it themselves to save the commission. After all the expense they have to go to in order to sell it themselves, they might still end up with a little more than if they’d listed it. If it sells before they give up. But holeeee cow! People are listing down here for so much more than market value, it boggles the mind. A buyer gets absolutely no benefit from buying a FSBO unless it’s a bargain. Pricing a FSBO $50K above market value – heck, I’ve seen some at close to $100K above market (talk about delusional!) – is the most self-defeating thing I can imagine. Why bother trying to sell at all? Do you hate your neighbors so much that you want only someone really too stupid to be trusted with his own money to move in? Are you trying to wrangle your way out of a divorce settlement by showing the judge that you really did want to sell and split the proceeds but nobody wants to buy?
I dunno. I’ve done the house buying and selling thing a couple of times now. Making the process longer and more painful seems like a completely asinine thing to me, but maybe I’m the oddball. . .