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Dizzying Intellect » US

Category: US


What an odd and amazing thing…

On a Whim, Woman Buys Foreclosed Home and Gives It Back to Owner

Marilyn Mock said she was acting on instinct on Saturday when she decided to buy a house she had never seen for a woman she had never met. Mock was at the foreclosure auction to help her 27-year-old son bid on a house when she struck up a conversation with Orr, who was crying about losing her home.

Orr had bought the house for $80,000 in 2004 but fell behind on the payments. She lost her job a month after taking out the loan, and earlier this year she lost the house. On the spot, Mock decided to buy it, eventually bidding $30,000.

“She didn’t even know if I had a job or was a nut case,” Orr said in a story for Wednesday’s online edition of The Dallas Morning News. “She didn’t even see a picture of the house.”

Mock told a crying Orr she could stay in the house, making payments to her instead of a bank.

I can’t even imagine trusting a stranger that much (even if I had $30k lying around, which I don’t.), and not thinking, as Orr says, that she must be a nut case. Which, I mean, says a lot about me, I guess, but I hardly think I’m in the minority here.

What an amazing person Marilyn Mock must be. I hope her judgment of character is as flawless as her kindness.


$25 Per Week

I started to write about this a few weeks ago, but got distracted. I’d actually be interested in trying it, if enough people are masochistic interested.

Greg Lukeman, executive director of Food Outreach, challenged his friends to eat for a week on $25.38. That’s how much a disabled Missouri resident typically would get in food stamps.

The idea: Bring awareness to the challenges poor people face when it comes to eating, as food costs continue to rise.

Lukeman persuaded Attilio D’Agostino, editor in chief of Alive magazine, state Rep. Rachel Storch and state Sen. Jeff Smith, all of St. Louis, to join him in the challenge the last week of September as part of Hunger Action Month.

Now, they’re shopping at Aldi, which is insanely, wonderfully inexpensive (and owned by the Trader Joe’s people, as I understand, which makes them practically holy). It’d be even harder to do this in a place without Aldi, as I don’t think even Walmart or Sam’s is as cheap.

The lists of what everyone bought, and their comments on the experience and what they’d do differently, are all in the sidebar. Some went the healthy route, some picked more-but-monotonous, some went minimalist but splurged on one thing.

I can’t even imagine trying to live like this full time, but I think it’d be fascinating to try it for a week. Not so much out of some warped kind of empathy (although I might actually develop some, which can’t hurt), but more out of curiosity. You’d have to really plan, I think, but it might not be too awful if you were fully prepared, and tried to think of it like Survivor or something.

Read the whole thing and let me know what you think. Could you do it? Does the mere idea horrify you?


Oh, and at the risk of being a jinx. Again.


Military Mistreatment?

Two things pissing me off. I should know better than to read the news in the morning.

1. I don’t understand why Sgt. Rafael Peralta isn’t getting the Medal of Honor. What pisses me off even more is that the fact that he was accidentally shot by one of his fellow Marines before he sacrificed himself is apparently counting against him. I mean, what the fuck? He’s already in agony, and instead of complaining, or just lying there, he grabs a live enemy grenade to save his colleagues. Including the guy who shot him.


2. Kurt Zwilling served in the Navy in the early 70s. His son Gunnar fought in Afghanistan, and was killed in July. Gunnar was buried at Jefferson Barracks, the local branch of the National Cemetery network. His father is qualified to be buried there, since he served too. Neither father nor son is/was married. But they won’t let his father have the place next to him, because that’s only allowed for spouses. Did I already say “what the fuck?”

And the thing that really annoys me is the bullshit reply that Jefferson gave. “We assign grave sites at the time of need. We don’t make reservations for the future,” said spokesman Michael Nacincik. That’s clearly nonsense. A spot for the spouse is obviously reserved in advance, or it wouldn’t be available when the spouse died. Duh. If they don’t reserve the space for Zwilling, it’ll be gone when he needs it.


Oh, what the hell. I’m on a roll. This one’s a few weeks old, but it still pisses me off.

3. Corporal Tomos Stringer, who fought in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, was forced to sleep in his car when a hotel is Surrey refused to rent him a room, based on the hotel policy “not to accept members of the Armed Forces as guests.” The hotel chain has since been ripped a new one, by military and civilian guests alike, but it doesn’t undo the damage. Bastards.

Grr. I said that already, right? Damn it.

Seven Years of Bad Good Luck

I don’t even know what to say today. The world is so different than it was seven years ago. I feel a little bit guilty for being so relaxed and unafraid, but I’m so grateful for the calmness, every day. I know that I owe it to the brave men and women fighting overseas – and those working tirelessly to find terrorist plots at home before it’s too late — who keep this war from falling on our doorstep again.

I’ll never forgive, and never forget. Have no doubt about that. But it’s so nice to be vigilant without being terrified at the same time.

Update 9pm: I read this a month or so ago, and meant to post it this morning, but ran out of time. I’m not a big Coulter fan, but it spoke to me.

Mohammed Atta loathed skyscrapes. Newsweek reported that he viewed the emergence of tall buildings in Egypt as an odious surrender to Western values. The most fitting memorial to the victims of the World Trade Center attack is to build the most breathtaking skyscraper in the world on top of Mohammed Atta’s corpse.
–Ann Coulter June 7, 2002

Sam’s Story

I’m not usually a huge sap, but this really sort of got to me.

Extreme Home Makeover was here in town this week. (Um, spoiler alert, I guess.) They did their standard home rebuild for a family with disabled kids — which I do really admire, I’m not trying to discount it. But then they did a second surprise makeover.

There’s a coffee shop, out in the suburbs, that has an interesting story. The owner was born in Cairo, extremely prematurely, and was declared stillborn. His body was disposed of, until someone realized that he was alive, but badly affected by cerebral palsy. He made his way to the US, where he was raised by the Shriners, and after literally dozens of surgeries, he eventually learned to walk and gain his independence. His name is Sam Malek.

And instead of whining his life away in self-pity, this disabled immigrant — who had less than so many of us — opened a coffee shop. He hires other handicapped people to work there, and allows his customers to choose a charity every month, to which he makes a donation from his profits.

I mean, really. How do you not get a little misty at that?

Extreme Makeover came in and rebuilt the place, so it’s safer and ADA approved. Everyone who’s chosen for the show deserves their makeover, but this sounds like such a special case to me.

Go read about him, and maybe be inspired for a little while today.

Off By A Century (Or Just “Off”)

I have this cousin, whom I love dearly, but who is a flaming, die hard liberal (moreso than most of my family, I mean). She’s a well-respected, brilliant professor at, um, a well-known East Coast university. We rarely talk politics, because she admits to not having the ability to see other sides of an argument. She jokes that she makes her students argue both sides of a debate, but can’t do it herself, and when I occasionally remind her that I’m a moderate, she laughs and says “I’ve been called many things, but ‘moderate’ isn’t one of them.”

I mean, she’s way left. But she’s the only liberal I know who will still sit down with me and discuss politics without getting nasty and scary. Not that voices don’t get occasionally raised, but there’s no anger directed at each other. It’s a nice change, for both of us.

Anyway, she’s an Obama supporter, obviously. We had dinner in New York in June, and stayed at the table after everyone else had wandered off, talking about the election. One of the things she mentioned was that she feared for Obama’s life. I responded, oh sure, the militant Islamic loonies who think that because his father was Muslim, he’s an apostate. I worry about them too. I’m sure he has an amazing security team.

She responded, no, she was worried about racist white Americans. And I totally laughed at her. Nobody’s still like that, I said. In the 21st century? They’d stick out like a cockroach on a porcelain dish.


Feds Investigate Possible Obama Assassination Plot in Denver

The good news is, they really did stick out as ugly, creepy insects — even in this week’s psycho, dirty, circusworld of Denver. And one bonehead jumped out of six-story window to get away from cops. Not exactly rocket scientists, which is a good thing, and hopefully they were just trash-talking, and not really planning anything (as the police suspect).

But still. Scary. Let’s beat him the old fashioned way, ok people? With votes? Thanks.

[On a slightly lighter note, separated at birth?]


Different Problems

Ugh. I hate this city.

The victim and a friend were walking down New Florissant Road near spring, when they were stopped by two young men, one armed with a gun.

One of the girls immediately ran and got away the other was shot in the chest and left for dead.

That was 15-year-old Carlle Garofalo, an honor student at McClure North High School.

The victim is in critical condition at a local hospital and family members say they are coping the best they can.

The suspect is believed to be between 16 and 18 years old and he was driving a green or dark colored 1993-1997 model of the Pontiac Firebird with tinted windows.

Look at this adorable young girl. I know the ‘adorable’ shouldn’t matter, but I work with her mom, and even though we aren’t friends, for some reason it pisses me off more than normal.

How does a 16-18 year old kid end up shooting a 15-year old girl in the chest and leaving her for dead on the street? I just don’t get it. But I hate this city.

Tony Snow, Former White House Press Secretary, Dies at 53



Happy Independence Day, y’all!