Stocks and Bonds

My Clooney posting on St. Patrick’s Day was hijacked by a digression into the Queen of Spades underworld. I intended to focus on Joel Stein’s revelation that George owns no stocks or bonds and believes in living in his money. I assume he owns some pricey residences. The AARP anecdote rings true that he had14 suitcases in his home with a million dollars cash in each one back in 2013. My wife and I owned no stocks or bonds when we purchased our first home in 1977. Actually we only owned about 15% of the home, so mostly we lived in our debt. I wanted our 15% to cover the master bedroom but my wife was more interested in owning the living room. So we compromised and each took a bathroom. Eventually we added some stocks and bonds to our portfolio by participating in my employer’s 401(k) plan. We could not afford to invest and had no idea which stocks or bonds we owned. But the company matched our funds at a rate of 50% and eventually 75%, so we could not afford not to invest. That was just too much free money. We could borrow money for less than 10% interest and come out way ahead. Why try to pay off a mortgage early if the interest rate was so low in comparison? Still, George Clooney was way smarter than we were. He did not even go to medical school and yet scored a job as an ER doctor. He lost that job when authorities discovered he lacked medical credentials. He likely avoided prosecution by paying someone off with a suitcase full of twenty dollar bills. And all the publicity guaranteed he could bounce from one highly paid job to another for the rest of his life.

Advertisement

Crossfire

In 1992, the famous cartoonist Bob Mankoff published a classic cartoon where two men appear to be chatting at a cocktail party. One is saying, “The way I see it, the Constitution cuts both ways. The First Amendment gives you the right to say what you want, but the Second Amendment gives me the right to shoot you for it.” The cartoon holds up remarkably well 29 years later. Well, except no one was wearing a mask and cocktail parties have been illegal, or at least immoral, for the past year of social distancing. Prohibition did not last forever and I expect cocktail parties will be back in fashion before too long. Bob is still alive and in fashion as well. He could redraw the cartoon today to include more diversity amongst the party attendees. This would reflect how we are more sensitive about looking like we embrace diversity than actually embracing it. In the last 29 years, I have not had occasion to bear arms or even bare arms (my body’s affinity for skin cancer prompts the latter precaution). I am usually wary of the phrase “use it or lose it” but in this one instance, I would accept the application of that principle to my gun privileges. But both ends of the political spectrum seem more inclined to expand Second Amendment rights. The far right favors arming teachers in schools and the far left embraces arming bears in the woods to level the playing field. As always, I am caught in the crossfire.

Goody Two Shoes

On January 22nd, I blogged about the Good in You. Since then, I have struggled to compile a list of the Good in Me. I am good at lying to people for their own good but that sounds bad on an application for Heaven. I try to do my good for free but that sounds like I am good for nothing. I steal food off the plates of family members to save them from gluttony. Or is that merely a rationalization for my own gluttony? I should have started this list earlier in my life because I have apparently forgotten all the anecdotes of my goodness. Remembering only the bad stuff is evidently a pernicious side effect of sliding into mental decline. I tried to make some good stuff up but that just makes my bad list grow. Finally I realized that I needed to invest my time in actually doing some good and then my list would write itself. I plan to start tomorrow. But first I am maximizing my efficiency by listing and scheduling exactly what I plan to do. First I will return my neighbor’s lawn mower and stop making excuses about waiting until I fix the blade I broke. Then I will surprise my other neighbor by painting her deck railing any color other than that horrid blue coat she must regret applying last year. Finally I will be picking up all the litter on our street. Hopefully, I will find some of my missing stuff that I may have accidentally thrown out.

Double Time

For centuries humans complained about too little time in the day to accomplish everything. Suddenly the dream comes true and everyone get two seconds of time for every every elongated “one second” tick on the clock. Some scientists say it happened when we sprung one hour forward for daylight savings time one time too many. Donald Trump says it was his idea. Nancy Pelosi says none of the Republicans voted for it. The lady down the street wants to know if this means she can have a baby in 4.5 months, 9 months, or 18 months. My babies are grown men now but she can have one tomorrow if the lawyers can work it out. The media outlets are reporting contradictory information. Do we have two sunrises and two sunsets in every day? Do we have to go to work and school once a day or twice a day? Do we actually get more time or did we just label the same time differently? We will have better data when more people have a chance to die under the new accounting system. If any actual extra time exists, all of it is being wasted talking and arguing about whether or not this is fake good news or fake bad news. Arizona and Hawaii have officially noticed no difference. Unfortunately, the quality of Suicide Squeeze Blog postings could deteriorate if I am required to publish more often to maintain my streak of 1670 consecutive daily postings. Even before receiving a ruling on this question, I can already see deterioration as I type this.

Ocean’s Fourteen

George Clooney gave away one million dollars in cash to each of his 14 closest friends (“The Boys”) at a 2013 dinner party he hosted at his home. The February/March edition of AARP The Magazine reminded me that the cash was delivered in fourteen suitcases. Other sources have reported that twenty dollar bills were used and that Clooney later covered $3.4 million in taxes. Starting in the last century, I have attended regular dinner parties (usually twice a year absent a Pandemic) with up to 15 others in a Boys group that plays the card game Hearts. No one has given away any amount of money. In fact, we do not even compete for a token cash prize. The winner actually has to pay for engraving his name on a travelling trophy. We play for the pleasure of dumping the Queen of Spades on others. When I receive “the Bitch,” my mates erupt in cheers and high fives, rubbing in the 13 point penalty. I bring my own dinner to the party and guard it carefully even though the host provides a wonderful meal. Who knows what these Boys might slip into my food. One percent of one million dollars ($10,000) is possibly a proportionate amount for our Hearts Crew relative to the Clooney million. But if someone were rich and generous enough to give away that kind of cash, I expect the host would probably hire one of his sons to mug me on the way to my car while another son videotaped the assault for viewing at the next dinner party. Nonetheless, some in my group would rather hang with each other than hobnob with the Clooney Crew, no matter how much money is at stake. That is how crazy they are. At least I feel better than being Clooney’s 15th best friend.

Ready, Set, Run

The English word with the most meanings is generally identified as the verb set. Wikipedia says it has 17 meanings, including a den for a badger. Some may quibble that badger sett is more correct than badger set but who the heck cares? The more reputable source, The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1989), identifies set as the word with the most meanings, 430 senses. They devote 60,000 words (326,000 characters) and more than twenty pages to set. This is recognized as a Guinness World record. So it takes 60,000 words to define a three letter word. We are a species that reduces the mundane to the absurd. Big news is apparently coming in 2037 when the Third Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is set to replace set with run as the word with the most senses (645). I have not verified this with Wikipedia but will just run with it. Frankly I am surprised because I would have guessed the adjective f***ing (which I still spell with asterisks even though my Mother died four years ago) would be the word with the most uses. It can modify every single noun in the English language. Drop the ing and it can even be a noun (as in “dumb f***) or a verb. The variety of usage insures that you can never get too much of the F word in any one sentence. For example, my friend Goktug just texted me after seeing an advance copy of this post: “You f***ing f*** face, I am coming over to f*** you up for f***ing making me look like a f***ing idiot in your f***ing Blog.” I am getting set to run.

Jelly Drops

A friend has an email tagline that says “sent by Garry using random subatomic particles.” I live in a world where I do not know if that is a joke or a real technology. Richard Howard (ting Blog) and Adrian Willings (Pocket-lint) tell me about things like human skin phone cases, smart toilets, horse blinders for humans, hands-free umbrella drones, blue tooth enabled forks, NoPhones (hunk of plastic formed to resemble a cell phone), umbrella ties (handle of the removable portable umbrella is hidden where the sport coat buttons), sonic fire extinguishers (heavy bass sounds help put out fires), Hip’Safe protective airbags (fall protection for seniors), musical marbles (wooden machine plays music using 2000 marbles), and jelly drops that provide hydration for people with dementia. I forget where I was going with this, probably because I have not been able to find my jelly drops ever since the household went into a tizzy after my 17 year old grandson was diagnosed as being over hydrated. I look forward to the day when jelly drops provide hydration that grows hair on my scalp, spits out witticisms, and drowns me in praise. Of course, the world I live in also uses jelly as slang for jealous and I definitely do not need any jealous pills. My body already excretes more jealousy than perspiration.

Lily of the Valley

Did you pull up my Lily of the Valley flowers? How often do you get that question? Any credit for my amazing year of pandemic inspired weeding evaporated. I wondered aloud whether moles eat Lily of the Valley plants because my pets have clearly emerged from hibernation. I do not specifically remember weeding out any Lily of the Valley flowers but if investigating this crime, I would suspect me because: (1) My accuser and I are the only two people who would ever pull either weeds or flowers in our garden; (2) I am the one who cannot tell the difference between a weed and a flower; and (3) I have been convicted of uprooting flowers in the past because like a four leaf clover, they hide so easily among the forest of weeds. My transgressions are never premeditated as no one would ever intentionally do extra weeding. The silver lining is the likelihood that I will be removed from weeding duty just like I have been permanently banned from the laundry room ever since the Pink Clothing Fiasco of 1998. Not loading the dishwasher correctly has also worked to my advantage. I gave up brushing my teeth for awhile but found that no one else would do it for me between dentist visits. The one domain I can truly claim for myself is taking out the garbage. I have trouble screwing that up. No one else in the household cares that much if garbage, recyclables, and yard waste are sorted perfectly. No one worries if I forget to take the garbage out since they would rather store it in my truck than drive that clunker with the stick to the Dump. I hope the Easter Bunny is back this year bringing a Lily of the Valley or two.

What are the Odds?

Heaven and hell seem diametrically opposed. They should have nothing in common but I suppose inhabitants of either place are not allowed to commit suicide. A condition of hell probably prohibits any escape. I do wonder if someone can ever transfer out of heaven or if you are stuck there forever. Maybe by its nature, it would be impossible to want to leave. If you did, it would theoretically be a form of mental illness. But mental illness may also be impossible. Maybe minds are checked at the door. Being out of your mind may be one of the rewards for surviving earth. I will probably never know because if I ever get admitted to heaven, I will not be dumb enough to stir up trouble by asking questions. I would not be so inhibited about challenging the authorities in hell. What would I have to lose? Is there any way out, no matter how limited the exception is? Could I be booted for good behavior? Or rewarded for bad behavior? Do other places like Purgatory or Limbo exist? Every time I think about these concepts, my mind explodes and I lose a little more of it. Maybe that means I am on the right track. I also need to know what percentage of people get to heaven and hell. We should have daily data on the telly like tallies for Coronavirus infections, deaths, and vaccinations. If the entrance percentage is 50-50, I would have a legitimate shot at heaven and would begin behaving better. If 90% get into heaven, I would relax and goof off a little more. If only 10% make it through the pearly gates, I would start praying that I live to be 120.

479 Likes

Admittedly, my lazy approach to marketing my Blog guarantees few followers or likes even if I were capable of improving the writing quality. Still, I was very surprised to hear my nine year old granddaughter chirping about the 157 likes she had on her TikTok video a couple weeks ago. She posted a shout out to a friend who helped update her PFP. Part one of my problem is that I did not even know PFP stands for ProFile Picture. The video lasts less than a minute and now Zofia is telling me she has 162 likes. This raises part two of my problem: she is supposed to be online on another device in a virtual third grade classroom. But wait she is up to 171 likes and 154 followers. I do not even know how many likes she ended up with because after 479 she stopped answering all my “creepy” questions. Just because my words were dripping with jealousy does not mean I was acting creepy. Believe me, I know creepy. I am a master at creepy. I also know the nuances of words. But my third problem is that it will be a hot day in Eureka, Canada, before I get liked 479 times even if I start handing out hundred dollar bills on a street corner. If I ever find 154 people following me, they will likely be investigators trying to pin a bank robbery on me. Fourth problem: I still do not know how to like my granddaughter’s video on TikTok, let alone view it.