I'm Worried…

Yes folks I truly am. First it was the mortgage fiasco and the subsequent bailout. Then came the auto bailout and the digital television voucher program. The bagillion dollar stimulus bill (where are the people who were criticizing Bush for a mere 87 billion now?) that is going to just create a bunch of government jobs designed only to keep the government huge and the public (that’s you and me, bub) at their mercy.

Ordinarily, this stuff would roll off my back. It is after all, business as usual in this bizarre world we live in, right? But here’s the thing that really worries me – the perception of the economy. I’m not saying that it isn’t in bad shape but the perception, the belief that what we are being told about it is stronger than the reality and will break our backs sooner than the economy itself.

There is an old political adage that says ‘perception is reality’ well I’m here to tell you that that is the truth. For years now, the media and any two-bit politician who was powerless and wanted some power has been hammering us with this idea that the economy was in trouble. And it started long before there were the problems we now face. I suppose you could say that these people were visionaries and saw it coming. But did they? Or did they just create a self-fulfilling prophecy for us? Did they just keep hammering away until we all started to believe it and became more and more desperate? Until we apathetically just allowed the government to make funny money to pay for a stimulus that is bound to actually collapse the economy?

What many people don’t seem to understand is what stimulates the economy is business and commerce. And yet what this stimulus package seeks to do is destroy business and commerce. It seeks to make the government the owner of all the major business concerns. Of course Congress will bail-out the auto industry, the banking industry and any other industry that comes along and kisses its ass. What better way to make the government the owner of those concerns? It’s not unlike Jimmy the Loan Shark. Sure, he’ll help you out but man if that loan isn’t paid back you lose your kneecaps and your business. How on earth do we think this is any kind of solution?

I feel like screaming on a daily basis. Yet, what is the point of it? Everyone is already there. They already believe what is being dished out. Businesses are freaking out and letting people go. People are going onto unemployment rather than looking for another job or even starting their own companies or going concern. People are bailing on their mortgages, letting them go to foreclosure and then saving all that mortgage payment money while the bank takes nearly a year to evict them. Nobody is spending any more because they are sure there won’t be any money to spend in the future. We’re sunk, folks. We’re really sunk if we don’t stop buying into this crap.

Contrary to popular belief, the economy goes in cycles – it is simply a fact of life. And if people just knew and accepted that and didn’t try to ‘do’ something to change it by creating bullshit solutions like a stimulus package for instance – the cycles would be much shorter and we’d all be doing better.

I know that my pleas are falling on deaf ears and if anyone even comments on this post I’ll be more than surprised. All I can say is that when the government owns everything, including our souls, it will be too late for any of us to protest. You think things are ugly now? Wait a couple of years, it’s going to make this look like a ferris wheel spin around the amusement park.


For further insanity on this bailout fiasco go here to read about the latest freakanomics solution. We, the taxpayers are bailing out Citibank? Come on! And all while they are jacking up our interest rates with gleeful abandon? That’s like getting beaten and then set on fire by the same bully. Oh my gawd! Where is this great change that has been touted for the last year? This is supposed to be good? I’m telling you folks, start stuffing your mattresses – unless you want all your money in government banks (the better for the IRS to seize your assets and freeze your accounts????) with no interest, heavy fees and likely bad math. Crap!

I Want My D-TV!

Well, as expected the digital changeover might not be changing quite so fast. I’m sure most of you know of the impending February 17th cutoff date for analog television (read non-digital tv) since they have been yammering about this for the last two years you ought to. The plan was to change everything over to the digital world, not sure why, probably because there is vast profit in it for somebody who made a large contribution to a political campaign or two but anyway, I guess the analog space will become digital or maybe that space is up for sale for internet TV wanted by perverse wrestling midgets… Could be.

Long story short, it seems that their plans haven’t quite worked out. Apparently, since the government was forcing this on we, the poor, unsuspecting public, they felt duty bound to offer us coupons in the amount of $40 to offset the cost of the overpriced digital converter boxes needed to get the television signal on the old style analog televisions. Clearly, not all of us can afford those snazzy new, digital, hi-def numbers can we? And especially we of the downtrodden, since TV (and cigarettes and Budweiser) are our only real forms of affordable entertainment, really needed those coupons. I would have thought though since the government is the government that they’d just make the manufacturers (who I’m sure are profiting bigtime from the manufacture of these little black boxes) price them at say $20 rather than letting them price them at $60 and have them pick up the rest of the bill? At least, logic would dictate it. After all, they can tell power companies what they can charge, they regulate every fricking thing else in the country but not the price of a stupid little box? Interesting if you ask me – but maybe that is fodder for another post. I digress…

The deal is that the ‘program’ has run out of funds. Yup, there are reportedly a couple, three million who are still waiting for those coupons and likely if they pull the plug on TV before those folks get their little black boxes then there is sure to be some sort of natural disaster, or at least a class action lawsuit which I’m sure the ACLU would be up for – given that having television is a Constitutional right and all… Currently, the new administration is begging and pretty-pleasing Congress (why this is necessary I couldn’t tell you since they are all members of the same club, aren’t they?) to put off the cutoff date til June, you can read a little more about it here.

I’m sure that the date will be moved back and once we start heading toward June it will probably be pushed back further still. My prediction puts it at the end of the year at best. Given the fact that there are so many other economic issues for the new administration to concern itself with, I doubt television signals are going to be paramount among them. But who knows – it might be payback time and that could greatly affect us still living in the analog world.

Personally, I could care less, since I watch little television and what I do watch I can see on the internet without too much trouble – without all those annoying and badly written commercials too. Except in the sense that our government seems more and more convinced that they have to wipe our noses and asses at every turn. Why anyone ever agreed that we should be reimbursed for buying converter boxes is beyond me. We aren’t reimbursed for having to buy gasoline, automobiles, food or anything else that costs more than we wish it did – we didn’t get vouchers for dvd players when everything switched over to those, did we? No iPod credits, no mp3 players of any sort. I guess it’s all relative, eh? I think eventually, we’ll all just be implanted with little computer chips in our heads that carry all our personal info, medical & dental records, bank account access and 108 channel television – though the converter box for that would be quite something, don’t you think? I wonder if the government will issue vouchers for those too. What do you think?

Update: It has in fact happened, read about it here.

If Life Kicks Your Ass

You have to kick right back. Don’t you? Seriously. Don’t you? The last few weeks of my life have been one big challenge. From the disposing of one life for another to the drive to the little house that became a nightmare. I’m telling you, life has not been cutting us a break.

If it weren’t so pathetic and maddening it would be hilarious. It really is as though we’ve been living in a very poor remake of the Money Pit and every other bad sit com I can think of at the moment. And frankly, I’ve been letting it get me down. Letting it worry me and cause me grief. But for what? What is the point of letting it get to me? If I do, who wins? Life? How does that make any sense?

I remember somewhere along the line somebody told me (probably my dad because he seems to have told me all the really important things in life) that life isn’t fair. Yet, whenever it isn’t I seem to bemoan this very thing. I already know that no matter what you do sometimes things go to shit. But I also know that there is very little in life that can’t be fixed, repaired, sorted out or gotten through. It may be an incredible pain in the ass, it may not make you happy but it can be done. And too, maybe it’s an attitude thing. I have to look at it from the point of view of someone who has just learned that they are not in fact, dying or going bankrupt. Ah, I get another chance to win. Right?

Life is nothing if not a challenge and I think I forget it that too often. I have gotten so used to my comfort zone that when anything ruffles it I act as though the world is coming to an end. Take my word for it, it is not coming to an end. At least not today. Sure sometimes you have to cry but usually things turn out better if you find a way to laugh. If you find a way to see what good still exists. No matter how hard life tries to convince you otherwise.

So, right now things are a challenge. I will prevail. I know that. I know it because I always have. My only other option is to give in and give up and that just isn’t my style. I’m just saying…

Let the Handouts Begin!

Well, heckfire folks, our savior is not even in office yet and already an early Christmas has begun. This little item and this little item shows that Congress really does believe in Santa Claus since apparently they want to emulate him.

My, my, universal healthcare, mandatory tithes to the UN and while we’re at it, let’s make sure all the companies who can’t keep their shit together get a little incentive (bail out) while we’re at it, eh? Noice… it’s giving me some very good ideas. I think I’ll start a public company, mismanage it, take a huge salary and then beg Congress to bail me out instead of throwing my ass in jail. I think it’s quite the workable plan, don’t you?

Grit may be right, the world will end in 2012. I do believe the meltdown is coming fast folks, implosion city no longer seems to be a sparkling bauble on a distant hill. Nope, it’s just down the street now.

Well, all I can say is Merry Christmas GM and thanks Congress for giving us a final farewell gift (for which we will undoubtedly be able to blame Bush) as we rapidly approach the end of the winter session. At least I hope it’s rapid, God knows we can’t afford too much more of your generosity – we have presents to buy too you know? Of course maybe we’ll get some discount coupons for something off the back lot as some sort of incentive to balance out all the increased taxes you’ll lay on us in order to pay for all these gifts, eh?

I think you may have to practice a might more to really get the Santa personna down though, specifically the lumps of coal angle, check the subject index in the Santa Handbook for that one. Just a tip. 😉

Oh and Nancy, I think it’s time to nix the close ups – it’s Merry Christmas, not scary Christmas.

10 Reasons Why Depression is Good for Your Skin

So this week has been bitch and moan week for me. Oh the drama. On the other hand I look simply mahvelous, so I can only conclude that my sad mood has been good for my skin. Think I”m kidding? Nope, and here’s why:

1. You don’t smile – thereby avoiding those pesky laugh lines that leave tracks around your eyes.

2. You’re too sad to talk and it’s impossible to read through your tears, so you sleep. Sleep rejuvenates the body, helps to grow new cells and gets rid of the puffiness around your eyes that you got while you were happy and up all night, managing on 3 hours of sleep.

3. You extend your beauty routine in order to make yourself feel better, so you slough more, moisturize more, give yourself facials and pop for mannies and peddies, again to make yourself feel better.

4. People leave you alone lest they have to console you or something, which gives you space, which gives you peace, which gives your skin a very dewy look.

5. Because you feel like crap you are spurned to ‘cleanse’ the body, therefore you begin drinking water with slices of lemon, swap coffee for herbal tea and nibble on salad because you have no appetite.

6. Because people are leaving you alone and it’s too much of a chore to read or do anything you dig out all of your chick flicks and watch them non-stop. You thereby expose yourself to an over-supply of romance, happy endings and things turning out right (instead of how they really turn out) – this quickens your pulse, thereby increasing the blood flow and circulation which equals a rosy complexion.

7. You call all your girlfriends, many of whom you haven’t spoken to in months, the console, commiserate and help to really pump up your self-esteem. Again, this quickens the pulse, increases the blood flow, gives you back your swagger and does wonders for those fine lines.

8. Because you are railing against that which is making you sad, you decide you must change everything about your life. You throw away all your clothes (except for the really nice designer items, good shoes and bags) which necessitates a huge shopping binge. Since you are depressed you don’t care that you are putting it all on your credit card and nothing makes your skin wake up like a new wardrobe.

9. Since you’ve already dropped a wad of credit on a new wardrobe, you feel that you must take the makeover to completion, so you go to the most expensive salon in town and get a brand new edgy cut and color, while wearing your new clothes and walk out feeling like a super model. Definitely good for the skin. Are you feeling all rosy and glowy yet?

10. And to top it all off you make an appointment with that hunky massage dude Sven, who is a golden god with rippling muscles and during your hour and a half massage you have the best fantasy you’ve had in years and you’re rosy from head to toe.

See, I’m telling you feeling bad has it’s upside. 😉

Note: This is satire, I am not making fun of people with real depression, I am making fun of myself. In case you were wondering.

The Art of Parenthood

The following pictures were sent to me by an (appalled) friend in an email. The idea was that it was funny…

I never gave birth to any children but I did raise a couple and they’d go out naked before they’d leave the house sporting a tee shirt like this. How old do you figure she is? Six? Seven? Won’t she make some lucky guy a wonderful mate some day?

Okay, so a family that hates together mates together. What slays me is the little one on the right, what is she two or three – she’s using the wrong finger of course, but I’ll bet it won’t be long before she has the routine down pat. I’m thinking Mom of the Year for the chick in the green dress, how about you?

Listen, I know that child care is expensive and sometimes kids get underfoot – but don’t you think the parent should actually know that their child is a human being? I can only imagine what a lovely teenager he will be and how the parents will be quite forlorn over the way he acts.

Yup, start ’em young – but the glass seems a might large.

I can’t even comment on this, except to say, sometimes you shouldn’t always follow through on what you think is a brilliantly funny idea.

No wonder kindergarten kids are getting hit with sexual harrassment suits.

I hate to sound like one of those old fuddy duddies who don’t like people to have fun and such but I seriously couldn’t imagine myself having my children in pictures like these, or in these situations, much less be passing them around the internet. Sorry, but some people should not have children. No. Way. No.

The Lord of the Flies & His Vacuum

Okay, I know I have in the past regaled you with humorous stories of Roomie but this one I do believe takes the cake. We all know he loves to talk in morning – really loudly. Really inanely and really drives me up the wall. He simply does not see dirt in any form and apparently thinks that the 30 pounds of fat that hangs over his belt buckle really gets the girls all twittery.

But today I hear this enormous noise coming from the kitchen and I think he has gotten some sort of high octane burning, super v8 engined blender or something and is mixing up some odd mixture of fish heads, vitamin powder and yoghurt.- and like an accident, I can’t look away. So when I peek around the corner there he is with the vacuum in the kitchen.

I must admit at first I was overjoyed that he was actually vacuuming anything and thought perhaps the furballs left by his giant cat had gotten too big for even him to stand to look at anymore – but no. Not vacuuming up the dirt, the furballs or anything else one usually uses a vacuum for – no, he was vacuuming flies out of the the window. I shit you not. And not only was he vacuuming flies out of the window ledges but he was yammering on about what a brilliant idea it was rather than messing with fly traps. And apparently trying to impress me with his brilliance as well.

Now, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this, since this is a man who will vacuum his lawn, yet never clean his grill, will dig out his sprinkler heads at ten o’clock at night just cuz it bugs him but only do laundry when he absolutely must, will chide me about bacterial growth if I leave something in a pan for half an hour on the stove, but happily eat rice that stood on the range for 12 hours- so sure, why wouldn’t he vacuum the windows? Seriously, why not?

However, when I suggested he might want to also vacuum all the crud under his feet, the vacuum went off within seconds and has remained in the kitchen ever since. Interesting don’t you think? The mere suggestion that he should use a cleaning apparatus to actually clean something was such a turn off that he had to go watch a movie and eat some chips. Ah, the good life.

Jeez louise!

Keeping Score

When I was kid, I had a lot of time to observe my mother. Though she worked, for some reason, I have lots of memories of spending time with her. Or at least our being in the house at the same time. I got from mother a love of tea and toast and gossip. Maybe not really gossip, just the inter-family bitch and moan was probably more like it.

We’d sit every morning at the dining table, drinking our tea and munching our butte-drenched toast and she’d tell me all about how she was being shafted by the rest of the family. Not really the rest of the family more specifically her older sister – Aunt A. Those two had a serious love/hate relationship going for all the years they were both on the Earth at the same time. The scope of it went beyond sibling rivalry – it was a lot more like keeping up with the Jones’s. Aunt A was always flashing some new gadget, furniture suite or piece of bling in my mom’s face and my mom always felt less because she didn’t have anything to flash back. Or when she did get something it was passe’ to Aunt A by the time my mom had one.

Anyway, after any type of family event, whether wedding, shower, birthday, bowling match, card game, house party or bingo extravaganza, Mom would be brimming with resentment to share with me over tea and toast the next day. The list was endless – so and so said this – cousin whosey bobbit looked at her funny, uncle boopy gave her the cold shoulder. She took no prisoners and told all during our morning chats (well she was chatting and I was listening). All the gory details in full description and 3-d play by plays of the entire lollapalooza. Whatever.

And the thing that always fascintated me about these little mother daughter chats was the look on her face as she told me. As though I could see the wheels turning and hear the bells ringing between her ears. And always after it was over, she’d say something like – ‘they’ll see.’ Which was meant to mean that she’d get her pay back one way or the other. Because she was keeping score. She kept score about everything. How good the gifts were that she received, from my dad, her kids, her relatives and friends. Scored how we did our weekly chores. How many birthday cards she got. How many phone calls on her birthday. My mom was a real score keeper – if it was an Olympic sport, she’d definitely have brought home the gold every time.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that I’m starting to think that I’ve inherited this charming attribute to some degree. I find myself counting things. Noting how Joe treats me compared to Suzy. Whether the waitress was nicer to people at the next table. And on and on. And I have to say it bothers the hell out of me. Of all the many talents my mother had this is one I really don’t want. Can I give it back? It seems to have a mind of its own, actually. Maybe I should name it and keep it in a cage and feed it bananas? It should definitely get its shots, lest it infect others with its paranoic germs. It doesn’t come around all the time – usually only in moments of weakness or frailty, stress. Obviously, when I’m too weak to fight it off and beat it with a stick. I think I’ll name it Basil.

I wonder too, if other people have a Basil. Some of you out there might be nodding and saying, ‘sure, I feed it prozac’ or some such. But you know I’m not one to go that route – I can barely drink, imagine me on drugs. Not a pretty thought. But do other people have their version of Basil? And if so, what the hell do you do with it? I mean, how can you just erase an attribute from your personality? I sure haven’t found the way. The best I can do is hide the notepads and pencils from him and hope he will nap most of the time from all the carbs I feed him.

Because the truth is, I don’t want to keep score anymore. Shit, I hope the bastard doesn’t eat me.