A Tribute To My Mandy

Today, there is a complete and utter hole in my heart.  My soul mate, best friend and constant companion, Mandy, passed on at 11:37 a.m. Scottish time on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, in her own home nestled in the arms of her owner.

Born December 13, 1997.  Trained to be a guide dog through her youth and worked with great expertise and love serving Robert Whiteside until her retirement from her toils on July 18, 2008, when Mandy graced our home with her wonderful nature and presence.

A complete delight to any and everyone, always greeting each & every person who came through the door.  Seldom barked, never showed pain or discomfort.  The only thing that pourer out of her every pore was complete love and acceptance of everything and everyone.

Always by my side, sleeping next to my bed at night; lying with her throat over my shoe as I toiled away on my meager writings or joining me in the kitchen as I cooked away for customers or for our daily needs.  Staying by my side at all times.

My life and house seem so very empty just now.  Think this one will take me a bit of time to get over.

My Mandy will always be in my heart and in my soul.  And, may I rejoin her when my time comes to go to a kinder and gentler place where she now resides.

Rest In Peace Mandy Kaze.  And, My Most Sincere Thanks For Sharing Your life With Me.





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msnbc new services reports –

Headline:  “Swiss banker vows to hand secrets to WikiLeaks”

This guy’s name is Rudolf Elmer and all I can say is “Good On Him.”  Another former banker that at least has a little conscious left but God will he pay a price for it.  Like me, I am sure he got to the point that he just could not look himself in the mirror to shave in the morning anymore while knowing that he would have to go out and continue to do “that little magic” that helps the banks, the wealthy, the corporations and the politicians hide their wealth and shady dealings while they build more wealth that they do not need.

Of course the politicians are involved up to their eyebrows.  If there is money in it for them, the politicians will always be there lining their own pockets.  To “Hell” with those that they are supposed to be representing – that is their motto.  It matterS not what party they claim to represent.  They solely represent themselves.  That is just the system.

The report states, “A Swiss banker whose actions caused a U.S. judge to briefly shut down WikiLeaks three years ago has promised to hand over a trove of banking secrets to the secret-spilling organization on Monday.”  That is actually today and I cannot wait to see what he has to release.  The man they are referring to is Mr Elmer.  Damn, Wall Street, High Street & every other financial center in the world as well as the multinational corporations, wealthy & privileged have to be “shaking in their boots.”  The politicians who protect these folks while taking their payoffs for themselves must surely have their “panties in a knot” worrying if their names will show up as well.  None would have to worry at all, if they were not about to be discovered “stealing cookies out of their neighbors cookie jar.”

A better poetic justice could not happen as it is these people who have caused millions of people worldwide to lose their jobs, their homes, their dignity and their hopes for a decent life while lining their own pockets “smiling all the way to the bank” with no conscious or regret for what they have done.  Wouldn’t it be nice if at least some of them finally were forced to “pay a price” for their actions?

The report says that Mr. Elmer plans for the “Releasing of bank details of 2,000 “high net worth individuals” and companies that could reveal huge potential tax invasion.”  Good old Rudolf knows where he is coming from.  He is quoted as saying, “I have worked for major banks other than Julius Bauer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering.”  Hell, let you or I do something like that, and we would “be cooling our heals” in the nearest prison for a good number of years.  Seems there are two sets of laws anymore.  The written ones that the peasants & serfs of societies have to live by.  And, an unwritten set of laws only for the wealthy & privileged.  But, I guess, that is the way it has always been.

Those implicated include, “business people, politicians and people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates – from both sides of the Atlantic.”  Mr. Elmer’s simple explanations is, “What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures.”  God, I could not agree with him more and I certainly tip my old “Cowboy Hat” to him.  God bless him for having the backbone to take on these privileged and powerful people.  If more of us would have the courage to do that, perhaps things would change.

Actually, this should not be a surprise to anyone.  It has been going on since man kind first started walking on this earth.  As the old saying goes, “The rich have always f_____ the poor.  Always been that way.  Always will be that way.”

We can change it.  It just takes a little effort and courage.

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Wall Street – The Kings May Soon Have No Clothes

I just have to break away from my work on my novel for a wee bit of time.  This one is just too good to pass by.

Now, what would bring the top executives of the largest financial institution in the world out of their multi-million dollar mansions to attend an emergency meeting at company headquarters during the holidays?  The bone chilling fear that all their underhanded and possible illegal dealings will be revealed and “The Kings” as well as the “Princes and Princesses” could be standing naked in front of the public having to answer once and for all for their greed and arrogance.  Boy, these folks surely must have their “panties in a knot” which brings a huge smile to my face.

Headline:  “Facing WikiLeaks threat, bank plays defense, Bank of America conducts internal investigation in wake of Julian Assange comments”

Nelson D. Schwartz of the New York Times reported on January 3, 2011, “By the time the conference call ended it was nearly midnight at Bank of America’s headquarters in Charlotte, N. C., but the bank’s counterespionage work was only beginning.”  What the shit?  A counterespionage team?  Bloody hell, the B of A is not fighting a war to protect the well-being of mankind.  They are fighting a war of greed and excess.

What caused this earth shattering emergency event bringing together some of the highest paid people in the world?  Julian Assange, the director of WikiLeaks, indicated in an interview that “he intended to ‘take down’ a major American bank and reveal an ‘ecosystem of corruption’ with a cache of data from an executive’s hard drive.”  For me.  All I can say is “Good on him.”  About time some of these people started paying for their actions.

These vain and arrogant “privileged few” could not believe that their every day actions in the board rooms and posh offices could ever become public.  Their motto is “keep the public blind and ignorant.”  That is why you see so much “fine print” in every document you receive from them.  The very thought to any of them that their actions would ever become public and they could be held accountable is simply unimaginable.

Schwartz goes on to report, “a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials, led by chief risk officer, Bruce R. Thompson, has been overseeing a broad internal investigation – scouring thousands of documents in the event they become public.”  Mind you, these folks earn more in a day than most of us do in a year if we are lucky enough to have a job.  What are they doing?  They are spending their time trying to cover their asses rather than doing the job they are paid to do.

It doesn’t take a mental genius to realize that there are many things that this company has done that they do not want anyone to know about.  It is our money, our future and the future of our children, that they are supposed to be looking after but the never-ending culture of greed and power has corrupted them all and has turned their hearts to stone.

The company has even brought in “Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, to help manage the review.  It also sought advice from several top law firms about legal problems that could arise from a disclosure. . .”  Now doesn’t this sound like people who may have some dirty laundry in a closet somewhere that they want no one to have any knowledge of?

Damn, I was part of that crap for over 20 years.  I saw it happen on a daily basis, day after day.  No concern about what is right and just.  It was all about the dollar, power, prestige and pretense.  Screw the common folks so long as we have ours while looking down our noses at the peasants and serfs.  Sort of sounds like our governments these days.  But why not, they are all in bed together.

For me, I think it is about time to bring them all down and start all over again.  And no, I m not saying this sitting in the lap of luxury and not having to worry about paying the basic bills for myself and my family.  When I told them to “shove off”and walked away, the money that I had supposedly earned went out the window but I had my soul and dignity back.

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Signing Off For Awhile

I will be going back to work on my novels after a long break from that process.  Thus, it will be a bit of time before I may be posting comments.  That is unless there is something that I see that is just too amazing not to comment on.

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Suicide – Merrill Lynch Style

Headline – “How Merrill Lynch help blow up their firm.  ‘Million for billions’ group saw short-term advantages but long-term disaster!”

Jake Bernstein and Jessie Eisinger analyzed it all in an article on msnbc.com.

The whole self-destruction of Merrill Lynch did not surprise me at all.  I worked for them for a number of years back in the 80s and 90s.  That is where I broke into the business which I worked in for over 20 years including being a member of the Board of Directors and heading up a division of a banking firm.  I know all too well how things work.

I finally could no longer look myself in the mirror when I shaved in the morning.  I just chucked it all in 2003, gave away or sold everything I owned and went on to another life.  I am flat broke now but I am much happier.  I now longer have to sell “things” to people that they do not need to make me or the company more money.

It was amazing in those days.  Back then we called it “Mother Merrill.  Many days the manager of the office would announce that Mother Merril was underwriting some type of security or another.  The office was given a certain number of shares of that security that had to be sold and, of course, the salesmen were given extra compensation for doing so.  It didn’t matter whether it was the right type of investment for the client or prospect.  You just had to sell it one way or another and you made a lot of money doing so.  You simply had to “move it” or lose your job.  Every day after work when the markets closed you retired to “Merrill Lynch South” after work – an expensive bar a couple blocks down the street for a drink or twelve then returned to the office to do some more calling to sell even more “things” and make more money.

If you care about nothing but money in your own pocket, then it is an ideal job to have.  Hell, it doesn’t matter whether the client makes money or not.  With each sale, you and the company make more and more money no matter what happens.

You bet, the money and prestige that it brings can be intoxicating.  Hell, I had it all.  The fancy home, the fancy clothes, the fancy cars, travelling all over the world on someone’s else’s “dime” while staying at the most expensive hotels or resorts.  Yep, I had it all.  But, I had no peace of mind.

Now, like I said, I am dead broke.  I wear nothing but blue jeans and tattered shirts everyday of my life.  And, I love it.

Bernstein and Eisinger report, that when Merrill Lynch realized that their mortgage-backed securities were worthless, they simply formed a new division of the corporation.  The reporters state, “Bank executives came up with a fix that had short-term benefits and long-term consequences.”  The executives that created it passed on part of their huge bonuses onto those working in that division “according to two former Merrill executives with detailed knowledge of the arrangement.”

The reports go on to reveal, “Within Merrill Lynch, some traders called it a ‘million for a billion’ – meaning a million dollars of bonus money for every billion taken on in Merrill mortgage securites. . .The group was being compensated for how much it took, not whether it made money.”  Eventually Merrill had to sell out to Bank of America and the tax payer picked up the tab for it all when Bank of  America went belly up as well.

In the end what happened to these folks who masterminded the destruction of Merrill Lynch?

According to the report, “They walked away with millions.  Some still hold senior positions at prominent financial firms.”

Beware of Wall Street and High Street and all of those type of folks.  It is the dollar (or the pound) that rules everything.  Decency and honesty mean nothing.

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What Happened To Common Courtesy & Decency?

Yesterday, I hobbled down the lane to the chemist out in the bitter cold on the icy sidewalks shuffling along while using my cane (stick) so I would not fall again.  I had some necessary prescriptions to pick up before the holidays.  You see, I have TN and PN,  These conditions make it very difficult to get around and the cold aggravates the conditions.

As I shuffled down the lane, the people would not even move aside so I could get by and make it to my destination resulting in even more pain and difficulties.  I finally made it to the chemist and picked up my prescriptions.

As I was making my way back home to get out of the cold and off the treacherous lane, I came across an elderly woman trying to help an even older man using two canes while shuffling down the lane on the ice.  They were struggling just to take one step at a time while people who were physically fit just passed them by not even offering to help.  I just could not believe it so I offered to help.  Tying my bag of prescriptions around my cane, I grabbed one of the elderly man’s arms while the elderly lady held his other arm, then the three of us tried to shuffle down the icy lane.  The people on the lane would just not get out-of-the-way so we could pass so I ended up hitting a few of them with my cane so we could get this man to where he needed to be to be picked up by a cab to go and see his daughters.

The smiles on these people’s faces and the appreciation they showed for this small act were overwhelming.  I just saw couple of folks in need of help and took a little time to help.  Masses of physically fit people passed us and not even one looked at us much less offering to help.  They were too busy talking on their mobile phones or chomping away on their carry out food while throwing their garbage on the streets.

I know I am a little older now, but it has not always been that way.  I remember a time when folks looked out after each other.  A time when people always checked on their neighbors, especially those who were disabled or elderly, to make certain they were all right.  A time when folks were not  so self absorbed and tied to their mobile phones 24 hours a day no matter where they are.

As I observe such things, all I can ask is what went wrong?

What is it out there?  Are we all so self-absorbed that we cannot even look around and see that there is a world out there?


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Pets – Our Salvation

If you have never had a pet, you don’t know what you are missing.  Pets bring you peace and serenity in this crazy and chaotic world that we live in.

I have always had pets of all kinds around me – dogs, cats, parrots – you name it, I have had them all.  They have been my best friends and such a huge part of my life.  More importantly, all have brought me peace and joy loving me unconditionally no matter the mood I may be in.  So unlike human beings.

Unfortunately, I have had to hold on to so many of them and give them comfort while feeling the last breath go out of their body as I tried to thank them for giving me the honor of sharing their lives with me.  Each and every one of them are etched into my soul and always will be.  And, thanks to my Mother, I have paintings of most of them hanging on my walls that I go to a gaze at in time of trouble.

God, what creatures they are.  They do not judge.  They do not criticize.  And, certainly not one of them would ever do anything but try to bring you peace and joy.

My old Mandy is laying by my feet as I do my meager writings which is where she always is.  When I am feeling out of sorts, she even gets closer.  She doesn’t ask questions.  She doesn’t criticize.  She is just there in support of me no matter what.  A grand old gal that I brought into my home when she turned 10 and could no longer be a guide dog.  My lass has now been with me for over three years.  She turned 13 just last week – quite old for a Lab in Bonnie Old Scotland.

I am quite certain she will not be with me all that much longer.  It just breaks my heart as I see her struggle to try to get up on her failing legs or listen to her hack and cough due to the throat problems she has now.  But Damn, what joy that old gal has and does bring me.

As we sit in the early morning hours while I write away, she and I joke about who will pass on first but we always guarantee each other that no matter what happens we will be together in another life in a better place surrounded by my many other “friends” who have passed on before.  I will have a wonderful painting to hang on the wall as my Mother is doing that now.

Should my Mandy pass on before I do, I just cannot imagine a life without a pet.  And, should that happen, there will always be another hole in my heart.

Pets are God’s blessing to us, or whatever higher power there is out there.  Be thankful for them.  Cherish them.  And never ever mistreat them.




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