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by Votus

Thoughts On A Watusi Steer–Cattle Humor On The Fourth of July

3:26 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

There is a funny post about my brother’s Watusi steer here.    It is slightly patriotic and equine, but predominantly bovine in nature.


Enjoy, and have a happy Fourth of July!

by Votus

Use Holiday Gift-Giving To Support Local Actors, Singers, Writers, Performers

4:56 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

Votus and Mr. Votus encourage you to support local performers this holiday season!

Mr. Votus and I are local performers–between the two of us, we perform a cabaret act, perform with a 7-piece jazz band, sing, play piano, bass, saxaphones, assorted other horns, drums and string instruments from various time periods, compose and arrange music, act and write, and have been known to dance on occasion.  If you are going to spend money at holiday time, then spend it smart by looking for ways to keep your money local this holiday season, and for all of you who are gearing up for holiday gift-giving, here are some ideas that will help to support local actors and singers, local performers, writers and crew:

1. Give a CD of a local musician or band as a gift–some of the people you went to school with may have albums out!

2. Give two tickets to someone you love for a local theatre production.

3. Go catch a live theatre production this season. Here in Portland, Oregon,  you can do it very inexpensively most Thursday nights, which at several theatres are pay-what-you-will–it gives them a nice house on what might otherwise be a slow night, and it gives you a chance to see a great show and support local actors and crew.  Rush tickets are also available at some of the larger theatres about thirty minutes before curtain.

4. Bump up the fun at your next soiree by hiring local musicians (a band, a singer, a cabaret duo!) for live music at your holiday parties this season.

5. Give yourself a gift and go out to see live musicians performing in local clubs during the holidays–there are several here in Portland, including Tony Starlight’s Supperclub and Lounge, a favorite cabaret venue. Read the rest of this entry →

by Votus

For Portland, Oregon FDLers–Come See Mr. Votus in Shakespeare’s As You Like It

3:30 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

I’d like to invite everyone in the Portland, Oregon area to come see Mr. Votus performing in As You Like It.  He will be playing the wandering minstrel–accordion player!  Here are the details:

Who:      Mr. Votus of McElrath Cabaret
What:     Performance of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, produced by Portland Shakespeare Project
Where:  Performances held at Artists Repertory Theatre on the Morrison Stage, 1515 SW Morrison, Portland, OR  97205
When:    Preview performances:  July 13 and July 14, 2011, 7:30pm
Opening:  July 15, 2011, 7:30 pm
Plays Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July 14 through August 7th, 2011.  All performances begin promptly at 7:30pm, and on Sundays there are two performances, one matinee at 2pm and another show at 7:30pm
Why:          It’s Shakespeare–c’mon!
Cost:          Ticket prices start at $24 for preview performances, and $15 for students.  You may purchase tickets online securely through the Portland Shakespeare Project’s website you may call the box office at (503) 313-3048.

Link to the Portland Shakespeare Project website for more information.

I, Votus, will be there opening night–hope to see you firepups in Portland there!

by Votus

How Bank of America Treats Its Customers–A Not-Love Story

11:29 am in Uncategorized by Votus

This is how Bank of America has been treating Mr. Votus and myself for the last few months. This is an account about how you can make your monthly payments to Bank of America and still be screwed over by them.

We have a home equity loan that was sold to Countrywide, and after the TARP bailout it enabled Bank of America to buy Countrywide and our loan–we had no say in the matter as to our choice of bank with which to do business.

BoA refuses to credit our October 2009 monthly payment, although they did take the time to cash our check and remove the funds from our bank account. We have the cancelled check with the BoA stamp on the back, and the bank statement to prove it.

The plot thickens, because now we are considered "late" for every month’s payment since October, and they have added on their late fees, which are considerable. We have made every regular monthly payment, no skips, no misses.

These are the actions that we have taken to try to resolve the issue with Bank of America:

-Faxed them the cancelled check 4-5 times
-Called their customer "service" phone number dozens of times
-Discussed the issue with the manager of the local Bank of America branch 4-5 times
-Had our lawyer write two letters to Bank of America on our behalf
-Filed a complaint against Bank of America with the FDIC
-After the local BoA branch told us that the matter might be resolved if we submitted three months of our bank statements to them (our bank accounts are with a credit union, not BoA), so they could check that we had not been credited our October payment(which it had not been), we did so
-After speaking with the State Attorney General’s office, we filed a complaint with the Comptroller of Currency
-Made a qualified request for them to send us our loan note
-Contacted our congressman and two senators in writing
-Every subsequent payment since Oct. 2009 was sent via registered mail to have another piece of proof that we made our payment

All to no avail. They still have refused to credit our payment, and they were hounding us with harassing phone calls 2-3 times a day, although the phone calls have finally ceased. They sent us a letter saying that they sent us a copy of the loan note, but we have never received the loan note. They continue, however, to send us threatening letters saying that they will accelerate the loan and foreclose on our house.

We finally went to the local BoA branch and asked what it would take to make this problem go away, and they said pay your regular monthly payment plus a late fee, which we did. It did not make the problem go away, and we are still getting threatening letters from Bank of America, and our October 2009 payment is still uncredited.

We are now going public with this. Mr. Votus just was on Thom Hartmann’s radio show with Bernie Sanders and got to tell our story to the senator. We are about to do a local consumer advocate tv show to draw more attention to the inexcusable way Bank of America treats its customers.

This is our tax dollars in the form of the big bank bailout that is allowing Bank of America to do this to us, and I’m sick and tired of it.

by Votus

What Senator Maria Cantwell Had To Say Today Regarding Health Care Reform

5:50 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

I posted this comment in Scarecrow’s post earlier today, and he suggested that I place it here as well, so here goes. I just got back from a public health care meeting with Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State. There were ten panelists plus the senator there–the panelists represented:

- the CEO of the local medical center,
-the legislative and regulatory affairs manager for Regence BlueShield,
-a family physician with Group Health Cooperative who is also a member of Physicians for a National Health Program who also has 3 years’ experience in New Zealand and Australia in national health plans,
-the CEO of Legacy Health System non-profit hospitals,
-a teacher of nursing,
-a lady from Washington State Nurses Association,
-the CEO of Providence Centrailia Hospital a Catholic non-profit group,
-a member of the AARP board of Directors,
-a local family physician, and
-the executive director of the Free Clinic of SW Washington state.

Each panelist was given a few minutes to present his or her take on health care reform, and then the senator took questions from the audience, which had to be written on cards and handed in before the meeting began.

Senator Cantwell basically said that single payer hasn’t vanished, and that there will be a single payer amendment attached to whatever legislation comes Read the rest of this entry →

by Votus

Do Something Simple To Support Single-Payer Healthcare Today

10:14 am in Uncategorized by Votus

There is a way to send a free fax to the Senate Finance Committee, which is currently keeping single-payer healthcare out of committee discussions. Max Baucus is in charge of the committee. I encourage you to check out the link and see if your senator sits on this committee. If so, send them a free fax to let them know you support single payer. If your senator is not on this committee, send one to the chair, Max Baucus.

The man who put this free fax site together is Clark Newhall, who is both a doctor and lawyer and he has a medical malpractice lawfirm in Utah. He is a strong supporter of single payer. I have nothing to do with his website, but I have used the free fax service and it looked like a great idea.

If you care about being able to go see a doctor when you need to, and not having to worry about healthcare bills, please take one minute and send a free fax today. It could make a big difference to let the members of that committee know we have our eye on them.

by Votus

Happy Easter!

12:38 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

Some of the funniest Easter pictures for you to enjoy!

by Votus

Censorship of Picasso at the Lapin Agile – Steve Martin Thinks Not

10:11 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

The LaGrande, Oregon High School drama department was planning on mounting a school production of Steve Martin’s play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, but the school board banned the production because parents objected to what they called "adult content." After this, the drama department decided to hold the play at an alternate site, Eastern Oregon University, and a Student Democrats group was helping to raise money for the production. Steve Martin read about this online, and contacted the community, offering to pay for an off-campus production of his play. The play is about a fictional meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in a Paris bar right before they astound the world with their achievements in painting and physics. This story about little old LaGrande has made it all the way to BBC News!

We have had a similar situation in a nearby small town where a professional theatre company did some shows certain people felt were not in keeping with "family values." We’re talking about prize-winning authors such as Eugene O’Neill and Nobel-prize-winning Harold Pinter. Letters to the editor in support of the theatre for presenting uncensored and engaging plays ensued. Some theatres Read the rest of this entry →

by Votus

Domestic Partnership–Good News In Washington State

5:42 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

Last night the Washington State senate passed the Domestic Partnership Bill that grants all the rights and benefits of marriage. Also passed was a bill that adds gender identity and expression to the Hate Crimes law.

Now it has to go to the State House, where it appears it will pass handily.

I am very pleased!

by Votus

Arts Funding Got Saved In The Stimulus

2:24 pm in Uncategorized by Votus

A bit of good news from the stimulus bill. I just heard from Americans for the Arts that the final House version of the Economic Recovery bill includes $50 million to go to National Endowment for the Arts grants, in direct support for arts jobs. The money had been cut from the Senate version. In addition, the Senate version contained the Coburn Amendment that would have kept certain arts groups–including non-profit theatre–from receiving other recovery funds has been removed from the House version that just passed. This is a very big deal for every community that has small non-profit theatres and performance groups that rely on those grants to bring creative entertainment and culture to towns all over the country. People in theatre, music and dance estimate that for every dollar spent on a ticket to one of these events, it brings in four more dollars to the community in terms of parking, restaurant and hotel revenues. So, if you look at it this way, that $50 million could easily bring a stimulus of $200 million to local economies, all brought to you by the arts. Here is a link to the Read the rest of this entry →