Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Archive from November 27, 2007

I went to a meeting tonight about how to appeal a Lake County, Illinois real estate property tax assessment. It was a standing-room-only crowd of some exceptionally pissed off people. Property taxes run most all of our government services. There are certain non-tax based enterprise funds, such as sewer and water user fees, but real estate taxes fuel most of the needed functions along with all of the not-so-needed functions. Sales taxes seem to offer little relief to the property owners.

The meeting covered nothing that I did not already know. I appealed my assessment about 7 years ago and received a 5% reduction in assessed value, which was good for one year, which the government recovered in the following assessments. I really don’t believe there is any chance of scoring another reduction, and do not feel like spending $300 for the needed appraisal in order to find out. The system is stacked cold against the taxpayers. Paying nearly $8,000 a year in property taxes for the privilege of living in a 3-bedroom house is just plain insanity.

If you do not live in Illinois, think long and hard before you decide to move to this money sucking state. If you must move to Illinois, Lake County is the last place you should choose to live. If you must move to Lake County, I have just the house for you to buy.

Please call soon.


James A. Zachary Jr

Monday, November 26, 2007

Archive from November 26, 2007

I believe everyone should write a weblog. Blogging gives us all a chance to practice our writing skills. It is fun and often cathartic. If you wish to blog for fame and fortune, your dream is not impossible although the lottery may be a better bet.

How do you get your blog noticed over the noise of 90 million other blogs? We all are at the mercy of the search engines. The search engines once indexed my website to “Serval Cats” and I was getting hits from all over the world. I never had those keywords on my site, but the search engines decided otherwise. The point is that certain keywords will bring hits. What are those words? First, you should know that there are con artists, predators, and some law enforcement agencies that you are better off not having as fans. Playing with some hot keywords can bring unwanted results. Use of the word “Jihad” at one time brought all kinds of attention to blogs and websites.

One of the biggest uses of the internet is for porn. You don’t need to peddle porn to get some hits on your blog. You can blog against porn if you hate porn. Just having the word “porn” in your blog will draw a few accidental hits. If you write in your blog “porn sucks,” you now have two keywords. Complain about “Online free amateur sex videos” and your blog may see quite a surge of hits, but most of the visitors will NOT be there to join your crusade against porn.

Pet owners often search for blogs written by other pet owners. If you are a cat owner, write blogs about your cat. Readers who also have cats will search for blogs indexed to the word “cat.” You will get far more hits if you write about your “pussycat,” but many of those visitors will NOT be searching the keyword “cat.” If you gave your cat a bath, or if it just came in from the rain, write about your “wet pussycat.” Size does matter, so mention if it is a “big wet pussycat,” or a “small wet pussycat.”

What is your husband or boyfriend’s name? Is he a big guy or a little guy? If his name is Richard, you will get more hits writing about “Big Dick.” Amusing daily events can attract readers. If the cat is hiding behind the sofa after her bath, and your husband cannot get to her, your story can read, “Little Dick could not quite reach my wet little pussycat.” Many of your new readers will offer to help.

Thanks for visiting.


James A. Zachary Jr

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Archive from November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be thankful for what you have. If what you had is gone, be thankful that you once had it. If you never had it, be thankful you never felt the pain of losing it.

A true optimist is one who can say “so far, so good” while standing drunk in a campfire as the flames climb his pants toward his balls.

So far, so good.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Archive from November 20, 2007 #2


How many of you are sick of the human larvae that skate down store aisles on those damnable roller-shoes? You know the shoes that I am talking about, the ones with the wheels in the heels. All stores post signs prohibiting roller-shoes. Parents ignore those signs and then ignore the nuisances created by their spawn skating around the legs of the other shoppers. How many of you are secretly rooting for one of the little demons to skate full blast into Daddy’s crotch? How many wish for uniformed store security to toss Mommy, Daddy, and the mobile offspring unceremoniously out of the store? Welcome to my planet of simple pleasures.

I wish no harm to any child. Inevitably, there will be injuries and parents will sue the respective stores for not enforcing the posted rules against roller-shoes. I can hope that the only spilled cranial juice is from the fractured skulls of negligent parents who trip over their own rolling progeny.


Archive from November 20, 2007

Technorati tracks over 90 million blogs. The number of blogs never seems to quit growing. Many of the blogs are "noise", i.e. someone started a blog and then dropped it after they was no mad rush of approving readers. Their blogs are still listed, but pretty much dead. New bloggers sign on, blog a few entries, then they too die. Some popular blogs are many years old. Some blogs that have regular entries have no readers, while others have thousands of fans who read daily.

Out of all of the noise, it is still possible to find some real working blog gems. One of my favorite blogs is called "Girl, dislocated." The blogger is female, and she has a genetic disorder that makes her joints prone to becoming dislocated at unpredictable times. These events occur when she is driving, walking, eating, or sometimes when she just barely moves. To boot, she also has some cultural aspects to further complicate her life.

If you think your life is full of misadventures and pain, you need to check this blog out. Reading about her life can make you believe that your life doesn't suck so bad after all. She has all of the right in the world to sit and whine and feel real sorry for the hand she was dealt. Instead, she is gutsy, bright, and often downright funny. She is a darn good writer. My hat is off to her, she has more courage than is imaginable.

http://girldislocated.blogspot.com

Check it out once, or make it a regular read. It is an award winning blog with many readers already. You too will wind up cheering for her.

James A. Zachary Jr.

PS

Two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence is not possible with the Yahoo blog editors. I put the spaces in, and Yahoo removes them. I do hope they will fix this along with the many other problems that seem to be driving Yahoo customers to the other blogging services

Friday, November 16, 2007

Archive from November 16, 2007

Awesome news came in the mail today. According to the Warren Township Assessor, my modest three-bedroom house now has a market value of $310,790. The downside to that news is that property taxes will be going up yet again.

I need the Warren Township Assessor, maybe with help from my Lake County Board Rep., to do me a favor and find someone willing to pay me that much for this house. I will gladly move out of Lake County Illinois, away from the huge property taxes we all find so dear. There is just one small problem that the Warren Township Assessor will have finding me a buyer. No three-bedroom house in our neighborhood sells for near that price. I know of no house in our subdivision that ever broke upwards of the $300,000 level. The housing bubble has burst, and it is time for our political leaders to quit looking at our homes as their inexhaustible pet sources of municipal income. Why is the onus on the taxpayers to pay for appraisals and then jump though hoops filing appeals to prove the market value of their respective homes? The assessor’s job is to make accurate assessments. It is time to reassess the assessors.

Across the street from my home is a larger, newer, four bedroom home recently listed with an asking price of $287,000. It will go for less than that. Why is he selling? More than likely it is because he too just read his property tax notice.

Thanks for the visit. Hope it wasn’t too taxing.


James A. Zachary Jr.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Archive from November 12, 2007


Entry for November 12, 2007
James Allen Zachary Sr.


Known to most as Jim Zachary.


Born March 31, 1933 in Poplar Cove, Fentress County, Tennessee
Mother = Dorothy Mae (Slaven) Zachary
Father = Otha Allen Zachary Sr.


Passed away one year ago, November 13, 2006, in his sleep at his home in Lake Zurich, Illinois

Married to Georgia E. Blair on December 3, 1949 in Albany Kentucky by minister O.G. Lawless.

Dad spent many years as a journeyman machinist with the Bell and Howell company in Lincolnwood, Il. In his younger days Dad was a competitive bowler, winning many trophies. He also was an avid fisherman for many years. Most of his retirement was spent on his hobby of gardening.

Children:
Wayne G Zachary b 1950
James A Zachary Jr b 1952
Jeffrey R Zachary b 1954
Gordon E Zachary b 1956
Raymond B Zachary b 1958


Rest in peace Dad. You were quite a man. We love you, and we miss you.




Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Archive from November 8, 2007


When the foliage turns crimson, and the late evening winds blow cold, a man can fancy the warmth and company provided by a wee pint of rum. Few things can be as excruciating as a rum hangover. Sorrowfully, that truth needs confirmation every now and again. I’m not sure why I need to do it; it should be an easy lesson to remember. I recall waking one morning with a dreadful, ear-splitting headache. Still cannot remember what her name was or where it was we met.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Archive from November 5, 2007

Entry for November 5, 2007

Going through Mom’s writings is not something you can just choose to do over a weekend. This project may just take months; she was a prolific writer. I told her long ago that all I ever wanted from her estate was to have all of her writings. What a collection of treasures. Songs, poems, prose, some of the things I am reading bring me warmth and smiles; some bring tears. She had some published works, and she had the fortitude to collect quite a volume of rejections slips. One of her recent quips sized her drive; “Is the best that I can do, the best that I can do?”

Mom had been having trouble with her memory for a couple of years before she died. It affected her creativity and her organizational skills. I suspect she was both too proud and too scared to have a frank discussion with her personal physician about it. Alzheimer’s is a big fear among old folks, even though it can be managed somewhat. After seeing a doctor, many folks would find they don’t have Alzheimer’s, but that they have one or more of a few dozen other manageable ailments that affect memory.

Whether Mom was suffering early signs of dementia or was suffering from something else is now nothing but floodwater gone dry. If there are any old folks reading this that are worrying about memory problems, please see your doctor early and often you stubborn old geezers. As much as your children want to drag your wrinkled ass down to the doctor, they probably won’t do it. Aside from having you declared incompetent, they legally cannot do it. Your family and friends want you to have your dignity as much as you want to keep it. They also want you to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Archive from November 2, 2007

Entry for November 2, 2007

Soliloquy

Copyright © 1987 James A. Zachary Jr.

“Child! So good of you to visit old Maize! I don’t get many guests nowadays, this place bein’ so full of sadness and all. Yes, Doc say the cancer still be there and gettin’ worse. They can’t cut on me no more, they done cut out all but my soul. The worst thing is the pain, the pain. I don’t take no drugs though child, just usin’ the Tylenol and aspirin. They give morphine if I want it, had it for the operations. Wish they would promise enough just to end all of this. Can’t blame the kids and gran’children for not comin’ to see old Maize. They hurt themselves bad as the cancer hurts me, seein’ me like this, and seein’ the others that be here. Don’t know how these bills get paid, all what was to the kids inheritance is gone; house was sold long ago. They call this the hospice, a place for us to come to die. They be folks here that try and help by comin’ ‘round to talk ‘bout diein’. Lord, child they do mean well but I wind up tellin’ them ‘bout livin’! They just don’t know, bein’ as young as they are. I be nearin’ seventy-four-years and most of these helpful folks, they be thirty years at best. I seen some things in my life, good and bad, done my share of both! Old Maize done some things not to be proud of, but I hurt nobody but me. Wouldn’t trade none of it! Could have left this world at twenty and not had a regret, many things I done twice, I be so old now. Don’t you go sittin’ and wishin’. You do all what is your dreams, no matter some things can’t be had, you go after them. Don’t you go sittin’, diein’, wonderin’ what you could have done. Grow old and at least have the memories of tryin’. I don’t mean to ramble, my mind tells my mouth to keep movin’ ‘til all is said, don’t have much time anymore. Come closer and let me look at ya. Even with these thick glasses, can’t see much. Lookin’ real good, you are! Life will be good to you child, you have the gifts. No matter what you do child, you gots to promise old Maize one last thing. Promise you’ll remember me, just every so often. I don’t ‘spect you to dwell on my passin’, just give a thought to me every now and again when you feel the autumn wind in your face. That’s the only part that bothers me anymore, the fear that once I’m gone there will not even be a thought on this earth to prove me once bein’ here. Ah, I feel the sleep comin’ on again, best you be runnin’ along now. I sorry I can’t walk you out, but there ain’t much of me left. Feelin’ very tired, so very tired. Give a smile to old Maize. Thanks child, bless you.”

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Archive from November 1, 2007

Entry for November 1, 2007

Once again, it is time for me to reach back into the era of the dialup personal computer bulletin board systems (BBS). Fidonet was a network of bulletin boards that exchanged email and newsletters. Below is another work from the year 1987, archived at many locations on the web.

=====================================

Hotline 3 (c) 1987 James Zachary

Every now and again, a caller to the water and wastewater department will ask about issues of national concern.

RING!

Southeast Plant, this is Zack.

"I am taking a survey for my organization. Do you have time to answer a few questions?"

Ma'am, this is a sewage plant...

"You are a taxpayer and a voter aren't you?"

Yes Ma'am, but ...

"This will only take a few moments. Do you think prophylactics should be on television?"

Say what?

"Prophylactics... condoms... they are..."

I KNOW what they are lady.

"Should they be on your TV?"

What good would they do on my TV? It never leaves the house...

"DO YOU FAVOR ADVERTISING THEM ON TV?"

I could not care less.

"WELL, YOU BETTER CARE! THERE IS AN AIDS EPIDEMIC GOING ON AND THE PUBLIC IS BASICALLY IGNORANT!"

You seem to be a living testament to that...

"Would advertising them on TV offend you?"

After working 14 years in sewage, nothing much can offend me.

"Now, as a viewer of TV, what names would you find the least offensive?"

Trojan.

"I mean what descriptive name? Condoms ...? Prophylactics...?"

Call them rubbers. I don't much care.

"That's a bit crude don't you think?"

Here at work, we call them whitefish or bottlebass ...

"What do mean 'at work'...? You wear them at work?"

No ma'am. Remember that this is a sewage plant and that anything considered disposable usually winds up being flushed down the commode. Everyday we get a few thousand of them buggers floating in the clarifiers and filters. You seem like you are preparing to lobby for having them advertised on TV, so maybe you can give me a break and tell people to quit flushing them.

"What harm does flushing them do?"

Ma'am, they plug the sewer pipes and everything else. I remember one of the many times that I had to pull a plugged pump. You can never see what is in that mass of goo stuck in the pump impeller, so you just have to reach in and grab hold of it all. Well, some bozo had flushed one of those 'exciter' types...

"What type is that?"

... the kind with antlers. I mean to tell ya, it scared the hell outta me when I latched onto that thing! It was wiggling, like it was alive! For a moment, I thought I had an octopus by the ears...

"Uhhh... you mean... there is more than one type?"

Oh, yes Ma'am! Should be interesting to see all of the marketing approaches they will use on TV. Should also be VERY educational for the "ignorant public" that you are so worried about. We used to keep a bulletin board filled with all of the different sizes, models and colors...

"You are kidding of course..."

Oh, no Ma'am! We fished out all of the novelty items and tacked them up for display. My favorite was one that had the American Flag on it.

"The Flag? Just where did they put The Flag?"

About half-staff ...

CLICK!

Hmmmmm. She must have dropped the phone while saluting...