Chump Change

“I love the Canadians, they are so much more fun that those people down south.”

Chump Change is the title of this piece, it is not to be confused with that guy who has the goofy hair do.  Last night on the news they were talking about a local business owner who had been bilked out of some $15,000 by a major credit card company and some nefarious people down in Florida.  This entire thing, simple in most respects, took a little over six years to produce the amount of money that the business man lost.  As I watched all of this unfold, two things went through my mind.

  1. This isn’t right, he proves he was taken, and the credit card company only refunds to him $500. 
  2. He must have not been a very astute business man to get bilked out of $15K over a period of “six years.”  Surely someone sent him a statement?

The thing that is really scary about all this to me personally is this, “I just opened an account with these very same people.”  There is one little plastic card that is now headed for the lock box and total obscurity.

When Josh Ferrin and his family moved into their first house, in Bountiful, Utah, he discovered more than $45,000 in cash hidden in eight boxes stored in the attic.  After counting it all out, Ferrin contacted the oldest son of the late previous owners and gave him the money.  The son told him that “from time to time, his father would bundle $100 dollar bills with twine, climb up into the attic and put it in a box to save.”

Which reminds me of the story of a widow woman who’s husband did the same thing.  One day her and the preacher were talking about it.  She told him, “he would take a ladder, open up the crawl space in the attic, remove this box, put all this cash in it.”  And the preacher said, “What else did he do?” and she said, “he would tell me that he was going to grab it on the way to heaven.”

So the preacher asked her, “do you think it is still there?” and the old lady said, “I dunno.”  Fetching a ladder, the preacher carefully climbed up to the hole, slid the door aside and looked inside.  The old woman said, “Do you see anything?” and the preacher reached inside the hole, grabbed a box full of money, and handed it to the widow and said, “Yep, looks like he went the other way.”

Residents in Newport Beach, California are up in arms after discovering that many city lifeguards make more than $100K per year, and one, over $200K.  The lifeguard union president says the salaries reflect the extra challenges of patrolling a surfing mecca.  Lifeguarding there is different than any other place in the world was the quote I believe.  Uh yeah?  Sure.  Pass me the sunblock.

I always like someone with a wild sense of humor.

The Centers for Disease Control posted an emergency guide for how to respond to an attack by flesh-eating zombies.  the page, posted to draw traffic to the CDC became so popular that the server went down.  Good news, it is November, and television just might get back to what would be in most cases “considered normal.”  I hate the month of October and all the ghoulish fun they want to shove down our throats.

I love the Canadians, they are so much more fun that those people down south.  A Canadian couple is keeping their newborn child’s gender a secret in order to make the world ‘a more progressive place.”  they say that their 4-month old, named Storm, will reveal his or her gender only when “Storm decides he/she would like to share.”

They feel it is obnoxious to identify a child’s gender on the basis of their genitalia.  “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what is between their legs.”  Wow, I mean how incredible is that?  Wake up one Friday morning and discover that you have been doing it all wrong for over 50+ years and did not even know it.

Have a great weekend, if you go out on Saturday Night and happen upon a shapely, somewhat attractive he/she, well, just take a guess at it.

It will all work out later on I suppose.

OOO

Here is what folks have been reading at Creative Endeavors this week:

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A Moment In Time  
Mr. Gorsky  
Trailer Project I

Off The Hook

OPEN ROUNDAnother spring time day is heading our way, that is good, soon, the dog days of summer.  Believe me I am ready, this is the time of the year when you feel like whistling even though’ your shoes are full of slush.

I see where officials in Denver have arrested a Mormon Cardinal on charges of running a Ponzi scheme for the past twenty years.  He is alleged to have bilked 20 people out of $40 million and has admitted to “never actually investing one penny of it” in any fund anywhere, ever.

More than likely he will say that Satan had a lot to do with it, we are so quick in this country, to shift the blame elsewhere.

On the legitimate side of all this, Bernie Madoff the King of Losers, has found a buyer for his investment business (which he claims is “profitable”), proving that even in hard times like this, you are still able to ring up a sale.  Now as I weigh in on this issue this morning, I am quite aware that I am going to come off as cynical and I suppose uncaring about all this, so be it.

The truth is, “If these victims had put their money where the rest of America put their money, the majority of them would still have it.  They lost it because they wanted MORE because they were GREEDY and put it out to a crook.”  As the old axiom states, “If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.”  Now here is the part that really sticks in my craw.

Now the I.R.S. is going to give them a write off on their losses, hard to believe, especially to those of us who pay thru the nose.  Wage earners who invest in mortgage payments and college tuition for our kids.  But it should not come as a big surprise to anyone; this is after all a country that routinely rewards the malfeasance of big-biz, the rich, the bogus, the corrupt, the inept with bonus payments and special incentives.

The next time you turn on the TV and hear some expose’ on this crap or pick up a paper and read about another scheme and its victims.  Stop and consider this.  Of the 400 richest taxpayers in the U.S., 31 of them paid taxes at an effective rate of less than 10% last year.  Thanks to tax deductions, tax-free earning credits and other maneuvers, according to the IRS.  No telling what the other 369 pulled down.

Is this a Great Country or what?

It has apparently got so lucrative that the baseball card people are getting in on the action too.  Baseball card company Topps this year will release a set of cards devoted to the worlds biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks, and bamboozlers.  Among the people and companies featured are Bernard Madoff, Charles Ponzi, and Enron to name a few.  We not only celebrate the evil in our midst, we seem to adore and worship them.

If all this wasn’t so tragic and pathetic, it would make a good skit for Monty Python.

So before you reach down for the crying’ towel, and decidedly do your part to fill it with tears, for all these so-called victims, the elite of Palm Beach, the A List of Hollywood.  Think about it.  They had plentiful evidence that Madoff was running a scam.  Anyone who actually took the time to “kick the tires of this thing” could surely see it for what it was.  In a way it is sad, they were seduced by the mystique or so flattered to join in the group of followers that they gladly forked over the cash.

The SEC should have been on the ball, everyone will scream, and to a point, that is correct.

But that doesn’t mean the investors themselves are off the hook.  Blaming your woes on the government (SEC) is like asking a child why he blames his mother for letting him start a fight while she was not looking.  Now everyone is here in place, ready to sign up for the last dance of the evening, but no one it seems wants to pay for the band.  There are two kinds of failures presented here for our perusal.

“Those who thought and never did and those who did and never thought.”

And now the I.R.S. is going to reward them for their stupidity.  It is almost laughable, if it were not so sad.  As much as things change in the twenty-first century, remarkably they often stay the same.  When you lie down with a dog, you end up smelling like a dog after awhile, so it is with these so-called victims.  The heroes of finance are like beads on a string … when one slips off, the rest soon are to follow.

Surely there is a place reserved in hell for people like Madoff and the Mormon in Denver.

My definition of hell would be a place where the Muslims are the police, the Iranians are the comedians, Mexicans are the defense force, the common language is English and the American’s handle …  ALL THE MONEY …. Yeah, that could get pretty lame awfully fast.

OOO

Wednesday Offering

SPRING CLEANING

SPRING CLEANING

Hump Day!  Hang in there Bucko, you almost have it made.  Another day and another dollar, here is #763 for the year from your favorite Scaramouch of Cyberspace.  Another Wednesday in a long line of middle of the week ramblin’s.

Always kind of like Wednesday, don’t really know why, just do.  Middle of the week, for a five-day wage slave in Oklahoma, and almost the weekend.

They roll the numbers on PowerBall on Wednesday, so there is always the remote possibility that you could be a Millionaire by the end of the day, chances are slim, next to nothing, but still, it could happen.

Figured yesterday’s post would generate a lot of comment traffic and no one checked in to say what they thought about it all, and that kind of surprised me.  I was absolutely sure that would be the thing that filled my middle of the week sojourn, but never the less, it did not happen.

That is the way it goes …. First your money …. And then your clothes.

You know if all our national holidays were observed on Wednesdays, we might conceivably wind up with six-day weekends.  Which is a great idea, if you have the money necessary to get through a six-day weekend, that is.

Mr. Obama signed the $787 Billion Dollar I.O.U. yesterday and I guess we could talk about that, but to tell you the truth, I am kind of sick of it.  Bankers, the economy, all of it, it just keeps going on and on, and on, stop and think about it, all of this started something like 6-7 months ago, and it keeps coming up like a day old cold pizza that you ate just before bed.

He hasn’t been in office thirty days as of today, but I am going to have something to say maybe on Friday about this and what has been going on.  That gives him at least two more days to find someone to fill the spots in the government that need filling, I hear they have not used the “Witness Protection Plan” yet, might find some suitable candidate over there?

half-dome

Changed my screen saver to Half Dome at Yosemite, an interesting place, currently being loved too death by too many visitors like a great many of our National Parks.  A truly beautiful and wonderful place, I have been there several times, there is even a spot in Yosemite that they say at the turn of the century if you stood there, long before the industrial revolution and looked hard, you could see the masts and sails of the sailing ships in San Francisco Bay close to 100 miles away.

That to me is simply amazing.

So what is it that we talk about, mid-way during the mid-week rant?  How about gasoline prices.  Why is it with the economy in ragged torn pieces continuing to crumble and the price of oil on the market plunging, that gasoline prices continue to edge upwards towards the two dollar mark?  Oil prices are down about 16% but the price of gasoline is UP and that just doesn’t seem right to me, the average, I need $20 worth type of guy here in the Heartland.

Things are so bad that assistant manager at a WalMart in St. George, Utah held his wedding this past week in the Garden Center of the store, right next to the Tiki Lamps and Barbequer accessories.  Greg Scott Ford’s bride, Corissa Otto, explained the venue by saying “We are so darned broke.”  The couple, who first met two Valentine’s Days ago, exchanged vows Saturday before a judge.  St. George is a sleepy little Mormon town tucked into the Southwest corner of Utah, which shares a common border with not only Arizona, but with Nevada too.

An Interesting place.

No free lunch this week and I had to pay my own way for a grease bowl and a hairball for lunch.  Nuts.  I read where this Bernard Madoff currently being confined to his $7 million dollar apartment in New York was being snitched off for “NINE YEARS BY A WHISTLE BLOWER” to the SEC and no one paid any attention to him, until after it all came tumbling down and the investors were wiped out.  Another current example of GOOD GOVERNMENT at work for you, the taxpayer.

Nine years.  Man, that is almost as bad as the messenger they sent to the Bush compound with news of the impending 9-11 disaster and Bush dismissing him and sent him packing because he wanted to finish his vacation.

People working in government could not find first base at Fenway Park if they were led summarily one-by-one onto the field.

Last:  “Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, they may pull rabbits out of a hat in order to make all this work, but am almost certain that they do not have the ability to read your mind.  If they cannot do this, and something is bothering you, the poor slob picking up the tab for all this, then it would be best that you let your government partners know about it.”

If you need the telephone number … Let me know.  In the meantime … Stay Current.

OOO

“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)

Cuddling with Yangyang

Now that the election is officially over, what happens to all that money that is left over?  I was wondering, if they (the people that helped get Mr. Obama elected) will get a Christmas bonus.  It appears that everyone else is getting a wonderful package of something this year, everyone but the taxpayer that is.

I wonder how much NBC, CBS and ABC will get?  I am also noting that the stock market, ever since the election has concluded, has been in decline.  You know what the means don’t ya?

“The Stock Market is racist.”

Where is Joe Biden?  All of a sudden, he is nowhere to be found.  Could it be that because of the recent choice of Hillary he has decided to just sulk, wasn’t Old Joe picked for his “expertise in the foreign field?”  Barack Obama is “either shrewd or delusional” picking Hillary.  I don’t know what is up with that, but I cannot figure it out to save my life.

Thanks are in order.

Recently the Obama camp put out a note thanking the press for their coverage and John McCain thanked them also for that “one positive story” they ran on him last December.  I hear Ann Couter has fallen and broke her jaw, and it is now wired shut.  Rush however is reported to be doing just fine, on some days you win a few and you lose a few.

C’mon Orin are you outta your mind?

Senator Orin Hatch from Utah is proposing that outgoing President Bush give convicted felon (his new title) Ted Steven’s a pardon.  Now the door is officially kicked open to grant a pardon to a convicted felon, “for his years of faithful service to the country.”  What a crock.

The man should get probation for the rest of his natural life, he should forfeit his pension and/or benefits, and should be dismissed from the highest body in the land.  He is a disgrace, he is not a national hero.  Senator Hatch needs to sit back down in the cheap seats and be quiet.

Recently I came across this little eye-opener.

Several years ago I was in a training course on Capitol Hill in which we had an instructor from the Library of Congress. She explained that it was her job to answer any question posed by a member of Congress. She told us that the two dumbest questions she’d ever heard were printed out, framed, and hanging on her office wall.

The first was a Congressman who called one day saying he needed information “on the pros and cons of child abuse.” The second was a Senator who called at 11:15 one morning saying that he needed to know by 11:30 “what Abraham Lincoln did after leaving office.”

Dumbfounded, she told the Senator “he took a very slow train ride back to Illinois.”  For this the Senator thanked her and hung up the phone.

The instructor then turned to our class and said “THESE are the people running our country!” If she’s still alive our instructor is probably saying the same thing about Orrin Hatch today.  As much as I am afraid to say this …  “I don’t believe even Bush is this stupid to consider pardoning this guy.” … But I have been wrong about Bush before.

Don’t get sick … Man, don’t get sick.

I just finished a bout with some especially nasty stuff, at first I thought it was food poisoning but now, I am not sure.  Vomiting, diarrhea all the associated nasty stuff.  Made me think of all these poor souls in Asia, Africa, third world countries, that deal with this type of sickness on a daily basis because of bad water.  I cannot imagine how miserable life would be if this was an ongoing all the time thing, it surely was not fun for me.

And to top it off, it is very expensive these days to get sick.  Taking a look at the health care stats in the Bush/Rove era, it’s clear that most Americans have seen a decline in their health care at the same time that health insurance companies have reaped tremendous gains:

Since 2000, the ranks of the uninsured have grown by 7.2 million.  Health care premiums have doubled under Bush. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have risen from $5,791 in 1999 to $12,680.00 in 2008.  The fastest growing component  fastest growing component of health care is health insurers’ administrative costs.

Enrollment in Medicare private plans doubled. Through such plans, insurers “have increased the cost and complexity of the program without any evidence of improving care.”  The combined profits of the nation’s largest insurance companies and their subsidiaries increased by over 170 percent between 2003 and 2007.

Now there are two good reasons to live in Canada

First, they have socialized medicine and it is cheap, not the best, but it is reasonable.  And their courts have just ruled that if you are obese you are officially “disabled” and therefore have the right to two seats on an airliner for the price of one.  So go ahead, have that extra piece of Canadian Bacon this morning, it really doesn’t matter in Canada.

Bad Week to be a Russian

Global market forces are starting to apply in the Soviet Union and a recent survey has found that the average Russian is drinking about six times less vodka due to financial hardships.  The government has to to do something for these people trying to afford the most basic essentials of life.

And finally as promised yesterday (Tuesdays Funnies).

Anthropomorphism, after a Chinese college student climbed into a zoo pen so he could hug a panda  bear.  “Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him” said the student from his hospital bed.  “I didn’t expect he would attack.  I don’t remember how many times I got bit.”

Kind of reminds me of my first wife … she was so dog-gone cute and cuddly in the beginning … but towards the end … well it just brought a tear to my eye it did.

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