Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Where Is It Coming From?

The Captain has long argued that Americans have too much money.

Take, for example, the cost of a new car. Since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shut down production, the price of new cars has soared! A new Jeep Wrangler runs upward of $60,000 now!

Looks like the Captain won’t ever be buying “new”.

A new iPhone costs more than a thousand dollars!

But you can make monthly payments.

In addition to your monthly service bill.

And people still upgrade every year!

And this! A trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL for a single day costs as much as $198 per person. But one cannot see all of Disney in a day, so plan on multiple days. 

For a family of four on a three-day adventure at the House of the Mouse, tickets alone can run upwards of $2,400! Don’t forget to figure in the cost of a hotel in the greater Orlando area, the inflated price of, well, EVERYTHING – because, “tourists”, ya know – and the astronomical prices of everything within the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

Well, don’t come bitchin’ to the Captain because your taxes are too high or because gasoline is $3 per gallon or because eggs cost $5 per dozen!

You can afford Disney World, you can afford a dozen eggs!

CAPTAIN'S NOTE: Frankly, the Captain would prefer saving his money for those $400 per night stays at Margaritaville Beach Hotels. But that's just me...

But that’s all for “the common man”. If we move out into the “real world” we’ll find people with even more money to burn.

At the recent VIP preview event of the Miami Art Wynwood Festival [I say that as if I know what that is] there was a porcelain “Balloon Dog” sculpture by artist Jeff Koons. 

The sculpture, shown on the left in the photo above, is shaped like one of those balloon animals a circus clown might create for a child and measured 16” tall and 19” long.

And although 799 copies were made (the Captain has a smaller knock-off I paid 5 bucks for), this particular piece was valued at $42,000!

Actually, that’s what it was insured for.

We know this because during the VIP preview event, the porcelain balloon dog was broken!


The horrors!

Where’s Billy?

Who let the dogs out!?!

At first it was reported that an art critic “accidentally” kicked the pedestal on which the sculpture was displayed.

Later reports claim the woman actually “poked” the porcelain dog and knocked it over.

Either way, my parents would have handed me my little pirate-butt on fire if I had done this!


And in the professional art world – supposedly “high society” – who goes to a fine art display and “pokes” the art!?!

Okay, yes. Never mind.

It could have been an accident...

But this blog is about how Americans have too much money. So here it comes…

After the broken pieces were swept up, art collector Stephen Gamson immediately made an offer to buy the pieces!

Yes, a pile of shattered porcelain!

It was not disclosed what his offer was, but he said the pieces are worth a whole lot more than before because “there is now a story behind them”.

And, perhaps, because there are now only 798 existing copies in the world.

Supply & demand, I suppose.

And now there appears to be the likelihood of a bidding war as others want to get in on the action!

In a land where 37.9 million people live at or below the poverty level…

In a land where people still have to fight to be paid a living wage…

In a land where it’s difficult now for even two household incomes to afford a mortgage…

…this guy’s buying a pile of broken porcelain and calling it “art”!

That’s it!

I’m done!

I can’t take it anymore!

The Captain is selling a kidney and going to Disneyland!


Friday, February 3, 2023

On Turning 60

I’m old.

On Thursday your Captain will turn 60. 

I know that’s probably not old to some.

“60 is the new 40!”

Or something like that.

Me dear ol’ Dad died at 42. Your Captain deals with death regularly in my work as a pastor. I know age is not always the final determiner. Even as a teenager I realized there are no guarantees.

Truth be told, your Captain never expected to live past 40.

I guess in that respect I should celebrate that every day for the past 20 years has been a gift!

Hell, up until I was 50, whenever I looked in the mirror I saw my 35-year-old self looking back.

Your Captain is a very young 60!

It’s not about death.  

The Captain is not afraid to die.

I don’t want to yet, but I’m not afraid to die.

It’s simply about getting old.

And everything that goes with it.

Thinning hair.

Aching bones.

Sitting on the front porch yelling, “You kids get off my lawn!”

Nonetheless, this morning your Captain went to the audiology center and had molds made for hearing aids.

My hearing has been getting worse for years. Hearing loss runs in my family. I vividly recall visiting my 94-year-old grandfather in the nursing home and my Dad shouting directly into his ear so he could hear what was said.

My siblings have already given in to hearing aids, as has one niece.

So I knew it was only a matter of time.

Frankly, I’ve been putting this off for years because of the stigma.

I don’t want to be old!

Back before the pandemic started it was discovered (completely by chance) that my sinuses were blocked. I thought maybe that contributed to my hearing loss. The ENT was going to schedule me for surgery but COVID-19 delayed that. Now that things are opening up again I returned to the doc, expecting to set a date for surgery.

Yes, the Captain was willing to undergo a sinus surgery rather than wear hearing devices!

Captain’s Note: I like to breathe too, so there was that.

But my ENT didn’t want to jump into surgery without trying other options.

And, in truth, the sinuses really aren’t contributing a whole lot to my hearing problems.

So the choice came down to not hearing what you said (which has become more and more often) vs. having big clunky devices stuck in my ears.

I chose the smaller clunky devices.

They will be ready at the end of the month.

Who knows. This may be a game-changer!

But for right now, it’s making me feel old.

Happy Birthday to me…