Saturday, May 27, 2017

Adventures in Slum Living: –Episode 14: 16 Benson Street, Albany is up for rent again


Adventures in Slum Living –Episode 14: 16 Benson Street, Albany is up for rent again

          Do you ever wish you could just drop a subject, really, yet there were still things to say? That's how I feel now. How long can this possibly go on?

         Well guys, I recently learned that 16 Benson Street, Albany, an apartment owned by a man named Wayne Whitney who does not like being called a slum lord and where I lived, much to my shame, discomfort, and horror, is now up rent again. Apparently someone did live there. Apparently they felt the same way I did and then moved out.

           Alas! Now I’ve called Wayne Whitney such names as “idiot” and “lying dipshit” and “incompetent” here before, and part of it is that if he were to actually fix his apartments and treat people honestly and fairly he might be able to keep tenants longer and make more money. It would be win-win for everyone. Alas! Much of Wayne Whitney’s thinking is done by his limbic region, the so-called “lizard brain,” and therefore complex concepts like planning for the long term are difficult for him, it seems.

           I read the ad and on one hand, while I was not surprised to learn that he had failed to keep another tenant, I was puzzled by the fact that it was advertised as “wheel chair accessible.” When I lived there, it absolutely was not, and I have no idea why or how anyone would get a wheel chair down an alley with uneven stones, up a flight of porch stairs, through a locked door that, if I remember correctly is too high for a person in a wheel chair to reach, and then up an entire flight of very narrow, winding stairs that lack a platform where a person in a wheelchair, should that person somehow drive a highly motorized wheelchair up a 45 degree stair case, could level off, sit upright, pull their keys from their pockets and put them in the door lock.

           Perhaps he expects the wheelchair bound future tenants to be so highly motorized that they can speed up all these narrow winding stairs and do it at such high speed that they will be able to crash through the door when they reach the apartment? It is a rather cheap and flimsy door after all, and, as mentioned in a previous blog post, it did fall off once because one had incorrectly installed it.
Or perhaps Wayne did something incompetent once again and pushed the wrong button on the form when running his ad on Craig’s list?

           Or maybe he’s just lying? I’m not sure what gain he expects to get from this lie. It would seem only designed to cause people in wheelchairs who seek an apartment to waste their time before contacting him to (hopefully) get an honest answer that the apartment is not wheel chair accessible?

           Regardless, let’s look at the photos Wayne is running with his ad.

 

So let’s look at the first four photos from the Craig List ad.

HEY!!! THAT DOESN’T LOOK BAD, NOW DOES IT?

Ha! Ha! Guess what. That’s one of the areas where I did a lot of work and was quite proud of it. When I moved in the door frame you see still had the old hinge left in place with no attempt to improve the frame, the far door that you see had a hole in it, and the wall on the left side still had a lot of holes in it and nail studs and just general ugliness to it. You can see the photos of what it used to look like in early blog posts in this fine series. So . . . 


YOU’RE WELCOME, WAYNE WHITNEY, YOU STUPID ASSHOLE. PERHAPS IF YOU’D KEPT YOUR PROMISE TO PROVIDE THE FREE SUPPLIES TO FIX UP THIS SHIT HOLE YOU OWN AND LET FALL APART THE ENTIRE 16 BENSON STREET, ALBANY APARTMENT WOULD LOOK LIKE THIS NOW.

But alas, short term greed, lack of capital, and just plain stupidity got in the way of that plan, now didn’t it?

            Here’s a few more shots that Wayne is using to sell this ugly place to unsuspecting tenants.

            This one’s kind of interesting.

             We have a window, yet it is blocked by a door so one can’t see it. Why is that way?  Wouldn’t the apartment be more appealing if people were able to see the window and the sun shine in?

               I can only speculate, but if you see a previous post, Wayne Whitney's Wacky Weird Wall Wires you will note that when I lived there, there were some very strange and ugly looking wires on the other side of that unnecessarily opened door. Does anyone want to speculate as to whether or not they are still there?

Also note that the window shades are very high much higher than need be. Please see my previous post on Window Shades. (  http://peterhuston.blogspot.com/2016/10/are-his-eyes-blinded-by-shades-wayne.html )  I do not know if they’ve been repaired or not, but, well, looking at this picture you don’t know either, do you?  Care to bet?







               And to our right, you will see a fuzzy out of focus picture, a close up of a rug and a wall.


              One might speculate that the picture has been framed, perhaps even purposely unfocused to hide blemishes and stains. One has to admit, it is a rather strange picture, isn’t it?









            Another photo, this one shows the room where I spackled all the forgotten nail holes that had been there for years and then planned to paint, but alas, Wayne never delivered the paint he promised.

            BTW, if you rent this place, you may learn that this back porch area is on a different electrical system than the rest of the apartment. If one were to use electricity from the back porch area it would not show up on the bill for the rest of the apartment. Soon after I moved in, because of what I thought was poor communication on Wayne’s part about how to transfer the electricity from the previous tenant to me, the power in my apartment went out. It took me a few days to get it restored, a major inconvenience and I lost a lot of food too.

           But I did learn that the back porch was on a different bill. As at the time Wayne and I had just started our business relationship and I had no malice against him, I informed him of this problem. His response? He just laughed and said “Oh well, I guess someone else is paying for your electricity then,” and did nothing.

That’s the kind of guy Wayne is. What kind exactly? You figure it out, or ask him. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: Lameco Eskrima --The Legacy of Edgar Sulite



Lameco Eskrima –The Legacy of Edgar Sulite, by David E. Gould. $29.05, paperback, 274 pp., Tambuli Media, Spring House PA.

This book, Lameco Eskrima, is largely a biography of Edgar Sulite, a prominent Filipino martial arts practitioner and teacher. The first 169 pages of this book deals with his life, his martial arts training, the development of his own style, a style he called Lameco Eskrima, and the legacy he left, and the influence he had on his students.


The remaining pages, pages 171 to 267, describe different parts and aspects of this art. In other words, they show Filipino martial artists facing off and possible attacks and responses. 
Some time ago, Mark Wiley, Publisher of this and many other interesting books on Filipino Martial Arts and I had a discussion over what readers today wish in a Filipino martial arts book. Essentially what he told me is that readers today are not as interested in books on physical techniques as they were in the days before the internet, youtube, and widely available videos of practitioners in action demonstrating or teaching techniques. These days, he explained, readers wish to use books to learn the sort of information that is not easily learned from a video, for instance, the history of an art and its lineage as well as stories of the lives and background of its prominent teachers.

Although I’m not completely sure if I agree, this book will be of great interest to those who do wish a book of that type. It does, for instance, get into great depth on the story of the life and background of Edgar Sulite, a prominent martial artist, as told by his students.  
There is also a section from pages 107 to 170 where his students discuss what the art and Edgar Sulite meant to them. 

And for those who prefer a more traditional Filipino martial arts book, one that focuses on techniques and patterns of response, there is an extensive final section of well over 90 pages that offers the reader black and white photo sequences that teach these.


In conclusion, Lameco Eskrima –The Legacy of Edgar Sulite, is a good edition to what some see as the next generation of Filipino martial arts books, books that focus on the teachers and their lineage.  

Book Review: First Defense --Anxiety and Instinct for Self Protection



Hopkins, David. 2015.  First Defense –Anxiety and Instinct for Self Protection. 177 pages. YMAA Publication Center, Inc, Wolfeboro NH

This is an interesting book. The author, a psychologist and martial artist who has worked in personal protection, has written this book to fill the need for a book that discusses some of the links between psychology and self defense from human predators. While labelled as focusing on anxiety and “instinct” the book also discusses the value of empathy, or understanding a person’s needs, fears, and motivations, when facing them as an opponent or potential opponent in a dangerous, violent, or potentially violent confrontation.



Although, in my opinion, a bit padded in places, the results are interesting. I say “padded” because the author tells more stories than I would like and in more detail about dealing with stalkers and gangsters and other predatory or dangerous people who has dealt with, usually in a manner where they were controlled without actual hands-on, physical violence. Although some are informative I felt that others went on longer than necessary.

The book presents a step-by-step program to develop a person’s awareness and observation. There are twenty seven different exercises offered in the book to develop a person’s ability to accurately be aware of their environment and choose how to respond appropriately.

Chosen at random, a few of these exercises are as follows. The first, on page 14, is for a person to spend some time each day focusing on their sensory perceptions and record the results. Others build on this. The fourth, for instance, encourages the reader to do the same, but this time also record anxiety they experience while doing the exercise. On page 57, a random selection, the reader is encouraged to do the same exercise, but this time in a public place. Page 114, another random selection, the author shares a recommended way in which to make after-action observations following a violent or threatening incident. Moving ahead, and selecting another exercise at random, this one comes from a chapter on special considerations for women and children. It encourages an adult, the reader, to think of ways in which games and rituals can help them work through and process trauma and then how these games and rituals can be adapted for children to help them work through trauma. (As an aside, it is my understanding that one of the most effective ways children process trauma is through game playing.)


Such exercises should give the flavor of the book. As stated, it’s an interesting work and someone interested in developing their ability to be aware of both their surroundings to improve their self-protection ability and to process and handle the anxiety that often comes from thinking about and being exposed to violent situations should get a lot out of this book. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Adventures in Slum Living: Episode 12 --Who is Wayne Whitney??

Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living Episode 10 --Who is Wayne Whitney? 


I've been neglecting my blog for a while as I focus on other things. It seems about time to finish up this silly series and move on to other things. But why write mean things about Wayne Whitney, a dishonest, incompetent dipshit who does not like being called "a slumlord" and denies the term? Why write such cruel things about a broken and useless human being? 

Well, the answer is simple. To protect others and make the world a better place. Long ago, I read that the Bhagvad Ghita, the Hindu holy books says "Once must learn to fight with a loving heart." (note: I have not actually been able to find this in the Bhagvad Ghita, therefore I have chosen by words carefully. I have heard it says this it might not.) Therefore, when I write these means things about this awful man, and should you wonder why, the answer is simple. I write them because, dear reader, I love you and wish you to have the best possible life and success in all things, and if there is one small way in which I can help you do that I will try to do so. And one small way in which I can show my love for you, and all of mankind, is by telling you Wayne Whitney is a dishonest dipshit, do not do business with him. Should you find yourself with the opportunity to do, well, run away. You can thank me later, and then, should you feel grateful for having spared yourself such trouble, pay it forward by giving money to a worthy charity and doing your part, in turn, to make this planet better for all who live here. 

Now should  you feel otherwise, be my guest. He does have apartements for rent, including the fine one I have shown pictures of such as this one at 16 Benson Street in Albany N.Y. If you are interested you may contact him at wish to rent the apartment, you may contact him at drsnoopy.2014@gmail.com --that is "drsnoopy" DOT "2014" AT gmail.com --and, yes, that really is the e-mail address he uses for professional communications. Now please only use this e-mail in a professional way. 

So who is Wayne Whitney? Here's how to spot him. 


He looks like this. 



The website says the following.

130.40-2 - Criminal sexual act in the third degree
Probation Information: N/AWayne Whitney

Wayne Whitney


Wayne Whitney
Who is Wayne Whitney? Was Wayne Whitney arrested? When was Wayne Whitney arrested? What was Wayne Whitney arrested for? Is this a mugshot of Wayne Whitney? Are there more Mugshots of Wayne Whitney? Are Mugshot laws constitutional? Who decides which Mugshots are Indexed? Is this the Wayne Whitney you know?

Wayne Whitney was booked in Albany County, NY.
All are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Published mugshots and/or arrest records are previously published public records of: an arrest, an indictment, a registration, the deprivation of liberty or a detention. The mugshots and/or arrest records published on Mugshots.com are in NO way an indication of guilt and they are NOT evidence that an actual crime has been committed. For latest case status, contact the official law enforcement agency which originally released the information. Submission services for Content Licensing are not offered in all states; please see Content License Disclaimer via Unpublish Arrest.

==


Now, for those of you who are wondering, yes, Wayne Whitney is a sex offender. However, people who know me assure me he's not so much predatory, at least not in the sly, cunning manner of a tiger or fox, but more just greedy and stupid in the manner of a stray dog covered with fleas. A tiger stalks its prey and then seizes it when the moment is ripe. 

A stray, flea bitten dog, however, sees garbage and runs up and eats it without deliberation or thought. Wayne had the chance to have sex. Being stupid, he took it with little thought, and it turned out his partner was just a little bit under age. Or so it is alleged. Alas! A little bit under age is like a little bit pregnant, and now he's a sex offender with a mug shot and a criminal record. But please don't think he's worthy of respect just because he's a convicted criminal. 

He would prefer it that you neither consider him a criminal nor a slum lord. Just an ordinary, every day guy who is being monitored by the criminal justice system and who rents apartments that he refuses to repair because "they are fine the way they are."  

Does Wayne make money that way? Does Wayne have good self esteem? Does Wayne like to make visible displays of material success to whoever might see them?

Well here we have a photo of Wayne with a car that he owned.  What do you think? 




Wayne and a nice car. Wayne likes to be seen next to a nice car. Wayne thinks that if he poses next to a nice are he might appear like a successful business man. Wayne Whitney does not like to be called a slum lord. He just prefers to spend his money on cars instead of fixing his apartments. Please note the amazing photo shop job that someone, probably Wayne himself, did to conceal the license plate on this car. Apparently Wayne has equal in skill in both interior painting and using photo shop.  



Here's a couple more photos of cars that Wayne Whitney has displayed on line to impress his friends and try to get dates. Wayne's not too bright. (Did I mention that?) Notice how you can see the license plates on this one if you wish. 

Good byeWayne Whitney. Dishonest dipshot bully who does not like being called "a slumlord" --good bye! Good bye!

(I expect this shall be my second to last Wayne Whitney post, but, well, you never know what he's going to do next so you never know what's going to happen here either.) 































Sunday, February 26, 2017

My idiot landlord: More in the same old saga. What chapter are we on now anyway?


Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living
Door Hinges





















Do we really need any words at this point? 

Like what you see? Contact Wayne Whitney, a clueless dipshit who does not like to be called "a slumlord." He has this apartment at 16 Benson Street in Albany, New York for rent and you could live in this place and write your own blog post about what it's like. Fame and fortune await. Call Wayne Whitney, a man who is offended by being called the term "slumlord" now.  

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Controversy and Censorship -- Meet the Flockers --Part Two


This is part two of a two part piece. To read part one, follow this link: http://peterhuston.blogspot.com/2016/12/controversy-and-censorship-meet.html

As detailed last week on this blog a hip hop rap called "Meet the Flockers" was released in March of 2014 as part of an album called "My Crazy Life." The song detailed how to rob a home and specifically advised people to target homes in Chinese neighborhoods as Chinese have traditionally kept larger amounts of cash and valuables around the home than many ethnic groups.



Not surprisingly the song offended many Chinese Americans. This controversy grew after, as detailed on last week's blog post, a Chinese woman in Georgia shot some African Americans who were attempting to rob her house.

In this blog, I will discuss the politics of the song, the response from the Chinese community in the USA, and the the response to the response. Then I will discuss the legalities and free speech issues surrounding the song.
Responses to the song included protests outside of YG's shows as well as a petition to the White House asking that the song be banned.

It said:
"The song "Meet the Flockers" by YG encourages violence and crimes to a specific ethnic group. As one of this group in North America, I feel seriously offended and threatened. Please ban the song from public media and investigate legal responsibilities of the writer." 

The petition was signed by over 100,000 people, and therefore under the rules of the "We the people" forum the White House was required to give a response.   


The response was as follows:
"Thanks for taking the time to sign this petition on the We the People platform.
The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech in the United States. The White House doesn't make decisions about whether particular songs are available publicly. Individual platforms determine their choice of content and the rules of participation and conduct for their sites.
We encourage you to use the We the People platform to petition the Administration to take action on the policy issues you care about, and appreciate your interest in using the platform to make your voices heard.
-- We the People Team" 

In other words, a form response, citing first amendment and freedom of speech concerns and a lack of authority by the White House to ban such a song.

At what point does a song, film, book, or other piece of media that discusses methods of committing crimes cross the line and lose its first amendment protection? This is an issue I've discussed before when I wrote about the Paladin Press "Hitman" book and its lawsuit for "Gauntlet" magazine's 13th issue.


   

[NOTE: I  am not a lawyer., I am a freelance journalist. Please do not take the following as legal advice.]

Discussing the commission of crimes in generally, including the best ways to commit crimes, is considered protected speech under the first amendment. This includes general discussions of how a criminal could or should target victims and which sorts of people make the best victims for specific categories of crimes. Such discussions can be legally made but only in a general sense. 

The rapper says the best way to rob a house is to find one where the people who live there do not use bank accounts. This is a general statement. To prohibit it might lead to accidental restrictions on advising people not to keep large sums of money in their house. 

However, if you were to specify a specific target such as me or you by name then it would cross the line from free speech into advocacy of a crime. In other words if you say "It is best to rob Chinese people" that is legal protected speech, as offensive as it may be, as "Chinese people" is a large category and type of people and you are speaking in general terms. It could perhaps even be argued that by making such a statement, the speaker might be better enabling the targetted group, in this case "Chinese people" to protect themselves from such crimes. 

If, however, you advocate a specific individual as someone who should be targetted for a crime then you have slipped over an important legal line and are now advocating the commission of a crime.  

In other words, if you state, for example, that Mr, John Chang of 123 First Street, in Anytown USA is a good person to rob because his house contains many valuables and suggest that people do so, then you have just crossed an important line and advocated the commission of a specific crime with a specific victim. This is illegal and not protected under the first amendment. The first amendment does not cover any right to advocate the commission of specific crimes.   

Therefore the US government does not have a right to ban songs that offend people except in certain carefully defined circumstances. But you can write a song in response. 

In fact, this has been done. (The song even references the shooting in Atlanta, among other things.)




Then again, some would say it's best to argue these things. It's tought to day. Freedom of speech is not always pretty or safe but it's an important part of the American system. And, yes, I did look up the song and it is offensive to Chinese people.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Controversy and Censorship: Meet the Flockers, Part One

Greetings. Some time ago, I decided to blog more. Alas! The last few weeks other life obligations have gotten in the way, but here's another try.

Recently on facebook, one of my Chinese friends posted an angry post concerning a controversial hip-hop song called "Meet the Flockers," outrage over the song among the Chinese American community, and  a petition to the White House to ban the son, as well as the official White House response to the petition, a response that led to further frustration among many of those who had signed the petition as the White House, citing the first amendment's freedom of speech provisions, declined to ban the song. Hear I give the background to the controversy and the song. Next time I shall describe the response.

Having a background in censorship issues and being a former contributor to the 1990s publication, Gauntlet, a publication that dealt with censorship issues in a balanced and interesting way, such issues fascinate me. Let's begin with some of the issues surrounding this controversy a bit first.

If you'd like more information on the controversy, sources include this NBC news story -  





The song, "Meet the Flockers," discusses how to break into a house and rob it, setting out a plan in detail in the first verse. Here's the lyrics. 

First, you find a house and scope it out
Find a Chinese neighborhood, cause they don't believe in bank accounts
Second, you find a crew and a driver, someone ring the doorbell
And someone that ain't scared to do what it do
Third, you pull up at the spotPark, watch, ring the doorbell and knock
Four, make sure nobody is home
They gone, okay it's on
Don't be scared, nigga, you're in now
If the police come you gonna find out who your friends now
That ain't them talking, that's your mind playing tricks on you
You're conscious cause you know you got nines with two clips on you
But fuck that, motherfuck that plasma
And fuck that laptop, go and get that jewelry box
You tryna get paid?
Go take that jewelry box to the Slauson they'll give you cash back

It's easy to see how such a song could cause a controversy. But of particular controversy was the line "Find a Chinese neighborhood, cause they don't believe in bank accounts." Although there actually is some truth to the idea that many Asians keep larger quantities of cash and valuables in their house than some other ethnic groups, the specific targeting of Chinese and Chinese Americans did provoke outrage among those groups, at least once they became aware of the song two years after it was released. ( For those interested, in my book, Tongs, Gangs, and Triads --Chinese Crime Groups in North America I do discuss this briefly. Although not all Chinese do this it is particularly common among groups that come from countries where the banks are not as insured as here, or among those with refugee experiences who had to grab their valuables and flee such as many of the Chinese of southeast Asia. )

The controversy around the song was made worse following a shooting in Gwinnet County Georgia USA when a 36 year old woman named Chen Fengzhu shot three African-Americans in her residence after they had entered with the intent of robbing them. Chen and her husband had closed circuit cameras inside their house and the incident was filmed. After authorities in Georgia made the film public in the hopes of catching the surviving intruders it went viral and became quite popular viewing in China apparently.



Not surprisingly the incident got media coverage, both in the USA and China.



For one source of information on the shooting and controversy,  see http://shanghaiist.com/2016/09/27/chinese_american_shopkeeper_shoots_intruder.php 
Next time, the reaction to the song from the Chinese-American community, the response from the US government, and a discussions of legalities and the first amendment issues surrounding the song


This is part one of Two.