It’s Not Easy Being Rich

The trouble with life is there just isn’t any background music.  Monday’s are always especially difficult, come in, sit down with a cup of Joe and then face an empty screen.  I am so envious of all those talented people who sit down and make this look like child’s play, make it appear simple.

So what do we talk about?

The up’s and down’s of oil, no one cares right now.  Politics’, I am sick of politics and my unguarded opinion is the political Gene-pool in this country, could stand a dose of Chlorine.

Last I heard they were holding a symposium on the Heartlands’ problems in some place like Chugwater, Wyoming.  Cheney was spitting euphemisms out of the side of his mouth about, I like this guy and that guy, and you should too (If you know what is good for you).

Another group meeting at which there are several speeches, often a group discussion, a collection of opinions on a subject, a short discussion.  Nothing is really resolved, and when the finger food disappears, they sneak outside for a quick smoke, fire up the bus and drive off.

I will bet you even money that the candidates are now glad to be looking at the end of all this.  Think about it … In just a few short hours, it will be over with and they can go back to “telling us the truth.”

So for a refreshing change of pace, no doom and gloom, none of this the earth is rotting like a bad cantaloupe left outside in the mid-day sun, covered in flies. Today we will talk about something different.  Let us take on the plight of those poor, often overlooked unfortunates in America these days that are experiencing hard times.

Let us talk about the rich.

You know who I am talking about here, the poor $435 lunch ticket, share the wealth bunch.  They (the rich) are not doing all that well here lately.  Did you know because of the current financial meltdown, the rich are being forced to cut back just like the rest of us?  It has gotten so dire; that I hear they have temporarily gone back to regular mustard instead of that Gray Poupon stuff.

Yes, it is true.

Affluent brides to be, in Manhattan are swapping out the $1,000 centerpiece of peonies from New Zealand for $300 Netherlands hydrangeas.  The Gordon Gekko’s types of Wall Street are now forced to purchase one $4,000 suit instead of five; things have suddenly gotten austere in the Big Apple.  Women of a certain age, who used to have the option of a complete face lift have now had to resort to Botox Injections instead, which are much, much cheaper.  Cosmetic surgery in this country is now estimated to be down as much as 50%.

America the land of opportunity, I have a degree in Liberal Arts, do you want fries with that?  We have discovered to our dismay that our “Great Spenders are also very Bad Lenders.”  Seemingly over night our philosophy has changed.  Yesterday is a cancelled check.  Today is cash on the line.  Tomorrow is a promissory note which may or may not get paidl.

Pity the poor, poor rich.

The rich have to make choices now, should I continue the lease on the Christmas Villa in the south, or just find a suitable hotel?  Will I be able to afford the subscription to Elite Traveler Magazine for the table on the Lear Jet or the Yacht this year.  Can we still afford a crew of eighteen to have at our beck and call?

They have to make untold sacrifices just like the rest of us, why they cannot even afford the full band anymore, they are resorting to DJ’s (Sorry Radio Girl) at the weddings and bar mistfah’s (sp).  Miniature cupcakes on Lucite tiers instead of the massive wedding cake.

A greatly pared down guest list, dollar pinching is everywhere!  As hard as this is to believe, “some of us might not get invited to attend at all” it has gotten that bad.

Arab and European clients are still buying $25 million yachts, but the share of sales to Americans has dropped from 80% to 50%.  Relegated to searching the boat yards for a good used 60’/80′ skiff is simply not American. The power shoppers are in the Arab Emirates, the Abdul Dubai Malls in the golden sand of the Persian Gulf.  Neiman Marcus is a bargain store in this new age of less money.  No more whole wardrobes, it is a $500 dress and make it last for the corporate executive’s wife in Houston.

Things have gotten so bad, they are more than likely switching over to the cheap Chardonnay, and I imagine we will at some time see these folks somewhere down the line, but for right now things on the other side of the coin will remain the same for us.  All of us good, honorable soldiers in the legions of the less entitled.

We will still be drinking the yucky-green-stuff, sneezy, why-in-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning NyQuil for a cheap buzz purchased at the Dollar General Store on sale.  Doing our level best to get a handle on life, with one broken handle, driving a beat up run-down fourteen year old Hoopie with a half-tank of fuel.

Now altogether …. Let’s hear it one time for the Rich In America …. Ready?

(One big collective sigh)

Now I know I feel better, I can face but one more Monday.  Which is considerably less painful than licking my fingers and searching out an electrical outlet.  I can now focus my energies on the important questions of life.  Such as:  “Is our planet the insane asylum for the Universe?”  That would be a good start for a Monday right there.

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Above all that

Alaska, somewhere north of the fortieth parallel …. Guilty as charged.

Alaskan Senator, Ted Stevens recently convicted on all seven counts by a jury in Alaska, vowed to “fight this with every ounce of energy I have.”  Which is kind of ironic, as it was his close personal relationship with an ENERGY CEO that got him in all this hot water to begin with.  Why is it that politicians seem to think that they are bound over by a different set of rules and guidelines than the rest of us.  What is it that makes them believe they are above the law?

Kind of like all these people who sit at stoplights at busy intersections, and pick their nose while waiting for the light, do they really believe they are invisible and the rest of us cannot see them?

Kailua-Kona Hawaii

The best bargain at the Salvation Army thrift store was a Richard Simmons videotape. But Mikela Mercier, 11, passed on buying it for a few coins after she found $1,000 in $100 bills inside. Mikela immediately told her mother they needed to turn the tape in. Store manager Jimmy Thennes praised Mikela for her honesty.  No word from Richard Simmons at this time.

DeWitt Nebraska

The Vise-Grips plant there will close permanently after Friday, ending about 70 years of operations and costing 330 jobs. Irwin Industrial Tools, which operates the plant, is moving operations to China to lower costs. William Petersen, a Danish immigrant, invented the tool nearly 90 years ago in DeWitt.  They ought to take a pair of ’em, and slap them on the crotch of the guy who thought up the idea of shipping American jobs overseas ….. and then sqeeeeeeeeeeze.

In other related Nebraska news, the state is now saying it is going to re-work its safe haven law.  People have been driving across state lines to drop off unwanted children, two dozen of them recently, one as old as 17 years of age.  The law, which took effect in July, prohibits guardians from being prosecuted for leaving a child at a hospital.

When Snow White dropped by last Tuesday and left five of the dwarfs, the governor declared that he had enough.  This law must be re-written to protect the original intent he declared.

Final Spin Cycle

Whirlpool is laying off 5,000 workers and DreamWorks isn’t making any movies …. We seem to be still hemorrhaging around the edges, has anyone noticed.  When will Washington figure out we cannot all deliver pizza’s to each other, some of us need jobs.

Here is the new official – unofficial policy …. We got the money ….. Now screw you.

There seems to be this “new attitude” by lenders and lending associations around the country.  Even though your credit is perfect, it certainly could be better, and now they are demanding just that.  Home loans are no longer a sure thing.  This is the new, dynamic landscape of mortgage lending today a new world in which even those with good credit are having trouble getting mortgages or the loan terms that they want.

All this at a time when politicians and economists are wanting to reduce bloated inventories in most cities, that are prone to fail.  Compliments of our good friends, the bankers, the only people in the world who can understand the concept of eleven windows …. And three tellers.

Chicken to go

Paris Kentucky — When a Chicken Ranch restaurant employee found her boss lying in an apparent pool of blood, she ran out screaming and called police. But the scenario was a Halloween prank by Joe Watkins, police said. The worker may have the last laugh; police charged Watkins with making a false report to lure her to the scene.

Chillin In Cheyenne

Cheyenne Wyoming — Natural gas prices were so high this summer that regulators warned heating prices in January 2009 could be as much as 79% higher than in January 2008.  But Darrell Zlomke, assistant state Public Service Commission administrator, says now that falling natural-gas wholesale prices suggest the increase is more likely to be about 33%.  That is the bad news, now here is the good.  The used furniture for firewood program seems to be holding on low prices in the area.

Now will everyone who got a 33% raise in wages this year, please raise your hand ….  Thought so.

The warming effects of Global Warming are affecting flowers, animals in Yellowstone and they are starting to disappear.  Studies are now showing that the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past few decades has caused a loss of many the flower that Henry David Thoreau reordered in his book Walden and also has contributed to a decline in several species’ of native animals once common in Yellowstone.

Two headed fish in the Frazier River in Canada, frogs disappearing in the United States and around the world, species that have been actively protected for most of our lives, are going into severe decline.

Now tell me about “Clean Coal” again … I am confused.

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Enhanced Average Joe

Thought it was going to be a slow day, but it finally appeared. The first totally ridiculous statement of the morning.

I heard one today I had never heard before, “enhance the male experience” now that has to be a first. I have heard it called a lot of things during the course of my years, but I have to admit.

I have never heard it called that.

“Honey, come on in here, so we can enhance the male experience! Aw C’mon sugar, you have to be here for some of it. Please?”

Best I move on.

Can we build one for you?

The automakers are really starting to cry the blues. Many of them won’t survive what is left of this year. Almost 600 of the 2,000 dealers nationwide are out of business now, and they are losing about two dealers per day to lagging sales. General Motors credit arm GMAC now requires a credit score of 700 or better to finance a new car.  This is what happens to you when you consistently build vannila wafer, cookie cutter, fuel gulping cars … you slowly die.

Packin’ Heat In Oklahoma.

Gun advocates in Oklahoma want laws to allow carrying guns in plain sight. In Oklahoma residents can get permits to carry concealed weapons but cannot display guns openly. A signature drive is trying to change that. I suppose this means we will not be allowed to bring them to church?

A man ran for the office of sheriff in a small Oklahoma town. The day after the election he was spotted walking down the street, with a firearm strapped to his right hip. His neighbor said to him, “Carl, how come you are a packing that pistol, you lost that election for sheriff yesterday.” And he just smiled and replied, “A man with as many friends as I have in this town, ought to be wearing a gun.”

Listen up! Do we have a deal for you!

Campaign seeks next “Joe The Plumber.” Are you the Joe the plumber type? A regular American who doesn’t want Barack Obama to be president? If so, Republican nominee John McCain’s campaign wants to hear your story, in the form of a 30 second video that might be used as one of their television ads.

Now I can hear you giggling and snickering in the background and you are not buying a word of it. But it is true (Have you ever known me to lie to you? Don’t answer that question.) McCains team announced an “I’m Joe The Plumber” contest. Go to johnmccain.com for details.

You could be the next average Joe to be chewed up and spit out by the Political Machine! Is this truly the land of opportunity or what?

We are all about labeling in this country, they are looking for “Average American’s” by their own admission but refer to them as Plumber Joe’s. Why is it we do this crap. Why is it that no one ever questions the use of thoroughly unnecessary terms such as “African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, to name a few.”

We are all Americans and we are not all plumbers.

Take me for instance, how come no one is looking for “Average-Angry-White-Taxpaying-Guy” because that is what I am … don’t know a thing about plumbing and that is a fact. A nation of people who cannot agree to speak the same language, make up modifiers to describe their brothers and sisters.

It’s easy take a shot at it: Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.  See, nothin to it.

How Do They Keep Their Shirts On With That Big Heart

Akron Ohio … “Who says big biz and the government don’t have a heart? Mortgage giant Fannie Mac this week said it would forgive the debt of a 90-year old woman who shot herself in the chest to avoid being evicted. She shot herself after deputies came to evict her from the home in which she had lived for some 40 years.

Book ’em Dano … Murder One.

Los Angeles California City police officers are more likely to stop and search black and Hispanic residents than they are whites, even though whites are more often found carrying guns and contraband, according to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Only in California.

This is the same state that in 1989 had two school districts ban the book Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grim. Was it because the Big Bad Wolf’s consumption of people seemed too violent? Nope. School officials thought the story might encourage children to drink because it depicts a bottle of wine in the basket Red takes to her grandmother.

You buy your tickets … Take Your Chances

Richmond Virginia. A technical problem with a new Virginia Lottery game may have led hundreds of players to believe they won bigger prizes than they did. Lottery officials caught the mistake in its Fast Play Super 7’s game after more than 2,300 tickets were sold. Officials blamed a software problem for the misprinted tickets and asked the Attorney General’s Office whether they must pay the expected prizes.

And finally, Green River Wyoming.

Sweetwater County is considering an ordinance that would spell out where sex shops could operate. The proposal also would prohibit sexually oriented businesses from advertising on signs placed on vehicles. Outrage over a sex shop sign posted on an abandoned school bus prompted the proposed changes. A sex shop is where you go to buy products that artificially enhance the male experience or fulfill your rubber fetish, whichever comes first.

Now if Y’all will excuse me, I need to go clean my gun (the one that does not require any kind of enhancement that is).

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Parting shot: “It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for public office.”


Rated “E”

This post is rated “E” for entertaining.  No, educational, uh, erratic.  THIS POST IS FOR EVERYONE … Whew?  Sure glad we got that out of the way.

Oh well, it is Tuesday, and as with all Tuesday’s I have my problems.  Much like a child in grammar school, I am never prepared for the lesson on Tuesday, I am geared up for recess instead.

Most of my days, were spent in desperate contemplation of the hour in Gym class and a considerable amount of time was devoted to “the fine art of pencil sharpening and the observation of the world’ just outside the window.  I excelled in that, but unfortunately, I found out later in life, not much demand for it in the marketplace.

I used to really get into recess, which should not come as any big surprise to anyone that is a regular reader of this page.

You cannot always effectively plan for the future, especially when you are young.  I remember when released from the U.S. Military, they told me that “I could use the skills that were taught to me in the service” in my civilian occupation.  So when I found out that American Airlines wasn’t hiring any tail gunners …. I went to work for the Railroad.

This is what happens to you when you major in recess, remember this.

USA Today is reporting that stress levels are up nationwide and surprisingly, the most affected, are not adults.  The highest stress levels in the past six months have been reported by the 18-24 crowd at 64% coming in second is the 24-34 bunch 55%, 35-44 at 47%, 45-54 at close behind, 46%.  The old geezers like myself, we are just laid back and cooling it, only 37% of them reported stress.

Which is reasonable, when you stop to think about it.  We moved all “those hard to live with people out of the house” years ago.  And we are not forced to watch “Dancin’ With The Stars” three nights a week.  Did you know that more American’s voted for the winner of American Idol than voted for Bush in the last election?  True.

Might be a good day to talk about that “three ring circus” (the great American Dog & Pony Show) in the Nation’s Capitol, but to tell you the truth, I am really tired of it.  So much like T.Boone Pickens latest book (The First Billion is the hardest – Crown Business, 260 pages, $26.95) I am going to take a pass.  Having the lowest stress levels in the above group did not “just naturally occur.”  Often you have to work at it.

Good and Bad News:

Phoenix, Arizona has told home builders there that they are to install water collection systems on new homes and that they are going to collect rainwater from these systems for the watering of plants and outside shrubs.  Which is a good idea and a bad idea.  It is good to be geared up to “green thinking” and all that, it is bad, because as anyone knows.  Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert portion of the American Southwest and generally speaking …. It doesn’t rain there much, if at all.

Biting the hand that feeds them.

Hard to believe, but like beggar’s with outstretched hands the U.S. Auto companies are trying to entice the public to purchase a new car.  Only thing is, “they are going about it in the wrong manner or fashion” if you ask me.  Now they are telling us that in order to buy a new car, we need to bring MORE cash and a larger down payment is going to be required of us.

Tighter credit standards are forcing many car buyers to put up more cash in order to qualify for a loan.  The average down payment last month was $3,108.00 which is up 42% from the same time last year ($2,194.00).  It is like some kind of shark feeding frenzy on the American consumer these days.  General Motors wants to buy Chrysler and of course, they are lining up at the Federal trough to see if they can get some creative financing in the Great American Give-Away currently enjoying a nice run in Washington DC these days.

These dumb-bells ought to take a lesson from U.S. Oil, we stopped buying their products, and we effectively proved to them that we can do without oil based-products and we can do without these new cars too.

Eat Your Oil

OPEC (namely Venezuela and Iran) are crying the blues, they are now saying that they are cutting back on spending and projects in their respective countries because of the low demand for oil.  It seems that their profits are down some fifty percent and they are experiencing a hardship.  Now everyone …. All together now … One big collective sigh for our poor energy rich oil partners. Now didn’t that feel just swell boys & girls.  Actually that is a misnomer, we (America) get most of our foreign oil from places other than Venezuela and Iran.

Canada and Mexico for instance, are big suppliers to the U.S. and it is not $700 billion as previously reported but rather around $230 billion per year, big difference.

Anchor’s Aweigh

Not to be deterred, the Boys in Dubai went shopping this week, the oil rich energy czars bought the Queen Mary II and she is going to sail to Dubai on her last voyage.  After four decades of plying the oceans of the world she is being retired and will be converted into a five-star hotel in Dubai, the flashy Arab resort Center of the Middle East (United Arab Emirates).

This leaves the sister ship with the same name still plying the oceans for a little while longer, with peak oil, there will come a time in the not so distant future, when all of them are parked and converted.

“Uh, maybe the Woodpeckers were not a good idea?”

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark . One: Don’t miss the boat. Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat. Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. Four: Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done. Six: Build your future on high ground. Seven: For safety sake, travel in pairs. Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs. Nine: When you’re stressed, float awhile. Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Now, wasn’t that nice? Pass it along this Tuesday, tell all your friends, and make someone else smile, too

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Put It On The Card

The Iraq war is the first U.S. war that has been financed entirely on credit.  When the war started, the Bush administration said it would cost no more than $60 billion.  (Read My Lips … No New Taxes … Something sound Familiar here?)  At that time (the start of the war) the U.S. was in budget deficit, so the administration had to borrow to finance the invasion.

About 40% of this money was borrowed from China and other international investors (War is good business, invest your son or daughter), the first time since the Revolutionary War.  At the same time, the administration and Congress did another “stupid thing” they lowered taxes. 

Which I am not complaining about here, I do hate taxes in any way shape, form or manner.  Hell, it is downright “Un-American” to not hate taxes, everyone knows that.  But going to war on a deficit and borrowing and then lowering the taxes, well that just isn’t the way to do it. 

Wait, it gets even better, rates go down!  Much to the glee of the Average American the Fed also lowered the prime interest rates, which encouraged Middle Class Americans to go on a consumption binge, that was mainly fueled by credit cards.  Now things are not so rosy, some of these very same people are now living in empty appliance cartons, or under bridges in the greater L.A. Basin. 

Nearly half the sub prime mortgage loans written in 2005 have ended in foreclosure.  Cleveland has the highest rates in the nation, another thing they will have to live down.  Southwest Airlines just borrowed $600 million to buy jet fuel, things are not going well in River City.  I can no longer afford a visit to Starbucks on Thursday afternoon.

Just to put this in perspective, the federal government borrows 600 billion each year to make up what they don’t bring in tax revenues.  That doesn’t show up in the deficit as it is easily manipulated.  The difference is in things like the wars that we fund “off budget” that makes it appear the deficit is shrinking …or was … until this year. 

Last I heard, our government is collecting something like 2 trillion dollars from us in taxes this year.  There are a thousand billon in a trillion, and a thousand million in a billion.  Two trillion has 12 zeroes.  It looks like this:  $2,000,000,000,000.00.  Dog gone, the first thing you know, we will be talking about some REAL money here folks.

My pet peeve, when GWB’s first budget took effect on Oct. 1, 2001 the national debt stood at 5.806 trillion dollars.  On Friday, the debt stood at 9.364 trillion.  That’s a difference of 3.558 trillion dollars in a little over 6 1/2 years.  Divided the 3.558 by 5.806 and you will see that it is a 61 % increase in the national debt during that time.  Or, put another way, if you divide the 3.558 by the total debt of 9.364 you will find that about 38 cents of EVERY dollar owed by the federal government was borrowed under GWB’s budgets beginning on 10/1/2001.  Not a sustainable financial position. 

That’s why the dollar is fried and soon only things like gold and silver…..or a beast system currency will be the only thing of value. There is no such thing as a “free war” the United States and the rest of the world will be paying the price of this massive boon-doggle for years, possibly decades, to come.

It is high time that we figure it out.  It is pretty simple really.  We (The United States of America) are not all powerful and we ought to get used to it.  We are slowly degrading ourselves to the status of a third rate debt ridden country (if we haven’t already) and it is time to step down off our high horse.  It is no longer possible for us to impose our idea of how people ought to govern themselves in a Muslim country, and/or a oil based economy in the Persian Gulf or any other place in the world.

Establish a bogus Democracy in the sand.

Adopt and feed an entire country while they sit back and put billions in the bank.

Stop the Chinese and the Soviets from developing their oil fields.

Mission Accomplished …. That’s Priceless.

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