Thursday, March 25, 2010


Insurance is No Longer a Career: It's a Nightmare

I pity everyone who sells insurance for a living. As if it's not bleak enough, our local news channel 8 is blaring a breaking news story about scammers who bilk the elderly by pretending to be insurance agents.

I happen to know that the ONLY market for insurance right now is the supplemental Medicare market. When the elderly get spooked, that will close the final door in the insurance industry and agents will join the ranks of the unemployed everywhere.

The New Insurance Vista

Now that this botched Obama bill has passed, insurance will drastically change. For what I believe to be a very realistic look, go to this article in Investors Business Daily. It's an eye opener.

Jesse James

What a skank.

His third mistress has just "revealed" herself (pun intended) and at least one has said she's had unprotected sex with him. All of them are hardly the-girl-next-door types, unless you live next to a strip club.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sad-but-True Cost of the New Health Care Bill

I really had hoped for something more. But, as the saying goes, a camel is a horse made by committee.

The New York Times believes it "...would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion."

What a nightmare.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hoodlums & Scalawags

Our local newspaper, the St. Pete Times, tells of how a School Board member labeled disruptive jerks as "hoodlums".

The disruptive jerks were black, and the next thing you know, they took offense to the term.

If only they'd spend more time in the classroom and less time being hoodlums, they would've learned what it meant.

The reporter attempts to explain away their overreaction by this convoluted reasoning: The first half of the word "hoodlum" is "hood", as in "neighborhood", and since black thugs often refer to their home territory as "the hood", they own this term and it shouldn't be used in any other words about them.

I would suggest the term "scalawag", which was a favorite label my grandfather always used for hoodlums. But wait! It's fraught with meaning also! Apparently it was "...a moniker for southern whites who supported Reconstruction following the Civil War." Well, we wouldn't want to call black hoodlums "scalawags", then, would we?

How about "reprobate"? Nah - our hoodlums would probably think it has a sexual meaning (reproduction and masturbate) and we wouldn't want to confuse them any further. They can hardly be rocket scientists, after all, if they don't value schooling.

How about "delinquent"? Certainly not! Anyone who eats in a deli would be infuriated! Hold the mustard!

How about "hooligan" or "scofflaw"? Well honestly, could you take anyone seriously who used those terms? I know *I* couldn't.

"Avast ye hooligan! I demand redress for your knavish behavior! Yea verily, I shall smite thee!"


How about just plain "jackasses"? As donkeys can't talk, it's safe to say they can't object.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wolf Attack

Wow. The wolf experts are shocked. There's been a fatal wolf attack in Alaska.

They express surprise! "Wow," they say. "This is only the second documented fatality ever recorded!"

Yeah, ya think? Know why? Because it's hard to document something when you're dead and your intestines have taken up residence in a wolf's belly!

Only survivors have the chance to talk.

There are two reasons we're now hearing of these attacks. First, we have better modes of communication.

For instance, let's say a wolf attack happened in the 1800s. If there were any survivors, they might eventually get to "civilization" where they could tell the tale of the attack but there would be no real evidence, little interest in finding any, and the story would become "rumor". And how many average people wrote then, and if they could write, how many took the time to do so when there was a living to be made? And how much of their writing would survive to become "documentation"? Very little.

Secondly, our modern lives give us better reaction time and we have more ability to do research than ever before. Not only were the wolves that killed this woman tracked and killed, but they're also going to make sure that the right wolves were killed by matching their teeth to the bite marks. This concept would have been unheard of in the 1800s.

To sum it up: Wolf attacks are quite plausible. I have always been amused by how many "experts" maintain that wolves are lovable, harmless fuzzballs. Look at their teeth, for crying out loud! It's not like they chew cud.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

War? What War? Oh Yeah... THAT War!

Meanwhile, the war continues.

As Richard Brautigan once wrote:

Someplace in the World a Man is Screaming in Pain

Someplace in the world
a woman is sitting
under a beautiful green tree,
and she is shelling peas,
and she is thinking only
of beautiful things,
like waterfalls or rainbows
or peas.

We need to stop shelling peas, and refocus. Although Obama promised a quick end to the war, we continue to do battle in Afghanistan. We cannot afford to be The World's Policemen right now. In fact, we never could afford it.

Bring our troops back to the USA, but keep them on payroll. Have them patrol the borders, instead. At least if they're in the USA, they can spend their money here and perhaps contribute some to our own economy.

And, there will be less soldiers screaming in pain.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sloth Pin

The Chinese Ebay sellers generally have no taste. And lately, I don't see many people snapping up their fakes. This one really takes the prize, though. It's billed as "Big Sloth Brooch Pin w/ Black Swarovski Crystals."

This is the kind of thing that visits me in my nightmares.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The "Honest" Company Rep

My best girl friend, Cindy, owns a small company specializing in government bids. Sometimes government bids demand a mandatory get-together before companies can formally bid on a project. There is truly no need for a mandatory meeting, except that it can often discourage companies that are outside of the area. In other words, it gives preference to the local boys.

And since Cindy has a small company, she can't attend every bid, so she sometimes has a representative go for her.

Yesterday, Cindy was trapped at the office all day, so she asked her father-in-law to go for her. She also asked him to sign in as her, not because she was trying to pull some scam (and it is allowed) but because she wanted all information to be addressed to her. And since she'd had some run-ins with this particular governmental entity, she asked him to sign in under her alternate company, which they hadn't heard of.

However, "Sid" got an attack of conscience. Shortly after the meeting ended, he called her. Apparently he started out doing what she'd asked, which was to sign in and take notes.

But suddenly after he signed in, Sid felt remorseful. So, he went up to the man holding the conference, pulled him aside, and whispered "I signed in as Cindy Smythe. But, I'm not Cindy."

This was probably apparent to John, the head honcho.

"But you know Cindy," he added. "I think you may have had some disagreements before."

Well, if John hadn't remembered her before, Sid had been kind enough to help him out.

"And..." said Sid, "She owns two companies. I signed in as ABC Co., but we really are usually known to you as XYZ Co. I think you should know that."

So at this point, I think we can safely assume that John was pretty certain he was dealing with a shady company who was sending a man afflicted with some form of mental illness, in an attempt to somehow subvert the system.

Needless to say, Cindy will no longer be sending Sid to any functions.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Condoms vs. Catholics in the Philippines

Let me start by admitting I have an uneasy relationship with the Catholic church. As a Christian who belongs in the "protestant" category, I have well-researched reasons for being there. I am too wise to fall into the "we-all-believe-the-same-thing-anyway" crowd. Frankly, we don't.

But, there is much good in what the Catholic church teaches.

For instance, I agree that in an ideal world, people abstain from sex before marriage, there is no promiscuity, and wise choices are always made.

But... we're talking the Philippines, here, people.

My brother is married to a Filipina and he currently supports some of the children in her family. I have an ex-fiance who's a conflicted "Flip" (Filipino). He's American, and his relatives accuse him of being the "whitest" Flip they know. But, he has visited his homeland, and he is only one generation removed from the islands.

Obviously our family has often crossed paths with the Filipino culture, so we have a great deal of knowledge about them.

One of the things that is striking about the Phillipines is the rampant promiscuity that exists. For example: As a result of this being an ego-centric culture, children are often thrown to the wayside. After all, kids can get in the way of a budding romance, so they are usually discarded. Yup - discarded like yesterday's fish.

It is not uncommon for a divorced or single mother to kick her young children out into the street or fend them off on relatives who abuse them or neglect them. Why? Because the new man in her life is going to want to start his own family and he doesn't want the burden of some other man's children. And, it's likely that her mother did the same thing to her.

Obviously if this is the way that many mothers feel about their children, most men are more than happy to take advantage of it. And this is just one example of the wanton lifestyle that exists not as an aberration, but as the norm.

So it is certainly no surprise to find that AIDS is soaring in their population.

The Philippine government has decided that they need to do what they can to reduce the STDs that are rampant over there, and they are especially concerned about AIDS. The cold, hard truth is that the government may not have to pay for all the street urchins, but they certainly don't need a plague on their hands. Homeless children aren't a direct concern, but AIDS could become so.

So, the government decided to put their workers on the streets to hand out condoms and roses to those who were passing by.

But, as the Associated Press reports, "It didn't get far. Within days, leaders of the powerful Roman Catholic Church began urging the faithful to reject condoms, reigniting a long-running battle over contraception in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation."

OK, yay for the Catholic leaders: They get to stand on principle. But do we really need to subject these people to such restrictions even when they're not truly practicing (or believing) Catholics?

Because, let's face it, a practicing/believing Catholic wouldn't be indulging in promiscuity anyway, nor would they disregard the care of their children. Therefore it's logical to conclude that most Flips really are Catholic in name only (at best).

Taking away a person's options to do what they want to do is not truly promoting belief. Instead, it is promoting restrictions. If the Catholic church wants to take control of the population, they should take over the government first. But if the Catholic church wants to control their hearts, it's going about it the wrong way.

Let's face it, the Bible teaches that God gave man free will. Even God doesn't want man to be forced to come blindly to him: God wants man to approach him with an open heart.

Why should the Catholic church behave any differently?

Friday, March 05, 2010

New Research on REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

Some of my readers may recall that I suffer from Nightmare Disorder. It is an exceedingly rare, unpleasant sleep disorder which results in vivid, cruel nightmares that drag on all night. I've had it for as long as I can remember.

Athough Nightmare Disorder is not depression or anxiety, a mild anti-anxiety drug (Celexa), when taken at night, has been able to reduce it somewhat. Never the less, it remains there, lurking in the back of my subconscious, desperate to rear its ugly head whenever possible.

However, new research on REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep gives me some hope. Studies show that those of us who experience extended periods of REM are more prone to depression, vivid nightmares, and a negative outlook in the morning. Well, let's face it - if you faced Freddy Krueger every night, wouldn't you be a bit crabby in the mornings also?

So researchers agree that the way to combat such a problem is to reduce REM sleep, which goes contrary to what many of us learned in the psychology classes of the 1980s and early 90s when we were told all we needed was more REM. And, recent studies prove that these researchers are correct.

So, how do you reduce REM?

In sleep study labs, people who are woken up each time they go into REM sleep report less depression when they rise in the morning. But, this is hardly practical in everyday living. However some of the things that we can do to reduce REM are:

1. Have a little wine before bed
2. Up our intake of L-Tryptophan (small amounts are found in turkey and milk, but in order to reap the benefits, supplements are recommended)
3. Antidepressants of certain types
4. Any combination of the above

Of course it's not a license to become a wino or a pill popper. Instead, as with everything, moderation is the key.

But finally, there is hope.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


There's a weird new service for rich Frenchmen who are jaded with the everyday thrills. It is no longer enough to take the chance of becoming another Sonny Bono (death by skiing) or a John Denver (death by plane).


They now have the option to pay to be kidnapped.

Perhaps the Mexicans who are kidnapping Americans* just over the border and holding them for ransom have got it all wrong. They merely need to run an ad in the wealthiest parts of America:

Are you bored with your daily routine? Is paragliding or swimming with sharks no longer enough for you? Well, have we got the solution for you!

We guarantee a kidnapping by one (1) Mexican gang, run by at least one (1) certified drug lord. This kidnapping will involve a minimum of two (2) semi-automatic rifles, assorted handguns, and some showy "grenades" which will add to the thrill of it all as we grab you off Wall Street and transport you to a sunny bordertown in Mexico.

But that's just the beginning! Thrill to see what your loved ones will do for your release. Will your wife put up that $5 million? Will your parents appear on CNN, tearfully pleading for your safe return?

Call 1-800-IDIOT-NAP today!

Seriously: How exciting can it be to sign up for your own kidnapping? How can you get worked up about it when you already have your exit strategy planned? These morons can sign up for a helicopter "rescue", for crying out loud.

As if we didn't already think the French were beyond freakish...

* (and their own wealthy citizens)

Monday, March 01, 2010

More Aid Overseas

It seems the disaster season is upon us again. And whenever other countries are hit with a disaster, we gleefully saddle up and ride to their rescue. When we get there, we spend money like drunken sailors on shore leave and finally retire, happy with our emotional excesses and indulgences.

A little while ago, we enjoyed the tragedy in Haiti. Now we get to revel in the earthquake in Chile. I wonder how much money we'll spend this time?

The truth is that people love a good tragedy. The history of mankind proves this; Shakespeare's dramas, soap operas, the nightly news, court TV.

But we still feel a twinge of guilt: If we're going to watch the disaster unfold, blow-by-blow, perhaps we should do something to ameliorate the guilt. So we send money, which gives us the excuse to self-righteously proclaim that we "care", which in turn allows us to enjoy the disaster from the comfort of home.

The problem is that we are currently in great distress, a vast number of us are unemployed, homes continue to go into foreclosure, and there's no end in sight.

This is certainly no time to send money overseas.