I am in awe

I like to think I have a fairly sufficient grasp of the English language. I like to boast that I can insult your four preceeding generations using words that are acceptable at a ladies tea cotillion.

I am blown away by this review.

Seriously, this reviewer of the movie Pixels is a linguistic master. I have never heard or conceived of some of the phrases he coined, like "Skidmark Sumo Thong" or "Advanced Scrotal Cancer" he used to describe this movie.

This review is 104% for certain NSFW. You have been warned.

I Raised My Hand

I was a little busy yesterday, so I didn't get to post this in timely manner.

36 years ago yesterday I started my time in the Navy. It was actually the third time I raised my hand and swore to protect the Constitution. The first time was in January when I entered the DEP (Delayed Entry Program). The second time was the real one, and took place earlier in the week. Saturday July 21st, 1979 was when my clock started.

I was one of 80 young men, members of the "Cleveland Indians Naval Recruit Company." All of us were from Northern Ohio. My parents took me up to the Stadium and we were marched out onto the field during the 7th inning stretch and we were given a "sounds good" oath. We were then loaded onto two buses and made our way to Great Lakes Recruit Training Center.

Dad and I 2

This was me and all I had when I left home. The clothes on my back, a small gym bag with extra stuff that wouldn't fit wrapped in a paper grocery sack, taped to the bottom of the bag. That's my Dad next to me. My Mom took the picture, and she never was very good with cameras, she almost always was off in one direction or another.

And I still have that belt buckle.

I wish I could do this

I have a wireless weather station outside (duh!) and the remote here next to my system. Right now, it says the heat index is 115 degrees. I'm not from around here, I don't take too well to super hot eather like this. I just wish I could be like Jean Claude Van-Damme:


I might get comfortable doing this...

University vs. Trade School

Some time ago, a friend on Facebook proclaimed his frustration about his Job status and prospective employment chances. I say “some time ago” because I have been doing some research in my copious free time.

He is currently making in the $8/hour range as an unarmed security guard. He is frustrated because he can barely survive on that, and saving for college is a dream at that income.

This got me to thinking about how our work habits and expectations have been distorted. The big push from our local school system in recent years have been for "Every Child. Every Day. College Bound." I really don’t see how they can achieve this goal with a 30+% dropout rate.

I have also read story after story about the crushing amount of student loan debt people going for higher education take on.

I do not agree that you need a college education to “get ahead.” There is an alternative distained by Liberals that is very viable. That alternative is trade school, where you learn to be a plumber, electrician, welder, carpenter and so on. Now, trade schools are looked at with contempt by “intellectuals” because you don’t sit all day, thinking and doing paperwork. Having such a trade means you’re usually grimy and dirty at the end of the day, but you can look back and say, “I helped create that.”

Just because you haven’t done a dissertation comparing the prose styles of Shakespeare vs. Keats does not mean you are “uneducated” or “dumb.” It takes a lot of mental as well as physical effort to build things, a concept that seems to constantly escape Liberals.

So, I decided to wash a few numbers through a spreadsheet and see what came out. Here are my sources, US Inflation Calculator, to obtain snapshots of the rate of inflation and this graphic, derived from the information contained in U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, higher education general information survey, Aug 2009.

DISCLAIMER: These numbers are averages, and thus exactly inaccurate. These numbers also under the premise of a 4 year degree, where in real life it could take an extra year or two, due to switching majors, retaking a few courses and the like. The premise is also there that all costs are drawn on Student Loan funds and not being employed to offset some/all of these funds. As far as income, they are again averages. Yes, they start low and end high.

What I see is that from 1978-2008, inflation rose a total of 230.2%. What cost $1.00 in 1978 cost $3.30 in 2008.

I am going on the assertion that the costs in the table are per year, so in 1978, a 4 year degree cost $11,672. In 2008, that 4 year degree, indexed for inflation, would have cost $38,544. In real life, it costs $81,744. In raw dollars (not taking into account inflation), since 1978, the price of college has gone up 700%. If we were to factor in the rate of inflation, this tops out at a staggering (approximate) 1,600% growth rate!

Having worked in the mental health field, I know of two degrees that a lot of my (former) co-workers had, a BSW (Bachelors of Social Work) and an MSW (Masters of Social Work). A BSW degree takes about 4 years and $81,744. The Masters takes 6 years and $122,616. The average annual income for a BSW is $50k and an MSW can average $58.7k annually. That is a national average and a lifetime average. Most of the MSW’s I knew were making less than $35k a year, with the same level of student loan debt.

A trade school (electrician) costs about $33,000 to complete. An average of an average between Electrician I and Electrician II is 44.7k annually.

Now, all of those “debt experts” say that your consumer debt (non-house debt) should not exceed 20% of your take-home pay, otherwise known as net income. Using a 4% interest rate on student loans, these are what each of these would pay for 10, 15 and 20 years:

Position Payment % of Take Home Total Paid
10 years
BSW $546.72 19% $65,606
MSW 901.08 26% 108,129
Electrician 334.11 13% 40,093
15 years
BSW $399.43 14% $71,897
MSW 658.32 19% 118,498
Electrician 244.10 9% 43,937
20 years
BSW $327.23 11% $78,535
MSW 539.32 16% 129,437
Electrician 199.97 8% 47,993

As you can see, the debt load is a lot easier on the Electrician than the BSW or MSW, because the Electricians pay is almost the same but a lot less starting debt. The MSW’s debt load is almost unmanageable at 10 years, barely manageable at 15 years and okay manageable at 20 years. The Electrician can get rid of his debt easier and in half the time.

I personally don’t have a college degree. I learned my basics in the Navy working on radios, radars and other communications equipment. My computer skills (programming, networking and so on) are all self-taught. I also have a voracious appetite for knowledge. Most people never pick up a non-fiction book after they leave High School/College. The bottom line is, consider a trade school to learn a skill.


We should all be like this

This was brought to my attention today. I normally not supportive of posts from the Huffington Post, however in this case I will be glad to make an exception. Granted, the post was made in 2012, but The 9 Nanas are still going.

The original article, It Ain't Over: The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades, is about a group of ladies who helped others. They did it just because they wanted to help others. They were not in it for their own glory, recognition or anything like that. They would still be unknown today if they hadn't been "outed."

Just imagine what our world would be like if we helped those around us without waiting for government to do it. You don't have to do it all, do what you can. Do it to help others and that happiness will come back to you multiplied by a thousand.

Perceptions vs. Reality

I hate double standards. Hate, despise, loathe and some other adjectives.

Which brings me to this poster:

IMG 0219

The automatic assumption that Jake was the aggressor and Josie the victim is disgusting. Let's turn things around.

Jake was drunk. Josie was drunk. Jake could not give consent. The next day JOSIE was charged with RAPE. A man who is intoxicated cannot give his legal consent for sex, so proceeding under these circumstances is a crime.

If you cannot concieve that Josie could be the aggressor, you are an idiot. It can and does happen. And he does not have to be "in the mood." Look up "Pegging."


Our Government At Work

I found this the other day: Obamacare Travesty: IRS Fines Employers For Reimbursing Workers.

Let me put this bluntly. The plans offered by the "Affordable Care Act" suck. Very, very badly. The least offensive plan I was looking at cost $61 a month. That's just the premium. Then there is the $5,000 deductible before the plan pays anything. When the plan does start paying, it only pays 50%. Put simply, I have to spend $5,700+ during the year, about $477 a month before the plan pays a penny.

I don't have $477 to spend a month. After the "survival bills" (house note, utilities, food, transportation) I have less than $400 a month for things like clothes, gas for the car and such.

Now, let's say the company I work for wants to "help me out" so they reimburse some of my health care costs. B-I-G mistake. Under new regulations set forth by the IRS (Not Congress), employers can be fined $100 a day, per employee if they reimburse their employees to help them with their health care costs. That adds up to the princely sum of $36,500 a year, per employee. Now, if a company over 50 employees doesn't offer any health care plan, it's only $2,000 a year per employee. That $36,500 penalty doesn't care if you have one or one thousand employees. Of course, that is more than most of those being helped make. Even one such fine could crush a small business, driving them out of business and making all of the employees unemployed.

I have to ask you, what kind of people feel the need to crush a business if they do not obey a regulation with no legislative oversight? This is not part of the law known as the "Affordable Care Act." This is a regulation devised, written and enforced by the IRS. Congress, the Supreme Court or another agency didn't tell them to write and enforce this regulation. I have no evidence the President told them to do this either. They just thought it would be a great idea to drive companies who want to help take care of their employees out of business.

This is no longer a government "of the People, by the People and for the People." This is now officially a government of "f*ck the People."


We All Need to Go Back To Kindergarten

I was involved with something this past weekend. Part of it involved etiquette. The person talking about said, "Remember what you were taught in Kindergarten." This struck a deep chord within me, because no matter where I look or go in this world, either in-person or on-line, I meet too many people who's first response to most situations is to be mean and hurtful. Frankly, any number above zero is too many.

The types of meaness are almost too many to count. Being mean to to others because they don't measure to "your" standards, anger at others who had nothing to do about why you are angry and can do nothing to solve the reason why you're angry. Maybe they don't have the same opinion/belief on a particular subject.

I feel pity for those people whos sole life purpose is to be offended about something. Or those who for some reason cannot stand another person having a different opinion or outlook on anything.

I have a single memory of Kindergarten. Mrs. Bowers was my teacher, a heavyset older lady, she retired not too long after I left her class. All I rember of her is her, with her back to me, playing a three note chord on the piano to signify the end of playtime. I did remember what she taught us about life.

  • Be nice to each other. You don't have to like others, however you should always be polite.
  • Share what's important. Make sure others have what they need.
  • Life is not fair. Help others when you can.
  • Play fair. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, the experience of playing with others is what you should aim for. A poor player quickly runs out of others to play with.
  • Clean up after yourself. Leave where you've been a little nicer than how you found it.
  • Apologize when you hurt others. Remember how you felt when you were hurt.
  • Don't take things that don't belong to you.
  • We are all different and the same. We each have different abilities, desires and interests. But we are all people.
  • Never lose your sense of wonder.

There are many others, but if all of us could at least try and start to do these nine things consistently, imagine how wonderful our communities would be.

The Truth is...

... Somewhere in the middle.

I found an entry in my FB page this morning, about a 21 year-old woman, who posted "PUT ME IN CHARGE..." (I quoted it below) and in my usual due dilliegence, I found it came out five years ago, by someone else.

Here it is, dated November 18th, 2010:

Put me in charge ...

Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings, then get a job.

Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your “home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”

Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville

 I can at least partially agree with Mr. Evans. Benjamin Franklin spoke on the subject of Welfare, "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."

There is also always more to the story. Someone always reads into others writings intent and meaning that is not there. Case in point, this reponse, posted July 16th, 2011. Because the first is a letter to the editor, I can post (with attributation) the entire letter. This is an article, so unfortunately even with attributation I cannot post the entire article. The author of this article is Mr. David Price.

Sometimes people form opinions about other people without knowing the full story. The well-traveled letter by Alfred W. Evans is a sterling example.

My 32-year-old son receives assistance from the government. He receives food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance.

He needs the assistance because he is not able to work. He has had epilepsy since age 6. He’s gone through all kinds of hell for 26 years trying all sorts of drugs and operations that haven’t stopped his seizures. I would never wish his condition on anyone. Yet he lives with it. He has about five seizures a day. Can you imagine living with that disability?

Mr. Price goes on to document the every day challenges and difficulties his son faces. My only point about Mr. Price's letter is he says his son is on "Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance." Having extensive experience with thie disability system (as a recepient and the father of a recepient) Mr. Price does not seem to realize that one person cannot be on both because they are mutually exclusive. SSI is for people who do not have a work history, SSDI is for people with a work history. When you apply for disability, you are applying for both. During the process to approve or deny your request for benefits part of the decisions include either SSI or SSDI because you can only receive benefits from one program or the other. Perhaps that is the source of his misunderstanding.

Mr. Price does not seem to realize the primary point of Mr. Evans letter. I understand Mr. Evans as referring to those who can work, however they refuse to do so.

I was employed from 99% of the time from age 16 until I was 39, when my mental illness tore my life apart. I spent ten years on SSDI, working part time most of it because of various reasons you can learn about in my archives. My son has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder which was diagnosed when he was 6 years old. He is on SSI. The last time he got on the local public transportation to go somewhere by himself, he got off at the wrong stop, became disoriented and I had to go and get him. He would love to have a job as well. My son is extremely bright and intelligent, however he is unable to handle unexpected situations on his own.

I can see both of these gentlemans' points. They are both correct, in their own context and paradigm. I firmly believe if you are able to work, if you apply for government assistance, the government should work you as hard as possible as an incentive for you to acquire a marketable skill and join the ranks of the employed. If, for some reason you are not capable to perform work, that is the true case of charity.