Thursday Totally Naked Thoughts...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Thursday, May 01, 2008

UPDATE: Check out this report I just found from ABC News:

I was reading an article by AP Business Reporter Anne D'Innocenzio entitled "Americans Unload Prized Possessions To Make Ends Meet".

This is where we are today. Our next door neighbors are going online and posting ads on Craigs List and eBay for the heirloom china so the food, gas and utility bills can be paid for a few months.

The article introduces us to families who have used these services or the 'old-fashioned' flea markets. Even before the flea market was the pawn shop. That dark place that always had a heavy gate covering the windows. I used to think of what wonders lurked behind those doors. The stories the many objects held. Broken love, lost lives, shattered dreams.

On TV and in the movies, the pawn shop was always connected with some nefarious crime figure. The pawn shop is where stolen items went, no questions asked, for $0.30 on the dollar being received. Well, you know it is stolen (you stole it) and the dark, creepy, proprietor of the shop knows it is hot, you take what you can get and go.

Or the newer pawn shop is where drugs are sold. Bullet-proof glass throughout. The owner safe from some foolish soul who thinks he can make a quick score. All transactions made through a turnstile also made of bullet-proof glass.

When eBay began it was more about collectibles being bought and sold between collectors. Then businesses got involved in an easy way to unload last years models. Today it is about a woman in Alabama who uses the service and flea markets to empty her three-bedroom mobile home of DVDs, VCRs, stereos and televisions.

The woman's husband has been disabled since 2006 and rising utility, food, gas and medical costs has forced these people to offer up their possessions to strangers.

And with this need generated by a failing economy, new sites appear on the internet. For example,, began last September. The site which assists beginners selling things online, for-sale listings rose 66 percent from February to March. A huge increase from the 25 percent to 30 percent average monthly pace since the company was formed.

Then you say to yourself, or at least I did, 'someone is buying these items, so people must have money.' But the bottom line is, people are selling their clothes to live and that in itself is insane!

Online sites talk about people being more desperate to sell. Some sites even offer the money upfront, before an item is sold. At the same time the prices of second-hand items are falling, selling for up to 25% less than a year ago. The market is saturated. How many people are really in the market for Dooney & Bourke handbags, Hermes leather jackets, Versace jeans and silk shirts, even if you can get them for $0.50 on the dollar.

Will this spiral stop in January, no matter who stands out in the cold on the steps of The U.S. Capitol?

I am a victim of a failing housing market and know first-hand the way those friendly faces at the bank become masks of indifferent disgust when times are tough. No matter the circumstances.

When Countrywide Mortgage CEO Angelo Mozilo has a compensation of $132 Million in 2007 and then has the gall to spout off last August as he did when calling for the Fed to cut the discount rate, you have to wonder when the insanity is going to stop.

There is a "very serious situation going on" in the U.S. housing market, Mozilo said. "This environment is certainly not getting better."

Asked if there would be a recession, Mozilo said: "I think so ... I know I've been proven wrong so far, but I can't believe that when you're having a level of delinquencies, foreclosures - equity has disappeared, equity is gone, the tide has gone out - that this doesn't have a material effect, A, on the psyches of the American people, and eventually on their wallet."

This company is more than responsible for the glut of mortgage money being doled out like government cheese was in Harlem in the 60's. If you had $10 in your pocket the mortgage companies were throwing tens of thousands of dollars at you. The economy took a huge tumble thanks to the fumble by the American public allowing the focus to be drawn away from internal warnings of trouble.

DO I have any solutions? Think twice, hell think 10 times about every single candidate on the ballot this year and consider where their priorities fall.

I want the men and women continuing to fight a war that is just draining our youth and economy to come home. I want an administration that will put aside the friendships of a lifetime and find new and environmentally safe (read NO BIOFUELS!) alternatives to help reduce our dependency on a part of the world that has been a cinder box for 5,000 years.

Are these pie in the sky hopes? I don't think anyone thought Edison could light a house without fire or that Al Gore would invent the Internet - OK...that was a joke folks!

What legacy are we leaving our grand children? That is the question I keep asking myself. Maybe it is a question more people should ask. Or is it just me who think so?

This did not start off the way it appears in front of you...but call it a result of my sparks of insanity.

Tomorrow, we present another Tuneage Tutelage. It will appear in two formats. Written and video and you will have the weekend to watch.

Tonight, continuing to feature artists appearing at the Beale Street Music Festival this weekend, we give you the Queen Of Soul...appearing Sunday evening, not sure we will be getting to see her but it is still in debate.

This cut appears on Duane Allman Anthology 2, it was originally released on Aretha's album This Girl's in Love with You in 1969. Aretha Franklin with Duane Allman on guitar and slide.

"It Ain't Fair"


38 Of Your Sparks

  1. katherine. Says:
  2. I'm with you 90 percent.

    Yes indeed CountryWide had a hand in this...both hands.

    There is no way this is gonna turn around quickly...its gonna be a long hard climb.

    enjoy beale street...we are envious!

  3. KATHERINE: Wondering what the 10% is...Make plans for 2009

  4. Schmoop Says:
  5. And all the while, Chinese bankers are getting filthy rich. Cheers Vin!!

  6. RW Says:
  7. Great post Vin! Like that tune, never heard it before but very smooth.

  8. Liz Hill Says:
  9. I loved seeing the CEO of Shell covered in flop sweat as he tried to argue with a straight face that their profits are "not out of line". I paid $3.75 per gallon yesterday....and that was with my Kroger discount.

  10. MATT-MAN: Not only Chinese bankers...

    ROGER: Thanks Roger glad you enjoyed the of those little known gems...

    TURNBABY: Yup...not out of line...which is where most drivers are now since they can not afford to be in line at the pumps

  11. It's a sad situation...I don't know what Chinese bankers have to do with it...

    Yes, Vinny, I colorized the eyes on my WW post!

  12. i have no answers and don't know who to vote for. i just hate them all. i used to like rudy but he weaseled out on me early on... we are lucky that we have no debt. but believe me it took years and years of hard work, nothing was handed to us back then with military pay for 26 years!!!

    no answers though bond...

    smiles, bee

  13. katherine. Says:
  14. China and Japan hold a VERY significant percentage of US debt

    don't read this if you have a weak stomach

    latest report

  15. katherine. Says:
  16. (and the 10% has a great deal to do with...ya know...our troops....)

  17. THE TEACH: Read below ...Katherine answered your question and the colorization was great.

    BEE: Not sure who has the answers but wish they would step up

  18. KATHERINE: That is a very scary report...and I wondered if that was the 10%...

  19. Anonymous Says:
  20. Kathrine agrees with you 90%. You ask about the other 10%. That certaily should include the consumer who is responsible or should have been for falling prey to the big bankers and mortgage companies.

    The big bad bankers and mortgage companies are primarily responsible for the forclosure situation by throwing money at anybody who could sign their name. However, the consumer does not get a free pass on this one, since many were after the quick buck - buy and flip - they bought and unfortunately were unable to flip before the bottom fell out.

    It is not only the housing market that is causing the problem. It is also the almighty killer consumer "credit card" which has allowed Americans to spend more than they make and then find themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay for it, or initally pay for it ten times over at a 16-20% interest rate.

    No matter who freezes their a-- off in January in DC, they will not be able to fix this problem.

    Empress Bee has the right idea - no debt makes for a happier life.

    Have a great weekend on BEALE.


  21. DAD: Many are to blame...many need to work to get it straight...Thanks for weighing in.
    Love you

  22. Kb Says:
  23. The Chinese, French (aka Saudis), and other Middle Eastern business men now own about 55% of our mortgages. THAT IS WHAT IS SCARY!
    IMHO We are going to have to ride this out but the good news is by mid to late 2009 we will all be better for it. Mortgage companies will need to renegotiate with homebuyers to try and get them to stay in their homes. But people who purchased houses way beyond their means need need to learn some lessons. We didn't buy a house when we could have just because the housing prices soared out of our reach and I refused the interest only loans. Now housing prices are falling and we are able to buy a home for a reasonable price and with a 30 yr fixed and a low interest rate.
    The War is not the problem with the economy Americans who can't control their spending are. Love the tuneage, Vinny!

  24. katherine. Says:
  25. I'm totally with the Marini men on the economic issues.

    My 10% disagreement with Vincent is (as we have become accustommed) in the areas of troop deployment and celebrity athletes....

  26. KB: Very scary... so they own all that and then we still spend three times more for oil... whatta racket!

    KATHERINE: But the love is still there...even with the 10% (and don't forget celebrity coaches!)

  27. Dana Says:
  28. Well, as hard as I might, I just cannot put the majority of blame for our flailing economy on any one group - not the politicians, not the people. I think it's been an exercise in burying our head in the sand for too many years. Remember the 90's? Everyone was making money - everyone was happy - no one (or very few) planned for what would happen when the economy slowed. Shame on us - shame on every single one of us!

  29. leelee Says:
  30. Dang I just lost my whole comment!! ARRGH!!

    well it won't come out as well this time, but I will try.

    I have to agree with your post Vinny and with Dad Vince's comment as well. We can't just blame the mortgage companies and CC companies, they are opportunists, not looking out for the good of anyone except themselves.

    I'll have to thank my depression era father who taught me not to buy beyond my means. Sure I have a mortgage, but we plopped down a ton of $ for a down payment and of course got a fixed rate.

    CC's? sure I have them too, but I pay off what I use when the bill comes in most cases. I don't hold a ton of debt. Life is just too unsure to do that.

    What happened to people just being thrifty or at the very least sensible? Why do we feel the need to have so much STUFF..what are we missing in our lives that we must compensate with STUFF??

    Any way it looks as if it's all coming to a grinding halt. when folks don't have money for basics...then the STUFF seems pretty silly.

    Thanks for this post. lots to think about..

    and thanks for the tune....YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMY!!


  31. Anndi Says:
  32. Daddy Bond made an excellent point! And his view may be a generational thing but it's one shared by my parents as well.
    No one has ever held a gun to the temple of a consummer... I'm paying for the bad choices made by someone I should have been able to trust... It wasn't the credit card company's fault. We're being bombarded by advertisements and being told we "NEED" this and that... but ultimately, we have the power to say no.

    I may have to side with Katherine a bit as far as the troops. There are some conflicts our countries probably cannot, and should not at this point, extricate themselves from.

    And are they going to come home to appauling conditions in their barracks? How about we make sure they get proper equipment and the support and respect they deserve on their return. They have a tough job, one of the most important ones (because all jobs are NOT created equal)... let's treat them as such.

    I agree with you that Biofuels suck.. I established my Chicklet's and my view on that yesterday.

    ok.. shutting up now... LOL

    except to say...

    WOOOO Aretha! Have a great time this weekend.. I will. (Don't call for bail money, I need it to pay for a ticket to ride!)

  33. I think the blame lies with both the businesses and the people who decided to ride the real estate boom for a quick buck. There is no such thing as a free ride. This crisis was built on the backs of Americans who were told they could afford houses as well as the greedy mortgage companies and the idiots who KNEW they couldn't afford that house but bought it anyhow.

    It's a symptom of a much bigger disease. This country has a huge, massive sense of entitlement. And that my friend will get us kicked in the jimmie.

    Duane and Aretha - lovely!

  34. DANA: So very true...thanks for chiming in...

    LEELEE: All so very true. I unfortunately fell into the trap and then a lost job and no prospects put me in a tight jam...Now...if the job had not been lost (due to a failing economy) things would have been very different.

    ANNDI: Another well thought out comment by a long-time guest here on The Couch. I tell you...all y'all are brilliant. Have a wonderful time this weekend in AL and don't be calling me for bail money as I need to keep it for me...maybe!

    STARRLIGHT: Ah the entitlement know how I feel about that whole conundrum...

  35. Ken Says:
  36. Big Topic!
    I can't get 10% of the things in my head out to my two fingers.
    When did americans stop, saving their money? When I grew up, that was what you did, you tried to save 10% of everything you made.
    It was for a rainy day!

  37. MICKEY-T: No rush... if some of that stuff in your head comes to your fingers, y'all can come back...

  38. TopChamp Says:
  39. It's pants over here too.

  40. I watched a report on NBC last night on the selling on Craigs list. You did a great job of giving a concise recap!

  41. TOPCHAMP: I am not sure I understand your use of the word "pants" Anybody? Bueller?

    BUD: I wonder if NBC stole the idea from AP or vice versa? I know who I stole it from! LOL Seriously, thanks...

  42. Kimmie Says:
  43. I think we are all going to have to go back to the Simple Ways Of Living. I may even get me a horse and buggy before you know it! ;-)

    Very Good Post Bond! Thanks everyone for all of your comments. I learned alot tonight.

    Micky-T...My Mother like yours, taught all seven of us the importance of saving for a rainy day. We were lucky, alot of parents didn't take the time to do that for their children back then! :-)


  44. KIMMIE: I hope it does not have to go back that far...TY have a great day.

  45. Anndi Says:
  46. Actually.. Hotlanta! Guess who's putting the "hot" there.;)

    I won't need bail... I'm an angel... sheesh!

  47. Travis Cody Says:
  48. Great discussion you got going on here!

    I'll add my 2 cents, adjusted for recession...

    This too shall pass. This is what a free market economy does. Yeah, it's creating a lot of pain for a lot of people. But as consumers begin to adjust their spending habits to saving habits, the economy will swing back around.

    Plenty of folks are going to learn some tough lessons about spending beyond means. But not everyone is going to suffer. Those who have been fiscally responsible will ride this out and be the better for it.

    The worry is the short term fix that politics will throw at the problem.

    Thanks for the safe place to throw my opinion into the wind. I don't often like to comment on controversial stuff, but I had something to say today.


  49. ANNDI: I know! I Know! LOL have a great time...and yeah angel ..yup .... right... no no I believe you...

    TRAVIS: Thank you Sir and I am happy you consider this place safe to comment about anything... anytime.

    I hope you are correct about it turning around. When it begins to affect those who have been fiscally responsible it could be too late.

  50. katherine. Says:
  51. I know you are feelin’ the Blues…but wanted to hear your take on this

    California bashing….celebrity athletes….mortgage trouble…all rolled into one

    Laughing laughing laughing

  52. KATHERINE: I think that is the tip of the iceberg... I thought that new law was going to help me with my second mortgage after the short sale, until the bank decided to renege on their agreement...

    This is the first celeb we have heard about...I wonder how many others are out there doing it under the radar, or if not celebs, then people with very large pockets.

  53. Julie Says:
  54. So took a long time to realize this mess and it will take a long time to realize the fix. I hope i live a long time!

  55. Unknown Says:
  56. The sad part is, here my family is, we're living with my parents because as a single mother I can't afford to move out, my father is a school teacher and you know what they make, we cut corners every which way we can, and still find it hard to come even at the end of the month.

    What keeps us going is...DisneyWorld! Of course, we hear a lot of "if you can't afford everything else, how can you go to DisneyWorld?" Because we go without a lot of stuff during the 2-3 years between trips. However, we nearly cancelled it until this stimulus package deal came about.

    It's pretty sad, but we'll make it. I doubt we're heading into another depression, but we'll be fine.

    As long as they don't close DisneyWorld.

  57. Lu' Says:
  58. Oy, we are in a pickle aren't we. My hubby was just saying last night, this gravey train ain't gonna last forever, we better take heed. By gravey train I simply mean we can pay the bills and have a little left over to play, but we aren't saving. Well we save a smidgen. My MIL remembers putting carboard in the souls of her shoes and eating what she calls coffee bread because there wasn't enough food when she was groing up in Altoona Pa. She fears for us all. Fears mostly for the children. I think we should stop, think about it and then put the money in the bank. BUT how solvent are they really? Scarey stuff. Dang I read BB first and listened to that music, feeling great. Then read this. What a buzz kill. Guess I'll just go listen to BB again.

  59. Mimi Lenox Says:
  60. People are selling their clothes to make ends meet. Yes. I saw a report recently about this. And we are talking middle class families who've always gotten by before. It is degrading. This country seems to be going to hell in a handbasket these days.
    I hope the election can start a new day.....we shall see.


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