Thursday, July 31, 2008
WOW! I wish somebody would give me $20 million to retire! In fact, I'd be happy with a tenth of that....it should last me the rest of my life with no problem whatsoever, and I'd be living better than I do now.
So Sayeth The Shack
Monday, July 21, 2008
A.M. BRIEFING: Monday
Burglar leaves dog feces after break-in
State police at Rockview are investigating a burglary earlier this month in which someone went into a Snow Shoe home, stole some electronics and left dog feces inside the refrigerator.
Police said the incident happened sometime between 9 a.m. July 11 and 11 p.m. Saturday.
Someone got into Jenifer Jo Bickel’s home, 210 W. Olive St., through an unlocked porch and then through a window, police said. The person took video games, DVDs and CDs, valued more than $1,000, then left dog feces in the refrigerator, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 355-7545.
So Sayeth The Shack
According to an article in yesterday's paper, however, this talk has been mostly silenced, and replaced by the idea of raising fuel taxes. This new idea is being "quietly" discussed in congress (sounds a little like pay increase that Pennsylvania lawmakers voted themselves in the not so distant past) especially among those who have constituents who would profit from additional road construction.
At this time I feel that both of the above are bad ideas. Lowering or temporarily eliminating the tax would be bad because the money is need for road repair. And oil companies would probably just raise the prices back to where they were before the tax reduction anyway. Raising the tax is an even worse idea given the current economic situation. The consumer, the very engine that is supposed to be driving this economy, is already being suffocated by massive increases in the cost of necessities such as food and fuel. The higher tax would further increase the cost of fuel, which would, in turn, cause even higher prices for everything else. This would just strengthen the economic choke hold on the consumer and would ultimately not benefit anyone. So the best thing to do right now is to not change fuel taxes at all.
So Sayeth The Shack
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The first concerns the idea of re-instituting a national speed limit of 55 mph to help save gas. This will be a massive waste of time and money. Virtually no one obeyed that speed limit the last time around and a large percentage of drivers don't even obey the current speed limits. I was on I-80 just last month and while my cruise was set at 86 (the speed limit) I was still passed by the majority of other cars. (For some reason the fastest drivers always seem to be from New Jersey or Michigan). If people want to slow down a little to save gas, that's fine, and the increasing price of gas might motivate more and more of them to do so, but I really don't think the goverment needs to spend all that time and effort necessary to re-institute a national speed limit of 55 mph.
The second concerns tolling I-80. Reading the article, I was almost tempted to change my mind on this issue. It spelled out how the money would be spent for new interchanges and other upgrades. The idea is invest the money now for later benefits. However I think that at the very least, this is a bad time. Drivers are already burdened with steeply higher gas prices and while some people can cut back on trips, the commercial drivers cannot. The cost of the new tolls will, like the higher cost of fuel, will be passed on to...guess who? you and me, the consumer. It will be reflected in the cost of the goods shipped along that interstate which, in this area, is just about everything. This at time when inflation, driven by steep rises in the cost of fuel and food, is at a pace we have not seen in a long while. Perhaps in the future when the economy has stabilized a bit, but right now is a bad time. Plus, how much is it going cost to construct and man the toll booths anyway? And where will these toll booths be? Many interchanges have rather short and steep on and off ramps so there is really no safe place without major alterations. I cannot fathom putting them between interchanges, making all the traffic stop to pay. This is extremely unsafe. Look what happens now when traffic is stopped or slowed down unexpectedly....it usually gets rear-ended by someone not paying attention. And one more thing...some percentage of drivers will simply take the "back" roads to avoid the tolls, putting more traffic on what are often narrow 2-lane winding, hilly roads that pass through small towns...creating more unsafe situations. So even though the money may be needed, I am still against the idea of tolls on I-80.
So Sayeth The Shack
I think that very nicely sums up some of the things that I have been trying to say in posts concerning the economic excess of some at the expense of the unmet needs of others. If everyone in this world would simply take only what they needed. I believe that there would enough to cover the needs of everyone and that no one would be homeless or starving.
There are those who say that people who live a lavish and extravagant lifestyle have perhaps worked hard and earned the money and the right to spend it any way they want. That is true, but does anyone really need massive homes on huge plots of land, a fleet of lavish, gas-sucking vehicles, designer clothes, jewelery, etc.? It would be better that these people would donate of their excess and live humbly and simply so that others' basic needs might met.
So Sayeth The Shack
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
And I thought I had no life!!
Man tries to break new world record on stadium sitting
|Updated: 3 hrs ago|
Getting a seat in the Rose Bowl could be a difficult task but one man in Pasadena is taking all 92,542 of them. So when I tell you there's a guy a world record stunt on stadium seat sitting you might ask yourself several questions.
World record holder Jim Mouth says "Why? Because it was here. Because this is the granddaddy of stadiums in the world and the home of the Rose Bowl."
Jim Mouth says "I challenge myself. It's kinda like fasting but I fast as far as sleeping and relaxing. And I said I'm going to raise money for a good cause, I'm going to challenge myself; I'm going to do something I've never done before. That's sit in every seat in the Rose Bowl. No one's ever done it. And it took me 20 years to get the permission. And I'm jumping on it."
You might also think "what's so hard about about that?"
Well to answer that you've got to give it a try.
92,542 times under the Pasadena sun in July.
Jim Mouth says "your knees will go out because you're spinning on your knees. And you quads, right here on the top of your thighs. Are you feeling soar?"
So now you may just be wondering about this guy.
What kind of person does things like this?
Or one of his many other Ripley's Believe It Or Not accomplishments.
Like shoving the most cigarettes, cigars, french fries, hot dogs, straws or pizza slices into his mouth.
Jim Mouth says "and the 25 mile crawl where I crawled 25 miles on my hands and knees. And that was by far the most devastating on my body. This is number four. Number four as far as brutal. I jumped a parking meter 5,000 times. Past out twice."
You almost have to be a comedian to do this.
And Jim Mouth is a comic musician. When he's not sitting around, and around, and around.
Jim Mouth says "now you're slowing me up. I'd already be on the next row by now. You know that suit ain't going to be worth much after this."(Copyright 2008 by NBC. All Rights Reserved.)
So Sayeth The Shack
Monday, July 07, 2008
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- One day while driving with her father, Hannah Salwen noticed a Mercedes stopped next to a homeless man sitting on the curb.
The Salwen family of Atlanta, Georgia, has decided to sell this house and give half the proceeds to charity.
And so began the tale of what the Salwen family calls "Hannah's Lunchbox." Watch why family wants to give away $800K »
It started as family discussions about what they needed versus what was enough. Hannah's father Kevin, an entrepreneur, is on the board of the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and is no stranger to community work, but he said this family conversation was life-changing.
"We stopped and paused and thought about what are the things in the world that could really make a difference, a little bit of difference in the world," he said.
They talked about selling their cars or other things, but it was Hannah's mother, Joan, who came up with selling their 6,500-square-foot house, donating half the proceeds and then moving into a house half the size.
For nine years, the family lived in a historic 1912 mansion near downtown Atlanta. It boasts five bedrooms, eight fireplaces, a kitchen that would make any cook jealous and even an elevator. See the new and old houses, side by side »
When Hannah would bring friends over, she said, often their jaws would drop and they'd gasp, "Wow, you live here?"
Like most teens, Hannah loves to shop, and she jammed every space of her massive walk-in closet full of clothes. But she also knows many people are less fortunate; she volunteers at a local community food bank and other relief agencies.
Joan Salwen, a teacher, said the mansion was her dream home.
"It was a challenge," she said of giving up that house. "It was a test, almost, to see: How committed are we? I mean, how serious are these kids about what we should do? And they all nodded and there we were."
So the Salwens put the house up for sale in May 2007 and started figuring out what they would do with half the proceeds, which would amount to more than $800,000.
They spent six months researching charity organizations before deciding on the Hunger Project, an organization dedicated to helping end world hunger through people helping themselves.
Hunger Project Vice President John Coonrod said the family met with organizers in New York and notified them months later that the charity was the winner.
When the Salwen house sells, the money will be channeled through the Atlanta Community Foundation over a six-year period and end up in Ghana, Coonrod said.
"This will underwrite a process in more than 30 villages to enable people to meet all of their basic needs on a sustainable basis," he said. "They will be able to grow enough food, to build clinics and schools, and the villagers will be doing the lion's share of the work."
Coonrod said he'd never heard of a family donating in this way.
"Hannah's awakening to social injustice, and her family's ability to make a difference in that issue will make a profound difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people," he said, estimating the money could affect more than 20,000 people in Ghana.
Hannah's 13-year-old brother, Joseph, was so impressed with his big sister's ideas that he made a three-minute video of the family's project. Watch Joseph's video
The video won the grand prize in the 2008 "My Home: The American Dream" contest, sponsored by Coldwell Banker and Scholastic Publishing.
In the video, Joseph tells viewers, "We're showing you can redefine the American dream."
But the Salwens' house has sat on the market for more than a year. It's a tough time to sell any house, let alone one with an asking price of nearly $1.8 million.
Real estate agent Sally George said she's shown the house 40 or 50 times, and there have been nibbles but no buyers. See the house's real estate listing
Many people are interested in the house's rich history but often don't know anything about the philanthropic aspects of the family's project.
"I've never handled a house selling for this reason," George said. "I didn't learn about what the family was doing until early this year."
Hannah and Joseph said most of their friends at school don't know about it.
"We didn't do it for the fame or the glory," said Joan Salwen. "This was something Hannah sort of yanked us into."
Even though it was Joan Salwen's idea to sell the house, it has been tough for her to give it up. "I have to admit," she said, "I loved living in this house. Does that make me an evil person? I hope not because it's a beautiful place."
The family recently moved to a house less than half the size of their mansion four blocks away. While Hannah's friends called her old home the "wow house," this one is more ordinary and that's fine with her.
Lately the family has spent a lot of time around the kitchen table talking about an upcoming two-week trip to Ghana. The Salwens will spend six or seven hours a day visiting the villages where their money will be put to work.
Kevin Salwen said the new house is great, it's just smaller.
"We as Americans have so much," said Salwen, a former Wall Street Journal writer. "We love the concept of half. We are going from a house that's 6,000 square feet to a house that's half the size, and we're giving away half the money."And we do think everyone can do something if they think through half."
So Sayeth The Shack