Friday, October 10, 2008

Portland's Silent Voices

Lately, I've had a few friends approach me, wanting to talk without judgment or persecution, about the presidential election. One friend had given up on any discussion with other people in Portland, since it seems that if you're not voting Obama, you're not intellectual enough, or open-minded enough. This particular friend is the most traveled friend I have, spending time on 4 continents, and probably the most accepting of other cultures, race, religions, and belief systems. We all could learn a lot from this person.

Yesterday I wrote an email to a few of the friends (below) who then forwarded it onto their parents. In fact, I was invited over for dinner last night to talk more about what I had written.

So here it is..........................

PORTLAND'S SILENT VOICES

The superiority complex in Portland of being a super-liberal does gets old after a while, I admit. PDX's mood is that it's en vogue to be liberal, rail on rich Republicans as "greedy", and demand more and more public assistance for more and more people. The emotionally charged arguments are drowning out the real issues which have been overlooked in this election season.
Reagan said, "Government is not the answer to your problems. Government is the problem."

(NOTE: I don't care who wins. They have their strengths and weaknesses. I come from a Democrat family. I am independent, though registered Republican after my 2003 income tax experience of paying 45% in taxes. McCain has experience but his campaign managers seem to be sabotaging his chances with Palin and forcing him to attack, going against his natural conversational tone. Obama is a wonderful public speaker. Brilliant man too. I can imagine him making dramatic pauses when talking to his daughters "Honey......Now.......we need a change (piped in applause roars throughout the house)......Thank you, thank you..........We need to change.....your diapers young lady.").

Government lags behind private industry by at least 20 years. It's bureaucracy and meddlesome special interest lobbying (from "greedy Republican controlled evil Big Businesses!") that has bogged down the necessary changes in taxes, spending, regulation, economic/social/education revitalization. Unions have some control of the speed of change, holding onto obsolete jobs that could be reorganized into more productive departments.

For example, the IRS Tax Code is 16,845 pages long. A flat tax would be 1 page for personal and business. IRS workforce would shrink by 97%, according to Steve Forbes' "Flat Tax Revolution." Those employees could be re-appointed into new, productive departments for development of Maglev trains for both freight and passenger, school construction, urban renewal, health care, renewable energy, education overhaul, etc. To know more, read this: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_39/b3952079.htm OR go to Google and type "flat tax success."

Prevailing Portland mindset is to keep throwing money at social programs, that only create more dependency. American's think that Obama stepping in to help out all the people, will somehow create more prosperity.

His added programs will have to be paid for somehow, which likely means increased taxes on business first then individuals. This takes away the capital that business needs for job creation and expansion, at a time when job creation and expansion are badly needed.

I read recently that "we'll never be able to regulate our way out of a recession." Recovery starts with businesses rewarded to grow and expand, providing high paying jobs for people.

Social programs only grow and cost more, resulting in higher taxes for all. Look at Medicare/Medicaid. We wouldn't have so many sick people if Government didn't subsidize wheat, sugar, and corn (that make cookies and corn-syrupy sodas). American's are entitled to their leisure. Sickness is promoted through these subsidies. Debt is encouraged through the tax system (deduct the interest on your mortgage or student loans) and corporate debt is subsidized (why do corporations carry so much debt? It's advantageous. It's written in law. Less taxes they pay along with the fact that debt is not inherently bad when it goes for R&D, reinvestment, new products that are beneficial).

Americans have easy access to leisure (easy credit to buy flat screen TV's) so we can watch football all weekend long (advertisers are Pizza, Beer, Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Autos). Being lazy is our right as Americans. We'll fight for our laziness tooth and nail. And whichever politician promises that to us, we'll vote for him.

And we also worship the Money Gods. We think that having money will bring us ultimate happiness. That buying that new car, flat screen TV, house, etc, will make us finally happy. What happens? Start with small purchases, soon realizing those the emptiness was still there. Increase the purchase size. Still no happiness. Keep getting bigger and bigger toys (cars, boats, watches, Home Shopping Network jewelry, furniture, clothes, etc) and fall deeper and deeper into debt.

Then we become ashamed and depressed because all these things never brought us the happiness we were seeking. We're embarrassed to admit we spent this much money on all this stuff, that has virtually zero re-sale value. So we become depressed, and since we've seen enough TV (while sitting on our ass all the time), we know that we have depression symptoms and can ask our doctor to prescribe a certain anti-depressant because we're certain we need it to feel better - AND - this, we think, will bring that happiness that has been eluding us all that time.

Ah but no, it's still not solving the root cause of the depression. The loneliness, the sadness, the deep insecurity, the fear of abandonment, rejection, or poverty - that's at the core. We're not willing to understand that when we perceive ourselves to be lonely, we'll often become indebted, so that we have some relationship, even if it is with a creditor. This becomes the stable relationship we'd been yearning for, though not the ideal. Or, we'll take up a shopping habit, so that the people at the store know us and we create superficial relationships with the clothing salespeople.

The overriding fear is that if we really get to know ourselves, we won't like what we'll find. We're judging ourselves harshly based upon outside illusions of who we think we should be and what our life should look like materially, instead of listening to, understanding, and being true to our authentic self. It's just so damn easy to take the pill and feel cheery and chipper within an hour!

The medicine only masks the problem longer and makes it a bigger and scarier beast until something happens and a person breaks/cracks/has what's called a "nervous breakdown" which is what other people who aren't willing to address who they are, call those who are waking up to reality, after living in an awful fantasy for their entire life.

Americans are fearful of Medicare/Medicaid deficits in the future, but are doing nothing to address the root cause of all this need for expensive medical welfare. Our present system encourages cookies to be made in trees by a band of merry elf's - The Keeblers - you've heard of these guys, or fizzy corn syrupy sugary drinks to be on our dinner table - The Polar Bears at Christmas who make Coca-Cola. Then subsidizes chemical companies (drugs) to put all this stuff into people's bodies that make them sicker (also healthier too - I realize both sides). People are given incentives to go into debt further through tax breaks rewarding personal debt, and so they fall deeper in debt and feeling lower in self-worth and must work at jobs they do not like because they have to pay off all that debt (12 billion credit card solicitations each year are mailed out to American households!). We have rising obesity levels (my parent's street has 6 of 8 homes with at least 1 person 50lbs overweight - what do you think the accumulative health care costs of these 6 people will be during the next 20 years?). A potential of 86% of the American population will be obese in 30 years, according to a study I read recently.

Talk about a case of Appetitis - an inflammation of the appetite muscle. American's will no longer be Homo Sapiens, but a new human form known as Appetitis Robustis.

Medicare/Medicaid would be fine if exercise and wellness were bombarding the subconscious mind of Americans as opposed to pizza, beer, and drug commercials. And if the fruit, vegetable, and nut growers were subsidized instead of the corn, sugar, and wheat growers.

I'm amazed at the true simplicity of life and how it's been made so complex by business and industry and individual intellectual laziness in America. Root causes are simple. The elections show that people continually bark up the wrong tree, candidates give false promises to entitled people, entitled to an easy life, that if they elect me, life will continue to be easy.

It doesn't work that way. The real causes and effects are by-passed and people aren't even taking the time to look around, observe, and ask what's really making people a sick, indebted, hypochondriac nation of arm-chair doctors who know all their own medical ailments.

Energy independence, Bridges to Nowhere, "I don't know how many homes I have" to "A career politician and community organizer having a $2,000,000 home in Chicago," etc - these are some of jabs of the election. They are point-less points to what's really important. The manipulators of the campaigns understand American's inherent laziness and sense of entitlement to a comfortable life. Distribute the message through the right channels and you'll incite the public, who'll refuse to question the real causes and effects.

That's why liberalism of throwing more money at programs doesn't work, especially if the programs aren't creating a method of critical thinking and understanding of the forces creating causes and effects. If there is no interest in understanding and learning, then there's no political process, except a process that creates bigger and bigger problems that will at some point reach the boiling point, as we're seeing economically at the moment, where the CAUSE is the $531 Trillion Derivative Market EFFECT-ing fear and panic in the confidence of the investing public.

Social programs are doomed until people think about the real source and take personal responsibility for their own actions - their own personal health. You want Medicare/Medicaid when you're 80? Then start taking care of yourself now in a spirit of moderation with regard to food and vigorous daily exercise. That way, health care won't be that big of an issue to you (barring any catastrophic illness or injury) and won't put the burden on the rest of the people to care for you, even though you had an entire lifetime of decisions, which you made, that were repeatedly and habitually detrimental to your health. Now it becomes the responsibility of your neighbors to save your life, one expensive pill and life-saving procedure at a time, that could have been avoided had you and your government taken advantage of all the opportunities to robust and abundant lifetime health, during the course of your life.

That's how I've been feeling for a long time. I understand there will always be people who need the public assistance, and I think those programs are essential as insurance type programs. We need to support those who cannot support themselves or who temporarily fall on hard times (everyone does at some point in life as I've learned firsthand). This goes back to the days of the ancient Babylonians, who saved 7% of the crops and resources for those who could not take care of themselves, and 3% of the crop they knew would spoil. 7+3=10. 10% was the standard for the reserve amount (where do you think the church got the 10% rule??).

There are great examples out there for reform and publicly endorsed measures. Minnesota Care is a wonderfully successful program that the state runs for people who cannot get medical insurance in the private sector. It's affordable and run profitably. Australia has Super-Annuation, a form of retirement savings. It's not out of reach to think that Americans could be rewarded (tax free income) to methodically save the first 20% of their income into a Super-Annuation type account. Especially, if that investment went back toward renewable energy, Maglev trains, water resources - programs that invested in the general welfare not only the country but the world community (agriculture, fresh water, education (leading to lower birth rates), power for the 2 billion starving people worldwide) and modern advances of science and industry.

In the "crisis" on the news, we fail to see that the American people had a $100 trillion net worth at the beginning of 2008. The savings rate in the country was actually 7% (govt stats don't take into consideration IRA, 401K, and Stock Ownership - that's why you hear we're at -2%), according to Ken Fisher, Founder of Fisher Investments. There is immense prosperity here, and I notice it every time I drive on the freeway or through town and see homes, paved roads, water towers, power lines, etc.

I don't believe American's are fully entitled to Government providing them a life of leisure. We already have it pretty good compared to the rest of the world. People have been looking too long for the elected leaders to be their savior, as they are falling over Obama to fill this role after 8 years of the unpopular George W. Bush. But they don't realize, he won't be the answer to their problems. Nor will John McCain.

Only when people start demanding as much of themselves as they are demanding of our elected political leaders will the tide start to turn. "We The People" don't have to accept a life of mediocrity, ill health, and paltry living on $1600 Social Security checks. We owe it to ourselves to take responsibility for our own life. The better we personally become, the greater our impact on our community. There is no government program or elected leader that can do this for us, for each person is responsible for each and every choice they make during their entire lifetime. People need to take their external demands of government leaders and make them internal demands upon themselves. Only then will things begin to change.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

$700 Billion Bailout

Sometimes I chime in on some other blogs out there in the world.

I inquired with the blogger on Mortgage Implode-o-meter the other day about directly helping the homeowners, along with the banks. Here's my proposal/inquiry:

  1. "Mr. M,

    What if this govt bailout went directly to the homeowners? Take the 11,000,000 who have negative equity, or will have it soon, and paid off their loan (slowing down all the credit events of derivatives), issued a new loan at 80% LTV. Underwriting the loans based upon ability to repay and considering credit history going back 7 years, before many started intentionally defaulting to get out from under the neg eq position.

    If they qualify to repay, issue a 30 year fixed at 6.00%. Government holds the loans for all 30 years, and potentially would recoup all the money spent up front to pay off the negative equity of today.

    The bailout money will probably go down the drain, if it’s anything like the S&L bailout. I’m wondering if the homeowners were given affordable loans, had debt forgiven, all for the good of the America’s economic health (sorry to all of you with homes free and clear - something good will happen for you down the road), would that really work?"

    Your thoughts….

Mr. M's response:

"Art Vandalay - you nailed it."

Some other dudes response:

"Art Vandalay is full of crap. There are 145 million people with jobs in this county. 45 million of those are ultimately parasite jobs for the government of the remaining, only 50% pay income taxes. Why should these people who pay all the freight for everything. be forced, at the point of a gun, to become mortgage lenders to a bunch of whiners, losers and deadbeats, like I suspect, Vanderlay himself"

And then a follow up by me:

"Bilejones, thanks for the feedback. I understand where you’re coming from, since I’ve also had Arm-Chair Republican tendencies before and have to remember that not everyone has had the financial independence and good fortune I’ve had so far in my life and career as a broker.

We can complain about lazy government workers, high taxes, and bailing out “whiners, losers, and deadbeats” all day long, but we’re dealing with individual lives, families, and millions of potential job losses if the CAUSE (foreclosures) isn’t halted immediately, which is triggering the EFFECT ($67+Trillion of Unregulated Derivative’s, CDO’s, and CDS’s) which is the real threat to the banks and other financial institutions.

Gretchen Morgensen’s article about AIG in this morning’s NY Times shares how a 377 employee unit in London brought down a stable, 116,000 employee company by diving deep into Derivatives, CDO’s, and CDS’s.

I believe the banks and investors could probably handle the wave of foreclosures, if that’s all that it was. But it’s not. Unfortunately, for every $1,000,000 in loans, there’s $3,000,000 in Derivative products attached (that we know about)that can potentially trigger a “credit event.”

Banks hold lots of Derivatives. Private Equity and Hedge Funds borrowed money from these same banks to buy and sell derivatives as well. Someone’s winning big and someones losing big in these credit events. Banks may never see that Hedge Fund or PE money ever again. More losses, more need to raise capital from somewhere. Undercapitalized banks don’t lend money. They hoard it.

All of this starts with homeowners and ends with homeowners. The more that intentionally default on their upside down mortgage cause more credit events and more losses for banks, who in turn shut off credit to each other, to small, medium, and big business. Jobs are lost and the cycle just spins further and further down the rabbit hole.

Let’s hope Paulson can both capitalize the banks and find a fast and effective solution for 11,000,000 potentially upside down homes. People are hoping for the best and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their family in their homes and community in tact. Let’s hope the government finds a mutually beneficial program to make this happen."

Everyone has their own opinions and their own set of beliefs about this. Should we bail out morons or should we make them suffer? People aren't morons. Making a judgment about another person based on their present financial position in life isn't too smart either. I hope the leadership void left by President Bush is filled in by Henry Paulson.


Presidential Candidate McCain and the Elephant in the Room

Presidential Candidate McCain and the Elephant in the Room

This morning I watched Senator John McCain on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, which has been one of my favorite shows, largely in part because of Russert's style and his love for the American political process.

Yet something felt missing to me. I like McCain as a person, I really do and I feel he has the track record to be the next president for even the next two terms because he can feed off the Ronald Regan-like charm that makes you feel like he could just as well be your favorite uncle or grandpa, the way Regan reminded me of my grandpa Melvin Sabo. My friend Carol has met him in person and said he's got a real wit about him and even came off as a bit of a flirt!

I really don't care about McCain's voting record and if he stands by those decisions to vote against the Bush tax cuts ("only if there were spending cuts which there weren't"). In the Regan years, there were major tax cuts along with major federal spending cuts. I like McCain's principle for his votes and his service to the country since his Vietnam POW days and Arizona Senator who can balance the demands of the job. Though he may be cuddly and friendly, he's probably not going to be the candidate to lead to massive changes in the way American's think about government and politcians. He'll just continue on down the road we've been going down with conservative views, military action, and business as usual that will lead to an ever growing sense of frustration amongst the people.

What was missing to me was the question not asked about how the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (aka Enron/Halliburton 2004 bumper stickers) could have their power go unchecked for so long with blatant abuses and not be tried for impeachment?

http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com/?gclid=CMSDntK24pACFQh6gwodEg3TVg

If Clinton could be tried for impeachment just because he lied about getting a blowjob from a chubby girl (come on - who hasn't lied about that one before), these guys definitely should be tried for taking a country to war under false pretenses, botched planning of the invasion and eventual occupation to keep the country at peace as a new government is "elected" (after the shenanigans of Florida in 2000 - do you really think a democratic election would happen in a far off land with the worlds second largest oil supply as Iraq?). For more info on the war and get the insider accounts from multiple sources who were in charge in Washington and Iraq (http://www.noendinsightmovie.com/) and see what they say about Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and you start to get the feeling why a highly esteemed American like Colin Powell left his post in 2005. Anyone who has been lied to and believed it, plus spreads the lie as if it is the truth, goes through a period of shame and guilt afterward, thinking "How could I have been so easily fooled when everybody else around me could see I was being lied to." I can only imagine what Powell has gone through as a result of the testimony he gave to the U.N. on behalf of the war.

Back to Meet the Press, I really feel like Russert avoided the elephant in the room that is the real reason we are in Iraq - OIL. Look, 9/11 was extremely helpful to Bush/Cheney to launch an attack overseas to kick some ass American Style - ala the greatest puppet movie of all time "Team America World Police" (http://www.teamamerica.com/) done by the creators of Southpark. Average American's who watch TV 6.23 hours a day get off on seeing missiles and bombs being used half way across the globe on CNN at the beginning of an air strike. I did back in 8th grade. Stealth bombers and cruise missiles are really cool to see and make for great ratings, both politically and for the Nielsen ratings. But somebody just needs to step forward and say why these guys have put us into a $1.2 Trillion invasion that called for 700,000 troops by the head of the joint chiefs of staff while Rumsfeld only sent 177,000. It's OIL and BIG INFRASTRUCTURE CONTRACTS (ENRON/HALLIBURTON regime) and not so much democracy for people who live in absolute poverty in the desert atop the world's second largest oil reserves. The more Civil War and destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, the more big contacts will emerge in the aftermath and further reliance Iraq will have to the US, hence Enron/Halliburton 2004. America needs a new puppet regime in Iraq to do as we say and to pump billions of dollars into our country to keep our economy alive and well. We "acquired and modernized" the Saudi's in the 1970's and recently they have risen to prominence in this country recently by infusing Citibank with $6 Billion of cash to bolster its reserve requirements in light of the mortgage fallout. (If you want info about the Saudi's puppetieria, read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins (http://www.johnperkins.org/). As long as the oil money keeps coming back to the US we'll keep a presence over there and keep the peace militarily for our partners in the desert.

This reminded me of the US History class at Oregon State where my favorite Prof Kendall Staggs

(http://media.www.utahstatesman.com/media/storage/paper243/news/2002/11/06/Features/History.Professor.Brings.Lessons.To.Life-316014.shtml)

talked about Eisenhower's farewell speech, warning American's "to beware the unchecked and growing power of the military industrial complex."

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience ... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process."
-- President Dwight Eisenhower, farewell speech to the nation, January 17, 1961

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
-- Dwight Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to his brother Edgar, November 8, 1954

I believe those in the know in government, big business, and in the political media know what's going on and there is an unwritten rule that you don't discuss it publicly. That would be career suicide. Nor do you question it in public. Leave it up to the bloggers and "nutso conspiracy theorists" to raise the question and then refute them as if they are whackjobs. Just like baseball and the unspoken rule that you do not raise the issue of widespread steroid usage for 20 years. At first, the league officials called Jose Canseco a bitter, attention-seeking former player who was hard up for cash. Turns out he was very accurate in his account as the "Godfather of Steroids" in baseball for years. He admitted what was going on in the game and all of a sudden Congress called a hearing and Sammy Sosa forgot how to speak English after 15 years in the country and Mark McGwire didn't want to talk about the past. Pretty soon, we'll see the heads of many mortgage banks, called before Congress to explain what went on and how they could let it go on. I knew it would blow up a few years ago, so did everybody involved in the industry. We went along for the ride because that's what you do, especially if you're making a nice living, and I surely did. Every industry and situation is the same, where you go along to get along.

The next president, if it's McCain, Obama, Huckabee, or Clinton, has a lot of unwinding to do of abusive foreign and domestic policy and enemy building policies that have taken place under "mighty American warlord Premier Bush" as Borat called him and his warchest advisors of Cheney and Rumsfeld. It's a tall task and one that may not ever happen as long as they have to fight the fight that's been going on since Eisenhower warned of it back in the 1950's and 1960's.

Sooner or later, the levy is going to break as Ike predicted and the people will want peace and the government better get out of their way and give it to them. We'll have a politician step forward, stand up for what is right at home and globally. The last one who took the stand wound up getting shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963 (Didn't Ike warn of the military industrial complex and anti-government hawks in Texas?). And then his brother was shot and killed a few years later after emerging as the favorite for the Presidency in 1968. It's been a long time since that's happened. Jimmy Carter was the first to try and honor international peace and diplomacy during his Presidency, only to see the great advances he made, especially in Panama by giving back to the canal to the Panamanians per the original agreement, immediately overturned by the Regan administration through military force and assassination. Carter was smeared as being "soft" and only now, has he been internationally recognized for his humanitarian acts of peace and is often called on as this country's goodwill ambassador.

Hopefully another peanut farmer from Georgia or an ambitious bootlegger's son from Massachusetts can emerge in the years to come to re-establish the priorities of our country and create a positive impact for future generations. I don't see it with any of these candidates we have running for office in 2009. It's probably going to be a continuation of politics as usual, with expansion of federal debt, nothing being done with Social Security and Medicare/Medicare, and the corporataucracy that silently runs this country and our elected officials, with it's biggest puppet being that "rascal in the White House."

Have a great weekend and second week in January and happy birthday this week to Justin McGowan.

America’s New Epidemic: Erectile Dysfunction


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

America’s New Epidemic: Erectile Dysfunction

I usually don't watch much network television, nor much television in general. Due to the Chargers being pretty good this season, I watched football for the first time in 6 years. We had a few stormy weekends here in San Diego, consisting of mist and wind. This gave me an excuse to watch football.

I watched and I really liked watching, even though the Bolts lost to the Patriots, I became interested in the unbeaten Patriots. Sunday I watched most of the Super Bowl, rooting for the Pats to have the unbeaten season, mostly because I was tired of seeing those crusty old dudes from the 72 Dolphins talking about how great they were.

What has caught my attention is the drug commercials. At every commercial break, there are drug commercials. Levitra, Flowmax, Lipitor, allergy, arthritis. Since when did American citizens have the knowledge to self-diagnose themselves? "You know Doc, I was thinking you should look into prescribing me the XYZ drug. I saw it during the football game." I guess it's time to empower the people.

I personally don't take any medicine, though I'm not opposed if it absolutely calls for it. I lean more toward the teachings of Dr. Barnet Meltzer and his method's of Preventative Medicine, which is moderation and foods as your healing medicine. Every time I'm in his office I'll hear him get on the phone with patients and prescribe them papaya juice with other herbs for their common cold. Seeing is believing with Dr. Meltzer being 62 and having the physical age of a 32 year old. We've spoken at length about the screwed up medical industry here which doesn't promote health but promotes treating illness.

If I were a Martian who landed in the US and couldn't score tickets to the game, and decided to go to watch it on TV, I'd think America was suffering from Erectile Dysfunction and that was killing the people. It must be the most serious epidemic in this country, more fatal than AIDS, MS, ALS, Heart Disease, Cancer. I think football has become a front for pushing drugs. And the conspiracy theorists always said the CIA was behind the drug epidemic in this country. Don't look now, but football is the biggest conspirator in the endless war on drugs.

Great Ideas and Not So Great Ideas - picnics at Dog Beach and Geo Metro Convertibles

Monday, February 18, 2008

Great Ideas and Not So Great Ideas - picnics at Dog Beach and Geo Metro Convertibles

February 18, 2008

President's Day

Today's low tide was at 1:59pm and I took my beloved's down to Del Mar Dog Beach to run around and wear them out. The place was filled with beagles. We had at least 7 other beagles howling, baying, and chasing each other in funny little packs, a sight I haven't seen in a long time. (Very Similar to this Scene).

This was a great idea on my part to take little Artie Vandeley and E-Laney Benes to the beach. Afterward they came home and were snoring. Mission accomplished.

The not so great idea I saw today was a group of 5 people brought their mini BBQ and started cooking up steak and chicken and whatever else. They had dog food for their dog right there too, which my dogs happily went up to and started eating. The sad thing is that these people were getting upset with the dogs and dog owners for invading their BBQ.

What kind of lack of foresight does one have to think "Great day for a BBQ. Why don't we take the dog down to Dog Beach and make some food. I doubt any dogs will invade our picnic area. Gee, let's do it."

This decision is nearly as bad as Geo designers who created the Geo Metro Convertible . What's troubling here with the Geo is that somebody actually took a pimpin' picture of their Geo all clean and shiny on a glorious summer day in Des Moines, Iowa. And, there are many more pictures on Google Images if you want to see more.

Moral to today's story is don't bring a picnic to Dog Beach. Don't buy a Geo Metro Convertible, and if you do, you may want to abstain from posting those pics on the internet.

Hope you all enjoyed your Presidents Day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama Strategic Planning Session

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Obama Strategic Planning Session

I don't get the hub-ub over Obama. I am trying to understand how he's qualified to be President (but not wasting too much time on this thought process). Besides "change" what has he been talking about? I admit I don't listent much to their speeches because it's never written by them, just a former college Speech and Debate Champion that falls in line with political consultant dreamed up themes for the campaign that will be the focus of 2-3 minute segments on the news and catch a glimpse of the radio.

Is he running on subdued oratorical charisma reminiscient of MLK Jr? Was that part of the strategy? Slow talk while McCain has the straight talk. I can imagine all the crew in front of a white board, looking like they were playing Scattegories, tossing out ideas with the reminder headline written at the top of the board: "Bush Sucks" "We're Different" "Say Nothing" "Offer people sensational new entitlements" "And tax the rich!"

"Speak slow and don't say anything offensive."
"Keep saying "change" and people will eat it it up and give you standing ovations!"
"Good one, write that down!"
"American's are really oblivious!"
"Yes, great point."
"Idiocracy - that was stupid American's. Bush cornered the market on those guys. Ya, the literal interpretation of Team America, World Police crowd. "America, Fuck Ya!""
"Ya, America kicking the ass of every terrorist state."
"But we're not appealing to the trailer park Billy Bob's - we need the Hybrid people. Conscious and wanting to be seen as consious. We need the educated who'll continue to donate on their credit cards because - remember, we are supposed to hate the rich and we need to tax the hell out of them to appeal to the bigger proportion of people. Remember. These are the ones we're selling the expansion of entitlements to. Duh."
"Change."
"Shut up. Call Toyota and get their market research and tell them it's being done for change and when we get elected we'll tax the rich and we'll give them more subsidies."
"Global Warming - people love this."
"Solar Panel subsidies!"
"Yes, perfect."
"Change!"
"National Health Care"
"Don't throw that Michael Moore commie crap in here. That's been going on since Truman. That's Hillary's thing. We'll just have some token thing that we need to have health coverage for everyone and that we have a plan for it but will never elaborate. But come on, you know that won't happen. It's been 70 years in the making! Good grief."
"Mortgage Relief - Stop foreclosures - keep families in homes."
"Good one!"
"Change"
"Okay damnit, we'll do 'change' as our theme. If you say it again I'll get medievel on your ass!"
"Prescription Drugs"
"Yes - see if that lady that Clinton or Gore had is still alive and we'll bring her back, maybe even send her all over the country as our prop."
"Old people can't travel, dumbass. Especially if she's not getting her prescription drugs."
"Ya, you're right. Dumb idea."
"Hollywood people. Leo, Tim Robbins, all those guys, get them on stage."
"Oil prices - drilling!"
"No, you can't drill any more oil. That's unenvironmental. Leo wouldn't endorse us."
"Change. I'm just kidding! Don't hit me. I was just kidding (laughing at his silliness)"
"Dude, I'm going to kick your ass. I told you shut your face and you drop a C-bomb in there. It's already the slogan, so shut your trap. Don't make me stop this car you bastard!"
"Bush has done war, lets go with peace. Gotta have peace."
"That sounds like another part of the C-word to me. But I won't go there."
"Team America was really funny. Do you guys remember that guy Spotswood who had the Lamborghini Countache limo? That was so funny!"
"Ya, and the actor Gary, who idolized Alec Baldwin."
"Yes, Alec Baldwin. Get him on board. He was so good in Glen Gary Glen Ross."
"And 30 Rock."
"No, remember his phone call to his "fat little pig" daughter? He's crazy. And he still goes on the talk shows to tout the brilliance of pre-nups which he didn't have with Kim Bassinger. He's a nutjob."
"Ya, distance yourself from the angry nutjob divorced men crowd."
"Remember that part in Team America where Kim Jong Il sang that song "Ronery, I'm so ronery" (instead of "Lonely, I'm so lonely") after he fed UN Inspector "Hans Brix" (Hans Blix) to the sharks?
"Ya, and he invited "Arec Bardwin" (Alec Baldwin) to North Korea to speak out against Team America."
"You juvenile punks, we're talking about a presidential campaign. Not some stupid puppet movie from those assholes from SouthPark."
"SouthPark. Let's get Barack on SouthPark. It's in syndication now so more people are watching it. Let's pay them to make fun of Barack. Maybe get Token's parents to die and he can be adopted by the Obama's. Cartman, Kenny, Kyle, and Stan will think it's so cool that Token is on TV every night. We'll get Stan's Dad on there because he's the best at being an idiot. Did you see the episode when he went on Wheel Of Fortune and dropped an N-bomb? That was so funny. Come on, everything that's in the news gets on the show. Why should we be any different? Send them some super secret CIA drugs to write the show and we'll get them to sign the papers to put Barack on the show."
"That's brilliant."
"Moving on you cartoon watching morons."
"Remember when Mark Furman and Michael Richards saved Stan's dad from the socially conscious rednecks? God, that was funny. And Jesse Jackson made him kiss his ass to apologize!"
"Okay, can we get off junior high humor and back to a political campaign. We're trying to get your boss, Mr. Barack Obama, absentee Senator from Illinois, elected to the Oval Office and not doing a Comedy Central Marathon."
"I'm sorry. I'll focus on the task at hand. I promise this time. How about Big Oil - gotta tax the hell out of big oil. Everybody hates them right now."
"They're driving up the price of gas every day and squeezing the American people."
"You dumbass! Are you that stupid? It's not big just Big Oil. It's Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase that own over 30% of the world's future oil contracts in the unregulated markets. Don't you ever wonder why they are the main players in issuing reports that oil will increase to $150/barrell by July 4th? They have cornered the market. Why do you think the Fed has aligned itself with these firms to bail out others?"
"Oh, I guess I got a little caught up on the "Kill Big Oil" madness. Forgot about that memo."
"I guess you did. Besides, oil companies' net profit as a percentage isn't outlandishly ridiculous. We'll stop looking for their death when Goldman and the Morgan's collapse the market and make a killing on the way down. Oil's the passing fad. Next it will be the outrage of Ford and GM finally going bankrupt and pushing their healthcare and pension commitments onto the taxpayers and there will be amazing outrage from the rust belt. Not like we didn't see this one coming."
"What about the Saudi's? We need them to pump more oil."
"Ya, blame it on the Saui's. We can say they're harboring terrorists and we can force them to pump more oil or there will be sanctions."
"Perfect."
"Dude, the entire Middle East is less than 20% of America's oil source."
"Diesel Fuel."
"Good idea. But people don't want to hear that right now since it costs even more than super unleaded."
"True. But that's where we're headed just like Europe."
"But it doesn't jive with our the engines of our cars at the moment. 5 years from now, ya, no problem."
"I know, but remember, we want people to like us, not think we're trying to rip them off. They'll see that when we increase their taxes!"

Okay, so this may not really be a transcript of the planning and strategy sessions. There may be a little bit of my sarcasm and research in there. I know the people are much more intelligent about matters than I.

Though I still don't know how this guy got to this point. Limited experience and then Presidential candidate. The other two, Hillary and McCain, I see the lifetime of experience. No wonder Hillary took forever to step down.

Have a great weekend.

Mr. Bookman - Tropic of Cancer



Mr. Bookman - Tropic of Cancer - Recent Commercials

There's a Holiday Inn commercial airing during baseball games where an old guy is teaching aspiring salespeople about the history of some great salesman who had a heart attack and still wound up selling 12 sets of knives to the paramedics. Turns out the teacher is the guy who played Mr. Bookman, the NY Public Library Cop, who was coming after Jerry for never returning Tropic of Cancer.

The dialogue is brilliant, especially with the referrence to pee-pee's and wee-wee's.

Here you go:

Jerry: Oh, I'm glad you're here, so we can get this all straightened out. Would you like a cup of tea?

Bookman: You got any coffee?

Jerry: Coffee?

Bookman: Yeah, Coffee.

Jerry: No, I don't drink coffee.

Bookman: You don't have any instant coffee?

Jerry: Well, I don't normally --

Bookman: Who doesn't have instant coffee?

Jerry: I don't.

Bookman: You buy a jar of Folger's Crystals, you put it in the cupboard, you forget about it. Then later on when you need it, it's there. It lasts forever. It's freeze-dried. Freeze-dried Crystals.

Jerry: Really? I'll have to remember that.

Bookman: You took this book out in 1971.

Jerry: Yes, and I returned it in 1971.

Bookman: Yeah, '71. That was my first year on the job. Bad year for libraries. Bad year for America. Hippies burning library cards, Abby Hoffman telling everybody to steal books. I don't judge a man by the length of his hair or the kind of music he listens to. Rock was never my bag. But you put on a pair of shoes when you walk into the New York Public Library, fella.

Jerry: Look, Mr. Bookman, I--I returned that book. I remember it very specifically.

Bookman: You're a comedian, you make people laugh.

Jerry: I try.

Bookman: You think this is all a big joke, don't you?

Jerry: No, I don't.

Bookman: I saw you on TV once. I remembered your name -- from my list. I looked it up. Sure enough, it checked out. You think because you're a celebrity that somehow the law doesn't apply to you, that you're above the law?

Jerry: Certainly not.

Bookman: Well, let me tell you something, funny boy. Y'know that little stamp, the one that says "New York Public Libary"? Well that may not mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole hell of a lot. Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I've seen your type before: Flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. What's this guy making such a big stink about old library books? Well, let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me. Maybe. Sure, we're too old to change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book, right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of pee-pee's and wee-wee's on the Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese Brothers? Doesn't HE deserve better? Look. If you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you'd better think again. This is about that kid's right to read a book without getting his mind warped! Or: maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld; maybe that's how y'get your kicks. You and your good-time buddies. Well I got a flash for ya, joy-boy: Party time is over. Y'got seven days Seinfeld. That is one week!

Going Postal - Nearly Impossible


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Going Postal - Nearly Impossible

I went to 2 different Post Office's on Monday and was struck by three things:

1. Every employee was white, mid-50's, and friendly. In San Diego, the majority is Filipino, just as friendly but the age varies from 30-55. Just like going to a 7-11, dry cleaner, sushi restaurant, or used car lot where you know certain cultural groups own these businesses. I know it's a stereotype but stereotypes exist because they're true. And, you do it too especially if you're a cop. You know who you are.

2. The 2 guys working the counters were doing their best to enrage the patrons by saying, "How about those gas prices?" "I hear they're heading to $200 by the end of the year." To which got all the retirees grumbling about this and that, "Bush, democrats, shale, environmentalists, etc." I had to laugh because the postmen are so adept at stirring some stuff up amongst their customers. I know it's just small talk, just like the weather, but this one sure got the people upset.

3. How could anyone actually go postal? Seriously. That's the easiest job out there. You aren't competing against FedEX and UPS technically. Your customer service can suck (but usually is pretty good) and you probably won't be fired because that would be a long, drawn out battle with the union. I know that the mail never stops, like Newman dramatically proclaimed on Seinfeld. But really. You're doing a job that would pay $8/hr if WalMart controlled the USPS and no benefits or retirement but a big yellow smiley pin suitable for The Ramblin Rod Show. Instead, you get $75,000/yr and get the pleasure of stirring the blood of old people about gas prices. Grab the package, scan the package, ask for cash, check, or credit then give the receipt.

"Next in line." "Hi, how about that gas, eh?"
"Damn the Republicans, Democrats, Osama Bin Laden, etc."

And do this over and over and over again all day long.

How could you go postal watching people get all fired up over things out of their control? Nearly impossible. Plus, it's a privilege to be making that much money with guaranteed benefits and retirement when you know somebody working at Walmart is struggling to afford a $600/mo apartment.

Have a good 4th of July.

86% of Americans Overweight by 2030?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

86% of Americans Overweight by 2030?

I got this this morning from The Herman Trend Alert. Quite startling where this is heading, but anyone who's been stuck behind a 250 lb woman (married to a 140 lb man it always seems) at the grocery store and seen the crap they are buying, knows this to be true. Why is the husband always tiny?

Herman Trend Alert: Obesity, Costs, and Wellness August 20, 2008

According to the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (www.ahrq.gov), "all US adults could be overweight in 40 years". This frightening forecast is a finding in their government-funded study. Two-thirds of the population is already characterized as being "overweight", so any increase should cause alarm. These new projections, published recently in the journal "Obesity", are based .. collected over 34 years.

By the year 2030, 86 percent of US adults could be overweight with an obesity rate of 51 percent. "Obesity" is defined as weighing 20 percent above the recommended weight for height and age, while "overweight" is defined as weighing "more than is healthy for your age and size". If the trends continue, by 2048, all US adults could be at least mildly overweight.

The study projects weight problems will be most severe among selected groups, notably African-Americans and Mexican-Americans. All African-American women and more than 90 percent of Mexican-American men could be overweight by 2034.

"Genetically and physiologically, it should be impossible" for all US adults to become overweight", said Dr. Lan Liang, a researcher on the study. However, the data suggest, "that is the direction we're going. This is really intended as a wake-up call to show what could happen if nothing changes", she said.

If nothing does change, healthcare costs directly related to being overweight and obese will double each decade, reaching $957 billion in 2030—accounting for one-sixth of the healthcare dollars spent in the US.

Just telling people to eat less and exercise more is not enough; widespread efforts are needed to improve Americans' lifestyles and keep their weight healthy. Other suggestions include: "making communities more pedestrian-friendly so that people can walk regularly [and] getting the food industry to offer healthier, calorie-conscious choices". Liang continues: "It really needs to be more than an individual effort; it needs to be a societal effort".

Our belief is that wise employers will continue to provide or upgrade their incentive programs for workers who maintain healthy bodyweight and refrain from engaging in unhealthy activities, e.g., smoking. As other recent studies have proven, wellness programs work.

"I'm a good Catholic girl and I don't vote on the first date"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"I’m a good Catholic girl, and I don’t vote on the first date."

I tuned into Larry King last night and I watched his painful interview with a Hillary Clinton supporter. Her name and organization name eludes me at the moment. I do know she was from Boston, so that explains her cold-fish demeanor.

(Sorry - if you're from Boston, I always feel these are the most rigid women in the world - blunt, bitchy, with that harsh accent. Then when they get older, I picture all to look like presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin or any one of the homeowners from This Old House. I guess harsh winters do that to a lady.).

Larry tried to interview her but it was painful. "Obama needs to reach out to me (specifically you? plus 160,000,000 Americans - tough to fit that in) and ask for my vote. He hasn't done that yet to me. I'm a good Catholic girl and I don't vote on the first date." (Anyone who knows Catholic girls knows it may not be the first date, but that second date is a sure thing. By the book Catholic girls don't really exist anymore do they? If you know a Nun in training, please let me know and I'll retract these words, partially).

It all made sense. She was a political dork. Yes, most people in politics are dorks.

How do I know? My friend Justine told me so. She worked as a lobbyist in Minnesota for a few years and said it's bizarro world of Young Democrats and Young Republicans getting so riled up about the issues, copying the mannerism of the elected politicians. Everyone has to be right. Argue because you have to be heard, louder, prouder, dumber, stupider, because you're lobby has supported your campaigns. You argue because you're supposed to. Very little long term planning goes into these arguments. Just the matter of the moment, according to Justine. (She raves about Minnesota Care and believes America should adopt that plan as well as the Kaiser model. Agreed!).

Emotionally charged arguments always seem to be counterproductive. Defensiveness is usually when you know you're wrong but you're protecting your ego. I can only imagine being a fly on the wall in that scene, though I think I'd be annoyed after watching nonsense for an hour and have to move on to a new wall.
So Hillary supporter dork just kept going around in circles with Larry, not really answering a question. I wondered when they were going to go to break because it was a horrible interview. Imagine how much fun Stephen Colbert would have had with her and she wouldn't have even seen the irony!

I could see how hard she was trying to be someone she's not. She really wanted to be a political force, but didn't have the charisma to make it happen. There was no authenticity in her words. She had hurt feelings that Obama supporters "didn't reach out to her with her "Hillary 2008" T shirt and (Ramblin Rod) pin in the hotel lobby yesterday."

Gee, you wonder why? Do Yankee and Red Sox fans reach out to each other when they're wearing opposing jerseys? Not a bit. Red Sox fans will yell out "You Suck. Derwik Jetah sucks. Arod's a Gayrod."
"Oh yeah, well, Nomah sucks too! We've got Derwik Jetah! He's a Hall of Famuhh!"
"Nomah doesn't play fo us no mo(re)-ah! You suck yuse lose-ah! Right Sully!"
"Ya, well go sell Babe Ruth again, lose-ah!"

Hillary 2008 clad, disenfranchised looking, outsider feeling, dukes drawn ready for a verbal sparring match with Obam-ites in a hotel lobby isn't very inviting to anyone. Especially one who has a website and organization created that's mission is to tell Obama people they're not yet giving their vote, because he hasn't reached out to them. They are pro-Hillary all the way and "it's going to take all you got to get my vote!"

I kept wondering, what makes her so special that he needs to actually go and talk to her? Why her? Does she pull power for bitter 30 year olds all across the country? Is she the voice of victims? Is his victory an injustice to Hillary and Bill and Chelsea? Or, is she a secret agent for the pantsuit industry that's been cleaning up with Hillary's run?

I know the tone of this blog hasn't been very nice toward this woman. But she didn't make my evening very nice with her lousy interview with Larry King either. If she reads this, she can hire me to teach her how to answer a question and be interesting on camera. I've never done it but I know I could do it better than that.

As promised a few days ago, I'll have the blog about Mike Streb's wedding. It was one of the better ones I've been to. The cake didn't get knocked over by an 80 year old Japanese man who sort of walked away innocently like at Matt & Tori's wedding.

I'll get to that blog in a little bit. I gotta lot of work to get done this morning.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wondering about the Bailout

All the news reports about this bailout are casting devils, villains, and crooks out of government and Wall Street. But, where is the silver lining in all this? Could the bailout possibly be profitable for the government, like the AIG bailout could be lucrative?

All we hear about is crookedness of Wall Streeters and that's the easy route to take. They made millions while most people barely make $50,000/year. Why should they get bailed out and not the working stiff?

I guess because the banks control the means of production for the economy as a whole. Our Constitution was written to have a credit system. America is one of the few countries in the world with a Constitution written that way, hence, America's Century of Prosperity.

Without credit, new businesses are not started. The majority of American's work in small business. Growth and expansion doesn't happen.

Big businesses rely on credit terms extended to them by banks while they extend to their clients. I have a few friends who work in the Accounting Departments of Fortune 500 companies, who have massive credit lines to meet payroll obligations as they await payment from customers.

This situation makes me see more and more how integral credit is to our daily lives. Paired with easy access to oil, we have had an amazingly convenient lifestyle here in America. I don't think people have ever noticed that. I know I never have until right now.

Maybe that's my silver lining.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Inspiration Came To Me Today


I was reading my favorite baseball blog, www.shysterball.blogspot.com, and Craig, the author/blogger, had a funny spoof about a baseball bailout, inspired by the recent government bailouts of the financial industry.

About 8 months ago, I had written an email to my friend Keith Rische about a Bad Contract Pool that major league baseball needed to create. Reading Craig's posting today brought me back to my previous idea.

Below is what I wrote in the comments section on Shysterball:

Bud and the owners found their perfect storm. Wall Street exploited housing, now lets get them to exploit bad baseball contracts.

The owners can sell their crummy contracts (Zito, Andruw, Sarge Jr, Wells, Rios, etc) to the surviving Wall Street banks at par or even at a premium. Wall Street can take $1bb in contracts and turn it into $3bb in new SIV's, Derivatives, Credit Default Swaps, Options, ETF's, Contract Backed Securities, etc.

The GM's get to experience Brian Cashman's luxury of wasting money on over the hill players with no recourse. Ned Colleti and Brian Sabean don't look so stupid after all.

The owners already got the money for selling off the contract and don't have to pay Lloyd's for contract insurance.

Players and agents are thrilled with the unprecedented salary boom. "Miguel Cairo is a premium utility player and the market recognizes that," said Scott Boras at the press conference introducing Miguel Cairo as the highest paid utility player in history at $12,500,000/yr.

Bud has a great new revenue source and "new media" explosion on mlb.com. He can create a Fantasy Contract Derivative League where people can trade all these new fancy financial instruments of crummy players, just like a real Wall Street trader. MLBTV airs 2-3 hours of "Fast Contracts" and "Squawk Box Baseball," ala CNBC. Jim Kramer was rumored as a host, but loses out to Erin Andrews, which turns out to be a ratings bonanza.

This opens up an entirely new world of quantitative analysis for Sabermetricians as well. Rob Neyer never saw it coming. VORP and OPS are a thing of the past.

Bud Selig needs to pounce on this opportunity. Baseball needs it and Wall Street needs it. The infrastructure is already in place. If something goes wrong, march to Congress for taxpayer relief because these institutions are "too big to fail."

Back to Me: I really think there is merit in the idea except for one major sticking point. Investors have been fleeced so much lately that nobody in their right mind would buy this crap. There's no value in bad baseball contracts, unless just to trade in a Casino market by speculating, spreading false rumors, create panic, create mania - all in the effort to drive the shares in the direction of your bet.

The ridiculousness of my idea is parallel to the ridiculousness of the housing boom. Theories of a bigger fool pervaded and the realistic implications of risk were thrown out the window. Now we see why the global economy is in this mess.

By The Way: Craig just posted this on his blog. Thanks Craig.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wayne’s World Spotted at the Gym - Shyaa! As If??

I spotted a guy this morning who looked just like Wayne Campbell at the gym. Of course, I had to write about it. I have to admit, I thought, "This guy is pretty ballsy, pulling off the Wayne's World look, here in 2008, 15 years after that look was cool. Good for him. And, only in Gresham could I expect this to happen."

I say only in Gresham because fashion tends to run East to West. Starting in Paris and Milan, then to New York and on to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Fashion slowly matriculates to the NW, and sometimes, the trends and styles never seem to touch the lives of a few select people in this east county hamlet. Often times, they look like this: or . Last week at Rite Aid, I saw a lady who looked like she was straight out of my sisters 1986 Munhunitu (GHS Yearbook), frizzy, multi-layered hair and all. And it's cool. She's pulling it off too and who's going to tell her to change. If it ain't broke, then don't fix it.

The funny thing about Wayne Campbell pumping iron today, is that his girlfriend was the most attractive woman in the gym. She was 40, fit, 2008 hair style which I found surprising. Granted, every other woman in there was a retiree grandma with silver hair, but still - Wayne had the beauty queen of the gym. Should that have been a surprise, no way. In the movie, Wayne had Cassandra. Then on SNL, Madonna did the Justify My Love thing for Wayne and Garth.

When I left, I scanned the parking lot to see, just maybe, he was 100% living the Wayne's World life. . Unfortunately, there wasn't a Mirth Mobile in the parking lot.

Chances are this Wayne Campbell lookalike has no idea he's a Wayne Campbell lookalike. He's probably just a dude, living his life, loves his music and his old lady, has a normal job, and likes to pump iron. I'm just thankful he brought back all these Wayne's World memories for me this morning.

Party On...

Naked Lady Mud Flaps - who are these guys?

Naked Lady Mud Flaps - who are these guys?

I've started riding my bike up to the top of Larch Mountain ever since my bike arrived in the mail a month ago. Sunday as I was riding, a Chevy truck passed me and backed into his driveway. And on the back of his truck were naked lady mud flaps.

As I approached, I got a good look at the guy, because I've always been curious who these guys were and why the need to have naked lady mud flaps. He was just an old man, probably late 60's or early 70's. Looked like a farmer wearing overalls, plaid shirt, and a Stihl hat. Huh?

What compels one to replace his factory stock mud flaps, and adorn his truck with naked lady mud flaps? Did they spend their life in and out of strip clubs, dealing with strippers all night long and wanted something to remember the good times with? So why not mud flaps? Were they truckers, wrapped up in the naked lady mud flap culture? And who are the wives who allow this? Was the wife at one time the model? Or, was she just the opposite? Does she ride in the truck with him, or does she just laugh, saying, "it's just a fad" or "boys will be boys."

I wondered what his children and grandchildren thought of grandpa's sleazy mud flaps? I betcha he had a big stash of nudy magazines under the bathroom sink. Not Playboy, but the raunchier stuff like Swank, or Gallery, or Club International.* Maybe he lived in the fantasy that he could somehow find himself a young girl from the magazine or strip club, drop the old lady wife, and live in trailer park bliss the rest of his life, appearing one day on Jerry Springer. I don't know, I'm just doing hypothetical what-ifs.

*During college, Pope, Justin, and I would always stop at the Sandy Plaid Pantry to buy a Club International on the way up rafting in Maupin. Justin would ride in the front seat reading the "letters." It became a ritual. First thing when we arrived in camp, Kevin Middal and all his buddies, then about 13 or 14, would swarm the truck, "Did you guys buy any magazines?" We'd hand over the loot like proud big brothers and off they'd go to their tents to look at the pictures all night and the next two days. Kevin's mom, Cheryl, the next day asked, "Has anyone seen Kevin and his friends?" We just started laughing because they were all in their tents looking at the magazines.

When it comes down to it, naked lady mud flaps are just a personal expression. No different than a Nike swoosh or the yellow "O" for U of O. A guy can do the naked lady or the truck nuts to show how he identifies himself. If he's full of testosterone and you damn well better know it, sure, he'll take the truck nuts. If he loves the ladies, and I mean, really loves the ladies, and devoted his life to letting his community know his affection for topless dancers through his mud flaps, then damnit, he's going to show the world and who the hell are you to stop him?

Tourism - Oregon Style in the Casino Economy


Riding up to Larch Mountain yesterday afternoon I saw the sign for Multnomah Falls, 11 miles ahead. I had to laugh because I remember that the Falls used to be Oregon's number one tourist attraction. There would be busloads of senior citizens and Japanese tourists with cameras, buying postcards and mugs at the gift shop.

I laughed because those buses are now heading down to Spirit Mountain Casino in Grande Ronde - Oregon's new number one tourist destination. This time, though, the buses are leaving Grandma's retirement community, full of seniors with their dead husband's pension money, their Social Security money, and your inheritance money, to get their kicks in the slot machines and the poker tables.

And good for them. If it makes them happy, and happier than looking up at 250 feet of water falling off a cliff, go ahead and do it. At that age in life, they know they are going to die. They have a limited window to have fun. If this is fun, then hell, have fun!

I've read that when people accept dying, life finally is lived. I can only imagine all the playful fun being had at Spirit Mountain Casino amongst the now fully living and nearer to dying raucous crowd of senior citizens.

Have a great Tuesday.