Main Street by Roger Allen — June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Big worry, short fingernails A lot of people worry about the national budget deficit. The idea of the government spending borrowed money goes against the grain. But, on a personal scale, we Americans did the same thing with our unrestrained credit card binge and mortgages we couldn’t afford. Let’s not get all moral about the national budget deficit. But the deficit problem is real and the facts aren’t simple. President Clinton was relatively frugal, so George W. Bush inherited a small surplus. Then, under the Bush administration, Congress actually reduced taxes (with most reductions going to the already wealthy) while embarking on two wars. This combo of lowering taxes during war had never been done before. (Wonder why.) The result was a gigantic budget deficit made to seem only huge-because (holy moley!) the Bush folks didn’t include the costs of the two wars in their budget numbers. President Obama inherited a uniquely ghastly fiscal fiasco; he and his team of advisers, including the respected Warren Buffet, decided on the stimulus package to try to fend off a total meltdown. We’re printing money like crazy and selling bonds to foreign governments to back it up. No wonder we Americans are biting our fingernails down to the first knuckle. On the other hand, we Americans are still buying loads of stuff from China and putting it on our bill. Way to go, Wal-Mart! Bet the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank. Ye gods. What happens if we can’t pay those bonds when they come due? Do the Chinese get to foreclose on us? Are we going bankrupt? I can see where the Feds might have to sign over Boulder Dam to the Chinese to help cover our debts. And how about Connecticut? Will the Chinese demand ownership of some small state to cancel our debt? I think about these things as I nibble away at my fingernails. Momentary worry A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says hello. He’s rather taken aback because she looks familiar but he can’t place where he knows her from. So he says, “Do you know me?” She replies, “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.” Now his […]

Main Street by Roger Allen publisher – June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

Starting summer in style The Start of Summer parade was a lot of fun and I didn’t have to walk. My daughter Beth, who now manages the Squire, provided me with a lawn chair on the trailer. In exchange, I had to wear a flowered shirt and a funny hat. Children of staff members ran around throwing candy while I sat and waved at the crowd. Life is good. I keep discovering new fringe benefits of old age. I did notice, however, that there was a lot more interest in the candy than in me sitting and waving. Paying for health Turn on the TV or radio and you hear talk about universal health care. Actually, we already have it. It’s the “fee for service plan.” Most of us can get medical care, even if it means going to an emergency room for a condition that may be short of an actual emergency. What we are talking about now is “health insurance.” There are always problems when you deal with OPM (Other Peoples Money). If there is a way to abuse the system, somebody will do it. “If I don’t have to pay directly, I want the best and money is no object.” That kind of thinking can put a huge strain on any system. If we have universal health insurance, somebody is going to have to regulate usage. Sometimes we aren’t going to like it, but the present system in this country is out of control. All other developed countries in the western world have some kind of  universal health insurance, and their health statistics and cost of care compare favorably with ours. Amazing A guy sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog for Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the back yard. The guy goes into the back yard and sees a mutt sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Sure do,” the dog replies. “So, what’s your story?” The dog looks up and says, “Well, I discovered my gift of talking pretty young and I wanted to help the government so I told the CIA about my gift. In no time they had me going from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies […]

Main Street, by Roger Allen publisher – June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

D-Day Those of us who lived through WWII know June 6, 1944, was the day we started to feel that victory really was ahead of us. There was a lot of bad news stretching from Dec. 7, 1941, to this date. We lost ground in Africa, France, and the South Pacific. Nazi submarines were sinking our ships everywhere, including off the coast of New Jersey. Those were grim times but on this date we pushed back, big time. The casualties were horrific, but those Americans didn’t die in vain. We won, and fascism lost. The single life Two bachelors, Larry and Frank, went out to dinner. The conversation drifted from office to sports to politics and then to cooking. “I got a cook book once,” said Larry, “but I couldn’t do anything with it.” “Too much fancy stuff in it, huh?” asked Frank. “You said it,” Larry replied. “Every one of those recipes began the same way: ‘Take a clean plate…’ ” Shrewd plan The State wants to turn loose about 4,000 prison inmates to save money. They say it costs $32,000 a year to keep each one in prison. Hey! How about I take a couple and tie them to a tree in my back yard? I’d do this cheap-only $20,000 a year, maybe. That saves the State $24,000 and gives me $40,000. That’s more than I ever got at the paper and all I have to do is sit and watch them all day. Sure, I’d have to rent a Porta-potty and make some oatmeal and macaroni and cheese a couple times a day, but I’ve got the time for it. I guess I’d have to give them umbrellas in the summer and warm coats and quilts in the winter, but that’s about it. Seems like a win-win deal to me. Since the State is willing to let them go, they couldn’t be actually dangerous. Living in 2009   1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.  2.  You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.  3.  You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your        family of three.  4.  You e-mail the person who’s working at the desk        next to you.  5. […]

Main Street – June 4, 2009

June 4, 2009 // 0 Comments

by Roger Allen, publisher   This is the Twilight Zone The Dow rose 221 points on Monday, the day General Motors filed for bankruptcy. In fact, stock markets all over the world went up. On Tuesday, GM’s new CEO, Fritz Henderson, gave a news conference in which he apologized for any shoddy products produced in the past. He promised better from the reorganized company. He also announced that GM had just sold its Hummer division. Oh, darn, I wanted to buy that one myself. Hummers are BIG. We taxpayers gave GM billions of dollars and all we get is a share of the uncertainty, although on Tuesday CFO Ray Young said, in an interview, that he hoped to pay back the money. He optimistically foresees the new GM becoming profitable in 2 or 3 years. Hope he’s right. Hope the financial industry we bailed out does well, too. We need the money. Last year the total wealth of all U.S. households declined by $11,200,000,000,000. In the old days, if you worked hard and smart you could get rich. If you screwed up badly, you lost everything. Personally, I liked that system better.   Good news The seventh grade seems to be full of poets. Aaron Rose sent me one and I reprint part of it:   SPRING Spring is the season of Not quite winter Not quite summer And not a lot of school left.   There was more, but this is the part that spoke to me.   My mother said . . .   1.  My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL          DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.        I just finished cleaning.”  2. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray          that will come out of the carpet.”  3.  My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you        don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the        middle of next week!”  4. My mother taught me LOGIC. “Because I said so,         that’s why.”   5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out       of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going       […]

Main Street – May 28, 2009

May 28, 2009 // 0 Comments

Spell that? It’s good to keep up on what’s happening in the world. Personally, however, I avoid reading news stories out loud. Hard-to-pronounce foreign names seem to pop up in every paragraph: Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hu Jintao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hosni Mubarak, Barack Obama…. Scratch that last one. He’s one of ours. And isn’t it amazing how quickly “President Obama” has come to sound perfectly ordinary? Remembering #1 Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is a holiday created to honor those who died in service to their country. It was first observed just after the Civil War and was called Decoration Day. At first it was used as a remembrance for Union soldiers only, but has expanded to include those from all services and wars. Many Americans also use Memorial Day to honor others who have died. Memorial Day used to be set for May 30. The date was changed in 1968 so Congress could have another three-day weekend. This year Memorial Day fell on the earliest May date possible. Which is why I got confused and forgot when it was and you’re reading this item a week late. Remembering #2 The old man had died. A wonderful funeral was in progress and the country preacher talked at length of the good traits of the deceased, what an honest man he was, and what a loving husband and kind father. Finally, the widow leaned over and whispered to one of her children, “Go up there and take a look in the coffin and see if that’s your pa.” Definitions ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle. CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people. CHICKENS: The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead. COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours. DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out. EGOTIST: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation HANDKERCHIEF: Cold Storage INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper MOSQUITO: An insect that makes you like flies better SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time SKELETON: A bunch of bones with the person scraped off TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction TOMORROW: […]

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