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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Donald Trump conspiring to elect Hillary?

Donald Trump. He gives no fucks. He apologizes for nothing and backs down for no one. America loves to hate him, and stupider, crazier shit flies out of his mouth daily. He's now insulted Mexicans, war hero's, veterans, and most Republicans. The Des Moines register has called for him to "pull the plug on his side show", and many think he is making a mockery of the presidential election. 

For every person who think he's an idiot, double that many like his in your face, point blank style. In fact, in the past few days, his number have surged in the GOP polls. As of this week, 24 percent of registered Republicans favor him-gaining the biggest lead of any GOP candidate. Bush, Christie, Cruz and Paul's numbers have all been steadily declining in "The Donald's" wake. These numbers are important because they will determine who will qualify for the first Republican debate on August 6th in Cleveland. Only the top ten will be participating. And let's be honest-with Trump involved, we ALL cannot wait to see the hot mess that will be. Trump isn't the only mess to throw his hat in the ring though. From a public standpoint, it appears that the entire Republican party has gone off the rails on a crazy train, Ozzy Osbourne style. 

In Donald's speech announcing his candidacy, he spilled some serious truth tea about this country and politics. Though i'm a liberal Democrat, I personally loved it. I found it refreshing, because I love people who aren't afraid to speak their mind. I even told a few people that he was going to make it to the end of this race, which they of course laughed at. Judging by the current numbers, I might still be right. The fact that Trump is getting more media attention than legit politicians speaks volumes about the current state of America. Every day our culture becomes more hashtag, social media, celebrity, and reality TV obsessed than ever. Everyone loves to watch a train wreck, and comedians are rejoicing in the gold mine of material that this GOP race is providing, all thanks to Trump.

During the past few weeks, as Trumps statements have become increasingly ridiculous, more and more people are growing convinced Donald Trump is actually a plant to help the Democratic party. A "double agent" if you will. The conspiracy theories are running rampant online, and some make very valid arguments. Even Al Sharpton has come forward this week with evidence that Trump is a secret Democrat. Past clips of Trump reveal him saying he is a Hillary supporter, that he endorses higher taxes for the wealthy and is "very pro choice". It is also undeniable that Trump has many deep ties to Democrats. A major democratic fundraiser, Hollywood mogul Ari Emanuel (CEO of William Morris-Endevour) works as Donald's agent. In 2011 Donald donated $50,000 to Ari's brother, Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral campaign. Trump has a very long history of writing checks to support Democrats. In addition to donating money to Hillary Clinton in the past, Bill and Hillary were also guests at his last wedding. 

The truth is, Donald Trump is a very smart, very connected man, which leads me to think this all could easily be big act. Trump is smart enough to know that he has a snowballs chance in hell of actually getting into the White House, but no money can buy the kind of press he is getting right now. 
No one seriously running for office would be spewing endless offensive bullshit. Instead of having his speech writers police him, he probably has them writing all of this crazy stuff to get more attention. I'm sure he goes home and laughs at the rise in his numbers, as he gets more offensive. His endless money also ensures that he will not have to drop out of the race as many do, due to lack of donations. 

If the poll's continue in his favor, he will likely face Hillary in the general election.
Trump's obnoxious, blunt style basically insures a win for Hillary, or whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2016. You must admit, the "phantom candidate" is a pretty ingenious Shonda Rhimes, Scandal worthy plot. Only time will tell if it works or not, or if he is in fact, just this oblivious. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Octopuses scare the shit out of me

I don't know when or why it happened, but at a certain point in my life I saw an octopus and almost shit myself. There is something about the unnatural number of legs covered in suctions cups that just makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

When I try to think back on when this fear may have begun, I remember a reoccurring childhood dream. I am four years old in my bedroom, which I shared with my older sister. From between the few feet of space which snuggly held my twin bed and her convertible couch-into-a-twin-bed, a huge tarantula crawls toward me. It's a five foot tall spider, with eight huge furry legs and a large set of antennas which are aiming straight at me. I vividly remember that giant spider to this day. It was the founder in chief of my fear of spiders and any bug with more than 4 legs.

When I went to "Camp KV For Kids" in Maine (on poor kid scholarship), the mean boys used to pick the legs off of daddy long legs spiders and throw them in my long hair. The legs would keep moving long after the boys plucked them from the bodies because of the spiders nervous systems, so it was especially horrific. This really took my fear of leggy things to a whole new level. To this day if I see a spider in real life or even a photo of one I basically flatline.

I connect my fear of the Octopus to my fear of spiders. My first important memory of an Octopus is from the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid" with Ursula singing "poor unfortunate souls" and then stealing Arial's voice. I don't remember being scared of Ursula at all. Maybe I was young enough that adult rational fear had yet to take over. As an adult I can't even look at pictures of Ursula where her suction cups are showing. Even the cartoon makes me queazy.
A real Octopus is one of the most disgusting creatures I have ever seen. To me, they look like swimming, squishy heads with creepy eyeballs and too many legs that are going to suction onto my head, eat it and kill me. Yes, I do realized that Octopuses don't actually eat or bite humans, but they do in my mind.

This fear effects me more than you would think in day to day life. Basic things like aquarium visits pose a bigger problem than ever. My aquarium phobia started the one time I unknowingly got near a tank with an octopus. That fucker flew out of nowhere and suctioned itself to the glass right in front of my face, almost sending me into a coma. I have to be really cautious now, but really need a huge warning signs that the next tank :could be holding an octopus: (like people with epilepsy get before flashing lights go off.) During our recent trip to Disney Land I almost didn't ride Nemo's submarine voyage. I was bracing for the inevitabel the entire ride, like I was watching one of the Paranormal Activity movies. Thank god there were no animatronic octopuses in that one. It would have been pretty embarrassing to have screamed louder than the bunch of four year olds sitting around us.

Even grocery shopping can be an issue. My old grocery store sold Octopuses in the seafood department. They used to be sitting there like decapitated heads on crushed ice, each in it's own separate clear plastic bag of tentacles and slime. Whenever I went to get fresh fish or shrimp I had to look in the opposite direction and sprint by them. I had heart palpitations nearly peed myself every time. Once in awhile the Octopus carcasses got moved around and I would find myself starring straight at them. The last time this happened I swear I almost blacked out.
It boggles my mind that people eat octopus and squids and think they are delicious. Once I tried fried calamari to see what all the fuss was about. When I got past the fried part and to the chewy squid body I had to spit out.

Somethings fears in life are temporary. Octopuses are forever.

*****In writing this blog, I tried to search for an image of Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Mixed into the google results were some photos of real life octopuses. I can assure you that I screamed like little bitch, had heart palpitations, and almost threw up, peed my pants and passed out.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Getting an IDNYC may be free, but not easy

Last week I received a mailing at my apt that read "YO SOY NYC es la nueva tarjeta de identificacion gratis para todos los residentes de Nueva York." Luckily the flip side was in English.
This postcard informed me that there was a brand new, FREE ID card for all NYC residents. It also told me that there are 8 million New Yorkers and ONE card for all of us! Not only would it get me into over 33 museums and attractions, it also would work as an access pass to many benefits like discounted movie tickets. Yay!

I was super excited about getting free one year memberships to the ballet, my favorite museums and gardens. Who wouldn't be? It all sounded great- except for the part where I would have to drag my ass to one of the enrollment centers, to get an ID in addition to my New York drivers license to prove my residency. I KNOW what you are thinking.... Oh cry me a river, white people problems....
But the postcard in my hand assured me that signing up would be easy AND quick. It also assured me that if I was an illegal immigrant, they totally won't care....(seems like great plot to nab some illegals.)
Aside from free memberships for hipsters & yuppies, a major motive of the IDNYC card is to provide immigrants, homeless, or those who have no formal identification with one.  Everyone knows the NYPD thrives on arresting homeless and even students who have no ID on them. It helps them meet their numbers. This could be a step forward in that respect.
I was curious to find out how easily accessible this ID actually would be, so I followed the link online and made my appointment at nearby enrollment center.

When I showed up at The Mid Manhattan Library, there were tons of rent-a-security-guards standing around. I thought maybe I was entering the White House with all of the security. One rent-a-guard barked at everyone in the line- "You all gotta have an appointment to be in this line. Do youz all have one? Anybody who doesn't needs to STEP AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU HAVE ONE."
We all nodded that yes, we did indeed have one. A few people snickered and chatted about how ridiculous this all seemed. Rent-A-Guard then allowed us to continue in line to a fold out table, where two men sat with laptops & enrollment forms. I'm not sure if they were volunteers or staff, but they had been total assholes to everyone in line before me. These guys were like the soup nazi of ID's.

"NEXT!", shouted one of the men. I cautiously stepped forward and told him that I was there for my appointment. He rolled his eyes, didn't verify that I had one, and asked me for my ID.
I handed him my NYS Drivers license. The IDNYC website states this will act "as full proof of residency for 4 points". Despite this, he insisted that I show him ANOTHER proof of address.

Luckily I had a utility bill on hand as backup, and was able to use that. He stared at my items in silence for about a minute. He actually looked disappointed that he wasn't able to tell me to go back home and return with proper ID, like he had to five people before me. I was then rewarded with an enrollment form, and instructed to fill it out in the waiting area.

As I filled out my form, I was already envisioning kicking my feet up at the Botanical Gardens. About fifteen other people sat around the second waiting area filling out applications. Staff members kept announcing "ONCE YOU HAVE FILLED OUT THE APPLICATION, COME INTO THE NEXT ROOM". So, when I was done, I walked toward the next room. A hand quickly shot up in front of my face and stopped me in my tracks.

"Whoa, whoa" the woman said, "I need your ID and proof of address". It was in my hand, so I showed it to her to verify for the second go round. She told me to go back to my chair and she would call me when they were ready. (but in the tone of voice you use to non English speaking tourists and dumb people.) Not even 12 seconds later I was called inside.

Inside the next room, incredible odors of B.O. wafted around as bad as on the subway in Summer. There was a guy who kept ordering people to change seats. First he wanted everyone with a passport on one side, then moved them back to the other. He then had us sit in one row, but kept moving us around to other random empty seats. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it. I think he was just on a power trip and wanted to feel important.

After a few more minutes of waiting, I was finally sent down to one of the numbered desks. No one was actually taken in order of their appointment time. It kind looked of like a Trader Joes checkout area, but with mean cashiers. The person I was sent to had changed desks, so I had to go back to the waiting area with the musical chairs nazi. A few minutes later, the chair nazi shouted "DESK 8!" and pointed at the desk-just incase I couldn't read numbers.

The woman at desk 8 basically looked like she wanted to end her life. She didn't look up from her computer when I said hi, and asked if it was my first time applying. It was, so she said "ID AND ENROLLMENT FORM." I handed her my stuff and she typed for about ten minutes in silence, then proceeded to scan my info. When she gave me a final form to verify that she had entered the correct information, it was all wrong. She had a random apartment number, and a different zip code than I had written. Once she fixed her errors she told me to go sit in front of the blue screen for my photo.

The flash went off without warning and startled me. The woman said "you need to hold still for photos, and no hair in front of your ears."
She took another photo and said "You had teeth showing. You can't show your teeth in these photos." The hair and teeth thing might have been useful to mention prior to taking the pictures. After a third flash, I apparently took an acceptable image. She told me my ID would arrive by mail in 4-6 weeks. The whole process took about 40 minutes, and wasn't quick or easy in my book.

My main thought upon leaving was, if they are giving shit to people WITH proper ID, I can't imagine it would actually be "easy" for someone homeless to get an IDNYC. Homeless people have to be nomads, they rarely have bills, or something with an actual address. For this same reason, the people who need help the most are often unable to receive city benefits and are forced to beg for food and change on the streets and subways.
The major flaw in the system is that a "care of letter" from a shelter is likely the only proof of residency a homeless person is able to obtain. This is only worth 1 of the 4 points required. IDNYC requires that it be from a city funded shelter, and that the person must have received services there for 60 days. With shelter waitlists in this city, it is rare that homeless can actually rely on one shelter for 60 days without switching.

For New Yorkers who already have state issued ID cards with a NYC address, this seems like overkill. Think about it. If these places are giving away free year memberships to NYC residents, why can't anyone who already has a state ID or license which lists NYC address get one? And why have we been missing out all these years and having to pay to begin with?
I'm sure NYC has some big brother, ulterior motive with this new system. It's also very possible that IDNYC has created a kick back deal with these organizations to make it worth their while.

Nether-less, there is no reason that the staff of these centers need to be so condescending and rude to everyone applying. I'm sure they deal with many morons who can't follow directions, but the majority of the people there the day I was were educated  people who just wanted to go to The Met for free.

Have you gotten your IDNYC yet? What was your experience like?