Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Is It - Get Used To It

So the housing market bubble broke and the stock market crashed. Now folks are waiting for things to get back to where they were. I'm afraid that isn't likely - at least in the near future and here is why. For whatever reason, the markets were out of control. Housing prices were way higher than they should have been and the same is true for prices on Wall Street. Both markets are going through a correction, but that doesn't mean that prices will go back to those unreal high points. Rather a correction means that prices will drop to where they SHOULD be.

People who are waiting for the stock market to go over 10,000 are basically waiting for the market to get out of control again. In reality, the market will make adjustments and find a new level of "normal" - the correct level.

And don't expect your house price to reach $400k again when clearly that price was false. Now your house is maybe worth $250k and that is the new "normal" price. To expect more is to expect a new out of control market. If you bought that house at $400k then I'm afraid you way overpaid and you will not likely get that money back for a long time.

We must look at the economy realistically. The prices of the past were not real. The terribly low prices we now have are probably not real either. Sometime soon (hopefully) the markets will find their new "normal" and we will all have to adjust to that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Wish You Well.

Our company, like so many others right now, just layed off a whole lot of folks - just in time for the Holidays. It has been a very scary couple of weeks as groups of terminations came through not knowing if mine was next. Thankfully I survived this round - but many I know did not. My heart goes out to them and I wish them all the best of luck finding new careers.

Price Drops?!

Well I honestly never thought it would happen, but today I saw a gas sign where all the numbers started with a 1. Of course my previous posts always suggested that there was no shortage (yet) causing the massive price increases and I guess this proves me correct.

But many folks are taking note that although gas prices are thankfully dropping, the cost of other goods like food are not. Prices have gone up sharply in recent months and blamed on fuel costs for transporting goods. Stores of all sorts must be seeing huge profits now as transportation costs go down. They need to pass the savings on to consumers just as fast as they raised the prices.

I think price drops to match lower transportation costs is unlikely due to greed. But, I was wrong about gas prices dropping - lets hope we see price drops elsewhere too.

Words That Irritate Me

There are several words or phrases that irritate me for some unknown reason:
  • "Reach Out" as in contact the person and see if you can get more information.
  • "Synergy" It seems whenever this word is used - there isn't any.
  • "Brick and Mortar" as in a physical store or building. Isn't physical a shorter word?

I guess I'm a minimalist. I'd rather "call" someone than "reach out" to them. Forgive me if I choose to use the shorter words.

Things That Should Always Be Free

There is no free lunch. But in my opinion some things should be free.

  • Air for tires - especially bike tires (why does the cost keep going up?)
  • Tap water - wherever it is available. Even if bottled water is sold there.
  • Towels in bathrooms. I refuse to support the bathroom attendant occupation - nothing personal to those in the business.
  • Advice - directing guests in your hotel is just good customer service.
  • Toilets - if you have to take a crap and have no money for the pay toilet - what do they expect you to do?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Do Unto Yourselves As You Do Unto Us

When a person doesn't manage their money correctly, they may overdraw their bank account. At that point the bank not only demands that you deposit money to make up the difference, they also charge a large overdraft fee - something I've never quite understood. If you didn't have enough money to begin with, why do they think you can suddenly come up with more?

Well now it is the bank's turn. Seems many of them have "overdrawn" their systems by investing in bad mortgages and other questionable business practices. If the banking theory of penalties works for them - it should work for us too. They need to come up with the money they owe NOW. And they need to pay a penalty for overextending themselves.

What is happening instead is that the banks want us to bail them out! They actually want the tax payers to give them money so they can continue to be in business. Can you imagine what the bank's response would be if you asked them to "give" you money to cover your overdrafts? That is the same response we need to give them.

Let the banks fail. The taxpayer's money can be used to bail out the good people who would lose their money because of the failure - not the bank itself. So simple.

Electoral College - Still a Bad Idea

The election is finally over and the winner is clear - this time. Depending on which tally you look at it was either a landslide (as viewed from the Electoral College) or fairly close (as viewed by the popular vote). In my opinion the electoral college system is a very bad and dangerous way of counting an election. As witnessed in this election, it can swing the votes for an entire state in a way the popular vote doesn't resemble at all. We need to end this system before we have another mess like 2000.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


The result of the election is incredible - and it has little to do with the historic nature of it. I truly believe that Barack Obama is a good and honest man. He is an eloquent speaker and believes in the power of the people. He has the ability to gather support from huge crowds. President Elect Obama has a vision of the future. He understands the many challenges we face. He will listen as well as decide. I truly believe he has the power to heal the international wounds created in the last eight years. I have great hope that he will accomplish much of what he promised. I look forward with great anticipation to his term(s) as President.

But be warned - I am not a "stand by your man" type of person as were many who supported President Bush. The promise of this new President is great, but he must earn the respect of the American people. I have no doubt he will do just that. I wish he could start today.

Change has come to America.

Official 2nd Class Citizen

Yesterday we witnessed an historic election as the people overwhelmingly elected the first African American President. I was so elated by this wonderful event I almost forgot that other blatant discrimination was voted in the very same day. Florida and California joined the ranks of many states that wrote discrimination against homosexuals into their constitution. And Alabama banned adoption by homosexuals -already the law in Florida.

How is it that we can finally break the racial barrier while clinging to other discrimination? Homosexual people are in every country, every state, every town and in a whole lot of families, yet we continue to be the most hated of all people in every corner of the world by the very act of our birth. How is it that lawmakers and some judges do not consider this unfair, especially when the argument against these rights are based on religious beliefs? Where is the separation of Church and State?

We cannot expect the rights of a minority to be protected by the majority. Would slavery have been voted away? Would women have been given the right to vote by popular vote of the men who already had that right? An issue of discrimination should never be voted on.

Equal rights for all people should be so easy. Why is it so hard?

Other countries have broken the racial barrier long before the USA when it comes to their countries leaders. Some even have equal marriage rights for homosexuals. But I can't think of one that has an openly gay President or Head of State. I wonder if it will every happen in my lifetime.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sick and Tired

This has been a very exciting election year - but I'm way over it by now. Especially since I already voted for our next great President - President Obama!

But I do have just one request: Whoever wins on November 4th - can they please start on November 5th? I don't think we can wait until January!

The Other Bubbles

We have several other bubbles out there similar to the housing market that are just waiting to burst. Some should be burst on purpose in my opinion. Several examples I can think of off the top of my head:

Health Care Costs
Insurance Premiums and deductables (including medical, home owners, malpractice etc.)
Higher Education

All of these industries are way over priced and their high costs are causing pressure on the market in general. When there is no clear justification for extreme prices then eventually something gives and a correction occurs. Some if these industries are feeding on each other the same way the housing market was feeding off of lenders. A good example is medical costs and insurance. Each keeps raising because the other will support it - and a bubble occurs.

When insurance companies won't pay the high medical costs - the bubble will burst.
When students can't get student loans to cover the high cost of education - the bubble will burst.

Anybody got a pin?

Leave Well Enough Alone

Here is what I think we should do with regard to the troubles on Wall Street:

absolutely nothing.

The market - and economics in general - is a very fragile and volatile balancing act. It doesn't take much to set off the balance - greed and corruption will tip it in a hurry. But once it gets out of balance I think it is best to let it correct itself, even if it hurts a bit. If we tinker with it by putting more money in banks or whatever the plan is, we might actually cause more damage.

I don't think any one person can totally understand the market and it comes down to a guessing game. We should leave alone things we do not totally understand. But I'm not an economist so that is just my opinion.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Undeniable God

Perhaps one day we will be able to scientifically prove the origin of the universe back to a tiny speck of dust that somehow blew up to create all things we know today. Even so, where did that speck of dust come from?

We The People

Here is something you won't hear me say too often - the Republican concept on the economy is not bad - the problem is it just doesn't work.

I'm talking about the concept that if you support business, the money will flow to the people who work for those companies. It really should work - but it doesn't for one simple reason. Greed. Those at the top, who make the rules and decisions, take a lions share of the profits while the rest of the company barely survive. But that is not the whole problem. Businesses exist because people need money to live. But for some reason, business has taken on a life of its own, with corporations growing and growing - never giving money back to the people for whom it should support. Corporations should be designed to generate money for the people who work there - not only to keep growing. In my opinion, every business, especially a public company, should reward every employee with a pre-determined percentage of the profits in addition to their actual wage. Can you imagine the motivation to succeed if you knew your bonus grows with the profits? This is a concept that cannot work in a totally free market because greed will always keep money from flowing back to the people.

Its people, people. Business exists for the people - not the other way around.

How Old Is Your Soul?

I ran across an interesting on-line profile the other day. The man described himself as having "an old soul who is tired". This man was only in his 20s.

As a person who is interested in many views of creation, life and the afterlife - I found this to be a very intriguing idea. If we explore the possibility that our souls live on after our bodies die, this young old man may have said something very profound. To me it would explain a lot. Why is it that some children under 10 years old are able to play extremely complicated piano concertos? Why do some very young people seem wise beyond their years? Why do some older folks seem like they should have more wisdom for their age? Perhaps it is the age of the soul and not the age of the person that really counts.

For me personally it may explain some other things - like why I have a very strong sense that I am supposed to be doing something really important, but I don't know what that is. This has bothered me for a long time now. I don't feel that my soul is either young or old - more like a middle aged soul with a lot of life left but that I have already learned a lot. I do feel like I've been here before and I experience a lot of that DejaVu feeling - more than other people do I think.

It is a very interesting concept that wise old soul presented to me.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Game, Set, Match

A great political observer, Gary Shandling, said on Real Time with Bill Mahr exactly what I have considered true for a long time now. The terrorists won.

The buildings struck on that fateful September 11th were not chosen because they were easy to hit. They were chosen for their symbolism. The terrorists had 3 goals in mind that day:
  1. Kill lots of Americans to instill fear because the fearful will always over react. (thus the planes and buildings with large populations)
  2. Set the wheels in motion to bring down the American economy (thus the World Trade Center)
  3. Reduce the strength of our military (thus the Pentagon and possibly the Capitol if the other plane had succeeded)

This carefully calculated plan needed one more very important ingredient - the correct people running the country to react (or rather over react) in such a way as to complete the goals started on 9/11. They must have known they had the perfect ingredient with the Bush Administration. I doubt even Bin Laden realized how perfect it would all unfold.

  1. An overacting Administration would help increase the total number of American casualties by starting wars they didn't know how to fight (Iraq was a super double bonus)
  2. By over reacting and starting those wars costing Trillions, the country would eventually fall into financial ruin (witnessed this month on Wall Street - and it ain't over yet)
  3. Our military is over extended to the point were we are now unable to defend ourselves for another attack. (Would Russia be acting this way if they still felt America was a super power?)

Yes, I hate to say it but I believe we feel into a giant, well planned, trap. Now, how do we get out? Its time we acted smarter than terrorists. Lets vote for the right President - one that doesn't keep the policies that the terrorists want us to follow.

The Rich Still Are (Again, Still)

Thank goodness the American tax payers were able to save Dick Cheney's investment portfolio!

Seriously folks - nobody wants to see the market crash. But I have to admit that if such a terrible thing were to happen, finally, it would be the rich that would pay the price. Those that have nothing still wouldn't. Look how quickly we came up with 800 billion dollars (!!!!) to save the rich. Again I mention Katrina and how years later many of the poor still don't have real homes.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of the banking industry failures - most mere mortals couldn't possibly understand this complicated mess. But one thing is for sure - the rich will save the day - for the rich. And Joe Six Pack will pick up the bill. Its like your wealthy boss taking you out to an extremely expensive lunch and then making you pay the tab.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Look Up

Solar energy can be turned back on as soon as the storm has passed and the sky clears. We have the technology to make solar energy as common as automobiles, it just needs to be made affordable. The money for energy independence can be used to fund oil exploration OR to fine tune solar and other forms of renewable energy. We heard the Republicans answer loud and clear at the convention "Drill!, Drill!, Drill!".

That is the wrong answer.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bush Defect-ors

I've been watching the Republican National Convention because I like to hear both sides of the story. I'm amazed at how differently they see the world as opposed to the way Democrats see it. But that's not the point of this article. What I find most interesting about the convention is that so many of the speakers have said that the country is on the wrong track (something Dems do agree with) and that John McCain is the man to save the day. But these are the same people who voted for President Bush twice and vehemently supported him through all his bad policies and judgements. Now (NOW?!) they are saying , well, maybe he wasn't right on a lot of things after all. Here is a little secret I'd like to share with the Republican party: You do not need to "stand by your man" when you KNOW he is leading the country on the wrong path. You do not need to vote for your candidate again when you KNOW he will continue the bad policies you already witnessed in the first term. Partisan politics is not the American way - or at least it shouldn't be. We must all vote for the best person for the job - even if they might be on the other ticket. I live by this rule.

John McCain is a good man - but I do believe that Obama has a better plan for the future of America. I hope some Republicans will see this too and vote accordingly. That said, I'm thankful that we do not have any bad candidates this election. President Bush should never have had a 2nd term but either of these candidates can do the job and do it well.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Now Pronounce

Here is my view on marriage. You notice I didn't say gay marriage because when you think about equality - it isn't necessary. See how easy that is?

I think all couples (gay or straight) should be considered Domestic Partners in the eyes of the Government. If they would then choose to be "Married" in a church then the churches can wrestle with the issue. We have a separation of Church and State for just this very reason. But the laws of Domestic Partnership would apply equally to all with respect to hospital visitation, immigration, property ownership, taxes, divorce, etc.

Oil Soup

As major hurricane Gustov churns in the Gulf of Mexico, we can all expect gas prices to rise rapidly again (until the election gets closer). This is yet another reason why off shore drilling is not a good idea. Major hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are not rare and, and due to global warming (which the oil folks don't believe in) will be even more frequent. So not only will we have to deal with high gas prices when the inevitable storms threaten (a threat is all it takes raise prices), we will also have to deal with the very real possibility that a storm like Gustov will damage the rigs enough to cause a major oil spill. This is the case in all the areas now under consideration for new drilling around the Gulf of Mexico, coast of Florida and coast of California. These storms are real, they are powerful, and they are inevitable. Putting more toxic rigs in these areas is stupid. Especially given the fact that the oil companies are not drilling in areas already approved on land.

As a side note - I pray this storm weakens before it makes landfall and I also pray it spares the New Orleans area. For some reason - 3 years later - many folks are still living in trailor houses there. That reason is the Bush Admin. The fence on the Mexico border is almost done but those homes have not been rebuilt.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My point made

As if to prove my point on my last article John McCain surprised everyone with is VP pick. The discussions, predictions, and forecasts over and over in the media over the last several weeks are now pointless in hindsight. It was a total waste of airtime when their were much more important issues going on in the world. The media needs to get out of the gossip business and back into reporting real news.

I rest my case on this one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

News Forecasting

The future is not news. We have entered an irritating age where people are so eager for drama that they would rather hear speculation than actual facts. All of the news outlets we have today spend most of their time reporting what might happen rather than what has been proven as true. This hearsay type of reporting is not only annoying but possibly dangerous. It gives power to the media to sway public opinion to what they think might happen - or more accurately - what they want to happen. To forecast the news is not technically lying so therefore it is not illegal. But it is not truth either and therefore it is not real news. And it is so very much worse in an election year. For example - can't we wait until the VP picks are announced to report it? Why waste so much time speculating who we think it might be - that doesn't matter. It is not news until it is a fact.

On a related note, I'm also irritated with the phrase "speaking on condition of annominity because they are not authorized to comment". If you are not authorized to comment then you should not be speaking #1 and what you say should not be reported #2. If you can't reveal your source then how can we know your information is fact and not just gossip? I want proof.

Isn't there enough real news and proven facts that people need to be aware of to fill your newscast, newspaper or website? Leave the gossip to the blogs.

Evil Entities

There are a few corporations that I refuse patronize due to their business practices I find either unethical or unacceptable. Here is my list of the most evil corporate entities that I try to avoid. "Try" is the key word here because some have become so close to a monopoly that they are hard to avoid.

Capital One
J.I. Kislac Mortgage Company
FOX News
Bank of America
AT&T (they deserve to be listed twice)
State Farm - you have been issued notice - shape up or you will soon be at the top of this list.

Sprint deserves honorable mention but despite all the problem I've had with them (and I've had a lot!) they continue to show good customer service and usually offer some sort of compensation for my inconvenience.

Fay Loves Florida!

Tropical Storm Fay has visited almost all of Florida causing massive rain events for a most of the state. It has been an interesting storm to follow because it seems to love land - only venturing into the water to take a quick breath to ensure its survival.

No offence Fay but we are tired of you - you may leave now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Election Gas

Did you notice that gas prices are finally dropping a bit? Well it is no surprise to me - an election is fast approaching. If you don't believe that gas prices are being artificially controlled, check out the prices over the last 8 years. Through that entire period prices have been rising rapidly except several months before elections where they went down considerably. That simply can't be a coincidence. Getting the prices lower before the election seems to show that those currently in power are working hard for the people. To me it shows they are manipulating the people.

"They" Might Be More Advanced

I read an article yesterday that said scientists are now theorizing that it might be possible to travel at greater than the speed of light using some sort of "bubble" that travels on a wave of "space time". But of course, the article states, this would be far into the future.

Well perhaps it will be far into the future for humans on this planet. But I strongly believe that life exists elsewhere in the Universe. In fact with the vastness of the Universe - the uncountable stars and planets that clearly exist - it is almost silly to think that we are the only planet with intelligent life. So what if other intelligent life does exist - who is to say they don't already have this technology that we are only theorizing about? After all, they may be billions of years older than we are.

Suddenly, the concept of visitors from other planets doesn't really seem that unlikely. I just hope they are more peaceful than we are.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sir, What is this charge?

New Buzzword alert - Surcharge.

Everyone from cruiselines, airlines, and even my power company are adding a hefty "fuel surcharge" to my tickets or bills. It's crazy!

When I buy a travel ticket, I expect the cost includes all the costs to the company providing the service plus a profit. The costs include equipment, depreciation, labor and yes - even fuel. Since when has fuel been an added on charge?

Have businesses forgotten that they can simply raise the ticket price by the added fuel costs? Do they think we consumers are so stupid that we won't add in the fuel surcharge when comparing prices? Oh wait, they don't tell you about the added surcharge until after you buy the ticket. I get it now. Kinda like those "Resort Fees" that started showing up on my hotel rooms after I already booked the hotel.

Seems very dishonest to me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fly Naked

I hope the airlines don't mind when I show up naked. That way I don't get charged and extra fee for luggage and as an added bonus I don't have undress for the TSA!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

All Books Were Written By Humans

Show me a document written by God alone, and I'll show you a whole lot of folks using the wrong document.

Even Jesus didn't write anything down. Every document (Bible, Koran, etc.) was written by humans - and all humans are limited by their own knowledge and their personal biases.

No document can claim to be the "Word of God". Doing so is Blasphemy.

If you believe a document is divinely inspired - that may be true but could never be proven. Use such documents as your own guide to personal growth.

The Bee and the Bird

I saved a bee from drowning in the pool this morning. I wasn't sure it would be able to fly after being wet but it shook its wings and off it went. It made me feel good.

Minutes later, my dogs caught and killed a bird in my yard. Life can be so strange sometimes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Buzz Off Buzzwords

Buzzword warning of the day - "National Security" As in "we need to drill for oil because it is a matter of National security". The republican propaganda machine has latched on to this phrase and will drill it into the ground (pun intended). It has always been the republican way in politics to instill fear into those who don't think well for themselves. Please don't be fooled by buzzwords this election year.

Other buzzwords that have worked well for them in the past:

Homosexual Agenda
Over there not over here
Gay marriage
Gays in the Military
Family Values
Gay Adoption
Time of War
Special Rights


To unbuzz these words:

WMDs (never found - the inspectors already knew this)
Homosexual Agenda (equal rights for everyone - a very simple agenda)
Over there not over here (how can we be everywhere? Protect us HERE)
Gay marriage (A basic equal right - Separation of Church and State)
Taxes (how do you run a country without money? But use it for the people not the wars)
Gays in the Military (already there - always have been - always will be)
Bible (who's Bible?)
Family Values (Gays have families too - most are very normal)
Gay Adoption (see above - why deny a child a loving home?)
Time of War (we should be ending the wars - not keeping them going)
Special Rights (equal rights - EQUAL)

Sold! For $4.10 per Gallon

Back during the early part of the presidential primaries, I decided that if we HAD to have a republican president again, I thought John McCain would be OK. Back then he spoke of alternatives to oil which would not only lower the current high prices but also help the environment in the process. I even wrote about my (possible) support for him if needed.

Now, as he has become the presumptive Republican candidate, he has certainly changed his tune. Suddenly the cure for our high gas prices is more drilling off our fragile coasts and wildlife preserves. His other solutions include coal for garsh sakes! What happened? Clearly Mr. McCain has been purchased by the big oil corporations that are currently running our country. Because once again, and I can't say this enough, there is no shortage of oil! (yet) So increasing supply will not affect prices - but it will increase PROFITS if we can get more of our own supply rather than buying it from "them". Isn't that what this all boils down to?

I can no longer even possibly support a person who can be purchased so easily as Mr. McCain has been.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Great Divide

The United States is deeply divided by those who still trust a dishonest administration and those who never did.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Reason I Hate Sports on TV

My DVR doesn't know that the game went into overtime. I missed the evening news again and I could care less about the stupid game.

Monday, June 02, 2008

It Should Be So Simple

Voting - how hard can it be? You cast your vote - that vote gets counted and whoever gets the most votes wins. Simple.

At what point did the American voting system get so complicated? And a better question is Why? I have tried for years to figure out the Electoral College system and I've never heard of Super Delegates until just this year. I can think of only one reason for such unnecessary complications and that is so the vote can somehow be manipulated. I'm not even sure my vote really counts anymore - especially here in Florida. But I will continue to vote. We all MUST vote. But seriously, we need to get back to basics.

Vote - Count - Done.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No Shortage (Confirmed)

President Bush went all the way to Saudi Arabia last week to try to convince them to increase oil production. But they told him the same thing I've been saying all along - we can increase production but it won't help lower prices because there is no shortage. Bush and Cheney are oil men - surely they must know this too? Of course they do - and don't call me Shirley.

So why did the President make the trip? I suspect to give the Saudi oil producers a "high five".

The Rich Still Are

I went for a bike ride last night - as I typically do. Riding down my street near downtown Fort Lauderdale I find nearly every other house with a sign that either says "For Sale", "For Rent" or Foreclosed". Meanwhile 3 miles later I'm enjoying a moonlit ride on the beach. Here I find many more homes with signs - only these are construction company signs. In this neighborhood, massive structures are all either being remodeled, or completely torn down to make room for a bigger ones. I guess a "housing slump" or "economic slowdown" only applies to those who were already challenged.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Corporate Control Made Easy

The free enterprise system we have today is flawed. It tends to create massive corporations that eventually get so large that they are able to control the market. No person or corporation should be able to exercise undue influence on the market simply because they own so much of it.

I have a suggestion that would fix this. It should be illegal for any company (or person) to buy or takeover another company. Every business should be its own entity with its own life cycle. A well run company could go on for a very long time, but a poorly run business would be forced to close – its customers moving to another merchandiser and its employees left to find a new job of their choice. Of course tt would still be legal to lure customers from another organization by providing a better service. Isn’t that the way it should be?

If we do not allow organizations to take over other businesses, we keep them from getting too big too fast. It also makes it impossible to eliminate your competition simply by buying them up. This can only keep prices and quality in check – they way it is supposed to work.

There is another upside to this plan in reduced stress level of the employees. Many workers in small business often find themselves suddenly, and involuntarily, working in a huge corporation. They never imagined themselves in this atmosphere and it is shocking to their system. I find myself in this exact situation right now and I can report it is extremely stressful. Worse yet, many will find themselves suddenly out of a job once the company reorganizes and removes duplicate positions. We all must work to support ourselves – aren’t jobs a good thing? The corporate control I speak of would not allow this to happen. We would work for a company that hopefully grows at a steady, natural pace. And if the business is failing - most employees would know in advance and can be prepared to find a new job.

There is already some oversight on this issue to keep companies from becoming monopolies. But a corporation can control the market long before it becomes a monopoly. The simple act of not allowing companies (or individuals) to buy other companies would make the market fairer for all.

Monday, May 05, 2008

American Gas is Cheap!

President Bush states that the only way we can get our gas prices down is to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Yet when I look at the gas stations, they all show nearly the same high price. If foreign oil was the problem, you would think that American gas companies would be selling their gas at a noticeably reduced price. But such is not the case.

What President Bush really means by his statement is that we need to open our precious natural nature reserves to American oil production so HE and HIS big oil companies can get that money rather than the foreign oil companies.

Let me re-state an earlier observation - there is no shortage of gas (yet). If there were, we would have long lines at the pump. No, there seems to be plenty of gas, it just costs 4 times as much as it should because the oil companies are CONTROLLING the price. This has all been carefully planned and executed in the 8 years of the Bush admin in conjunction with their buddies in the foreign oil companies.

The real answer is solar, wind and other natural forms of renewable energy. That is how we get less dependant on oil (foreign and domestic) and save our planet in the process. Don't let the continued LIES of the Bush admin fool you into thinking anything different.

Monday, April 28, 2008

That's Pretty - Cover it Up!

Who do mattresses have such nice patterns on them? First thing we do is cover it up with sheets and blankets. I've never bought a mattress because it was pretty (did I?) - I tried it out to see if it was comfortable. I wonder if that's why they are so expensive? Marketing can be so very odd.

Closed for real

I got an official written notice that my account is closed! Woo-hoo!

I will be running my credit report in about a month or so to see if they dinged my credit.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today is a good day!

I got answered by Rosie on Ask Ro.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Target Stores or

I love Target Stores! They are my favorite place for almost everything I need. Target. That is the place I shop - Target Stores.

And just in case Google Ads doesn't pick up Target Stores instead of the the bad company I wrote about, I also love

I love too! You can get practically everything you need on - most without tax and free shipping! One word of caution tho - always clear your Internet Cache when shopping on-line because sometimes if they know what you are shopping for they will show a higher price.

Why I Hate Targeted Marketing

I recently wrote a very negative article about a certain credit card company (read it here) and Google Ads, in all their wisdom, is using the little ad box on my blog to place an advertisement for that company! It all seems very counter productive. Good thing I also opened a case with the Better Business Bureau for that company that won't be named again (so they don't get another ad).

I think I'll write another article about a company I like so the bad company doesn't continue to get my targeted ads. Who shall it be................

Black Top

I wonder how much global warming is due to the fact that a significant part of the surface of the Earth is now covered with black asphalt for roads and parking lots instead of green grass or other natural coverings. Black surfaces absorb more heat - store it longer - and radiate it back out long after the sun sets. Even in very remote areas of the world you will find ribbons of blacktop roads.

We need personal vehicles that fly, have water for exhaust and can be folded up into a briefcase like George Jetson's car. That last part might be a bit far fetched, but I'm a firm believer that if it can be imagined - it can be done. In fact, I sometimes think that the imagination is actually a window to another dimension that actually can exist. I'll bet when my 4th grade teacher wrote on my report card "tends to daydream" he didn't realize I was being clairvoyant.

Has Capital One Seized Control of Their Computers?

I received a call this week (2 actually) that my request to close my Capital One account as been processed and the account is now closed. Folks - this is real progress! Click here to learn why this is news.

However, I was told in the message they left that it could be up to 11 days for the computer to spit out a letter showing the account is actually closed. I'll keep waiting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Why can't I get a decent size piece of chicken anymore? When I was a kid the chicken pieces were much bigger. Or so it seems.

I finally figured out that even though I grew up on a farm where our free roaming chickens were much healthier and possibly bigger, it was actually my perspective that had changed. I grew up! My body is bigger so the chicken seems smaller. Duh. :)

A Year Ago

Whenever I read an article about price changes - they always compare to the price of a year ago. So if you can keep your prices artificially inflated for over a year - it becomes the norm. Oil prices of over $100 a barrel are being compared to $70 a barrel one year ago. But if you think back just a little further oil rices were only $30 a barrel and remained that way for a long time.

Same for housing prices. You can see that housing prices have fallen a lot from one year ago. But if you look only a little further, you will see that even these lower prices are much higher than they were - say five years ago. And they were fairly steady for many years before that.

I'm not fooled by these mind games - but unfortunately a lot of folks are. The people that set the prices know most Americans have a very short memory and are taking advantage of that.

I am, however, counting on American's short memory when it comes to the election. I hope they will forget about all the in-fighting between the Democratic candidates and can still vote for whoever wins the nomination. I've said before that I do not dislike John McCain, but we will not have any real change if a Republican is elected because they will keep a lot of the current staff. In that case things will be pretty much the same a year from now.

I've Done My Part

I've spent my tax refund and my "stimulus refund" (before I even received it). Now can I get lower gas prices?

Speaking of which, I heard the other day that lawmakers are considering giving us a "gas tax holiday" for the summer. That will allow the oil companies to continue to make huge profits and at the same time eliminate whatever the gas tax was being used for (roads?, environmental studies?, Alternatives to fossil fuels?).

I didn't realize the gas tax was around 18 percent - that is a lot. But once again, I think a better approach would be to attack the high prices - not the tax. If OPEC can decide not to increase supplies, then clearly supply is not the problem. Oil prices are artificially inflated for the sheer reason of profit.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Turning Green

If I hear the phrase "going green" one more time I think I'm going to puke. It is by far the most overused, and often wrongly used phrase of our time. I'm just as tired of "environmentally friendly" I think the only real environmentally friendly thing we as humans could do is leave the planet all together. Everything we touch seems to have a negative impact on our delicate planet.

My point? Overuse of a marketing phrase is not helping. Next time you hear that phrase ask yourself is someone making money off of the thing being presented? I'll bet yes. We should use the word "efficient" - which implies we have put money aside and used common sense and all available technology to do the right thing from the beginning. We are capable of so much more than what we are doing - automobiles, for one, are a great example. We should be using next to no fossil fuels at this point - we have known for too long that it pollutes, costs too much and causes too many wars. We should have had more efficient cars long ago - or another form of transportation. But money comes first.

Lets be efficient about going green (barf!). Lets not talk about it - just do it!

Life seems an endless series of appointments

Dentist, vet, car service, cable installation, job interviews, haircut, and on and on and on.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Capital One - Not In My Wallet!

Beware of Capital One!

Think it’s hard to get a credit card? If you have a Capital One card it might be even more difficult to get out of it. I’ll try to explain my ongoing frustrations with Capital One as briefly as possible.

  • I noticed in February of this year that the fixed interest rate that I have had for the past 10 years had suddenly become a variable interest rate (which was much higher) and it had changed sometime late last year without any notice. Capital One said they had sent a notification of this change but I did not receive one. When asked why, after 10 years of being a customer in good standing, they would suddenly change my rate they replied that the economy had forced the management to make this decision.

  • I immediately opened a new account with my credit union with the same fixed rate I had before and even better terms. (props to Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union)

  • I paid my Capital One account in full and called to cancel the account. The agent read a paragraph that said, among other things, that the account would remain open until it had a zero balance for 1 month. I protested this condition but was told there was no way to get around it. After more protesting I finally convinced them to put a hold on my account so nothing would get accidentally charged which would interrupt this unavoidable computer cycle.

  • A month went by with no charges. However, at the end of the billing cycle, Capital One charged finance charges from the prior balance to my account even though they had assured me at the time I called to cancel that my account was paid in full.

  • I immediately used my reward points cash to pay this balance leaving a credit balance of $4.16.

  • After 30 more days (now 60 days total) my account remains open.

  • Yesterday and today I spent nearly 3 hours talking to 6 different agents, 3 of which claimed the title of Senior Account Manager. I insisted that I wanted my account closed TODAY. I was told by all of them that there was absolutely no way they can manually close the account. No Accountant, Programmer, Lawyer, President or any other being was capable of closing the account. It must run through the monthly computer cycles and it might be the end of May before my account will finally be closed. I never raised my voice, got angry, or forceful in those entire 3 hours – and neither did they (I’ll give them that) but nothing was accomplished – my account remains open.

  • I was also informed that a credit balance on my account wasn’t a zero balance, and it may take up to 90 days to refund that $4.16. (!!!)

  • It should also be noted that in the past Capital One repeatedly ignored my request to cap my credit limit and they continued to raise it without my permission. When asked why they said the computer was not able to put in this limitation.

  • The problem is that large open credit lines can damage my ability to seek credit elsewhere. I may have difficulties from a simple thing like getting a new cell phone to buying a car or a house. Having this account continue to be open is a BIG PROBLEM and I am at the mercy of a computer system that cannot be controlled and a company that doesn’t care about my credit score.

  • Since Capital One is unable to control their computer system at all, I feel it is my duty to warn other people about this and I will do so daily in bigger and bigger ways. I promise to end my “Beware of Capital One” campaign as soon as my account is closed in good standing. It is now up to them to determine how long this might go on. Not many people read my little Blog – but I am a member of many Blogs that do get read by thousands and I pledge to use those and other avenues to warn others until this matter is resolved and my account is closed in good standing. I can be quite creative – I hope they get this resolved quickly!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Global Warming

Global warming is happening so fast that even Easter was very early this year.

But seriously folks - it's real, it could be devastating to our entire planet and it is happening even faster than anyone predicted. It's too late to act - but we need to react NOW and we need to do so in big ways. Listen to the scientists - not the politicians or those who have a vested interest in keeping things the same.

So far there is only one planet that we know of where humans can live comfortably. Lets try to keep it that way.

Friday, March 28, 2008


A lot of folks are losing their homes due to the burst housing bubble and it's very sad. Now the banks own a lot of houses but even if they have to sell them at a much reduced price - they still make a ton of money because they esentially got the homes for free.

I guess it works out pretty well for them. Doesn't it always?

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I'll use analogies to make a couple of points:

On the Iraq war - Imagine if you will that Iraq (if they were capable) invaded the USA to knock out our evil President and liberate the people from the chains of Capitalism. They come here and succeed at capturing or killing our President. Would we, as Americans, then celebrate and allow these occupiers to change our country to a new Government? I think not. There would be a massive backlash and even those who do not like this President (a majority I think at this point) would fight back to keep our values, various religions, and freedoms. We would fight and we would fight hard until the invaders left. Is it so hard to imagine another country might do so as well?

On Capitol Punishment - If it were possible to know in advance that the baby you carry would become a violent psychopathic killer and there was nothing we could do about it, would it then be OK to abort that child in the religions that forbid abortion? Most religious people condemn abortion but celebrate capitol punishment. Is there really a difference?

On the Economy - If I applied for every credit card application that came to my mailbox and were accepted and then proceeded to max out all those cards thereby acquiring massive debt and interest fees - would I be considered rich or successful? Would anyone feel sorry for me because I was so stupid to do this? Our nation is run the same way. Through senseless wars lasting years while costing trillions, low exports because of substandard quality, and by sending our jobs overseas, we have maxed out our debt. We are no longer rich or successful (or stable or a super power).

Gay, By God

Gay is God's way. I don't know why God created (yes created) homosexual people but I suspect God had a very good reason to do so (I've guessed at what they might be in other articles). It's not for me to question God's wisdom - and it's not for you to question either.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't say you can - say you will.

Strike One

Do you believe the USA shot down a wayward satellite in one amazingly accurate shot? I'm not so sure I do.

Why wait several years until just a month before it would supposedly enter the atmosphere on its own? Why do it in such a hurry when a space shuttle is in orbit? Why spend a huge expense when it would likely not hit a populated area anyway? Why not build a satellite with a self destruct?

Not only do I think it was a fake military show of strength, but a very dangerous one possibly capable of starting a new arms race.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's Only a GAME!

Am I to understand there is a congressioinal hearing on steroid use in Baseball? What does baseball, or any sport for that matter, have to do with congress?

Our priorities are way out of line.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Everyone On Drugs?

Why can't they make dance music with words anymore? Even if they do someone remixes into mindless techno crap. I like to go to a dance club every once in a while - they used to be a lot of fun. Now it seems everyone is "somewhere else" right there on the dancefloor. And apparently the words to the songs are somewhere else too.

I don't get it.

Mind Control

Gas prices are only $2.95! We are so used to paying over $3.00 that you almost forget you were paying less than $1.50 only a short time ago.

Isn't it nice that they might be bringing some of the troops home soon? You almost forget that they sent a whole bunch of extra ones a while back so even though some might be coming back there will still be more there than there was before.

Isn't it wonderful the budget deficit might be reduced in a couple of years? You almost forget that it went up so fast that even if it is reduced it won't be back to pre-Bush levels for possibly decades.

The grocery store is having a fantastic sale! You almost forget that the regular price was much less than the sale price only a few months ago.

How wonderful we are liberating the people of Iraq and bringing Democracy to the region (if only it were true). You almost forget that the real reason was WMDs.

Do you see how this works?

Bite Your Vitamins

I'm just guessing they work better if they get broke up a bit. Otherwise they might pass right through without disolving. I seem to feel better since I started breaking mine up before swallowing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome to 1999

I just saw a story on the evening news on the hot new tiny little cars that are just now available here in the USA. But they are not new. I was in Amsterdam, Holland in 1999 and those cars were already in service. Why did it take so long for them to get to the USA? Because we want BIG BIG BIG cars. The Hummer was our choice. Americans prefer status symbols to environmental sensability. And now we all pay with higher gas prices and possibly irriversable environmental damage.

When will Americans learn?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State Of The Union

I can't tell you how happy I am to know we have heard the last State Of the Union address from President Bush. This time he smiled while he twisted the truth.

In better news - it is looking more and more like a Hillary (possibly Obama) / McCain presidential race in 2008. I'm can live with that.

The Ominous Cloud Has Moved Away Again

Prayers answered. A miracle perhaps?

I just wish the cloud would go away for ever.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So here is how it works.

  • Give taxpayer money back to the people to "stimulate the economy"
  • The people will spend this "free money" on outrageous gas prices - maybe on a trip they might have had to cancel before (that's nice).
  • The taxpayers "extra" money now ends up on the balance sheets of the oil companies
  • Ta-da! The economy looks much better - at least when viewed from the Bush Admin point of view.

I'm not really surprised that everyone is jumping on board with the wonderful idea - even though it didn't fix the economy the first time - and I dare say it made it much worse. After all, who would vote against "free money" during an election year? Even if it might be a terrible idea.

I feel that bad "money things" are about to happen. I wish it wasn't so.

The Ominous Cloud is Way Too Close

I wish I could run for shelter but there is nothing I can do.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Short Sighted Economics

Economics was not my best class - but I did pass the course in College. As President Bush plans to give more tax money back to individuals and business to jump start the economy, I can't help but think this is the wrong approach - again. True, it may help in the short term - like it did the last time - but it will make the long term situation worse. In fact we are in this situation again because it didn't work the first time. Let me use an analogy to help explain how I see it.

If I carry a large credit card balance then I am subject to monthly fees for interest on the money I owe. Sometimes, usually during the holidays, my credit card company might offer to let me skip a payment. Woo-hoo! Now I have more money to spend. But the trick is that the interest doesn't stop for that month and now I owe more because I spent more and I still have to pay the interest for another extra month.

Part of the reason the USA is having economic difficulties is because we have a HUGE trade deficit. This means that we owe other countries WAY more than they owe us and we pay interest on those loans. The money we use to pay those debts comes mostly from the taxpayers - especially if we are not generating interest on our own loans because we have a deficit. If we give money back to the people, we make our debt worse. True we might spend that money quickly and make it appear the economy is doing better but after a very short time we will realize we now owe MORE money and we still have to pay interest on all of that. And so we slip ever further into economic demise. I do understand that trade deficits may not be directly related to tax revenues - but all of it is connected.

No one likes taxes but that is the primary source of money our Government generates. If we keep cutting taxes, or giving money back, how will we ever pay our bills? It helps to win elections to say "no new taxes!" but unfortunately people don't realize what that means in the long term. What they should be saying is "Less taxes for the poor and more for the wealthy!" In fact, I believe if the Bush Admin. were to increase a large business tax or a personal wealthy tax, they would make real progress for long term economic growth - as long as those business and wealthy individuals didn't pass those costs on to the poor as they usually do.

The economy of a country is not something you can quickly jolt around. So, even though I could seriously use an extra $800.00 right now, I'd rather have a long term solution that would provide a break on gas prices, lower cost of food, and energy costs. Those types of savings would add up very quickly to more than $800.00 and would be enjoyed by all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Corruption At It's Worst

The Bush Administration remains Innocent of any wrong doing by the simple task of destroying evidence. Are they not the ones that created the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to prevent just such crimes from being covered up? Yet in 2003 e-mail tapes were "accidentally" recycled (overwritten) during the time of the Valarie Plame investigation. And years later the video tapes that would have proven that illegal torture had actually occurred were somehow destroyed - even though an investigating body required they not be destroyed.

Destroying evidence does not make you Innocent. In fact it makes your crimes even more heinous. This Administration has no morrals what-so ever.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm Starving

We now live in a world where genetically engineered food, cloned animals, farmed seafood, overcrowded chicken farms and the like have become a fact of our everyday lives. Why is this all necessary? One word explains it all – Overpopulation.

I don’t think most people, at least in this country, really think about that much. Why should we when there still seems to be vast amounts of open space in the middle of the USA? In fact from an airplane it seems we have a tremendous amount of space yet to be filled by humans. And so we go on with uncontrolled population growth – with some religions even preaching that it is God’s will that we do so.

Let me explain why population control is not only needed but is already becoming an emergency. If you look at a field where cows are grazing, you might think to yourself that there is room for a lot more cows in that field. But the reality is that each cow needs a lot of grass to live. You can only put a few cows in an open field or they would die of starvation. Most of the people in the United States live in large cities along the coastlines and other bodies of water. But the middle part is where we all get our food. And apparently that food is getting scarce which has prompted us to use technology to make more food from fewer resources.

In other parts of the world population control has been required for a long time. China is a good example. Once you get to a point where a place is overpopulated, there isn’t much you can do about it. I’m here to tell you that I think we are getting near that point right here in the USA. I hate to think what it will take before people realize this is a real concern. By that time, prices for food will skyrocket, shelves will be empty and people will be fighting for food. I dare say that it might already be too late. Remember, our population increases exponentially, and we have no natural predators. We must control our own population or we will pay the consequences.

PS Lets not forget about fresh water. Of all the water on the Earth, only 3% is fresh water. As our population explodes, our fresh water usage also increases exponentially. It is a very limited resource.

How can every radio station be #1?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Criminals Walk Free

I just want to SCREAM!!!!

The scandals, embarrassment and violations of the law have been unbelievable in the Bush Administration but the worst part is that NO ONE HAS BEEN CONVICTED, PUNISHED OR FIRED - NO ONE!!!!!

I just read an article in USA Today that said the Army has tossed out the conviction of Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan and he was cleared this week of any criminal wrongdoing in the Abu Ghraib case. The USA Today article states:

"Barring any startling new information, the decision means no officers or civilian leaders will be held criminally responsible for the prisoner abuse that embarrassed the U.S. military and inflamed the Muslim world."

The Bush Admin policy seems to be to just wait until the situation calms down and then just let people resign (with benefits), toss out their convictions or just let them keep their jobs. They did it with Hurricane Katrina, the Valarie Plame Scandal, Abu Ghraib, scandal after scandal too numerous to list. It is just sickening.

How are they getting away with this??!!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Plain Fair

I suppose it is OK to have different classes of service on an airplane, but I really believe that everyone in the same section of the plane should pay the same amount. You know, like buses, trains, ships and other modes of transport. Why do we have to be expert shoppers to get a good deal? Why do we have to wait (or act now!) to book our flight?

Next time you get on a plane, tell the folks around you how much you paid for your seat and ask what they paid for theirs. The answers will astound you and them. If everyone did that the airlines wouldn't be able to continue this type of unfair pricing. And booking a flight would be so much easier.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Don't Find Me - I'll Find You

Happy 2008!

Even though I had a lot of time to write lately, there are just so many things that are annoying me right now (gas prices, the war, the election, having to work through the Holidays etc.) that I was having a hard time picking one to write about – so I just didn’t write at all.

But today I had this discussion with my sister via e-mail that I thought I might share. She is in the marketing business and I am very anti-marketing as I have written before. I always vent my frustrations with my sister and hopefully she learns what things irritate people like me and can share that with her marketing peeps. This is important because what most marketing people don’t realize is that if you annoy us – we won’t buy from you.

I don’t know if I’m using correct industry terms here but I see two types of marketing - Passive Marketing where I seek information and Aggressive Marketing where they seek me. The Yellow Pages are a good example of passive marketing. All those ads are just sitting there waiting until I need to find something and then ta-da, there they are. A good example of aggressive marketing is an experience my sister had on a recent trip where they were harassed by timeshare sales people. They were on vacation – not even in the market for a time share. But, I can guarantee that if they were suddenly in the market for a timeshare, they would have known exactly where to find information – even in a foreign country.

Unfortunately, marketers only seem to use the aggressive style. I’m spending an unbelievable amount of time trying to opt-out of marketing programs. And I’m spending a lot of money trying to get content on my TV and computer without all the ads. In my opinion aggressive marketing is unproductive, expensive and frustrating for them and us.

The marketers might point out that their sales figures prove that their techniques work. I would challenge that notion. I would bet that if they didn’t present us with all those annoying ads they would still sell their products. We would find what we are looking for. But even if I need your item, I won’t click on that flashing ad in the middle of my news story. Sorry, you have annoyed me and I won’t support your business – next!

Imagine how peaceful a world without ads would be.
Imagine how nice the Holiday Season would be.
Imagine the reduced bandwidth on the Internet.
Imagine the paper saved.
Imagine the restored scenic views and reduced light pollution when the billboards are removed.
Imagine the phone ringing and it’s a friend.
Imagine no spam in your e-mail box.
Just imagine.