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, October 28, 2015

A Rebuttal to Comments Regarding Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items

After writing my commentary, "Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items," while I did not get many comments directly on my post, there were some "circles" of friends and family who wanted to provide a verbal rebuttal to my entire concept that time is money, and not taking the time to shop multiple stores, maintain an inventory, and forget convenience was simply wrong.

But you and your wife do not have kids. We do not have time to go to different stores. We cannot always shop price. We just need to get it done.

I can sympathize with that argument, and I can also appreciate it. But what does it really boil down to for me? And let's be clear that I am not trying to be argumentative or mean when I state this.

You are making this claim with very little true knowledge of the value of your money, and the value of your time.

I stated in my commentary that if the average person wasted an average of $1,000 every single year just to save time, and just for the sake of convenience, that if they made $15 an hour they would need to work an additional 67 hours each year to pay for the cost of just getting it done and saving time.

To that end I decided to break things down a bit more, simply because I was curious what the true cost of saving time happens to be. My numbers are slightly rough, but they also hold a lot of truth. My calculation here is as follows:

  • What if I wasted just a mere $1,000 each and every year for the next 30 years? If I would have instead put my waste into the markets, for example, and earned compounded interest at 5% year (a conservative figure based on historical results), how much more money might I have had? Or conversely, how much money did I actually potentially lose just to save time?
In 30 years you have of course wasted, at the bare minimum, $30,000. A small number. And let's keep in mind that the total waste not adhering to some of the ideas I presented in my "Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items" is actually significantly more than that for a very large number of people. The real number is probably somewhere around $3,000 - $7,000 a year of wasteful spending depending on your income, and the size of your household. Even those figures may be substantially conservative based on your own lifestyle, the types of products you buy, and of course whether or not you are buying brand name items or no-name items.

If you would have followed the principles, and instead of wasting the money at the cash register, put the money into the stock market, or a simple mutual fund that earned a very conservative 5% annually, at the end of 30 years that money would have accumulated to a whopping $66,643.82. Not only would one have wasted $30,000 in 30 years, their wasted money would have lost the opportunity to gain $36,643.82 of accumulated interest.

Again, more people waste more than $1,000 annually, so this number actually doubles and triples and quadruples. If we were take into account the real numbers we'd be looking at figures more around $266,575.28. If at the same time you were still sticking to your retirement goals it is easy to see how after a mere 30 years of working, following sound money management principles, being disciplined about your spending habits, and following a few simple extra steps to ensure that your money is spent wisely, justly, and with a well mapped out plan for at least the everyday spending, you could be looking at assets that top $1 million or more. Perhaps not quite enough to retire after 30 years of gainful employment. But surely much closer to the prize than if you simply decided you'd rather save time in the short term than save a TON of time in the long term.

Why do people fall into these traps? Why do people easily accept these "justifications?" Because they think in terms of the here and now. Because they do not run the numbers. Because they do not understand the basic idea of the intrinisic value of money. It is the fault of no one. They don't teach this stuff in school and most people don't take the time to learn it on their own.

There are other ways to consider how this $1,000 a year could be "reinvested" as well. One could pay down debts. One could pay down mortgages. Both of these things are also very good uses of the "found" money, and would significantly reduce the actual number of years you are required to work, and save you a massive amount of time overall.

The bottom line? The time you are saving today to make your life easier is costing you tens of thousands of dollars of more time working to make up for it in the end. If you are okay with that, then maintaining the status quo is fine. But the finish line comes up much sooner if you understand how money works, how waste affects you, and how convenience actually costs you more in the end.

It is said than an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That is disputable. But an hour extra a week could actually put retirement in your grasp YEARS earlier. I think the numbers I have presented here speak for themselves. There is much more to be gained by saving money than by saving time. I think that speaks for itself and the numbers make that all too clear. In my life saving time is worthless if in the end it costs me money...

And increases my working life.

Raising Wages Artificially Seriously Hurts Jobs—No One Gains

I am not sure if I remember exactly who first touted the $15 minimum wage, but the lawmakers sure have clung to that number with several cities in the US now implementing wage hikes. Bernie Sanders wants to be a champion for the middle class shouting in a Verizon picket line that "corporate America can't have it all." And Dan Price, a Seattle CEO of what was a successful company decided based on some pie-in-the-sky study of a "happiness factor" that his employees should make no less than $70k a year.

The truth is that all of these numbers, all of these promises, all of these demands, are simply done without any thought to who pays the cost ultimately of any of these types of decisions. When people shout out these talking points they are not considering facts such as how much money is really out there for the taking? What are the bottom lines of the companies? What do the balance sheets look like before and after an ultimate decision is made?

The end result, however, is clear. Loss of jobs essentially washing out any potential gain from increasing wages.

Less taxes will be collected, less wealth will be gained, and more doors of companies will be shuttered leaving behind it simply more ruin. Time and time again there are lawmakers and people in the voting public who simply do not understand the basics of economics, and the impact of arbitrarily pulling numbers out of their asses when it comes to what they believe everyone is entitled to. The way to boost the economy, and the way to boost people's wages ultimately is not simply by slapping a number down and saying "let's call it done." It is simply not how it works, and the proof is always in the pudding. People always suffer as a result of unintended consequences. Unfortunately these are the very people these decisions are designed to help.

I am not at all against people making more money. I say a company should pay their employees the most they can reasonably afford to pay. But it's not simply a matter of picking a number. It is a matter of looking at what is reasonable and it is a matter of hiking or paying wages that are conducive not only to the lifestyles of the employees, but to the continuity and profitability of the business as a whole. If people are laid off, if prices need to be raised, if benefits need to be reduced, this helps no one to accomplish the end goal of rising up the middle class and improving anyone's standard of living.

Just like in our own lives, creating artificial spending relief by adding credit cards to our wallet only prolongs the reality that we do not have the money to sustain what we want, a company cannot simply absorb demands without real money to satisfy them and have the expectation that this will somehow make-up for itself somewhere down the line.

When the bills come due, that is when reality sets in, and the smartest people in the crowd begin to realize you cannot create something out of thin air and expect it to work. Those who aren't the smartest in the crowd point to the greedy businesses and the rich as "screwing us over again."



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Grocery And Household Items

One of my secrets to having money has never been making a lot of money, although I have managed to make my fair share. My secret to having money lies in what I spend. Or, put another way, what I don't spend. And the cost savings are enormous. Aside from all the ways you can make more money than you earn from any job, such as concepts such as pay yourself first, investing in the stock market, contributing to IRA's, 401k's and other retirement plans, there is a ton to be gained by following a few simple rules when it comes to spending your money on the everyday things we need and that are the bulk of our daily expenditures. Groceries and household items.

  • Know your prices and establish a threshold price. In other words, what is the most you are willing to pay for any particular item? When an item is at or below your threshold price, stock up on it.
  • Forget brand names. Brand name items are products of marketing, not quality. Marketers will have you convinced that their product is better through marketing, but if you test off-brand products you will easily find they are comparable, if not better than any brand name items you have been convinced are superior.
  • Shop more than one store and DO NOT buy any item that does not meet your threshold price just because "you are there." If you are managing threshold prices properly, and stocking up on goods that meet your prices you should have plenty of supply on hand to wait for a good deal or when you might be at the store that has the best price.
If you are not running your household like a business runs its warehouse, you are doing it wrong. A business keeps a few key factors in mind. Cost of raw materials, upfront cost of supply, days-on-hand of supply, and of course, inventory management and control. If an airline sees oil prices are low, it will buy contracts for oil at current prices in larger number to ensure that tomorrow's cost of use of oil in jet fuel will be lower even if the price of oil rises and thusly the cost of jet fuel. The business has established a price threshold and will take advantage of low prices to save money in the future and it will stock up when the price is good. The same goes for producers that use sugar, corn, and other raw materials in their goods.

Many business also hire purchasing agents or purchasing managers whose sole job it is to buy raw materials and other products for businesses at the best price available and of course to shop the best price. You should be running your household the same way. Again, know your prices, maintain your inventory, and schedule your purchasing both on need AND price. If you are buying because you need it now, you are probably paying more for what you need by default. The cost of doing it this way is enormous.

Why do businesses do so well and make so much money? Because they know how to save and they know how to spend and they know where to buy and they know a good deal when they see it. That's not greed. That's business smarts. We should all be paying close attention to this when we run our household budgets for items that are key and regular items we use. If we are not, we are spending more money than is necessary.

To be very truthful, that is waste due to ignorance and laziness. No business succeeds using an ignorance and laziness model, so why should you?
  • But I do not have the time to do all of these things. I have a busy schedule, a busy life, and convenience is just better for me.
Consider this, if you will. One very simple question. Why is life so chaotic? Why is time so limited? In part it may well be that there are jobs to be shuffled in amongst the many other demands life has to offer. So what is the purpose of a job? To make money to maintain the living expenses and to maintain the household and to buy the groceries and household items that we need to get through it all. How much more time does the average person spend working to make the money to pay a higher price for goods to maintain the household due to lack of time to do the due dilligence? You would be surprised to learn that the numbers are in the thousands of dollars per year. We could actually maintain the same quality of life with less hours on the job and have more time to spend doing other things if we knew the cost of doing business without a plan. The dollars we spend over and above what we could spend if we maintained our households better equals many more hours at work to make up the difference. So therefore part of the reason we have to work long and hard hours is because we do not take the time to do the things that are essential to require less money to get it all done.

I harp on all of this because the key factors in longer hours at work, and higher need for credit use, is a simple misunderstanding of the cost incurred from ignorance and laziness to do these very simple things that could save us enormous amounts of money.

When I think of spending, or cost, I don't just look at it in terms of how much out of pocket it immediately costs me. I think of it in terms of time. How much time do I have to spend at work to make the money I am willing to pay over and above what my cheapest cost can be?

Let's say I make $15 an hour on my job. That's 25 cents per minute. I ask myself one simple question. Am I willing to spend four extra minutes at work to pay $1 more for what I am about to buy for convenience?

Pennies add up. And again, the amount we spend over and above what we could spend is actually in the thousands of dollars per year. In effect, if we ONLY spent $1,000 per year extra on things at $15 an hour, we would require an additional 67 hours to pay the difference. You have to ask yourself whether or not saving a little bit of time for convenience saves you 67 hours of additional labor hours to pay the difference.

Your chaos in life therefore may well be self inflicted by your spending habits and your desire to "save time" for convenience.

The problem with money that most people face in this world is a simple thing. They do not know what the cost of their decisions are. They do not know what the cost of their actions are. And they do not know how much time $1 equals. People look at the top line and the bottom line, and they fail to read between the lines. If I am getting by, what else matters? I just keep on keeping on. The cost of this logic is astronomical. The hours spent working by this logic is astronomical. The chaos in our lives, the accumulation of debt, and other factors are the key reason why so few get ahead and so may just get by. The fact is that we are always too focused on the here and now. We say we cannot afford to save, and we say we cannot afford to take the extra time to shop around and shop more than one store, and the biggest reason why that becomes the truth is because we have to work so much longer to make up the difference.

Part of what separates the haves from the have-nots is largely due to the ability of the haves to understand these very basic concepts and to capitalize on the them and ultimately, to benefit largely FROM them.

If you think life is tough and expensive, it is probably because you are working to pay for ignorance and laziness when you could be living well, saving money, spending less, and working less, and even maybe paying debts off sooner and be considering early retirement.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Danger of Talking Points in Elections

Democrats and liberals will often utter talking points, which on the surface sound fine. But rarely do they think through what the effect is ultimately of any of it. They simply drop their line, smile, and walk away feeling there is no reason to further explain. This is especially dangerous when these talking points are actually acted upon by our elected officials.

Take this democratic talking point as a case in point: "Everyone should have the ability to own a home."

On the surface it sounds wonderful and fair. Owning a home is the dream of a good many Americans, and in communities where people own their homes, the communities generally tend to thrive since there is a tighter bond between the real estate and the person who occupies it.

This talking point, and the action that was taken in support of it lead to the biggest financial decline in recent history and nearly caused an economic collapse.

Sure. The blame was placed on the big banks, Wall Street, and the rich. But the truth is that while there is some blame to lay there, a larger part of the blame lies on the politicians who signed into law the opportunity for people who could not otherwise afford homes to have them anyway.

Let's keep in mind that what the banks had to do in order for this to be possible was to have to take on enormous amounts of risk of capital. In answer to that they created credit default swaps and took on other measures which could not truly be valuated when all was said and done. When loans were called, no one had the money to pony any of it up.

Therefore the system fell apart.

The current lineup of democrats on the stage vying for the presidency are all spouting off talking points, and not a single one of them are backing up what they are saying, or explaining how they intend to do any of the things they say they want to. Americans are lapping it up like fresh milk to a cat. Granted, there are a handful of republicans doing the same thing. The difference is that most of the republican candidates are actually explaining how they intend to get something done, and stating the reasons behind why it must be done.

The key behind, for example, how the republicans intend to fix the economy? Jobs. And in one particular case, putting to task those countries that have for years siphoned off good jobs and unleveled the playing field when it comes to trade. Republicans know, and history shows clearly, that when Americans are working, and when the middle class is viable and strong, the economy thrives.

As for the democrats, they want to attack the so called evil rich who are simply counting their change and leaving everyone else behind with evil grins on their greedy faces. "Tax the fat cats. Pay their fair share. Close the gap between the rich and the poor."

The truth is that while this sounds fine on the surface, and I can certainly see where a good many Americans might be on board with this idea, it is a completely dangerous and counterproductive path to take.

When is the last time you received a paycheck from a poor man?

The rich are hard working people who build businesses and innovate products to sell to consumers not just here, but abroad. They are the machine that drives jobs which provide for the welfare of Americans. Yes the idea is to maximize profits. Sure, the playing field is a bit uneven. Yes the corporations have as much to be blamed for when it comes to how we lost those jobs as the government is to blame for opening trade in ways that allowed for it to happen, and which all but took away America's competitive edge, especially in the case of manufacturing. The heart and driver of the middle class in America.

What the republicans want to do is to restore manufacturing in the United States, and make it harder for countries like China and Mexico to provide cheaper labor which hurts American jobs. The republicans want to remove things like Most Favored Nation status and reinstate tariffs which were designed to even things out—a tariff on goods coming from China, for example, puts the cost of their products on par with the cost of making things at home in the U.S. Lacking a strong incentive for American businesses to get labor from China, they'd be more inclined to keep their shops open right here at home and keep Americans working in them at good and competitive wages.

The main thrust of this post is that at the end of the day as we approach the 2016 elections, we need to be paying attention to what is being said on both sides of the aisle. We need to not only hear the talking points. We need to be able to see the forest for the trees. We need to be able to read between the lines. We need to be able to consider the consequences—intended or unintended—when it comes to any decisions that might be made in consideration of what sounds good. As well, we need to fundamentally understand what has driven down our economy, and our standard of living. It has not been the rich. It has not been tax loopholes. It has largely been trade policy which has allowed for companies to provide jobs abroad and leave Americans behind, unable to compete. I will be fair and say that the republican party is largely to blame for this. But the fact is that they now see the harm it has done and want to set it straight while the democrats simply want to take from the rich to redistribute wealth without considering the impact of that, and without considering the benefits to restoring manufacturing, and restoring good paying jobs and the middle class to rebuild the country economically.

Why are the democrats so hell bent on focusing on welfare programs instead of jobs?

Because it equals more power for them to push their agendas through and hold the American people hostage. Americans who have more, have more power and control over their lives. Americans who have less become dependent on what the government can provide, and so the power is given to them, and the power of the American people erodes.

We are at a critical time in our nation's history. In order for us to get back on the right path, I think we need to stop listening and adhering to the talking points. We need to begin to dissect the talking points in a way we haven't done in a long while and begin to really get at the root of how we make America great again.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Benghazi Hearings Shed Light On Clinton's Viability

It's no secret that I am not a fan of Hilary Clinton. Still, unlike most democrats, republicans such as myself can be fair about the issues, the controversies, and the scandals. My take away from the recent congressional hearings with Mrs. Clinton regarding the entire Benghazi thing is that she was not hurt by the hearings, and the republicans missed an opportunity to bring to light what I think is one very important and crucial question.

Why did she choose to openly lie to the American people about the nature of the attack on the facility in Benghazi?

Because the fact that she did in fact lie is quite clear if anyone was paying an ounce of attention to the hearings. She told the American people that the attack in Benghazi was due to a video that riled the core of factions of terrorist groups. Yet at the same time confided to family members, the Egyptian prime minister and the Lybian president that it was a planned attack that had, in her words, nothing at all to do with any video.

The open question for me is did the video narrative come into play because we were two weeks from Obama's reelection campaign, and because he was campaigning that his war on terror was effective and was telling us that "Al-Qaeda is on the run," and the true facts of the attack would have squarely rendered those claims false, and could have had serious implications for Barack Obama winning a second term in office?

I think the answer is yes. She did not come out and say it. And unfortunately the republicans did not press the issue. But why should this be so important to anyone? Republican, democrat or independent? Because it should have people asking the question of what kind of a leader can we trust who puts politics before being truthful to the American people, especially in a case where four American lives were lost?

Quite clearly this should immediately disqualify her for ever holding the highest office in the land.

What else might she lie about? What kind of transparency can we expect? Do we want more secrecy in government, or less? Do we want a president who tells us one thing, and knows that what they are telling us is patently false? Or do we want a president who can be honest and forthcoming, even when the truth hurts?

I think the latter is what we truly want.

This is not to suggest that anyone in politics, on either side of the aisle, tells the truth one hundred percent of the time. We know this is not true at all. But it is when lives are at stake and when people have a right to know what we are doing, what is happening, and when politicians are reluctant to tell the truth because it might hurt their careers that we really have to start asking crucial questions and holding those politicians accountable for their actions.

Keep in mind that our system of government was never set up to protect our leaders. It was never set up to protect our elected officials. Our system of government was set up to protect the citizens of this country, and to protect those who we put in harms way on behalf of our government and for the protection of our people. If the American people do not hold Hilary Clinton accountable for outright lying for political gain then we have a serious problem in this country, and the country as a whole is in trouble.

Okay. So there is an underlying perspective that Hilary and Barack are not friends. Why would she be on board to lie and protect the president to win reelection? What would she have to gain?

For me this a very easy answer.

Quite simply, she wants her shot at the White House. She wanted it before Barack Obama became president and probably felt that the election should have been hers in the first place. If the truth about Benghazi would have come out at the time, it is quite possible that Barack Obama would have lost, Mitt Romney would have won, and due to her age, and the possibility that Romney could have remained in office for two terms, her chance to ever effectively run for the White House would likely never have happened.

She was protecting Barack Obama to ultimately protect herself and protect her chance at the presidency further down the road.

That should make anyone quite scared to have her in the Oval Office if you ask me. Her interests are not, and have not been the interests of the American people. Her interests at the core are hers alone. To advance herself to the White House and gain power. She will stop at nothing, as the Clintons have proven through the years, to get what she wants. And if it means outright lying or leaving people dead...let the bodies hit the floor. "What difference does it make?" She wants to be president. Nothing else matters. 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

After The First Democratic Debate

After watching the first democratic presidential debate on CNN it left me with one primary insight. For the first time in a long time, the GOP has a strong chance of actually winning the White House. Say what you will about the top contenders on the stage in the GOP primary race, but I think their message is stronger, is more resonant with the American people, and I think that the American people are tired with the failed policies of our current president, the democratic party leadership, and are ready once more to try something different for at least the next four years.

In a way, for all of the pull and tug of the democratic party to put Hilary Clinton front and center in the race, I think this has actually worked to greatly harm their chances. Hilary was a darling with The People for a time. That much is clear. But that love affair, if you want to call it that, is waning in the face of more scandal, and a much clearer picture of where president Barack Obama has left us—in muddy waters in nearly every single thing he has touched. So what you have in the field of runners are what I can only classify as terribly weak contenders. If there are any real hopefuls out there, they have largely stood in the shadows feeling as though they have no chance against Clinton, so why bother?

And by the way, what the hell is Lincoln Chaffee even doing in the race?

I have been a republican. I have been an independent. And now I am a proud democrat. What? So basically what you are telling the American people is you don't know a thing about where you stand, who you are, what you want to be, and if one thing is clear, if you can't make up your mind about what you want to be called, how the heck can we trust that you can make your mind up on any of the important issues you might face as the president?

Give me a break, dude.

As for Bernie Sanders, let's face it. He is simply cow-towing to a largely growing population of people who want something for nothing. But, what he and others in his party fail to understand when they try like hell to demonize the rich, is that a large part of the reason the poor have grown, the middle class have shrunk, and the rich have blossomed is due to the very policies they wish to advance and promote which have failed. The economy is in the dumps and people are feeling the pinch because the democratic party since Obama took office has not been able to take on the task of fixing the problem with the right approach. Rather than acknowledge that, the democratic party does what it always does. It points the finger at the republicans and of course, believe it or not, it's still Bush's fault.

If you wanted to use a word to describe what Bernie Sanders is proposing it could be bankruptcy. Why bankruptcy? Because it's what people resort to when all else is failed. Fuck it. I'm done. Time to tell everyone else to go fuck themselves too since I can't get it together on my own. Rather than dig deep into things like the state of jobs in America, the low labor participation rate, and the reasons why welfare recipients are more likely to sustain collecting benefits rather than go out and get a job and go it alone, the democrats—and Bernie specifically—just want to artificially lift the bottom rungs of the ladder because it happens to be the easiest answer for them. Capitalism is just an evil beast that much be destroyed.

Yet amazingly, the truth of the matter is, that had the United States not made it's economy largely capitalistic, we would never have become the nation that we are. Capitalism brought America to power, and the lack of it will bring the country to its knees. Is that what we really want? Is that what the democrats really want?

All in all I would call the debate interesting. Enlightening? Yes. But only because it confirms for me, and hopefully for a good many others that we cannot continue on the path we are on, and therefore we must look to someone on the other side to right the country, and get us back on a path forward. Not a single one of these candidates is worth a damn. Not a single one of these candidates is offering us anything solid in answers as to how we acknowledge what has not worked, and how we do something different to make it work going forward.

It is still a long road ahead to the White House. So long as the American people are tuned in and paying attention we have a shot at actually getting the hope and change we were historically promised nearly eight years ago. If their not, or if they are still in bankruptcy mode, we are doomed.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Studies Suggest Water Flowed on Mars

By and large, the more we learn from information gathered by the Mars rover Curiosity sampling the terrain and elements on Mars, the more interesting the story of Mars potentially becomes. Could there have once been life on the red planet? While scientists are still unsure whether any evidence directly points to the existence of life on Mars, there is certainly evidence to support the possibility.

It is believed that lakes and rivers once flowed on Mars for anywhere from 100 to 10,000 years, and that there may have been a common groundwater table on the red planet. Water, of course, has long been held as one of the primary foundations of life. Even the human body is comprised of roughly 60% water. So if water actually did exist at one time, the chance that life was able to develop on Mars becomes an even greater likelihood.

Granted, there is still quite a lot to be explored, and no one is saying for certain that there is any absolute proof that water or life ever existed on what is now a dry, cold, dusty terrain. But the prospect is both intriguing and fascinating. It also confirms for me the very real need to continue to explore space and planets in our solar system and beyond because really, in order for us to understand better our own origins and the development of life on Earth, we have to know what happened in the past and is happening in the present in the Universe, There are answers out there, and we should never stop the process of seeking them out.

Many have argued that space exploration is a waste of time and resources, and of course I disagree with this idea entirely. In fact, I would be for more funding to the space program. Not less. To that end I also think that the space program should be funded by multiple governments and through private donations—while the United Nations is definitely to my mind a waste of time, effort, and resources, I think NASA could perform well as an entity that has cooperation from many nations combined.

I have not been convinced of intelligent design theory, a tenet of theological explanations for the existence of the Earth, of the Universe, and of life itself. And so space exploration, for me, provides for a better understanding of the purpose of life, and the origins of life—answers that I seek on the order of natural selection or natural processes.

I look forward to even more being gleaned from our exploration of Mars, and I think any current findings will further fuel the desire to ramp up a manned mission to Mars so that we can gain even more valuable information that could provide some clues as to whether or not we are truly alone in the Universe.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Countdown to the End of the World

I keep looking to the sky. It is about to fall. Or at least according to the eBible Fellowship website it is. The last day is today. October 7, 2015. So I am writing this probably in vein since in about six hours the Earth as we know it will be no more. It will be annihilated.

In the words of the eBible Fellowship church founder, Chris McCann, "According to what the Bible is presenting it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away."

Of course we all know what happened with the Y2K thing (although it was not end of the world stuff). And incidentally there was that end of the Mayan calendar thing that said we'd be done for in 2012. There have been countless other predictions of doom in the past. God fearing men have walked the streets with signs saying the doom is nigh. None of these predictions has come to fruition since we happen to still be here making them. I suspect there will be more to come.

The simple truth is that you will be here tomorrow potentially reading this post over again. Life will go on as we know it. Nothing will change. Except for maybe the date of the prediction, or a hot air explanation as to why the prediction was wrong.

Like many things religious by the way.

While not all religious people are haphazardly crazy in their own way, believing in things like rising from the dead, walking on water, or making things out of nothing, there are a good many that are seeking their day of affirmation. They just want to have their entire pie in the sky beliefs confirmed, and what better way to do that than to experience the apocalypse. Or, as those religious folks like to call it, the day of reckoning.

Yeah, we are all doomed to have our heads lopped off and damned to whatever if we don't bow down to some God figure and give our very lives to It or Them or Whatever. Sounds a bit to me like Nazi Germany or Stalin lead Russia, or some other crazy thing in history that was horrible. Conform or die. Conform or be damned. Pretty scary stuff actually if you think about it. Talk about cleansing.

And of course we all know that the Bible is rife with facts; like the fact that the Earth is only 2000 years old for example. Umm. Yeah. Okay. And despite everything we know scientifically about genetics Adam and Eve created the grandest of an incest based population without any problems at all, and even broke the genetic code and somehow all of these races got going on. Blacks, whites, Asians, Indians...

That is a marvelous feat ladies and gentleman.

Sorry. But truly if the Adam and Eve story were to be believed I think there would be no races at all. Just descendants of those two folks who created the entire population of humankind. By the way, none of us would be healthy. Ahem. In fact, we probably would not have our intelligence either as we would be suffering severe deformities, including brain ones.

But this commentary is not to bash religion, although I am openly admitting to taking more than a few liberties here. It is to simply say that the Bible for all of Its goodness, for all of Its great and amazing stories, for all of Its meaningful teachings, is just a nice story.

As for any predictions of the end of the world? It will happen eventually. Everything has a life cycle. Including the Earth itself. But it will not be the hand of God that will be at the helm of destruction. It will not be divine intervention that will take the bad people and lead the good to some grand exit. Every single living thing will die. Nothing and no one will survive. There will be no reckoning. There will be no second coming. There will simply be the end. Plain and simple. Just like the truth of death. Who knows what will be the cause of it? Our sun may supernova. There could be a catastrophic meteor that takes us out like it did with the dinosaurs. Or it could be something else.

But it won't be today. October 7th. That I can be sure about.

All of this aside I know that most religious people actually find this prediction to be as crazy as I do. Despite everything else, at least I can take some comfort in the idea that while I think religious beliefs are a bit crazy, not all religious people are...well...totally crazy.

Kurt Cobain's 'Sappy'

For the rock band Nirvana, it was their song Smells Like Teen Spirit which instantly propelled them into stardom, and literally brought alternative rock smack dab into the mainstream. The song also catapulted their second album Nevermind, wherein Smells Like Teen Spirit was the lead track, high on the charts. Nirvana effectively paved the way for the entire grunge scene and provided for bands like Green Day, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and countless others to see their music receiving airplay on the radio—even some of it on stations that did not generally touch this kind of music. If there was a "sound of the 90's," that sound, which ultimately was dubbed the Seattle sound, was started by Nirvana if for no other reason than Smells Like Teen Spirit simply caught on in a massive way.

Nirvana's release of their MTV Unplugged recording to this day also remains the best selling CD of the entire collection of Unplugged, and I think that is saying something about the massive popularity and the undeniable impact that Nirvana had on the entire music scene, 

Sadly, Kurt Cobain, the band's front man, would take his own life in April of 1994, leaving countless fans shocked and stunned, and leaving us all to wonder what we could have seen had he still been alive. His talent for writing great songs was undeniable, and I think there was a lot more great music that died with him.

Still, part of what made grunge so popular was its pure rawness. It was music, simple and plain. Unclean. It defied the pop mainstream. I think that is part of what made Unplugged so popular as well in that it allowed us to hear songs in their simplest form, untouched by studio hands for the most part. As such the release of Kurt Kobain's solo home recordings, which is set to hit store shelves in November 2015, should be huge. Personally I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy. This is Kurt in real form, just doing what he loved to do, and that is compose and play music. 

The album is called Montage of Heck, and the first release is Sappy, the song that would eventually become Verse Chorus Verse.





Michigan Has A Powerball Winner

If there's one question I think most people ponder at least a few times in their lives, it is the question of what would one do if they were lucky enough to win the lottery? I know this is a question I have pondered more than a few times. One idea I have thought about is a way to pay it forward in a way that helps out hard working people. Working charity is the term I like to use for this.

One woman in Michigan has the lucky luxury to ponder this question in real time after realizing that she was the single winner of the most recent Powerball jackpot worth $310.5 million. She chose the cash option and after taxes took home $140 million. Not at all bad for a simple $2 investment.

She was having a bad day at work, which made the win especially more fun to hear about.

We all have those moments at work, or other times in our lives when we are simply fed up. We've had enough. Most of the time when that happens I simply pay myself to sort of buy myself out of my situation. Granted, it's not really what's happening. But in my mind, adding money, for example, to my investment portfolio after a bad day at work feels like I just might be accomplishing something.

Sometimes I'll even buy an extra lottery ticket.

I say extra because if there is one thing about me, it is that while I don't intend to ever actually win the lottery, I do intend to at least have a shot at winning, and that's not going to happen if I don't have a ticket in my hand.

Of course I wish the big win would have come my way. But somebody has to win, and even if it is not me, I like having at least the opportunity.

Congratulations to the latest Powerball jackpot winner.