Archive for January, 2008

The object of the stimulus bill is to inject cash into the economy as quickly as possible. Rebate checks will not go out before May or June, but there is a more direct way to get money in circulation. Many who file online and get a refund have the money direct deposited.

Since the Stimulus Act uses 2007 income figures, as soon as 1040’s are e-filed, deposits could be shot out to the taxpayer’s bank with appropriate rebate added. Then there are the millions of Social Security recipients who get their checks direct deposited every month. Why would you print and pay postage on those? Oh, that’s right, it appears retirees are not included in the stimulus unless they have income.

Can you say “Catch 22?” Apparently withdrawal from 401-K, which is treated as income in every taxable sense, will not count. Be that as it may, Washington could save us all money and get the economy goosed much quicker by using direct deposit where possible.

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boys4-07-0091.jpgThe yellow school light was flashing, the crossing guard stood ready in her bright orange vest. School children made their way home. Since a pause in life is mandatory at such times, why not observe whatever catches your eye? On previous days I have counted blonde children (very few), chosen the cutest, wondered about the tiniest. Yesterday their methods of conveyance began to fascinate as they whizzed or walked by.

Children in Seminole County, Florida, must walk if they live two miles or fewer from school. Many do just that, but many others have found creative travel methods to save shoe leather and get to that after school snack more quickly. In one short block paraded:

  • Bicycles
  • Skateboards
  • Trikkes
  • Waves
  • Heelys

You’ve run into Heelys before, (or they into you) probably at the grocery store. Heelys are ordinary looking athletic shoes with wheels that drop like landing gear. They are cool personified. I want a pair. Of course, bicycles are the old standby, but skateboards making a huge comeback. New versions like the wave, with only two caster-like wheels and a wasp like board, were new to me. The Trikke, a carving board is propelled as your body sways side to side. It looks like a scooter with a V facing forward. It certainly wins points for uniqueness and surely for working your obliques.

You who denigrate fitness of young people might try using any one of the above conveyances while balancing a bulging backpack just so. Their prowess was amazing to watch.

I don’t count the time waiting for kiddies to cross wasted at all. Grandmas need to know about these things. I’ve gotten as much mileage as I can out of Hannah Montana, online video games and Spiderman. Perhaps I’ll throw in a few comments about the wave next time I chat with the grands. That will be when my granddaughters come over and help me sign in with the Webkinz they gave me for my birthday. I understand I can go on a shopping spree for my little raccoon. It’s not enough to keep up with the latest news to sound erudite with your friends. We grandparents know there is a whole other world out there with its own vernacular and we’d best hit the books. Just don’t make me carry them in a backpack.

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If I can stop laughing long enough I want to refer you to my friend’s version of Bush’s State of the Union speech. Instead of watching tonight, you might want to spend the time reading Abbe’s version. I guarantee you’ll end up in a much better mood.


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beda70thbd-0051.jpgbeda70thbd-0041.jpgJack Jack LaLanne, my role model, on his 70th birthday swam 1.5 miles handcuffed and shackled while towing 70 boats with 70 people from Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.

I think I’ll pass, but on my 70th there should be something I can do to honor his influence in my life. So check out these pictures taken today of the pose I held for 70 seconds. It’s the best I could do, Jack.

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As world markets tanked earlier this week a stock market representative from China explained it all. “There are no buyers,” he said, “only sellers.” Ummmm Think about that one.

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This is how it is shaking down at one Florida household a week before the primary, a primary at which only one of our two votes will count toward delegates. Thank you, RNC. It could be worse; we could be voting in the Democratic primary and neither vote would count.

When I say our vote is shaking down, I mean shaking down. We have put the candidates in a big sieve. We shook the handle early on and several fell right through the holes that were our strongest personal negatives (Guliani, Romney, Paul, McCain.) Thompson just skimmed around but stayed in, as did Huckabee and Hunter. At one point we read Ron Paul’s record. Darn! He shouldn’t have fit through any of those holes. We threw that sucker back in the sieve. Then Hunter bailed out on his own. We got a good look at Paul’s manner in a debate and reluctantly shook him out again through the hole of un-electability.

Originally issues about foreign policy, illegal immigration, gun control, and social issues figured strong, but no one candidate agreed on all our views. We had to prioritize those views. But a funny thing happened on the way to decision day. The economy moved front and center.  We put them all back in and shook the sieve again with that issue in mind. Those with puny real life financial experiences came tumbling out: McCain and Thompson. Guliani as mayor hung on, as did Huckabee as governor. Paul got a few points running a medical office, but not enough. Romney came to the top on this one, way to the top. We threw Guliani out on principal and jettisoned fellow Baptist Huckabee after his remarks with the scent of theocratic leaning. In case I lost you, only Romney stood with every hair in place, like a cardboard figure in the bowl of the sieve.

Then this morning I am reminded of Huckabee’s embrace of the Fair Tax. I’ve read the book and some of it scares me, especially as a retiree, but I cannot dismiss its promise as a tool to a more competitive global economy. We are using economy as sole criteria here, so Huckabee hops back in. Thompson meanwhile withdraws.

Am I pleased with the two candidates standing after the shakedown? No. Will they still be there this time next week? I don’t know. Will Bloomberg jump in and change the whole dynamic? Who knows? Will I ever again snicker at an undecided voter? NO.

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I am fresh from enduring another presidential debate, this time Republicans on Fox. Since I have no idea who will earn my hanging chad next November, or even January, I’ll engage in a little “fluffery”* as the news media do. (NOTE: My Webster has the subheading Usage under the word media to explain the word is plural, but old Webster gave in to popular misusage if singular is what floats your boat. Wimps!) But I digress. After the debate tonight I asked myself several questions that may or may not have any bearing on presidential acumen, but they were fun. Hey, it’s a long campaign; we are allowed a little fun. So here you go:

  • Coolest Under Fire – Huckabee
  • Quickest Wit – Thompson, Huckabee
  • Most Likely To Slip Off the Edge – Paul (You knew that) McCain (A little too controlled of late)
  • Says Almost All the Right Things; Why don’t I believe him? – Romney, Guiliani
  • Says Many of the Right Things, a Few Scary Things; Why do I believe him? – Paul
  • Most Presidential (surprised myself on this one) – Huckabee
  • Least Presidential – I won’t even say it. His supporters might put a fatwa out on me.

Let’s only hope I will come up with better criteria before the primary. I would hate to make Florida a laughing stock on election day.

* Fluffery. See that word, Mr. Webster? If you can add truthiness and cred to the lexicon, you can add my contribution. (Truthiness be known, I like both those words, but that’s beside the point.)

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river-stephen-5-20-7-0111.jpgJoin me in another Hairy Moment. I’ve posted a second chapter from a book in progress, a memoir of sorts. This one contains only the high tension moments my husband I have experienced. I’m skipping past the “I was born in a log cabin” part, hoping to give the reader little to skip over on the way to adventure.  Click on the tab at top of page and enjoy.

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I’ve seen a lot of football players take heart-stopping hits lately, the kind where they are running full speed right up until they hit a wall of muscle. It hurts to look at, but my question is this. When those guys get in their cars do they really need an airbag?

Have you noticed how many beauty products from soap to anti-aging cream have French sub-titles? Does this make them better somehow, especially since they are probably made in China?

Name a female cartoonist. Neither can I. Why is that? We’re funny, we can draw.

When a word your mind is searching for is dancing out there in some ethereal zone just above your brain, do you know how many syllables it has even thought you don’t know which letter it starts with? Or is it just me?

When I bought my sons Lego’s and Lincoln Logs thirty, forty years ago we got a big honking box with plastic pieces or wood logs, maybe a few suggestions. Today each box builds specific items or buildings. No coloring outside the line or producing your own unique creation. No, no that work is done for you. I just returned a whoopdedoo Erector set meant for my grandson. He’ll get a toy that helps him grow and expand his mind instead.

You know who I’m voting for? Who ever promises to be the President of the United States of AMERICA.

When you hear a politician say fences won’t keep people out of our country aren’t you just dying to ask them if they live in a gated community—or estate?

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