Posts Tagged ‘cost

21
Aug
18

Conditional Friendships, Lousy Incentives and Switching to Find Fleeting Happiness

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You have two people who want to be your friend. One cannot guarantee they will remain your friend if you do anything to upset the friendship. The other says you can make one big mistake and be forgiven without any change to the friendship. The second person sounds pretty reassuring; right? But, what happens if you do anything to upset the friendship after that first big mistake?

What’s the news flash here? No; it’s not about not being perfect. It’s about “changing rates” of support. When all someone can offer is a temporary incentive, is befriending that source worth the investment? You wouldn’t want someone to give you a contract of conditions to be their friend or, even more impacting, their lover. Why would you want to gamble with something like insurance?

I’ll give you another scenario.

You want to pay someone to do a job for you. Person A wants to do the job at a consistent rate per day, and, if they’re really nice, they will let you know that rate up front. Person B will cut the price in half the first day but says nothing about what the job will cost you the following days. Person B is hoping to snag your attention with the first part of their offer before slipping the hidden consequence under your rug. And, to make matters more complicated and/or interesting, both person A and person B suggest “switching” who works for you at some unclear point during the time required. Switching also comes with an incentive similar to the one offered by person B. However, though no penalty is discussed for switching, the effort will likely wreak havoc on your workspace, rob you of privacy and put financial information at risk.

Does this sound like a game you want to play? If not, why the frhekhtehtlwbwe are we subjecting ourselves to this crap in all things financially binding? Why do we have so many ads pressing us to “switch service plans” and dodge “contracts” when it seems just about every source is selling the same garbage? Hubba, hubba, hubba…who do you trust? And, if the answer is no one…or if you play the switching game that’s presented to you…how exhausting this life is. It’s barely living. It’s running a hamster wheel before dying in a heating duct.

Wake up, people! How do we disconnect and stay connected? Start thinking and get out of the doldrums, all you Milos out there. [I’m telling myself, as well.]

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30
Dec
15

You Wanna Know How Much I Hate Snow?

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You wanna know how much I hate snow?

How it makes travel, especially foot and road traffic perilous…even deadly?

How it turns into back-breaking cement and takes lives by heart attack?

How mean kids torture their prey by stuffing nonviolent faces into the icy crap?

How it can inflict pain and rash upon the skin, rivaled only by sunburn?

How it can freeze, bursting pipes and ravaging roads treated with salt?

So, to all you dreamers out there who think snow, the white reaper of winter, is the romantic cousin of a gentle spring rain, I’ve got one thing to say to you…

Get help.

Send help.

If you want to experience snow, take your chances traveling somewhere void of human life. Come prepared for anything. VISA might take you there, but it won’t get you out. And, good luck meeting a pretty yuki-onna while you’re lost in the blinding, freezing wilderness.

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30
Dec
15

The Grinch That Stole the Other Empires

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A long, not too long time–somewhere between a year and the whole Y2K fad–ago…
In a home theater near you…

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Darth Vader: Luke! I…am your father!

Luke: No. Nooo. It’s not possible!

Darth Vader: Search your heart! You know it to be true!

Luke: No. You’re not telling me something. What is it? Why does this story start at chapter four?

[Taking off his helmet, Vader reveals creator George Lucas.]

George Lucas: Yes, son. Uh, I believe I could explain that. But, unfortunately, as I am too old now to relate to the increasingly younger target audience for just about everything, I’ve already sold you to another man-child.

[George removes his face, a rubber mask, to reveal J. J. Abrams, creator of LOST and the Star Trek movie “reboot.”]

J. J. Abrams: Hi, Luke. I’ll be speaking for George, now. Unfortunately, I cannot say too much without risking my life. You see. I took his baby under my wing while selling my soul to another company at the same time.

Luke: J. J. Abrams?! I lost five years of my life because of you! Bring George back!

J. J. Abrams: I would love to do that, uh, Luke. But, I am so afraid of making the slightest mistake to further upset the fans who nearly torched their collections after the “prequels” did so poorly. I am so afraid that I copied ninety percent of the original trilogy into the first film of my own in the series. So, I will have to turn my commentary over to the real boss of all this.

[J. J. removes his face, another rubber mask, to reveal Mickey Mouse, the iconic face of the Disney Empire which swallowed Lucas’ work and J. J. whole along with Jim Henson and Stan Lee (and their respective empires).]

Luke: No… No. Not you. You’re the worst of them all!!!

Mickey Mouse: Tough luck, kid. You’re mine now, b!t@h! Huh-huh!

[Luke chops off his own head in hopes of never being turned into a Goofy parody.]

[Jar Jar Binks pops into the scene only to annoy Mickey who doesn’t realize the similarity between one orange clutz and his long-time co-star, Goofy.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa taking over the physical comedy roles, now. Uck-yuck!

Mickey Mouse: Not if I have anything to say abou– Wait. Did you just say “Uck-yuck?”

THE END?

<<ALTERNATE ENDING>>

[Jar Jar Binks walks onto the scene in his usual clumsy fashion, greeting his boss, Mickey Mouse, aka Midas Minos.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa back, boss.

Mickey Mouse: Uuh…Huh-huh! Aren’t you forgetting something?

Jar Jar Binks: Oh. Meesa sorry. Ehem…Uck-yuck!

Mickey Mouse: That’s better!

[Mickey pulls a black cloak out of his sleeve and fits it over his head.]

Mickey Mouse: Welcome back, my beautiful spy. You’ve done well.
Of course, it was my brilliant design, naming you after the future director of a cash cow I have long sought to hold in the palm my rubber glove, giving you the subtle likeness of my pathetic half-brother, Goofy. How I hated when that Lucas project stole thunder from my theme parks, not to mention my movies. Now, it is all mine.

Where are the other horsemen of the monoplocalypse, your partners in crime? Where are Jeronimo Piventas, Ryander Reynosold and Sethos Rogenda?

[Mickey/Midas refers to other bounty hunters under his leadership who pose as actors you may know by other names: Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen. These four “horsemen” have a reputation for destroying films.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa last saw them at Starbucks, passing along your plans for changing the name to Mickey’s Star Wars Coffee House.

Mickey Mouse: Excellent. Phase two of my plan is about to begin…three years from now in a theater near everyone! Uuh…Huh-huh! Uuh…Huh-huh-huh!

08
Dec
14

One Person’s Quirk Is Okay with Another

I like to think of myself as a multifaceted therapist. I’m a great back massage giver. I call them magic fingers. I haven’t done much with it, but I consider myself a decent art therapist (using art exercises to help people work through their “mental clutter”). And, I’ve been a decent listener most of my life without collecting $75-250 an hour for my time and saying very little.

But, here I am catching a few minutes of one goofy talk show in a million and hearing these “professionals” tell people with quirks that bother them that they should get help…and all I want to say is, “I don’t mind that quirk. I think it’s kinda cute. It’s unique and refreshing.”

And, isn’t that okay? Aren’t our quirks okay? Or, is every little odd/unique thing we do automatically a reason to sound the therapist/nut house alarm?

Warning: I’m about to rant. So, if you suffer from a “short attention span,” you may want to skip down past the partitioned section to the wrap-up.

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That’s ridiculous! It’s a quirk. It was probably caused by conditioning from exposure to some particular behavior from other people…whether that’s family, classmates or coworkers. And, all it takes to get out of that “kink” is to adjust yourself to someone new who makes you more comfortable. Until then, any conditioning therapy is going to be like slapping a smoker on the wrist to make them quit. You might force change, but will that make you feel better or just break the habit? Will you feel good about changing yourself or just comply with one more reprimand from peers? Is peer pressure a prescription for costly therapy and/or hazardous medication?

If you ask a “professional” outside the office, I am sure they’d love to set you up with a session schedule if they are starved for clients. But, once you get in that office, if they tell you your quirk is just part of you that you need to accept, what are you paying them for? And, if they recommend treatment or pills, what are you doing in that crazy person’s office??

A “professional” cannot replace family and friends the person really needs who will likely know more about the person rather than have them have to dig up aaaaall the history anew for some total stranger collecting a steep hourly fee. And, if you add up all the hours it would take to go through all that family history to get the “professional” up to speed, how much do you suspect that would cost?

Have you ever heard these expressions?

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I am so sick and tired of what some consider a weakness or strange being sufficient reason for telling someone to “get help.” It’s bad enough kids get bullied in school for having a big head or small frame or a lack of a good role model/sport coach or extra body fat.

Well, guess what.

I suffer from poor self-confidence.

I grew up with a small frame and a big head for which I was frequently pestered.

I was bullied.

I had a fifth grade teacher who couldn’t stop clearing her throat; so I started doing it reflexively, and it took a whole year to break the habit. These things happen. The same way we pick up and lose accents when we live among different cultures.

I have lost some hair in places, and it makes me uncomfortable.

I wear eyeglasses, and they make me feel crippled; but I cannot see myself ever using contact lenses without infecting my eyes because my hands are too busy to be that clean when needed.

And, ya know what else?

If you’re kinda quiet, shy or humble (not as bold, confident and daring as the people around you), that’s just fine. I won’t mind.

If you feel the need to pick your nose, you’re human. Just do it when I am not looking and clean those fingers, after.

If you burp for whatever reason, an “Excuse me” is wonderful. But, I won’t think you rude or weird if you forget.

If you wear two different socks, is that such a big deal?

[I think I’ve said some of these before. And, it wouldn’t surprise me if you found them among older posts (like the “looking for love and happiness” ones where I state my “dating preferences”). There are habits I don’t like, including some people who talk incessantly without conscience as if they can’t tell when someone isn’t genuinely listening to them…yet they keep talking even as I walk away. But, if I wasn’t quirk tolerant, I don’t think I’d find someone like Zooey Deschanel appealing, at all.]

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If you have a quirk, some habit that is unusual to others, it doesn’t mean you are mentally ill or unworthy of someone’s affection/attention. It may be annoying to some, but I’d prefer not to think it bothers EVERYONE. And, if your chosen spouse or mate happens to be bothered by it, maybe you’re hanging with the wrong tree. Ya know?

Every piece of the big picture puzzle fits somewhere. It just may be more difficult to find their place for some (myself included). It doesn’t mean we cut off our “bumps” to fit better. But, if YOU don’t like some aspect of yourself, it’s your call to change/fix it.

[Gosh, I get worked up when “professionals” turn nature into costly experiments.]

11
Aug
14

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Have you ever heard someone say that about some machine, toy, phone, “doodad” or gizmo? You know…the title of this piece. It’s something I haven’t heard myself in a while. But, that’s just because I am no longer a kid surrounded by elderly folks. Those who said it to me have passed on, already. But, the message still rings true now and then.

There was a time not too long ago when adults of the ’60s looked at the toys and technology of the ’80s–particularly television sets–and said, “They sure don’t make them like they used to.” This was shortly after Americans took a break from bitching about the “China-men” making inferior products. But, even today, if you listen to some of these millionaire business types, where would they be if they didn’t have their production lines overseas? Not too long ago, there was a big stink being raised about lead paint on toys. Lead paint; something I haven’t heard about since childhood when there was considerable concern about kids eating paint chips from older houses. [But, if you get me started on lead paint and the Chinese labor force working for the U.S.A., we’ll be here all week.]

The point I am slowly trying to make is…

If you look at modern technology–everything from lawn equipment to household appliances to your “newfangled” flat TVs and razor-thin-ready-to-snap-at-any-moment computers–you don’t see many–if any–lifetime warranties. You’re lucky if you get a five-year warranty. What amazes me is how some manufacturers will avoid a fuss and let you have a replacement (sometimes at an additional expense even if it’s considerably smaller).

Back when, replacements didn’t come so easily. You didn’t trade in a $100+ phone made from nuclear waste that does everything from flash a light under your bed to manage your banking/spending every two years. You bought a phone that plugged into the wall and was glad it was still working when the power went out. Now, you drop your “phone” (and I use the term lightly) in a puddle or on the sidewalk (because you have to have it with you at all times), and you’re lucky if you aren’t forking over another $200+ for a replacement.

[You see how the price shot up in just a few years? There was a time when you expected a fairly standard price for a phone. The technology didn’t change in two years, and what you had worked just fine if you didn’t take it outside and throw/drop it everywhere, you klutzes. AND, your hand didn’t vibrate or glow in the dark after holding your phone for a few hours. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating about the hand glowing in the dark.]

There was a time when you bought something with little fear of it not working in as many as ten years or more. You trusted a name that built a reputation for itself. You trusted the materials with which the item was made.

There was a time not so long ago when cash was so scarce, they called it the Great Depression, and countless lives were in financial jeopardy. Back then, they didn’t have “smart phone plans” to worry about. They didn’t even have video entertainment. How in the world did they live?!…you kids might ask. Well, I am fairly sure there was probably the same business scheming going on then as it is today. It just came under a different label as it drove people broke. But, whatever it was, I am sure it lasted the people a few more years than a computer telling its user, “It’s been two years. Replace me.”

You know what piece of technology hasn’t changed much since the dawn of time? Mankind. We may have lost some hair and body mass (ha). We may have learned to stand up straighter and use different words now and then. We may have changed the way we eat our food, dress and clean ourselves. We probably earned a longer life expectancy from working less and sitting on those asses people have been pointing and shaking their heads at, lately. But, we can be just as dumb as our ancestors.

How dumb are we? Well, we’re so dumb that we will slap anything on our skin or trust another human being to make us look young, “pretty” or “handsome.” We’re so dumb that we take pills as directed by other humans only to suffer side-effects we should have seen coming (but we didn’t…because we’re so dumb). We’re so dumb that we will burn a plant in our mouths or wash one down our throats to fight stress only to risk the lives of others around us and put that stress on our bodily organs, anyway. We’re so dumb that we move just like cattle as we chase the latest things because the ones someone stopped making last summer are now obsolete.

Can you replace your grandparents or siblings so easily? I think not. No matter what insurance policy you buy, pill you take or defense system you install, you don’t have a lifetime warranty or even a two-year warranty. Your number could be up tomorrow. [That’s another fairly old piece of lingo, by the way. Your number being up. For those of you born after the cellphone, it means “you could die.”]

So, the next time you think about buying some new gadget, trinket or Macintablet or reach for a fresh (or freshly charged) battery pack, remember what ol’ Writingbolt just told you. You can either drain your bank account (which was filled with your life force applied to that thing called work…of whatever kind you employ) every few years chasing stupidity. Or, you can wise up and rethink the way this world appears to be going. Buy something more reliable. And, invest in those around you who are worth more than any self-destructing wireless “life-distactor.”

Maybe it’s time we all slowed down to think instead of trying to be the one who throws him or herself into a wall the fastest. Yeah. That sounds dumb. Just give it time. I’m sure it’s out there on YouBoobTube, already. And, it’s getting a billion hits.

There was a time when hits were something your older brother…

10
Jul
14

What Is Human Nature? We May Never Know

The human being is so complex. After thousands of years, we still do not know its limits or greatest potential. And, yet, man continues to taint and tamper with nature–including the environment and the body itself–with countless pollutants. How can we ever grasp human nature when it’s perpetually contaminated?

In pursuit of science, like the temptation for girls to strip down their dress-up dolls and smear them with graffiti instead of appreciating the creation as it is made, humans spoil the opportunity to understand each other and themselves. And yet, even when it’s not considered scientific research/testing, humans take chances with what surrounds/appears before them, like a school kid in a cold winter city daring to stick his tongue to a flag pole in the middle of a deep freeze. Are we no better now than the cavemen or natives who had to determine which berries were safe to eat?

What if all our “advancements” are nothing more than alternative routes to the same malfunction under a different trending name? What if we could do better by buying into less, not relying on products and services to pamper us and simply observing our surroundings and instincts (not our impulses/temptations) more often? What if we are wasting SO much time, energy and resources on experiments that all ultimately fail to do anything more than temporarily alter our outlook on what is inevitable? [Meanwhile, buyers fill the pockets they do not possess with seemingly (the previous being the key word) endless money and/or power. And, countless others either starve or squander their souls to cheat someone for their hasty, short-sighted benefit, simply because humans fail to work together.]

If you were to imagine yourself as an alien/outsider (saving the expense of crafting and sending some gizmo into deep space to reach out to the unknown which may only end up as more space garbage), employed to survey and sum up the nature of human beings, which of the following would you choose to voice your opinion?

1) “The human being is a constantly changing and viciously circling chemical trip, similar to what they call a roller coaster, a ride intended for amusement which goes in a loop, stirring emotions while risking bouts with hysteria and/or nausea. They change the shape of the track, affecting the range and pattern of reaction, but it’s still just a loop.”

2) “The human being is the bud of the (yet unknown name) flower, like a tadpole precedes a frog. Given time, the evolved form will earn the ego the human perceives to be deserved and become the rightful dominant species of the planet Earth without any capacity for war, experimentation, disease and/or segregation.”

01
Jul
14

Pay for Insurance; Forget Responsibility?

In recent USA news, health insurance has been a major source of discussion/concern. One particular company has been highlighted for religious values conflicting with general political procedure as well as for covering the cost of certain provisions and not others, namely birth control. I don’t know if it is part of the joke or true, but I heard Viagra is one of the provisions paid for by the company. What sense does this make?

That’s like saying…

“I won’t protect you from gun shots, but have a free assault rifle.”

“I won’t drive you home from the bar, but have a few free drinks.”

[Anyone else want to throw one in here? I’ll add it to the list.]

I’m not the most religious person yet I see the impact of careless sexual behavior. And, no birth control method has been proven (to me) foolproof. Despite man’s quest for the ideal machine/chemical formula, we’re still Einstein without the end-all-be-all equation to being. So…

The point is…people need to control themselves regardless of what money or some company/workplace provides (at cost). More SELF-control and less ARTIFICIAL control (chemical/financially costly). If you can’t keep your pants zipped and your “retirement” safe from draining lifeforms, it’s your own lack of sensible planning/decision-making. Why waste so much time, money, resources and energy on debating what people won’t do for themselves? Screw all this B.S. about what’s covered and not. And, stick it up your rears, you who make medical/health care so complicated and costly. If I won’t help myself, why should I trust or pay you to help me if all you care about is the financial cost? If we’re all taxed too much, what good are we doing each other or ourselves?




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