Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Plot Thickens?

                           
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Synopsis of a novel I shall never write --  I saw on the TV News that some students invented a nail polish that would detect date rape drug in a drink.  Just dip your finger and you would know.  Nail polish implies that it's men who sneak the drug into women's drinks.  Got to wondering under what conditions would a woman sneak a date rape drug into a man's drink.  Clearly not for sex, well not exactly....


Jennifer kept stroking his maleness.  It just would not co-operate as hard as she tried and the man was not co-operating either.   Things were just not working out and she would have to start over again.

Jennifer met the man in the bar of his hotel.  She had been researching him and lately took to following him just so she could plan her entry point.  The man was John Rich, and he was rich.  That was the point, to find a rich man and have sex with him.   It was a rather common plan.  That did not worry Jennifer for he was her first and if this worked, her last.  She would make enough money from this plan that she would have the life style she wanted. 

Jennifer read in The Wall Street Journal that his company, Rich Black Box Investments, was planning to take over another company in Chicago.  She planned her entry point there.  Jennifer sat next to him in the hotel bar and chatted with him while she slipped Rohypnol into his drink.  She knew he was faithful to his wife but her plan needed him to cheat.

Jennifer kept stroking his maleness.  "Damn drug", she thought as she felt his maleness swell a bit in her hand.  "At last we are getting somewhere", when suddenly, the soft part started to spurt.  Quickly, Jennifer collected all the sperm.  That's the gold she wanted.  This was worth a lot of money.  Wryly, Jennifer reflected that, "This is what they did with thoroughbred horses, sold their sperm to the highest bidder." Jennifer was pleased.  She worried that he had sex with his wife and he would be out of sperm.  The test tube filled up.  Got lucky.  Jennifer left the room and left John Rich sleeping on the bed.  Tomorrow, she would meet with the women who were the next part of her plan. 

The Plan, how simple it was -- just get a rich man to father five children with five women and have him pay millions in support.  Five women impregnated in one night of debauchery.  John Rich would claim that he was faithful to his wife and that he never slept with anyone.  No one would believe him.  The Rohypnol insured that he would not remember and the DNA would prove him the father.   Jennifer, acting as broker and agent, would collect fifty percent of the settlement with the mothers.  Tiger Woods was her inspiration.  "Ten women and not one of them had his baby.  Wasted opportunity."

John Rich was not a kind man and he did not want to be.  He firmly believed, "Behind every great fortune lies a crime."  In his case, many crimes, carefully hidden.  He had a sense that what was his "was his", and should always remain so.  Jennifer did not know this.  She did not know that John Rich would never pay the mothers any support for his children.  Instead, he would take the children.  They were after all... his.  This shortfall in her knowledge would almost cost Jennifer her life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ain't gonna work on the content farm no more

                               

About 5 years ago, I found what felt like a satisfactory, and mildly profitable, outlet for my creative writing urges. Some may call it a content farm, but they prefer to think of themselves as a "peer-reviewed citizen journalism website."

Sure. Whatever.

What caused me to take my toys and go home was the fact that, despite a good many of my articles having garnered good "ratings" for years, they were abruptly yanked by some anonymous, behind-the-scenes judge, who claimed to have discovered previously unnoticed flaws. There was no appeal process, and their one-line explanations for the deletions were condescending, to say the least. I'm still young enough, I suppose, for this to have hurt my feelings.

So, I managed not to let the door hit me on the way out. I didn't save every published article, but recently came across a pretty good stash of them -- enough for weekly postings to last into next January -- and decided to share them here.

Since this was a "public" site, with writing geared toward "educating the masses," or some such, I endeavored to maintain a level, neutral tone in whatever I published. I read those pieces now and think Who is this boring, sterile person? Me, of course...but not really. They were, you might say, colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic and inert, like certain elements at the lowest end of the Periodic Table. So, before I put any of my old items up here, I'll try to re-inject my somewhat cynical, sarcastic style. Then they'll really be mine. See you next weekend.

/v

P.S. The content farm, er, peer-reviewed blah blah, is closing up shop at the end of the year. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of folks.





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inherit the Wind

     

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
The day I die, all the treasures of my life will pass to my heirs, whether they want my stuff or not.  I have over twenty years of accumulated stuff that only I find interesting and most of it, I found interesting twenty years ago.  Today, much of this stuff falls into the clutter category.

A sad event got me onto this morose topic.  One of the feral cats living in my backyard disappeared.  I don’t know what happened but I assume that the cat encountered a fatal accident.  I am saddened about losing my feral cat, but the next day, a replacement cat showed up and took over the empty space in my yard.

The same thing happens to us people too.  We replace each other all the time.  When I retire from work, someone will take my place.  Fair enough since I inherited my place from a retiring person many years ago.  The home I grew up in is now the home of someone else.  My first apartment is now rented to someone else.  Life goes on in an unstoppable way.

The stuff that fills my home is valuable to me and probably no one else.  Individual items may be valuable to other people but the specific combination is only valuable to me.  My stuff reflects my personality and tastes and is what makes me an individual.  My stuff will not be so valued by my heirs. 

Take my books.  I like to read so I have lots of books.  I have developed an emotional and comforting attachment to my books.  I have spent years reading the good books and weeding out the uninteresting books.  Only those that I like are left.   I like to know that they are there on the shelf and that I can pick up a favorite book and re-read it at any time.   I have little doubt that my heirs will toss out my books like trash.  You would think that as we are family, sharing the same genes, my heirs would have the same tastes.  

I suppose that the sensible thing for me to do is to start clearing out my stuff.  I can start selling my stuff on Ebay since that's where they will end up anyway.  Accumulating money instead of stuff to pass to my heirs will delight them.

I can always give away some cash to the younger members of the family who are short on money.  They can pay their bills and begin to accumulate their own stuff, preparing for the day when they too will have a house full of clutter that nobody wants.  Serves them right for not wanting my stuff.

So, there it is -- a lifetime of living and work reduced to stuff that my heirs do not want, stuff that becomes fill for storage warehouses or goods for the next garage sale.

Begone ye stuff -- exit, stage left.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tattoo My Heart


                        Hmmm...you mean, like this?

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I am walking on a downtown street and for some reason, all I am seeing is tourists covered in tattoos.


I pass a tourist with tats (short for tattoo) all over his body.
  In the old days, if you saw a man covered in tats, he was a Hells Angel biker, a mean scary bastard to be avoided.  Now, a guy covered with tats turns out to be a gay Starbucks Barista.  He is so nice, smiles and greets you with, “How can I help you today?”  So harmless.  

Then there are the ladies with the "tramp stamps".  A whole generation of women with tats on the base of their spine just so you can see it, along with their thongs.  Yeah, pretty trashy.  The best tramp stamp ever is still, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me."
 

Some tourists' tats are roses, snakes, or naked ladies.  It’s obvious that they are a Born again Hippie Flower Child, a Veterinarian, or an aspiring Lothario.  Some tats are a strange cosmic pattern design with no discernible reason for it.  Implication, “I am a deep mysterious person.”   

Tattoos are a mystery to me.   Every one  seems to have one and I don’t understand why.   I took a bold step and asked a young lady passing by why she had tats all over her body.  She said, “Because I like it.”  Well, I like rib-eye steaks but I don’t go around wearing raw meat like Lady Gaga. 

I spy Black people with tattoos too.  I can just barely see their tats and that's only because I am looking for them.  Let's face it, tats are made with dark inks and dark inks just don't show up well on dark people.  Kinda tells you that tats is a white people thing.  If white people wanted black people to have tats, they would have invented light inks. 

Clearly, tattoos are some kind of personal statement.  If I put your name on my body that will tell you, "I like you very much."  Maybe it’s more like a sign that says you own me or own my heart.  So now, in typical people fashion, we fight and we break up.  Your ownership of me ends and I am stuck with your name on my body.  My next girlfriend will hate you forever since your name will live forever on my body. 

I would not get a tattoo. The short for tattoos -- tats -- puts me in mind of tatas, another word for boobs.  You gotta be a boob for putting tats on yourself.  Must be a pun about tats on tatas in this somewhere.  

I see tattoos as a commercial device. We tattoo domesticated animals so we can identify them.  We tattoo thoroughbred race horses so that we can always trace their all important lineage.  We tattoo cattle so that the ranchers can tell who owns them.  Hate to say it but I think people are sheep for following a fashionable trend to get tats. 

Let's say that one day in a wild crazed moment I weaken my resolve and get a tattoo.  I would get something symbolic like the dollar sign, a “$”.  Then, some strange cosmic karma design will kick in and I will be blessed with copious amount of “$” and become the world's richest man.   Now I will own you and I will tattoo my name on your body.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Creepy vs. Kooky

                               

I'm taking some liberties here. I went to all the trouble of creating an "Addams Family vs. Munsters" quiz on FunTrivia, only to learn that the category is closed for the time being.

So, if you want some mindless entertainment, try this quiz; use the comments for your guesses. The correct answers with notes will be published a week from today.

~
In the mid-1960s, TV viewers could be “haunted” by two sitcoms that portrayed morbid monsters as the satiric versions of wholesome families seen on such shows as “Father Knows Best,” “Leave it to Beaver,” and several others.

While the shows ran on rival networks, they had many things remarkably in common. Test your knowledge of these two classic comedies.

1.         Which of the two shows debuted first?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

2.         Which of these combinations is correct?
a.         The Addams Family, on ABC, Friday nights
b.         The Munsters, on NBC, Tuesday nights
c.         The Munsters, on ABC, Sunday nights
d.         The Addams Family, on CBS, Monday nights

3.         Which of the two shows began as a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

4.         Which of the two series experienced a change in its cast midway through the first season?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

5.         Which series produced more episodes during its run?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

6.         Which of the two series featured comedian Paul Lynde in a semi-regular role as Dr. Dudley?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

7.         Death is a humorous theme in both shows, but which of the following cast members died first?
a.         Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster)
b.         Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster)
c.         Carolyn Jones (Morticia Addams)
d.         Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester)

8.         Which show included a cast member who appeared in Charlie Chaplin’s silent films?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

9.         Which show included a cast member who ran as a Green Party candidate for Governor of New York?
a.         The Munsters
b.         The Addams Family

10.       Both of the shows featured interesting family pets, including a spider, a piranha, an octopus, a dragon, a raven, and a lion. Only one family was considerate enough to post a “Beware of…” sign out front. Which family did this, and what did the sign say?
a.                   The Munsters
b.                  The Addams Family


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Divorce My Co-Workers

                           

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~

I am dreaming of resigning my job. I will wave good-bye to my co-workers, accept their good wishes, and never see them again. By this time, I will have spent some eight hours a day for the last ten years (20,800 hours) with them. Tell me I am not married to them all.

I feel married to my co-workers since I spend so much more time (20,800 hours) with them, more than with almost anyone else. People use terms like “office wife”, “office husband”, or “office buddy” (formerly Old Boy). So it is not so strange that in my leaving, we are getting a divorce or at least leaving feels like one to me.

Funny thing, after so many years (20,800 hours) together, I know so little about my co-workers. Well, that's not quite true. I know them very well and I do not know them at all. I know all about their adventures while on vacation, hear stories about their kids, see pictures of their kids, yet I have never been to their homes or actually met any of their kids. And, these are the people I like.

There are a few co-workers that I do not like. These are the “office pests”. Sure, we work together, but we keep the social aspects to a minimum. Why don't they just run away from home like a bad wife should? Now that I have resigned, I am quite happy never to see them again.

There are those that I have already divorced long before I resigned. We were “office buddies” once and we had a falling out. We fell out because they did things I hate, said bad things about me, told our other co-workers my secrets, or stole my lunch. We still see each other at work, sometimes doing our jobs together, and yet, keeping away from each other as much as we can. Now that is a true divorce, much like a marriage falling apart, but you are stuck together because of the kids. What’s the proper term, “office estranged” or “office heart-broken”?

Will my former co-workers will feel the same about me when I am gone? Will they stop their ever busy work and think of me, “Wonder what became of Old Blabbermouth? Is he still alive? Probably sitting by a pool somewhere sipping Piña Coladas. Lucky dog.” Then, I will just fade away from their memories while they get on with their work.

When I was a newbie worker and the older workers were resigning, I never gave them any thought. Now it’s my turn. There is no judge here to decide the divorce.  It only happens when I leave. Then the divorce will be final.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The End of the World and how I saved it

                        
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Lately, I have been reading a lot of Dystopian novels--so much so, that I am now tired of it.  For those who don't know, Dystopia is a genre of sci-fi/fantasy where the world ends by some disaster, a plague, zombies, or government run amok, and the world can only be saved by a teenage girl.  Light reading indeed.

The Hunger Games trilogy was the most popular book of this genre in 2013.  Basically children killing children for material gains. It was made into a movie that did very well.  The Divergent series looks to be the most popular dystopian novels for 2014.

I am tired of dystopia because the stories are the same--just change the disaster and te name of the teenage girl.  Worse, I have started to dream dystopia.  Last night, I dreamt that the lady who sits next to me at work and I were chased all over the country by zombies and we were losing.  Most disturbing.  If I were to interpret my dream, I would say that it's a work thing.  Think senior management as zombies and you can figure out the rest.

What puzzled me for a long time is why is dystopia so popular? Why is a story where very bad things happen, where children die needlessly, where life is so bleak, and where the future is horrible, selling better than any other books except romance novels?  Finally, it came to me.  The answer, and I don't know why I am so dense not to see it before, is that the dystopian readers identify with the heroine.  The readers think that they have all the hero traits and are as brave, resourceful, and as competent as the heroine.

I should have known that.  As a kid, I read and watched Superman, Batman comic books and movies and all the other super hero books and movies because I thought I could one day be like them.  One day, some strange chemical would spill on me and I would become a super hero.  I would save the world, save everybody I knew, plus get the girls.  As an adult, at least for us old guys, Superman was replaced by James Bond, super spy.  There is still lots of Superman in me and that is why I was reading dystopian novels.

Imagine me as a teenage girl heroine.  Not likely.  My mind is better at fantasy than that.  I converted this teenage girl into, well, me.  I did keep her bravery, confidence, and strength but made her into a man.  I suspect that Freud would have to much to say about that.

The curious thing is why do I and all the other readers of dystopia think that we would be the heroes.  In dystopian stories, only a handful of people have the hero traits.  The rest of humanity fails miserably, suffer and die for it.  Where in our lives have we exhibited these hero traits that would cause us to think that we are hero material?  Have we stuck our necks out and saved a victim from some mean nasty mugger?  Have we stood up to the bureaucracy of government?  Have we marched in a protest for what is right?

Perhaps, it is more subtle.  Perhaps the hero traits are there buried in us and have never had the chance to emerge.  All we need is a disaster for our hero traits to come out.

Hell no!!!  Let's not take the chance.  Let's skip the disasters, let's stick with reading dystopia and imagining ourselves heroic.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Walmart for Senator

                         

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
The Supreme Court of the United States did something that I though only God could do, they created a new human being.  According to the Supreme Court, there are now Men, Women, and Corporations.  Yup, Corporations are now people.  The Supreme Court created people corporations out of thin air.

Previously, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are entitled to free speech rights and in just these past few months, ruled that Corporations have religious beliefs and are entitled to the religious freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.  Yes, Corporations are are now Christians.  This is the final transformation of corporations from man-made entities into Children of God.



If you doubt this, ask yourself what can you do that a corporation cannot?  Corporations can own houses and they pay taxes. Corporations can get sick (red ink and bankruptcy) and they can die (Dissolution by Proclamation).  When Corporations marry, we call that a merger.  Corporations can have children too, we call them subsidiaries and their families are called Conglomerates.
 
Now that Corporations have achieved person status, what will they do, run for President?  Not so far fetched.   Let’s start smaller and run for Mayor.  Here is how to do it.  First, create a corporation whose sole business is to run for Mayor.  Pick a corporate name that is electable like “Jennifer Government” (Jennifer Government is a book by Max Barry).  Then put up Jennifer Government as the candidate.  Promote her candidacy using the catchy nickname, JGov.  Can you imagine if the name chosen was Ford.  You wouldn’t know if you were voting for the Ford Corporation or Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s great-grandson.

So then, it is a corporation who will hold the seat of Mayor not a person.  The Mayor’s Office becomes an asset of JGov.  JGov’s Board of Directors can choose the person who will act on behalf of the corporation as Mayor.  Probably get a title like Vice President of City Mayor.  If the Board does not like what the VP is doing, they can fire him and pick another person.  Voters will have nothing to say about this.

Soon after, JGov is running for more Mayorships.  There will be a Senior VP for East Coast Mayors, and another for West Coast Mayors and so on.  Eventually, JGov will run for Congress and for the Presidency.

Since it is the President who nominates and Congress who confirms Supreme Court Judges, JGov replaces the Supreme Court Judges with…Corporations.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy phone


                           

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Press release -- Samsung to sell new Galaxy phone

Samsung announced a new model of their highly successful Galaxy cell phone.  The model is called The Galaxy DT and is aimed at the single unmarried consumer.

Last year, Samsung has released its Galaxy MD model.  The Galaxy MD allowed your doctor to hook up an EKG monitoring device to you. Through your Galaxy MD, your doctor received your medical data every five minutes.  Renowned Cardiologist from the University of Medicine, Dr. Knowitall stated, “If the doctor sees something questionable, he calls you immediately.  It's like being in the hospital but you can still go about your regular daily activities.”  Added his colleague, Dr. Cuthimnow, “It’s a life saver.”

The Galaxy DT expands the medical capabilities of the Galaxy MD.  The Galaxy DT has a built-in Lie Detector.  Samsung spokesman, Joe Listener, explained that, “The Galaxy DT is aimed at the single dating community.  Imagine what that would do to dating where lots of lying goes on.  Not lying for evil purposes, mind you, but lying to make ourselves look more attractive to our date.  Every time you speak, some light on your cell phone turns green If you are telling the truth or red if you are lying.”

Mr. Listener explained that the Galaxy DT was extensively tested in focus groups.  “We examined consumer responds to, ‘Are you having a good time?’ to, ‘Yes, you have lost weight!’  and to the poetic lying of dating, ‘I love you like the morning flower."

One feature of the new Lie Detector is that you don't have to actually speak but your thoughts will cause the lie detector app to flash on.  Mr. listener cited a case in the focus group testing where a date tried a kiss but the customer’s thought was, "I would rather be dead."  The Galaxy DT chimed BING, BING, and  started to flash red!   Other secret thoughts tested were, "I love you madly and want to have your children although this is only our first date!" and, "Wham, Bam, thank you Ma'am."  BING, BING, more red flashes.

Samsung has aimed the initial marketing of the Galaxy DT towards women.  Mr. Listener pointed out that “Women in particular want to know their date’s thinking, ‘Yes’, I only want to get into your pants and will never call you again."  The Galaxy DT flashed green.

The Samsung spokesman cautioned that not all remarks are so easily verified.  In testing, the Lie Detector app did experience some difficulty when the date remarked, "Ahh, ... size does not matter."

Psychologist Dr. Mindmatter doubted that consumer acceptance for the Galaxy DT is so simple.  “We are human so we do funny human things like lie to ourselves.  If I lie to myself, well, I want you to lie to me too!  We, quite rightly, will get upset if you start telling us the truth.  Try this: I want to know that you are lying to me but I do not want you to know that I am lying to you.  No more little white lies that keep us together and ease awkward situations.  Are we then forced to tell the truth? “

The Galaxy DT will be available in October.

see original blog  You Can't Handle the Truth

Monday, August 4, 2014

They call me Mister

                          
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I ran into the president and senior vice president (SVP) of one of our divisions in the lobby of our office building.  Now I have known these two fellas a long time, since they were just lowly regular workers and well before they gained these exalted titles. I didn’t know if I can acceptably use their first names based on my long association with them.   It didn’t seem right to call them by their first names since they got these are high titles and I am still a low title guy.

So I fudged.  I called the president, “Mr. President”, a sly reference to how we refer to the President of the United States.  I though that this was a beautiful and clever bit of kissing up.  The SVP did not rate any special kissing up so, I called him by his first name.  He will have to wait until he moves further up the company.

This first name thing can get tricky. We are a relaxed company and use first names all the time.  That kind of familiarity gives a false sense that we are all really equals. I am not their equal. They are my bosses.  Why try to hide it or downplay it.

At least these two fellas did not use their titles as a way of saying that they are better than me.  They are better at running the company and making a ton of profits than I am.  I respect that level of skill and why I wanted to use some kind of formal address.  They greeted me in the friendly way of co-workers who have known each other a long time.  We reminisced a bit of the old days and had a relaxing moment.  Big titles comes with big responsibilities and they must feel it.  It was a pleasing part of our day and, in part, was my contribution for the day to successfully running the company.

At home, I tell the neighbor’s kids that I am Mr. Blabbermouth.  So they call me so.  I think that anything less, like Mr. Urban, is too informal for children to use.  If you pause to think about it, Father and Mother are titles too. For neighborhood children, Mr. Blabbermouth is good enough.

The British have Peers of the Realm titles, Your Highness or Lord So-and-So.  We do not use them here in America, a casualty of The American War of Independence.  Still, there may just be a Lord Blabbermouth in my future.  I still won't be able to address the Queen as Lizzie. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Selfies Help Books

                                 

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I am still a flawed human being.  What went wrong?  I have lots of self-help books, some three or four shelves worth in my bookcase.  With so many self-help books, I should be the perfect human being just short of God.

What went wrong is that none of the books made sense to me.  I read them but did not understand how to use them.  Sure, I understood that one can be more assertive or have more get up and go but just how do you do that?  What do I change? What do I say?   The self-help books could be flawed too, written as they are by other flawed human beings.

I did find two self-help books that helped me.  The Richest Man in Babylon helped me figure out money.  It was simple, no matter what happens, pay myself first.  The other book was The Four Agreements.  The “Don’t Take It Personally” section made sense to me.  If people don’t know you then what they say about you cannot be true.  

I continue to read self-help books for the small nuggets of wisdom I find there.  That’s why self-help books sell so well -- they work but you have to keep buying them until, by good luck, you stumble onto the right book. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

No, No, No...No!

                                     
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
 Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world, is reputed to have said that successful people say NO to everything.  Maybe so but that is probably because everyone is asking something from them.  But the rest of us are not wealthy enough to afford to say NO.  
 
I have trouble saying NO to people.  Many of us do and for good reason.  It’s not that we are weak, or easy pushovers, it's that we have learned through our genes and from our parents’ teachings to be agreeable and to cooperate. 

We as people cannot do everything ourselves, so we must cooperate with other folks.  You can succeed in life but you need other people to help you do it.  If you do not cooperate, other folks will not cooperate with you.  If you say NO, then other folks have the right to say NO to you too.  That is what scares us so much and makes us reluctant to say NO.  In my post, The Joys of Selfishness, (a selfish plug) I say act selfishly.  It’s in your selfish interest to say yes and do it as much as possible.

That means saying yes to many things.  We have learned to cooperate for our own survival.  You cannot make a cell phone on your own, grow your food, make electricity, or build your new car all at the same time.   The world is full of many bad and dangerous things.  There are many animals that can easily hunt you down and eat you.  You rely on others to guard you while you sleep.  You also rely on others to take care of you when you are sick.  You are expected to return the favor when needed. 

If you are asked a favor, pressure is there to say yes.  If you say NO then when you want a favor you can be refused.  Favors create a social obligation that ties you to the other person.  You owe them and they owe you.  This is a good thing as you can rely on your neighbor to help when needed.  We all do better by cooperation.  Those who do cooperate get to live, have children, and pass on a “cooperation gene" to the next generation.

Now we do make finer distinctions about using NO.  There are times when NO is right.  The rules are thus:  When there is money involved, the favor then becomes a commercial transaction.  That is, if someone is selling you something, you are permitted to refuse to buy, to say NO.  Another is, well, intimate matters.  You do not have to love a person even if you are asked.  That would include any physical activity.  It is offensive to have to give up your heart or your body if you do not want to do so.

If you want to say NO to everything and everyone, you have to make sure that you are in a position that others cannot refuse you because you refused them.  Becoming the world’s wealthiest person, like Warren Buffet, is not enough.  Even the successful people are careful of the NOs spoken to friends and family. There is only one way, run for Dictator.  Dictators get their way all the time, at least until the palace coup.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Retirement Busy Bee


by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I have been thinking about what to do in my retirement. 
I am trying to envision what my retirement will be like.  I am many years away but my last blog on retirement, The American Dream has Retired, has put the thought into my mind.

The first thing is what to do with myself.  I will have all this time and nothing to do.  Sure, my first thing will be to enjoy not having to get up and go to work.  That will be a three-month long vacation, like getting the summer off.  I never did that when I was working.  Just did not get enough vacation time to do it.  

After the vacation passes, I suppose I will start to do repairs to my house.  I know how to do lots of repairs but I never had the time when working.  But you know, that’s not enough to cover all my years in retirement.  Guess I will have to repair all my neighbors’ houses too.

I thought that some volunteer work with my Church might be rewarding.  I could travel the country saving many heathen Christians.  It is quite rewarding to be doing God’s work converting other Christians worshipers from their wrong version of Christianity to my right version of Christianity. 

Thinking outside-the-box, this blogging thing could be my new career.  Imagine that, I retire from work so that I can go back to work.  Crazy huh.  Wonder if I can make money at blogging.  Do people make money from blogging?  Something to explore.  I can spend lots of time working on my blogs, time that I will have when I am retired.  I could write a book.  I have no imagination so fiction is out.  I can write these little ditties but are they interesting enough for a book?  How's this for a cheeky title, "My Deep Thoughts and Other Mistakes."  Please leave me your opinion on a book of all my blog posts.

Money in retirement worries me.  I have not yet figured out what my pension will be.  I have to get an estimate.  People say that your expenses goes down in retirement.  I don't see how.  My property taxes and utilities bills will still be there.  I still need food so the grocery bill will still be there.  So what does change?  Only my commuting cost goes away and that is hardly my biggest expense.  No, I don’t see where my expenses will go down.  

When I get my pension estimate, I will have to experiment to see if the monies will be enough.  I will pretend that my current salary is the same as my pension income and I will find out if I can live on that money.  I hope it is enough because I would like to retire before I die.  Retirement is on my Bucket List.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The American Dream has retired

                     


by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
 The American dream, a house, 2.5 kids, and a dog, has retired but can you retire too?  Too many of us cannot afford to retire anymore.

Corporations, that is, your employers, have terminated the traditional corporate pension plans and moved their employees into 401Ks.  The corporations did this because they wanted to increase their profits and they saw that ending their pension plans as a way to accomplish this.  The corporations did this knowing that there would not be enough money in those 401Ks for their employees to afford retirement.  They did not care since the CEOs who made this decision would be long gone before the problem became large enough to be noticed by their employees.  So, you now have a 401k and you cannot afford to retire.  Ironically, those CEOs are now comfortably retired on their corporate pensions.

We are now faced with having 401Ks that do not have enough money for us to retire.  What can we do about this?  Irritatingly, the same corporations that forced us into underfunded 401Ks are now trying to make a business of advising us what to do about our lack of retirement money.  Perhaps you have seen the commercials on TV asking, "Will you outlive your retirement money?"  They may indeed have a solution, but now you have to pay them to tell you what to do or buy whatever product they have that will solve your retirement money troubles. 

Let me guess what their advice is: YOU MUST PUT MORE MONEY INTO YOUR 401K AND THEN PAY US TO INVEST IT FOR YOU.  This from the same corporations who caused the problem in the first place.  How self serving.  Instead, their advice should be that your employer must contribute more to your 401K and that your employer should pay us to give you investment advice as part of your benefits package.

Historically, people worked until the day they died.  Then, we were able to get pension plans and to retire at a reasonable age.  We may be back to working until we die.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The American Dream

                         

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Many want to have the American Dream of a house, 2.5 kids and a dog, but I think that they misunderstand the American Dream.  They see the house, kids and dog and think that is it.  No!  The American Dream is about accumulating wealth.  It is only after you have wealth do you get the house, the kids and the dog.

Wealth is simply the difference between how much you own and how much you owe.  Sound like the definition of profits, corporate income less corporate expenses.  That is exactly what it is. Corporations accumulate wealth and so should you.

There has been lots on television news about inequality in America.  Maybe so, but just maybe, we are not helping ourselves and we are contributing to the inequality.  Most of us do not accumulate wealth, we accumulate debts.  Any time, you borrow money, you pay exorbitant interest on the money and that interest goes to the lenders who use it to add to their wealth. 

We give up savings for spending and we overspend.  Take a look in your closet.  If you did not buy another piece of clothing for the next two years, you still would not run out of clothes to wear every day.  Some buy expensive cars, Lexus, BMW  and so on, when they should get something less costly and save the difference.

A simple way to begin to accumulate wealth, and it's the one that I use, is to have a small amount deducted from your check and sent to your savings account.  It's does not have to be much and you will be surprised at the balance after five years.

Wealth is not just savings.  Saving is cash in the  bank.  Wealth includes other things like your house.  Your house is your biggest asset, to use more corporate lingo. The difference between the price that you can sell your house and your mortgage is wealth to you.  If your mortgage is paid off, then the house sale price is all yours.  You do have to subtract out the yearly property taxes and house maintenance costs from the sale price, but you will still have lots of wealth left over.  Remember, your house, while valuable, is not so easy to change into spending cash because you do have to live somewhere.

The rich get richer because they accumulate wealth.  You would do well to follow their example.  Those of us of a certain older age already know all this, learned the hard way, from life's experience.  We need to teach our kids so that they can make wise financial decision right from the start of their lives.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Marriage in Black and White

                  

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~

I saw a remark on Twitter, "10 years from now same sex marriage and pot smoking will be normal and legal but America will still be anti-black." The author missed a point about the power of white men to get their way.   Let's take a look at how white men influenced gays, pot, and then how they will influence Black America.

Gay people are now permitted to marry in many states.  They accomplished this by first coming out of the closet.  Then many white men, especially conservatives, realized that their loved and close family members turned out to be gay.  Many members of Congress learned that their children are gay.  Former Vice President Chaney's daughter turns out to be a lesbian.  White men wanted to help and protect their family members so they began to change the laws.

This principle of protecting family members also applies to pot smoking.  Many parents, that is the white fathers, do not want their kids arrested by the police, and certainly not for pot smoking.  Parents may view pot as less of an issue as the parents have smoked pot too.  There is now a whole generation of parents who smoked pot and they managed to have a decent life so they see no reason that their kids should be arrested for pot smoking.  Hence, changes in the law.

Ten years from now, Anti-Black America will be different.  Things will get better for the same reason that gays got marriage: White men want to protect their family members.    As more white men start marrying black women, America will change.  The white men will want to protect their wives.  End result — black women will have more equality, less discrimination and more social acceptance. 

On the other hand, ten years from now, Black men will still be going to jail.  White men still will not like black men marrying white women.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Joys of Selfishness

                             

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
On my way home, I saw a woman offer to pay the train fare of a young lady standing by the turnstile.  The young lady declined the offer and thanked the woman.  Seems like there are some kind, generous, and charitable people still around our city.  Well, that is wrong.  The woman who made the offer was just being totally selfish.

The woman, lets call her Generous Jeanie or Genny for short, was quite selfish.  Genny wanted to help because she thinks of herself as a generous, kind and charitable person. She acts this way so that she can feel good about herself.  She was only thinking of her own feelings and was using the other person to achieve her pleasure.  This is the virtue of selfishness.

Don't abhor selfishness, our society is built on it.   Adam Smith, considered by some to be the father of modern economics and the father of capitalism, said that it is good to be selfish.  Capitalism runs on selfishness.  Businesses are started by people who want to make lots of money, to be rich, and they sell you stuff to get rich.  Adam Smith says that their selfish desire to get rich forces them to sell you great products or you would not buy from them.  If you do not buy from them, they will not get rich and will go out of business.  So it does pay to be selfish.

The Rockefellers gave money to many communities and in turn the communities named buildings, parks, and streets after them.  There is a  Rockefeller University funded by, guess who...  Rockefeller was not alone.  Vanderbilt and Kennedy, to name two other well known people, gave money to communities and all have buildings, parks and streets named after them.  We all think of Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Kennedy as kind, generous, and charitable when what they really wanted was to see their names on buildings, parks, and streets.  The great and enduring virtue of selfishness.

We are not immune to the virtues of selfishness.   You give to the Red Cross and you feel good that you have helped someone in distress.  You also give because you worry that when you are in distress, when you need the Red Cross, will someone give to help you?  You give to ease your guilt because you have so much and others have less.  The more in need is the person you are helping, the greater the virtue.

Gordon Gekko was wrong. The true saying is, "Selfishness is Good.  Go forth and be selfish."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Great White Hunter wears Air Jordans

                            

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I was walking in the downtown area when I saw a line of young black men in front of Foot Locker. Foot Locker is an athletic shoe store. Apparently one of the shoe companies was re-issuing Air Jordan Retro sneakers for $300. 


As I passed the line, I overheard another passer-by in a conversation something like, “Huh, they are willing to stand on line for days to get sneakers. I wonder how many of them are willing to stand on line for days to get a book?” The implication of this conversation is that young black men are wasting their time waiting for shoes and could be doing more useful things for themselves, like reading a book.
 

That person missed the point completely. No one stands on line for days unless they see a benefit to themselves for doing so. And what are those benefits? Well just think, you are now the proud owner of a rare, hard to get, and expensive pair of Air Jordan Retros. People will see you in the shoes and make judgments on you. Exalted status is conferred upon you. Respect and admiration of your peers is conferred upon you. Knowledge from a book, as valuable as that is, is invisible and as such, is not seen by anyone, so no exalted status can be conferred upon you.

This is the same exalted status conferred on those who wear a huge diamond necklace or drive a Mercedes automobile. Those who have the diamonds and the Mercedes had to spend more than days, years really, working to afford these coveted items. Days waiting on line or years working in a cubicle, where's the difference? 


Now what can you do with this exalted status? If you are a young male, it shows to young girls that you are a cool guy, that you are capable of getting resources that no other guy can get, that you will be going places, that you have good prospects for your future, and that you will be an excellent husband and provider. In short, you are the Great Hunter and are excellent genetic material for her babies. 

So you see, there are benefits to waiting on line for days to get the Air Jordan Retros.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Used Marriages for Sale

                     

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I heard a commentator on TV say that the divorce rate is falling.  Here are his reasons:
  • Fewer people are marrying so less people to divorce. 
  • People are marrying at the end of their twenties rather than the start of their twenties.  The result is that a more mature person makes better decision in choice of a partner. 
  • People are living together as couples then marrying later.   This trial period does eliminate lots of bad choices of partners.
I have a simple solution to the divorce problem.  Are are you ready for it? Have marriages expire every five years.  You will be able to trade in your spouse every five years.  Sounds more like a Used Car commercial. "Marriage turned into a lemon? TRADE UP, not down!  Trade in and GET the latest model!  Great new  features to choose from:  wisdom, maturity, compatibility, same interests, more sex, better looking, and... you can even pick the color and the gender of your new spouse!"

If it sounds absurd to you,  think about it.  How different is that from today, where we marry, divorce, marry, divorce again, marry again.  Throw in a pre-nup agreement and we already have a predetermined end to the marriage.  All that is missing is an expiration date. Your state issues driver's licenses which have to be renewed.  Well, your state also issues marriage licenses.  I have no idea why the state is in the middle of marriages but as they are, they can expire it if they want.  BTW, your state does issue divorces, too should you want one. See my note on Divorce Equality for All.

I can hear you saying, "What happens to the children?" True, if there are children, there are problems.  There are already problems with children in divorces.  No change here.  I will yield and throw in a caveat to satisfy those worried about children -- the marriage will expire ten years from the birth of the youngest child.  I do not like this caveat because it will lead one person in the marriage to keep having babies to extend the marriage.

A five-year marriage expiration date takes the guesswork out of your marital bliss.  Since you know when your marriage will expire, you can plan for the change by hiding assets, or by starting a new relationship so you have a new spouse ready on expiration.  If you like your spouse, you can always renew. Think how much nicer you would have be to your spouse if you wanted to keep them.  Your spouse would have to be nicer to you too. Good benefits all around.

To renew or not to renew, that's the question.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Time Flies

                           

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Galileo said (at least I think it was him), that there is no such thing as time, only the intersection of planetary movement and aging, and what man perceives time passing is nature changing, aging, sunrise and sunsets, and the like.  In short, what we perceive as time is the changes in the world around us. I suppose that Galileo said this when he discovered that the earth revolves around the sun.

The Science
Planetary movement comes in two parts: earth rotation on its axis and solar orbit around the sun.  The earth rotates on its axis and we get day time and night time.  The earth rotation on its axis plus the movement around the sun, the solar orbit, gives us our four seasons. 
When the seasons repeat, we call that a year.

So, if we start counting the earth moving round and round in space, we end up with days and years.  Two days is two earth rotations on its axis and so on.  It takes the earth 365 rotations on the axis to get around the sun and for the seasons to start again. Two years becomes two earth rotations around the sun. 

Aging, in some scientific view, is our old cells continuously replaced with new cells, except that the new cells are not as good as the previous old cells.  The new cells are weaker.  Replace our cells enough times with weaker cells and our bodies will get weaker and weaker, older and older, until we die.

Our brains combines these two things -- our bodies getting weaker and the movement of the earth --
as one, and we see time.  At the intersection of planetary movement and aging, we say that time is passing when it's really our bodies changing and the earth changing position in space.  

Time, then, is just some man-made fantasy.  

The New Theory of Time
I am still getting old.  

Note: The illustration is by Lou Beach
and originally appeared in the New York
Times in 2010.