Shopping as a Hobby

Go to the mall some day and just watch people. See what they say. See what they talk about.

Many of them are bored people who go to the mall because they have nothing else in their life. No hobbies, no interests, no goals, no direction. No life.

They fill their lives with time spent. Nothing else. Nothing to show for it except one more notch on their credit card showing a “kill” or in their terms, something bought.

What is the effect? A budget drained just a little bit, another bit of something to take care of or to shove in a closet or to think about another day.

But at least they weren’t bored. They bought some happiness. At least for a few fleeting moments.

I would guess that more budgets are ruined and more marriages are splattered by the unending trips shopping for a life than any other reason.

The answer would seem to be, stop. Stop shopping for your life. You won’t find lasting happiness in the mall. No meaning in the clearance bins. No lives changed from your excitement over one more successful find of a future Goodwill donation.

The real answer.

Find what you are good at.
Volunteer to help someone.
Find a friend.
Visit someone who is sick.
Get involved in something larger than yourself.

Stay out of the malls searching for you life. It isn’t there. All that’s there is meaningless time spent.

Your life is valuable. If you let it be.

Start today. Your life has meaning. Share it with someone else.

Schools as Fat and Sugar “Pushers”

What a great world we live in! What great schools we have!

The schools are amazing in how much they do for our kids.

Not only have they found ways to educate our children in a manner that helps the kids fail to read or write as well as they should in 4th grade, they are helping parents make fat kids and sugar junkies!

What a great country to live in.

Where else can kids get to school and slurp down a sugar sludge, caffeine cocktail before they get their first class. Without access to such healthy drinks, how do we expect them to concentrate on feeling good about themselves in class?

In the middle of their day, they get to belly up to the trough and choose among a “let’s see who can get fat first” menu of greased up fries, pizza, hot dogs, and more, all lovingly provided by the fast food industry and the lowest bidder. The kids get real life exposure to fast food every lunch hour-in some shools it may be the most educational part of their day.

It almost seems like some schools have the idea that their future budgets will be based on pounds taught and not on the number of students.

I can see it now. Future students lumber up to the door and strain to lift their bodies over the threshold of the school. They squeeze through the door and are asked to pause a moment on the cattle scale just inside the school doors to be weighed.

Then they are rewarded by a pat on their hefty sweat-covered back and given a bowl of sugar, a side order of fat, and a 52 oz tanker of caffeine to give them enough energy to get to their classroom. Aaaahh, now that’s education.

I think we should all encourage our schools to have more soda pop and fast food in the school lunch program. It would help their budgets even more.

And the kids? Aw, who cares about them. Schools see an unending supply every year.

When the school budget is the main consideration when deciding on having soda pop in the halls and lowest bidder, pig food in the cafeteria, the kids are the losers even as they pack on the pounds.

It’s all my opinion, but hey, I’m entitled to that.

Public Transportation

We have an electric train running through the valley.

I can sleep all the way to work. It's great.

Few people thought it would be popular.

Now, thousands of people ride it every day.

Best thing that has happened here in years.

It's all my opinion, but hey, I'm entitled to that.


K-Scopes are something I've named for my versions of colorful photos I take and make different beautiful art from them.

Some look like stained glass, some look like kaleidoscope images, some are just fun and different.

I'm putting together a site where you can see them as I create them.

Here are a couple examples.

Real Estate Agents Don't Deserve the Commissions

I fail to figure out why people pay real estate agents the money the do to sell a home.

Sure, some spend hundreds of hours, but most spend less than 50.

For that they get 3% and the broker gets 3%?

Granted, commissions differ, but on a half million dollar house, the money is ridiculous! If the combined commission is 6%, that's $30,000!

They give the sob story that they work hard and seldom make sales so they need big commissions to carry them through. Maybe if the commissions weren't so high more people would use them.

I'm all for changing the monopoly giving these guys such a huge commission.

How about a negotiated fee? How about hiring them by the hour? How about making it easier for the poor buyers and sellers to do the job themselves.

Agents and Brokers? Necessary in some cases, an overpriced pain in the bank account for most.

If you have a choice, work with a bank and title company and keep the commissions.

It's all my opinion, but hey, I'm entitled to that.

Windows is Easy?

Microsoft must have some strange set of designers.

The message from the company seems to want to convince everyone that their products are great, easy to use, and will make you productive.

Somewhat, absolutely not, and sometimes.

Having done lots of testing where users of all ages have had to use Windows to complete tasks, anything beyond the most basic tasks are amazingly difficult.

People have problems with the filing system. They save files and then can't find them.

If you watch experts for awhile, you see that they get around finding files by doing searches of their hard drives because they can't remember where they left their files. What makes it worse is that many times they can't figure out what they named the files.

That is probably one of the biggie problems. There are dozens more.

I often get people coming to me to help them fix their computers. To a person, when they talk about their computers they are confused, discouraged, and wishing there is an alternate to what they have.

I would tell them go to the Mac, but having used my daughters mac laptop lately, they are just as messed up.

The Mac people love to say how easy it is to use one. But having used one years ago and then here and there over the years, I know the basics. The problem is, there are so many cutesy little things they have done to the interface that it took me forever to find what I wanted to do and to do it.

So, Microsoft, get a clue and make life simpler for everyone.

Mac users, just shut the heck up. Macs may be easier for some things, like iPods and ITunes, but they are not easy.

There isn't a computer built that is easy.

They are complex and they all take dedication to figure out.

Someone should offer 10 million dollars to the first person that solves the complexity problem.

Microsoft and Apple need not apply for the prize.

Jetta Stalkers?

What was Volkswagon thinking?

Their ads have a current owner of a Jetta calling up the previous owner who seems really surprised to hear from the new owner.

The new owner is excited to talk to the previous owner and says they should hang out.

The previous owner seems to be thinking, "what the heck is going on?"

Does anyone else wonder how the current owner got the previous owners name?

Granted, it is an advertisement, but to me it seems to be sending the message that "we're selling your used car to some stalker wacko who is going to find you and bug you to spend time with him/her." But, that is a great reason to buy our car!

Whoever thought this ad up, wasn't thinking the concept through.

This is one creepy weird ad.

Diamonds - Bling for Idiots

Guess who thinks, "diamonds are a girl's best friend?"

It is in the lyrics of the famous song, but the diamond producers that control the worldwide pricing of diamonds, love the thought.

The diamond producers would love to have you think that diamonds are precious, diamonds are rare, diamonds are an investment, diamonds are something everyone should have. Bull, bull, bull, and bull.

Sure diamonds are hard and can cut glass. Big deal.

Diamonds are incredibly hard. Big deal.

But, diamonds, can break, chip crack and crumble into hundreds of pieces if struck.

Diamonds are only precious because they are sold as precious. Many other stones are more rare than diamonds. Red beryl for instance is only found in one place on earth from what I last heard. Red beryl is found in the tens and twenties, not in the hundreds of thousands as are diamonds.

I have been in the diamond business for thirty years. I do believe diamonds are beautiful. I don't believe they are worth all the money.

The industry counters that they are an investment. Bull again. People buy them at retail prices, anywhere from double to five times the price the retailer pays for them.

If a jeweler buys one back from you they generally pay half what they can buy them for retail because they aren't in the market for your stone. Not much of an investment in my eyes.

Beautiful? Yes, but so is cubic zirconium, commonly known as CZ. If you keep a CZ clean, no one will ever know whether you have a diamond or a CZ.

1 carat diamond - $4,000
1 carat CZ - $10

Bottom line? In my opinion, diamonds are a tradition kept alive by the diamond producers and simply aren't worth the money. They are too expensive.

My recommendation? Buy a CZ and put your money into a real investment.

Diamonds are bling for idiots.

Prizes for Progress

Coming soon. Details on Prizes for Progress.

Awards of:
$10 million dollars for someone who comes up with a 100 mile per gallon gasoline engine for a standard 5 passenger sedan.

$10 million dollars for someone who comes up with a solar energy power system that people could buy and install for $1,000.

$500,000 for someone who comes up with a permanent, environmentally friendly, workable, feasible solution to use or get rid of used tires.

$25 million dollars for the person who comes up with a permanent, workable, inexpensive solution for computer viruses, spam, and adware.

$1 million dollars for the person who comes up with a permanent, workable, inexpensive solution for the problem of graffitti.

Details for these awards, which will be awarded as funds are raised, will come later.

A jury of experts will decide whether the criteria for each award has been met.

Individuals and companies will be able to register to accept the challenges. A website will be prepared where you can accept the challenges.

None of these awards are currently being offered. Decisions on if and when they will be offered for people entering will be coming in the near future.

More details to come. More awards, more challenges, more opportunities for people to make a difference in the world.

Stay tuned................

Illegal Aliens

The title says exactly what I think.

The majority are good people, some are great people, they are still here illegally. That means they are breaking the law. Our law.

I'm all for protecting our country. This is our country, not theirs. We have to obey the law, they should be held to the same standard.

My solution?

Give all illegal aliens until the end of 2006 to register and get a card that will let them stay one more year. After that they either have to start the process of applying for citizenship or go home.

The incentive to go home? Target employers.

As of January 1st, fine every employer $1,000 per illegal employee per day, and start a few high profile checks of employers. Notify the employers that they will be targeted and checked the first week of January and tell them the consequences.

Keep a slow, steady stream of high profile checks going. Amazingly, something will start happening.

Thousands of people from other countries are here legally, registered to work. If you give in to the illegals, you must do the same for all.

Let's just uphold the laws we have.