Monday, October 13, 2008

Who really owns your house?

I often say that I will never REALLY own my house. I may be the owner of the mortgage payment, or the owner of the tax payments, but I'll never be the owner of the house. Because, if I stop paying one of those items mentioned, the real owners of my house will let me know who they are.

In other words, stop paying those bills and you will see that the bank owns it if you have a mortgage payment, or the government owns it for as long as you have a tax payment. The question is, when will I ever own my house? The answer is never because I will always have to make that tax payment. You know, there are only two things certain in life.....death and taxes.

So what's the point?

Well, if I OWE the bank, then the bank OWNS my house. If I OWE taxes on my house then the government OWNS my house. What about the government? Who owns the government? WE the people right? Wait just a second........IF the Government owes the BANK, then that must mean the BANK owns the GOVERNMENT.

Ever wonder about our national debt? It's like some infinitely large trillions of trillions of dollars that we owe. Who do we owe it to? I used to always wonder. And I finally figured it out this past weekend.

What very very few people realize or understand today is that the gap between rich and poor widens because of one thing. Our money supply.

Only one in one thousand people can get their heads around this. During the primaries I thought Ron Paul was a bit loopey and didn't try to understand what he was saying. He wants to abolish the IRS. Why would I ever want to see that happen? Actually, I would welcome the event and vote for it immediately.

Now that it's too late, I understand exactly what he was saying.

The gap is getting wider because there are a so few that understand the rules to the game of attaining wealth today. When Nixon took us off the "Gold Standard", our money system then became a "fiat" money system. Fiat money systems are good for a season, and it would last for a long time if it weren't corrupted by greed.

As kids we tried to play monopoly. Our efforts were in vain. I never understood the genius of that game until my late twenties. Monopoly is a game that utilizes the fiat money system, and the game works well as long as the banker doesn't cheat....but temptations often overcome. And that's what we're seeing today. The bankers are cheating, BUT we're yapping about Dems vs. Repubs and taxes versus tax cuts when we should really be talking about the FED, a privately held company for profit in the business of printing money. The next business I start will be in the business of printing money, because it's very very lucrative. I just have to figure out how to do it legally.

By being able to merely print as much money as the governent wants, politicians are free to make promises they cannot afford with their budgets. Even though the federal budget dwarfs the combined revenues of Exxon, Wal-Mart and Microsoft combined, they still can't afford to give us all the services that they feel we need. AMAZING!

What exactly is it that I get from the Federal Government?

The promises they make can be a war that of course is painted as necessary, or it can be universal health care. It can be a housing bailout. They're price fixing housing today to supposedly save the 5% of people who bought homes they couldn't afford. Do you really think the bleeding hearts of our politicians are looking out for the 5% of us that either speculated on housing or bought beyond our means?

Whatever the case, the politican will campaign on a promise to raise taxes on the rich, or not raise taxes at all, and offer the latest and greatest government program to solve the nation's problems. The Dems or the Repubs seem to pull this off with ease.

In reality - with slight of hand they raise taxes on the poor and middle class. As they print more money to pay for these things, they are taking it right out of everyone's bank accounts, pay checks, and anything else that is measured by dollars. Because as they print more money, your pay check can afford you less and less, and your bank account will buy you fewer and fewer goods.

If you can't increase your revenue stream quickly enough to keep up with the rising costs of inflation, you are being left behind and sent into poverty. Double digit inflation here we come.
After we get through this recession in 18 months to two years, the next economic season will be good. It could be five or ten years. Maybe just two years. But it will be long enough for everyone to get comfortable again, and get back to being greedy. It will be the sharpest climb in history. People will feel like they're getting rich again. But with that steep climb will come the mother of all economic falls, like a thief in the night.

So who owns the federal government?

The Federal Reserve - a privately held company for profit. We owe all of our debts to central banking. And everytime we borrow more and more from these central banks, they own just a little more of us. As I study the history of money, the bankers obtain their power when there is a central bank for an economy. It started in Germany, then moved through Europe, and then the deal got closed in 1913 here in the U.S. with the Federal Reserve Act. They have swept the globe gobbling up global economies and centralizing them under their bank.

The trick is, they have to get a country to borrow the money from their printing press of fake money. And now, the printing of the money has gotten cheaper and cheaper, it's a mere electronic debit to that governments bank account.

The business plan is pretty simple. If I control the money supply to an economy, then I control everything. Hence, the banker position in the monopoly game.

Why didn't I think of that sooner?

Turns out, it could have been one of my ancestors that schemed this up. Somehow our family didn't stay on the inside of the right circles.

The business plan all started with the Goldsmiths and then was ultimately mastered by the Rothchilds.

Come'on grandpa, if you would have only paid attention in your economics class!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Money Masters - Understanding markets, politics, & fear

I pondered my Cousin Jordan's Blog and his frustration is shared with many. Recent events are perplexing, and few understand the logic behind Bailouts and the subsequent stock market crashes. I continue to study and try to understand, so that I may best protect my family and not live in fear like so many seem to do.

The simplistic answer in trying to gain understanding of life's events is to imagine yourself playing monopoly with "The Golds" at a family event. If you have ever witnessed or played the game "spoons" at a "Gold" family get together, then you should understanding of what it would be like playing monopoly with the Golds.

Here is a VERY INTERESTING VIDEO that should explain better. Finish my post first, then watch the video, then go read the books.

It's 3.5 hrs and appears to be nearly 3 decades in the making based on the host guys mullet from earlier video clips.

As I watched, I was amazed at how well it explains todays politics, the bail out, and the oddities of the price of oil.

Jordan - If you really want to understand I recommend you start by reading books. Not, how to get rich quick books, but books that help you understand the game. If we were talking about football, you want "Football for Dummies" and not "How to Win the Game in the 1st Quarter."

After watching the 3.5 hr video read these books.

I recommend:
1. Intelligent Investor by Graham
2. Rich Dad Poor Dad series books by Kiyosaki


"Money is only an idea. The rich invent money."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oooops........

When you were a kid, did you have one of those moments where you got excited and a little wound up and did something really stupid that you knew wasn't going to be pretty when you're parents found out?

I you could do was sit there and wish it never happened and hope and pray that you were dreaming and would soon wake up.

Like Erika's story that I can't seem to find where Colby dropped the Little Ceasers Pizza on the floor of the car and all Erika heard was: "Oh dawn it, oh dawn it, oh dawn it." (Erika, please link to that story)

AND NOW - Introducing David Kernell son of Democratic State Representative of Tennessee Mike Kernell.

I wonder where he could have ever got the new password "Popcorn" from?

I'd say he's had one of those moments.

Uh-oh....dawn it, dawn it, dawn it!

Hope and Change

So here's Joe Biden telling those that make over $250,000 it's time to buck up and show a little patriotism.

I recall a certain tea party in American history. Were they proposing patriotism the same way Joe Biden proposes it?

Our ancestors chased their dreams. They wanted a better life for their children, and their children's children. They were frustrated with a government that told them how to worship, and a government that took what they earned to give it to others.

We often imagine that the Kings that enjoy taking the citizens money and just sitting on it. Throwing the gold into the vault somewhere so that they can run it through their fingers with an evil laugh. That's not what they did with their revenues. The Kings took peoples money and gave it to their staff, their jesters, the peasants. They did the things that they thought would best serve the people.

Our ancestors took a great risk and crossed the Atlantic to chase their dreams here in America. What was it that sustained them when faced with such adverse conditions? How much did they have when they arrived? Was it the wealthy that left the comforts of home back in Europe that were making such a long treacherous journey here?

NO, it was those that had little in Europe, and even less in America. They had nothing more than "Hope and Change." Is it the "Hope and Change" that we are promised now in 2008?

What sustained these diehards with little more than a dream and a few cloths on their back? Was it the government run programs? Was it the universal health care? Or the food stamp programs? Was it the goverment housing programs? Was there a federal minimum wage?

It must have been a patriotic government program right? One that helped the poor enter teh ranks of the middle class? Higher taxes must have been imposed on those that made more than $25 a year. Those tea party folks must have felt it was more patriotic to pay some higher taxes, right?

Our ancestors came here with ambition. They came with real hope, and real change. They didn't have any government mandated programs to give them a leg up. There was no mandated ladder from the government to help them out of poverty and into the middle class.

They may have had some family to come to that helped them survive. But mostly they had neighbors. Friends from their mother country. They didn't have social services to go to when they needed help, they had churches to go.

NOW Check out Joe Biden's tax returns.

Ten years of tax returns. His family never made less than $210,797. That year he donated a whopping $120 to charity. Maybe it was just a bad year right?

His best year shows an income of $321,379. They generously donated $380 that year.

The most charitable donations in the last ten years that Joe Biden shows on his tax returns is $995.

The average American donates approximately 2.5% of his income to charity. Joe Biden donates about a tenth....a tenth of one percent.

The CBS headline reads: "Biden's Tax Returns Show Modest Wealth"

It should have read: "Biden's Tax Returns Show Financial Ignorance"

Joe Biden's income adjusted for inflation has been over $100,000 since he started in the Senate back in the 70's. A person with any financial intelligence making over $100,000 a year for the last 30 years should easily be worth over $1M.

Joe just doesn't get it. Neither does Barack Obama. That's why they want to take it away from those that can, and give it to people like themselves, those that can't.

It's their version of Hope and Change. I suppose that 232 years of freedom and independance is just too much. It's time for "Real Change!"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thoughts and prayers..........

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those on the trains.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,421801,00.html


And to those in Texas. This is from Hurricane Ivan approaching Alabama. I thought it was really cool video footage of the storm surge.

I'm sure they're capturing Ike in similar fashion.

a story about gun control.............

These guys picked the wrong mom to mess with...............

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,417122,00.html

Friday, September 12, 2008

Glenn Beck - The fusion of Entertainment & Enlightenment

I started listening to Glenn when I was driving back and forth to school beginning in 2001. It took me probably 6 months or more to realize he was LDS.

That's a long time for the mormon radar to start working.

You see, we mormons tend to speak in secret codes. We tip each other off to our mormonism, in subtle, secret ways. And so it generally only takes a few minutes to figure out, or become suspicious at least.

Recently, I was at a business meeting for Tow Business people here in Virginia. There is a lobbyist working to represent the small tow companies of Virginia. As I listened to him talk about the plight of the small towers, I began to become suspicious. After the meeting I was able to succesfully confirm his status as a member of the church. So in one evening it was confirmed.

I recall when I started to become suspicious of Glenn. It had to be January/February because they were talking about the Super Bowl. Glenn was planning his Super Bowl party and one of the assistants, Stu, was asking him about how that worked with his church and all. Stu was giving Glenn a hard time about having a Super Bowl party on Sunday.

In typical Glenn fashion, he said that Sundays were special, and reserved for family...."but C'mone, it's the SUPERBOWL!"

After some quick research on the web, it was confirmed that Glenn was indeed a member of the church. He has an incredible conversion story and I never tire of hearing him tell it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It takes $$ to make $$.......right?



I've often heard the expression:

"IT takes money to make money."

Many times the context of this statement is the excuse I'm hearing from a person for his not being rich. It also tells me he has no ambition of becoming rich.

Well - I wholeheartedly disagree. President Lincoln also has something to say about that:

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Abraham Lincoln

Not making any sense?

First of all: what does it mean to be RICH?

I'll often say that there's a difference between being broke and poor. Broke is temporary and poor is forever.

I find myself broke quite frequently. But I know I'm not poor. I'm rich. Mostly it's a decision of attitude.

No not an attitude of "I'm rich, so I'm going to buy a brand new Nissan Titan and make $600/mo payments." Not an attitude of look at what I drive, where I live, what I wear and you'll know I'm rich attitude.

It's an attitude of: "I may be broke right now, but I'm RICH! Got my hot wife, my beautiful kids, a place to live, a car to drive." It's a "count your many blessings" kind of attitude.

Now, back to the theory of it taking money to make money. Again, that's the EXCUSE. I've talked to a lot of RICH people. Often times their stories are similar. They didn't start with a bunch of money and get rich. They started with their labor.

The money was a fruit of their labor.

I met a man that was a very simple, country bumpkin man. He wasn't college educated. I don't know if he was even highschool educated. But he had integrity and he worked hard. He owned a very succesful roofing company with his brother.

I asked him how he got started.

With a big grin and chuckle he said: "You wanna know the truth?"

"Of course" I replied.......

"I read the package at Lowe's."

NO JOKE! After working for McDonald's for years, Sam East read the back of the package of shingles at Lowe's store on how to replace his mother's roof. Their agreement was she would buy the air compressor and nailers he needed to do the job plus the materials.

Sam and his brother then went on to build a multi-million dollar roofing company.

Does it take money to make money? Yes. The question is where does it come from?

But you don't have to start with money to make money. You have to start with desire. Survive on determination. Starve with perserverence. Hope for success. Pray that you make it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The 2008 model



I suppose the other thing that is keeping me busy is us having our 4 kids, with the new addition the 2008 model. Maverick was born on August 1st. After a misprint in the paper we're considering changing the spelling of his name to Mavric.

Aspen was on the front page of the local paper because she's so darn cute. This was her first day of school.




Check out the photo gallery. Easiest thing to do is scroll to the last photo and work your way backwards. Even the local newspaper photographer agreed that our kids were the cutest.
http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=AA&Date=20080820&Category=CASSELLELEMENTARY&ArtNo=808200801&Ref=PH&Params=Itemnr=1

Still Alive & Treading Water


Ok so I fizzled out on this blog thing. It's harder than it looks.


Where have I been for the last couple of months. Working. I've worked like crazy this past summer in the garage with Joseph. It seems to be paying off.


We finally turned the profitable corner in July. We did nearly double our best month ever to date in July of 2008. I still wonder if it was a fluke. So, I temper myself with a short-term goal of 3 months of profitability and then I'll feel like we're making progress.


August seemed dead and felt as if we'd be right back where we started. August ended up being our second best month to date second to July.


Our systems our improving. We're becoming more efficient. Starting a new business is very challenging. For the first 18 months we we're taking a slow and steady nose dive. It's relief to see things turn the corner and start heading in the right direction.


It's much like learning how to waterski. When someone first learns to waterski, the task seems impossible those first few attempts. You hang on to the ski rope, the boat roars with a hefty pull. You're trying desperately to hang on, get your body out of the water, and keep your balance all at the same time....and most importantly, keep from drowning as you muscle your way to freedom on top of that water.


Once you do finally get there, it's incredible. Standing on top of water. Carving turns and jumping the wake. You go from being stuck and barely keeping your head above water with those big clunky skis and the life jacket chocking your neck, to incredible freedom.


I don't know that we're on top of the water carving turns and jumping the wake just yet. But I can feel ourselves rising out of the water and getting ourselves closer to our goals.


I wish everyone the best and hope to see them do the same.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Politics and Religion










I was a Romney supporter early. He has a proven track record as a BIG problem solver. The guy exemplifies success. Put his Resume against any other candidate and the contest is over.




But, the political machine chewed Mitt Romney up and spit him back out. He was too perfect for some, his full head of hair neatly combed, his chiseled jaw line, his ideal physical shape for his age, the guy had movie star looks and literally a wealth of experience at solving big problems. But he saw the writing on the wall and bowed out gracefully.




The mainstream pounded Romney on his mormon faith. Asking questions about polygamy of his great grandfathers from a century ago, blacks holding the priesthood and any other skeleton they could dig up on the church. He answered with grace, and never faltered in his faith. They wanted him to deny his faith, to force him into distancing himself from the church so that they could create weakness in his principles.




Why?




If a man turns his back on his faith, then couldn't he just as likely turn his back on his country?




It amazes me to see the parallels that Romney and Obama face. Obama's father was married to 3 women at one time. Not so much as a polygamist, he just never bothered to divorce the previous woman. Now Obama faces the same challenges Romney faced regarding his affiliation with his church.......








Only, the hate that you hear from Obama's pastors doesn't seem to be the message of the Mormon Elders. And now Obama finds himself having to resign himself from his church affiliation for political expediency.




IS that really the kind of person we want leading our country? What are his principles? What foundation does Obama place himself? He offers a message of hope and change, but what changes is he proposing? What changes and what big problems has he proven that he can solve?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My 1st Motorcycle



As many may know I grew up fascinated with motorcycles. As a kid, I would find it so exciting just to find the tracks of off-road motorcycles that our neighbors left.

Just like many kids, we'd put cards in the spokes of our wheels and follow the paths and trails that the neighbors dirtbikes would leave.

The jumps were just never the same on a bicycle as they would have been on a motorcycle.

Early in the career of my father he used to ride a moped to work. It was exactly like the one pictured above. It's called a Honda Hobbit. His was a 1978 model.

The moped sat in our barn for years. We'd get it out and push ourselves down the hill and enjoy the bounce of the suspension as we'd lug the big heavy bicycle around. Pedaling back up the hill was a chore so we limited our use of the dormant machine.

I got to an age where I really wanted that moped to run. So I bothered my father enough to work on it and try and get it to run again. It had sat so long that the gas was old, and the carb was clogged with dirt.

We worked on it and took it all apart.

When we finally got it back together, the only thing that prevented it from running was not having the key. I guess that as us children would play with it, we didn't do a good job of not losing the key.

We tried to get a replacement key from the dealer. No luck. We searched the dirt floor of the barn with no luck. I spent hours on end looking for that key.

Finally, one day, as I was walking down to the barn to search for that key, I paused for a moment and remembered something from Sunday School and rattled off a quick prayer to find that key.

To my surprise, I then proceeded to walk directly to that key behind the snowplow for the tractor. A place that I would have sworn I'd gone over with a fine toothed comb previously.

It's a memory that will never leave me. I could show you almost the exact spot I said that prayer in my parents back yard nearly twenty years ago.

SO of course I immediately took the key to the moped and to my utter disappointment, it wouldn't start! I started praying again.

After another carb job, we finally got it running.

I'll never forget that first ride either, and I could tell show you the exact spot I twisted the grip and experienced my first powered two wheel flight! The two spots couldn't be more than a hundred yards from each other.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Inspiration

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915

I like it when people don't dwell on their disadvantages and focus on what they can achieve.

Our Dream HOUSE!

With our number 4 kid soon to arrive late this summer, Missy and I are really working towards upgrading to our dream home. Hopefully after next tax season it will become financially prudent to make the required monthly payment.

Until then, we can stay focused on our dream home by making this photo of our dream house our desktop photo.

"Missyboo, I luv you. We gonna wurk real hard to git us dis har home!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fair LDS.org

One of my favorite websites.

www.fairlds.org

It's not a church website, but the articles are by defenders of the faith. I find the best and most updated, and most logical arguments for and against the Book of Mormon.

One of my favorites is:

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2001_Boomerang_Hits_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html


Today I read through this one and I very much enjoyed it.

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2005_Debating_the_Foundations_of_Mormonism.html

The best point made is the framing of how to look at the archeology/science and how it matches with the Book of Mormon. When I was very young, I remember doing some research, and I was disappointed to find that much of the science didn't support the details of the Book of Mormon. It didn't deter my faith, but it deterred my ambition to continue my research in finding the historical evidence supporting the Book of Mormon.

Now that I'm older, and understand science much better, and understand how we acquire knowledge, I do know and understand that science is a moving target. History is a challenge, just the author points out, even in modern times, we can not definitively say who killed JFK, or whether or not O.J. did it. That goes to show you how it's foolish to make blanketed and absolute statements about events that occurred 2,000 years ago.

The origins of the Book of Mormon are scientifically unprovable. It's authorship is miraculous no matter which angle you look at it from the side of a believer, or from the the side of a critic. As a believer it's a claim that an angel gave the ancient record to Joseph Smith and he translated it by the power of God. As a critic or non-believer, it's miraculous because Joseph Smith didn't have the knowledge or the skill to conjure up such a vivid and detailed account of an area so unknown and familiar to anyone at the time.

People often fail to comprehend that at the time of Joseph Smith, the perception was that Indians were a very primitive people that knew nothing more than to be nomads and live in tepees and roam the plains in chase of game. They certainly incapable of having ever built great civilizations and cities, with roads and houses made of concrete, let alone large temples. The idea was preposterous when it was written by the young uneducated farm boy in the 1820's.

Again, impossible no matter which angle you look at it.

And so it goes, science can no sooner prove the Book of Mormon than it can DISprove it. The best way to analyze it is to look at the trend as mentioned in the latter article. The question to ask if you're a critic is:

Over time, does the Book of Mormon become more believable with regards to scientific discovery and evidence? Or does it become more preposterous?

If it's true, evidence should support it's claims. If it's a hoax, it should become more and more preposterous.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do your ears hang low?

A quick blurb about some inspiration from the WalMart cashier this morning.

She had clear inserts in her ears about as big as a half-dollar coin and it was all I could do to not bust out into a chorus of:

Do you ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in knot?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?

Do your ears, hang, low?

She was a very nice young lady and I did ask her how long it had taken to stretch her ears to fit the half-dollar sized jewelery and she excitedly responded with:

"It's taken about 3 years and I'm getting some bigger ones this week!"


It was a positive exchange but it still perplexes me a bit. I now find myself on the other side of that coin where I don't completely understand teenage culture.

God bless me to have easy teenagers that choose not to mutilate their bodies!






Thursday, April 24, 2008

Watch out for the RICE SHORTAGE!

As the globe adjusts to the spike in oil prices we're now seeing the affects it's having on our supply and demand on other commodities.

I've learned one simple thing as I've become good friends with the Lassens. (Erika is half filipino.) Never get between a filipino and their rice. They take their rice pretty serious:

http://www.upiasiaonline.com/Economics/2008/04/02/why_a_rice_shortage_in_the_philippines/6495/

"The Philippines is one of the top importers of rice in the world. Rice is a politically sensitive commodity in this country. It is not surprising that reports of a rice shortage have energized political debate and public concern regarding the economic policies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. "



Seriously,

I'm starting to see why it's imperative to admonish the counsels we've been given and have a two year food supply. Some serious ammo for my talk on Sunday about preparing for the Second Coming. I don't remember the verse that said that a nation will rise up and buy all of the worlds rice, but it's probably in there somewhere.

We know that one way to prepare is to buy lots of Rice....but it looks like you're gonna have to fight Erika for it.

(You have to understand that I taught Erika how to embrace her Filipino heritage. She's now passing on her filipino traditions to her 5 children and teaching them how to fish, make rice, and properly raise kittens.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tribute to a great matriarch

Today was Sister Mary Harman's funeral. She's been battling lymphomic cancer for 8 years now. This is nothing short of a miracle considering.

When she was diagnosed eight years ago it was a shock to the family as well as those around her. At that time she was in her early 50's. She and her husband Lary, who was the Stake President, were just becoming empty nesters. To the best of my recollection, only one of their five children was married. So, the news was very grim and the chances of Mary being able to see all of her grandchildren was slim, much less meeting all of the spouses of her children.

With her strength and determination, along with her faith and many prayers, she held on much longer than most that are diagnosed with a similar illness. She was able to see all of her children marry, and see the majority of her grandchildren. I'm sure there may be a few more grandchildren born, but their grandmother Mary will surely give them warm smile, a hug, a kiss, and nice shout of support as they pass each other by through the veil.

I consider Mary as one of the great martriarchs of the ward. She really set a standard of excellence when it came to attitude, service, and faith. Mary had a wonderful sense of humor, and was so much fun to be around.

I myself had a special deal that I made with Mary a couple of years ago when I started my Liberty Tax business. I told Mary I wanted her to get better and come be a waver for me at the office. She had such a wonderful attitude, and a great smile, that I knew she'd easily be on of the best.

I asked her how much I'd have to give her to get out there to wave. She said I couldn't pay her enough to do it. Being the business person that I am, most anything has a price, so I started negotiating. I said:

"How bout a hundred dollars?"

Mary: "No way."

Me: "What about $500?"

Mary: "Nah, I still don't think so."

Me: "Ok, when I can afford it, I'll give you $1,000 to wave. Would you do it for a thousand?"

Mary: "Yea, I'd probably wave for a thousand dollars."

Me: "So, how much time would that thousand dollars get you to wave for?"

Mary: "I don't know, about 15 minutes."

Me: "Geez! That's FOUR THOUSAND dollars an HOUR! I'll have to be really rich! And you'll really have to be one heck of a waver"

She would have been worth every penny.

I wanted so badly to get Mary out to wave with me. Unfortunately, I'm too late and I didn't get rich quickly enough. I think now the next best thing I can do is set up a charity in her name for cancer and start with a $1,000 donation.

It's been an emotionally draining day. Mary was such an incredibly sweet woman. I truly am dissappointed I didn't get to wave with Mary. We would have had so much fun. I'm going to miss her so very much.

There weren't any newspapers, or t.v. crews reporting about the funeral today. But there were probably nearly a thousand people there today filling up the chapel as if it were stake conference. That's probably only a small percentage of the lives she touched. I revere a mother such as Mary in the highest regard. We make such a big deal out of the deaths of famous people such as movie stars or politicians, but the work that Mary did in this life was the most important of all labors as dedicated mother, wife, and friend.

Mary will be missed by so many here, and yet, she's surely being welcomed by so many there.

God Speed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Fart Story Contest

So Ali has proposed a flatulence story contest.

Besides currently having a pregnant wife, I've probably got a story or two about passing gas.

To come up with the funniest is a tough task.

I could talk about seeing my very first blue dart in the MTC, and then watching some spanish kids try it after seeing "Dumb and Dumber." Flatulence stories are difficult to share on paper...or electronic paper. It takes a special moment to discuss these things.

I used to laugh so hard at myself when I'd rip a big one when I worked with this guy named Rodney.....he'd always take such offense to it. He made such a stink about it....pardon the pun, that that's what made it so entertaining. What was funny was he smoked like a chimney and I know my flatulence wasn't nearly as deadly as his second hand smoke.

But, my funniest fart story ever, at least in my humble opinion was way back in high school. Pizza day always gave me an arsenal of chemical warfare. I had to be very cautious with this gift because I was a young and pretty scrawny little freshman, and I didn't want to get a reputation of being a pig pen.

I remember very well a certain day riding the bus home after pizza day. I slipped out a silent but very, very, VERY, deadly fart. It was the most wretched of smelling farts. The one's that you can't even stand yourself. So, as this odor escaped my seat and wafted to the rear of the bus other students' noses began to curdle.

Of course everyone wanted to know who the culprit was. And so there I sat, as low as I could in my seat, and as quietly as I could. I wasn't about to lay claim to my weapon of mass destruction. The smell polluted the rear of the bus, and then it worked it's way back to the front of the bus, and even ole Mr. Crickenburger the bus driver didn't appreciate my handy work.

Everyone on the bus was making a huge deal about this fart and the jury was out to hang the person that subjected them to a very uncomfortable ride home from school.

Fortunately for me, there was a guy, Eric L., that it just so happened rode the bus home that day. This was probably the only day all year that he rode the bus home. He would either drive himself or get a ride home with someone. It was not a cool thing to ride the bus home in high school. So, he was a senior, and he was one of those guys that was always into trouble. He was loud and somewhat obnoxious as soon as he got on the bus, and the bus driver, Mr. Crickenburger made him sit up front because the reputation this young man had.

Well, you guessed it everyone blamed Eric. And I was more than happy to let them blame him, because I surely was not going to fess up to it.

He picked the wrong day to ride the bus that year. Pizza Day!

Seasons Over & Pregnant Syndromes Continued.....

The towing business is 24 Hrs a day, 365 days a year. The mommy business is the same.

Yes! My favorite part of the tax business is what many others fear the most. I don't know how many times I've been asked this question:

"What do you do after tax season?"

My first year, that was my greatest fear because I didn't know and therefore didn't have an answer. I ended up selling a house, walked away with some cash and bought a new mower and trailer and mowed some grass.

Now, my patent answer is: "I'll be working for my brother in his garage business."

That seems to qualm the fears of the inquisitor. Often times it's a client that is asking the question.

And if I tell them I make enough money not to work the rest of the year....which is something I've yet to do, but that is my goal, they seem to become a bit disgusted. I understand their frustration because I am telling them that I work for 4 months and I get 8 off. They're probably thinking that they're paying me too much for my service.

The part that they don't understand is that during those 4 months I work as many hours as they do in a full year.

Starting on Monday and ending on Tuesday April 15th, I worked about 36 hours. I took an easy day yesterday April 16th, working a few hours in the office and mowing the yard etc. I was exhausted when I went to bed, and I felt better this morning, but I'm still very tired.

I'm babysitting Ryder Ace right now, and I've got an appointment at 10 in the office. So, as I'm taking it easy today I'll post a quick blog. After family prayer I asked Missy to turn the t.v. on for the Today Show. She graciously obliges. So, I lay back and get comfortable on the couch and as she's leaving to tote the girls off to school Missy says:

"You know you could be doing something productive like clean the living room."

I reply with:

"Is that what I should tell you when I'm heading out the door to work?"

Her reply wasn't a happy one, nor was it worth noting....but it was definitely worth it. So I'll be taking it easy for the next couple of days and then I'll be hard at it starting Monday.

I understand Missy's frustration, her job is 24 Hrs a day, 365 days a week and the financial compensation miserably low, I won't hold it against her.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Pregnant Wife Syndrome!

If I had a picture of my wife pregnant I'd post it. But it's midnight and I know I don't have one handy so I won't be complimenting my post with a lovely photo of my wife's ever expanding waistline. BUT She'd probably retaliate with a photo of my ever expanding waistline so it's really not worth it.

Faye (The cookie lady) inspired me to recall some of the today's events and post here for your reading pleasure. Her's is about the everchanging moods of a woman. It can be worse than the weather at times. But, Missy's moods are like her humor which could best be compared to Arizona. Her moods are pretty stable, HOT, and her humor DRY.

When Missy is pregnant the dynamic of our relationship gets modified ever so slightly. I'll never forget a certain moment with my brother-in-law Chad.

He married my sister. They dated for all of two weeks before he proposed marriage to her. They were married no more than six months after they'd ever met each other for the first time. Compare that to Missy and I. We began dating when she was sixteen and I was nineteen. I left for two years on my mission while she put some of her wild oats to rest. WE resumed dating promptly after I returned home from my mission...I'd say officially it was two days after I got home....know what I'm sayin???? wink wink ;) ;)

Missy and I practically co-habitated before we officially tied the knot in the D.C. Temple. We'd been corresponding/dating for over 3 years. So I knew what I was getting into for the most part, and she knew what she was getting into for the most part.

We'd been married for about five years when Amy (my sister) and Chad got married. Missy was about nine months pregnant with number two, Aspen Melba, and so we were at the climactic point of that relationship modification. Chad pulls me aside one hot summer evening just a few weeks after he'd married my sister and says:

"Jarrett can I ask you a question?"

Me: "Sure. What's up Chad?"
(I have a hunch he wants to findout how to have a great marriage like Missy and I. ANd he wants a little inside scoop as to how to really impress my sister.)

Chad: "I noticed, that every time Missy says something to you, you seem to roll your eyes in response. Why is that?"

ME: "Chad, when you get my sister nine months pregnant and everything she says to you is like fingernails on a chalkboard, you get back to me on that one buddy."



So, today, as I was ASSISTANT COACHING from the sidelines for the soccer team of Brighton, Missy kept nagging me to sit down and shut up. She's only about about six months pregnant right now. I really am the Assistant Coach, and yes I know that they don't encourage you to yell and bark directions from the sidelines, but it was the first game of the season, and the few adjustments that we made as a result of my yelling and barking, really helped the team, and really helped the girl I was trying to coach.

Missy loudly blurts out so that I and all the other parents can hear:

"Jarrett, they don't want you running up and down the field coaching from the sidelines!"

(NAILS on a chalkboard!!! Arrrrrgh!!!!)

So I loudly responded.

"I"M ASSISTANT COACHING HONEY! They want YOU the parent to cheer them on, and they want ME the ASSISTANT COACH, TO COACH! SO you the parent, should JUST CHEER PLEASE!"

(I'm sure I rolled my eyes.)

Eventually, I did sit down and quit doing my obnoxious coaching from the sidelines.

Guess what happens!

Our girls line up on the wrong end of the field and score A GOAL in the WRONG net!

Maybe I should be coaching instead of just sitting there trying to keep Ryder Ace from running out onto the field!


You should know, I'm the moody one in our relationship not Missy. It irritates me to no end that she never seems to have an emotional day. She's just constant. Constantly dragging her nails down that chalkboard.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

GOLDWrench Advertisement

I describe myself as an entreprenuer because I've gotten myself involved in a number of different ventures.

In 2005 I committed to opening two Liberty Tax offices. Liberty is a fast growing tax preparation franchise that I came across and with my accounting background and my ambition of being my own boss, I jumped in head first.

Our CEO likes to say that he's in the business of "Changing Lives" which needs a longer more elaborate story, but I do have to say that he's been succesful at changing my life. I've gone from a recently graduated 29 year old accountant, with zero management experience, to a 32 year old multi business owner in just a few short years.

I'm not indepently wealthy yet from my Liberty Tax venture, but the lessons I've learned have been infinite. So, about a year ago, I convinced my father and my brother Joseph to go in with me on a automotive repair and towing business.

I've been working a lot on our logo and artwork for the shop. So the word is getting out and here we go building the next household name in auto repair.

As I learn to effectively run and market my Liberty Tax offices, Goldwrench Auto will not be far behind. I'm even thinking of having one of my wavers work for us and wave during the peak traffic hours to get some more attention and business.

Let me know what your thoughts are.

Click Hyperlink for Online Coupon Advertisment

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Ten things.

http://mother25-8.blogspot.com/2008/04/sarahs-tag.html

SO, I guess I got tagged or something. Here they are in no particular order.

10. I love that I'm anglo-caucasion and 1/32th part american indian and I speak spanish.

9. I love that I have a hot wife and 3.66 beautiful children. All because I served so valiantly in my mission.

8. I love that I drive a car with 265,000 miles on it.

7. I love that I've been married for ten years and never had anymore than rabbit ears for television. WE get PBS and NBC.

6. I love being able to play music. Especially cheap generic accordians in the Crackerbarrel store. I love it even more when my friends w/ great pectorals listen to me play the accordian with a big smile and genuine feelings of being entertained.

5. I love that I can drop my kids off at school, pick them up, and go to many of their field trips.

4. I love I know how to ride motorcycles, and at one time briefly raced them.

3. I love that I'm writing this blog. It's so awesome! I'M SO AWESOME! I FEEL SO IMPORTANT!

2. I love that I have fairly natural straight teeth and that they aren't yellow.

1. I love that I still have as much hair on my head as I do at the age of 32. Every year I become more grateful for what remains. I also love that I don't have a hairy chest.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

General Conference & Talks

http://www.lds.org/broadcast/gc/0,5161,8046,00.html

I'm giving a talk at the end of this month on April 27th. You should be there, it'll be good I'm sure.

When it rains it pours!

It's been a bad month I guess. I'll recap my losses for the month of March 2008.

1. Stressful day at tax office ended up with a totalled, wrecked, shiny red, Ford F-150.

2. Nice weekend away w/ wife to Virginia Beach ends early, including heated discussion, 3 hr silent drive home, and blown transmission.

3. Paid $110 for ticket from wreck. Followed by 3 to 4 other close calls on the highway. The cop warned me to be careful because these things always seem to happen in pairs.

4. LATEST and GREATEST - EMPLOYEE THEFT!

I learned that I was getting robbed blind by one of my wavers last week. IT took me about a week to figure out who it is, and now I've got the sting set up and we're going to bust her this week and send her to jail....hopefully.

It won't make much of a difference really. I'll never see the $2700 dollars that I'm missing. but I really want this young lady to learn her lesson. We'll see if my luck changes, and I can transfer this negative karma to my waver.

And I really liked her, she was a good waver. There goes her career.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Busy Season - Tax Time

I've got about two more weeks of busy season and then things should die down and be more manageable.

March is a slow month for tax season. We get our peak in late January into early February. That's because all the big refund people come as soon as they get their W-2's. People don't realize how much wealth re-distribution that goes on during tax season. I never realized it until I got into my tax business.

That wealth redistribution is what makes the tax business so lucrative. With the Earned Income Credit, a family of four can make around $20,000. Someone like your average construction worker. The guy could have zero dollars withheld for taxes. He would still get somewhere in the neighborhood of $6500 in a refund. How?

Two refundable credits:
1. Earned Income Credit - around $4500
2. Add'l Child Tax Credit - $2,000

That's like receiving a 32% Annual Bonus check from the Government. Imagine getting 32% of your annual income as a tax rebate check.

Give the guy some credit, because he is paying his Social Security and Medicare Taxes which are in the neighborhood of $1500. But even if you net the two, he's not doing bad with a $4,000 refund, which is more like 20% of his annual income.

But if the tax business is that lucrative, why is it that I still find myself as the one getting my annual bonus checks?

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Financial markets - The times they are a changin'

The biggest news story of the day had about 9 seconds on 'TODAY' and I've seen no other air play.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/28/financial.oversight/index.html


I'm not a money genius and so I'm in the same boat that most everyone else is and when I read this stuff my thoughts are:

"What the heck does any of this mean?"

But I do recognize it's importance, and as I read, ponder and pray, the inspiration will come to me as to what it is this means to my family's everday life, and what it is I think I should do to protect us and be prepared for the changing times.

WHICH IS EXACTLY MY POINT.

It may seem an article like this is insignificant, and that it doesn't affect your everyday life, and that you're just a little guy...or girl for that matter. Which is precisely the reason that it got a very small blurb on the Today Show, and then they moved on to some other infomercial about someone's new CD or movie which so many of us find so much more interesting..........

My advice is to read, ponder and pray to understand the information available to us, because it does affect our everyday life, especially when it comes to finances and money. Those dollar bills that you have in your pocket and the electronic score that you have in your bank account is exactly what these decisions affect. How would you like it if the wrong decision is made and then suddenly everything you've worked hard to get is suddenly worth absolutely nothing? IF you really think about it, what REALLY is that dollar bill worth? Let me remind you that it's little more than a piece of green paper. My kids are pretty good at making those.

Here's someone's spin and analysis here:
http://www.politicallore.com/shaun-booth/the-federal-reserves-power-grab/199

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Angels accompanied us to the 7-Eleven on King Ave.....

Rachel's post inspired me to remember some stories about the 7-Eleven on King ave.

My first thought was that of my vow to never buy anything from the 7-Eleven on King. I'll explain later...the post is too long with both stories.

Many years prior to me taking my vows, there was a very late night that I patroned the very establishment in the wee hours of the night, or it could have been the morning. This was pre-mission, and actually, was the summer before my mission, the year was 1995. So, Missy and I were either just friends, or just barely beginning to take an interest in each other. We like to say the spirit goes to bed at midnight, but on this night he was working overtime. (Get your minds out of the gutter!!!!! We were being supervised!!!!)

One warm summer night, Missy, AMY (my sister) and I were up late chatting/hangin at my parents. It was probably around midnight, and we decided we wanted to go make a 7-Eleven run. You know, the 5th Avenue Bar and Dr. Pepper kind of a midnight snack when you were a teenager with nothing better to do?

So, we pile up 3 wide in the front bench of the old 85' Ford LTD. That was a fun car. It looked like a granny mobile, but with it's 5.0L V-8 it would really go when you stomped the gas!

There we were in the 7-Eleven parking lot, WE HAD just purchased our goodies and piled back into the car. I was in the drivers seat and I decided I'd entertain myself by just sitting there in the parking lot and enjoy the moment. I had the strange notion to try and irritate my passengers by just sitting there for absolutely no apparent reason.

After just a few minutes, or maybe seconds, I was being yelled at to start the car and drive us home. Missy yell at me? Never, not even when we were dating, it must of been Amy.

I yelled back at them in my defense: "Haven't you ever just wanted to sit in the 7-Eleven parking lot at midnight? We'll go when I'm good and ready!"

I may have held out for another 30 seconds or so, but I achieved my goal of irritation and then vroom, off we went. About 4 blocks from the store is a middle school called Kate Collins. We topped the hill where the school sits further up a hill to the right of the street, and I notice the school parking lot stop sign being pushed over practically laying in the street.

I then see a huge cloud of smoke in the middle of the street. I was confused because it was the strangest cloud I'd ever seen.

Then, off to the left of the street I see a tractor trailer parked in the strangest place ever.....the trailer is sticking out of an apartment complex, with the Truck portion nose dived into the two lower stories of the building.

The truck had apparently been parked on the hill in the parking lot of the middle school. The park brake wasn't properly set, and the truck coasted down the hill ran over the stop sign, bounced across the street and plowed into the apartment building, billowing out a huge cloud of dust!

Once I realized what happened I stopped the car and opened the car door. My first thoughts were to go see if anyone needed immediate help. Someone ran out of the apartment building and yelled:

"Somebody call 911!"

My next thought was that someone could be seriously hurt and it might be a nasty bloody mess inside. Even though I'm an Eagle Scout and was trained in first aid, I really didn't' want to try any of that stuff out. It flashed back to me that there was a police officer pulling into the 7-Eleven just as we were leaving. This was before the cell phone became readily available. I got the LTD turned around and I made good use of the 5.0L V-8 engine and hurried back to the 7-Eleven.

I informed the officer of the possible carnage and he sped off to the rescue.

The newspaper explained the story the next day and even highlighted the fact that the police were on the scene within minutes of the accident.

Luckily, no one was seriously injured. One man was very lucky, his mattress softened up the grill of the Mack Truck that flung him across the room to the opposite wall where he was pinned.

I immediately reflected about the few moments that we sat in the parking lot for absolutely no apparent reason. We could have just as easily been T-Boned by a runaway Mack Truck that evening. It obviously didn't have it's headlights on, making it very difficult to see, and to anticipate the scenario would have been near impossible. A vehicle careening down from the school parking lot in the middle of the night, in the middle of summer break.....never in my life would I have imagined. The truck would have come from nowhere. We'll never know what COULD have happened, but the good thing was, it didn't.

SO, I knew that we had some guardian angels along for the ride that night.

I wonder what they got: a 5th Avenue or a Butterfinger?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's hard being the fat one.........

Yesterday I picked Brighton up from school. That's what I love about my retirement and that's what keeps me from getting greedy and going back to work a "Real Job." The business is at a point where I could work a full-time position and it would be incredible to have a steady paycheck in addition to the spoils of tax season.........

Missy says she couldn't stand to live with me trying to maintain a full time job and keep up with the businesses. For right now I'm content mowing a few yards and running Joseph's WRECKERS during the off season.


On to my point of this post. With a skinny minnie wife...even though she's pregnant and will gain about 100 pounds....I'm the fat one in the family. My goal is to lose more weight than she gains this year. That's almost what I did when Brighton was born. When we found out we were pregnant 7 years ago, I decided I had to get into the best shape of my life because after the baby I wouldn't have time or the energy to exercise....which has been in part true, and in part not true. I could make the time, but finding the energy is difficult. I should have never quit my regiment. But I did, and now I'm back to where I started.

I have my high's and low's as far as weight goes. My high is my mission weight. My low is my highschool weight. Right now, I'm pushing my high, and if I don't make some changes, my new high will be my infinitely increasing weight.

I was reminded yesterday that it's no fun being the fat one. When I got home that afternoon with Brighton mommy was so excited to give Brighton a special afterschool treat....a Nestles icecream drumstick. You know, the ones that have a choclate core, the choclate top and nuts on top. Yea, you're craving it now.

After seeing Brighton get her afterschool treat, and knowing that I'd wait infinitely (she loves me but not June Clever style.....which is good and bad...you know what I mean?...sweet and sour....know what I mean??? I'd better stop or I'll get censored.) So rather than hope my sweetheart wife offer me an afterwork treat (the icecream!!! get your minds out of the gutter!!! Sheesh!!!), I made way for the freezer to indulge myself.

To my disappointment there were none in the freezer.

"How come there aren't any left! Missy how many have YOU eaten?"

ASPEN then informed me with a loud yell: "DADDY YOU DON"T GET ANY BECAUSE YOU"RE TOO FAT!"

It's hard being the fat one.

I think she subsequently perceived the viciousness of making fun of her fat daddy. When questioned why daddy didn't get any ice cream she now says:

"There were only four icecreams. One for mommy, Brighton, ME, and Ryder. NONE for you."

Me: "I thought you said I was too fat."

Aspen: "You're just a little fat."

She's so sweet!

I'm going to get a bowl of peanutbutter choclate icecream w/ Hershey's Syrup! Hooray for fat daddy's!

Yet MORE reasons not to outsource our........

Healthcare decisons to the Federal Gov't.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/26/beck.deficit/index.html


Look at their track record.

If we whine about how they've handled Social Security. If we whine about how responsive they are at Katrina...................


IT'S INSANITY to think they'll handle our healthcare system any better............

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Healthcare debate (Cont)

I didn't realize what a hotbutton issue healthcare was. So, I'll elaborate a little more.

PART I - Prices go up

My brother and I own a towing business as many of you may know. It's a lot sexier than it sounds, and we're only one year into it, but I have gained a lot of perspective on this issue based on the nature the towing business and my tax prep business.

A business offers goods and services to make profit.When the customer pays the business out his/her own pocket, and there is a reasonable amount of competition, the business sells the good or service at the most competitive VALUE. This means that prices stay competitive, and services rendered are striving to be superior to the competition. The consumer is making a decision that serves HIS/HER OWN best interest. The consumer is VERY concious of price, and demands that the VALUE of the service provided be worth as much or even more than price that he/she pays.

If the customer outsources the purchase power of the good or service to an insurance company things then change. The insurance company is now in charge of making purchasing decisions for many consumers. What changes is this, the insurance company is focused more on growing revenues, than it is on minimizing expenses. The insurance company is LESS concious of price than the individual consumer, and therefore, business begins to charge more for the same level of service. In addition, the business caters to the interests of the insurance agent, and woo's him/her with gifts to direct his/her purchasing power to said business. (Not saying that's what we've done but I do need to add that to the marketing plan.)

It works much the same, if not becomes more severe when a gov't contract is involved.

THe reason that healthcare costs are so high, is because we've been running via our health insurance systems for so long. When was the last time that you paid for a medical event out of your own pocket? Why is it that we can afford a room at the REx Motel, but cannot afford a room at the Rex Hospital?

I see it first hand in our towing business. Our most competitive price is when a consumer will pay it directly out their own pocket. We quote them our bottom line price to get the job, because we know they're probably just going down the phone book and quoting prices. The bottomline price is about $65.

Next comes the insurance jobs. The caller from the insurance company is less motivated to save the company money, and more motivated to hurry up and get off the phone and get back to playing solitare or whatever. For the exact same tow, it will usually go for $95 to $100.

Then, when the gov't mandates a tow, like for a DUI, the prices go up further. There are additional expenses to be on call with the police dept. I.E. the insurance is more expensive b/c we do police calls. But the consumer is at our mercy b/c it was the police that put in the call. The cheapest of the police calls is $125.

Currently, there is pending legislation here in Virginia that will further restrict the competition in towing, which will only aide in inflating the prices for the service, which will further inflate the costs of insurance.

The reason that our medical service system seems broken is because we as consumers have stepped away from deciding what a fair and reasonable price is for the service. WE GIVE that power over to the insurance company and decide we'll pay for it in monthly premiums.

If and WHEN we TRANSFER over that power to GOV"T, we've narrowed the competitive field from a few insurance providers, to a MONOPOLY enterprise. The promise from WE the people is the power to make our buying decisions. The PROMISE from Joe the politician is "FREE HEALTHCARE for EVERYONE!" BUT, there's no such thing as a "FREE LUNCH." You're gonna pay for it one way or another. Which is also why our education system is failing. It's been controlled by the gov't for so long, that competition has all but been eliminated, and we then end up with sub-par services rendered. AS we continue to outsource our decision making to fewer and fewer people, whether they be insurance companies or gov't, we pay the price.


PART II - Services go down

Now, the debate is for socialized healthcare. Rachel mentioned growing up in the UK where they've implemented such a system. I lived in Spain, which had socialized healthcare as well. I don't profess to have done an in depth study of the healthcare systems. But I did witness first hand a major difference in the quality and level of service.

When we first arrived, some of the missionaries stated, don't go to the doctors. They're quacks and don't know what they're doing. I shrugged it off, and assumed that they said these things based on missionary urban legend or some other cultural misunderstandings.

AS far as doctors go, I'm a guy that was raised to NEVER go to a doctor unless you were dying. Yes we went for the annual physical or checkup, but we were to save all of our ailments for that annual visit. I once had a broken finger for about 3 weeks before I convinced my dad that he black, purple and blue wasn't goint away. He said: "Tape it to the next one, that's all the doctor would do." I guess it never dawned on my father that the doctor may actually x-ray the finger. It turned out that the knuckle was shattered into a number of small pieces and required surgery to reassemble it with two pins.

Erika has a $12k dollar knee, I have a $12k dollar finger. And it still doesn't work right.

It turns out that a few weeks into the mission, one of my good friends that came out with my group of missionaries named Elder Hale was involved in a car accident. (European drivers is another debate altogether.) They got rear ended. Elder Hale was diagnosed with whip lash and the doctors gave him one of those funny neck brace things to wear.

I would see Elder Hale just a few times a month and I'd always ask him how he was feeling. Of course initially, it was really bad. His neck was in a lot of pain. Then after a few weeks I'd see him again and inquire. His response was surprising b/c he said he was still in a lot of pain and the doctors couldn't figure out what the problem was.

After more than two months of this persistent problem, and no new diagnosis from the doctors there in Spain, Elder Hale, along with the counsel of the mission president, decided he needed to go home and findout what the problem was.

He got home to Utah and within the week, his doctor(s) saw that he had a broken vertbrae in his neck and they had to operate.

Every business has it's crooks. But the crooks make a quick buck and then they're out of business b/c it catches up with them.

We have choices. Here in rural parts of Virginia, it seems there are limited choices. But for awhile, AMC seemed to have a stigma about it and many would drive to UVA.

The best part is having choices. And when we outsource all of that decision making to the Government, our choices will soon be limited.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gov't Bliss! Going, going, GONE!

As we talk about heading into recession, and as we hear more and more wind about socialized healthcare, I feel compelled to lay out my perspective on some things.

First, let's look at the track record of services when we hand over the power and control to a government run program.

Anytime someone mentions nationalized healthcare I ask them when was the last time they went to the DMV. It's always an ordeal when we go to the DMV. Why is that? Because there's no motivation to compete. When I cater to tax clients, I do everything I can to make the experience great. We have only one chance a year to leave a great impression so they return the following year.

WE offer free drinks, free pizza, pull out their chairs for them, greet them warmly...and do as much as we can. I get so anxious when someone has to wait more than a few minutes. I know that at any moment, they can get up and leave and go down the street and get their tax return done elsewhere.

Now compare that to the DMV. If a DMV worker is scheduled for a break, GUESS WHAT, there's nothing that's going to stop them, regardless of the status of the wait in the lobby.

The DMV is really nothing. Let's talk some real big money issues like social security. Social Security is something that burns me up. Between Social Security and Medicare, for a self-employed person, we're talking 15% of your income. Regardless of employee/self-employed status, it costs us 15%. If you're an employee, those are expenses are paid for and on behalf of the employees employment...in other words, an expense that could have been paid directly to the employee. They're also known as foregone wages.

Imagine, if you could take 15% of your income and save and invest it. If you've ever studied the time value of money you'd know how great that 15% could be. If you were to max out a ROTH IRA, which is $4,000 a year, and added to it for 30 years, you'd end up with about 3/4 of a million dollars at retirement. That's assuming a 10% return on the money. Which is a pretty safe number considering the stock market averages 12%. We're talking low risk investments.

Fifteen percent of how much income equals $4,000? Do the math and you get $26,667. Not a huge amount. We're forced to invest 15% into this system. And how is that system doing these days?

Not so good. High Risk, with low returns.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/25/pf/soc_sec_trustees_report/index.htm

So, when you hear your friends say: "That would be nice to have healthcare for everyone."

Just ask them: "When was the last time you were at the DMV?"

Remind them that it's a long wait for very poor service. Exactly what we'd get with gov't run healthcare. AND Look at what they've done with our retirement planning, Social Security.

It's not all that secure, and the burden will continue to be pressed on the working generation, along with my children, and their children.

Who can blame the baby boomers? They've paid in all of their lives, so it's time they get what they're due. Problem is we've given the power and control to the gov't and politicians in Washington to control 15% of our earnings and all they've done was squander it rather than invest it wisely.

AS those boomers call in what's due to them, guess who will have to pay for it? Yup, my generation, and my children and my grand-children.

I hate to sound bleak, but it ain't looking so pretty. And if healthcare for everyone is going to solve anything, I hate to disagree, it's just going to send us further down that road to oppression. As they take control of more and more of our money, all I think that will happen is more squander. So, it all started with a very small percentage of tax on income before the civil war, and on only those that were considered the wealthiest of the wealthy. Now it's 15% for social security, 25% to income tax, 5% to state income tax, plus all of the sales taxes and use taxes we pay for everything else we buy.

The horizon only looks more bleak. So, my advice is, do what you've got to do, but do it legally.

So why do you think I've taken such a keen interest in taxes?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Accidents are bound to happen!

AS promised, I'll explain the wreck from last week. I'm also feeling pressure from the fans to keep blogging, I hate to let them down, but someday it's bound to happen.

I don't like to wallow publicly about my own woes because I couldn't be more blessed in life. When I'm with Missy, it might be a different story, but for the most part I like to think I stay positive.

Two weeks ago to this day, staying positive was becoming very challenging. There were some issues at the office. A mistake was made that cost the taxpayer a lot of money, cost me a lot of money, and also caused me to discuss this with a very irate woman. As many of you know me, I'm a lover, not a fighter, and like George McFly would say: "I'm just not good with con-fron-tations." In addition to the irate woman....who really is a sweetheart, but very frustrated with the situation, she has a very large, very black, ex-con husband, who has a huge scar running down the side of his face, from a very real fight with his own brother. Many people would be somewhat afraid of this guy upon first meeting him. He grew up in some hard circumstances in NYC and New Jersey. But it wasn't that I was afraid of him at all....though the thought crossed my mind.

I really love this family because they are good people trying to raise their kids right and doing the best they can do. They have a contract on a house, and she's been working really hard to save and buy their first home. She was counting on the tax refund to go towards the down payment. So it kills me to see something like this happen. But it happens and all we can do is do our best to fix things and move forward.

So, I dealt with that for much of the day. Then, that afternoon, a computer decides to konk out, which was the only one we can do business returns on, and so I decide that was it. I called it a day and told those that were in the office I was leaving.

My surburban was running on fumes, and when I pulled out from the office I headed home the back way, which is the way that didn't have any place to stop for gas. I was too mad to turn around and go get gas and besides, I was heading down to the garage and figured Joseph would either have a little bit of gas or I could run and get some with one of the trucks. And if I ran out, he could always just come and tow me with his WRECKER. ;) (just for you Ali)

I literally coasted into the shop and ran out of gas. In hindsight, I was lucky to make it.....or it may have been unlucky.

I caught up with Joseph down at the garage and decided I'd get something done with him that would relax me some. We'd been wanting to take a van up to Missy's brothers place so that he could do some work on it for us. So, we hooked it up to the WRECKER and off we went. I meant to grab the gas can and fill it up at the station that we would pass but I didn't.

We took care of our business and chatted a little with Missy's brother, Lil Buck. It's always a pleasure and I was feeling a little less stressed. WE headed back to the shop.

I was planning on driving the Red Truck until I got some gas for my Surburban. The Red Truck was titled in my dad's name, and he payed the insurance, but I'd have to say that it was Joseph's wife's truck for the past 3 or 4 years.

Alicia fell for Joseph because of the fire engine red Ford F-150 that he was driving there in Rexburg Idaho. It was a beautiful truck with some nice chrome accents and allow wheels with slightly oversized tires, the thing had a real nice look. IN fact, when Joseph and Alicia were dating, it was Alicia that drove, while Joseph sat in the middle with the stick shift between his legs. (TRUE STORY! Just ask him/her. What a sissie!)

I digress.

Back to the accident. I was planning on just heading home once we got back to the shop, it was after seven now and getting late. I was going to grab the gas can and fill it up the next morning.

Missy calls and says she's craving some chinese food. I oblige with a Westly: "As you wish."

I call in our order of sweet and sour chicken and chicken and broccolli.

Stop at the gas station and fill up my little gas can.

Leave the gas station and head down main street about 3 blocks. Then, this dude in his Jeep Grand Cherokee decides to make his left turn at the precise moment that I can't avoid his blind ignorant sorry (insert explicative)! Sorry, I'm still ticked off about it!

I had all of ten feet to think. I slam the brakes, look right for an escape but some lady is sitting there at the stop sign. It's too late to go to even look to the left of him and see if I can escape in the on-coming traffic side of the street.

My next thought was: "Well pal, you just bought yourself a soon to be smashed 96 Ford F-150!"

I brace myself and then........SLAM! I stare at the steering wheel to see if the airbag is going to deploy. It doesn't and I'm glad b/c I didn't need it anyways.

I couldn't figure out why the guy pulled out right in front of me. It didn't make any sense.

THEN IT HIT ME! My headlights weren't on!

I just bought a smashed up 96 Ford F-150 and a smashed up Jeep Grand Cherokee!

The perfect ending to a not-so-perfect day.

The lady at the stop sign was so excited to tell the cop that she was a "WITNESS." The other driver just said that "He didn't see me." I just told the cop that I'd pulled out from the gas station and didnt' realize my lights weren't on until we hit.

I got the ticket for not having my headlights on. Which also put me at fault.

The court date was this morning. I couldn't decide if I wanted to prepay my ticket or try and get the judge to let me off easy. I went early and talked to the officer to feel it out. Things looked grim b/c of what I said, and b/c there was some crazy lady there to witness the accident.

SO, about 9 minutes before court was scheduled to begin, I prepaid my ticket.

The officer said the lady was coming to testify......................................


I hope she waited all day long!

(I'm still bitter. In 16 years of driving, I'd never been in an accident! Dawn it Dawn it Dawn it!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

First Impressions - MY Cousin Ali


I've been censored before. Ali was putting together a memory book for my cousin LeGrand and I wrote a story about my reunion with LeGrand, and my first impression of his new wife, Alice. I had written an original version, and then it got mysteriously lost, or edited, or censored. I was then asked to re-write the story.


Here's the censored version from about a year ago:


March 19, 2007


"HEY now!!!! Why was my story CENSORED???? I honestly can't remember what all I wrote and I didn't even save it!!!

To the best of my recollection I was just explaining how Legrand chose to get married just days before I got home from my mission. Legrand, being the efficient one, decided to multi-task by attending my homecoming as well as honeymoon in my parent’s backyard. YES that's right, he arranged for a Winnebago to be parked just outside of my fathers back door so that he could HONEYMOON with his new bride, AND catch up with his favorite cousin (ME) after three years of separation due to our mission overlap. (Everybody needs a break once in awhile.)


AND ME, well, having only been home from my mission for mere hours, and not yet becoming familiar with the nature of the female...and more specifically a recently married female.....AND having no idea what activities newlyweds would be interested in.....I kept trying to do what I had done for the previous two years.......Knock on their door!


AND with that, it ended up being more of the same as the previous two years, a quick peek from behind the curtains out the window and another unanswered door. Go figure?"



What really happened was LeGrand had come into the house to catch his breath, get rehydrated and chat it up with me for a few minutes. And no sooner than he sits himself down on the couch with some ice water than this NEW BRIDE of Frankenstein comes trompsing in the door and YELLS:


"LeGrand - get back out here in this Winnebago with me and quit talking to your cousin Jimmie or whatever his name is.....I'VE GOT NEEDS BOY!"


My first impression of Ali.........YIKES!
P.S. - I love her all the same now. And there's noone else better to Karaoke with................
"I put your picture away."

Friday, March 21, 2008

MY Political Aspirations




Are None!





But when President Bush called me and asked me how to salvage the economy I offered my advice.


Print a bunch of free money and give it to the people.


We'll soon be getting the Stimulus Tax Rebate Checks which will be a welcome event for many. For those young familys like the Lassens who never seem to have a problem with bearing children, it will mean a sizable check. They've got 5 kids, and if my calculations are correct, they'll get about $300 x 7 people equals $2100. That's a pretty decent check. If they were to have a tax liability, which they won't b/c they're still in college, their buying their house and they've got 5 kids, they'd possibly get up to $600 for mom and $600 for dad.

Missy and I should see approximately $1500...if I ever get around to filing our tax return. To our tax returns first requires me to do a 1065 Partnership return, two 1120 S-Corp returns, and get the numbers together for the lawn mowing. Each year it gets more complex, and I'd thought I was just going to put it on extension this year but if we want that rebate check we need to file.

Also, you should note that if you have a grandmother or a senior family member that if they haven't filed for decades that they should file this year. They too could possibly be elgible for the $300 rebate check if they had at least $3k in qualified income. To get it they have to file.

P.S. - If you're wondering what your rebate check might look like, there's a calculator here at www.irs.gov

"Let's just discuss it."


Something my father would often say to us as we were teenagers. I guess I got much of my gift of gab, and blog from my father. We had a Stake YM's YW's Presidency meeting last night and at times the meetings are a true test of patience.

My father likes to repeat the same things in about 300,000 different variations. That's how he communicates, repetition, repetition, repetition.

So when we were teenagers, he was very much the same. I'll never forget the night that my younger brother Joseph and his buddies all decided to sneak out late one night. It was probably to go TP a young ladies house, or maybe to sneak her out. Security was never a strong point at my parents house and sneaking out of our house wasn't much of a challenge because our rooms were downstairs in the basement. To sneak out, you merely had to walk out the basement door.

Joseph and all his buddies, somehow managed to get caught. My dad then ensued in one of his long lectures. And when I say a long lecture, we're talking 2 to 5 hrs. After hrs on end of this "Let's discuss this" lecture, his buddy Eric finally interrupted and said, "Joe, this is the worst punishment I've ever had. My diddy just beats me and git's it over with."

Our father never beat us, but he would torture us with his lectures. I'll probably apply the same technique to our children as teenagers....I'd take them to see their grandfather and have him do it, but he somehow sees his grandchildren in a different light than he did his own children. The effect just wouldn't be the same, especially for his precious granddaughters.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How I Fell in Love w/ a Southern Belle


I've got many a good story to share, and it will take many blogs to articulate them. But one in particular, that I wanted to share is about my wife and how I came to fall in love with her.

Missy has often said that my immediate family are wannabe rednecks....except for Grant of course. But with dad taking a liking to Bluegrass music, myself enjoying dirtbikes so much, and Joseph enjoying big tires and constantly working on his truck, she considered us wannabe rednecks.

One of her strong points when we were dating was her family, especially her mother. She's a great woman. She raised her two children while working a 3rd shift full-time job and always seemed to be home when the kids got on the bus, when they got off the bus, and she even had dinner ready everyday for them. On top of that, her mother was pretty easy on the eyes even at an advanced age. Missy was raised in humble circumstances by a family deeply rooted in southern tradition. When she says she grew up poor, she's not kidding. She did indeed live in a house without indoor plumbing...and beings that she was born in 1978, that's quite a statement.

So, when I first met my wife, she used words like chimily (Chimney), and phrases like "fuuuther up the road," or "lieberry" (where all the books are kept.) Even her name was peculiar. I was in absolute awe when I learned that her real name is Melissa, but she goes by Missy. Her father is known by his nickname, Big Buck, while her brother goes by his nickname, Lil Buck. EVEN the dog had a nickname, Lil Bit, the evil chiuahua from hell.

We started dating the summer before my mission. We resumed dating after my mission and we were students at Rick's College in Rexburg. On Christmas break, we both came home to Virginia.

Missy and I had a dinner appointment at her grandparents across the mountain. I'd met them once or twice before and they were aware that we had been dating. We arrived and her "nanny" was still cooking "supper." I thought I'd make some small talk with her and I said:

"Hey good looking, whatcha got cooking?"
Nanny responded in her very thick southern accent with what I couldn't quite understand:
"Ostrich."

I knew that there was no way were about to eat ostrich, dipped in batter and fried to perfection, so I asked her again.

"What's that?"

She responded slower and slightly louder over the cackling pop of the hot cooking oil:
"Oiiiiiistrich."

I still couldnt' understand. I didn't want to offend her, but I really wanted to know what exactly it was I was about to eat. I'd never seen the delicatesn before. So this time, I thought I'd make a joke to express my confusion:

"IS that straight from Australia?"

"NO! I juz cain't say it riight." Then slower and with more emphasis: "Oiiiiiiiiischas."

I nodded as if I'd understood and left the room and found Missy in the dining room. "Missy, what's she saying?"

"Oysters you idiot now shutup and let her be."

So, now that I know I'll be eating fried oysters for the first time in my life I'm content to soak up the atmosphere. Her grandfather, or "Granddiddy" is also very southern. We made some small talk and then Nanny was ready with dinner.

Fried oysters aren't anything I'll be putting on my home menu, nor is it something I'll be ordering at AppleBee's, but they're not all that bad with ketchup.

Then, her grandfather, as he scarfs down a few of the oysters says:

"Ya'll bess not be stoppin on top dat mountain. Ostrich makes you honey."

Me: "What's that sir?"

granddiddy: "Well you know what they say, ostrich makes you honey."

Me: "Uhhh, Missy, what's he saying?"

Missy: "Oysters make you horny, now shutup and finish eating."



Those oysters sure did the trick and made that an unforgettable night...no we didn't stop on top of dat mountain, but I'll never forget the night when I ate my first fried ostrich, and it turns out that ostrich makes you honey.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Family Business = Risky Business


I'll change gears a bit here.

So, the transmission went out on Missy's 2002 Ford Exploder as you may have heard. I couldnt' believe the price on that thing.....$2200 COST! For a less than connected person it would cost over $3k to get that thing put in.

Yes, there's probably cheaper tranny's to get, but noone beats the warranty with the Jasper.

So, to scrounge up the cash to pay for this, I sold our old Honda Accord today. I've been sittin on it for awhile not sure what to do with it. It runs good, and we got about 100k worry free miles out of it as 2nd owners. With 180k miles it's at it's half-life if it gets taken care of properly.

The car has been well serviced. Timing belts replaced religously, we flushed the tranny, the transaxles are pretty new....new tires, new exhaust etc. Low book on it was $1850. The car has been parked at the shop and I've had countless people make offers and inquire about buying it.

NOW, on with it right? Missy's brother and his "fiance" just had a baby this past week. Missy had questioned the foresight of them buying the jacked up Jeep a mere six months ago, but hey, those are their decisions. Now the baby shows up and low and behold a baby seat doesn't do so well in the back of a lifted jeep, or the extra-cab jumper seats of a toyata tacoma.

So, her brother brings the Jeep down to the shop, we put a for-sale sign in it and park it out front. I even made him raise the price $600 bucks b/c I knew it would sell in less than a week. It sold, but Heide (the fiance) came off the price pretty quick and discounted it $500....so at least I made them $100 extra. Turns out the same guy they bought it from, bought it back.

So, they'd been asking about this Honda. I hate selling a car to family, so I kept hoping they'd be able to find something 'Better' but it's hard to beat a nice old Honda Accord. Family deals are way too risky. You sell low, and if something goes wrong, you get the buy the broken car back as if you'd warrantied the thing for 90 days. So, I told them I'd sell it to them for $1500. They gave us $1700 b/c they called the bank and got the book values.

That's cool.

I hope we get through the 90 day implied warranty and then were in the clear.

Somebody came by and asked about the bus today. If could get the $15k I'm looking for my next "investment opportunity" I'd sell that thing....maybe 10k...but no less than that.

I'm plannning on commuting in the bus next year.

A Liberty Tax Billboard on wheels!!!!!