Friday, April 20, 2012

Tax time chuckles

In a free society or a dictatorial society, taxes are inevitable. The main difference is that in the dictatorial society taxes are mandatory. Hey, wait a minute, I guess that's where I get confused.

I get amused when I watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio or read it in the paper. Especially when it comes to tax supported agencies. Lots of lip service is being given to reducing federal government spending and waste. Or are those the same thing? Anyway, those in charge of those agencies speak in circles and double talk to hide their agenda's which are mainly to make sure they spend every dollar allotted to them so they will get at least that much and hopefully more the next year. That is the common wisdom of government subsidization. The joke goes like: "I don't care what you spend it on, just make sure it's spent by the end of the year! And, spend it wisely!" What a chuckle huh?

Today, as I tied my shoes before going out the door to go to work so I could earn a living and pay taxes, the superintendent of a school was making the case for hiring 6 more teachers. "If we don't hire the additional 6 teachers we will have to lay off 6 other teachers already on the payroll to make up for the loss in revenue." Now I am sure there is far more to that reasoning than my small window of information provides but on the face it sound rather amusing to me. The joke goes like: "Pay now or pay later, if they don't get enough money all the teachers will quit."

I guess the part I find so laughable is where anyone involved in budgeting tax money talks about that money as if it wasn't ours. By voting we provide a group of elected folks that disperse our "voluntary" tax payments according to our wishes. That's what the Boston Tea Party was all about, oh so many years ago. The hilarious part is that those that actually spend those taxes on specific items or services are not elected. And, in most cases they are not held very accountable for those expenditures. The joke goes like: "No taxes without representation!"

Then there is the part that is so funny I darn near fall off my chair thinking about it. Certain people receiving government aid because they are looking for just the right job to match their goals whine because they have to make do with so little instead of being grateful for the helping hand that was provided for them by others that work hard to earn money and regularly do without so they have enough to provide for their own families. The joke goes like: "Did you hear about Greece? Everyone retired and now there isn't anyone left to pay the taxes!" Now that's funny isn't it?

A smile always comes to my face when I hear of how the oil companies would face financial ruin if they were denied government subsidies and tax breaks. I can hardly contain my joviality or restrain my infectious giggling when I hear that. The joke goes: "Did you hear about the oil company that went broke selling oil and gas?" Hard to top that one isn't it?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Secret to happiness

Happiness, to many of us seems to be rather fleeting doesn't it? One day happy, the next day grumpy. That's the way it is due in no small part to the challenges of life and the ever complicated pursuit of the happiness syndrome. There is a small cross section of us though that somehow retain happiness far more often. Smiling, laughing, carrying on as if the world was a garden and filled with wondrous things to discover. They approach others with trust and a disarming openness that takes us off guard. Through good times and bad they usually maintain their aura of faith, hope and love. More often than not we find those qualities to be odd, react in disbelief and at the very least avoid those happy folks. "They are simple and Naive." We say. Nobody wants to be called simple or naive do they?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are said to be most admirable. They are also perceived to be difficult to attain and require massive amounts of energy and effort on our part. Then, we come into the presence of someone that is inexplicably happy in the midst of strife and turmoil. "They must be socially or mentally challenged." Maybe, but not necessarily. I think about it sometimes. Here I am, always considering this and that. Constantly striving to overcome one hurdle after another in hopes of finding that place where happiness is not quite so elusive. Exactly what will bring me happiness changes with each passing day. A lifelong journey with stops at happiness along the way. Naive people, for the most part are happy throughout their journey with short stops of reality from time to time.

Hmmmm! Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Naive and happy. Realistic and grumpy. It's our choice I guess. The wisdom of the ages, reinforced by recent scientific studies:

"People who simply believe they are happy are just as happy as those who really are."

I may be a bit naive here but I'm beginning to believe that. There may be something to be learned here. Don't worry, be happy!..............Joe

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Aren't we simply special though?

From time to time we bump into someone who is special don't we. That's not a question, it's a fact. Someone that is specially removed and apart from the rest of civilization as far as social contact. We, as non-special citizens must cater to their specialness and/or submit our wills to their special knowledge or physical requirements. For the most part the special people have little or no affect on me and we go our separate ways without so much as a glance. I have not much problem in accommodating specialness as this is a world of differences. But humor lies in some of those differences. With your indulgence I'll mention a few. (Actually it's my blog and I'd do it with or without your indulgence whatever that is.)

On an errand to the tool store one of my purchases was a box of latex gloves. The cashier, in a loud and special voice announced to me and everyone within 4 or 5 rows of us that she was allergic to latex and couldn't touch the box of gloves. I, the customer would have to hold the box up so she could scan it and place it in a package so it didn't touch her counter top or she'd break out in some sort of rash and perhaps die from the contact with even the smallest amount of residue. Whew! Truthfully I couldn't quite understand the reasoning behind her, in my opinion excessive explanation. I also couldn't understand her abrasive attitude towards me making a simple purchase of something readily available on the shelves only a foot or two from her precious counter top. I felt as if she had been waiting all day to accuse someone of trying to kill her with a box of latex gloves. Looking at it with my own take on retail logic, I responded with my own special requirement. I am allergic to paper and ink so I cannot touch the package in which the latex gloves are held. Of course I said it in my own attention getting voice as I wanted just as much special attention as she had wanted when she began the whole thing. What are you going to do so I can buy these gloves I asked. Perhaps we should call a manager I added. She apparently was struck speechless for whatever reason because she just stood there open mouthed. I looked around and asked the next cashier to call a manager. No problem he said, I am a manager. He came over, the allergic cashier sort of sputtering without really saying anything as I explained our dilemma. The cashier cannot touch the box to sell it to me, I cannot touch the box to buy it I said. What do we do? The manager looked at the cashier, grabbed a bag, picked up the box using the bag as a glove, scanned the box and placed it in another bag and closed it and thanked me for my purchase. Explained to the open mouthed cashier that this sort of situation need not happen ever again and went back to his own cash register in a little less than a minute or two. It made me feel sort of special.

As you can see I had a special sort of day. How was your's?

Monday, April 16, 2012

This'll help you sleep

Ever since I can remember there was a rule concerning gasoline and sources of sparks. I mean this was a serious rule. No matches, no electricity and even no wearing of glasses while working around gasoline because the sun might get magnified too  much and light off the stuff. Being kids we had to test the rule but by and large, after a small fire or two we decided it was a good rule. Now we fast forward to the technology of today.

Almost every automobile, van or truck that you drive that is powered by an internal combustion engine requiring gasoline as fuel has an "electric" fuel pump to get that gasoline into the firing chamber to make that vehicle go. Guess what? Those fancy electric gas pumps are most often installed inside the fuel tank.??????????? The rule is changed. I don't know how to figure it out any more. Once again I am behind the eight ball when it comes to new technology. I missed the part where it says electricity and gasoline aren't dangerous any more.

Just when this all came about I am not quite sure. Being of sound mind and body, as I became an adult I preferred not to put that rule to any sort of test. I was secure in the fact that if I put a spark to gasoline it'd go poof and I just may lose life or limb. I sort of like and enjoy having life and limbs. As far as I was concerned why mess with the status quo. Now I find I am doing it every day when I drive my trusty truck with an electric motor whirring away deep inside my gas tank. One loose connection, one bare wire, one simple electrical overload or short and I can see the back end of my truck heading to the moon.

One more chance to get out my trusty research hat and assure myself that I am safe from such a cataclysm of fireball devastation. The people that designed this ingenious method of gasoline dispensing also designed the Isetta's, Yugo's, Vega's and Many other short lived vehicles we bought at one time or another.  Now that makes us all sleep better doesn't it?
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