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A friend of 29 years doesn’t want to be friends any more.

One of my friends doesn’t want to be friends any more because I’m not as extremely into politics as he is. He’s far right, I’m center left. He believes in conspiracy theories, I don’t. I don’t care who comes up with the theory, I just don’t believe it. We’ve argued about things before and agreed not to talk about politics, but the subject comes up anyway from time to time.
 
When you take the position that everything, literally every problem in America is because of Liberals, you’re taking an extreme position on the far Right. I am not an extremist. I live in the real world on the CENTER Left. I see problems with BOTH sides, but lean towards preferring we do things like help the common man.
 
We don’t show we’re a great nation by increasing the amount of people we put in poverty. That’s failure, not success. I believe in things like equality. Other people having the SAME rights in no way takes away your rights.
 
I guess I’m just really frustrated that after 29 years of being friends I see someone who was pretty Liberal back in the day, who for most of our friendship could talk, discuss, even argue about stuff without losing his cool is now so far to the right that it’s either all his way or not at all. I feel bad because I know what he thinks, that I’m the one who won’t see the other side of it, and that’s just not true. The problem is I cannot, nor will I ever, trust websites that are on either extreme. And a lot of people claim that’s what the main stream media is, but it isn’t. Being popular doesn’t make you wrong. Being fact-checked, or peer-reviewed doesn’t make you wrong. It means you have the standing to make a claim and back it up with science or data. That’s all I’m saying. If you were really as open-minded as you claim I’m not, you’d question everything like I do and go do the heavy lifting and really research things and then ask yourself if it sounds true or not. That’s what I do and in the past have called out people for making shit up about the Right. I usually say something like “We should be better than this. Let’s get mad at what they actually did, not make shit up”.
 
Like imagine if I said something like “It’s already been proven the Proud Boys started all those fires in the summer”. I’d look uninformed, right? Because it’s NOT true. Even IF one or two happened to be there they weren’t behind all that. That’s what I’m saying.

Looking back with fondness, a brief post about Cheshire Academy in Cheshire, CT.

I went to Cheshire from 85-89. I was at the 25 year reunion. A lot’s changed, but, happily, a lot of the campus is the same all these many years later. I have to be honest: at the time I was there I wasn’t thrilled. My grades in elementary school weren’t great and i got sent to CA as a day student because of the smaller classes and more focus on students. There were some issues, partially because I was smaller than everyone else (6’2″ now), and partially because I was just an awkward kid that didn’t apply himself. I think I was mad. I wanted to be at Amity High School with my friends. After 10th grade I told my parents I wasn’t going back. Years later, looking back, I think that was a huge mistake. One of may I would make over the coming years. Cheshire Academy is a great school and looking back I can appreciate the opportunity my parents gave to me. An opportunity I wasted. Well, maybe not entirely. I DID grow because of being there, and I DID recognize that mistake many years later when I finally got my act together. To be quite honest, I’m not where I should be because of MY choices. Everyone remembers high school, like how I remember going to Amity those last two years, but the people who get to go places like Cheshire Academy will eventually look back with a sort of love you will never have at a public school. So if you’re there and happen to read this wondering if its worth it: it definitely is.

What happened to the Blue Wave?

“The predicted “blue wave” didn’t happen.”

—That’s only because there are far more batshit-crazy, far-right wanna-be fascists than we counted on. We thought Trump had jumped the shark, but what we learned was there’s no new low that Republicans would say they’ve had enough of. Historically, the country always does better under Democrats. It’s not partisan, you can look it up. Under Democrats less people die of health issues, suicide rates drop, violent crime goes down, contrary to what Republicans think government actually spends less, the people earn more money, education scores rise, but most republicans see things like those are a major problem because our corporate overlords lose control of the people. And pretty much all Republicans care about is the 1%. The ideal Republican world is George Orwell’s “1984”, or possibly Wells’ “Time Machine”, or modern day Russia or North Korea. Of course, I suspect most Republicans never read either of those books, because they’re books and all, and as such “Liberal propaganda”. But if they had their way we’d live under a totalitarian regime. That’s why they say things like the only fair election is one in which they win.

Trump keeps crying “Socialism” if Biden gets elected.

“The federal government’s hard-line response to anti-racist protests this summer may help Biden’s argument. Diego Scharifker, a former student movement leader and city councilman in Caracas who fled Venezuela amid Maduro’s crackdown on political opponents and protesters, said that images of federal agents firing tear gas at protesters outside the White House in June, all so Trump could stage a photo op, was a troubling reminder of home.
“Since I moved here to the U.S. three years ago, I feel like I am living a deja vu,” said Scharifker, a former member of the Venezuelan opposition (which Trump backs) who now leads Venezolanos Con Biden, a grassroots offshoot of the Biden campaign, during the roundtable event. “I’m living the same situations I fled from my country because of political persecution and attacks against democracy.” “
—What Trump has going for him in this regard is most of his base are stupid. I guess being “elite” I actually know what Socialism is and every time he says it they freak out. Socialism might be Cuba, but you know what else it might be? Norway. Canada. New Zealand. Japan. Countries where we hear about nothing but violence and bread lines from all the poor, right? WRONG! ALL of our developed First World neighbors that have these policies Republicans are terrified of have much lower crime rates, much lower poverty rates, much higher rates of happiness on that index, longer lifespans, the people earn more, they have MORE freedom, not less. Republicans are lying to you about this. Like when Trump said Japan is doing really bad because of the virus. 150,000,000+ and they had 1200 deaths. We have 330,000,000 people and we’ve had 200,000 deaths. Which is worse? Can you do simple math?
The “Socialism” that Republicans are afraid of doesn’t mean we become Cuba or Venezuela. For that to happen first you’d have to admit that the majority of Americans are complete morons, not just by voting for whomever you don’t like, but really dumb people who are incapable of running a country. And we’re not. Then you’d have to assert that our government and military can be bought and sold, and they can’t to that level. And you’d have to prove the police can also be bought and sold like that, and they cannot, either. What it would mean are probably higher taxes, but that ALL your basic needs would be paid for. Imagine things like no more electric bill, no more cable bill, no health care bill, no bills for college tuition. You’d have more time off from work, better-paying jobs, and a government that takes care of you when you retire. The crime rate would be almost zero, obesity would disappear, as would most illnesses, and people would engage with their neighbors as fellow human beings, not one race or religion or another. Sounds terrible, right? They STILL have millionaires and even billionaires. You can still open your own business and control it how you see fit. What exactly is the problem with that?
And in a lot of those countries drugs are legal. Know why? Because when they did that the overdose numbers tanked. They regulated it, they freed up the prisons, and the gang and cartels have no foothold because of it. Prostitution is legal a lot of those places because at the end of the day it’s your body, why should government tell you what you can do with it. Nudity is even legal in a lot of those places. Why? Because it’s the human body and not shameful nor criminal.
This country is so uptight, full of hate and crime, but, yeah, stoke the fear we might turn out like New Zealand if Biden gets elected. That makes me want to vote for him MORE.

Uber says drivers don’t want to be employees.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-judge-ruled-uber-lyft-204947364.html

“”Drivers do not want to be employees, full stop. We’ll immediately appeal this ruling and continue to fight for their independence. Ultimately, we believe this issue will be decided by California voters and that they will side with drivers,” the spokesperson said.””

—They’re half-right on this issue. Drivers actually do NOT want to be employees, that is true, but Uber and Lyft keep lowering the pay, increasing their prices for passengers and food delivery to customers and restaurants, and they’re pricing drivers out of it. For example: On UberEats deliveries used to pay something like 20 cents a minute and like 75 cents a mile. Plus a pick-up and drop-off fee. They cut the pay by 60% and then told all of us that WE asked them for lower pay because figuring out how we got paid was too hard. We never asked them to do that. They always lie when they cut rates and make up an excuse that we asked them to do it. We didn’t. Who would want to make less? So like last night I got an offer to deliver from from Fairfield, CT to Darien, CT. The total trip was 14 miles. The offer to do it was $7. That’s 50 cents a mile. That’s below the IRS mileage rate so right off the bat you’re losing money. If the customer doesn’t tip you get just the $7. The trip alone is like 15 minutes, but you also have to go to the restaurant, and typically wait 10 minutes or so for the food. So you’re talking about $7 for half an hour’s worth of work if you’re lucky. Now subtract the gas and wear and tear on the car. That trip will actually pay closer to $6 depending on your car’s mpgs. Prior to the pay change it would be $1.25 to pick it up, 75 cents to drop it off, $3 for the time from starting the trip to dropping it off, and another $10.50 for the mileage. So that trip used to pay $15.50. Now don’t think that Uber cut the rates on their end when they changed the rates. That extra $8.50 we no longer get goes into their pockets. It’s why most of us won’t take most UberEats deliveries any more.

They did the same thing with driver pay for taking passengers. The rates have gone down several times. Now the average passenger trip pays I think 65 cents a mile and 20 cents a minute. That’s it. And if it’s under a certain distance it’s capped at $3. Which, again, is why drivers don’t accept a lot of trips. I take short trips, but a lot of drivers don’t. When they changed the pay they lowered the per mile rate and slightly bumped the per minute rate saying WE asked for it. We never did. We make our money on the miles traveled, not the time. It used to be around $1 a mile, and higher before that. Their excuse was drivers wanted more per minute for traffic jams. Bullshit, we’re almost never stuck in a traffic jam. Even driving people to NYC it rarely happened to me. I no longer take long trips because of it. It’s not worth it. A trip from here to NYC could take 60-90 minutes. There are tolls, traffic, different rules driving in Manhattan than other areas, and you really have to pay attention. But those trips pay on average $40. And you can’t pick up in NYC so you drive back empty. So you’re looking at 2 hours of driving for $40 less gas. Not worth it.

I’m sure you know about surge pricing. Like 3X. They changed that, too, and told us we couldn’t understand the pay, so the made it easy to understand by offering a flat fee. Passengers got no such deal. They’ll still pay 3x or whatever it is. So if it’s 3X, and the trip is $5, the surge is $15. Before we’d get around $18 for that trip. We got 100% of the surge, and our cut from the base pay. Now we’ll get maybe $5 extra, meaning that other $10 Uber pockets. So when Uber says we don’t want to be employees, they are correct about that, but we don’t want to be taken advantage of even more. You have no idea the horrors of being a driver. Aside from being one of the most dangerous jobs in America, look it up, transportation is in the top 5 most dangerous jobs, WE do not get any information about our passengers other than a name, not even a picture. There are no background checks for passengers. On top of that, people throw up in your car, they pee in your car, spill food and drinks, and even have sex in the car. Yup, had all of that happen. Multiple times. Delivery drivers and passenger drivers get robbed and aren’t supposed to avoid certain areas because it’s “discrimination” but we all do it for our own safety, we’re not allowed to have weapons of any kind, you’re not even allowed the bulletproof shield behind you.

So as long as they control every aspect of what we do, LIKE employers do, they maybe as well pay us like employees everywhere that they lose these cases.

I’m trying to figure out of these Picasso sketches are real and worth money. Let me know if you know how to check.

I’ve also managed to score a few Normal Rockwell prints, and one Van Gogh, although of all the prints I seriously doubt the Van Gogh is real. It just looks too flat and clear. The Picassos are obviously real sketches, but the question is was he the one who sketched them are are they reprints. The Rockwells are clearly panted, but, again, by him, or by someone else?

Hope

The thing that gets me is Republicans think we want to “play it safe” as some sort of scam. Just because we believe in science and medicine, while you prefer to pray to imaginary people in the sky doesn’t make us the nuts. But let’s say your deity were real: Don’t you think they’d tell you they created ALL humans, including the doctors and scientists, and that they gave them the gifts of healing and knowledge to protect the rest of us?


You act as if we want you to get sick and die from this. We want the opposite of that (unlike how most of you think of us). We want you to be safe. We don’t have to agree with your politics or even like you personally to not want you to suffer or even die from this. It’s called being human, and compassionate. We have empathy for you. The struggle you’re going through, we’re all going through, but we’re willing to do it to prevent needless deaths. And when you minimize that by saying things like more people die in car accidents, you miss the point. You can choose to not drive or be in a car and avoid that risk. You can’t avoid this. You can lower your risk greatly, though, and lower it for everyone else by doing what they’re asking us to do.


And if those models are correct, three times as many of our people could die in a year if we do this wrong than died in World War 2. That’s a lot more than people who die in car crashes or any other way. So we get pissed when you sit there telling other people they need to follow our laws, like illegals, but when you have towns and states passing laws to protect us and you say you’re not going to obey them, you put us all at much greater risk, and look like hypocrites in the process, as if laws are for other people, not you.


So, again, if you die by your own hands, as long as you don’t risk other people’s lives, I’m fine with that. More oxygen and food for the rest of us. But I’m not wishing it on you. I’m hoping you do the right thing. I’m hoping you stay safe, and keep your family safe. I’m hoping.

My parking ticket appeal got denied!

Last year I got a parking ticket. It was a stupid ticket that on the face of it was my fault, but in 10 years working in Stamford I’ve never seen anyone else get this ticket. I had an UberEats delivery from McDonald’s, and there was no parking, even in the lot down the street, so I parked on the curb and put my blinkers on. I was in and out in 5 minutes, parked where everyone parks who picks up there. And I got a ticket. $50 for that. It’s Stamford, people have more money there, so they charge more.


So I appealed it. It took about 6 months to get a hearing. I went to the hearing, presented my case (I aid my car overheated and I was getting water to fix the engine) and they said it was fine. I thought that was the end of it. Today I get a letter saying my appeal was denied. I’m curious if they denied everyone who went. Other people had pictures, and witnesses, and documents, and I was like: wow, these people are lucky that they have all of this for their hearing. But maybe they got denied, too.


So today I called, a little annoyed, because cops do it all the time to go get coffee, and everyone else parks there to get themselves food, and it’s hard being a delivery driver in a city. There’s often no parking pickups or drops offs. They said I could appeal it to the Superior Court. So I called them, and they said there’s no one there right now to help me with the paperwork, but it’s $90 to file. I’m not an idiot, I know how this story would end I only wanted to exercise my rights as far as I could take them without paying for them. If I had a solid legal reason, like say I got hit by someone else and my battery disconnected and I was calling for help, you can be sure I’d be paying the filing fee and going though the court.


It’s just super-annoying. Even on the street parking the meter maids hassle us. We KNOW you’re supposed to pay to park, but the whole street is empty, come on. We’re not shopping, we’re taking people who are out shopping. We need to sit somewhere while we wait. And WE are often the ones reporting crimes in progress to the police, or reporting injuries, or things like I did one night a guy passed out in the middle of a busy road. We’re not just transporting people and food, a lot of us also help other people along the way. I’ve personally reported several women getting assaulted, several people passed out in the road, multiple drunk drivers, a fire, tons of disabled vehicles with stranded people: we see it all and it’s not like we’re out here to take advantage of the rules just to make a quick buck.


And don’t forget that being a driver, any kind of professional driver is more dangerous than being a police officer. Whether it’s driving a truck, taxi, Uber, delivery, EMT/Paramedic, bus driver, etc: statistically all more dangerous than being a police officer. They should cut us some slack.

No idea if anyone will ever read this or not….

That’s not to sound ominous or anything, especially now with the virus….I just meant I migrated this site to a regular wordpress blog a few years ago. I actually forgot this was still up here, so I wanted to post again to redirect people in case they stumble upon this. The new site is www.tipthedriver.com

Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy, I hope we all keep our calm, we can get through this together, and it’ll just be one of those great stories we tell around campfires or at bars.

I may or may not post here again. Go to my site: www.tipthedriver.com It’s all about all my years of delivery, driving a taxi, and doing Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, Grubhub, and so forth.

=)

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