Current Blips

Cache dump of very brief thoughts, ideas, and recommendations.

2019-18-18: The LAST UPDATE to the Bitten by the Banking Wars post has been published. You’ll find it at the end of the post.

2019-07-25: Read the sensible proposal by Jason Perlow in the ZDNet post titled Why Apple and Microsoft belong together like…. I wonder if Microsoft and Apple can play smarter together to bring about this limited partnership to benefit themselves, and us.

2019-07-16: If you enjoy viewing nice photography, check out the blog The Phoblography. It has a large library of interesting and creative works.

Visit the Blips Archive

Bitten by the Banking Wars

My “banking career” began in the early 70’s of the previous century and ended with my retirement in 2013. In the 80’s and 90’s the bank failures and buyouts created havoc in the industry and the lives of many workers and their families. My close friends and coworkers in IT managed to survive as many as 5 takeovers during that period and were involved in the conversions to the buyer’s computer systems and hardware. Other people contributed heavily in the conversion to the “new” bank’s way of doing business.

In 1989, the Mrs. and I obtained a mortgage to buy our condo from the bank I was working for at the time, Bank of Boston CT. I was working for Bank of America (end of the buyout chain) when we paid off that mortgage in 2013, just before I retired. Over the life of that loan, it changed hands from one mortgage lender to another as well as one bank to another.

I am currently in the application phase for a Home Equity Loan with Bank of America, as a retiree, to make some needed home repairs. This application required financial forms and verifications to be obtained and attached, and the bank was helpful with the process.

But guess what showed up yesterday? An existing lien on my home from the original Bank of Boston CT mortgage. Total nonsense. I’ve been through at least one title search since the loan was paid off and no lien showed up. This should be interesting. A bank that no longer exists making claim to my home. This may cause a lengthy delay in the current loan application’s completion. Or hopefully I’ll be lucky and it’s an easy fix.

I think a conversion plan dropped the ball in at least one of those buyouts and allowed that lien to come alive again on a list somewhere. It should have been closed out.

UPDATED 08/08/2019: The belief that the issue was a glitch in one of the bank buyout conversions proved to be true. The bank has told me this is their issue to resolve, not mine. However, it’s taking quite a long time with escalations to other departments and internal auditors. I still have no idea when my loan will be available (or declined). This process started on June 12th.

UPDATED 08/18/2019: On August 9, 2019, the bank’s stand on the bogus lien issue dramatically changed. They advised they would no longer be addressing this matter and that I needed to contact Bank of Boston CT (a bank which has not existed since the latter part of the last century). The bank later changed my contact to Chase Manhattan Bank as they now “own” the mortgage history and advised I had 30 days to get resolution before the loan application would be marked as “denied”.

On a conference call with the loan department, my temper got the better of me and I strongly advised they just cancel my application. I had a feeling this was going to take longer than 30 days, so no loss. I contacted a lawyer who explained what steps would need to take place and what documents would be required to release the bogus lien on my home. Remember that on more than one occasion I was told by the loan department that this was the bank’s issue, not mine, as it was a file conversion issue during the chain of the bank buyouts and that they would resolve it.

That a bank of this size completely reversed this commitment with out a satisfactory explanation and refused to take responsibility for resolution, is what angers me the most. Pursuing this further with the loaning bank would be akin to an ant trying to wrestle a dinosaur to submission, so I am forced to accept the situation.

I do worry however, that the loan application being marked as denied will have a negative impact on my credit score.


These are some of the quotes and quips I have collected over the years. I hope some are new to you. Not all reflect my beliefs on the topic. Some may get a chuckle…

Our current form of Capitalism has no concept of right and wrong. It only recognizes what is profitable and what you can get away with. And when you have the Government, the Media, the Military, and the Police on your payroll, you can get away with pretty much anything.
– Modern American Proverb

“I don’t believe in magic” the young boy said. The old man smiled. “You will when you see her.”
– Atticus

Governments don’t want a population capable of critical thinking. They want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and just dumb enough to accept their situation.
– George Carlin

Remember, Ginger Rodgers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
– Source unknown

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
– H.L. Mencken

If someone points at your black clothes and asks you whose funeral it is, a look around the room and a casual “haven’t decided yet” is always a good response.
– Source unknown

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
– Source unknown

How do we stop racism? Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.
– Morgan Freeman

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.
– Mark Twain

There will never be any more people older then me than there are right now.
– Source unknown

Sure, Kill Bill’s a violent movie. But it’s a Tarantino movie. You don’t go to see Metallica and ask the fuckers to turn the music down.
– Quentin Tarantino

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou

You are a big country. You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.
– Robin Williams, on Canada

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down. Stay up.
– Source unknown

The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves by just standing up.
– Source unknown

People who use a lot of swear words tend to be more honest and trust worthy, human behavioral studies suggest.
– Source unknown

The defeat of democracy and the end of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.
– Thomas Jefferson

When the past calls let it go to voice mail. It has nothing new to say.
– Mandy Hale

People are created to be loved. Things are created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.
– Source unknown

A Hobby: Fountain Pens

Since my high school years (a very long time ago), I’ve always liked writing with fountain pens. In the last 10 to 15 years that interest grew more serious and I started purchasing pens off the web, upgrading a step up from the fountain pens I had been buying off the rack at the local drugstore for $5 to $15. The latter were usually not sturdy enough to carry around like a ball point, and often not reliable enough to be sure they would write every time without some prodding. They also made a much larger mess on your person when they leaked or dumped their ink without warning due to a bump or jostle.

The Lamy CP1
The Lamy CP1

The pen pictured above is my latest purchase, a Lamy CP1, with a steel fine nib. The term “fine” defines the relative width of the line it draws on the paper and is not a hard and fast measurement, as it can vary from brand to brand. This purchase was influenced by my experience with the 4 Lamy pens I already own. The Lamy brand was among my first purchases on the web and stood out from other brands in its price range as being the most reliable (write first time, every time), most durable (take a licking and keep on ticking), and easiest to write with. These 4 Lamy’s are all Safari models of various colors, with sturdy ABS plastic bodies except for one, a Safari Al-Star which has a light aluminum body. All are fixed with medium nibs, writing a thicker line than the fine.

The CP1 has a very slim metal barrel and a slightly textured finish. For me, it is a very comfortable pen to write with most likely due to the small circumference of the body and the smoothness of the nib. It shipped dry and as soon as I plugged in the cartridge it came with, it wrote immediately – no prodding or waiting for it to be ready. And it has been writing immediately every day since. I usually keep about 4 pens inked, and at least one of them has always been a Lamy. This pen will always be inked, so other Lamy’s will get a rest. From the feel of it I’m confident the CP1 will be as reliable and durable as the Lamy Safari models.

Sheaffer Prelude Black Matte
Sheaffer Prelude Black Matte

My most prized purchase is a Sheaffer Prelude (above), Black Matte with 22k gold plated trim and a steel two tone fine nib. This buy was influenced by a gifted Prelude I received years earlier. It was the best writer I had, meaning most reliable and sturdiest for daily carry and use, and was just easy to write with. The Black Matte lives up to that assessment, being a daily writer for me, staying inked all the time. Unfortunately, the first prelude was damaged by some idiot (me) dropping it onto a hard surface with the cap off – and of course it hit nib first. I want to get it fixed but it would probably cost more than just replacing it.

This is a hobby of mine. It’s fun and I usually make about 1 purchase a year. I have a small collection, around 15 pens, and I try to get almost all of them in use at least once a year, rotating them in and out of service.

Whatever I’ve learned about fountain pens comes from a very longtime, good friend of mine. If you have interest in fountain pens I strongly suggest you visit his web presence at The Fountain Pen Quest. You’ll find very detailed reviews of many different pens, ink, and writing papers, as well as a long list of links to more information on topic.