Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Basically It

I came once to sit on Cold Mountain
And lingered here for thirty years.
Yesterday I went to see relatives and friends;
Over half had gone to the Yellow Springs.
Bit by bit life fades like a guttering lamp,
Passes on like a river that never rests.
This morning I face my lonely shadow
And before I know it tears stream down.
Today I sat before the cliff,
Sat a long time till mists had cleared.
A single thread, the clear stream runs cold;
A thousand yards the green peaks lift their heads.
White clouds—the morning light is still;
Moonrise—the lamp of night drifts upward;
Body free from dust and stain,
What cares could trouble my mind?
The clear water sparkles like crystal,
You can see through it easily, right to the bottom.
My mind is free from every thought,
Nothing in the myriad realms can move it.
Since it cannot be wantonly roused,
Forever and forever it will stay unchanged.
When you have learned to know in this way
You will know there is no inside or out!
- Han-shan, translated by Burton Watson

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Grant Mercantile Agency, a Better Business Bureau Center of Excellence

So now for a little more realness...

I've received an harassing letter, written in all caps, from the Grant Mercantile Agency of PO Box 1903, Oakhurst, California -- telephone number (559) 683-4651.  In the letter (from Desk 59) they assert I am indebted to a King-American Ambulance Company to the tune of $2523.60.

If the above didn't cause a spit take, let me explain:  I'm familiar with King-American, having seen their van-conversion, fly-by-night meat wagons trolling around downtown San Francisco, never with their emergency lights and sirens running.  I myself have never been in one, but had I, I assume my insurance would have covered the trip to whatever hospital they contract with (who that could be, I have no idea.)

As for Grant Mercantile Agency, I haven't checked to see if they are indeed a (ahem, cough, cough, nudge, nudge SUBTLE) legitimate collections agency.  I simply don't have time in the day.  Suffice it to say, if they're inclined to purchase debts from the likes of King-American, they're not likely to be in business for much longer (if in fact they haven't folded by the writing of this post.)  I assume they needed some proof from King-American that I in fact was serviced by those rent-to-own EMTs -- some proof that doesn't violate HIPAA statutes.  I'd hate to think they assumed this debt on a spoken assurance and an e-mail handshake.

Low-hanging fruit here, readers.  Anyone want to take this on?  It's probably as entertaining as it sounds...

UPDATE:  Apparently, Grant Mercantile has been strong-arming debtors since 1972, but I wonder if they've ever taken up a debt from a health care provider before -- particularly without proof that the health care provider (in this case, an ambulance company that goes who knows where) actually provided care to the debtor in question.  I'm going to e-mail them just to see what they say...  P.S.  I had no idea they actually had an A+ rating from the Inland Empire Better Business Bureau before I wrote the title -- color me psychic.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brass Pole

Two people, a man and a woman, are having a conversation at the bar of the SAGGY RACK, a strip joint on the outskirts of Colma popular with gay men and off-duty cops.  Junebug, the bouncer and handyman, is tall, lanky, bug-eyed, wears coveralls and has a big, lopsided Afro -- his mannerisms suggest he's never left the Deep South.  Charity is one of the dancers -- she's had enough work done to look vaguely feline.

JUNEBUG:  Well, the way I reckon it, m'dear, is that we need our Mr. Willamses.  Just like we need our overseers, our Janet Renos, our Hitlers.  I mean, what would cotton candy, kittens, fireworks, and 16 year-old coalburners mean to us without evil?  Alls I'm sayin' is, think about it.

CHARITY [adjusts her bra strap]:  That's very wise, Junebug -- I've misjudged you.
     Oh, and Junebug?

JUNEBUG [begins sweeping the floor around him]:  Yes'm?

CHARITY:  The back of the toilet's gettin' rusty again.

JUNEBUG:  Yes'm.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

To Rest Is Not A Privilege But A Right...

CALLING ALL CALIFORNIANS:  I vehemently urge all of my readers from the Golden State to do what I am going to do:  write to or call your representatives in Sacramento and tell them you support the Right to Rest Act, SB 608, the point of which is to decriminalize poverty and homelessness.  Thank you, Sen. Liu!

Read more here.