Please visit my other blog http://www.livingwithasnowman.blogspot.com/ and my NEW discussion blog at http://www.thehorseyouroadinon.blogspot.com





Sunday, June 18, 2017

More on Taxes, Still No Death...

This is part 2 of the taxes and economy. If you have not read Part one (the post immediately prior to this one) you may want to. It can be read either before or after reading this one)

To quickly catch you up in case you have not read the other, I was commenting on the issue of people posting so vehemently and positively about cutting taxes and the effect that has on the tax revenues. What amazed me is that the belief runs BOTH ways! It would seem to me that this is nothing more than a math problem. Now, although I hated math in school, I have always loved it for research and problem solving. Because, Open Core and Modern Math be damned, 2 + 2 should ALWAYS = 4! The same is true for complex problems. If you can distill it down to math, the answer is indisputable.

In the spirit of disclosure I did go into this with the hypothesis that cutting federal income taxes would increase tax revenues when given enough time for those with increased after-tax incomes to do something with it - spend it, invest it in a new business, add growth to an existing business, or just put it in a bank - then let them do the above. However, I did go into this needing to find proof of my hypothesis or to disprove it.

The first thing I found is that is is VERY difficult to find historical economic figures WITHOUT commentary or "adjustments". I was looking for raw data as well as different opinions. I found a lot of the latter and after research, enough of the former. With more disclosure I also found this issue, like a lot of complex issues with strong held opinions on both sides, is very hard to pin down. As I looked at tax rates, tax receipts, and the economic figures for the same period I realized just how complex this issue is! I also found that nowhere on the internet (at least that I can find and I am somewhat legendary for my ability to find things on the internet!) is a compilation of all or even most of the economic data over history. So, I made my own. Below is a spreadsheet I made to help me see the "big picture". (most entered by hand or cut and pasted by me when I could find data that allowed that!)

I hope you will be able to click on this and see it larger. If not, and you have an interest in the file - email me and I will send it to you.
The columns are: Tax rates at certain income levels by year for every year from 1960 through 2014. The income levels and the start and stop dates were arbitrarily picked by me early on when I realized I had to limit my data somewhat. Income taxes started in earnest in 1913, but to include that much data and to find corresponding data was too large a task. The "modern" tax cut did not start until JFK (implemented by Johnson after his death) in the mid-60s, so that is why 1960. These are at the rates with incomes NOT indexed by inflation. I struggled with that as well and have figures that are indexed but it did not make much difference in my evaluation.
Then we have Total Government Revenue for the same years, followed by Spending. These are indexed to either 2009 or 2012 dollars (sorry I lost my notes  - there is not a lot of difference between those two luckily) The main takeaway I got from these figures is WE SPEND TOO DAMN MUCH! Our revenues have grown tremendously. But, our spending has grown even more!
That is followed by the Income Tax Revenue for the period. The first revenue number included all government revenue. This is just that portion that is collected from individual income taxes. Since that is the point of my study, it was critical that I find these figures.
Then we have GDP with the percentage increase/decrease year to year.
Next is the Median Household Income for each year. To refresh your memory, a median of a group of numbers is that number which has half the numbers above it and half below it. This and the other household income numbers start in 1967 as I cannot find these figures from years before.
Then is the Mean (average) Household Income for each quintile of population (fifth).
Again, for explanation for those of you that do not use math often, it is important to look at Medan and Mean when comparing a large group of data. Take a group of seven incomes - 10K, 12K, 16K, 25K, 28K, 30K, & 50K. The median = 25K. The mean is 28.5K. That is a close approximation of the same. Then use the same numbers but let's say the top wage earner makes 500K instead of 50. There are still six of the numbers exactly the same but the mean goes to 103.5K. That is not at all reflective of the 25K which is still the median. Both have relevance, so I found and posted both.
Lastly I found the Unemployment Rate for each of the years.

I have just decided to do this in three installments. You can study the figures above if you like and see what you see. I have already put my thoughts in the first post at a high level. I will do some more detailed analysis in the next post.

FYI, I have tried to be as thorough as possible. I have tried to look at this with an open mind and from as many "angles" as possible. Also, these figures were gathered from many, many sources. I did use .gov sources wherever possible. Every figure was found on in at least two places before I used it. Other than rounding errors, they all did so. There could be errors here, if so they are mine and totally unintentional. As I said above I did have to manually enter most of these numbers. They have been checked and rechecked but errors are possible. You are welcomed and invited to try to find conflicting numbers. Just remember I used numbers that were adjusted for inflation to 2009/2012 figures with the exception of the incomes on the tax tables.

More to come...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Death and Taxes - OK, Just Taxes

I have been working on this one for a LONG time. I have studied and analyzed for hours. It is time to get something in print! I know my detractors think I just spout off figures and find facts to support my thoughts and ideas. Wrong lizard breath! I actually do research on every post I do here (or in my life) that involves facts and figures to be found. I come to my opinions AFTER research. Sure, I go in with ideas and sometimes even hopes of what I will find. However, I have sometimes found that my ideas are not supported. Rather than scream and cry or stick my head in the sand I change my opinion or ideas. Such is life.

This post is one concerning one of those "facts" that gets thrown out every so often - that cutting taxes raises (or lowers) government revenues. It amazes me that people have such steadfast and positive thoughts and opinions on this one. Most either believe it is a definite raising of revenue or a definite cutting of revenue. I can tell you after hours, and hours, and hours of studying numbers I have a good idea that my original thought that tax cuts bring more money into the federal coffers is marginally correct - more to come. I can say with almost absolute certainty that it does not lower revenues, except sometimes in the first year the cuts (or increases) go into effect. That makes sense as the people that have the money have to adapt and change their investment and spending strategies based on the tax codes. That takes some time to compute and execute. See next:

To me that is the issue with trying to determine what the effect of a tax change will be.The major tax collected by the federal government is the INCOME tax. (a LARGE portion of the money comes from payroll taxes like social security and medicare/aid - but that is another subject) Income and wealth are two entirely different things. A very wealthy person may have an income lower than yours. They can be worth millions upon millions and show a rather middle class income. That is because they do not necessarily work a job with a salary or draw a definite income. They own things - like companies, land, buildings, ideas, etc. We do tax those at certain rates and certain times, but not at the level of income and not consistently. So, a wealthy person can choose to only take the minimum amount of income that they need to exist at the lifestyle they desire. The rest of their assets are not taxed as income because it is not used to produce income. This is especially true when taxes are very, very high on the highest levels of income. That is also the reason the tax revenues do not go down, and have historically gone up within two years of a tax cut. They rich use their wealth to create income - then pay income taxes.

There is an old standard that says "I never got a job from a poor person" or variations of that. It is argued where it came from and who said it first. It has caused much argument, but there is definite truth there. To offer employment to someone, a business must have wealth, cash flow, and ultimately income. Now, one can work for themselves and not take a salary or at least much of one. One can work for a company and not take an income. Instead, you might take stock or stock options/ownership in the hopes that someday that will pay off. However, wealth provides income. So, the standard is true, at least at the base level. That is why lower taxes on those with higher incomes (and higher wealth) is good for the economy.

That brings up another part of this discussion. There are many that say that the "trickle down" economic theory does not work.There are just as many that say it does. What amazes me about those statements is that both will use Ronald Reagan's presidency as the proof. "Reagan found that out" is the defense for both sides of that argument. Amazing, to me at least. So, one of the reasons this took me so long to do was I included the following in my studies:

     1) income tax rates for the years of 1960 through 2013
     2) average household incomes for the years of 1967 through 2014
     3) the mean household incomes for each quintile for the years 1967 through 2015
     4) the mean income of the top 5% for the years 1967 through 2015
     5) the unemployment rate for the years 1960 through 2016

The dates vary because the sources varied. I used no figures that I could not find matching from at least two independent sources. I used the IRS.gov and the US Census figures where available.
I got this additional information due to a comment a friend of mine made about a post I did on Facebook critical of people saying tax cuts are bad. He expressed a valid point that the economy is extremely complex. Just looking a one part of it (or changing one part) is not a good measure of what is going on. We all know the story of the group of blind men that come upon an elephant. Depending on what part they are at, they all have a totally different "vision" of what it is they have come upon.

This is going on way too long. I will say this:
     1) I found that it can be said that tax cuts do NOT cut tax revenues. There is no case where the tax rates have been cut that two years later the revenue was not equal to before the cuts.
     2) In most instances there was growth in revenue within 2-3 years after every tax cut.
     3) Unemployment tends to go down three to four years after a tax cut in almost all cases.
     4) I am still evaluating incomes. That is a tough one. It appears that tax cuts have little to no effect on very low incomes. It does seem to help the middle and upper classes.
     5) Recessions, wars, etc are VERY hard to factor in or factor out. The complexity is crazy. The first three statements are ones that I think I can back up with figures. You can be the judge.
I will have more actual facts and figures in the following post. I will do my best to get it done in the next few days - a week at most.

Here is a two sentence take-away - if the tax cuts do not reduce revenue, do not hurt employment, and do not hurt household incomes; why would we not do them? Keeping money out of Washington and in the hands of those that earn it would seem to me to be THE superior goal.

More to come. If you stuck with me through this treatise - kudos!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Tribute Video

I have a bit of a hard time with Memorial Day due to the fact my wife was in the hospital and died over Memorial Day weekend.

video
I produced this today in honor of Memorial Day and all those that died for this country. (my first video slideshow).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Meet a Trump voter

I have commented in various forums and in person to many that I am amazed at the vitriol and close-mindedness that is involved with all things Trump. I understand people being against his policies, but to truly hate and denigrate someone that voted for him is beyond me. For those of you that will take the time to read this, I wanted to introduce you to someone that did vote for Trump - ME! (I will do my best to keep this succinct, but...)

First, a small bit about me: I think and hope people that know me would vouch that I am not racist, homophobic, or misogynistic in any degree. Have I used the "N-word" - yes. (of which I have posted on before - I find it amazing that the one word that is totally off limits now in any discussion is the "N-word". There are MANY words that not so long ago would NEVER be used in polite company, that are widely accepted; but I digress). That word was thrown around like leaves blowing in a storm when I was growing up and well into my adulthood. It was used at, for, by, and directed to; whites, blacks, native Americans, etc. In addition, I have told jokes where blacks, browns, blonds, Polish people, Asian people, homosexuals, rednecks, farmer's daughters, and almost any other group you can name or think of were the punch line. I have been told jokes about those above named groups and many others BY those above named groups and many others. I have never watched Fox News, but neither have I watched MSNBC or CNN in 20 years. The only exception to this is Election Night. It is a fascinating sociological and psychological experiment to compare coverage of the election from the perspective of these comparatively - which I did the night of the last two national elections, but I digress again. I do not watch TV news of any type with the exception of the occasional BBC World Report or RT (Russia Television) when big events are happening. I get my news from news feeds, RSS feeds, and the websites of many, many, many sites. I do not get news from Facebook (I see it, but do not take it at face value, I research it) or any TV show (see previous). I consider myself an educated person that is trying every day to broaden my horizons and knowledge more. I typically vote Republican, although I would rather vote Libertarian; and have voted Democrat, especially when I know or know of the candidate personally. I am a staunch Libertarian Constitutionalist in belief, something that most people do not understand at all. I believe in a strict adherence to the Constitution and a very, very marginalized and small Federal Government. I do not think the Federal (or State in most cases) government should be involved in Education, Student Loans, Healthcare with the exception of Veterans and government employees, most R&D when not in the National interest for defense or such, support for the Arts, or most of the other things most have come to expect from the government. There are other posts here where I wax poetic on the Constitution and the Federal role in our lives, look around if you wish to know more.
Which sets up my Trump vote.

We are broke as a nation. We are paying in interest now at a rate of over $350 Billion a year to service our debt. That is more than we spend on Medicaid! What amazes me is every time ANY program is to be trimmed or even kept at the same level as the previous year - people SCREAM - "YOU CAN'T CUT THAT PROGRAM!" It does not matter what it is. That is insane. To give you an idea - the TOTAL spent by the Federal government as recently as 2000 was a little under $2.2 Billion. By 2010 we were spending $3.4 Billion! Last year we spent $3.5 Billion. There is no way we cannot absorb a 10% CUT in all Federal spending. Hey, if we went back to 2007 numbers it would be a 20% cut, So, we have my first reason for voting Trump. He understands budgets and cutting spending to reflect revenue.

We have WAY too many elected officials - of BOTH parties - that have made lifelong career choice of Washington. That is totally contrary to the Founding Fathers thoughts. The reason the House of Representatives term is set at 2 years is because it was to be a service to the public. It was envisioned that gentlemen (and later gentlewomen) would leave their estates and jobs and do the "work of the people" for two years AND THEN GO HOME!! Then a new batch would come in. The advantage to this is the Representatives could really represent their constituents as they were among them recently and were going back to them shortly. Trump and his bringing in (at least to the Executive branch where he can) of business people that have money and fame enough, is what we need. Although I think for the most part the career politicians on both sides are terrible, this is one area that I still see a small difference in Democrats and Republican. The elected are very similar, but their appointees are different. The Trump appointees are especially different, and better in my eyes; here is why: If you look at the appointees that Obama had and the appointees and such that Clinton had around her they were looking to "make it" through government service. The Trump appointees already have made it. They all took a pay cut to be there. In most cases they took a prestige cut. Rex Tillerson as the C.E.O of Exxon probably had more access to world leaders than as he does as Secretary of State. He definitely had more freedom to actually get things done! I voted for Trump to help break up the career politicians lock on Washington.

The appropriation of land and land use under the previous administration in the interest of "conservation" or "ecological reasons" is another reason that I voted for Trump. The grab of land from States is a travesty. Again, as a Libertarian I am for private ownership and usage of land and assets. If a person wants to put an oil well, a wildlife preserve, or an house on a land they own; they should be able to - without asking permission! I am for ecological preservation. However, I do not feel the Federal government has any ability to do this, at least not in any degree better than most individuals or State/Local governments. Trump gets this. Land ownership was one of the foundations of this country becoming the richest country on Earth.

Carrying on with the ecological and such issues, I am grateful that we have a President that is willing to say the "Emperor has no clothes" and call the "environmentalist" idiots with the global warming scare tactics out. I have said it before - this is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of the world. Every doomsday prediction made by these demigods has not only not come true, in a lot of cases it has not even been close. I have done many posts on this topic as well where I lay out fact and figures, so I will keep this brief. I voted for Trump because he is not to be bullied by the idiotic pseudo-science of global warming. (I know, 97% of scientists, blah, blah - bullshit! - that is a made up figure.) Screaming "because we said so" is NOT science! Read my other posts if you want more facts. I do know we have to live here. I do believe in caring for our home - Earth. However, not at the expense of our wealth and lifestyle.

I have personally met a woman that work(s)(ed) (not sure which, she worked for him 20 years ago) for Trump. She ran his NY real estate empire. I was on a flight with her in 1995 or 96. I asked her about him and working for him. She said he was wonderful to work for. She expressed the opportunity she had been given as a woman in a business dominated (especially at that time) by men. I asked if he was hard to work for. She said he had a set of requirements and goals but you were free to set your own work process and schedule to meet them. She said she only saw him twice a year at general review meetings unless he just dropped by to say hello. Trump employed women, blacks, Hispanics, etc. in positions of power well before it was "good business" to do so. I voted for Trump because I think he can help women, blacks, and other minorities while returning some sanity to the rules, regulations, and B.S. that surrounds hiring and employment practices now.

Lastly, I voted for Trump because he understands that a country is nothing without its borders! To allow unfetter entrance to any and all that can walk over the border is insane. We live in a dangerous world. Access to our country must be controlled. FYI, the USA takes in more LEGAL immigrants every year than any other country in the world. I (and most people I know that want the Wall) have NO PROBLEM WITH THAT! I know this country would not exist had it not been for immigration and immigrants. However, I do have a real problem with illegal immigrants. We have laws. We have borders. If you are here illegally, I have no problem what-so-ever in sending you back - now. I have no problem putting a wall around our country. I welcome any of you that do not like walls to leave your door unlocked at night. If you have a fence or wall around your property - tear it down. Then we can talk. Trump understands that people here ILLEGALLY are not immigrants, they are criminals. Sanctuary cities are idiotic as well. How about sanctuary cities for bank thieves, for murderers? If you break the laws, you should pay the price.

The choices in the last election were far from optimal. We have set up a system where the best qualified for the job will never run. The gauntlet that we have established is to daunting for any "normal" or even near normal person. We had a choice between the most corrupt career politician to ever run for President and Trump. Yes, I voted for a ego-maniacal, pompous, narcissist that tweets his thoughts unfiltered at 3 am. I voted for change.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends; Oh My!

This is the second of the two I promised a couple of days ago. I actually had this one pop into my head first but the other "forced" its way out first. So with no further ado...

I was thinking how we spend our lives going from beginnings to ends. There is the BIG beginning - BIRTH, and the BIG ending - DEATH. Then LIFE is what happens in the middle. But, life is really a continuum of beginning - middle - end; over and over.

We humans, for the most part, LOVE beginnings. Think about one of our most celebrated personal days - the anniversary of our beginning - our birthday! We document, record, and celebrate other beginnings - baby's first words, first steps, first day of school, first date, first kiss, first car, first job, etc. We have such a love of beginnings that we keep seeking them all through our lives - just substitute NEW for FIRST. We have new jobs, new cars, new clothes, new loves, and so on. We move to new houses and neighborhoods. New is a good substitute for a beginning (and IS one in a way, I have to concede)

It can get somewhat complicated when we get to endings. Think of a graduation. It is called a commencement. To commence is to "begin, to start". We have taken an ending - of school, or at least that portion of school, and made it a beginning - a commencement of another chapter of life. We keep looking for beginnings after the endings. As stated above - we lose a job...YAAAAA we get a NEW JOB! We get a divorce...OH YEAH we get a NEW LOVE (or even NEW LIFE)! We even have a beginning attached to the BIG ending of death - metaphysics and/or religion offer up Heaven or reincarnation.

What I really find amazing is that most of our life is in the middle. Yes, almost every day has the small beginnings of new, but for the most part we are just existing and getting by. (I do not mean to imply that good and evil are not being committed and that people are not accomplishing things, but in a big picture kind of way - the middle is just getting through the days)

It seems to me however, that for all the beginnings and endings - even with the "news" in there - for the most part we live the majority of our lives in between. Every book has a cover and a back - a beginning and end as it were - but if you do not read the middle all books are basically the same.

IN THE END - I THINK WE FIND IT IS THE MIDDLE THAT MATTERS! 
                                                                                                                            "THE" 4/2017



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Slow Down And Listen!

I actually have had two ideas for a post in the last 12 hours. Here is one, stay tuned for another very shortly. I was going to combine them, but I think not...

We live in a FAST & NOISY world! All of us (at least in the U.S. and other "1st World" countries - a 3rd post just popped into my head) have a LOT of stimulation and demands on our attention and efforts almost 24 hours a day. Even television, which has been decried as a mind-rotting exercise in time wasting is now watched in binges and/or without commercials. We have our phones and data plans to never be out of touch. We are able to send photos and comments on where we are, what we are doing, and who we are doing it with (or to!?) Like they say - "it ain't real unless I post a photo"!
 I profess that a lot of our problems (again, 1st World problems) are due to this. We are constantly irritated, aggravated, stimulated, or otherwise motivated to look, listen, compare, contrast, become outraged, become forgiving, become sentimental, become hyper-aware, or in some other way engaged with this or that post, tweet, snap, snippet, etc.; again, all 24 hours a day!

My prescription is to SLOW DOWN, LISTEN; DISCONNECT, DISENGAGE, DEACTIVATE, and BREATHE!!!

We are surrounded by so much clutter that we don't listen to our own hearts.

Be still, seek silence, listen to your heart and let it guide you.

                                                                                                                                "THE" 4/15/17

Peace! I shall now try to partake of my own advice!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Poem



Getting Old

There are things I can’t remember,
That I’m not sure I ever knew.
There are places that I can’t recall,
I’m not sure I’ve ever been to.
There are people I can’t picture,
I not positive I ever met.
It can be hard to say if I ever knew,
Or if I did just forget.

                                                                       “THE”

                                                                      4/8/17

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Perspectives

We all know people that are intelligent, but cannot find their way out of a building. I have heard many, many people say of someone "they have no common sense". Intelligence is sometimes defined as the ability to acquire knowledge. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience. Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life and how to implement it.

Here are a few words of what I hope is knowledge tempered by wisdom:

1) Not everyone shares your beliefs or opinions.
2) There are over 7 billion people on this planet. That means there are probably well over a      million beliefs and/or opinions on almost everything.
3) Your beliefs and opinions do not make you right nor them wrong.
4) Others beliefs and opinions do not make them right nor you wrong.
5) Although there are absolutes in both "right" and "wrong" they are much less in number
    than we all imagine.
6) Neither tolerance nor acceptance is approval, nor does it need to be. 

A bit of commentary: Perspective and "common knowledge" is relevant to almost any belief or opinion. Remember it was just over sixty years ago that the "unbreakable" four minute mile was run by a human. Scientists, physicians, and other "experts" had expounded upon how this would never be achieved by a human as it was physically impossible. 

Speaking of "experts" that know better than we common folk, there have been people literally burned at the stake for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun. It was commonly accepted that the Earth was the center of the Universe for more than a millennium. For the same period of time it was "known" that disease was caused by miasma or "bad air". Sick people were bled to cure them as recently as the late 19th century.

As for more "modern" knowledge, how about these: You should not go swimming for thirty minutes after eating as you will cramp up and drown. We only use ten percent of our brains and if we could find a way to access it all we would be super-humans. You need to drink eight glasses of water a day to be healthy. How about the "fact" that the Great Wall of China is visible from space. All of these have been proven false. (if you were not aware of this, sorry - but it's true!)

For 2017 let's try to be tolerant. You do not have to approve or agree with what others believe, but try to accept it. Who knows, they may be proven right one day!

Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you all you need and at least a large portion of what you want!! 


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Reindeer Tale

I actually wrote this as a post for Christmas Eve/Christmas, then forgot to actually POST it! So, it was wait until next year or post it now. 

Most of us have heard of the "famous" reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen; and of course Rudolf TRR. But, have you ever thought about the other reindeer?

I happen to have obtained some information on another one - Marvin.

Marvin was another reindeer along the same designs as Rudolf - a bit of an outcast. However, he had no redeeming physical quality like a red shiny nose. He also was not liked by the other reindeer, you know - no reindeer games, etc., etc. He spent most of his young reindeer life trying to win the admiration, friendship, and/or affection of the other reindeer with almost reckless abandon. But, to no avail. Reindeer can be quite clique-ish and quite judgmental. Once shunned it is almost impossible to reintegrate into reindeer society without the Big Man's endorsement. Marvin had seen Rudolf's success and so wanted it for himself.

Marvin tried working on his flight tactics. He would fly around doing different stunts and maneuvers, but eventually realized he did not have the skills of a Comet or Donner. He was devastated. To help alleviate his loneliness he started hanging out with the elves and around the Claus's house more and more. When the Head Elf, Bernard, would come out Marvin was right there. "Looking good today Bernard! Are you getting taller? Anything I can do for you?" 
Marvin was always there trying to become fast friends with Bernard. 

As gregarious and accommodating as Marvin was with Bernard, he was even more so with the Clauses. "Good Morning Mrs. Claus" he would shout out as she was working at breakfast. "Lovely day isn't it?" Then inching over to the door he would poke his reindeer snout in and ask "Anything you need today? I am here to help." Then there was usually a comment like "My, my, Mrs. Claus I think you are getting younger every day!" or similar. "Where is the Boss, by the way?" 

With a booming "Ho, Ho, Ho" Santa would arrive in the kitchen for his breakfast. Marvin was right on it - "Good Morning, Santa! How are you? I'm not sure what it is, but something Mrs. Claus cooked up smells wonderful! I think you are in for a great breakfast!" Santa just looked back with a "good morning Marvin". "How can I help today Santa? I am here for you." Marvin would always ask. "Just let me eat in peace Marvin". Santa would reply. "Yes, sir! In peace it is. Just let me know what I can do. I will be right out here sir!"

Later, in the workshop Marvin would be right off Santa's shoulder. If Santa was reviewing the toys and gifts, Marvin was listening and observing it all. If Santa liked a gift, Marvin would expound upon its wonder. If Santa had a negative comment, Marvin would shake his head and tell Bernard that he could probably do better. He was always there with a comment and an offer to help. "Can I get you some hot cocoa Boss? Tea? I am here for you. Don't overdo it!" When lunch came Marvin said "Let me fly up to the house and get it for you Santa. Just sit right here. I will be right back."

This kind of behavior was not good for Marvin's acceptance by the other reindeer, and in fact was really hurting his standing with the elves as well. That just made Marvin double down on his efforts with Santa. He was on the spot with a drink, a comment, or a supporting role as best he could. 

There is more to this story, but I will address it later. By the way, you may have guessed it by now but as stated above, Marvin was not a red-nosed reindeer as was Rudolf. He was Marvin the brown-nosed reindeer; and would be forever known as such.  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

When Is 6 not 6?

Well, against the wishes of the authorities and my handlers, I ventured out into the world today to do some shopping. As is usual for me, I had an epiphany whilst walking through the grocery store - in the Toilet Tissue section to be precise. (for those of you that are unclear on epiphany and see the reference to toilet tissue - no, no, no. Epiphanies are mental. They can be messy, but all on the inside)

We as a people, or most of us, well - some of us; are working towards a better tomorrow - Better schools, lifestyles, equality, lower prices, bigger portions, better tasting fish, WORLD PEACE! We don't have a prayer. We cannot figure out toilet tissue (or as I will call it going forward - TP) When did buying TP become a MATH PROBLEM?!? You look at a package and it says: 6 rolls = 8 (hmm, ok) Then, next to that is one that says 6 rolls = 12! (my, my) Now they look approximately the same, granted the 6 = 12 may look a tiny bit larger, but...! The only definite difference is the price as far as I can see. Why can't 6 = 6?

Then, there is quilted, embossed, ridged, rippled, double-ply, triple-ply, soft, softer, softest, strong, stronger, strongest! A few rebellious marketers have the gall to be soft AND strong! Then there are multiple iterations within the same brands. Ultra-soft right next to the same brand that is Ultra-Strong. (FYI, as a user of this product for all my remembered life I understand the purpose in strong, but how strong does it need to be? I wonder about steroid enraged behemoths tearing off layers of skin screaming "I need a STRONG TP!" but I digress...)

Ultimately we are talking about a product to clean your nether regions. I do understand the importance. However, it appears that since we have let the marketers take over our TP the prices have gone through the roof. We also are raising a generation of kids that think 6 = almost anything! Happy wiping!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Most Important Election of Our Lifetime - or is it!?


I have wanted to write something about the election, our candidates, and our “choices” in the upcoming election for a while. I waited as I watched, read, listened, and tried to get a handle on what I actually want to write. With that introduction, here I go.
Every election since the1990s has been presented by one or both parties as “the most important election of our lifetimes. We are again faced with “THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES”! Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The bottom line is, we have survived all the other votes and will survive this one as well. The real danger here, as I see it, is the lack of empathy, understanding, and acceptance of those with thoughts other than your own. I have seen more name calling and hatred in this election cycle that I think I have seen in at least any other two cycles. There has always been rancor and name-calling, but most were in understanding that it was an election, and life must go on afterwards. Now seems more of a “scorched-earth” policy has taken hold of the populace. “If you want any candidate other than the one I support, you are not worthy to even have an opinion!”, seems to be the mantra. This is accompanied by the thought that if you do not elect my candidate the country is doomed. Let me just say, I have more faith in our country than that. Yes, the President has a lot of power. However, the Constitution is specifically set up to limit that power. It has served that purpose for well over 200 years. Unless we toss it aside, it will serve us for many more.
As for “the most important election…” end of the world predictions: In the past 14 Presidential elections we have never had over 64% of the eligible voters* to actually vote. In addition, we have averaged around 70% of potential eligible voters** to even register. These “most important elections” are being decided by under half of the people that potentially could (and should?) vote! This is one of the biggest problems I see. The majority of the voters and potential voters out there don’t really care. There are two classes of these IMHO: 1) those that get “paid” by the government and just don’t want anything to happen that would stop the funds from coming, or 2) those that think their vote wouldn’t mean anything anyway. (that being said, I just thought of a third – 3) those that don’t want to vote or even register as they are just living their life and don’t want the government to know who or where they are!) I will admit I have what some consider radical ideas about who should and should not be allowed to vote, but that is for another time. I also believe in the rule of law and eligible voters are specifically defined by law. So, we should work on getting our eligible population to vote. They need to be made aware of the issues, the platforms, and then they should vote. Having our government decided by less than 50% of potential voters is a travesty!
Now to the election of 2016. Our obsession with news 24 hours a day, our short attention spans that are always looking for the next thing, and our social media addiction, has led us to this point. We have two greatly flawed candidates. Trump is an egotistical, narcissistic blowhard that believes water was made for him to walk upon. Hillary is a sociopathic, lying megalomaniac that feels the job is “owed” to her. We deserve better choices. That being said – those are our choices. Oh I know we have Gary Johnson and Jill Stein in most states, but let’s get real. A vote for either of those is no more than a protest vote. (which this year, if any, I can understand!)
I was going to do a bit of a campaign commercial now, but in the interest of this getting read and spread around more I decided to not do so. I just ask that you look past the media, the “leaks”, the Facebook posts, and all the other “noise” and vote for who you truly feel will do the country less harm. Yes, that is all I really can hope for – less harm. Look at the party platforms. Go to the actual websites and campaign propaganda both candidates have put out and see what THEY actually have said, not what the media reported. Then VOTE your conscience.

      * eligible voters in this discussion means meeting any legal requirements such as proper registration

     ** potential eligible voters in this discussion means of legal age and meeting any residency requirements

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Call For Discourse and Communication

I want to try something here. I need EVERYONE'S help! (at least everyone that can put together a civil and coherent sentence)

I feel that we as a people no longer truly have any discussions about politics and the politicians we elect. Instead, we have "flame wars" and memes and rants, and sound bite, etc. As I have posted here before, we also have a tendency to listen, seek out, and accept those things that support what we believe. It you are a Democrat voter/supporter, Republicans and Republican ideas are evil. The same if you are a Republican concerning your thoughts on Democrats. What I find odd and interesting at the same time is that no matter which "side" someone is on most people are not happy with the way things are or even the way things are going! So, maybe support for what we are or have been supporting should be changed?

Here is where you come in:

I want any and all of you to go to the area below this post to "comments". Then, WITHOUT ANY NEGATIVE COMMENTS ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OR CANDIDATE(S), tell me why you feel Hillary Clinton should be elected

I was going to put just "candidate(s) instead of Hillary, but I thought maybe mixing the two would make someone uncomfortable in putting down support for what they believe. I can assure you - there will be NO PUT DOWNS, NO FLAMING, NO CRITICISM! As long as you keep your tone and comments restricted to the positives on why Hillary should be elected, I will publish it as is.
FYI, I know all about voting AGAINST a candidate. That is one of the problems I see with the electoral system we have now. Combined with social media, the 24/7 news cycle has made it tough for any respectable non-politician to want to run for anything! However, I want to avoid the arguments of "because I would never vote for a Republican" or "I would never vote for Trump". Again, let's have thoughts, ideas, and accomplishments lead the day. Who knows, you could earn votes for Hillary. FYI, we will do Donald Trump after this. So, hold your thoughts. I will ONLY PUBLISH POSITIVE COMMENTS ON WHY SOMEONE FEELS HILLARY SHOULD BE ELECTED.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. LET'S GET A DIALOGUE GOING!