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Monday, May 8, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/8 - Dollars & Sense

In an op-ed piece in today's NY Post, Nicole Gelinas warns of a possible crisis concerning auto loans. Business has been booming because of low interest rates. In 2011, in inflation adjusted dollars, $809 billion was spent on vehicle loans. In 2017 it has ballooned to $1.2 trillion. One-third of the people attained them despite bad credit history, mostly to buy used cars. Delinquency rates have been rising. As far as Gelinas knows, investors haven't created derivative securities similar to those that wreaked havoc during the housing crisis.

Also in the Post: In 1985 only 10% of the work force was comprised of those 65 and older. Today it's 19%. I'm almost 67. When people ask if I'm retired, I don't quite know what to say. I write, sell books on the street, including the eight I've written, promote my work online, and do surveys to earn gift certificates I use to buy copies of my books. Is that working? It doesn't feel like it, maybe because I don't answer to anyone but myself.

This morning on his radio show Mark Simone mentioned that CNN was being sued for racial discrimination, and he asked why it wasn't receiving the media coverage that the recent Fox sexual harassment suits garnered. I googled the story and, according to the list that came up, the last mention of it was on April 24th in an article by The Hollywood Reporter. Here's a snippet: "... more than 175 people, both former and current employees of the Defendant, requesting to be members of the putative class action, all having similar complaints of intentional racial discrimination, discrimination impact and discriminatory practices..." Hasn't the network accused President Trump of racism? Karma, Kramer.

John Daly, pro golf's wayward son, has been a member of the Champion's Tour (Seniors) for just shy of a year. Yesterday he won his first tournament on the circuit, earning $322,500. Although he'd won in Europe a few times, he hadn't triumphed on U.S. soil since 2004. Kudos. Let's hope he doesn't blow the entire stake at a casino. Here's a pic of the victory celebration:

This morning I spent the last dime of my tax refund, which was stored on a NetSpend card, at Stop n Shop. For the past two months I'd been using it exclusively for one function - to pay for parking that allowed me to display all the floating book shop's wares. It would have been impossible to carry all of the stuff more than 20 yards or so. I regarded the stake as free money and didn't have to worry about credit card fraud. Today I did something I hate to do - give money to the city by feeding quarters into a parking meter. My inventory is so large and good at the moment that I want all of it showing. It looked like the move had backfired until the last half hour of operation. My thanks to the woman who bought a hardcover thriller in Russian and to the gentleman who purchased a large book on guitar scales that requires the ability to read music. I was grateful that I'd at least broken even on the day. Then, minutes before I was going to pack up, an angel appeared in the form of a middle age woman. She was interested in the self-help CD's I had showing. She chose at least 20, leaving only three in the box. I asked for $20, hoping I wouldn't be viewed as greedy even though most of the items contained multiple discs. She gave me $30. I was so stunned I didn't think to offer her one of my books as a thank you. Fool that I am, I felt a sense of guilt, as if I'd done something wrong, thinking "Why should I be so lucky?" My profound thanks.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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