Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Would YOU do if Disaster Hits?

I have never been a "doomsayer". I pride myself in having the most positive outlook on life. But I am also very well educated, and I have always had an uncanny knack of being able to extrapolate current events to "see" what the likely result will be.

And what I see unnerves me.

I do not expect anyone to go against their beliefs just to follow my lead, but I strongly suspect that those who do take heed will be damned glad they did. And everyone else may very well suffer terribly.

Here is what I see coming - and why - as well as what steps I am taking to cover my ass-ets:

I can almost guarantee that within the next 5-7 years the entire population of this planet will suffer some sort of large-scale "disaster". Perhaps not an extinction event like that which got rid of the dinosaurs, but some world-wide suffering will occur. I make this claim based partly in these facts:

1) Two major, huge religions are beginning to clash. When people go to war with religious fervor, the result is always catastrophic. Whereas one group has already declared their intent, I see no way to avert this unless some other disaster strikes first. We can only hope...

2) There is the (slight) chance that "global warming" really will cause serious world-wide repercussions

3) Oil is selling at $100 per barrel. Oil supplies are also nearing exhaustion. Imagine the "Mad Max" world when oil supplies get so low that we cannot heat our homes, drive our vehicles, get products made or delivered to stores, and cannot even light our homes.

4) If any of the above should occur, (or any other great disaster) first there will be world-wide recession, followed by depression, followed by panic, street warfare, looting, international wars, famine and disease.

Of course, there are those who look through rose-colored glasses and believe that, no matter what happens, we will somehow be "rescued" by new advances, technology or ???? Maybe. But I strongly doubt that we could act quickly enough to avert the inevitable.

So, while I sincerely hope I am wrong, I believe it would only be prudent to prepare for the worst while I hope for the best. In that way, it would be hard for me to lose, either way.
I am taking (and in some cases I already have taken) the following steps:

A) I can afford to refinance my home, even if things stay "swell". If the proverbial crap hits the proverbial fan, my home will have no monetary value to speak of, anyway. So, I refinance to pull out equity and use the proceeds for viable preparations, as follows:

B) Purchase and store a three year supply of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) for each member of my immediate family, to be doled out sparingly if needed. If there is an oil shortage, a food shortage is a certainty. If serious climate change occurs, a food shortage is assured. In fact, if any disaster hits on a global scale, there will be a shortage of food. No guesswork here.

C) Set aside a fair supply of ordinary medical supplies. If I were on life-sustaining medicine, I would try to keep a rotating 6 month supply on hand.

D) A generator, to generate electricity for at least a few days in the event of a loss of power. The generator could then be used to pump water from our well, to store ( I keep clean milk jugs stored in the basement, just in case). Without electricity, you cannot pump water from a well. The generator could also produce power to complete other necessary tasks before suffering total loss of power (like making a pot of coffee :o).

E) Extra blankets/sleeping bags, sweaters. Heat may be a problem in the event any catastrophy hits. A few winters ago, an ice storm knocked out power throughout our community for 11 days in the midst of winter. No power means no heat for most folks around here. Electricity is needed to run a furnace, heater, or even a pellet stove. Only those with woodstoves (or generators, with a supply of gas) had heat.

F) I have a woodstove and chimney sitting in a crate in my shed. If I need it, I can set it up in a couple of hours. I also have a buck saw, and log splitting tools. But I ain't bustin' my back unless I have to, so for now it stays in the shed.

G) Guns, ammo, fishing gear etc. Just in case I must supplement the MRE's to make them last longer - or in the event I am forced to defend what I have against those who did not prepare. Desperate people whose families are dying will stop at nothing to save their loved ones.

H) "Heirloom" seed. Seed sold in stores are hybrids. If you try using the seed from the plant that is grown from hybrid seed, that seed will not produce anything edible. If you want to be able to grow new crops each year from seed produced the previous year, you must start with heirloom seeds. I purchase mine online. Each year I grow just enough crop to harvest seed for the next year (many seeds do not store well). Each year I replenish my seeds. Then, if I need to, I can grow a huge garden.

OK, so I have made reasonable preparations. And here is the beauty of it all:
If the crap hits the fan, I am at least somewhat prepared to survive. And if only a small disaster hits (like that ice storm), my family can sit back, relax, and be comfortable. And if nothing at all happens, I can give away all the MRE's to the needy, just before they expire (10 years) and write it off on my taxes. Meanwhile, the interest on the refi is tax deductible, I have a generator for whenever the power goes out, but best of all - I don't have to worry so much about disasters. I sleep better, knowing I am protecting my family.

But one thing is absolutely, positively certain - eventually, disaster WILL come. It always has, throughout history. It will continue to do so.

1/3 of the population of Europe died in the "Black Plague" in the middle ages. More than 6 million people died from the Spanish Flu in 1917-1918. Millions suffered in the "Dust Bowl" and depression of the '30's.

Disasters are a necessary part of life. And each of us has a choice - prepare, or don't.

The only question is EXACTLY what will trigger the disaster, and WHEN will it occur. My guess is the trigger will be oil and war, combined, which will trigger disease and famine. And my guess is this will occur within 5-7 years.

Now, if I am right, I win. And if I am wrong, I win. What about you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

When to Invest (or Not) In Stocks

There are a lot of aspects to investing that are simply unpredictable. But there is one, little-known statistic that can indicate if it is or is not a good time to invest in the stock market.

Over the last 130 years of the stock market, one thing has remained constant: if the rate of inflation is between 1-3%, the stock market generally returns about 13% per year. In years where inflation rises above 3%, the market usually returns an average of under 3%.

So, keep an eye on the job Bernanke (the Federal Reserve) does. If he continues to keep inflation in check, it's a good time to pump the market. But watch closely - it can change quickly.

Quitting Smoking - Help From the Internet

Lord knows it's hard to quit any habit, but smoking has got to be among the most difficult. And while there are any number of helpful things you can do - the patch, hypnosis, medication etc., it often is not quite enough.

And the Web comes to the rescue. Quitters can now get help in kicking the habit, 24/7 on the Internet. You can find expert advice from the chat community at quitnet.com, which includes a directory of local support programs and other tools, and a free, step-by-step quitting program at smokeclinic.com.

Hey, whatever helps ya quit!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Living With COPD

One of the most devastating, incurable diseases known to Man, COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is one of the leading causes of death in America today. Those of us who suffer from it are constantly looking for ways to cope, and live longer - preferably with quality of life.

There are drugs that can temporarily help you breathe, but their effects are temporary, and the side effects can be serious. But if we cannot count on the drug companies, where can we turn?

We can turn to nature and common sense. Sure, I realize that some of you will reject "natural" methodology, but I can tell you from personal experience that it helps, better than anything else out there.

As most people who have COPD know, once diagnosed with mild emphysema, for example, doctors tend to give us less than 15 years, even in the best of conditions (non-smoker etc.). Well, I was diagnosed with emphysema and chronic bronchitis 12 years ago, and I continued smoking 2 packs a day for the next 7 years. I should be as dead as dead gets! But I am far from it.

I can still do physical work, and work out on my Bowflex and other gym equipment daily. I can walk, run and have all the sex my spouse will permit :o) Although I do get winded easily, it is no more so than 12 years ago. And I do not need to walk around while hooked to an oxygen tank!

What is the secret?

All I can tell you is what I personally do, and why I believe it is responsible for my "longevity". So, here goes.

1) I eat a well-rounded diet, not high in carbohydrates. Plenty of protein. I eat normal amounts of red meat, but I insist that all my foods - meat included - is all natural. No hormones, antibiotics or preservatives (other than raw salt). Since Man has canine teeth, that is enough scientific evidence for me to realize we are supposed to eat some meat.

2) My diet is 7/15/28. That's 7 grams of healthy, natural fats (like real butter, cold-pressed olive oil etc.) to every 15 grams of protein, for every 28 grams of carbohydrates. I do NOT eat three big meals a day. Instead, I eat 6 small, BALANCED meals a day. (I make a meal, divide it by two, eat one and save the rest for a snack between). The body can only use just so much fuel at a time. What it cannot use right away will either be put on the waist and hips, or expelled. Also, three big meals, followed by a few hours of fasting in between will only cause your blood sugar to "roller coaster", which can contribute to type 2 diabetes.

3) I take probiotics daily. The American lifestyle and environment reduces the amount of good bacteria that our bodies require in order to protect us. And the prolific use of antibiotics - both as medicine, and that which is fed to food animals - totally eliminate the good flora necessary for health. A good probiotic helps keep our system running smoothly. As a side note, since I began taking probiotic supplements daily, the acid reflux I have had almost constantly for nearly two years simply vanished. I cannot say probiotics "fixed" the reflux problem, but it is gone.

4) I work out, but not "hard". I simply "tone up" with mild exercising twice each day, for at least 30 minutes each set. One set is in my gym. The other set consists of walking for half an hour - not slowly, but at a fairly brisk pace. I prefer walking outside, but in bad weather I use the elliptical machine in my gym.

5) By the way - I did quit smoking, 5 years, 2 months and 13 days ago. Been trying for many years, unsuccessfully. Tried the patches, gum, hypnosis - you name it. Nothing worked. Then one night as I was falling asleep, I prayed for help. The next morning I had no desire for a cigarette, and have not had a single craving ever since. Honest to God, pardon the pun. I'm not saying that my "prayer was answered". I'm only saying I have not smoked anything since.

6) This is, I think, the "crowning touch" of my self-imposed therapy. It's called EWOT, which stands for Exercise With Oxygen Therapy. No, I do not need an oxy tank stuck to my face. But I did considerable research that led me to this. First, I will explain the "what", and then go on to the "why".

I purchased a small, refurbished oxygen generated off the Internet (about $400-$600). Hospitals use them. They are reasonably portable, weighing only a few pounds. When I exercise - MILDLY - I hook the oxy generator to an oxy tube, and place the tube in my nostrils, just like in the hospital. Then I do mild exercise (on the elliptical walker) for 15 minutes while on oxygen. That's all there is to it.

Here is the "why". Science tells us that our atmosphere has nearly 50% less oxygen in it as it did 100 years ago. And 100 years ago, the atmosphere was "naturally perfect" for sustaining human life. Now that there is so much less oxygen in the air we breathe, you might have noticed a dramatic upsurge in people with asthma and COPD. It has more than quintupled since the 1950's.

In short, NO ONE is getting enough oxygen. Not you. Not your kids. No one. And the body requires a certain amount of oxygen in the blood in order to keep us healthy.

For ordinarily "healthy" folks, using EWOT for 15 minutes once per month can make a dramatic difference in overall health - and even mood. But for someone with COPD, it is more useful to use EWOT 1-3 times per week.

When oxygen is introduced without mild exercise, it simply goes into the lungs, and into the blood, gets used quickly, then is gone. But when you introduce mild exercise for 15 minutes while on oxygen, the oxygen gets "pushed" out of the blood and into the cells, themselves. This reduces the creation of lactate (which "tires" muscles), and, since cancer cells cannot live in an oxygen-rich environment, it could conceivably aid in fighting or preventing cancer, although that has not been established.

But most important, EWOT infuses oxygen into the cells of the lungs, which may make them stronger. Again, the jury is still out, but I can state unequivically that EWOT has made a big, positive difference in my life. If nothing else, the reduction of lactate while exercising means I can exercise longer - and that is a good thing!

So, folks - take it for what it's worth to you. But I figure I have at least another 15 years left (I'm 60 now). And that is more than a 45-year smoker has any right to expect, especially when you realize I have already had emphysema for over 12 years!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blind Environmentalists

I believe strongly in protecting the environment - after all, this is the only planet we have. But I just as strongly disagree with many "environmentalists", simply because they are so busy looking at the trees that they cannot see the forest.

Here's an example: Environmentalists will not permit the cleaning up of dead wood and brush in California, even though it makes wildfires far less likely. The envoroinmentalists think that fire is a natural cleansing, and we should let nature take its course. Now, remember that these same environmentalists are screaming that we need to reduce carbon emissions because of "global warming".

Now - and you should think about this - those wildfires in Southern California, burning those trees, have cast 25 million tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere in just 4 days. That's more emissions than all the cars in Californias give off in an entire year. Moreover, those fires will, later in the season, be the cause of mudslides that will do even more damage. And all those damaged properties will be rebuilt, using even more resources whose use could have been avoided.

The "blind environmentalists" simply do not understand nature, nor do they seem to be able to look past their noses. In an attempt to protect nature, they are helping to destroy it.

In other circles, it is called "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

In yet another instance, you may recall the "greenies" who, over the years, have set fire to many new home developments, in an effort to "protest" those who "violate" the environment. But in the act of burning, they did 2.7 times more damage to the environment than did those who were building the developments.

Sure, let's care for our environment. But let's not do it blindly. Those who let their emotions run rampant and cause them to be myopic should stay out of the fray - they do more harm than good!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ramblings

Well, I started out with nothing. And I am proud to say I still have most of it left.

Today, Chuck Norris endorsed Mike Huckabee for President.

Global Warming folks say many of our cities are going to be underwater in this coming century. I am unsure why this constitutes a problem.

Hillary says she has "millions of ideas, and America cannot afford them all." I tend to agree.

The Evening News says that a day in Iraq without bombings, death or destruction is a "no news day." Man, that sounds like news to me!

A popular drug ad says it is two times more effective than another. Let's see, the other was proven to be ineffective, so two times nothing is what?

I took a Viagra four days ago. It got caught in my throat and I have had a stiff neck ever since.

Experts say our economy is going into a slump. But I can fix that easy enough - I'll just give my wife the credit card and let her go shopping.

Scientists are looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe. Shouldn't they try to find some here, first?

A computer crash has halted ticket sales for the World Series. The Red Sox get a reprieve. (I love 'em, but I also KNOW 'em).

Darwin says Man evolved from monkeys. Darwin was living proof.

A Question For You

You have a friend, Joe. He lives on the other side of town, next to a family you are trying to help. Now, you know that Joe doesn't have much use for the family next door, but Joe is your friend, so, in deference to his friendship with you, he cuts the family some slack and leaves them alone.

Now, you bring up a really touchy issue with Joe - you remind him that once upon a time he had done some bad things. You decided to make that information public.

Naturally, you have just pissed Joe off, big time. He no longer feels any need to ignore the family next door, and begins harrassing them, and making trouble. This makes it much more difficult for you to help that family.

My question is this: should you have intentionally angered your friend, Joe, or should you have let sleeping dogs lie?

Here is the reason I bring this up. Turkey has been a strong ally to America. In deference to the friendship between us, they have "bitten their tongue" and not actively stirred up problems with the Kurds in northern Iraq, which was, to say the least, very helpful to us.

However, the Democrats in the House of Representatives, led by Nancy Pelosi, took it upon themselves to introduce a resolution that would insult and anger Turkey, accusing them of "genocide" nearly a century ago. There can only be one reason why such a resolution would be introduced by the Democrats at this time, knowing full well the adverse effect it would have: the Democrats will do anything to make sure we lose the war in Iraq. After all, if we should win, the Republicans would come out smelling like a rose, and it would be generations before the Democrats could ever hope to control the government again. They cannot afford to have America win in Iraq.

First, they tried to stop the war by mandate. They tried to stop it using deceit. They tried defunding it with back-door methods. And failing all that, they are now actively and intentionally pissing off our allies, hoping it will usurp our efforts to win in Iraq. There can be NO other reason for insulting a needed ally with such a terrible label for something that occured before anyone here was even born. What is the purpose?

I find that about as despicable as anything I have ever encountered in my life.

When I listen to today's democrats, I wonder whatever happened to democrats who could debate in an honest way, and would state their beliefs and positions without using deceit. Great men like JFK and his brother, Bobby. I was a strong Democrat then, and proud to be one. But when the Democrats started using lies, deceit and the rewriting of history to push a secular-progressive agenda of socialism, that's when they lost me.

And the Republicans are not exactly winning my heart these days, either. They are not running true to their color.

Sure wish a real leader would emerge...before it's too late!

Unbelievable - literally

A couple years ago, a commentator on the network news said that, while the news coming out of Iraq was bad, it would be real news if a day were to go by without any bombings, death and destruction.

I had to agree - that would, indeed, be news.

Well, the other day it turned out that there were no bombings, death or destruction in Iraq for the entire day. And that evening, the network news stated that there "was no news from Iraq."

Strange. When something really newsworthy occurs on the Iraq front, the network news ignores it because it's not the news they want to hear - it simply does not fit their agenda.

And to think I used to believe the network news was supposed to give the consumer an objective view.

It would appear that having any faith in network news is not something a success-oriented person would have. Success requires truth - something network news and the big print media seems to be struggling with, to put it kindly. I do not think they know what "objective" means. And "truth" seems to escape them, as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where is the Sense?

Success generally requires a modicum of common sense. When common sense is abandoned, we are on the wrong road. Here are some non-sensical things that lack any semblance of sense.

* Some state legislatures are passing laws that will provide free, or reduced cost, education to illegal immigrants. While that may sound OK on the surface, you should note that your kid and mine will not receive any such breaks, even though they are our schools.

* A convicted murderer will receive a $300,000 operation to save his life, paid for by the taxpayers. But one of his victims, requiring extensive surgery in order to survive, has to find a way to pay those costs herself. The taxpayers will pay for the murderer's medical care, but the victim must pay her own or go without.

* While there are thousands of non-violent criminals in our prisons, a shortage of prison space resulted in a violent convicted murderer being set free. He has since committed murder again.

* In Vermont, they made news by giving child molesters either no prison time, or very limited prison time, stating that the state of Vermont prefers to "rehabilitate" molesters. Since then, the number of violent crimes against Vermont's children has increased dramatically. Are we supposed to be surprised? It is only natural that child molesters would flock to any state that gives them a free pass.

* Certain Democrats want to provide free or subsidized medical care to families whose incomes can be as high as $83,000/year. The cost of this program would be in the billions. And who would pay? Those same $83,000/year taxpayers, because the poor do not pay taxes. So, now we pay more taxes, which leaves us poorer and more dependent upon the "system". Understand this: the poor almost invariably vote democratic, because the democrats provide them with welfare, free medical care, free lunches...so it is in the best interests of democrats to make sure most people are poor, and therefore dependent upon them. Talk about a conflict of interest.

* Certain lobbyists want to remove guns from the public. Now let me see! A criminal hears that city A prohibits gun ownership, so no one can defend themselves, while city B encourages all its citizens to have guns. Now just which city do you suppose the criminal will go to? HINT: not to the one where he can get shot!

* The city of San Francisco has indicated that the United States should no longer have a military - it only causes trouble. Imagine if we eliminated the only protection we have against those who want to destroy us. Just how long do you think we would be a free country? Oh, about 5 minutes...

* There is a new staph "superbug" that has the potential to kill tens of thousands of people a year - more than aids kills. This bug was created because of our use of antibiotics - every "bug" has a few survivors from antibiotics, and they reproduce a strain that is immune to that antibiotic. So, we have no way to cure this "superbug". The plan? Come up with new antibiotics. Question: isn't that what CAUSED this problem? Shouldn't we be looking for something different? Eventually there will be no "new" antibiotics, and then we'll be in real trouble!

* Scientists are looking to create a huge "microwave" station in space that would collect sunlight, then beam to households to provide electricity. This, even after it was noted that one good solar flare can knock out all satellites (and has done so, on a smaller scale). Gee, now instead of just losing all communications with one flare, we can also lose all power needed to get those communications back up. "Centralization" - a fancy word meaning that it only takes one monkey wrench to bring everything to a screeching halt. Otherwise referred to as "putting all one's eggs into one basket."

* Some people do not want to deport criminal aliens because they have families. Hm-m-m. What about citizens who are criminal - should we give them a free pass because they have a family? A guy knocks over a liquor store, but he has a family so let's not punish him. Right.

* Certain people say they believe that it is wrong for an 11 year old to have sex, and then they provide those children with birth control. Kinda like saying, "War is wrong", then handing everyone a gun and a kevlar vest.

* Some say religion should be kept private, out of the public square. But history indicates that when an organization does not actively promote itself in public, it dies. No one joins, because they don't hear about it. Perhaps that is why every religion insists that its members "spread the word". Religion, by it very nature, requires a public venue. Those who want religion to "go away" certainly know this. That's why they try to put religion - Christianity in particular - into the closet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blarney

Otherwise known as lies, propaganda, bull, etc. And you find it permeates our society these days, from the media, to the Senate, to the White House. Although the vast majority of it comes from liberals with an agenda, conservatives throw enough of their own. But the reason they throw much less is simply because of what a conservative is. "Conservative" means to be more traditional, with long held values, not wanting to change easily. "Liberal", on the other hand, means to seek rapid change, with little or no emphasis on long-held values. By their very nature, liberals are more prone to "stretching the truth" - it is the most powerful tool there is for convincing people to change.

I understand this, so it normally does not irk me. What does bother me, however, is when they use deceitful means to propagate their deceit. It's like a double deceit, and it is insideous. Evil!

Take the National Geographic channel, for example. They constantly run shows on "Christianity", such as their shows on Noah, or the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the crucifiction. And they enlist liberal "professor" types to insinuate - and even "prove", that the Christian take on those events is absurd. They do not actually say that, but that is the effect. And because these "insights" come from "experts", the viewer is expected to believe the propaganda.

Take the episode on Noah, for example. Their "experts" came up with several possible (and mostly ridiculous) explanations that could explain the "myth" of the Great Flood. Understand something: every one of these "scenarios" proposed by these "experts" was different, which means NONE of them knows what really happened. In other words, those "experts" do not know any more about it than you or I - they are simply guessing. More important is the one scenario they never even considered a possibility - the Christian, Biblical account. Never occured to them that perhaps, just perhaps, that account is true. Instead of suggesting such an "improbable" scenario, they suggested that there were vast pockets of water underground that suddenly, worldwide and without explanation, it all spouted up at once, like geysers, flooding the Earth. To these "experts", that is more plausible - and they expect us to actually believe that!

Do YOU think so? If so, then just exactly where did all that water just as suddenly disappear to? A hundred cubic miles of water can't hide! Gotta be somewhere. Maybe those "geysers" suddenly reappeared and sucked that water back underground again! Or maybe thirsty aliens took it. Bull.

And their episode on the Scrolls spent an entire hour showing how the scrolls "prove" that Jesus was not the Son of God. The fact that the scrolls never actually suggest that seems to be an inconvenient truth for these liberals.

And these liberal channels (Discovery, National Geographic, Science channel etc.) all use the pretext of "education" to push their agenda. They figure that as long as they put liberals up there to tell us "uneducated peons" what's what, that we will have to believe it.

OK, folks, here is a simple fact: those idiots do not know any more about what happened 2000 years ago than you do. They were not there. Imagine 2000 years from now some archeologist finding a copy of Orwell's "1984". If he is an educated, liberal thinker, he might assume that, because it was written down like the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it coincides with his own pet theory, it must be truth. It must be fact. If he finds a Stephen King book, he will be convinced that the state of Maine was once a dangerous and deadly land full of monsters and mayhem.

Not unlike ancient peoples who, upon stumbling on the fossilized remains of a dinosaur, became convinced there were dragons in the land.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Selling in a Down Market

Well, to hear all the "chicken littles" tell it, the real estate market is so bad that sellers cannot sell their homes.

Frankly, that is a lot of hooey!

It would be so refreshing to hear even one of these "couch experts" tell the true story. They won't ( or can't), but I will.

The population keeps expanding. All these new people need to live somewhere. And for this reason, there will always be buyers. Always. But during a market shift such as this, there are fewer stupid buyers. Buyers become more picky. They want more, but they want to pay less. They are not going to pay inflated prices like those who came before them in the boom times.

The buyers are there, but they will not overpay. The problem is not a lack of buyers. The problem is a lack of sellers who can, and will, sell at a reasonable price. In many cases, they cannot - if they overpaid during the boom, then they cannot sell at a reasonable price without losing money.

Since the problem is not a lack of buyers, then a seller can sell his home provided he can make it attractive to the buyer. In some cases, it's as simple as bringing the price within reason. Where this may not be possible, the seller might consider helping a buyer to better afford his home, by offering better terms, deferred down payment, low-interest seller carry-back etc.

Unfortunately, many sellers are caught in the middle - their properties are not worth as much as they owe on them. For them, the best option may be to wait it out, if they can. Markets change. And if they cannot wait it out, perhaps they can offer an exchange with another seller (in the area where he wants to live) who is in the same predicament. In that way, they can relocate without having to sell at a price that would put them in financial jeopardy.

Now, if I were a younger man, I would start a company that acts as an "exchange clearing house". Seller's could list with me, stating the location they want to move to. My job would be to match the sellers (wherever possible), and pocket a fat fee for my trouble. If John Doe in New York has a home for sale and wants to move to Los Angeles, and Joe Johns in Los Angeles wants to unload his home to move to New York, a simple exchange could benefit both. And as a 1031 exchange, both parties would avoid income taxes on the trade.

Something for some agressive, young lion to consider....

NOTE: One reader seems to have misunderstood, and stated there are companies that handle 1031's. While that is true, they do not generally "match" seller's with other sellers nationwide in a DIRECT trade, as I have suggested here. Most 1031's are indirect, and do nothing to solve the immediate problem of today's sellers - not being able to sell.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not Exactly Success Oriented

The following are all true events. Makes you wonder how America survives...

1) A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the Branch and wrote this, "Put all your muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo Bank. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, "OK" and left. He was arrested a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.

2) Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.

3) A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, "Because I don't believe you are over 21." The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn't believe him.
At this point, the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from the store with his loot.
The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later.

4) A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.
I live in a semi-rural area. (probably Weyauwega , Wisconsin ) We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: "Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! - I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore." From Kingman , KS .

5) I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her own life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office no less.

6) When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the drivers side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "its open!" His reply, "I know - I already got that side." This was at the CHEVY dealership in Canton , Mississippi

The scary part - all these people are allowed to vote - and reproduce!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Food for thought

Is there an intelligence behind the universe? Or is everything that occurs nothing more than an accident?

Atheists would have us believe that there is no Creator. Everything just "happened", and then evolved. They feel that this adequately explains our existence. Like the child who, by accident, picks up a saxophone, practices, and becomes a good musician. Just a series of logical accidents.
And their rational puzzles me, because they seem to conveniently ignore anything that does not fit into their perceived notion of the universe.

For example, they say there was no "creation" because "evolution" is what has brought us to where we are. They speak as though evolution precludes creation - that the two could not possibly co-exist in reality. But if that were true - if evolution precludes the possibility of creation, then how does one explain those parts of the universe that simply cannot evolve? Rocks, water, oxygen. If something does not have life, then it cannot possibly evolve. Yet, they exist, despite their inability to have evolved. Since they cannot evolve, how did they come into existence?

To try to get around this little problem with the "evolution negates creation" theory, atheists claim that everything else simply created itself in some sort of "big bang." Excuse me, but it appears they are overlooking the first law of physics: matter can neither be created nor destroyed. If science is true, and matter cannot be created, then it is absurd for anyone to expect us to believe that anything created something out of nothing.

That leaves but one possibility - divine intervention. If science is true, and matter cannot be created, then the simple fact that all of this universe exists would seem to indicate that something had to intervene; to do that which is not otherwise possible.

Another interesting point atheists seem to ignore is the interconnectivity among things that could not possibly understand, let alone participate, in a grander theme. Take that boy saxophonist, for example. While it may be possible for a person to "evolve" into a saxophone player, it becomes so much more complex when you consider that, also by chance, another child picks up a trumpet. Another learns the flute. In fact, perhaps as many as 70 individuals all magically evolve and come together to form an orchestra.

Now, when talking about people (where there is intelligence and self-direction), perhaps such a series on coincidences could occur to create something made of so many distinct and separate parts. But what happens when the particpants have no awareness of their part - do not even know they are part of an organized orchestra. Who, or what, has devised for them to come together, without knowledge, to perform a complex task of which none of them even knows they are a part?

Here is a very small example. Take one pine tree, one raspberry bush, and one chickadee. None have any true awareness of one another, so they certainly cannot evolve independently and still interact in such a way as to purposely have a specific, desired result.

Yet, the raspberry, which prefers to germinate and grow within the acidic shade of pine trees, with no knowledge of the chickadee, has evolved to create seeds that the chickadee cannot digest. The chickadee, with no awareness of the needs of the raspberry, eats the fruit, does not digest the seeds, and excretes them while sitting in the lowest branches of a pine tree, with his own excretia acting as the necessary fertilizer to make the indigestible, hard seed germinate and grow.

And the tree knows nothing of either the chickadee nor the raspberry bush. An unknowing, but necessary participant.

So, a complex set of necessary actions occurs among distinct and separate groups, none of which has awareness, and none of which could possibly be expected to evolve in such a way as to benefit an unrelated species. And that last statement is important because evolution, according to Darwinians, is nature's way of having living things adapt to their environment, so that they may survive. And while that makes perfect sense, and undoubtedly occurs, it does nothing to explain how or why one living thing would adapt to the needs of another, unrelated species. Evolution presumes self-directed adaptation. But it cannot explain how the evolution of one living thing can interconnect so smoothly with evolution within one or more other species.

What this all boils down to - and I would like to hear from anyone with a logical answer - is this one, simple question: where did the first "thing" come from? If evolution precludes creation, then where did the first thing come from - you know, the thing that evolved? If we come from the ape, which comes from a snake, which comes from a single-celled creature - then where did that single-celled creature come from? If it was truly the FIRST thing to exist, it could not have evolved, as there was nothing to evolve from, because it was the first thing.

That first thing, living or inanimate, had to come into existence somehow. And our own unrefuted science states that it could not create itself, because matter can neither be created no destroyed. So, how did it come into existence?

Please do not offer that old diatribe about how it always existed, because that is neither logical nor scientifically possible. Somewhere, somehow, all the immense matter within the universe had to come into existence. And the "Big Bang" does not provide an answer, either, because then we would have the question of just WHAT it was that "banged", and where did it come from.

The flip side of all this is both obvious and simple - there was a creation. And there is one indisputable fact - only intelligence can create. Mankind creates all the time - look around at all that we have created. It appears that the very nature of intelligenge -its purpose - is to create. Yet, despite our own intelligence, we are at a loss as to how to create the matter that we use for our own creations. We cannot create something out of nothing. We cannot create life.

Reminds me of the old story about the scientist that told God, "We don't need you any more. We can now create life, just like you did." And God said, "Go ahead - show me." So the scientist scooped up 100 pounds of the earth, to create his own "Adam" as God did. And God said, "Wait a minute, Bub. Make your own dirt!"

Until atheists and scientists can show how the initial material that makes up the universe came into existence, then I must contend there is an infinite intelligence behind the scenes. Until they can show how evolution can explain rocks and other lifeless, inanimate objects, then I must object to their theory that evolution precludes creation.

More than likely, both occur. God creates. Nature then evolves. Not unlike ourselves. We create something, then it evolves. Before you know it, the old Tide detergent is "New and Improved".

Intelligence creates. And then nature takes over, to insure continued survival (which, in all likelihood, is another design from God - why create something if you do not provide the means for it to survive). And before anyone suggests that the man standing upon the rock is strictly a product of evolution, please tell me where the rock he is standing upon has come from.

Dear Abby - You're Nuts

I see Abby has finally weighed in on the issue of gay marriage. She has no problem with it.

While she is entitled to her opinion, her opinion is wrong, and here is why.

First, let me state unequivically that I strongly believe all persons - gay or otherwise - are entitled to all the same rights and protections offered by law. But marriage is not a right - it is a RITE. In fact, marriage is a rite founded in religion and supposedly endorsed by God and is a sanctified union between a man and a woman.

It is only in recent times that the state got involved by requiring a license. The purpose for the involvement of the state was purely health related - by licensing marriage, they could require a physical exam to insure that venereal diseases would not be spread, and that the participants were of legal age. The licensing does not change the simple fact that marriage is a religious rite, and not a Constitutional right.

Religions around the world all agree that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God, which means a "marriage" between them would also be an abomination, and therefore cannot be sanctioned.

Yes, I believe that God loves us all - even gays. But just because God loves the sinner does not mean He approves of the sin. He does not. Therefore, gays should be allowed to enter into a legal bond (civil unions), sanctioned by the state but not God. They should be entitled to all the same legal rights and protections as married people. But they must not marry, as marriage is still, first and foremost, a religious rite in the eyes of God.

Frankly, I believe that all couples who wish to legally unite should enter into a civil union, and not a marriage. And then, if they choose to do so, and if their union is not an abomination in the eyes of God, they may then choose also to enter into marriage - a union blessed by God, and not just the state.

The reason? Because not all heterosexual couplings should be blessed by the church, either. Take the case of people who are atheists. Obviously, atheists neither want, nor can they expect to receive the blessing of God. So, for atheists, marriage can be nothing more than a sham. For them, the solution is a civil union, bestowing upon them the same legal rights as marriage, without the religious aspect or connotation.

Let's stop the rhetoric, the spin, the lies and the deception. Marriage is a religious rite, period. While licensed by the state, it is not a state funtion, nor a state purpose. We should grow up, and realize that the legal bonding of a couple is separate and distinct from a marriage in the eyes of God. We should keep them separate.

So this begs the question: why are the ACLU and other liberals on the wrong side of this? Those are the very same people who insist there should be a wall of separation between church and state. But on this issue, they are willing to ignore that wall, and combine church and state.

Seems to me that they really do not care about the Constitution except when it helps them push their agenda. But they ignore it when it hinders their agenda.

There is a word for that - hypocrisy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Minimalizing Oneself

Each us us faces many challenges in life. But are you aware that we can make things even more difficult than is necessary by minimalizing ourselves?

OK, so you are probably wondering what on Earth I'm talking about.

I'm talking about all those people who see themselves in a very limited manner. You know who they are. They are the people who see themselves primarily as blacks, only as Jews, only as Indians, only as Irish, only as liberals, only as....and the list goes on. They live their entire lives confined by the boudaries they set for themselves, and in so doing, they not only minimalize themselves, but they deprive us all of what they COULD be.

Still scratching your noggin?

On the street is Joe Blow. That is who he is. But he is also a member of the Blow family. And the Blow family is probably a member of a religion, and that religion is part of a community, which is part of a state, which in turn is part of a nation, a race, and ultimately, the race of Mankind. So, Joe Blow is a very important person. Or, he could be.

But Joe may very well limit himself by only thinking of himself as a person belonging to a specific level. Perhaps, as a person of Polish descent, he sees himself primarily as a Pole. As such, he takes offense at Polish jokes, is prejudiced against Russians, etc. Or, perhaps he is Native American, and limits himself to being part of the race that was beaten by the palefaces. And he lives with the angers, prejudices and guilts associated with being Native American.

Or perhaps Joe only sees himself as a smaller member of the human race - a member of his family. And his entire life revolves in that small world, where only family is important.

And then again, maybe Joe cannot see beyond himself - nothing else is as important. So his realm is very tiny, indeed.

The people who violently objected to the Columbus Day parade in Denver were people who have risen only to the level of their race. They limit themselves, and we all pay for that, because we lose all that those people could have been. If those people were to simply acknowledge their race, but were also to accept their rightful place in the larger picture known as the Human Race, they - and we - would be better off. There is great power in numbers. If you are strong because you belong to a community, you would be stronger if you belong to something larger, such as a religion or a race. But you would be stronger still if you belong to a nation, and strongest of all as a participating member of Mankind. The higher the level you rise to, the stronger you become. So why would anyone choose to minimalize themselves to a mere race, religion or even individual? You do not give up being an individual when you join a community. As you rise to higher levels, you become more, not less - you are an individual, a son, a father, a church member, a citizen of the community, etc. You become them all - until you stop yourself from going higher.

Those people in Denver are stuck at the "race" level. They have not matured. They minimalize themselves. They could be so much more if only they would stop living as though their race is more important than anything else. Certainly, your heritage is important. But it is only a small part of who you are.

And the sooner people figure that out, the better off we all will be. Once we all rise to the top level, and accept ourselves as equal members of the race of Man, only then will there no longer be racial issues, wars, and other pesky problems we currently must endure.

We must grow. We must outgrow our angers, hatreds, prejudices and selfishness. It is fine to be able to say, "I am a Christian", or "I am black." But it is not fine if you limit yourself to being just that. It is time to say, "I am Man", and not be limited to any other self-imposed labels.

Sleeping With The Enemy?

Would you give money to Iran so they could build a nuclear weapon that they, in turn, would use against you?

Of course not!

But that is exactly what most of us actually do in our everyday lives. Without even being aware of it, we are supporting our "enemies".

Consider this: you buy a product or service from AAA Products. AAA Products is owned by a person who gives a lot of his income to certain causes that you may be strongly opposed to (terrorists, for example). In effect, by purchasing your products from AAA Products, you are helping to fund a cause that you are against. You are "providing aid and comfort to the enemy".

If we, as individuals, do not keep abreast of who supports what, then we have no room to complain if the "wrong" agenda becomes the law of the land.

So, here are a few that you may want to look closely at - these businesses contribute strongly to very liberal causes, either in money, or in their efforts, or both. If you are in favor of such left-wing causes, you will want to support these businesses. And if you oppose the left wing agenda, you may want to avoid giving your money to these businesses. Pay for the weapon that will defend you, but do not pay for the weapon that will be used against you! The choice is yours - and you should be aware that you are making such a choice.

Known for supporting very liberal causes (small sample):

ACLU
Progressive Insurance
Media Matters
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
AARP
MTV
Rolling Stone magazine
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
University of Colorado
Columbia University

It's difficult to locate businesses that so actively support a conservative agenda, but there are some, such as the Family Defense Fund. I wish I could post more, but it seems that, because they are in the minority, liberals are more outspoken, and tend to pursue their agenda more aggressively. By their very nature, conservatives are, well, conservative! They tend to let things shake out on their own, so there are not as many businesses that pursue the right wing agenda.

But the point remains: each of us has an obligation to support those who support our beliefs, and to deny support for those who do not, regardless of which "side" they are on.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Failure to Accept Reality (or Who's The Boss)

A news report this morning was quite distressing - people in Denver were violently objecting to a Columbus Day parade, and calling Ol' Chris a "monster".

It seems that a lot of folks in Denver have a huge gap in both their history, and reality.

Apparently, they believe that a man who pioneers, explores and discovers is a "monster". That is absurd. Columbus discovered the west. He did not conquer it - others did that. In fact, Chris did not even land on American shores - he landed in the West Indies. Yet, these uneducated people, brainwashed by liberal thinkers, seem to be unaware of the reality, and blindly accept fallacy.

OK, so the white man came, conquered, and native Americans lost the battle. But does that give today's native Americans cause for complaint? Of course not - that is how life works. The first law of nature is survival of the fittest, the strongest, the smartest. Native Americans were not prepared to survive against the onslaught of more powerful forces. They lost. They really need to accept it.

Imagine if the descendants of any race that lost its bid for being "top dog" were to demand that their heritage be returned to them. Think about that - nearly every one of us would be among them.

The native Americans. The blacks. The Japanese, The VietNamese. The Irish. The Romans. The Macedonians. The Hebrews. The Arabs.

You name it - every one of us is a descendant of a race that, at one time or another, was subdued by a stronger ethnic group.

It simply is not possible to give back everything that everyone lost - nor should we. After all, there are some countries that have been "lost" many times - who do we give those to?

Those "complainers" need to wake up and accept the reality of what is. Cowboys 1, Indians 0. Make the best of it. In every game, someone must win, and someone must lose. What these complainers are saying is that we shouldn't even be playing the game at all. And that is warped thinking. If the game is not played, progress cannot happen. And the strong will not survive, which weakens all of Mankind.

Here's a thought: why don't we simply accept the fact that we are all in this together. We all must live on this little blue marble in the universe. We are not merely native Americans, or blacks, or Arabs, or Orientals. We are not merely Christians, Jews, Muslims or Buddhists. We are something must greater. Much stronger. Much better. We are MANKIND.

By separating ourselves into pathetic groups, we weaken ourselves. Together, we grow. Separate, we are weak, and will die. It's like the human body. If each part were to separate itself from the whole, each seeking its own future, the body would die.

These complainers are like fingers or toes, complaining they are only fingers or toes. So they want to set themselves apart. Apart from the whole, neither can survive.

Hm-m-m...brings to mind that old joke about the brain and the rectum, both thinking they deserve to run things. The brain said, as the thinker, it should run things. So, the rectum closed itself, refusing to let anything pass. Before long, the brain screamed for mercy, and gave in. Which only proves you do not have to be a brain to be the boss - you only need to be a rectum!

The Most Important "Success Book"

One of my daughter's young friends (my daughter is 16) asked me where she could find the rules for success, all in one place. Was there a book? After all, her family had always struggled, while our family always seemed to "have it all."

Of course there is such a book. And everyone has free access to it, no matter who they are. It is the book I have always used in creating my own successes.

It is where I learned that one must help others to get what they want, if you expect them to help you get what you want.

It is THE book on success. It teaches us to save some of this years crop so that we will have seed for next year's crop. It teaches us not to waste that seed where it cannot benefit us, such as on barren ground, or among the brambles. It teaches us that our future is only as strong and safe as the foundation upon which it is built (build your house upon the rock, not the sand).

It teaches us to cast out those things that damage us, or harm us, no matter how much it may hurt to do so. It teaches us to be tolerant and forgiving, while remaining strong and steadfast; focused.

It teaches us to leave some of our harvest behind, for the less fortunate of God's creatures (being charitable). It teaches us to be humble. It teaches us to become an asset to those around us, so that they will protect us from harm. ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.")

Yes, there is a book that teaches the principles of success. It is called the Bible.

Don't get me wrong - you do not have to be religious in order to learn success from the Bible (though being religious is helpful). You need only recognize the truth when you see it. Every principle of success that you need is right there in the New Testament.

You do not have to read it as though it is a religious text - if you must, simply read it as though it is simply a book that teaches success. But DO read it, and learn it, for if you do not, then you should not expect to achieve the success you deserve and desire.

Read it. Follow the principles. Do that, and success is assured.

A Secret of Success

There are many "secrets" of success. Most are not really secrets, but this one appears to be, because so few people seem to be applying it. Perhaps that is why so few people succeed to any great degree.

No man is an island. We have all heard that. But did you know it is the basis for success?

Let's say you are wealthy. You keep your wealth to yourself. But then, as often happens, you experience a reversal of fortune - you lose your wealth. Who do you turn to, if everyone in your circle is also poor? Who will bouy you up, and help you regain your wealth? And why would they?

On the other hand, let's say you are wealthy, and you share or use some of that wealth to help those around you to prosper and grow rich. Now if you begin to sink, you will have a circle who can use what you gave them to help bouy you up, and help you regain your position.

Think of your "circle" of friends and associates as a life preserver. If you do not inflate it, it cannot keep you afloat.

So, just how can you apply this, especially if you may not (yet) be wealthy? It's simple: you share yourself with others. You become an asset to them. Be there when they need you. Offer your help. Your time. Whatever you can do to give them a boost will add bouyancy to your life preserver. Over time, you can build a powerful circle who, separately, may not be able to do much for you, but together, they may have the power to make you wealthy.

How?

Let us assume you are a car salesman, making $50K a year. If you start empowering a large circle, you will build greater income. The people you help, those that consider you a valuable friend and asset, will come to you when they need a new car. The bigger you grow your circle, the more sales you will make, and the richer you will become.

As your wealth grows, you find yourself in the position to be able to grow your circle even larger, and richer. And your wealth grows accordingly.

If you want to achieve wealth and success, the most important step you can take is to become a valuable asset to as many people as possible.

After all, if you have one friend who will give you a dollar, you won't have much. But if you have a million friends, each of whom will give you a dollar, you will have a million bucks.

Bill Gates, of Microsoft, is the wealthiest person in the world. And that is directly related to the fact that, through his Windows operating systems, he has been a great asset to billions of people. By making their lives better, richer, fuller, easier, Bill Gates has billions of people rushing to buy his products and services.

You may never impact billions of people, but I guarantee you can impact many more people than you currently have in your circle.

Expand the circle of people that consider you a friend and asset, and you will expand your success.

Try it. It takes time. It takes thought. It takes a positive attitude. It requires a smile, and a sincere willingness to help others, every chance you get. But those are things that even a poor person can do to help better himself.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Scary

The latest poll asked the following question: Do you want America to LOSE the war in Iraq?

19% of Democrats said "Yes". That's one in every five Democrats that are rooting for the Terrorists to win in Iraq. Because if we lose, the other side must, by default, win. And the other side consists of people who are killing Americans, and intend to keep doing that, whether we leave or not (remember - they were killing us for 20 years before we went to Iraq).

One in five Democrats wants the terrorists to kill Americans. Because that is what must happen in order to cause us to lose.

I don't mind saying that scares the Hell out of me!

And amid all of this, Barak Obama makes a special point - a show - of removing his flag pin, saying he will not wear it again. Now, if he simply removed it in private, no one would have noticed, nor cared. But he choose to make it an issue, which can only be for political purposes. He prostituted the American flag to get votes from the far left.

Since when did the American flag become a political football for ANYONE to kick around? You can be against the war, and against President Bush if you wish. But when you make it a point to shun the American flag, you have stepped over the line. The flag is not about Bush, and it is not about the war. It is the symbol of America, land of the free, home of the brave. It is about all who fought, and all who died for our freedom over the last 230 years.

But Obama says to Hell with all that. He does not care what the flag stands for. All he cares about is winning the support of far-left loons like the folks at MoveOn.org. And if he can get that support by casting off the flag, then that is what he will do. I must wonder what - or who - else he would sell out for political convenience.

And I, for one, am damned sick and tired of people - of either party - who will toss principle, integrity and honesty out the window for the sake of getting votes. Anyone who stands for nothing except votes has no business representing us - because they won't. They will shift with the winds; change lanes at the drop of a poll. No consistency. No principles. No integrity. And from me, they will get no vote.

Obama, Clinton, Snowe and many other politicians are not providing leadership by any stretch of the imagination. They are followers. Sheep. They follow the polls and the money. Leadership is when you say, "I don't care about polls, money, or even votes - I am going to do what I believe is right. And When you check on me tomorrow, I will still be following the same principles. I will not change direction with the changing winds."

Principles do not change just because they may be unpopular. That is what makes them PRINCIPLES. And that is what makes Bush a leader. Maybe not a good one. But at least he IS a leader. Those others are just cheap imitations, taking cheap shots. They take cheap shots because they cannot win otherwise.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A different take...

Lately, though I consider myself an Independent (politically), like a lot of folks, I have found myself diss-ing President Bush for his apparent errors in judgement.

But as I look at the bigger picture, here is what I see. I see both Republicans and Democrats (mostly Democrats) engaging in purely political nonsense, in complete disregard of what is best for America (which explains the 12% approval rating of Congress). I see Senator Reid (D) being dishonest on the Senate floor, and Senator Olympia Snowe (R) voting regularly with Democrats because she must get re-elected in a democrat state (Maine). So, she sells out her party in order to get re-elected. And it just goes on and on.

And then I ask myself, "Isn't there even ONE politician who has the integrity to do what he or she truly believes is right for America, regardless of party platforms and affiliations?"

And then it occurred to me - yes, there is one. He sticks to his sincere beliefs and principles, even if it means being villified by his own party, and base. He takes all the hits for his mistakes, but keeps fighting for what he truly believes is best for America.

His name is George W Bush.

Right or wrong, at least he has integrity, honesty and a sincere love of America and its people.

And that's more than I can say for most of those disingenuous turkeys in Congress whose only thoughts are fueled by how to kiss up to the powerful, instead of the American people.

And therein lies a BIG difference...

No, I would not vote for Mr. Bush. But at least I can respect him, which is more than I can say for most Democrats and many Republicans.

Getting Out of Debt

A lot of folks have asked me the best, most painless way to get out of debt. Short of dying, the following works pretty well:

1) List all your debts, with the balance and the monthly payment.

2) Choose the one with the smallest balance.

3) Do whatever you must to pay off that one, small balance. Have a yard sale, or sell unwanted items on eBay.

4) Now use the money you save from not having that payment each month, and apply it to the monthly payment of the next smallest bill. For example, if that smallest bill used to have a monthly payment of $25, and the next smallest has a payment of $50, you would now pay $75/month toward that next smallest bill, thereby paying it off much faster.

5) Whenever you come into "found" money (unexpected overtime, selling an item etc.), apply those funds to that smallest bill.

6) When that second smallest bill is paid off, apply that $75/month to the next smallest, until it, too, is paid off.

7) As each bill gets paid off, use the savings to apply to the next bill.

You will find that it starts out very slow, but soon snowballs. Take a look:

Let's say you are making payments of $25, $50, $100, $120 and $150 per month on various debts, for a total of $445/month. Let's also say you are paying $1500/month on a mortgage.

By paying off the smallest, you now apply that $25/month toward the next bill, paying $75/month. When that bill is paid, you now add that $75 to the $100/month on the next bill. Eventually, you will be applying the entire $445/month toward the last debt (not including your mortgage). At that rate, that last debt gets paid off very quickly. You now have an extra $445/month to improve your lifestyle, or apply it toward your mortgage, taking several years off the term of the mortgage - and saving you many thousands in interest payments.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life's Little Instructions

The following is a wonderful little piece written by H. Jackson Brown Jr. I can guarantee if you follow these instructions, life will be much sweeter and more fulfilling.

Life's Little Instructions

Sing in the shower. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated. Watch a sunrise at least once a year. Leave the toilet seat in the down position. Never refuse homemade brownies. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Plant a tree on your birthday. Learn 3 clean jokes. Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full. Compliment 3 people every day. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it. Keep it simple. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. Floss your teeth. Ask for a raise when you think you've earned it. Overtip breakfast waitresses. Be forgiving of yourself and others. Say, "Thank you" a lot. Say, "Please" a lot. Avoid negative people. Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. Wear polished shoes. Remember other people's birthdays. Commit yourself to constant improvement. Carry jumper cables in your truck. Have a firm handshake. Send lots of Valentine cards. Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific." Look people in the eye. Be the first to say hello. Use the good silver. Return all things you borrow. Make new friends, but cherish the old ones. Keep a few secrets. Sing in a choir. Plant flowers every spring. Have a dog. Or cat :) Always accept an outstretched hand. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. Wave at kids on school buses. Be there when people need you. Feed a stranger's expired parking meter. Don't expect life to be fair. Never underestimate the power of love. Drink champagne for no reason at all. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake." Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." Compliment even small improvements. Keep your promises no matter what. Marry for love. Rekindle old friendships. Count your blessings. Call your mother.
by H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Which is it???

On AOL and other liberal news reporting centers (Yahoo, Google, MSN), there are two different stories in the news.

On the one hand, there is a story about how our coastlines will be under water soon, due to global warming.

In the next story, they say it will cost more to heat our homes this year, partly due to a winter that is expected to be colder. And I quote, "Any forecast for winter heating costs is subject to weather. Neil Gamson, analyst at the federal government's Energy Information Administration (EIA), says weather forecasts so far point to a colder winter than last year, suggesting higher bills may be in store."

It would be easier to believe these people if they could tell the same story twice in a row. After all, it is a bit confusing that "global warming" is causing colder weather!

And did you see that news story on Neptune? Scientists say the temp at the south pole of Neptune has risen 18 degrees, because of Neptune's "wobbly axis", which has put the south pole closer to the sun for 40 years (which is the normal way of things). But don't tell Al Gore - he may try to go there and sell his "carbon credits", all the while ranting about Neptune's own global warming.

Come to think of it, yes. Please DO tell Al...

Freedom of Speech?

Well, that little weasel - you know, the "President of Iran" - was invited to speak at Columbia University today. And there was such an outcry. On one side, people were saying that a terrorist should not be given a public forum for spewing his hatred and propaganda. On the other side, many argued that in America we have the right of free speech. So, what is right?

Here is how I see it. The Constitution does enumerate certain rights granted to us by God ("We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights...", Declaration of Independence), and freedom of speech certainly is one of them. But...

With any freedom comes responsibility. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to preserve and protect our freedoms, but to never ABUSE them. Every freedom has its limitations - limits determined by sanity and reason. For example, it is illegal to yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater. By the same token, inviting a madman and terrorist to openly speak to impressionable minds may not be the wisest, sanest or most reasonable example of exercising free speech. It strikes me to be a lot like yelling FIRE in a crowded theater.

Certainly, his speaking engagement has helped to prove to us all that he is, indeed, a monster, so in that respect, it is not a total loss. But at what cost? How many impressionable kids were taken in by this demon? How many "Adam Gadahn's", the American traitor and spokesman for bin Laden, did this exposure start to create? How many innocent people will eventually suffer because of our unreasonable tolerance for such people?

Here's the short take. I know evil when I see it. Ahmadinijad is pure, unadulterated evil in its raw form. The only platform he should be given is the one on the gallows. He should not be allowed to address Americans directly; he should not be allowed to address the UN; he should not be allowed to enter our country.

As the Bible says, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out". If you do not remove an infected part, the infection will spread.

Terrorism is an infection, and this madman is the head of the snake. I do not think we should abuse our rights to the point where we invite the snake into our home, then allow - nay, encourage - the snake to strike us dead.

Dead folks have no use for Constitutional rights.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking the Language Barrier

I spend too much time watching the news! But in doing so, I notice that many of the world's troubles are exacerbated - even created - due to language barriers. Whether it is an American trying to communicate with immigrants (or vice versa), or traveling to foreign countries, language barriers are a huge factor, and the cause of much frustration. Sometimes you cannot even communicate with the people on your own street.

And I can't help but think that there is an incredibly simple solution.

Every child in the world, regardless of their mother tongue, should be required to learn basic sign language. If this were done, within two generations anyone, from anywhere, could communicate effectively with anyone. We could come to understand one another more easily. Tensions would ease. People need not feel intimidated when away from their homeland.

And signing is much easier to learn than most languages - even I was able to pick it up.

Think about it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Neptune and Nature

Yesterday, a news item caught my interest. The south pole of Neptune is currently running 18 degrees warmer than the rest of the planet. The reason? Planets do not rotate evenly through their journey around the sun. Planets wobble. This wobble has placed Neptune's south pole a wee bit closer to the sun, as has done so for 40 years. Eventually, the wobble will cause the south pole to be further from the sun, and therefore cooler.

So, here is food for thought:

Our own planet Earth also wobbles. We all know that "magnetic north" moves around, ever-changing as the Earth wobbles its way along its orbit. That being the case, there are extended periods when our own poles get closer or farther from the sun. When the north pole is closer to the sun, the ice melts. When it gets farther, it freezes.

Global warming afficionados would have you believe that this warming of the north pole is caused by Man, and is a "permanent" and disastrous occurence. What they are not telling you is that the south pole is getting colder, and the ice is building. And they do not tell you that the natural wobble of the Earth causes periods of warming and cooling that are quite natural - and temporary.

The mean temperature of the Earth in the 1930's was warmer than today -m abnormally so. And the mean temperature in the 1970's was abnormally cooler. And now, right on schedule, it is warmer once again.

In short, it is a natural cycle. Yes, there is global warming, but by and large it is not caused by the meager efforts of Man (though I do believe we need to mature, and stop polluting the Earth). More important, it is a temporary situation. Soon enough, the cooling will begin once again, and all those scientists will pull the alarm about the "coming ice age", which they did in the '70's.

So, why do many people cause unnecessary alarm about global warming?

Three reasons (if you are one of them, simply choose which reason is yours):

1) Money. Scientists live by grants. Grants are only given in order to solve problems. The worse the problem, the more money you get. So, sound the alarm...

2) Power. Unscrupulous politicians see the issue of global warming as a political platform from which to snatch votes by instilling fear in people.

3) Sucker. A lot of people, many of whom are naive, and the rest "sheep", will blindly follow people in the above categories. And many will latch on to any "cause" that comes their way.

That is my take on global warming. It's real. It's a natural cycle. It's temporary. Pardon the pun, but don't sweat it!

Shutting the Gate

The following came to me in an email, and I found it insightful:

Catchin' Wild Pigs (It's true)

There was a Chemistry professor in a large college that had some Exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Prof noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back And stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government. In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, ' Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke.

'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America. The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms- just a little at a time.

One should always remember 'There is no such thing as a free Lunch! Also, 'You can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

Also, if you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life then you will probably delete this email, but God help you when the gate slams shut!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tired of the Liberal Methodology

When I was young (don't ask!), the two political sides would enter into political intercourse, debating issues, presenting the facts that held up their beliefs, and in so doing would try to convince John Q Public to vote this way or that.

But I have seen a very nasty shift since the early 90's. It seems that liberals no longer want to debate issues or present facts. Now, before you go off half-cocked on me, I would urge you to test this for yourself.

Don't get me wrong - I am all for a two-party system that debates issues honestly. But that is no longer what we have.

Here are some methods used by today's liberals:

* Do not answer a question directly if your answer cannot be supported by the facts. For example, when asked if they support MoveOn.orgs ad about Petraeus, most democrats respond not by answering the question, but by saying something like, "Well, the REAL question is whether or not the war in Iraq...". They simply do not answer the question. Why? Because even they know that their position is not defensible. If they say "I agree with the ad", even many democrats would scatter. And if they say they disagree, they lose the millions of dollars that MoveOn.org provides to their campaigns.

* Do not debate if your issue is all political hype, and not supported by facts. Example, Barry Manilow refused to go on "The View" because the producers refused his request to not be interviewed by the shows only conservative - he stated he only wanted to discuss things with the three liberals on the show. In other words, he wanted only to "preach to the choir" so his agenda would not be questioned.

* Use name-calling if all else fails. Things like "General Betray Us" come to mind. This methodology is childish and unwarranted.

* Re-tool the English language, to try and put an issue into a more favorable light by word association. Those who favor abortion are not anti-life. They are pro-choice. On the other hand, those who are against abortion are not pro-life, but are anti-choice. And illegal immigrants are "undocumented workers". And oral sex isn't sex at all. By relabeling and using politically correct language to remove the true meaning of an issue, they lessen the issue.

These are just a few of the dishonest methods used by many of today's liberals. And if you do not think it permeates the left, all you have to do is tune in to a station such as Fox News and keep an open mind. Then, listen to the actual questions and the actual answers. You will see, if you pay attention and are honest with yourself, that liberals rarely answer any question directly, because they do not want their answer to come back and bite them in the you-know-what. And listen to the new terms they invent, to put an unsavory issue into a better light: undocumented; pro-choice; weight challenged; and on and on.

But perhaps the worst tactic they use is their uncanny ability to insult us, and have it look like they are apologizing for getting caught. Like when John Kerry insulted our troops. When there was an uproar, his "apology" was simply, "I am sorry that so many people were upset by my comments." By using the words "I am sorry", it SOUNDS like an apology. But if you look at what was said, he was not apologizing for what he said - he was apologizing for US for being too thin-skinned. In other words, he was apologizing for us, not to us. He was insulting us yet again, and he never did apologize for his comments about the troops. His "apology" was not an apology at all - it was just another insult. The next time a liberal "apologizes", look it over carefully and chances are you will discover that they are not apologizing at all - once again, they are twisting words to make it appear they are apologizing, when they really are not.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dumb Arguments (reprint by popular request)

Dumb Argument: "We cannot detain, arrest or deport illegals because it breaks up families."

If we cannot arrest or detain people who break the law simply because it would break up families, then we cannot arrest or detain the guy who knocks over a liquor store, or sells drugs - not if he has a family.

Because arrest would break up a family is no excuse to allow lawbreakers to go free.

Dumb Argument: "I don't have to change my lifestyle - I buy carbon offsets."

So, if everyone were to buy carbon offsets so they would not have to change their carbon emissions, just how does that reduce carbon emissions? (Although I do see how it would make certain liberal groups who sell the offsets very wealthy)

Dumb Argument: "We must stop using the phrase "Global war on terror" because it infers that there is a serious crisis."

Duh! We are fighting (war) people who want to kill us in any way they can (terrorists), and we are fighting them here and abroad (the world). Sounds like a "global war on terror" to me.

Dumb Argument: "Religious people should keep their religious beliefs and opinions private because it is not right to impose your beliefs on others."

Sounds like the person who said this (Mary Shanks) is trying to impose her beliefs on others. The surest way to kill any belief is to not share it. It is the duty of every religious person to "spread the word." In the 1800's, there were religious sects that did not permit sex. Since there were no children, once the adults died, there was no one left to keep the religion alive, and the sects died out (see "Osgoodites"). In order to survive, religions must spread the word.

Dumb Argument: "Don't waste time trying to change the world - the world is too big, and you are too small."

Tell that to Jesus, Muhammad, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.

Dumb Argument: "It is OK for those illegal immigrants to burn the U.S. flag because the Supreme Court says flag burning is protected speech."

But the flags they burned belonged to other people! And they were still attached to someone's house! Such acts are NOT protected free speech. It is legal to strip a car, too. But not if it's someone else's car.

Dumb Argument: "Global warming is a serious problem because all the scientists say so."

First, fewer than half of all climatologists agree that global warming is a real threat. Second, most of those who claim it is a threat are doing so because it is the only way they can get federal funding for their pet projects (scientists live by grants). You can't get funding if you claim your research is not very important. Third, "all scientists" once believed the Earth was flat, and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Back in the 1970's, they believed we were on the verge of an ice age. Throughout history, "all the scientists" have been wrong at least as often as they have been right.

Dumb Argument: "Women should have the right to choose because it is their body."

OK. So how come we do not have this "freedom of choice" in matters of seatbelts, helmets or other personal choice issues? After all, it's our bodies. And whatever happened to the choices they made before they got pregnant - the choice to say no, or the choice to use protection? Choice is good. Giving people the right to escape the responsibility for choices already made is not good.

Dumb Argument: "The mother should get custody because she carried the child and has a special bond."

Giving birth is a physical act that any fertile female can do, regardless of emotional or mental stability. A mother can be a bad parent, too. Custody should be granted according to which parent is the best choice for raising the child, regardless of who carried the baby for 9 months.

Dumb Argument: "Islam is a religion of peace."

And that is why muslims around the world kill one another - and others - in the name of their religion. And that is why no muslims - not even the self-proclaimed "moderates" - are standing up and taking the fight back to the "radicals". No muslims are raising up against the jihadists. This is because Islam is a religion of peace.

Dumb Argument: "We should place our health in the hands of doctors, hospitals and drug companies."

So, we should trust those people with our health even though they only profit when we stay ill. Do you really think they want us all to be healthy? If we were, they would all have to become plumbers and bookkeepers.

Dumb Argument: "We need to reform pedophiles, not punish them."

This, in spite of the fact that reformation of pedophiles has never been successful, and the rate of recitavism is nearly 100%.

Dumb Argument: "Gun laws reduce crime."

Statistics have shown that communities and states with the toughest gun laws tend to have the most crime. Let's see - a criminal knows community A has guns, and community B does not. Where do you suppose he will go?

Dumb Argument: "We should sit down and talk with the terrorist states because diplomacy is the answer."

Diplomacy would be the answer if the folks on the other side were sane and reasonable, and willing to enter into an honest discussion. But the fact remains that terrorist states have an agenda, and have no intention of changing their beliefs. It's like asking a priest to stop praying, or trying to pacify a hungry lion with words. In the '30's, everyone tried to pacify Hitler with diplomatic efforts and appeasement. See how well it worked?

Dumb Argument: "We must be politically correct to avoid hurting people's sensitivities."

OK. A fat person is weight challenged and an illegal immigrant is "undocumented". And when you say that, they know you are calling them fat or illegal. Just because you use different words, the meaning - and the truth - remain the same. Hence, being politically correct does nothing more than draw attention to an issue, making it even more hurtful. But it allows the liberal elites to be even more smug, as they wrongly believe they have eliminated a stigma simply by changing the language. It's like carbon offsets - it's just a "feel good" thing that has no substance.

Dumb Argument: "Girls under 18 should be able to get an abortion without their parents knowledge."

But she cannot legally buy a beer, smoke, vote, or get into an "R" rated movie. Is this what you might call a part-time adult? Is there such a thing?

Dumb Argument: "The Menorah may be displayed on public property, but not the Cross or Nativity, because the Menorah is not a religious icon. Christians may display a tree."

FACT: The Menorah is one of the most revered religious symbols of Judaism, whereas the "Christmas tree" has absolutely no religious significance whatever. But let's not confuse idiots with facts.

Dumb Argument: "Illegal immigrants should have all the same rights as any American citizen because they are human beings."

With that logic, every person in the world should have those rights, and they should all be entitled to our entitlements. Can we afford to support 6 billion people? That said, with American rights come American responsibilities - one of which is adherence to our laws. Their very first act in this country is illegal - coming across without permission. Their second act is illegal - using false identities and documentation. Not a very good start...

Dumb Argument: "Ballots should be in various languages to accommodate non-English speaking voters."

Since our naturalization laws require a person to learn English before becoming a citizen, there are no "non-English speaking voters." If they cannot speak English, they cannot be a naturalized citizen, and therefore cannot vote.

Dumb Argument: "We need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because it is a pollutant causing global warming." (that noted group of climatologists who sit on the Supreme Court :o)

First, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant - it is, and always has been an essential, major atmospheric gas (one of three - oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen), and is what all plants breathe. Reduce carbon dioxide and you reduce the amount of breathable air for all plants, which then reduces the source of food for all higher animals - including us. Second, there is no scientific evidence to prove carbon dioxide contributes significantly to any warming. Third, there is no proof - only speculation - that global warming is even ocurring. Finally, the justices of the Supreme Court are discussing a topic which none of them even understands or has any substantial knowledge, so they really need to butt out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reverse Mortgages

You have probably seen the TV commercials about reverse mortgages for retired persons who need more income. But what you may not know is that I "invented" the reverse mortgage in 1989 - years before banks started offering it. In my book, "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate", it was aptly named the "Golden Years" method. And it has some serious advantages over the model that banks use.

Some major differences include:

*Reverse mortgages offered by a bank results in the equity in the home being transferred outside the family. This is not necessarily true with the Goilden Years strategy

* Reverse mortgages offered by banks tend to include high fees and expenses. With the Golden Years method, fees and expenses can be nearly eliminated

* Reverse mortgages offered by banks are limited in maximum dollar amounts, determined by the age of the homeowner. With Golden Years, there are no dollar limits, regardless of age

Our "Golden Years" method is the very same reverse mortgage, but it need not have any of the drawbacks that are listed above.

More important, a personal RM (ala Golden Years) can have substantial tax advantages. For example, if you use this method on your parents home, you transfer money to them, they transfer the home to you (upon their passing) without any gift tax problems. And, by transferring the equity to you, they can drastically reduce estate tax. And any fees or expenses incurred in using the Golden Years strategy are deductible.

Also, when the loan is repaid, your parents (or their estate) can take a nice deduction on the accumulated interest that is paid to you.

A note of caution: if you offer a reverse mortgage to a family member, be sure it is an "arm's length" transaction. In short, you must charge market interest rates (or close to it), and the contract must be legally enforceable.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nothing Is What It Seems

The title of this article also happens to be a very old saying. And old sayings get to be old because they are usually true.

Take failure, for example. To most people, failure is a bad thing. And when the person fails, they often allow that failure to hurt them. People who fail often may very well give up.

But to a wise person, failure is one of our greatest allies. The only way we learn anything is by failure - ours, or someone else's. And the only way we can succeed with any regularity is by learning. So, if failure is our greatest teacher, it is also necessary for success. Without failing, there can be little learning, and without learning, there can be little success.

Thomas Edison put it well when he said he had "failed his way to success". He learned what gases WOULD light a bulb only by eliminating, through trial and error, all those that would not work. He had to fail a thousand times before he found success.

Life is by trial and error. Therefore, failure is our friend. It only becomes our enemy when we allow it to stop us.

Another example is pain. Ask 100 people on the street if pain is good or bad, 99 will probably say it is bad. But a wise man knows better. Without pain, we would never know when something is wrong. We would not seek medical attention. We would not survive. Pain is to the body what a smoke detector is to a fire-prone tenement in the Bronx. It is a warning system, designed to protect us, and help us survive. In my book, that makes it a friend.

So, the next time something happens and you believe it to be a "bad" thing, take a closer look. You just may discover the silver lining - which will bring you closer to success in life.

And that is what this blog is all about.