December 1, 2008

Guard Your Cash

Buon giorno. I had been putting off writing this article until the first of the year, but I think people need to know now rather than later.

Now that Obummer and the other Socialists are going to be in charge in the USA, and economies are interconnected, perhaps what I have to say will affect readers outside these borders as well. Much of what I'm going to say is common sense, but sometimes things need to be summarized and repeated.

The economies are in bad shape, we all know. Our national "leaders" have points of view that will only make things worse. They will continue to create an entitlement (welfare) mentality, and will raise your taxes to do it. You believe that B. Hussein Obama will keep his promises to only raise taxes on the "rich"? Dream on. Or you want to see them pay more than they already do? You're dismissed. We don't need class warfare in this room, anyway.

I have no intention of giving you investment advice, however. This is simply what it takes to survive.
  • Times are tough, and they're going to get tougher. Start now and plan ahead.
  • Get out of debt, or lower as much of your debt burden as you can. Don't be foolish and only pay the minimums on your credit card debts, or you'll be there forever. And you don't want to have huge amounts of debt to pay off when they raise their interest rates. Those companies are always looking for an excuse to trick you, so they'll simply write a new rule and raise the rates.
  • Consider the underground economy. I'm not talking about the black market or downright illegal activities (that's some of my turf, anyway, so back off). Barter your way through things. What you need is the backyard mechanic that will fix your car because he owes you a favor anyway, or you can owe him one (be sure to pay it back!), or you may have other goods and services instead of money.
  • Pay cash. You can use this to gain a better rate. I know someone that needed limousine service and saved a couple of hundred dollars by paying cash. Hey, if some companies want to do business "off the books", that's up to them. Or the guy that will work on your computer if you give him cash or give him something else that he wants.
  • Do not buy things you do not need. I know you want that big-screen television, but put it off for a while. Maybe next year. If something you need has to be replaced, you'll probably have to do it. But not if it's going to be an expensive "upgrade". Not yet.
  • Back off from pressure. I have long believed that haste is Satan's favorite tool. "Do it now, or you'll lose the opportunity!" Sure, Buttercup. If I act now, I don't have time to think about it, figure my budget, find an alternative, see if I need it in the first place, and if you're a crook. Listen to that inner voice of caution.
  • Plan. That's the alternative to the pressure that I just mentioned. If you need or want something (Do I really need to tell you the differences between needs and wants?), look at your budget and plan for it. And learn about what you're wanting. Be an educated consumer. The more it costs, the more you should plan and think.
  • Don't be cheap. If you take the cheapest way out instead of paying for quality, you'll pay for the cheap stuff and pay to replace it with the good stuff. This is for things that matter. I don't care if you get salt and pepper shakers at the dollar store, capice?
  • Continue to give. It's a proven fact that Conservatives are more generous than Liberals, and charities will be hurting. I don't have time to go into the psychological and the spiritual aspects of giving, so I'll just say that we need to be here for others. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Oh, you want something more practical. OK, try this: If you're not here for them, they won't be here for you. But I hope you're not that selfish.
I have some advice for businesses, too, in case they're willing to listen.
  • Make it up in volume. Don't be so greedy that you need fifty percent profit on ten items, when you can sell many more items if the customers see a lower price tag.
  • Excel in service. Tim's Automotive in Kingston, New York has done good work for my crew, and we recommend them. In fact, this "word of mouth" advertising brought us there.
  • Listen to the customer's needs as well as their words. Don't be a cheap stronzo and try to get them to spend money on something they don't need. Sell the correct product or service and they'll love you for that.
OK, Cowboy Bob is done for today. I hope you learned something. In fact, I implore you to follow this advice. And feel free to use the comments section.

September 24, 2008

Why I've Decided to Vote Democrat

Buon giorno. This arrived in my Inbox, and I decided to share it with the world.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat be cause when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, they'll come over here, and I don't want to have any guns in the house to shoot them with.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that good intentions and lofty ideas are more important than demonstrating any mechanism or experience necessary to make them happen.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my dog.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Makes you wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?

September 15, 2008

A Moving Experience

Buona sera. Cowboy Bob really hates the moving process, and that's what I'm in the middle of right now. There was the search process (which is frustrating and irritating enough), and I came through that in one piece. After the elation of finding a new place to go, there's the very tedious and stressful process of getting everything over there. Sure, the boys in the crew are more than willing to be pals and help drag furniture and boxes. But I have to put the stuff in the boxes, pack fragile items carefully, mark the boxes correctly ("Where the hell did I put the spare clip for the P-99?") -- and sort things.

The older we get, the more we need (and often want) to simplify. When moving day comes, you regret being a pack rat for all those years because you have to carry things that you haven't looked at in years or even forgot that you own in the first place. When the moving process is not hurried, you have time to sort through things and get rid of stuff. (When the moving process is hurried, you realize how much you don't need much more than the clothes on your back because you don't want certain unpleasant people to find you.) Simplify.

Here are some thoughts for getting ready for moving day (and uncluttering your life):

  • Act like there will be a moving day someday, even if you're not planning on one. That way, you're less likely to hold onto stuff that you really don't need; less hassle if the time does arrive.
  • Be honest with yourself. The old rule that "if you don't miss something when it's been out of sight and out of mind for a year, then you really don't need it" is a useful guideline. Especially if it's a picture of a lover that dumped you.
  • You can't be absolutely strict, however. Sometimes, there's a certain inner desire that you can't define that makes you keep something that's not practical. OK, if it doesn't take up too much room, and you don't have too many of those sentimental draws, fine, keep it.
  • Check with yourself later on. Maybe something you held onto can be discarded now; you're finally ready to let it go.
  • Re-evaluate every once in a while. "Where does this belong, instead of the junk drawer? Do I really need this in the first place?"
For the active packing aspect:
  • Give to charity or get in touch with Freecycle. I really hate it when people throw something perfectly good into the trash instead of giving it to someone else. It helps your conscience, is a form of recycling and probably brings you good karma.
  • Think about where it's going. Do you have room for it?
  • Plan the packing itself. Sure, that box will hold quite a few books. But can you lift it? Also, how much travel is involved? Your porcelain James Bond figurine may need extra bubble wrap if it's going to survive.
  • Don't judge your friends. Sure, there's always someone that will promise to help you move and then be a no-show. Forgive them. Also, some people that you think will help may have back problems or just have something that demands their time and they just can't do it. Get over it. However, if you are the one making the promise to help, be a man of your word. If you don't want to do it, don't make someone think you'll be there when you have no intention of doing it.
OK, that's enough. You get the picture, and you'll develop your own thinking and planning habits. And you'll learn to simplify.

September 9, 2008

Matters of Size

Advisory: Mature Content

Yep, I put an advisory on this one. It’s not going to be profane, illustrated or full of graphic descriptions of personal acts, but I’m reluctant for kids to read this.

Yours truly is not in much of a mood to kid around, so I’ll just get right to it. This one is for the men. If women are reading, fine. In fact, maybe you’ll want to send the link to this post (or use the e-mail button at the bottom of the article, next to the comments tag) and send it to male friends that need it.

I don't know how the rest of the world acts, but Western society places a great deal of value on the size of, uh, certain appendages. You know, the ones we usually cover up in public. Yeah, I see you’re catching on. Well, I’ll start with women anyway. I know you’re still reading this, and the first discussion point helps work towards my main goal.

I've heard women saying that they wish they could “upgrade” to larger breasts. Why? Because of the role society places on big hooters. And society changes. I read somewhere that in the 1920s, flat-chested was the “in” thing, and larger women would hide their size to appear smaller! And it’s not just men who put each other down. Women will put one another down for being less-endowed in the chest department.

If a woman isn't happy with her measurements, she has a few choices. One is to make the entire package more presentable. You change what you can, Cupcake, and have to live with the rest. Make the most of what you can, especially personality. If you think that all the guys will reject you because of the size of your melons (or apples, or limes, or whatever), well, first of all, you're wrong. Second, if some guy is going to reject you because of the fruit you bear (or bare), then he's a jerk and you're better off without him. Some men might have preferences, but it's usually the entire package that we want. If you have what your man wants, then accept that fact, and accept yourself as well.

By the way, forget the padding. Just like colored contact lenses, padding is false advertising. If you get a man interested in you, he'll eventually find out. It's better to be honest and up front (heh!).

I was so taken with one of my girlfriends that I didn’t even notice that she was impaired in the pair. She had so much going for her, I didn’t care about her measurements!

And now for the main topic.

It's more difficult for men in this society in regards to penis size. (Yes, I said it, deal with it.) It's become a measure of character and "manliness" to have a big cucumber. Uh huh. Wonder why this became a standard? Maybe you’ve been looking at too much porn, Zeke? (There really is a site called “circus penis”, featuring freakishly large men.) Porn stars are hired to fit an image that the producers want to present. And that image is not the typical male. No, commercial porn is fake. (Get real, nobody can last that long and have a woman squeal with joy the entire time. The director stops them, lets them cool down, and then they resume. Then there's editing the content.) Also, if you ever read porn stories, you’ll want to laugh out loud because the men are all so well-endowed: “She moaned with joy as she took my entire eight inches…” No wonder men have inferiority feelings! They watch porn (with all the realism of wrestling in the WWE), and they read fantasy stories and think that they’re real. I knew a guy that posted under the name of Hugh Jorgan. Sound it out a couple of times, you’ll get it.

Surveys say that most men are dissatisfied with their size, and wish they could be bigger.

Men get all upset because they think they’re not big enough, and that women (or “partners”, if you swing that way) will reject them because of that. Well, that’s between you and your lover. If you're pleasing, that’s all you need.

Let me point some things out, though. Because society equates “manliness” with penis size, and somehow, having a massive schlong automatically makes you a good lover. Neither assumption is true in the least. Notice the ridicule heaped on men? “Yeah, Charlie, you must have a small thing, there!” Or, “You’re a member of the Two Inch Club!” May as well make fun of someone for being too short, or too tall. Nobody can change those physical attributes, either.

Think, for crying out loud! How can something that is a genetic crap-shoot, an accident of birth, be something to be proud of? Man or woman, penis or breast, it’s nothing you built yourself. You have no right to boast about it, and you can’t change it. Accept it.

I know women that are intimidated by huge men. Doing the Bang Tango is sometimes painful for them! Sure, there are women that will have a preference for a “big” man. Fine, be that way. (Some have a physical problem that they can only feel “Hugh Jorgan”, and a minor surgery can correct that.) But there are many more women that are prefer a thoughtful lover that wants to please her.

Let me repeat this (and I hate to repeat myself): Having a big stick doesn’t automatically make you a good lay. Whatever you have, it’s how you use it. Learn some techniques, some skill, some restraint – and don’t be selfish. If you please her, she’ll most likely want you again.

If you want to get laid, you need to have some things going for you. Being married and faithful is vital. Good hygiene will help. So will decent manners, a job, an interesting personality, adequate clothes (don't be going Joe Fashion Conscious on me, though). Do some research at AskMen.com and Men's Health, among others, to see what turns women off — and on. Some goofball in a stained T-shirt, holding a beer, stinking like a goat and saying, "C'mere sweet cakes, gimme some sugar" isn't going to get lucky, is he? (Women aren't turned on by fat old guys. Unless those old guys have a lot going for them, especially money.) Oh, and walk with confidence.

Age doesn't always matter, either. Sean Connery was considered sexy in his sixties! Look at him, with that poise, confidence, walk...sounding nice, good thing I'm straight...

I’m going to close this with some links that back me up. I hope you guys will feel better about yourselves, accept the package (heh) that was delivered, and use it well. Here they are, read up, class: First, second, third.


Addendum 9-10-2008:
The last time I had sex, I had to pay an extra twenty dollars. I asked, "What's the extra twenty dollars for?"
"Finder's fee", she answered.

One last item for the Nervous Nellies that insist that they're too small: Remember seeing adverts for Enzyte, the "natural male enhancement" pill, with Smiling Bob? The penis size fears are so widespread that this pill was copied. Bad move. It's so fake that the founder of the enhancement pill is in jail for fraud!


September 2, 2008

It's a Morality Thing

I've been pondering this for quite some time, and some recent observations prompted me to write about it. Remember about a year ago when I wrote about The Arrogant Atheist? Yes, then I did some other stuff that was similar. I've noticed that atheism (and its kid brother, agnosticism) and liberalism go hand-in-hand. It appears that there is an elitist approach to atheism.

Why would someone claim to be an atheist? I can think of several reasons, including:

  • Upbringing and bad educational experiences
  • Bad experiences in life
  • Cultural influences
  • Political and social environment
  • Peer pressure, or the desire to please other people
  • Disappointment based on bad experiences in life (i.e., expecting God to be a grand Santa Claus in the sky, giving you whatever you want, whenever you want it)
  • Elitism
  • Moral choices
It's the last two parts that I want to touch on today.

Please pay attention, 007! I am not going to say that all atheists are the same, and that my definitions will fit all of them. These are observations and generalities coupled with my own experiences and discussions. I've met atheists that are very matter-of-fact about their lack of belief: "I'm an atheist." End of discussion, big deal.
First, there are peaks and valleys in the popularity of atheism. The colleges and universities that help to spawn this unfortunate state of mind were usually founded by Christians, and for a Christian purpose. Well, that obviously faded. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was the Jesus People movement among the young. That faded as well. And atheism would gain popularity for a while.

A recent discussion in Gizmodo took shots at a Christian organization for objecting to porn being available on airlines. The details of that are not what I'm after, but I noticed the anti-God crowd having a field day slinging rotten fruit at the people that want to make a stand for what they believe in. And one unintentionally amusing comment was made to the effect of, "You're an atheist and said so. I respect you more for that." Oh, please! There's an elitist shock value that comes with claiming to be an atheist, like the desire to make little old ladies say, "Oh!" in shock at dinner parties. You're an atheist, Cupcake? Wow, what a maverick you are. Or would have been. Nowadays, your kind is a dime a dozen.

Many atheists that I've come across want to show that they're renegades, and that they're more intelligent than everyone else. (For that matter, I'll never forget an atheist in my school, he was about fifteen years old, and exclaimed, "I think all Christians should be burned at the stake!" What a stronzo.) These arrogant cafones want to destroy the faiths of those of us who believe in a higher power. They want to silence us and essentially put us in a box.

Why?

These elitists claim that they are protectors of freedom, and do not want to see the establishment of religion in government. Fine, neither do most of us. (F'rinstance, who wants mandatory Bible instruction in school from a teacher that resents presenting it in the first place?) Those arguments ring hollow. There's something going on here, and they probably don't know it themselves.

It's a morality thing. If there's a God, then he makes the rules -- maybe we should find out what he has to say. And he may not like the way you're living. So, you dismiss his existence and carry on as if your choice was reality. Why do you think they're so opposed to Intelligent Design theories being presented? Oh, I think I just answered that a few sentences back.

I suppose that I had better go on into more dangerous ground. I can't help it.

How many atheists are Liberals? One...two...one thousand...six thousand...never mind, there are quite a few. OK, how many atheists are Conservatives? One...two...uh, considerably less, I believe.

That's because people who do not believe in a higher power are drawn to political parties that have an "anything goes" stance on morality. Why is abortion so important to American Liberals? They claim to protect a woman's "right to choose". Yeah, and she also had the right to choose to use birth control, or to keep her legs together in the first place. But that's a moral point, and will not be discussed.

The unbelieving elitists were incensed that their liberal candidate for the Presidency of the United States lost by several million votes in 2004, and voter turnout was very high. Afterward, many liberal sour-graping elitist liberals were blaming the more Conservative southern states for the loss. Well, and blaming religious people. And blaming anything else they could think of. But they also wanted to protect the country from the evil Conservatives, even though their position was clearly outvoted. Although the votes were cast, they wanted to save us from ourselves. Oh, how generous. The elite, losing minority wants to protect the unintelligent, uninformed and religiously deluded people and make things go their way! Scary.

This "map" from Michael "Fat Bastard" Moore says a great deal. They resent believers. In fact, Liberals are afraid of people who believe in God and have moral convictions.

I think these are fair questions to ask. And I can't help my observations. Check them for yourselves.

So, if you claim to be an atheist, and you're one of those arrogant types, I suggest that you ask yourself a couple of questions. First, is it an intellectually honest position?

Second, if you're wrong and you come face to face with God, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?


Addendum 9-04-2008:
I promise that this is unintentional, but I'm happy to have found it. The day after I posted this, Rush Limbaugh said something very powerful that fits this topic:

"To believe in something greater than government, to believe in something greater than global warming, to believe in something greater than health care for all, to believe in something greater than pure, unadulterated socialism, is to be demeaned and disparaged. Like God is to be condemned. People who believe in God are to be condemned. The American left -- which now embodies the working class government, the Washington government, the American mainstream media, and the Democrat Party; that's the American left -- are truly frightened of God. That's who they're trying to beat. They're trying to wipe God out of every heart and soul in this country that believes in God. God is their competitor. Those of you who believe in God and are God's soldiers, you become the enemy on the battlefield."
Rush Limbaugh, 9-03-2008
Addendum 11-11-2008: Dr. Paul Kengore has some exit polling results that support what I say here.

August 27, 2008

Let's Go Phishing

You know I'm frequently trying to provide a public service. Here's another one.

This puppy just dropped into my personal Inbox. If you get this, don't click on anything, just delete it. It claims to give me an update to Windows XP and to Vista. If it was from Microsoft, well, my computer is registered, I get automatic updates, and they know full well what system I have. Why delete it? After a brief search, I found out it's a phishing scam (click for definition), and I took out the active link:

Free Update Windows XP,Vista
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July 23, 2008

Is This Manly?

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why the long face?"

Jokes are over.

OK, Gang, Uncle Bob is feeling a bit philosophical. Not the "meaning of life" kind of stuff. These questions are more immediate and, dare I say, relevant. This post is mainly for men. I'm sure women will read it and chime in with the comments button, too, and that's fine.

Over at The Art of Manliness, questions have been raised about, "Is (activity) manly?" The problem is, the term "manly" means different things to different people. Does an activity make you a better man? Maybe, and maybe not. I'm hoping that the guys at TAOM read this and give some input.

An assumption that can be made is that, if something is not "manly", it is somehow "un-manly". What does that mean, then? That it diminishes your manhood? Careful with that six-gun, Tex, you can shoot yourself in the foot with that assumption.

Worse yet, there's the assumption that if an activity is not "manly", then, by default, it's effeminate. Whoa there, Big Fella! That's a big leap. And an unwarranted assumption. (Yeah, big words. Told you I was philosophical today.) An activity could be considered "not manly" and be just an activity, nothing more.

A question posted at The Art of Manliness was: "Are video games 'manly'"? I don't really care. Does playing them make you a better man, somehow? Not bloody likely. Does playing them make you effeminate? Only if you spend too much time playing some kind of Dress-Up Dolly thing.

I'm making this a two-in-one discussion. First, I pointed out that certain terms mean different things to different people. That should be a given. Now, for something more difficult, yet related.

Is it "manly" to hit a woman? Is it "unmanly"?

My own feeling is that it's dead wrong ninety nine percent of the time. Ever hear the joke, "What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You already told her twice"? Not laughing? Me, neither. Sure, she annoys you. Yes, maybe she hit you, too. When I think about one of my favorite goomahs that is five foot two and thin as a rail, she could do almost anything to me and I'd let her get away with it. If someone raised a hand to her in my presence, he'd pay a big price, I promise you that. If it's someone that you love or care about that is having a tantrum, walk away. In that case, I think that taking it is a manly thing to do.

I was talking to a guy the other day and asked, "What if a woman starts beating you in the face?"

He replied, "I don't care who you are, man or woman, I'll take you down." I've also had women say the same thing.

But what if a woman is powerful enough to inflict harm, and she hits you first? Hey, if your safety is in jeopardy, I feel that all bets are off.

Part of this is because of Neil's problem (related in the previous post). He had someone treating him like crap for years, despite all he'd done for her. When she got physical with him on another occasion, he took it. When she tried again (face punching, that is), he hit back. This dame meant him harm.

Would he be a man for walking away and taking it? Most people would say, "Yes". He felt that he had to take a stand, and put the bully in her place because she would only get worse. (And she's not some tiny, frail thing that happened to have a bad day.) Is he somehow less of a man because he hit her back? (The key word is back. She hit him before, remember, and he took it. She hit him first in this instance, too.)

I don't think so.

But I promise you this, Neil isn't happy with himself, the situation or his actions. He felt it had to be done, but he didn't like it in the least.

Were his actions manly? Unmanly? A different category? I'd like to know what people think. Hit the comments button. You have to hit it first. You have my permission.

Addendum 7-29-2008: AoM seems to have missed some of what I'm trying to say:
"...wants to know what AoM means when they ask if something is manly or not. Really, the purpose of the survey question is to make it as open-ended as possible. Commenters are free to define “manliness” in their own way. (Isn't that pretty much what I said?) I personally envision it to mean, is this item or activity befitting of a grown man...believes that the opposite of manly is effeminate. (He did not read the article closely. I indicated that this is one possible conclusion, but I do not think it is necessarily true)This is not necessarily the case, although it could be. But the opposite of “manly” could just as well be “boyish.” Thus, to say video games are not manly is not to say they are effeminate, but instead to say they are childish."

In addition, he missed the bigger point, that the "manliness" discussion and the video game example was a springboard for a more important question. Those of you who have read this far will already know what that is.

Addendum 12-12-2009: I expanded on this subject here. Trust me, it's worth your time!
Addendum 8-03-2008:
Found out that this post is linked to here. Good reading on the subject of manliness.

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