Still Here....

Been going through a bit of a personal situation, requiring my attention. I haven't been much in tune with the outside world the past week as a result, but I thought I'd add my two cents on some of the things I've witnessed here and there.

The event at Columbia University. What an ass the president of CU made of himself. Sure, the prez. of Iran is no prince, but he was invited as a guest to speak. And to be insulted that way right off the bat shows the ugly side of America. A side in most definite need of examination and healing. It's unfortunate that we're so pumped full of ego and pride and self-righteousness, this side likely won't be examined anytime soon.

Saw Michael Moore on Oprah speaking further about the health care crap. They had on the president of the insurance industry's biggest lobbying group, which meant she spewed a lot of crap and found herself speechless several times by points put towards her by a medical doctor, Mike and Oprah. I don't know where she studied mathematics, but her numbers were interesting. For instance, she claimed the insurance industry processed 5 billion (yes, billion with a "B") last year. How interesting is that? There are 300 million of us, only approximately 250 million of us have insurance. The average american has, what, 3-4 visits per year to a health care professional, which adds up to a number hugely lower than 5 billion. When Mike pointed this out to her, she stammered and gave that glazed "uh uh uh" look. She also stammered when, after saying The American People need to speak up and demand some sort of a universal health care plan, and to start with, support the latest legislation to reestablish the children's health care bill. Mike said, "actually, you people who work in the insurance industry need to make those first calls." Again, she stammered. He then added "afterall, you own the politicians."

ZING! And again, she was speechless. Honest to god, whoever prepped her didn't do his/her job.

Mike lost me though when he began to pander to the audience and to the american public, saying we need to stop calling this socialized medicine and instead call it christianized medicine. "NOOOO Mike, don't go there!" His reason? What would Jesus do. You know what? I, myself, don't give a shit what Jesus would do. I care about what YOU AND I SHOULD BE DOING. I care about what our GOVERNMENT should be doing, which is taking care of the private citizen first and foremost, above the special interest groups, above the corporations. And way to alienate the Jews, the Hindu's, the Muslims, etc. etc.

Oprah nailed this skank when she said, her voice raised, clearly frustrated, "if i've been diagnosed with cancer, WHY SHOULD I SHOP AROUND AND COMPARE RATES FOR BONE MARROW TREATMENTS? WHY DOESN'T THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY JUST DO ITS JOB AND PAY FOR WHOMEVER I PICK, WHOMEVER IS CLOSEST TO MY HOME?!" Ohh, because it's important for people to pick the best and that means going to the biggest treatment center around (which, btw, the insurance industry pumps huge sums of money into--said huge medical facilities). Yeah, and what about the millions who live in rural america and for whom, driving 8 plus hours to such a facility is not only practical but simply not possible?

I think what disgusted me most was the testimony by a medical doctor. She testified in front of congress in the mid-1990's, her testimony which the oprah show aired in part. She had denied treatment to a patient for a procedure that would have saved his life. The reason? The insurance company said if she did so, they would pay her a large sum of cash. She said no one ever called her on it. She said it went on all the time and finally her conscience got the better of her and she stepped down from that position. Well, the skank insurance industry lobbyist said that rarely happens anymore. The doctor looked at her and said "that is a lie. It still goes on today and in fact, it's only increased. I see it all the time in my profession."

If that doesn't paint the picture for what the insurance industry is all about, I don't know what does.

Listened to a bit of talk radio. We're in trouble in this country. Our holier than thou, we are better than the rest, is going to get us destroyed. And guess what? Government doesn't care one bit. Your elected official doesn't give a squat about you (unless they are one of a very small handful of people who do actually care, but those types are kept out of media spotlight or when they are in front of the media, are ridiculed).

For those of you who still believe in the voting system, who will be voting, I would encourage you to only vote for candidates who talk about the stagnating wages, how wages have simply failed to keep up with the cost of living/inflation, going on about 25 years now. For a vote for anyone else will simply mean the incomes at the top will continue to increase while the rest see stagnation and decline. As for myself, I've failed to see any politician address this, therefore, I probably won't be voting in the PE. Maybe it's simply best to make change from where you are, locally, instead of trying (meaning beating your head against the wall with futility) to change things at the national level.
Peace out.


Mandated Health Insurance: Bye-Bye to More of our Freedoms

I read an article about Hillary's plan for "universal" health coverage. It's every bit as frightening as is Edward's plan. MANDATED health insurance. Gotta buy into it. Gotta use it. And guess what? Under Hillary's plan, she is not ruling out the possibility of FINING those who elect not to have health insurance. The state of Mass is going to begin doing that next month. You can be fined if asked to provide proof of health insurance and you fail to do so.

What the fuck? What country are we living in? Honest to god...

And democrats are applauding these plans? People are still continuing to support these nut cases?

There are of course a lot of conservatives saying this is what happens under Socialism. Well either I'm not a Socialist or I have a different definition of Socialism, because according to my belief system, the government should be using OUR TAX DOLLARS to help ensure each of us are able to afford housing, health care, energy, water, food. The basics. That's what a government OF and FOR the people does. Other than that, sorry--they don't get to say HOW or WHERE or even IF we choose to obtain such things. Help foot the bill then stay the hell out.

Hmm. I wonder if there's even a "label" to attach to that mindset? Maybe there isn't...

We're already MANDATED to provide automobile insurance, which is really ridiculous, and homeowners insurance, again, ridiculous. Now Uncle Sam is talking about MANDATING us to buy into health insurance.

There's gotta be another way. My mind is still processing all of this, still trying to figure out an answer. Or perhaps, answers.

What needs to be included in this discussion is the wage gap. We need to be discussing how wages have grossly failed to keep up with the cost of basic living expenses. NEED to be discussing this. You cannot have a discussion about the health care/health insurance crisis without addressing wages. And yet, these dimwit, clueless candidates think they can. Or at least think they can skirt the issue.

Well, this American knows better. And I am utterly disgusted, thoroughly disappointed and at this point, have no plans to cast a vote in the presidential election. These people aren't listening to the people. They're listening to the people around them day to day. And they're then feeding us a line of bull. I'm finished with writing my representatives, requesting, even demanding they listen to their employees. Sick of the excuses. The system is broken and I am DONE WITH IT.

So go on, progressive democrat. Rally around these people. Continue to live the illusion that the democrats are for the "little people". As I've been saying for a couple of years now, there really is no difference between the two party system. After the recent election, I would hope most of us would have understood this by now. The big clue was when Pelosi said "Impeachment is off the table."

And hear me when I say this: I will insure myself IF I can afford it and IF I choose to. Hear me on that one Uncle Sam? You can have my taxes but you CANNOT have my freedom of choice.


Couple of Jokes

I'm not one of those "bash the lawyer" types, but I did hear a couple of lawyer jokes I thought were pretty funny.

What do you call a lawyer who is up to his neck in sand?

Not enough sand.

What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?

A lawyer gets frequent flier miles.


The Camera Adds 10 Lbs, Right??

Got the vacation photos back this afternoon. Yikes! Shoulders and up, I'm pleased. Hips on down, yep, doing well. Hair--looked fantastic, long, wavy from all that ocean area humidity. However, that middle area........good lord.

I handed the photo to Mr. Nina.

"Do I really look like that??!!" I asked.

He's a good husband. He's well-trained. He knows NEVER EVER to imply in any way, shape or form that I could stand to lose a few pounds.

"No, of course not" he said.

Thank god...

Wait. Why would he say of COURSE not? Does that mean he also thinks I look fat in that certain area on my body?? If he thinks I look fat in the picture, maybe I am fat. Maybe he does think I am fat in real life! Oh god...

He came to my rescue by pulling out a picture of him, which was less than flattering around his mid-section as well. And I know for sure that Mr. Nina is a lot of things, but one thing he most definitely is not is fat--anywhere.

"There. Lookit that," he said, pointing at the picture. "THAT is fat! And I know I don't see that when I look in the mirror." And with that, he let it go. Of course he did. He's a guy.

However, 7 hours later, I'm still obsessing over my photo. At the time, I was posing, thinking how beautiful and sexy I looked. And I distinctly remember sucking in my stomach too, only in the photo it looks as though I am pushing O U T not I N.

It's the camera, I tell myself, trying to comfort myself. It adds 10 pounds. Remember, that's what they always say about people on tv! (If that is indeed true, there are a lot of ghastly skinny people in the entertainment industry.) It ain't you. Blame it on the camera! Yeah. There, I feel better now.

Of course, it could always be some conspiracy at the photo development place. Maybe they use photoshop, airbrush fat in. Hell, they're always taking it out, surely they can add it in.

Oh well, fall's here, winters around the corner. That means long t-shirts and sweaters. No more little tank tops. I can hide my fat until next year.

Of course I could always do stomach crunches. I dance now and then for exercise, but I've really never been a regular at doing anything consistently that I know is good for me. I could get one of those yoga balls and do those exercises that focus on the core of the body, those exercises that produce awesome results, but look like you have to be a gymnast to perform. Or at least limber. And under 30.

Nah. I'll just toss on a sweatshirt and tell myself the camera adds 10 pounds. The camera adds 10 pounds. The camera adds 10 pounds................................

Must See Documentary

If you can find it, you will want to see "Maxed Out". A very powerful documentary about the reality of our credit/debt problem here in the states. The personal stories are very moving and include the suicides of 3 people who felt that was the only way out of their debt. The excuses from the credit card companies were chalked full of lies. The enthusiasm of debt collectors was repulsive.

Some other little tidbits:

The Bankruptcy Law that passed in 2005 now makes it near impossible for middle income Americans to declare bankruptcy.

During the Senate Hearings on the Credit Card Industry in 2005 (I believe that was the year), the representatives from the Credit Card Companies were not required to speak.

Jerry Falwell's answer to debt? Tithe 10% to "God" (or in his case, his church and his pocketbook).

Suze Ormann, who I used to have great respect for, is always pushing the importance of the FICO score. Little did I know that she has a business partnership with the FICO people (Fair Isaac Corporation). The FICO folks, first and foremost, make their money by selling information about you and I. There's also not just one FICO score--there are dozens of them. Banks. Insurers. Your phone company. And the FICO scores don't consider your income--only your payment history. Hmmm. Considering Suze tells people not to cancel credit cards and to never ask for your limit to be lowered, makes you wonder just whose side she's really on.

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law Professor, spoke of the creation of a Two-Class Society. It's already under way and unless things change on many fronts, the middle class will continue to fall into the poverty class. She speaks at length about how two incomes today simply aren't cutting it as it once did, given the rise in housing, health care and other basic life expenses and how wages simply have not risen to the levels needed to keep up with said rising costs. (Yep--been talking about that on this blog since day one.)

Check out this article for some additional information, information as was covered in the film.

I'd have to say one of the stories that touched me the most came from a radio show caller on a talk show out of Tennessee. The Talk Show Host had gone through his own credit debt hell--he lost everything--had to declare bankruptcy. Now he counsels people on the phone, trying to help them avoid bankruptcy. One woman called in, said she and her husband were drowning in debt and were considering bankruptcy. In fact, she felt it was their only option. The talk show host started to explain to her there were other ways, perhaps, but she interrupted, in tears, saying "My husband is suicidal over this. He keeps saying unless this debt is removed, he cannot go on. He really wants to kill himself. He can't take the pressure anymore. Do you get that? He is suicidal!!" This very distressful, real, moving statement silenced the talk show host--he wiped his eyes, shook his head and had no answer.


Dreams, Psychic Visions and Prophecy

I don't write much about this on my blog, but psychic phenomenom is actually a huge part of my life, maybe more than just about anything else. I've had experiences going back to childhood, and yet for the most part, they've been dismissed, excused away, ignored, sadly sometimes by myself as well. Such experiences are something we can and do all have, if we only listen. However, women seem to have them more, or at least admit to having them. Societal thing most likely. Environment. Nurture. Women are much more encouraged to explore those feeling levels, the intuitive space, than men are. I've heard it say that this is the feminine energy at work. I happen to believe in this theory.

I've been corresponding for some time with a young woman on the eastern seaboard for a couple of years now. We found one another through a website, whereby we learned she, myself and another woman from Europe had each had the same dream (which I share below). Knowing the odds of that are next to zero, the young woman and I began corresponding, sharing our experiences, our dreams. What's become very bizarre to me (in a very cool way) is the fact that whenever I speak to someone about this young woman (which is very rare), she often ends up writing me within 1-2 days. Last night, Mr. Nina and I spoke of her, about our mutual dream. I then had a dream where I was looking for her. Upon waking up, I had the desire to speak with her, write her myself. However, I didn't have to. As I signed in to check my e-mail, there was an e-mail from her. She had had another dream. A plane crash. She woke up, heart racing, anxious. She soon found out about the plane crash in Bangkok, Thailand.

It's easy in our western world to dismiss such things as "coincidence". Exploring that intuitive side is something that is a bit uncomfortable, fearful even. When you venture into that part of the self, you open yourself up to a new level, and that can be scary, scary because you feel as though you don't have your normal sense of control over what you think, feel, experience.

Mr. Nina is also very psychic/intuitive in his own way. We realized last night that we have each had the impression of a Native American male spirit residing on our property--down to the exact location. I've felt it for a couple of years as has he, but neither of us had shared this.

See what wonderful things can happen when we share??? :)

The dream that we three women (that we know of) around the globe have shared is the following:

A China/Russian invasion off of the west coast, likely coming down from western Canada. The woman from Europe is incredibly detailed in the events leading up to this possible invasion--events she saw many many years ago, events that have been coming to fruition. She saw a military collaboration between China and Russia, tensions growing between the two countries and the United States. A fight for oil would be involved.

Frankly, given the current scenario, I am surprised that more people aren't talking about this threat. China's military (not to mention economic) power alone is immense--in short, they would kick our ass at this point. People are talking a lot about the possibility of an attack on Iran, however, my greatest concern is conflict (military) with China and Russia.

I hope to everything good that I am wrong. However, again, what are the odds of 3 women, women who have never met, having the same damn dream?


You decide.


Wanna Get Rich In America?

Well, you have three choices. You can inherit it (which happens 69.9% of the time); you can marry into it (which happens just a 4.2% of the time, so odds are not so good on that one) or you can do other things such as join the mob, become a druglord, become a corporate executive, make it in the entertainment and sports fields or win the lottery. (The other things category is listed as "crime", which isn't too far from the truth when you consider what is indeed done to make it in many of these "other" categories.)

I found this piece online after I saw the piechart on a blogging buddies blog. I wanted to find out if the chart was accurate. A google search brought me to this article that just happened to have the same pie chart. Anyway, this site gives a ton of information, articles and such on wealth and poverty in America. Those who are against sharing the wealth or who think anyone can become wealthy will receive a good dose of humbleness upon reading through this "wealth" of information.

My thought is, I wonder how many people who are swimming at the bottom are actually aware of it. I was unaware for about 5 years where we fell in terms of wage and how we lived. Of course at the time, our rent was considered "dirt cheap" (to us it was fair given the income we were making). However, all of that changed when we were forced to move and realized we would have to pay at least $300 or more per month for something similar. It was a shocking reality to have to swallow.

John Stossel Claims Capitalism Encourages Competition Which Is Better For You and I

One last point I left out of my post last night. JS claims the capitalist/free market system actually benefits folks like you and I. Uh huh. It sure indeedy does. Benefits us in that companies compete with one another and as a result, you and I get good bargains on goods and services. Uh huh.

If that is the case, why has health insurance premiums continued to skyrocket? Ours jumped up 20% this year alone. I heard the other night that overall, the cost of health insurance jumped 6% while wages, only 3%. (A distorted fact considering wages increased the most for the top 95 percentile, and even at that, cost of health care once again outpaced the cost of living/wage increase. Ah but remember, the free market benefits us all.) There are a lot of health insurance companies out there, but that hasn't resulted in their offering the people a "good bargain". Same for cable. Rates up 100% in the past several years.

Let's look at milk. Up over a dollar gallon in under a year. Lots of different brands to choose from. The cost? Skyrocketing. Gasoline? Same thing. Alcohol and tobacco? Up 20% this year. Food itself, up nearly 20% this year alone. But wait, there is that free market competition offering us those "bargains". How silly of me to forget that.

Oh sure, there are some bargains, if you want to call them that. Goods and services that have seen their costs decline due to market competition. Cell phone plans. Internet plans. And you can go to one of those dollar stores and pick up a toothbrush, a notepad or a bottle of generic tylenol for $1.00 (most of these products of course coming from China, so let's remember that when thinking about the term "bargain"--someone working 14 hour days for a pittance made it so you could have that dollar item).

One must take into consideration the entire pie. While the costs on some things may have come down, while there are some bargains to be had, by and large most of our basic living expenses have continued to far out-pace wage increases. And for those who continue to stick their head in the sand on this one while holding the FREE MARKET sign, I've got news for you. Don't be surprised if some day some desperate, worn out soul comes into your life and takes some of what you have. I can guarantee that if things do not change, "crimes" such as these will only continue to grow. And a little reminder to stick with you in that little sandpit you hide yourself in: Just remember we already have a Socialist Relationship between Corporate America and Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam, doing everything it can, to see to it that the wealth is equally distributed (AND kept there) amongst those at the top.


John Stossel: Sick In America. (Sick In News Reporting is a more accurate title.)

We just finished watching 20/20 with John Stossel: Sick In America. I really tried to go into this with an open-mind, although there was some scepticism since ABC is owned by Disney who is heavily invested in the Republican Party who is utterly and completely against doing away with any part of the for-profit health care insurance industry. And I also know by watching John Stossel's reports, they are typically heavily short-sighted.

Well, tonight Stossel didn't disappoint. He failed to discuss what to do about people who are uninsured, which the numbers are quickly reaching the 40 million mark. At the beginning, he interviewed a woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had just signed up with a new health insurance plan in the weeks prior to her diagnosis. However, upon hearing news of her cancer, the insurance company canceled her policy. Horrible. Criminal. Now she only goes to the doctor when absolutely necessary and prays no new cancer lumps or cells are found. Her distress was apparent--and I could not understand how JS could listen to her story with that deadpan, aloof look of his...he was in the same frigging room for christ sake and I was at home, watching it tape-delayed, crying for this poor woman. Ever hear of a little term called empathy, JS? How could he watch her eyes well up as she said she lives in this constant fear of knowing she has no insurance and is essentially uninsurable unless she can cough up $27,000 for an annual plan and god forbid what if the cancer were to return? Does this man have no heart? Oh well, I thought. He'll (hopefully) likely return to her story later in the program and offer up solutions to people in her situation.

Wrong. Not once did he address these issues. People not having health insurance. People being unable to afford it. People being canceled because they get sick with a serious illness.

He interviews Michael Moore--and yet the interview was pitiful at best. MM spoke for maybe 3 minutes tops, in bits and pieces while JS did most of the talking. Accusing, actually. And his last little jab at MM where he referenced MM going to Florida to a private facility to lose weight was uncalled for. And cowardly being he didn't give MM the chance to address it.

But what do you expect from people like JS? They suffer from emotional detachment. They see the world in black and white. They are rational thinking-only types, very individualistic. They are, in truth, inside, scared little people with a deep fear of showing vulnerability and weakness. And they have a gross inability to see suffering and struggle as a result. They're not evil. They're just really the victims of a capitalistic, money-driven, individualistic society. Nothing wrong with any of these things in moderation as long as they are balanced out by empathy, generosity, fairness.

JS showed the troubles that face the citizens of those countries whose government's foot the bill for health care. Certainly there are some real problems--problems we need to be discussing as we talk about a government run and/or government paid health care system. No system is perfect. And yet, overall, I did not see these countries as having problems that outweigh the current American Health Care System. Having to wait a month to see a doctor. Having to wait for an MRI or CT Scan. Problems not uncommon in some of these other nations. Well...Uh, last I checked, my spouse had to wait 3.5 weeks just to get in to see his PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN. As he is now being told, the doctor is now booked 4 weeks out. And when I began my search for a PCP, I was starting to grow very concerned when office after office told me "no new patients" were being accepted. And honest to god, which situation would you rather be in: having no insurance and no way to pay for it and having to wait to see a doctor OR living in a country where the government pays for it and having to wait to see a doctor?

Funny it was when JS seemed to be so pro-insurance industry, but then showed the story of a doctor who no longer takes insurance because of the hassles and restrictions, regulations and rules imposed by bean counters in said industry. This doctor is now offering fee based services where patients pay a fee (quite a bit smaller than what the insurance industry would charge) out of pocket for basic office services. Sounds good on the surface of course but what happens when these people become seriously ill and cannot afford the more expensive health care treatments because they have no insurance coverage? Again, he let that one slip right on out the door. And he also made a slip-up or else didn't notice it. He began this particular segment saying most people who visited this particular doctor have no health insurance, at least that was the slant, but then ended it saying these people, when they need other services, let their insurance pay for it.

Uh, so which is it? Do most of these folks have insurance or don't they, JS?

When JS asked MM why he didn't hit up the Insurance Industry people in his movie like he usually does in his films, MM said it was his wish that the people go after the industry instead as a result of watching the film. So, JS decided to do this on his his own, and as he claimed, he had "no problem" doing so. Yeah, he went to ONE insurance company and spoke with ONE person, a bean counter, who of course proclaimed the industry was doing a splendid job and yet in the same breath actually supported the right for insurance companies to deny coverage for people who have the dreaded pre-existing conditions or occasionally denying services. All in a deadpan, matter-of-fact statement. But then again, that's what happens when you don't see the people you're treating, don't get that emotional closeness that once felt, will have you rethinking how you do things. Anyway... And again, this is a pro-corporate america journalist who works for a pro-corporate america broadcasting station who is owned by a pro-corporate america Multi-national. Yep, no bias there! And JS had an obvious agenda--to say BOO to government-run health care and YES to the "free" market (which as I've said before and will say again, free does not mean fair.)

Failing miserably in his report, JS also failed to talk about the huge increases in health care premiums, the stagnating wages/how wages have failed to keep up with the cost of living, not to mention the millions of living wage jobs lost only to be replaced by low end service jobs at the big "mart" stores....hey, it is ALL inter-connected. And still, not once, did he address what to do about the uninsured. And the people like this first woman with cancer he interviewed, who had insurance but was canceled because of her illness.

And oh how JS loved to show all of these wealthy royals who have come here to the states to receive medical treatment. Again, promoting the American Health Care System. Sure JS. These royals can afford it. And the obvious glaring fact: They come here to use OUR system and yet there are people in our own country who cannot afford it. Doesn't that bother you in the least? Hello??! KNOCK KNOCK MC'FLY is your consciousness at home this evening??!!

One thing that also intrigued me. JS talked about how miserable government is at running things (unless you're talking about war, he said--yes he really said that). Government can't handle anything, can't take care of anything, he said. There's inefficiency all over the place. Uh, last I checked, Uncle Sam is doing a pretty damn good job of taking care of Corporate America. No reason they cannot take the same care of People America.

And my favorite, the piece that had me to the point where I felt as though I may puke out a lung, I had to calm myself, was when they showed the advances in medicine and how these advances have helped keep Dick Cheney alive.

:::cough cough, gasp, choke clutch my heart give me some water WTF did i just hear that right??:::

That's right. They showed a GOVERNMENT employee who has HIS INSURANCE PAID FOR BY YOU AND I as an example to SUPPORT the private insurance industry.

Uh huh. UNbelievable...

The obvious question, JS, out of your mouth, should be the following: The American people pay for Mr. Cheney's Health Insurance. Now shouldn't the government be returning the favor to the people?

Balance. The doctors run the show, the government foots the bill and offers a sliding scale fee based on income. For those who wish to keep their private insurers, then so be it. Let it be a CHOICE. But also let it become the RIGHT it need be, the RIGHT it should be. Until that time, may JS and those like him become a silent breeze in the night and may people like myself became THE VOICE that is heard by all, listened to by all, respected and embraced by all. Well, at least by the "little people"...

Blockbuster. Try Walletbuster.

Mr. Nina and I made the switch from Netflix to Blockbuster a few months ago. In short, I am not impressed. Our plan was for two-at-a-time rentals plus unlimited in-store exchanges in addition to one free in-store movie rental coupon per month. Sounded like a pretty good deal. However, I soon discovered Blockbuster's movie selection sucks. Our local Blockbuster store is even worse.

Netflix has so many more movies, more variety for certain. Blockbuster seems to focus more on current hollywood crap. We prefer more independent films, documentaries, etc.

Another problem is the waiting period. When a customer of Netflix, when a movie would be shown as having a "short wait", they meant it. Two weeks or so later, it became available. However, with Blockbuster, "short wait" so far has meant 7 weeks. And while Netflix would go to the trouble at times of giving an actual availability date, Blockbuster doesn't do this.

Also, I soon discovered that while a movie may show itself to be available in ones queue, this doesn't mean it is available at your local shipping facility. I have had a movie from the 1960's sitting at the #1 spot in my queue for 4 weeks and despite it saying it is available, it keeps getting passed over. When I called Blockbuster Customer Service about this, which by the way I was on hold for 20 fucking minutes and had to listen to the SAME SONG over and over again, I was given the above reason. I said it may behoove them to have some sort of a notation online letting the customer know this little tidbit. In short, I was told by the customer service representative that he would check into the problem and have the movie sent out from another facility.

Two shipped movies later, my 1960's flick still sits there, waiting.

Mr. Nina and I discussed returning to Netflix last night. We didn't reach a conclusion. However, after the e-mail I received today from Blockbuster, my mind is now made up.

Blockbuster, in all of their wallet-busting, greedy, capitalistic gluttony has decided to change our plan. While the price isn't going up, the amount of movies we receive is dropping. No longer will we have unlimited in-store exchanges. Nope. We will now only be receiving 3. However, if that doesn't suffice, they will ONLY charge us $1.99 per movie for each additional in-store exchange. Wow. How fucking generous of them.

And, gone is the monthly free rental coupon.


Doesn't seem like Blockbuster wants our business anymore. I'll be returning us to Netflix, thank you very much.


Kucinich Speaks The Truth, Gets Labeled A Moron, Nutjob, etc. etc

Read this article about Kucinich's latest attempt at finding the truth to 9/11, amongst other things. In a nutshell, he was the only member of Congress to vote against a resolution authorizing yesterday as a day of mourning for 9/11 victims. His reason? The lies and unanswered questions surrounding that day that the Congress still has yet to truly investigate until answers are found. While he offered his empathy towards those beautiful innocent people whose lives were lost, he made a powerful stand against all of his colleagues for essentially calling them on their political games they continue to play. This brave attempt, which would truly honor the victims of 9/11 more than anything Congress has presented thus far, gets him called all sorts of sophomoric labels, not to mention unbelievable comments made from people across america. To sum it up, the comment section verifies why the movement for truth and change is not as big as many of us think it should be/wish it would be. Read it and weep. Or at the very least, shake your head then do what I'm doing now: go back to bed, pull the covers over your head and pray for a better day tomorrow.

Worker "Apathy"

There's a local business owner expressing his/her thoughts on the corvallis craigslists rant and rave board. (Check it out and offer up your own thoughts.) On the one hand, this person is pretty progressive in their supporting of a single payer health care system and unions. However, out of the other side of their mouth is a very judgmental, harsh, critical analysis of today's "apathetic" worker. Gone is the work ethic, they observe. No wonder employers prefer to hire those from Mexico, he/she says.

Uh huh. How progressive is this person, really? That was my question. Below is what I posted in response to their words.

Like you, I support unions and a single payer health system.

I would like to say though that the reason for the decline in the work ethic is because people are no longer paid a wage that has kept up with the cost of living. In today's market, the minimum wage would need to be around $15/hour. In the 1960's, the minimum wage was 94% of what the living wage was. Today, it's hovering around 50%.

Workers feel enslaved today because their wages are so pitifully low and benefits are a luxury, which leaves many to fend for themselves for health care coverage. Do you have any clue how scary it feels to be unable to afford health care? To think that when you're sick, you hope it's just a cold and that it doesn't turn into an infection. To hope and pray you don't get some serious illness because god knows you won't be able to afford it. THINK before you speak please.

People who come here from Mexico think a minimum wage job is a luxury because IT IS--compared to where they come from. And frankly, employer's treat so many of these folks like cattle--paying them below the minimum wages, under the table (to avoid taxes), working them long hours, all to save a buck. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS HERE.

Please don't insult today's workers and their work ethic without taking into consideration the very realities of what has happened to wages and benefits.

Honest to god, if employers truly want a reliable, responsible employee, you have to be willing to pay a living wage and offer some benefits, and at the very least, FIGHT FOR THESE RIGHTS for your workers. Now I realize offering health care benefits has become out of reach for many of today's small business owners and our government needs to be as equally supportive of these folks as they are of their corporate minions.

Stop insulting the american worker online and instead get involved politically, as a business owner. Join in with other small business owners. Organize! Fight for the changes you claim you are for!

Until such changes take place, worker apathy will continue. Rather than gripe about such attitudes, have some compassion and understand the struggle. It is exhausting. Point the finger where it belongs--at the System, instead of at the worker.

Honest to god. What do these moronic employers expect from us? They expect us to show up, work hard and pay us $10...$11/hour (or less) while offering us no health care insurance and little, if any, vacation? When, 25 years ago or so, the SAME situation would be bringing us a LIVING WAGE AND FULL BENEFITS?! WHY IN THE HELL WOULD ANY SANE PERSON CONTINUE TO WORK UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS AND MAINTAIN THAT AMERICAN "WORK HARD" ETHIC??!!! We're not fucking cattle! We're not fucking computers! WE ARE PEOPLE WITH EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, DESIRES. AND LIMITS!!

Maybe we should call it for what it really is. Worker fatigue. It isn't a result of a poor work ethic. No, it is not. It is, indeed, a result of a System that no longer supports Joe and Jane American Worker.

So there you go employers, big and small. STOP POINTING THE FINGER AT YOUR WORKERS AND POINT IT AT THE SYSTEM. Quit your bitching and organize with other small business owners, organize with your workers, and FIGHT to change the system together. We'll ALL benefit this way.


More on the Junk Mail Crap

I posted my thoughts and idea to an e-mail discussion group I belong to. I was surprised at the responses I received in terms of how insulting they were. Being called "naive" for being unaware of the biz relationship between the post office and direct marketing companies. Being told "how on earth could I think" such a thing. And my favorite, being told to suck it up and do what the rest of the population does: throw it away.

Wow. Now there's a brilliant idea, one I hadn't thought of. I have been collecting my junk mail for the past 20 years. Half my house is filled with the stuff...


No wonder Big Biz, Secret Societies and Uncle Sam continue to control "how things are". People so apathetic and so uncomfortable when presented with the distress call of a fellow citizen (uncomfortable because they know it's fucked and they don't have the energy, the desire or will to do anything about it), they resort to pointing fingers at the one in distress rather than the fucktards creating the chaos to begin with.

So sorry to have bothered you. So sorry I annoyed you with my "naivete". Next time I wish to discuss something, I'll make sure it revolves around things such as making pies or changing the oil.

Fed Up With Junk Mail? Blame The Post Office!

I had an interesting phone conversation with someone from our State Attorney General's Office. I had called to inquire as to how I could be removed from a mailing list, BETUS.com (a dispicable organization obsessed with sports and gambling). I had called BETUS and asked to be removed. I was told they had no mailing list and if I didn't like the material, throw it away. No, I said, you don't understand. I want to be removed. Of course you have a mailing list. If you indeed have no mailing list, why is my spouse's name on it? Why have we been receiving this rag for 5 years now, even though we have moved three times in that 5 years?

Oh, well, that was part of a mass marketing campaign, Sleezeball Vinny told me (I swear, the guy sounded like some rude, arrogant idiot from the Bronx--sorry NY). Everyone received them.

Everyone?? I asked, incredously.

Everyone, said he.

Well if that's the case, I replied, why didn't I receive one? Why didn't my neighbor as well?

Look lady, he said, if you don't like them, toss them. We have no mailing list.

Fucking liar, I said.

He hung up.

So, this prompted me to call our State Attorney General's Office, where I was told there was indeed nothing I could do.

However......the clerk whispered something to me and said "you did not hear this from me". So ok readers, ssshhh, I did not hear this from a clerk with our State Attorney General's Office, capiche? What I did hear, through the grapevine, is that our own US Post Office receives MONEY from many of these sleezeball companies to deliver their crap.

Which got me to thinking.

You fed up with junk mail?

So am I.

So I have an idea.

Keep all of your junk mail (that you have not requested) for a month, then bring it down to the Post Office. Bring back TO THEM what they bring to us, even though we don't want it. And let them know we KNOW about the little arrangement they have worked out with some of these sleeze ball companies. Tell them we know about their little financial agreement.

Then tell them that while you may continue on with this plan, I will continue to REdeliver this unwanted material back to you.

At the very least, a lot of trees will be breathing a sigh of relief.


Mr. Nina said from the kitchen this morning, "it's the anniversary of 9/11".

"Yeah, I know..." I said, rather annoyingly.

The terms "anniversary" and "9/11" don't fit in my mind and heart. At all. I didn't want to hear about any of it today.

When he left for work, I told him I didn't want to talk about that day when he returned home either. He deals with the public and I knew he'd have stories to share from some of his customers. Stories I don't want to hear, either because I already agree with them or because I want to smack the people awake with whom I don't agree.

Maybe we should call this thing for what it really is. We have "D" day. Let's make this another "D" day. Death. The day of death for so many beautiful innocent people, our constitution, our safety. The day many woke up from their slumber and saw the realities of leaders around the globe. The day we began to realize we've been enslaved for decades and those doing the enslaving want it that way, don't give a shit about you or me, and plan on keeping on with the process. The day we began to realize the corruption of our "democracy", and the fact that there really is little difference between the letters R and D that follow the names of our elected officials.

Lost for me are the visions and memories of people coming together around the world. Lost because within weeks, within months, that coming together would collapse. Collapse because of the policies of governments, collapse because of the strong, ego-driven sense of patriotism and individualism and pride that permeates western culture to its very core.

I read a beautiful essay yesterday on Marianne Williamson's website, as linked through my friend/blogging buddy's site. Her words resonated with how I feel, deep in my heart, when I am not feeling tired and weary. She carries a strong message of hope and yet, she still believes to make a change, we must call our elected officials. Doesn't she know millions of us already have done/do this? Doesn't she know we have been ignored and essentially been told our will and wishes don't run the system anymore? Doesn't she know the corruption runs at depths so deep, agenda's based solely on control, and maybe even for some who have truly lost their way, their soul, to follow the will of their constituents would be akin to a death sentence, at the very least, any sort of political power and clout... Just look at Kucinich. He's a laughing stock in DC.

Hope. A strange word to me today. What good is hope when things are crumbling around us? What good is hope when you're worn out from the phone calls and the letters, demanding the will of the people return to politics? What good is hope when we have unseen people at the control panel? Sure, their numbers are small and ours are big, but honestly, how many people do you know, including yourself, who would be willing to simply say "ENOUGH" one day and refuse to participate in society in ANY way that reflected the (current) ways of slavery? That means refusal to work or shop for any corporation/business that is in bed with the government, that participates in the abuse of human rights around the globe, that doesn't pay a living wage and provide vacation, retirement and health care benefits. That means a refusal to pay outlandish interest rates on credit cards, mortagages. That means refusing to pay another fucking dime to the health insurance criminals. It means a refusal to pay another dime for energy when we can be getting it for free, or at the very least, much cheaper. It means a refusal to carry around that cell phone or be connected to the internet around the clock.

ALL of these little things we do are making others rich. Very rich. And yet are you seeing any of that wealth?

Hope. I'm sorry but I just can't find any of that in my heart at the moment.



While Uncle Sam continues to spend billions of dollars on its wars, Corporations who benefit from war see an equal amount of profit. In short, the people get screwed while Corporate America gets even wealthier.

I have an idea to change this. It would force Corporations to look at war first and foremost as a necessity to truly protect ones country (and take a very close look at whether the "war" on the table is even necessary) instead of what it is today: A Money Making Opportunity. For every dollar of profit these companies make as a result of war, they must put that money to good use. It can be divided up between giving to those nations whom we have bombed to hell and back to help repair their infrastructure (and for goodness sake, HIRE THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY to help do the rebuilding and PAY THEM A LIVING WAGE). These dollars can be given to Social Service programs here in the States that have continued to see cuts due to their wars. It can be given to the service personnel who return home, in need of services for their physical and emotional/mental wounds. It can be given to the widows at home and in those nations with whom we are waging war.

I know this smacks in the face of a Free Market. And yet as anyone with a thinking brain and an equally open heart and mind knows, free does not equal fair. It is time to inject that fairness back into the market (or should I say, inject it back into our consciousness and thus, our actions). I don't know about you, but I am finished with listening to our leaders talk about god. I am finished with seeing cars with bumper stickers that have the jesus symbol AND bush stickers/pro-war stickers. I am finished with listening to the usual banter from people so stuck in their ways, so completely and utterly unwilling to take a step forward in consciousness and awareness. (And FYI, I have had a complete change in my thinking in many ways over the past 10 plus years so if yours truly, stubborn and resistant as hell sometimes can do it, SO CAN YOU. As I tell myself, I am a work in progress.) Mostly, I am Finished with people unwilling to be open to new ideas.

Again, anyone with a thinking brain must know how we conduct "business as usual", both here in the states and around the globe IS NOT WORKING FOR THE MAJORITY. But I also know if it works for someone, they don't want anything to change. To that I say the following: This planet belongs to us ALL. The resources belong to us ALL. The wealth that is generated belongs to us ALL. All of the wonderful luxuries, the beauty, the joys, the pleasures of being alive belong to us ALL. Equally. I know we are addicted to telling ourselves "well I am worthy and they are not". You think your god is saying that? Not a loving thought, is it?

Maybe what is needed is a mandatory return to kindergarten.


California State Senate Says "No" To Employer-Forced RFID

Another no-brainer to me, to go into the "duh what took you so damn long" file.

And wow. Remind me to put on my "do not apply to" list "CityWatcher.com" who has required employees to be chipped.

So You Think You Want John Edwards In '08?

Think again, Edwards supporters (of which I am not one, btw). Edwards, like the rest of the candidates, have been spelling out (most misspelling) their ideas to fix the health care/health insurance nightmare in this country. Edwards idea? State mandated health care coverage for every woman, man and child.

Your progressive, bleeding heart is applauding this concept, right? Of course it is. Mine stood up and cheered at first. Until I read the following (I added the bold for emphasis):

TIPTON, Iowa (AP) -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK."

He noted, for example, that women would be required to have regular mammograms in an effort to find and treat "the first trace of problem."

This should trigger a knee-jerk reaction in every American who values FREEDOM OF CHOICE when it comes to our health care practices. A reaction that will turn away every Edwards supporter.

This lack of balance is absurd. There is no reason not to have a State Plan that pays for coverage for all and is paid for by the State, giving people the freedom to sign up with said plan or stay with their existing private insurer, giving the people the freedom of choice, leaving the true health care decision-making where it belongs: between the patient and health care practitioner, all while Uncle Sam pays the bill (just like they expect YOU AND I to do for THEIR health care coverage). Having been on such a State Plan once myself, where services were covered, no co-pays or premiums and certainly no policy stipulating what I HAD to do or that I HAD to use their services, it can indeed work. If of course a balanced approach is taken, something that seems utterly lacking in today's Big Brother/Big Corporate America.

Speaking of All That Is Intelligent (Or Not)...

Let's reinvent the "Find Waldo" board game and call it "Find Bush". He seems to need help these days in figuring out where he is and where he's going. Of course, that's what happens when Cheney isn't around to advise him and he instead has to resort to the "woof" factor...

Is We Comin' Or Is We Goin'?

I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the release of a (supposed) new tape from Osama (or Usama as is spelled on the FBI website). I don't know about you, but he sure looks younger in this picture. Gone are the white and gray streaks in his beard. I didn't think Islam would allow the coloring of ones hair.

That being said, I found this little jewel at mr. lipstick's blog, a report from Fox news no less saying Osama died in December 2001. We all know Bush has stated publically that he doesn't know where Osama is and doesn't care, and we all know that the interest by our government in Osama heated up on September 11, 2001 then died down quickly (so that the focus could shift to Saddam), and we all know the FBI's own website doesn't link Osama with 9/11...which should make us all question why in the name of all that is intelligent would the Administration keep showing us these tapes?

Which brings me back to my original question: Is we comin' or is we goin'???


Ups and Downs...

First the good news:

The owners of the production company I've been raving about, What If Productions, have returned from L.A. They have found an Executive Producer for their tv pilot, Ghostalkers! I was told they will want some more tracks from me, if not for the pilot then for the future, assuming the pilot will impress. Things went to the next level for these guys and I am estatic not only for them but for what this could...would mean for me. Imagine it...some day I may see my name in the credits of a Television Series. Wow!! I had a friend put a bug in my ear several years ago when she first heard my music. I will never forget her words: "You need to write for the tv and movie industry." I hadn't considered that possibility until that moment. I'm so thankful she put that little bug in my mind and heart.

Now for the "ugh" news:

While not a shocker to me in any way shape or form, it is still discouraging to read this piece, straight from the Economic Policy Institute. Some are getting richer, alright. As usual, it's those at the top:

...many workers' wages have been stagnant for a number of years, after adjusting for inflation, particularly those at the middle and lower end of the pay scale. For example, while productivity is up nearly 20% since 2000, the real median hourly wage is up 3% overall and 1% for men, with none of this growth occurring over the three-and-a-half years since 2003. At the top of the wage scale—at the 95th percentile—real wages are up 9%.

So, we can conclude people in the lower and medium wage brackets are working harder with nothing to show for it, in terms of wage growth. See below for confirmation:

• Wage growth has been unequal. Wage growth in the 2000s followed a highly unequal pattern, and higher-wage workers gained the most ground.

And if that isn't discouraging enough, workers' power continues to erode. Many of us know what happens in today's workforce. Considering that unions continue to disappear, employers can fire or threaten termination simply for discussing the possibility of forming a union with other employees. And given the disgustingly low wages being offered across the board, not to mention the whole process of looking for work, who wants to take the chance of being fired?

• Despite low unemployment, workers' bargaining power has diminished. Though the unemployment rate has been low in historical terms, it does not capture the erosion of employment relative to the population caused by weak growth in (or withdrawal from) the labor force over the past few years. The bottom line is that many workers still lack the bargaining power to claim their fair share of the productivity growth they themselves are helping to create. This is partly due to weak job creation over the course of this recovery.

We all know Bush loves to talk about how strong the economy is, and all of these jobs his policies have helped create. Uh huh. I wonder what he would have to say about this:

Another factor holding down wage pressures is the fact that job growth itself has been notoriously weak in this recovery. The nation's payrolls grew 5.5% in this recovery, compared with 11.3% over the same period in the last recovery, and 17.1% for all recoveries that have lasted at least this long.7 ...the average job creation rate for 2006—6.7%—is the lowest annual rate on record going back to 1990.

Oh wait. That's right. When Bush and his Policy Wankers talks about the American Economy, he isn't talking about the economy you and I live in. How could I be so silly not to know that?

Economic elites talk up the economy, with bullish references to GDP, productivity, and job growth. But just whose economy are they talking about?

If you're wealthy, things are great. However... If you're one of those workers who actually sell those products your big Retail Employer supplies... if you're one of those office workers who work for some Big Executive... if you're one of those customer service reps answering the endless questions from clients that your Big Insurance Company insures... if you're one of the millions (and growing) of temporary workers who have absolutely no job security... if you're one of the laborers whose energy and sweat go into making those little things called an "infrastructure", those things we take for granted: office buildings, roads, sewer systems, houses, stores... if you're one of those people who clean up after all of us in the wee hours of the morning... if you're one of these people, things aren't so great. As I've been saying on this blog, screaming it at you, for what likely seems like a very long time, I finally have some proof that says: NINA IS RIGHT.

I have no problem with people creating wealth for themselves. Money is not the issue and neither is wealth. It is how this wealth is distributed that I take issue. My problem is when this wealth is being created at the expense of those doing an equal amount (or often, more) work, when this wealth is not shared in a much more equitable, fair manner. This is called SLAVERY. That's right. S L A V E R Y. I am going to pay you to work for me. You are going to do most of the work, but I am going to reap most of the financial rewards. I can fire you for any reason. Why should I care about your personal life or whether what I am paying you doesn't provide you a living wage? In fact, why should I give a real heart-felt shit afterall? Why? Because I don't have to. In part because of something called "At Will Employment". And also in part because of a little thing called DEREGULATION. That means Businesses are mature enough, conscientious enough, responsible enough to follow the American Value System, which includes: Sharing. Respect. Compassion. Equality. Fairness. Justice. Truth. But hey, most of us flunked kindergarten. Many of us are pompous, arrogant, uncaring sob's who won't blink an eye when we see how often we use people and their skills, their labor, just so we can stuff that extra million into our overseas bank account.

This report points out some very cruel realities, but doesn't go far enough in calling this sytem what it is: S L A V E R Y. The people are waking up though. Through their cloud of fatigue that clouds their minds, through their myriad of stress-related illnesses, through their rising debt, through that 40 hour plus work week they have to put in just to make ends meet, through their moments of panic when they awaken in the still of the night with their minds racing with thoughts such as "how will we pay for food this week?" or "we have no insurance and I really need to see a doctor" or "the rent/mortgage is due tomorrow and I am short"... People are waking up to the truth that this way of living is bullshit. That this way of living is wrong. That this way of existance goes contrary to what we are told from day one is good and true about this country. That we are being used. And most of all, that THINGS DO NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

Our voices are growing in numbers, gathering in strength. Unite, we must, even if this means uniting with your co-workers. Start small. The smallest of pebble, when tossed into the pond in the right way, at the right time, can have the same or even bigger lasting effect as the largest rock in the pile.


Forgot One.......

I belong to an e-mail free-for-all discussion group. I usually delete most of the stuff, but recently got in on the conversation about phone service, in particular, Vonage. I'm always on the lookout for the best bargain. For $24.99 you receive unlimited local and long distance calls (including some free calls to parts of Europe). All of the features you normally pay for with other bigger companies, like call waiting and voice mail, are included in the price.

Wow! Sign us up, I thought.

Well, I checked out their website and found out in order to use their service, you need high speed internet connection, which we don't have. You see, they don't use phone lines to plug you in. They give you some sort of an interceptor adaptor thingie (high tech lingo warning). So my question to the discussion group was "ok, so say if the internet connection goes down, I assume this means no phone service, correct?"


However, they have a call forwarding service if that happens. The call will then get forwarded to your cell phone.

We don't own a cell phone, so forget Vonage. As a joke though, I asked "what do you do if you don't own a cell phone?"

No response of course. I'm sure the people are still recovering from hearing there really are people who don't own a cell phone. We're a small group. We meet every month, at a secret location, to talk about how we're going to return to the days of real land line phones. The kind that plug in the walls. And, shhh, no one is to know this, but, a return to the ROTARY DIAL.



Late Night Ramblings

My profile says "photo not available". That's not entirely accurate. I have photos of myself I could share, I just choose not to. It reminds me of an old friend who told her doctor "couldn't you write that I prefer not to" when she saw her doctor write "refuses to get on the scale."

Earlier, I witnessed how utterly inept our local journalists are. An infant, riding in a stroller, was recently hit by a police car. A horrific thing to even think about for any amount of time. Thank god, he's still alive. One station reported there were no indications the officer was traveling at excessive speed, according to witnesses. They also said the names of the child and his mother (who was pushing the stroller) had not yet been released. Well, a couple of clicks of the remote showed two other stations interviewing a witness who said the officer was traveling very fast. And guess what else? We were told the names of the mother and the baby.

This particular station is said to receive journalistic awards every year... Uh huh.

You know, I re-read that sentence and couldn't help but feel this huge urge to giggle.

In other news, I read a report on happiness. A certified life coach gave his synopsis on what truly makes us happy. He starts off saying it isn't money, but then he quickly goes on to say those with the most money DO report higher levels of personal happiness and satisfaction with their lives.

Huh? Then this "coach" goes on to say WHY this is so. His analysis was brilliant. I can see why he wears the "life coach" title. You see, those who live in suburbia in those ticky tacky little boxes that look all the same with the heads of household all dressed the same every morning in their neckties threatening to cut off bloodflow to their brains looking so pretty as they head off to work in their cardboard cut-outs of SUVs and Prius' (anyone know the name of the cable tv show that inspired this line??) and the like are SURROUNDED by financial prosperity and thus, are reminded of their success throughout the day. And guess what this brilliant coach had in terms of advice for those who live in the lower income brackets? Live in poverty-stricken neighborhoods surrounded by people who are at, or preferably, below your standard of living. You see, that way, you won't feel so "bad" about your situation. You are also to stay away from buying a home in an exclusive, wealthier neighborhood because that will make you feel "worse" about your own situation. (And pppllllease tell me I am not the only one who is thinking the following: Ok, how is it possible for someone in poverty to buy a home in a more exclusive neighborhood?) And guess what? If none of these things work, you can always compare yourself to say, your "deadbeat" brother.

Yep. I'm not making this up. If you're poor, stay away from the wealthier, more successful neighborhoods and people and instead, surround yourself by people who are just a little below your personal financial situation. And remember, MONEY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HAPPINESS. So says he. And if all else fails, hey, remember your loser of a brother to help cheer you up and remind you that hey, life ain't so bad afterall.

I wonder how much this guy charges for his services...

I don't know about this guy, but when I see others who, according to my perception, are suffering or struggling more than I am--this doesn't make me feel better about myself or my life. The main emotion I feel is empathy and concern. And a sense of injustice. And sadness.

But that's just me. I actually give a crap, where it counts, about the human condition and the welfare of others.

The next time someone says "oh, it isn't my money that makes me happy" (and usually those with the most money spout that crap), I will simply say "trade lives with me for a few months and we'll see how you feel at the end of that time."

Now of course, I believe happiness is a package of many things. The most important being love of oneself (and all that this entails), then closely following, intimate, close bonds with others. A sense of purpose along with passion. Having people who believe in you. Help from others to help you fulfill your purpose/goals/dreams. Rewarding work. And to add some delicious icing to that cake, income/money to ensure a comfortable lifestyle.

There ya go. No need to compare yourself to others. No need to dismiss money as one of the ingredients. Just some god damn reality being thrown your way. I'm not a life coach. I'm just one person on this huge planet who prefers to tell it like it is.

To end on a rather odd note, I had a wild experience today, a first of sorts. Now I have all sorts of "intuitive" experiences, "psychic" experiences, "other wordly" experiences. Fill in the blanks. For example, the day before 9/11, I suddenly had this strong impression/knowing something awful was going to happen the next day and there was nothing I could do about it. It had all been planned out. When the Challenger crashed, I was having a dream about something that had crashed in this open field and people were running around, frantic while others were in a daze. Laci Peterson--I dreamt how she died and where her body was (which all later proved to be completely accurate). I often know who is on the other end of the phone when it's ringing. The latest experience.... when someone in our life (who had not been talking with us) was recently arrested, I woke up that morning knowing this was the day something big was gonna go down for them.

Anyway, this wild thing that happened to me today.......... I was in the bathroom late this morning, trying to wake up. I stood in there, in a daze, my mind blank, looking at the clock, watching the second hand tick tick tick away. Suddenly, my "mind" went elsewhere--and the second hand stopped. Or perhaps the more accurate way to describe it is that I went someplace where the need for a moving second hand was not a reality. Once I became aware of this, who knows how long, a few moments likely, the second hand started to move again. Wherever I went, to the dimension without time or wherever it was, well it was a really nice feeling. A brief moment where everything just is. Where time doesn't exist. A concept that my brain cannot wrap itself around, at all, but in that moment, I questioned nothing, even as I saw the second hand freeze.

I wish I could bring a little bit of that feeling into the world at large, and actually, into my own little life as well.