Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm Dying!

My wife recently brought home some information that says caffeine is a poison and that just a very small amount of it in pure form can kill you. WOW! With all the coffee and other stuff I've drank in my life, I should already be dead! Maybe I'm well on my way. The trouble with living a long life is that, like my mother, who is still alive (and has been drinking coffee AND smoking since she was a teenager), you run out of money, friends and things to do before you run out of life.

So Sayeth The Shack


I'm Shrinking!

I guess I've arrived at that age where you start getting shorter. I remember many of my older relatives, especially on my mother's side of the family, getting shorter as they got older. Recently, several of my pants have suddenly and inexplicably become too long. So I must now be getting shorter also. Guess it's time to find a tailor!

So Sayeth The Shack


Thursday, November 29, 2007

E-Mail Scam

I received the following e-mail recently.....

JJob offer

We have reviewed your resume at and are eager to inform you that we are ready to offer you a vacant position of the "Financial Agent".NzQ wND

Nj liNj

We looked through your skills and became sure that you correspond to our requirements.MTc5 YjFm

The position of the "Financial Agent" will require from you a half-day activity.
Your work will consist in transferring money among our clients.

Job scheme will comprise the following:Nm QxZD

1. You get a check by mail.ZTJ lZ

2. Than you cash itMjdj Zj

3. You transfer the money to our clientsOTg 4MDU

Your earning will be 8 % of the amount of each check.NzEy OTZ

Additionally we are going to effect you $ 1500 as your salary at the end of each month.OTUz Nm

Required skills to start this job:OW RiY

- Honesty, responsibility and promptness in operations;Ym MzNT

- Prior customer service experience is a good benefit;MTY0 Mzl

- Internet and e-mail skills; Experience in online work;NTM 3Zjk

- Good communications skillsZDI 0Mm

Njl iN

This job will allow you to:
Njli NjM

- Get additional free time; MG Fk

- Develop high selfrespect and esteem. MG Fk

- Get financial independence working only 3-5 hours per day; MGF kZ

General requirements:

- Prior customer service experience is a good benefit; Yj RjZ

- Willingness to take the responsibility to set up and achieve goals; YjR jZ

- Ability to create good administrative reporting; YmYz N2F

- Effective interaction with customers;Yz Zl

In addition we will be able to offer you $ 2500 as a monthly payment after completion of the trial period.Zm ViOW

In case you are interested in the position, please answer this message. We will get in touch with you within 2 working days.NDJi Nj

HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think you can trick The Shack, huh?

First of all, I don't have a resume on

Second of all, I have heard of these scams where you are supposed to deposit a check and then send the money somewhere else. The check ends up being fake and you are out the money plus whatever fines and fees your bank charges for depositing a fake check.

I find interesting the use of the word "scheme" in the original e-mail.

Too bad it isn't true. I could use the extra money.

So Sayeth The Shack


Health Insurance Sucks

Why even bother having health insurance? The comic strip above pretty much sums it up. First the emergency room doctors at our local hospital don't accept the health insurance that most local residents have. Now, according to today's paper, the anesthesiologists may stop accepting payments from Highmark because of a disagreement. My son broke his leg earlier this year. It was not covered. So we still owe the hospital, and the doctors, a large sum of money that we cannot pay all at once. Now more things may not be covered. I have a large sum deducted from my paycheck to pay health insurance premiums. What good does it do me? When something happens, I still end up having to pay large amounts of money to the hospital, the doctors and the pharmacists. And I still have to keep paying the premiums. As far as I'm concerned, the insurance that we have, Highmark (no choice where I work), is a big, worthless scam. I think I'd be better off without it.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, November 26, 2007

We Haven't Learned Yet

I should say they haven't learned yet. It certainly wasn't me out there lined up at 4AM Friday morning ready to whip out my credit card.

According to a news story I heard while listening to the Sunday morning polka show on WALN from Allentown (sorry I can't pick up Big Moose on WOWQ where I live) spending on the day after Thanksgiving (not calling it "Black Friday" cuz I don't want to "offend" anyone) was up 8 percent over last year.

I don't know about anyone else, but I cannot advocate any increase in spending given the uncertainty of our economic situation. With the price of energy going who knows how high and the price of everything else following along, frivolous spending is just out of the question as far as I'm concerned. Fortunately the Shack Kids are old enough to understand that this will be one very lean Christmas coming up for our family. Because I'm just not willing to go along with the rest of the crowd and get even deeper into debt given the economic situation of not only our family but of the entire nation.

So Sayeth The Shack


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rights Of Believers And Unbelievers

Christmas is fast approaching and many of the decorations are already up.

When I was a child I remember the Christmas tree in the town square with a manger scene underneath depicting the birth of Jesus. Nowadays such a display of religious belief, at least on public property, has been condemned, as have displays of the cross, the ten commandments and other religious items, by the non-christian minority in this country.

Excuse me, but isn't Jesus the whole reason behind Christmas and isn't the ten commandments what our whole system of laws based on? So it seems to me that there is nothing wrong with having a statue of Jesus as part of a Christmas display or having a display of the ten commandments at a courthouse. If it bothers someone, well they really don't have to look at it.

But here is what I really think about the whole situation. It really doesn't matter one way or the other. If you truly believe, it will not matter whether or not you see a cross or a statue of Jesus or a display of the ten commandments somewhere. Or a bible in your hotel room for that matter (yeah that's the latest more bibles in hotel rooms; guess you have to bring your own if you want one). Your faith is in your heart and it should not matter if you see any external symbols of it or not. Likewise if you do not believe, I don't think seeing a cross or a statue of Jesus or some other religious symbol will suddenly convert you. So the whole controversy is meaningless. If someone wants to display a manger or a cross, fine; I don't care. I mean, what about a statue of Budda, or maybe some pagan figure? They're all fine in my opinion, and it won't change what I believe or don't believe.

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't Send Me The Bill!

War costs could total $1.6 trillion by 2009, panel estimates

The headline from CNN speaks for itself. So I wonder how many people would support this war if, though taxation, they were the only ones who had to pay for it while those who were against the war did not have to help pay for it.

So Sayeth The Shack


Leno And Letterman Not So Great?

I find it odd that the late-night talk shows were the first to be sidelined by the writers strike. If these guys were really good comedians, seems like they could come up with their own material. Heck I could probably get up there and do it. (I'm a great comedian...just ask my kids...if they don't laugh at my dinner-table jokes I deduct money from their allowance).

As for the other shows, I am surprised that they don't have the whole season written ahead of time, so that everyone knows what will happen.

So Sayeth The Shack


The Forgotten Holiday

I love Christmas music and decorations, even if I am not a regular churchgoer. If they want to decorate and put the music on as soon as the Halloween candy has been handed out, that's fine with me.

The trouble is, there is something that is getting lost in the shuffle here, namely, Thanksgiving. With all the emphasis on Christmas already in the first and second week of November, Thanksgiving has been more or less plowed under. Guess I should sell my stock in Butterball.

So Sayeth The Shack


Things I Don't Get

OK I suppose I'm starting to get up in years, but there are some things and fads that I just don't get.....

BACKWARDS BASEBALL CAPS. The visor is supposed to be in the front to serve a purpose, but nearly everyone wears them backwards anymore. To me it makes them looks like hoodlums.

EARRINGS ON GUYS: Until I was about 20 or so, only girls wore earrings. Now most guys seem to wear them too. For what? To me it makes them look gay...even though I know that is not usually the case.

MOTORCYCLES: Why do they have to be so gosh-frickin' loud!? You can hear them coming (and going) for miles and they scare the frickin' crap out of me. And they usually travel in packs too which makes it even worse. There have been a few times that I have almost had a wreck because I was scared by the sound of a motorcycle. Why are they allowed to be so loud but if my car sounded like that I would get a citation or fail inspection?

FIREWORKS: (While we're on the subject of unneccesary noise..) What is the big deal with these? You've seen one you've seen them all and they just make a lot of useless racket. Used to be they were just on the it's New Year's, baseball games, football games....weddings maybe? And some people just set them off for no reason at all...just to make noise. (Maybe I'll have some set off at my funeral!). They are a big waste of money too as far as I'm concerned. Might as well just take some money out of your wallet and set it on fire.

CELL PHONE AND MUSIC PLAYERS: Seems like everyone you see out and about, either walking or driving, has a cell phone attached to their ear or or a headset on. Can't anyone stand the sound of silence anymore? I like music as much as anyone but, especially as a parent, I value the sound of silence when I can get it, which isn't very often. Besides I can't imagine what they all have to talk about or who they have to talk about it to. (Guess I'm just a loser who doesn't have any friends).

OUR OBSESSION WITH SPORTS AND CELEBRITIES: Our society holds professional athletes, musicians and actors/actresses in the highest regard...above our leaders, our teachers, engineers, medical professionals and religious leaders. We pay them more than anyone else. And then they get even more money to promote other products. An entire second industry is built up to closely track their every movement and mistake and to quickly inform the world of it. You know what? They can all jump off the end of the earth as far as I'm concerned. The world would be none the worse for it. In fact it would be better. All that money would be freed up to help solve some of our real problems like poverty and homelessness.

SPITTING: I am always seeing (mostly) guys spitting. This is especially true when watching a sporting event. What do they have in there to spit out? I don't spit....never really feel the urge to. There just isn't anything in there to spit out. Maybe I'm just weird or something.

ADULTS DRESSING UP FOR HALLOWEEN: When I was young, kids were kids and adults were adults. I never saw adults dress up in costumes for halloween and act like idiots. I think it's stupid. I think the whole thing is stupid, including the kids dressing up in costumes and collecting candy. And of course the vandalism that often occurs is uncalledfor also.

HOLLISTER: Except for being a town in California, I have no idea what this is. Yet I see people all the time wearing shirts or jackets that say "Hollister". Would someone please explain to me what and what the big deal is with Hollister?

"MARCH MADNESS"AND THE BRACKETS: I don't really care much for basketball and I really don't get the playoffs. It seems like every team is in the playoffs, so why even bother having the regular season? Plus everyone and their brother is running around with their brackets, trying to predict who the ultimate winner will be. Many people bet on them, and large amounts of work time is lost talking about the outcome of the latest round of games. I really don't care who is in the playoffs, or who wins. This goes for both the college and professional levels.

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Too Many Choices

Today was election day so after work I took a hike a few blocks up the street to the local polling place and "did my civic duty". It can be a daunting task to study the views and qualifications of each candidate in an attempt to to make an informed decision...beyond what little information is contained in their TV ads. Considering the relatively low percentage of Americans who vote these days, I wonder what fraction of that percentage actually takes the time to critically examine the candidates to make an informed decision.

Even beyond the political arena, our country has become one of many choices, very few of them any good.

Consider the following comparisons between when I was kid and now....

I grew up in a rather small town and now live in a medium-size city.

When I was a kid, you were either Catholic or some type of Protestant. (Or according to my Dad you were either a Catholic or were going to hell). There were no Jews, Mormons, Unitarians, Muslims, Wiccans and so on. For that matter there were no atheists either...that I know of. Now there are all kinds of churches, and their "salesmen" go door-to-door to pitch their respective religion.

There were 2 grocery stores in our town. My mother only ever shopped at one. To this day I have never been in the other one, nor do I think has my mother (83 and still going, God bless her!). There were no convenience stores either. Department stores?....had to go to "the city" There are nearly 10 supermarkets where I live now...or maybe more..think I quit counting.

There was one bank in town . Where I live now there is a bank at almost every intersection. (So many banks, but I've got no money to put in any of them!)

We got 3 TV stations....or fewer, depending on the weather. Now many of us get over 100 stations; but how often is there something on worth watching? There were equally few radio stations...but at least they played music you could listen to; not rap-crap or whatever else is on the airwaves.

There was one restaurant in town. Where I live now, there are almost as many restaurants as there are banks. Funny; they all seem to be full with waiting lines. Guess no one eats at home anymore. Which makes me wonder; who shops at all the supermarkets and what are they buying?

Most people lived in the same house and worked for the same employer from when they started working til they retired (then they still lived in the same house until they died). They also stayed with the same spouse from marriage til death. And no one "lived together". In the 27 years since I began my career I have lived in 6 different places within a 30-mile radius. Four of these were in the past 8 years. But at least during that time I have stayed with the same employer and for the past 19 years and 2 months I have been married to the same wife (we never "lived together" nickname "Shack" has nothing to do with the phrase "shacking up").

The whole time I lived there (18+ years) I only remember there being one mayor and one police chief. They were related to each other as well as to more that half the other people in town, including my mother's family. Maybe they are still there. Speaking of being related, one of my cousins married my 7-th grade teacher. Two of my great-aunts were teachers at the high school. Another cousin was the assistant high-school principal. In 4th-year Spanish class, there were 10 kids including myself, two cousins and my girlfriend (whose mother and my mother were best friends when they were in high school).

So things were easier back then, at least in terms of making choices. Are we better off with all the choices we have now? I'm not really so sure. Maybe if we took the time to carefully study things so that we can make an informed decision, like we should do before voting. But who has time for that? What do you think? Just pick whoever's TV ad you like better, or whoever's name you can remember the easiest and go with it! Maybe that's why this country is in so much trouble.

So Sayeth The Shack


Saturday, November 03, 2007

This One's A "Duh"!

So one of the headlines in today's newspaper said "Fewer Poor Students At Penn State". On another page was the headline "Room, Board Costs to Rise". Gee, ya think they're related? And I'll bet I can find a story in the same section about gas prices being over 3 dollars a gallon (along with the latest excuse from the oil companies).

It doesn't take too many brains...not even a college education figure out with the skyrocketing cost of college, poor people can't afford to go there. They can barely afford to go to work given the price of gas.

These are 2 of the factors that will bring about The Crash as described in my post from last week.

So Sayeth The Shack


Friday, November 02, 2007

Thoughts On Daylight Saving Time

First of all a couple of questions. On Saturday night at the end of D.S.T., do the bars get to stay open an extra hour since at 2 A.M. it become 1 A.M. again? Has there ever been anyone stupid enough to turn their clock back to 1 A.M., then an hour later turn it back again, and so on, getting stuck in an endless loop until D.S.T. rolled around again in the spring? (I'm thinking blonde joke material here).

Now to be a little more serious. I don't care what anyone says, I really don't see how daylight time saves any energy. The number of hours of daylight and darkness don't change. So the energy not being used in the evening is instead being used in the morning to light and heat our homes before we go to work and school. My theory is that it is more of a political and economic thing. People that own stores and restaurants want more daylight at the end of the day so that customers are more likely to go out to eat or shopping after work. It's a good theory; after all, who wants to get home from work at 5 or 6...with it already dark, and then go out shopping or out to dinner? Not me...because I can't see well enough in the dark to drive!

I don't even know for sure when daylight time starts or ends anymore...since they've messed with it, again! I've heard that it ends this weekend, so I'll go along with it. But when, someday, I show up at work an hour late or an hour early, it's probably because I've missed the start or end of daylight time!

So Sayeth The Shack