Your Pet Sitting Welcome Guide

Hello fellow member of!  You were chosen among the 10,000 applicants willing to exchange two-weeks “free” lodging in my Manhattan apartment for providing care to my lovely kitties aka “my beloved children.” Thank you, City Council for banning Airnb!

I hope you enjoy everything New York has to offer and get to experience life here as a native.  Just remember, the cats get anxious so try not to leave them alone for too long.  Twenty minutes trips to the bodega are fine! 

First, let me tell you about the building. This is a New York City coop. You probably don’t have coops where you are from, but if you are from Eastern Europe and remember a time before the fall of the  Berlin Wall, you might have some idea.

We are a community. It is important to speak to your temporary neighbors  in the elevator. This will establish that you are someone who understands the culture, and knows that New Yorkers are as friendly as any other people! Please remember to be vague about details of your visit. Just tell them you are my guest. Do not mention that I’m actually out of town as this could be considered an illegal sublet or Airbnb-type arrangement and I will be banished forever. If anybody comes to the door looking for me during the day, tell them I am sitting in the car because of alternate side parking. If it is evening, tell them I am out looking for a “good” space for tomorrow.  No one will question these explanations! 

This is a pet friendly building, but there is a two pet limit.  So under no circumstances are you to reveal the actual number of cats currently residing in my apartment. (Besides, it’s kitten season and I wasn’t able to get everyone fixed, so I’m not even sure what that number is!) 

If you are accidentally locked out of the apartment, please do not contact management, but instead knock on Betty’s door — 12C.   Betty has an extra set of keys, possibly for everyone who has ever lived here.  Do not under any circumstances enter Betty’s apartment even if she invites you in and asks you to help her find the keys. Betty has some clutter issues, and we cannot be responsible for your safety in her apartment! Also, nobody has seen Betty’s husband for years and we don’t want to put you — our  guest — in an awkward position.

I know you are a digital nomad and will be working during the day.  It’s generally quiet except for the sound of the grand piano and accordion in the apartment directly below mine. Unfortunately, the pianist has “a right to practice” and his parents are both lawyers, so there isn’t much you can do. Usually, I go over to the radiator and scream, “God he sucks,” just to get it out of my system.  Don’t say it more than once or he could sue us for harassment! Then I ask Alexa to turn on the white noise. Your choices are ocean waves — no loops, summer rain,  rain on tin roof, or Amazon rainforest. Enjoy! Note: I also left earplugs by the bed! 

From time to time neighbors may leave  missives. These are typed or occasionally handwritten notes left under everyone’s door. This is just a way some of us communicate. These may be signed, unsigned, or signed in all caps or crayon.  Here is a passage from something we got last week:   “Fellow and Sister Cooperators:  The current board is filled with faux-socialists who can’t wait to dance on our graves! We must lower the fliptax from the untenable 25% which is making our apartments unsellable. Anyone who disagrees with this statement is planning to buy up apartments at estate sales and vote to lower the flip taxes after we are gone. Then they will flip our apartments for the millions they are actually worth!  They are running dogs who deserve death and yes I am talking about you, Larry, Mr. Big Shot, Board President!”  Please feel free to place any such missives in  recycling unless they are written on tissue or toilet paper,  in which case throw them down the chute. 

Laundry: We are not permitted to have private washing machines and dryers in our apartment. There are washers and dryers in the basement. I left a laundry card for you. Your clothes should be safe while they are in the machines, but please do not leave anything valuable unattended in the laundry room, including the shopping cart. Especially the shopping cart. In fact, keep your hands on the cart at all times! (If you happen to see a large red cart with my initials on the handle, please bring it back to me even if the white haired woman with the support socks insists it is hers.)  The laundry is open from 6:00 AM to midnight, except every second Tuesday when it closes for “reasons” in the afternoon, also the third and fourth Thursday, and sometimes Mondays.  It is still customary to wear KN95 masks in the laundry room and elevators and maintain social distance. Failure to do so will result in accusations that you are “Trying to kill us all so you can dance on our graves and buy our apartments cheap before lowering the flip tax.”

Finally, as for cat care: The cats graze on dry food. There are bowls in every room. Just replenish them. And by all means use filtered water.  The litter boxes also need to be scooped at least once a day. Simple!  However, we recently got a new foster who is staying in the second bedroom. Please keep that door shut and locked. Use the special feeding chute we had installed. Feed him 10 pounds of thawed raw chicken or horse meat  three times a day. Just press the green button to open the chute. Put the food and water on the tray. Close the chute and press the orange button to open the inner chute and push out the food. Don’t worry about the litter pan! He actually goes in the ensuite bath tub and we’ll deal with the mess when we get home. Seriously, don’t go in there or open the door under any circumstances. We’ve left some air freshener if it gets a little funky! 


Practicing for the Afterlife

(Some people never learn. My new hobby is submitting to the New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs. The following piece was promptly rejected so I’m posting it here. Stay tuned for future rejected “humor.”) 

I. Go to your favorite social media site. Not the one that limits the number of words you can use. Go to the site where you can use all the words. Find a topic that interests you. Write a long heartfelt reply to a post, a reply that will save humanity. Delete it without posting because nothing you say matters, and no one can hear you when you’re dead.

II. At the end of yoga class when everyone is lying down in shavasana and the teacher announces you are all welcome to stay there as long as you’d like, stay there as long as you can. How long? Start with a few minutes a day and work up to forever.

III. Shhhhh. Stay silent at social events and all other opportunities. Do not speak except to avoid “the drama.”  Passively take in what others say.. Make only the slightest nods and gestures, and these only so the person speaking will feel heard and not say, “Dude, are you even listening?”  Do not display emotion. Be like Spock.  You are a tree or better a stone, a slab that people would stare into at a graveyard barely taking in the letters etched in the middle as they ramble to their dear departed.

IV. Declutter: Your stuff is not coming with you.  Burn it, bury it, throw it away, or give it to someone who will use or enjoy it.  Note: The person who will enjoy it is NOT your neighbor, Shirley. She is a hoarder!  Leaving it for her is just cruel. Just put it in the dumpster and maybe on the way, knock on Shirley’s door and ask if she has anything you can take for her. 

V. Move into a small modest dwelling, preferably made of wood or something biodegradable. Do not furnish: Okay, you can get one IKEA cube – no hacks, unless you put fancy boxes in so it looks like above-ground vaults. Sleep on a futon mattress close to the ground.  No pillows! Maybe a little pillow that raises your head at a slight angle as it would in an open casket burial, but only if you are into that sort of thing. 

VI. Live as simply as you can. Eat and drink only enough to survive. No processed foods — and then cut back until you note a look of terror in the eyes of your co-workers. Avoid alcohol but most especially avoid frivolous alcoholic drinks with double-entendre names and frilly umbrellas. There are no “wet pussy shots” on the other side!

VII. Try turning the other cheek. Not in a sectarian way, but because when have you seen a corpse throw a punch?  Don’t just avoid physical confrontation, avoid all confrontation and conflict. You really don’t have to yell at the asshole who is shaking a fist at you for stopping short, so you wouldn’t hit the meth head in the wheelchair pushing a shopping cart followed by a dog on a rope.  You are all meat puppets who will be desiccated bodies soon enough including the dog.  Note: Do not remind the asshole of this or you will be a desiccated body sooner. Besides, God spelled backwards is dog, and you never know, so good on you for not running over a possible deity!  Also you’re the one with the broken tail light.  And why do you still even own a car?

VIII. Move again to an even more modest dwelling or possibly, wander to practice for when your ashes are scattered if that’s your wish.  Leave no forwarding address.  Do this regardless of whether or not the asshole whose car you bumped is still stalking you.  Give your cash away. Cut up your credit cards. Take only what is offered and never ask for anything because the dead ask for nothing.

IX. Make a written account of all the motherfuckers who have screwed you over and you want to tell off. Include everyone from the random lady who wouldn’t move her bag and let you sit on the A train that time you were really tired, to your siblings, exes, and friends. Burn the list without confronting anyone. Be content in the knowledge that they, like you, are going to die.  Really, is there anything you have to say that’s more of a zinger than living under the wrath of a capricious God who could strike anyone down at any moment? Dying is easier when you simply no longer give a fuck, which is the point of these exercises. Cultivating not caring  is the best preparation for a peaceful eternal rest. If you’re still not over your rage at how you were betrayed, abused, lied to, disrespected, and definitely not mom’s favorite,  try ranting in front of a mirror. Don’t you look tough! That was sarcasm. You look like a crazy person. Throw some cold water on your face, shut up about everything forever, and move on. 

X. Now that you have cultivated the nonchalance of a cadaver, turn off the lights (if you still have electricity) and lie down on your futon or directly on the ground.  Rest your hands over your chest, take a deep breath like it was your last, and have a nice nap. If you’re lucky, you won’t ever have to get up! 

Murder on the Subway

Honestly, I wasn’t going to write about this. I was going to write a post about the obvious fix that is needed to make the JFK Airtrain functional. But it’s insane now to write a post about first-world-problems — getting to and from the airport — while vigilantes are murdering homeless people on the trains.

So short and simple and with some links:

I challenge anyone reading eyewitness  reports of what happened on the train and looking at the photo of the chokehold to say that Neely wasn’t murdered. I’m not saying it was first degree murder, but the chokehold was wreckless, and any REASONABLE PERSON would know that. I say this as someone who is now often frightened on mass transit. The mass shooting in Brooklyn, and the more recent shooting of a single passenger — a man on his way to meet his brother for brunch —  are terrifying. Deaths caused by people pushed onto trains are terrifying. But you don’t react to fear by pouncing on an emotionally disturbed person with no gun, no knife, making no threat because he throws down a jacket, and then putting him a CHOKEHOLD which a reasonable person would know is deadly force. In photos it’s clear the marine was bigger than him and could have subdued him — not his job — without deadly force. Whatever his intent was, he was wreckless, and of course he should be charged.
Updating to add: Just found this, a statement by the alleged murderer’s lawyer: “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff, P.C. said in a statement. “We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.”
Again, Man A puts man in a chokehold. Man B in chokehold passes out.  Man A continues to choke him.  A reasonable person would have foreseen the victim’s “untimely death.”  And yes, NYC prosecutors if you don’t overcharge, you will find a jury willing to convict on the evidence, and convicting a murderer is your job. Doing your job won’t cost you the election.
Updated to add:  Caught a NYTimes article contrasting the lives of the victim and his assailant. The mental health system (and other systems) failed Jordan Neely before his murder, but some of the failure wasn’t due to money or a need for “stronger” involuntary commitment laws. Some of the failure was simply the failure to track humans within the mental health and law enforcement system. There was a warrant for his arrest because he had left a program that he’d agreed to in court because of charges against him. He could have and should have been arrested and sent back to that program instead of simply being thrown out of the subway by cops — who didn’t check for warrants — weeks before.  Why didn’t the police check for warrants?
That failure will be exploited by his killer’s defense team  (if he’s ever charged) — as it should be because that is the defense team’s job. Ultimately, that failure didn’t cause Neely’s death,  but it is an example of one of many things that could have prevented the encounter from ever happening.
While I don’t think it is the job of NYPD to be psychiatrists or mental health workers, it is certainly their job when called in by mental health workers to CHECK FOR OUTSTANDING WARRANTS.

I’m Back!


Hello lovelies! So I haven’t been using this blog in ages. You might notice some changes, like the web address! Tech support (better known as the better-half )had a wee problem with his email, and TLDR we lost the old address, which I will not refer to as it is now being held for ransom by cybercriminals.  Jokes on them! It’s worthless.  To paraphrase: All my content belongs to me. So you can still find everything from opera reviews, to snarky television recaps, to me telling a story on the radio right here.

Plus: Silver lining — the new site is a dot com so that’s better, and the better-half learned more stuff about WordPress so I’ve got some fancy updates, which will also work for my business site, Perfect English NYC.

So suck it cybersquatters! 



A Prudent Plan

Perfectly respectable people, in fact some very fine people, doctors such as Dr Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr Laura Ingraham, Dr. Bill O’Reilly and of course Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner the Honorable Dr. Rush Limbaugh have suggested that we “must not,” as our Dear Leader put it “let the cure be worse than the disease.” Everyone dies, and those dying of corona virus are mostly “on their last legs” like that medical resident who died in Brooklyn at age 26, or the school principal in her 30s, or some kid with asthma. Does your kid have asthma? If not, nothing to see here folks! It’s a “measly cold.”

These respectable conservatives are not monsters, but defenders of freedom who want nothing more than to dine in a restaurant and be able to say the “n” word because why should only black people have that right?

They are short-sighted however in merely defending the rights of Americans to buy lawn fertilizer or get their hair and nails done, or return the little ones to school so they might be able to get a head start on their day drinking. The problem is that it’s not merely about “culling the herd” and losing a few old geezers. If the kids go to school, teachers are bound to get sick, and a few of them might have some underlying condition or just not be lucky and die. Of course, most teachers would be happy to make that kind of sacrifice and they’ve had it good for way too long, what with summers off and only working till three, but this still might be chaotic for kids in both government and real schools. Then again, it might solve the problem of seniority and unions, so maybe it’s not the best example. A better example of the problem with simply letting the virus spread and letting God sort this out, would be the strain on the healthcare system.

Let’s say that only 10% of the people who catch the virus get sick enough to go to the hospital. We have no way of actually knowing percentages since it’s still so difficult to get a test, but lets just put that as a hypothetical. That’s still a lot of people and a lot of burden on the healthcare system. Even if only a small percent of those 10% need ventilators, treatment is very costly. Plus all that personal protective equipment is pricey. And it means that we patriotic Americans can’t get our much needed elective surgery done. Imagine you are a hardworking American on your third wife, and it’s time to either get her a boob job or trade her in, and you not only can’t you get the boob job booked because of this COVID-19 nonsense, but they aren’t allowing incoming flights from Eastern Europe!

Doctors and nurses, even young, healthy ones, seem especially vulnerable to the most virulent form of the disease. Yes, it’s what they signed up for, and we can replace them with exports, but that might mean reopening the borders and do you really want to be getting your prostate checked by Dr. Mohamed?

We must figure out some way to prevent the clogging of our healthcare system that will result if we simply open up the economy. Hospitals must be available for anyone who can afford to be in them, and skating rinks should be for skating, not for dead body storage! Clearly our freedom to do whatever we want is our God-given right as Americans under some amendment as confirmed by the Federalist Society (trademarked) owners of the Supreme Court of These United States, and we can’t let the mere 2 or 3 or 5 or whatever it is percent of the total population who might die of COVID-19 stand in the way.

Therefore, may I suggest that the aforementioned defenders of freedom have not gone far enough in saying we must reopen the economy and live with a few, or a few million, deaths? They must advocate for an opening up the healthcare system itself. Since we have no effective medicine or vaccine for the virus, the solution is simple. Those who have symptoms, reaching the point where medical intervention is necessary, must for the sake of the rest of us be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up their lives without wasting valuable medical resources. After all once ventilated, the odds are terrible. Why take up space? If people are selfish enough to call an ambulance, paramedics should be given a fast acting agent to put those poor souls out of their misery immediately, at which point their bodies should be brought quickly to a crematorium and disposed of. My suggestion would be building these crematoria quickly and placing them on the outskirts of our cities. Their possessions should then be seized, since this service will be costly, and the burden should not fall on we the tax-paying public. If they own businesses, perhaps those businesses could be transferred to loyal Americans in need, who did NOT get caught by the virus. We could call this the COVID-19 Special Treatment Law.

While this will not end the spread of COVID-19, it will solve some of the problem of its economic impact. Sure other measures must be taken. It is possible that many unpatriotic Americans (Democrats probably) – the weak – those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, cancer survivors, the elderly etc will continue hiding in their homes. They will no longer buy gasoline and see the USA in their Chevrolets. They will no longer dine in local eating establishments or get their hair done. They will NOT go to Disney World, or otherwise do their part to sustain economic growth. They will probably buy everything on Amazon. Therefore, we must also pass laws forcing them out. We can call this legislation, Shop or Die! It will take courage to enforce these laws. Perhaps we can add incentives and rewards for alerting the local authorities to your shut-in neighbors. As we learned from 911, if you see something, say something!

COVID-19 is a test, and it will change us. It will bring us back to our very roots. It will be the moral challenge of the century. In the longer term, we must really think about those Americans (not us) who, as the late (or possibly still out there surviving on blood transplants from the young) Senator Alan Simpson R-Wyoming, once said, feed off “a milk cow with 310 million tits” by which he meant social security. We might want to continue and expand the use of those crematoria. Think of how low our taxes would go if those medicare using layabouts weren’t relaxing with their chemo and insulin and kidney transplants that they charge to Joe Taxpayer, but instead were simply willing to live and die within their means, and not burden the rest of us. Did George Washington have health insurance? Did Abraham Lincoln? Or Jefferson Davis?

After all the alternative would be some sort of system where healthcare, itself would be looked at as a right, which would be socialism and an anathema to everything we stand for.