Phone Dope

I forgot my phone the other day. I was gong out to work at a school as a substitute teacher…and I forgot my phone. Instantly, I tried to decide if turning around would be a good idea. Initially, I was feeling so good about the day but now, I was in a cold sweat over the entire issue. Finally, I determined that I could survive the day and went on into school.

I am sure that others have experienced this type of a situation. It is almost as if you “have to get your phone back into your possession right now or you will die.” When you think about it, this is just silly. It doesn’t change the feelings though. This is a dangerous sign about the psychology of our relationship to our devices.

In the 90’s when the mobile phones burst onto the scene, they quickly got into the hands of people far too young to appreciate the responsibility. This was when the primary function was calling. Then came the texting. Now this device was becoming a distraction, particularly in schools. The logical answer was to banish them. Whether or not they disappeared entirely, they certainly had an effect on the school culture. Pay phones disappeared from school lobbies. It was accepted that they would be on the person…just not used until the end of the day.

The evolution to Smart Phones came quickly and yet, even today, we live with the same paradigm. The phones are not accepted in class up to middle school, tolerated in high schools to a point, but their responsible use has never been “taught” beyond the admonishment to “use them responsibly.”

When will schools actually teach what is relevant?

Smart phones, chrome books, iPads, and even that old reliable PC at home have become so commonplace that people don’t even consider the ways in which these devices have access to the most base emotions in our psyche. We scroll, we click, we comment, and then we complain about being hacked, used, or victimized because we have never done the responsible thing and actually taught how these devices access our behaviors.

Even if we take classes in psychology, we never seem to get beyond the knowing to the doing. It is for this reason that politics and fringe groups speak in sound bites, short videos, and images evoking fear and anger that move you from “your” agenda to “theirs”. Why did we have an insurrection? Maybe because we have never taught people to be independent thinkers.

Our scrolling, stopping, reverse scrolling and interacting with posts are recorded and being used to feed more items that we “like” in order to access more dopamine in our brain. The feel good hormone is the same one that was identified in the 60s and where we coined the term “Dope Addicts” for drug users.

Are you a phone dope or are you in control? I can’t really even answer it for myself, but…awareness definitely the first step. Can education on this issue be any more urgent? I don’t think so and schools and government better get on the stick.

I Can See Clearly Now

When I told him he said that was entirely unacceptable. “You can’t wear lenses without a fitting.” The fact that I could see with these and not with the ones that were “fitted” was not the point.

I can see clearly now, but he doesn’t care…

It happened about a year ago. A visit to the eye doctor got me to discover what I’ve been missing. My eyes have always been affected by multiple problems that are not typical for a person my age. I am farsighted. I have astigmatism. I have had to wear glasses since I was in kindergarten. It seemed like I will never see clearly without glasses again.

Still it hasn’t stopped me from trying to wear contact lenses. My first try was in college. I had limited success. Contacts have trouble with astigmatism. Then came the Astigmatic lens also known as Toric. This lens was supposed to conquer astigmatism but it was still of marginal improvement and expensive. As I got older, I developed the “older eye” problem and now I needed bifocals.

Clearly my eyewear was getting more expensive and I believe that in an effort to minimize the cost to me, my optometrist was not showing me the possible solutions. A recent change at my eyecare center has had me seeing a new doctor. This doctor is very confident. When I told him that I was having limited success with contacts…he gave me the option to try a lens made for astigmatism and multifocal. I agreed.

The “fitting” is one of the options for my optical insurance plan. It won’t pay for all of it but it does get some of it. He ordered the lens and a few weeks later it arrived and I went back in to pick them up. The whole process was fouled up when the intake person treated me as a regular checkup person and numbed my eyes. Even with glasses, my world was a blur. I couldn’t put the contacts in my eyes because the feeling wasn’t there. I couldn’t tell whether my vision was improved because my world was a blur. It was at this moment that the doctor went from confident to arrogant as he and the assistant were dismissive of my feelings and my condition as they assured me that this would wear off in a matter of minutes. An hour later, I took my sample lenses and went on my way.

During the week, I had limited success but with my experience with other lenses, I figured that I would get used to it. He ordered the lenses and used up the rest of my insurance. As the week went by, I sought out some other pricing on the lenses on the Internet and found my brand and several others as well. I found a national brand that used to be the one name in contact lenses. I figured that they would be the most expensive. They weren’t. Since he sent me with measurements as well, I plugged in his numbers into the new brand. When they arrived…wow! I can see clearly now!! Also, they went in and out so easily and I could wear them for about 8 to 10 hours a day. The ones that were “fitted” were of no value whatsoever and have never touched my eyes again. (Sometimes, I didn’t know that they were there because they were huge and the edges disappeared and I would be digging at my cornea to access them.)

Fast forward about a year. I got the message from my eye doctor that it was time for my annual eye checkup. (Doctor speak for annual insurance money for the taking.) I hemmed and hawed privately about this…but I certainly wanted to let the doctor know that he was the one who turned me on to this lens technology and were it not for the fitting snafu…I never would have discovered the lenses that I have now.

When I told him he said that was entirely unacceptable. “You can’t wear lenses without a fitting.” The fact that I could see with these and not with the ones that were “fitted” was not the point. When he stated, “I don’t make the rules, I just have to follow them,” I then determined that I fall in 3rd or 4th place when it comes to my health.

Here is my perceived order of priority.

  1. Insurance Company
    • Optical Insurance comes almost exclusively with a group plan. Here, the company gets an enormous amount of money that the consumer doesn’t see so that they can be “placated” by perceived benefits.
  2. Vision Correction Vendor
    • This is the limited amount of vendors allowed to offer products through a particular doctor or group plan. The prices for these items are fixed at a significantly higher rate than what you can find online.
  3. The Optometry Practice
    • Every January, I get the important notification that my vision is important and needs to be monitored. When I get in I am run through a series of tests by persons in blue medical scrubs using machines. Their repetitive practice to these processes is what ultimately led to my “useless fitting” last year as a quick question to the patient as to “why are you here?” would have stopped the problem from happening.
  4. The Patient (Me)

My vision insurance has their own “in house” supplier of eyewear and contact lenses. My brand was not on the list. (It wasn’t on the optometrist list either as I heard him tell his administrator who orders and schedules the fittings that it would not be found on the drop down list.) SHOCKER. This “company store” scenario allows them to take the brand that could be shopped for best price and build in extra cost so there wouldn’t be an insurance loss to them.

Insurance companies should be there to stop you from having a devastating financial event linked to a medical issue. Instead, they charge huge amounts of money and placate us with these “perceived” benefits and then rope in the very institutions that are supposed to be there for the patient but grind all the money that they can from our little placations.

When I had my trouble last year, I decided that my “new patient” experiences would be a me first and it has worked well as I have had several instances where I have had success.

  • 7/1 Ganglion Cyst. Great Podiatrist. We planned the remedy together. Reworked my whole supplementation plan that day.
  • 11/13 Broken Arm. Great Orthopedists. They listened to me and told me to decide if follow up appointments were necessary. (They weren’t)
  • 3/29 Cardiologist for preventative concern. Family history and reading had me concerned about Calcium buildup in my arteries. I sought out a Cardiologist and he ordered a scan that I had read about and is often not covered by insurance…surprise surprise. Amazingly, the test happened yesterday and the results came in as I am typing this. Now we, my doctor and me, can move forward in developing a plan to take care of this before it becomes a problem.
  • 4/12 Optomotrist. Looks like he might have to go.

AI Insipiration

But personal initiative is not just about individual success. It is also about contributing to the greater good. It is about recognizing that we are all part of a larger community, and that our actions can have a ripple effect that extends far beyond ourselves.

I was born in 1962. I was far too young to be personally affected by John F. Kennedy. I have heard many of his speeches on video. Sometimes you just need to be exposed to them on a personal level. I have been playing with ChatGPT and here is my response I got when I asked for a speech on personal initiative in the style of John F. Kennedy. Enjoy!

My fellow citizens,

Let me begin by saying that our success as a nation depends not only on the actions of our government, but also on the actions of each and every one of us as individuals. It is through personal initiative that we can create a better future for ourselves, our communities, and our nation.

As I look out upon this great country, I see a nation of individuals who are capable of great things. I see people who are willing to work hard, to take risks, and to pursue their dreams with passion and determination. But I also see individuals who are afraid to take the first step, who doubt their own abilities, and who feel trapped by circumstances beyond their control.

To those individuals, I say this: do not let fear hold you back. Do not wait for someone else to take the lead. You have the power to make a difference in your own life and in the lives of others. You have the power to create change.

Personal initiative is not just about taking action, it is about taking responsibility. It is about recognizing that you have the power to shape your own destiny, and that your actions can have a positive impact on the world around you. It is about setting goals, making plans, and taking steps towards achieving those goals.

But personal initiative is not just about individual success. It is also about contributing to the greater good. It is about recognizing that we are all part of a larger community, and that our actions can have a ripple effect that extends far beyond ourselves.

So I urge you, my fellow citizens, to embrace your personal initiative. Take the first step towards your dreams, no matter how small that step may be. Believe in yourself and your abilities. And most importantly, remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together, and by working together, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.

Thank you, and God bless America.

The Need for Security

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Have you found that there are a few more barriers to your normal Internet experiences these days.  It seems like everyone thinks that you may be a criminal and you have to prove who you are…all the time.  Well, there is a reason for that and we are going to talk about it right here.

As more and more of our life moves online we have become inundated with little quizzes and text messages and exercises that we feel are useless just to do what we have been doing for years.  Well, things have really changed.  There are a lot more conveniences that come with our connected world, but there are also threats that we never seem to have been concerned with before.  I am going to relate just a little story here to you and hopefully convey the seriousness of the situation. 

On this website where you are reading this post or viewing this slideshow, there is a little store.  It contains a few things that I created and a lot of things that my wife has created.  I worked on it after I retired from public education so I could see if I could do it.  It turns out that I could and before you know it, I had a store where people could find my stuff and buy it.

Well, one day in January…early on the morning my phone began to buzz…a lot.  It turns out that I had a sale…and another…and another…and another.  As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes I could see that a lot of the sales didn’t go though.  As a matter of fact…most didn’t.  I panicked.  I was being hacked.  Setting up the store was hard enough…stopping it was something I didn’t know that I was supposed to know how to do quickly.

I was able to suspend the store activity and then I researched what happened.  Here are some slides of the day.  These pages represent a fraction of the stolen credit cards that were run through my store for the express purpose of finding those that hadn’t been canceled yet.  Every failed transaction had several credit card attempts on the individual sale as evidenced by my credit card processing company.

On this first page you can see the orders that had failed but there are also several that went through.  One of them had a calendar date from the day before, but all of these purchases were made during the day…in India. 

By the time it was done, over $78,000 of fraudulent charges were run through my account.  Only three went through and I refunded those transactions.  Additionally, I worked with the credit card processor and my experts at Word Fence to lock down my site and store and this has never happened again.

At this point, I attributed this to the fact that I was naive and I just needed to have my own ducks in a row.  Well, again…I had a lot to learn.

Bank of America taught me a lesson.  Full disclosure…I am a current Bank of America Customer and account holder.  Coincidentally, they are also a contracted agency for the distribution of unemployment benefits for those persons affected by the pandemic.  My daughter, who is no longer a BOA customer, was one of those affected.  It was temporary and so the account was set up and then used and then she went back full time.  She left the money there on the card that they gave her as her own little emergency fund.  She didn’t have to worry…after all it was Bank of America.  The spend millions on security for their bank.

Even so…in one hour…a $1 charge was placed on the card number and paid…700 times.  Sometimes a business would charge an account $1 to verify that it was a real account before you purchase something…but not 700 times from a foreign country. 

Bank of America had they typical automated help line that had no information and by the time you got a real human…the suspicion was on you, the customer…not the fact that you were robbed.  Still Bank of America did finally respond and their caring response took several weeks.  They claimed that they were doing a thorough investigation and to prove it well, they refunded the total amount stolen…Transaction by Transaction.

So what can we do if our most protected banks are vulnerable? 

  • Play Defense!!  No football team ever won a championship unless they anticipated what an adversary was going to do and was ready for them.  First
  • Have Multiple Accounts
  • Check them everyday for charges that you didn’t authorize
  • Think before you click on links in emails, text messages, and especially Facebook Messenger
  • Think before you share any links or respond to what appears to be the most benign question.
  • Use a Credit Card and not a Debit Card.  See the Speech made by Frank Abignale to Google.  I will place the link on the Webpage here.
  • Check these credit card accounts as well.
  • Lock up your identifying information on Social Media
  • Check your data on Social Media.  See who you’re sharing stuff with.
  • Most importantly…check your emotions.  Social engineering is the most effective way scammers have to get you to give away information.
  • Security blocks are annoying but necessary in this world
  • Fraudulent Emails about purchased you never made were meant to get you angry so you respond to them
  • 2 factor authentication is necessary.
  • Change your passwords often…make them tough…lock them up.

The reason that you need to do these things is that your identity and security are not a “set it and forget it” proposition. As time went on, the “Captcha” program that I installed on my website got updated and the settings went back to “deactivated”. Once again my store was used to filter stolen credit cards.

You can also play offense.  Getting Identity protection is important.

For years, I was a public school educator.  Now, I am a teacher and a coach.  It’s time to learn about tools that help. 

Register on this website for the schedule of FREE Webinars using ZOOM.  You don’t need a paid account.  I’ve taken care of that.  The interactive nature allows you to ask and get questions answered. 

The schedule is listed under live events and please view as much of the free content on this YouTube Chanel as well.

Thanks.  See you again soon in a safer cyberspace.

Health Insurance Makes Me Sick

Having just come through the Pandemic, more and more people are concerned with healthcare. It’s always been a political issue. You hear it every election that healthcare is unaffordable and how people need insurance. In the recent weeks I have become aware of a couple of things. Illnesses are rampant and health insurance sucks.

In the last month my wife and daughter have been fighting respiratory viruses that seem to last forever. Their symptomology requires them to go to the Urgent Care Clinics because their own doctors are reluctant to see sick patients that can’t wait 4 to 6 weeks for an appointment. These centers have websites that list what insurance that they accept. The problem is that they change their minds without changing their website and you don’t find out for several weeks.

I don’t usually have much need for a doctor but recently I had fallen off of my bike and broken my arm at the elbow. I went to the local ER and spent 6 fun-filled hours around the sickest humans on the planet. Since the incident happened in the last 60 days, I am bracing myself for the financial dust to settle for this visit. My wife and my daughter had the identical problem and they tried to charge $600 and $400 respectively to them personally because their insurance decided that they Urgent Care was out of network. I can just imagine the cost of a real broken arm with, as of this moment, 3 X-rays and office follow up.

In the book The Rainmaker by John Grisham, a story is told of an insurance company who had a policy of denying every claim that came in on every policy. In court they claim that their responsibility is to their shareholders. Therein lies the problem. Health Insurance is there to perpetuate the Health Insurance company. The government cannot and should not make it their business to make sure that everyone can afford health insurance.

Our health should be our responsibility. We should have a way of paying for our own healthcare and also be protected from catastrophic costs associated with healthcare. Since I am retired and covered by insurance in the retirement system, I shouldn’t have to worry about the costs of health insurance premiums…only getting the company to pay on the claim. Still I am curious.

Since I am retired and my wife isn’t, I still go in and do substitute teaching so I have some humans to talk to during the day. I have done it so much that the school district is being forced to offer me health insurance at a cost. They have offered the Bronze plan for $595 a month. Mind you, this is a group policy. It is with the same Insurance Company that my wife has and I am listed as a spouse for coverage as well. Still, I would have to work four full days just to get that cost covered and Bronze will still require me to pay far more out of pocket than what I want when hearing the word insurance.

There is a solution. No networks. No denials. Affordable, comprehensive, inclusive, accessible healthcare is within reach. The steps are easy and I go over them in detail on my webinars. See the schedule at the top of the website.

Losing My Widgets

It has been a fun year to be a sports fan in Philadelphia, particularly a fan of the two big sports playing in south Philadelphia. Alas, I have moved from home and now I must be very creative to get to watch my favorite team. I love wearing my Phillies red to Dodger games and Giant games and Padre games and a little less for Diamondback games…because the Phillies don’t do particularly well in Arizona.

Just the same…it was nice to see the teams doing so well this year. In addition to subscribing to MLB.TV, I have been displaying with some degree of pride the current standings on my website by taking the appropriate divisions and displaying them for all to see. (Well, mostly me to see). Now, I noticed a little extra printing from the website feeding my information for my beloved teams. It will all come to an end on January 1. Happy New Year to me, I guess.

I will accept this slap in my face if, somehow, we can democratize how we show out of market games to fans who have moved in the NFL. I don’t want to get the stupid streaming service for just this need. Alas, getting the Eagles games in La Quinta, CA is like getting a Wiper Fluid Cap for a 2015 Jeep Renegade. (Yes, this is a plea to try and get one of these too.)

If anyone knows another streaming service other than Baseball Reference dot com, or Pro Football Reference dot com…I would really appreciate it. You can just comment here with the answer as well as a place that I can get an actual cap for my Washer Bottle so I can stop splashing fluid uselessly off the road.

To all who read this…I send you the best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

An Honest Thief

How they make their living…

In the middle of August, I began my cross country trip to visit NJ and see my family. I was also visiting during the local stop of Dear Evan Hansen so I was able to see my son for a few days as well. My car, one that was just purchased at lease end, seemed to be the focus of a lot of my trip. Hub caps popping on and off and the changing cost of gas at each stop made for an interesting narrative. Sadly, the worst was saved for my last day in San Francisco. I moved my car from the expensive ($35) parking lot to the free meter for the final day. On Sunday, the meters do not run and the parking is free. Ah…but as the saying goes…there’s no free ride…or in this case park.

I was alerted to this possibility by the daytime clerk at the desk of the Grant Hotel. The night clerk recommended against it. He said that the neighborhood was not good…even in the day. Also, parking spaces may not be available when I want them. I told him that I arrived at 5:30AM the previous day…I would be able to find a spot. Having heard him talk about the access to parking…I decided to move my car at 2:30AM. There were still people wide awake and milling about. The spot I got was right in front of the door of the Golden Gate Hotel which was right next door.

I went in and within the hour, I was to be robbed. I wouldn’t know it until the next morning. I did not heed the warnings. I tried to save $35 and now it will cost me hundreds. All of those trite sayings were popping into my head. Sayings like, “pennywise and pound foolish” or “better safe than sorry”. Still, I take no blame for the crime. I am not the criminal. Yet, the criminal(s)…they had the reputation.

The way they approached their crime was in a very businesslike way. They assessed the risk, they worked in tandem, they knew their target, they were in and out in about 15 seconds. They got a very nice suitcase full of…dirty underwear and a couple pair of shoes. It was not the score that they had hoped for but the crime was low risk. Breaking a window doesn’t trigger an alarm like opening the door without a key. The car was silent all night.

Since they can’t make a decent living off of dirty underwear…I am sure that I was not their only target of the night. It does make me wonder…what if? What if they used their skills to help people instead of hurt them? What if they looked for real opportunities to contribute instead of being opportunists? What if someone had cared enough to get between them and the bad decisions that have now come to define their lives?

Parents, teachers, friends, and extended family have to be much more involved in the lives of young people before they make enough bad choices to end up here working the night shift.

Should the 2nd Amendment be repealed?

if the NRA put as much money into creating facilities and strategies for these law abiding citizens to safely own and shoot these weapons as they do in buying congressional votes, maybe everyone could be made happy and even a new cottage industry could be born.

My Opinion–No–I am just going to put it out there.  My opinion is an emphatic NO.  This is my opinion.

When this country was founded over 200 years ago, after the Constitution was written, Congress saw fit to add to it 10 Amendments on December 15, 1791.  That was a mere 15 years after the Congress took the bold step of Declaring its Independence from a tyrannical government from overseas.  These 10 amendments, The Bill of Rights, as it became known, were articulated on paper and made known to the world.  These rights were the ones that were regularly tread on by the mother country leading to both colonization and then ultimately forming the American Nation.

Flash forward 200 years or so…

Retired Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens suggests that the 2nd amendment be repealed.  His reasoning is articulated in line with one of two schools of thought regarding the Constitution.  Is the Constitution to be taken literally for all time, or is it a living document that must adjust with the times?  Well, if you carry a constitution with you and you can read, you should be able to decide for yourselves…but you can’t…(more later on that).

I, for one, have carried a copy with me for my entire teaching career.  I have focused on one particular amendment in the Bill of Rights and that is why I always had it handy…not so I could say…”see, I told you”…but to provoke thought.  Just for fun…lets provoke a little thought.

I like Law and Order…not the concept although I like that too.  It’s the TV Show.  I love it when Jack McCoy and the defense attorney’s tussle over things that relate to the rights of the accused.  You hear a lot about search and seizure (4), witness against oneself (5), and right to a speedy trial(6).  You hardly ever hear of a jury being empaneled for a small claims action even though they are universally for more than $20 and the 7th amendment should be enforced.  It is specific.  Amendment 3 has not been violated too much in my lifetime, but it stands to reason that it could be.

If the 2nd amendment should be repealed, shouldn’t these others also be considered.  And what about the 1st Amendment.

I have been a music teacher all of my life.  I have always struggled with the ideal delivery of a vocal music education which included works of the masters with no consideration for the fact that it may have a “sacred text”.  Students and parents, however, were sometimes surprised to see this music being performed in a public school.  Sometimes, there would be complaints, controversy, and yes, even lawsuits.  They cried “separation of church and state”, which is not in the 1st amendment, not a title to the 1st amendment, but used as a metaphor relating to the actual text of the 1st amendment and articulated by James Madison.  That became the de facto title, then a rallying cry and then it was put into the hands of great thinkers…The Supreme Court of the United States.  These guys and gals if I may be so politically incorrect should always get it right…then why is it not unanimous?  The truth is that they all suffer from the affliction of bias and that is an affliction of humanity.

The history of my bias (aka confirmation bias)

I was born in Philadelphia PA.  I moved with my family at the age of 5 to Marlton, NJ where I attended public school until I was 18.  I went to college at TSC met my wife and became a music teacher and taught for 26 years in the public schools of NJ.  I never hunted.  I never knew crime.  I had no connection with guns.  My family, particularly my mom put the fear of God into me with relation to guns.

I was also bullied mercilessly from grade 6 through grade 12.  I lived in constant fear that I was going to be beaten up or even killed from people who now to this very day I consider the excrement of the world.  As a teacher, when I saw bullying, I went into such an internal rage that my clothing was soaked in sweat and I literally had the shakes.  I confronted the bully and made sure that they knew I wouldn’t tolerate it.

In school as a student, it was fear.  Shaking quivering fear.  As a teacher…it was rage.  Oh, did I mention the lack of gun thing?  Yes.  I’m sure I did.  In school, as a student, if I had access to a gun, I probably wouldn’t have done anything since fear…of literally everything ran my life.  What about rage?  How about rage?  I just don’t know. Who does?

This is my story.  This is my position of bias.  When facing the issue of guns, it could very easily be a confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias is when you consider only those points that seem to confirm your position that you have already decided on a particular issue.  There are other points of view and other “evidences” but they are dismissed because they don’t fit our point of view.  I do it.  You do it.  SCOTUS does it.  So, what can we do?  We acknowledge that we have biases and attempt to think beyond the biases.

Here are my thoughts.

The 2nd Amendment, the entire Bill of Rights in fact, should be left alone.  The Bill of Rights is in our DNA.  It has many little brothers and sisters in Medicine (Patients Bill of Rights), Air Travel (Passengers Bill of Rights), and I am sure many others currently around or in the future.  The repeal of the 2nd amendment will have very little effect on guns since 44 states have this right in their own constitution.  Besides, we wouldn’t have a nation if the 2nd amendment wasn’t there and ascribed to because in 1812, Britain tried to take back the treasonous colonies while we were still yet in a colonial period.  We owe a lot to the 2nd amendment.  We owe a lot to gun owners.  That leaves us with an enormous problem.  If we attempt to regulate guns, how do we do it? (Of course, I mean all of us in we…both sides of the issue.)

In colonial times, the gun was used to protect the home.  This need still exists today.  People could come into our homes to rob us or harm us and we see this on the news everyday.  If you live in certain neighborhoods, you may need that protection at home.  Females in fear of attackers who choose to protect themselves with a gun should be allowed to qualify for a carry permit.

Hunting and shooting clay pigeons are sports and activities that have been around for years.  Taking these guns is just plain silly.

Weapons of war, where the likelihood of collateral damage is great when the weapon is discharged, is another story altogether.  How many times have we seen policemen “empty a clip” on an unarmed person because they ran or hid in the shadows?  Even in the right hands, we’ve seen deadly consequences.  People who think, really think, know that something has to be done…but what?  What is the right answer?  In light of the fact that there are groups that are so fringe that they are an enemy militia being bread in our midst…along with, and no I don’t understand the love of this shooting…but honest law abiding individuals who own and want to shoot their automatic weapons.

Checking my bias as much as I can, I say that if the NRA put as much money into creating facilities and strategies for these law abiding citizens to safely own and shoot these weapons as they do in buying congressional votes, maybe everyone could be made happy and even a new cottage industry could be born.  I mean if there was a way to own your big gun and keep it where you can shoot it and enjoy it among like minded people, then you are similar to my neighbor who has a boat bigger than my house who has to sacrifice his fun when it’s not in the water because it just doesn’t go fast out of the water.

If lawmakers stopped being owned by the gun companies then they could spend some serious time “thinking” and identifying those weapons that should be kept out of the civilian households and tightened up interstate controls instead of trying to trip up the public with their stupid questions about details of “what is an automatic weapon”?, then maybe we would make progress.

If the general public weren’t so afraid to confront the issue and attempt to set aside their own biases even for a short period of time, they would be less likely to be led down the garden path from extremists on both sides and start a real dialog.  It is much easier to scroll…and share…and not give it a second thought. 

On December 14, 2012, there were two major school attacks in the news. One was here in the United States at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. The other in Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan province, China. At this school, 22 students were attacked with a large knife. No one died.

It’s been 10 years since then. The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States admonishes the law makers to regulate the “rights of the people to keep and bear arms.” It’s time to start regulating.

Passive Income vs Residual Income

What is the better avenue for additional income today? Well, that depends. It depends on your risk tolerance. Passive Income is derived from income on assets that you own and quite often are leveraged so that there is significant recurring costs. Residual income comes to you from value that you create in your life and the lives of others through products and services.

Clearly, both avenues are valuable and can be used by the same individual who is interested in a diverse supplemental income stream. It may be necessary to get involved in one before you get involved in the other. The startup costs for passive income from real estate is very high and so are the maintenance costs. The startup costs for residual income opportunities are much smaller and depending on the avenue that you choose, you can start making profits quickly.

The really exciting thing about residual income is that in most businesses that offer residuals as part of their compensation plan, the idea of teamwork and sharing is an integral part of the operation. No one is alone.

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Fear and Opportunity

These two seemingly opposing concepts are at the heart of a lot of decissions that people make. In reality, the strongest concept is that of fear. Fear is a paralyzing force that prevents many people from even recognizing and acting on an opportunity, yet is the same reason for acting on the same. I’ll explain.

I trade stocks in the morning. Yes, when the market opens, I spend about a half hour in that harrowing experience known as intraday trading also known as Day Trading. If you just watch the stock market you can see that it moves up and down all day long. For me, I just need to know which direction and catch the move much like a surfer catches a good wave. The move is usually short lived and can turn on a dime. Why does it turn? Fear. Why does it move fast in one direction? Fear…of missing out. FOMO.

In the market…you live to trade another day. That means you protect your account. You must have some confidence in what you are doing before you take a position on a stock. Then you protect against serious losses. You also must remember to take your profits along the way. Those who think that there may be a shortcut to winning will lose big and reinforce the fear.

The key to conquering the fear is to have a good mentor and a disciplined approach. If you have that, fear can be your friend and protector. If you don’t it will paralyze you and keep you from your ultimate potential.

I write this, not to be preachy…but to be teachy. I need to be reminded of this everyday. BTW I know that teachy is not a word…it just fit the context. No FEAR.