LACKING FINESSE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Tuesday – FINESSE

It must be my age. I no longer have any finesse at all. I sometimes get what I want, but it’s more bludgeon than finesse. I seem to have lost my charm especially in dealing with people who tell me “We have to charge $8 to send you a 15 ml bottle of eyedrops for your dog.”

“No,” I said. “You don’t HAVE to charge me $8.00. You have decided to charge me $8. The cost is actually $3 and the plastic bag is another $1. So you’re making a big profit on the shipping. Even if you add another dollar for handling.”

“You could use our auto-delivery service. Then delivery is just $3.”

“Right, but these are eye drops. Liquid. You can’t calculate quite that precisely for a liquid.”

“That’s true,” she admitted. “Auto-delivery isn’t a good choice for  liquids.”

I got her down to $5, which is what it was the last time (mid-May) for the delivery. No matter what she said, there is — not UPS, USPS, or FedEx — NO delivery service who charges that much money to deliver a product so light you might miss it being in the envelope at all.

So where did my finesse go? Down the drain along with the salary I earned.

Pet adoption agencies are always trying to convince you to adopt senior dogs. Gibbs was 9 when we adopted him and at 13, he is beginning to show his years. Going a bit deaf these days. He is less energetic and more inclined to prolonged naps. So when agencies urge older people to adopt older dogs, are they offering to help pick up the costs that older pets will inevitably generate as they age?

You bet they aren’t. No senior discounts for senior dogs or senior people. I’ve lost patience with price gouging. A good finesse used to be a winning strategy, but I’ve never known it to work with any kind of customer service. They don’t respond to wit, humor, or irony. Hit them hard where it hurts and maybe — if you are lucky — you’ll get something back.

If you can convince the company that lowering shipping costs — which are now more than double the cost of real shipping — go for it. Whatever gets the price down.

What We Can Do!!!! – Reblog – Judy Dykstra-Brown

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I’ve been saying for some time that it isn’t enough to rail against the conditions in the concentration camps currently being filled with those seeking asylum in the U.S. We need to propose some solutions. Today I received a communication that offers solutions–or at least ways in which we can support those attempting to institute measures to end the atrocities in these camps. Here is a link to view what is happening in the camps–many of them run by a big-time contributor to Trump and several senators as well as a list of things you can do to help. 

Some excerpts from the link above: 

But why are these camps any different from the detention centers we’ve been hearing about for the last year?  Elizabeth C. McLaughlin explains why: 

“These concentration camps (let’s call them what they are) will be under the control of the Department of Homeland Security, but within the Department of Defense. Unlike ICE facilities, which allow site inspectors inside, there will be no inspection of military-run camps. 

 The military will be able to deny access to anyone it chooses. No media. No oversight. Lawyers will not be allowed in. Human rights monitors will not be allowed in. The camps will also be protected airspace, meaning that no drones can fly over them to take pictures of what’s going on inside. The Trump administration will be able to conduct itself in whatever way it wants to without anyone knowing what’s going on inside.” 

THE WONT OF WIT, THE BATING PLACE OF WOE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 6-24-19

Are you more a thinker or a doer?   

Either I just do it and then have a lifetime to think about how I — if I’d thought about it more — could have done it better or preferably, not at all.  As an alternative, I think about it, decide not to do it, then spend years wishing I had done it.

As a third choice, I think, rethink, change my mind, begin the process, stop — write something or take a few pictures — while completely forgetting what I was going to do. When finally I remember my original intention, it doesn’t seem all that important so I read a book.

Why is beauty associated with mortality?

Because dead people putrefy? Because rotting bodies aren’t as attractive as live ones? Even when that individual — when alive — wasn’t beautiful they look worse when dead.

As proof of this statement, I have yet to see a single advertisement for anything using rotting corpses. I mean — seriously — dead people don’t enjoy beer and don’t look good in snug jeans. I’m pretty sure if advertisers aren’t using corpses (who would probably not need to be paid, so it would definitely be to their advantage to work with the dead), it’s probably because corpses are not attractive.

But when I die, hey, if you think this is a good idea, by all means. I’m pretty sure I won’t care.

If everyone spoke their mind (told the literal truth), would this world be a better place?

No. It would be just like it is but worse. Life would be harder, colder, and even more full of blowhards who don’t bother to give a moment’s thought before running their mouths. It’s bad enough now. That would make it oh so much worse.

It would finally and completely eliminate manners (such as they are). It would dispose of any remaining civility, kindness, politeness, delicacy, and good taste.

Your mouth is not supposed to be where random crap just falls out. We are supposed to think. That is why we have brains — which are supposed to be in charge of our mouths. Ponder that.

In the toilet, things just “fall out.” When they stink, you flush them away.

Sadly, once said, you have put it into the world and can never make it go away. There’s no flushing your words. They sear permanently on the minds of whoever is unlucky enough to hear them.

Your mouth isn’t supposed to be the verbal end of your anus. What comes out of it is supposed to have polish. Class. Wit. Elegance. Kindness. Compassion. Love. Maybe even brilliance. Toddlers say whatever flows into their unkempt young minds and that’s okay. They were born to learn and we teach them to not grow up and continue to act like toddlers.

Remove the training in manners and civility and the world would be all adult toddlers. The idea is nauseating. We have one of those in the White House. Isn’t that guy our national huckleberry?

I am sick to death of people who think they are “special” because they don’t know when to shut up.

We went to a party (left early) where one (drunken) woman was blathering endlessly about how proud she was to have started smoking again now that she was done with chemo and cancer. She was proud of this. She has a daughter. What’s her message?

The first amendment protects free speech. It isn’t a license for everyone to say anything, anytime, anywhere, under any and all circumstances.

What happened to class? Grammar? Elegant phrasing? Facts before opinions? Where went wit and cleverness? Concepts based on research? Has intelligence gone completely out of style? If it has, we are doomed.

Can religious beliefs affect scientific thinking?

Amongst the stupid, yes. Brighter people don’t seem to have this problem.

An attitude of gratitude: If you’d like to, share some gratitude in a photo, written, or song. 

The day is bright and sunny and for this small thing, praised be the rain gods for going somewhere else to do their thing.

Now, I’m going to put on a pair of sandals and go take a few pictures before the sky goes gray and the next rain comes.

THE DEATH KNELL OF GREAT AMERICAN LITERATURE – Marilyn Armstrong

Many (maybe most) manuscripts are never are “trendy” or popular enough for today’s publishers. As far as publishers go, no matter how well-written or interesting the plot or characters are if it isn’t a genre they sell, it doesn’t exist.

A Kindle and a speaker for listening to audiobooks

Many genres do not fit in any publisher’s predetermined categories. This is not only true for beginners to the field but is equally true for those who have published — successfully published — eight or nine books, including more than one bestseller. Publishers want their authors to keep writing what they wrote before and not veer from it. They also don’t want to pay real money. Or provide publicity, advertisements, or even a professional proofreader.

I’m not making this up.

I know several well-published popular authors who fell out of favor because they wanted to try something different. They weren’t less good at writing, but publishers want books by an author to be the same as the previous one. The one that sold well. If this is something new, then they do not want it.

They also don’t like first manuscripts from mature people because they want nice young authors who will be able to churn out books for a long time and not be stopped by getting old. I also know a number of these authors, too.

I worked in publishing back when all the books being published weren’t “niche” books. When a relatively rough manuscript could get someone’s attention (back when people read manuscripts, not software), and it was the job of editors to help fix manuscripts and turn something rough into a gem. Long before “Kindle” and free publication, they had already thinned the ranks of editors to nearly nothing — and decided the author should do the work the publisher used to do.

In part, this accounts for the many atrocious books they actually DO publish and the good books they ignore. It isn’t only the author’s failure to recognize what the publisher wants. It’s that publishers no longer want to help authors get published.

What was art is now “just business.”

Does anyone think Hemingway, Faulkner, or Thomas Wolfe would have gotten published without their editor’s help? Maxwell Perkins — ever heard of him? Because he was “the man.” Without him, half of America’s great literature wouldn’t exist. Were they less brilliant because they weren’t good editors — or didn’t have the financial means to hire a quality editor? Nope. They were what they were but the industry is entirely different.

Publishers refuse to admit it is really a business issue. It’s not art. It’s business, politics, and aiming books at what they perceive are their target audiences, ignoring all other potential audiences. It was not always like this and I was working in the business when it was not like this.

Everyone is very busy blaming someone else for the state of the business. It’s the Internet, or Amazon or “nobody reads books anymore.” None of them ever looks in a mirror and says “Maybe our failure to help authors work out problems with their manuscripts, give them some decent publicity and help them make some real money is at least in part OUR responsibility too?” It’s true that fewer people seem to read now than did when I was growing up, yet most people do read at least sometimes.

The publishing world is undergoing a huge transformation and we are in the middle of it. How it will end? I don’t know. But just because publishers say what they say, you don’t need to believe every corporate word they utter.

You can write the most glorious, delicious book ever written for whatever genre for which you write and no publishing house will so much as read it, much less publish it. Why? Because it doesn’t fit into their (usually) very short list of “the types of books we publish.” That, to me, is the death knell for great American literature. It leaves no room for the unique or unusual.

This may not be true in other countries. I don’t know. I do know this market.

If only the “tried and true” can get published, the unique and possibly brilliant will never have a chance.