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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Monday Morning-Quarterbacking


  • One who second-guesses
  • From a fan's usually critical rehashing of the weekend football game strategy.  First Known Use: 1932
  • Someone who criticizes from hindsight.
  • Professional football games in the United States are often played on Sundays.
  • A person who analyzes the mistakes they made the day after they've made them. Derived from complaining over quarterbacks on Monday morning after the Sunday game.  Frank's complaining about what he should've done on his date last night like a Monday morning quarterback.
Similar to the idiom:  Hindsight is 20/20.  

What a wonderful superpower it could be to poses hindsight.  Imagine a handful of things that you could do that would improve your life, and the life of others.  If you could look back at your life (day, month, year or lifetime) as it could turned out and then go back to the start and do it different based on the preview (hindsight).  Your life would be perfect because you would be able to prevent the actions that would otherwise create negative outcomes.  Some examples might be seeing how your life turned out by the age of sixty.  You might see yourself in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank by your side because of a lifetime of cigarette addiction.  You could go back to your youth and decide not to get started on the smoking habit.  The same example could be applied to an addiction of alcoholism or maybe even an unhealthy eating habit.

On a shorter preview of say one hour.  You have a doctor appointment at 9 am and your car gets t-boned by a careless driver who runs a red traffic light at an intersection at exactly 8:40 am.  Using hindsight you go back to the start of the trip and decide to leave earlier, later or cancel the appointment altogether and avoid the accident.  If you start to see where I’m going you might agree that this ability would really be a super power.

There are many great uses for this type of ability like using it for the good of mankind.  As an example to prevent a crime or a terrorist act, can you imagine how many lives you could save?  One selfish use of this power that at least 90% of people would contemplate is knowing what the winning numbers to say Powerball will be and going back and purchasing those numbers.  Even knowing the outcome of say the Super Bowl and then going back and placing a large bet on the winning team.

There isn't such power available of course, but there is a similar ability that comes close (unfortunately it can only be applied to some of the above mentioned examples), yet only a very select few poses it.  It’s widely known as Common Sense.  You can’t look into the future and then go back and make changes, or can you?

Study your surroundings for things that most affect you, such as health, wealth, and Happiness (not necessarily in that order).  Your family is a good starting point since you share so many similarities through genetics.  Things to look for or at:  look at your father and grandfather’s life and see what made them great (or not).  You will be able to see the good and bad habits and outcomes.  Hard work can make for stability (ability to provide), education (preparation) makes for a better lifetime of economic success.  The ancestors habits and priorities will begin to formulate a look back at what your life could turn out like.

A careful look will disclose that most mistakes in the world have already been made by someone, so a good habit would be to learn from them, and not to duplicate them.  Another good thing to remember is that it’s not possible to make the same mistake twice.  Only the first time is a mistake, the second time and beyond is on purpose and with full knowledge of the likely outcome.  The best is yet to come……..

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

State of the Nation 2

State of the Nation 2

Never want to upstage someone as important as the leader of the free world.  I only mean that in the sense of posting my perspective of where the Nation is at, following his State of the Union speech.
  • Every once in a while aging does come with benefits:  knowing from experience what to expect with regard to a pep talk (which a State of the Union speech is meant to be).  When you hear enough of this speeches and then live through the period of time that follows you learn to read between the lines. 
  • I would be the last person to say that a politician lies but they do embellish, and you have to give them credit, they are optimistic about how they can improve things with their plans for us.
  • If you want to get a real feeling for how the nation is doing you should consider that not everyone is affected in the same exact way at the same exact time by prevailing conditions, political or otherwise. 
  • I’ve always measure improvements by getting it down to the lowest common denominator.  First of all, how am I (my home) doing since the last State of the Union speech?  The next level might be to access the status of your job or business.  The next most important measure to an individual should be, the family.  How are your children doing?  How are your brothers and sisters doing?  How about your parents:  the ones that can least afford a negative condition in the state of the nation. 
  • Before you counter; some of our elderly that have had a nice life may actually be in better shape economically to withstand a temporary downturn in the economy.  However, generally speaking elderly population with a fixed incomes have limited ability to withstand even temporary downturns.
  • Now for the tools to measure how we are doing.  Take a look at the property tax statement for your home if you are one of the fortunate people to own or to be buying your home.  You can usually see a comparison from your past property valuation to your next increase or decrease in valuation, and taxes due.  Take a look at your bank account is your savings stable or has it been declining?  Check your credit card balances are your credit card balances down or up? 
  • Certain things affect us all equally, as an example the unusually cold weather we are experiencing in parts of the nation.  According to some news reports utility bills are doubling in some areas because of the extreme and prolonged cold weather.  If your personal situation is stable, you should be able to withstand the fluctuation in your utility bills, but if you are not doing well, it could be the difference between buying groceries and keeping warm.
The next time you hear a politician discuss how the government is going to provide the free anything (in this case 2 years of community college) ask yourself where, is the money coming from.  If you can’t make a logical conclusion just look in the mirror (we the people are the government).

Here is a perfect example of government salesmanship and misinformation that our grandchildren will still be paying for in their lifetime: 
  • The Bush administration estimated the war would cost $50 to $60 billion, including the costs of reconstruction and clean up. As of 2013, the Cost of War Project estimates the war has cost $1.7 trillion—nearly 30 times the pre-war estimate. That cost doesn't factor in future costs of veterans' care, which push the total to more than $2.1 trillion. The Veterans Administration spending related to Iraq—which totals $45 billion—is almost as much as the Bush administration's overall cost estimate.  ~U.S News & World Reports ~Seth Cline
It turns out that I am not reporting the State of the Nation, instead I am giving you some ideas on how to evaluate on your own.  Having read State of the Nation post, how are you and yours doing?  The best is yet to come……

Saturday, January 17, 2015

For Better or Worst (A Society of Laws)

For Better or Worst (A Society of Laws)

Most recently the subject of governing laws (rules) came into my life once again.  Every so often the subject comes up unexpectedly, if for no other reason, because we are a society of laws.  As the best example I can think of very four year we have presidential elections and that is a big example of how we have, not only the right but more importantly the responsibility to take part in the process.  After all the Commander in Chief is the head of our government, and will actively or passively will affect what new laws are passed or focused on.  It seems that every president comes to the position of power with a preconceived agenda.  Most often it’s that agenda (campaign promises) that get them elected or not.

The party that the presidential candidate represents will have very strong influence on the president’s platform.  This blog is not about politics, and if I am not careful it will get away from me.  So I will now carefully get back to the main topic.  For better or worst.
Earlier in our lives the laws were not as all-encompassing as they are today.  The biggest reason for the basis of that statement is that our family heads (moms and dads) use to exercise more control and vigilance over our own immediate families and responsibilities. As an example I don’t remember the local policeman ever brining me home because of curfew violation.  I knew what time I was supposed to be home, and I arrived with plenty of time.
I was also aware that if I misbehaved in school my teacher would have a conversation with my mom and or dad or both, and I would have to pay the price (punishment doled out by my parents).  I attended Catholic School and the teachers (nuns) exercised corporal punishment (the board of education was made out of real wood).  Believe you me, if I ever got a swat or two or three swats at school I knew better than to go home and complain, because I may just get seconds at home.

Less rules (laws) were needed back then because in the 50’s and even up until the 70’s most homes were made up of one working parent, and the other parent got to stay home and manage the family.  I know that today it sounds weird, but believe me, it makes a big difference whether the children are being raised by a parent or a daycare.  Unfortunately, with the high cost of everything in our economic challenging times, unless a couple wins the lotto they will never experience the pleasure and benefits of having one of two parents staying home to manage the family.  It’s not unusual in today’s economy to have a $200 plus cell phone or TV/cable bill. Those level of services are not necessary but for the most part they are a reality.

The average transaction price for a new vehicle set a record of $31,252 in August, according to  My parents bought a brand new 4 door Ford Custom, as loaded as it came, right off of the showroom floor for under $3,000.00.  The payments were around $28 per month. We’ve come a long way baby.

The rules that inspired this post have to do with managing our neighborhood development.  We are at a crossroad (after 20 plus years) where maintenance costs are almost prohibitive.  So the question is; do we, individually as home owners, increase the membership dues to cover the cost (we are talking about tripling the annual fees) or dissolve the association, and fend for ourselves.  Sounds easy enough but consider the issues recently handled by the association board; Neighbors (most likely tenants not owners) trying to raise goats and chickens (in their backyards), abandoned cars on the streets, vandalism, lawns not maintained, disputes between neighbors, etc.,, etc..  I say quadruple the fees and build up a reserve.  Just sometimes rules are necessary.  The next post will deal with the cost of oil prices.  The best is yet to come….

Friday, January 2, 2015

Contradiction in terms (Social Network)

Contradiction in terms (Social Network)

The ideal circle of friends varies by individual’s needs and ability to maintain.  Before the advent of what is the accepted Social Network of modern times (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., etc.), a social network was your circle of friends and relatives.  Friends and relatives are not like an item that you can send to storage and bring it out when you need it.  Some friends and relatives are needy, others are clingy, and In any case all require a level of maintenance.

The better the friend and or relative the less maintenance he or she needs.  It, however, requires a very smart and astute individual to be able to know which level is which, and then, the level of maintenance that you employ can and is a reflection of the kind of friend that you are.  As an example, if you ignore one of your good friends or relatives because you’ve determined that this is one of the good ones that don’t require a lot of maintenance, how are you being perceived?  Are you being categorized as one of the good ones or are you one of the not so good ones because you don’t actively nurture the relationship.

A good person (friend or relative) should minimally call or email a person considered a friend (or relative) at least every month or two, just to say how are you and how are you doing (more often depending on age or health conditions).

With regard to the modern Social Network the contradiction lies in the fact that some of the loneliest people are the type that are most drawn to it.  Imagine a person (possibly bordering on being an introvert), small circle of friends if any, and seldom attends celebratory events (parties) because of shyness.  All of a sudden they discover Facebook, a place where you can be as active as you want to be, and no one can put pressure on you to do other than as much as you want to do.  You can even decide to delete your page and no one will call you are knock on your door to see why you dropped out.  Soon you discover that you can even share your opinion without consequences because you are not held accountable.  You can even be the opposite of who you are, you can be a social butterfly.  You have the opportunity to re-invent yourself.

For some the social network can be a magnification of who they already are, and for others it is an escape from reality, and the opportunity to further remove yourself from interacting socially with real friends and relatives.  Lately I’ve heard people asking about someone and the responds most often heard is she is around I saw one of her posts on Facebook the other day.

Another contradiction is that many of the (selfies) pictures posted are either photo-shopped or of better years gone by (usually as many as 20 years).  With the old traditional circle of friends, you really knew the individuals you were interacting with and even sharing a cup of coffee with.  The new social circle includes deception at many levels and even the cups of coffee shared are virtual.

There is also the tendency to want to share all your problems on the social network because it garners you minimally sympathy and understanding (sometimes even money).  There have been instances where people have faked having a terminal illness and received large sums of money, sent by well-meaning individuals.

I am not anti the modern social network but like in everything else in life, I would recommend caution.  A very large world has just been invited to your home through the miracle of the internet, and that includes; criminals, scammers and other fakes.  With a little bit of caution you can make the Social Network a satisfying experience.  The best is yet to come….