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Thursday, December 30, 2010

They Stole My Idea!!

    Most of us I think will agree that warfare is nothing short of insane.  Throughout history most of the wars that have occurred have probably been the result of some insecure leader with some sociopathic desire to build a bigger kingdom.  The Greek kings, the Roman emperors, Ghengis Khan, Hitler, Hirohito, and Jay Leno have all just wanted to build up a bigger audience of loyal subjects.  In the wake of their wars innocent women, children, and civilians (i.e., Conan O'Brien) have paid the price for their ambitions.

    Personally I have always thought that when leaders get the urge to prove how big their dicks are, instead of involving soldiers and other innocents they should simply challenge the leader of whoever he or she wants to conquer to a duel, fist fight, or kick boxing competition and leave the rest of us alone.  Just let them fight it out and later let the rest of know who won.

    Now I have found that ABC TV has stolen my idea with their program Dancing With the Stars.  I don't know much about this show since I'm really not a fan of any of these reality shows.  But it's interesting to me how much controversy was created when Sara Palin's daughter, Bristol, remained as one of the finalists.  Apparently a large part of the scoring that determines who stays and who goes is a function of audience call ins, text messages, or email votes.  Those opposed to Bristol remaining in the finals attributed their opposition to being pissed about her mother's popularity and some Tea Party conspiracy to stuff the ballot box.  One guy made the headlines for shooting his TV and holding the police at bay for hours because he was so incensed with Bristol's success.

    How cool is that!?  That's how we should resolve all conflicts.  At one time I thought it would save us all a lot of trouble if we had George W. simply get in the ring with Achmadinegad or Saddam Hussein.  Or to find out who would take less time to disembowel Achmadinegad with a fish filleting knife, Sara Palin or Hillary Clinton.  That might be a tougher one to call then one might think even after watching some of Palin's Alaska show.  But let's face it.  It would be very unfair and probably painful to watch Barack Obama go up against Arnold Schwarzenegger in a cage fight.  Hell look at Obama.  He probably couldn't beat Queen Elizabeth.  It would be fun though to watch some hair pulling matches between Michelle Bachman,  Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, and some of the other girls out there. 

    But we're in a world of advocating non violence now so Dancing With the Stars is a perfect solution.  Let's do it.  We could have Kim Jong-il square off against Lee Myung-bak and the winner would be right about who conducted the first act of aggression.  The winner could then take on Naoto Kan to see who gets bragging rights for the entire geographical area.  Next, there should be a battle between our own president Barack Obama and the president of Mexico Felipe Calderon.  If Obama wins, Arizona's illegal alien Proposition 1070 would stand.  If Calderon wins, we would dissolve its passage.  Then again, this might not be a good competition since it seems more than likely that Obama might literally take a dive.  Better still, let's have Jan Brewer compete against Calderon.

    Next we could have Barney Frank compete against John Boehner.  What a hoot that would be!!  The winner could have their particular view prevail in the government controlled health care debate.  Whoever wins would end all the nasty commentary and hissy fits exhibited by both politicians and the media.  Plus, how cool would this competition look?!!  Check it out:

    Frankly, I could care less if Dancing With the Stars has stolen my long believed idea.  I really don't care who else might steal it either.  But hey, if it saves lives, saves money, and provides us with some entertainment along the way, what the hell.  Have at it.  Having all these morons compete through dancing would be a vast improvement over what we have today so be my guest.  Meanwhile, I personally am just going to order something from Netflix.  No shooting your TV though.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Caution: Reading This Column May Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health

    The behavior of our Federal government with regard to the tobacco industry and particularly cigarettes can only be described as schizophrenic. Consider the following. Simultaneously our government provides subsidies to tobacco growers, runs all kinds of programs in an attempt to stop people from smoking the very product it subsidizes, and taxes the shit out of people who purchase the product that again not only does our government allow to be produced but encourages to be produced through subsidies. Confused? The way I see it, this is like spending your hard earned money to purchase doggie treats for your dog and then beating him for eating the very product you bought for him. Actually, when I Googled “tobacco subsidies” (God I love Google! If I was a single guy and I met a girl named Google, I would marry her on the spot). Anyway, according to this web site

our government spent $944,104,224 or almost a billion dollars on tobacco subsidies between the years 2000 and 2009. If you check out the web site you can even see what companies the money went to.

    Our government has also spent money, although I have no idea how much, paying a bunch of bureaucrats to develop labels and such to discourage people from consuming the product that they themselves support. Most recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering making it a requirement for the manufacturers of cigarettes to place very graphic images on packs of cigarettes since apparently the FDA believes that the current warning labels have been a total failure. From what I’ve read these nitwits actually believe that people who want to smoke cigarettes will stop because of the photos on the pack. Personally I believe that the more interesting they make the photographs the more likely that they will become collectors items. You know, having an original Marlboro pack with a diseased lung pictured will become like having an original Lou Gehrig baseball card. Hell, eventually they’ll be traded on eBay.

    Nevertheless if our government insists on wasting our money, I have developed a few suggestions for these scary, graphic images and the Surgeon General's warnings that should go with them.

    For our intellectual smokers I suggest the following,

The graph on the front is a linear regression
analysis indicating the relationship between
smoking cigarettes and cancer given that

I don’t know about you but considering the “r” factor this would scare the shit out of me.

    Then of course we need to consider the not too intellectual rest of us,

The actual use of this product will cause
you to run out of cigarettes.  We want
you to buy them though because we need
your tax dollars.


Carrying around a reminder of your tax
bills all day will cause mental illness and
all kinds of physical ailments as well.

    Hello!! Would you really want to buy something that served as a constant reminder of how much money you owed?

    Now of course we do not want to be discriminatory in our labels. We need to be politically correct. After all it would not be proper to focus all our efforts on preventing just white people from smoking. We want to discourage “minorities” with scary graphics as well. So therefore I offer the following suggestion,

If you are not white and you use this
product, the guy in the picture will come
to your house!!

    And of course our primary focus should be on teenagers. All of the so called experts say that the biggest battle in preventing smoking is in stopping young people from starting to smoke to begin with . So for them I have a few suggestions like,

Yo Dude!!  If you like carry around a
message like this all the time it could
make you like crazy.


Wow, it's really really hard to squeeze
out a zit if you're smoking a cigarette

    And this should work too,

Smoking cigarettes with your girlfriend
can lead to becoming overly friendly and
her getting pregnant.

    And, if the goal of our government is to put really, really scary pictures on packs of cigarettes there just has to be a special Halloween edition. So I have come up with this,


    Lastly, let’s try to combine the effort of the FDA to put scary pictures on cigarette packs with another newsworthy topic.  That being our Transportation Security Administration (TSA) attempt to keep bombers off our airplanes by employing new molestation fondling groping enhanced pat down techniques on boarding passengers.

If your wife or girlfriend attempts to carry
cigarettes onto a plane TSA agents will get
a better chance to feel her up than you will.

    Hey if all the experts think this will work and it will save me from having to pay for tobacco subsidies, I'm in.  And I think I really will start to collect them.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let's secede From San Francisco

    OK, enough is enough.  Now the city of San Francisco has passed a law that prohibits the sale of Happy Meals.  Now I agree that kids should get more exercise and I agree that parents should take some level of responsibility for their own kids but I'm not ready to have any government body establishing food police.  I get this sense that there are people in our country who truly believe that they know best how to raise your children and that you should be required to turn them in to some government authority to raise them because they know best.  Maybe you would be allowed to visit them on weekends and holidays.

    We seem to have a high concentration of people who view a free America in this regard and who live in the city of San Francisco.  They call themselves progressives because they are becoming progressively more and more stupid and progressively more and more dictatorial.  So I am proposing that we try to give these nut jobs what they want and try to remove them from those of us who prefer a free country.  As a start, I am urging you all to click on the following web site and sign the petition.  Forward it to all your friends too.  Let's see how far we can get it to go

Sunday, October 10, 2010

You Are Not What You Eat!!

    I'm sure that all of you at one time or another have heard someone say "you are what you eat".  The truth is that it is just another one of those stupid expressions that is up there with "we have to do more with less" or "diversity is our strength".  Expressions like those when spoken in a group setting seem to instantly turn otherwise intelligent people into a bunch of zombies who all nod in agreement without thinking about what the phrase actually means.  I mean has anyone out there actually known someone who has literally turned into a carrot or a zuchinni?  I haven't.

    Now there are plenty of men and women out there who have pear shaped figures.  And I have known plenty of people who are described as string beans, bean poles, and fat pigs.  The thing is though that I don't think that anyone has acquired a pear shaped figure from eating a lot of pears and I don't know anyone who eats a lot of string beans or beans or even fat pigs for that matter.  And I don't think that anyone who has fallen into a vegetative state ended up there because they ate a lot of vegetables.  Actually, I might go into the hour glass business if some how it is determined that some women have hour glass shapes because they eat a lot of hour glasses.

    The reason I bring this up is because the city of San Francisco (surprise, surprise) is now trying to pass a local law that would prevent McDonalds from having a toy in your 6 or 7 years old's Happy Meal unless the meal contains fruits and vegetables. So in other words, if you want to buy your kid a hamburger and french fries you will be required by law to purchase an apple or a celery stalk as well.  America, land of the free, actually is trying to pursue this.

    So I've been thinking about where this could possibly lead.  Maybe and from now on if you go to a Dunkin Donuts to buy a dozen donuts it should be a law that one of the 12 should be stuffed with organically grown lettuce and one should be laced with asparagus.  If you purchase a car you should be required to purchase a stationarey bicycle or an eliptical machine with it and sign a declaration promising to use either one at least 30 minutes a day.  I'm not even sure what they might require if you buy a 5th of vodka or a bottle of wine.  Potato Chips?  At least a pair of running shoes.

    It's not surprising to me that the idea for this kind of legislation has originated in San Francisco.  I'm not sure about the vegetables but we all know that there are plenty of fruits out there.  By that I mean that San Francisco is very close to fruit growing agricultural land.  At least there are plenty of grapes available in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  What else could I mean?

    Imagine, California.  The state that has already legalized "medicinal" marijuana which from what I've been told means that if you find the right doctor you can get a prescription just by complaining that your shoes hurt your feet.  And shortly the state will likely approve a vote on their ballot to legalize marijuana for personal use anyway.  Talk about Happy Meals.  Does anyone really thing that after partaking in pot smoking people will be running down to the local market to purchase fresh brussel sprouts?  It's not going to happen.  They might as well name Cheese Doodles as the new state vegetable.

    Here's another thing that bothers me about this piece of legislation.  While the mentality of people who really think that it is a good idea to force people to include an apple with their french fries, I'd be willing to bet that those same people would wave the requirement for your 6 year old if McDonalds gave them a condom instead of an apple.  You think?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Houston We Have a Problem

    Yesterday I was at my usual Friday afternoon stopping place when my friend Joe handed me the following newspaper article from the October 1, 2010 edition of the New York Daily News

    The major point to get out of this article is that our Congress just allocated $19 billion to possibly move a space shuttle to New York City.  So we got talking about this and we think that between me, Joe, and our friends John and Tony we could get a space shuttle to New York for a lot less money.  Why not?  We work out.  We might have to get Tony's cousin Bill to help out because Tony has that bad shoulder but with the five of us we can definitely handle it.

    I've done some research and while I'm not sure where we will be picking the space shuttle up I have based my cost estimates on moving one from Los Angeles, California to New York City.  That would pretty much be the longest route we would have to take and therefore the highest cost scenario.  We will definitely need to rent a truck and I have found that a very large cross country truck would cost $999.  I'm figuring that it will take us about four days to make the trip so we're looking at four days of meal allowances for five of us.  I don't want to be greedy but since I'm not sure where we will be stopping I'm asking for $50/person/day or a total of $1,000 for meals including tips.

    Now when it comes to lodging I can tell you that I have been on several over night golf trips when two guys have shared a room for a night.  But we're talking four nights here and John will not want to bunk with Joe.  Also, if we need Bill that would make an odd number of five so just who would get their own room.  You know what?  Since the government is paying I'm asking for five rooms for four nights at about $200/night or $4,000.  I'm sure Michelle Obama and her friends didn't all cram together on that trip to Spain but if our costs start to get out of line I suppose we could pull over and just sleep in the shuttle.  After all, people have slept in it before.

    Next is gas and tolls.  I have no idea what kind of gas mileage we will get hauling a space shuttle and while I'm fine with using my personal EZ Pass tag I'm not sure if the Ohio Turnpike for example even has an EZ Pass toll rate for a big truck carrying a space shuttle.  So for now I am going to assume a gas and toll allowance of $1,000 although I might have to submit a claim after the fact.

     Lastly, and I'm not trying to be greedy here, but if we're going to go through all of this effort to save the taxpayers a bunch of money I am going to ask for $1 billion to have a cocktail hour for our friends and family after we have delivered the shuttle.  After all, we're not looking to make money on the deal but we want a nice party afterward.  We don't need anything real fancy.  We're going to host it at the Red Rock Cafe in Garnerville, NY and we want our guests to be able to have a mixed drink with top shelf liquors instead of well brands.  I figure that if we budget carefully, maybe we can even have those jumbo scallops wrapped in bacon.

    Now here is the summary of my bid:

Truck rental            $              999
Meal allowance                     1,000
Hotel cost                            4,000
Gas and tolls                         1,000
Cocktail hour             1,000,000,000

Total                      $  1,000,006,999    

Plus tax.

    So at a total cost of $1,000,006,999 me, Joe, John, Tony, and Bill will save the taxpayers $18,000,993,001.  But I do have one last question.  Although my friends and I would not mind doing this and while we would save the taxpayers a shitload of money, we're talking about a space shuttle here.  Can't someone just fly it to New York?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Mind a Terrible Thing To Waste

    My friend Michael recently pointed out to me that if you take our local school district budget and divide it by the number of students it "services" it amounts to $16,000 per kid per year.  Now I know I pay an awful lot of money in school taxes but I never quite looked at the expense in terms of cost per kid.  So I did a little research on the subject and I found that at least in the New York metropolitan area $16,000 per kid is not out of line.  In fact there are some districts in which costs hit $20,000 per year and beyond.  In Washington DC it appears that the cost is around $25,000 per year and even in less costly areas like South Carolina for example, the cost of Kindergarten through grade 12 public education exceeds $12,000 per kid per year.

    As a result, I became a little curious so I looked up some other data and here is a sampling of the results.  Resident tuitions, and we are all residents someplace or another, are currently $9,420/year to attend Ohio State, $6,000/year to attend any of the many State Universities of New York, $10,781/year to attend UCLA, and about $5,000/year to attend Florida State.  Interestingly enough, it is only $19,841.15 to attend medical school at Florida State.  Imagine that.  It costs less money to become a doctor in Florida than it does to attend kindergarten in Washington DC.

    As a result of my research I have concluded and hereby propose that instead of spending $16, 20, or 25,000 to send a kid to kindergarten or 1st grade we should just send them directly to college.  It would save a lot of money and hey, let them start working toward a career when they're younger.  Look every great athlete, musician, dancer and people of other skills started honing their talents at a young age.  Imagine all of the great doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, and etc. we would have if like gymnasts, kids started training at the age of 4 or 5 for their various professions. I know, I know that there would be a lot of parents out there who would be complaining that their children would not be given the opportunity to learn to finger paint or have the opportunity to take up the oboe or xylophone in the 3rd grade  But let's get real.  I know that every parent thinks that their kid has the potential to be the world's greatest oboe player.  But the truth is that most of us belong in the audience and not on the stage.  If your kid has talent, it will reveal itself.  Besides, $20,000/yr can buy a lot of oboes and private lessons to boot.

    You want your kids to learn the ABC's?  Let them watch Wheel of Fortune (Channel 7, 7:30 PM, EST).  Guess what.  Young boys throughout the country would rather learn the difference between a vowel and a consonant from Vanna White then any teacher they are likely to have in our public schools.  Even in her 50's she's still pretty hot.  And as an added bonus, girls would get to learn some sense of fashion and appearance.  Be honest.  Wouldn't it be better to have your own daughters get an early start in  mimicking the way Vanna White presents herself in public instead of becoming some dyed fluorescent purple haired, tattooed bimbo with a lip ring?

    For the not so academically inclined, they could begin going to a trade school.  The world needs plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and sheet metal workers.  And how cool would it be if we had skilled plumbers at the age of 10 instead of waiting for their father-in-laws to use their political influence to get them into the local plumbers union at the age of 30.  We would have an army full of skilled 10 year olds who could actually fit themselves into tight places like underneath a sink cabinet instead of having to look at some 6'-3", 250 pound guy with a fully developed, adult sized, hair enhanced butt crack.

    In skipping grades K-12 there would be certain things that kids would miss out on.  But you know what?  Plenty of people have made it through life without knowing what a dangling participle is.  And there is no possible reason why anyone needs to know who Julius Ceasar was.  There's just no point anymore.  As long as you know what a Ceasar Salad is and when to order it, you'll make it.  And when is the last time that any of you had to apply the Pythagorean Theorem or the Law of Cosines?  Here's a quiz.  What's the difference between an igneous rock and a metamorphic rock?  How much of a difference has not knowing made a difference in your life?  Besides, now we have Google.  Here, learn the Pythagorean Theorem  See how easy that was?  You want to read Shakespeare?  Go ahead.  There's no reason on the planet why we should have to pay $20,000 per year for your kid to not do his reading assignment as a senior in high school.  And here's a waste.  $20,000 a year for health and sex education.  Are you joking?

    And one of my favorite topics of all is the teaching of foreign languages.  Starting in the 7th grade I took 3 years of Latin, then 3 years of French, and within the last few years, an adult conversational Spanish class.  Now if I had lived in 500 AD Rome, or if I currently lived in France or Mexico maybe those classes would have had some value.  But as with anything if you don't use it you lose it and the only sentence I can make to this day is "Ou et la bibliotheque".  I really wish I could have those hours, days, and years back to tack on to the end of my life.  And the thought that we're paying $20,000/yr to have other kids waste their time repeating the same mistake makes me cringe.  It's just a bunch of feel good nonsense.  Estimates for the number of spoken languages on the planet run from 3,000 to 10,000.  Really, how much better off are you knowing two of them.  Even if you take the time to learn say Madurese what's the chances of running into someone who can actually speak it if you live in Gary, Indiana?

    The one thing we will need to change if my proposal to send kids directly to college becomes widely accepted is that we will have to change the drafting policies of professional sports teams.  The NBA has no shame and they would be drafting kids with finger painting paint stains remaining on their hands.  We really should have a requirement that the NBA should at least wait until kids reach the age of 11.  Now the NFL so far as I know at least waits for kids to complete four years of college eligibility.  That's fine and a good policy but if now 6 year olds will complete their course requirements by the age of 10 we probably should at least implement some height and weight requirements.

    You have to really think about the arithmetic here.  Four years times about $8,000/yr to attend college is $32,000.  Compare that to $20,000/yr times 13 years or $260,000/yr to attend public schools.  Based on the difference we could afford to send all the really smart kids to Harvard or Yale.

    One last comment.  If you think about it almost every adult you might talk to would tell you that 80% or maybe 90% of all the things they learned in school turned out to be absolutely useless.  So why is it that those same adults put their own kids through the same experience?  The simple definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.  Maybe we should stop the insanity and save some money along the way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And Now For An Important Announcement

    Last week we all watched the progress of Hurricane Earl.  Everyday and for 24 hours every day we were given television and radio updates every ten minutes on the progress of the storm.  First it was a category 4.  Then a category 3.  Then a 2 and back to a 3 and I guess at the end a category zero if there is such a thing.  By the way, and this is an aside, for those of you say aged 50 and over.  Was there such a thing as "The Hurricane Season" years ago?  Seems to me that the hurricane "Season" is relatively new.  Twenty, thirty years ago we just had hurricanes... I think.  Anyway, while tracking the storm it seemed to be very important to the meteorologists that I know what the current category of the storm was as if I would know the difference.  I mean I get that a 5 is more intense than a 1 but I think most of us would have difficulty defining the difference between a 2 and a 3.

    For tornadoes there is also a ranking scale known as the Fujita scale or F-scale (thank God for Google).  Tornadoes can range from an F-0 to an F-5 and after studying the charts a little I'll be damned if I could explain with any certainty the difference between an F-3 and an F-4.

    Then we have earthquakes that are explained to us using the Richter Scale.  Here is an explanation of the Richter scale that I copied and pasted from a USGS web site, "The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquakes. On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions.   Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value."

    I don't know if that clears things up for any of you but I'm not sure if anticipating a 5.7 earthquake as opposed to a 5.5 would change my plans for the day.  Hell, most people don't believe their bathrooms scales let alone some guy named Richter.  I guess it really doesn't matter anyway since they never tell you the number until after it's already over.

    We also have ways for measuring things other than natural disasters.  For example, burns can be first, second, or third degree.  I think I have a sense for what a first degree burn is and I don't even want to think about what a third degree burn is but be honest, without cheating (Googling), how many of you can explain the technical difference between a first degree burn and a second degree burn?

    And the craziest system ever invented is the color alert system invented by some knucklehead in the Department of Homeland Security.  How many of you know the difference between, and more importantly know what you should be doing differently, when we have a green alert level as opposed to a yellow alert level?  How many of you know if green is even one of the colors?  Honestly, they should just make a separate Google key for all keyboards.  Actually there are five levels with red being the highest alert level and proceeding down through orange, yellow, blue, and green.  At least they could have put blue and green in the correct order and added an indigo and violet category but hey, it's already useless enough.

    Imagine this scenario.  You are driving along at 75 MPH with 5,000 or so other semi-attentive drivers on a certain section of Route 80.  All of a sudden all 5,000 of you simultaneously hear on the radio that the Department of Homeland Security has just changed the threat level to green.  There would be accidents all over the place.  People would be trying to Google on their iPhones, calling their cell phone providers to get instant internet service, texting friends and family members to find out what code green means.  All Hell would break loose and all because we went to a lower threat level.

    In an attempt to remedy all the confusion I am proposing that instead of assigning different scales for measuring the seriousness of different events and instead of developing scales based on complicated formulas we should simply explain the seriousness of all events in plain language that everyone will understand.  I therefore propose that we start with may get your attention and proceed through check your insurance, be wearing clean underwear, say your prayers, and of course you all know what the last one should be but my wife does not like me putting the "F-Word" in print.

    Now let's compare the response that would result using my system instead of the current ones by returning to the road trip on Route 80.  All 5,000 semi-attentive drivers at 75 MPH would simultaneously hear "And now for an important announcement.  The Department of Homeland Security has changed the threat level to wear clean underwear".  There would be no panic.  No one would be searching for their iPhone at 75 MPH.  There would be no reason to text a loved one.  Instead, everyone would simply exit the highway at the next Walmart exit, go inside, and purchase new underwear.  Simple.  Clear.  That's the way it should be.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dear Employer

    In the August 26, 2010 edition of the New York Post it was reported that a study by the Department of Health found that among people aged 35 to 64, 89% of women and 93% of men ate fewer than the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  In analyzing the data I can only reach one conclusion which is that 11% of adult female New Yorkers and 7% of adult male New Yorkers are liars.  Would you like to know who eats 5 daily servings of vegetables?  A cow.  And that assumes that we count grass as a vegetable.  Maybe some gorillas eat 5 servings of bananas but I am quite certain that no human being actually sits down and eats fruits or vegetables 5 times a day.  It's just more "expert" crap.

    I have to admit though that for a period of time I really did try to live my life according to all the expert advice I knew about.  As a result, I had to send the following letter to my employer.

Dear employer,

    I know it has been quite some time since we have seen each other but I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I am really striving to achieve the self fulfilling and socially responsible life style that all of us in the 21st century should be working toward.

    Not too long ago I visited my doctor. He recommended that I change my diet to avoid fat, cholesterol, and all those artificial preservatives that they use in store bought food. So I’ve been getting up at 3:30 each morning to get to the pier by 4:30 to pick up the fresh catch of the day. Then it’s out to the farms to select organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

    I’m also following his advice to take a brisk 15 minute walk after each meal to supplement (not instead of) my daily 3 mile run and my 60 minute weight training to tone my upper body and to strengthen my abdominals. He says the latter is important to avoid back problems as I age.

    It’s hard enough to accomplish all the above and still get the recommended eight hours of sleep and by the way have you ever actually read the owners manual for your car? It says that before you operate your car you should check all the fluid levels, the air pressure in your tires, and walk around it to make sure that there is nothing behind you in the driveway. I actually started to come to work one day last week but my tire pressure gauge wasn’t working and I didn’t want to take the chance. I must tell you though that in the future it will be hard to get to work on time. I mean between the fresh fish, trips to the farms, checking my car, well I shouldn’t have to tell you how much time that all takes.

    I’ve also been spending a lot of time on my vacuum cleaner. I never realized how much time it could take to maintain a vacuum cleaner until I read the manual. Between filter changes, checking the belt, oiling the bearings, checking the electrical cord, etc. Can you believe that I used to just plug the thing in and vacuum!? Talk about voiding your warranty.  I won't bore you with the demands placed on me by some of my other appliances.

    Of course it’s getting close to the end of the summer now and I’ve been reading up on all the things you’re supposed to do to prepare for the colder weather. There are gutters to clean, trim that needs to be scraped and painted, windows to caulk, door weather stripping to replace, and of course I have to reseal my deck and driveway. I can’t believe how much time this all takes but I think when I get my next raise I’ll install vinyl siding and thermal windows. That should help.

    I’ve also been trying to spend quality time with my children like all the psychologists recommend. So I’ve started coaching a little league team and a soccer team. Its fun but all the practices, games, contacting parents and league meetings take up an awful lot of time. My wife has also become more demanding since she read someplace that the average happy couple engages in sex three times a week and of course we’re both striving to be better than average. It’s amazing how something that would have taken about 10 minutes a week years ago now takes damn near an hour and a half (HaHaHa).

    Anyway, as you can see I have been rather busy lately and I’m not sure when I’ll have enough time to come to work. I have been looking at my schedule and right now next Tuesday looks good. However, I heard about a storm coming and they say that if it hits only people who absolutely need to be on the road should be. But if the weather passes and my fluid levels are OK and if there are no foreign objects behind my car I should see you then. I’ll have to leave early though for my semi annual check up at the dentist. If I make it I’ll see you then but if not, tell everyone I said hello.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who's Responsible?

    We are most obviously in an economic mess right now with high unemployment, a huge national debt, no economic growth, and a housing crisis of unprecedented proportions.  Yet the current Obama administration seems to not want to take any responsibility for the situation and he himself as well as his supporters prefer to blame Bush.  I've heard so much from Obama and his supporters blaming George Bush for everything from high unemployment to genital herpes that I've wondered if any of our so called leaders is responsible for anything.  But then again, and to be objective, maybe they are correct.  So I have decided to attempt to figure out if we can or cannot determine who really is responsible.

    Now to be fair, it's kind of hard to blame Obama for everything.  After all, he did inherit from George W. Bush an economy that was wracked by a sub prime mortgage crisis, two wars, and a huge increase in our national debt.  But then again "W" inherited a rapidly declining economy and an uncertain international trading environment from Bill Clinton.  So maybe one could say that this is all Bill Clinton's fault.  But Clinton inherited a largely faltering economy from George H. W. Bush who was more concerned with world affairs than he was with domestic policies to the point that he even had to go back on his campaign promise of "no new taxes".

    However, it wouldn't be fair to blame H. W. since he inherited an economy from Ronald Reagan that saw our national debt grow from $1 trillion dollars to $3 trillion dollars during the course of his presidency and he also presided over the stock market crash of 1987.  But look what Reagan stepped into.  He was handed unprecedented high interest rates, high unemployment and such dismal economic conditions that Jimmy Carter himself referred to it as an " economic malaise".  Jimmy Carter had a tough road though since from Gerald Ford he started with record setting inflation rates and high unemployment.

    So you might think that this is all the fault of Gerald Ford until you think about what he inherited from none other than Richard Nixon.  Under Nixon we had wage and price controls, oil prices quadrupled, and that's besides all the criminal stuff that went on.  But Nixon can't be blamed based on what Lyndon Johnson did before him.  Johnson tried to establish the "Great Society" and in doing so surpassed FDR in helping himself to money that didn't belong to him.  He spent our money on such programs as the War on Poverty, the neighborhood Youth Corps, VISTA, food stamps, Head Start, the Model Cities Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, he expanded the use of Medicare and Medicaid funds, and on and on and on.  With apologies to sailors, he spent our money like a drunken sailor.

    With respect, I am passing over our 35th President, John F. Kennedy.  Unfortunately, he was not in office long enough before his assassination to make either a positive or negative impact on our long term economic failure or success.  So in essence, poor Johnson inherited the results of the Eisenhower Administration whose claim to fame is three recessions that ran from 1953-1954, 1957-1958, and 1960 before Kennedy was elected.  Gee there's an accomplishment.  Then again, Eisenhower wasn't exactly left a booming economy by Harry Truman.  Truman spent much of his presidency engaged with post WWII and later Korean War foreign affairs and was vehemently opposed by congress in his attempts to further FDR's "New Deal" policies with something he referred to as the "Fair Deal".  And it goes without saying that Truman had a tough time given that his predecessor, FDR, had presided over the largest expansion of government involvement in the free market economy ever and whose policies led to a deep recession prior to his death in office.

    Of course FDR probably didn't have too many choices since Herbert Hoover left him in the throes of the Great Depression but many think that it was the laissez faire approach by Calvin Coolidge toward big business that encouraged the over speculation that ultimately led to the beginning of the Great Depression.  Warren G. Harding didn't do Coolidge any favors though with the Tea Pot Dome and other scandals.  And Woodrow Wilson before him was the jerk that started the system of federal income taxes.

    Now before these guys was a series of presidents including William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Grover Cleveland the first time who for years and years embroiled the country in one controversy after another concerning tariffs on foreign trade, battles between our agrarian culture and big business, inheritance taxes, progressive taxes, corporate taxes and all kinds of ways for the federal government to interfere in the economy.  Before them, Chester Arthur  vetoed a bill that would have restricted cheap "coolie" labor and even vetoed a safety and health bill that would have required minimum safety standards for incoming steamers carrying the aforementioned coolies.  Those were 25 or so very messy years.

    James Garfield didn't contribute much to our economic efforts since he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau and spent most of his six month presidency dying from the blood poisoning caused by the wound.  Before him, Rutherford B. Hayes presided over all kinds of general strikes including the "Great Railroad Strike" of 1887 and he refused to use troops to quell the domestic disturbances.

    All of which brings us to our 18th president Ulysses S. Grant.  In both the domestic and foreign realms, President Grant could claim a wide range of achievements. In the aftermath of the most serious fiscal problems the nation had ever faced, he pursued policies that stopped inflation, raised the nations credit, and reduced taxes and the national debt by over $300 million and $435 million respectively.   However his poor handling of the "Panic of 1873" led to a severe recession and basically wiped out any prior success.

    So there you have it.  It's not Obama.  It wasn't George Bush.  It was none other than this guy that started all this mess.   Everything was going good until he screwed things up.  That fat bastard.  I mean this asshole couldn't even give Lt. Colonel Custer half way decent military intelligence.  No wonder they gave him his own tomb in some remote location in the Bronx.  And now that I have clearly and indisputably demonstrated that the real culprit for today's economic crisis is in fact Ulysses S. Grant, and I'm sure we can all agree on that, maybe now we can stop focusing on who is responsible and instead focus on how to fix things.  Although I'd bet my next pay check that if you asked Ulysses about all this, he'd probably blame Andrew Johnson who was known as a drunken imbecile and a ludicrous bore.  Bastard.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Size Does Matter

    Now here is a topic that probably will be familiar to the women out there but I think that it will surprise most men.  A couple of weeks ago my wife and one of her female cousins were discussing women's dress sizes.  I heard my wife say that when she was in high school she wore a size 12 and that now she wears a size 6.  Now for the men out there let me explain that the statement she made has absolutely nothing to do with her actual size.  And just so you get an appreciation for the numbers, my wife and her cousin both have Jennifer Aniston-like bodies.  I mean these two women have shapes that any 18 year old girl would be thrilled to have and I'm not saying that just to score points (although that would be nice).  I'm just trying to describe how little the size number actually means.  It would be as if when you were 20 years old you wore a size 10 shoe and now you wear a size 6 because the manufacturers have decided to change the way that sizes are measured.

    In fact, in the last few days I have learned that some clothing manufacturers really have created the size zero, size double zero, and extra extra small jean sizes.  I have also learned that a woman who might have a size 10 dress in her closet from 10 years ago can also have a size 2 from today but both dresses are the same size.  So why is this?  Apparently it is called "vanity sizing" meaning that women feel much better being a size 2 than they do being a size 12 so manufacturers have simply changed the labels.  And there is no consistency or standards  between manufacturers.

    The concept of changing size labels kind of flies in the face of efforts that have been undertaken by, for example, Mayor Bloomberg in New york City, where it is now the law that certain "Food Service Suppliers" (FES's) must now post on menus and displays how many calories are contained in each meal.  This is because New Yorkers now carry around calculators to determine how many calories they consume each day.  I suppose as a result there are many New Yorkers who now order a double quarter pounder with bacon and extra mayonnaise but ask to hold the cheese.  But here's a great thing!!  They no longer need to worry.  If they want to consume 3,000 calories each day instead of 2,000 calories and remain the same size they can simply buy their clothing from a different manufacturer.

    So I've been thinking of other measurements that we should change and while we're on the topic of women, let's start with bra sizes.  Since we can make a 5'-2", 150 pound woman a size zero, let's make the minimum bra size a 34C.  That would not only be great for the self esteem of the women but it will also have a synergistic effect on their boyfriends or husbands.  I can hear the discussion now, "Yo dude, my girl wears size zero jeans and has a set of 34C's that you wouldn't believe"!!  No one will know that she is actually anorexic.

    Then there are shoes.  I have learned that women do not want to be known as having big feet.  None of them want to buy a pair of size 9 shoes.  So let's throw away all of those heel to toe machines and recalibrate them so that the maximum size will be a 7.  And those one size fits all night shirts and sweat shirts, they will now be called petite.

    As for the men, they have the opposite concern when it comes to shoe sizes.  No man wants to have small feet because of a certain alleged correlation that I won't get into here.  So from now on the smallest men's shoe will be a size 11.  In addition, waist sizes will no longer be measured in inches.  Instead they will be measured in meters.  That way instead of growing from your boyish 32  pant size to a 40 middle age size you will merely go from a .8 to a 1.0 which is hardly even significant.  And here's something I honestly don't know anything about but when you go to a regular pharmacy or convenience store the smallest condom you will be able to purchase will be labelled size XXXXL.  If you need larger you will be required to go to a Big and Tall store.  I can imagine the conversations.  "Yo man, I went to the Big and Tall store to buy my monthly gross of rubbers (12 dozen).  I hate going to that place.  The traffic sucks.  I wish I could fit into the XXXXL ones".

    And here's a few things for both genders.  We're going to outlaw bathroom scales that measure your weight in pounds.  Instead, scales will weigh us in kilograms.  That way instead of tipping the scale at 180 you will tip it at 80.  The smallest size diamond you will ever own will be 2 carats.  The range for IQ charts will be changed to start at 150.  EZ Widers will become EZ Ultra widers and foot long hot dogs will now measure 6".  There will also be no such thing as beginner courses for anything.  No more beginner ballroom dancing classes or beginner guitar lessons.  Everything will begin at the advanced level.  That will make everyone feel better.

    The one unit of measure we will never mess with however is the tad.  The tad is the basis of life, the best unit of measure that has ever been invented having whatever units are convenient at the time.  The tad can be used to express units of time, distance, volume, weight, or anything else.  "I am going to be a tad late", "Can you move the painting a tad to the left", "I weigh a tad over 180".  (Although with my new system it will be a tad over 80).  How cool is that!!  Although we have now changed the unit for weight the tad remains a constant.  The tad can never be replaced.

    So here's the bottom line.  It's not about losing weight, gaining weight, being in better condition, dancing or computer abilities or about anything else.  It's all about how good we feel.  Isn't that right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where Did All the Oil Go?

    Yesterday I watched a CNN news report during which reporters were interviewing various experts and trying to determine where all of the Gulf oil had gone. Apparently after weeks and weeks of having millions of gallons of oil pour into the Gulf from a BP rig no one can figure out where it all went after only a week or so of having the now famous cap in place. I’m not sure why anyone is surprised about this since I think it’s a simple matter of arithmetic and I’m going to try to give you a better understanding of why I would say that.

    First, let’s examine some facts. Although estimates vary it appears reasonable to assume that about 90,000,000 gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf. Now also consider that the volume of our oceans is about 300,000,000 cubic miles which equates to 3,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons or if you prefer 3.3 billion trillion gallons. Now I’m sure many of you have heard about contamination levels reported in food or water and the usual expression is in terms of parts per million or with really dangerous stuff parts per billion. What we now have as a result of the BP spill is a contamination level of about 3.7 parts per hundred trillion.

    So let’s put this in some perspective. I thought it would be most helpful to look at guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the consumption of fish since let’s face it; they’re the ones that live in the ocean. Mercury is considered to be safe at levels below 1 part per million, lead at 1.7 parts per million, arsenic at 86 parts per million, and PCB’s at 20 parts per billion. As a result, I don’t think we should be too panicky about a little oil at 3.7 parts per hundred trillion.

    Another way to look at this would be in terms of world population. Currently there are about 6,697,254,041 people living on this planet. 041, 042, 043..forget it I’m stopping the counter at 041. That means that if people were contaminated at the same percentage as the ocean there would be about 18/10,000 of a contaminated person or one medium size hang nail.

    Or let’s pretend that a car could get 25 miles per gallon running on seawater at the same level of contamination. In order to consume all of the contamination the car would have to be driven 14.8 trillion miles. At a rate of 60 miles per hour that would take 27,739,726 years without stopping to pee.

    Alright alright let’s make it a little more personal and humanistic. Tiger Woods reportedly had affairs with between 15 and 20 different women. Now given that there are about 100,000,000 spermatozoa emitted during each sexual encounter (I’m trying to be polite here) and if Tiger was contaminated at the same level as the ocean he would have to have encounters with 3,700,000 women before he became clean again. To look at this in terms of time let’s assume that each encounter would take 10 minutes which is oddly enough about the same time that it takes to play a hole of golf.  Note that I am only including the actual coupling time and not the time for drinks, dinner, and other preparatory activities. Tiger would have to be engaged with a woman non stop for 25,694.45 days or 70.4 years without stopping to pee.  And, that would assume that he pars every hole if you know what I mean.  In terms of weight, Pamela Anderson or Richard Simmons would have to be on the receiving end, so to speak, of 24,420 pounds or 12.21 tons of Tiger’s genetic material. I’m not even sure if that’s possible.

    So there you have it. I have tried to put the magnitude of the Gulf oil spill in terms that people would be better able to understand. I hope this helps and I hope it let’s you all sleep a little easier tonight. And by the way, I didn’t make up any of these numbers. Check the arithmetic on your own.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Pay For Health Care

    One of the sideshows that has caught my attention during the never ending debate over health care reform is the dialogue that has come from a number of sources.  In a nutshell some are complaining that it is really those no good, low life, lazy, fat, cigarette smoking, diabetic people that are the cause of high health care costs for all of us perfect people.  So I've been thinking about that and I'd like to propose some creative initiatives to lessen the burden across the board and to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.

    Let's start with the most obvious target, smokers.  As we all know by now smoking has been named as a main cause of many health hazards including lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction.  And so it would stand to reason that people who smoke should pay some sort of premium to offset the cost of their health care and I would have no argument with that.  But the fact is that in most states smokers already pay all kinds of taxes on tobacco products to the point that state taxes alone can run between $3 and $5 per pack of cigarettes.  So smokers are already paying more than their fair share.

    Here's the problem though.  If health care is the issue than all of those tobacco taxes should be going to offset the cost of health care and not be going into a general fund that is used to support bridge and road reconstruction.  Does that make any sense?  Do smokers wear out bridges faster than non smokers?  Of course not.  As Step 1, I therefore propose putting all that tax money where it belongs.

    But that brings me to the non smokers.  Non smokers frequently whine, nag, and try to coerce smokers into stopping smoking.  They constantly remind them that smoking is a disgusting habit, that it destroys their health and can even lead to erectile dysfunction.  All of this whining and nagging can lead smokers to suffer from low self esteem.  It can cause depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that frequently lead to more physical health problems.  As a result, whining, nagging non smokers directly increase our health care costs.

    Now it would be impossible to identify which non smokers are naggers and which are not but I think it's safe to assume that most are self righteous enough to have caused mental health issues for someone along the way.  I therefore propose as Step 2 that whenever anyone purchases anything at a store where tobacco products are sold and if they refuse to purchase any tobacco products, they should be assessed a health care tax of $3.15.

    Next we have the exercise crowd.  Their claim is that sedentary lifestyles lead to obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.  And I think they are probably right.  So here's Step 3.  Let's have a tax of $10/week for everyone who cannot demonstrate a valid membership in a local fitness center.  And, to avoid the tax, you must be able to demonstrate that you actually work out a minimum of 5 times per week.  You can't just belong to a club.  In fact the tax on people who belong to a club but never work out will be doubled just because people like that just annoy others by lying about working out and that annoyance can lead to significant mental health problems in those they annoy.

    Then there is alcohol consumption.  Numerous studies in the United States have indicated that the consumption of two glasses of red wine every day is good for your heart.  In Europe, similar studies have demonstrated the same results for the consumption of four 12 oz servings of beer.  Therefore I propose as Step 4 that you will be taxed $5 for each day that you do not consume at least two glasses of wine or four 12 oz beers.  Of course there will be an exemption for people who can definitively prove that they are bonafide alcoholics.  However, keep in mind that if you can prove that you are a non drinking alcoholic you will then be placed in the same category as non smokers and therefore be required to pay a minimum health tax of $200/yr.

    Now we turn to sexual activity.  According to research having 30 minutes of sex with your partner at least twice a week reduces the risk of fatal heart attacks in both men and women by 50%.  And due to its very nature it helps prevent erectile dysfunction.  So here's Step 5.  Twice a week and you're good.  Once a week, you owe $5.  Not even once, you owe $10.  And just to be clear sex with yourself does not count.  You must have a consenting adult partner to give you a to speak...and no I don't mean to clap to acknowledge any solo performance.

    I'll be back with more on this topic but I think this is a pretty good start in assuring fairness for all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Airport Security

    My wife and I recently took a trip from New York to Florida.  The security measures taken in boarding an airplane continue to astound me.  My major problems are removing my belt and removing my shoes.  Removing my belt is at least somewhat instructional since now I know what it feels like to be in the pants of some young rapper wannabe.  I had to concentrate a little to keep my pants from ending up down by my ankles but it wasn't that horrible.  Actually I think the real reason they make people remove their belts is so that they won't hang themselves from the frustration of standing in all those check in lines.

    What is horrible as well as disgusting and plain stupid is requiring people to remove their shoes.  For years I have wished that instead of having some jerk trying to hide a bomb in his shoe it should have been some woman trying to hide one in her bra.  It would have made checking in far more interesting.  Instead of arriving two hours in advance to watch people remove their shoes, I for one would have arrived days in advance just to watch women remove their tops and bras.  It might not all be good but hey.

    And by the way why is that after the underwear bomber set his groin on fire we are not required to take off our underwear?  Good thing he wasn't wearing a thong because you know those things can slip through the cracks.

    It was recently suggested to me (and I wish I could take credit for this) that instead of having people remove their shoes, we should have everyone pass through a detonating chamber.  That would be cool!!  No matter what orifice some asshole had a bomb hidden in they'd be gone at the snap of my fingers.  I've given some thought to how these detonating chambers should be designed.  First, they should be sound proof but not too sound proof.  I would like to hear at least a little of the poof or bang that would happen right at the moment that he or she would be sent to their 72 or 1,072 or whatever number of virgins they're supposed to be greeted by.  I couldn't care less how many they get just as long as they're no longer among the living on this planet.  Which leads me to ask something I've wondered about for a long time.  Do female suicide bombers also get 72 virgins when they martyr themselves?  Do they consider that to be a good thing or a further sacrifice for the cause?  Come on folks, give me the female perspective on this.

    Other important design features of a detonating chamber is that it should be easy to clean, leak proof, and probably equipped with a garbage disposal unit.  I would also suggest neutral colors and no grout joints.

    I recognize that passing through a detonating chamber might add a little time to passing through security but then again emptying pockets, removing belts, removing shoes and then reversing the process is not exactly a speedy operation.  Personally I'd prefer to remain in an upright position as opposed to having some fat ass stuck in my face while the person in front of me tries to either secure or unsecure the heel of their shoe.  I also found it to be curious that after completing the inspection a hand sanitizer was made available.  Huh?  What would be more worthwhile would be to have some kind of foot disinfectant.  In Florida the floors appeared to be fairly clean but in LaGuardia it was obvious that there were bacteria and fungi that had been on the floor for so long that they had developed the ability to speak in complete sentences (English and Spanish).

    Folks, there has to be a better way.  I confess that I don't have all the answers but how about a little profiling.  Let's face it, no matter what we do it's all a matter of odds and and even the most sensitive among us has to admit that the odds of being blown up or hijacked by a 65 year old grey haired woman are much lower than a bearded, dark skinned, Arab looking 20 year old male with a fuse hanging out of his sneaker.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

    A week or so ago there was an article in the local newspaper about a car accident that occured on a nearby parkway.  Fortunately there were no serious injuries or fatalities.  As it turns out the accident was caused by a 19 year old driver and he had been drinking alcohol.  So he was given the usual array of charges which as I recall numbered about five.  That's the way it goes these days.  No one is ever charged with let's say shoplifting.  Instead the charges will be shoplifting, possession of stolen property, petit larceny in the second degree, possession of an unstamped letter to be mailed and therefore postal fraud, and wearing white after Labor Day in the third degree.  It's as if police and prosecutors have come to realize that if they throw enough shit on the wall at least some of it will stick.

    Anyway, upon further investigation the police found that the 19 year old driver had been drinking at an apartment rented by a 22 year old friend.  And so the 22 year old was also charged with a variety of crimes including endangering the welfare of a child.  I found it interesting to learn that the law considers a 19 year old man to be a child.  Several years ago a couple of 17 year olds that I know were busted for purchasing a case of beer with phony ID.  When they appeared in juvenile court, and among other things, the judged warned them that they had better be careful because next year they would be 18 and therefore treated in court as adults.  When I heard this I really wanted to write or call someone but I didn't know who to contact.  How can it be that an 18 year old can be treated as an adult for doing something they are not supposed to do because they are considered a minor?

    So let's put the first story together with the second.  Apparently we have some weird sort of Darwinism going on in our legal system.  At 17 you are considered to be a child.  Then at 18 you become an adult but at 19 you revert back to being a child.  Huh?  It's kind of like a butterfly crawling back into its cocoon and having to wait there awhile before it can get to be a butterfly again.  Does any of this make any sense?

    A couple of years ago there was a soldier in a nearby town who tragically was killed in Iraq.  He was 20 years old and left behind a wife and a young daughter.  I really don't want to make light of this but how is it that a 20 year old can die in a war, leave behind a wife and child, and never have lived long enough to legally drink a Budweiser?  Are we stupid or what?  I have been told, and I'm not going to bother verifying this, that soldiers under the age of 21 can drink a beer or two on their military base.  Great.  If you have a wife and child or two and you're 20 years old you can't have a drink.  But if you've been trained to kill and carry a rifle you can.

    I'd like some help with my readers on this.  How can we ever hope to solve our national debt, win the war in Afghanistan, solve global warming (if there is such a thing), etc. when we can't even figure out what a 19 or 20 year old is.  Come on folks.  You've all been there.  Who should I call?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

America the Melting Pot?

    Those in my age group were always taught that America is a melting pot.  While I think that might have been true years ago, I'm not so sure that it is true today.  Here's an example of a melting  A group of us might go out for a cup of coffee and one of us might have it with milk and sugar.  Someone else might have it black.  Still others might have it with saccharin, aspartame, splenda, and maybe someone will even have an expresso con panna.  In the end we will all be sitting down enjoying a cup of coffee together and that's all anyone will think about.  Once the coffee is made, you can't seperate out the sugar or the milk or the splenda.  It's just plain coffee.

    In contrast, we could all be enjoying a tossed salad.  Now a tossed salad might include lettuce, spinach,
tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, red onions, and any number of other fruits and/or vegetables.  The difference between coffee and a tossed salad however is that while each ingedient enjoys the same bowl, each ingredient also maintains its own identity.  As a result, some may choose to pick out the tomatoes and toss them aside.  Others might not like the cucumbers.  And to make it more complicated, tomato organizers might even get all the tomatoes together and have them form their own group called a tomato salad.  Likewise, the cucumber organizers might organize all the cucumbers into a cucumber salad.  Get the point?  It would be like having a bunch of (and where have I heard this before?) community organizers.

    So where does this end?  Instead of enjoying a nice tossed salad whereby all of the components reside in the same bowl, each ingredient would insist on still being on the same dinner table but residing in a seperate bowl so it could maintain its own identitiy.  Instead of a tossed salad we would then have a bowl of lettuce, a bowl of tomatoes, a bowl of cucumbers, a bowl of olives, etc., and there would be no such thing as a tossed salad as we know it.  I suspect that even environmentalists would object to that.  It would just create more bowls to wash which would mean using more fresh water, flushing more detergents down the drain, bigger sewage treatment plants, and more water pollution.  It would be like having a bunch of people of different nationalities who all want to live in America but wanting to continue to speak their own foreign languages and fly their own foreign flags.  How stupid would that be?

    Personally I think that there is nothing better than a nice chilled tossed salad especially on a warm summer day.  I enjoy every bit of it and I think that's how a salad should be.  The only thing is that I think we can all agree to keep out those anchovies.  I hate those anchovies.  You know what I mean, wink, wink.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Poll Results Are In!!!

    This is pretty exciting stuff since I can now publish the results of how all you readers responded to the various polls I have put up there (so to speak).  In the first I asked "At what age should young adults be able to get a drivers license".  The results were:

16  -  55%
18  -  20%
42  -  20%

    From these results I would conclude that at least the majority of people would prefer to see their teenagers working as opposed to sitting around eating Doritoes and playing Nintendo.  Hooray that at least most of us have some common sense!!  But it's interesting to note that fully 5% think that no one should ever be able to get a license.  I suspect that these are the Al Gore worshippers who think we should all move around in helicopter vehicles and who fail to understand that it takes fossil fuel to power the propellers.  So let me educate them.  The propellers don't move for take off or flying because they are powered by the wind.  They create wind as a result of burning fuel.

    In my second poll concerning people of color the results were:

Pink  -  0%
Purple - 36%
Orange - 36%
Blue - 28%

    The most interesting thing to me about these results is that there are millions of women who walk around the country wearing shorts, spandex pants, and other attire that have the word pink displayed across their asses yet apparently no one actually wants to be pink.  Go figure.

    Lastly I asked, "What State Aid Should the Government Provide".  The answers were:

Gatoraid  -  25%
Coolaid  -  0%
Lemonaid - 0%
Let me keep my own money - 75%

    The results of this poll are obvious.  The overwhelming majority of you are more interested in maintaining your finances then you are in maintaining your level of some government agency recommendation about your level of hydration or electrolytes.  That's a good thing.  Another good thing is that no one seems to be interested in government provided sugar.  I guess that's a start.




Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Poles Have Reversed!!

    The other night I watched the CMT country music awards hosted by Kid Rock.  While I'm not necessarily a fan of Kid Rock I was struck by the fact that when he came out on stage smoking a cigar and then was chastised by a fan in the audience for smoking in a non smoking arena he acknowledged the admonition but continued smoking his cigar.  Later in the show, the camera brought us back stage where a shot bar had been set up for performers who had left the stage.  I loved the political incorrectness.

    You know two score and plus or minus five or so years ago, our nation was preoccupied with millions of long haired, left wing, pot smoking liberal hippies who lived by the mantra "do your own thing" and who were inspired by Richie Havens singing Freedom, Freedom.  At the other end of the spectrum were the right wing, conservative, clean cut, country music, and mostly southern rednecks who considered the long haired, liberal freedom fighters to be unAmerican.

    So here is what has happened.  The liberal anti-establishment people who have now become the establishment and who once advocated legalized pot and free love want now to dictate how much salt we can put on a cheeseburger.  And on the other hand, the conservative red necks want us to be able to smoke in public places.  How did this happen?  When did the poles become reversed?

    I've long said that I would have loved to live in America when it was a free country.  As one small example why can't I open up a bar called let's say Mark's bar and allow smoking?  And then down the street someone might choose to open up another bar that did not allow smoking and call it Roy's bar.  That way if I chose to go have a drink and have a cigarette I could go to Mark's and if I didn't want smoking I could go to Roy's.  At least I would be free to choose.  Who says that in America some asshole politicians get to make that choice for me instead?  How did we let that happen?

    In my younger days I would have considered myself to be a liberal.  However, as I have become older I have learned that there really is a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives.  Here it is.  If a conservative decides that he or she should eat less meat, he or she will eat less meat.  If a liberal decides that he or she should eat less meat, they want to pass laws to make sure that everyone eats less meat.  If a conservative thinks that it's a good idea to wear a seat belt he will.  But liberals aren't satisfied until there's a law to make sure everyone conforms to the same behavior.

    So here's my suggestion.  Get off my case!!  The only way we are ever going to regain our freedoms is if politicians come to recognize that while they might like to mull over future legislation while sipping Scotch, others might like to do the same while smoking a bone.  And you know what, if you want to maintain your freedom to own and carry a gun just maybe you will have to give rights to two men or two women who want to marry each other.  I know that's a stretch and maybe we just can't get away from people trying to cram their personal ideologies down other peoples' throats but if we want to maintain our freedom I'd like to quote J.P. in the movie Angels in the Outfield when he says "it could happen".

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What is "State Aid" - Part 1 (I Think)

    States all around the country find themselves in financial chaos.  This is primarily because they have been over spending for years and now find themselves at the brink of insolvency.  Responsible Governors have been leading the way in reducing spending but much to the chagrin of local politicians and officials who are faced with shortfalls in supporting school districts, police forces, and other local services.  They frequently blame the problems on the loss of "State Aid" and explain to their constituents all of the measures they are taking to push for more.

    To understand the problem I think it would be helpful to define exactly what "State Aid" is so let me give it a shot.  State aid is the percentage of money previously confiscated from the taxpayers that is used to support programs and services as determined worthy by the politicians currently in control and doled out to geographical areas that are again determined worthy by the politicians currently in control.

    Let's dissect this a little.  Why would I say "the percentage of money previously confiscated"?  That's because in order to collect our money and redistribute it, we need commissioners, department heads, clerical support, office space, office furniture, and cleaning services for the occupied spaces.   In addition, we need duplicate staffs called auditors since auditors are inherently more trustworthy and honest than are the first people to touch our money.  We need to pay for all of this so in essence, we pay a handling fee just like when we buy tickets through Ticketmaster.

    Imagine if we did our grocery shopping like this.  We would all go to our favorite grocery store and we would each give the manager let's say $100 to provide us with a week's worth of groceries.  Now immediately the store manager would take 30% off the top for the handling fee meaning that we would theoretically get back $70 worth of groceries for every $100 we gave him or her to begin with.  Next the manager would get to decide who gets back $90 worth of groceries, who gets $50 worth, etc. but let's save the unequal redistribution for another day and assume that we would each get our $70 worth.

    So we would all hang out in the parking lot waiting to see what we received.  You would here comments like "oooh, I hope I get some ice cream this week", and, "I really need a piece of chicken for Tuesday night", or, "I hope I get sweet pickles this week.  I really didn't like those dill spears".  It would be like spending the afternoon with a bunch of nitwits.  Yet, that is exactly what our local "leaders" do when it comes to state aid.  Just substitute school budget for ice cream, a town park for chicken, and maybe a sidewalk someplace for the sweet pickles.

    So here's an idea.  Let's just stop sending our money to Sacramento, or Albany, Trenton, or Lansing.  Instead, let us keep our money in our own communities.  That way we can just give it directly to the school district.  If we want a park, we can build it.  And if we need a sidewalk someplace, we get to decide.  After all, we're adults.  We can make those decisions.  Heck if nothing else at least we'll save the handling fee!!

    Please take a moment to respond to the poll regarding this subject on upper right.  This is valuable information.  Also, let me know what your thoughts are so I can use them in Part 2 of this topic.  You can either post a comment or email me at tzdk8@aol. com.  Thank you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

People of Color

    Meet Trevor Richards
  Trevor was a  high school student in Nebraska.  Trevor is an African American.  A few years ago Trevor and a couple of his friends were suspended from school for mounting a campaign to recognize him as an African American.  Trevor really and truly is an African American having come from South Africa and becoming an American citizen in Nebraska.  Some people were offended by the campaign on the basis that the term African American should be used exclusively and only for black people.  How strange is that?  A person from Africa can't be an African American but a person who might have difficulty finding Ghana on a world map can be.

    Of course we know the answer.  It has to do with political correctness.  We have labelled people as black, brown, yellow, red, and recently some people have even "gone green" making me wonder if once you go green you can ever go back.  People in our parents' generation commonly referred to black people as colored people.  Today that term is unacceptable but somehow "people of color" is OK.  How strange.  Colored people at least is grammatically correct.  People of color is not.  You can be of Eve or of Adam but you can't be of fuchsia.

    Maybe we should just stop labelling people.  I think that the ones who try to come up with politically correct ways to apply labels are really the racists.  Who cares?  I just want to know a nice guy or a nice girl or a nice neighbor.  Perhaps we should end the practice of adding check off boxes at the end of various surveys that ask you to check of what color or race you are.  Let's just replace that with two choices namely, terrorist or not a terrorist.  We'll use the honor system for now.

    After all, we have had a number of black leaders over the years who when defined by the term African American would have difficulty defining their ties to the former word in the phrase.  And I'm not sure if the proper word would be irony but how interesting is it to note that today our most prominent black leader, the current President, seems to have some difficulty in defining his ties to the latter.

    Please take a moment to participate in the poll shown on the right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Public Employee Unions Should Stop The Deception

    Over the weekend I saw a commercial sponsored by the State of New Jersey teacher, police, and firefighter unions.  The commercial made an emotional appeal to citizens claiming that the budget cuts being proposed by Governor Christie would mean that these poor beat up unions would no longer be able to provide their communities with the educational and public safety services that local communities so desperately need.  The advertisement was so disingenuous and so self serving that if I was independently wealthy I think I would have thrown something through the TV screen.

    The fact of the matter is that yes we want and need teachers.  Yes we want and need public safety employees.  What we are tired of however is paying $100,000/year salaries to 180 day a year gym teachers, art teachers, music teachers and other non essential employees who essentially work part time.  We are also tired of paying policemen and women $100,000+ salaries who hide in the weeds to make sure that we their employers do not fail to achieve zero inertia at some stupid stop sign.  And we are tired of paying six figure retirement pensions to police who retire at the age of 45 who kite their benefits by inflating their overtime to achieve high salaries during their last few years of employment.

    Just so I give equal time to firefighters, they love to talk about what great heroes they are and why they deserve highly inflated early retirement packages.  From what I've seen, and I know this is not politically correct to say, the real heroes when it comes to residential and commercial fires are the insurance adjusters who make decisions that allow home owners and commercial property owners to obtain the finances to rebuild.

    Teachers unions simply refuse to renegotiate contracts that pay gym teachers the same amount of money as advanced physics teachers.  Let's get real.  At $100,000/yr most stay at home housewives would be happy to teach a bunch of 10 year olds to play kickball for $30,000/yr and consider it to be a part time job.

    The truth is that none of these unions are interested in the education of our children.  None of them are interested in public safety.  All they are concerned with is advocating unwarranted high salaries, unwarranted high retirement pay, and taxpayer paid benefits for their employees.  Those days are gone.  Over the last 20-30 years and while public unions have continued to get their 3% and 5% annual increases, those of us in the private sector have had to sacrifice benefits, salary increases, and put in longer work hours just to stay employed.  It's time to pay the piper since there simply are not enough of us around to keep supporting all these selfish self serving jerks.