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

 

2015 (fall) Meet The Authors Book Fair

So here I am, back after an eight-month hiatus from blogging. Why so long and why am I back now? Well, first and foremost, I have something interesting to talk about. However, it isn’t writer related. Rather, its publisher related and for once, it’s good news. BTW, in case you don’t already know, I’m self-published.

 

That said, here we go. November 21st & 22nd was the weekend of the Fall Meet The Authors Book Fair sponsored by Authors For Authors. You can visit them at www.authorsforauthors.com to find out more about what they do. Anyway, as for the book fair, it was my first time participating in the Fall Extravaganza and I had high hopes for a glorious triumph in sales. There was just one problem . . . it rained on Saturday and then, it rained on Sunday. Yeah, you guessed it. Traffic was slow and just to illustrate how slow, many of my fellow authors wrote off the entry fee and packed up early due to a lack of sales.

 

Fortunately for me, I have some retail experience so I know that sometimes you get sales just because you’re the only one left with something to sell. This was the thought that kept me, along with my outstanding sales crew (Miranda and the kids), going through those long and rainy days.

 

It was a good thing too because at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, L. Davyd Pollack sold out. Yes, for the first time ever, I sold out. Yep, did I mention the fact that I sold out? That’s right—I sold out. And . . . yeah, I sold out . . . Okay, Okay, I won’t bore you with any more bragging about how I went to a book fair on Saturday with two big boxes of books and when I left the book fair on Sunday, those big boxes were empty. Why? Because I sold out.

 

But the truth is; I couldn’t have done any of it without the help of everyone who got up from the couch, got in their cars, braved the ugly skies, and came out to the Meet The Authors Book Fair. Even if you didn’t buy a book, I want to thank you. And for those of you who did buy, I sincerely hope you enjoy your new read. You have purchased a small treasure written by an author with a fresh voice, that hasn’t been homogenized into the reprocessed regurgitations of commercial writers with big brand names and little else. Every self-published author has poured their heart and soul into the book you are about to read and all that work was done for free (no million-dollar advances here). So keep an open mind and a forgiving heart when you come across something that isn’t quite right.

 

As for those of you who bought a book from me, I just have two things left to say. Thank you and . . . uh—all sales are final.

 

 

. . . an Award Too?

. . . an Award Too?

All right, so it’s been a few days since I checked my email. I know, sacrilege, but everybody who knows me, knows that regarding emails (same for v/m and social media), the message gets to me, but it can take a while. Anyway, it was sometime around the middle of last week and I’m still feeling good about the success of the Cocoa Beach book fair. BTW, you can read all about it in my post, After the Book Fair, 3-28-15. It’s a fun read even if you didn’t attend—but I’m getting off the subject.

So there I am checking the email: and what do I see? The Modern Theologian, https://themoderntheologian.wordpress.com , has nominated me for a Liebster Award, but before I had a chance to read anything else, the power goes out at my house. I don’t have a battery backup so that was all I knew. I was nominated for an award. Why was I nominated? What on earth did I do to earn it? Is it an April fool’s joke? If not, what is a Liebster Award anyway? I had no clue and so I sat, waiting for the power to come back on.

We have a lot of power outages where I live. They aren’t very long, maybe a minute or two, but sometimes they can last for hours. I waited and waited, then waited some more and then . . . it was time to go mow the lawn. Unfortunately, I don’t need electric to do that.

The next day the power was back along with my curiosity. I binged The Liebster Award and to my surprise, I discovered that it’s a real thing and apparently, it’s something everyone who has a blog knows about, except of course, me. I read on and learned that the only thing you need in order to be nominated is a blog with fewer than 200 followers (+ or – a few 1000, the rules are fuzzy here). Well, no problem, I got that in spades. Then I read more and the truth was unveiled. The rules seem to be open to interpretation as time goes on but—I will do my best:

  1. Thank the person who nominates you.
  2. Answer the ten questions asked.
  3. Ask ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Acknowledge the Liebster Award, and link to your nominator’s blog.
  5. Pick ten new nominees and inform them that they have been nominated.

Yes, the rules sound an awful lot like a modern twist on the old chain letter idea, but there is another aspect that can’t be ignored: the opportunity to network. I really don’t understand why doing something like this draws a crowd, but it does—case in point. I guess that’s what constantly baffles me about social media marketing. For example, I can post a picture on facebook of my cat in the process of editing my latest novel (she uses claws and teeth, not a red pen), and that will get a thousand hits if not more, but a free excerpt from the very same novel gets zero. If I combine the two (picture & excerpt), that’s what I’ll get, two hits. Regardless, none of it ever generates book sales.

As such, I draw a distinction between my blog and the rest of social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.). Maybe that’s a big part of my misunderstanding but to me, there’s is a difference. I like to blog, and the rest of it . . . well, I like to blog. That said—a blog, just like any other form of social media, needs exposure to be successful. This part I do understand and chain letter issues aside, the Liebster Award is an opportunity for exposure. So thank you for the nomination TMT. And thanks to all of you who take the time to read my blog, and especially, this post.

My Liebster Award Q and A

As a supremely honored and grateful recipient of the coveted Liebster Award for Fine Journalistic Blogging . . . oh—uh, excuse me. That was an impromptu divergence into what I call, The Writing World, but I’m back now.

Yes, it is still something of an honor to be thought of and recognized by your peers, but with honor comes responsibility, and mine begins with answers to Theologian’s 10 questions.

  1. What do you do to unwind from the problems of the day?

If I haven’t already done so, I throw on a pair of jeans, t-shirt, boots, and depending on the weather, a long-sleeve shirt or jacket. On the way out the door, I grab my helmet and keys. Then, after a reasonable warm up, I’m thundering down the road on my V-twin. I installed Slashcut Cobra Headers, re-jetted and hand tuned the carbs, and then added a few more finishing touches including a K&N filter (hence the thunder). I gave up pedal power for horsepower when I was fifteen and found serenity on two wheels ever since. The bigger the problem the longer the ride.

  1. You’re given a time machine that can make only one trip, when would you go, and why?

If you go back in human history just five hundred years, intelligent life on this planet was pretty naïve. Who knows, maybe intelligent life on this planet is still very naïve. I would love to find out how it all ultimately works out. To the future and beyond.

  1. Has Earth been visited by aliens?

You obviously haven’t met my ex-wife.

  1. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?

Mast . . . Daydream. I got into a lot of trouble, daydreaming.

  1. You can solve one of the world’s problems…which one?

Ignorance.

6   What is your favorite book, that one that you could read over and over and never be bored?

The easy answer is the Bible, but I’m a writer and if I’m truly honest, I’d have to say the dictionary, not because I’ve read it cover to cover, but because I read from it and learn, almost every day.

  1. Stuck on a desert island, what one food would you want?

Most desert islands have coconut palms for milk; all I need are Krispy Kreme mini-powder donuts.

  1. Do you have an unrequited love?

Yes. You didn’t ask whom, or better yet, what, and I thank you.

  1. What was your favorite subject in K-12?

Auto shop.

  1. Whom would you want to have lunch with?

I had a dog when I was a kid and he was always there for me. I’d love to share a bologna sandwich and a Slim Jim with him again . . . just to say thanks.

Now for my ten questions, and no, I won’t require elaboration. That’s entirely up to you.

  1. Salt or sugar?
  2. What is the color of pain? Black is the absence of color and can’t be used.
  3. If accomplishment is a derivative of success, what makes you feel most accomplished?
  4. Power or fame?
  5. How many times can you read the same book or see the same movie?
  6. Nine times out of ten, the book is better than the movie. Why?
  7. If it were possible to choose, what animal (other than Homo sapiens) would you be?
  8. What is the one thing that you don’t really have to do, but really, really want to do?
  9. What would you do if you were given a onetime moral and legal pardon?
  10. Are your answers to number 8 and 9 the same?

 

And last but not least, my list of nominees:

www.mytwosentences.com

www.carolec55.wordpress.com

www.mywordpool.wordpress.com

www.suesbent.com

www.realmomsdontjudge.com

www.thedailybubbletea.com

www.pukahworks.wordpress.com

www.luckyottershaven.com

http://www.jaimiengle.com

www.samaraspeaks.wordpress.com

And one more for good luck

www.alifethroughbooks.wordpress.com

 

Okay guys, thanks for hanging in there with me. And to the nominees, remember, it’s about networking.