Jim Varagona

Month: November, 2006

>Lynch the Landlord

>I stole that title from the Dead Kennedys song of the same name. The lyrics speak volumes that we can identify with from our experiences in the past year.

I tell them ‘turn on the water’
I tell ’em ‘turn on the heat’
Tells me ‘All you ever do is complain’
Then they search the place when I’m not here

But we can, you know we can
Let’s lynch the landlord
Let’s lynch the landlord
Let’s lynch the landlord man

There’s rats chewin’ up the kitchen
Roaches up to my knees
Turn the oven on, it smells like Dachau, yeah
Til the rain pours thru the ceiling

But we can, you know we can
Let’s lynch the landlord man

And now it comes to the time that after a year of battling the Land People, we must go. We are moving close by, but hopefully miles from the headaches. I have a feeling that renting is a pain in the ass for the most part anyway. We must tough it out for one more year till the wife can get stable employment after graduation.

I must say however, that I still cannot comprehend why the Land People chose to endure our nagging and bitching along with my refusal to pick up my dog’s poo (because of their lack of cleanliness on a job site in the back yard involving shattered glass strewn throughout). I guess some folks really need the dough. And I’m sure as I’ve stated before that they will milk our deposit for whatever they can get. Hopefully my photos can fight that a bit. I think my argument is strong that if they were to complain about us in any way, we could prove blatant disregard for our health, safety, and quality of living.

New landlady take note.

I had planned on outing my crappy Land People at this point, but considering what I’ve learned from watching court programming, it’d be best to let it be. That’s sad, because I wish I could warn any future tenants, even though I have a suspicion they’ll be shacking up in our living quarters once we split.

I think our current lady needed new friends. She asked us quite a bit when we moved in to hang out with her and have bon fires, but we didn’t have the time nor the interest. We thought landlords were for lording over the land, not being a pal. Since then, she has stomped around when here like a little child that happens to be in her fourth decade with an advanced degree, which makes even less sense. The other day, in fact, she did so for about 3 hours upstairs with the tenant she befriends up there. I battled the noise by blaring Johnny Cash and Cab Calloway. Sure, it was stooping to her level, but she has twenty years on me, so I think I can pull it off with more ease. And to boot, she has a maddening cackle that I insist on drowning out.

She told us she bent over backward for us. That’s why I had to fight to get a new oven after she said the gas odor was because it was old. Well sure, but it also had 4 faulty valves according to the gas man. She laid a guilt trip about having to spend $800 on a new one, but we got the most basic model from Sears. I guess she was also bending over backwards when the bathtub faucet blew off and hit me in the foot, and she showed up drunk to fix it. And when the mice came in packs, and she said it was because I was dirty, she was just giving kind advice.

Watch out for these bastards. I’m sure these good for nothings are everywhere. This whole situation has driven us to be psychotic about living situations. If only we could have bought a house. Until then, we shall have further adventures.

Beware…take care.



>Now Taking Pictures of Cloned Babies from Election Day

>Forgive me father, it has been over a week since my last blog.

The thing is that I found new employment since ditching the automobile classified photography business. Now, instead of traveling around the area getting photos of cars, I have moved on to in-home photography of infants and toddlers. It still involves quite a bit of driving to get to customers’ homes, but photographing children is more challenging and enjoyable than snapping pictures of cars, trucks, boats, and RV’s.

I must say this is closer to my goal of actually having a job relating to my Bachelors Degree in Media Communications. That looked hopeless during my days in the Italian Retail Service.

In other news, I fulfilled my duties of guarding and troubleshooting the electronic voting machines on Election Day. I understand now why this country has so many issues with the validity of elections. I felt very competent in my role, which I aced every examination for during training. It was very disconcerting though to see that anyone that applies to help with the elections is pretty much accepted. I know we all have a duty to serve in whatever capacity we can to be true patriots, but this is ridiculous. The written exam which determines whether or not one could go on to be in charge of these machines at a location was around 60 written questions. To pass, you only needed 60% correct. I think this helps explain why some precincts have a hard time reporting on time.

Not only were the tech positions filled this way, which I feel is a very important role throughout the day, the other poll workers don’t seem to be scrutinized much. For the first hour and a half, during the biggest rush of our day at my site, one of the precincts had a woman with moderate Alzheimer’s handling the looking up of names in the register. I don’t blame her, because she was doing her best to help, but someone should have recognized her ability level sooner. After she was pulled from that post at 7:30 AM, she asked me what time it was. I told her and she was shocked that it was so late. She thought it was already 12 hours later, and that we were going to go home. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I later hung out with this woman as she stood by the large machine that accepts the optical scan ballots. She helped folks slip their ballots in the shredder looking machine and proceeded to clap and cheer for them. This is how we replaced the fact that our city wasn’t giving out “I Voted” stickers this year. A couple of people were really irked that she was standing right next to the machine, considering it an invasion of privacy. If they took it any further than mumbles under their breath, I planned to tell them that even if she wanted to see their votes, she wouldn’t remember it later. She was a sweet woman, about 90 years old. She told me the same story 10 times about her family and her current living situation. We also chatted about how girls in schools these days like to have their breasts hanging out of their shirts and that she thinks that is reason enough for uniforms. “Everything’s all about sex”, she explained to me, “that’s why they have so much AIDS in Africa.”

Listening to my new elderly female friend, I realized something. She made sense a lot of the time, but then she would get confused and repeat herself, sometimes completely. Sometimes she made no sense at all. It summed up my experience that day. This system means well, I’m almost sure. The thing is that if the workers at the polls continue to be an aging crowd, not many will know what is going on. They all mean well. More emphasis should be put on recruiting of these temporary workers, especially on college campuses to get younger people involved that have experience with the technology that helps us vote. We can all learn something from eachother, no matter what age, race, or belief system. This is another example.

After I got home from the day at the polls, I passed out to the news that Claire McCaskill was trailing Jim Talent by over 10 points here in Missouri and our Amendment 2 that Michael J. Fox helped promote was losing as well. It didn’t look good. Then a funny thing happened on the way to further Republican domination…

I woke up about 3 hours later to hear McCaskill giving her victory speech. Amendment 2 was leading by a slim margin with more votes to count. The Democrats had gained the upper hand in the House and were too close to call in the Senate, because of Montana and Virginia (which both later went blue to win the Senate). It was as if Santa had paid a visit during my slumber.

I know that this doesn’t mean the world is saved from our downward spiral, but now there’s a bit more hope. And it doesn’t hurt that silly Republicans think the Dems will now go on baby killing sprees, clone armies of mutant children, impeach the evil Emperor Bush, tax every penny they make, spend, or hoard, and let Michael Moore live.


>Cardinals Fans Like Everyone…Except Matt Blunt

>After the Cardinals won it all, the city had a fancy parade downtown and it ended at the new Busch Stadium. The wife and I, along with my parents, attended the gala event at the stadium, which featured the Budweiser clydesdales and local dignitaries like Mayor Fancis Slay along with the winning team of course. Mr. Mike Shannon hosted the festivities.

It was nice to be excited some more after the big win on Friday night, but nothing will ever meet or beat that. My favorite moment wasn’t when Yadier Molina’s home run against the Mets was played or when Albert Pujols spoke. Before the players were even introduced, the governor of Missouri, Matt Blunt was introduced, and he received the only resounding boo of the day. It was as loud as the cheers for Pujols and I loved it. We may be the best fans in baseball for how loud we are or how considerate we are (even cheering for the teams we beat when Tony LaRussa asked us to), but we aren’t stupid.

Get your I HATE MATT BLUNT gear here.

>The Return of the Mice


The last time I blogged about mice actually being in the place we live, besides the day I disposed of the moldy mice from March (now with video!), was at the end of that wretched month when I had reported 11 caught in about one month. The cause of those mice could be attributed to the gutting of a house to the rear of our building, but our landlady preferred to blame it on our cleanliness or lack thereof.

I had caught one more a few months after that which I didn’t blog about. Number 12 came at an odd time. There are houses surrounding us being worked on, which could displace a mouse, but we had such good luck with our sonic pest repellants up to that point.

Number 12 and I (looking fat and Russian)

Fast forward to this week and I have caught two more, bringing the grand total of caught mice to 14. Two houses adjacent to us are being completely renovated, so I’m pretty sure they were refugees from the Adjacent House Province. They were quite friendly, even peeking out during a gathering of friends last weekend. I cannot coexist with these creatures however, because we disagree on where to lay our waste. We considered letting them live until we move out of this wretched nutsack in one month, but it was not to be. The Victor traps and Peter Pan Crunchy got the best of them.

I discovered Number 14 today during my rounds to check my traps. This is one of the few I didn’t hear go off. Maybe they move around more when I’m home. He seemed like an effortless case. I picked up the trap like I always do but it didn’t give much. I pulled a tad more and took his fur off one side. He stuck to the floor. It wasn’t a bloody mess though. I don’t really understand what happened. It looks like a shadow of the crime scene.

I wish Robert Stack was still alive so he could look into the Unsolved Mysteries behind my mice and show the land people our innocence and their negligence once and for all. That theme song still gives me the creeps.

I’m sure I will have plenty of updates as this month passes and we leave the land people. They recently left us written notice that they will not renew our lease. That’s a real shame.


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