Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Middle class

Check out this video of Ben stein and his definition of middle class:

250 thousand... and you're just middle class...

That's the difference between need and greed, he can't tell the difference and as a result he sees middle class as 50-250k....

The average median income as of 2007 was $50,233 ..... how do you stretch that to 250k?
Source: US Census Bureau

Pg: 13

I'd recommend saving that pdf file btw, very good reading.


If he had said 50-100k, I'd give him that just barely.... 100k is really good, but still i wouldn't call him crazy.

But 250k.... or 200k, or 220k, or 180k, or 150k.... middle class?

Is a bmw really necessary, private schooling....

He's out of touch with reality.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Surging inspiration

Surging inspiration comes with a cost, a muse that will not come for free.

It's like a world passing you by, slowly swirling but never truly delving into anything.

With every slow step and dive you make, you find everything else swirling around you.


You fall in the ocean, it seeming calm from above, but the water droplets, just fly by you, just enough time to sink deep in your heart, but not enough time to stay there.


Sometimes you see the droplet heading for rough waters and you want to warn it, but it gets away too soon.

Other times you want to hold it close and have it forever, but it leaves you because you can't grasp it.

Then there is the droplet which delves deep into you, and disappears before you know it.
A shadow all your given, the true spirit hidden and flying away, in mere seconds.

Which hurts more? The one that accepts you but you can't accept it, or the one who shakes the fibers of your being and disappears?


Inspiration comes with a cost, a muse that does not come free.

The emotions evoked, come from a surge from within.

To be inspired or to be satisfied.

The inspired appreciates satisfaction more than the satisfied ever would.

But the satisfied yearns to be inspired, searching for it with every breath, not knowing the cost that comes with it.


So now, you the droplet have to decide.

Do you walk the paved road that sits in front of you, happiness never truly appreciated given to you at every stride?

Or do you search the woods around you for inspiration, finding it and straying from the path, possibly never to find satisfaction again.

If you start on the road, then survive the woods, you get the best of both worlds and appreciate every step you take on the paved road.

I've been lost between both for a long while, unable to grasp the road when i saw it, and so i journeyed through the woods for years, this blog ushering forth the inspiration.

Cuts, scars, bruises, and darkness, a forever longing, a never ending want of satisfaction.

And either the droplets flew past me leaving a bit of themselves, or they stayed to dive deep, but were shunned away.


I found the road, i see it now, it has everything i could ever want.
I would appreciate it more; to just be able to take one step on it would mean more than a mile with others.

There's a trial i must face before I'm given entry onto the road, a trial that would make me better in every single way, a cleansing process to be with those who walk on the road.

But if i walk, if i get back on the paved path, at the wrong moment, it brings about my destruction, in a slow and grueling way, being cast asunder, loosing all i've gained.

I have to time everything right, get back on the road at the precise moment.

But it taunts me, even now, i see it, it's called out to me, like the droplet that stayed wanting to be there but being shunned instead.


Getting on the road at the precise time is the key, or destruction is inevitable.

Not getting on at the right time leaves me lost in the woods forever, never tasting satisfaction.

But sitting here and waiting as I'm doing now, kills me slowly.

Like a circle of air around me, entering me and surging me with inspiration, keeping me alive till the time is right to get satisfaction.

With each surge a piece of the soul jerks forward, falling many times into the traps that lay around me.

They will disappears in time as long as i time everything correctly.


I see the road, it sees me, and all I'm left with is surging inspiration.
I'm watching people walk on it, as happy as can be.
I see them walk onto their destruction, having not timed their entrance on the road right.

And yet i still long to be one of them, for they step on a paved road that is forbidden to me with all the wants and desires i could ever ask for.

Their destruction should phase me, should make me stop and look and wait and plan and time properly.

The numerous traps that are around the road that circle the forest are warnings to not come near til the time is right.

But waiting destroys me too, with each blast of surging inspiration.
I lower my head to the ground, shove my hands deep into the sand, and lay down falling asleep.

The inspiration pushes deep inside me, shaking me to my core, the whispers of desire flow from the road to my ear.

My eyes watch it as it goes by.

I see them walking to their destruction, and yet i don't know if i can stop myself from not being one of them.

I push my hands deeper in the sand, and the wind keeps swirling fast into me, like sharp lines.
My trial begins and i start to succeed and a reward is presented, a curse in hiding.

The path to the road, the beautiful road, the road i wish to walk on, is freed from traps.
I'm allowed to walk onto it, free as soon as my trial ends.

Free to walk to my destruction, or wait a while longer for grace and then walk on the road at the appropriate time.

I stand taking a step towards the road.

I watch it from afar.... i watch it from afar... i watch it from afar

If i go now, temporary happiness and bliss awaits, but sure destruction comes later.

If i wait, i wait for long, not knowing exactly how long, and i risk being destroyed if i miss the timing.

I'm in the ocean with surging water droplets all around me and yet i can't grasp a single one.
I'm cursed, or gifted, with the power to see the purity of each one.
Yet even the most pure i can't have.

The true cost of inspiration is paid.

Can you wait for a time never given?
Would you sit for that time, finding it later to be a 1,000 years?

Can you seek a satisfaction promised, only seen and told about?
Or would you seek your own and be given every desire a human has ever dreamed of?
Would you risk the chance that your choice of instant gratification could possibly destroy you?

Or would you wait for a time never given, for an opportunity only seen, and a promise only whispered?

I still sit today with inspiration driving through me like knives, going through my soul, and surging emotions deep within me.

The difference is now there are no traps in front of me to get to the road i seek, now that I'm about to pass the trial of the road.

The question is... do i now walk my clear path, do i listen to the calls that beckon me from the road, or do i wait with surging inspiration tearing through me and enslaving me to my emotions?

I wait for now, tomorrow i promise to wait again, but the future has only ever been one thing, a cloudy secret of hope and uncertainty.

I feel the wind hitting me, emotions coming from the muse i pay.

A cost too high for most.

A solace never truly known to come.

A path promised, but yards away at my taking.

A curse, a gift, a hope, a choice, a feeling away from grace or destruction.

A feeling away from destruction.

A feeling away from instant gratification.

A promise I wait for, left unfulfilled, for today at least.

And a muse who enslaves me with my very own emotions.

The road whispers, it beckons, it destroys, and yet i still want it.

I hope for protection and for patience from this never ending enslavement, waiting for contentment.

And all the while I'm taunted and slashed, with surging inspiration.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Consumer Spending - Part 1 (Farmer Bob and Farmer Joe)

I rarely get inspired to write at night but this subject is something that has been marinating in my head for a few days now and it seems like it all needs to burst out now.

America has been successful for many reasons but the most troubling also seems the most important. It seems the success we put on for the world is truly just a mirage.

It's all a facade(pronounced Fa sod [a showy misrepresentation intended to conceal something unpleasant ]). Who says you can't learn new words on this blog!!!! :D

Farmer Bob and Farmer Joe

Before we get into all the facts and figures, I wanted to make sure everyone had a clear grasp of the problem so a small analogy like story should do.

So farmer bob is a hard worker, he makes enough money to get by his day to day life and he lives pretty comfortably. But farmer bob has a new baby on the way and really needs that extra income.

So farmer bob devises a plan. He has plenty of extra seeds and land for which to grow a new cash crop on but he lacks gasoline to power his tracker the extra 2 acres. :(

He doesn't have any spare money either, so he can't just go out and buy the extra gasoline he needs.

Farmer bob becomes very sad until one day he meets farmer Joe in a grocery store. He overhears him saying that he has extra gasoline and he doesn't know what to do with it and no one will buy it from him.

Farmer bob later decides to talk to farmer Joe and they settle on an agreement to give farmer bob the extra gasoline for free as long as farmer Joe gets paid after the harvest of the new 2 acres of land.

The problem arises - A debt unpaid

After half a year the crop is ready and sold and farmer bob gets the extra profits from the new land he had planted.

He makes more than enough to pay farmer Joe, and take good care of his new infant, and pay for next years gasoline.

But Farmer bob gets kinda greedy though and spends most of the extra money he gets, leaving him not having enough to pay for farmer Joe's gasoline.

He talks the problem over with farmer Joe and Joe tells bob he forgives him and that the gasoline he gave him was extra anyways.

So they devise a new system, Joe will give farmer bob the gasoline he needs again this year so he can make a new cash crop again, and next harvest farmer bob will pay farmer Joe back in full.

All farmer bob has to do now is pay farmer Joe 10% of the money he owed to farmer Joe this year, as interest, and next year he can use the money he gets to pay last years, this years, and next years gasoline.

The plan seems simple and Farmer bob has more than enough to pay Joe's small 10% interest fee and help take care of his new infant.

The never ending cycle begins

A year passes again and the new crop is harvested again and farmer bob receives his money.

He gets kind of tempted at the new farming equipment and is sadly tricked into buying it by the salesmen.

Again he goes to his friend Joe, not able to pay and Joe says the same thing he said last year.

"Don't worry my friend, it was extra gasoline as well, just pay me 10% and you can pay the last two seasons gasoline next year. You make more than enough in one harvest to pay 10 gasoline load fulls. "

Farmer bob feels delighted and again can take care of his now 1 year old infant, using the money he saved on her, and now having NEW farming equipment!

His life is really looking up and none of the other farmers can understand how he afforded all that shiny new equipment!!

The period of fake happiness begins

This cycle continues and this is the result:

Joes actual gasoline cost is 100 dollars for 2 acres, but farmer bob only pays 10%
Farmer bob makes 1000 dollars extra per each harvest.
His infant needs 500 dollars the rest he uses to buy things, such as a new car, farming equipment, etc.

10% interest of $100 subtract 500 for infant

Harvests Joes gasoline cost Extra money gained New amount owed

1st harvest 10 490 100
1 year 2nd harvest 20 480 200

3rd harvest 30 470 300
2 years 4th harvest 40 460 400

5th harvest 50 450 500
3 years 6th harvest 60 440 600

7th harvest 70 430 700
4 years 8th harvest 80 420 800

9th harvest 90 410 900
5 years 10th harvest 100 400 1000

Money injected into the economy(Money bob wastes, total of extra money gained column): $4,450

So farmer bob now pays interest equal to the amount of gasoline he pays per year, but that's better than paying 1000 dollars and being left with nothing for his new child!!! :(

There's a catch now though... his infant is all grown up now, and 500 dollars just won't do.

New clothes almost every year because he's growing, and school supplies, inflation of the economy, and a bigger mouth to feed are all adding up.

And rather than saving up his money, farmer bob used it all every year, to buy new things he probably didn't need.

Now he needs to make 1,000 dollars for his growing child.

He sits down and speaks to Farmer Joe again, and farmer Joe agrees to give him double the amount of gasoline he gave him before, so farmer bob can use the 2 acres of land he has left to try and take care of his new child.


The fake happiness widens

Lets see what happens:

He makes 2000 dollars extra now, but he looses 1,000 because of his child.

farmer Joe payment
subtract 1000 for child New amount due

11th harvest 120 880 1200
6 years 12th harvest 140 860 1400

13th 160 840 1600
7 years 14th 180 820 1800

15th 200 800 2000
8 years 16th 220 780 2200

17th 240 760 2400
9 years 18th 260 740 2600

19th 280 720 2800
10 years 20th 300 700 3000

Farmer bob is really happy now, he doesn't care that he's paying 300 dollars now for 200 dollars of fuel.

He makes an extra 700+ dollars a year!!!

His new child is well fed, he uses ALL that extra money to buy stuff (DOUBLE what he was getting before), and he's living happier than all the other farmers.

Money injected into the economy(Money bob wastes, total of extra money gained column continued): $4,450 + 7900 = $12,350

The point of no return

This cycle continues for another 5 years, all the while the child grows up in the most comfortable house you could ever imagine, especially for a farmer.

21st 320 680 3200
11 years 22nd 340 660 3400

23rd 360 640 3600
12 years 24th 380 620 3800

25th 400 600 4000
13 years 26th 420 580 4200

27th 440 560 4400
14 years 28th 460 540 4600

29th 480 520 4800
15 years 30th 500 500 5000

There is one catch though with teenagers, and that's the fact that at 15 they are going to need more than what they needed at 10.

It seems farmer bob now needs to make 1500 dollars for his new teenage son. Sadly that leaves him with no extra money. He has a small savings, he owns his house now, and he has no idea how he can make the 10% payment to Farmer Joe.

Money injected into the economy(Money bob wastes, total of extra money gained column continued): $4,450 + 7900 = $12,350 + 5900 = $18,250

As you can see, farmer bob is in a big problem.
He owes Farmer Joe 5,000 dollars, he can't pay him for next years gasoline, and therefore can't pay for his extra son to live in his own home.

What is he to do?

While talking to a few neighbors and just thinking in his home, he discovers a grim secret.
He finds out that Farmer Joe has been handing out extra gasoline to other farmers, after they saw Farmer Bob making huge amounts of money and buying lots of items.
That was 5 years after farmer bob started.

They too wanted a great home, with all the extra money to use, and the fake happiness that came with it, so they arranged similar deals with Farmer Joe.

But because they had higher interest rates and they didn't have too much extra land like farmer bob had, the vast majority of them are in the same boat as farmer bob.

The local economy crumbles

That year, the local economy suffered.
The group of farmers had to take out a loan to buy time to think out another course of action.

But since there was no extra money left, none of the farmers went on a shopping spree and they didn't spend the big amounts of money they used to.

Since they had no extra money, they didn't buy anything extra at all.

Of the 30 some stores in that small and booming city, 20 of them went into bankruptcy, some of them unique stores with no competition that the city needed.

But what can a business do if it has hardly any money and not even 1/10th the customers it used to?

The fate of the city remains unknown, but the skies were getting darker, and it seemed like the sun might never rise again.

Wait for part 2 of the consumer spending series to see how this story reflects our current crisis and to finally get into all those facts and figures.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stories must finish eventually

(The light eventually burns out and we're either left in perpetual darkness, or the sun rises and brings forth the day)

My comments given on a forum about the end of Avatar: the Last Airbender and why every amazing story must finish sooner or later:

Maintaining the Integrity of a story

Before we begin i'd just like to mention a name: Harry potter.

Why do i mention that, especially in an avatar thread and forum?

Heres why:

Harry potter and a number of other amazing series taught us one thing, that good stories have to end sooner or later. Why do good stories have to end? Because if you want to maintain the spirit of a story, not go off tangent, and you want the story to remain amazing, you cannot keep it going forever.

It seems with avatar, the creators decided to end it at a certain point. Imagine now, trying to continue a story that they've ended with no purpose and no aim, where would this new story lead? What would we gain from it? Would a purposeless story help the avatar series?

What i'm trying to say is simple, we all want one thing in this forum, to have a great story, and maintain it's integrity.

Asking for a new season is simple, but what we really want is the enjoyment we had in the first three seasons. The truth is though, we'll never have that again because those days are gone and that chapter is finished.

The writers had a purpose then, a story and a path, an aim, a message, a voice calling to them.

That's why it succeeded, that's why we loved it.

The voice is gone now, having given everything it had, having created the path for much enjoyment, it left. In some stories it stays for 10 seasons, in others just 2 or 3.


Closing the book

What i've learned from the many stories i've read, from the thousands of adventures i've been in, from the amazing twists and turns i've wound through, is that eventually the story has to end.

It ends because there was a reason it started, a purpose, an aim, a trouble, and when that trouble is solved, when their aim is fulfilled, then their chapter in my life finishes because they are complete.

We all want the same thing, to feel how we felt during those first 3 seasons, to make avatar have a purpose again, to destroy the world so he can save it.

But sooner or later, he either succeeds or he fails, and on that day we end the story.

The story has ended, in my opinion it was in a good way(though i do have some critiques), to ask for another season would mean to destroy the integrity of the avatar.

Lets keep the integrity of Avatar intact, lets let his story ring true for many other generations to love, and lets not currupt the gift we've been given by trying to stretch it too thin.

My only advice now is to find a new adventure, there are many awaiting, and i am reading one now.

The next adventure is the only solace to having finished the last. Trying to stretch the last one after it has finished, will inevtiably destroy it's soul.

Avatar will live forever, lets let it live as a perfect story of amazement and success, lets not destroy it because of our greed.

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