Coffee heat rising

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

Victoria Hay, Ph.D.
Retired academic; owner of The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.

Profile photo for Victoria HayThe Ph.D. may (or may not) be worth pursuing…if you have an independent source of income.

You need a working spouse or an inheritance to keep a roof over your head and food on your table while you’re “pursuing” the Ph.D. Otherwise, you’re certainly not going to be “productive” or generate “output” from your research, because you’ll be too busy working two full-time jobs: one to support yourself and one to generate credit toward the doctorate.

Would I do it again?

Huh…let’s think about that…

  • I got a great job at Arizona Highways Magazine after I’d finished the degree. But that was only because the boss was impressed with academics. For him, it was a grand ego trip to have a someone with a doctorate on his staff. The job I landed was in journalism; it had nothing to do with academia.

Most employers are not that easily flamboozled.

  • I got a nice ego trip of my own when my dissertation was picked up by a prestigious publishing house. Does it matter that I’ve never seen a penny from sales on that book? Meh! Probably not: again, because the flamboozled boss thought that publisher was so awesome that he wanted to hire me.
  • Eventually, I got three books published through respectable presses.

All very nice…except I’ve never seen a penny in royalties from two of those books.

  • Later in life, I got an academic job.


One of my academic colleagues and I did a little pragmatic research and discovered we would be earning more cleaning house for a living than the university was paying us at the associate professor level. In fact, we seriously considered going in together to start a house-cleaning business.

  • Would I do it again?

Hmmmm…. Probably not.

If I had gone whole hog into magazine publishing starting the minute I finished the bachelor’s degree, I would have had more fun in life; I would have had a lot more people reading my published words; I would have been paid a helluva lot more than I earned in academia; and I would never have been tempted to think about starting an enterprise as a cleaning lady.

The Fate of Prognostication….

LOL! Today I zipped out to the credit union to check on some small detail…and then ended up driving…and driving…and driving…and driv… Ugh! Driving around this city is a species of Hell, and today was no better than usual.

But roaming up and down the homicidal streets of Phoenix generated some time to think about…this, that, and the other. Among the thisses and the thats:

Back in the Dark Ages, my mother made a sober-sided prognostication:

When the price of gasoline reaches a dollar a gallon, we’ll have

LOL! Hilariously, she was dead serious about this.

Today I went into a gas station and paid over $4.00 a gallon.

Life in the Republic of Marx, eh?

That was pretty much today’s going rate, by the way. For ordinary regular gasoline, nothin’ fancy to run your hotrod.

Well. Of course she was right: We do have s-o-o-o-cialism now.

Medicare works as socialized medicine for elders and for certain other classes of American citizens. And people on welfare — at least in these parts — do get some access to cut-rate medical care. And food stamps. And rent assistance. And…whatnot.

Be scared. Be very scared…



So there!!!

LOL! The latest set of exterior decorations is now mounted on the front gates and doors.


Gawdlmighty, i’m sooooo obnxious, even I think it’s funny!

Probably just like your neighborhood, the Funny Farm’s ‘hood is overrun with nuisance door-to-door solicitors. Some of these folks are peddling junk; others are trying to get signatures on petitions. Sooooo…it’s ringy-dingy-bingy-bong at the damn front door, practically every day. Dawn to dusk.

A year or so ago, I got the bright idea of putting up signs saying, in effect, “Please don’t ring the doorbell. No Solicitation.”

As you know, these normally have little effect on the legions of nuisances. Sooo…I decided to make the message a little stronger.

On side gate to the front patio:


We’re not interested in what you’re selling.
We’re not interested in your political campaign.
We have already signed your petition, or decided not to.

Please leave packages inside the patio, next to the front door.
Welcome to Porch Pirate Heaven!

On the front gate to the same patio and on the same side gate to that patio:

Please leave packages inside the patio, next to the front door.
Welcome to Porch Pirate Heaven!


On the security screen at the front door:


Interestingly, this barrage of messages works!

LOL! As you may gather, these people are almost as pesky as phone solicitors. So a sign that says PRIVATE does exactly no good. And about 10% of them ignore “NO SOLICITING” SIGNS. But apparently beating the sleazes about the head and shoulders with your message gets through to most of them.

Now. If you could only do that with the phone….

Heh… Our neighborhood techno-guru, Will, set up a video system at his front door. So…he can and does capture the antics that happen in front of his house, when Amazon and UPS trucks turn up with thieves’ cars in tow. There’s one woman, in particular, who follows the Amazon truck around in her car, waits till the delivery dude drives off, jumps out of her car and grabs the delivered packages, runs back to her car, tosses them into the back seat, and takes off down the road after the Amazon guy.

Is Amazon Guy aware of this? Could they be in cahoots?


As likely as not, I’d say. You’d think after awhile he’d notice he’s being followed. But…it’s gotta be a mind-numbing job. Maybe, just maybe he really doesn’t notice.

Anything’s possible. I guess.

At any rate, for the nonce the “no soliciting, no petitions” message is working. Now…if only I could make that work on the phone!

We thought it was entertaining at 9 p.m.?

Now it’s 12:30 in the morning. THE most unholy racket has been going on out there since shortly before midnight: a long, loud rolling tattoo of BAM BANG BLAST BANG WHISTLE BLAST BANG BAM.

Yeah. Some fun, eh Fun? What the Hell gets into people? Is every moron in the neighborhood (and in all the surrounding neighborhoods) drunk, high, or stoned stupid?

Ruby the Corgi, who apparently is not enraged by Stupid, is conkered out on the bed. Wish I was, too. But even after the morons get finished “celebrating,” the arm will still hurt so much it will obviate sleeping.

May every idiot who can’t force him- or herself to think about other people enjoy the same. Lots of the same, in upcoming nights.

Unholy Christmas…Unholy Scheming

Over in the fringe precincts of North Central’s Richistan — within walking distance of my son’s house — we had an unholy event the other day. Some nut case — a rather prominent one — murdered his entire family and then blew out his own diseased brain.

The horror of this happening aside…that place is in a lovely area, and right in the middle of the part of Phoenix I frequent. Not only could you walk to M’jito’s place from there, you also could walk to the beloved AJ’s and over to several decent restaurants and even down to my car mechanic’s place without much trouble.

When the unholy story came in across the Internet, an unholy thought leapt into my fevered little mind: I wonder if I could buy that place at a fire-sale price?

Lots of unholiness going around today, no?

Seriously, though: that house is in one of the nicest, prettiest parts of old North Central Phoenix. It’s a lush, irrigated district, far away from the slums of Sunnyslope and West Phoenix, where my house resides.

Dreadful as it seems to think about this…I am seriously thinking of calling one of my Realtor friends to find out if we could glom the house at a price comparable to what we could get for my ever-so-much humbler (and less bloodied…) abode.

On the one hand, you don’t even wanna think about what it would cost to render it livable. Presumably the flooring would have to be replaced, along with a fair amount of drywall. And everything repainted.

One wonders if their homeowner’s insurance would cover any of that. Probably not. Blowing away your family a natural disaster does not make. Besides…who’s left to receive the money?

On the other hand, even if you had to pay every penny of the repairs, it would be worth it. Those are million-dollar houses down there, in a beautiful, mature centrally located district. So…oh, my goodness, what a place!

On the third hand, I hafta admit: I’m not sure I could even afford the property taxes for one of those places.

But ohhh…it would be a long way from Tony’s Home for Juvenile Delinquents, from the oceans of crime represented by Sunnyslop to the north of us and the run-down slum apartments to the west of us.

Seriously: my neighborhood itself is very pleasant, but it’s flanked on two sides by truly dangerous districts. The fancy-Dan neighborhood that recently hosted the scene of the crime is a very nice area, indeed, and the humbler areas (if you can call them that) around it are on the high side of middle-class. Upper-middle-class, really.

If I could get my hands on that place at a fire-sale price…well… Maybe I could afford it.

Tony’s instant slum across the street will cut about a hundred grand off the asking price for my house. But with a suicide/murder scenario in place, buying that place in North Central could be a wash.

That’s assuming I can get the previous owner’s insurance to clean up the blood and repair the damage.

Think I’ll jump in my car and drive down there…see if I can get close enough to shoof around.

Yow! The Car of My Dreams!!

Holeeee mackerel, if you haven’t seen the latest Toyota pickup, you surely should! <3 <3 <3

I’m sitting at the Toyota dealership waiting for the crew to finish working on my car. Wait and wait and wait and… Ohhhhh well…what else have I got to do, eh?

At any rate, while I’m loafing in the showroom, I find myself sitting near a specimen of these new pickups. Boyoboy! To have a business that would allow one to write this thing off one’s taxes…  😀

LOL! Bop on over to the Toyota website and you discover these things sell in the vicinity of 60 grand. What a bargain, eh?

Oh well.