Dale Says

July 20, 2015

Notes from the Other Side #8

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 3:40 pm

About me

Some of you have asked for a little background about me, so you know where I’m coming from.

I’m in my mid-60’s, and I’ve been semi-retired for 10 years. I worked in financial services (desk jobs) my whole career. Most of my working life was spent doing project jobs and managing small groups of people. It was stressful, but usually rewarding work. I commuted an hour each way, travelled a fair amount, and went through my share of organizational changes, down-sizing, and layoffs. I was caught in a layoff in my mid-50’s and given a severance package on my way out. Since leaving the corporate world, I have worked part-time, doing consulting, contract work, and done writing and editing. None of that work fully-supported me, but it all slowed the outflow of funds and helped stretch my savings.

I was fortunate to work for an organization that had a generous retirement package, which included a matching 401-k program and a defined pension program. They also had annual bonuses, which were performance-based. I participated in the 401-k program and saved half of my bonuses. When I left the company, I took my 401-k funds and my pension and rolled them into a 401-k of my own. When the severance program was gone, I started dipping into my 401-k, and I now take funds from it twice a year, to pay bills and supplement my part-time income.

Will I have enough money to live comfortably the rest of my life? Probably. Each year, I total all of my assets and compare it with the total from the previous year. So far, it’s grown each year. That tells me I’m not over-spending, and assures me I will probably have enough put aside. Let’s hope so.

Notes from the Other Side #7

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 3:38 pm

Health

There are many things to look forward to in retirement. Health is one, but there are mixed messages.

On the plus side, it’s easier to get and stay healthy when you aren’t working. There is more time to exercise, and it’s easier to exercise during the day than to squeeze it in before or after work. And it’s easier to eat well and go to doctors and dentists when you aren’t working full time.

On the other side, things start to go wrong with your health after a certain age. Knees start to ache, lower backs get stiff, and your metabolism slows down. There isn’t a lot you can do to prevent those issues, but you will have more time to deal with them.

Here’s a couple of suggestions from the other side of working for a living: (1) lose weight and get in shape now, and (2) develop good eating and medical habits now. Both of those steps will help you adapt to and fully enjoy the next phase of your life.

Notes from the Other Side #6

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 3:36 pm

Special place

When I first retired I worked on consultant jobs, writing jobs, and volunteer boards and committees. It was a great way to transition from working full-time to not working at all, and it helped keep a little money flowing in. Unable to justify renting an office, I worked on the end of our dining room table. I soon found out that for me that was a bad idea. First, I couldn’t concentrate on my work because I wasn’t the only one in the house. Second, and perhaps more important, I couldn’t leave my work behind. It was always in the house. After a couple of years, I decided to rent an office, which is really just a bedroom in a house three blocks away. That did it! Now, I had a place to go where I did my “work.” When I was there, I could concentrate on what I was doing, and not worry about a load of laundry, or weeds in the garden. And I could leave my “work” behind when I was ready to stop. I left it at my office.

If you are like me and like to have a place to go each day to be alone and concentrate, you might want to start thinking about it now — planning, building, or setting aside some funds so that you can have a special place when your time comes.

Notes from the Other Side #5

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 3:35 pm

More time

I wanted to say a couple of things about having more time available to do the things you have always wanted to do:

First, you do have more time. Even with sleeping later, spending more time with the newspaper and email, exercising more, volunteering, and travelling — you do actually have more time for yourself. It’s very special time, because you realize that previously you would have spent it commuting to work, sitting in meetings, or trying to do work. Now its your time, to do with as you please. So, what are you going to do with it?

Second, it’s not as much extra time as you would expect. It’s not 60 extra hours each week, as you might think, or even 40 extra hours. Life still gets in the way, and it still takes time to keep your life in order. But now, you can run errands and keep up the garden and see friends and family during the week, rather than trying to cram everything in on the weekends. And that leaves more weekends free to travel, exercise, or work on new hobbies.

One possible suggestion regarding time: if you start now, you can have a good head-start on developing hobbies, or skills, or play sports — so that when you are free from the desk you can really enjoy them.

Notes from the Other Side #4

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 3:32 pm

Are you worried about having enough money put aside for living on the other side of working for a living? So was I, and I suspect that nearly everyone is.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Save as much as you can, and invest it wisely. Do without a new car or a second vacation and put the money away instead.

2. When the time comes to stop working for a living, seize the opportunity. Go for it!

3. Don’t burn any bridges behind you. The momentary pleasure of telling your boss where to stick it will be long gone if you ever need to use that boss for a reference or a consultant job.

4. Develop a “sellable” skill that you can use after you stop working for a living.

5. Each year after you stop working full-time for a living estimate your total assets. If they are larger than the previous year, stop worrying, at least for another year.

Notes from the Other Side #3

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 10:31 am

Like everything else in life, successful retirement requires planning. Here, based on the author’s experiences, is a five-step guide to preparing for post-career happiness.

1.Have a plan.

It’s important to have a plan for how you will spend your free time after retirement. Don’t wait until you actually retire to start on your plan; instead, write it down now a little at a time as ideas come to you. “I’m going to golf” doesn’t count as a plan; neither does “we’re going to travel.” Figure out how you want to spend your days (and months and years) for the next 2-3 decades, put it in writing, and make changes until it makes sense to you. When you actually retire tinker with your plan as you see how your new life is developing.

The good news is that you (rather than your boss) get to decide how you will spend your time.

2.Include activities in your plan that will produce “meaningful” results.

Most of us were raised to do consequential things with our lives, and even after retiring you will probably find you need to feel like you are accomplishing something meaningful (besides relaxing, having fun, and traveling). Add at least one activity to your plan that will let you look back at the end of the year and know that you achieved something important.

The good news is that you get to decide what is meaningful.

3.Take on some (but not too many) challenges to acquire new skills or accomplish things you’ve always wanted to do.

All of us dream about what we would do “if we only had the time.” Well now you are going to have time. Learning to play the piano, for example, or hiking in a Brazilian rainforest are the types of activities that are possible when you have more control over your schedule.

The good news is you will have time to do whatever you want.

4.Be prepared for unexpected developments to force you to fine-tune your plan.

Unforeseen events like health issues, family emergencies, or friends in need could sidetrack you and force delays or changes to your retirement plan. That’s part of the deal. You might want to start an annual ritual of reviewing your plan, seeing what you were able to accomplish, and making adjustments for the next year.

The good news is you will have the time to dedicate to those situations.

5.Expect to go through your retirement savings faster than expected.

Despite careful planning and diligent saving many retirees spend more than they thought they would. Health care is a frequent culprit and inflation, travel costs, and unanticipated home repairs are others. After a year or two you may become uneasy because your income has stopped but your “outgo” hasn’t. A suggestion: at the end of each year add up your assets and see if the total is on track with where you hoped to be. If it is, you are probably doing OK.

The good news is that you will have more control over your spending and can adjust your income or expenses to get back on track.

A successful retirement requires planning, but includes a lot of good news. If you are diligent about developing and following a plan, you are likely to find (as I have) that retirement rocks!

Notes from the Other Side #2

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 10:15 am

There have been times in my life when I wanted time to go faster. When I was working full-time, for example, and my job wasn’t going real well, and I was waiting for our vacation to come around. Those were the times when time seemed to drag, and weeks crawled by and days stretched out forever.

Now, I want time to slow down, for days and weeks to last as long as possible, so I can enjoy each day and each week to the fullest.

I realize that this period is as good as it’s going to get. I’m healthy, I have enough money set aside to do pretty much what I want, and I’m doing pretty much whatever I want each day. So, I want this period to last.

It’s a conundrum with no easy answer!

July 14, 2015

Notes from the Other Side #1

Filed under: Other Side — Dale @ 12:45 pm

I slept in today. I woke at around 7:30 when the construction on the remodeled house next to us started, and when I awoke I needed to pee, so I got up and did that. Normally, I would have stayed up, but today I crawled back under the covers and slept another 45 minutes or so. Just because I could.

I rarely set an alarm in the mornings anymore. I don’t need to, because I can get up when I want and do what I want, all day.

This is what it’s like to be on the other side of working for a living. I just thought you should know, because maybe it will help you keep at it — to avoid telling your boss to shove it and walk out. Maybe you will keep quiet and put up with the B.S. because someday you will be on this side, too.

These notes won’t always be so smug. There are downsides to being here, too, and I will cover those. But for now, hang in there. It will all be worth it!

June 24, 2015

Steven King and the Writer’s Toolbox

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Dale @ 11:08 am

Stephen King didn’t want to go back to work. He was in pain, unable to bend his right knee, and restricted to a walker. Five weeks earlier, in June of 1999, Bryan Smith, a loner with a terrible driving record, reached behind him while driving and steered his minivan into King, who was out for his daily walk. The crash smashed King’s head into Smith’s windshield and threw King over the van and into a ditch. The impact cut a huge gash in King’s head, punctured his lung, broke his right leg in nine places, shattered his right knee, fractured his right hip and pelvis, broke four ribs, and chipped his spine in eight places. King survived, but he suffered. He faced five surgeries, three weeks in a hospital, massive pain, and a nearly-unimaginable recovery.
Now, more than a month after the crash King sat in his home in a wheelchair, facing a temporary writing station that had been set up by his wife, Tabby.
That first writing session lasted an hour and forty minutes; after which King was exhausted and dripping with sweat. There was no inspiration that afternoon, only undaunted determination and the hope that things would eventually get better.
Things did get better for King, slowly, and he did finish the book, On Writing.
In the book, which he calls “a memoir of the craft,” King describes a writer’s toolbox, choosing that metaphor because his grandfather and uncle were carpenters who used toolboxes for their work. His grandfather’s toolbox (a “big ‘un”) included all the implements needed to do his work. He carried it with him to every job, and he told Stephen, “It’s best to have your tools with you. If you don’t, you’re apt to find something you didn’t expect and get discouraged.”
King says a writer’s toolbox should have at least four levels of tools. “You could have five or six, I suppose,” he writes, “but there comes a point where a toolbox becomes too large to be portable and thus loses its chief virtue.”
First Level
Common tools go on the first level of a writer’s toolbox, including vocabulary. King advises that writers work with their existing vocabulary without feeling guilty or inadequate, and he recommends against trying to compensate for a small vocabulary, which “is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes,” he warns.
Grammar should also be on the top shelf of your toolbox, and King suggests the best way to improve grammar is to read. “If you don’t have time to read,” he argues, “you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Other tools on the top level of your toolbox should be nouns and verbs, which King calls two indispensable parts of writing.
Second Level
Lift out the top layer of your toolbox and on the second level should be the elements of style, the basics of word usage and sentence structure. King recommends the book, The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, which is his go-to authority on style.
He also recommends adding tools at this level to eliminate passive voice and reduce the use of adverbs.
“You should avoid the passive tense,“ he advises. And he says adverbs “are not your friends.” He likens them to dandelions and tells us that “one on your lawn looks pretty and unique, but if you fail to root it out your lawn will soon be covered by dandelions.”
Paragraphs are another critical tool that all others build on. Carpenters build using one plank of wood or brick at a time, and King believes writers should build stories one paragraph at a time, constructing them by using vocabulary, grammar, and basic style.
King calls paragraphs “maps of intent,” which tell the reader whether your book will be easy or hard to read. He recommends taking a book down, opening it, and scanning a few pages. If you are looking at a wall of words it’s going to be hard to read. If, on the other hand, it has a variety of paragraph lengths and a lot of white spaces, the book will be easier to get through.
Third Level
The third level of the writer’s toolbox should have tools that give the story shape and individuality; including description, dialogue, and character development.
Good descriptions, according to King, begin with clear seeing and end with clear writing, using fresh images and simple vocabulary.
- Thin description leaves the reader feeling bewildered and nearsighted, but
- Over description buries the reader in details and images.
The trick is to find a happy medium.
Dialogue is crucial to defining characters. The key to good dialogue is honesty, and King suggests you let your characters speak freely. “In the end,” he writes, “the important question has nothing to do with whether the talk in your story is sacred or profane; the only question is how it rings on the page and in the ear. If you expect it to ring true, then you must talk yourself.

Even more important, you must shut up and listen to others talk.”
King believes character development boils down to two things:
- Paying attention to how people behave, and
- Telling the truth about what you see.
He offers a hint to building characters: “… in real life we each of us regard ourselves as the main character, the protagonist, the big cheese; the camera is on us, baby.” He recommends adding that attitude to the characters in your writing. “If you do your job,” he promises, “your characters will come to life and start doing stuff on their own. I know that sounds a little creepy if you haven’t actually experienced it, but it’s terrific fun when it happens. And it will solve a lot of your problems, believe me.”
The tools on your third level can all be learned through living. “Skills in description, dialogue, and character development,” he argues, “all boil down to seeing or hearing clearly and then transcribing what you see or hear with equal clarity.”
Fourth Level
The fourth level of your toolbox should include tools to help with revisions; including character motivation, coherence, recurring elements, theme, and resonance.
Character motivation is the reason or reasons your characters do the things they do. Do their actions make sense? Have you explained to your readers why they do those things – in an understandable and interesting way? If not, King suggests going back to fix it.
Coherence is another tool King uses during revisions. Is your story intelligible? Is the plot consistent? Are ideas connected throughout? Does the story flow smoothly? Does the plot stick together?
Identify the recurring elements in your writing (e.g., colors, emotions, qualities) and make sure they are consistent.
Make sure you have a strong theme, to help get your message across to the reader. Without a theme, your reader will be lost, and so will your writing.
Resonance is probably the most important revision tool. It is also King’s most desired. His goal is to write something significant that will linger after the reader has closed the book and put it on the shelf.
Other Tools
There are other tools, too, and King would probably advise writers to put them in the little drawers of their toolbox – in case they need them. Among them he names onomatopoeia (using words to imitate sounds), incremental repetition (repeating a line with minor changes to the repeated part), stream of consciousness (showing a character’s thought processes through free-flowing narrative), interior dialogue (depicting a character’s non-verbal thoughts), changes of verbal tense (to indicate, for example, a time change from past to present), theme (the central idea or subject explored), alliterative phrases (a series of words with the same first consonant sound), and symbolism (using an object to represent something; e.g., a dove to represent peace).
Regarding those tools, King simply advises us to “use anything that improves the quality of your writing and doesn’t get in the way of your story.”

That’s it, four levels of basic writing tools and a few specialized ones. Together, they make up quite a toolbox; a “big ‘un.”
Most writers already have many of the tools needed for their toolbox, and King advises us to look at each of our tools again. “Try to see each one new, remind yourself of its function, and if some are rusty (as they may be if you haven’t done this seriously in a while), clean them off.”
Writing is a learned skill, but King contends that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations.
“We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style,” he summarizes. “But, as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”

May 4, 2015

On My Brithday — 2015

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 1:48 pm

On my birthday I am 64 years old. This year I am in Denver, Colorado on my birthday with my friends Bill Diefenbach, Ken Monk, Geoff Noakes, and Lee Tyree. This is a long-planned trip to see a couple of baseball games between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies, and to show my friends the town and house I grew up in. We’re staying in downtown Denver, which has changed considerably since I lived here, and we have a full four days planned. This group comprises the Dashiell Hammett Society of Studs, a social and literary group we formed 15 years ago. The group has been together through thick and thin, and we get along very well. This will be a wonderful getaway for all of us.

The past year has gone by very quickly, and for the most part it’s been a good year. As has been the case the past few years, the past one has had ups and downs, but for the most part this phase of life is pretty terrific! I feel good, have good health, and have loads of freedom to do what I want. That’s the upside, and it’s a great upside. On the down side, I have experienced friends getting older and dying, and my youngest brother, Ed passed away last November at age 50. It seems to be part of this phase of life, and all my friends are experiencing it, too. The key seems to be to develop a thick skin, enjoy the good things, and accept the bad with the good.

As I wrote last year, time is going by very quickly – too quickly – and I am trying to slow it down enough to enjoy it. I know this phase is the sweet spot of life, and I’m trying to experience it fully and enjoy it fully, because I know it’s fleeting. Is there a way to slow time?

Strangely, I don’t feel my age. I’m healthy, strong, and energetic, and I feel as though I’m in my late 40’s or early 50’s. I exercise regularly, hike the hills of San Francisco with little effort, sleep well, don’t take any medication, and wake up feeling young. That’s all good. But when I look in a mirror or see a photo of myself, I am surprised to see an older man. That’s not so good. I recently had to renew my driver license in person and take a new photo. When it came back I was shocked to see the effect a decade has made on my appearance! My hair is almost completely gone on top, my eyelashes and mustache have turned white, and my cheeks and neck has begun to sag. That really threw me, because I don’t feel any different than I did 10 years ago.

The past year with Patty has been great! We have worked out a method of getting along that allows us to do our own thing, while spending time together on the activities we both enjoy. Her health has been good, too, and she is also living a very full life.
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this phase of life is our circle of family and friends, and we spent a lot of time with them the past year. We see my family a lot, and I talk to my siblings often. My mother still lives at home, and while her memory and health are slipping, she still enjoys life, and she loves the fact that her children remember her and help her. I call her every Wednesday and those conversations are very enjoyable. I see her every couple of months, and those visits are enjoyable for both of us. She wants to stay in her house, and while there are a couple of my siblings who think she should be moved to an assisted living home, I support her staying at home, at least for now. However it works out long-term, I am very happy that she has the option to stay there, and I think she appreciates it, too. Over the past year, I was able to see Mom in May, August, October, and December.

We also took trips over the past year to see Ian graduate from high school in June, to see Katharine Noakes graduate from college in June, to see Kevin and Julia in Napa several times, to Oklahoma, our annual trip to Drakesbad in August, and Pt. Reyes with John and Eva in September.

We see our close friends a lot, especially Ken and Vicki, Kevin and Julia, and Ruth and Bill. We still have our holidays together as a group; including Easter (at our house), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years, and Christmas. The group is still intact, and though Ruth’s Altzheimer’s is getting very bad, she still participates as much as possible. The “kids” have grown up; with Christina and Beck married, and Katharine out of college.

A highlight of the year took place in October when I served as officiant for the marriage of Beck and Sarah at Ft. Mason. It was a beautiful and touching ceremony, and they seem to be very happy together. Katharine is about to finish a cooking school and go to work, and it will be interesting to see what that beautiful and talented lady decides to do next.

My writing slowed over the past year, as I finished my book of short profiles, put it out for review, and got less-than-enthusiastic reviews. After mulling it over for a time, I realized that it didn’t have a theme, so I got busy and started rewriting it as a collection of short profiles about San Francisco people. I’m writing and adding a half-dozen profiles, which are nearly finished, and I plan to send it out for another round of reviews within the next couple of months. My good friend, Lois Pryor, is interested in editing it, and I look forward to working on it with her.

Our big vacation trip the past year was to Vietnam and Cambodia in October. It was a good trip! The tour group in Vietnam (12 people, all British) were the nicest group of people we have ever travelled with, and we plan to stay in touch with them. The Vietnam portion of the trip was hot and humid, but very interesting. We enjoyed all of it except the frequent referrals to the “American War” – which was described as an evil effort by Americans to force a life style on the Vietnamese they didn’t want. A couple of times during the trip, someone from Vietnam would tell our group how the Americans divided their country in half, and when the Vietnamese tried to reunite their country the Americans came over and bombed them. That was hard to take, but I do see their side of it.

Our side trip to Cambodia was absolutely terrific! We spent three days touring the ruins at Angor Wat, and it was a wonderful and memorable experience!

On the way home from Cambodia, we picked up emails and discovered that my youngest brother, Ed, had died. So we got home, unpacked, repacked and went to Chappell for his funeral and burial. It was a very sad and tragic time for my whole family – and especially for my mother, who had lost her youngest child. Ed’s life was a sad and lost venture, and he chose an early and tragic way to go out – drinking himself to death. Two weeks after his death, Anne and I went to Colorado Springs and cleaned out his apartment. While we were doing that, we both felt the tragedy of a life wasted, and it made us very sad. I volunteered to serve as executor of his estate, and that will keep me busy over the next year or so.

My health continued to be good over the past year. I try to keep in shape by working out at a gym, hiking, cycling, and keeping my weight down. It’s a continuous struggle, but it’s going well and is rewarding.

My mix of volunteering, writing, and home life continues to suit me. I go for walks on Mondays with Norman and serve lunch and run errands with Ina on Fridays. I also drove to Bodega Bay once a month to see Paul Meuse – until he died in March. His death was sudden and was a blow for me. I’m very happy I got to know Paul, and I have wonderful memories of our times together, but I miss him. Death is so final!

This phase of life is extreme: extremely rewarding and extremely sad. There is time, energy, and money to do pretty much whatever I want to do, and that’s extremely rewarding. It’s what I worked so hard for so long for – and it was so worth it. I try each day to focus on my freedom and my health and to enjoy that day to the max. But there is also aging, illness, and death, which is extremely sad. Watching your youngest brother slowly kill himself because he couldn’t get his act together is extremely sad, as is seeing your good friend die of an illness in his 60’s and watching another good friend have her mid slowly taken away with illness.

Things in the U.S. are generally very good now, with a strong economy, peace, increasing employment, and generally good times. The U.S. Supreme Court is about to decide that same-sex marriages are legal. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades, and the stock market is at all-time highs.

We have an African-American president who is struggling to accomplish much, because Republicans oppose everything he stands for. Campaigning for the 2016 presidential election has already begun, with Hillary Clinton running against a group of severely-divided Republicans, who range from ultra-conservative to moderate. Congress accomplishes very little because Republicans oppose anything proposed by Democrats. Our country is virtually at a stand-still.

In other domestic news, the U.S. officially ended its war in Afghanistan on December 28 – the end of the longest war in U.S. history. Robin Williams committed suicide August 11, from depression and the news that he had Parkinson’s. California is in the third year of a severe drought that has all of us worried there may not be enough water for agriculture and home use. A strong earthquake in Napa in August destroyed several downtown buildings. High-tech wealth continues to move into San Francisco, which is bolstering the City’s finances, but causing gentrification and some unrest.

Beneath the surface, however, there is a lot of trouble. Several factions of Republicans are very unhappy with the direction the country is heading, and they are trying to un-do some of the progress we have made over the years – in civil rights, in health care, in welfare, and in employment. Those divisive groups are clinging to some sort of outdated way of thinking that allows the strongest and smartest people to succeed, with little concern for anyone else. It’s a very sad statement of our times.

Also beneath the surface, there is civil unrest between minority groups (especially African-Americans) and law enforcement. Several recent instances of police brutality and police shootings have stirred the nation and created demonstrations and social unrest.

The world I live in is also filled with social unrest and terrorism. Whenever I open a newspaper or turn on the television or radio the news is shocking and a little depressing. Terrorism is rampant in the world now, with splinter, radical groups attacking and killing for unknown reasons. Attacks happen daily — in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, etc. Why is there so much unrest in the world? Why do young men feel so badly about their situation they leave their families, friends, and homes to travel to other countries and kill people? And so many of them do it in the name of religion! It’s troubling.

Several countries; including Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan (among others) have nearly daily instances of bombings, mass killings, beheadings, and riots. Terrorists kidnap young girls and turn them into sex slaves or hold them for ransom. Radicals post videos on the internet of their henchmen using knives to behead journalists they have captured. Women and children strap explosives to their bodies and blow up crowds of innocent people praying at mosques. Bands of terrorists attack embassies and shot and kill everyone in sight. A religious-extremist group calling itself ISIL has taken over large portions of Iraq and Syria and is kidnapping and murdering huge groups of people in the Middle East. That has caused European, Middle-Eastern, and Western countries (including the U.S.) to respond by sending bombers and troops to fight ISIL.

Sadly, the people of today’s earth still settle their differences by killing each other.

Other international news is also generally sad, as a German airline pilot intentionally crashed an airplane into the Alps last month, killing himself and the 149 others aboard. A huge earthquake in Nepal killed over 7,000 people. Russia took over the Crimea in Ukraine. Battle between rebels and government troops in Syria kill thousands of innocent people every month. Israel continues to see battles between Jews and Palestinians.

Oil prices plunged over the past year, which has been good news for most people, but bad news for oil producers and oil-producing countries.

In San Francisco, hordes of young, high-tech men and women have invaded the city, raising rents to the highest levels in the country and driving lower-income workers and artists out. Lawrence Ferlinghetti recently said they are bringing buckets of money and no manners to the city.

Birdman won this year’s Academy Awards for Best Picture; Eddie Redmayne received best actor for The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore won best actress for Still Alice.

In sports, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series for the third time in five years. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.

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