Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

I’ve decided I’m going to be shipping out of Boston   2 comments


This is not a decision I make lightly. After all, Boston is the only home I’ve ever known. Like I said in one of my posts a while back, I have been seriously thinking of moving out of Boston for several years now. More so given the rising housing costs and gentrification going on in the Boston area specifically. There’s also the fact September 8 will make it 3 years since I became Unemployed. I have been looking for work all this time or rather looking for someone willing to hire me. I’ve been doing odd jobs, volunteer work and taking vocational classes to learn new trade skills while still job hunting for those who are wondering. Just trying to keep my skills sharp while developing new ones.

As for where I would want to move, I would prefer to stay in Eastern Massachusetts for now. I am looking at southeasten Massachusetts and specifically New Bedford, Taunton, Dartmouth and Fall River. The cost of living is the lowest in the state down there for one. Second, it would push me to get my driver’s license. I’m not entirely sure if I mentioned this on my blog before but I actually do have a Learner’s Permit. I got it two years ago but outside 2 hours of Driver’s Ed, I’ve never driven a car before. “What the hell?!”, I know. My Learner’s Permit will expire on my birthday, which sucks but as of right now renewing it will have to wait until after I get a passport.

I do plan to eventually move out of state. Hopefully before I turn 40. After I move to Southeastern MA I am looking at Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota specifically. Why? The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater lakes in the world. As in, you can drink from them. It would make the most sense to be near large bodies of water but far enough away from the ocean to not have to worry about coastal flooding as is the case over here on the US East Coast. Boston has been pretty lucky up to now but experts agree it’s a matter of when, not if. The weather’s also not as different as what I’m used to over here in Boston. I wouldn’t have to worry about earthquakes (Southern California), tornadoes (Central Plains, Southeast and Southwest) or brush fires (Southwest). Ideally, I could buy some land to live off of. I would be open to Nebraska, Missouri or Kanasas as a backup option though.

Also ideally–and I know this would take a lot of planning and money–I would move out of the US. I do have a short list of destination countries I am looking at personally:

  • The Philippines: I spent an entire blog post talking about it. I do see a lot of potential…and opportunities I could make use of if I were to move to The Philippines. I am also very interested in learning Tagalog personally.
  • Canada: There has already been a steady exodus of Americans moving to Canada since Trump took office. Given I plan to move close to the Canadian boarder, it makes the most sense to seek Canadian citizenship at that time. I actually do have an uncle who lives outside Toronto so that would certainly help.
  • Kenya: Like The Philippines, it has a lot of potential and more so when certain key problems are taken care of. It is one of the few sub-Saharan countries with political stability. The biggest problem in Kenya is how remote most in the country live. Many of these remote population areas lack clean water sources and paved roads. Non-profits and faith-based programs have been doing what they can but it’s clear that more can and should be done within the country. I believe I can help with that. I am also very interested in learning Swahili and Xhosa.
  • South Africa: It is the most developed Sub-Saharan nation on the African continent. Refugees displaced by civil war and political unrest in nearby nations travel there where they stay in refugee camps co-managed by UNICEF and the UN until they can be relocated. It is one of the youngest democracies in the world (as of 1994) but has been thriving. Yes, political corruption is a problem but the country IS stable.
  • Australia: I do think I could make it work if need be. It would clearly be a one-way trip. Like Canada, I wouldn’t need to learn a new language either.
  • Japan: Like The Philippines, I do see a lot of potential in moving to Japan. I’m looking at living in a rural area personally. Hokkaido feels like a good place for what I might be looking for. Japan’s got a very rigid immigration process that is the envy of some in Europe and the US and that is something to consider.
  • China: The balance of power on the world stage has clearly shifted in China’s favor. It is also no longer the same country it was 30 years ago in many regards. The world is looking to China, not the US for leadership on the world stage. That should tell you something. It certainly helps China is offering a free ride to foreign exchange students. More and more colleges around the world are offering Mandarin and Chinese History so…yeah.

 

…This is just my short list.

All of them are politically stable as well–for now, anyway. I wouldn’t consider anywhere in Europe or South America personally. Way too much political instability on both continents. I’m sure it’s surprising to a lot of people to know I would seriously consider moving to China. Well, I would. It’s not as hostile to Christianity as it was in years’ past and they are always looking for non-Asian foreigners. I didn’t number that list but I am personally leaning heavily toward Kenya, The Philippines and Canada.

As for why I would want to leave the US. My biggest reasons are human rights-related. Trump being the current president is irrelevant to my reasons as I have felt this way since the mid-2000s. That said, I am most concerned by the fact this country has embraced its slow, gradual transformation into a police state in recent decades. The one thing America has always consistently excelled at is mass incarceration so…yeah. America is a society does not believe in second chances. A criminal record means you forfeit the right to vote in most places. Many people won’t hire you. Many people won’t rent you an apartment. If you were in prison for a long time, your family might be dead and gone when you get out. This country’s “pride” in having the largest military budget in the world–bigger than the next 12 countries combined–should tell you something.

I am also concerned by the current adminstration’s efforts to defund everything and make life harder for people just trying to survive. I don’t just mean the cuts to government programs but making as hard for people to leave as it is for people to come here. Did you know it takes MONTHS to be approved for a passport in the US? It also costs a lot of money compared to most of the world. $120 on average but if you pay $170, they can take 2 months off the filing process. Why does a passport cost so much and take so long compared to the rest of the world? It makes no sense. My friends in The Philippines, South Africa and the UK can get theirs in a much shorter amount of time and for far less in comparison.

Another concern I have is my current unemployment status. It’s not from a lack of trying that I am still job hunting 3 years later. It’s like I’ve been saying to folks over the last 8 months: Finding a job is the easy part. The hard part is finding someone willing to actually hire you. I agree with everyone who’s told me there is no reason I should still be unemployed after three years. Yet I still am. Do I want to work? Of course. Am I actively doing things toward that goal? Yes I am. Last year, I started taking vocational classes and job training courses being offered for free by various organizations. I also volunteer my time. I am doing both so I can at least update my resume. I already know one of the first questions I’ll be asked is “What have you been doing since you became Unemployed?”. So, I’m making sure I have a few things I can point to on paper.

I do feel I will have much better economic prospects in all seven of those countries and in some cases, I will be trained and paid while training. We don’t do that in the US anymore and haven’t for decades. Even in entry-level job positions. In the US, you’re expected to be experienced and know everything when you come in. The catch 22 many college students have been finding out in the last 20 years is even after putting themselves in debt with 4 to 8 years of college, that doesn’t guarantee employment. Even if you have the skills, companies don’t want to pay you what you’re really worth because it’s not cost-effective to them. So, they turn to cheap labor instead.

Most importantly, I know I will have an easier time buying land to live on in most of those seven countries. The current US Government is openly hostile to immigrants but what I am more concerned about that not enough people are paying attention to is the US is also enacting measures to restrict the movement of US Citizens both within the country and internationally. Europe and Canada are getting beyond annoyed with the US government’s double standard on the topic of international travel so…yeah. The US is demanding exemptions and immunity from the international community but won’t do its own allies the same courtesy unless something is given in exchange.

The complete and utter abandonment of compassion and the disregard for human decency…I’m done. Kenya, Canada and The Philippines are my top 3 choices of countries I’d want to move to. I tell you this: Even after I move out of Boston, I will still be planning to move out of the country. That will be the ultimate goal. America is a Police State. There are so many distractions and traps looking to ensare everyone in America. I’m talking about the immorality promoted and glorified online as well as in Music, Movies, TV Shows, Video Games and even on the News.

America lost its moral authority for good during the 1960s and didn’t even know it. It’s fixated on hypocrisy. The only things it can and is interested in offering to the world now are war, violence, captivity, destabilization, materialism, greed, exploitation and sexual gratification. Nothing else. How can a country that many of its people calls a “Christian Nation” be like that? That’s a whole other topic I will cover on two of my other blogs eventually. I don’t want to digress further here.

For the things I want to do with my life, it’s time for me to look beyond Boston. That much I have realized and more so since I haven’t actually left Massachusetts in almost 10 years now.

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Advertisements

The Simpsons to remove iconic 1991 episode featuring the voice of Michael Jackson from ALL platforms   Leave a comment

Image result for The Simpsons Michael Jackson

 

…This is sad and heartbreaking.

The Simpsons Executive Producer Jamees L. Brooks announced earlier today that he will personally oversee the removal of the iconic 1991 episode from existence. The episode from Season 3 (1991-1992) titled “Stark Raving Dad” features the voice of Michael Jackson, who is credited in the episode’s credits as “John Jay Smith”.

That episode was memorable for 1-minute song Michael Jackson wrote and performed alongside Bart Simpson’s voice actress Nancy Cartwright:

 

 

…I saw it when it first aired. It was such a touching episode and was long considered by series fans to be one of if not the best celebrity episode in the show’s history. Not just because of the featured celebrity but how they worked with Michael Jackson after the 1990 TV premiere of the Black or White music video on FOX to keep his direct involvement in the recording of the Season 3 episode a closely guarded secret. When the episode first aired back in 1991, viewers immediately recognized his voice and looked for his name in the credits. Everyone knew it was him but was shocked to see his name was not in the credits. It actually was: Brooks revealed several years later they decided to use the alias “John Jay Smith” per his request not to have his name featured in the episode’s credits. A few other celebrities have made the same before and since so it wasn’t exactly uncommon.

Brooks made the call to basically wipe the episode from the existence after he saw the HBO Documentary Leaving Neverland. The Documentary features one of Jackson’s former accusers coming forward with new accusations. The new accusations come a few months before the 10th anniversary of Jackson’s untimely death. Jackson died suddenly in 2009 from a medical drug overdose. The accuser, who had apparently been forgiven by the Jackson family and was present for Michael Jackson’s public memorial service in 2009 shocked the family with this documentary.

The surviving Jackson brothers got in front of cameras and condemned the documentary as well as the accuser a few weeks ago. They view the new accusations as a betrayal since they had invited him into their home after Jackson’s death as well as nothing more than a cash grab. More so given unlike before, Jackson is no longer alive and can’t defend himself from the new accusations. It’s worth noting The Jackson family is following through on a lawsuit against the accuser and HBO for defamation and libel. His 3 kids are aware of the new accusations and the family is pulling out all the stops to protect them during this very difficult time.

I have not seen the documentary myself and have no desire to personally. This is not the same as R. Kelly and Bill Cosby. Michael Jackson was tried and acquitted a few years before he died but the court of public opinion still considers him guilty of the charges he was proven NOT GUILTY of in court. I don’t hear calls for R. Kelly’s music to be pulled from iTunes or The Cosby Show being pulled off Hulu. Like Cosby, Jackson had his day in court. The evidence proved he was not guilty. The star witness–one of his alleged accusers–said Jackson never hurt him ever. So, why this now?

One word: Money.

Brooks doing this tells me he belived Jackson was guilty of what he was accused of and was just looking for a good excuse to erase this episode from existence. Well, he got what he wanted in this documentary. Not only is the episode being pulled off TV but is also being removed from ALL streaming platforms and digital stores such as iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Brooks even plans to go so far as to remove the episode from future DVD and Blu Ray box sets as well as having existing box sets with the episode in stores recalled so they can be destroyed and replaced. No, really.

I plan to download the episode via iTunes, Google Play and YouTube when I can to protest the decision. The episode first aired 28 years ago. Why do this now? It makes no sense. The best time to have done it would have been back in 2004.

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

 

The New England Patriots acquires Michael Bennett via Trade and his brother Martellus could join him   Leave a comment

Image result for The Bennett Brothers NFL

 

At one time the Bennett brothers were adamant about always wanting to play on separate teams. Above are the brothers pictured after the Patriots won Super Bowl 51 back in 2016 (the game was in 2017).

Michael Bennett candidly said this during an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2017:

 

 

Then with the Seattle Seahawks, Michael Bennett’s team lost to the Patriots a few years back. The Elder Bennett left the Seahawks for the Miami Dolphins until he was traded to New England today. His brother became a free agent after Super Bowl 51 and played a year with the Green Bay Packers before he retired. Marty B teased in a video he posted on Instagram after the Patriots won their 6th Super Bowl last month he might unretire and rejoin the Patriots to play with Tom Brady again. Now that his brother is going to be a Patriot, it should come as no surprise he is very interested in playing for another Super Bowl title. Michael’s a Defensive End and Martellus is a Tight End. So…yeah. They would join twin brothers Jason and Devin McCourty as the second pair of brothers to play on the same team at the same time. I mean all four playing together on the same team. Rob Gronkowski and his brother Eric both played together on the Patriots for a season a few years ago.

It would be fair–or unfair if you hate the Patriots–to say New England is already favored to repeat next season before today. The addition of both Bennett brothers could see the Patriots make a serious run at trying for an undefeated season again. Even as a Patriots fan, I understand all too well how…demoralizing everyone outside New England feels knowing the Patriots will be in the Super Bowl again next year. LOL.

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

 

New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII 13-3; Julian Edelman named MVP   Leave a comment

Image may contain: text

 

Having just won their sixth Super Bowl after 9 attempts in 17 years, it might be (un)fair to say the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl runs through The Patriots. When the Patriots win their next Super Bowl, they will break the tie they now have with the Pittsburgh Steelers in terms of total Super Bowl wins (6).

After the AFC game, Tom Brady went all in with what Pats Fans have been saying since 2007: “They hate us cause they ain’t us!”

ESPN’s Max Kellerman famously said a few years ago that Tom Brady “was about to fall off a cliff” as an athlete. I watched the full segment. Like Pats Nation and most of Sports Media, I LOL’d HARD. It just so happened Brady served a 4-game suspension the incoming season. In response, Brady got his revenge on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and not only let the Patriots to victory at Super Bowl 51 but completed what I called The Revenge Tour by winning the MVP that year. After winning the AFC game, TB12 had just one thing to say to all Haters: “We’re Still Here!”

As a reminder Tom Brady is 41 years old and has ZERO plans on retiring anytime soon. When asked last Sunday, he walked back his earlier declaration of playing until he’s 45: “I’ll play until I suck!” Basically, a giant middle finger to all the Haters. Do a Google image search of the phrase “THE GOAT” and the first person you will see in the results is Tom Brady. This was true before Sunday by the way.

…The thing the Haters know all too well is the Patriots have a real shot at winning two in a row next year or if they feel like it, give another shot at having an undefeated season. Now that TB12 has decided to go all-in on legit trying to hold the AFC and the Super Bowl hostage for the rest of his career…yeah. All anyone else can do is wait until he feels like retiring!

 

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

 

…As a reminder, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series 3 months ago. Realistically speaking, BOTH teams could repeat in the next (Patriots) or upcoming (Red Sox) season. And yes, both teams did this before back in 2004. Both teams will have prettymuch the same roster going into the next season so…yeah. The Red Sox made a statement going into the postseason and swept the Yankees out of the ALCS. The Patriots beat LA twice on their way to their 6th Super Bowl in 17 years. Both the Red Sox and the Patriots are heavily favored to repeat next season!

 

No photo description available.

 

It would be more than fair to call Boston Title Town, USA. The Patriots are America’s Football Team. This chart proves it and it was a long time coming!

 

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Anthony Davis announces he wants out of New Orleans and wants to be traded to a Championship Contender   Leave a comment

Image result for Anthony Davis Trade

 

Let the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes begin!

At the beginning of the season, only two teams were looked at as top contenders should AD end up on the trade block: The Celtics and the Lakers. On that note. Jayson Tatum said during the offseason he would trade himself for AD if it came down to it. We already know Terry Rozier will be leaving after this season (and offseason) is done. Tatum + Rozier for AD would be a pretty hard offer to resist and more so given everyone else wants Tatum or Jaylen Brown (or both).

Of course, AD and LeBron James have the same agent. Based on that, most experts believe the Lakers are the most likely landing spot for The Brow. At the same time, it’s certainly possible AD could go with another contender such as the Rockets, Bucks or Nuggets. Besides, if the playoffs started tomorrow the Lakers would be out of the playoffs.

The problem for the Celtics is The Rose Rule prevents them from trading for AD until after the season (and post-season) is over. The reason: They got Kyrie Irving via Trade and thus, The Rose Rule is in effect. How it works is a team with a player that basically gained All Star-level status within their first four seasons in the NBA that is due for a contract extension–in this case, Irving–can’t sign another player who has also met the same criteria–in this case, AD–until the first player signs a new contract or leaves the team. The rule is named for Derrick Rose, who has done a tour of duty around the NBA during his career more or less.

Irving announced during the Preseason he intends to re-sign with the Celtics after this season. What this means is the Celtics will need to wait until the off season to make a deal for Davis. Of course, this is assuming New Orleans can convince Davis and his agent to wait until the offseason and not trade him before the February 7 trade deadline like we’ve all been assuming. Everyone knows the Celtics can offer New Orleans the best deal for Davis period. It’s just a question of weather or not New Orleans is willing to wait until July 1 to entertain an offer from Trader Danny. That’s the one advantage the other 28 yeams have over the Celtics.

As a reminder, AD will not become a free agent after this season. Irving will though he’s opted to sign a new contract with Boston. It’s certainly possible the Celtics and Pelicans could agree to a trade for Davis in advance and then wait until July 1 to make it official. So, everything I said in the first paragraph is certainly possible.

Taking another look at the Celtics Roster, these players could be packaged for Davis:

 

  • Jayson Tatum (Forward)
  • Terry Rozier (Guard)
  • PJ Dozier (Guard/Forward)
  • Jabari Bird (Guard)

 

Tatum and Rozier would obviously be the centerpieces of the trade. The Celtics have a lot of Guards they could offload but Tatum or Brown alone is enough for any team to say “HELL YEAH”! Both are franchise players as well. Because of the Rose Rule, they would both finish the season (and post-season) with the Celtics. The Celtics would also need to sign Irving to a new contract after the season (and post-season) before they can officially pull the trigger on a trade for AD. They could agree to a trade before the deadline, then wait until July to make it official though.

The talking heads on ESPN say AD will likely go to the Lakers but again, we all could be assuming the trade will happen before the deadline. We’ll have to wait and see if AD changes uniforms before February 7 or not.

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Updates to my 3-Story Urban Village concept   Leave a comment

Image may contain: drawing

 

Hit by inspiration, I sat down earlier this week and sketched a floor plan for what I would like to see in a 3-story apartment complex. Before I show you the inside, it goes without saying it’s not to scale. This picture is the outside. Parking would be on the right (See the next picture) but deliveries or taxis can pull up to the front door. There would be some tables out front  as well. I’ve never been good at aesthetics so my apologies for the lack of detail.

After getting some feedback from various folks including a contractor and an architect, I have updated this post in a few areas. I have also done an adjustment to how much it would cost to build as well.

 

No photo description available.

 

We’ll start with the ground floor. Parking will be on the right. As for how it would look, it could either be a parking garage or a parking lot. As shown, it would be at least 25 spots. There would be bike racks either in front of the building or in the parking area or both. The mail room would contain mailboxes for all apartments, businesses and services and it would be staffed by two clerks. Large package deliveries that can’t fit in a mailbox would be held by the administrative office until the owner can come for it.

The building would have its own security staff of 4 to 6 personnel. This is in part for the businesses and services in the building but also to help maintain the two layers security. In addition to the closed circuit cameras on all floors, smartcards will be used. All residents and staff woulf use them to access shared areas such as the Fitness Center and Library after hours as well as the rooftop facilities.

Yes, there will be both a laundromat and dry cleaners on the ground floor. They will be free to all residents and staff, eliminating the need for a washer/dryer in apartments on the upper floors. For a small fee, residents can have a pick-up/drop-off service to or from their apartment.

The whole building is wired for free Wi-Fi and it comes in 3 Flavors: Staff, Residents and Visitors/Guests. The library will contain several computers with high-speed internet access.

 

 

No photo description available.

 

If you thought the laundromat was something else, here’s where things get ground-breaking: A Clinic, Grocery Store, Pharmacy and Library all on the same floor as apartments. Again, this is not to scale. It goes without saying the building would need to be large enough to fit all these things. The area of the Grocery + Pharmacy would be about the size of your average Dollar General. Like the laundromat, a delivery service to apartments can be arranged for a fee.

Get a load of that Urgent Care Center. It will be staffed by 6 people–two doctors, two nurses and 2 CMAs (Cerified Medical Assistant). At least one doctor and nurse will be on call at any given time. The Operating Room will be for emergency or post-op treatment as well as general care. As for why I feel a 3-story apartment complex should have an urgent care center, that was just my idea. Otherwise, I’d put the tennis court on the roof in that spot.

Getting to the actual apartments: Again, they’re not to scale.

I imagine at least 10 apartments on this floor including two for the medical and security staff to make use of. Each apartment contains at least one bedroom and a kitchen + bathroom. There would be temperature control in each apartment as well as a land line included. The apartments would be partially furnished with a refrigerator, a desk + chair and a kitchen table + chair set.

 

No photo description available.

 

Yes, there’s more.

From here we focus more on amenities for the residents. The fitness center would contain exercise equipment, weights and so on. The Community Room is a function room for events and has a full kitchen included. The fitness center could be replaced with another store or an auditorium though.

 

No photo description available.

 

Saved the best for last.

By now you’ve noticed there are restrooms, stairs and elevators for all floors. That is intentional. Due to the area of space, there will be both an indoor and outdoor basketball court as well as tennis courts and a playground. There would also be a green house and raised gardening beds for residents who want to grow things.

…Whew.

What can I say other than I have vision?

Anything like this would be expensive to build let alone maintain. In fact, far more expensive than I originally estimated. I now estimate $70 Million will be needed to build this and another $10 Million will needed to outfit everything outlined. That is to say nothing of an allotment for salary for the staff mentioned up to now. It would be state of the art to say the least but I think it would be worth the cost to build. I also estimate construction will take 3 to 4 years from the first ground break to the ribbon cutting.

When I secure the funding, I will have this built in Boston. If proven viable or successful I will take this concept across the U.S. first, then to The Philippines and Guatemala. As for why I would like the first prototype to be built in Boston, I have at least 3 places in mind–Two in Dorchester and one in Hyde Park–for the prototype to be built. Once it’s done I would look at Detroit, West Virginia, Baltimore and Memphis within the US to start. I would then look at Guatemala and The Philippines for the first international locations.

I call it an Urban Village: Housing, commerce and industry all rolled in one.

In addition to everything pictured, there would be solar panels and a water filtration system to help keep costs down. I have a 2-story and single-story concept as well as 5 and 8-story concepts. The number of floors decides what amenities will be inside. When I draw them, I’ll share the 2-story and 5-story concepts. They will be variations of the 3-story model I just shared in this blog post.

It’s not secret Boston is the third most expensive city to live in behind New York (#2) and San Francisco (#1). The Urban Village will solve two problems at once. First, will provide affordable housing so rent will not and should not be high (no higher than $1200 max). Key facilities on-site means all residents have close access to important needs. Here’s hoping I can make these ideas become reality!

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

There is always a large increase in “Help Me” Ads on CraigsList during the Holidays   Leave a comment

…And 7 out of 10 times, they are legit.

What I find most concerning is the cynicism and pessemism from people who have nothing better to do than judge people who turn to CraigsList as a last resort for help. On the one hand yes, there are the same scammers and botters based overseas who have been prowling CraigsList for years. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of people who use the site in general do use it as intended.

All that said, CraigsList is NOT a good website to turn to as a “Last Resort”. The reasons are five:

 

  1. It’s a wating game: One of the biggest myths people have about CL is if they post an ad, they will get a response very quickly. The reality is more often than not, you wasted your time posting the ad. Those who do get help are rhe exceptions and not the norm.
  2. Your ad will be flagged: “eople with absolutely nothing better to do with their time routinely flag ads they consider “Cyber Panhandling” or “Cyber Begging”.
  3. People will contact you just to judge you: More so if you’re a single mother/pregnant (“Where’s the father?”), unemployed (“Why don’t you get a job?”) or have pets (“Give up your cat/dog, then we’ll talk.”).
  4. If you’re a woman, expect to get solicited for Sex: Yes, there are guys that depraved that they will contact you looking for sex or a relationship and promise nothing in return.
  5. Scammers and Bots: Goes without saying. They are everywhere. You respond and then they say something to the effect of “Send me the deposit and I’ll mail you the key” or “Are you real? Email this email to prove you’re real”. This is to say nothing of those who didn’t get the memo the Personals section has been gone for 8 months now.

 

…These just scratch the surface and only barely. With CraigsList Personals gone, the lion’s share of “Help Me” Ads are posted in the Community (“Need Money/Items/Food or a Ride ASAP”.), For Sale (“Need Money/Items/Food ASAP”.), Resume (“Need a job or work ASAP”.) and Housing (“Need a Room/Apartment ASAP”.) Categories.

For those who still intend to try their luck looking for help on CraigsList, here are some general tips that should help:

 

  1. Keep the “Background Story” to a minimum: This is easily the biggest problem. Too many focus on explaining their situation and what led to them posting the ad but not enough time explaining what exactly they are looking for help with. Explain enough for folks to get an idea of your situation but no more than necessary. Save the details for after you make contact with someone.
  2. When looking for Housing, focus more on explaining what you are looking for: More so if you need to move ASAP. When I help folks with their housing search, I need 3 kinds of information: The max in monthly rent they can afford (For example $900), how many bedrooms and where (city, town, etc.) they are looking to live. Extra info that can help is if you’re on Section 8, have references or have the money to make a deposit right now. Leave out your background or family situation from the ad. Why? Because more often than not it will turn someone off from reaching out to you. Property Owners/Landlords only care about the other stuff I mentioned. If they’re not seeing much data in that regard, you wasted your time posting the ad.
  3. More often than not, insisting on keeping your pet will keep you from getting Housing: This isn’t a shot at pet owners or animal lovers but it is the reality and is not negotiable. It doesn’t matter if the landlord lives on the property and has pets themselves. They have the right to refuse you an apartment or room if you’re looking to bring a pet with you. No, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Service Animal either. If you don’t want to part with your pet, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a property owner willing to accomodate your pet.
  4. When looking for a Ride ASAP, include a phone number: No one’s going to wait for you to get back to them via email. Yes, botters and spammers harvest phone numbers to mass text people. Even so, someone who can help you won’t if they can’t get a way to hold of you as quickly as possible.
  5. If you’re in a relationship or have income, mention it in your Ad: This is to keep those looking for sex or a relationship at bay. 9 out of 10 times, when a woman posts an ad she will get unsolicited requests for sex and in many cases a lewd photo sent to them unprompted. If you mention you have income, you’re far less likely to have your ad flagged by people assuming you’re looking for a handout in general. If you mention you’re married or have a boyfriend/fiance, you’re far less likely to get unsolicited requests for sex or lewd photos in general.
  6. When selling, use pics of the actual item(s) not Amazon screenshots: Buyers get it, you want to prove the item is real and you’re selling it for less than retail value. At the same time, Buyers still need to see what condition the item(s) you’re selling is in. They can’t get that from an Amazon product page screenshot.
  7. When looking for work, include past work experience and what you’re looking to do: I cringe every time I see someone basically post “I’m looking for work, any kind of work please contact me ASAP”, then wonder why they only get Housing Ad Spammers or Sex Addicts contacting them. Include past work experience and/or skills you have that potential employers are looking for. Also, keep the “Background Story” to a minimum. Save it for when you actually make contact. Too many folks put everything into explaining their situation but little to none on their work experience and/or skills.
  8. Only post ONE ad per Need: We get it, you’re desperate or your situation is time sensitive. Posting 2 to 5 ads is what the botters do and it’s a fast way to get ALL of your ads flagged. Besides, even if you posted just one if someone decided not to respond then it won’t matter if you posted two or more.
  9. Include a phone number: I know all too well there are spammers and botters who harvest phone numbers posted via CraigsList to mass spam people. The site’s new Capcha (standard anti-scripting measure most high-traffic websites have started using to block bots) has merely slowed the practice but more needs to be done to protect private phone numbers and email addresses. Even so, include a working cell phone number and actually follow up even if just to say you’re not interested.
  10. Set up an Google Account just for CraigsList: You read that right. Why Gmail over Yahoo or Outlook (formerly Hotmail)? Well, most spam accounts use Yahoo mail first of all. Second, It has strong-anti-spam and anti-intrusion measures included for free. Plus you automatically get access to all Google Services for free. If you already have a Google account for personal and/or business use then you will just have two accounts is all. This way, you don’t have to worry about spam making it to your personal/business inbox. The bigger reason is to create an alias to protect your real identity.

 

…I can’t stress those last two enough and more so with the Porn sites, Cam Girls, Escort Services and similar sites that auto-reply to all ads posted to send spam to your inbox. Said emails are riddled with spyware and malware in addition to links to their sites where they hope to get enough info from you to either open a line of credit in your name or hack your account. Be smart and keep your real name off CraigsList.

With phone numbers, all I can say is block numbers that have nothing to do with whatever your ad is about. The spammers often group spam or spoof numbers so all you can do is block numbers individually. I tell folks in all my ads to text or email me because my phone is always on silent or vibrate. I also don’t answer when I see an out of state phone number. The “Text my number only” direction is also an anti-scam check. I know if an out of state number calls, they can’t follow simple directions or didn’t read my ad.

CraigsList is so saturated with scammers, botters and spammers that the “Are you real? Reply to this email to prove it” message is actually a check for other bots that auto-reply to ads or emails. DO NOT respond even if using CraigsList’s Anon-Relay system. All you do is confirm you’re not a bot and they will immediately send spam and other kinds of trash to your inbox. The more you respond, the more you confirm you’re a real person.

In the event you do get a spammer or scammer to email you, the only way to make them stop is to STOP responding to their emails. The reason is even if you block their email, they will simply use another one to keep emailing you. After 2, maybe 3 days max of silence they’ll get the message and leave you be. They DON’T take no for an answer. Ever.

Having said all that, I now want to say something to those who see “Help Me” ads and either judge or assume things: Leave them be.

I have actually talked to many folks who post “Help Me” Ads and I can confirm their needs are 100% real. You don’t need to know their life story (I tell them the same thing) but if you can’t or don’t want to help them, hit Back and keep it moving. Everyone needs help sometimes and as most who post “Help Me” ad mention themselves, they turned to CraigsList as a last resort and out of desperation.

Always assume they tried other things before making an ad on CraigsList and more so given the site’s reputation. GoFundMe campaigns require media attention, a large social media following or a celebrity to have a chance at fundraising. Otherwise you wasted your time making the campaign at all. I’d know. Everyone posting such an ad on CraigsList already feels embarassed. They don’t need you contacting them just to remind them of how pathetic they feel. They already know the real odds of someone actually helping this is slim to none so…yeah.

I’d say if you’re that desperate for help, your best bet is to try Facebook groups. There are neighborhood and city groups on Facebook you can join and safely arrange to meet with people. There are also various neighborhood-based Help Groups you can find fairly quickly. That’s my advice to anyone feeling that desperate anyways.

 

EDIT 12/20/2018:

In an effort to curb people posting Personal Ads in the Community Category, a link to a reminder about FOSTA now appears when posting in the “Activity Partners” sub category. In the months since they removed their Personals Category earlier this year, many have simply started posting Personal Ads in the Community Section. I have noticed in CL sites for Atlanta, Miami, Raleigh, Memphis and Louisiana many Personal Ads have been flying under the radar for months. The site is clearly aware and is rushing to clean up the site before they are punished under the new law made specifically for that site.

A side effect to this I have found is offering help of any kind = Instant flagging. I am assuming CL doesn’t want to run the risk it’s a setup or a bait and switch. Even worse is when an ad is flagged and removed, it takes less flags when it’s reposted the next time and so on when it’s within a small amount of time. What that means for me is now I will hold off posting new Ads for a few months. The reason: Every time I post an ad in the Community section, it’s removed almost immediately. The only way to reset that is to stop posting for a while.

The long-term solution for CraigsList would be to bring back the Personals as a separate site with a separate set of rules. The problem is they are not willing to do that so…yeah. They don’t want the responsability and neither did Backpage. For those who don’t know, Backpage’s Escorts section was shut down after an FBI Investigation revealed prostitutes (Female and Male) were using it to find clients and Pimps were using the site to lure unsuspecting girls and women into prostitution.

CraigsList has a bit more anonmity but more than that, they hid behind the law protecting them from prosecution for crimes committed by third parties (users). With that provision now removed, the admins are now paying close attention for obvious reasons. The way things are going, it’s only a matter of time before the site becomes 100% pay to use and it’s a shame. If they actually gave a damn, things would have never gotten like this.

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

 

%d bloggers like this: