Shell Oil Sucks Part II

Not all that long ago, I wrote a piece about my current dissatisfaction with all the fine folks who work at Shell Oil in the credit card collection department.  Here is a little footnote here to clarify.

I am not sure who it is I hate the most.  As Shell farms their credit card purchases out to Citigroup, they take the collections and issues are handled out of South Dakota.

So as you can see, I am not all that sure, who it is that I hate the most.  The number I called said “Shell Oil” so that who this is directed towards.  If Citigroup wants a piece of it, there is plenty to go around.

Here it is in a nutshell.

I call them, push one, if you are human, push two, if you have our credit card, push three, if you live on the planet earth.  I tell them that they have a problem, they put me on hold for almost 15 minutes and then dump the problem, that they have created right back on me.

That dawg just did not hunt as Billy Raye Littler is fond of saying.

At this point we get into the “language thing” (the word damn, as I am not writing YOU another DAMN check) and I get the lesson on civic’s from some sweet little tart that most likely only graduated from a South Dakota high-school because she let Butch do her algebra and she did him nocturnal favors below the belt-line, in her Daddies hay-barn on Saturday night.

I now discover that I am an “employee of the oil company” and at their beck and call.

At that time I told her no way, no check, you made the mess, YOU straighten out.  Then I get the rudeness lecture, which I did not have until I was put on hold while my first born male soon graduated high-school and finished three semesters in college before they got back to me.

So I drive the six miles to town to talk to the banker about “the Shell Oil problem” and he assures me that they can only cash the electronic payment (check) ONE TIME and says “go ahead and cut them another check for the $200 difference, I can assure you, they will not run it thru the bank twice.”

Returning to consciousness I believe I heard …. “We will catch it and deny them the money.

As I am not all that fond of bankers, and trust them about as much as the occasional snake I run across on the back of the property from time to time, I decided to sit on the whole mess and see what transpired.  As my Daddy used to say … “Sit back and wait for the dust to settle and the fur to stop flyin.”

Which has always been good advice.

This morning I checked my bank account.  You have most likely have already guessed what is coming next, haven’t ya?

The account came up, and sure as Dallas, there it was.  $25.00 debit cancelled, and redeposited as a credit to the account.  Then two lines above it  … Shell Oil $225.00 (the original check that could NOT be run twice) another electronic payment on the SAME check.

So without hesitation and because it is my site, I hereby proclaim here and now that …. It’s National ….  I LOVE THE OIL COMPANIES, CREDIT CARD COMPANIES AND BANKERS WEEK.  Find an empty chair somewhere, sit down and talk to it.  And of course …. Send this to everyone you consider A FRIEND in the above three named entities.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around. I sincerely hope that when aliens from another world come to this planet, the first thing they do to these people is find some oil soaked Arab and shove them up the ass of these American Arabs in South Dakota.

And my darlin’ little wife cannot figure out why it is that I need to get out of town?

See you later.


Easy Muny

Twice a week we make a run to town to purchase a lotto ticket or two, you know what they say, “You can’t win … If you don’t play.”  So we make the trip knowing full well it is most likely in vain.  One of the stores where I purchase the ticket is also a Greyhound Bus Stop.  This week I was surprised by what I saw.

A hound pulled in, nothing special about it, tired old warrior of the highways, dirty, nasty, clearly neglected and somewhat abused.  What caught my eye was the fact that “every seat in that sucker” was taken.

Most of my past experiences with Greyhounds, had them empty and not even half full.  I had never noticed that many paying passengers on a bus, not like that, not in a long, long time.  Must be indicative of the poor state of the economy.  When the buses are running full, the times are hard.

On the back of every dog, there is a little sign that reads:  “Stop Less … Travel More.”  Oh, if it were only that simple, eh?  I used to travel more, but these days, I find I am traveling less and stopped more.  On some days you would have to pound a stake into the turf just to see if I have moved.

Purchased my usual (lotto tickets) and then the wife and I loaded up and headed back to the goat farm.  On the drive home we talked about what we would do “if we hit the big one” and moved to Easy Street (that is, by the way, all you get for a lottery ticket, the right to dream about what you would do with the money).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t idly sit around and dream of about being stinkin rich …  But I sure wouldn’t mind smelling bad.

Last week during the dog days of summer, I managed to scrape together a little time for me, and I read a book profiling Ten Millionaires I found at a garage sale.  It was old, dog eared in places, and clearly not a literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.

The book chronicled what it was that these men did to reach the pinnacle of success in life.  I noticed one interesting characteristic they all shared in common.  They each took a nap every day.  They also went to the banker and “showed them their money” and then borrowed “his money” to do the project.

Right then and there, I made up my mind, I am going to take more naps.

I wanna be rich

Have a good week..  


Post Script:  By the way, hit the powerball and one number, that’s $20 …  Just a few more like that, and I will be sitting down to spec out that forty-five footer with the Maui Wowie teaky wood and all the gadgets!  And I won’t be doing the Early Bird two-for-one specials anymore either.
Will let y’all know.

Possibly related:  Chump Change

Another Canicular Summer Day

Going to get hot today, might be time to find a shady spot and get in it.  Oklahoma is that way in the summertime, hot and muggy.  El Ex-Presendente Mr. Bush came and gave his speech in the Oklahoma Panhandle this weekend, he is currently stumping all the Dairy Queens and 7-11 stores across the nation, watch your local paper for another appearance by him soon.

I suppose he said something brilliant like:  “I’ve reminded the prime minister … the American people, Mr. Prime Minister …. Over the past months, that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship.”

Spoken like a true national spokesperson if I ever heard one.

Grandbabies have packed up and headed south, they live in Houston, Texas.  It is always interesting when they are here, listening to them talk, what they say, the questions they ask.  All part of the growing up process.  I am so happy that they do not live in Florida.

Florida prison officials are apologizing for using 50,000 volt stun guns on children on Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day.  State corrections officers report that 43 children were stunned at three separate prisons, most with their parent permission.  Never the less, I cannot imagine what these people were thinking to administer this device to children.

The thing that got to me was the article said, “most” of them with parental permission, does this mean that “some” didn’t want it, but got it anyway?

Pretty sick, no matter how you color it.

New word for the day boys N girls, are you ready?  HETEROPATERNAL SUPERFECUNDATION.  Now that is a mouth full.  This is a totally new word that was put into the dictionaries here lately in Texas after a woman gave birth to two twins that had DIFFERENT DNA and she admitted to have been sleeping with two men when they were conceived.

Learn something new every day ……

A small Spokane, Washington, distillery developed a small army of volunteers to bottle and package its vodka and gin for NO pay, as long as they get free shots of the products and the end of their shift.  It has grown quickly by word-of-mouth (the best advertising in the world) and has become very popular.  I worked for an outfit for over twenty-four years, and all they ever gave me was a paycheck and a hard time.

The current debacle over the Michael Jackson death continues, all the tabloids have jumped on it, and every stupid commentator in America has an opinion on what actually or really went down.  I just cannot fathom America’s obsession with celebrities and the fact that they almost canonize a drug addict and do their best to elevate him to sainthood.

Meanwhile, down in Texas (again), a couple reported finding a Cheetos cheese snack that bears a strange resemblance to Jesus.  They are currently trying to sell it on Ebay and claim that “if it only brings .25 cents, we’re going to eat it.” Now if that don’t bring a tear to your eye, nothing will.

I see where Congress has passed legislation on the credit card companies and they cannot raise interest rates unless you are 60 days in arrears, and have to put the rate back down, if you make your payments for six months on time.  No more penalties on borrowers who exceed their limits on their cards.  And they have to give your children back to you when you pay up.

Of course the credit card people countered with “they would be FORCED to issue fewer cards, and credit would be harder to come by, and the economy would suffer because of this.”  Which in essence means, no more mail solicited cards to dogs and cats, 4 year old children and whatever.

It is awfully hard for me to feel sorry for these bozo’s, who charge 37% on their money, but pay you less than 1% on YOUR MONEY in savings accounts in their institutions.

Here you go …. It must be true, I mean, I read it in the tabloids.

I am standing at the checkout counter at the local China-Mart and there it is.  An ingenious North Carolina teenager allegedly brandished a banana rather than a gun while holding up a store then he tried to eat the evidence.  The 17 year-old tried to rob an Internet Café with the fruit held beneath his shirt, but the staff overcame him, said the police.  He did manage to eat the banana, but failed to eat the peel, which the police duly photographed and took into evidence.

It has to be Monday … It just has to be.


Off The Hook

OPEN ROUNDAnother spring time day is heading our way, that is good, soon, the dog days of summer.  Believe me I am ready, this is the time of the year when you feel like whistling even though’ your shoes are full of slush.

I see where officials in Denver have arrested a Mormon Cardinal on charges of running a Ponzi scheme for the past twenty years.  He is alleged to have bilked 20 people out of $40 million and has admitted to “never actually investing one penny of it” in any fund anywhere, ever.

More than likely he will say that Satan had a lot to do with it, we are so quick in this country, to shift the blame elsewhere.

On the legitimate side of all this, Bernie Madoff the King of Losers, has found a buyer for his investment business (which he claims is “profitable”), proving that even in hard times like this, you are still able to ring up a sale.  Now as I weigh in on this issue this morning, I am quite aware that I am going to come off as cynical and I suppose uncaring about all this, so be it.

The truth is, “If these victims had put their money where the rest of America put their money, the majority of them would still have it.  They lost it because they wanted MORE because they were GREEDY and put it out to a crook.”  As the old axiom states, “If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.”  Now here is the part that really sticks in my craw.

Now the I.R.S. is going to give them a write off on their losses, hard to believe, especially to those of us who pay thru the nose.  Wage earners who invest in mortgage payments and college tuition for our kids.  But it should not come as a big surprise to anyone; this is after all a country that routinely rewards the malfeasance of big-biz, the rich, the bogus, the corrupt, the inept with bonus payments and special incentives.

The next time you turn on the TV and hear some expose’ on this crap or pick up a paper and read about another scheme and its victims.  Stop and consider this.  Of the 400 richest taxpayers in the U.S., 31 of them paid taxes at an effective rate of less than 10% last year.  Thanks to tax deductions, tax-free earning credits and other maneuvers, according to the IRS.  No telling what the other 369 pulled down.

Is this a Great Country or what?

It has apparently got so lucrative that the baseball card people are getting in on the action too.  Baseball card company Topps this year will release a set of cards devoted to the worlds biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks, and bamboozlers.  Among the people and companies featured are Bernard Madoff, Charles Ponzi, and Enron to name a few.  We not only celebrate the evil in our midst, we seem to adore and worship them.

If all this wasn’t so tragic and pathetic, it would make a good skit for Monty Python.

So before you reach down for the crying’ towel, and decidedly do your part to fill it with tears, for all these so-called victims, the elite of Palm Beach, the A List of Hollywood.  Think about it.  They had plentiful evidence that Madoff was running a scam.  Anyone who actually took the time to “kick the tires of this thing” could surely see it for what it was.  In a way it is sad, they were seduced by the mystique or so flattered to join in the group of followers that they gladly forked over the cash.

The SEC should have been on the ball, everyone will scream, and to a point, that is correct.

But that doesn’t mean the investors themselves are off the hook.  Blaming your woes on the government (SEC) is like asking a child why he blames his mother for letting him start a fight while she was not looking.  Now everyone is here in place, ready to sign up for the last dance of the evening, but no one it seems wants to pay for the band.  There are two kinds of failures presented here for our perusal.

“Those who thought and never did and those who did and never thought.”

And now the I.R.S. is going to reward them for their stupidity.  It is almost laughable, if it were not so sad.  As much as things change in the twenty-first century, remarkably they often stay the same.  When you lie down with a dog, you end up smelling like a dog after awhile, so it is with these so-called victims.  The heroes of finance are like beads on a string … when one slips off, the rest soon are to follow.

Surely there is a place reserved in hell for people like Madoff and the Mormon in Denver.

My definition of hell would be a place where the Muslims are the police, the Iranians are the comedians, Mexicans are the defense force, the common language is English and the American’s handle …  ALL THE MONEY …. Yeah, that could get pretty lame awfully fast.


Clear Blue Sky


Early in the morning, it is cool, not cold mind you, but cool.  That is nice, spring is in the air, it cannot be long now, but there is the distinct odor of burnt grass in the air, and another wildfire is taking its toll somewhere.  Very dry here, I cannot remember for the life of me, when it was that we received a good soaking rain, been awhile.

Another thing that I find somewhat disturbing is the color of the sky, there doesn’t seem to be any blue sky left anywhere, just this dingy Grey color, void of clouds and seemingly full of the pollution of man.

Back in the day, I would lie down in the grass and peer up into the summer sky, rich and blue, filled with white wispy clouds and I would imagine they were different animals or shapes.   I see a cow, and Indian, there is a ducky …… that kind of deal.

Now I look up and I see the remnants of yesterdays’ commute in Dallas, a cold dead gray sky, and no rain.

Getting Casual.

Another sign that spring is coming, the Idaho House waived its decorum rule for the rest of the season.  Members can take off their jackets and eat or drink on the floor of the House, they are just not allowed to smoke or spit, we can still do that here in Oklahoma, but it is evidently illegal in other parts of the country.

Not long ago I took a vow to lay off politics’ and religion on this site, and so far, I have managed to stay fairly close to the goal and within the self-imposed perimeters of good taste.  It is so hard to come in here each day and write something that is NOT political and I have adjusted to that.  It is as a matter of fact, a lot harder than I imagined it to be a few weeks back.

Mr. Obamma is going to be on the Tonight Show this evening, if you are so inclined, you can tune in there and get the straight poop from the head nin-com-poop!  Perhaps he will explain on how “giving A.I.G. billions which they in turn gave to the banks of England, Germany and France will help the AMERICAN economy” I cannot for the life of me, figure that one out.


U.S. Credit Card defaults rose in February to their highest level in 20 years, with losses particularly severe at American Express and Citigroup.  AMEX came in with 8.7% and Citibank at 8.3% what I cannot figure out is why is this so bad?  Even at those rates that means at least 91% of their accounts are paid up or paying on time, seems like a rock steady business figure to me.

All around me I hear the sound of money, but I don’t have a dog-gone nickel to my name, I see a light at the end of the tunnel …. Man, I sure hope it’s not some dog-gone train!  If counted out in $1,000 bills, a million dollars would be a stack of bills approximately 4″ high.  To reach a billion dollars, that same stack of $1,000 dollar bills would have to be 358 feet tall.  To reach a trillion dollars (and remember we are up in the 12/15 trillion range now) the stack would stand 67.9 miles high!


This could be the reason Americans are only getting an average of 6.7 hours of sleep on weekdays, down from seven hours in 2001.  Anyone see the news piece on the janitorial position offered in Massillon, Ohio?  The job paid about $15 per hour and 700 people showed up to apply for it.  Maine is forcing people to buy one of three license’s in order to increase revenue, latest to hit the list is canoeists or kayaking.  They want $3.50 for “boat lic.fees.”  Oklahoma increases the fee for electricity by some $8 per month, cable TV switched over to this new crap, and as usual, it cost us something, about $3 a month.

Point being, “You get a $26 increase in your income this month, I sure didn’t.”

This could be the primary reason Oklahoma and Utah now lead the nation in people hanging up landlines (regular telephone service) and switching over to cell phone usage (which we have been on for about five years, once again, ahead of the curve).  At least 26% of all households in these two states have got rid of regular phone service.  As times continue to get rough, medicine and groceries will fall beside the way, as the population searches for a way to cope.

But all hope is not lost.

Washington state this week passed a new same sex marriage proposal.  It would extend domestic partners all the rights and benefits that the state offers married couples under a measure passed by both houses.  Currently only married couples are mentioned including employment pensions, and public employee benefits.  Washington State is clearly stepping out into uncharted waters when compared to the rest of the country.


Another good news item is the James River in Richmond Virginia is now clean enough to swim in.  Now there is a novel idea, a river you can actually swim in.  Water tests showed that fecal bacteria had dropped to acceptable levels the Department of Environmental Quality said.  Which brings me to the obvious question:  “What is an acceptable level of poo-poo kaw-kaw nothing is acceptable to me, absolutely nothing is the level I want. anyway?” I mean, gee whiz, give me a break.  That is not acceptable in any way, shape, form or manner.

And finally.

If all this fails, you can move to California, where they are proposing to tax “pot sales.”  Now if you think about it, the nation’s pot heads have been paying a really high tax for years on this product, but it was to the Mafia or Organized Crime. 

Why not pay a tax to the local government instead, put the money in the hands of all those folks who KNOW how to spend it for your public GOOD.

Which gives us about $1 billion per year in added taxes revenue for all these tax strapped states that just cannot live on billions and billions per year in collected tax revenue.

Taxing Pot Heads … I Believe I have heard it all now.  A totally new meaning to the word “Reefer Madness.”

It is now time for me to close this off, head out to the front porch and maybe see if I can borrow some “medical marijuana” from my next door neighbor with the five dogs (the people who live two doors down on public assistance) . Mailman says every time he walks by there, they are out in the garage shooting pool on their cheap table with the crooked sticks, pumping out the rap on the boom-boxes and he says …. “I smell it, no doubt about it.”

Perhaps in the spirit of the day, they will share with me?

Twist one up and then I will sit there in the spring time warmth, and ask myself whether I want to hold the bowl of love or go out there in the Universe, in search of the meaning of life.  To do this with another person or do it alone, to feel that shield of love and glow that is incredible.  Again the nagging questions of life, to enter into another drug induced deep value introspective view of shallow relationships or just go back inside and watch The View.

Another wacky Thursday in a long line of run together crazy insane days.  When you give up religion and politics’ this is what is left ……. Not much.  Kind of like this bailout routine, this financial black hole we seem to find ourselves being sucked in to.  Think about it.



Mandatory Options


The middle of last week I got into it with some folks on another site, but that has settled down or rather, just dried up and gone away, and I am glad that is over.  I am however disappointed as hell, because I got thoroughly tromped in the deal and I did not get a fair shake, but that is life.

That is the way it goes … First your money …. And then your clothes.

Contrary to popular opinion I find myself a “quick study” in life matters and I learned the art of effective listening early on in my working career.  Here lately it appears a lot of folks do not have time to “hear you out.”

Which often presents problems.

Some of us need to be content to listen to the “entire thought” of someone rather than waiting impatiently for a chance to respond.  One of the things I absolutely hate about the internet medium is all of these bottom-feeders sitting out there, almost on the edge of their chair, ready to lurch and attack.

Seldom do you find those willing to “hear it all out to the end” and then make the abusive, caustic comment or remark.  The other thing I find curious is the fact that 44 people will show up to read it, but none will stand up to defend you when you are attacked for it, that is kind of a mystery to me.

Oh well, no more acidic poorly spelled and framed letters from “The Pelican State” and that is fine, don’t want to hack off another alligator farmer in the deep moss draped south.  Which reminds me?

A couple of redneck hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head.  The other redneck starts to panic, then whips out his cell phone and calls 911.

The operator, trying to calm him says, “Take it easy. I can help. Just listen to me and follow my instructions. First, lets make sure he’s dead.” There’s a short pause, and then the operator hears a loud gun shot!!!

The redneck comes back on the line and says, “OK, now what?”

So, what shall we talk about this morning?  Come with me, build a temple, and not a tavern, out of the lumber of our lives!  Yeahsus!  Did some quick figuring over the weekend on this money-mess and it is astronomical.  Also came across this neat site that has some interesting stuff on it, check it out.  Millions-Billion-Trillions, now we are talking some REAL MONEY.

I read that and looked at the graphics (when you look at the figure of the little man in the lower left-hand corner it just makes you sick) and I just have to tell you, the only thing I could think of was:

“God gives us pain and heartache in life.  The devil gives us whiskey.”

Another thing I have been following this credit card issue quite intently, and if I ever start up a business, it is going to be a credit card business.  Man these jerks, they get what they want, when they want, if they want it, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.

It appears that owning a credit card or at least having an open account is at best a precarious type of endeavor these days.  Kind of like owning this big dog, you reach down to pet it today, and it licks your hand, reach down to pet it in the future, and you get bitten.

As times get tighter more and more consumers are trying to put more on the card.  Which is okay, if you are paying on time and all that, but card issuers all of a sudden do not like that.    It hasn’t been all that long ago when these banker pecker-heads were begging me to open up an account.

I remember when my mailbox was stuffed full of offers from these people for new cards, now all of a sudden “they don’t really want my business anymore.”  Which is fine with me, I took their self-addressed paid for postage envelope, emptied all the ash trays in the house into it, and mailed it back to them, time and time again, until they finally got the message.

Now these same people say that an open account is an invitation to fraud and credit risked if it isn’t being used and they are arbitrarily closing them, left and right.  At the same time, there goes your credit score.  You see, your credit card is based in part on the ratio of outstanding debt to credit.  If a line of credit is cut off, your ratio of debt to credit suddenly becomes higher.

What to do?

The only way a cardholder can stop their account from getting shut down is to start spending again … In small amounts.  It is as I said before …. “These jerks, they get what they want, when they want, if they want it, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.”

Just some things in life that do not make sense … Mandatory Options …. Military Intelligence … Mutual Differences … Nondairy Creamer … And “friends” in the banking industry.



snow-whiteMonday – Monday, as the Mama’s and the Papa’s used to sing …. Ah February, the month that is really hard to spell, the month where the fake estrogen enriched holiday induced by the Chocolate Makers around the world is celebrated (Valentine’s Day).  Capitalism continues to suffer its greatest collapse, since the Great Depression, I bought a candy bar yesterday and it was only a dollar and sixty-cents.

America’s national debt continues to soar, and President Obama wants to use only American Steel and American products in “The New Deal Rebuild America Plan” and others protest vocally stating that it is “anti-American” to do this.  The Republican party seems to be in shambles, Hannity interviewed Flush Limbaugh this weekend, now that was “dumb and dumber” and the Super Bowl has retired another game to the history books.


Looks like a rat.  It has been out awhile.  No collar.  Better be a reward.

Call …..

Man, what a week, I sure hope this one coming down has more promise than the one I just finished, because I am really ready for some good news.

Common sense advice out of Washington DC these days admonishes us all to save energy, to reduce our dependence on “Foreign Energy” and they say, “Use what is under our own feet to sustain us.” They tell us what kind of light bulbs to buy, who to buy them from, the whole nine yards.  And then they quietly look away as jobs are shipped outside the country or they bring in foreign workers to do those jobs and send American’s home.

What is wrong with this picture?

This morning I am reading about our friends in the banking industry, they are in the news again.  SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers.

It is unclear how many foreign workers the banks actually hired; the government does not release those details. The actual number is likely a fraction of the 21,800 foreign workers the banks sought to hire because the government limits the number of visas it grants to 85,000 each year among all U.S. employers.  During the last three months of 2008, the largest banks that received taxpayer loans announced more than 100,000 layoffs. The number of foreign workers included among those laid off is unknown.

So if you have recently been cut loose by not only your employer, but all your friends in Congress.  Please remember that it is often pleasant, even peaceful, to run a household, raise children, and deal with life at home when you mind isn’t filled up and overwhelmed with thoughts of how you could possibly be doing better.

Seen a good movie lately?

Tom Cruise currently starring in a film about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler, told reporters that when he was growing up in the seventies, “I always wanted to kill Hitler.”  Nice, real nice Tom.  While we are on the subject of movies?  West Point cadets began voting on an award for “the movie character that best exemplifies West Point Leadership.”  Nominees selected by the cadets included James Bond, Indiana Jones,, and the late San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk.  Don’t Ask — Don’t Tell?

Fuzzy picture or no picture you be the judge

With less than one month left to the national switch to all digital television, many consumers with older analog TV sets are reporting trouble changing over.  It appears that the new deal (excuse my pun) pull in fewer stations than with analog, while some report losing the picture altogether.  Now they are saying that you may have “to purchase a more powerful antenna if you want the picture.”  Stay tuned for future developments, please have your credit card and expiration date handy.

It’s good for you … no wait … It’s bad for you … No wait …  It’s good for you, oh what the ________ .

A new survey in Britain suggests that you do not have to take LSD to hallucinate, all you have to do is drink more coffee.  They are now saying that coffee has the ability to stimulate hallucinations and even better if you live close to your neighborhood Starbucks (one of the few they have not shut down).

Hard-core coffee drinkers (those who consume seven or more cups per day … guilty!) are more prone to seeing that things that simply were not there.  They also reported “floating above their bodies” and hearing voices and other sensory disturbances.

And you thought Shirley McClaine was strange?

Or it could be that people who tend to use more of the drug, or that big time coffee drinkers or addicts are drawn to other, more harmful substances as well.  So if you look up at the ceiling fan, and it has five or six little pink elephants on it, with their trunks in the upright position (an Asian sign of good luck) be sure to immediately switch over to the de-caffeinated stuff for a couple of days.

Lick You Later

And finally the “Good News/Bad News” portion of today’s post.  First the Bad News, the U.S. Postal Service is now considering going to a shorter work week and dropping one day deliveries in the United States, they are saying Wednesday.

Which really makes sense, every one needs their mail on Saturday right?

Now for the Good News they are reporting that pilferage of the mail has increased, and it seems they are catching more letter carriers who are hoarding and stealing mail.  The numbers being reported are “far higher” than in previous years.  (Better pick a greeting card with a white envelope this year)

So if your “HallMark Congratulations Mr. Obama Card” didn’t make it … You now know why.


“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)


Big Biz


War is good business, invest your kid.

The United States sold $32 billion in weapons on the world market last year, making it the number one producer of arms in the world.  Here is another thing that is interesting.  More than twenty five customers of U.S. Arms sales are NOT democratic developing countries and are known to be “human rights abusers.” Kind of blows a hole in the “We are going around the world supporting democracy and fighting terrorism wherever we find it” theory from the boys in DC doesn’t it?

Trickle Down Economy Outside Waco, Texas — How does it feel?

This week, George W. Bush spent what are expected to be his final days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas as president. Bush is on his 77th trip to the ranch, and according to one CBS reporter, he has spent nearly 500 days in Crawford during his presidency. Bush’s presence there over the last eight years had boosted the small Texas town’s tourism industry. But as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history leaves office, the local souvenir shops “are starting to deeply discount” their Bush-related products:

Already a couple of souvenir shops in Crawford have closed as the Bush boom started to peter out over the past year and as the nation turned its attention on the new race for the White House. For the two remaining shops, things have slowed to a trickle.

There’s up to 30 per cent off prices at the Yellow Rose, a cavernous place on the corner of the main intersection in town. Mugs, T-shirts and beer coolers badged with a presidential seal and the words “western White House” are flanked by life-sized cardboard cutouts of the President.  Bush and his wife Laura will be moving to Dallas after he leaves office. There goes the neighborhood!

Cyber Sex

Men looking for romance now must contend with a new rival.  The Internet and Technology.  A new survey just out this week, reports that 46% of women say they would rather go without sex for two weeks than go that long without Internet Access.  Only 30% of the men would make the same trade-off.  Gives a totally new meaning to the word “Hard Drive” doesn’t it?  (Yeah, I know, pretty bad)

Buy Yo personal Obama’s, they is going fast!

Did any of you find a Mr. Obama under the tree Christmas Day?  Sales of Obama items are off the charts in the Washington DC area including T-shirts, action figures, dolls, coffee mugs, and a jack-in-the-box that springs out with a big Obama Smile.  And you people rag me about how classless “Baracks House” parody is.  Now I guess it would be safe to assume that you are emailing all of these tasteless toy and memorabilia item producers and giving them a hard time, right?

Passive Aggressive

A Florida family said their toddler’s talking Elmo doll had an abrupt personality change and started threatening to kill him.  The mother said that the cuddly Sesame Street Character used to sing songs and talked about colors, to the delight of her two year old child James.

After its batteries died and were replaced, however, the doll would only say “Kill James” in a sinister cadence.  Which is definitely something that you would never think would come out of a toy said the mother.  It must be the Market Share Elmo — The Wall Street Version.

And Finally … Check Please — Bank bailout is faltering.

The billions of federal dollars funneled to the nations’ banks aren’t trickling down to the business and consumers as promised.  There is little evidence of what effect these billions of dollars are having on us.  This week I did have a new wrinkle in my banking experience, because of a rash in bank robberies, they apparently want male patrons to not cover their heads while inside the bank.

Tuesday, I walked into the main lobby of my bank wearing a ball cap and a security guard told me to remove it (key word here is “told me to” he did not politely ask me to) and I said, “What for?”  Then he tells me why (their opinion of who, what, where and why) and I refused.

Then he insisted and I of course, resisted, and offered him the option of “arresting me or going away” so much for Barney, The Bank Guard and my day at Overdraft Central. (It was almost as intense as being ejected from the Public Library last April over the issue of cellphone use in a public place.  Might be a story in there somewhere, I dunno?)

Banking people are not a long ways up the food chain in my world any more.

I should have stayed home, picked up my cellphone that has a ring-tone that sounds like a frog on crack, and called the “customer representative of my bank” who is named Abraham Lincoln, who lives in Bombay, India to find out about the new checks.

Back in the olden times, I used to do this at my local branch, but it was transferred to the other end of the state and then I understand that it merged with a sock manufacturer in Peru, after receiving the free bailout money from the Bush Administration.  It is not easy banking in Ameri-kuh anymore George, thanks.

As Dr. Phil is fond of saying …. What was I thinking?


“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online), Bush material gleaned from Think

Resist Temptation

I cannot for the life of me figure out this banking quagmire we seem to be mired in deeply.  Is this Ponzi scheme any different if it is being run by the government or the guy in New York that bilked everyone of his clients out of $50 billion and some change.

Here is a novel concept, “Try borrowing money, a large sum of money from a bank, but don’t tell them what it is that you want the money for.  Or let them know in which manner you are going to spend it.”

Think that will work?

Well apparently, that is how the banks in this country think about it, when it comes to telling us where it is that they have spent all the taxpayers dollars.  They don’t feel the same need to say how the money is spent when it comes to them.  After receiving billions in aid from U.S. Taxpayers the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending it and some won’t even talk about it.

When asked the reply is “We are choosing not to disclose that” a spokesman for the New York Mellon bank which received some $3 billion was quoted recently.  JP Morgan Chase which received $25 billion said that while some of the money was lent, some was not and the bank has not given an accounting of exactly how the money is being used.

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked them four simple questions:

  1. How much has been spent?
  2. What was it spent on?
  3. How much is being held in savings?
  4. And what is the plan for the rest of the money left over?

None of the banks contacted bothered to respond with an answer, looks like the Fox is watching the Chicken Coop and guess who the eventual losers will be …… Look in the mirror.  One ray of sunshine in all this, what goes round comes round, it is called in some circles, Karma.  They might be cutting a fat hog right now, but they will pay in the end.

Margaret & Helen do not have the market cornered on “groovy or cool grandma’s.”  Consider, if you will, Billie Watts, 75 years old of Tennessee.

If the titans of Wall Street need a role model (and there is surely no argument that they certainly need something), they might try grandmother Billie Watts, 75, of Murfreesboro, Tenn. She discovered a fortune – $97,000 in crisp, thousand-dollar bills – stuffed into a tapestry purse hanging on a hook in a bathroom stall at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

Watts could have made good use of that money. She lives off Social Security and can’t scrape together the money for needed dental work. (Most of us didn’t even know that there was a thing such as a “thousand dollar bill” to begin with).

So what did she do?

Just what came naturally to her. She devised a plan to return the money to the rightful owner. From her home, she phoned the store, said she had found “something” in the bathroom and left her number.

Before long, after making sure she had the right claimant, she was able to return the money. It belonged to a woman who had just sold her house and was on the way to Florida to start a new life with her son.  Watts refused a $1,000 reward because the woman “told me she needed every penny she could to start over.”

Watts also didn’t want publicity. One of her 12 grandchildren persuaded her to tell her story. It’s an uplifting reminder that some people do live by the definition of character – it’s how you behave when no one else is looking.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like someone I would like to spend a day with, take to lunch, get to know, she sure sounds special to me.

If, like me, you still find yourself perplexed and confused about this banking scheme and cannot make up your mind.  Read this well written piece from Sandee, it is another perspective, and it hits fairly close to the house.  Here is the link.


Also Related:

Credit Crunch


Have noticed more people paying with cash for their purchases here lately, could it be the American Love Affair with the Credit Card is over?  Aggressive rate increases on credit cards are threatening to pushing struggling consumers into financial ruin, accelerating home foreclosures and the nations’ decent into recession.

Keeping up with the Jones’es isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Routinely I see people open up their wallets and there will be anywhere from 4 to 8 credit cards clearly visible and I just cannot for the life of me see how they can justify that.  With interest rates where they are and payments on just the minimum balance regularly exceeding a thousand dollars a month, how does one do it?

Let’s run this one up the flagpole and see if we can find someone to salute it.  Where else could you enter into a business agreement with someone and then as you get into it, the rules are suddenly tossed out the window, and you are operating in a system that is vastly different from the system you started out with.

Credit Card issuers do it all the time.

It is done everyday in this country, the credit card folks just take and they take and it appears there is nothing the consumer can do but pay.  Now it has reached a point where if you owe too much money they raise your rate, if you don’t owe a lot of money, then they lower your credit score, there is no way you can win, it all goes to them.

Stopping excess spending and borrowing, and then standing in the middle of the road will not work either.  You are going to get run over by either one or both sides on this issue.  The credit card people and the government are putting the screws to you simultaneously.

They beat you down.  And the government helps them do it, the people you elected to protect you, are now giving the banks/credit card issuers over a year and one-half to clean up their act.  Seeing absolutely no way to hide it any more, they have been forced to do something about it, simply because of its egregious nature.  The politicians cannot sweep it under the rug anymore.  So they issue new standards for these robbing thieves, and give them a couple of years to keep on robbing you.

It is tantamount to a license to steal, and it was issued on you, by YOUR government.  Think about that one the next time you decide to sit it out and not vote.  Maybe we will all get lucky and they will decide, one by one, to take a long walk in the snow and do the rest of us a favor.


The bankers took our money and then refused to tell us what they did with it, and now they want us to believe they are our new friends.  America’s banks have a totally new image.  Now you have “a friend in the banking industry.”  If the banks are so friendly, how come they still chain down the pens?

Why is it that all of this happens?


We have a lot of friends in low places that’s why.


“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)