Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

It's time to lie to yourself again. 
Yep, its New Year's Resolution time.
Do you participate in this old custom? A good many of you do. Sadly most of you don't finish them. According to
A University of Washington study in 1997 found 47 percent of the 100 million adult Americans who make resolutions give up on their goals after two months. This figure has grown to 80 percent in the past decade, according to recent research completed at the University of Minnesota.
The History of New Year's Resolutions goes back to Roman times. It was the custom to pay off debts and to return borrowed items. Somehow that evolved into, "This year I'm going to quit drinking, quit gossiping, cut up all my credit cards and lose 25 pounds." With such nebulous targets is it any wonder people quit after just two months?
This year I propose you have a resolution for each month, "This month I will stop sniffing glue." If that works out for you then you won't be sniffing glue next month. If you slip and start sniffing glue before the month ends, you can start again next month, "This month I will really stop sniffing glue."

Americans in my opinion, as a whole, lack focus and believe their harmful habits will not kill them. I know from my younger days that all those years I lived like I was bullet-proof added up. Cutting down on your drinking and other destructive habits is a good idea across the board. I don't remember what year I stopped binge drinking. I do remember though, that it was not a New Year's Resolution. It was a product of weighing the costs. It just didn't make sense to pound my body with alcohol for a day. Especially when I lost two days recovering.

Time is something you can never get back. My best friend Paul has a saying, "Whenever you can trade money for time, its a good trade. I can always make more money. I can never get the time back." So every year you continue your bad habits subtracts time you will want back later in your life.

So this year's resolution for me is to set small goals and to accomplish them. As recent as just 6 years ago I weighed 230 pounds. Its hard to believe but it is true. I lost 45 pounds of the course of 3 years. I set a big goal of weighing 190 pounds. And to accomplish that goal I set monthly goals to lose 2 pounds. I didn't start with I'm gonna lose 25 pounds and then after a few set-backs giving up.

So this year, set a small goal and accomplish it. And then set another... and another. This time next year, you can look back and say, "I hardly ever sniff glue, anymore." How about that?!

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rosie the Riveter Model, Dead, 86

LANSING -- Her face became synonymous with women's empowerment, and her death is the passing of an era.

Geraldine Doyle of Lansing, whose face became the inspiration behind the iconic World War II image of "Rosie the Riveter," has died, according to her family. A memorial service is planned for 4 p.m., Jan. 8 at Tiffany Funeral Home, 3232 W. Saginaw St.

"She was a gracious, beautiful woman. Her death is the end of an era, and we need to take note of that. We need to respect what she stood for."

Without the Rosie's we could not have crushed the fascism that was strangling Europe and the Pacific. Thank you to all of you.

Six minutes and some change.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Significant Boost in Take-Home Pay

WASHINGTON -- The new year means American workers get to take home more of their pay.

One of the items in that giant tax package the President signed earlier this month is a cut in payroll taxes. The changes start in January but only lasts one year.

"The IRS adjusted withholding tables in keeping with the law that Congress wrote and it was signed into law December 16th," said IRS Spokesperson David Stell.

The payroll tax cut reduces employees Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent.

"A worker earning about $50,000 during the year 2011 will see about $1000 increase over the year in take-home pay as a result of this and that's a pretty significant boost in take-home pay," Stell said.

You think so David? SIGNIFICANT? Is that the adjective they told you to use? Thank you for inserting that talking point there for us. I don't think I'd use SIGNIFICANT to describe $83.33 a month. I am not sure what to call a 2% cut in my Social Security Taxes. I'm sure we will be told that this tax cut really screwed up that system and it will need to be fixed in 2012 because of that EVIL tax cut (insert the "other" parties name here) gave to you back in 2011. Political fodder for someone in an election year I'm sure of it. In any event, starting in January, 10,000 baby boomers a day will reach the age of 65. Excellent timing folks. Are these legislators even paying any attention to what is going on out here?

Back to the stimulus, tax cut, boondoggle, that's about 80 bucks a month. I guess I shouldn't complain. That is one and a third tanks of gas for my Range Rover or two and a half tanks of gas for my Honda Civic.

I get the strong feeling the government wants us to SPEND this money. Spending is supposed to stimulate the economy. So, what can we get for 80 "American dollars"?

80$(US) will buy you forty, 16 ounces cans of Boddington's delicious pub ale. If you pick it up locally.

80$(US) will buy you about 40 of the chocolates my wife likes from The Candy Shop on Main Street in Norman, Oklahoma.

80$(US) will buy you The Singles [Box Set] of The Clash.

Perhaps you prefer Maria Carey's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel [Box Set]. If you always wanted the Britney Spears Box set you'll have to dip into next month's "pretty significant boost" for a saw buck to cover the retail price of her box set.

Maybe you should spend this tax break on food. According to the weekly circular at our preferred grocery store, with eighty dollars you can get 16 pumpkin pies or 160 cans of Campbell's Chick Noodle soup from the Homeland where my son sacks groceries.

As the Blue's Travelers song Run Around says "Perhaps I've grown a little cynical", but I don't trust that the measures the government are taking to fix the economy are the right ones. Bad loan practices and unregulated financial policies got us in to this mess. With out some middle class jobs, we ain't getting out of it either. Some one better figure out a way to produce something in America that puts people to work or we are in for some really tough times ahead.

I don't remember the days of soup lines, but my parents do. 
They didn't like them and they assure me, you won't either.