The Death of eBay

 

After people bid on items and then backed out after winning got me to asking why.

eBay enjoys success for two main reasons.  One, much like Amazon, the service makes it easy for people to shop.  Within moments of a simple search with the ‘buy it now’ filter enabled, people can find what they are looking for, and it is already sorted with the lowest prices first.

After a quick look at their ratings and possibly the shipping time, a few clicks later, the item is purchased, and you are done.

This might be what saves them from demise.

Q. Why do you think they would die?

eBay started with the premise of an auction.  This is not an auction for new items, but old.

‘Old,’ as in items that have been around for a very long time and usually passed through the hands of several owners, possibly for generations.

These auctions allow people to part with ‘treasures’ that were once treasures of someone else.  ‘Treasures’ are emotional purchases.   Allow me to explain or, as Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, ‘You got some Splaining to do.’

My grandparents had this cheesy clock on their mantel that had a faux fireplace in it.  That clock intrigued me as a child.  I was told that they would ‘will it to me.’

As a five-year-old at the time, I had no idea what that meant, I just remember that at some time in my life it would be mine.  Well, it never happened.  Sad, I know, but there on eBay you can find that same clock, which is ‘very old’ now in different states of disrepair.

My only reason for thinking about spending money on it would be as a reminder of my grandparents every time I saw it.  Those types of purchases take you back to sometime in your life that hopefully was pleasant.   I am assuming that one would not purchase or own something that brought them back to a horrible time in their life.

eBay recently succumbed to the taxing authority, where Sales taxes are now assessed on all purchases.  If I sell an item for $100 and then out of state shipping is $30, and…now they collect a tax on it, the person buying it is looking at $140.  Rounded.  This happened, and the person backed out of the deal when they saw the final price tag.  Can you blame them?

eBay is about getting a good deal, not spending tons of money on taxes and shipping.

Working this in reverse eBay takes a percentage of the sale price the seller gets less than the $100, has to have an item that is worth more than the $100 and go through the trouble of listing, packaging and managing the transaction.

The taxing authority is the beneficiary of your work or your purchase, and I am sure eBay cut a deal with them to go through the trouble of collecting and remitting the tax, so eBay makes more money from the purchase.

My sales on eBay have all but stopped because of this and I would imagine that others who sell on eBay as a hobby or business have seen the same types of changes.

Here is what I think needs to happen.

Once an item is no longer ‘new,’ they should not be allowed to charge sales tax on it again and again and again.  That is absolute bullshit!

I would encourage you ebayers and, for that matter, antique mall shoppers and sellers to write your congressmen a letter objecting to this practice.

The problem with taxes is they only go up; they never go the other way.  States and other taxing agencies will tell you how much your tax dollars help, but in truth, they just rob the taxpayers of funds.  Municipalities, much like you and I, need to budget their dollars like you and I do.

The more they make, the more bloated and inefficient they become.  Taxes choke businesses, and in the end, it is you and I that pay the price.

While eBay resembles Amazon more and more, I suspect that soon you will find other auction sites or people figuring out ways to market their ‘treasures’ not using eBay.

We the people need to push back, and it is past time.

Re-press this post or forward it if you are like me and happen to enjoy shopping for Trinkets and Treasures.  Yes, that is going to be a business name for such artifacts.

If you know of such places, please let me and others know.  The system only seems to work for the government.  The way they waste your money, they do not deserve it.  Some things should not be taxed, and I happen to think old tchotchkes should be exempt from further taxation.

My proposal will be this; you collect sales tax if you offer new items where you have in quantity, which is indicative that it might be a business.  If, on the other hand, it is an actual auction, there should be no taxes.  That is also true of flea markets, antique malls, and yes tailgate sales where like-minded people gather to swap stories, tell jokes, and yes, trade junk.   We need to get some common sense back in our government, and it starts with you the people telling them enough is enough.

Folks, they work for you, we are not a serf class. Push back or be plowed under.

Much Love -TW

The Death of Alexa!

You can take control of your environment, do it!

I did it; I killed her!

Ok, I pulled her plug, removed her source of power; I disabled her ability to distract me.
As we sit in our homes worried that some sneaky Made if China virus will attack us, do we really need more distractions? If you are like me, you are a writer. We create worlds and characters and all sorts of things, including widgets for solving complex problems. Do we really need the constant distractions from mechanical things advertising stuff to us?

I think back to when I put in my first phone. Wow, that was some time ago, but I still remember it. Shortly after I paid to have it installed along with gas, water, and electricity, there was the phone. Long before cable and the internet. During dinner, your favorite show on TV or…something more intimate the thing would ring. This was a time long before answering machines. There was no screening of calls back then, you either ignored it or picked it up. Yes, there was no caller ID, either.

There are you paying damned good money each month for people to have a way to bother you.

Today we have smartphones, tablets, and yes, Alexa, all sitting there along with your computer just waiting to distract you.

Turn it off!

Whatever machine you are using to write with, disconnect it from the internet. Take all the other stuff and remove it from your office. Put a do not disturb sign on your door. Be grouchy if someone ignores that sign, they will stop soon enough. This is your time to create. Don’t let the spoilers of your creations invade your space.

A word of caution, don’t do this too much. Set aside a few hours that you intend to be away from the world. Give fair warning that unless the place is on fire, don’t bother you. After that, be available to those that love you, or they may not like you too much longer.
The point I am making is, you can control your environment if you so choose to do so. Often writers come up with excuses for why they did not get something done. If research is your thing, when you hit that bump in the road, make a note ***research this*** and move on.

As we push through this time of uncertainty, don’t allow this opportunity to go to waste. Write and live in that other world. I promise you will find it liberating.

Much Love -TW

Diamond Joe a Synopsis

Need a feel good story, this is it!

 

The horses finished in an upset as the favorite lost to a relative newcomer.  Samantha Thomas grew up on the farm but wanted so much more than slopping pigs.

Her dream was realized when a visitor in town learned of her love of horses.  Hiring her to train his horse, she eventually rode it in local races.  Before long, she and Thundercloud were making their way into the hearts and minds of other enthusiasts.

Riding the horse to victory, the owner sold the horse to visiting Prince.  The new owner, much like many in the stands, had no clue that the real gem was Sam, not the horse.

Diamond Joe, the man, was in the stands with his new son in law when Thundercloud came in from behind, pulling off an upset that would be history for years to come.  His daughter was also in the crowd, but she was only there for her husband, Steve, and her father.

After the death of her father, and a year later her husband; Donna sold her home and went to be with her mother.  Vera, her mother, passed from the flu, leaving her alone on the plantation. Dealing with a new horse that Steve, her husband, had purchased left her little time to socialize, not that she wanted to.

Teaching Journalism at the local university, Donna buried herself in her work.  The plantation was a respite from the real world.  When one of her students, an up and coming quarterback, argued with her about her draconian ideas on journalism, she saw in him the same spark that she had seen in her husband.

Dane showed an interest in her, which aroused the woman inside her.  Learning of his desire to date her niece, she put that fantasy on hold.  Hiring him to do some handyman work, Dane learns of her real love, the horse ‘Diamond Joe’ named after her father.

Not telling Donna the entire story of Sam, he alludes to her that Sam could train her horse.  Inviting Samantha to her place, Donna soon learns that love comes in all sizes and shapes.

Was Samantha interested in her money, or something else?

Read the story, tell me what you think.  I love this novel as have many of my readers.  Check it out.

While we are all on ‘time out,’ why not read a love story with horses and racing as a subplot?

 

Much love -TW

The Last Strad, a Tease.

 

It’s very late or very early, depending upon your perspective of things.  Insomnia is either my friend or my enemy, much like time itself.

Little Cat feet came to mind as I made my way from the bed to the window where everything glows from the ambient light, scattered by the small droplets of water.

It is not unlike me at 3 am to put the kettle on, and sit outside, and watch as the world sleeps.

My mind reels with the events of the previous day and this time l reflect on the last week.  I am troubled by the loss of life, and how much consternation that must cause to the survivors of those family members.  Italy is in my mind; my heritage in part is from a little town very close to where the famous violin maker created his works of art.

She came to the states when she was 16.  Through digging in Ancestry, we know the name of the ship that carried her to our shores.  My Italian blood runs deep, as does my English blood.

Care to guess what she brought with her?  Somewhere in a climate control vault lives a 1721 original Stradivarius.  The chain of custody was from her (his mother) to my grandfather, to my mother, to me.

One of the tuning pegs has disintegrated.  I was looking into purchasing to luthier tools, to repair it when I noticed the label.  Could it be a copy?  Who knows, even the experts are not sure.  Owners of Strads do not want it to be one, as that would lessen the value of theirs.

Still, it would be nice to have it repaired.  Can you imagine learning to play on a Strad?  Yes, I play musical instruments, and I think I would pick it up reasonably quickly but not to the level of those on stage.  Muscle memory is required, much like most musical instruments and typing for that matter.

I think about what her journey must have been like.  A square mast sailing vessel that depended upon the winds to move it along.  Long before the Titanic set forth on its one way trip to Davy Jones Locker, there were the real sailors.  No, I was not dissing those that work on ships today.  Think about what that would have been like being tossed about by the wind and waves.  Those old ships creaked and groaned and leaked.

The ships not only brought people and things, but they brought rats and disease.  History is rife with stories of such things that we in modern times are all too willing ‘forget.’

I stepped outside as the steam from my tea made little wispy curls those water droplets joined the trillions of others before me.  Iridescent colors only faintly color the otherwise gray surroundings flashing lights catch my attention.

What will this day bring?

How many more have stopped breathing?

When will it become too much for the healthcare system to handle people who are in need?

How long did it take Italy to get to the point of administering last rights, instead of putting people on the life-saving devices that are in short supply?  Today we were ordered to ‘shelter in place.’

What does that mean exactly?

I was forced to run a ‘mercy mission’ today, well Sunday, as there are people I know that needed TP and food.  Taking from my supply will extend their need to get out to ‘shop.’

A week without eating out has been rougher than I thought.  With the options dwindling, the desire for fast food has crept into my brain.  Now it is I who must find the mystical TP.  Not today or tomorrow but soon.

Monday, I will take the time to get my characters busy again.  So many of them are nestled in the pages of over 30 of my novels on Amazon and Smash words and, of course, many other places.

It is time to set them free and stop bemoaning my predicament.  This is just a speedbump on the journey of life.  Tap the breaks and move on.  It is bigger than I am.

As for the Strad, I am going to write a novel called ‘The Last Strad.’

I go and visit it on occasion.  It seems to be haunted.  It is almost as if I can hear it playing some melody from long ago.

 

Much Love -TW

Day Seven! Damn this is getting real!

Is eating out sneaking into your dreams?

 

Hello, fellow detainees? How are you managing your time?  No, I really want to know, is there couch time involved.  Was there also a run on the liquor store?  Did they limit beer?

Not a beer drinker, but I do like Merlot.  If you have read any of my novels, you know this about me.

Merlot and Dark Chocolate is like nirvana on steroids.

I managed a few paragraphs on one of my works in progress, but I have not done much else.  My friends and family have taken much of my free time in that they just need to socialize.  What about you?

I am spending more time on my blog, as a way to reach out to you, and of course my friends all over the globe.  I look at where you folks live, and now I like have these things added to my bucket list to travel to your home town.  I think I have followers in all the major countries.

You are the reason I spend more time on this blog than I should.  To create a novel that will go viral, I should be putting all of my juice in it.  I know other bloggers/authors who have done that.  In fact, there is one who still has a blog but has not posted since 2018.  I reached out to her on one of her articles—no reply, which is a bloody shame.

I don’t care how many books sell and how much time I have to devote to them, I will always make time for you, and you…and yes you too.

You know you are my favorite, right?  LOL

Until I heard my mother telling a sibling that they were her favorite, I thought I was special…

If you follow me, I go and peek at your blog, and on some of them, I might comment.  There are some excellent writers out there.

I look forward to reading what you put out into the world.

That brings me to tonight’s topic, where does your material come from?

I have friends who are writing the next Harry Potter…from the work of J.K Rowling, who is now worth over a billion dollars.  I wrote a novel called Cyber Subs that I researched but, was inspired to write it from reading 50 shades.  El James is worth millions.  Her books were titillating to some and naughty to most.

My material for that novel did not, however, come from any of her writing.  Not only do I have followers here, but I have twitter and Instagram peeps.  One fine young lady (no, I am not facetious) who follows me on twitter called herself a Cyber Slut.   People, I am not naïve.  I watched an Avenue Q performance on the internet saying it was made for porn, laughed and went on.

Over the years, when the internet went from a text-based interface to an actual GUI, sure enough, porn found its way on the world wide web.  What floored me was the link I followed of her’s. It took me to a site called My Free Cams.

When I first went there years ago, I was shocked, to say the least.  There were a few hundred models online each night.  The number has tripled since I wrote the novel, and oh, by the way, they are no longer the only site in town.  I will confess that I wondered why there were no nude dudes on there.  Oops, I found them one day after I told my daughter about my findings.  She and some of her friends gave me a list of places.  Holy Shit!  Yes, the expletive is warranted.    There is nothing to stop a five-year-old from going to these sites.  Mom and Dad, how are you going to deal with your children seeing this stuff when they are still in grammar school?

This is the problem with being stuck at home.  I think a lot.

The brains of humans are wired in such a way that one would have to think this early exposure to hardcore porn would dement them in some way.  The ‘me two’ movement might look like a parking violation in years to come.

Those sites have close to two thousand women modeling at any given time.  There are multiple sites.  I had to show nothing to anyone to gain full access.  That is where my fodder came from for many of my racy novels.  I have tried to create these types of books from the POV of both genders, as it is an excellent practice for writing something I could tell my parents about if they were still around.

I think schools are going to have to incorporate some kind of curriculum that addresses the porn aspect of the internet.  Yes, it needs to be in the lower grades.

Sex workers, which is a real occupation, provide safe sex and an outlet for those who are socially inept or just need to get a release.  I understand that process; I am a healthy red-blooded person.

I would love to interview a few of you so, if you are a sex worker and would like to speak with a real author, drop me a tweet or an e-mail to my website contact page at www.authortwscott dot com

We can do it all over e-mail, and just so you know, I don’t judge, and I have respect for anyone who is working trying to make ends meet.  As long as you are of legal age and understand what you are doing, it is your deal.  I just want to crawl around in your head for a bit.

Did you see what I just did?

The topic of the blog or the question I wanted to address is where do you get your material?  I speak with people everywhere I go. From the doctors’ offices to the stores, I visit with people as I am a humanist.  I am also an author, and some of you have such dynamic personalities that I enjoy getting to know you.

Tomorrow is day Seven of my sentence.. LOL, or it is a shared sentence, and the world as a whole is taking part in one of the most massive lockdowns in the history of the globe.

I see that Russia is immune to this virus.  Hey Russian friends, are you immune, or is the iron curtain coming back up?  God I hope not.  Everyone that I visit with, no matter the country, seems to have the same likes and dislikes as me.

Without our leaders mucking things up, I would wager we all would get along just fine.

I have Chinese friends, and nobody is blaming the Chinese people for this.  No, we are blaming the government.  They need to get brave. They need to do a root cause analysis as to how this happened, so it never happens again.

As for the rest of us, back to trying to entertain myself.

Much Love -TW

 

A Week With My Thoughts

If I asked you about last week, what would you tell me?

 

The house is still very quiet, even my ‘mews’ is too bewildered at my early rustling around to consider begging for those little morsels of kitty crack, known as ‘treats.’

Peering through the window to the world, there are no glowing eyes of the usual vehicular madness that usually traverse the mazes of cement around my domicile.  Much like half-finished portraits of presidents to other notorieties, many of my characters are frozen in time awaiting some form of life from their creator.

Steam rises from the cup of elixir warming my digits as I stand in my miniature oasis among the rest of the city dwellers who are still capturing what their imaginary worlds have to offer.  An occasional raptor of the skies, still perched in the canopy overhead either tells me good morning or perhaps is telling me to come closer, so it too can bless me or perhaps target my cup full of caffeine.

A week of this solitude you would think my characters would be solving the world’s problems or perhaps fighting the aliens in some undiscovered parts of the galaxy.

The unknowns of the world lie hidden deep in the microscopic world around us.  Waiting to attack with surgical precision much like miniature IED’s, they are carried by almost anything that moves or they simply lie in wait, much like that tic in the forest.

The usual activities we enjoy are now suspect.  Should I? Could I?  Is it wise to?

All the while our usual haunts are suffering by our trepidations or perhaps ‘suggested activities’ while we wait for the all-clear.  The world waits and watches but nobody is at the helm.  The taxman or bill collector is blind to the uncertainties of the world, there is a balance sheet and the bottom line is the final stop, for those that were spared this time.

Stories of voices now silenced, permeate the imaginations of most, and panic the hell out of the spirits of many.

What if?

We have faced this before.

We no longer sing Ring around the Rosie or fill their pockets with posies.  Ashes, not so much, but the falling down will certainly apply in some parts of the world, where deep trenches are carved into the earth to hold the forms of the many, who will now reside in photos, memories, and the hearts of those left behind.

Echoes from sphincters emanating from lofty ivory barbicans, rail at those who seek to hold back the crimson tide, pointing their bent digits at their efforts.  It is they who do the devils bidding, herding the masses into those resting places while awaiting the sneak attack of some invisible assailant. They cause us to mock those trying to help us, in an effort to destroy what is left of the tapestry of humanity.

There is a higher power in control but, the lambs must look up from the next blade of grass while ignoring Satan’s henchmen on the rubicund State-Run propaganda Network.   The clueless threadbare statues uttering lies and innuendo created by the puppet masters become reverberations of the hypnotists.

The noise disappears with the touch of a button as my furry comfort creature hops in my lap taking her rightful place just below the keyboard.  The familiar vibrations comfort my soul as another sip of coffee slowly causes the blues to drift away.

The world is out there waiting for your tickling of the letters to form words, phrases, and uplifting sentiment while shunning the devil, not allowing him a win over you.

This epistle of sorts culminates the days and nights which preceded today.  There is a glow in the east and yes, it is light from that yonder window and no, it is not Juliet or Romeo.  Today marks the beginning of another day in which to leave my indelible mark on the hearts of many.  I am here.

 

Much Love -TW

My Prison, Day III

How is your homeschooling going? Do teachers deserve a raise or what?

Hello my friends, how are you doing today?

I titled this piece ‘My Prison, Day III’ simply because many of us might feel like we are stuck.  The unknowns are probably the worst part of this ‘event.’  The news will drive you up the wall, and it is mostly crap.  From channel to channel, the contradictions outweigh the usefulness of the media itself.

Many of you are on Spring Break.  Stay home.

You can live your life how you choose but learn from what is going on today.  Since you are not in classes, take advantage of what is happening today and learn from it.  Some countries might very well sweep this event under the rug and blame the whole thing on some natural occurrence.

The deficits of this event are showing up in record numbers.  These need to be corrected and if you don’t pay attention to what they are they will not be fixed.  Corruption from business practices to our national security are exposed to you, right now.

A few days ago before the market tanked a senator sold over a million dollars in hotel stock without warning us the American people.  Insider trading earns you three hots and a cot at least in club cupcake.  Ask Martha Stewart how that works.

However, Pandora’s box was opened, the minions of evil are out and about, and we have to deal with what is.  Flattening the curve in this country will allow our medical people to save more lives.

Social distancing means stay at home if at all possible.  It is more than merely staying a few feet away from other folks.  Today I spent a few hours on Google Hangout with some friends just to interact, laugh, and show to ourselves that life can go on.

Many of our younger folks have been doing this for years through video games and programs that allow them to communicate with their ‘team.’  Maybe you who know how to do this should show your parents how, and oh, by the way, invite them to play your video game with you.

I mention that last bit because we are in a kind of time out.  The things that we do with impunity like happy hour, or dinner with friends or the show, the play, or yes, the opera, we cannot do.

What did we do when we were sent to our rooms?

We were supposed to reflect on why we were sent there, but, usually, we found some way to entertain ourselves if we didn’t pout.  Friends, you can pout, or you can use this time to eat a meal with your family.  Spend time in the kitchen with your spouse or children.  Talk about your fears and anxiety and listen.  You young people listen too.  Your parents might not share the fact that they are scared, but only a fool would not be worried.

I have not played a board game in tens of years; I was wondering how long it would take to get one delivered through Amazon.  I never did learn to play that military game that takes forever to set up.  My brother had it, and I never learned it.  I don’t recall the name of it, but I bet some of you do know the game I am speaking about.  Just maybe it is time to dig it out and try to engage your spouse or significant other in something that you can control.

I joke about prison, but that is what this is, a mini prison sentence.  Through no fault of our own, we are under house arrest.  Violating that could be deadly, not only to you but to those that you love.

Too many of you are now jobless and financial worry has to be high on your mind.  My day job has been shut down too, I get it.  Not only has the influx of funds been curtailed, but our 401’s and other savings have been devastated.  You are not alone.  While the politicians argue about some form of money to each American,  it will not be enough, no matter what it is.

I can control my writing.  I have over 30 novels out there on Amazon and other places.  I also have several works in progress.  I can use the time to work on them. I am a writer, so I live in my cave.  I tease that I have a lair, but in truth, it is an office about the size of a prison cell.   Now I have everything I might want at my disposal, except my ability to have that margarita with my favorite Mexican dish.  Think about how good that will be when this is over.

I was teasing my friends today, telling them how this was beginning to get real; I ate my last thin mint Girl Scout cookie!

We will get through this, and I am looking for creative ways to keep my sanity through it.  Tell me what you are doing to pass the time while we commiserate or visit.  You choose.

I choose to look at the upside in that very few people are ringing the bell, and traffic seems a whole lot less.  I waved at my neighbors today, who I hardly ever see.

Much Love -TW