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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Beer, Macaroni, tRump's Latest Lawyer, the Phillips Curve and Hatred vs.Pity

Beer Thoughts

My favorite beer is Funky Buddah’s Floridian, a German-style wheat beer brewed locally by a Fort Lauderdale (actually Oakland Park) brewery.  I pick it up at gas stations and occasionally at supermarkets.  Some of the restaurants I visit around here even have it on their menus.  The slogan on their bottle reads “Find the goodness within.”  An added feature is when you remove the bottle cap (it doesn’t just twist off, you need an old fashioned opener), there is always a message on the cap’s inside.  Today’s message was “Seek Truth,” and with that in mind, and twelve ounces of Floridian in my stomach, let’s start today’s blog posting.

Jack Lippman

Overheard on an Island

Some Russians were sitting around talking in a café on one of the Greek islands:

How much did he stiff you for, Gregor?

In rubles or dollars?

Let’s keep it in dollars?  (Thinking to himself, Jack may put this on his blog.)

Okay, about 30 million.  It was to enable him to clean up some outstanding paper he was responsible for and which ended up in the hands of the Columbian drug people.

You mean he dealt with those people?

No, no.  He owed it to some South American Bank.  Originally, it was to finance some huge hotel in Antarctica, I think.  They had given up on his ever paying them back, so they sold it to a bad-debt broker in Bogota and he must have passed it on to the drug guys.  Nobody likes to deal with those people.  They’re animals.  The chop off fingers.  That’s why I ‘m sure he must have been hugely relieved when I lent him the 30 million to clear that one up.

But he still owes it to you, right?   You should have asked me first.  Do you regret lending it to him?

Yes, sort of, but Moscow tells me not to worry about it and keep my mouth shut about it, and if worse comes to worst, they’ll take care of me.  But I really don't want to have to do that.  Really.  That could be another big problem. Actually, I shouldn’t even be talking to you about it.

C’mon, I’m your father!  But look who’s here.

Hi, fellows.   Let me order a round of drinks.  Just got off a plane.  Waiter!  Another bottle of vodka!

They got an airport here?  I usually take the water taxi from Chios.  Where were you?

Cyprus, checking on the bank.  Those guys are crooked as the day is long.  They’re even worse than the ones in the Caribbean, Iceland or Africa.   They’re robbing me blind.

I know, I have done business with them, but it’s a wonderful way of moving money around with no real record of who’s at either end of the transaction.  Better than Switzerland. 

You know, Gregor, while I was there I bought some outstanding paper, mostly bad debts, a couple of billion worth, at a real bargain price.  One piece of it was that 30 million he owes you.  I didn’t know you gave it out to them for collection.  I paid five million for it, so if he ever pays up, I stand to make a nice profit.  Doubt that he ever will though.  I figure that’s why they got rid of it so cheaply.

That was supposed to be confidential, but, hey, how do I get paid? 

Look for a letter from Cyprus is about a week.  They'll probably offer you two or three million, take it or leave it.

Screw them.

Better than nothing, son.  Doubt if he’ll ever come through.

Look, we can’t sit around all evening.  When is that lawyer guy going to show up?   You know, the one the man who runs that big macaroni company in the States is sending.   And how much is he willing to pay for us to talk to him?

The President's New Lawyer ... and he is a Doozie!

Whether or not he is being investigated, or is turning up in the investigation of others … such as Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort … the president has seen fit to hire a lawyer to look out for his interests.  Because tRump’s “regular” attorney, Marc Kasowitz,  is without Supreme Court experience nor work in the area of Federal investigations, the new addition was sorely needed.  But the president really reached into the depths of the right-wing sewer which irrigates his administration to find Jay Sekulow.  Chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (hold your breath when you look up that group’s pedigree) and a long time champion of evangelical and conservative Christian causes, Jay Sekulow is a media pro who has called himself a “reasonable fanatic.” That’s just what the pursuit of justice needs, more right-wing fanaticism.  Read all about it in a great article in a recent issue of the Forward. Click right here, right now!

Economic Thoughts

The Fed just raised the prime interest rate a quarter of a point (25 basis points).  That means that it will cost more, primarily for businesses (which cannot exist without credit), to borrow.  The increase was justified because the unemployment rate has dropped significantly and that means employees will be harder to find, and that should result in wages going up.  With more spendable money resulting from these higher wages, consumers should create increased demand for products, raising prices, resulting in inflation.   Businesses will need to borrow to meet this demand, regardless of the slightly higher interest rate.  

This kind of logic, whereby less unemployment results in higher wages is known to economists as the Phillips Curve.  As the preceding paragraph suggests, this can lead to inflation.  The Federal Reserve can keep a lid on inflation by raising that prime rate, which is what banks pay to get the money they lend out.  A little inflation is desirable, but too much is no good.  Then no one can afford to buy things, regardless of how much money is in their pockets.  So that interest rate is a tool to control inflation.  Raising it too high will discourage businesses from borrowing, slowing down expansion, reducing hiring and bringing back unemployment.  Keeping it too low will discourage banks from lending, with that same result.  They will just sit on their assets.  It’s something that must be finely tuned.

Oddly, however, despite reduced unemployment and an increased need for employees, wages have not really increased.  This may be due to technology changing the jobs which are available, requiring different, perhaps lower-paying, skills than were historically in demand, the outsourcing of certain jobs, the presence of low-paid immigrant labor as well as the decreased involvement of unions in fighting for higher wages for employees.  Hence, a crucial element resulting from the Phillips Curve theory, increased demand, may be missing, throwing a monkey wrench into the whole theory.  Increased demand historically causes the inflation which theoretically can be harnessed or balanced by raising the prime interest rate. That’s where I get lost.  And economists start to disagree with one another.

Okay.  Confused?  This is why I have always believed that economists are in a class with alchemists and astrologers, and since scholars in that field (Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson) with diametrically opposing views have both won Nobel prizes, I take all of this with a grain of salt.  (I won't even get involved with Keynes and Hayek, both of whom have irreconcilable differences and loyal believers.)

What I do know, however, is that what our country needs are jobs resulting from economic growth, regardless of monetary policy.  Whether the fruits of that economic growth go to the already wealthy and the businesses which created it or to the American people in terms of real wages and benefits, including health care, is the crucial question of the first half of this century.  What starts out as an economic issue becomes a political issue, with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other.

Both agree that economic growth benefits the American people.  Democrats tend to believe that income redistribution (though they will never use that word) through higher taxes on business and the wealthy to provide augmented government support for education and safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as well as what is broadly referred to as “welfare” for those who need it is the way to go. 

Republicans believe that the same goals can be achieved through the private sector, with the benefits of growth generously “trickling down” to the American public through higher paying jobs, with as little government involvement as possible.  Of course, both of these positions are over-simplifications.  Your thoughts are welcome.

American Hatred - Perhaps "Pity" Would be Better

It’s a short step from political disagreement to political hatred.  Many of those who disagree with the position of the President on many issues have let their opposition blossom into outright hatred of the President.  They feel justified in manifesting this hatred because of what they view as a presidency and an administration based on lies, misrepresentation, highly questionable objectives and grounded in profound ignorance of the issues with which a nation must deal.  In their mind, these things warrant their hatred.

Similarly, Barack Obama was hated by many because of a belief that the changes he brought about were contrary to their ideas about what traditional American values were, changes which to them were alien or even subversive.  (There also may have been a racial component to this hatred on the part of some.)  Both Obama and Trump were bringing about changes which then seemed and now seem very, very misguided to their opponents, so very basically wrong that their disagreement quickly changed into hatred.  Similar hatred, with similar justifications, was directed at Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930’s.  In their minds, these presidents crossed a line and were deserving of hatred.

Most other recent presidents may have been exposed to an opposition which disagreed with them, but few have experienced such bitter hatred by their opponents.  In American history, the only presidents which have been exposed to the depth of hatred with which Trump, Obama and FDR have had to deal with may have been Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.  And today’s communication techniques greatly magnify that hatred beyond the limits of previous centuries.  But in our governmental system, it is really wrong to “hate” the president, our legally elected head of state.  

I suppose that I am among those who “hate” Donald Trump.  He has told so many lies to his gullible supporters, insulted so many of his countrymen, appointed so many ill-suited individuals to important government jobs and so damaged our relationships with the nation’s traditional allies that I have felt that he deserves my hatred.

Maybe I am wrong.  Perhaps he deserves pity more than he warrants hatred.  He is what he is and cannot be blamed for that.  Here we have a born-wealthy, fairly bright man, whose entire upbringing and life experience have been in a part of the business world where ethics are not quite the same as those observed by others.  For example, physicians and lawyers follow professional codes which supposedly govern their behavior.  Even those in banking and on Wall Street try to profess belief in some sort of ethical rules of behavior.  

Real estate developers follow different rules.  If it is legal and they can get away with something, it becomes acceptable.  It is a dog eat dog world where exaggeration, misrepresentation and chicanery are the tools one carries with them every day and where successes are judged by material acquisition, and not by the benefit one might provide to others.  It has been that way for him from day one.  He even wrote a book about this way of thinking.

Are these sufficient reasons “to cut him some slack”?   Sadly, they are not when the welfare and future of America’s citizens are at stake.  But they may be sufficient to suggest that we treat the president with pity rather than hatred.
This pitiful man knows no better and in his mind, really believes that what he is doing is right and that his critics are wrong.  And by positioning himself with a family of beautiful people in palatial surroundings, he reinforces his convictions.  He has done this his entire life.  “Look at me,” he says to himself.  “If I were wrong, I wouldn’t be where I am today!”  And just as this approach was enough to create Donald Trump’s successful career, it also succeeded in convincing enough voters to get him into the White House.   

This has set up the president as fair game for some truly evil people to take advantage of him to further their nefarious and far from democratic goals.  Unlike Donald Trump, who may deserve our pity, they are the ones who deserve our hatred. Some of them are in his cabinet.  Many have been elected to office by people who should, but don't, know better.  Others are deeply involved in financing the causes his party espouses, the ramifications of which he might not even fully comprehend.

If we want to talk about hatred, these people harbor it for their fellow citizens, including those who put them into office!  Look at the laws they propose!  See whom they will benefit.  See whom they will hurt.  Ignore the lies they spout daily.  And I wager YOU know who they are!   Unlike the President, they do not deserve your pity. They only deserve the return of their hatred of toward YOU!  It is okay to hate THEM.  They are up to no good.



Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by clicking on Riart1@aol.com and sending me an Email.  

BY CLICKING ON THAT SAME ADDRESS, Riart1@aol.com   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)


HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Visas, Football, a New (final?) Chrissy Frost Story, the "Art of the Deal" and the Second Amendment

Visas and Football

H-1b Visas are complicated things.  They allow non-immigrants to come into the United States to work for up to six years when Americans are not available to fill certain jobs, mostly in the broad area of computer engineering.

Because English is their primary language, most of these workers come from India.  About 65,000 of such visas are available each year to college graduates and another 20,000 to those with more advanced degrees.  Individual companies, mostly in the tech field,

hire some of these at salaries well over $100,000 annually but individual contractors also hire many, usually at somewhat lower salaries, and then farm them out to the tech companies.  It is a very complicated, convoluted process and the current administration, in its efforts to create jobs for Americans, would like to curtail this program.  Of course, the companies using this kind of labor, many in the Silicon Valleys of our country, would like to see it continued, if not increased, because of lack of available Americans to fill these jobs. The question I ask is why is our own educational system not able to produce sufficient talent to fill these positions.

The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, Florida, opens its 2017 football season in less than three months with a game against the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The game is being played in Arlington, Texas.  Hmm.

Florida State University, located in Tallahassee, Florida, opens its 2017 football season that same weekend with a game against the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  That game is being played in Atlanta, Georgia.  Hmm.

These two games have nothing to do with the educational functions of the four universities involved, although a good number of their students will make the lengthy trips necessary for them to witness the games.  Many others will watch the games on television, probably at weekend parties centered around them.  In that sense, they have a negative effect upon the schools’ educational functions.  They take up time and energy which might be more profitably used!

These games are a far cry from the beginnings of intercollegiate athletic competition where students from neighboring schools would get out into the fresh air and play a game against one another as a break from a week of tough academic work.

Similar distractions will take place for at least eleven more weekends on the campuses of these schools, and most other colleges in the United States. (Of course, institutions like MIT, Cal Tech, the University of Chicago and a few other places that remember what the purpose of higher education is, will not partake of this Autumnal ritual.)  And I might add, it continues afterwards into the basketball season, culminating in what is called “March Madness,” involving 64 institutions of higher learning.

Of course, there are many students who totally ignore their schools’ infatuation with intercollegiate athletics and strive to study, learn and progress into graduate work and the job market.  But many, although awarded a diploma at the end of four or five years, are unprepared to enter a job market which is primarily, and increasingly so, a technical one.  And hence, the employers of America find themselves having to turn to programs like the H-1b Visa program.

I am sure that universities in India do not devote the time and energy to intercollegiate athletics which is found in higher education in the United States, and this shows up in the number of their graduates possessing skills which not enough American graduates possess.  The same may be true of European and certainly Chinese universities, but their graduates are not involved in the H-1b program to the extent that Indian graduates are.

University of Mumbai campus building.    They do have a stadium seating 55,000 but it is used for their national sport, cricket, and as a concert venue.

A footnote to this might concern the academic qualifications of some of the athletes in many major intercollegiate athletic programs in the United States.  They take up seats which might better be occupied by real students.  Some would not be accepted in these schools were it not for their athletic abilities and some often get involved in personal behavior which would disqualify them from continuing as students.

A few years ago on this blog I offered a solution to this problem.  I will rehash it in a future posting.  We must do something or eventually, far too many of our technical positions will be occupied by those whose education took place, or at least started, outside of the United States. 

If you think I am being excessively alarmist, do a little checking yourself as to who are the CEOs today of Google, Adobe or Microsoft.  (Okay, I know you won’t do that. They are Sundar Pichai, Shantanu Narayen and Satya Nadella.)  If this tickles your curiosity, check out the banking and financial industries as well for similar trends.  It might make you a little queasy as you watch, if you still have the stomach to do so, the Gators play the Wolverines on September 2. 

Jack Lippman

The Art of the Deal - Annotated

Here are the eleven basic points made in Donald tRump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.”  My comments (in green) follow each one. The quotes are his. (or his ghostwriter’s)

1. Think big
"I like thinking big. I always have. To me it's very simple: if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big."     Nothing wrong with that.
2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself
"I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst--if you can live with the worst--the good will always take care of itself."    That can be very expensive if you started off “thinking big."  Living with the worst can work out, of course, if one is very, very rich, and has access to a personal bomb shelter.
3. Maximize the options
I never get too attached to one deal or one approach.  I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first."  Ah, but in government, you are responsible for all of those balls in the air.  You just can’t let them drop or “fall out” like casinos in Atlantic City or a team in a failing pro football league trying to compete with the NFL.

4. Know your market
"I like to think that I have that instinct. That's why I don't hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don't trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions." Nothing really wrong with that except that some people “like to think” a lot of things, but that doesn’t make them right. 
5. Use your leverage
"The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you're dead."   But what if you are actually desperate to make it?   Must you pretend you are not?  Lie a little?  A lot?  Mislead people?
6. Enhance your location
"Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location...First of all, you don't necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal."   Settling for second best might be the best deal for a developer, but not for a nation.  At least not for our nation.
7. Get the word out
"One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better...The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you."   Even if those things are not true.  Yes, orange hair, red hats and elongated ties attract attention!
8. Fight back
"In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”  Nothing wrong with that, so long as you have the ammunition with which to do it.  That can’t be faked.  You can’t fight back by lying or making things up.  People catch on to that as you point out below.

9. Deliver the goods
"You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."  Lying will take you only so far.   But it is a tool which can be used by those who are ethically challenged.
10. Contain the costs
"I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should."  So long as it is someone else’s money, who cares.  That’s what banks are for.
11. Have fun
"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score.  The real excitement is playing the game.” The Presidency is not a game, schmuck!

Second Amendment Contains 27 Words, Not 14

Many legislators, as well as some politically-motivated Supreme Court Justices, choose to ignore the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment to the Constitution which are “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state …”  The next fourteen words, the core of the beliefs of those who consider that amendment sacrosanct, are “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  But the Second Amendment has twenty-seven words in it, not fourteen!

The right of the people to keep and bear arms (beyond doing so in connection with that now obsolete requirement implied by the entire Amendment's original intent that State militia members not be restricted in gun ownership, thereby enabling them to have them to bring with them when called to duty) must be limited to weapons intended for hunting, self-protection and sport activities

Beyond this, all weaponry, including assault rifles, should be strictly regulated so that they are not available to fall into the hands of those with evil intent or mental issues.  Normal, law-abiding citizens have no need for them.  There is no reason why the NRA should not support this position if indeed that group is a patriotic organization.

This is the eighth and probably the final story in the series of very short pieces featuring Chrissy Frost, singer, senior citizen and Queen of the Condo Circuit.  Who knows, I may someday combine them into a book.  For the first seven installments, check out my 2016 blog postings  dated July 11 (How Chrissy came to be a Florida entertainer), July 27 (The story of a loyal fan), September 6 (Her family’s history of being lucky), November 10 (The first of three episodes dealing with some not-so-nice people), December 21 (The second episode) and the 2017 blog postings dated February 14 (the third episode) and May 1 (Chrissy combats a Freudian eating disorder).  Once again, let me remind you that all characters in these stories are fictitious and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.  I apologize to anyone who happens to be named “Chrissy Frost” (I am sure there are many) and anyone who happens to have tangerine colored hair.
Jack Lippman

Birthday Party!

It was quite a gathering.  Everyone was there to celebrate her 75th birthday.  Herman Blotz, her agent from New York had flown down.  Sam Fink’s widow, Estelle, was sitting alongside of Dr. Tobias Fink, the shrink specializing in off-beat remedies who had cured Crissy’s elevated cholesterol problem.  Actually, he was a second cousin of her late husband.  In fact, this evening, he was wearing one of Sam’s old maroon blazers.  Dr. Lopez was there too, as was the antique expert who had confirmed that the tin bell Chrissy always carried in her purse was actually four hundred years old.  Seated at the head table with Chrissy was Cleopatra Cohen, now a Regional Director with the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Of course, Chrissy’s sister-in-law, Stella, dressed to the hilt was there too, running from table to table, showing off her jewelry, most of which wasn’t real.

Chrissy's Party's Setting Before Guests Arrived

Some of the folks from Valencia Heights where Chrissy and Stella still lived were there.  Chrissy didn’t play cards or do much in the place, but they all were proud that the brightest star in the galaxy of performers who entertained at the weekend shows during the “high season” at the many retirement communities in Palm Beach County was one of their own.   The MC who had introduced her when she made her first Florida appearance in a retirement community was still around and had donned his old tuxedo.  He stepped up to the microphone and a hush came over the audience.  “Ladeeeeez and  Gentlemen,” he intoned, “Presenting, Miss Chrisseeeee Frossssssst!”

A pink spotlight settled on Chrissy who stood, waving at everyone. “Time After Time,” they shouted, and Chrissy complied with the song that had made her famous from West Palm Beach to Boca Raton.  The applause was deafening.  After doing a couple of encores (“You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Goldfinger”), Chrissy looked over across the ballroom and was amazed that she had made so many friends in South Florida.  And it all started back when she was sitting tearfully in Herman’s crummy office in Manhattan and that poster with the palm trees advertising the Sunshine State caught her eye. And here were at least a hundred people who thought enough of her to have made four and five figure donations to a cancer-fighting charity to enable them to be with her as she celebrated her 75th birthday at Mar-a-Plago.

The lights dimmed and the dance music the orchestra was playing ceased as a spotlight fixed on a door off to the right.  And through it he walked, a little stouter than most expected him to be, but wearing his elongated red tie and his tangerine colored mop. 

“Chrissy,” he said, “People call me all the time telling me how truly great you are, and now I can see what they are talking about.  Too bad we didn’t meet a few years back when I could have put you on a really major TV show.”  By now he had walked across the ballroom, as the smartphone cameras clicked away, right up to where she sat.  Putting his hand, which was a bit sweaty but not really small as some folks have said, on her back a little too tightly, he looked down at her and said, “I have a great surprise for you on your birthday, Chrissy!”  He looked toward the door at the left of the ballroom and pointed at it.   As a spotlight focused, four uniformed guards came into the room, leading two men in orange jumpsuits.

“Nutsy!” Chrissy screamed, running up to the shackled newcomers.  “You almost killed me on that beach, you son of a bitch,” she cried out as she tried to spit in his face.  Nutsy, still agile even after two years of his prison sentence, quickly ducked, her spit landing just above the knot of the long red tie worn by the man who had thought he was doing Chrissy a big favor by getting Nutsy flown in from Leavenworth Federal Prison for the evening, along with Rocky who was attempting to smile at Stella. 

After he finished wiping the spittle from his chin, he tuned to Chrissy, his face turning the color of his hair, “I thought I was doing you a favor, but I guess you’re just another bimbo.  Get out of my damn place!  Whoever let you ever book your damn event here in the first place?  You got no class!  But don’t try to ask for a refund.  We don’t give ‘em, baby!”

“No one talks to me that way,” Chrissy answered as she swung her cane, which she always carried but rarely had need for, at him.  It struck him at the bottom of his long red tie and he bent over in pain.

Not that it has anything to do with the story, other than illustrating the lenght of the tie referred to above, here's a picture of a well-known actor doing a less-than-flattering imitation of the President.  (Identity at end of story spelled backwards.)

Meanwhile, Cleopatra  Cohen had gotten up and grabbed Chrissy with one arm and dragged her away, latching on to Stella with the other.  “We gotta get out of here fast, girls!”

Flashing her DEA badge and shoving aside the bewildered security people in the room, Cleopatra Cohen headed for the door with her charges and once outside, jumped into her waiting SUV and headed over the bridge crossing the Intracoastal Waterway.  Thirty minutes later, she dropped them off at Valencia Heights.

Over the next week, when their friends tried to contact Chrissy or Stella, they found their house completely emptied out and no trace of either one of them.  In fact, when any one inquired about either of them, all they got back were sideways shaking of the head.

Meanwhile, in what she thought was a luxuriously furnished DEA safehouse somewhere in Lower California, Chrissy sat doing her nails.  Turning to Cleopatra, she asked “How come the government has the money to keep this wonderful place down here in Mexico while they never had enough to run a decent operation in the States to catch those drug smugglers?"  

Cleopatra smiled.  “Whoever said this was a government operation?  And what do you think ever happened to those drugs we captured on the beach?"

Chrissy finally understood.  “If I’m hearing you right, we can never go back to the United States,“  she replied.

“That’s right! And since they’re building a wall, that would be pretty difficult anyway. Chrissy, you’ll have to learn to sing in Spanish!"

And she did.

* “Una y otra vez, me digo que soy, tan afortunada de estar amandote … “
Jack Lippman

*“Time after time, I tell myself that I’m, so lucky to be loved by you …”
 (peerts lyrem)

Many readers of this blog are alerted by Email every time a new posting appears.  If you wish to be added to that Email list, just let me know by clicking on Riart1@aol.com and sending me an Email.  

BY CLICKING ON THAT SAME ADDRESS, Riart1@aol.com   YOU ALSO CAN SEND ME YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR COMMENTS.  (Comments can also be made by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link at the blog's end.)


HOW TO VIEW OLDER POSTINGS.                                                
To view older postings on this blog, just click on the appropriate date in the “Blog Archive” midway down the column off to the right, or scroll down until you see the “Older Posts” notation at the very bottom of this posting.  The “Search Box” in the right side of the posting also may be helpful in locating a posting topic for which you are looking.

To send this posting to a friend, or enemy for that matter, whom you think might be interested in it, just click on the envelope with the arrow on the "Comments" line directly below, enabling you to send them an Email providing a link directly to this posting.  You might also want to let me know their Email address so that they may be alerted to future postings.

Jack Lippman