COMMENTARY-Passing parade

I check the meaning of the word “don” in the online free dictionary, and am told it means either “A person of great importance (arch.)” or “The head of a Mafia family”. The latter sounds like more fun, so let’s pursue it. But wait, a lady from St. Louis, Missouri, has already done so, as I found from reading the Toronto based Globe & Mail newspaper. Her name is Sarah Kendzior. Let’s see what she wrote just as she wrote it:

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 4.42.17 PMIn May, Americans learned that under its new seemingly autocratic administration, the subject of an investigation can fire the investigator. One month later, that fired investigator, former FBI head James Comey, appeared before the hearing to describe an executive branch that operates less like a democratic institution and more like a cross between a Mafia shakedown and an audition for The Apprentice. Transparency, checks and balances, and due process have been replaced by secret dinners, loyalty oaths and casual declarations of obstruction of justice.

Fortunately, James Comey took notes.

On Wednesday, Mr. Comey released a copy of his opening statement describing his private meetings with President Donald Trump, culled from memos he wrote immediately after their encounters. They would make a great crime novel, if the crime weren’t the desecration of democracy and we didn’t have to live in it.

According to Thursday’s testimony, Mr. Trump – like a Mafia don – demanded unquestioning loyalty from Mr. Comey. And like a good public servant, Mr. Comey said he could only offer honesty. The President bargained that down to “honest loyalty,” which can be interpreted as a demand that Mr. Comey sacrifice his professional integrity for blind devotion to Mr. Trump. “We had that thing you know,” the President said, a phrase the former FBI director claimed he did not understand but which evokes Cosa Nostra a bit too well.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 4.51.17 PMThen, of course, Mr. Trump fired him.

Since taking office, the President has run the U.S. more and more like a kleptocracy – a predictable move given his shady international ties and the corrupt nature of many of his past business ventures. But while Mr. Trump evokes foreign autocrats, his management style resembles that of an American mafioso. He views NATO as akin to a protection racket, public officials as personal minions, and the GOP as bound to a vow of Omerta. Refuse to comply, like Mr. Comey did, and face consequences.

His hearing was an important alternative to the obfuscation and propaganda of the Trump administration. Unlike most U.S. pundits and politicians, Mr. Comey called a lie a lie. He noted that for the first time in his tenure, he felt obligated to document his meetings with the President because he assumed that the President may be dishonest about their encounter. He said he needed his own records to defend not only himself, but the FBI.

This is a horrifying revelation on several levels. Mr. Comey confirmed that the President could not be trusted to look out for anyone’s interest but his own, and that threats to national sovereignty were of lesser concern to him than whether he and his cronies are implicated. In other words, the person tasked with protecting the American people is a person from whom the American people need to be protected. Mr. Comey strongly affirmed that the U.S. had been attacked by Russia, and gave no indication that in their interactions, Mr. Trump found this situation undesirable.

Mr. Comey kept a diary as democracy was dying – his own job among its casualties. By recording the meetings as they occurred, Mr. Comey’s records are legally admissible, bypassing the hearsay rule. But will his efforts matter? The hearings gave no indication that the GOP is willing to act on the evidence not only of collusion, but of flagrant obstruction of justice.

Republicans who once called for a non-partisan investigation of Russian interference now seem frightened into complicity. Former staunch Kremlin critic Marco Rubio – who had dinner with President Trump a few days ago, seemingly with a side order of a loyalty oath – treated Mr. Comey like a hostile witness. John McCain, who initially led the investigation charge, was barely coherent, confusing Mr. Comey with Mr. Trump and implying Hillary Clinton’s e-mails were somehow behind it all.

Mr. Comey’s firing showed how casually the Trump administration will violate norms, and the President’s open admission that he did so in order to get Mr. Comey off his back showed how casually he will disregard laws. This disregard is based on confidence that there will be no repercussions, and the cowed performance of the GOP makes his assumption seem reasonable. Even if the investigation is carried out, and crimes are confirmed, who will act on the findings?

Likely not Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, who as Mr. Comey noted, participated in his firing despite the fact that he is supposed to have recused himself from an investigation in which he, too, is implicated. The rot of the Trump administration runs deep, and extends beyond the U.S. borders. In a heartbreaking hearing, James Comey pledged allegiance to a version of the United States that is slipping away.

“A republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin famously said. Mr. Comey tried.”

Well, there you have it. I don’t necessarily agree, mind you, but mark the “necessarily”. Thank you for this, Sarah Kendzior.

In a word, neither. I’m tired of reading the endless comments on Trump by entertainers, (mostly, as we notice, negative). It goes on and on. And on. Now here’s an exercise: Think of something positive to say about him, and say it. If you can’t, it’s because your liberal streak won’t let you. Then you may be one of the closed-minded people. That’s why I don’t vote, never have, never will. I am a follower of nobody. That’s what’s interesting and even fun about being an actor; you are forced to get into the skin of your character. Which is what surprises me about the mouthings of Meryl Streep.

An actor should be like the Speaker of the House of Commons (definitely not of the U.S. Congress). No side, no prejudice, no bias. Ready instead to take a leap into the unknown. The difference between good and great and genius.

I am a liScreen Shot 2017-02-18 at 11.22.40 PMfetime member of the New York Players, created by Edwin Booth, (some say as a penance for his brothers dastardly act, remember Lincoln?). My wife was the president for a while, until they offed her, for activism, I guess.

So I was welcomed as a guest at the Garrick Club in London, surrounded by aScreen Shot 2017-02-18 at 11.20.43 PMctors and oil paintings and extraordinary gentlemen (no lady members, sorry,) of the theatre, as well as gentlemen not of the theatre, there to relax in the texture of the place. The conversation mostly stayed clear of the political. Wonderful and intelligent eccentricity abounded, in the faces and in good and useful conversation, which was mostly of the anecdotal kind. Boy, I miss it.

Meryl, beware. Even if you want us to think of you as a sublime actor, we may no longer let you. Your fans will want you to assume a reliably liberal, political, identity. Take a hint from Glenda (Jackson). She got it out of her system, and now she’s back.

And I’m back, to Hollywood.

With the just announced death of Fidel Castro, and the confused and confusing responses of world leaders, let’s ignore the politics and the law, and take a moment to consider the humanity. Oh, the humanity! (Where did I hear that before?). This is a true story, worth the telling, crying out for a screenplay and a star like Meryl Streep. I wrote it up on Wikipedia. Who needs fiction?

Mary McCarthy was the daughter of a St. John’s, Newfoundland, supplier of fishing supplies. Showing some musical talent, he sent his daughter Mary to Boston for lessons, and it is there she met a wealthy Spaniard named Pedro Gomez Cueto, who met her father and asked for her hand in marriage. Her father said come back in a year. He did, and so they were married, and he took her to live with him in Havana, Cuba, where he manufactured boots for the army.

He built his wife a white mansion in 1936 called Villa Mary, which became their home. It was filled with Napoleon III furniture and chandeliers, and a Steinway grand piano, becoming a gathering place for visiting artists and singers, such as Frank Sinatra (who had a house behind hers) and Nat King Cole. In those days, under the rule of President Fulgencio Batista, the island was known as “a millionaires’ paradise”. They became part of local society, and helped to found the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra and an orphanage for boys. Then in 1951 her husband died, and her life changed drastically under Fidel Castro’s revolution of 1959.

The US imposed a trade embargo against Cuba in 1962, causing her U.S. bank account of about 4 million dollars to be frozen. Unable to touch her money, things became worse when Castro confiscated her island holdings, and granted her a monthly pension of 200 pesos (about $15). While free to return to her native Canada, or the United States, she vowed never to leave the island, for Cuba was her home. And so this native Canadian continued to live there in poverty, a relic from days gone by. This is a documentary made a few years ago.

Her neighbors had left the island long before, and their mansions were converted into embassy residences. Peacocks continued to strut under the palm trees in her large garden. The abandoned mansion still retains the elegance and graceful atmosphere that Mary so carefully maintained for more than seven decades.  Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 5.05.09 PM

In 2002 she broke her hip and used a wheelchair, but continued to wear a satin dress, silk blouse, chiffon scarf and lipstick to greet her visitors.

With the need for more money due to her medical problems, some measure of relief came in 2007 through a Canadian diplomat. Washington allowed her to draw from her inheritance $96 a month. “I don’t even want to buy candy,” she declared in her distinctive Newfoundland Irish accent.

Reminders of her long life were on the walls where framed telegrams hung from Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II, congratulating her on her 100th birthday, and photographs on the table showed her with the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham and the guitarist Andrés Segovia.

Asked whether she approved of Fidel Castro and his revolution, she did concede that poverty and illiteracy ended with his rule.

She died on Friday, April 3, 2009, just 24 days short of her 109th birthday, and was buried next to her husband in a white marble crypt in The Necropolis Cristóbal Colón, in Havana.

This film was shot in IMAX and released September 9, 2016.  It stars Tom Hanks as Captain Sullenberger, was filmed by Clint Eastwood, written by Todd Komarnicki, and edited by Blu Murray.  The event, now famous as “The Miracle on the Hudson”  took place on January 15, 2009, at around 3:30pm. The plane, an Airbus A320 of USAirways, hit a flock of Canada Geese, lost power, and after gliding was landed in the Hudson River’s freezing water off 50th Street Manhattan, with 155 passengers and crew, all of whom were saved.  Here is what it meant to me:

My interest in flying began with building model airplanes as a kid, and ended with my ownership of 2 planes which I flew until I was forced to sell them due to the ministrations of a lawyer, the judge, and my own experience of PTSD and loss of pilot license to fly.

While my aeronautical interest was thus curbed, it continues to this day online.  I like to follow the career of my son Benjy (Delta Captain, flying internationally)  who I’m glad to say I rescued from a waiter’s career at California Pizza Kitchen within a stone’s throw of LAX. I taught him to fly my plane, and sent him on his way to a flying school in Georgia, where he gained all his grades.

This film allowed me to come to grips with the sheer complication of flying, the attendant responsibility of the ship’s captain, and a better understanding and consequent admiration for the skills Ben has acquired.

I met with him recently at a local restaurant – here’s a picture – but a falling out ensued.  (He cancelled my parental courtesy free pass on Delta flights, because I wanted to visit my daughter Pema in Norfolk, and meet my grand-kids for the first time.IMG_3040 At my current age of 84, it becomes kind of important.)  He currently flies out of JFK to Africa, where he now lives.

Back to the film.

It’s full of the intricate detail of the world of flying under the watchful eye of the FAA , of enormous interest to me, but possibly above the curiosity of your average film-goer.

As a member of the Directors Guild of America, I get to see all the new releases which compete for my attention and so get to vote, culminating in the DGA Awards dinner which will be held in Hollywood February 4, 2017, and which I always attend. I shall most certainly cast my vote for this picture in different categories. But maybe I have too much of a special interest.

Newt Gingrich, a Republican, was 50th. speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He posted this piece online this morning

I grew up in an era when the New York Times was the greatest newspaper in the world. Throughout my political career, there were plenty of moments when I thought the paper’s coverage had an unfair slant. But I knew it remained America’s most revered newspaper, and that generally its reporters held themselves to the highest standards. Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.40.30 AM

Thus I watched with some regret as all of that went out the window this election cycle. It was sad to see a 165-year-old paper destroy its credibility over one election season. But the Times’s complete abandonment of its old standards was obvious to anyone who read its coverage. The paper wrote stories that were unrelentingly hostile to Trump and his supporters.

It allowed reporters to include their personal opinions and political analysis in news coverage. It allowed political reporters to spew their animosity to Trump on social media. (I am old enough to remember when reporters maintained the conceit that they did not have political opinions.)

It published stories about Trump in which it distorted the accounts of interviewees, according to the subjects’ own testimony. It published front page stories and editorials with headlines that accused Trump of “lying”–but never so characterized any of Hillary Clinton’s well-documented lies.

And now the same publisher and the same editor that oversaw this partisan assault are promising to “rededicate” themselves to reporting “honestly”. Perhaps even the paper’s liberal readership has tired of reporting that increasingly resembles the state-controlled propaganda of totalitarian regimes.

Before readers take the paper at its word, they should ask its leadership some of the following questions:

  1. Does the Times have any reporters, editors, or columnists who will say they voted for Trump, and has it hired any new ones?
  2. Has it hired any reporters who are even Republicans?
  3. Has it changed its policies that allowed journalists to express their opinions about the events and people they covered in their news stories?
  4. Will it ask the Pulitzer Prize board to withdraw, and its reporters to return, any prizes that might be awarded for news stories that contained reporters’ personal opinions?
  5. Have its editors retracted misleading news headlines that expressed opinions or pure speculation–such as the paper’s coverage of Trump’s tax returns?
  6. Has it fired reporters who admitted to writing politically motivated “news” stories and encouraged interview subjects to talk to them so they could stop Trump?
  7. Has it retracted its shameful election-eve front-page story “reporting” on Trump’s innermost thoughts and feelings, virtually every sentence of which is filled with reporters’ opinions and speculations–featuring claims like “he is struggling to suppress his bottomless need for attention”?

If the answer to all of these questions is “no”–why would anyone believe that the paper is now “rededicated” to honesty? And why would anyone trust the New York Times to report on American politics?

Well said, Newt. And now for my opinion. The rot started when newspapers no longer “said” anything, it was when writers were revealed by name. Newspapers used to have a voice as a collective, but no more. Now, only consumer brands have voices (usually of their chairman or CEO), and the press should think the same way. However, it is a 2-way street. Authoritarian states do what we’d like and speak with one voice, but we don’t want that either. The only daylight is that democracy has a way of evening it all out. It corrects itself eventually. Or maybe it cancels itself. Nobody hears anything, because nobody’s listening. The myriad voices become a babble.

Mr. Trump met with Obama in the White House this morning, and to my mind is becoming far too obsequious. He proclaimed it was “an honor” to meet him and that Barack was “a good man”. What? Has Trump lost his cojones? Or is he, like a chameleon, changing his spots. Sorry, that’s a leopard. Well, he’d better be more like a leopard.Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 1.02.47 PM

We elected him on his stated platform. He’d better not lose sight of it.

It has been quite a joy to watch the backtracking of celebrities who pledged their all to Hillary Clinton. Speaking of whom.

I’ve said all along that she was Bill, in her clothing, or maybe he was her in his clothing. Or maybe they are cross-dressers, who knows, but theirs was clearly an end run around the 22nd Amendment, which refers to term limits of 4 years only, passed March 21, 1947.

Bill and Hillary are and remain a married couple, which means that legally they are treated in many ways as a single entity, enjoying certain privileges, such as that they cannot be forced to give evidence against each other. Another game to the system.

Some celebrities say that if Trump was elected, they’d move up to Canada. Trouble is, Canada doesn’t want them. Will they build a wall to keep them out?

Life is becoming truly bizarre.

I posted this 3 months ago, in August. I hope he will turn out to be exciting in his new presidency. The U-turns being undergone by certain – and you know who I mean – celebrities, and refusal and possibly exodus of some of them to other countries, will be fascinating. And how about Politically Incorrect Bill Maher? He will become completely irrelevant to the scene from now on, unless he can spin it somehow.

Having sat through those two mind-numbing Conventions and wondering at the utter futility of all that talk, insults ad hominem/ad nauseam, spewing through the mouths of the candidates, their supporters and media spectator pundits – thumbs up or thumbs down as in the days of ancient Rome – I figured that Trump has probably got it made. We should resign ourselves to the fact that he will probably be the next occupant of the White House. Our loss is that we cannot then continue to poke fun at him in the way we’ve been doing. (Here I must reveal my secret admiration of him: that he financed his own campaign.)

But relax, take a swig or a puff or a snort, or whatever best opens your mind, and listen up.

He may amaze yet because he is not a conventional thinker, and his lack of politically engineered experience may clear the field, like a computer reboot, format, or system upgrade.Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.21.14 AM

I don’t think he looks for wars. He looks for solutions. If he’d been there in 1939, he might have done a deal with Hitler to look East instead of West. Thus, Hitler would have had the challenge of containing Communism instead of us, there’d have been no Battle of the North Atlantic, no U-boats, and the deaths of 70 million scapegoats might not have had to be mourned by their grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and children. Of course, we’ll never know.

But that’s past. How about the future?

How might he deal with todays’ fears from terrorism, and ISIS? The U.S, UK, France, Germany, and the rest of Europe seem to be out of ideas on that score. The ideology of PC thinking paralyzes the U.N. and its members. Would Trump do any better? Well, he’s perfectly capable of thinking the following. He might say

“Pay mercenaries. Hire headhunters. Professionals seeking bounties, and motivate them with lots of cash. Attract Gurkha warriors, who would know what to do with decapitating the enemy with their curved kukri weapons. Torture? Brutality? They would do as ISIS does, and make money while doing it. Any person wearing a black hood gets it.”

Countries would look the other way. They’d say ‘Deal with it, don’t tell us how.’

Most people can’t think like that. Certainly not Hillary or Obama. But if it worked, then the billions currently spent on security could be spent creating new businesses and jobs.

One might care to notice that America gained its empire by buying with cash, not killing and conquering. Alaska? California? Louisiana? St. Thomas? Purchases all.

So, I’m leaning more towards the acceptability of Trump. I think he’d be up for the challenge of true Democratic Capitalism. He could be exciting. Yes, it’s all about the money, yes.

Remember, it was the Bard who said “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”. Perhaps the time has come.

Post Election Day November 8, 2016:

I had been asked earlier this year what I thought of Donald Trump. That was like being asked what I thought of Adolph Hitler. But rather than going into the gory details, I decided to make a little comedy sketch with my two young talented friends Seth Garben and Jacob Grodnik. It was called “NAZI MAN!”, and showed a couple of American method actors complaining how the British have stolen all the good parts in Hollywood, before becoming confronted with Rudy, the idiot younger brother of Adolph, who has been hiding in a bunker for 70 years, emerging with the avowed intention of making Nazi Germany great again.

But the times they are a-changing, and it’s no longer de rigueur to make fun of the Donald, who is now our president-elect. Hey, he might come after YOU if you don’t straighten up. And you’d lose the chance to be part of his cabinet. So I’m taking down this spoof, to be on the safe side.

However, the story of how we made it on the sly is worth telling, so I’ll leave that up.

SPOILERS.

I don’t usually believe in revealing how movie magic is made, but progress says it’s old-fashioned to hold that view. These days everybody’s a movie maker, and wants to know. It seems that people are able to somehow suspend their disbelief when it suits them, so a little back story here.

We shot it on the sly, and the reason was that displaying the Swastika in public is, well, unwise. Illegal in most European countries, we’re told.

We went to Western Costume to get me be-garbed in the genuine Hitler uniform, which they have hanging on their racks.  It’s tan and very understated. Swastika, Iron Cross etc, and much medal bling. IMG_2916We paid their rent for a week, and then the manager came charging out and refused to let us take it off the premises! He said it was their policy to rent genuine Nazi uniforms only to big studio productions, and here we were, a tiny independent. A solution was quickly needed.

That’s how we came up with the fairly innocuous but genuine leather Lederhosen, which, though expensive, we bought. Then we shot on a Sunday and holiday when everything was closed, and – just lucky, actually – no cop cars were to be seen to check on whether we’d obtained permits and whatnot. We hadn’t.

Update: Producers renamed this spoof “Make America Great Again (parody)” There are several videos with similar titles, and runaway views in the millions. Ours not.

What shocks me for the future of the medium is that viewers are watching old copyrighted movies with the animated faces of Trump and Hillary and Obama simply pasted on.  Check out these hijacking examples: A “sword and sandals” epic along with “The Terminator”. I have to admit that “Making America Great Again (Donald Trump parody)” is very funny

and so is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVqoZb6967Ahttp://

but the law needs to be changed if the ownership of intellectual property is to mean anything. Every movie ever made could be used and abused in this way under the umbrella protection of “Parody”.  A “with apologies to . . .” would be helpful, but that’s presuming the cult of ethics still exists in its old form. Hence lawyers.

An extraordinary new book written by a devoted Lynn Redgrave fan, and boasting about how she effected the outcome of her divorce action against me, has just been published and is available on Amazon.

Letters to Lynn Redgrave: Martial Enlightenment for Modern Women (and Men) by Jeri Massi

Jeri Massi is a fourth degree black belt in Taekwon Do Chung Do Kwan, a Master. She holds belts in other martial arts, including Shotokan karate and Tang Soo Do. She writes

“I am a woman martial arts master. In 1999, When actress Lynn Redgrave’s then husband John Clark was harassing her, I asked her to let me instruct her in the principles of martial enlightenment. She consented. This book is our correspondence.

It is based on Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. It should be helpful to anybody in desperate circumstances. The lessons calmed and guided her. War begins in the mind, and an intelligent, calm fighter can defeat an opponent by exploiting the undisciplined fears and desires of his or her opponent.”

Wow!  I was so impressed, I just HAD to get this book. She focuses upon how she masterminded Lynn’s financially successful lawsuit for divorce against me. I was stunned. Not being an attorney or a medical doctor, I wonder how Lynn’s attorney Emily Edelman felt about that during the case? Or how Judge Gold would have felt about that while it was sub judice? Or the State Bar of California?  Or the office of the District Attorney (Statutes about UPL).  Or, come to think of it, my own team of attorneys for not asking the right questions. I bought 14 copies, enough for a jury and backup. As I read it, I saw how this woman had taken over Lynn’s mind and become her Svengali.

Check it out.

I gave it one star only on Amazon, because, as I said there in my comment,

“As the husband she physically threatens throughout this book, I am fascinated by her rendering of a non-existent person. I would have given it 5 stars if it was intended as satire, for here are the makings of a great Saturday Night Live sketch. But since there is no such disclaimer by the author, a non-lawyer religious fundamentalist black belt kickboxer, I have to conclude that she is serious. Hence one star.”

Since it was against my wife’s nature to live according to this Rasputin’s instructions which she readily obeyed, and served lawyer Edelman’s purposes, nature took its course. Karma lives, she didn’t!

My kids, who followed along because they’d benefit from the Living Trust she secretly created, explains why we are alienated. Shame on them. My feelings are bolstered by old Will through the cry of King Lear: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child… Away, away!

Now I understand why I was evicted from the 1999 SAG Awards and she called the police on me to make sure I was not allowed to attend the 1999 Independent Spirit Awards to watch her success for Gods & Monsters and Shine, or the 1999 Oscars where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – both of which I booked for her, and negotiated! (No agent.)

I read the L.A. Times report again. The article, under Ann O’Neill’s byline, demolished me the defendant, and was actually written by their journalist Louise Roug who daily attended the trial. If the media had known that Lynn’s animosity towards me, and adamant refusal to submit to mediation or interviews was being directed, not by her attorney, but illegally by this woman, the result would have been vastly different. Undoubtedly, the judge would have sanctioned Lynn and Emily Edelman, Esq. for contempt of court, and reviewed again my motion for him to recuse himself. He’d favored her throughout, and allowed her to leave the jurisdiction!

This revelation opens up a whole new avenue for me, and the clock starts running NOW (4 year SOL)

The L.A. Times article, combined with my itemized response to each point, is an important document, especially in the light of this book, which changes everything. Read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My readers know that what you get here is some insight on everyday matters as a result of my “being there, did it, and this is what happened.” Anecdotal evidence yes, but that’s often better and more instructive than expert advice from expensive professionals with a conflict of interest (they’re selling services or a book.) 

Having a mortgage on my house, a 30 year ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage), I decided to refinance into a fixed, and get enough cash to pay off my credit cards, which are kinda maxed out at the moment plus a bit of cash besides. The Obama administration seems to want us to do that if we can, and they have encouraged, indeed ordered, the banks to loan out the money they got when the government bailed them out under the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) of 2008, and of course radio thunders the ads at us constantly, and the phone assails me with calls from brokers to get my business. So let’s see how it worked out for me with these providers: 

1. First I tried Chase Bank, who hold my current mortgage. They would surely want to let me refinance, I’ve been a steady and never-late payer on my loan for 12 years now. This is what happened:

They checked my credit rating. Mid-range, ok. They looked at my paperwork, income, all that stuff. THEN they asked “Have you had your house on the market within the last 6 months?” Yes, I said, certainly. Withdrew it only last week. Sorry was their answer, cannot consider you for a refinance because of that. End of discussion. 

2. I then tried Quicken Loans, who declare they are the best, lowest rates, etc. etc. A guy in Michigan, Reed Wilkin, handled my request. Very enthusiastic and excitable fellow. if you owned a vacuum cleaner company, you’d want him as your frontline door-to-door salesman. Or bibles. He took my information. He checked my credit score. He said “no problem”. I told him what Chase said. He said Oh dear, we can’t do it then, and hung up. Then he called me back, said his boss cleared it so it didn’t bother him anymore. Then he said was I living elsewhere as I had a different mailing address? I said that I keep an office at Oakwood where I am the Notary Public. He said nevertheless, in his view my house was my second home, and he’d go to prison if he was caught lying. I persevered. Then he said that my wife had to commute too far to work. I said 5.3 miles is too far? He finally said sorry, you don’t fulfill our requirements, we cannot consider a loan. End of discussion. 

2. Then I tried LoanDepot. Very calm, business-like guy called David on the phone, and they had an office locally. I faxed over all the paperwork. This, I figured, is going to happen. We agreed on the terms. I expected a commitment. He sent an appraiser. Fine, nothing to worry about there, I have remodeled the house. The appraiser came, personable fellow named Sean Copeland. He took a few measurements and left. His report said that I had a single family residence, and the lower unit was breaking the zoning law, because there was a stove top cooker in it. He said to get a loan, I should cap off the gas, and relocate the steps now outside, to inside. What? I pointed out to LoanDepot that the lower space did not make it a duplex. One electric meter, one water meter, one entrance. He laughed at me, and said sorry, we cannot do a refinance for you. I checked the internet, and came up with this explanation of what is a duplex, and what is a single family residence. This is what an expert appraiser says, that there is such a thing as a smaller add-on unit, an ADU, often referred to as, among other things, an in-law, granny flat, and mother-in-law suite. With cooking facilities. Read about it here. And here. Sr. banker John Zimmerman ignored the proof. End of discussion. 

3. My accountant had a great suggestion. He said why don’t you go to your local Credit Union? The banks hate them, because they are faster and usually less expensive than the big banks. So I crossed over the road to First Entertainment Credit Union, very handy. Spoke to a welcoming agent in their loan department named Ken Nakanishi. He would be my friend, I could see. He suggested I get a line of credit on my house, much more simple than a refi, and would allow me to consolidate my credit card debt. Great I said, now I feel I’m getting somewhere. A couple of days later he called. Sorry, he said, but you have a negative amortization loan at present with Chase. We cannot grant you a line of credit. But, he said, if you take out a refi with a fixed payment with us, then you could even do both. Hooray was my answer. A few days later he called, and said that when I paid off my credit cards, I’d have to close my Gold American Express card, which I’ve had for 39 years. Are you nuts, I said? No way! 2 more days. Then he called again, and said they were denying me my loan, as I had 2 units in a house zoned for single family occupancy! Nice knowing you, I said, and printed out and sent them the article so they could read it and perhaps educate their lending and banking staff on the realities, or I prefer to believe that they knew already, and hoodwinked me. 

So I got nowhere. I am convinced that this so-called lending spree is a farce, humbug,  and B/S, acted out by businessmen who don’t negotiate in good faith. Almost worse, they are time-wasters. Never mind money in the bank – at my age, I don’t have much time in the bank. And they caused me to use up about 4 weeks of it. So now I am just mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.

What will I do now? Screw ’em, I’m just a short walk from the Hollywood Bowl, and I shall vacation-rent it out for a few days at a time, and sleep in my office at such times, and maybe say I have a duplex!