Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Sometime ago we received a Gift card for Blockbuster. Like many people we were pleased to get it but stuck in a packet of coupons. When we finally went to redeem the card we were "penalized" for not using it promptly.

This penalty is NOT unique it seems. Many companies, including Kmart, Macy's, Red Lobster, etc. have similar FINE PRINT on the back of the card. And while the terms and penalties vary the end result is the same - you can't redeem it for what the card sold for. Even some of the VISA Gift cards same similar conditions.

I strongly suggest you find another method to reward others.


Monday, January 30, 2006


or amusement ?


I am not picking on Christianity - every religion has similar critics. Still, it is amazing the diversity of beliefs and critics in our religious experiences. And according to the site's author "We're here for people who prefer disorganized religion to the organized kind," says ship-of-fools.com editor Simon Jenkins. "From a position of commitment, we try to look objectively at religious trends in an accessible rather than cynical way. We commend as well as debunk. But we are not a campaign, we're a conversation."


Saturday, January 28, 2006

TAX TIP: (US) Feb. 1, 2006 dateline

IF you have any need of obtaining a "PRIVATE LETTER RULING" you had better run to your tax advisor and get your petition before Feb. 1, 2006. The IRS will raise the rates from the current $95 fee "TO MORE REALISTICALLY REFLECT THE COST OF SUCH TRANSACTIONS" - That translates into a MINIMUM of $3,000 plus the costs of attorneys and tax advisors. If you have never heard of a private-letter ruling before, make sure you won't need one in the future. If you are moving retirement monies around, or taking distributions, make sure you know the rules. If you don't know them enough to feel comfortable, bring in a financial or tax adviser who can make sure you steer clear of trouble; paying their fees will be cheaper than trying to fix things later.

This is just one more reason it is important to have a professional TAX ADVISOR.


Guidelines suggest you save enough for retirement, including Social Security and a pension, to replace 60% to 80% of your income. (Based on my personal experiences - this seems realistic.) Whether or not existing income from COLAs, dividends, and CD rates keep up with inflation still remains a long term guess. Personal health, health insurance and spouse life expectancy are also future variables. And for whatever it is worth - health care prems have outpaced the inflation rate by 200-300% in the past 3 years. Only time will tell......

THINK before you EMAIL.... (and especially from work)

Got a little time on your hands than take a look at:

This company has developed a powerful software engine which allows “companies” (or governments) to search through your e-mail. The FREE on-line example is for YOU to search through the hundreds of thousands of email between 176 Enron Executive and employees in 2000-2002.

If you ever needed a reason not to send personal e-mails from work this is it.

While the content of these messages are not new. The FEG Commission released the to the public in 2003. But InBoxer Inc. new EnronEmail provides the tools to flag any email better than a keyword search.

While most companies do allow their employees the privilege of personal e-mail at work a full 26% of firms have fired employeeds for e-mail abuse.

Some other considerations to keep in mind:

It is NOT unlikely that someone in your firm scans e-mails or will be given directives to do so by "higher ups."

Your messages could later be called into public records if a lawsuit related to you is ever leveled. And if you think it can’t happen to you - one in five U.S. firms said courts or regulators had subpoenaed their e-mail records, and another 13% went to court to battle lawsuits triggered by employee e-mails, according to a 2004 survey by the ePolicy Institute and the American Management Association. (marketwatch.com)

The fact is once your e-mail is SENT you have no control over where it will end up. What gets place on a server is often "archived" or backed up in a number of locations.

The federal government has defended the right of the employeer to monitor all e-mail transmissions and ALL INTERNET ACTIVITY.

Think TWICE...Think ENRON


Friday, January 27, 2006


As I prepared to make an on-line purchase I noted there was a field for a DISCOUNT CODE. I immediately did a search at Google for the company name and "discount code" - which returned codes for 5-10%. I entered the 10% code and it worked, saving me about $9 for a 10 minute search.


Thursday, January 26, 2006


As much as people state that they have all the facts when making crucial decisions I would venture this is not the case in the majority of cases.

Today Oprah denounced James Frey for the factual holes in his memoir, "A Million Little Pieces."

Without recounting the entire incident lets just say that Frey’s book was an elaborate embellishment of partial truths with the self assessed stamp of a sincere biography. And while Oprah declared in Frey’s presence that she felt “duped” by promoting the book I find it difficult to believe that from his publisher to Oprah staff there was not more “due diligence” in researching the TRUTH.

As one commentator remarked on the show - ‘A thirty thousand dollar researcher could have dug deeper into the book and would have prevented this misrepresentation.’ But no one did.

Gathering the FACTS is a time-consuming and necessary step toward any project. Ignoring this fact only invites disaster.


According to Money Magazine:

Airline Tickets: WEDNESDAY. “That's when airlines release their available seats for the upcoming weekend and the weekend after. Likewise it's still best to book a domestic flight at least two weeks in advance, and even further ahead for international travel. But if the two-week window isn't an option for you, she advised delaying the purchase even more, to a few days before you fly, as fares from 14 to 7 days ahead of departure tend to be the most expensive.”

Televisions: While the blowout sales on electronics tend to cluster around the holidays, even cheaper deals on TVs can be found in the spring beginning in April.
That's because for most Japanese companies the fiscal year ends in March.

Houses: Reduced demand and lackluster appearance can lead to a better deal in winter.Most homes go on the market in the spring, with sales closing in the summer.
The average home price during these months is higher as well.

Cars: It's still true that good deals can be found in late summer/early fall, when carmakers release new models and dealers want to get rid of last year's leftovers.
But a good price may also be wrangled at the end of every month. That's because dealers are under pressure to book sales. If they exceed monthly sales targets set by the manufacturer, they are rewarded by getting more of the hotter, better selling vehicles the next month. "There's a benefit to [dealers] making their quotas.”

“It is also recommended shopping when the dealerships aren't crowded, like early mornings, midweek or the winter, to avoid "getting short shrifted" from the sales staff.


This is the common phrase used in the business community to describe the importance of establishing your business location for optimum returns. Perhaps that was true 20 years ago but now having a high-speed DSL line and web site is more important.

Location also takes on another consideration when you choose your house. The more time you are on the "road" is less time from the quality of your life AND the greater mileage expenses. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin discovered that workers in that state spend over 386 hours a year just traveling to work and home (that amounts about 10 weeks a year in wasted time.)

If the current US mileage rate of .48 cents a mile is realistic (cost of auto, insurance, tires, maintenance, gas, oil, etc.) than a 40 mile trip to and from work is $19.20. If you lived 5 miles from work (10 miles) than the cost is only $4.80. Repeat this travel over 20+ years (without inflation) and you are talking about some serious money - 325 day per year X $19 = $6175 per year X 20 years = $123,500 vs 325 days per year x $4.80 = $1560 x 20 years = $31,200 or a difference of $92,300. Granted, inflation is not included in this casual calculation but it does show the importance of selecting a home near your place of employment. IF you had two people working in the family the numbers become even more significant. The interest on a home is deductable but travel costs are not.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


"Focus on the everyday problems that nag at everyday people. There are more than enough to go around without imagining new ones." Blake Ross - co-author of FireFox

Lesson: This applies to every business and social groups.


I was reflecting the other day on childhood memories and Mom's Banana Cake came to mind. My mother always made this cake for me (every birthday) until I left home. Mom died after college and I never had another cake.

While rooting through some old cookbooks the other day I found her hand written recipes. So for anyone else who have childhood memories let me leave you mine :)

Big Banana Cake
Cream the following ingredients together:
2 & 1/4 cups of sugar
1 & 1/2 cups of butter (don’t melt)
3 eggs
6 tablespoons of sour milk
1 & 1/2 teaspoons soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoon vanalla
1 & 1/2 cups bananas
mix together and add
1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 & 1/2 cups of flour
Finally fold in:
1 & 1/2 cups of nuts

Regular Banana Cake
Cream the following ingredients together:
1 & 1/2 cups of sugar
3/2 cups of butter (don’t melt)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons of sour milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanalla
1 cup bananas
mix together and add
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of flour
Finally fold in:
1 cup of nuts


The Rule of 72. To compute how long it takes to double your money divide the interest rate into 72. The result is the number of years to double. (For example, 3% into 72 yields 24 years; 6% yields 12 years; 9% yields 8 years.

An important financial rule to remember


Steven Jobs owns 50.4% of Pixar Corp. which sold yesterday for 7.4 BILLION dollars. Not bad for a days work and a man coming from a troubled home.

Recently Jobs was the Principal speaker at the 2005 Stanford graduation. He said that early experience helped focus his priorities.

"Sometimes, life hits you in the head with a brick," he told Stanford University graduates last June in a widely circulated commencement speech. "I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love."

Lesson Learned: Doing what you love has its rewards..... (For Steve there are billions...:)


My nephew was allowed to quit school three years ago because "He was smarter than the teachers" and was going to school after all only for a "piece of paper." His quitting school reminded me of an event that occurred during my student teaching days (some 40 years ago.)

One of the students in my first class was suffering from a broken home and no income. He told me that he had to quit school and get a job. I told him that it was really important to stay in school for the "long haul" but he said he could not wait any longer.

I talked with school counselor and asked if he could help get the young man a job. The counselor went out of his way to find and arrange an interview with a CONTRACTOR who needed a "NONSKILLED" employee.

When the student went to the Contractors site he looked over the young man and said "I need to give you a test." He walked him over to a pile of dirt and a shovel and said "Dig me 5 holes 12" deep and 12" across." After which he walked back to his office.

The student worked at the task and upon completion reported to the Contractor. The Contractor walked over to the site and carefully measured each hole.

The student asked him "WHY?" he performed this task. The Contractor told him: "From my experience I have found that people who don't complete hard tasks (high school) don't generally care out the hard tasks I give them as well." "I gave you the test to give you the benefit of the doubt."

While my student passed the test he decided to go back to school and work for his "piece of paper."

I don't know if that was a LIFE LESSON for him - but it certainly was for me. And when he told me the story I cried.....


An acquaintance of ours died the other day. She was only 60 years old and had retired 5 years ago because of a combination of obesity and self-inflicted health related issues. Sadly it was these same issues that accelerated her early death.

She sat at home and never went out except in rare circumstances. She hastened her own end simply because of a poor self image and an unwillingness to do anything.

There was no one at side when she died. Her sister came from out of town and was forced to have her home condemned because of the mountain of trash.

Lesson Learned: You can wear out or rust out - I prefer the wear out. How about you?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006



"Car costs

Just before each tax year begins, the IRS determines how much drivers can write off for their various road trips in the coming 12 months. Unexpectedly high gasoline prices in 2005 prompted the agency to adjust those figures upward for the last four months of the year.

This was a welcome recalculation, but it also means you'll probably have to figure your mileage deductions twice.

If you used your car for business between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 last year, you can write it off at the rate of 40.5 cents per mile on your 2005 return. Travel for medical purposes during that time frame is deductible at 15 cents per mile, as is move-related mileage.

On Sept. 1, the IRS increased the rates to 48.5 cents per mile for business travel and 22 cents per mile for medical and moving miles.

The mileage deduction for travel related to charitable services is not adjusted for inflation. It is set by law at 14 cents a mile. However, Congress decided to modify that figure for driving done in connection with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. This deductible rate is 29 cents a mile for travel between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, and 34 cents for qualified trips taken between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.
Remember: This increased charitable mileage rate is only for Katrina-specific volunteer services. Travel for all other charities at any time last year is worth only the standard 14 cents a mile on your return."


I am always amazed that some people (those who need to itemize) will do their own taxes. Clearly there are SPECIALISTS in life that can save your financial resources and this is one of them.

One year, when in my 20's, I did my own taxes and was not pleased with the results. I decided on a SECOND OPINION with a certified tax consultant and was able to save enough money to pay the consultant for the next 12 years. Since that time I consider this an absolute necessity.

What is important is to keep ALL your financial records and planning calendars. Good record keeping is also a necessity.


Sunday, January 22, 2006


My neighbor commented that "SOMEDAY" they needed to deal with their driveway problem. "Someday is not a day in the week." (C.SHEETS) -


Advice (given) and (taken) is a particularly peculiar human variable.

Today I went swimming at the local high school pool. I watched two girls from the swim team in practice doing lap races. The younger of the two consistently lost the races for multiple reasons but one reason really stood out - she raised her hand out of the water much higher (and longer) than her opponent.

I watched and asked myself if I should offer some advice. I knew from my years of youthful experience on a swim team (45 years ago) that trying to find that "edge" was difficult and elusive. So I asked if she "MINDED" if I shared some advice.

I don't know if she was just being polite to al OLD MAN or whether my observations really mattered but she was smiled and took it all in and said "thank you."

You can always throw advice away but you cannot always get it. Your attitude and reception to ANY advice will determine whether you receive it again from that person. Once "burned" you probably will get nothing in the future.


Peace and harmony restored - to mutual benefit. (See Prior post.)


Saturday, January 21, 2006


Today I was angry with someone. I was more disappointed in how I dealt with the issue than the person who raised it. Tomorrow I am going to ask an apology from this person - not because I feel I was intellectually wrong but because I did nothing to make the person respect me or my position. Hopefully if this person accepts my apology they will have greater consideration for my actions in the future - if not - I will have no chance to change their future actions.


Friday, January 20, 2006


An interesting commentary on NBC the other night made the astute comment that a "successful lifetime marriage" resulted in 2 to 4 times greater accumulation of wealth than single or divorced people. While I don't think this is "rocket science" it does point out how important it is to for people to make the effort to preserve a "marriage in trouble" or else face the financial consequences. And for people who are planning on living the "single lifestyle" there is a GREATER NEED to make responsible financial planning throughout their lives.

NOTE: And while nearly 50% of all US marriages end in result you can bring the ODDS DOWN SUBSTANCIALLY according to http://www.divorcereform.org/real.html

Percent Decrease in Risk of Divorce

Annual income over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) -30%
Having a baby seven months or more after marriage (vs. before marriage) -24%
Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) -24%
Own family of origin intact (vs. divorced parents) -14%
Religious affiliation (vs. none) -14%
Some college (vs. high-school dropout) -13%


I seldom buy, nor would recommend, the purchase of extended product warrenties. Most people who even buy them seldom even remember they have them, can't find the necessary documentation, or discarded the product as obsolescent. Probably 90%+ of the warrenties included with newly purchased items are never used (a guess).

Every product does require some investigation on your part. Some exceptions that might warrent consideration but they need to be weighted by the issues of RISK VS REWARD. For example paying $20 to extend a warrenty on a $200 DVD player from one year to three or four is probably a waste of your resources.

If your GOOD at saving money and keeping it FLUID you do not normally need an extended warrenty. Repairs are just part of your household budget.


The average homeowner should budget 1% to 3% of the home's value for annual maintenance, depending on the age and size of the home and area climate. Some years it might cost more, other years less. Nevertheless, what is really important is to make a periodic walk through and around your property looking for issues to be resolved. Once identified - deal with them. Sometimes just catching a minor leak can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. (For example, my mother-in-law saw water on the basement floor but did nothing about it until it backed up in the upstairs bathroom.) This applies to CONDO owners in particular since they receive periodic assessments (often unannounced.)

I would strongly recommend keeping a separate money market account just for REPAIRS and AUTO REPLACEMENT (both of which are in my yearly budget.) Currently I am earning 3.5% interest on my money market account which is the same rate as the inflation rate.


Thursday, January 19, 2006


MANY years ago Ernie Kovacs had a comedy routine in which an insurance agent calls on a home owner and asks how he would like to buy an insurance policy from being attacked by a Gorilla during a snow storm. The man breaks out in laughter while the insurance man tells his henchman "Bring in the gorilla and start the snow storm.What prompted this memory was a comment by an acquaintence they were thinking about purchasing cancer insurance.

I asked my friend if he had a history of cancer in his family and he replied NO - he was just thinking of being prudent.

All too often people fail to deal with the REAL ODDS before they make good judgements. There is a whole theory of decision making called "Bayseian" logic premised on making judgement based on mathematical odds.

An interesting site based on INJURY ODDS is: http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm

Do your research carefully.


What are your odds of winning?

Keno ODDS - 29.5 to 1 (the worst of all possible gambling odds)
Slots ODDS - 2%-35%
Routlete ODDS - 5.26%
Blackjack ODDS - 10%-20% (according to the skill of the player)
Craps ODDS - 1.4%-16.7%
Poker ODDS - (varies by player skills) and probability of the deal (you have a 10 time greater chance of getting a Royal Flush (649,459) than winning a state lottery of over 7,000,000.)

Gambling houses don't care who wins because they scalp their percentage (vigorish) off every player (winner) or (looser).


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The old quotation "If your not part of the solution you are part of the problem" still holds true today.

Years ago an impasse with the support role of a Systems Analyst came to a head and required the intervention of our supervisor.

As the two of us sat in the supervisor's office I asked the Technician as to WHY he would not answer the technical questions that I asked of him. He looked at our supervisor and said "IF I tell you the answers you will tell others (implying I would take the credit) and they won't need me."

Agasp I told him that hopefully he was acquiring new knowledge every day and that I would always need to reply on his accumulated skill sets.

Sadly, he did not see it that way. Our supervisor told him that either he needed to make a change in his belief or to move on. He moved on - to everyone's satisfaction.

No one is indespensible. Your value increases geometrically in any organization (work, home, school, etc.) as others preceive your contributions to the whole.


Many years ago a fellow colleague was attempting to make copies of an operating system. He had spent approximately an hour without success while the support technician walked by a dozen times. When I came into the room I asked him "what was the problem" and listening to the explaination told him "WHY" his copy method didn't work and what he needed to do.

What seemed amazing to me was that the TECHNICIAN was working not ten feet away. When I asked the TECHNICIAN as to WHY he did not help him he replied "He didn't ask!"

Communicating problems and asking for help is not a fault - it is a skill which many people need to acknowledge and use in their daily lives.(And yes, it was the same Technician above.)


Monday, January 16, 2006


What IF you awoke this morning to hear that the Pope, dalal Lama, Pat Roberts, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, and a half-dozen other religious leaders all had the same epiphany - "That God told them to tell their followers to share their wealth with the world's poor and to spend the rest of their lives in prayer awaiting the end of the world."

What would you do? What do you think the majority of people would do? (So do I)


Sunday, January 15, 2006


I have always been a firm believer in the Madeline Hunter Theory of Instruction. Even though instructional methods are often fluid in the educational arena I believe these tenets are useful where ever training takes place (school, work, or home.)

* Prepare with objectives and standards
* Tell your students what you plan on teaching
* Teach it by relating it to what your students already know (a hook)
* Have your students state (or demonstrate) what they have learned (guided practice)
* Finally you summarize what they should have learned (closure)
* Independent practice

(This is my simple summary of this instructional method.)


Friday, January 13, 2006


Work out your own salvation.  Do not depend on others.  ~Buddha


Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise. ~Author Unknown


Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


"Net worth is total assets minus total liabilities."

All too often people think that living in a big house, driving an expensive car, sending your children (or self) to an expensive vaction or school constitutes weath. This is often the farthest thing from the truth.

Putting down on paper your assets and liablilities will give you a "heads up" to your financial situation. Reviewing those figures AT LEAST twice a year is necessary if a person intends to retire with adequate resources. This is also essential to any estate planning.


Monday, January 09, 2006


Whenever a person hears something they don't like they are inclined to ask for a "second opinion." Keeping an open mind and weighing "all the options" are best achieved if a "second opinion" is always included in any decision making operation. Hearing what you WANT TO HEAR does not it is RIGHT.

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. ~Dandemis


Sunday, January 08, 2006


For the people in the world who follow the teachings of Jesus what do you think he would say about the following events if he returned to earth today? Explain why?

American war with Iraq (preemptive strikes)
Treatment of the World's poor? (27,000+ people who starve to death everyday)
The belief of various Christian demoninations declaring their beliefs as superior to other Christians and/or other religions.
The worth of “super rich” individuals in the worth
The gluttony livestyle of believers while others in the world starve.
The building of costly churches and princely paid religious leaders.
The American consumption of 50% of the world’s energy resources.

(and NO I am not a Christian)

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Recently an interesting show on the History Channel explored the debate among President Lyndon Johnson and his Presidental Cabinet as to the merits of expanding the war in Vietnam.

Sec. McNamara led the verbal charge to prosecute the war else we would be viewed as “soft” to our enemies and would risk further aggression. As the banter filled the room Sec. Ramsey Clark stated he only had one question - “HOW WOULD WE KNOW WHEN WE HAVE WON?” (measureable objectives and outcomes)

Sec. Clark did not prevail, and the promise by McNamara of “technological supremacy” over an inferior enemy lured Johnson into the promise of a “quick victory.” Sadly it proved to be an expensive and unresolved war.

History is always in a cycle as recent events with Iraq have proven. A “C+” scholar as President, who is surrounded by incompetent political appointees, and chronies with agendies of personal gain, have all failed to address this same question. One only had to watch the “occupation” of Bagdad in the first weeks of the war as residents looted banks, stores, museums, and palaces while American troops only stood by offering no intervention because they had no instructions.


The failure to have good intelligence, no exacting occupation plan or an “exit strategy” prior to the beginning of the Iraq war has only compounded any attempt to make a wise exit today. The quagmire we are in today was foreseeable, but any correction made “on the fly” takes three times the effort and ten times the cost in resources.

Whether a war or even a business strategy it is important to know the “milestone” of your goals. Important questions need to be raised and dissenting questions answered prior to the making of such decisions.

Things are not going to get any better in Iraq with our current leadership (Presidental or Congressional). The war will continue....

NOTE: Not one person in the Bush administration was fired for the failure to supply the correct pre-war Iraq intelligence.


(for some sad reflections of the Bush Presidency)


Friday, January 06, 2006


Today a friend informed my wife that her husband wanted a divorce leaving her and her 3 pre-adolescent children out to lunch.

She was really despondent (as she deserved to be). She had given up her career to become a stay at home mom and now her world had become undone - in more ways than she realized.

She will probably receive some support until the children are of age (18) but thereafter she will be on her own. And unless she gets something in the settlement this may even affect her retirement options.

LESSON: Never asssume that marriage is permanent. Over 50% of marriages in the US will fail. A women can protect herself by acquiring/keeping/updating her marketable skills even if she stays home. Community colleges and part-time jobs offer intelligent security blankets.


In ancient Rome each returning victorious general was provided a triumphant parade through the streets of Rome riding on a golden chariot. As the hordes of citizens screamed their approval a slave (appointed by the Senate) repeated over and over again to him "Remember - All men are mortal."


A mother came home one day and told her two children they could have a treat for doing their chores. When she produced the treat (a cupcake) the children starting bickering over who would get the most. With the wisdom of only a mother she declared to the first child "You get to divide the cake into two equal pieces - your brother gets first choice of the pieces." Needless to say the pieces were equal.


I was reading an article today that over 1.5 BILLION people require Kerocene lamps to read at night. That over 800 million people in India don't even have electricity. That over 200,000 people are still homeless following the 2005 Tsunami. That 20% of the world's population lives below the poverty level of $2 a day. That another roughly 20% of the population are at the poverty level.

It reminds me just how unimportant my problems are in PERSPECTIVE.


Yesterday I went to the hospital for a checkup (an MRI check for cancer 2 years ago.) What amazed me was the long line of OLD people (I guess including myself) awaiting treatment to preserve their lives into an indefinite future.

One on-line study suggests that according to Census figures there has been a 63 percent increase in centerians since 1990, and the number could exceed 1 million by 2030 and top 4 million by 2050.

Living longer may be important to some people but factoring that issue into your retirement is why so many corporations are divesting themselves from retirement funds. What if I live to be a 100+ will my retirement funds, investments, etc. meet that need? (Merely assuming that you continue in good to moderate health and have health insurance.)

In 1900 Life expectancy was only 47 years, while someone born in 2002 is expected to reach the age of 77. The upward curve only seems to continue.

I want to live as long as the QUALITY of my life is meaningful to ME and I am self-sufficient. I don't WANT to be merely kept alive and rolled around a retirement home in a mindless state. (Visit a retirement home for a sobriety check to your future retirement.)

Neither the Government nor retirement funds will be able to meet these future needs. Every individual needs to balance these factors into their retirement years.

Note: One in Six companies on the NY StockExchange are health care related. (2006)


Monday, January 02, 2006


• After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933 said, “Can’t act! Slight balk! Can dance a little!” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hill Home.

• Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women,” was encouraged to find work as a servant or semstress by her family.

• Beethoven handled the violin awkwqardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.

• The parents of the famous opera singer Enrico Caruso wanted him to be an engineer. His teacher said he had no voice at all and could not sing.

• Charles Darwin, father of the Theory of Evolution, gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and by my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.”

• Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for a lack of ideas. Walt Disney also went bankrupct several times before he built Disneyland.

• Thomas Edison’ts teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything.

• Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsocialable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

• Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 in chemistry.

• Isacc Newton did very poorly in grade school.

• The sculptor Rodin’s father said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school. Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to the school of art. His uncle called him uneducable.

• Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, flunked out of college. He was described as “both unable and unwilling to learn.”

• Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

• Babe Ruth, considered by sports historians to be the greatest athlete of all time and famous for the setting the home run record, also hold the record for strikeouts.

• Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He did not become Prime Minister of England until was 62, and then only after a lifetime of defeats and setbacks. His greatest contributions came when he was a “senior citizen.”

• Richard Hooker worked for seven years on his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H, only to have it reject by 21 publishers before Morrow decided to publish it. It became a runaway bestseller, spawning ablockbusting movie and a highly successful television series.

• R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

LESSON LEARNED? There is IQ and I WILL....but not always in tandem. klf

Consider This.... Chicken Soup for the Soul
From: Chicken Soup for the Soul™ © 1993
by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Health Communications, Inc. P 228-230

Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.

Choose your projects, friends, and activities with care.