Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Banks of America - Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Give a Shit

Here is a story about a bank. A bank right here in America. I will not be giving out the brand name, but just know it's a "Bank in America." That's all I'm saying. Well, no, that's not all I'm saying. I'm also going to tell the story of some bank bullshit and how I made my way up the ladder to find some answers. 

Once upon a time, there was a man who found his bank made an error on his mortgage payment, one in which they charged him a $25 late fee. Having to spend extra time determining the source of the error and the fixing of the issue, the man went to his bank with some questions. We pick up the action here:

Knock on door.

Hey, bank, you made an error.

Bank Lady
Oh, we did? Let me check on that. 

Clock turns one day.

Bank Lady
Why yes, we did. It's a bank error, and the paper now says "bank error" on it, and we have rectified the problem. We waived the $25 late fee, and you can go on your way.

But wait, the bank made an error.

Bank Lady
Yeah so?

If I make a mistake, I am charged $25 (quite a steal mind you in this competitive market of fees), but if the Bank in America makes a mistake, they have no consequence at all?

Bank Lady 
Ah, no.

Jim shakes his head.

As I take this blog OUT of Final Draft screenwriting format, I'll finish the story swiftly, but with some embellishments. See if you can tell when that starts.

On this Friday August 7 visit, I asked the Bank Lady if she could have her supervisor contact me. She said she would look up his number and get it to me as soon as possible. To her credit I got the name of Bank Man by the end of this day, August 7, saying I should get a call by August 10 or 11 from "Ronald" (I will call him that since that is his name.)

Clock turns 10 days.

I ended up calling on August 17, and Bank Lady was surprised Bank Man hadn't called yet and said she would e-mail and call him so he would call me ASAP!

Clock turns 2 days.

On August 19, Bank Ronald Man calls and leaves a message, the kind that takes awhile to comprehend because the fast-talking, overly smooth chatter goes by so quickly and because you have to take a shower with each listen. After washing up, I deciphered the slick bullshit talk to grab his number and gave a call back. This was 1:45 pm the same day.

Clock turns 5 days. 

Though I still haven't heard back from Ronald, I do hope he calls back. I know I will call back, and here is how I imagine it will go...

Ronald will do his slick bullshit talk and claim that in the small writing of our agreement, in the microscopic print mailed to me in correspondence that looks more like junk mail than junk mail, it states clearly our terms. Banks rule and humans are zippo.

I will stop him in mid-sentence, right before he gets to the word "zippo" with the words "who is your manager?" He will tell me that his manager/supervisor/overlord will be telling me the same thing. I will stick with "who is your manager, and how can I talk with him or her?" (I've been here before.) After my third attempt (they always give up after the magic three number), I will get the name and number I need.

I will call, and go through a similar routine, ultimately getting another manager's name. This will be the manager of the manager of the manager of Bank Man Ronald who oversees Bank Lady.

And it may go something like this.

Phone rings.

Hello Mr Rothchild?

This is Mr. Rothchild.

Geez, you sound old!

How can I assist you young man?

There was a bank error by this Bank in America and I believe that bank should  -

Dial tone.

Clock turns 100 years.

Dinosaurs return to planet Earth and eat all the stupid-ass selfish bankers like Skittles while the good people who did an honest day of work watch on smiling. 

Fade to black. 
James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living in San Diego. He actually loves his new bank and banker. He can be reached at

The Answer is Often ... "Two Seconds"

Two seconds. That's all it takes.
Many times.

In the time it took you to read this sentence.

That is the amount of time it takes to get your answer.

You've been there so many times. Someone brings you a question, someone brings you a quandary ... hell ... someone brings you a doughnut.

You immediately think you have the right answer for yourself and the situation. And your very FIRST response, that first knee-jerk response, is only coming from a conditioned place within yourself, built from past experiences.

Here. Let me give you an example.

Someone at lunch says she is enjoying her pizza. She asks, "Would you like a piece?" I quickly and without thinking answer "No, but thank you." As I walk away from that lunch, I may consider that situation and come to realize "I WOULD have liked to have had a taste of that pizza." Why did I say "no," and why did I say it so swiftly? For you non-codependent types out there, you may not be able to relate, but attempt to stretch here. In this situation, I may be conditioned by my mind to answer without really thinking things through ... for even two seconds.

Here are the thoughts that are faster than lightning, faster than two seconds, even one second:
  • I don't deserve anything extra.
  • I don't want to be a bother to someone.
  • If I say "yes" to someone, I will be trapped into some obligation down the road.
  • And more...
Now, this is only one example of how a mind may work lickedy-split quick and get in the way of you truly knowing what you want in the moment, keep you from truly allowing you to choose your life and have you block your chance at a piece of pizza.

Your solution to dealing with this super-swift subconscious mind? Two seconds.

Two seconds.

It's all you need. Try it out. Next time someone asks you a question or offers you something, take a breath or two. Take the two seconds it takes for your conscious mind to check your gut and connect with a deeper answer. You may find out that it disagrees with the knee-jerk reaction and responds in another way. "Sure, I'd love a bit of pizza."

In the long run, as you practice the art of "Two Seconds" you will become faster and faster at realizing what you truly want in each scenario - pizza or no pizza. 

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living in San Diego. And yes, he is available for outings for pizza most every day. He can be reached at

"Boots on the Ground" and Other Ways to Discount our Humanity

It must be tough on politicians. From their cozy government halls and offices, they must somehow find the strength within themselves to support the sending of young men and women - those loved children of worn and worried parents - into the horrors of war ... to return, if at all, with broken bodies and tortured minds.

Poor politicians.

Because it must be so hard on these civil servants to take the stance for war, I imagine THEY MUST use non-inflammatory acronyms, innocuous slang terms and war-time euphemisms that soften the blow of what is truly at hand here: "collateral damage" and "liquidation" instead of "death;" "department of defense" instead of "department of war;" and - as truth-teller George Carlin pointed out - the evolution of the terms "shell shock," "combat fatigue" and "post-traumatic stress disorder" through the years ... all of which attempt to gently erase the meme and truth that "war is hell."

But even with all of these lovely terms that are designed to keep our minds at ease, there is none worse than "boots on the ground." Think of it: boots ... on the ... ground. The lives of young men and women, the bodies that inhabit those boots, the hearts and minds that connect ethereally, the physical hands that connect concretely, that clasp directly another loved one's hands, the arms that hug a parent or child. Imagine all of these reduced to something as heartless, meaningless and static as shoe wear.

Politicians and propaganda pundits should take heed.

These are not boots. This is Uncle Joe from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who left one daughter, one son and a wife back home. This is Eric from Los Angeles, California who hopes to learn a trade he can bring home to help support his extended family. This is a brother Tony from Phoenix, Arizona whose new bride is expecting a young one in November. Hear told it's a son. They will name him Anthony, just like his dad.

Each politician, each military leader and the commander in chief must curtail not only the use of this inhumane term "boots on the ground" but the manipulative technique of word-play all together. It may make your job easier, but it doesn't give respectful due to souls and humans doing what they can for their country.

Tell it true. All of us. Let's tell it true. Not just for some boots, but for the lives of every Eric, Tony and Joe out here in the ranks of our humanity. 

Fort hood tribute to soldiers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Dear Doctor - I Have A Prescription of My Own

Dear Doctor Gruebel*

I must confess something to you. I am sorry. That one day when I went to you see you, I went against "doctor's orders." I remember it as if it was only yesterday (add surreal music here)...

I see your face so clearly. You glared at me with this stern look, handed me a slip of paper, and told me directly and harshly, "You go get that prescription!" I can also recall your finger pointing at me, though that seems odd you would be using both hands in your non-verbal queue directive. But maybe you handed me the paper and then pointed. Either way your crooked finger was involved.

The next memory is me going to the 1st floor pharmacy. I looked into the pharmacy and then looked at the slip of paper. As I stood there for what must have been about three minutes, my mind wandered even further back to a recent past. (More surreal music here.) I thought of the moments of seeing you for a couple minutes as you asked a few questions, typed into a computer and then scribbled some notes. I thought of your potential plan to put me into surgery to open further my bone so the pinch nerve in my neck would alleviate. I thought of receiving that first prescription for muscle relaxants, and how they didn't take away the pinch nerve but only had me loopy and dopey ... with the same neck pain. I thought of my dear friend Christiane who kept telling me to "call Hans" in referring to a local expert of "Network Spinal Analysis." I thought of your directive "You go get that prescription." I thought of your fingers.

I thought of all this for those three minutes as I looked into the pharmacy and then back at the slip of paper and then back into the pharmacy - cold, stark, sterile and lifeless.

What did I finally do? I took that slip of paper and walked towards the pharmacy doors ... where I found a trash can. I crumpled up that slip of paper and threw it away. I then took myself and my neck pain out that door.

I am sorry.

I went against your expertise, wisdom, directive and fingers. I went against doctor's orders. 

I am sorry. I didn't really know what I was doing. I was confused. Torn. I wasn't sure whether to follow you and your infinite white-coat know-how or the voice screaming in my head, aching in my solar plexus and gently tugging in my heart. I ended up following the loving nudge of my dear friend. I made an appointment with Dr. Hans, and his gentle spinal-touch work went to the root of the problem within my central nervous system, without the need to attack the symptoms with your preposterous surgical notion or the silly and ineffective drugs.** Within a month, the pinched nerve was gone, I was pain free and my posture was incredibly improved. ***

I do have a regret though Dr. Gruebel. I do regret throwing that paper away. I am sorry. I regret tossing that prescription ... when I really should have brought it back to your office and told you to stick it up your ass.

Not because you are a bad person. Not because you don't do good work in your field. Not because you don't have best intentions. And not because many, many, many people have been saved through modern western medicine, including my amazing nephew and my dear friend Jorge. But because with your stern directives you didn't leave room for the real healer in this healing game - the person's innate intuition and their body's innate intelligence.


* The doctor's name has been changed to protect the arrogant.

** Disclaimer: You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

*** Fuck that, they don't know everything. Do what you know to be right. Don't ever forget: they are salesmen too.

~ Signed,
          Jim Ellis along with his Head, Heart and Solar Plexus

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living in San Diego. He and Dr. Hans can be reached through

Friday, August 14, 2015

There Is No Known Evidence To Prove This Article Is True

Pay attention. 
Pay very close attention.
 Many, many times.

If you listen closely whenever there is an opposing view challenging the political or politically-correct norm, we are all made privy to the lie of lies, the great coverup, the one-liner that shuts up the mouths and minds of many an opposing force.

The standard line in situations that challenge the powers that be is: "There is no credible evidence that supports the theory of XYZ."

Listen closely and pay attention.

The next time you read a story, or see a newscast where the political power - overseeing all things environmental, scientific, health-oriented - is questioned on a concept that the society is concerned about, see if you can catch this phrase.

Whether it's about fluoride in our water, GMOs in our food, chemicals in our skies, cancer being healed by natural protocols ... we get that all-encompassing line: "There is no credible evidence that supports the theory of XYZ."

Science is the untouchable king and the "scientific method" - our old reliable pal from 8th grade class - is the litmus test on reality.

In this line of thinking, if there is no evidence proving anything (whether there has been testing on said circumstance or not), then the cure or physical threat must not be real and the community outcry must be meaningless. But is that logical? 

Of course the outcry of a community concerned about fluoridated water, franken-food and the like is not held in high regard, since such a voice is not taken into account.

What is taken into account? The great defense. The one line that can shake down a community outcry.

Pay attention: "There is no credible evidence that supports the theory of XYZ."

This line answers nothing, says nothing, and discounts nothing. Though it merely says "we don't know," it can fool a lazy listener who may quit on his or her own challenge.

The line must suppress some part of the brain that pacifies the people. Most likely if you tore apart that sentence, you would find some psychological formula satisfying the political edict: "How to control the populace."

This sort of mind control and crowd control will indeed work over us... unless of course ... we pay attention. 

Jim Ellis is a writer and producer living in San Diego, a fact of which there is no true known proof. He can be reached at probably.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Referees, a Bald "Sunny" and the Freedom of the Law

There's this phenomena in sports. It's subtle but it's there. Have you noticed? Whenever it appears the referees are not doing a good job, the players start to fight. You see it in hockey, of course. You see it in football. It actually shows up in various forms in many parts of our society.

It seems that if the sports players somehow get that the ruling body, the officials, the peace-keepers are NOT taking care of business, then they will have to take business into their own hands. I've seen many games where the officiating is lacking, where it appears that some players are getting away with infraction after infraction. When that happens it's only a matter of time before the men start battling and fighting with each other.

What is this phenomena, and what is the cause?

I think it has to do with a sense of justice, a need for fairness and accountability. The referees in our world - on the playing field, in the courtrooms, on our school boards - are there to maintain fairness, balance and boundary. If they fail at their job - to enforce the rules with all parties - then the parties are left to their own devices. And these devices, fueled by a frustration and bitterness that they've been betrayed by the "officials" - reveal themselves as ego-driven attack on opponents.

If the court system appears to have provided justice related to the policeman accused of brutality, then the city dwellers are calm. If the city dwellers believe the court system has neglected accountability on a policeman, then just wait for the uprising of anger in the streets. It's the same for a football referee who starts missing calls, or a parent who starts playing favorites with one child over another. The fighting will ensue.

Can we overcome this very human tendency?

It's at times like these when I think of this one ex-landlady of mine from 12 years ago. We'll call her "Sunny" though she was anything but this. Claiming brain damage and cancer victim so she could "work the system" (her words) in her favor, Sunny was a borderline personality with enough smarts to get her way and avoid all accountability. Since she found out early she couldn't control me, she wanted me out of the home. She chose to go to court, lie to a judge and then attempt to get a temporary restraining order so I would have to leave. (For another time: why would a judge listen to someone claiming to be brain damaged?) Long story short, back then: I'm out of that home, I have a judgment in my favor of $2000, and there is no way I'll ever receive that money from a cancer-victimized, brain-damaged, "system-worker" borderline.

What to do? Get angry? Sure. Get frustrated? Sure. Fight that nutcase? No. Even though working within a bogus system of "officiating," it wasn't like I could go punch her lights out and then sit in a penalty box for five minutes, or get a yellow flag from the referee. I had to let it go after I gave the valiant fight in court.

And the only thing that puts my mind at ease - and doesn't have me find her and high-stick her - is the very truth that ultimately no one gets away with anything. Sure she can shave her head, play victim, work the system and appear to avoid all accountability for now. She may not get a penalty flag or jail time, but in the long run she - like all who don't believe "the very hairs of your head are all numbered" - will be held accountable. And this will happen: by the very life they lead, the conscience that rules their heart and the universe which takes a consistent stance with the very law of "what goes around comes around."

In conclusion, I think it is important to fight the good fight in an honorable way. I believe it's valuable to have officials who can hold space and hold the rulings so we can have an objective third party help with opponents. But what's most important is to know accountability is absolute, whether we can see it or not and whether the penalty is called or not. In this we can rest and find fairness and peace.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living in San Diego. He can be reached at

Monday, August 3, 2015

We Get it; You're Not Dismembered - Stop the Surprise Reunions

You've seen it over and over again of late.

A man, crouching behind a wall or a bleacher, with a smirk of glee on his face ... in anticipation of what is to come. Next you see an elder woman or a young boy or girl walking into the scene unaware of the sneaky man lurking around the corner. In a swift move, the man jumps out at his unsuspecting family member and shouts: "Hello honey - I'm NOT dead!" 

Whereas I may stretch the actual statement, this is a general rundown of the latest commercial ploy to pull at our heart strings - the military man coming home to a mother or child and doing it in a way that completely surprises and startles them. Every time I see or hear of one these stories, I feel sick to my stomach. And there is a reason why. 

Yes, there is a great love between father and son, and all parents and children. We rarely see the depth of it revealed so clearly. But we see it in moments like this. It may even reflect a divine sort of union, once again not always perceptible in our common day-to-day activities. And this just may be the actually reason it moves many of us to tears.

However, is this the only way to get us to this level of emotion? To actually implement this sort of trickery and manipulation, which uses a little kid's emotions in a public display, is disgusting. This is underscored especially when the display is placed up against the false and romanticized backdrop of the military, which far too often results in the return of fathers rife with post traumatic stress disorder, amputations, physical and mental disabilities... if they come home at all. 

We do not see the reaction of the little children to a father returning from a long business trip, or time away oversees for other purposes, for this doesn't fit in with the desire to glorify the military and underscore this allegiance to patriotic pride. 

And why not have another scenario of surprise? How about simply walking in from the airport, where the child or mother is not surprised (for our voyeuristic shock value) but in an authentic and respectful way. If we saw a child running into the arms of a daddy coming home from a long trip, it would still reflect the love that touches our hearts. But no, we won’t see the media use these images much - lacks the drama, the pathos, the human interest of a "Punkt" nation.

And to take it to an even more "in your face" level, we also do not see the reaction of the child who is told that dad did indeed return home ... but did so in a box. Even though this amount of deep emotion would, again, reveal the deep love and unity of father and son, we won't be allowed the view from that sort of shock. Not good PR or propaganda for war and the war machine that profits no one except those marketing it for their own purposes.

Alas, we don't want to look at the reality of war and the losses experienced there. We'd rather allow others to play tricky games with it, manipulating mothers and children, to further push some delusion that the return of fathers (and mothers) is always so grandiose and grand.

The love is grand. And always will be. So let's do something about it. Let's turn off and turn down these manipulative and misguided commercials of surprise military reunions. Let's respect that love and those unions that much.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer living in Lemon Grove, who will appreciate and welcome anyone coming home. He can be reached at