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Friday, December 3, 2010

Traditions and trying to balance national debt...

...maybe we should stop doing some things just because that's the way they've been done for the last 100 years.  There's a time for traditions, and there's a time to be practical.   When you're going broke ... that's the time to be practical!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Got sticky Christmas tree sap hands?

   OK dads out there!  Here's your excuse to buy a great big bottle of your favorite whiskey on the way home with this year's Christmas tree:

   Here's the deal.  You have to trim the base of the tree when you get it home so it will absorb water better.  Then, you will probably have to trim some of the lower branches to get the tree to fit in the stand correctly.  Then, you have to turn the tree and adjust it based on everyone's opinion of which way it looks the best.   Now, hopefully you weren't wearing gloves for all that, and your hands are covered in Christmas tree sap.   That stuff just doesn't wash off with soap, and this is why you need that big bottle of Jim Beam.

  I'm sure any good spirits will do, so pick your favorite of course.   Just pour a little of that stuff in the cup of your sappy hand and rub it all around.   It will take the sap right off and leave your hands smelling like you're ready to single "handedly" kick off the holiday spirit.



Monday, November 22, 2010


I was enjoying a nice glass of wine on my front porch last night when I saw Santa riding by on a bright yellow bike.   It was one of those old fashioned bikes, but his elves must have just finished putting it together 'cause it looked brand-spanking-new.  I almost didn't recognize Santa in his brown jump suit and bright red tie, but his long white beard flowing in the wind was a dead give away.   I guess he was doing a dry run, checking addresses or something.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Life is a bowl of cherries ... unless you forget the bowl ... then its just a bunch of fruits running around everywhere.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cleaning Carpet

Oh, the joys of being a landlord.  You get to wake up in the middle of the night all excited that you just thought of a cool easy way to clean those nasty stains the last tenants left in your carpets.

So, here's my trick:

1.  Don't waste money on that scrub brush they sell next to the various carpet powder cleaners.
2.  Spread the cleaner powder over the affected areas ... the whole room in my case!!!
3.  Remove the suction hose from the vacuum and put the vacuum on its lowest height setting.
4.  Run the vacuum over the area so the rotating bristles of the vacuum can work the cleaner powder in.
5.  ... lol, duh, put the hose back in and vacuum.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new constitutional amendment

We the people do hereby declare:

Whereas the separation of church and state has been largely effective at preventing powerful religious interests from imposing their will over the public,

Whereas the interests of business has been largely held in higher regard than the interests of the public, and the powerful influence of business interests has convoluted the political process,

There shall likewise be a separation of business and state.  Corporations shall be stripped of their citizen-like status and shall not be allowed to petition representatives, contribute to campaigns, or otherwise engage in political activities.  Every individual citizen shall have equal access to his or her representative, and none shall have any exceptional influence based in any way on financial assets.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top 10 reasons to support an "unqualified" candidate.

10.  They don't have enough campaign funds to buy tons of annoying TV ads and litter the streets with signs.

9.   They wouldn't know how to find trouble that doesn't exist or start a new and expensive government agency to address the issue.

8.   After hearing one of them answer a simple yes or no question, you will be amazed that the answer didn't go on for 15 minutes.

7.   They wouldn't be capable of writing rules that we have to follow in undecipherable legallese script.

6.   Because of their lack of confidence, they might actually read proposed legislation word for word before signing it into law.

5.   They still remember what it is like to be just a regular American, for a few minutes anyway.

4.   They might actually blink before looking in your eyes and lying to your face.  Hell, we might luck out and get an honest one every once in a while.

3.   They don't owe as many favors to super-rich campaign contributors.

2.   They are just as annoyed with the buzzword of the day as you are.

1.   They might simplify taxes and regulations enough for jobs to actually stay in America.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A tax loophole for us little guys ... or in government talk...

...GDP Stimulus Plan.

Economic activity is often avoided or simply not reported in order  to avoid taxation.  Much of this activity is related to small cash  transactions done by individuals doing sideline ventures to make extra  money.  Some examples might include buying and selling used items on  Craigslist, selling aluminum cans, sewing, selling breakfast tacos, making  crafts, or other entrepreneurial activities.

Many people purposely keep their activities small in order to avoid  headaches and the accounting necessary to determine their tax liability.   However, many of these activities could bloom into a small business under  the right conditions.  This GDP Stimulus Plan is designed to get budding  entrepreneurs one step closer to a full time business.  In addition, this  plan will increase reporting of economic activity and encourage citizens to  produce goods and services beyond the scope of their regular jobs.    Finally, this plan will generate income for the government if only a few successful businesses are launched.

The plan is simple; create a tax loophole for us little guys.  To  say it another way, create a hobby profit tax exemption.  The amount of the  exemption could be experimented with, but the higher the number, the more  likely this proposal would help launch new businesses.  The cost to the  government is minimal because most hobby income is un-reported or under-reported.   The benefit to the government is an instant boost to our national GDP numbers when this economic activity is reported.  Increases in tax revenues would come later as individuals grow their hobbies into businesses.

To further encourage citizens to run their hobbies as a business,  acurately reproting their costs and revenues, a tax incentive should be  added to reduce tax paid on the individuals ordinary income.  For example,  an individual, making $50,000 per year at a regular job and $5,000 per year  doing a "hobby" business, might be offered a $500 reduction of taxable  income on the $50,000 in exchange for accurately reporting the $5000  income.  This type of arrangement would have some cost, but it would encourage even more people to produce more and to report it.  Assuming that some of these individuals will successfully find a business niche, these costs to the government would be quickly offset as new businesses are  launched and grow.  Of course, some penalties are needed for anyone falsely reporting "hobby income" simply to get the tax break.

I propose setting the "hobby tax" exemption at $20,000 per year.   There should be no penalty to any individual for working to achieve, via entrepreneurial activities, and reporting that income.  In order to encourage full reporting, this income  should not count against unemployment benefits, welfare, medicaid,  disability, or any other government service.  This policy is an incredibly  powerful way to empower millions of individuals to develop new skills, take  charge of their life, and be successful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Keeping in touch with your representatives

http://www.congress.org is a great website to keep up with current legislation that is under active debate.  To get started, you can register for free by clicking "Register" in the upper right-hand corner of the home page.  

After you get your confirmation email, you can log into the site.  Then you will have access to create messages directly to your state and federal representatives.   There are also many opportunities to join in discussions on various issues and voice your opinions for others to see.

For example, you can get on your soapbox like I did:


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Top 10 things that taste great colder:

10. KitKats ... try putting them in the freezer

9. Delux Grahams ... way better out of the fridge

8. Fruit ... banana, strawberry, apple, pear, peach, blueberry, etc. Freeze 'em and throw 'em into a blender with some milk and a scoop of frozen OJ. It's a quick yummy breakfast

7. Blackberries ... not so good in the smoothies because of the seeds, but freeze them and put them on cereal or add yogurt to a bowl of frozen berries

6. Teething rings ... yep, them babies love a chilled chew toy

5. Homemade cookie dough ... out of the freezer or fridge, most of the time it's better than the cookies

4. Bread and Pie Crust dough ... same principle as the cookie dough, cooking perfectly good dough is for the birds

3. Red wine ... Especially in the summer, put your red wine in the fridge. It needs a few moments to air after being poured anyway, and it will warm to the perfect temperature in that time

2. Beer ... any good alcoholic knows warm beer is great, but cold beer...

1. Icecream ... it just gets a little runny unless you keep it in the freezer

(ok, I admit it, I only had a top 8 list)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Secret Garden

One great little tradition that you can start for yourself is to take little walk-breaks during the day at work. A 15 minute walk once or twice a day will help you stay alert and productive, and you might be surprised what you find out there.

When you do find something cool, it will have an extra naughty satisfaction for you. Even if its just a neat little restaurant that you might have otherwise overlooked, you will get a little perk knowing you found it while you were supposed to be at your desk working.

The possibilities are endless. For example, you might find ruins from generations past oddly placed in a forgotten corner of your city. Perhaps you'll find an old homestead like this one in Austin, TX, hidden in the trees only minutes from your desk ... complete with a doorway that opens into a poorly designed cellar and a now collapsed roof. You might even get lucky and happen across some retired guy just hanging out and enjoying the serenity of your new discovery. He might be like your tour guide at some Mayan temple site, pointing out angels carved into stones by some homeless guy. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Just don't venture too far into your new discoveries. Else, you might catch me skinny dippin' in my secret garden.