Taxing Issues …

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Monte the bartender, was a big man, the reason was, he diligently worked out everyday at the local gym.  He worked as a bartender in the evening hours, and during the day, he kept fit doing his rep’s and eating right. 

Monte was a big dude indeed, kind of like a California Redwood, you had to look a long ways up there, to finally spot a limb. Continue reading

Grandpa’s Winning Ticket

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Twice a week, for literally years, Grandpa Vern would dress up, grab his hat and head on down the road to the local Root N Scoot for a cold “Soadie Pop” as he called them and at that time he always bought two lottery tickets.

Just a short walk, in the open air, and even tho’ age had slowed him down, and he had what he called “a terrible hitch in his giddy-up” he would faithfully make the pilgrimage down the road for the exercise and the dream of winning the lottery. Continue reading

The Golden Years

For most Americans, the Lottery is their only real solution to a retirement life of luxury.  The American Dream fell beside the way a long, long time ago.  Our elected officials they promise us change, but unfortunately, our life savings amount to a small coffee can on top of the refrigerator and that is about it.

 Allow me to tell you about the Mexican Fisherman.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.   “Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs … I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.”

“You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.”

“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

Now if you are like most folks you have more month than you have money here lately.  I know that is true in my case, all of the time.  If you have found yourself a little bit short of coin, or outta scrilla as the youngsters say, this might explain it in more detail.

It is an eye opener for sure.

OOO

Hangin In The Wind

“In San Francisco they are really starting to get peeved at everyone “letting it all hang out” in certain area’s of the city.”

This is the time of the year, when you go out to the garage and grab a six pack of Snapple for the refrigerator, and it is already room temperature.  The cold water faucet is actually putting out cold water, and it is no longer just tepid.  When you spy a huge pile of leaves on the driveway and not a wisp of wind to move them out of the way.

This is also the time of the year, when I start making a list, and no, it is not all those folks who are naughty and nice, it is a list of commercials that I do not like.  One blessing this year, is they seem to be plentiful.  For example:  The Santa Claus commercial where he is down in the back, so we are to leave little packets of Alieve for him around the house.

Give me a break.

If you show me a commercial, make it a Dodge Truck commercial, the special effects are out of this world, and come to think of it, most of what you see could be possible if you live in California.  It could be too much Aleve or something, but it is getting weird in Frisco again.

In San Francisco they are really starting to get peeved at everyone “letting it all hang out” in certain area’s of the city.  Instead of putting all of their Christmas gifts in a sock, they are wanting someone to put a sock over “it” and stop displaying “it” in public.

Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal would make it illegal for a person over the age of 5 to “expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street, sidewalk, street median, parklet or plaza” or while using public transit.

Eeeeee-Uwe.  Civilized people just do not do that.

I am really glad I live in Oklahoma, the only thing that even comes remotely close to that around here is hanging a pair of simulated bulls testicles from the rear bumper of your Dodge truck (by the way, they are wanting to make “it” illegal here too).

T’is the time to be jolly, especially if you work for the U.S. Government.

Nice big fat paydays working for Uncle Sam.  I just read an interesting piece of information on what some of these people are pulling down for yearly salaries and it is an eye-opener.  If you want to see the details, remember, they say “it is always in the details.”  Here is the link:    If this doesn’t get you in a “Holiday Sprit” I don’t know what will.

After you read it, take two Aleve and then call me on Friday.

OOO

Take It To The Bank

Not long ago, my bank deposited into my account, $546.00 cash money.  

This was not my money, it was not my lucky day.  At the very beginning I noted this mistake, but I sat back and did nothing about it.  I just thought of “all those wonderful moments that I shared inside their lobby, and the friendly folks who provided them” and decided to let the _____ find it for themselves.

It took them roughly ten working days to find the error and they have since written me five times explaining why they retrieved the errant deposit to my account. For all the readers who have been frustrated with Bank of America recently, here’s something that will make you laugh: The banking giant just accidentally gave a Detroit man $1.5 million. It doesn’t look like the bank will be recovering the funds anytime soon, either.  Not like myself (who just let it sit there) he took out just about all of it and then went to the local casino.  You can read more here.

One more banking comment.

Now this one would really hack you off, have you seen the Ally Bank Commercial?

So here I am, lying in my favorite position, in my favorite spot in the entire universe, under my Made In China fan, watching my Made In China television, and my Made in China wife (Taiwan R.O.C.) says to me …. “Are you going to lay there all summer and do nothing?” to which I replied, “Leave me alone, I am practicing for the elections in November.”

Holy Cow! Humble Texas, go get ’em Laura.

Can you live without it?

Have you ever considered just shutting down the computer and walking away from it for awhile, say a year?  I have often thought about it, but to this day, cannot seem to pull myself away from it for more than a couple of days.  Now here is a guy who is vowing to stay off the Internet for an entire year. He hasn’t clicked a link, sent an email, checked Twitter, sent a text message, Googled, or used a web browser since May 1, 2012. At 12:01 a.m. on that day he unplugged the cord from his desktop. And he doesn’t plan to plug it back in or go back online until May 1, 2013.

Good luck on that.

If I was to unplug and walk away like that, May 1st, 2013 would be the day they would release me from the State Mental Hospital with a brand new prescription.

See you at the water cooler.

OOO

We Are Giving You Ten Million Dollars

“Sit back and eat your Twinkies or Ding Dong’s and stop worrying … It is a win-win, no brainer.“

Vroooooooooooooom!  So I am watching this Mercedes-Benz commercial for a new car.  The car is giving the driver a testosterone boost by skidding side-ways thru an empty city street at a high rate of speed.  Dust and leaves are scattering in every direction as the driver maintains artful control of this object which is clearly on the brink of crashing at any second.  It is to say the very least … A rush.

Now here is my question, well, actually there are two questions.  

#1 Why are the city streets always empty and where are the cops?  

#2  Why is their dust everywhere and leaves blowing, when there are clearly no tree’s in sight?

I suppose the Madison Avenue Ad types just think we are stoooopid and of course, have deep pockets for a new luxury car to use and abuse in an abandoned city somewhere in America (Detroit Mich or Gary Indiana quickly come to mind).  I like the Japanese commercials better at least they have women, scantly clad women, in their commercials, they show Mom & Pop hauling around a boat load of kids.

Give me the Subaru, and keep the Benz.

What kind of bumper sticker would you plaster on a $85,000 luxury sedan?  That could be a real dilemma.  “I Am The One Percent.” … “Get Your Ugly Motorcycle Gang Away From My Car.” … “My Young Trophy Wife Can Whip Your” ….

Oh well, you get the drift, dontcha?

It’s all about the Muny …  When I was young, I used to think that money was the most important thing in life.  Now that I am older, I know it is.”  Here is a modest proposal.  You will like it, because you are going to get a $10 million dollar loan in the process.

First before you write this off, this is a good thing, not a bad deal.

With this huge loan to the populace, we will also establish some badly needed income equality in this country, all this whining and posturing about those who have and those who do not, will immediately cease.

In this plan, you will be lent $10 million by the Federal Reserve at zero interest.

Yes, I said “Zero Interest.”

That is basically the deal of the Fed has been offering to big banks and hedge funds all along.  Who have in turn invested this “cheap money” and turned it into huge profits by putting it in such things as high-yield securities.

Wait it gets better.

Here is how it will work.  The Fed’s will just print MORE money and we the recipients of this largesse will “promise” to pay it back (of course we will not do this, they do not, so we do not), and no one will ever have to work again.

We just put the money out at say 2% and pocket a nice $200,000 a year in interest to live on … sit back and eat Ding Dong’s and stop worrying … It is a win-win, no brainer.

If none of the above rows your boat, then try this:

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,

If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,

If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

If you can do all these things,

Then you are probably the family dog.

OOO

[#1285]

Shoppin With Boxcar

Man-Man, come on Spring Time!  It is time for a Road Trip

I want to run away! Where is the chocolate milk and the Oreo cookies, please placate my spirit, I am drowning here and I don’t know what to do.  Whisk me off my tired old feet … Take me away to the beach, where I meet beautiful people, who appreciate me and respect me for my feelings. A place noticeably void of barking dogs. Sirens. Road Rage, where folks genuinely smile, who wave at you with all of their fingers …

A place of spirit engaging mystery … A place where sometimes, during the middle of the day, I would be allowed to lie down for a nap, for no apparent reason. Or perhaps sneak down to the local watering hole for a much needed, albeit ill advised Margarita. Some idle conversation with a beautiful, well tanned, interesting woman, walk barefooted in the sand.

Road trip!  Time to get out of town, new sites, new faces, new places.  I hear Kenny Rogers has a new album out at the Old Cracker Barrel stores, fifty-years in the making!  Who can resist a acquisition of music treasure like that?  (Plus Chicken & Noodles to boot!)  Personally I am all into Carrie Underwood, but at my age, well, you know the drill.  “You take what it is that you can get … and then quietly fade into the background.” (Hey kids, someone wake up Grandpa and tell him it is time to eat, that kind of thing)

Mama comes into the room and announces to no one in particular her intentions concerning the weekend.  She says “I want to go shopping” … and I of course find myself on-board … Sign me up on the dotted line.  So Friday night, with almost laser guided focus, we cut and run south towards the Red River and that state line.

Let’s go shopping!  I quickly agree.

You see, I know the rules of a happy life, and that is mainly this.  “A happy wife equals a happy life.” At this point I should interject that I am a happy, happy man.  Having learned a long, long time ago, it is not always a smart thing to do, irritating the cook and all.

So I quickly answer up in the affirmative, “Uh how about Dallas?  That sound good to you?” Make the smart move, NASCAR runs every week this time of the year, it is no big deal.  Masculine Rule of Life:  “A wise man, never wakes his second sleeping baby just to see it smile. “ (Be agreeable, or lie down on the floor and play dead … but be advised, trust me, that one never works).

Most people go out on Friday night, find a suitable honky-tonk, get drunk and be somebody.  We on the other hand, happily basking in what the media calls our “golden years” we go shopping.  Pulling up, locking the front gate … We are off and running.

Dallas is a big city, and they have numerous places to go shopping. Fortunately they also have a lot of Wi-Fi hotspots and I am finding it relatively easy to transmit data into cyberspace. Much like Robbin Williams in the not so recent DVD movie “RV,” all I have to do is just stand on top of our bus … Nah, I am pretty sure you are not buying that one are you?

Burger King, Denny’s, recently even McDonald’s came of age, a lot of places have free Wi-Fi now. The computer era, isn’t it swell. If you don’t know how to do it, just ask one of your grand kids.  I saw my first honest to goodness three-D television this weekend, what is the world coming to.

Almost the middle of the month and we are not broke, despite the best efforts of Big Oil to strangle us, we have a little left over.  Ideally we found ourselves with a little extra scrilla in our pockets, so she decided that shopping would be the endeavor for the day.  (Oh by the way?  Kids refer to money as scrilla these days, if y’all aint hip, it surely isn’t my fault)

“Yo Mama got mad scrilla. We’re gonna rock the mall later.”
So we set out in earnest and during the course of the day, ended up walking some five different Malls.  Or as My wife is fond of saying — We Shop Until We Drop — a kind of “take no prisoners attitude that I surely do not adhere to or understand.“

Even now, much later, I do not know what it was that we were shopping for.

Shopping for me is never that great, and I usually wear out early, the whining factor comes into play much sooner these days than it did in my younger years. Often in complete desperation I will pull out my cellphone and have “fake very loud conversations with our non-existent children” in order to embarrass her and make her take me home.

“Shoppin with Boxcar is often not pretty.”

I just don’t seem to have the stamina for it, I am not the “shop until you drop” type face it. I don’t know what it is, but I can never find what it is that I am looking for. On the other hand, when we do go on these sojourns into the marked down 50%-merchandise world, she will always find several items that catch her fancy. I on the other hand, will search in complete desperation, every hall, every wing, every level of each mall and never find what it is that I set out to find.

Such is my burden in life to carry.

Never do I stop to realize and admit that, often, the fantasy of something different is a lot better than the reality of something different. So, we walk and we walk, and we walk some more. The concrete is mostly unforgiving on an old geezer like me and late in the afternoon my hips are tired, my back isn’t doing much better and I have “attitude.”

Like I said earlier … Shopping with Boxcar is not pretty nor is it fun.

Time to close, I have rambled on far too long.  So long from America’s Heartland, El Reno, Oklahoma, where the Twisters make lazy circles in the sky, and the wind lifts up red dust to get in your eye, a slow paced sort of place where we don’t drive on the shoulders and do our best to follow the right path.

One last thing boys … Take my advice, “If the little woman asks you to go shopping or do you want to take a pass and not go?” Take the high road, nod your head in silent agreement and then stay home.  It is always best to leave the shopping to the Pro’s.

Friday have a great weekend, it is still YOUR choice, enjoy.  Life is short*.

BCO

* Now wasn’t that refreshing …. There is twenty-one minutes of your life, you will never get back.

The Fix

It is our policy to shy away from political material, it is usually explosive, always leads to some kind of flaming and unruly discourse, but I found this email we received this week kind of interesting.  It is political in nature, so be advised.

So we are breaking with tradition and skirting the arena of American politics this morning.  As always, the comment section is open, if you feel the need, let it go.

America is such a grand experiment, it is so nice to think that this once great country could rebound from our present lousy situation and once again be in the forefront of the good life.

Jury is still out on that one, there are some schools of thought that believe the glory days are over, and it appears that if we don’t solve our problems, and soon, they are going to be our demise.  In typical American fashion we tend to “throw money at our problems, hoping to solve them” instead of rolling up our sleeves and dealing with the issues.

One of the more interesting emails we received this week, was this one.  It is called “The Fix.”

It was supposed to have been written from the viewpoint of a senior or retired person.  As it was presented to me it was from a senior citizen around 80 yrs. of age.    It also had the following notation:  We aren’t useless yet.

Ironically, it carries the very same message, “throw money at everything” and that will be the common denominator to the problem.  It must be ingrained in the American psyche or something?  This piece or idea was spawned by a recent article in the St. Petersburg, Fl. Times.  The business section of that paper asked readers for ideas on: “How Would You Fix the Economy?”  The email went on to explain … I think this guy nailed it!  (Which I think is kind of debatable)

Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America ‘s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

You can call it the “Patriotic Retirement Plan”

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN car. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.
It can’t get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes.  Mr. President, while you’re at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I’ll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!
(At this point is the almost always present “Pass This On” to all your friends, etc, etc)

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Okay!  Uh wait a minute, back the truck up.  Oh, if it were just that simple, eh?  Unfortunately we do not live in this kind of world anymore, we have the elected elite and they are not interested in what we have to say about any of this.  Past experience has clearly shown us that throwing large sums of money at a problem, never makes it go away.  Ethanol fuel … does that ring a bell, anyone?  Anyone?  Six billion a year to corn farmers, nothing for the economy or the environment.

Now let’s look closely at this modern day solution to our dilemma.  Of the forty million, there are surely those in the workforce who are NOT going to want to retire, they love their jobs, they love what it is they are doing and they are firmly entrenched into the daily routine. I retired early (before fifty) and I can assure you, there were times in my life, when I would have paid $1,000 to have a job to go to, it got that bad.  But I eventually learned to adjust to it and moved on.

As for the 40 million replacements, who is going to train them to fill the vacancies, the experienced hands just took the money and ran.

Giving people money is no real fix, not all people will respond in the same fashion, some will spend it and others will “sock it away for a rainy day.”  Most people of that age group have a house that is already paid for and could care less about buying a new home, it is the younger set that needs the housing.  Those folks just starting out in life currently are the people who need a hand up, the middle class is pretty much screwing the pooch now.

About the only thing that truly seems workable in all of this, could be the part about putting Congress on a diet with their unsatisfiable lust for pay raises and the medicare issue. 

But you know and I know, that dawg just aint gonna hunt.

It is a nice thought, a quick easy way to claw our way out of the hole and get back on solid ground.  Maybe we can talk the government into printing some MORE money to back this plan.  Now here is the reality, where the other shoe drops, “there isn’t any kind of quick fix.”  Like Ronald Reagan said, “Ask yourself, are you any better off than you were four years ago?”

Have a great weekend.

OOO

Possibly Related:  Not Raising Hogs

Loose Change

Awhile back I learned of a technique, a little trick of life, that increases my discretionary income.

It is called “The Rule Of Fives.”

Basically this is how it works.  You cull out your fives (separate them) in your change when you are out doing business in the community.  Each time someone makes change for a twenty and they hand you back a five dollar bill, you cull it out (separate it) from the rest of the herd and put it in your pocket.

Most of the time, my spare change and what knot, I carry on a money clip.  I carry two money clips with me most of the time, when I get a five, I put it on the other money clip.  When I get a hundred dollars worth of fives, I sock ’em away and last year, get this, “I had $1,455.00 in five dollar bills after a 12 month period of time.”

Never being really successful at saving money, this was the best half-assed plan I could come up with to generate mad money or funds for the things I like to do once a year.  Let’s face it, some people can do a vacation fund, Christmas Fund, 401-K and then there are those miserable folks like myself.  My entire life savings at one time consisted of a Folgers Coffee Can on the top of my refrigerator filled with loose change.

Not very impressive … or for that matter … practical.  So something had to give.

It is not like the lottery where folks feel like they can get something for nothing.  You have to work at it, but if you are loyal to it, disciplined, it pays off with some nice rewards.  So I always have a few fives on me most of the time.

Last week I am in a convenience store, a root n scoot, 7-11 kind of deal.  On the counter, taped to the cash register is a hand lettered sign that reads, “We Need $5 Bills.”  So I look at the guy and I say, “How many five dollar bills do you need?”

He quickly replies with “All you have.  How many do you have?”  Which kind of irked me to begin with, Okies are always “answering a question with a question” which has a tendency to drive me up the wall at times.

Which my wife will gladly tell you is a short trip.

So I check my money clip and I find eight $5 bills.  So I say to the guy, I have eight.  He then replies, “I will take them.”  At that point, I say to him, “How about I give you the eight five dollar bills and help you out, and you in turn give me the Big Gulper (Large sized soda)?”

He then says, “Naw, the drink is a buck thirty.”

So I lay out two dollars on the counter to pay for the Big Gulper and he fishes out two twenties from the cash register.  Then he makes change for the drink purchase and asks me “Where are the fives?”

And I reply, “they are in my pocket.”

At this point things are starting to rapidly erode in our customer-merchant-service person relationship.  He looks at me rather sternly and says, “What is this man, I thought we had a deal?”

To which I replied, “Hey, I aint your man, and we did not have any kind of deal.  I was going to scratch your back and I was hoping you would scratch mine (give me a free drink). You failed to do that, so no fives for you.”

Which instantly did not make me any friends at this particular store.

What is it in American business these days, where everyone expects everything from you, but they are not willing to extend the courtesy right back across the counter.  It would seem that with times as hard as they are, you would want to attract as much business as humanely possible.  Now I know some of you are not going to agree with any of this, and that is fine.  Comments section is open, take a shot at it, let us know what you think.

Try the five dollar thing it really works.

Try it for one year and you will be surprised at the end result.  And as an added bonus …. You can take Momma out and buy her something nice next year.  Be forewarned,  you won’t get a free drink, even with a pocket full of fives.

 



OOO