Category Archives: Blog

“The Blog.” Musings and meandering thoughts on whatever strikes me as amusing or interesting at a particular moment. There is no rhyme or reason to the posts you will find here. Trust me.

Report: People Should Bury Their Money

According to a new report just released by The SKOS Institute, the United States economy is collapsing and everyone should “run for their lives.”

A mere two days into their planned two-month study, SKOS researchers stopped working and began weeping uncontrollably.

“It’s just too much,” sobbed lead researcher Frank Dugan as he curled into the fetal position.

“The economy is never going to recover! Never!!”

For their report, SKOS researchers looked at the beaten-down housing markets, inflation, reduced consuming spending, the plummeting U.S. stock market, the plummeting foreign markets, rising gas prices, the Fed’s lowering of the interest rate, the governments bailout of anyone who did something stupid, and the distinct possibility the winner of the upcoming Presidential election will be the candidate who originally planed to raise the capital gains tax for all investors (not just the rich) and could, conceivably, change his mind again once elected.

“People should take whatever money they have left and bury it,” suggested SKOS researched Angela Bickerman as she dug a hole in her back yard.

“If you don’t own a shovel, use a rock or a stick to dig the hole. Whatever you do, don’t go out and buy a shovel. That would be just plain foolish. The time for reckless spending is over.”

If you don’t own your own home or your home doesn’t have land where you can easily bury your money, Dugan suggested swallowing your money.

“It isn’t pleasant, but so far I’ve swallowed $17 in dimes. Do I feel nauseous? Yes. Do I feel like my money is safe and sound? Absolutely. No one will take better care of my money than the Bank of Me.”

When asked if the fact people were panicking and taking their money out of the stock market in large quantities played a huge hand in the market’s plummet as of late, Dugan became confused.

“I have no idea what you just said. All I know is the time for rational thought is over. It’s time to panic and it’s time to panic good.”

Dugan then vomited and began crying again.

“Toilet” Boyfriend Wins the Lottery. Again.

Earlier this year, followers of weird news were treated to the story of a woman who sat on her boyfriend’s toilet for two years. The boyfriend, who infamously explained that his psychologically-scarred girlfriend was “an adult” who “made her own decision,” ended up being sentenced to six months probation for the mistreatment of a dependent adult.

The boyfriend, Kory McFaren, is in the news again.

Now, I fully expected to eventually see his name pop up on the news wire. With someone like him, it was inevitable.

I could envision reading of his arrest after he tried to date a goat or some other farm animal.

I could envision reading of his arrest after he held Ty Pennington hostage until Extreme Makeover: Home Edition agreed to give him a new bathroom.

I could not envision reading about him winning the lottery.

That’s right. The guy who allowed his dependent, troubled girlfriend to sit on a toilet for two years before he sought help for her has won $20,000 in the Kansas state lottery twice this year.

I like to joke about karma as if it was real, but this so is proof it does not exist.

If karma was real, guys like Kory McFaren would not be winning the lottery. They would be “winning” the flu or a bad rash or something.

Of course, it doesn’t surprise me that Kory participates in the practice of flushing money down the toilet (i.e. playing the lottery). It’s such a him thing to do. Of course, since he has won, twice, I guess the joke’s on the rest of us.

A little suggestion to Kory, if I may be so bold, on how he should spend his lottery winnings: big-screen television for the bathroom.

Methinks it will come in handy during your next relationship.

Epiphanies or Insane Ramblings?

As happens approximately once every three or four years, I went to bed before 9:00 last night. Ten hours of sleep plus caffeine this morning has my brain performing at peak efficiency. Seriously, I’m remembering things I long ago forgot and I’m having epiphanies that are, like, scary insightful.

For example, my high school locker combination was 10-24-32.

The girl in my freshman English class, who also worked in the college cafeteria, was named Penny. In my head, I named her “Pretty Penny” — after the Stone Temple Pilots’ song.

I batted .581 my senior year of high school baseball.

Today is my three-year anniversary at my current place of employment.

The name of the kid in kindergarten none of us liked was Dominic. I don’t remember why we didn’t like him, though. He probably ate glue or something.

Even though he owned a toothbrush and toothpaste, I cannot remember a single instance where my freshman dorm mate Denis brushed his teeth.

Dionne Farris! That’s the name of that girl who had that song that was a hit way back when. Man, that’s been bugging me for years.

Pretty amazing I remember all of that, don’t you think? If you think that’s something, my most profound epiphany occurred to me just a few minutes ago.

In 1997, I took my first girlfriend to see Jennifer Aniston’s movie Picture Perfect in Atlanta. We broke up the next day.

In 2007, though we had officially broken up a couple weeks earlier, I took a girl to see the Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore romantic comedy Music & Lyrics. The following day, she moved to the other side of the country.

What does it all mean?

Well, it means it’s probably wise for me to never take my future wife to go see a romantic comedy in movie theaters anytime during the year 2017.

If history is any indication, doing so would result in my being single the following day.

Have YOU had any epiphanies lately? Feel free to share them with everyone by leaving a comment or two or ten!

$1.75 House on eBay? Sounds About Right

A Chicago woman, Joanne Smith, recently won an abandoned home in Saginaw, Michigan, on eBay with a whopping bid of $1.75. Here are the details:

Her bid was one of eight for the home.

She plans on reselling the home for a profit.

She said she hasn’t seen the property or visited Saginaw, which has been hard-hit by economic troubles in recent years.

She must pay about $850 in back taxes and yard cleanup costs.

I had two immediate reactions to this story. One was obvious and probably the same reaction most people had, but the other was one of those “THAT is the thing you noticed, Kevin?” things:

There were seven OTHER bids on the home?

Whether or not this was a good investment for Joanne Smith is up for debate (and something I will ponder in a moment). But the fact there were eight total bids means there was at least one other person who was bidding on this house.

So, imagine if you will, you’re on eBay looking at homes for sale. You see one in Saginaw, Michigan, with no minimum bid requirements.

“If I could buy that home at a certain price, it would be a steal of a deal,” you think to yourself.

But at what price?

The fact Joanne Smith was able to win the auction for $1.75 (plus the $850 in back taxes and cleanup costs) means this other bidder set a ceiling on the auction for LESS than $1.75.

“I might go up to $1.65 — $1.70 tops,” this individual thought to themselves. “But no way am I going higher.”

When Joanne Smith’s bid of $1.75 was made, I imagine this other person sighed audibly and thought, “too rich for my blood.”

“Maybe someday I will be able to find a home for $1.70 or less.”

The other initial thought I had when I read this story was really two thoughts in one:

“Boy, that’s a good deal” and “Boy, that house is a piece of crap.”

After giving it some thought, I do not believe this was a good deal AT ALL for Joanne Smith. In fact, I thing it was a particularly craptacular purchase.

Property records for the home show that is has been sold seven times (counting Smith’s purchase) since 1999. The pasts two Januarys, it has sold for $26 and $10, respectively. In 1999, it was sold for $2,000, which is the HIGHEST sales price on record.

In other words, Joanne Smith isn’t the first person to have purchased this property at an insanely low price. She’s merely the latest to have done so. Every party before her eventually cut bait and ran for the hills.

If you add the $850 she will pay in back taxes and cleanup costs, Joanne Smith has $851.75 invested in the property without even addressing the home itself. It stands to reason, based on its photos, the house is in the worst condition of its life. Seriously, look at those photos. A hobo living in a cardboard box would see this house as a lateral move.

Considering it has only once, in 1999, sold for more than the $851.75 price tag Joanne Smith has into it, it stands to reason she cannot simply turn around and sell it for a profit. She’s going to have to put some additional money into the property.

And there’s the catch.

Joanne Smith owns a home in a different state. To sell it for a profit, even at the ridiculously low price she paid for it, she’s going to have to fix it up. If the house isn’t worth fixing, she has to pay someone to bulldoze it down and remove its remains. This will cost her several thousand dollars.

So, there Joanne Smith will be.

She’ll be living in Chicago. She’ll own a small lot of residential property in another state. She will have several thousand of dollars invested into this lot, which is located in a city going through very hard economic times. And she’ll be wanting to sell it — for a profit.

I guess it’s true what they say:

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

There’s no such thing as a free puppy.

There’s no such thing as a (practically) free home on eBay.

Okay, so I made that last one up. But I think it might catch on now.

The Business of Being Awesome

On Friday and Monday, I went to another nearby Chinese restaurant for lunch. Once again, I was in the mood for sushi. Why do I go to Chinese restaurants for sushi? Because this is Georgia. Some of our Americanized Chinese eateries actually serve pizza, too. It’s how we roll.

Anyway, as is the custom, after each meal I received a fortune cookie. Alone, each fortune was boring. Put together, the fortunes were very interesting:

Friday: “You will be unusually successful in your business.”

Monday: “You will do well to expand your business.”

As we all know, fortune cookie “fortunes” are hand-written messages from God (He has excellent penmanship). Since He is all knowing, He knows most humans don’t notice subtle messages. So, He speaks to us through fortune cookies.

These fortunes of mine begged obvious questions:

What IS my business?

How do I expand it?

What did God mean in last year’s fortune, “Because of your melodic nature,
the moonlight never misses an appointment?”

At first, the “what is my business” question stumped me. I don’t own my own business. I work for “the man.” What on earth was God referring to?

And then it hit me.

My business is being awesome.

It isn’t so much a job as it is a calling, but nonetheless “being awesome” is what I do.

I’m awesome when I get out of bed in the morning. I’m awesome when I get dressed. I’m awesome when I develop webpages for my “day job.” I’m awesome when I eat my sandwich for lunch. I’m awesome when I pick my teeth with an old, mechanical pencil. I’m awesome when I drive home, get lost, and then find my way again. I’m awesome when I take my afternoon nap.

In short, I’m pretty much awesome twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. When God tells me, via a fortune cookie, that I am unusually successful at being awesome, I say: “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Of course, His fortune telling me to expand my business of being awesome intrigues me. What does God mean by that?

Am I supposed to be awesome twenty five hours a day?

Am I supposed to recruit others and make them awesome?

Am I supposed to get married and have three-to-five awesome children?

Since the former is impossible, I can only assume God wants me to do one of the latter two possibilities. Or, perhaps, He wants me to do both of them.

Should I create a simple business card (prototype to the left) that I can hand out to anyone I believe to be capable of turning “being awesome” into a full-time job rather than just a hobby?

Do I sign up for personal ads with the heading, “Seeking Awesome Woman to Help Expand My Awesome Business By Bearing 3-to-5 Awesome Children?”

What should I do, people? I need ideas.

How can I expand my business of being awesome?

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or two or ten.

Helping the New York Mets Through the Five Stages of Grief

Though it wasn’t nearly as bad as 2007′s collapse, the New York Mets once again blew a late season lead and find themselves sitting at home for the MLB playoffs. It’s a blog-worthy topic, but one I’ve already written. So, the following is a republishing of a blog post from October 1, 2007.

Humanitarian that I am, my heart goes out today to New York Mets players.

A day after completing one of the worst collapses in baseball history, a collapse that saw them lose a 7-game division lead with 17 games to go in the season, Mets Nation is hurting right now. My caring heart compels me to try to help them through this painful time.

As a licensed sports psychologist, which I will be with 4 more years of school and a license, I will try to help Mets players deal with their grief as they go through the five stages of…well, grief.

1. Denial

Many in Mets Nation will be denial about their team’s historic collapse. “At least we made a good run at it,” they might think to themselves. Friend, such thoughts are dangerous. The sooner you come to grips with the fact your team will go down in history as one of the biggest choke artists in the history of sports the sooner you will be able to get on with your life. Granted, the rest of your life will have to be spent being mocked by your fellow human beings, but at least you won’t be in denial about it.

Better to know the world thinks of you as a loser than to go through life blissfully unaware of just how much of a loser you are.

2. Anger

Once past the denial stage, Mets players will become angry. They will be angry about a call an umpire made way back in June. They will be angry at the Florida Marlins for actually showing up to play Sunday even though the game meant nothing to them. They will be angry at themselves for being a Mets’ player.

Embrace the anger. It will lead to hate, which will lead to wrath, which will lead to the dark side (i.e. becoming a Yankees fan). Once a Yanks’ fan, you will be able to forget your sorrows for a few days until the Yanks are ultimately bounced from the playoffs.

3. Bargaining

Eventually, you will come to the bargaining stage. You’ll mutter under your breath that you would trade your wife and three kids for one more chance at the playoffs. And then your wife, who was standing right behind you and heard what you said, will begin throwing your sports collectibles at you as she yells obscenities. And one of your collectibles, probably your autographed Rickey Henderson cleat, will hit you in the head and put you in the hospital.

And while in the hospital, you will mutter under your breath that you would give one of your kidneys if it meant you could go back in time and take back what you said about trading your wife and kids. And then the doctor, who has a cousin in need of a kidney, will put you on heavy medication and pretend to be the devil as you sign a “contract with beelzebub” that is really just a consent-for-surgery form.

4. Depression

Kidneyless, the depression stage will hit you hard. “Why did I bother signing with the Mets,” you might ask yourself.

“Why didn’t I do what my mom wanted and become an accountant?”

“Why did I give beelzebub my kidney?”

5. Acceptance

Finally, in time, Mets players will come to the place where you accept how truly high your collapse ranks in the history of sports. You will look yourself in the mirror and say, “I am a player on the New York Mets and I should be publicly flogged, which is the act of flogging someone in public.”

However, words will not be enough. You need to back up your words with actions. Make up a sign that says “flog me in public,” tape it to your back and then hit the streets.

Your former fans will appreciate your act of accountability as they repeatedly flog you without hesitation or remorse.

It’s Time to Move on

It’s cliche in situations like this to say that things are never as bad as they appear. Well, that’s not true. This is as bad as it appears. You guys do stink and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Retirement, for most of you, is your best option. Retire and disappear from society. If you’re lucky, people will forget how truly awful you were in about fifty years.

Maybe.

Best of luck, guys.

Sorry about your kidneys.

To Boldly Go Where No Chicken Little Has Gone Before

A day after the Dow plummeted 777 points, the biggest single day fall ever, I felt it appropriate to blog about finances. However, my thoughts on the matter really haven’t changed since the LAST time I blogged about the volatile stock market. So, the following was originally published on January 7, 2008. The basic idea? We all need to simmer down now.

I find it both sad and funny that now that I’m debt free and in a position where I can begin saving money and investing it for the first time, a recession looms over the economy. The first three days of trading in 2008 were the lowest in the stock market’s history since 1929.

I’m no economist, but I’m pretty sure any reference to The Great Depression era is a bad one.

That said, I take comfort in the knowledge that things in the stock market (like everything else in life) are never as bad as they appear. The people who do this for a living or as a hobby are, by and large, Chicken Littles. When it’s sunny outside they are convinced it will be that way forever, but as soon as a single rain drop falls they begin screaming and running for cover in anticipation of an upcoming flood.

Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes about money:

Be fearful when others are greedy… be greedy only when others are fearful. – Warren Buffet

Of course, anyone who has seen The Mummy knows that that is isn’t always good advice to follow. The character “Beni” went back inside the ancient pyramid to grab more treasure even though he already had gathered enough to last several life times. Everyone else in the movie at that point was fearful (you’d be too if an evil mummy was trying to kill you), but Beni was greedy.

Sure enough, Brendan Fraser’s character defeats the mummy, someone accidentally trips the pyramid’s self destruct sequence, and Beni ends up getting trapped inside the pyramid and eaten by several thousand bugs of some sort.

That is why I like to slightly tweak Buffet’s advice:

Be fearful when others are greedy… be greedy only when others are fearful. Unless your life is in imminent danger and you’ve already got a lot of money, in which case get your butt out of there before the bugs get you. Fool.

Or more eloquently:

Be cautious when others are bold. Be bold when others are cautious.

Of course, the meaning of “bold” is in the cerebral cortex of the beholder. To one person, it could mean betting your life’s savings on the Super Bowl. To another, it could mean putting your money in the bank instead of under your mattress.

To me, it means doing exactly what I would be doing if the stock market was booming and the immediate outlook for the economy was great. I will make the same conservative investments every paycheck. I will spread my money around so that I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. I will continue to live below my means.

And in five years, when I’ve accumulated a nice nest egg, I’ll bet it all on the Atlanta Falcons winning the Super Bowl.

Like a Snakeskin Cowboy

In today’s edition of Dear Reader, I will try to help an individual with a most peculiar problem. At 7:09 pm on September 27, 2008, a visitor from Aukland, Australia, came to my site after searching the following:

“my wife hates my snakeskin cowboy”

A big thanks to Google for referring this reader to me.

Dear Reader,

Your search has brought up so many questions I want — nay, NEED — to ask you.

First, is this “person” with the snakeskin outer layer truly a cowboy, or does “he” simply wear a cowboy hat to hide his snake-ish facial features?

Secondly, if he is a cowboy, do you have any photos of him riding on a horse or lassoing a stray calf? If yes, could you please send me some?

Thirdly, where did you find this snakeskin cowboy? Did he run away from the circus? Is he your son?

Fourthly and finally, if he is your son, does that mean you were once romantic with a snake? How does that even work?

My hunch is he’s your son. I cannot imagine someone welcoming an escaped midget freak into their home. A bearded lady is one thing. Heck, I used to to date a bearded lady. But a snakeskin cowboy is entirely different.

If he’s your son, as I suspect, is your wife his step-mother? Do you suspect her dislike of him has more to do with the fact he’s not her own flesh or blood, or because he has scales instead of skin?

My hunch is your wife hates your snakeskin cowboy son because of his scales. I wish there was a simple solution to your problem, but unfortunately there isn’t one. If you want your wife to get over her snakeskin cowboy stepson prejudices, it’s going to take some time, hard work and patience.

Find ways for your wife and stepson to enjoy some quality time together.

For example, do they both like movies? Perhaps watching Anaconda or Snakes on a Plane would help your wife become more comfortable with having a stepson who looks like a snake. As for cowboy films, I recommend Open Range with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall. It’s very underrated.

The important thing is to encourage them to do things together. Things won’t improve overnight, but they will improve in time. And if they don’t, you will have a decision to make. Do you get rid of your wife, or do you get rid of your son?

My opinion, for what it’s worth: wives are easier to come by than snakeskin cowboy sons who may or may not be able to ride horses and lasso calves.

Sincerely,

kev

P.S. In the remote chance you meant to search for “snakeskin cowboy boots,” tell your wife she is crazy. Snakeskin cowboy boots are awesome.

What sort of advice would YOU have given our friend here? What should he do to get his wife and son to bond? If things can’t be worked out, which one should he give the boot?

As always, leave lots of and lots of comments — one or two or ten, preferrably.