rags to riches - the dream of every West Allisonian? West Allisite? It may also explain the curious phenomenon of low per capita income and large GOP voting base in the city.

Titles used: "A Leeson in Being me" / So Sue Me

from Existallis II

BRIAN

Like if a drunk guy in West Allis crashes his Firebird into a tree and no one is around, does it make a sound?

 

ALEX

I think there’s always someone creeping around in West Allis.

 

BRIAN

I suppose you’re right. Why is there a chocolate taste in this porter? I just want a porter that tastes like porter.

 

ALEX

Yeah, I think that’s what we’re all after. Maybe that’s how we market our stories. “When you want a beer that tastes like beer, it’s in West Allis.”

 

BRIAN

But we’re in West Allis, and my porter has hints of chocolate and coffee.

 

ALEX

I guess everything changes.

 

BRIAN

And nothing is as it seems. Like this conversation. It’s not anything like our last meeting about the book.

 

ALEX

That’s for sure. We talked more about relationship issues and your relocation away from the Milwaukee area. I don’t know if we mentioned the book at all.

 

BRIAN

That probably means we’re done....

read more here

Sister City - Jacksonville, FL

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Only Way to Avoid The Reverse Mortgage Disaster
    I've seen several news articles about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. I also saw that we've set up a fund to help people when they get stuck with a reverse mortgage here in Florida. But the simple answer that most older people don't want to hear is that there's only one way to avoid disaster with a reverse mortgage: don't get one.


    The ad that inspired this reverse mortgage article claims that Americans have trillions of dollars just sitting there, not being used. The problem is that a reverse mortgage isn't using that money, either. It's using the house that's worth that money as collateral for a LOAN. It's a loan that needs to be paid off when your house is sold. You can make mistakes and end up losing your house.



    The better advice for anyone already retiredor looking to retire is to sell. I know, you love your house, all the stuff in it, the neighbors you wave at, the same big box retail down the road, and all the stuff in the house. It's basic economics: if you own something outright worth $500,000, sell it for $500,000 and rent a nice condo for 20 years. If you take out a reverse mortgage, then you can get $250,000 towards a condo for 10 years, still pay property taxes and insurance on the house, and continue to maintain it so that in a decade, you'll make enough money to pay off your reverse mortgage loan. New AC, new roof, new driveway? That would all eat into the profit on selling your house that you'll need to cover all the interest on the loan. Don't pay a bank for the right to live in a house for your entire life. Avoid reverse mortgages at all costs.
  • Rental Bikes Aren't Exactly For The Homeless
    Local news was down in St. Augustine covering the newly-proposed use of some kind of bike-share rental system. Since it's standard operating procedure, a homeless man was interviewed about the program. He said something to the effect that it would be good to have options for someone like him who can't afford a bike. FYI local news and homeless people: bike rental programs are not really created for the homeless.




    Since I don't claim to know the biking habits of the typical homeless individual, I'm going to assume it involves getting to a place and then back home. Home being a structure in a field outside of town, not where you'd be able to return the bike for credit. My understanding would be that these folks would need the bike to get to and from "work," each and every day. Based on a similar rental system I found online, the 24-hour rental is $24. Alternatively, an annual pass is $80. The problem is that the trips can only be 60 minutes each. Assuming the homeless camp is close enough to downtown, this might work as a way to get around once in St. Augustine. Not a bad yearly price to not have to worry about bike maintenance, anyhow. If you're homeless already, and now you can get as many maintenance-free trips on a bike as you can use each day, then $80 for the year isn't bad at all.

    But wait, there's less. The yearly pass will need to be paid for with a credit card with a fob mailed to an address. So even if these ride share bikes makes sense to homeless people, it might not be something that can be purchased without the help of someone with credit and an address. It might seem like a lot of people would volunteer to do this, but any extra time or any damage would be billed to the credit card, so I certainly wouldn't volunteer my credit in the hopes that someone else will always return the bike in time (or at all). The Cincinnati bike share, for example, charges $1,200 for a bike that is not returned.

    I have a $1,000 bike. At least someone paid $1,000 for it back in 1986. I picked it up amidst college moving day garbage at UW-Milwaukee back in 1999. It was already worth $0 at that point. I've used some tape to hold it together, but it's still worth about $0. Since I'm probably not the only person in the area with a worthless bike, I'm thinking a bike donation for the homeless might make more sense than saying they should be using tourist bikes. That's not to say that bike shares don't have a place in St. Augustine, just that it might be meant for rich tourists instead of homeless interviewees.
  • Bored Cashier is a Marketing Opportunity
    Most of the times that I've been to car dealerships, I don't really notice the cashiers until it's time to pay. The dealership I went to recently to get an oil change, however, had a cashier right in the waiting room (which was also the location of the service and parts desk). Efficient placement that should probably lead to employees working hard, since they are in front of each other and customers. For this particular cashier, however, it was 90% texting in her chair along with 10% taking payments/other work, and it's a missed marketing opportunity.



    Before we venture too deeply into the car dealership cashier job description, I will make an observation: most car dealership employees are men; most cashiers at car dealerships are hot, youngish women. Being hot is seemingly part of the job of a car dealership cashier. I'm good with some eye candy: back when I worked on the dock at The Boston Store (high-end retail), there was all kinds of pretty girls on the floor, especially in women's fashion areas. But our cashiers were expected to fold clothes or bother customers when not working the cash register. Where I was on the dock, it was the standard, "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean." I know, not everyone follows the rules all the time, but that's the idea. 

    Our lovely cashier at the local car place, in the two hours I was there, received a few packages, could not help find some packages that had been lost, and checked out fewer than ten customers. In fact, when I was being checked out, my service rep did all the work instead of the cashier, so she stood there and watched. 

    I started to think that a bored cashier at a car service department could be marketing gold. She's already pretty, probably has lots of social media followers, and would rather be communicating with "friends" than being forced to sit there without a phone. She could be like the bored Maytag repair man, representing the fact that these cars don't even need repairs. Maybe selfies with a browser open to the current inventory. She probably has over 1,000 followers on more than one social media account.

    Actually, I'd probably just do that with her: have her post about the cars, in her own voice. "OMG this pickup would make any guy a hottie!" I'd give her a list of current automobiles for sale, and then have her talk them up, focusing on all the cool features that would be da bomb. I'd probably set her up with a blog, like the one you're reading, and just tell her to have fun talking about why the cars are so swell, or whatever term the kids are using these days. Sure, some fashion and makeup advice would also be fine. 

    Or, if you want to keep it to the service department, she could take selfies with the other employees and then add short bios about the guys that will be working on the cars. Basically, it would be like her friends are working hard at fixing cars rather than some guys we never see back in the service area. 

    Something, anything. In fact, she's probably bored because she has to sit there and post/read all day long. The shift probably seems like forever, even if she's checking out Lily's Instagram or Hailey's vlog. Those girls are so fake, anyway, and their parents don't make them work while they're in college.