Trump and Bush, Pot and Kettle – 2

So why does Jeb Bush reek of hypocrisy when he accuses Mr. Trump of using eminent domain for his own benefit? Here it is. But first, I need to set another scene for you and I’ll do it by telling you something you probably already know. Two of the largest industries in Florida are tourism and citrus. Today we’re going to talk about the citrus industry and the very special way they have of pissing people off—thanks to Jeb. I’ll leave my opinion on tourists for a future post.

Okay, setting the scene down and dirty without a lot of poetic waxing. Big citrus was a big donor to Jeb Bush and his gubernatorial career. Yet during his first term he didn’t do too badly when it came to giving in to the special interest groups interested in him. It was one of the reasons I voted for him twice. However, with nothing to lose after being reelected, Jeb used his second term to pay back those he owed and he owed Big Citrus, big time.

Big Citrus had a big problem in Florida and it had to do with competition. Florida has the perfect agricultural environment for growing citrus trees, in particular, juicing citrus trees. Florida citrus isn’t the best for eating but it’s great for juicing. That’s why Florida has so many huge and lush citrus groves; each and every one of them full of juice. And all those groves are owned by Big Citrus. At first glance, competition doesn’t seem like much of a problem right? Well it is, or maybe I should say, it was.

Part of the problem Big Citrus had was that the same soil conditions and environment that made their groves so productive, also made privately owned trees in backyards across the state, very productive. Personally, I had an orange tree, a grapefruit tree, and a key lime tree. All three were mature and fruit producing. By the way, the fruit was absolutely the best juicing fruit ever . . . period . . . bar none.

I always had fresh squeezed orange and/or grapefruit juice whenever I wanted. The fruit juicer was a fixture on my kitchen counter. Two grapefruit cut in half made a full glass of juice, three oranges cut in half did the same. It was the best juice ever and I had more of it than my family could drink.

Now, for the conflict of interest:

If you’re in the business of selling OJ to the masses, there is only so much money that you can ask for a glass of juice. Let’s keep the math simple and say that the most you can sell a glass of OJ for is $1.00. After that, the demand starts to decrease and it doesn’t matter if you sell that juice in Illinois or Oklahoma, you still only get a dollar. From that dollar you have to deduct all your costs of which shipping and storage is a big part. Add in everything else that it takes to get a glass of OJ to Chicago or Tulsa and you have a lot less profit than if you sold that same glass of OJ in say, Fort Lauderdale or Orlando.

As for me and a lot of people like me, Big Citrus never sold us anything because we had plenty of our own. Yet pound for pound, or more accurately fluid once for fluid once, Floridians represented the most lucrative citrus market of all. Shipping and storage cost were all but nothing. However, private tree owners like me weren’t buying juice. If anything, we were selling it or worse yet, giving it away. Big Citrus had a big problem but what could they possibly do? Step in Jeb and his government authorized tree stealing company, Asplundh.

The Asplundh tree removal service arrived at my door three separate times. The first time I answered the door wearing my sidearm. The crew leader and his cohorts didn’t look overly impressed with the gesture, probably because it wasn’t the first time it happened. But they got the message and turned back, got into their trucks, and drove away. Here’s an interesting fun fact. Have you ever seen an Asplundh truck? They’re orange! The irony was cruel. In all honesty, it didn’t go quite as smoothly as the Reader’s Digest version might imply, but at the end of the day, I made sure that my poor trees would live to see another sunrise.

A week or so later I received a letter explaining how illegal it was to hinder a government contractor in the process of executing its contractual duties. About a week after that they arrived again. This time I answered the door with my sidearm drawn, but pointing down. I didn’t have to say a word. The orange trucks left. Two days later, the orange trucks were back but this time there was another vehicle leading the way, a BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) cruiser. They stopped in front of my house and the Sheriff got out; the tree thieves stayed in their orange trucks.

At the time I was living in Broward County hence the BSO officer walking up to my front door. I knew he was there, I knew the tree thieves were there, but I waited until he knocked and announced himself before I answered the door. I used the time to decide whether or not to arm myself. I wisely decided not to. The officer and I had a long discussion and to his credit, he was very polite, sympathetic, and maybe even empathetic, but the law is the law, and Jeb Bush’s debt to Big Citrus was going to be paid off in part, with my trees.

By now you’re probably wondering how Jeb Bush was able to justify coming into my backyard and stealing $15,000.00 worth of citrus trees. Furthermore, he did it with the BSO’s blessing. Hell, I couldn’t even call the police to report a robbery; the police were already assisting in the crime. There had to be a perfectly logical reason for this travesty of justice, something for the greater good, something justifiable, something other than . . . politics.

Well, there was. It’s called Citrus Canker. Big Citrus and therefore, Jeb Bush, said that in order to protect the commercial groves from canker, they had to eradicate the infected trees in the surrounding area. So they drew circles on a map and said any trees that were infected within those circles had to be removed. Why circles and not squares or triangles? Beats-the-shit-out-of-me. Following their logic, any shape would have worked.

After drawing their circles and settling on a pattern, it was time to send out the inspectors. Sure enough, all the trees growing within these circles were found to be sick and had to be destroyed. Also birds, bugs, and other tree dwelling species could pick up the canker and spread it, so just to be safe they had to draw more circles. Then, just to be sure they didn’t miss anything; they drew more circles around those. It was like giant sunflowers were springing up all over the map of Florida and these horrific flowers had only one purpose, to devour every privately owned citrus tree they could find.

If even just one sick tree was found in a circle, all the trees in that circle had to be removed. And then they would draw more circles around that to continue the process. I guess things weren’t going fast enough for Big Citrus so they started drawing circles in areas where no canker was found. Regardless of whether a tree was sick or not, if it was within two circles of a sick tree, it was removed. How big was a circle? It was as big as it had to be in order to contain an infected tree. The circles got bigger and more numerous by the day. I’ll bet that there was an official state certified Office of Circle Drawing in charge of the process, because Jeb was determined to pay back his debt as soon as possible. Technically, that’s an honorable personality trait to have, except when through eminent domain, you steal other people’s property to do it.

It took a few years but eventually, the privately owned trees were gone. My trees were not sick, nor were they lucky. In the end, there was nothing I could do to save them. A circle was drawn and they had to go. It was a sad day. I never tasted fruit juice like that again, and I probably never will. But that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part was the slap in the face Jeb gave me after he stole my trees. My payment for $15,000.00 worth of fruit trees was a Wal-Mart gift card for $100.00 which came with a stipulation; it could not be used to buy another citrus tree.

The story goes on and there is more to tell. Like the fact that most of the people who could afford to defend their trees in court were successful. In fact, if you did sue, the state would usually back off, but you had to have the money to go forward with a real legal challenge. Why did the state back down? Because a lot of these challenges were bring hidden truths to light like the fact that the source of the canker was the groves and not the surrounding privately owned trees. And the fact that canker does absolutely nothing to harm the tree or the fruit, it’s simply cosmetic and the juice is fine. I ask you, when if ever, have you taken a look at the orange that went into your Tropicana? If you did, I’ll bet it still has some black spots on it. That’s the citrus canker.

The bottom line for us average Joes and Josephines was simple. We got a big FU from Brother Jeb, and $100.00 Wal-Mart gift card for taking it with a smile. Oh, and in case you were wondering, that wasn’t one gift card per tree, it was one card per property containing trees. Add to that a life-long tariff of having to pay retail premiums for over processed Shit Orange Juice and you have a pretty good reason not to vote for Jeb.

Just between me and you, sometimes I wish I never owned those trees; you can’t miss what you never knew. So take it from someone who really knows, and still remembers, store bought OJ or grapefruit juice really is shit. You might as well save your money and drink Tang. I do.

Go get’em Trump . . . and FU-Jeb!

 

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Trump and Bush, Pot and Kettle – 1

Normally, I don’t bring political discussion to this blog unless it has something to do with writing. But I have a few pet peeves and this one has finally made it to the forefront, so I’ve decided that it’s time to talk about it. By the way, here’s my disclaimer. Yes, I’m a contemporary fiction writer and no, the things I’m going to tell you are not imaginary. It really happened.

First, let me set the scene. Apparently, a few nights ago the New Hampshire Republican Primary Debate took place. I don’t know if it was broadcasted nationally and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. All I can tell you is—if I could have watched it, I wouldn’t have. I live in Florida, not New Hampshire. It’s why I wasn’t interested enough to find out if the debate was televised and it’s why I am eminently qualified to write this post.

The candidates are currently using the divide and conquer strategy, which means they pair off and rather than attack the democrats as a cohesive group, they attack each other. Good for the democrats, I suppose. Anyway, one of the most talked about and heated exchanges happened between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush and it had to do with the subject of eminent domain. If you are a reader of my blog then I know by definition that you are intelligent and understand completely the concept of eminent domain. But for those of you who are new and haven’t begun to absorb the brilliance of L. Davyd Pollack (through osmosis), eminent domain is where the government can come and take your stuff. It doesn’t matter what it is or how much it’s worth. They take it from you and they pay you what they want. It’s never a fair price and the average Joe or Josephine losses big time. Furthermore, even if you have connections with the government, the price is never fair, of course in this situation, the government pays too much and the tax payer (Joe and Josephine) gets hosed, again.

Okay, back to Trump and Bush. During the debate the back-and-forth escalated and both candidates were talking over each other to the point where Trump shushed Bush. Members of the audience could be heard groaning in response to the shushing to which Trump responded. He did it by calling out the few noise makers as part of the donor class and he was right. I’m here to tell you that Trump is hitting the nail on the head.

While Trump may have used eminent domain when he was a businessman, not a candidate for political office, Jeb used it when he served as Governor. And he did it in order to pay back a debt to one of his biggest political donors. In the spirit of full discloser, I voted for Jeb twice and . . . hindsight is 20/20. I would never vote for him again, for anything . . . ever!

The reason? It’s a bit long and somewhat convolute which is why I’ve broken it up into two posts. I will do my best not to bore you with the follow up. And Mr. Trump, if by any chance you have someone on your staff looking for a heads up from a very small voice hidden amongst the masses on the internet, I have something you may want to explore. In Jeb’s case it reeks of hypocrisy (the pot calling the kettle black). He accused you of using eminent domain in an attempt to acquire the property of an elderly woman. Well, in Jeb’s case there was no attempt, he actually has confiscated private property all over the state of Florida and here’s the kicker, it wasn’t real estate. Furthermore, some of that property belonged to me and there is no doubt in my mind that some of that property also belonged to elderly women.

The down and dirty is in Trump and Bush, Pot and Kettle – 2

Why I’m Glad January is Over

There are more than just one or two reasons why I’m glad January is over, but there is only one I’m willing to talk about today. As a writer of contemporary fiction, I’m always trying to find new and better ways to promote my work. Part of that includes enlisting the help of paid consultants, whose advice (since I paid for it), holds a lot of weight. By the way, so do I: this will be clear in a moment.

One of the things we writers have to do is internet marketing through blog posts. Personally, I like blogging, except when I’m told that I have to do it. Which is also why I like being an indy writer. There’s no publisher, agent, or editor hounding me about deadlines. I write what I want, when I want. It’s great for the creative mind; not so much for the creative wallet.

Anyway, my internet marketing consultant suggested that I write one blog post per week. I countered with one per month citing my full-time job as the excuse for not having time for more. Eventually, we settled on two per month and that really is a reasonable expectation.

As it is, January came and was more than three weeks old with no blog posts by yours truly. My marketing guy noticed the deficiency and in an entirely professional manner, meant only as a well meaning suggestion, sent me an email with ideas for a blog post. He said January is an awareness month and that I should consider this list as possible topics.

 

Weight Loss Awareness Month [1]

National Codependency Awareness Month [2]

National Mentoring Month (United States)

Stalking Awareness Month (United States)[3]

Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (United States)[4]

Healthy Weight Week (United States)[5]

 

Okay. I get the main idea of an awareness month designation is to bring difficult issues that may go unnoticed into the public eye. But . . . for those of you who have never met me, I’m about 5-7 and 235 lbs. And in case you haven’t already noticed, January, the month after all the gluttonous holidays are over—begins and ends with weight loss.

Bahhhhh – Humbug!

I know that treadmill is under this pile of clothes somewhere.

 

Alley Cats to a T-Bone

In my last couple of posts, I tried to illustrate why it’s so hard for an author to make a living by writing. Hopefully, I succeeded in that endeavor so that this post will be well received. The truth is, as authors, we’re just way too close to our work to effectively sell it. That’s why we have a hard time doing things like writing blurbs and synopses.

Quite frankly, I’m probably like 99.9% of all other authors who can’t figure out why it’s so hard to get the word out. Hell, all you have to do to find a dozen alley cats is throw a day old T-Bone out the window an viola, cats. I may not know much, but I’m pretty sure my fictional musings are better than a leftover T-Bone.

At least one can hope.

Anyway, when it comes to marketing I was stumped once again with the same old question. What else can a writer do to get the word out? So, I enlisted the help of Miranda. For those who don’t know, she’s my girlfriend, my brown-eyed girl, capable of seeing past my obstacle of close proximity (reference my last two posts).

When I asked her what she thought I should do, she responded like someone tasked with pointing out an elephant in the room. She said, “Why don’t you write an interactive post. People like getting involved and this way you can enlist the help of others too.” The not just me implication sunk in later.

Needless to say, my proximity disability immediately kicked in and it took her another half hour to explain why this was a good idea. I’m still skeptical but here it goes. A big part of marketing is getting the word out, and to that end, I put forward this challenge:

To all my followers (Blog, FB, Twitter),

While you are reconnecting with family and friends as the holidays approach, take a moment to mention this new novelist you came across. His name is L. Davyd Pollack and he has some interesting things to say. Check out his website and blog. He’s also on FB and Twitter.

Notice that I didn’t say anything about buying a book. The challenge here is to get the word out to at least ten new followers in all fifty states (not 57, I’m not greedy). That’s it, ten new followers in each of these United States. And for the new followers, make sure to touch base with a post to let me know your home state.

Thank you all for your help and hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

BTW, and this is not part of the challenge, but if any of my followers are looking for a gift that their special someone doesn’t already have, try one of my books  . . . Just saying.

Happy Holidays to all,

Davyd

 

Books Be That . . . My Child

Let’s see.

Where do I start?

I wish this subject were something

near and dear to my heart.

 All rhyming aside, it really would make my life as an author a whole lot more convenient. But then, I wouldn’t be a writer, I’d be a marketing manager or more specifically, a book marketing manager working on ways to market my books. That’s what I want to talk about today, book marketing. And yes, it’s an absurd subject for anyone who considers themselves a real novelist. Here’s why.

 I’m going to assume that any adult reading this will be able to empathize with the following scenario regardless of their parental status. And to broaden the range, if you aren’t a parent but do consider your pet(s) as part of the family, that will do nicely. OK, back to being an author who is expected to be able to make a living from selling his or her books.

 Selling your own book should be an almost impossible task, and if it isn’t, I personally think there is something seriously wrong with you. Picture yourself standing behind a table with portraits of your children, and /or pets displayed proudly. Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. It’s a big room (as in book fair), and there are a hundred other people doing the exact same thing.

 

Suddenly, a stranger who you’ve never seen before and probably will never see again, walks up to your table, picks up the picture of your first-born son and says, “How much for this one?”

You smile with glee and pride, “$14.95.”

Remember, you are not selling portraits; you are selling your heart and soul. As far as you’re concerned, it’s a steal at twice the price. But your customer says, “Oh, I didn’t realize he was that expensive. How much for that one?” The customer points to the picture of a much smaller child, your first-born daughter.

“$8.95.”

The customer doesn’t even touch your daughter’s picture. Instead, she starts to back away.

 You think fast and before you have a chance to rationalize the consequences, you shout, “I’m running a special for today only. Both children for $19.95, while they last.”

 A second smile appears, but this one is on the face of your customer. She isn’t smiling because she just bought two brand new and beautiful children: children, both of whom represent the best of your being. No. She’s smiling because she just bought them for a discount.

Davyd

 

Hi guys,

I’ve had a request from a fan. Yep! I got a few. He asked if I would extend the free promotion on “Brothers.” Originally, I was only going to do the two-day deal, but for my 2.63 fans and approximately 50 followers of this blog, I’ve extended the promo one more day. I might extend it through the weekend . . . probably not, we’ll see.

I know, it’s awfully magnanimous and benevolent of me, but I’m generous and kind (for those in Rio Linda) like that.

Thanks all.

 father, son, physical, disability, cat million, dollar, house, car, bills, moral, dilemma brother, fraternity, college, roommates, teammates, friend women, career, family, power, girlfriend BookCoverImage SJ&M

 

Bad Blog Etiquette, I’m Sorry

I know. I started this blog last month and banged out a handful of posts then . . . nothing.

I’ve been a bad boy and I apologize. But just because I’ve been bad doesn’t mean that I’ve been lazy. Actually, I’ve been very busy with a new aspect of publishing and overwhelmed is probably a better term, not lazy. 

At first, I thought it would only take one or two days to finish and I’d get a good post or two out of it. I was wrong. It took over a month and I’m still not done, which means I now have a series of posts to do.

So yeah, I’m back, but before I get into my first posting series, I think I’m going to explore a fun idea that just came to me. I’ll work on it this morning and maybe a little in the afternoon if needed.

Here’s a hint: World Series seventh game.

Keep an eye out.

father, son, physical, disability, cat million, dollar, house, car, bills, moral, dilemma brother, fraternity, college, roommates, teammates, friend women, career, family, power, girlfriend BookCoverImage SJ&M