Friday, April 29, 2016

To bee or not to bee

How it is with selling a house is…you're constantly being asked to make an endless series of small but seemingly crucial decisions.  None of them necessarily feels heartbreakingly important on its own, but as a collective--an integral, as it were--they add up.

And the decisions never abate.  You make one; five more appear.  Since you're talking about, potentially, hundreds of thousands of dollars they all take a feeling of momentousness.  They none of them have clear and obvious answers.  In some ways, they all seem too insignificant to even bother with.  But then as soon as you start to bother with them, they threaten to drag you into insensibility.

The issue right now is our beehive.  We have a beehive in our backyard; it resides in a cavity in our biggest tree.  We like the bees.  They keep the flowers pollinated; they don't bother us (they sleep most of the day); and we basically support and approve of their existence.  Beehives, as probably a lot of you know, are dying all around the world--some kind of hive sickness no one fully understands--and so the thought of having our bees relocated (which we've considered once or twice) has never appealed to us.

Now, though, we're going to have strangers coming to our house (only two weeks away) to consider buying it.  The beehive is, we think (and our realtor agrees) a definite plus for buyers: bees are good for yards.  But, he suggests, there's a chance that one of our visitors might get stung while touring the house and sue us.  So maybe we ought to relocate it.

The beehive was there when we bought the house.  It dates back to the previous owner, the woman who bought the house in 1950.  We don't want to get rid of the beehive.  But maybe we should.  Who knows.  It's just one of the millions of picayune choices facing one buying a house.  Like bees they swarm around you.  They don't seem like they will sting--but you never know.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Take On Me

I wish I could access some photos.  They say that photos are the key to getting your posts read.  And how am I to overawe and destroy Justin Bieber if I can't get photos?

As part of my ongoing preparation to go on Jeopardy, I've been trying to become current on today's pop music.  I downloaded a whole bunch of recent hit songs and have been trying to listen to them.

So I guess I'm old because I mostly hate all of them.  In fact, the wife and I went to Vegas last month and I got so depressed by our car ride--when I listened to a whole smorgasbord of Kesha, LMFAO, Bruno Mars, et al, that by the time we got there I just wanted to go home.

What a good pop song has to have, at minimum, I think, is wit.  It doesn't have to move you, necessarily; it doesn't have to make you feel; but it has to be clever.  Maybe it's melodically clever; maybe it's lyrically clever; maybe it's both.  And Drake, for example, is neither.  He's not even close to clever.  He can't even see clever through a telescope.

And I just think--b/c I'm old--the pop music of the 80s: it was just better.  Objectively, clearly better.  Boy George or Human League or Adam Ant--all of those guys produced songs that were orders of magnitude better than the stuff that's being done by, say, Maroon 5.  And why that is--maybe it's just that pop and rock is an exhausted genre, and there are no new ideas left--or maybe it's a less sophisticated listening audience--I don't know.  But it's dispiriting.

Two small bright spots: Meghan Trainor and (small selections of) Bruno Mars.  Actually, only one song of Bruno Mars (well, really Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars): "Uptown Funk."  Highly derivative of James Brown, but man is it good.  And M Trainor is pretty good too.

But that's it, as far as I can see.  Give me The Thompson Twins and Thomas Dolby any day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Home Sales

We're meeting with listing agents now, looking to find someone to help us sell our house.  All very frightening.  Well--'frightening' is too strong, but it's stressful.  Essentially you're entrusting someone you've met only for maybe an hour, and read about some on the internet, to handle an incredibly significant action for you.  And it's significant not just financially, but also emotionally.  For all that I dislike the city where we live, I love our house.  Every morning I come in and work, sitting by an enormous floor to ceiling window that runs the length of my den.  Outside the bees circle around a limb of the giant tree in our backyard.  In the summer, a smaller tree gives us lemons.  Our front yard has a white picket fence covered in rose bushes.  Right now the roses are in bloom, and the blossoms and the flowers tower into the air.  It's fantastic.

On Saturday we met with two different realtors.  One was recommend--through a friend of a friend--and the other we found off the internet.  Both had good and bad qualities: I think I have to meet with them both again.  They both work in teams; it seems like one person does negotiations and contracts and the other is in charge of 'prettifying' the house--getting it looking sharp and snappy for sales.

A greatly embarrassing moment: the Bink bit one of the realtors!  He was one of those guys who, when told a dog is not good with strangers, responds "It's fine, I love dogs.  And they love me."  So then he stretched out his hand and Bink bit him.  And drew blood!  Which has never happened before, ever.  But it was terrible embarrassing.  Of course he laughed it off, but still.  Urp.  We're going to have get the Bink some training when we move.  I'm planning for our house to be a center for swirling gay cafe society--a constant stream of dinner parties, intellectual salons, and wine tastings.  And that means we can't have a dog who loses his mind anytime strangers come around.  What's frustrating is that, around us, he's the most sweet and docile little bear in the world.  But, he isn't used to strangers.

He's very much like his parents, I guess: very kind to people he likes, and very grouchy towards people he doesn't know.


Sunday, April 3, 2016


I've been trying to put together material for a post on the election but I'm not sure where to start.  I've been intrigued and horrified by the Trump phenomenon--it's like a car wreck that I can't look away from.  How prescient and relevant this blog's last debate about presidential politics now seems!  (I'll have to cut some relevant excerpts from that into a new post, soon).

My main take-away about Trump right now is this: I don't think he wants to be President.  I don't think when he started running he'd ever given any thought to actually winning.  I think he thought it would be a great way to go on TV and get publicity--to build his 'brand' such as it is.  That's why he doesn't have handlers; that's why he doesn't have a lot of staff.  He isn't interested in trying to win.  He just wants attention.

I'm not saying that he ever necessarily said to himself--I have no chance--I just don't think he thought that far ahead.  And now that he's at least likely to be the nominee, he wants a way out.  He doesn't want to spend all summer campaigning.  He doesn't want to face the vast forces that have finally arrayed against him; he doesn't want to get pummeled in the general election.  He wants a way out.

How he contrives that way out, I don't know.  Maybe that's why he keeps upping the ante on the outrageousness and offensiveness of what he says; he's hoping he'll finally cross some boundary that precludes him from running.  But if the GOP could work out some non-humiliating drop-out mechanism--some way to frame his leaving not as a defeat or an admission of giving up, but as something triumphant and noble-- I think he'd take it.