Begging

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good afternoon:

We were late posting today because our electricity was cut off and we had to hike two miles carrying our computers to a McDonalds wifi hot spot where we can connect to the internet. Our motorcycle is out of gas and we have no money to buy gas.

We are poor. We survive on my fixed social security and the donations we get from this website. With the exception of our motorcycle and computers, everything we have came from second-hand stores and dumpsters. With very few exceptions, we get all of our food from dumpsters. We chose to live this way as a matter of principle and ask no one for pity.

I hate begging. When I ask for donations to keep the lights on, I mean exactly what I say.

The power company increased our rates by 33% a few months ago and plans further increases. To keep our power bill below our monthly rent, we have to forego heating or cooling our place.

Despite hundreds of visitors to our site everyday, we have received donations from only 4 people for a total of $45 this month. Yet, despite the lack of support, we hiked here in the heat to deliver our posts.

We are not trying to get rich here and we know times are tough for everyone, but we simply cannot go on like this.

We need your help.

We are not asking for much.

If everyone donated $5 or $10 per month, we would be okay.

I get my monthly check tomorrow, so we’ll get the lights turned back on and the motorcycle running.

18 Responses to Begging

  1. masonblue says:

    Crane-Station here.

    Okay, we have asked all around the community and the neighbors. It’s not the meters. It’s an astronomical rate gouge.

    We now know the answer, and the residents in this community are furious. Here is what the power company did, without telling us or giving us a heads up. They got rid of their supplier, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). With TVA, the bills were okay. But then, the Power Company signed a gazillion dollar long-term contract with some company to build a plant someplace in Illinois. No ground has been broken. In the meantime, the power has to come from someplace. The solution? Temporary fix with coal. Like, the kind you shovel.

    Who will pay for it? The residential customer, one hundred percent. No businesses. One of our neighbors got a lawyer. Lawyer says he shouldn’t have to pay for power we never use. But, good luck on that one. Who will benefit? The very rich. It is the money of the poor in this community, emptied from change jars and coming off of top-up debit cards, to pay for a new plant that doesn’t even exist, and to pay for the meantime coal fix, and to help the very rich get even richer.

    This is a straight-up gangster scam. And, this is America.

    You watch. They’ll use this, to say, that without coal, we couldn’t function. They’ll use that for political purposes, and when they’re done, they’ll throw the coal workers under the bus.

    This is what we were able to find out. We are not alone. Also, from what I have read, there are other areas in the Midatlantic states where electricity bills make increase by fifty percent. This is outrageous.

    That said, we are doing what we can to get this cost to as low as possible.

  2. MKX says:

    I would agree to a paid site. The quality of posts is quite high. And you do a good job with trouble makers. On other sites, there are those few who feel that they are in some sort of “mine is bigger than yours” game, thus leading to this:

  3. renahv says:

    May I suggest an anonymous poll to see how many people would pay $5 to access your (hypothetically) restricted site?

    I know you’ve said you really dont want to go that route, but if you’re not doing sponser ads, how else can the site generate what’s needed to basically at least break even?

    I’d be the first happy camper to sign up!

    • Good suggestion. I’ll set it up around midday.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Professor, renahv’s idea would be great, and while some of us would not be able to continue reading here, it would solve the problem and provide you and Mz. Crane-Station with an income that is necessary to survive. Another great benefit of becoming a paid membership site is that it would weed out the less desirable folks from participating, which would in some ways stifle debate that is not productive, right? I did do a little research earlier and was surprised to see that in your general area that 1000 kwh would cost approx. $115 plus fees and taxes, while the same usage in may area would cost $140 plus fees and taxes. The cost of electricity and my limited income is why when they shut off my electric in March, I have not had it turned back on. I have simply managed to learn how to live without their power. I have a few solar panels (had prior to cut off) that will keep my laptop battery charged, a 12 volt battery charged and a 12 volt refer running along with a few 12 volt light bulbs lit. I heat and cook and make hot water with propane, but A/C will not be available to me until my financial position improves, which will probably be the 30th of Feb next year… Being poor is not so bad, just inconvenient at times… Just for a point of clarity, the 1000 kwh figure that I used was based on my usage last summer with the A/C and other normal (people used) devices operational. My winter usage was about 300 kwh…. But the cost of propane more than mad up for the difference!

      • Donation sent happily. Very smart, I’m with @renahv on this, you could always change it back.

        As far as begging, dumpster harvests, etc. I went to UC Berkeley in the 80’s & I think now their offering an advanced degree in those Sciences.

        • HamRadioElijah says:

          There could also be like an anonymous scholarship fund for those long term fellow contributors who don’t have the means. As well, the actual page could use a sprucing up imo?

  4. Whistlersmother says:

    I have been a silent visitor here since George Zimmerman, I’m sorry to hear of your problems, we have all needed help in our lives. Jesus Christ taught to help those in need. I hope my small donation helps.

  5. colin black says:

    Also, and you can call me a *itch or ban me if you want, but it really isn’t fair to say you choose to live that way then complain about it.

    If more people chose to live this way .

    Freegans whom simply help themselfs to food thrown away every day from super markets,
    Fresh produce thats unsold is simply thrown away in the WESTERN CIVILISED WORLD.

    Like wise food past expired dated canded goods dairy ect just dumped.

    This is simply criminal an would never happen In Africa S Americas
    India Ahghanistan .
    They wont even discard the empty tins but reuse them as utensils cups or re shape into spooons.

    Ive told people liveing in India about the food we simply trow away an they dont beleive me.

    If more people chose to for go the rat race for what ever there reasoning.
    Except that free food Is free and a crime to waste .

    Im sure Fred an Crane had high incomes at some point an may have again someday .

    But SHIT HAPPENS

    One day you can be a King the next instant a pauper its happened to me more than once .

    Saying one chooses to live this way isnt literall.

    Its just Fred an Cranes attempt to make lemon aid when theve been dealt a few lemmons.

    • Thank you, Colin.

      I will add that we have become professional writers in our effort to make lemonade out of lemons and we spend many hours each day writing and administering this blog, probably more hours per week than many of our readers. And we work weekends and holidays too.

  6. colin black says:

    Its not called begging if your asking for help from a freind.

    If u have my email send me an address were i can post u.

    I dont do paypal I dont do credit cards not in real world not in pcland ditto debit plastic is not for moi…

    Im not asking for your add a po box will do.

    I think Faux has my email if u dont an u have Hers ask her for it,

  7. fauxmccoy says:

    prof — please check your email.

  8. bettykath says:

    I am truly sorry that things are so hard for you. I wish I could help. I visit this blog nearly every day and I appreciate the work you both put into it.

    So far every month this year my expenses have exceeded my income. I, too, live on my social security and I need to find ways to cut my expenses so I can share.

    • Thanks, BK.

      I understand your situation and accept it. We would like to donate to websites we like but cannot afford it. We know a lot of people are hurting and cannot afford to make a donation and we are OK with that.

      My plea is directed at people who can afford $5 to $10 per month.

      You are always welcome to read and post here.

  9. Rachael says:

    I haven’t been here in quite some time because I haven’t been able to help, can’t until the 15th and feel guilty – but does your electric company have any kind of help? For example, here there is low income energy assistance and if you qualify (which it certainly sounds as if you would) pay most if not all of your monthly utilities. It sounds like you would very possibly qualify for food stamps – an you certainly shouldn’t need to eat out of a dumpster – there are food banks that will help. I’m sure there must be low income energy assistance, food stamps and food banks where you live. There are individual agencies that do various things. I have a friend who got on with one that helps him with things like laundry soap, a small amount of gas each month and toiletries. Churches have hot meal programs in the evening and often give out sack lunches in the afternoon. You really don’t need to eat out of dumpsters. You might need to contact social services or something and find out what resources are available in your area and if you live somewhere that there really is no help, maybe you should move to somewhere that has services. Do you still have family here? There are SO many resources here.

    Also, and you can call me a *itch or ban me if you want, but it really isn’t fair to say you choose to live that way then complain about it.

    I don’t choose to live this way and I’m finally crawling out of the hole after being unemployed and then ill. I feel totally guilty for not being able to help, even when I said I would, only to find out I can’t. I’m always sure the next month I will be able to, but something always happens. This time I really really really do believe that with my next paycheck I’ll be on level footing and if so, I’ll do what I can, but for me, having disconnect notices from the electric company (because that happened to me too), bouncing rent checks, having to beg for dog food from the vet (who gives me outdated dog food that he can’t sell), utilizing the food bank and any service I can is NOT a choice for me, and quite frankly, I am irritated that someone would ask me to help them when it IS their choice. I do, when I can, gladly help others who are in a situation like I am where they have not chosen to be there. I think it is pretty rude to say this is how you choose to live then ask people to pay for it.

    I’m sorry to post this here, but I don’t know your email address and I hardly come here anymore. And maybe I’m just feeling a little extra upset today because I can’t afford medication I need for my eyes, I’m short on like half my rent, you already know my food situation and that of my dog – and I don’t choose to live this.

    So if this is what you choose, I wish you the very best, but I cannot financially support it right now.

    I’m very sorry.

    • Also, and you can call me a *itch or ban me if you want, but it really isn’t fair to say you choose to live that way then complain about it.

      Sorry, but you missed the point. I choose to live this way because I like to write, but I am not going to do this much longer if people do not support what I do by donating a few dollars each month.

      I understand your situation and accept it. We would like to donate to websites we like but cannot afford it. We know a lot of people are hurting and cannot afford to make a donation and we are OK with that.

      My plea is directed at people who can afford $5 to $10 per month.

      BTW, Washington has way more services than Kentucky.

      You are always welcome to read and post here.

      • tblue says:

        Done.

        I have virtually no summer income at all, but when fall semester starts so that I get my monthly check from the university where I teach, I will make my donation a recurring monthly one. Meanwhile, I will *try* to donate each month this summer, as soon as I am sure I have money left over after paying all my bills. I should be able to–but I like to be careful.

        I love to read your blog. You offer fascinating and valuable expert commentary. I think everyone who reads your blog regularly should try to support it if they can afford to, even if only to the tune of $5 or $10 per month.

        Most people spend at least that much on fancy coffee or fast food–often daily!

        I used to accept donations on my 450 article pages (which are spread across 10 public websites). I didn’t get many donations, even though I have about 12 million readers worldwide who use my articles about grammar and usage, essay writing, understanding poetry, parenting, deafness and hearing loss, ADD/ADHD and other learning disabilities, teaching, etc.

        Instead of hoping for donations, I now have Google Ads on all my pages; Google Ads pay me about $200-$300 per month. Perhaps you should start having Google Ads on your pages. I have never applied for Blog Ads, but they also provide income for many blogs.

        A number of sites I regularly visit also run quarterly fundraising drives, with a graphic that shows how much is needed, how much has been donated, etc. People tend to respond to such graphics. There is something alluring about donating and then watching the image “fill up.”

        Sure, it is nice not to have ads all over the page, but you need to be able to support yourself and pay for your web server. One of my regular posting sites, Democratic Underground, has a two-tiered system. Those who donate (even as little as $5 per month) get a star, and star members don’t see the ads at all. Those who do not donate don’t get a star, and they have to see the ads. Star members also get access to the search function for the site, as well as a few other minor benefits. The fact is that $5 is not much, and while many people truly cannot afford it at all, many can, but they just do not think about it.

        Here is another idea: Maybe have archive access depend on donating a certain (small) amount?

        Again, even if only a smallish percentage of those who enjoy reading your blog were to donate, then you would be in decent shape.

        This blog truly rocks.

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