Remembering Norman Scribner, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Choral Arts Society of Washington

Hola. I’m sorry I’m having to write this. I was very sorry to hear that Norman Scribner died unexpectedly from a heart attack this past Domingo/Sunday at his home in the District of Columbia. I had the opportunity and privilege of being in his Choral Arts Society of Washington (one of the major Orchestra Choruses there) when I lived in the District in the mid-late 1970s. Norman was the first choral director to give me the opportunity to be in a major Orchestra Chorus which performed regularly in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The Choral Arts Society of Washington (CASW) grew out of what began as The Norman Scribner Choir which had been formed for performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (the work was partly intended as an anti-war statement) for part of the opening of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the District.

I remember going to the CASW audition in Satterlee Hall in upper NW on the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. I don’t remember much about the audition. What I do remember was feeling absolutely thrilled when I got a phone call a few days after the audition which went something like this:

“Hello, this is the Choral Arts Society of Washington and we would like to invite you to sing with us this season.”

Oh! That was the call I had been waiting for. That was a dream come true for me. One of my goals in music was to have the opportunity to perform with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the University of Maryland Chorus and with major orchestras in the Kennedy Center, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the resident orchestra in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. And because of Norman, he made that possible for me and I will always remember him for that. I enjoyed a couple of seasons with the Choral Arts Society before auditioning and being accepted by Dr Paul Traver for his University of Maryland Chorus.

Norman required and expected the highest standards for his Choral Arts Society. At that time, the members of the Choral Arts Society were so skilled, so good and such good sight-readers that even if one did not know the choral work being prepared, just from our sight-reading the piece one got a very good sense of how the piece was supposed to sound. Even the sight-reading sounded glorious! Often when the Chorus would sight-read a choral work it sounded like it was almost ready to be performed! Being in the CASW was intenso and I began to feel that as we moved through the many months and the selected repertoire for each season. At one point I remember feeling like I was living in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with all the rehearsal and performance requirements. It was a positive experience but at one point I felt as if I were burning out. That happens with some people and I think the average stay in an Orchestra Chorus is between 2-4 years, if I remember correctly what Vance George (former chorus director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus) said in an interview. There were also choral politics involved which I talk about in this article. There wasn’t much of a commute for me to rehearsals. I lived in the District so I took the Metrobus up Wisconsin Avenue to rehearsals, which were twice a week. We had sectionals on lunes/Monday and full Chorus was on martes/Tuesday. My weekly commute out to the University of Maryland at College Park for rehearsals was a different story. That was a lot more complicated and I knew that would be the case before I auditioned. The commute was the main reason I had waited to audition for The Maryland Chorus. I didn’t own a vehicle and the metro was in its early stages of being built at that time (the metro was mainly in the downtown area of the District) so I took the Metrobus out to Maryland. It took awhile to get out there, especially in the snow. I remember at least one occasion of having to run across the campus in the snow to the School of Music for rehearsal. I don’t think I would do what someone does today. I read that at least one chorister who sings in the Choral Arts Society comes from as far away as Charlottesville in central Virginia. That’s about a 2.5 – 3 hour drive one way to the District line. Then from there, she has to drive all the way up Wisconsin Avenue to the same rehearsal location I went to decades ago. And then after 10.00pm (end of rehearsal) she has to drive all the way back to Charlottesville. I don’t think I would do that and wouldn’t have done that in the 1970s. That’s too much of a commute and none of the choristers of the Choral Arts Society are paid. But with many major Orchestra Choruses (Choral Arts Society of Washington, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, etc) I’ve read that many people do commute far distances to have the experience of performing with the Chorus. The same is true in other countries such as with the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Great Britain. The members of both the Orchestra and Chorus come from all over Britain and they perform in various concert halls, including at the BBC Proms.

By choice, the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) does not have its own Orchestra/Symphony Chorus and at the time I sang with them there were mainly three major Orchestra Choruses which got invited to perform regularly in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with them and guest national and international orchestras. They were the:

University of Maryland Chorus
Dr Paul Traver, chorus director

Choral Arts Society of Washington
Norman Scribner, chorus director)

Oratorio Society of Washington
Robert Shafer, chorus director

(The Oratorio Society of Washington is now called The Washington Chorus with chorus director Dr Julian Wachner)

Norman retired as director of the CASW in 2012 and after an extensive search for a new director they chose Scott Tucker from Cornell University to replace Norman. Someone might be asking: Is the CASW as good today as they were when you sang with them? I don’t know. I haven’t heard them. I would imagine they would say they are. When I sang with them, I remember our “sound” being compared with the London Bach Choir and the Münchener Bach-Chor.

These days, with the occasional exception, I’m more and more getting the impression that things are not as good as they used to be in this regard. For example, I know from listening to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus that they are not as good as they once were. The CAWS was a superb Chorus in the late 1970s. At that time they were a very young-looking Chorus and we had many choristers who were students from the local universities. As I remember, the Choral Arts Society was as “young-looking” as the University of Maryland Chorus. But just like with Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the CAWS now looks like an older Chorus from the pictures I’ve seen of them. And because of that, I suspect their “sound” has changed some because older voices sound differently than younger voices.

Norman was very down-to-Earth, never arrogant despite all his accomplishments. He was very friendly and enjoyable to work with. For some reason, one thinks that people like that will never die because they’re such good people. But the way it seems to work instead is that the good people die and the bad people seem to live on forever, if you know what I mean. I won’t name names. Some thoroughly corrupt and sleazy politicians who should be rotting away in prison come to mind. There’s one in particular I’ve noticed that seems to be propped up because of heart transplant surgery, even though he already looks well-embalmed whenever I have the misfortune of seeing that man’s snarly face! You might be able to come up with a few names yourself. Norman would appreciate this I think, and I say that based on what I wrote in this article.

I remember when Norman would announce the repertoire for the coming season that was always a special event. It was always a major symphonic choral work with a major national or international visiting guest orchestra. He would say:

We’re doing the massive Berlioz Requiem in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (KCCH) with the Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Michel Plasson conducting, to which the room erupted into a roar of excitement and approval

We’re doing Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) by Haydn in the Kennedy Center with the ________ orchestra (I don’t remember which orchestra it was) and conductor. I think Norman conducted The Seasons, so maybe that was with the NSO. That was a fun piece to perform, one of my favourites and our soprano section was splendid. Ever since serving as piano accompanist for my high school Chorus, I’ve always paid special attention to the soprano section of a Chorus and therefore I paid close attention to our soprano section in the CASW, especially on their highest notes. No vibrato at all but rather a flute-like sound, more like English choir boys/girls. Our soprano section was wonderful.

Norman would continue:

We’re doing the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra and Lorin Maazel, conducting. (I presume we were filling in for the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus which was not touring with their orchestra. If I’m remembering correctly, Lorin Maazel was difficult to work with even though we were superbly prepared by Norman).

We’re doing The Bells by Sergei Rachmaninov with the _________ orchestra (again, I don’t remember which orchestra it was) and Mstislav Rostropovich conducting.

We’re doing Ralph Vaughan William’s A Sea Symphony with members of the National Symphony Orchestra and I’ll be conducting.

Anyway, it went something like that. Everyone always looked forward to hearing what the repertoire would be for the coming season. I always wanted to do Felix Mendelssohn’s Elias (Elijah) with the CASW but unfortunately we never performed that while I was with them.

Whenever we had our one orchestra rehearsal before a performance in the Kennedy Center with the NSO, the orchestra members were always welcoming. The conductor would say, “We would like to welcome the (either) Choral Arts Society of Washington (or the) University of Maryland Chorus” (whichever one it was) and the orchestra members would look back at us on the chorus risers and smile and applaud us.

Performing with Norman’s Choral Arts Society of Washington was a very positive experience and I thank Norman Scribner for giving me that opportunity.

From what I’ve read, a memorial service for Norman will be el 9 de abril/the 9th of April at 10.30a in Washington National Cathedral (WNC). So I’m assuming that maybe there will be a private burial or cremation before his public memorial, no? I don’t know. The funeral home handling this called this event at WNC a “funeral,” but on WNC’s website they call it a “memorial.” I would guess that the Choral Arts Society (either Full Chorus or the Chamber Chorus) will perform for the memorial. I say that because a group of choristers from The Maryland Chorus performed for Dr Traver’s funeral.

I wrote more about my experiences in the Choral Arts Society in my article about the University of Maryland Chorus at that link. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Las Amapolas de California – California Poppies (2015 Season)

Hola. Las Amapolas de California are one of my favourite flowers. They are a native plant and the state flower of California. They are often used in wildflower seed mixtures. Amapolas de California can withstand very harsh conditions, including inconsiderate idiots walking all over them. The plants that are in very windy areas usually look like small round green mounds of foliage and grow very close to the ground, presumably to protect themselves. I’ve noticed that they grow the best in very rocky areas and even directly on rocks with no soil in sight and in crevices of rocks. They flower in various shades of yellow and orange. On one occasion I’ve seen white blooms and the even rarer red blooms. Las flores (below) are from the 2015 season. Las flores appeared in early marzo/March in San Francisco during our continuing historic drought. They look beautiful for drought conditions and for San Francisco’s new bad smoggy air (especially in the mornings), in part, due to our increasing car culture. We no longer have the very clean air we used to have here in the city. Our air today is more like the rest of the Bay Area: smoggy. Our weather in San Francisco has definitely changed, in part, due to the historic drought. We’re not accustomed to being in the high 80s during the day in Winter. Even though some amapolas can be seen flowering year-round in certain parts of San Francisco, annually las amapolas don’t flower here until abril/April, and unfortunately these flores (below) only lasted a few days and then they died and their dark green foliage turned gray. So las flores in the images below are no longer around unfortunately. But we can enjoy them from the images below. Chau.—el barrio rosa

What’s the problem with GLBTQ “assimilation?”

Answer: It causes people to go back in the closet. (Continue reading, por favor.)

Hola. ¿Qué tal? The corporatist GLBTQ organisations—who serve as hacks and shills for the misnamed “Democratic” party in the US of Hypocrisy and anything that their messiah Obama does—for some time have called for the “assimilation” of GLBTQ people into society. By that they mean that GLBTQ people should “blend in” to society, not be activists and don’t make a point about one’s gay sexuality. I guess with them it’s fine for “straights” to make a point about their heterosexuality because they do so every day. Just look on the desks or bookshelves of “straight” office employees anywhere and you’ll see a picture or pictures of “The Heterosexual FamilyTM.” You’ll see pictures of him with her wrapped around each other and their niños/children. Yes, heterosexuals most assuredly like to flaunt their “straight” sexuality and they make a point of doing so at work and anywhere else they choose (walking down the street hand-in-hand, for example). He talks about “The Wife” (what a warm and affectionate way for one to speak about one’s partner [sarcasm intended]) and she talks about “The Hubby.” Then when “The Hubby” announces that “The Wife” is pregnant everyone in the office gushes, “oh congratulations.” Why congratulations? Mosquitoes can breed! Anyone can fuck. Why does that merit a “congratulations?” There may have been a time in a previous era when a “congratulations” was warranted after the successful birth of a healthy child. I know that everyone think that their los niños are or will be “different” than anyone else’s. But since we’re already overpopulated with no shortage of children—especially in gentrified San Francisco (just check out Upper Market if you don’t believe me, Upper Market is like a nursery today, has no one heard of birth control?)—and California and other places are experiencing an historic drought which will lead to agua/water and food shortages, is it really intelligent, positive and should someone be congratulated for squeezing out another baby on the planet? And many GLBTQ parents are adding babies to the planet as well in their desperate attempt to “assimilate” so they can be like the “straights.” When did that become the goal?

The problem with gays “blending in” is that most of society is “straight.” So when GLBTQs—being in the minority—try to “blend in” with heterosexuals who are in the majority, many GLBTQs don’t feel comfortable being out of the closet around sometimes bigoted and prejudiced heterosexuals who often make anti-gay comments (because they wrongly assume that the person they’re talking with is “straight”) and think nothing of it, so the GLBTQ person goes back in the closet in order to “fit in,” and pretends to be “straight” around the “straight” majority. In other words, the GLBTQ person adopts a heteronormative mentality. That’s the same as going back in the closet which is very unhealthy for anyone and it’s the same thing that GLBTQs did back in the 1940s and 50s, for example. We really are going backwards in many ways. This GLBTQ “assimilation” nonsense also very quickly gets rid of diversity because the goal of “assimilation” or “blending in” involves being like everyone else or being like the herd and that removes diversity and encourages sameness and homogeneity. And unfortunately, that is pretty much what the GLBTQ so-called “community” has become. Bland, boring and sanitised in their desperate attempt to “assimilate” and be like the “straights.” Ugh. They’ve become the opposite of what they were during the (now-dead) Gay Rights’ Movement days. And today many (if not most) GLBTQ parents have become the same type of conservative prudes they ran from decades ago when they fled to the sexual freedom and revolution of “gay meccas” of their day. Today, the so-called “gay community” is a bunch of sheeple with no interest in anything but their phone addiction, their addiction to their apps (have they used the “Where to take a shit” app yet?), their coffee addiction and frequenting corporate coffee outlets like the heterosexuals they try to emulate, saying the word “like” every-other-word, taking meth, partying and getting drunk. And many using expensive PreP as an excuse for bareback sex with no intention of using a condom. That’s what the so-called “gay community” has become from what I and mis amigos see. This “assimilation” nonsense really got cranked up with the same-gender marriage issue. But instead of being “assimilated,” and “blending in” many GLBTQs have gone back or are going back in the closet. They use words such as “discreet” and “down low” and “not into the scene” and “straight-acting.” If a gay person is “out and proud” they’re not any of that. Closet cases are “discreet” and “down low.” The Gay Rights’ Movement worked decades for people to go back in the closet? Or the only other reason for being “discreet” is that someone is cheating on someone and doesn’t want the person to know. Some gay guys claim to be “bi” but they have zero interest in females and they have issues. They think that “bi” sounds more masculine or “straight-acting” (heteronormative, in other words) than being who they are: Gay. So this “assimilation” nonsense has backfired. The idiots who promoted “assimilation” in the national corporatist GLBTQ organisations could have seen this coming if they had taken the time to look beyond their cushy, bloated executive salaries and elitist bubble.

Even though “straights” have no shortage of bars to go to, these days they’re hell-bent on going to gay bars to take them over. That’s the reason they’re there because why would “straights” have any interest in going to a gay bar? I and mis amigos have no interest at all in going to a “straight” bar. So when a Queer boy sitting in his own gay bar sees a guy he’s interested in and when “straights” are also in the same bar, how is the Queer boy supposed to know who is “straight” and who’s Queer? If he hits on the wrong person, watch out! That’s another problem with this “assimilation” nonsense. There have always been real and justifiable reasons for Queer bars, and there will continue to be legitimate reasons and a need for Queer bars, no matter how many Queer bars are taken over by “straight” assholes who never seem satisfied with what they already have; they always want more.

Recently, una lesbiana/a lesbian en San Francisco was interviewed and made a comment that “gays are now mainstream.” I don’t know what drugs she’s on or what bubble she’s living in but since she made that comment I’ve paid closer attention to “mainstream”/corporate television programming. What I see on television—no matter what canal/channel it is or international language—is heterosexual programming including the ads. I see “straight” couples engaged in the following behaviour: kissing, walking together, holding hands, arms around each other, making out, having dinner together, fighting, you-name-it. I see nothing but heterosexual-indoctrination programming no matter what canal it is. I’ve not seen one male-male couple or female-female couple kissing, walking together, holding hands, making out, having dinner together, fighting or arms around each other or ANYTHING. So this idea that this local lesbian has that “gays are now mainstream” is ludicrous. She’s loca. And if gays were so mainstream, they wouldn’t be going back in the closet with their “discreet” heteronormative mentality and calling it “assimilation.” Chau.—el barrio rosa

What happened to Political Correctness?

Hola. The title of this post is a rhetorical question since I already know what happened to political correctness. It’s pretty much dead and I’ve noticed this for some time. Mis amigos and I have talked about this a few times. As they say: “What used to matter to people no longer seems to matter. Nothing that is important seems to matter now.” Political correctness lasted for maybe 2-3 decades or so, but it is quickly disappearing or has mostly disappeared from all indications that we’ve seen.

At one time the so-called “gay community” in the US of Hypocrisy was in the forefront of using political correctness, in part, because of all of the discrimination and anti-gay remarks GLBTQs have been and continue to be subjected to. But as the “gay community” has become conservative [ugh...roll eyes], they too have mostly abandoned political correctness to be like the other conservatives. Conservatives, being traditionalists, have always despised political correctness and mocked it. I honestly don’t think they possess the intelligence to understand it and the reasons for political correctness. And also from my personal experience, most conservatives are sexist, anti-gay and anti-ethnic. That’s part of what conservatives are as people, so of course they would reject political correctness.

Part of the reason for political correctness was to make language gender-neutral and inclusive. For example, in a restaurant the word server replaced the outdated word waiter (male) and the outdated word waitress (female). Flight attendant replaced the outdated word steward (male) and the outdated word stewardess (female). Mi amigo says he mostly hears that outdated language today in both of those instances. Note that the female in those instances always has this “ress” or “ess” ending. So silly! Is that to make her appear “dainty” and second to and a lesser person than the male? Another example: The term “actor” applies to both genders instead of that “actress” nonsense. Also, comedian or comic replaced comedienne. Another example: Happy Holidays replaced Merry Christmas because many people don’t believe in or celebrate Christmas (including myself) and I get a little tired of someone assuming that I do celebrate Christmas (which has the word “Christ” in it in case no one has noticed, because I’m an atheist). So when someone tells me “Merry Christmas” I cringe inside and respond: Felices Fiestas, which means Happy Holidays en español. And I should point out that many people who celebrate Christmas sing the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” (Los Doce Días de la Navidad), but they have absolutely no idea what that song is about. They just mindlessly sing it. For those who don’t know what that song is about, the First Day of Christmas is diciembre/December 25 and the Twelfth Day is enero/January 5, with The Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, so that’s why some people (Anglicans/Episcopalians, Roman Catholics and Lutherans especially) keep their holiday tree up through 5 de enero/January 5th because they are observing the Twelve Days of Christmas, while many people take their tree down the Second Day of Christmas! The greeting “Happy Holidays” includes all the holidays around that time of year, including Kwanza, Chanukah and New Years. Happy Holidays is inclusive of all of the holidays at that time of year without making any assumptions about what people celebrate (or don’t), or believe in (or don’t). But here in the New Conservative Corporatised and Lobotomised San Francisco, I unfortunately mainly hear “Merry Christmas” these days en diciembre/December. I must say that these new elitist/bougi young and white residents of San Francisco (the techies) are a fucking piece of work. It’s as if they were outsourced to their techie job in San Francisco from some of the most conservative parts of The Empire/the US/los Estados Unidos. In the former alternative and proudly-radical city of San Francisco I heard “Happy Holidays” when I was out and about. That tells one how much San Francisco has changed in the conservative direction.

Other examples: I now hear and often read the class-ist term “lady” or “ladies” that has replaced the term “woman” or “women” (which I used to hear mostly) as the Women’s Movement has died. I also hear and read “Mrs.” instead of “Ms.” In classical music GoogleTube video comments, I read the conservative and outdated “Miss” or “Mrs.” in reference to the female pianist in the video yet no indication of her marital status or anything about her is given. Ms. is the female equivalent of Mr. regardless of the female’s marital status, just like Mr. is used regardless of his marital status. Another example: During the days of political correctness, humankind replaced mankind (mankind is sexist; that should be pretty obvious even to dense people). But around San Francisco these days, I unfortunately read and hear mankind including from the conservative GLBTQ so-called “community.” As I’ve written before, it’s as if the so-called “gay community” has completely flipped-out and deliberately forgotten their past—in their desperate desire to be accepted by “the straights”—and all that GLBTQs worked for over decades. It seems that all was forgotten as soon as some GLBTQs were allowed to be part of the conservative Institution of MarriageTM nonsense (I’m opposed to marriage of any kind because marriage is nothing but a legal-court agreement) and allowed to get married in some places of The Empire as well as supposedly being allowed to be “out” in the US Military Industrial Complex Killing MachineTM to go kill people around the world of a brown skin orientation as part of The Empire’s imperialistic global perpetual war agenda. That seems to be all that GLBTQs are interested in anymore: Marriage and military. What the fuck happened to the pro-peace and peace-sign-wearing GLBTQ “community?” Maybe GLBTQs will (hypocritically) flip back to their original pro-peace selves once their messiah and saviour conservative Mr Drone Obama is no longer in la casa blanca and conservative Jeb Bush takes residency for 8 years and continues the George W Bush/Obama agenda.

There are other examples I could give of political correctness, but they are the ones that come to mind as I’m writing this. Readers can add other examples in their friendly comments below, por favor. Chau.—el barrio rosa.


What Is the Difference Between a Stewardess & a Flight Attendant?
“Stewardess,” however, is an outdated term that has been replaced by “flight attendant” on all airlines….Although the public sometimes still use the term “stewardess,” airlines use the terms “flight attendant” or sometimes “in-flight crew member.””

Waiter, Waitress, Server: What’s the Correct Term?
“Unless you’ve been under a rock for a while, you know that you are no longer supposed to call a female waiter a waitress.”

Nicolás Mora likes Alberto Plaza

Hola. ¿Qué tal? We’re at around capítulo 91 in, “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea” which is being aired on MundoFox. Well, to be exact capítulo 91 was shown yesterday (el 16 de marzo), y capítulo 92 was shown today. This telenovela is certainly moving quickly (as I said we’re already at cap. 91). And one of my favourite people, Betty’s amigo since childhood, Nicolás Mora (superbly played by Mario Duarte), was outside of la casa de Betty and he turned on the radio in their newly acquired carro and the radio was playing Alberto Plaza/Polvo de Estrellas (Star Dust) as he drove off with Don Armando watching across the street from his carro. Don Armando had just spoken with Doña Júlia. Of course Nicolás didn’t turn on the radio until he had played with/demonstrated the new carro a bit. That’s always funny to watch, and Don Armando’s reaction. I don’t want to spoil this for someone who hasn’t seen it so that’s all I’ll say about it.

I’ve seen the original (from Canal RCN – Bogotá, Colombia) Betty la Fea about 3 times. Mi amigo and I love Betty la Fea, but he has trouble watching it. He finds it too intenso and it makes him sweat. BLF is my favourite telenovela, and every time I see that scene I just described I enjoy that music from Alberto Plaza. Along with the superbly talented and perfectly-selected cast of Betty La Fea, I would say that la música incidental of Betty is equally important. All of the music makes Betty the special telenovela that it is. And I’m glad Fernando Gaitán used this piece from Alberto Plaza. It works perfectly of course.

Below is that capítulo if you’d like to see Nicolás Mora play with the newly-acquired carro (acquired through TerraModa). That scene begins at about 40.55 in the video below.

“Seis semestre de finanzas en San Marino”

And you might even get to hear Patricia Fernández remind everyone once again of her, “seis semestre de finanzas en San Marino,” a school that no one’s heard of! Nicolás had never heard of San Marino when she told him about it. He drew a blank. Patricia tells absolutely everyone multiple times about her “seis semestre de finanzas en San Marino”. I’d say it’s a close second to her repetitive, “Maaaarci” that she says over and over (referring to Doña Marcela). LOL. Chau.—el barrio rosa


Translation of Polvo de Estrellas, en inglés

Yo Soy Betty, La Fea (including a tribute to Doña Catalina (Catalina Ángel/Celmira Luzardo) who died about a year ago (el 12 de marzo 2014).

Will the Drought Burst San Francisco’s Two Bubbles?

Hola, just like in Brazil, California is experiencing an historic drought. According to NASA, the state of California will be out of el agua/water in one year and NASA says that mandatory agua rationing should currently be in place throughout the state. It is not.

Instead, in the New Conservative, Lobotomised, Techie San Francisco greed-based developers are throwing up cookie-cutter glass boxes called Luxury Designer Condos (Dahling) as fast as possible. Some of these luxury condo towers—with their overpriced/inflated condo price tags—are already blocking the view of the iconic Bay Bridge. Question: Where are they planning to get agua/water for all of these condos they’re building and are planning to build? Has no one asked that question yet? For those who don’t know, San Francisco is currently being run by a bunch of greedy conservative corporatist politicians who work for their corporate owners. Such a government is technically called corporate-fascism but some delicate people cringe at the word fascism and prefer the more sanitised word Oligarchy. El alcalde/the mayor works dutifully for his billionaire techie venture capitalist corporate owner. For some reason, el alcalde (el loco) is trying to increase San Francisco’s population—now you have to admit that’s a brilliant idea during an historic drought, don’t you think?! [sarcasm intended]—and make San Francisco into another Manhattan or Hong Kong and he wants 30,000 more Luxury Designer Condos (Dahling) built in San Francisco within the next few years, and that project has begun. San Francisco has an affordable housing crisis which is not being addressed at all. Properties (specifically cookie-cutter luxury condos) for the super-wealthy are being built instead. There’s no shortage at all of properties for the wealthy but the conservatives like to lie and say we have a “housing crisis,” which is not true. They conveniently omit the word affordable when referring to our affordable housing crisis. Also, roughly half of the current Luxury Designer Condos (Dahling) that have been built recently have absentee owners meaning the owners don’t even live in their condo—their condo is dark—and they are using their condo as an investment, which doesn’t address any crisis at all.

Along with the real estate bubble in San Francisco where gullible suckers with no taste are paying outrageous prices for the most mediocre and underwhelming cookie-cutter properties, we also have a techie bubble in San Francisco. Big Corporate Tech has taken over the city—with their corporations receive generous corporate welfare from the city—and has ruined the city and its character. Big Corporate Tech is also going to run out of agua like the rest of us and their arrogant, elitist, bougi, big-headed bubble is going to burst. Without any agua their blindly-white interior, sterile-looking, cookie-cutter condos will become vacant. An amigo asked me: Can lobotomised “people” (and I use the word “people” advisedly when referring to these bougi elitist techies) live without agua?

The next year should be interesting. If there’s no agua the residents of the city will have to evacuate, leaving their Luxury Designer Condos (Dahling) and other properties/homes vacant. At that point, the prices for property should be rather cheap because who will want to live in a city with no agua? Should the drought end at some point in time in some future years, maybe we could get the thousands of artists and musicians who once lived in the Former, Alternative and Proudly-Radical San Francisco—but who were forced out of San Francisco by the Tech Surveillance State Industrial Complex and the Real Estate Industrial Complex and their Greedy Corrupt Liars—to return to San Francisco. Rentals and property values would be very reasonable, (rock bottom) and sensibly priced by then, no? Chau.—el barrio rosa


Overpriced San Francisco

The Conservatives Love the New San Francisco

The Disappearing San Francisco Bay Bridge

Greed-based parasitic Developers install a “curtain” for the wealthy and 1% in San Francisco

Let The Joneses Keep Up With You

People who know themselves and are secure with themselves let the Joneses keep up with them.

Hola. ¿Qué tal? I had a conversation the other day with my neighbour and this article is a close transcription of that conversation as I remember it. My neighbour is a local teacher at the college/university level. I asked her how her classes were going. She said: Don’t even ask!! These students I have are so stupid!! What is wrong with people today? (That sounds like me). She continued: People are getting dumber. (Absolutely. That should not be noticias/news to anyone who’s been paying attention). Some people have already dropped out of my class and I expect many to fail. They can’t do the most basic assignments I ask them to do. (She was very worked up about it.)

Then we changed the subject and she was telling me about las chicas that she’d been dating lately. Ugh. That’s a story! She’s been meeting some “unique” (that’s being polite) females. She said: All I’m able to meet are shallow and superficial people. They’re not interested in me as a person. They’ve been asking me what kind of car I drive, what kind of home I have, what kind of job I have, they’ve asked me about my clothes, my shoes, where I get my hair cut, where I go shopping and where I shop for food, etc. They’re so concerned about my wealth or lack thereof, they’re materialistic, status-symbol-oriented and they’re so self-centered and self-entitled with their “it’s all about me, me, me, give me attention” way of thinking that they possess. (Oh, not good.) I said: Well, it does sound like you’re dating the wrong people. She said that las chicas she’s been dating have been so corporate-oriented, like the New San Francisco. There’s nothing alternative about them. She said one of them said to her, “I like being seen at corporate chain stores and luxury stores.” She felt like asking: Why? She said she didn’t know how to respond to that other than she was thinking to herself: But who at those stores knows you that it would matter to them that you’re there? As she said (and as I’ve written in the past), corporations are ruining this planet in case one hasn’t noticed (or chooses to live in denial about that), so whenever possible I don’t support corporations or corporate/big box chain stores of any kind. Personally, I support worker-owned cooperatives whenever possible. For those who don’t know, with worker-owned cooperatives la plata/the money stays in the community and the workers in the store own their own store and there’s no “employer,” “boss” or CEO. One of the many problems with corporate chain/big box stores is that they put small, independent stores and businesses out of business.

I asked her: Well, what do las chicas talk about mostly when you’re together? She said to me while raising her noise in the air, “Well Dahling, they’re all about luxuriating and luxury this and luxury that. It has to be about luxury Dahling.” She ended her little skit with a loud laughter outburst. Her skit was funny the way she did it.

She said: They’re so damn shallow and superficial. I asked her if she was able to get to know the person inside at all? She said, “Hell no, they don’t even know who they are themselves so how can they tell me who they are?!” (Valid point.) “There’s nothing there with these people I’ve been meeting. They’re empty and cold inside. I was thinking to myself: You mean, “lobotomised?” That’s how I describe them. She said: They don’t know who they are. Some of them act like they have at least two personalities. They act one way on one date and another way on the next date as if they’re two different people inside the same person. (Loca./Crazy.) She said: At the rate these dates have going, I only take about two dates with any of them and that’s a struggle. And half the time we’re together on a date they’re playing with their phone and focused on that and not even paying attention to me. I went to dinner with one of them and she was on her phone the entire time. I sat there staring at the walls, my plate, the other people in the restaurant and ate quietly while she spent the time texting and scrolling (Related: ZDNET – Smartphones are transforming society into a sea of stupid). She didn’t eat any of her dinner. Then when we were ready to leave (or at least I was), I asked her if she was going to get her dinner “to go,” she said “no, just throw it away.” I said with frustration: You’re throwing perfectly good food away? I asked the server to make her’s “to-go” and she got offended at that and said she didn’t want another date with me. I said: Fine. It’s mutual. You’ve spent this date with your phone. Then on another date my neighbour said she got so frustrated with una chica that she asked: What are you doing on your phone? Lining up the next date before you’re done with ours? (Oh, that’s good!) I asked her: How did she respond to that? She said: She didn’t say anything. I don’t think she ever heard me. That rude-assed bitch was too busy on her phone.

My neighbour concluded: I think I’ll just accept being single because this dating work is like having a second job without pay. It’s just too much damn work. I don’t have the time or patience for it considering the people out there.

I said: Yes, it’s very tough. She said she thinks in major part it’s because of what San Francisco has become. And I agree with her. She blames this on the (what I call) the new Corporatist, Conservative, Lobotomised Techie San Francisco. She said in frustration: It’s so difficult to meet people who are not like that these days especially the way this city has changed. I didn’t even ask them about it, but some of these females made sure I knew what kind of car they drive. They made a point of me knowing that. I don’t care what they drive or if they drive. I don’t care that they drive some big, black, status-symbol SUV. I said: Oh those, the ones that look sort of like a hearse. She laughed and said: Yes, those. (Pause). Yeah, you’re right, they do sort of look like a hearse don’t they? LOL. I said: Yeah, all they’re missing is that little metal squiggly thing on the sides that you see on the hearse parked outside of funeral homes. We both laughed. She said: That’s appropriate then because the people I’ve been dating are basically dead zombies inside so they’re certainly driving the right vehicle. I said: Sí claro. Yes, the Land of Living Dead. Indeed. Chau.—el barrio rosa


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