We all need more friends.

October 23, 2011 on 11:38 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

I know that I need more friends. I really do not have a lot of people that I would call friends. One reason is that I have moved frequently through the years and as quickly as I make friends I seem to lose them. The other reason is that I am a work-a-holic. I work long hours and most weekends so I either do not have time to go places where I might make friends.

Well that is what I used to think, this weekend helped me to understand that I can find friends where ever I am. I worked a home show to generate new business for my painting company. I was very fortunate to have made some new friends. Early Friday a lady that was running a booth close to mine came over and started to talk with me. As it turns out she was saddened by the loss of her mother just a day earlier. I talked with her and tried to comfort her. All weekend long I would glance over at her booth and often I would see her wiping a tear. Back in January of 2010 my Father passed away just two days before I had to do a home show. I knew exactly what she was going through. I hope my words were enough to bring her some comfort. I do know that with each day her heart will heal a little more.

The people that had the booth right next to mine were selling embroidered towels to raise money for various charities. Friday two younger ladies were running the booth and we talked and got along nicely but Saturday the lady that actually ran the charity was there. I cannot say enough nice things about this woman. She has used the loss of several family members as an inspiration to make these towels to sell and raise money that she sends to many different health care charities.

I talked with her every chance I got, probably to the point that I bothered her. I know one thing, she not only listened to me, she truly cared about the things I was saying. Not having many friends I do not get to share those feelings very often and doing so this weekend was great therapy for me. There is a small chance my rambling could cause her to begin therapy.

My two new friends have taught me that I need to do more. I use my work as an excuse, or possibly a shield, so that I can stay hidden from new friends. When I was growing up my Father had a job that required him to move from one town to another. It always seemed that just as I became good friends with someone I would move someplace else and loose my friend. Somewhere in my life I just stopped making friends. It was easier to be alone than to know I would have to say good bye. I am not very good at good bye and I cannot stand pain in my heart. I have one helluva tolerance for physical pain but as emotional as I am I am unable to cope with losing a friend.

I am an avid listener of Orlando’s Real Radio, 104.1 WTKS. I have become friendly with many of the one air personalities and for me it is a friendship of great convenience. I can listen to them when I want or tune them out if I choose and they never know. I Try to go to their events and show support for them when I can but they never expect me so if I cannot go they are not disappointed. So far not even I have screwed up these friendships. This all worked just fine until Prince left The Buckethead Show.

Prince is one of this world’s very special people. His appearance to many would seem odd but for me he made me feel normal. He is not a large person, actually he was rather small. I will never know where he kept that great big heart he has, at times it seemed bigger than the state of Montana. Possibly he keeps it in that crazy beard of his. I am so very sorry that I was unable to attend his going away party. It was held on a Wednesday and at the time I was going through some family problems that made it difficult to drive the one and a half hours to Orlando on a school night.

I want to have more friends but first I need to relearn how to be a friend. Sometimes I can be self absorbed, ego-maniacal and selfish. I have heard that these are not good qualities for a friend, so I guess I have some work cut out for me. They say that first we must come to know that we have a problem then we can work on solving it. I hope this means that I can now travel down the road to recovery. The next step scares me because it will actually require me to do something.

I went and I was impressed.

October 15, 2011 on 9:33 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

I went to the Occupy Orlando Rally today and I must say that I was impressed with what I saw. There was a pretty good turn out and I believe most everyone there was genuinely concerned about the state our country is in. There were some very good speakers with excellent ideas.

I actually got up the nerve to speak. I think I did a good job. I did receive some applause and I was able to excite the crowd. I hope I inspired someone. I believe I will have to do this again. Next time I will have to get video.

I was unaware of the fact that some of these people actually plan to set up camp in Lake Eola Park. The next couple of weeks I am going to be busy but I might start spending weekends down there.

I hope that everyone that reads this blog will look into an Occupy Rally in their area and participate in any way possible. Even if it is taking water and food to the people camping out.

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Going to Occupy Orlando.

October 15, 2011 on 1:51 am | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saturday October 15 allover America there are going to be Occupy… rallies. I will be attending the Orlando rally. I am hoping that people will flock to these rallies. I do not know what reasons other people will have to show up. I know why I am going.

I am going to demand that my government begins paying attention to my needs. I am not against wealthy people and I do not ask that they are unfairly punished. I am against greed and our politicians need to stop giving into this deadly sin. I pay my taxes and I understand that it is my duty. Our government needs money to keep this country moving forward. Government is not the problem, bad government is the problem.

When people that are elected to represent all of their constituents decide to only represent a few we are no longer a strong Republic. The demise of Rome can be attributed to the corruption and it could be said that it is the beginning of ours. To once again become a strong nation we need to first be an honest nation. Ending the cycle of bribery and favors that politicians and business have is the start we need.

I finished my 2010 taxes yesterday. The profit from my business was small but I still owed taxes. We have corporations in America that have profits in the Billions that not only do not pay taxes but they get money back. These companies should not be penalized for being successful but if I have to pay taxes they need to pay taxes as well. Earning a lot of money makes them wealthy. Keeping it all and refusing to pay their fair share to support this country makes them greedy.

I hear people complaining that the wealthy people are job creators and if we tax them they may not create jobs. I am a tax creator. and how much my tax burden is will not change the number of employees I have. The number of houses I have to paint will determine how many painters I employ. I hear people proclaim that it is not fair working class family pays such a small percentage of income in taxes and the wealthy pay a higher percentage. BULL! Wealthy people get more from government than the rest of us so they should be required to pay for the extra service.

Many of my customers are wealthy people and many of them have access to their representatives. I cannot pick up a phone and talk to my representatives. I do not have the resources to attend a dinner with the President. I have a customer that not only has several pictures if himself with various Presidents but has been mentioned by name in a speech by a President. He also has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. There are not many working class Americans that have these experiences or that much influence. Many of us would not even be allowed to talk with our mayors.

The simple fact is this, if we all pitch in and carry our burden then no one’s load will be too great. We should all be allowed to take what we need but let’s nor forget that others need to have some as well.

Occupy America.

October 10, 2011 on 12:02 am | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I am sure by now most people have finally heard about the Occupy Wall Street Rally going on in New York. For those that have not let me fill in some background. America’s politicians have sold out to America’s largest corporations and some people have finally decided to speak out about it. Now the movement is gaining steam and catching on.

Other cities across America are beginning to have rallies and politicians are finally taking notice. Whether or not we believe in the what is being protested Patriotic Americans would certainly stand up for their right to stand on the soap box and speak their mind. I never liked what the Tea Party was saying in their protests but I never called them un-American for protesting.

I do happen to agree with what the Occupy protesters are doing and what they have to say (for the most part). Wall Street is now and has always been a road block in America’s success. For those that think they are economists and are now calling me an idiot, let me tell you why. Businesses should build a company for long term success but Wall Street demands short term profits. In order for a companies stock to stay strong a company must meet quarterly profit expectations. This is often in direct conflict with what a company needs to do to guarantee their long term survival. My Father was a corporate accountant for many years and we discussed this topic frequently. I have come to the conclusion that bean counters are great for a company that sells beans but they destroy every other company. Henry Ford would have agreed with me, he hated Wall Street.

In this day of modern communication I would like to offer this advice, Let’s do away with Wall Street. We no longer need to pay money to bookies to make our financial bets. Stock can be bought and sold with no help from those that funnel off the profits every time a person buys or sells stock. We can do away with Hedge Funds. Just the very name Hedge Funds should be a red flag. They are proving that they are killing America as all of America’s Hedge Funds are down but the manager’s profits are record breakingly high. If all of these people only got commissions off of their clients profits I can promise things would be different. 401K’s would not be in the toilet right now and people would not be in fear of losing their retirement.

The fact that politicians have deregulated our banks so that they can now gamble with our money is another part of our demise. Banks should be in the business of loaning money not speculating on Wall Street or commodities. It troubles me when I read that the largest owner of oil is banks. Banks do not refine oil and they do not sell gasoline so why are they buying oil? They buy oil so that they can drive the price up and make money off of hard working Americans. We are all suffering under these high fuel prices while they get fat off of our misery. This is not the American way.

I am not a Socialist or a Communist. I am also not a Capitalist. I happen to be a Realist. I understand that no economic theory can survive in its true state. We need a mixture of Capitalism and Socialism to regulate our economy through the peaks and valleys. From time to time we need to change up the mix to fix problems as they come about. The hardest thing is knowing the right mix. Well right now we are not getting the right mix and if it is prolonged we will step back into being a third world country.

To me an economy is a simple beast, but I happen to be a simple beast as well. If the economy is based upon people spending money and the economy is slowed then we need to get someone to spend money. If the working class and middle class do not have enough money to spend and the wealthy will not spend then it is left up to the government to spend. Yes spending ourselves out of a recession can be done by the government. It is the way we got out of The Great Depression.

I have heard many times that President Roosevelt’s Socialistic policies did not get us out of The Depression, World War II did. Well guess what my short sighted friends, WWII was a massive government spending program that wasted money on war machinery that never came back to America. Our government spent money on things that ended up on the bottom of the ocean, and destroyed on European battlefields. Certainly if our government rebuilds our bridges, roads and water systems it will help us get out of this situation we are in. In WWII our government paid private business to build our war fighting abilities and it saved not only Europe from succumbing to Hitler but it saved us from total economic ruin. Surely the federal government can pay private business to employ Americans and save us from economic ruin today.

I am not against big business, I own a business that I hope will grow and become successful. I am against any industry that puts corporate profits above everything else. I know that at times business needs to be cold but more often business needs to be compassionate. It is actually in their best interest. If I need to make a customer happy and it will cost me money I would rather make it right to the customer than make the money. That one job was not going to make or break me but if I treat every customer right I know they will pass my name along to their friends and I will have work for the future. This is how I grow my business. It might be naive but I doubled my business this year from last and last year was doubled over the year before. Other painters are struggling or going out of business, I am thriving.

I also believe in taking care of my employees. If I have to pay them a little extra to keep them when work is slow I know it is cheaper than letting them go and hiring new painters when work picks up again. I also share my profits. If I get a house painted under budget I give a bonus to everyone. It might not always be much but it is something.

Taking care of customers and making sure employees are happy is the way a business becomes strong for the ages. Putting profits ahead of quality and people might be great for the next quarter but it will make it tougher to increase the profits in quarters to come.

Wall Street does not need to disappear for America to survive but it does need to change the way it does business. Banks cannot go away, we need them but they must also change. I will not protest the institutions, I am going to protest their policies. There are rallies coming to areas near all of us and we all need to find one to attend. Let’s all do some more homework and learn some facts, find a rally and go lend our voices to the cause.

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