Friday, June 26, 2015

Nurse the Hate: The Squirrel Incident

I got home yesterday after work.  All I wanted to do was get out of my work pants and into my play pants and go see Todd Snider.  I have tried to see Todd Snider play about 117 times and failed on each attempt for a myriad of reasons, none of which seem that insurmountable.  Todd is sort of a laid back drifter hippie singer songwriter, so I think he would cut me some slack in my not making it to one of his shows yet.  I bought his book and most of his releases.  That must count for something.  This time I was very focused on actually seeing him perform.  I changed clothes quickly and let the hounds out.

The hounds went out and made an enthusiastic bee line for an area by the fence.  It is never good when two dogs are very excited about a particular spot in a fenced in yard.  There are very few things that a dog is going to find on his own that are good for the dog’s owner.  I know plenty of stories about dogs finding terrible things to roll in, dead animals, and bad choices of things to eat.  I know very few stories about dogs finding a stack of bootleg LPs or a case of vintage champagne.  I peered outside trying to figure out the source of the excitement.  The dogs sniffed at something small and brown slowly moving just under the fence.   Uh-oh.

I went outside hoping it was nothing but feeling a sinking feeling in my stomach it would be something horrible.  It was.  A squirrel was crawling with just his front legs, dragging his back legs behind him.  He was breathing hard, obviously in great pain.  I noticed on his back a wound from what I guessed to be a BB gun, a green backed fly already on top of the wound feeding on it.  His frightened eyes met mine as I knelt down to look at him.  Son of a bitch.  I couldn’t leave this animal like this.  His eyes had a pleading quality to them, however much I may have projected that thought from being surrounded by so much death recently.  

The neighbors behind me have a couple of teenage boys.  I don’t know them.  They are the kids that years ago built a shanty in the shared woods directly behind my house.  Most families would have thought, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t let the boys built a fort directly in the view of this guy’s back windows.  He might not want to look at a hobo village year round for three years.” but empathy hasn’t been the neighbor’s strong suit.  On a few occasions I have seen the boys step out onto their deck and shoot a BB gun into the trees behind my house.  The sound of a BB going through leaves is unmistakable, as is the sound of the sliding glass door shutting quickly when they see me in the back patio and escape back to their comfortable living room.  Two other times I have found small animals in my back yard hit by their BB gun.  Once was an injured squirrel that crawled back into the woods before I could do anything about it.  The other time the dogs found a dead chipmunk and ran around playing keep-away with each other as I tried to cajole them into giving it up.  That was more fun for the hounds than for me.

All I wanted to do was change clothes and go listen to Todd Snider sing some songs.  It wasn’t much to ask.  I was in a good mood.  Now suddenly I have to kill a defenseless squirrel.  I didn’t ask for this.  I like animals.  I don’t want to hurt anything.  I certainly didn’t sign up to have to kill something before my dogs got to it, or have to walk away and pretend that the animal would be fine if I left it alone.  “Hey Greg!  How was work?  We left a moral dilemma for you with no winning scenario!  Love, the cruel hillbillies from out back.”
I was really angry about the whole situation.  There is no reason whatsoever to be killing the squirrels.  There is even less reason to shoot the squirrels and leave them in a mortally wounded state to crawl around in the woods.  I understand that there is a hunting culture.  I also understand that the hunting culture is not one of cruelty, but of respecting nature and the animals that are taken.  You shoot what you eat.  I had it.  I walked behind the woods, hoping to haul the whole family out of their home so the boys could kill the mortally wounded animal in front of their parents.  I was hoping to create a memorable scene that would stain them in shame and responsibility, and hopefully not one that would confirm their love of torture and later mass murder.  I figured it would go “Scared Straight” or “Jeffery Dahmer: The Early Years”.  Admittedly, I didn’t have much of a plan but went in on pure emotion.

I rang the front door bell and the somewhat groovy mom answered the door.  She is a petite woman with a yoga instructor vibe.  I expected her to be surprised and horrified about what her kids were up to in my yard.  I told her that I came home to find a whimpering bleeding squirrel hauling its back legs behind it in my yard, and I was there about a second before my dogs did something horrible to it.  This is when I was thrown a curveball.  She started to laugh and covered her mouth with her hand in a demure fashion.  “Oh hahahaha!  I’m sorry!  I know the way it is with hounds! Hahahaha!”  This was not what I was expecting.  The only issue in this scenario to her was the silly notion that the dogs ripping an injured animal apart might be seen to some as gruesome.

I live in a subdivision, not a ranch.  We don’t have hunters in tree stands waiting for elk to sashay by.  I tried to explain how I was uninterested in finding injured animals in my backyard, I was uninterested in my dogs ripping these creatures apart, and further suggested that perhaps the behavior of her boys may be a bit cruel to abandon wounded animals.  She corrected me in the way all suburban mothers do, as it probably wasn’t her boys as she had instructed them to “always finish the animal off when they take target practice”.  While I was not surprised at her denial that the boys were involved (I have never seen a suburban mother seriously consider that her damaged child might have done anything they have been caught red handed doing.  In fact, I will bet Dahmer’s mom still considers him a good boy.), I was surprised at the term of “finished off”.  Had she seen too many mafia movies?  What the fuck was that?  Who has a mother that talks about “finishing off” little animals?

I walked back to my house in a bit of a daze.  I don’t think I had made any point.  Wait, I know I didn’t make any point.  I walked over to the squirrel, which had now wedged itself between the fence and a large tree.  His body heaved from the effort.  His mouth was now slightly agape, his eyes staring at me, now three flies on his wound.  I did not want to kill this squirrel.  I also did not want to leave this squirrel in this condition.  I hated the people that lived behind me for putting me in this position.  I hated them.  I decided the lesser of two evils was to kill the squirrel.  I went to the garage to figure out the quickest and most merciful way to do it.

I grabbed a shovel.  I decided that a quick blow would be the best course.  The problem was that the angle of the squirrel against the tree and that of the fence left little room for an effective strike.  I hoped the squirrel would move to more open ground, but with the recent rains making the ground very soft, that might not be good either.  I struck the squirrel.  He yelped in pain, the blow glancing due to the way he was wedged in.  I quickly brought the shovel down again and again, my hand scraping the side of the tree.  The squirrel squealed briefly and then quieted.  My hand dripped blood, the skin from my thumb ripped open by the bark.  I felt terrible at the needless savage way in which this animal had died at my hand.  He didn’t deserve that.  I didn’t deserve it either.   

I took the limp body of the squirrel and placed it in a lawn bag.  The blood from my thumb made a “thwack thwack thwack” sound hitting the paper of the bag.  I stood up and saw the woman from the house next door looking at me from behind her curtain.  She disappeared when I looked at her.  I walked back to my garage.  I threw the bag away.  I bandaged my hand.  I went inside as it began to rain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Confusing Question

One of my favorite interviews on TV of late was the one where the local TV reporter asked Spokane WA NAACP branch president Rachel Dolezal if she was African American.  “I… I don’t understand the question.”   Granted, that is a very confusing question.  It’s great TV to see the lid blown off like that, isn’t it?  She then did the smart thing and hid in a bunker somewhere waiting for the media storm to blow over, which was easily her best option.  Unfortunately for her, nothing that crazy has happened anywhere else and the media firestorm rages on.  She obviously hooked up with a “PR Crisis” expert and appeared on The Today Show this morning where she changed her rhetoric to “I identify as black” and trotting out the term “transracial”.  I literally can’t get enough of it.  Buzzwords were flying around everywhere! 

The “transracial” concept is fabulous.  The idea is:  “I am deciding my own identity just like Bruce Jenner and his Courageous Journey.”  (Note, any time people do anything now, it is a “journey”.  It sounds so much more epic than saying “I did this”.)  While the concept that she is the same as Bruce Jenner “identifying” as a woman and changing his appearance is at first a compelling argument, the idea falls apart when you consider that Bruce Jenner has never tried to deceive anyone into thinking he was a woman.  It’s not like Bruce Jenner worked for the National Organization For Women and then was caught being a man.  “Caitlyn… Are you a man that won the Men’s Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics?”  Umm… I don’t understand the question?
It is an interesting turn our society has taken where everything that is concrete is now up for debate.  There are no longer any things which are absolutes.  The fear of offending anyone allows us to take what are obviously illogical concepts and pretend that all the pieces fit together.  Maybe I am crazy, but here’s how I think.  If you are born with male genitalia, you are a man.  If I paint stripes on a horse, I can’t display it at a zoo as a zebra.  A horse is a horse (of course).  While Rachel Dolezal is clearly very enthusiastic about African American culture and being involved within that community, a hair style and dark makeup doesn’t make her black.   

I used to live next to this guy that was a big reggae fan.  He was one of these guys that discovered Bob Marley and ganja at an impressionable age, and suddenly he was listening to Natty Dread all day, walking around in genie pants and his Rasta knit cap.  Soon enough he was trying to grow dreadlocks and used the word “Jah” liberally in conversation.  He was all in.  While he was known as the nickname of “Tosh”, that guy was no more Jamaican than I am.  Take off the costume, and he is still “Neil” from Northwest Ohio.  The whole thing was absurd, but Neil seemed to be happy so everyone just let it go.

Why do I think that this Rachel Dolezal has something like Tosh going on?  For whatever reason she embraced a culture outside of her own, and became obsessive about it.  She just got so excited about it that reality got confusing.  She found new friends and a place in that community much like Tosh did in that really stinky VW van he drove around in.  It became her peer group, and she desperately wanted to fit in.  It can’t have been that big of a secret.  I just think everyone rolled with it because she was good at her job and people must have liked her.  Hey, I know plenty of people that have Polish parents on one side and Italian on the other that plays up the Italian side so much you feel like they just slunk off the set of “Goodfellas”.  We try to be how we want the world to view us.   

It’s a tough break to get called out in international media.  I certainly don’t want Matt Lauer calling me out on the carpet at 7:15 am on a Tuesday.  My only hope is that there are plenty of new TV show appearances on the way and plenty more awkward verbal exchanges.  While “transracial” is an amazing new term, the real question is how many more can be tossed out?  It’s a new age, and I like it!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate WSET Level 4?

So I passed my WSET Level 3 wine exam.  I thought I would, but I also harbored the fear that I would predict my success and then be forced to stammer out a series of excuses when I flamed out in the test.  I would have probably gone with a variation of “cultural bias” and suggest that the English exam grader didn’t understand the context of my Americanized language in the essay portions.  “Well, what the hell happened was that whoever graded this test didn’t get the reference that when I said this wine was like watching Richard Hell in CBGBs in 1978 with Catfish Hunter on the mound on a black and white TV behind the bar, I meant “tannic”…”.  I think people would have been gracious in that respect, nodding their heads in understanding until I walked away.  Then they could have felt free to say, "I knew he wouldn't pass that thing.  Fucking blowhard.".  That would have worked out well for everyone. 

In today’s “right the fuck now” world of instant gratification, I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait to get the results.  After eight weeks I felt like a little boy that had sent away for something advertised in the back of a comic book as I would open my mailbox daily filled with expectation.  There aren’t many ways for a middle aged man to feel like an eight year old.  Most are illegal or certainly frowned upon by proper society.  I suppose I should feel thankful that I got to experience the mild disappointment of finding no special package in the mailbox, and then trudge back inside thinking “well… maybe tomorrow” re-filled with new hope.  That I finally got the news via email attachment did not seem like the same experience as ripping open an envelope and skimming the opening cordial remarks to get to the real information.  I still remember getting college application responses standing in my driveway trying to figure out if “provisional acceptance” was good news or not.  (It turned out my parent’s dire warnings of my high school freshman year grades being part of my permanent record were remarkably accurate.)

I passed the multiple choice portion “with merit” and the tasting/essay “with distinction”.  I don’t know what that means exactly, but I feel like “with distinction” is better than “with merit”.  I also have a sense that my decision to largely ignore the wines and viticultural practices of New Zealand and Chile blew up in my face on the multiple choice section.  I spent most of my academic life trying to figure out how to beat the system, and by my junior year of college I was skating by with a combination of underground resources, back alley intelligence, and “work smart, not hard” ethos.  Having been away from that so long and then falling back into this practice was like riding a bike.  “What are the odds they ask me about these obscure New Zealand vineyards?  There’s no way…”  Five of the first eight questions were, of course, about New Zealand.  Sons of bitches.

Now I stand as a moderate expert.  In fact, I can probably pass off to people that don’t know any better that I'm much more knowledgeable than I really am.  The reality of it is that as soon as the surface of this subject is scratched, the brutal realization hits that it is almost impossible to become a bona fide expert on a large scale.  The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know, and it is literally impossible to absorb it all.  For example, a particular region might be known for certain characteristics, but within that are tiny sub regions that are considered to be the best within it, and within those are particular producers that are using techniques that are producing the very best wines within that sub region.  However, once you grasp all of that the father that ran that special Domaine just died and now his fuck up son is running the property into the ground.  You mean that you didn’t know that the producer that was held up as the ultimate example of the possibilities of this area is now just making overpriced so-so wines?  Hmmm…. You are no expert sir!  It's a hopeless task to even try to take this wine thing on.

Yet, I clearly need to see if I can pass Level 4.  I made a quick scan of the requirements and they seem absurd.  Separate exams for spirits, fortified wines, and business practices.  There is a wine production exam.  To be clear, it appears I would need to pass a 100 question exam that asks detailed questions about things like pruning, trellis systems, and soil content.  This seems challenging for someone that currently has little success in keeping trees alive at his home despite an automatic sprinkler system and team of hired guns dumping chemicals on a timely basis.  Can I really swagger around as some sort of agricultural expert when I don’t even plant flowers?  The answer is, of course, “yes”.  I have never allowed my lack of actual ability to stand in the way of my confidence in being able to cobble together a way to get it done.  See my entire live musical performance career for backup to this claim.

Maybe the most daunting part of the Level 4 exam is the tasting portion.  Twelve wines, six red and six white, are poured blind and a short paper is required to be written on each wine.  Three fortified wines.  Three sparkling wines.  I have already formed the scenario in my mind where I am sitting in a very sterile classroom with a frowning elderly European proctor staring at me, the only sound in the room the loud ticking of a clock on the wall making me panic in not being able to identify the wines within the time constraint.  I would prefer this proctor to be French as he would already be disapproving of me in being an American which has dared to wade into this French dominated world.  You can’t chuck a rock in Bordeaux without hitting a Frenchman that is pissed at American wine critic Robert Parker, this despite the fact he has made many of them richer than Arab oil sheiks.  How do you think they feel about some wiseass American in a cowboy shirt?

I have started some flimsy effort at becoming a better taster now, requiring all restaurant servers to provide me multiple wines in tiny pours without revealing the identity of the wines.  It's a real pain in the ass.  I have already been the object of pity from twenty two year old servers as I have missed on Malbec as well as a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, their eyes filled with a combination of sadness and confusion.  Why is this poor man trying to do this when he evidently has no real ability at all?  I thought the one girl was going to pat me on the head in a “there, there” fashion.   When I noted my recent failures to my old instructor in the correspondence following my grades arriving, she was quick to point out “Montepulciano d'Abruzzo?  Who the fuck could identify that outside of some Italian wine expert?”.  That made me feel a little better, but she probably just said that to me to be polite.  Well, as polite as you can be while using the word “fuck” in discussing the relative obscurity of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.

I think I will have to go somewhere crazy like London or Macon, France to do this thing.  Making me an outsider makes it even better.  I like to be thought of as "The American Rube" upon arrival, before moving into the "Not As Stupid As We Thought" phase.  Ideally I will finish in the "I Can't Believe That Guy Passed" camp, much as I did in college.  I have no idea how I will get access to the wines I will need to practice with to pass that exam.  I’m certainly not going to spend a small fortune on obscure green fluted Alsace, or sniff out a source for shockingly expensive Red Burgundy.  Maybe I will infiltrate some restaurant industry group of sleeve tattooed hipsters that clip sample bottles from desperate distributors.  There must be some small group spitting out $200 bottles of Bordeaux huddled in a bleak back room of an upscale restaurant somewhere.  Get the word out.  I’m looking for some connected fools with access to wine I can't pay for or source.  Level 4 is just sitting out there waiting to be passed "with merit".  Or "distinction". 

Or just passed...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate State Farm

Just the other day I was strolling around The Comeback City and walked about a block away from the Magical Casino That Will Do Us All Good to where my car was parked.  The car was parked on a side street of Prospect Ave that was most notable for the three vacant buildings that dominated the block.  This apparently afforded the side street a certain privacy that enabled the local homeless population to use a doorway as a toilet.  The air was ripe with a particular combination of feces, vomit and dank urine that only those that have ventured to the Bernie’s Bagel/Distillery Men’s Room after 11pm know.  This filled me with joy, as I knew that since the street smelled vaguely like New York, it was one more indication we had almost completed our “Comeback”.  Hail Cleveland!

What should be pointed out is that I wasn’t in my primary car as I have yet to retrieve it from the repair that became necessary from its last trip to The Comeback City.  After being towed last Wednesday with two flats and damage under the car, my vehicle continues to sit unrepaired a full nine days after the last incident.  That is thanks to my good friends at State Farm.

When you see the television ads from State Farm one is led to believe that State Farm is “like a good neighbor”.  This is true if your definition of “good neighbor” is someone that takes your money and then becomes MIA when you need him to pitch in on a project.  “Hey Roger… This is Greg.  Remember when I gave you that thousand dollars and you said you’d help me out when I needed to move that stuff in my garage?  Well I need your help and… Hey man, pick up…  I see your car in your driveway.  I know you’re there… C’mon man…”

When the damage to my car happened, I called my agent.  He said, “Greg, call this 800 number.  That’s how we do it now.”  OK.  I will call the 800 number. State Farm has recently moved to the concept of “team coverage” for when you make a claim.  This probably sounded completely awesome when the State Farm executives green lit the completely unfeasible plan when they discovered how much extra money they would make come bonus time.  It doesn’t work so well when you are trying to do something crazy, like actually getting the service you paid them for in the first place.  I have found it not only impossible to get two tires and a muffler repaired in ten days, but I can’t even get anyone to call me back.  Wave after wave of State Farm employees that I reach by phone promise that they will call me back promptly and solve my problem, and then I never hear from them again.   

The idea of “team coverage” probably sounded awesome to whoever dreamt it up.  My guess is that it was a consultant, as most consultants have never spent any time actually working in the field they are consulting.  I bet that the Team Concept of Coverage was enacted with the idea of dozens of eager employees all fully integrated with the latest software to be able to step up regardless of who called and swiftly rise to the occasion.  The fatal flaw in this model is that now that everyone is responsible it means NO ONE is responsible.  No one calls you back because no one can be held accountable.  Hey, it wasn’t me that didn’t call you back.  It was “the team”.  I’m on break.  Let me transfer you to Judy.  If everyone thinks someone else is handling something, that means no one does anything.  Trust me.  I’m watching this in action.

The other fatal flaw is that it is totally dependent on each contact entering detailed information on each interaction with the customer.  I bet they have some fancy software name like “Kustomer Flow” or “Help Web”.  Meanwhile every nimrod I talk to has no idea what is going on because the dipshit I talked to previously entered some sort of half assed account of the situation filled with errors.  Most people can’t write a sentence without a team of experts and spellcheck.  I can say, with great assurance, many of the people at State Farm I have spoken to did not finish at the top of their class.  It is impossible to move the ball forward.  I am at the mercy of a Kafkaesque nightmare.  Even French bureaucrats would look at this and say “Zis ez zo fucked up!  Let us create more permits at home.  Let us get in ze line at Air France to go home to ze land of efficiency!”

I have spoken to nine people at State Farm.  Each one of them has promised me that they are the one that would address my problem and help me get my car back on the road.  Some sounded sincere at the time.  Every single one of them solemnly told me “Sir, I am definitely going to call you back and tell you how we are proceeding.”  Yet, they never do.  Not once.  Nine of ‘em.  I have reached the point now where when I speak to them I say, “Look, I know you are just someone sitting in a cubicle.  I know that you don’t care.  I know that you won’t call me back, so can you point me to someone that will?”  This is when they protest and assure me that THIS TIME IS DFFERENT.  It isn’t.  They never call back.  Alydia.  She didn’t call back.  Some dude named Chris Wolf.  Nope.  He didn’t call back.  Chris got indignant with me when I predicted he wouldn’t call back.  Then he didn’t call back.  You know why?  Because they don’t give a shit and no one will hold them accountable.

I suppose I should look at the bright side.  At least my house didn’t burn down.  Had that happened I would be living out in the woods like a feral dog.  I would be hunched over a small campfire roasting a squirrel on a spit, staring at my cell phone hoping someone from Team State Farm would call me back, or at least spin by and give me a tarp.  Dressed in filthy rags I could forage through my local State Farm agent’s garbage.  And as I picked mold off an old pizza crust and dug into a meal I would think, “What a good neighbor!  State Farm is there!”.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nurse the Hate: The Comeback City

I live in America's Comeback City TM.  I know this because the mass media has been telling me so.  These proclamations coincidentally bubble up to the surface on the slight rise of fortune of our various sports franchises.  For example, I first learned Cleveland was "coming back" in the early 1990s when the Indians constructed a baseball team that bludgeoned all comers.  Well, until they got to the Series.  We must have stopped "coming back" for awhile as the next time we "came back" was when the Browns returned in 1999 like a bad case of chlamydia.  I thought we had come all the way back in 2007 when the Cavs went to the Finals and got whipped by the Spurs, but it turned out that we came back for sure this year as our prodigal son LeBron has led us to elusive glory.  It was on the Today Show this morning.  It must be true.  Whew.  It's good to be back.

You can imagine my surprise yesterday as I hit a pothole on 1-490 that jarred me as if I had been hit while returning a punt against the 1972 USC Trojans.  I would have expected that a city that has indeed "come back" as we have would have soft silky roads that were like driving on cotton candy.  Instead I had been herded into one of the three functioning lanes into The Comeback City.  I found it odd that this highway lane had yet to have any repairs done to it as of June 3.  We must have "come back" so fast that we forgot that a two foot deep hole is located in a spot where cars drive over it at high speed.  Now, Cleveland used to have more lanes, but the political graft money used to repair our rusting infrastructure had yet to open more than one lane on the main artery into town.  This is sort of surprising as this road project has been going on slightly longer than the time it took to build the Great Pyramids.  However, before I become critical of the pace of labor, I should remember that the Pharaohs had slave labor while The Comeback City has guys that smoke cigarettes and look around while wearing their neon safety vests.  The Union frowns on "example killings" to move projects along as I understand it.  My grasp of labor regulations is admittedly shoddy.

I immediately got a flat tire.  This sucked as I was driving about 453 mph.  I do have "run flat" tires so I was able to continue without cartwheeling off the highway in flames.  As I made the turn into the city with my tire beginning to make a "flap flap flap" sound I thought "what a golden age I live in here in The Comeback City.  It's as if I live in Paris in the 1920s.".  I made for the east 18th street exit as I knew there was a tire dealer two blocks away.  I was filled with joy as I gazed upon the billboard for the Horseshoe Casino, my car lazily steering off the highway.

The Horseshoe Casino is yet another blessing we have in The Comeback City.  In our wisdom, we decided to allow the man that owns the basketball team that he purchased through profits of predatory lending and mortgage default swaps to have a monopoly on games of chance in the State of Ohio.  The Comeback City also built him an arena downtown which we all also pay to keep up to date so as to allow folks to pay up to $21,000 to sit in a folding chair to watch a basketball game.  It's a nice system that works well for everyone as it has allowed our city to "come back".  There are also going to be a windfall of profits from the casino that will enrich all of our lives, but so far all I have seen are scary bums in Public Square that hover like a pack of jackals looking for wounded antelope.  I probably just need to be patient.  We are "coming back" after all...

I must have been lost in thought when I struck another pothole off of the 18th street exit.  This was also a shocking impact.  Amazingly, this flattened my other front tire and made my dashboard explode with warning lights.  It must have been 37 seconds since I had gotten the first flat.  As I limped the car another block to the tire dealer with two flat tires, I thought "I have never been more proud of this city I call home.  I cannot wait for the trumpets of triumph when the Republican National Convention slithers into town next year."  By then, some temporary road system will be hastily set up providing the false impression that the city has spent its money wisely on infrastructure and not on some fools gold like a basketball arena, football stadium, baseball scoreboard or downtown three card Monti shack.
As we prepare the start this NBA Finals series, I look forward to receiving more information on how the city has indeed "come back".  Granted, I will be a little light in the wallet after paying for two bent rims, two new run flat tires, a new muffler, and God Knows What Else, but there is no reason to worry about money.  That is a concern of the past, of the Old Cleveland.  Today might just have been the day we came all the way back.  Someone let me know.  I have to go see if my car is repaired.