Thursday, December 31, 2009


The Department of Counter Intelligence has been overwhelmed, or taken over by, the Department of Counter Stupidity.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is it just me or . . .

. . . . are we crazy? A man gets on a plane bound for the US : -
He is on our list of terrorists, - red flag
he pays cash for his ticket, red flag
he buys a one way ticket, red flag
he has no luggage, red flag
he has no coat, (Going to Detroit in winter!) red flag
But, he is allowed on the plane!
Why do we have a TSA - Transport Security Administration? ANYONE could have said there is something wrong here. These people are supposedly trained to be looking for these things, just one of those should have raised a red flag and warranted a closer look.
Any one of those red flags that I raised should prompt anyone to say, politely, "Please step this way sir/ma'am." They would them politely, and firmly, be searched as necessary. From metal detectors and x-rays to drug and explosive detectors to pat downs and strip search. Start with the first less invasive searches and work your way up if necessary. If a search is refused, fine, you don't get on the plane.
It is unbelievable that it could happen, even with the terrorist, it seems to me, trying to be caught. Either that or he is the most idiotic, stupid person in the world. (But apparently not as stupid as all the TSA employees.) The only other thing he could have done to try to be caught would have been to say "I am a terrorist, I have a bomb, I am going to blow up this plane." Which it seems to me is pretty much what he did say. He must have been frustrated and amazed that no one tried to stop him.
I don't know what else to say, except that I am disgusted. Now they know they can get on any plane or go anywhere else they want at any time, as easy as walking into a 7-11 store and buying a gallon of milk.
And now I find out that the CIA knew a Nigerian was training in Yemen as a suicide bomber, and they even knew his name! What worries me now is if we can't find someone who leaves many, many clues what happens when we get a bomber who is fairly smart and doesn't leave a trail big enough for an idiot to follow? We would have absolutely no chance at all of catching him. We can't catch someone who we have been warned about repeatedly. I really think if we had been sent a letter naming him, giving his photo and telling us the airline and flight number, we still wouldn't have got him!!!! I'm serious. We almost had all that. Intelligence? It is scary to say the least!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Some favorite Christmases.'

Julia and I were reminiscing about some of our favorite Christmases' past. We both agreed that one of our most memorable Xmas' was the one we spent in French Polynesia on Bora Bora with our friends Penny & Jerry - which has to be one of the most beautiful group of Islands in the world. It was not exactly our usual Xmas weather! But definitely preferable to the usual mix of cold and rain or snow! On Xmas Eve we went to church on Bora Bora, the Church was packed with the natives in their very colorful clothes. They sang with such joyous happiness and gladness, not at all timorous or bashful, but instead loud and almost raucous. We were acknowleged and invited to join in, It was indeed a Christmas Eve to remember. Christmas Day we spent snorkeling and visiting a pearl farm, where I bought Julia a black pearl ring.
There have been other Christmas days spent in various parts of the world including Mexico and the Carribean. These locations are always nice because of the weather and as they were all on cruises, involved no cooking or other preparations on our part.
Of course there is nothing quite like a Christmas at home. I particularly remember waking up on Christmas mornings as a child and feeling the weight of the sack of presents laying on the bottom of the bed. The small window had been left open to allow Father Christmas to get in! I don't suppose in these days of I-Pod's, computers, digital camera's et al that the contents of our sacks would bring much excitement to today's kids, but they certainly did to us. It was a frenzied pair, my sister Mary and I, that tore into the pillow cases with with frantic curiosity. There were always dozens of items in there, my parents must have spent weeks preparing them. There were always nuts, an apple, an orange, wrapped sweets, and all kinds of odds and ends as well as some wrapped packets and some items unwrapped. Toy cars, dolls for Mary, books, pencils, pens, gloves, socks, every year was different, but the same - mases of things, we never knew what they would be. And then later would be the 'Big gift' or gifts, under the tree. Not as many as children get now, but usually there were several for each of us. I was always overwhelmed. One year I received a bicycle! True it was used, it had been Dad's for years, he rode it through the blackout during the war and to work for years after the war. But now it was mine and I was almost big enough to ride it! I cannot imagine that a boy nowadays who got the latest shiny new bicycle for Xmas could possibly be more excited than I was when I got that rusty old bike, lovingly washed, oiled and polished and fitted with a new seat than I was that Xmas day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Things.

Little things, even tiny things. Alone they don't amount to much, not even to the proverbial "Hill of Beans." But together they can add up to something enormous.
Do one, or two, or ten, or twenty, or more, of these 'little things' and you will surprise yourself. It may be too late for me to achieve much at 68, (I hope to be 69 next year!) but I intend giving it a try. No, my child, and my grandchildren stand to gain the most from these 'little things'.
OK, OK, I can hear you saying, what are these little things? Well they are such small things that you may immediately dismiss them, but as I like to say, "They are better than nothing".
Lets put a few of these wee things down "on paper".
I just know that you have said to yourself - 'One day I am going to start exercising, I am going to go to the gym 3 times a week, - or maybe once. Or, I am going to run every day, or, or.' And you haven't have you? Well, neither did I. But, what I have done - and here is where that 'tiny thing' comes into play - when I park my car, I park it further away than I need to, which makes me walk maybe an extra 100 or 200 feet, - each way. When I visit the Doctors Office, or someone in hospital or go to the store, I take the stairs, both ways. I shovel the snow, maybe a little more of it than I need to, I rake the leaves, I dig the garden. Sure I could pay someone to rake the leaves, dig the garden , shovel the snow, but although I am not going to see my muscles rippling in a couple of weeks and my belly disappearing before my eyes, I can guarantee you that those things are happening, at least a little bit more than if I had done nothing.
Moving onto food, nothing huge is going to happen because I eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread. But if I also eat whole wheat pasta, less fast food, less red meat, less fat, less of everything. (Notice that I said LESS, not NONE, the immediate response of many people when a suggestion is made is to go to the extreme, "I'm not going to stop eating all the things I like, etc."), notice that I said LESS. In the same way if I eat MORE fruits, MORE vegetables, MORE fruit juices instead of sodas. In other words, more good stuff and less bad stuff, eventually there should be a difference. No, I am not going to be big and lean and strong tomorrow or next week, but I know that I'll be in better shape than if I had done nothing! And I did do almost nothing, almost, but not quite. I can hear some people saying "Fruits and Vegetables are expensive, I can't afford them." My answer to that is, don't forget you will be eating less of other items that are expensive too - red meat, fast food, snacks etc. And if you choose the fruits and vegetables that are in season, it won't be so bad. Sure if you buy the first strawberries of the season you pay a lot, but wait for a week or two and the price drops by a half. Cruise the grocery section of your favorite store or supermarket and you will find some fruits and vegetables cost less than others! To keep your costs down, buy the cheaper ones! What a novel idea! If you eat what is in season you can easily cut your produce bill in half, or more.
Money, If you save nothing, at the end of ten years you will have - nothing. Need I say more? Maybe I don't need to, but I think I will. Julia and I lived frugally, we tried to live below our means, saving as much as we could. Unfortunately we had a disaster happen in our lives and things did not work out as well as we had hoped. (Julia was badly injured in an accident, that changed our lives, and the lives of many others.) But we would have been even worse off if we had not already been in the habit of living below our means. That fact alone probably saved us from going bankrupt. Absent that fact, I think we would have been in a different place than we are now. Even without Julia's earning power - which was considerable, I was considering quitting my job and working on Julia's business when the accident happened - we still managed to travel the world and buy several houses. Of course the latest economic bust and the unfortunate meeting of a builder who took us for a lot of money finished our dream of an easy retirement. But again, if we had not lived below our means how much worse off would we have been?
The whole point of this story is that a lot of trivial things can add up to something big. If you could live on 10% less than you do now and put that 10% away, even with just a small interest rate, you would have at a minimum a years pay in the bank after just 8 years! And you can do better than that, when you get a raise, put that away, or at least some of it, a windfall, put that away, or at least some of it. Using my experience, I would have to say, diversify. We put almost all of our savings into property, at the time that seemed to be, "A sure thing", or as the saying went, "They aren't making any more land". Well as we now know, nothing is certain, or a sure thing. If I could go back, I would diversify more. Try to learn from my experience. Sure, buy property, but also some stocks - not one or two, spread it around - bonds, again spread it, I don't think you could go wrong with some gold. So 'diversify' seems to me to be the word.
Another "word" is Goals. A small word but a big concept. It's amazing what the human mind can do if it is set on the right path. Do you know about goals? If not it would be well worth your time to learn the theory. I will give you a quick example. You set a goal, if you do it right your brain will make sure that it is accomplished! Obviously the goal has to be possible, it is no good saying "I will walk to the Moon" , not possible. But, "I will lose weight", for example is possible. But not if that is all you say. To make it possible and to ensure that it will happen you have to make the goal one that you can do. For example, you have to be specific in all aspects. If you say "I will lose weight", but don't say how much, you can still be saying "I'll lose weight", 10 years from now! And saying, "It didn't work". If you say "I will lose 10 pounds" that is better but still not good enough, 10 years from now your goal is still to lose 10 pounds, you just haven't accomplished it! BUT, if you say ,"I will lose 10 pounds by July 15, 2010", all of a sudden something happens. You cannot fail. You write it down and put it where you can see it every day, in your wallet, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator. Now there is no way you can fail, your body now KNOWS what it has to do, It has a goal. You will be amazed, your mind now takes over and sure enough by July 15th 2010 you will have lost 10 pounds. Notice that it is doable, if you weighed 200lbs and said you would lose 100lbs by July 15 2010, it ain't going to happen! It has to be possible, you have to specify the amount and the deadline. Try it, it's fun, if you don't need to lose weight, maybe you need to save some money for something, or you'd like to be able to run a mile in 5 minutes, or who knows - whatever you want to do, it is possible in small increments. Little tiny bits will add up to something big.
Have a great Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. Tell me about your goals, what you did in 2010, what you accomplished and will accomplish. (If you go for goals, you need short term, mid term and long term goals. What fun! Yes it really is.) Love from David.
P.S. I f you are interested, I wrote a short piece entitled "Half", it tells how to live on half, and how we did it. Just ask me and I'll e-mail it to you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Second snowfall of the season.

And it is a "Doosy". We went to a party on the Eastern Shore last night. The forecast was for a heavy snowfall beginning between "11.0pm and 2.00am". The party was just over 50 miles from our home, so to be on the safe side we left the party to travel home at 10.00pm. At 10.02pm it started to snow! I kid you not! Traffic was more than I expected for that late but not too heavy, so we were able to keep up 50 to 55 mph most of the way. By the time we got close to home we were down to 30 mph but arrived safely at about 11.30pm.
This morning dawned white! Snow was about 8" deep already and the weather channel told us to expect an additional 8 to 12 inches by days end and another 4 to 6 inches by morning on Sunday. The total anticipated is 15 to 24 inches!
The cats asked to go out, but changed their minds when I opened the door for them! The chickens barged out as usual when I opened their little door, the snow flew as they fluttered around in the light fluffy white stuff, can you imagine what they thought as they went out into it? Within a couple of minutes they were back in their house.
It is coming up for 4.00 pm now and the little flakes continue to fall, we never did get any really big heavy flakes in this storm, just a steady, light to medium accumulation that seems to be about 18" deep now. I did some shovelling earlier to clear the steps and make access to the basement easier should we lose power and I needed to get the generator out.
Apart from that it has been a lazy day, I made a loaf of bread which turned out well. I am waiting now for a new trial - an Austrian Malt Loaf - we will see shortly if that was a sucess or not. Julia is making some mince pies, I hope there are enough, an old English saying says that you will have a happy month for every mince pie that you eat. I badly need to eat at least 12 this year!
Well, enjoy the weather as best as you can. I'm sure the kids will, us old'uns less so, but I try to enjoy everything as much as I can, I think you do that the more you realize there is going to be less and less to enjoy and share as we age.
On that note I think I should end today's Blog.

Global Warming.

Global Warming is a serious problem, but even more serious, in my opinion, is the intellectual dishonesty used in denying it. Global Warming deniers are of the same ilk as Holocaust deniers. The truth is obvious, the data overwhelming, but they continue to spread their lies. If we let these people influence our policy making we will pay a high price for our foolishness.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Follow up on the snow.

Well, although it snowed solidly from noon until 6.30pm, when we left to head over to Severna Park, there was no snow at all around our house. I am serious, it was just wet, even though the temperature had dropped to 38 degrees. No snow had laid at all. So off we went and after about 3 miles of driving through heavy snow we started to see a few places where it was starting to lay. By the time we had gone another 2 or 3 miles the snow was 1" to 2" deep! It continued to snow heavily with huge flakes hitting the windshield and covering areas of 6" diameter - with one flake! By the time we reached our destination I was begining to wish we had brought our PJ's as there was a solid 2" of snow over everything. Anyway we had a nice evening of eating the best Guacomali Dip ever and other snacks consisting of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, nuts and cheese, a great beer and chocolates. We exchanged Christmas gifts and played cards. It was the women's day today with Jane winning one game and Julia winning the other. The guys lost both games, one badly and the other resoundingly!
Soon it was time to leave and we ventured outside with trepidation, hoping not to find a skating rink. But all was well, the snow had stopped, everything was well covered with a blanket of snow, until we reached Fort Smallwood Rd, which is about 3 or 4 miles from our house and where we found only small patches of snow. On Bayside Beach Road, it was hard to find even a scrap of snow and by the time we got home there was once again no sign at all of any snow. Not even a fleck, nothing but wet ground.
This morning, our thermometer told us that it had gone down to 33 degrees last night. When I ventured out into the cold to get my Sunday paper there was definitely no sign of any snow. Amazing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

News from The Lake.

Last night we heard that we were in for the first snowfall of the season. The weather man said that we were to be the recipient of first, 1 to 2 inches, then 1 to 3 inches and finally 2 to 4 inches. The snow was going to start, "Before sunrise." on Saturday. My usual comment is "no way" and as usual this was my comment then. I awoke at sunrise to find that it was - raining - and the thermometer on our bedroom window informed me that it was 48 degrees! Didn't look like snow to me! But checking the Weather Channel I found that we were still expected to get snow but not until this afternoon and tonight.
Looking out at the dismal looking Lake and wet lawn I did not relish the thought of snow, especially as we were scheduled to visit dear friends Jane and Bill in Severna Park. Fortunately I think they have a spare bedroom and if that is already taken a camper sits outside their lovely home. So if snow does in fact arrive in force (Doubtful in my reckoning) and we get "snowed in" we will have a place to stay!
While thinking these dismal thoughts I observed through the rain two white "lumps" floating on The Lake. Looking through the binoculars they came into focus as the missing Swans. I watched them for a few minutes as they ignored the rain (Why would they care about rain?) and dunked their heads and necks repeatedly into the water, presumably looking for their breakfast. We hope that they are back for the winter. They were here all last winter and this summer but disappeared in the fall and winter, only appearing from time to time, usually for just a few days. While scanning the rest of The Lake I saw four Ducks in group near the middle. I have seen these Ducks several times but am not sure what they are. The bird book shows pictures of many Ducks, the closest to these seems to be the Bufflehead.
Well it is now midday and it has started sleeting. The temperature has dropped to 41 degrees. The weather channel is still calling for snow later today. In fact they have just said that there is snow in Georgia, Virginia, parts of Maryland and that sleet which has just started in our area is expected to change to snow later.
Meanwhile the birds are still enjoying The Lake and the Buffleheads, if that is indeed what they are, and the Swans have been joined by a few Diving Ducks and a couple of huge Seagulls. Now the sleet has already changed to full fledged Snow, big white flakes of driving snow. The wind goes from quite strong to low so the snow varies from falling at about 45 degrees to being almost horizontal. It is beginning to look as though our visit to Jane & Bill may have to be called off. If the snow continues at its present rate we may indeed see 2 to 4 inches by this evening and as we don't have a 4 wheel drive we may have to cancel rather than take an unnecessary risk. We will see.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Health Care.

I keep seeing on the TV, "Call your Congressman and tell him we can't afford a Health Care Bill." My question is, "Why can every civilized country in the world afford Health Care for it's citizens - except the wealthiest country in the world, the United States?" Can anyone answer that question for me? Canada, the UK, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Switzerland, France and on and on, if these countries can afford to cover their citizens why can't we? One of the reasons I believe is that Health Care in this country is so expensive, on the average twice what it costs in all those other countries. The average American spends $16,000 a year on Health Care, the average citizen in all those other countries? $8,000. So my question now is, "Why does it cost more here than everywhere else?"
An investigation into how other countries do it would seem to be an easy, inexpensive way to get the best, least costly Health Care system implemented here. Simply choose the best one or combination and voila, there you have it! Easy.
But to repeat the question, why so expensive here? It seems to me there are several reasons, the main one is that Health Care here is, unlike any other civilized country in the world, for profit. Think about that - should your health be at the mercy of someone who wants to make a profit from it? Unless you are either in the business of making a profit from it or have an extremely low I.Q, the obvious answer should be a resounding NO. Making a profit from my agony? From the misfortune and pain of your loved one? Can you imagine what people looking back a hundred years from now will say? They will be as unbelieving as we are nowadays about very young children working in mines and mills or about . The Health Care Industry is spending $1.4 million A DAY lobbying Congress!! Hospitals and Doctors advertise - spending millions of our health care dollars on advertising costs! Again the only country in the world to do so. Ever noticed advertising for drugs on TV? Of course you have, and you are probably sick of it too (Pun intended!) You'll be even more sick when you realize that the cost of those ads is about half the cost of the drugs! How hard is that to swallow?
Many Doctors own their own X-Ray, Cat Scan and MRI machines. Now, if you were a Doctor and had those machines in the basement or down the road, along with the huge payments to make for them, don't you think that it might be "Necessary" to have at least one of those tests done? I get an MRI done on my brain every year at a cost of $1,500.00. If I lived in Japan that same MRI would cost $98.00. The administration costs in all the countries I mentioned earlier, are around 3% to 4%. The same costs in the US - about 25% to 30%. It costs money to keep hundreds of clerks and bureaucrats sitting at desks figuring out ways to deny coverage and cancel insurance on those who have the effrontery to get sick and need to use their insurance! After all every dollar they don't spend on your care, is another dollar on their bottom line. The difference in Administration cost alone is 25% of the cost of our health care right there that could be saved. Add in the cost of the profit, and the cost of the "administrators" who are paid tens of millions of dollars, the advertising costs for drugs etc - all things not needed to take care of those needing health care and you are getting close to what it costs those other countries to take care of their sick. The Doctors would be helped as well, because they would not have to spend so much of their time filling out the endless forms that the Health Insurance companies force them to use. More savings.
I know, I know, we have the best health care in the world and we don't want to settle for less. Well guess what, yes we do, and so do all those other countries too! At least that is what they all say! An investigation by PBS who sent doctors to examine the health care systems in those countries found that the care was comparable to here. "As good and in some cases better", is what one Doctor said!
The stories that you hear about the health care being substandard elsewhere are just that - stories. Stories spread by the For Profit Health Care Industry here - part of that $1.4 million per day they spend to promote their industry and run down and denigrate others so you will be scared and refuse to accept "Socialised medicine". Or any other label they can attach to highly successful systems accepted by millions of people.
A couple of figures here - on a list of the top 50 countries for life expectancy, the US is 50th! (That is bottom - not top!) For infant mortality we are 33rd. All European countries and a surprising number of countries that I have hardly heard of, are above the US! Even Cuba is way above the US in both categories! Sounds to me like "Socialised medicine" may not be so bad after all, does it? Most of the people interviewed in those other countries were very happy with their health care. In fact some said they would not want their health coverage "To be like the US", they actually said that! They did not see how they would be able to afford it! There were Doctors working in those countries that had worked in the US and who preferred working where they were now.
I just wanted to put a few facts out there. Doing my little bit to straighten out some mishapprehensions.
Lets talk about it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump,
May your yams be delicious,
May your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Food waste.

As usual, no waste this week, of course there never is in this household - nor I imagine in any household that keeps a few chickens!

No new food sources to report this week either. I almost hesitate to mention one "staple" of our chickens. Our kitchen sink has one of those fine strainers in place of the usual trap. It is very fine and catches every tiny piece of food that would otherwise have gone into the septic system. It is surprising just how many times it gets loaded up in the average day. I empty it into the "Chicken Crock" several times a day.

I am not one for washing my dishes etc before putting them into the dishwasher, in fact I think it is crazy to waste your time and water to wash your dishes twice! But, If there is the smallest amount of food or crumbs on the plate or in the pot I scrape it into the sink before consigning them to the Bosch. When I give a fish the final wash and remove any remaining scales or guts into the sink - into the crock they go. Cleaning the crumbs from the bread machine or the plate of sandwiches? Into the sink or the crock. It's surprising how it can add up over a day. The chickens don't mind if its mixed up. It's their "First coffee of the day", when I go out to open them early with the Crock in one hand and MY First Coffee of the Day in my other hand! They greet me like a long lost friend! No one is happier to see me every day than my chickens!

Food Waste Friday - dedicated to The Frugal Girl.

More news on my chickens, last week I told you how I now give them the water from anything we cook in water, like potatoes, beans, carrots, etc as well as any left over coffee or tea that was made with some milk. Now I have "The Fishing Report", as most of you know, we live on The Lake - a beautiful Lake of about 50 acres in Anne Arundel County. When I catch a nice fat white perch, which I do several times a week, I clean it and give the guts to the chickens. As I scale the fish I throw the scales back into The Lake - it all goes back into the Great Mother Earth! In other words, the scales dissolve into the water along with the fish heads etc and are made into more fish or crabs. When we have crabs I throw all the crab "trash" back into the water - after the chickens have had a go at it of course! Anyway, as I was throwing the guts to the chickens one day some scales that had stayed on the board went in - and they pecked them right up! So now not only do they get the guts they get the scales too! During the summer the fish heads of course go into the crab trap. But during the winter there are no crabs, so I have been throwing the heads into The Lake for whatever wants them. Now, when we have finished our fish dinner that we have about once or twice a week, the remains, in the form of bones, skin etc that we don't eat goes right to the chickens who treat it the same way I treat a chocolate bar - it is gone in approximately 2.8 seconds! But if I give them the raw head they turn their noses, excuse me - their beaks, up at it, just the same as I would. So now instead of throwing the heads into The Lake they get a quick boil and go into the chicken run. And very appreciative they are too. (The chickens, not the heads!)

Food waste

As most of you know by now we have virtually no food waste - because we have chickens! In the last few days I have found yet another "Food source" for our chickens. My wife called on her way home the other day and asked me to mash the potatoes she had cooked that day. I found them on the stove, got out the potato masher and was about to dump the water that they were in when I suddenly thought, ahaa, that water looks delicious, well it might to the chickens anyway! They do have to drink and the water that the potatoes were cooked in must have some of the "goodness" from the potatoes - so why not give it to them. I did and they loved it! Since then I give them the water that anything has been cooked in - beans, carrots, whatever, as well as any tea or coffee that didn't get drunk. I always use milk in my coffee or tea, so any leftover drink is welcomed by them. I even gave them some water from a couple of fish that I poached, they "voiced" their approval - by drinking it all down in about 3 minutes flat!

Waste not want not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Geese have returned.

I woke quite early yesterday - Sunday - and looking out at The Lake the first thing that I saw was the two big Swans flying across The Lake. As I watched them they turned and flew by again, and again, they seemed to be circling The Lake, looking for a suitable landing site? Which they soon found almost directly across from us. I got up and made my first cup of coffee, opened the chickens and fed the cats. As I stood on the deck watching the sun do its amazing thing with the sky and the water and the clouds right outside my house - people pay huge dollars to see this kind of thing on "The Big Screen", but here it was right in front of me "For Free". Well sort of free, Anne Arundel County has seen to it that it is not free! At almost a thousand dollars a month for taxes and insurance, it is far from free!
Anyway as I watched this show, here came the Canada Geese. Seventeen of them came gliding in and landed right in front of me. I took Julia her morning cup of tea and we watched them together, fascinated. A few more landed a little later on.
Today, Monday I returned from work and sat out on the deck again - can you believe we are halfway through November and still we are getting beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the 60's and even 70's? Yesterday it reached 72 and today 67 - enjoying the sun and the view of The Lake. The Canada Geese came sailing into view soon after we sat down and we counted the groups as they arrived. First were four ducks, then eight geese, then twelve more geese and finally another ten geese. Their numbers are building, but they seem to come and go, I wonder if the weather is confusing them.
The garden has still not had a frost so we are still picking produce, the last Zucchini's were picked a few days ago. I am still picking beans, peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard and lettuce. Not a lot mind you, but it is nice to have even a few fresh veg. We even had some raspberries last week! I'll keep on picking as long as it stays above freezing. When we get our first frost warning I'll pick all the tomatoes and beans that are still out there, the others will survive a light freeze and last a while longer.
The tomatoes I wrap in news paper and put in a box in a dark cool area. They will ripen all the way up to Christmas and maybe even longer. Just wrap each tomato in a separate piece of newspaper and place them carefully in layers in the dark, a set of drawers is ideal, otherwise a cardboard box works just as well. Every week unwrap each one enough to see if is ripe. If not put it back - carefully - and use the ripe ones. My experience is that very very few will go bad. the rest ripen gradually over a period of several weeks. Any that don't - fried green tomatoes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Same question - different answers.

I was looking at some polling questions recently that really brought home to me how biased polls can be. All you have to do is ask the 'right' question to get the answer you want!
For example, as most of you know I am a Liberal (Dictionary definition- generous, tolerant of differing views, broadminded, not conventional, favoring reform and progress, open minded to ideas that challenge tradition, etc!) so as you can imagine I am in favor of trying to help to preserve the world - and its climate! I would also like to make jobs and work, by achieving a cleaner world, including it's water, air etc.

So, if I were to conduct a poll, my question might be:-
Should we make more jobs by competing in the race to end reliance on oil and coal, and work to produce clean energy?

Another person might say:-
Should we not attempt to get into making windmills, energy efficient cars and appliances and just rely on foreign manufacturers?

And yet another one - getting to be the most popular question of all:-
Do you believe the communist Obama administration, in league with Liberal Environmentalists, is trying to destroy our country with the myth of Global Warming?

So you see, we all frame the questions to get the answers we want. That is why polls get such varying answers. A poll conducted by CNN news will differ from one conducted by FOX news, one given by an environmental group will differ from one given by far right conservatives. What is the answer? I certainly don't know! Do you?

Obviously we are all biased, but how do those biases form? Are we programmed by our parents, our experiences as children, as teenagers, as adults, by our peers, by our exposure to nothing but one side - FOX news, CNN news? A life changing experience or tragedy, like a flood, a child with asthma, a religious awakening, a health ordeal? Who knows.

Having mentioned Health just there, here are a couple of points to emphasize how we are manipulated by polls or by statements that when repeated over and over become "true", even though if we spent just a few minutes thinking about them or researching them they are obviously blatantly untrue. Just as something advertised repeatedly on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines becomes "True", just by it's repetition, so do statements that if we engaged our brains for a few minutes it would be evident to us that they are untrue. I refer to such statements as, "Don't take away my health care." or "The death panels will kill off the old and sick." By repeating these silly things over and over people believe them and will defend them to the death, even though with few minutes of reflection by the average person they are obviously untrue. No such things may have ever been suggested by anyone, but by inventing them and then repeating them over and over, more and more people think that they have been proposed and are true. That is the power of suggestion, it doesn't matter how far out it is, if we want to, we will believe it. Believe me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More "Fun" with figures.

I wonder how Americans would view the various wars we are in if we knew how much they cost us? How does this sound - if the US goes to war then Congress shall impose a "war tax", this tax would reflect the cost of the war. So, lets say the Iraq and Afghan war is costing the US $200,000,000,000 - 200 Billion dollars a year (I've seen most estimates going from $160 billion to $300 billion, so lets use $200Billion) - with about 100, 000, 000 - 100 million - families in the US that's $2,000 per family per year. Instead of taxing each family $2,000 it would have to be some kind of graduated tax, otherwise the people making say $1,000,000 a year or $30,000,000 a year would not notice it. As the average families income is probably around $50,000 a $2,000 tax on the average family would be about 4% of income. So someone making $20,000 a year would have fork out $800 a year or $16 a week , which would hurt I'm sure. Someone making $100,000 would pay $4,000 and someone making $1,000,000 would pay $40,000. This would have the effect of showing us how much our war is costing us in dollars, we already know what it is costing us in the lives and blood of our children. How do you suppose that would go down when we can see the dollars coming right out of our pockets?

Reflections . . .

. . . in The Lake. What a beautiful Autumn morning. I got up early because when I looked out of our bedroom windows at The Lake, a scene of almost etheral beauty met my eyes. The Lake was as calm as I have ever seen it in our year and a quarter here. There was a layer of very low cloud that was maybe 30 feet above The Lake to about 50 feet above The Lake, so it was like a long low misty ribbon stretching from the left side to the right side of The Lake. At the right side there was also a hillock of cloud. It was incredible. I got up quietly and taking my camera went out to get some pictures. The Lake was so still that after I had taken the pictures I literally could not tell which way was up! Except that a couple of the pictures had a floating log in them and of course although The Lake was reflecting the sky he sky was not reflecting The Lake, so I knew that the side with the logs was The Lake! There were no signs of any birds, just me and The Lake and the magical cloud - which soon dispersed. The cool early morning makes the water of The Lake very clear and I was able to see the bottom and even the fish easily. I grabbed a rod that I keep on the pier and with the addition of a nice fat worm was able to pull in a big curious Yellow Perch. He, yes it was a he, will make a nice addition to the three fish that I caught over the last couple of days, for our dinner tonight. Ah, what could be more perfect, a beautiful Lake, with beautiful fish, cooked by my beautiful wife. I think I may be in heaven.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The eleventh hour . . .

Today is the day that they lay the wreaths to honor the dead of the First World War. The war ended of course on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. "The War to End All Wars."! Don't we wish! On that happy note, I'll end this sad post.

Lake Update.

We looked out at The Lake yesterday and saw two birds diving out in the middle. After watching for a few minutes two more appeared. At first we thought that they were Cormorants, but Julia, who has better long distance vision than I do, wasn't sure. Out came the binoculars and sure enough, they were some kind of duck. They had crests and white faces, but as I was unable to find the bird book I could not look them up. If anyone has any ideas about them let us know. When I find the book, I'll post their ID here.
Later on as I was checking my fishing rods the two Swans came up to the pier, they have been only occasional visitors to The Lake lately. We are hoping that they will be here for the winter as they were last year.
Most of the leaves are off of the trees on the far side of The Lake, but the trees on this side still seem to have quite a few left. I wonder why that is? They are the same kind of trees.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I find this disgraceful

The world is trying to put together a 'fix' for the problem of Global Warming, most countries are making a serious effort to combat what is obviously, to any thinking person, a problem. More on that later. But meanwhile, the UK for example has committed itself to reducing its carbon output by 34% by 2020 -by the use of 1.7 million electric cars plus the support structure for them, new nuclear plants, 8,000 windmills and 4 new coal fired plants with carbon capture technology, among other things. Other countries, such as Japan and most European countries are moving towards reducing the output of their carbon and other pollutants. Now I come to what I find shameful, the US has not got together on what they are going to put forward at the conference in Copenhagen in a few weeks. Not one Republican will sit down and discuss what they are going to talk about at this conference! Not one! Not a single Republican! It is disgraceful, we should be leading the way on this problem, not least because we are the biggest polluter out there, by far. But mainly because we SHOULD be leading the world in this and in every other thing out there. Instead the Republicans are so intent on destroying "Their enemy", the Democrats, that they don't seem to care about anything else - including their own country. If we can't lead, as we have been doing for the last 100 years, we will have to get out of the way and let someone else lead. And I for one don't relish that one little bit! While we fight among ourselves - not even us really, it's the polititions who can't agree on anything, except how to rob us. They are not doing their jobs, and because they are not doing their jobs we all have to suffer. And boy are we suffering - and still they don't care! Meanwhile other countries are doing what we should be leading the world in doing - trying to fix the mess that we are getting our world into by working towards methods of producing clean enrgy.

The US is the reason there probably won't be an agreement in Copenhagen, they are the furthest away from making any concessions or agreements than anyone else.

Now for my little 'tickler' on lines 2 and 3 above - 'more on that later.' As I said, anyone with even a few brain cells left MUST realize that the world has a problem here. I realize that brain cells are in short supply, unlike carbon dioxide, perhaps because of an excess of drugs - legal as well as illegal - and bad food. I was in Switzerland recently and saw the Glaciers that I saw 53 years ago when I was there. Well, barely saw them, they are mostly gone, that alone is enough evidence for me, but we also have missing glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, and the US, the arctic ice sheet is the thinnest in hundreds of years, permafrost is melting in Russia and Alaska - people are losing their homes in Alaska as they sink into mud that used to be frozen ground. Sea levels are rising. There is more evidence of global warming than would fit onto a hundred Blogs; but we have idiots out there who refuse to see it, saying instead that it is a 'cycle that happens' every few thousand years. But this is happening hundreds of times faster than it has ever happened before! And we ARE putting HUGE amounts of carbon into the atmosphere - we are burning the oil and coal that took millions of years to make, in less than a century, plus burning the forests - that would absorb some of the CO2 if we left some there to do it.) The seas are absorbing a tremendous amount of carbon, but they too are reaching their limit as they become more and more acid - to a point that soon they may not be able to support life. Maybe that's why I can't seem to catch any fish lately!

What's that someone just said? We ARE leading the world - in poisoning our seas, our air, our water, ourselves and our children. And come to think of it our banks too, and as with the banks and wall street, it is all in the name of greed. As I have said before, capitalism is fine, it's great and would work just great, if only capitalists weren't so greedy.

Food waste

No food waste this week, (except for that tomato that burrowed down and hid beneath all the others and then went bad!) As with all our "Food waste" it went to the chickens and they didn't even seem to notice that it was bad, instead they fell on it as if it were piece of prime beef.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eye Candy.

There are a lot of beautiful women and girls out there, they are Whitman's or Hershey's. But the real McCoy - the Ghiridelli or the Godiva or the Swiss or Belgian Chocolate if you will, is Julia. Whenever I see her beautiful face, even 47 years after I first saw it, it still makes my heart go pitter patter. Even when I tell her how beautiful she is and she scrunches up her nose & her eyes and makes her mouth & teeth look like a rabbit I still get excited; knowing that in a few seconds she will bring on that magical smile that goes right deep into my soul and makes my world Bright.


A good home is needed for three little kittens. These three lovely little balls of fur and fun are only three or four weeks old and in need of homes. Is there anyone out there who can help? We took in one, there were four, but our old cat would not stand for any more competition for Julia's attention. He is already most put out by the newcomer. So, please, can anyone out there in Blog Land find a place in their hearts for these little guys and girls who will put lots and lots of love, fun, amusement and amazement into your lives?

A Narrow Escape.

Or if you prefer "A Near Miss." Julia and I visited dear friends Judy & Charlie yesterday. We had a delicious Chinese meal, a most enjoyable visit, and once again they graciously allowed me to win at cards. When we left, laden down with 'goodies' for the chickens and some of Charlie's DVD's for us to watch, we headed out into the dark night - the clocks went back an hour two nights ago - and only about a half mile from their Condo the road went into some dense woods. We were barely into the woods when we saw a shadow flash across the road some distance in front of us. A deer we both said in unison. Slow down said Julia. I did and about 5 seconds later another deer leapt across in front of us, as I said, only missing us by inches (Julia said "No, it was only by centimeters") Whatever, it was close! I could not help thinking that had I not slowed, and it was not by much as I had only just removed my foot from the accelerator a few seconds before, we would have been 5 or 10 feet further along and the deer would have jumped right into the side of our car. It was a narrow escape indeed. We don't realize how numerous the deer are around here. When we reached our own neighborhood and drove down Bayside Beach Road I instinctively slowed down again, remembering the stories about the large numbers of deer on that road. One neighbor even said she had hit or been hit by deer three times since moving here while driving on Bayside Beach Road.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Naming the new family pet.

Our neighbors from across the road knocked at our door about a week ago. As soon as I pulled the door open, even before it was more than a few inches ajar, I saw it. It was a small kitten cradled gently in Christine's hands. Thinking quickly, but futilely, I slammed the door and turned both locks securely. But it was not to be, "Who is it?" said the love of my life - Julia. And soon the kitten was in the hands of the bane of my life - Julia. The kitten, maybe two weeks old, was, it is true, cute. But, it was still a kitten, and as such would need nurturing, feeding in the middle of the night, expensive food, doctoring and toys. But even more importantly it would distract Julia from me. I would become 'second fiddle', actually 'third fiddle' - I am already second in line for her affections to our number one cat, Rascal.

But, as all our friends know, I can deny Julia nothing. So, we now have number two cat - xxxx - (No name).

The naming process continues, it has been more than a week now and no consensus has appeared. The ritual for selecting a new Pope's name is long, but surely not as long as this?

I led off with what I thought was an ideal, surely never before used name for a cat , Gordon Bennett, but Julia immediately vetoed it, with a brisk, "It's a female." So I quickly countered with, "OK, how about Mrs Gordon Bennett?" This did not even garner a reply, merely a scornful look.

Over the next few days a selection of insipid names was suggested, mostly by Julia. Names like Emma. I had a 'Certainty' I thought, with Riley - seeing as she was living the life of Riley, but this again was firmly turned down with an undeniable, "There was an obnoxious boy at Gibson Island School - Sarah's first school - named Riley." The search continues.

Lake update.

There is a lot happening at The Lake. The Cormorants arrived over a period of two days, and left just as quickly. I think there is a dearth of fish in The Lake, I am catching very very few, so I suspect the Cormorants had the same problem. The Great Blue Heron continues with its presence, I see it - or them - frequently, and if I go outside at night, as often as not I will hear it honking as it takes off and flies off in the dark. It must have very sensitive hearing or sight, because it honks and takes off as soon as I get down the steps onto the lawn.
The two big beautiful white Swans have returned. We have missed them for some weeks now and wondered what had happened to them. Maybe they went away for their annual vacation? Or maybe not! Anyway they are back and a very welcome addition to our daily bird sightings. Also spotted lately are some Vultures, Osprey and the usual LBJ's - Little Brown Jobs - that are abundant in our little copse of trees and bushes right outside of our bedroom windows. They include, but are definitely not limited to, Blue Jays, Robins, Wood Doves, Wrens, Sparrows and a mess of other birds that I don't recognise.
The trees of course are an absolute picture, I can hardly believe the colors. Julia and I regularly go to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to see the Fall leaves, often taking grandson Bradley with us, but we really don't need to this year, I think that the colors here as just as breathtaking as any that Virginia has to offer, plus we have the water as well. In the mornings, and sometimes during the day, if the water is very still, we get a "double dip" when we see the trees in their wonderful colorful mantles not once but twice! The second time of course is when they appear upside down reflected in the mirror like surface of The Lake. Well I have to go and look at the view again - I cannot bear to be away from it for too long, in case I miss something.
Wish you would visit us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Banking Comment

Someone just said to me that the Bankers pay a lot of tax on their bonuses and that is tax that we don't have to pay!
Now, is it just me, or is that about the stupidest thing you have ever heard? At first - for perhaps a tenth of a second, or less - that might seem like a statement with some merit. Until the brain cells wake up and kick in and say, "Wait just a minute here, WE paid them their bonus in the first place, we'd be a lot better off if they (The Banks) had not taken it away from us and given it to themselves as bonuses." How did they take it from us? Well, if I make a deposit in my bank now, of say $1,000 or $50,000, it doesn't matter how much, the interest rate is .1% - one tenth of 1 percent! Meanwhile, they are getting at least 50 times as much, or more (5% would be 50 times) How would you like to make 50 times as much money as you make now? Then, if you use a credit card they charge the merchant from 2% to 5% up front - that is why merchants don't like them, and raise their prices to you to cover that charge - then the bank charges you somewhere around 15% interest (150 times what they pay you on your deposit). If you are late in paying them they will raise your rate to as much as 25% (250 times as much as they are paying you) Then of course, because they, "can't make a profit", they have to come up with even more innovative ways to make money (So they can pay themselves multimillion dollar bonuses on the, "profits they can't make") Those innovations are in the form of charges, for example annual fees for you to use the credit cards that they make such huge amounts of money on already and other fees to put and keep money in their banks! They are called bank charges. Fees to send money, these are huge - it can run into the hundreds of dollars for me to wire money to my parents in England - and they don't even need to use a stamp! They just send a 'wire', it probably takes a few seconds to enter it and tenths of a second to send it, along with hundreds or maybe thousands of others. When you exchange money, if you take a trip, again a huge fee, dollars to pounds can cost 5 or 10 percent of the money! (The exchange rate for a million dollars for example may be $1.60 to the pound, but if you are changing $300 they will charge maybe $1.80 for a pound, they will get that pound for $1.60 because by the time they exchange your money and the money of thousands of others they are exchanging millions of dollars - again with only the push of a few keys.) There are lots of other ways that they rob us, so they can give themselves multimillion dollar bonuses, on which they pay tax! One way is to loan out that money you put in their bank, more than once! Would you believe they have had the law changed so that they can loan your money out up to 40 times! So, if they give you .1% for your deposit and then loan it out to someone for a mortgage at 5% they are getting 50 times what they pay you- a good return you say? How about if they loan it out on credit cards, at 15%, other loans at 8%, more mortgages at 6% etc etc. Lets say they get "just" 5%, but do it 40 times, on the SAME money, that is a 200% return on your money or 2,000 times what they are paying you for it!!! No wonder they can pay them selves such huge bonuses. They say the bonuses are to keep 'good' talent. But even with this 'good' talent they went broke and had to ask Uncle Sam (You and me) for even more money! How good are these people, if they can't keep their banks afloat making hundreds of times what they are paying you for the money they use? Again, they want to be rewarded, hugely, for bringing the country to its knees. Anywhere else, and by anyone else, it would be called theft, pure and simple.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The Wall Street/Bankers debacle continues. The worlds greatest redistribution of wealth continues. Having taken almost all of our money for themselves I am now reading about how the Realtors, yacht brokers, expensive car dealers, private airplane sellers, jewellers etc etc are gearing up for big business when the bonuses arrive. While I am trying to figure out how keep my 20 year old car running, some banker is ordering another new Porsche with MY money. While I am trying to somehow make my mortgage payment this month, some banker is buying a $7 million penthouse in New York - for cash, with MY money. While my wife is in Goodwill or the Dollar Store looking for a pair of earrings, he is in Tiffany's, with MY money. When its time to eat - which we do twice a day now instead of three times, to save money, and have a nice glass of tap water with it, he is dining in style in a fancy restaurant with a $500.00 bottle of wine, with MY money. No doubt the expense account lunches are big too with their expensive bottles of Bordeaux, while my wife and I are wondering if we can afford to splurge $20.00 for a Birthday dinner out for the two of us!
If this is American style Capitalism something is wrong somewhere! Sounds more like Communism, where the Party Leaders had their second and third homes in the country, drove around in big chauffeur driven cars and ate out all the time and the Workers got the dregs. Here the Bankers have taken over the country, and all our money, like the Party Leaders did in Russia and we the Workers are left scratching around for a few crumbs. When are we going to wake up and get rid of these leeches? We should have let the Big Banks and their Fat Cats go to the wall. The same with Wall Street, the only thing that Wall Street does is give the Bankers and Stockbrokers a "legal" way to take our money. I don't think they even care if it is legal any more, they just take it.
(By the way, where I put MY money you can substitue OUR money if you like or the American peoples money. Because it sure doesn't belong to the "bar stewards" who brought the country to its knees! Why do they think they should be rewarded for doing that? Please answer that question for me.)
Capitalism is OK, the only problem with it is the Capitalists, it would work just fine if only they wern't so damn greedy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Update on the Cormorants.

A quick update on the "Cormorant Invasion". As we peer through the thick sheets of rain drifting across The Lake we can see a new Cormorant landing every minute or so. With groups of them spread out all over The Lake I now estimate their numbers at 50 to 100. They are a sight indeed as flotilla's of them cover every corner of The Lake. It is fascinating to see them as they cruise by, seemingly excited as they dive and pop up then dive again. I don't know if they are catching anything or the huge number of dives they are making are because they are not making any catches. Interesting. Well we are heading out into this mess now to visit friends.

I was wondering .. . .

. . . . the other day, why very few people leave a comment on my Blog, so I asked a friend who has left comments on occasion and he said, and I quote, "It's because you have to be smart to leave a comment."
So I checked it out. After checking it out, I discovered that you do indeed have to be at least marginally intelligent to leave a comment. No comment. (Incidentally, a friends 8 year was able to leave a comment!)

The Cormorants have arrived!

There has been a lone Cormorant checking out The Lake for the last week or so. I thought we might escape the huge influx of them that we had this Spring and last Fall, but looking out just a few minutes ago through the windows blurred by rain we saw about 30 to 50 of them right outside the house, just beyond our pier. I guessed at 30 to 50 because it is impossible to count them, they are in a constant state of flux as they are all diving and coming back up again in a constant round of excited gusto. There is absolutely no attempt by them at being tidy, they just go down and come up without even trying to be neat and tidy so that I can count them! How thoughtless of them. They have no consideration of my helplessness as I try in vain to get some kind of accurate count. But I'm afraid the 30 to 50 is the best that I can do for now. I seem to remember in the Spring that I had days when 50 to 100 was the best that I could do. If the number of fish that I have been able to catch in the last few weeks is anything to go by, they will all be gone by the end of the day!
The rain continues to fall, it began early in the afternoon of last Wednesday and has not stopped at all since. Our neighbor Christine informed me solemnly that, "It is a Nor'easter, and they always last for 3 days." When I called her today to tell her that she must be mistaken and that Nor'easters must last 4 or even 5 days she quite blithely said, "It must be two Nor'easters back to back!" Unlike me, some people think very quickly, or perhaps she is right. Who knows. Anyway we have at least 4 inches of rain in the bucket outside - my informal rain gauge - and this in only 3 or 4 days. We had point 12 inches of rain in the first 14 days of October, that is just over one tenth of an inch! But I am happy to see this rain as I spread a lot of grass seed onto the bare patches in our lawn in mid September. As we had no rain after that either, I used the sprinkler to get them moving, but became disenchanted and lazy after a few sessions and no sign of any seedlings. Now I am hopeful that we will finally see a thick green lawn gracing our front and rear deserts.
I will let you know if this happens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More "Fun" with numbers.

"Fun" because this is not really fun. I just heard that our thieves on Wall Street are to get $140 Billion dollars in bonuses this year! A record!! Their reckless greed brought the World's economy to it's knees, but apparently it is "Business as usual" on Wall Street as they are determined to rape us yet again. Is there anyone out there who can tell me why these complete failures in the "Art" of money management should be rewarded for that failure? They have done their "Jobs" worse than anyone else in any business in the history of the world (With the possible exception of politicians precipitating World Wars 1 & 2 and a host of other wars - but that is another story) and for this failure they are rewarded with impossibly huge sums of money - many of them with more money in one bonus check, than I and most of us will earn in our lifetimes, for failing!
Going to some numbers here - do you realize that if that $140 Billion dollars were to be shared among the 14 million unemployed in this country, (many, maybe even the majority of them put out of work by the monsters in Wall Street who robbed us all blind), that each one of those unemployed would get about $10,000? Instead, the thieving looters of Wall Street get it.
They get OUR money. Yep, that's right, we gave up, in many cases, like us, all of our life's savings, to be given to the bankers, wankers, brokers, etc who ruined our economy. How do we think we will ever be able to control them if not only are they allowed to take TRILLIONS of dollars from us, but having taken it they blatantly hand it out to all their buddies right in front of our noses, and announce it in the media!!! They must be laughing so hard. Obviously they have no intention of straightening out. Having taken everything that we put into their banks and brokerage houses for "Safekeeping" for our old age, and then given it all to themselves, so that there was nothing left, what did they do? They went to the government, cap in hand and asked for more. Our wimpy government gave it to them. They then give us and the government the finger, take the money and replace the money that they stole from the banks. Now what do they do? Not what any halfway decent, reasonable person would do - breathe a sigh of relief, mend their ways and put things straight. No they IMMEDIATELY start to steal it all again!! They must think we are the idiots that we are. Obviously if they don't even have the self control to at least wait a little while before robbing us again they have no intention of straightening themselves out. Instead they intend taking every last penny, leaving nothing for us pee ons. This money should be repaid to us, the American taxpayer, that it was stolen from by these greedmongers.
Why am I so upset? Because like many of my friends and acquaintances they stole way more than we could afford, in our case close to a million dollars, all of our savings and IRA's and most of the equity in our home. We are now in the position of having two mortgages, being unable to sell our old house in spite of having dropped its price almost in half, and thus sending all of our income and then some, to the same banks that already took everything that we had saved by working hard for over 50 years. And then to add even more insult, having worked for over 50 years, lived frugally and saved everything we could for our retirement , as they urged us to do, we are unable to enjoy the fruits of our hard work and frugality. Instead I have had to return to work. Where I will doubtlessly spend the rest of my days laboring to earn money to give to those heartless bastards on Wall Street.
Sometimes I think to myself, "David, you went into the wrong business, you should have gone into banking. But then I realize that I just don't have what it takes to steal millions and billions and trillions of dollars from my friends, neighbors, relatives, children, parents, and virtually everyone on the planet! I just couldn't do it. And I don't understand how they can. And having done it, and got away with it, they are about to do it to us again!"
I hope they can't sleep, I certainly can't.
Well I guess its back to work, or they'll be knocking on my door asking for that $20 bill that I just hid in my sock.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunsets, Sunsets, Sunsets

As I have said many times in the past about the Sunsets over The Lake, each one is better than the last! As we have been here for more than a year now, can you believe that, this is obviously getting to be an impossibility. But at least I can say with absolute accuracy, "They are all different." The last few day's sunsets have brought back the possibility of each one being better than the last. They have been amazing. From the comfort of the living or bedroom they are fascinating, but when you go out onto the deck the colors are even bigger and wider. Then when you go down the steps to the "Great outdoors" or even onto the pier, where you are also surrounded by the sights and sounds of the water, it is truly AWESOME. It is hard to come up with the right words, or even close to the right words, it is as if you are right in the middle of this Astonishing, Amazing, Stunning Event. I would even be tempted to use the word Miracle - those of you who know me, know that the use of this word is reserved by me for the few real miracles that have happened in my life. (For the curious, they include my wife Julia my Daughter Sarah and my Grandsons. There have been a few other world shattering events in my long life, but the time left on this blog is too short to elaborate any more.)
Go and see a sunset - or come here and enjoy one/some of ours with me and a good beer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

More fun with numbers, climate change and the UK.

I am proud to announce that my birth country, the UK, is the only country in the World so far, to have committed to a plan for reducing carbon emissions - reducing CO2. Their committed plans are to reduce their CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020. The plans include:-
1.7 million electric cars, and the infrastructure to support them.
Insulate at least 10 million homes.
2 new nuclear plants.
4 new coal fired plants with carbon capture and storage technology.
8,000 windmills
Reduce CO2 emissions from producing a KW of electricity from 540 gms to 300 gms.

CO2 production is dropping at about 1/2 to 1% per year at present, HOWEVER this is nowhere near enough to meet the current goals, and it has most likely been achieved simply by reduced industrial output and consumption due to the present economic slump!
Doubtless as CO2 production is dropping (Due to the economy) I predict that calls will be made to reduce efforts to reduce CO2, "Because it is dropping"!
In fact scientists are saying that the 34% goal is way too low a target - we need to at least double that target!!
Food for thought? (And remember the UK is the ONLY country in the WORLD to have committed to reduce its carbon emissions, and agreed to put those reductions into place, and actually started to act on them.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another lovely day at The Lake.

It's been another lovely day at The Lake. Actually it's been really nice for several days, we have had a bit of an Indian Summer here, although there have been a lot of quite strong winds. Today, while I was talking to my friend John Hergenroeder on the phone, I saw a big white Egret come in and land right at the edge of The Lake, not even 100 feet from where I was standing on our deck. Then, a few minutes later an Osprey dived in on the other side of The Lake and came up with a fish dinner - more than I've been able to do lately. I've been most unlucky with fishing. But we have caught a few crabs, Bradley is going to come over next Friday and join us in a crab "feast". I say "feast" because we have 8 crabs right now, so even if I catch a few more it is unlikely that we will have more than 3 or 4 each. Part of the trick is keeping them alive for another 6 days, you have to feed them or they will eat each other! And not catching any fish, there isn't much to feed them. Still while talking to John I spotted a Cormorant cruising and diving in The Lake, I hope he is not the reason why I am not catching any fish. And finally just before I hung up the phone, a Great Blue Heron flew across our pier as about 10 or 15 Canada Geese landed, I think they may have disturbed him and caused him to fly off. The weather is just about perfect at 70 degrees and sunny all day. This morning early, The Lake was almost like a mirror, as it often is early, but it is soon covered with small waves as the wind picks up. We are quite sheltered from the winds here. When over at our neighbors opposite who live on The Bay it is often very windy there while over at The Lake, only a hundred yards away, the leaves are barely moving. As I said to Julia, the love of my life, this morning as we lay in bed and gazed at the smooth Lake, the trees changing into their fall colors, the morning sun painting the grasses and trees opposite in pure gold and listened to the birds singing to us - "Just another day in Paradise."
Come visit us.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Food waste

Once again food waste in our household is minimal. It is getting hard to find "Treats" for our chickens. Every morning when I go out there to open them up they come running over to me and race up and down the fence excitedly. It is so nice to see 'someone' who is happy to see me! And they are so grateful for the meager treats that I give them - egg shells, (Broken up so they don't recognize them!) chicken bones after we have boiled them to death for soup, fish bones, tomatoes that have gone bad, carrot tops, cut up banana skins, left over cat food, corn after we have finished it - they get something off of it. A couple of days ago we had a crab "feast", the "feast" consisted of about three crabs each, there are not a lot of crabs in our Lake, but every couple of weeks we have a feast of 3 or 4 crabs each. They make a nice h'ordoevre to a meal. The chickens love to get the crab debris, they eat all the lungs, guts and every little scrap of meat that we missed.They love every little tit bit that I hand them. Fortunately we have friends who are not so frugal as we are and when they come over we hand them some eggs and they hand us bags of goodies for the chickens. A fair exchange.
If you are into trying for zero food waste go over to and check out her blog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fun with numbers.

Most of you know that I enjoy having fun with numbers. I have always enjoyed math and numbers.
Many of you will enjoy this little bit of fun. Some won't. But here goes anyway. Our Galaxy, The Milky Way Galaxy, contains a lot of stars, so many in fact that it is impossible to count them all. I have seen estimates of "At least 100 Billion" and also "200 to 400 Billion". Notice that the number is in the Billions - not Millions! Some other Galaxies are bigger than ours and some are smaller. Some of the biggest contain a Trillion or more stars! Lets use 200 Billion as an average number.
Now, most stars that we have been able to 'see' closely have had planets revolving around them. Several planets around each star, so there are probably many more planets than stars. Now for some estimates. It seems to me that at least 1 star in a million would have a planet with intelligent life on it. After all at least one planet out of 8 of this star has intelligent life, if you can classify us as intelligent, some would question that remark, but for the sake of our estimate lets say we are intelligent. At least we are sentient. So, with one intelligent life form in every million stars (Personally I think there are probably a LOT more than that) there would be about 200,000 intelligent life forms in just our Galaxy. That is in one Galaxy! But, there are AT LEAST 100 BILLION Galaxies out there!!! So, all you budding mathematicians out there, multiply 200,000 by 100 billion! Got the answer yet? Me neither. Well lets try, 100 Billion times 200,000 is 200 times 100 trillion. What comes after trillion? I guess it is quadrillion, so the answer would be 20 quadrillion, a number beyond our concept. But that would be an estimate for the number of intelligent races in the known universe, not the number of stars or planets, that would be at least a million times more than 20 quadrillion. No, I am talking the number of planets with intelligent life. Sobering isn't it? If each one of those planets had 6 billion people on it . . . well do a bit more math to come up with an even bigger number!
Assuming that God rules all of those people, Heaven must be really crowded!
Lets go back and say that I was over optimistic with the number of intelligent races in each Galaxy. Lets get really ridiculous and say that there is only one intelligent race per Galaxy. Surely an impossibly small number, one intelligent race on all the planets of all the 200 Billion stars in our Galaxy! OK, with that estimate there are still 100 Billion intelligent races! One for each of the 100 Billion Galaxies in the known Universe!!
Earlier this year some scientists trained the Hubble Space Telescope on a bit of the sky that is completely empty, black, no sign of any stars. This little piece of sky is the size of a grain of sand held at arms length. Try it, pretend to hold a grain of sand up and imagine the piece of sky that the scientists trained the telescope on. They are not even sure why they did it. They left the telescope for ten days - to gather any stray rays of light or whatever might be there. When they checked the results they found, are you ready for this? 10,000 GALAXIES there! 10,000 Galaxies in that tiny spot of sky, not stars, Galaxies, each containing on average 200 Billion stars!
Now, these intelligences out there, are they smarter or dumber than us? Using averages or Bell curves or any other method you care to I would say half are less and half are more intelligent! Certainly some must be more intelligent, WOW.
Hope you enjoyed my little bit of fun.
P.S. Someone who multiplied that number earlier - the number of stars in each Galaxy times the number of Galaxies came up with a number that, he says, is larger than that of all the grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. Try to imagine that, one star for every grain of sand on every beach in the world. I can't even imagine it for just our little beach at our local park! Think of all the sand on all those beaches in Hawaii and all those lovely beaches along the California coast. And don't forget Florida, and I'm sure there are a lot of beaches in Europe and Africa and S.America, all of them with a whole lot of sand on them! That's a lot of stars. Well, it gives you something to think about while you sit on the toilet or watch the evening news or drink a beer and watch the sun set.
Night, night, sleep tight.

Friday, October 2, 2009

News from The Lake.

Fall is arriving at The Lake, yesterday some Canada Geese flew in. They left shortly afterwards, maybe to check out other nearby locations to spend their winter, but I am confident that they will return. I cannot imagine them finding a lovelier place. The leaves are starting to change - not quite up to Shenandoah standards, but we have our own understated standards on The Lake - not that "Brash, over the top brightness" of Canada either! The fish and crabs seem to be deserting us, no doubt heading for the warm depths of the Chesapeake Bay, which is a shame as we will miss our weekly fish dinner from The Lake, not to mention the monthly crab "Feasts". Our "Crab Feasts" were usually of 3 or 4 crabs each for the two of us - there are not a whole lot of crabs in The Lake - but they make a nice hor'doevre to start a fish dinner! But when the crabs and fish go the birds arrive, so I mustn't be too sad. Our beautiful birds are a delight to watch and I could spend hours doing just that, if only I didn't have to work!
In other news, I now have my first fan, and a fabulous fan she is too. She spoke glowingly of my writings - and didn't even ask me for a loan! The very first person ever tell me that, and I quote here "You write very well" I also seem to remember something about talent, heartfelt descriptions, great knack, you should consider writing a book etc. And as I said before, she did not ask me for a loan, so it must be true, right?
Well more to follow later from The Lake as winter approaches.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Health Insurance.

More stuff about a National Health Insurance. Apart from saving the 30% administration costs of the insurance companies, in favor of the 4% administration costs of a National Health system, we could also save the 20 or 30 million dollars that your insurance company pays its CEO! Then there is the one treatment in five that is turned down by your insurance company. It is expensive to maintain a huge team whose sole purpose is to find reasons to turn down the treatment that you need. Why not spend that money to treat you? The big insurance companies are in it strictly for profit. (No other civilized country in the world has a for profit Health Insurance BUSINESS.) Every claim that they pay comes right off of their bottom line - out of their profit. Why would they want to pay? Why are we the only country in the world that makes a profit out of your being sick? 45,000 people a year die in the US because they don't have health insurance, 700,000 people a year go bankrupt in the US because of health care costs. They don't allow you to go without health care or to go bankrupt because of health care costs in Europe.
I'm sure everyone is saying "We don't want Socialised medicine". Why? I'll tell you why, because there are hundreds of lobbyists in Washington whose sole purpose in life is to distribute money to Congressmen to get them to keep the Health Insurance BUSINESS in business and to basically tell lies about National Health Insurance in other countries so that the fat cat CEO's can continue to rip us off and collect their tens of millions of dollars in pay. Health Insurance Companies spend $1.4 million dollars per DAY lobbying against National Health Insurance. 75% of Americans are in favor of it.
The National Health Insurance in Canada, UK, France, Germany etc treat their citizens for less than half what the US spends per person. AND they all have a longer life expectancy than we in the US have! Out of the top 50 countries with the longest life expectancies in the world the US ranks 50th! For infant mortality we are 33rd! This is with by far the most expensive health care in the world!!
Even Cuba has a longer life expectancy and a lower infant mortality rate. They spend approx $250.00 per person per year (All of their citizens are covered) while the US spends approx $16,000 per person per year (About 85% are covered) I don't think that I would want to live in Cuba! But if all of their citizens have National Health Insurance at a reasonable rate, why can't the US?
The reason is the For Profit Health Insurance BUSINESS, not satisfied with the exorbitant profits and salaries that they were making ten years ago their profits have increased by over 400% since then. We have the right to a good "free" education in the US but apparently we don't have the right to a good "free" health care. Surely that is as important as education? To repeat - the only country that makes a PROFIT, and a HUGE one out of our being sick. Your being ill. or any member of your family being ill, can cost you everything that you have worked for and accumulated your whole life, 700,000 families a year bankrupted by health care costs. It is wrong, WRONG, WRONG. There is hardly any attempt to keep us healthy, why try to keep people healthy when you make more money out them being sick? In Europe the Doctors are encouraged to keep their patients healthy, they get paid more if they have healthy patients!


At what point does the poisoning of our air, our water and our bodies by industry, for their huge profits, become murder?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Socialised Medicine"

I have to admit that do not understand the problem with "Socialised Medicine". With my present Health Insurance the Administration costs are 30%, if I am already sick I cannot get coverage, if I get sick I can be dropped. Whereas with "Socialised Medicine" if I have been sick I am covered, if I get sick I don't have to worry about getting dropped and I get treated. Oh yes and Administration costs are around 4%. Where is the problem? And by the way the National Health treatment costs in Europe and Canada are about half of what the US spends per person for treatment!

Now everyone knows that the US has the best, and the most expensive, health care in the world. (We spend more than twice as much per person as Europe does.) But at least we know that we have the best care and therefore the longest life expectancy, right? Whoops, on a list of the 50 countries with the longest life expectancy, we are . . . . . 50th!! How can that be? I don't know, but at least we are slightly better in the infant mortality rate . . . 33rd out of 50, below Slovenia, way below Cuba and of course below all the European countries - who all have the "Socialised Health Care" that we don't want anything to do with here under any circumstances! Why not? Apparently if we used their system we could expect to live longer healthier lives, at a cost of half of what we now pay! I guess we just don't want those Big Health Executives and their Big Health Businesses to lose their billions of dollars in profits.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Food waste

As usual we had no food waste this week - when you keep chickens there is virtually never any waste! In fact I have to scrape around very carefully to find any treats to give them. I almost hope sometimes that something will get dropped on the floor and have to go into "The chickens pot". We have a cat, he is old and gets a lot of canned food, unlike us he is very wasteful and rarely eats all of his food! The chickens LOVE cat food, sometimes I am afraid that they will kill each other for it!!! The only thing that they love more than cat food is chicken scraps. After we have finished with a chicken Julia will put all the remains into a pot and boil the heck out of it to make soup or stock. What is left goes to the chickens, they love it. Same with the remains after we have had a meal of fried chicken, they will always find a few pieces that we missed. Last week we had crabs (From our pier - who can afford $60 for a dozen large crabs?) all the scraps go into the chicken run and they gobble up all that yucky mustard, the lungs, the guts, and every tiny piece of meat that was missed. Same with fish, also caught at our pier, when the meal is finished the skin and bones go in and in return we get a big thank you in the form of much clucking, scratching and egg laying. There is never any waste from our garden either, they love those tomatoes that are past their best or have been badly pecked by the birds, the lettuce that went to seed - a treat made for a king, or a chicken! All the carrot tops, beet skins, reject spinach leaves, seeds from the cantaloupes and squash, a cucumber that was left too long, they appreciate them all.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Presidents speech.

Our children will be taught by men and women, blacks and whites, gays and straights, conservatives and liberals and every other possible combination. It is OUR job to live the lives that we want our children to live. If we are thieves, the chances are that our children will be thieves. If we are risk takers or prudent or surly or brash or decent, kind, caring, tolerant human beings the chances are our children will have at least some of those traits. We are all exposed, or should be, to all kinds of views and will make up our own minds based on our own experiences. The best we can hope for, is that if we show enough of our values to them, our children will reflect at least some of those values. The only thing we can do is live our lives as well and as responsibly as we can so that some of that will rub off onto our children. It's the best that we can hope for. Hysterical rantings about a President who wants to give a speech encouraging children to stay in school, work hard, get as good an education as possible and try, try, try, is not going to be looked upon favorably by an intelligent child. Anymore than shouting and ranting to the media that they don't want the President asking children to write an essay about how they can help their President. (Which seems like a perfectly reasonable request to me - maybe they are upset that the last President didn't make a similar request?)
Saying that students should not be allowed to listen to their President is unbelievable. What are they afraid of? That he will make more sense than they do? Many previous Presidents have spoken to our children before, there has never been this kind of hysteria before. George Bush was reading to children when 9-11 happened (Did everyone get to vet what he was reading to them?) and he thought it was so important that he continued reading to them even after he had been told about the attacks!
If you don't like his views (After you have listened to them - because like most people's views if you really listen to them, they make sense.) you have ample opportunity to give your children your views. It will make more impression on them too if you just give your views and let the child make up his own mind. Ranting and raving, spewing invectives of hate and being out of control will not impress a smart kid. You live with your children and have many hours to show them how to live.
We can say to our children, "I think you are great, stay in school, work hard, I think you can do better than I did." What is wrong with other people, especially the President reinforcing that message. I can't understand anyone being upset about that. It's the President of the United States talking to our kids about their education for goodness sake.
The only political part of this speech is by the people who hate Obama. Maybe some people are upset because Obama is proof that even a poor person can become the President if he works hard enough!

I'm adding to this on 9/8/09 to repeat what I said earlier in the text of my Blog - our children learn from us, we may be surprised at just what and how much. These things may come up later in life and surprise us! Don't be surprised if your child cheats if you did, they will have learnt that from you! If it's OK for you to cheat, they learned, then it's OK for them. It is also quite amazing how many children of people who committed suicide commit suicide themselves. If it's OK for Mum/Dad to commit suicide then it must be OK for me. Think about that when you are planning to "End it all", as someone told me recently they were thinking of doing, you might be telling your kids that it's OK to do the same.
So, to reiterate, your kids learn the most from you, don't worry too much about what they learn from others, there is really very little you can do about the all pervasive media, except instill your own good teachings and hope that you did a good job. (Apparently I did an excellent job, about the best job on anything that I have done in my life! Either that or she is so smart that she figured it all out for herself!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

We're Back.

We have just returned from 3 weeks in Europe - most spent in the UK. A couple of things to report - we usually fly British Airways and this time was no exception. Julia and I have been flying for 45 years, ever since our first flight to Yugoslavia in 1964, on our honeymoon. In all of that time I estimate that we have made more than 400 flights. For the first time ever, in all of those flights we were given an upgrade! Not much of one its true, but an upgrade never-the-less. British Airways has four classes - first there is "Cattle Class", which they call "World Traveller", then there is "World Traveller Plus", then "Business Class" and finally "First Class". We were upgraded to "World Traveller Plus". The one we usually frequent, World Traveller, is 7 seats across on this plane, the World Traveller Plus is 6 seats across, giving a slightly wider seat, plus they are further apart which gives more legroom too. All very welcome, especially as we had to sit on the runway for an hour before we took off. Getting off in Baltimore was nice too because we were one of the first off and we were very early in line for Customs. Of course having got to the luggage early and then picking up the first 3 of our 4 bags we then had to wait until almost all of the bags were delivered before we got our last bag! But, glad to be back, and to have Sarah pick us up, and to get back to our lovely new home on The Lake, which we had missed. In all of the years that we have been travelling, neither of us can remember missing our home, until now. We both missed home this time, which just goes to show you how much we love this place.
Second thing, it has been almost two years since we were last in the UK, the longest period in some time between trips due to our house building, Julia's new knee and all the problems with the builder etc. Anyway, one of the things that I noticed about the UK this trip was - all the fat people! I guess it has been happening slowly over the years but it seemed to be more noticeable this time, partly because of the longer break since we've been there I'm sure, but also partly because they ARE fatter! Especially the women. We hear about the number of obese people in the US, but I really think there are more in the UK now! This brings me to my theory about their added weight. During our stay we visited two or three supermarkets near my parents house and I was reminded of the choices available in the British supermarkets. Hard as it may be to believe, the variety of choices there are three or four times as many as in a supermarket here. I don't know how they get through their shopping - there are SO many choices. For example, I happen to like marmalade, my supermarket here has maybe 6 different ones to choose from, there, I could probably choose from 30 or 40 different ones! All the supermarkets that we went into baked their own bread, there simply wasn't enough time in the day to look at all the different breads available. Same with cookies, there had to be a hundred different, at least, and I am not lying! It was the same with everything, a hundred different cheeses? Every fruit or vegetable you can think of from every part of the world. Chocolate, I must have spent a half hour looking at them all, in the end I couldn't decide which one to buy, so I bought a half dozen! There is no way most people have the time to look at all the choices, if you need to buy 10 items you have hundreds to look at and decide amongst. So, my theory is that a lot of people can't decide, so they do what I did and buy several! Then they eat them all! The thin people are probably either very busy or have no imagination and buy the same thing every week without looking at anything else.
Just a thought.
We are happy to be back and looking forward to getting together with our friends and neighbors.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cash for clunkers.

Just a thought but it seems to me that the reason for the Cash for Clunkers program is to help reduce our use of oil and therefore our dependence on foreign oil.
To this end something like the following would seem to make sense. Using 18 mpg as a base - which they are using now - how about if you were to get a refund of $1,000 if you bought a new car that got 10 mpg more than the base, $2,000 for a car with 20 mpg over the base, $3,000 for 30 mpg over and $4,000 for 40 mpg over the base (Or 58 mpg, not sure if that is available yet or not.) This way we would get more value for money by encouraging people to get the more gas efficient cars on the road. Just a thought.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Health Insurance.

A touchy and complicated subject, why would you want to even go there David? Maybe because I have a new idea! At least I have never heard any one bring this up.
First, lets cover the main points real fast. When I was in business for myself and raking in the princely sum of $50,000 a year - most years - for working 60 to 80 hours and 6 days per week, I was paying $1,000 a month for health insurance for my wife and myself. That amounted to 24% of our income (and doesn't include the deductibles, for doctor and hospital and medicines. So it was actually more than 24% of our income.) Now that we are retired we pay $96 Medicare and $32 for drug coverage each - $128 a month each. That comes out of my wife's SS of $660 - so that's 19% of her income, and $128 out of my $1700 is about 8% of my income. Again it does not include deductibles on Dr. Hosp. and Rx. So the lowest I've paid in the last 30 years or so is 8% of my income in Health Ins and usually two or three times as much, or more.
If the US went to a National Health Insurance, everyone would need to pay in depending on their income. The simple number to pick out of the air would be 10%, seems reasonable, or actually low based on my experience. But lets use it. So using my income - before I was retired of $50,000, I'd pay $5,000 or $417 a month. - a lot less than the $12,000/yr or $1,000/mo that I was paying, so I'd be happy. Some pay less now, so they'd be unhappy, I guess. But maybe not, if they earn say $30,000 they'd be paying $3,000 a year or $250 per month - real low!
Now for my big idea. I think that the people who cause the expensive medical care should pay their share. I am referring to manufacturers who make defective products that cause injuries, illnesses and deaths. Why should they not pay their fair share? Lets take a small example, and here I will have to use some figures that I am pulling out of the air, they seem reasonable to me, and I'm sure someone smarter than me could verify or put them in perspective. Now follow me closely here. Lawnmower accidents, lets say there are 100,000 per year and it costs the hospital $1,000 on average to fix up each injury. That's 100 million dollars. Now, how many lawnmowers are sold a year? Lets guess 10 million. So, if we tax each lawn mower a $10 'Health Ins Charge', we collect 100 million dollars - enough to cover the medical costs incurred by the manufacturers machines. The manufacturers meanwhile can say, "We don't want our machines to cost an extra $10 each, what can we do?" Well what they can do is design their machines to be safer and cause less injuries. Lets say they do that and in a couple of years lawnmower injuries drop in half to 50,000 a year, the Health Ins Charge could then be dropped to $5 per machine.
We can check with the Hospitals to see what are the most dangerous things that cause the most injuries, illnesses and deaths and are the most expensive. Why should these things not pay for the misery and expense they cause? They make their living, and profit from them and it is in their power to reduce those costs and I'm sure if it was financially profitable to them they would. Other items that come immediately to mind are :- Chain Saws, Cars, Cigarettes, Guns, Alcohol, Soda's, Fast Foods, Fat Foods, I'm sure there a few more. That Health Ins Charge - which is within the makers power to reduce, and if they did would be win/win/win situation for everyone involved, would go to the National Health Insurance to help reduce every ones premiums.
There are probably a couple of other place to pull money into the National Health Ins Fund without too much pain. Lets see, how about a tax on gambling etc, the good old sin taxes, or add 1% to the sales tax of every State, they can collect it - it shouldn't cost a lot more for them to collect as they already do it, and then they send in the 1% to the National Health Ins Fund every week or month. A lot cheaper than the Feds setting up a whole new Federal Sales Tax and it would only tax money that was spent (Not incomes, savings etc) Of course there would be a deductible - say $10 when you visit a Doctor, $10 for a Rx, otherwise people would go to the Doctor for a band aid or a bottle of Aspirin. We would also be collecting money from 47 million more people than we are now - the 47 million uninsured Americans, and we'd be collecting from the rich people too, someone making a million dollars a year would be contributing $100,000! Someone making $20,000 would be contributing $2,000 - seems fair to me.
It would probably be possible to reduce the 10% National Health Ins Tax by using those suggestions, maybe considerably - to 8% say or even 6%.
Comments please.