More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Predictions For 2015

2014 turned out to be a bit of a tumultuous year to say the least. There was quite a lot that happened, the most recent big deal being the race riots in Ferguson and New York. We finally saw some major relief in gas prices, giving Americans a little bit of extra spending cash—especially during the holidays. Jobs growth also picked up a bit towards the end with the unemployment rate finally dropping below 6% (the U-6 rate notwithstanding of course).

So what will see in 2015? Here are a few of my predictions for what to expect. These are of course opinions, but I have done a bit of homework to come up with these. Will they all come true? Of course not. These are predictions, and if I could actually predict anything with any accuracy assured I would be predicting the winning combination of lottery numbers.

But of course.

So onward and upward, and without further ado, here is what I think will be happening in the coming year. Some good, some bad, some downright ugly.

  • Unemployment numbers will remain in the 5%-6% range for the better part of the year, but 2015 will see record jobs growth numbers. I actually put the unemployment number at the close of 2015 around 5.2%.
  • Gas prices will remain lower up to around mid-summer when there will be a bit of a surge in demand. I see 2015 oil prices remaining stressed, and will likely hover around $75-$80 per barrel.
  • With republicans back in power I believe that the Keystone Pipeline deal may be back on the table, but even if anything makes it to President Obama's desk, he will veto it. The Keystone Pipeline, however, will become a big part of the next presidential campaign, and actually believe that both the republican and democratic candidates will be in favor of approving it.
  • U.S. auto sales will post record numbers. Ford Motor Company and Toyota will lead the pack.
  • GDP growth will rise by 3.2%.
  • Russia's economy will fall into a depression, and Japan's economy will remain in a recession. However, Japan will pull into a recovery towards the end of 2015. China will grow, as will most of the rest of the developed world economically.
  • Iran will develop a nuclear weapon. However, I think there will be enough force to prevent them from actually using it.
  • The GOP will see a young newcomer emerge who will have a strong chance at the nomination who restores conservative values of the republican party.
  • Housing prices and inventories of existing homes will remain stagnant. But new starts will see a rise with more builders looking to build "affordable" housing.
  • The Fed will end quantitative easing.
  • The DOW will continue to see record growth and will close 2015 around 21,000 points. I predict a correction in 2016 however, but not a significant one.
  • Discount retailers will see declines in sales while higher end chains will see increases. I also see entertainment and restaurant stocks increasing significantly in value in 2015. State casinos will see their biggest drop in revenue in ten years by the end of 2015 as consumers shift their spending. Las Vegas, however will have a record year as will Atlantic City.
  • Cuba's economy will see record growth, and Cuba will begin to develop a tourism industry in 2015 with the help of American investors. Although full tourism in Cuba won't be realized until 2016-2017. Incidentally I think Cuba may also experience a regime change.
  • President Obama will by executive order increase the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.
  • Actor and comedian Bill Cosby will be indicted on rape charges and will shock the nation by going to jail. It will be the trial of the century, and perhaps the biggest news story of 2015.
  • Bill O'Reilly will remain the #1 cable TV news show on television, but will announce his retirement towards the end of 2015.
So there you have it. These are my predictions. I think it will be interesting to take another look at all of these at the end of 2015 and see which ones came true, if any of them. Some of them I obviously do not want to happen, but sometimes it is not what you want to happen, but what is likely to happen that matters. Onward and upward, and I shall see you all on the other side.

Happy New Year to all of my faithful readers.

Term Limits Are The Informed Voter

The fact is that most voters are simply not paying attention to what goes on with their elected officials, and that's how so many bad players on both political sides continue to keep their elected seats time and time again, election after election. Many people have called for, and continue to call for term limits.
 
We're tired of career politicians in this country. It's time to set a limit on how long anyone can serve, and that will right the ship for America.
 
I disagree. What will right the ship for America are not term limits, but informed voters. I know that the latter is harder to come by, and so perhaps that might be one reason to consider that term limits might counter the effect of the uninformed voter.
 
Still, I subscribe to one school of thought. I don't care how long a politician serves so long as they are doing right by their constituents. It's not the good players that need to be unseated. It's the bad players that need to be unseated. Most of the time the bad players stay elected.
 
So many Americans become entrenched in things that simply do not matter. They spend their time learning about their favorite actors and singers, their favorite sports players, the latest technological gadget that is coming out, but when it comes to who's who and who's doing what in Congress or The Senate, or even at their own local level, people turn a blind eye.
 
It's a scary trend in America for guys like me who strongly feel that America is losing its edge, and definitely sees the country headed in the wrong direction. Worst of all, uninformed voters also suffer another deep rooted problem.
 
The inability to think things through.
 
People tend to take what sounds good and take it as the gospel. Taking a little time to think about things like unintended consequences, for example, is rarely ever done. Taxes are a huge example of this. People tend to think of the rich as greedy, evil people who have no concern whatsoever for those on the lower rungs of the ladder. People fail to understand the most basic concepts of economics, and when they clamor for higher taxes on the rich and higher taxes for corporations, what they don't realize is that they are actually clamoring for lower wages, higher prices, reduced benefits, and less jobs.
 
Businesses do not pay their expenses. They recoup them. Taxes are an expense. They will be recouped.
 
Worst of all, people who enter the political arena aren't necessarily stupid even if they are often times misguided. But one thing does ring true. They have an agenda, and they know that most Americans won't be paying attention.
 
This puts us on a very dangerous path.
 
As to how we get more people involved in politics, I really don't know what the solution is. Some people, no matter how much you try to convince them of the importance of their direct involvement in politics, simply aren't going to get it.
 
It's boring. It doesn't affect me. My voice doesn't matter. The system is rigged. There is no such thing as an honest politician so why bother?
 
At some point I think as a nation we have to start becoming more involved. We need to better understand the impact of decisions that are made that dictate our laws. We need to think about all of the facets of any decision made, and the consequences of what even sounds like a great idea on its surface.
 
And vote armed with information. Not ideology, and not based on just the talking points. But based on facts. Based on results. And based on clear failures.
 
We don't need term limits. We just need to get the electorate to pull their heads out of their asses is all. That would solve the problem for the most part. That said, I realize it's probably a pie in the sky idea.
 



Monday, December 29, 2014

If Only It Were True, Ford

Those were the sentiments of a lot of fans of Ford Motor Company when an April Fool's prank was pulled earlier this year announcing that Ford would be bringing back its Ford Bronco in 2016 after being out of production for the past 20 years.

If only it were true, Ford.

If you followed the hoax, it was fairly elaborately done, complete with exterior design photos like the one you see here. But there were interior photos as well which looked fairly authentic. The SUV/SVT was dubbed a concept vehicle but would actually be produced, according to the prank report.

Ford has denied the claim, saying that they have no plans to bring back the Ford Bronco anytime soon. However, they have said that they are looking at introducing the Troller, which is a popular off-road vehicle in Brazil, which Ford Motor Company owns.

Troller was founded in 1995 and was eventually bought by Ford Motor Company in 2007.

The biggest hurdle for introduction of the Troller into the United States are getting past safety standards, which are less stringent in Brazil. But be assured, Ford Motor Company is no newcomer to the world of vehicle safety, and if they really do intend to bring the Troller to the U.S. auto market, you can bet they can get this done, and probably in relatively short order.

Even if the idea of the Ford Bronco revisited seems like it could be a good idea for the company's bottom line, it also seems to be a bit "outside of the realm" of what Ford Motor company has been trying to do with their company since the recession hit, and that is to streamline their business, and reduce their product lines. The short and skinny for me is that the Ford Bronco would not be different enough than it's current other SUV counterparts in the Ford line like the Expedition and the Explorer to make sense.

The Troller on the other hand does seem to be a bit of a smarter choice. The thing is, it kind of resembles a Jeep Wrangler, and there are two things noteworthy when it comes to Jeeps. They are wildly popular, and there are currently no real contenders in the marketplace in their space.

Right now there is no definite timeline in place as to when Troller's may roll onto U.S. shores, or even whether they will wear the Troller badge or the Ford badge. But as far as the Bronco is concerned, it's a nice idea and nothing more. For now.




A Smoking Stock

It happens to almost all investors, and most of the time not due to any lack of due dilligence—sometimes you just miss something. Take tobacco stocks, which despite all of the efforts of the government and other groups to shutter the doors of the "evil" tobacco companies, has been unsuccessful. The stocks have burned through all of the hurdles, and have soared.

If you owned just Altria, for example, one of the best performing of all tobacco stocks, in the last 30 years or so your investment would have grown over 15,000%, or roughly 500% a year on average. That's a return any investor could certainly be happy about since most investors are used to around 10% being a fair annual return on their money.

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course. You can't get mad when you miss something, although you can be disappointed. I am disappointed. Partly because I did own this stock at least twice earlier on and took profits early on as well. But at least I can marvel at the remarkable money that can be made from time to time through investing. There were Altrias before Altria, and there will be Altrias after Altria.

Look at IBM's heyday. Or how about Microsoft or Google? Hell, even Berkshire Hathaway.

Am I saying that Altria is a company to buy now? Certainly not. All of the indicators seem to suggest that the course has been run, and Altria has really become a value play. Some might even argue calling it that might be overly optimistic as some are predicting a decline in the tobacco industry.

The point here is that there are smoking stocks all over the place, and they have come many times in the history of the stock market. You cannot predict who will be the next big winner. But just knowing that it is possible to latch onto one, even if it just a stroke of pure luck? That makes any play in the markets interesting, and even enticing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Calling All Tabbers

This is an original song I wrote back in 2005 which was released in 2014 on iTunes and Amazon MP3 among some other places. I am curious to know if anyone can make a tab for this song? The song is called 102 Idle Stones. Why do I want someone to tab it? I am curious to see what those tabs may look like. Tabbers are awesome people. They take a song they hear and like and they tab what they believe they hear.

I am curious to see what the interpretation of the song might be among the tabbers of the world. You can post it anywhere you want, just let me know where to find it. Curiosity killed the cat.

102 Idle Stones

Saturday, December 27, 2014

MegaMillions At $172 Million

The lottery is one of those things that people either love, or hate, or perhaps even love to hate. The fact is that the odds are terribly stacked against the average player. Still, I have to look at a couple of things whenever I consider whether or not it is worth forking over a buck or two and playing. One big one for me is the fact that somebody has to win. And in many ways, despite the terrible odds against me, it causes me to consider that playing is indeed worth my money, and worth my time.

Of course, like anything having to do with gambling, or even socking money into a speculative stock market investment, the risk can only be taken if it happens to be money you can afford to lose. If it's down to putting gas in the tank, or food on the table versus buying a lottery ticket, of course you choose the former over the latter.

Another fact I consider are statistics that were compiled by TLC's docuseries How The Lottery Changed My Life. It happens to be a fascinating thing to watch by the way, especially when you see certain people who wound up winning a fortune, only to wind up broke due to a variety of factors, but mostly due to poor money management.

That goes in hand with something I have always believed, and that is that the rich get richer because they know how to be rich, and the poor get poorer because they don't know how to get rich. That is sometimes thought to be a bit of a controversial statement. But think of all of the rich who lost it all on a bad business deal, only to make millions on a good one? Or how about all of the musicians and sports players who made fortunes, only to wind up broke in the end? If you don't know what you are doing when it comes to money, any amount of money will not make a bit of difference in the end.

What did TLC find? The fact is that the lottery, for all its naysayers, creates roughly 1,600 new millionaires every single year. Breaking the math down a bit further that is roughly 4 new millionaires created every single day of the year.

Granted, billions of tickets are sold each year, and so while that does make 1,600 millionaires seem like a pittance compared, that's still a lot of people coming into new money just because they forked over a dollar or two to play the lottery.

The MegaMillions next drawing is worth $172 million. Even the Powerball is worth $110 million in tonight's drawing. You can bet I'll be playing. And of course, I don't expect to win. But since somebody must win, if there is any chance that that someone could be me, I have to have a ticket in my hand to be a possible winner. As the old saying goes, you cannot win if you do not play. And after all, what's a buck?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lower Gas Prices Will Spike The Economy

When it comes to oil, as a general rule, there is one big factor that I consider. Oil is deeply embedded in the entire United States economy. For that reason, when oil prices, and especially prices at the pump, reach new low levels, I think the overall impact on the economy is potentially great.

This becomes more pronounced when we think about how much of a negative impact high gas prices have had on the average American family in the past five or so years. Pumping up to get to point B drains spendable cash from the pockets of consumers, and this has an effect on the entire economy. Especially where discretionary spending is concerned. But let's not forget that all of the products we buy must get to point B as well, and much of that transport of goods happens using gas.

It is uncertain how long gas prices, or the price of oil in general, will remain lower. But at least in the short term, the impact of low gas prices in the economy could help to lift up many companies that would be direct beneficiaries of the decline in oil prices.

Those would be the places where discretionary money would most likely be spent.

Companies to look at to invest in the decline in oil prices? Retail outlets, especially those that are a step above stores like Walmart, The Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General. Starbucks is definitely one place that could see more customers willing to spend some of their newfound extra cash on a cup of premium coffee. Restaurants and entertainment venues will fare well as well.

Of course, all of this fresh cash entering the overall economy will have another effect as well. That is, it will help to bolster demand, and that of course can lead to more jobs. Even if oil prices ramp up again, ideally more Americans will be back to work, and the economy will better be able to sustain itself going forward. This recent decline in oil prices, if you ask me, is at the right time, and just what the doctor ordered.

Meg Myers' Desire

I was reminded the other day that much of what we once thought of as alternative music, which is still generally referred to as that, is not really all that much alternative anymore. This style of music has literally made its way into the mainstream.

I still don't call it pop however. I still find that the style of the music is distinct. It's still alternative to me.

One of the newer songs to catch my attention is one from Meg Myers, who by the way happens to be quite beautiful as well, Have you seen her video for her song Desire? Quite eye catching actually if you know what I mean.

The song has a strong driving beat, and I quite like the way that the low E piano note bangs at the end of what is a powerful, but simple riff which drives the song to its crescendo.

"Desire, I'm hungry. How do you want me, how do you want me."
The song has a driving rock beat, using a drop D tuning which gives the guitar and bass combination a gruffy growl which just goes right to the gut of the listener. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being horrible and 10 being holy crap that's awesome! I give Meg Myers' Desire a solid 8. It's a fun song to play if you like to play guitar, and it's a fantastically good song to listen to. Whenever it comes on the radio, the volume mysteriously ramps up in the car.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Restoring The Springboard 2015

My blog here has become a bit muddled, befuddled, and I will readily admit, off topic. Not sure where that trend started. But this blog was supposed to be about money, politics, and the random thought. The random thought seems to have overrun my recent posts.

So, there are a couple changes I intend to make going into 2015.

1) I am going to post here more often. The old saying goes that the more updated a site is the more traffic it generates. Since WebAnswers stopped being a big money maker, my Google AdSense earnings have fallen off dramatically.

2) I am going to restore my blog to its original intention for content. I will write about money, politics, and still include the random thought. But I will have much less random thoughts  thrown into the mix.

3) I will promote The Springboard more, along with my Bubblews posts and now Elitevisitors posts.

All in all I want to see 2015 be a good year for The Springboard. I thought about starting a new blog, something that would mimic what I did on Bubblews and call it something like Chatterbox or something like that. And I may still try something like that out. But for the most part I just want to restore at least this blog to some of it's "roots."

The rest of my 2014 posts will just be to get back into the habit of posting regularly. But after January 1st, it's back to business. Time to get The Springboard back on track. Onward and upward and I shall see you all on the other side.

Merry Christmas Dear Readers

To all who have come by for a read here, I wish you all the best this Christmas Eve and into Christmas tomorrow. I realize that The Springboard has become quite a bit different than when I started writing on here. So, my apologies in advance if it has become a bit boring. Perhaps that should be my New Year's resolution? Return The Springboard to money and politics and forget all the other stuff.

Of course, writing on Bubblews and the money that could be made there did keep my away from here a bit, and helped to form a change in course as to the content I provide here.

In any event, I again thank all of my faithful readers for continuing to stop in in any event, and no matter the content. It has been another fun year, and I look forward to the next. May your day be filled with cheer and joy with family and loved ones this holiday season.

Onward and upward, Merry Christmas, and Merry Christmas Eve to all.

A New Writing Site In Revenue Sharing

Revenue sharing is not over and done with just yet. In fact, there seems to be more and more of these types of sites cropping up all the time. From the old days of sites like HubPages, to WebAnswers, and the slowly dying Bubblews, revenue sharing, and more particularly revenue sharing in what is essentially not content driven anymore, but social media driven, is still a huge draw.

Part of the reason is that in these types of circles, one does not need to be a writer per se. One can easily share what they are doing for their day, share personal experiences, or just interact in similar ways that we find ourselves doing on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The big difference, and bigger draw is that you can get paid while doing it.

One such revenue sharing site which is relatively new to the scene, but drawing lots of attention, especially from former writers at Bubblews, is Elitevisitors. The concept is simple, and slightly different than Bubblews, but essentially the same.

You write, you read, you like, you comment, you get paid.

If this sort of thing is your thing, checking out Elitevisitors may be well worth your time. It's too early to tell exactly what the future of Elitevisitors may be. But so far I like it, and think it can stuixck around for a while so long as people enjoy spending time there, and so long as the site administrators don't screw it up.

Visit Elitevistors to see what all the hype is about.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Two Cents On Daily Two Cents

For whatever reason, I simply cannot use the site. I know there are plenty of folks out there having no trouble at all. I can tell by the fact that they have posts up to read. However, for me, I simply cannot stay logged in, cannot upload pictures, and cannot upload posts.

Not sure exactly what the problem is.

So for now, unless I can come to a major revelation as to what I am doing wrong, I am going to give Daily Two Cents a solid thumbs down, and am going to quit before I even get started over there. On to something else.

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jingle Bells Goes Crazy

One of the fun things about the Internet is that it is, somewhat, anonymous. You can share anything at all and everything at once, embarrassing or not. At the end of the day, who cares? It is all content. People watch, read, and listen to crazy things. Why NOT put oneself out there for the masses to simply enjoy, or laugh at.

What does one have to lose?

Not a damn thing. That's what it really boils down to doesn't it? To that end I like to do cover songs, and some original songs from time to time. Although I have not done anything new for a while. This song, my rendition of the traditional Christmas tune, "Jingle Bells," was recorded back in 2002. Just me, my guitar, and my sense of humor.

Enjoy, have a good laugh, provide positive or insulting feedback. At the end of the day I don't care. It's gobs of fun to share.

https://soundcloud.com/porwest/funnyjinglebell

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chives Or Lobster?

That's right. You heard the question correctly. Chives or lobster? The reason I pose this very odd question? Did you know that McCormick sells a freeze dried chives container at Walmart that sells for...

Wait for it...

$492.96 PER POUND???

No my friends. That is not a typo. You read that number just as correctly as you read the question I posed in the title.

You have to say that seems a bit steep, no? I mean, since when is a chive, freeze dried or otherwise, ever worth nearly $500 per pound? I would venture to say right here and now, for the record, that there is never a time when chives are worth that.

Pot growers stand up and take notice. There is new crop out there you can grow. AND IT IS LEGAL TOO!

No more need to worry about the bad boys from the ATF knocking at your door, or coming to your crop fields looking to burn down your crops and haul you off to jail in handcuffs. Now you have chives!

So, I ask the question? Chives or lobster. Because obviously lobster only runs about $30 per pound.

EXTRA, EXTRA! Obama's New Executive Order

Did you not see it? How in the world could you have missed it? President Obama has now seen fit to issue yet another of his executive orders. And this one is real humdinger mind you. The humdinger of humdingers.

What is it, you ask?

It has now been officially declared by executive order by President Obama that the Oval Office will now be the greens of our nations golf courses. Heck, that is where he spends all of his time in any event...and I do mean in any event.

Russia downs planes, attacks innocents in the Ukraine, Americans lie dead in the streets of Benghazi, the IRS targets conservatives, the NSA spies on Fox News (okay, that was unfair...reporters in general, but you know who they were after. Obama dissenters.), and the economy continues to tank, crumble, and implode...

But what a swing this guy's got!

Also signed into law by executive fiat is that Air Force One will now be a golf cart. To hell with needing something to fly to enemy States. Forget needing to get to the problem areas of the country, or important meetings with anyone that matters.

This guy needs to get the next hole, man!

Ass Kissers At Bubblews?

They are everywhere! We see them at work especially. Ass kissers. Those guys who have their noses so far up the boss' hindquarters you can tell by their smell what the boss had for lunch, and even dinner the previous day.

And at Bubblews, there are a few of those there as well. Of course there are. Like I said before. They are everywhere. Like flies congregating on a fresh kill. Ubiquitous.

Of course, Bubblews is having problems paying its members. And while I cannot beat the dead horse anymore than I already have many times in the past about the fact that like the site and like the concept, I also cannot simply discount the fact that fun aside, the site says it will pay its members.

And yet it does not.

Well, not always. They mostly pay their members. But the real problem is the why factor. That's the part that no one can get to the bottom of. And certainly the CEO Arvin Dixit isn't saying anything about it. He's as hush as a mute.

One member, who I am beginning to think is one of those Bubblews ass kissers I am worried about, Mike Pugh, says, "The Bubblews Team is working both night and day on these issues and due to the fact that so many countless redeem rewards were lost in the process of the cut over from the old Bubblews to the new Bubblews."

My question is where on Earth did he get that answer from? The Bubblews team? The CEO? The president of the company?

No one from the Bubblews team has said a word about payments, or how hard they are working at getting them processed and paid. No one.

Oh sure, the Learning Center on the site says payments may take up to 30 days, and even goes on to say that they plan on taking on more payment processors in the future. But let's be real here. The number of posts both within the Bubblews website, and outside the site are stacking up big time. People are not happy and they are saying so.

And Bubblews remains silent.

Mike Pugh goes on to tell us, "Many of us have tried contacting the Bubblews help email thingy. That didn't work, but I believe it shall begin to work soon for the folks who haven't violated the rules. It's just a matter of time before they catch up to your emails, and please for assistance. Hang in there folks!"

Sure. That sounds like a fine way to sort things out, now doesn't it? Your boat capsizes. A little birdy comes and assures you a rescue boat is coming. Don't try to swim your way to safety. Don't try to hold onto that capsized boat until rescue comes. Just lie there, floating and hoping.

You will not drown I promise you. The rescue boat is being launched any minute now. JUST HANG ON!

Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Pugh. Tread water till your heart is content or stopped for that matter. But I'm not going to take my chances.

So, this is not a life or death situation. Certainly it is not. But it is a situation, and one that has no explanation. So I voice about it. And so do others. Because it is something to be concerned about and is something to be explored, and questioned.

I am not an ass kisser. I feel no fear voicing my opinion. And voicing my opinion does not make a Bubblews hater out of me.

In fact I would go as far as to say that I am a Bubblews lover. I state my concerns because I am concerned. For the other members who clack away at the keys there. For the site that gives us a place to clack away at the keys.

The site says it will pay. When it does not it makes the whole point and the very site itself moot. And that means that the site will have difficulty treading its own water. I don't want Bubblews to drown. I want to be that rescue boat to help save them.

I will continue to beat the dead horse for as long as I can because I do care what happens. As for ass kissers? Well, we all know where they ultimately wind up when the company goes kaput!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bubblews Payment Issues

The worst press that Bubblews gets happens to be around payment issues. Pull up a search on Bubblews on Google or Bing and what you get on the first pages of results is nothing but bad press. Words like liars, cheaters, crooks, scammers, illegitimate, and not worth the time are in all of the titles and summaries. It is harder to find good press on Bubblews than bad press on Bubblews.

I like Bubblews, and I spend a lot of time there. That is without a doubt. I will also say that in the past I have never experienced any issues with getting paid by the site. In fact, my last redemption only took 28 days after a change in redemption time was announced to be around 30 days to get paid.

That all changed with a redemption I made on July 23rd for $53.10 which is, as of this writing, still missing. That puts that redemption at 43 days without having been paid.

In the Bubblews Learning Center the site says that payments may take up to 30 days. Where I come from up to means perhaps less than, but not more than. So 43 days is certainly outside the parameters of what they are claiming is the time it takes to process a payment once a member redeems.

I have two other pending redemptions; one made on the 7th of August, and another made on the 25th of August. I am set to redeem right now with over $60 in the bank. All said, the Bubblews website now owes me to the tune of $231. Not a lot of money by any stretch of the imagination. But certainly an amount worthy of my wanting to receive, and pay attention to.

The troubling part for me is that the CEO and president of the site regularly post articles. The CEO tends to do this more frequently than the president. They like to write about new features, and other developments for Bubblews members to enjoy. They write about inspiration, vision, and what Bubblews wants to be. But they never speak about missing payments, or on the fact that right now there are hundreds, if not thousands of members who have redemptions outstanding for well more than 30 days. Some have claimed to be waiting for nearly two months with no communication whatsoever from Bubblews about where their payments are. Or if they will be paid at all.

A site like Bubblews, which wants to change the face of social media, and have any prospect for a strong future need to be extremely engaged in the one thing that truly separates them from the competition.

That they pay their members.

When they do not, or when they do not pay in a timely fashion, and do not pay in accordance with their own parameters set by them in the Learning Center of their own site, this erases their niche. It makes their claim moot.

Worse, it causes members like me to speculate about where payments are. It causes members to make potentially false accusations. It causes members to write outside of Bubblews, and add to the throngs of negative press that overload any information someone might pull up on Bubblews while surfing the Internet. It causes members to question the integrity and legitimacy of the Bubblews website. It causes members to speculate on the integrity of the president and CEO of Bubblews, and it simply makes Bubblews look bad.

Whether the perceptions are true or not, Bubblews cannot escape the speculation if they continue to contribute to it directly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Biden Visits The Detroit Wasteland

It's a trap. That is, the unions. But Vice President Biden won't tell you that. Neither will Obama, or the entire democratic party. Because they don't want people to catch on. The truth is that Detroit us a wasteland in part due to unions who sought to siphon every penny they possibly could out of companies from wages, to benefits, to pensions and beyond.

Did anyone care to look at a balance sheet? Of course not. That would tell the real story about how much money a company could afford to pay its workers. And it would not fit the narrative that the unions wanted the workers to hear.

Companies are bad. CEOs are evil. Workers need protection from bad and evil and the unions will come to their rescue.

But they didn't, and that's the point. And one that so many workers missed then, and continue to miss today. When they think about the jobs they had that went away, they don't put the blame on the unions who essentially took those jobs away by making unreasonable and unfounded demands for more money that simply wasn't there to give. They blame it on the companies and the executives who had to make tough decisions according to what was best for the company to keep their doors open at some level.

That means shuttering some doors, and letting workers go. It is simple business. And it was the unions who caused this, and even the workers themselves. But again, that's not the story anyone will hear nor pay attention to.

So Biden made a trip to Detroit this past Labor Day to speak with workers in the wasteland, and what did he tell them? You deserve more. Forget the wasteland around you, toppled by insane demands and union work rules that made it nearly impossible for the companies to operate. Forget that in right to work states people have jobs, get paid well, and are doing well. No, workers deserve more.

But the proof that simply demanding more doesn't work doesn't matter anymore than the proof that higher taxes do not increase government revenues. They will go on and beating the dead horse until there is nothing left but dependents who will need the democrats to feed them, clothe them, and now take care of all of their medical needs.

Wake up America. Wake up workers. Let's figure out what "fair" really means instead of trying to make up a hogwash definition of it on our own.

Image is mine from my private collection © 2014

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Never Easy To Say Goodbye

Sneaky Bop
This morning I had to bury our dear friend and companion, Sneakers, affectionately known as Sneaky Bop, The Bop, The Bopster, and just simply Sneaky. It is never an easy thing to lose a family pet. After all, being with us every day and night, day in and day out, it is easy for them to carve out a very special place in one's heart, and make an indelible impression.

She was 16 years old, and while her passing still comes way too soon for us, we feel happy that she had a great and full life. She was very much loved, and will be very much missed.

I used to get irritated when she would sit beside me and beg as I ate. Now I will long to have that little set of green eyes staring up at me wantingly, her sweet meow, and when I wasn't offering some food, a few taps of her paw on the side of my leg.

Rest in peace Sneaky. We will miss you dearly.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Risqué Photos

Image is from Pixabay



One thing is true if you write online at all, you know that the image you choose for your work is probably just as important as the title and the text that follows. Which brings me to a picture I found while perusing Pixabay's offerings at the Bubblews website.
Obviously the picture depicts a naked girl lying on her side. But what I found interesting and shocking all at the same time was that in the lower regions, there was not a lot left to the imagination. The picture revealed a lot more than I thought it would.
Or that would certainly not be allowed on Bubblews, even though the site clearly allows Pixabay images, and this one came up within the Bubblews Pixabay photo search.
Of course, using the image here is perfectly fine. The site is mine. I essentially make the rules, with some exceptions being that the overall platform is still owned by Google, and I have AdSense to think about.
So at the end of the day when it comes to images, and whatever site you happen to be using them for, consideration of the rules of the site, and the nature of the audience should always be considered first and foremost. As SimeyC at Bubblews put it in his article Picture Choice: Use Common Sense it just makes sense.
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Free Images

There are a couple of places I like to use for royalty free photos. Mostly those would be Morguefile and Pixabay. But I also enjoy taking photos quite a lot, and decided a while back to post some of them to another blog, Springboard Images, and make them available free to use for anyone who writes blogs, posts articles on HubPages, Bubblews, or any other place one may seem fit to use them.

My only requirement, which is a simple one, is that the image credit be acknowledged. Seems to be win, win.

Granted, I don't have a lot of photos posted there, and unfortunately I have not found a way to offer a search function to more easily find photos one might be needing for their work. But I do encourage anyone looking for a few other public photos to take a quick peek and see if anything interests you.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

One For The Morning Barker

Browse Coffee Mugs
 
I can't tell you how many times I get pestered by the incessant and unrelenting morning barker before I have finished my first cup of very important morning coffee. I mean come on, man! My brain is not working without a hefty dose of caffeine coursing my veins, and of course my bloodshot eyes and that pulsing vein in the middle of my forehead should serve as enough warning that speaking to me at this critical time is almost unthinkable.
 
What is that old saying? You can't fix stupid. Or as a someone recently shared on Facebook, you don't want to try to reason with stupid people. We are not jackass whisperers after all.
 
So low and behold I found this sarcastic coffee mug on none other than Zazzle that I think would do a very good service to get my point across to these morning barkers. Let me finish my damn cup will you already?
 
I don't know. Think it will work? Perhaps unless the barker also happens to be illiterate.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hillary Not Fit To Lead

Soon the presidential election cycle will begin anew, and I think it will be a rather interesting election cycle to watch after what has clearly been a failed Obama presidency. Even people on the far left have to come to grips with the reality that the policies of this president have not worked.

What makes it interesting, in part, is that both sides of the political fence will be contending for their party's nomination. That means many people, both republican and democrat, will be tossing their hat into the ring vying for the top spot. The debates are the most interesting part of the equation for me.

Enter Hillary. Of course, it appears quite evident that not only will Hillary Clinton run for the democratic nomination, based on the hype surrounding her she could even get it. But she is clearly not fit to lead, and the glaring reason for that should be the tragic events that unfolded in Benghazi. If for no other reason, this event and the death of four Americans at her watch, and the fact that she did nothing to stop it, lied to the American people about what happened, and never truly provided answers to Congress when questioned about it, even being quite glib about the whole thing, this should bar her in the eyes of the public from ever holding the highest office in the land.

Still, Americans have been a bit asleep at the wheel, so it is anyone's guess whether Benghazi will have an impact on her chances at all. It certainly did not stop the American people from reelecting Barack Obama, and it well should have.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Manning Up

Sometimes it can be a really tough thing to do. To man up, that is. To admit that you are wrong. But we are all, at times wrong, even if in the heat of the moment we simply choose not to acknowledge that fact.
 
Enter the sauce. The problem with the Internet sometimes is that it allows us to have access to it any time, day or night, drunk or sober. And therein lies the problem.
 
Hey, even Geraldo Rivera posted some rather interesting photos of himself once, the result of which, he said, was due to a little too much time on the bottle. So it happens to the best of us.
 
And so it happens that I engaged in a discussion on my Facebook page which was clearly picking a fight, one which I got, and one which ultimately was even a contradiction to myself and my own thinking on the matter.
 
The auto company bailouts.
 
I'll admit, I am not a GM guy. I'm Ford all the way. And Ford has proven itself, in my opinion, to be far superior to GM in more ways than one as a company. But that really is a different argument entirely.
 
I wrote, "A Cadillac Escalade is about as impressive as a portrait of Barack Obama. My recommendation. Sell your Escalade for something American." The comment was derived a bit out of my discontent with GMs current problems not being forthcoming, allegedly, about issues with some of their cars. But I'll admit the comment was probably a little bit off base.
 
The argument that ensued became an argument against the bailouts. For the record, below, are links to the at least two blogs I wrote on this site about the issue, which clearly show that I was in favor of the bailouts. And for the record, my position on this has not changed.
 
So, this is my official attempt to man up, tell it like it is, and make a formal and public apology to the person with whom I engaged the discussion with. I walk away with my tail between my legs.
 
 

102 Idle Stones: A Release

Many people have hobbies. For some its doing a little bit of woodwork in the garage. For others it may be sketching with pencils, or oil painting on a canvass. For me, I like to play around with my guitar and a little bit of songwriting.

It's a hobby, and I would never rank myself high with the big boys in this arena, but still it can be quite fun and interesting to see the reaction  you get from your efforts—which surprisingly is more positive reaction than I would ever have imagined.

The world is full of people, and as such the world is full of a wide range of interests. People like what they like, and if enough people like what you do, there can be something in that for you.

To that end a song that I wrote and recorded back in 2005 is now available in a variety of online music stores like Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Rhapsody—even Xbox Music. I didn't even know you could buy music on an Xbox for crying out loud.

The release date for 102 Idle Stones, a song I put in the alternative category, was March 24, 2014.

102 Idle Stones by Jim Bauer at iTunes

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Is Bubblews Hard Up For Cash

If you have never heard of the website, Bubblews, perhaps it is time to give it a look. In fact, the site is actually a fairly good money maker if you happen to be one of those who likes to find new ways to make a little extra dough working online.

So, what is Bubblews? I tend to call it sort of like a Facebook on steroids type of a deal. You basically can write about anything you want, and you get paid one penny per view, one penny per like, and one penny per comment.

Not a bad deal.

That all out of the way, there is one thing that affects those pennies. A little glitch the site has from time to time that returns a message, "you already liked this news," even when you did not.

For quite some time that glitch disappeared, and thankfully so. But now it is back with a vengeance, which makes me think. Do they, Bubblews, know how to turn this on and off? Because these guys are programmers, right? They know their stuff when it comes to building and operating a website, right? This can't be that difficult of a bug to figure out...

Not if you know what you are doing. Which, as I've alluded to, I think they do.

So the question for me becomes, is Bubblews hard up for cash? Or is it more along the lines that they want to save a penny here and penny here for themselves and hide behind a glitch that can be turned on and off as easily as a light bulb?

One of two things has to be the answer, because the only alternative answer is that they are amateur programmers that don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. I'm trending toward the latter not being the case.

So, it is a great site that offers up interesting earnings opportunities. But I cannot help but think that something is rotten in Denmark when it comes to this glitch.

So, to those fine people over there who run Bubblews, let me also offer you a word of advice. You are a public site. And many of us write in more than one place than just there. You say you want to be the next Facebook or Twitter. That's a great idea, and I think they may have an opportunity to get at least close one day. But this will not be how to do it. Not with glitches that are annoying and that deny writers a penny here, and a penny there. And certainly not by not knowing how to fix a simple little coding problem.

When you eff it up, you will be called on it for the world to see. You want existing members to stick around and new members to show up, you better get it right. You better do your members right. Because the Internet universe is vast, and so long as I place the word Bubblews in anything I write outside of it, or anyone else for that matter, it could well find its way right underneath your own link to your own site. And it may just cause someone to think twice.

I'm just saying.