Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Found a Dollar!

With the dollar going down the tubes faster than you can say “dollar,” it looks like the United States is really going to take a financial beating.

Manhattan retailers are starting to display signs in their stores that read “We accept euros.” A company based in Belgium is trying to buy Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewery in the United States. The day of the almighty dollar is nearly gone, declining steadily for the past six years.

Europeans vacationing in the United States are finding a bargain hunter’s paradise while Americans who can still afford to vacation in Paris are being subjected to sky-high hotel rates, for traveling and even on the quaint sidewalk cafes and bistros.

All things American are nearly dirt cheap to many foreigners from across the puddle, while those of us who choose to (or are forced to) stay here at home is faced with hefty increases for energy, food and imported goods.

As of 2008, our dollar has diminished in value by nearly a quarter of its purchasing power since hitting a peak in 2002.

Almost half of our $10 trillion national debt (in 2008) is held for foreigners, mainly in Treasury Bills. Imagine what consequences a withdrawal could have!  The “Group of Eight” wealthy democracies, Germany, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States met yesterday in Japan, but the issue of the falling value of the dollar was not part of its agenda.

It looks like our “friends” have abandoned us, leaving the United States to fend for itself in this crisis.

So what do you see looking forward to the health of the United States economy? Can you still see the dollar as the leading international currency or has it had its 15 minutes of fame?

Where are we going? Must we content ourselves with a government that continues to piss away monies to other nations who have never and never will contribute to our welfare? Is there something that the incoming administration can and will do to better this situation, or is the great Eagle finally going to become extinct?

Voice your thoughts here … while there is time. At the rate we’re going, who knows if there will be a tomorrow for us?

Memo to self: This is about as bad as it’s ever been and even with my glasses on I can’t see any real hope for the future. © 2008 RJScott

After Death ... Afterlife?

Not having been in heaven lately I don't feel qualified to say whether it's overrated or not.

We who are on Earth think as humans with human minds. We have no idea of what life “in the spirit” will be like.

We have no concept of what a heaven would be like, however when you were a very young child, all your toys probably meant the world to you. You probably felt safe and secure knowing that mommy and daddy were there to protect and care for you. You had nothing to worry about except getting that new toy you saw advertised on TV.

As you grew older, you found new interests and you probably cast those toys aside; likely they held no interest for you at all.

As we progress through life, the things that are most important to us today may mean nothing at all. It's all a part of the journey we call life.

So it might be, once you leave Earth (die), the essence of what was you may discover that life itself was merely a testing grounds for what was to come: eternal life, complete with new interests, a new purpose and an exciting new "forevermore"; the "real" life experience.

I think I'd prefer to look forward an exciting new adventure than merely becoming food for worms.

Memo to self: Hey RJ, them worms gotta eat too, ya know. They didn't get an economic stimulus package. (C) 2008 RJScott

On Body Wraps

I usually don’t pay too much attention to commercials that I see on TV, but one recently caught my attention.

It featured a bunch of women all near climax over the results of their “body wraps.”

One woman exclaimed that she lost more than 56 inches.

Say what? Where did the 56 plus inches go? Are they tightly wrapped up in her innards, ready to pop back out at any time, producing a third boob, possibly in the middle of her forehead or under an armpit? Inches simply do not pack up and leave home, do they?

Another woman took delight in reporting that she lost half of her “old self.” I immediately wondered if that half included her brain.

Some sources say that body wraps work for about 48 hours. Then I guess Cinderella turns back into a pumpkin, eh?

Others swear by them.

None of the women in the commercial produced a “before” picture and none of them looked particularly wonderful as a result of the “wrapping.” There was no comparison to be made.

Nobody ever mentions the cost. I wondered how expensive this gimmick could become for those who indulge in it. My extensive research shows that they are not inexpensive.

Do you have proof that they WORK? Have you ever tried this method to lose weight? Would you?

Memo to self: Go “wrap” your head, RJ. This discussion will have all the “heavyweights” coming down on you! © 2008 RJScott

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So Who Are the Leaders?

I don't see "organized" religion as having ANY importance in my life. However, I do believe that having my CREATOR in my life is very important.

"Religion" (organized) has caused countless wars, killing countless millions of people.

Organized religion has seen Catholic priests become predators, ruining the lives of countless people.

If we live our lives living by the commandments of a loving God, or Buddha, or whatever we choose to call our higher power, we would be far better humans than we are if we adhere to the standards of ORGANIZED religion ... BINGO for Catholics, TITHING to a corrupt minister whose antics finally caught up with him, raffles to win a “basket of cheer,” (a goody-basket of booze) – the list goes on

Thoughts and actions of a kind heart are probably just what Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and the other "higher powers" had in mind.

If we can just learn to live with each other, love each other and dispel HATRED and COLDNESS toward others from our hearts, we'd be far closer to the "Godliness" of the Gods we follow. Not so?

Memo to self: May the God all who read this believe in, bless those who read this. And NO! I do NOT have to be a priest, minister or whatever to call God's blessings on others! (C) 2008 RJScott

Our Product Is Good for You ... but It Might Kill You

Have you ever watched an ad for prescription medicines on TV?

I think the number of different ads that appear is definitely increasing.

BUT ... did you ever pay close attention to the ads? Toward the end of the ads the manufacturer cites warnings: taking 'X' could cause high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke (and the like).

First they spend excessive amounts for those 30-second spots, telling you how 'good' their products are, then they go on to tell you how 'bad' they can be if you use them.

I certainly get mixed feelings about risks of taking the products.

For nearly a year, I took Avandia for Diabetes until I learned that it's been known to cause stroke or heart attacks, and the percentages for each were in the 40s. I stopped taking it, without my doctor's knowledge, and since May of 2007 I've upped my exercise time and really revamped my diet. My test results are now at an acceptable level according to recent blood tests.

What do you think of ads that invite you to use a product, then go on to warn you that it could actually kill you?

Memo to self: Damned if you don't, damned if you do. (C) 2008 RJScott

Some People Are Pigs

I live in Southwest Florida, referred to by many as "paradise."

I bike a lot, and on my daily rides I can't help but notice the amount of trash along highways as well as residential roads.

I've seen everything from bagged trash (torn by animals) to tires, to furniture and appliances.

My home is located on a corner where two streets intersect. Numerous times throughout the week I find myself outside picking up tossed beer bottles, fast-food bags, wrappers and cups, etc. It's disgusting.

We've become a nation of PIGS ... pigs that don't give a damn about respect for other people's property OR our own, for that matter.

I take great pride in my property, inside and out. And for someone else to disrespect what I myself respect pisses me off to no end.

How much would it take to keep a litterbag in one's car to dispose of trash properly rather than casually toss it out the window for someone else to dispose of? Obviously too much for some of those PIGS.

One day, while biking, I spotted a crumpled pack from Marlboro cigarettes. Only a few feet further I spotted two more. I began counting them just for the hell of it. I counted 37 empty Marlboro packages in my 24 or so mile trip. That was ONLY Marlboros. I didn’t count the others: Camels, Basic, etc.

Memo to self: Many people are PIGS. Their homes must be STYS. Isn’t pride of ownership WONDERFUL? © 2008 RJScott

Addicted to Facebook, My Space, Etc?

We all know that online social sites are addictive.

Do you ever neglect your responsibilities at home, or in any way put off attending to family needs, or even take off from work in order to get your "online fix"?

I did, yesterday.

I went to the garage (directly behind my computer room) to get a cold bottle of water out of the refrigerator that I keep in the garage solely for soft drinks, water and beer.

I got so wrapped up in reading the responses to a discussion that I didn't realize that I hadn't closed the refrigerator door properly.

It must have been an hour later when I went for another bottle of water that I discovered the refrigerator open. It was 93 degrees outside and I had the garage door open (with the screen closed), allowing for all that hot, humid air to come into the garage.

Memo to self: Don’t bit(h when the next electric bill is sky-high. © 2008 RJScott

So, Am I a Nutcase?

I saw the most amazing thing yesterday at about 5:45 PM. I was sitting on the top step of my pool; enjoying the day and watching the clouds drift by, northwest to southeast.

All of a sudden I saw my "Foxy Lady III" in the form of a cloud. I could make out her ears, one eye open and her nose, along with her paws as if she were romping heavenward. It looked strikingly similar to the picture below.

I ran to the garage and my car, where I keep my camera, to capture the cloud. But, by the time I got back to the pool, it had separated and dispersed somewhat, and I was no longer able to see my Lady in its formation. It was very much like the photo below, but in reverse, facing the opposite direction.

It was really beautiful, and to me, it was like she was sending me a message: "I'm OK, and I'm happy."

I miss my little girl something terrible. It's more than eight months since I lost my buddy. I don't know if "all dogs go to heaven," but that cloud reinforced my hope. I know that our minds can "suggest" things like this; however, I prefer to believe that what I saw was real.

I wish I'd been able to capture it so that anyone who reads this doesn't think that I'm some kind of nutcase. But then, maybe I am a nutcase. 

Look Into My Eyes

Some may have heard the story of Virginia Tighe,, a housewife from Boulder, Colo., who in 1952, under hypnosis, revealed that she had lived 100 years before.

Have you ever undergone hypnosis?

I recall when I was a junior in high school, a certified hypnotist was featured as a guest in the school auditorium one evening. I was really impressed by a senior, "Sally," who while "under" hypnosis, did some silly things, but more by the fact that she was told to describe the home of a woman who was chosen from the audience by a number drawn from a hat.

Not only did Sally tell the woman the address at which she lived, which was in a nearby town, but also she proceeded to describe the interior of the woman's house in great detail.

I have no doubt that Sally and the "woman" didn't know each other. What impressed me the most was the DETAIL in which she described the home. From describing various framed pictures and their location, to the style and colors of the furniture in the rooms, and where they were placed in relation to the rooms.

Remember, Sally was a high school senior.

I've always wondered how she was able to do this without some sort of trickery being involved.

Some years later, a certified hypnotist attempted to hypnotize me. I don't THINK it worked, although I was told I was under his influence. (I thought it took intelligence to be hypnotized.)

At any rate, have you, or someone you know undergone hypnosis? If so, are there any things that left you in awe? Any things the person (or you) could not have known or done under ordinary circumstances?
If so, please indulge me and go into detail. Thanks!

Memo to self: Look into my eyes ... look into my EYES, dammit, not my nostrils! Oh! There's a booger there? (C) 2008 RJScott

Love Hurts, but Love Accepts

Humans are strange animals. Have you ever heard the song, "You Always Hurt the One You Love"?

It's true. But I think there's a reason. We often hurt those we love the most because of our need to get something out of our systems. Had a bad day at work? Come home and take it out on the wife and kids. Why? Because THEY also love YOU and will often suffer that hurt in silence, knowing it's "a bad day."

If I were to be stopped by a cop for going over the speed limit and began to argue with him, he might arrest me on the spot. But I can subconsciously verbally attack my wife and kids by simply finding something that had nothing to do with the cop to blame on them, in order to get my cop experience out of my system.

If my boss pissed me off and I told him where to go (which I would LOVE to do), I'd probably be fired.

BUT, if my boss pisses me off and I take it out on my wife and kids, subconsciously, I KNOW that they’ll take that abuse and eventually forgive me, because THEY love ME and I love THEM. I know they’ll forgive me. My boss and the cop might not be as forgiving.

So, you see why I say that we humans are strange animals?

The person who hurt you probably loves you very much. It’s little more than the animal coming out in them. If you were to tell that person just how much you were hurt, undeservedly, that person would probably feel terrible, and promise never to do it again … but chance are it WILL happen again, and AGAIN … BECAUSE of your love of each other and the ability to “take it.”

Memo to self: Give the finger to the cop (after listening to his warning) then fart on the boss and love your significant other. True love doesn’t come around all that often. © 2008 RJScott

What's Yours Is Yours ... What's Mine Is Yours

Here’s the scenario: You work for a major company and in the course of your work you “discover” something important that you’ve been working on at home. For the sake of argument, let’s say you discover how to create gasoline from water.

Now you want to patent your invention, but your employer informs you that the COMPANY owns any patents when it comes to manufacturing and marketing YOUR invention.

How would you handle it? Would you hire a lawyer to represent you, arguing that it’s YOURS that you’ve worked on at home and only one aspect was discovered while in the workplace? Or would you accept the fact that since you made your discovery on company time, it belongs to the company?

Would you just give it away or would you try to bargain for some additional dollars, as in the way of a bonus, since it was your INTELLIGENCE and PERSEVERENCE that made the product possible?

Knowing how companies are, I think I might just be tempted to leave that company, relax on vacation for a couple of months, then come back home and present the concept to several companies and sell to the highest bidder.

Knowing how companies are, I don’t think I’d feel guilty doing this. We workers mean little or nothing to the companies we represent. If we leave their employ they expect two-weeks’ notice. When they decide to give US the ax, it’s cut-and-dry and we’re out the door the moment we’re told we’re through.

So how would YOU handle it, knowing you could be rich beyond belief on one hand or would the altruistic you take over “for the good of mankind”?

Memo to self: Altruism, smaltruism. It’s mine. © 2008 RJScott

So What Do You Think About OLD Blogs?

I've decided to post some of my old blogs to this page in an effort to share things that have entered my mind and in many cases were forgotten over the years.

I hope someone, anyone, finds something worthwhile in my musings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So Is Winning the Lottery Worth It?

Last Tuesday, Nov. 1, a lifetime friend of mine called me. I wasn’t home at the time, so she left voicemail. “Sis” lives about a mile from me, here in Florida. When I returned home, I called her back.

“Did you read today’s paper?” she asked.

“Nope, I just got home from my bike ride and I just picked it up,” I replied, asking her if she was referring to the Englewood Sun or the Herald Tribune. She said that she was referring to the Sun. I told her that I don’t get that paper.

“Have you checked the lottery numbers?” she asked.

“Yep, I check them online every morning,” was my reply.

“Someone from Englewood won the Mega Money drawing,” she said, “And I know that person.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, it’s me,” she said, hardly able to contain herself.

You could have knocked me over with a feather! Sis, a widow who survives on Social Security, spent $8.00 for four plays, two drawings for Tuesday and Friday (Nov. 4). The particular drawing consists of choosing four numbers from 1-44 and a Megaball number from 1-22. The jackpot begins with a $500,000.00 prize and advances if there is no winner, the jackpot can climb to $2,000,000.00.

She didn’t choose the numbers, opting for “quick picks” instead.

Lady Luck sure was with her. Sis got all four numbers and the Megaball number. The jackpot was $1,400,000.00, and she nabbed it all, being the only winner!

Her daughter drove to Englewood from upstate Florida the next morning to take Sis and her “boyfriend” to Tallahassee to collect the loot.

“I hope I never win again,” was the first thing Sis told me when she returned to Englewood on Friday. They had arrived after the lottery office closed on Wednesday and they had to stay overnight in Tallahassee. The next morning they were at the office bright and early, at 9 a.m., when the office reopened.

She told me that they were there until nearly 5 p.m.! The lottery officials did a complete background/criminal check on her. They checked to see if she was behind or in default of any child support payments. Yeah! An 84-year-old widow defaulting on child support! As if!

She was warned that people will be coming to her door with hard-luck stories, asking for money. I have NO idea why her address should be made public. One would think that a winner would not have their address revealed, especially if it’s known that beggars would become an issue.

She was told that people will try to scam her. As if lottery winners don’t already know that. She was told that she would need to open a sufficient number of accounts to be certain that FDIC would cover all of them. I had already recommended to her that she open accounts a) in her name, b) in her name and the names of each of her three children, not as co-owners, but payable upon her death. She was aware of that when she went to the lottery office.

She was told that she should to hire an attorney (I think everyone is aware of this). Her cut of Federal taxes was immediately taken out of the proceeds.

She was told that the proceeds would be wired to her main bank on Nov. 8.

Sis said the day at the lottery office was “exhausting” and that she hoped that she’d never have to go through anything like that again.

“So what are you doing for yourself,” I asked her, “to celebrate your good fortune?”

“Well, I’m going to go through my closet on Monday and toss out some older clothing and get some new things.”

Isn’t it amazing? We all dream about what we’d do with a million dollars, and this simple woman chose clothing to be first on her list.

Sis told me that she’s also treating her boyfriend and herself to a first-class cruise to Hawaii.

Joe has taken her on numerous cruises, jaunts to casinos in Florida and Mississippi in the past several years.

She also told Joe that he was taking both of them out for breakfast the next day, “and I’ll take care of the tip,” she added!

So, knowing what a winner plans to do with her winnings, what would you do if you were lucky enough to win more than a million dollars?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So What's Not to Be Happy About?

You may have read my posts about Doris, my friend over the course of a lifetime that I posted in this area earlier in the year:

Doris called me just a few minutes ago as I was doing my work for AOL. She had an appointment with her radiologist last week and she was thrilled with the news, as I was.

"Doris," he told her, "I don't want to see you again for a year."

Long story short: Miracles do happen! Doris is living proof of it. She never gave up hope that, even though the diagnosis was stage-4 lung cancer, she'd overcome it. She never displayed any signs of feeling sorry for herself; she just continued to remain optimistic even though she was sickened by the chemotherapy; even though she lost her hair to the radiation treatments.

She is now approaching age 79, a great-grandmother and, as the image below from last month indicates, she looks radiant … every bit as radiant in the images shown in my first two articles about her, both taken in 2008. The image below shows Doris and her brand-new great-grandson, "Wagner," Doris looking more "fiftyish" than "eightyish," and with a beautiful head of hair.

I think this is an important message to all who are suffering from cancer or any other debilitating disease: NEVER give up hope. Please be sure to share this page with any friends or acquaintances in need ... of hope or faith or both.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

So Is Life a Bitch, or Is It Just Me?

I spent my day today behind the keyboard. From about 7:30 a.m. until nearly 5 p.m. I was stuck there with computer issues that I hope are resolved and working. It was a pretty heavy workday today, but I got everything done.

Then I went to my favorite gas station for the daily paper and a single can of Natural Light.

I live in Florida, and as anyone who's been here knows, it's pretty hot and humid in the summer months … but it's never too hot or humid for me. Summer is my favorite time of the year. I live to sweat. I firmly believe those Floridians who say that that they love autumn love it because they can show off their fall clothing. Me? I dress the same way all year long: Shorts or cargo shorts, sandals and a jersey shirt (those without sleeves).

Well, I got in my car in the garage, started it and headed to "Pookey's," the gas station. On my way I passed a time/temperature sign that read 76°. I didn't think much of it until I got out of my car at the station. Good grief! I thought I'd freeze my gonads off! My kind of weather is temps in the 90s and humidity about the same.

Then I got to thinking how long it'll be until next summer … or at least April or May when it'll start getting hot again. Oh so long!

Thinking further, it occurred to me that it's really quite possible that I've enjoyed my last summer. That really depressed me. If all that I have to look forward to before I die is "cold" weather, that's really nothing to look forward to. (Is it?)

I wouldn't "miss" next summer … a dead person can't miss something, but the possibility that I've already enjoyed the last summer ever got me to thinking further. Live each day and wring the most you can out of it. It'll never happen again. Don't regret things you may have done today that you wish you hadn't. It doesn't matter … that's history. Live for the next day and hope that it (and you) comes along and that it will be better.

I guess that's about all any of us can hope for. Life gives no guarantees. If we're lucky enough, we get a second chance to sort out things we screwed up. If we're lucky enough, there will be another summer to enjoy.

Perhaps it's time to forget all the ill-will we bear from others; ill-will that we have toward them. Petty crap that doesn't mean a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things, isn't it?

I guess if I apply myself (and live through it), winter, especially in Florida, won't be all that bad. It's just not my preference. I should be grateful that I'm living rather than complaining about what life deals me and what I'm entitled to. And, I kinda think that there are a lot more people like me … people who take the good things for granted and moan about what could be; what we'd like life to be.

I didn't go into the pool today. When I checked its thermometers they read 79°, both of them … but the air was too cool to suit my taste.

I'll probably go in tomorrow, if I live, and if it's earlier in the day when the sun is shining over it.

But I'll try to take each day as it comes and hope that there will be another summer for me. Maybe I'll learn by then to treat life as kindly as it's treated me so far and stop complaining, if only in my mind.

So is it me, or is it life that's a bitch. I think that I'd have to say, at least in this case, it's me.