hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

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Some Quotes of Mine

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 19, 2021

Excerpt from the Pittsburgh Quarterly (1993)

Excerpt from Street Poems (1991)

Excerpt from Shadows Before The Maiming (1999)

Excerpt from The Napalmed Soul (1999)

Excerpt from Shadows Before The Maiming (1999)

Excerpt from Cells (2004)

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Polite Society

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 20, 2021

An interesting first blog post from aginggenxer. I tend to agree with most of this & often think if people would just STFU & we could magically go back to much of the late 1960s, the ’70s & part of the ’80s when it was not only not cool to bring up politics & religion in most places but certainly with strangers & certainly not to flame the hell outta them pre-Internet — cause people weren’t that big of an asshole yet, or at least in person — well, yeah maybe this is idealistically naïve but it’s hard for me not to think things would HAVE to better to whatever degree. The last place I lived was very one-party to an extreme degree & for some reason everyone there assumed everyone else — you, me — shared the same political/spiritual beliefs so you’d be standing next to a total stranger & they’d start spewing venom, hate, BS, unwanted religious garbage, etc., expecting you to join them in their hate fests, but if you ever got a word in to tell them no offense, but I disagree with nearly everything you say, the look of shock, betrayal & hatred was borderline shocking, & if in a crowd for something like a community celebration & these morons started spreading the word about troublemakers like US around, it was then wise to start edging toward wherever you left the car. Cause no one had your back when tens of thousands of gun packing people want your scalp for daring to be their neighbor who doesn’t agree with their personal beliefs! They never stop to think, what if the tables were turned? More proof that they’re morons. But the point is, I think agingggenxer makes a good point because like them, when I was younger, you knew enough not to bring those things up & most employers usually had a written policy that those were not workplace topics that would be acceptable. After working with a ton of otherwise likeable people over much of this century & hearing everything from rude jokes to wanting to exterminate fellow citizens who did not see their way — WTH did THAT become acceptable??? — I’ve spent much time coming to hate both major political parties & wishing I were in Finland or Denmark or freaking anywhere but here! Anyway, I thought this was worth sharing. Comments are welcome. Cheers!

aginggenxer

When I was a girl, my father always told me that it was considered impolite to talk about religion and politics. My parents were always secretive about their political leanings. We didn’t practice any religion in my home and we also didn’t talk about anyone else’s religion. I had friends who went to church weekly and that was cool; that’s what their family did. They never talked to us about it unless my brother or I asked.

As I observe our country, now divided in the worst possible way, I long for the days when strangers didn’t ask you about your most deeply held beliefs. We have a new neighbor. A few weeks ago, my husband and this new neighbor met for the first time. This neighbor asked my husband about his religious beliefs and tried to get him to talk about his political beliefs. I see no reason for…

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Amazon: 25 Years Of Loyalty Down The Drain

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 18, 2020

For the moment, I only have the time to copy and paste a very short post I published on LinkedIn today, but I hope to return to this topic later with a lot more to say, including specifics, details, statistics, and commentary. All I know is I have been more loyal to Amazon as one of its earlier customers for the past 25 years than nearly any other company, but after a number of events over the past few months, they are now permanently on my SHIT LIST from hell, I feel betrayed and I want them — and everyone else — to know about it. Apparently they’ve gotten so big, they don’t and won’t give a shit, but I still have a right to speak my mind, so I will…

From my LinkedIn post today: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6646086971418566656/.

 

After 25 years as a loyal customer, Amazon has made it to my shit list & it’s sad. I’m so ticked. Lately, when I have the gall to order things & give them $, they’re screwing me by declining legit orders, terminating my password & ALL recent orders – for no good reason. It’s INSANE! Today, I spent 3 hours finding items, ordered dozens for $$ & they shut me down for the 2nd time in 3 days. They no longer like it when I order 100 items or $1000, though they liked it for 24 years. (Also shut me down for 2 Kindle books!) There’s no $ problem, I’m NEVER close to credit limits, not late on payments, but now twice in 3 days, the 5th in 6 weeks-I can’t reset my password, have to CALL IN (prehistoric). The 3 times I’ve done so, I average 2 hours & 4 reps per call due to alleged “unauthorized party access.” I’ve said if true, my banks would be calling within minutes: they don’t. No one else has this problem with me. ALSO, there isn’t a black market for $4 Kindle books; they’d get gift cards to sell instead. I’ve spent $2.5 MILLION+ personally & $4 MILLION+ professionally with them & this is what I get? They’re stupidly throwing away a $7+ Million customer?? I’m going elsewhere. Others want my $$….

 

[To be continued…]

I can’t believe @JeffBezos would endorse or approve of this. If so, his principles have taken a big hit & he’s joined the legion of other Internet greats who had awesome ideas, built something wonderful, grew a great customer base (with myself as one of them), only to abandon a number of customers by apparently thinking he’s too big or good for them now or they don’t matter anymore. I really have no idea what else it would be because idiocy of this magnitude would have to come from the top. I really have had so much respect for him for over two and a half decades. This is massively disillusioning. There’s a reason that moron in the White House got voted in with his transparent crappy statements about “making America great again,” because while neither he nor his followers are the ones who can or will do that, he’s actually right in the sense that most Americans no longer have the work ethic, principles, common sense, business sense, intelligence, dedication to service or quality we did as a nation for so very long. There’s a reason the US has dropped in nearly every field and category that exists. I thought Bezos was one of the few left who still had some of those qualities. Apparently I was mistaken. Pity…

 

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We Just Bought A New House and We’re Moving!

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 24, 2019

We have been house hunting all year in another primary region of the country for several different reasons, and I initially thought it would and should turn out to be quick and easy, but it’s been the most hellish house buying/moving experience of my life! Because of things like my poor health and my wife’s busy schedule, we simply couldn’t work out the logistics of a long trip, so we’ve been doing this remotely, which I’ve never done before. It’s really way too long of a story to tell, but we looked in a 3 state area for the whole year, and it has been the worst and toughest year of our lives! But we finally closed on a house a couple of weeks ago, and we’ll be moving to Pennsylvania in two weeks. I’d love to tell the story, but it would take too long and I don’t have the time or energy. So this will be another photo blog, with picks of the house we’re going to be moving into. It’s not what we started out looking for, it’s not ideal, we would probably prefer a number of things it lacks, but for here and now, it was the right place in the right location at the right price, and it’s actually a nice little house, I think, although I do cringe at the idea of downsizing. Heh. We’ll be living in a TINY community in the middle of the state, north of Baltimore, in between Pittsburgh and Philly, so there are many reasons why that’s an ideal location for us, which I won’t go very deeply into, but basically my health is so bad that numerous specialists have given up on my health even being MANAGED, let alone treated here in Chattanooga, the state itself, and even the entire region and I’ve been repeatedly advised to move to one of the following places: Mayo Clinic (Minnesota), Cleveland Clinic or Johns Hopkins (Baltimore). And since Gretchen is from Maryland and her family all live there and since she worked in Baltimore, and it and DC nearby, and they have a much better job market than here, and she’s also excited about seeing old friends and more, it just makes sense. (Frankly, it’s time for us to leave the South.) Additionally, this will be about a one hour commute for her to Baltimore, or if she could find a closer job, we’re 20 minutes from Gettysburg, 10 minutes from Hanover, 30 minutes from York, 45 minutes from Harrisburg, an hour and a half from DC, an hour and a half from Philly, and it’s more to Pittsburgh, but in the event Johns Hopkins can’t handle all of my issues, both Pittsburgh and Philly have top hospitals in some my areas (neurology, neuroscience) that could serve as backups or supplements. So as much as I would like to describe how insanely nuts this year has been, what we’ve had to go through to make this work, and how grueling this has been for us, I simply don’t have the time or energy to describe it and write more than I am here, so I’m going to go ahead and mainly post some pics of the new house we’ll be moving into in early December.

First, a few basics: It is a small, older two-story colonial (built in 1930) that we think is fairly attractive. It’s got three bedrooms and one bathroom, a nice covered front porch, small but nice back deck, small level yard, lovely real original hardwood floors with a pleasant and good sized living room, dining room and kitchen. Upstairs, the master bedroom is uniquely shaped, but not a bad size and has a door leading out to a back upper story covered balcony. The other bedrooms are somewhat small, but they fit the house and we knew we’d have to downsize. There’s a very large unfinished basement that will provide excellent storage and if we ever get the funds to partially or fully finish it, the listed “living space” square footage will shoot up tremendously because the literal square footage is actually over 900 more square feet than the listed livable square footage. We didn’t have many requirements and were forced to lower our expectations because Maryland (our original intended location) is such an expensive state to live in, and we wouldn’t have had many options, and yet even in podunk PA, in the neighboring county, the property taxes were just insane! We’ve been spoiled in Chattanooga, because the taxes are the lowest we’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen monster ones in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Phoenix and Malibu, but all the time we were looking at regular sized, regular priced (cheap even) houses in that county, I kept asking the realtors WHY a 1800 square foot house with three bedrooms and one bathroom that runs about $220K-$250K would have property taxes of $6000, $8000, even $11000 and $13000 a year?!? There? Manhattan? Sure! Newport Beach? Sure! Santa Barbara? Of course. But what the hell is in the sticks that is such a big draw that people are dying to move there and pay those kind of property taxes for a generic rural area??? That’s nuts! I offended some people by asking that question about some place no one has ever heard of, that has no draw at all to merit robbing people like that – why?!? In any event, this house’s taxes are much more than we’re used to, but less than the examples I gave and for that area, about average. Even though we didn’t have many requirements, most of the houses in that area are very old. I knew that because I spent a decade living in that state as a young boy and I can recall all of the many houses from the 1830s and 1790s, etc. So almost none of these houses have any AC at all — and I get massively hot. Also, I prefer gas heat, and most had electric. We also prefer city water and sewer, and of course, most were on wells and septic tanks. BUT, this house has gas heat, central AC and is on public water and sewer, so YAY, that makes a big difference to us. There’s so much more, but I have very poor health and am tied up in trying to make arrangements with movers, auto transport services, utility companies, and all the details that go with this, so I’m just going to move on to the pics. The only other thing I’ll mention is that the house is located in Adams County, PA, where the county seat is historic Gettysburg. Our town is the fourth largest (of 18) “borough” in the county with a massive population of all of 3,000 people, making it the second smallest place I will ever have lived. It’s called McSherrystown (Borough) and it’s old and cute. And here’s something we really like! No crime. Like none. During  this century, no murders, rapes, assaults, one arson every other year, two robberies, and fewer than 75 thefts total for the whole damn century! The “city” has a police force of FOUR! Hell, that’s how many cops got killed on my block in LA every night when I lived in 18th Street Gang Territory, as well as when I was in North Long Beach (and dozens of other places there and elsewhere). Since we’ve been crime victims multiple times, this matters greatly to us. You may not be impressed with this house and it won’t be the nicest and will be the smallest I’ve ever lived in, but we do like it, think it’s attractive and it has some really nice features, and since every place has its pros and cons, we’re happy to have found this after 11 hard months of work trying to get a house and we’re especially happy to have gotten it for so much less than most others anywhere around there and others we were considering.

 

1. Our new house, front from street.

 

 

2. An angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

3. A different angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

4. The foyer. Needs a touch up here and there, but otherwise nice and in good condition with access to all of the important parts of the house.

 

 

5. The well lit, open living room with a lovely opening to the large formal dining room next to it. Original hardwood. Lots of windows. Good size. This is especially important to me as I have serious mobility issues due to my health, and so I spend the majority of my time on the ground floor, and so obviously the living room.

 

 

 

 

6. Another vantage point of the living room.

 

 

7. From the living room looking into the foyer.

 

8. Spacious cheery formal dining room!

 

 

9. Dining room, looking into the kitchen and the living room.

 

 

10. Spacious kitchen. This honestly isn’t our favorite, but we looked at so many houses throughout three states that we saw every kind, size, style imaginable and while this lacks the cupboard and counter space we would really prefer, it’s MUCH better and massively larger than the one in the house we had signed an agreement to purchase the previous month, only to have the inspector find so many “invisible” problems that the likely repair bills would likely have been in the six figures alone — and so we walked. That house seemed very nice, was quite large, but had the tiniest, most useless kitchen we’d ever seen, so we’ll take this present one any day over the former. Hey, can’t get everything you want, right? It’ll be good.

 

 

10. Kitchen facing entrances to other rooms.

 

 

11. One of the bedrooms.

 

 

12. A (small) second bedroom.

 

 

13. The master bedroom. Oddly narrow and long, but still pretty nice, we think.

 

 

14. Another view of the master bedroom.

 

 

15. The back deck with small, level back yard and a decent shed in the background. I’m not much of a “deck” person, but I’m actually pretty happy about this one, because our current one — which we’ve had to have ripped up, torn down and rebuilt twice in five years at great expense — is SO incredibly high off the ground, and the stairs so steep and vertically challenging with small, narrow steps, that it’s completely unusable for me, while this should be, so maybe I’ll actually become a “deck” person…

 

 

15. The back of the house. The cool thing about this photo is the funky thing I didn’t show in previous pictures. If you look up toward the top floor, you’ll see that the master bedroom has a door that opens on to a fairly decent, comfortable covered balcony, which is a little unusual, but we think it’s pretty cool.

 

I won’t bore you with any more house photos. It’s just that I literally have no one to show, and even though it’s probable that no one will even see it here online, at least I’m getting to attempt to show some photos of our new house, so it would be nice to know if anyone saw this post. As I said, it’s been a demanding, exhausting, draining, frustrating, infuriating, tiring, impossible, expensive as hell year culminating in finally finding a house we could buy, but now the end of it all is finally getting near and we’ll (hopefully) finally be able to sit down, take a breath and relax in a couple of months. Unreal year. For so many more reasons not mentioned here.

Well, enough of that. I’m going to post a few final pics I got off the Net of a few parts of town so you can see how tiny and quaint it is. I won’t label each of them like I did for the house, but the one of the church is of the town’s Catholic church, and the biggest one around, while the one of the diner shows the only restaurant they have, and the hilarious one of their police car is of the only one in town for the four police officers to share while not having to do a darn thing about the near total lack of crime. LOL! Thanks for indulging me, if anyone did. We’ll be moving in a couple of weeks. Catch ya on the other side…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cal State Long Beach: 13th Best School In America!!!

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 7, 2019

I have been meaning to brag on an alma mater of mine for a week. Now I’m finally doing so. Money Magazine just published “The 25 Best Colleges in America” (via 19,000 Data Points). (https://bit.ly/2Zi6mlP) Some schools are definitely surprises and the schools you would expect to find in the Top 10, let alone Top 25, really aren’t there, or not as high as many would think, including their administrations and alumni! Out of 750 schools, the top school was UC Irvine! That is very surprising, because it’s not a bad school, but as part of the UC (University of California) system, it’s one of … 10? … great universities making the very best public academic system in the world. And as most people know, UC Berkeley is typically the top ranked one, followed immediately by UCLA. I’d say the next two most “elite” would be UC San Diego and UC San Francisco. At that point, there’s sort of a mishmash of the rest, including UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis and UC Riverside. There may be another now, but that’s basically the system. So Irvine is a great school, hard to get into, excellent programs, but they don’t nearly have the reputation as the usual top two. So to find it ranked Number One in America INCLUDING both public AND private is frankly quite stunning. Kudos to them though. That’s awesome.

 

The 25 Best Colleges in America

 

However, the one I’m most excited about and most proud of is that my second alma mater, where I got my first graduate degree — California State University Long Beach (CSULB)is actually ranked #13 in the damn country — over Harvard, Cal Tech, Yale, Duke and other “elite” schools! You have no idea how big this is, because while CSULB has been ranked very high for years by Princeton Review, US News, etc., CSU schools have often been snubbed by “elite” UC schools. So it’s great to see TWO CSU schools make the list! With #13 Long Beach, CSU Fullerton is #22! Congrats! I loved my time at Long Beach State! It was great. I experienced many opportunities, worked and played hard, taught, researched, published and finished as top graduate at California’s largest university. I have always thought the education I received there was far superior to where I received my undergrad degree, the University of Tennessee. But try telling a UT admin, faculty member, student or alumnus that, and be prepared for a beat down. That’s the point — they don’t know any better.

 

#13 California State University Long Beach, my alma mater, is mentioned by name with #14 Harvard. Exclusive club… LOL!

 

Besides California, only one state had multiple schools: Massachusetts with three. All of the other states had one or none at all. Meanwhile, six of the top 12 schools are UC schools, dashing notions that some “elite” private schools are better. (Not naming schools, but you all know which ones…) So California (where my heart remains), has 10 (TEN!) universities in the top 25! (The six UC schools, two CSU schools, Stanford and Cal Tech.) Wonder where the best schools are now? I guess you don’t have to anymore. They’re sure not on the East Coast!!!

And if I can stretch some things here while still being honest, I actually did pretty good. While my second degree is from #13 CSULB, I also spent four years at #4 UCLA pursuing a different degree I wasn’t able to complete as I had to relocate for work. I also did post-grad work at #8 Michigan and briefly studied at #6  Stanford. FOUR Top 13 schools! AND, to stretch things even further, I presented and published several academic papers at conferences at #22 Cal State Fullerton, and I went to #1 UC Irvine to do extensive graduate level research at their research library. That’s six Top 25 schools I was/am affiliated with. Awesome.

And interestingly, the vaunted Ivy League is poorly represented, with only one school in the Top 10 (#3 Princeton) and only two more schools on the list, both behind Cal State Long Beach (#14 Harvard and #17 Yale)!!! Most others on the list would include schools you’d expect, but I was very surprised by #2 and #25, and slightly less by #24. In any event, I’m proud as hell of my graduate alma mater, Long Beach State University (California State University Long Beach). Number 13 in America, over Harvard, Yale, Vandy, Duke, etc. Way to go Beach!!!

(Incidentally, among the other schools I studied at or attended, none of them were mentioned including two schools I received degrees from: the University of Tennessee and Queens University of Charlotte…)

 

America’s Top 25 Colleges & Universities

 

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Leaving LinkedIn. Hopefully Some New & Diverse Blog Posts Here…

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 3, 2019

I am coming to the conclusion I may finally terminate my LinkedIn account after 15 years there. There are a number of reasons and it both pains and saddens me, but I see no viable alternative. I’ve worked hard over 15 years to build the largest very high-quality network on the platform, and by most accounts, I did pretty well. I have 19,910 followers at the moment (really wanted to reach 20K very badly), of whom about 55% are senior execs and some 40% C-level execs, and in every industry that exists in over 160 countries, at the highest levels of commerce, government, military, science, etc. But for some reason — and I have my theories — after being a huge ambassador for LI for a decade and a half, they turned on me last year — and I’m a PAYING customer! — and started to arbitrarily and punitively harass and “punish” me for alleged rule violations that tens of millions of people do everyday but on a far worse basis than I ever did, and with the company’s full knowledge and blessing. And for a year, I’ve interacted with these customer service pukes and it’s like talking to a damn brick wall! They refuse to respond to anything I say, assert, allege, ask, to send me to colleagues or supervisors or even their Legal department, to defend their blatant hypocrisy in their absurdly inconsistent enforcement of alleged rules they continually cite, but which are not at all on one document they cite and it’s hidden beneath generic links on the other they cite, so no one could ever find it, and they just robotically intone the same idiot sentence or two repeatedly, regardless of my question, assertion, statement, topic, allegation, etc. It’s like they’re brain dead zombies! I have a lot more to say, but this wasn’t originally going to be my topic, so I’ll end this part. Suffice it to say though that I’ve NEVER been this stonewalled, this ignored, this shit on by any company in the world and I think it speaks very ill of them, especially since they’re lying hypocrites. I expected more from a company such as theirs. If I still had my health, time, energy, strength, stamina and the money I once had before my medical bills decimated it, I would literally sue them — and I would win! I’ve never lost a lawsuit and I’ve sworn to go to my grave with that record intact. I’m confident it wouldn’t be too hard to prove my allegations against them, and despite what their terms say in regards to litigation damage maximums, a good attorney will get around that, and I would be looking for millions….

In any event, I often post links to interesting articles on a variety of topics there, and I often add my own commentary or thoughts or opinion. And sometimes I’ll just write a much longer independent article, again about various topics. Some of my posts don’t get too many views, but many get quite a few, and some get a large number. I posted about the Capital One Hacker a few days ago and got about 650 views. Then I posted about how the DoD has banned military personnel from using CBD, even though it’s federally legal in all 50 states. That one got closer to 2,000 views. Some of my posts have exceeded 15,000, 20,000+ views, but those are rare. And it’s always hard to predict which ones people will find interesting.

The point of all of this rambling that as I take several days to extracate myself from LinkedIn, I may stop posting pieces there and start posting them here. I don’t have a fraction of the followers or readers, but that doesn’t matter. I post on things I find interesting and hope others will too. If they don’t, they don’t. If they do, they’re definitely welcome.

Cheers!

Scott

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