Thursday, March 31, 2011

3208 ...and into the fray.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first,
the passion fades
and there had better be something else to take its place.


I just started reading Michael C. Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon. It's 675 6x9" small-type pages, not including the introduction and the preface. I've so far read the introduction and the preface and the first seven pages of Chapter 1, and I'm already fascinated.

This could be a problem. I may have difficulty getting anything else done.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3207 Buncha Idiots!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Either you control your attitude or it controls you.


I'm venting here. I'm so annoyed I want to spit. If I'm ever in south Jersey, there's a certain bank manager I want to strangle.

Many moons ago when Ex#2 and I split, we owned a block of stock jointly. He got half and I got half, and we were to transfer our halves to each of us individually.

Well, I didn't do the transfer for my half, because Daughter was small, and if anything happened to me he'd be raising her, and if I left the stock joint it would go directly to him avoiding probate and tax, and that would be fine and just. So I simply had the account changed to my SS# and the dividends coming to me, and then of course I never got around to transferring them.

Cleaning out the old house I found the certificates. Of course they've split multiple times, so there are also shares in a joint "book-entry" account held at the transfer agency. Ack! I'd better get them transferred now, because if anything happened to him (and I don't see how he is possibly staying alive), I'd be the one with the probate and tax problems.

I called the transfer agent, and they sent me the form to transfer all the shares and the instructions. It's pretty straightforward. He and I each sign the form, and we each get what's called a Medallion Signature Guarantee. The medallion is absolutely required, and it says so several times, both on the form itself, on the cover letter, and on the instruction sheets. Two separate signatures as joint owners of the stock, and two medallions, one for each signature. Almost any decent sized bank can do the medallions.

So I filled out the form and sent it to him, along with a letter instructing him what to do, and the "How To" and "FAQ" sheets from the transfer agent. I even put stickies on the form with "sign here", "date here", and "medallion here" arrows.

I have to give him credit. He's trying his best. He's not the main problem, it's his local bank. (Well, he's a little bit of a problem because he doesn't know enough about the process to argue with his bank. Either that or he's already pissed them off enough on other occasions that they're just giving him a hard time -- and that's entirely possible. He does that. I can't believe the bank manager doesn't know how to transfer stock.)

Short lesson:

A Medallion Signature Guarantee and a Notary Public Stamp are similar in that you have to sign the document in front of the guarantor or notary, you have to show identification to prove you are who you claim to be, you have to affirm that you are signing of your own free will and demonstrate that you are sober and of sound mind sufficient to understand the significance of what you are signing. But there are also a few big differences.

The notary public has no financial stake in the document, and he/she can carry the stamp around in a pocket. The notary doesn't even have to know what the document is - just that the signature is that of the person signing. They'll usually accept a driver's license, and don't have to know the signator personally.

The medallion, on the other hand, carries insurance against forgery. If the signature turns out to be forged, the institution that applied the medallion is responsible for the inherent value of the document. It's a big deal.

All transfers of stock absolutely require the medallion, because the stock transfer agent never sees the actual signers, so the medallion transfers the financial responsibility to the medallion holder, who did see the signers and has the responsibility of authenticating the signator. That's why it's usually banks who do medallion signature guarantees, only an officer of the bank is allowed to use it, the medallions are kept under separate lock in the vault, and usually they will do them only for people who have a long-standing account with them.

Ok. So Ex#2 takes the transfer form to his bank, and asks for a Medallion Signature Guarantee.

The bank officer refuses.

Why? Because, says the bank manager, only sales of stock require a medallion. Transfers don't. According to him, just taking Ex#2 off the account needs only a notary stamp.

Duh? Like, uh, there's no chance of forging a signature to take someone's name off stock? No financial risk there? It's TRANSFERRING OWNERSHIP!

Ex#2 called me from the bank. I told him to have the bank manager call the transfer agent. He did. Next phone call, Ex#2 says the bank manager and the transfer agent got into an argument on the phone, and incredibly, the bank manager tried to tell the transfer agent what the agent needed to see.

Duh? Can you spell "arrogance"?

Anyway, the bank manager refuses to medallion guarantee the signature. That's the only bank where Ex#2 has accounts.

Ex#2 had the bright idea of selling me the stock for $0, "then the bank manager will do the medallion".


First off, no contract is valid unless both parties receive "consideration", so it would have to be for, say, $1. Secondly, the sale would be reported to the feds, and, uh, do you want to talk about capital gains? You want to explain to the IRS a $1 sale of a gazillion dollars worth of stock? Look like a tax dodge, maybe? No? Ok, no selling.

More phone calls. Ex#2 lives in the tomato fields of south Jersey. There's only one other bank, in the next town over. So he went there. They won't do it because he doesn't have an account with them.

So he opens an account with them.

But - they want more documentation. They want an official document from the transfer agent as to how many shares are being transferred, and the total value. Ok, I can understand their wanting to know what their risk is. BUT, they also want a notarized statement from ME requesting the transfer.

Duh? Why?

It's taken this whole day. A dozen phone calls hither and yon to and from Ex#2 and the transfer agency, pulling together the additional documentation the new bank wants, writing another letter explaining what I'm sending and requesting that they please allow my ex-husband to sign stock over to me (duh?). I'm surprised they haven't asked for a notarized copy of the 28-year-old divorce decree.

I had only two things I absolutely wanted to do today - take a box to the post office for mailing, and pull together the tax stuff for my accountant, and I've got neither done, and it's too late now for the post office. Yeah, I've got a cell phone, but I had to stay here near the file cabinet and the computer between all those calls. And poor Ex#2 has been doing the running around and getting the runaround.

Buncha freakin' idiots down there in south Jersey. Probably being poisoned by all that chemical fertilizer sprayed in the air. Oughta go back to cow manure.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3206 Jousting with big rigs

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You can keep going long after you think you can't.


Hmmm. Somebody from Old Bridge is reading. Hello. 'Fess up. Was it the cousin connection?


I drove north Saturday afternoon. Had dinner with some Mensa folks, and then went on to the old house. Worked Sunday cleaning it out - filled more garbage bags. There was so much recycle paper I didn't want to store it there, so I brought it on south with me. I'll take it to the local recycle center.

I also loaded some stuff to move down here, but not a lot. I think my concentration should be on throwing crap out right now.

I drove back late, got home a bit after 11 pm.

It was a good fast drive. There are few cars on the NYS Thruway or the Garden State Parkway late at night. It's mostly just big trucks.

The truckers and I did have one spot of excitement. It was somewhere just north of Newburgh (around mile marker 71), in the 2-lanes-south section. I was in the left lane coming up on a line of four semis in the right lane going up a slight hill, and was passing the hind-most truck when suddenly the three trucks ahead of him started swerving and whipping back and forth. There was something big and dark in the road ahead.

It was a little to the right of the center line, and the trucks were swerving right and left to miss it. The truck I was passing couldn't swerve left - I was there! I was afraid to slow down, because if he whipped, I'd be right by the tail of his trailer, so I slid further left and hit the gas and almost climbed the bumper of the truck ahead of him, which was now in my lane. The guy I'd been passing swung right, off the road, then back on. He's darn lucky it didn't cause him to jackknife, hitting the shoulder at that speed.

It was a big overstuffed upholstered chair! Windsor, from the look of it. Must have fallen off the back of a truck. It was tipped forward on its top and seat with its legs pointed toward us, like it was offering a jousting challenge.

Everybody slowed down to below the speed limit until we got to the rest area five miles later. Nobody wanted to be the first to find the matching sofa. All the truckers pulled into the rest area. To change their underwear, I guess.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3205 Missed and finally found.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's a lot easier to react than it is to think.


A friend sent this link to an article about a 12 year-old kid named Jake, who is well on the way to challenging Stephen Hawking:

It's interesting that he was originally diagnosed as borderline autistic, then "upgraded" to Asperger. I wonder if he's really either. It's almost as if he was born into a continuation of a previous life where he had learned mathematical relationships.

I had a very personal reaction to the article. It says that Jake "has been measured at 170 (top of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children)" in mathematical IQ, and that as a toddler, he stopped talking for a year and a half. It's also mentioned that he had periods of regression.

Rather than attempt to "normalize" him, and mainstream him, his parents chose to feed his specific interest and skills.

What hit me:
  • My daughter scored 168, general, not specifically math, at age 12. I was not aware until just now that 170 was the top score.
  • My daughter was talking in sentences at 10 months. When she realized that her immature pronunciation made it difficult for anyone but her parents to understand her, she suddenly stopped talking. Period. She didn't say another single word until she was a bit over two (but was a master in pantomime, easily conveying even complex ideas), and then suddenly when she started talking again, she had an enormous vocabulary, including four and five syllable words with solid grammar and complex sentence construction.
  • I noticed early that she would have a period of rapid and amazing learning (she knew colors and numbers at three months. "Which is the blue block?" "Show me five blocks." "Now show me two blocks and three blocks" - and her eyebrows would shoot up and big smile when she realized two and three is five), during which time she didn't grow physically at all, followed by a period of physical growth during which she seemed to find learning anything new to be very difficult. Sort of like Jake's regressions.
My personal reaction after reading the article:
  • I noticed the parallels.
  • I was horrified.
  • I wondered if I had failed her in some way by not offering her opportunities in her interests.
  • I tried to remember if there was any area in which she showed an early interest. Um, nothing obvious stands out, not in an academic area, anyway. She just liked to learn things, was hungry for new "experiments" and information about anything.
  • I was aware that she seemed to have difficulty relating to children her own age. She was comfortable with much older and younger children, and adults, but she wanted to be "in" with kids her own age, but she couldn't seem to relate to them. She couldn't seem to figure out what they were interested in, how their minds worked. (The word "autistic" was so new that most people misheard it and thought it had something to do with artistic ability, and Aspberger's wasn't even on the horizon.)
  • If she had any special interest at all, it was in social interaction, and it was the only thing she wasn't very good at.
This article made me feel guilty. Like I should have noticed something important, looked for her special gift, some specific thing that engaged her attention, but I don't know what.

When she was in high school and thinking of future areas of study, I thought she should head for something medical or psychological. She rejected that. I don't know why. Her teachers said she was good in math and science, and that's how she ended up in engineering. For which she was entirely unsuited.

Now the field she's in is medically and psychologically related, with an eastern slant, and she's happy. Her special talent is an ability to "read" people, inside and out, to feel and direct energy flow, and she's rather spectacular at it. Really. You have to know to appreciate it.

And that's what I missed when she was young. Without even realizing it, her father and I kept at a distance anyone she reacted negatively to, even when she was an infant. We learned over and over that she was always always always right.

Believe it or not, I ran The Man past her before I consented to date him. He laughing refers to that evening as "the interview". (Little does he know.) Her take on him was "He's ok. Have fun, Mom. But take everything he says with a grain of salt."

She was so very right.