*Home | Products | TASC | Linux | Order | Order Status | Dealer/Affiliates | Links | Login
Tue, Mar 28th, 2017
Notice: We are currently out of stock on all models except the EliteMax and EliteXRay. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Main
Home
Products
Services
Software Community
FREE DOS Software
Invest
Linux
Politics for Patriots
Order
Order Status
Dealer/Affiliates
Online ETexts
Links
Login
Forums
DOS Software (4 msgs)
eternaLight (272 msgs)
eternaLight Q&A (134 msgs)
Gauss Gun, physics, science (23 msgs)
LINUX, love and life. (3 msgs)
Nevada Politics (6 msgs)
World Politics (20 msgs)
Forum Rules and Policy

Contact Info:

EternaLights, LLC
Sales and Repair
1711 Maple Road
Defiance, IA 51527
(712) 627-4603
Mon-Fri: 9am-4pm Central

EMAIL US



Technology Associates Inc.(remembered)
The EternaLight assets of Technology Associates, Inc.
have been transfered to EternaLights, LLC. All orders and services issues will be handled by them.

History:
In 1992, Thomas Hoops and Derone Bryson founded Technology Associates. In 1994, their partnership incorporated under the name of Technology Associates, Inc. Between 1993 and 2000, Technology Associates successfully operated a small chain of computer stores in the Reno/Sparks area which sold and serviced computers.
Technology Associates was also one of the founding investors in Great Basin Internet Services (GBIS), Northern Nevada's Largest Independent internet service provider. In 1998, TA divested itself of GBIS. In 2000, TA divested itself of it's retail stores to pursue manufacturing of the EternaLight flashlight and other related and unrelated products developed by Thomas Hoops and Derone Bryson. In 2007, the organization formerly known as Technology Associates, Inc., founded by Thomas Hoops and Derone Bryson in 1992 ceased to exist.

This site is still a functioning sales platform for the EternaLight products manufactured and sold by EternaLights, LLC. However, the remainder of the site remains as it was in it's finality before the closing of Technology Associates, Inc.

Today Mr. Bryson is privately employed as a Software Engineer. Mr. Hoops is privately employed in a manufacturing company as it's CTO. After working together since 1990, through their various projects and partnerships, Mr. Hoops and Mr. Bryson are still best friends and continue to explore new opportunities together.

EMAIL FOUNDER


BACK
"Column the way I see 'em"
by Thomas Hoops


Yes, you've entered the realm of MY THOUGHTS, where, anything goes (and most things do these days) when it comes to what's happening. I must warn you, I'm not a sissy, liberal or prude. I'm a practical libertarian.


Feel free to send me comments [Click here].

Rant Titles and Topics:


Click here for my 4th quarter 1999 rants.

A plug for bloggers: Promote your blog for free.

Rant Articles:

  • Am I Psychic?
    RE:Where all my worries and past writings have pointed. - 11/01/07
    I'm no psychic but it amazes me when I look back at all the rants I've done in the past. All the fears I've had and how many of those fears have either come true or are just a few legislative sessions away from becomming true.

    Particularly, my rant right after 911. WOW. What a damn shame. Oh how I wish I was wrong about that one. In just 5 short years, the fear mongering which resulted from 911 has nearly destroyed not only our constitution but the memory of it! It makes me want to vomit.

    Now alot of idiots will say "well, if you don't like it here why don't you leave?" To them I say because I was here when I did like it here and I still do. And I want to like it here in the future. So, that's like saying if the house is burning down then get out. Of course I'll get out when all hope is lost. But I'd rather stop the fire before it consumes the house!

    I've let too much time separate my rantings. And, I've jumped into the blogosphere in two new columns if you want check me out:
    My electric vehicle rant column.
    My new political rant column.
    Hope to see you there!

  • And you thought I didn't notice the war?
    RE:Iraq - 12/24/05
    Why haven't I said anything until now? Unlike so many other people who have such strong opinions about the war, I guess I don't. Am I glad we got Sadam out of there? Yes. Should we leave? No - we made the mess - let's clean it up this time. Did we do the right thing? We may never know. You see, the reason I haven't ranted much lately, besides my busy schedule this last half of the year, is that I'm in a quandary. After watching the right constantly give the left "wedgies" and then the left respond with mud farts pointed at the right, I've come to the conclusion that sensible dialog is impossible.

    Our government is like a smaller version of the middle east itself. There are groups of people that utterly hate each other. There is power and money interests fighting for positions of control, always. And NO ONE can agree on the facts so it's like a never ending religious debate! Thus, with our government behaving like the very region it's been trying to control, I guess it's like the blind leading the blind. The fact is, we Americans don't have all the facts. We hear one appalling story and jump on the bandwagon of support against the antagonists. Rarely do we take the time to consider the other side.

    Maybe we were all better off living our lives out in the media "Matrix" of the past when government had tighter control of a more consolidated media. The internet and talk radio has freed our minds from the rail road track the mainstream media kept us on for so long. But the all these new sources of information simply present too much conflicting views for us to analyze in our busy lives. Oh, if I were only simpleton enough to just listen to one side.... my opinions would be so much easier to form! Then once again, like when I was 14, I would have all the answers.

  • Give members of congress 1 Billion dollars!
    RE:New legislation et. al. - 05/18/05
    It's a crazy idea but...

    Maybe if we can get a bill introduced that simply "grants" members of congress a total sum of $1 Billion dollars, our lives would get better! Who among them would stop that? Afterall, we all know that most members of government get MUCH more money than the job itself actually pays. This excess comes in form of kick-backs, "friendly gestures", adoptive nepotisim or some other covert means of remuneration to our elected officials from special interests. The insertion of a bill like this WITHOUT specific points as to how the money is divided among them may cause them to fight amongst themselves for the whole session, blocking them from releasing more life complicating, time consuming, wealth stealing and freedom disposing legislation upon us!

  • Terrorist behead millions of Americans!
    RE:The new Department of Homeland Fascism - 05/11/05
    I've seen it a few times now on the internet. It is utterly barbaric and tears at my very soul. The media cloaks it and makes it sound surgical and clean, a "be-heading". Imagining the clean swipe of a Samari sword or a guillotine. But no, it's vulgar, hateful, inhuman and grossly disturbing. They use a hunting knife and saw the poor soul's head off in a torturous, screaming and gurgling procedure that seems to take hours for the victim! Then they hold the torn dripping head high like a victorious tribal warrior. We cower and think they can't get their hands on enough Americans to satisfy their thirst. The fact is, they already have.

    You see, their goal is to destroy America, not necessarily Americans. And, they have devised and delivered the instrument of the doom of America right in the very hands capable of wielding it stealthly and effectively, the US government.

    You say, "but our government is made of US citizens, how could they ever want to destroy mother America?" Well, not exactly, the US government is made of American puppets. The puppet masters? Well, they're not Americans. They are the people who control large, multi-national corporations. They are the benefactors of the windfall of profits taken from the American taxpayer every time their lobbyists "score" a new bill or appropriation in the puppet's theater. Try to find a bill that has been passed in the last ten years which, in net consideration, has actually saved the American taxpayer money. So how do they get away with sucking the money out of our pockets and the freedom out of our lives so rapidly now? It's simple, they use the oldest trick in the book: FEAR!

    Fear that terrorists are everywhere and they are coming to get you and and your family and tear you right out of the very airplane you're flying on! Fear that you're incapable of educating your children properly. Fear that the firearms you use to protect yourself are being used more against you. Fear that without the DEA and ATF, all of America would be doped up gun wielding maniacs set on destroying everything in their path. Fear that pedophiles are everywhere, thirsting for the innocence of your children. Fear, Fear, Fear! And, it works! It works really well! With the power and versatility of today's media, the puppet masters can create fear compaigns of equal proportions to the Salem witch trials in a mere matter of minutes! My GAWD, do you remember the Bush administration's proposal of a national "nark on your neighbor" program a few years ago?

    The puppets say, "don't worry, if we just pass these laws, you'll be safe. And even if we pass laws that don't work, we just simply need to pass even more of the same laws -that'll fix it!" More laws equals more enforcement. More enforcement means more criminals. More criminals means more fuel for fear! And, most importantly, more laws means more money for enforcement and more money for incarceration and more power to the government to effect both.

    Here is an interesting definition (source www.wikipedia.org):
    * exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual
    * uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition
    * engages in severe economic and social regimentation
    * engages in corporatism
    * implements totalitarianism
    What is the word? It's "fascism". Interesting isn't it. Sad actually. How many American lives were spent in the past to fight the very thing that American lives are now being used to construct over the American people.

    Enter, the Department of Homeland Security. With it's incredible foresight to remove toe nail clippers and lighters from traveler's of the American skies. So far, it has saved us from exploding sneakers and a litany of speculative outcomes. THANK GOD! Preemptive speculation, what a great way to assign authority and gather funds! Implementing a color scale of fear it can play like a violin. Costing billions of dollars to do all of this AND, chewing away at our constitution faster than termites!

    So now, you might ask, "how is this enabling terrorist to behead more Americans?" Well, terrorist have found it much easier to whack our heads off while they're implanted firmly in the sand than to try to capture us one by one. The Department of Homeland Facism and the Terrorist. Reminds me of a Chinese Proverb, "The Chicken is way that eggs produce more eggs."

  • The Great Walmart of China - Part 2.
    RE:Walmart's effect on outsourcing. - 03/25/05
    Owning a company which attempts to manufacture consumer electronics, here in the USA, sometimes gives me an in-depth view of things which average consumers are oblivious too. Walmart - oooh what a view. Not only have I had the pleasure of shopping at Walmart and trying to sort the Chinese crap from the crappier Chinese crap. I've had the pleasure of watching them bulldoze a nice neighborhood which didn't want them while they continue to operate another monster store just 2 miles down the street. And, I've had the pleasure of trying to get a domestically produced product into the market, with Walmart in the way at every turn.

    In my mind, Walmart became the great American success story before it went public. When it went public, it began to decline. Since the the death of Sam Walton, it has become a cancer to this country. This is consistent with most successful company paths. Before a company goes public, it has an identity, a personalty and ethics - those of the founders. Once public, the identity simply becomes a marketing asset. The personalty becomes stoic and the ethics disintegrate. Shareholders don't buy stock to support an identity, personalty or ethics. Although that may offer some comfort, they buy the stocks to make money. The way most expect to make money is by selling the stock later, in hopes that it will grow in value.

    The stock holders elect management they feel will do the best job at growing the value of the company. The management is given incentives based on this and thus begins the reshaping of the company to be a cold, capitalistic machine. The management usually has no allegiance to the company, once they've gotten what they intended to get, they can simply move onto the next job, retire or go to prison.

    Walmart has accomplished a near monopolistic position in a very broad category - retailing. It's scary to think that so much power and market control is now in the hands of a machine with no heart that is only intent on its own well being and growth - hmmmm sounds familiar...kinda like our federal government. As are many others, Walmart is a multi-national corporation. It has no need to offer any sort of benefit or show patriotism to this country - other than to influence this market. Much of the money it now makes will never make it to American pockets. This is all typical of large, public, multi-national companies.

    But, it gets worse. Walmart, and the competition it has inspired, has destroyed the small retailer. There was a time when a man, in this country, could invent a product, manufacture a few hundred, put them in his trunk and drive around selling them to small stores that dotted roadways, building his distribution network. The small stores had the choice to purchase products for its locality and from its locality. But, the big box stores have crushed almost all such small retailers. So, gone are the opportunities to sell to localities. Gone are these product choices for the consumer. And, gone is the opportunity to stair step growth for such products. Now, you have to deal with the big box boys, the leader being Walmart. If you don't have enough money to finance 300,000 units, just for a sample order, it's hard to even seriously consider producing a product. And, if you can't produce the product with the skim margins that Walmart & Ilk expect, right out of the gate, you're likely to not get orders, go out of business or be knocked off. If you can do all of this, you're still likely to encounter vendor protection or favoritism which makes getting a sale through very difficult.

    Finally, in order to accomplish what these stores demand in pricing and production, your sole solution for manufacturing is usually China. Thus, Walmart and it's siblings have inadvertently forced product makers to produce overseas. Thus, the infrastructure and job opportunities which a successful domestic product may have provided are sent overseas.

    One solution to this problem is fairly simple. Allow individual stores to buy some product locally instead of forcing everything through the vicious teeth of the corporate purchasing system. Of course, this puts a hole in the whole corporate inventory and pricing control system these behemoths have proudly developed. Don't expect this to be in any management policy books or any legislation anytime soon. Unfortunatley, these are no longer places where solutions are found or imlemented.

    I originally titled this article "The Great Walmart of China". After I posted it, I searched the web for similar article titles. This one appeared which echoed many of my sentiments exactly and provided an even more in-depth analysis. Nice job by Eric Martin. I highly recommend it. Subsequently, I retitled my article "The Great Wal-Mart of China - Part 2".

  • The Fed publishes report - conclusion, Duh.
    RE:Fed report about budget deficit vs. trade deficit. - 02/02/05
    The Federal Reserves recently produced a report which concludes that changing the budget deficit does little to affect the trade deficit - DUH! Why is the trade deficit getting wider? It's because almost all our industrial production has left our country! I didn't need to fund a study to figure that out. However, it may actually make sense to think that if we cut the federal budget that it may reduce the trade deficit - if you assumed that federal spending was being used to purchase foreign goods - which it is - but that's only a small portion of it. The number one expense of almost any business as well as our government is the cost of labor. Now, if we outsourced government jobs to China, then.... hehe. Why didn't I think of this before? Well the blindness to this problem continues. US autoparts maker Tower Automotive Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection. It cites a tremendous slow down in orders from U.S. auto makers as a result of U.S. auto sales being sluggish as well as late payments from customers. Assuming Tower is able to recover, it then notes future troubles with low cost competition from distant places like... China.

    Again, as I've said before, China is not the problem, we are. But, China and it's like is and will be our problem. The pile of evidence is overwhelming yet this issue gets so little interest from policy makers.

    Outsourcing government jobs to China should solve this whole problem. Can you just imagine? The language barrier is bad enough but the utter confusion of another culture trying to decode and understand the behemoth of ridiculous laws and regulations we have would bring their whole economy down like throwing a hammer into a clock!

  • China STEELS more!
    RE:China's use of steel grows. - 01/26/05
    The world shortage of steel is projected to continue and worsen in 2005 and not because the USA is taking it all. Nope, China is expected to consume 23% more steel this year than it did last year! And, last year the price of steel rose sharply because of this growing juggernaut's appetite for steel (see my 04/19/04 entry). The second largest producer of steel in the world is in China. Yet, China must still import steel. Wouldn't that be a great problem if it was a USA problem? They're saying we can expect the price of steel to increase another 50% this year!

    A few years ago, steel buildings began appearing like pimples on an adolescent because lumber prices had risen so sharply that steel was, well, a steal. Now, I guess lumber will reign again. But, not because it's cheaper, but because it's cheaper than steel. Expect this to drive an increase in composite wood and composite plastic construction material alternatives. Recycled milk cartons may soon be holding up the roof over your head! Frankly, I still prefer steel. But, what's an ostrich with its head in the sand to do? That must be one hell-of-a lunch our leaders are on.

  • Big boom for China in 2004
    RE:China's growth in 2004. - 01/25/05
    Today, the Wall Street Journal noted that China's economy grew by 9.5% in 2004. Good for them. It shows some hope that the prestigious WSJ is publishing this. If you didn't already know this, China's economy has been growing at a rate within a percentage or two of that for the last TEN years! I'm not the kind of guy who gets ahead by pulling down the shorts of guy who's in front of me. It's time to get in the race America! Keep reading - get mad!

  • Warren Buffet agrees, we're screwed.
    RE:US trade policies with China and others. - 01/22/05
    A few days ago, I saw an interview with Warren Buffet where he stated "I think, unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down," - thank you Warren and... duh. Furthermore, he states, "we are force-feeding dollars on to the rest of world at the rate of close to a couple billion dollars a day, and that's going to weigh on the dollar." Now, I'm not knocking Warren Buffet, I highly respect the man. I just know that I've been warning people for years now that the number one export of America is cash - see my rant 1/10/05 for more on this topic. Maybe now that someone with some clout has made it plain and clear, someone with some power to do something about it will. Buffet also said that he is looking at significant investments in other countries now. This is something he's only began doing recently.

    In BusinessWeek magazine in December of 2004, it proclaimed one of the best investment strategies for the US investor in 2005 was "BRIC's" Simple to remember. But what does it stand for? It stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Notice the "A" missing? It's pretty simple folks, if America isn't the best place for Americans to invest anymore, where's the money going to go? Now ask yourself "why isn't America the best place to invest anymore?" Then read my answer here.

    Even if you think we're a financial island and so "what if the dollar falls flat on its face outside of the US, I've still got my house, my car and I live here, not there - so what". So what? Because we've pushed all of our industrial businesses out of the country, we now have to buy everything from other countries. That $1.00 screwdriver at Harbor Freight that is 3/4 as good as a new $20.00 Snap-On screwdriver and only 1/3 as good as an old Snap-On screwdriver will cost $20.00 also. Imagine DEATH OF THE DOLLAR STORES! They'll all become $100 dollar stores! Shopping at WalMart will cost as much as shopping at Saks 5th Avenue would today.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure even Mr. Buffet will have an effect. I'm not a genius. Certainly the people in Washington have known it was coming to this, possibly for decades. Which means one of two things: they've already sold out or they don't care. Nothing will change until we care. Help me out. Link to this website and others - pass the word around, talk to your friends, it's going to take a grass roots push to get some change here. Hopefully we can do it while there's still some grass roots left.

  • I guess it doesn't really matter anyway.
    RE: The outsourcing of America. - 01/10/05
    I think by now, the situation with China and India, not to mention Brazil and Russia, is coming in to view for those who are near sited. As I originally stated, in my paper "The China Eclipse", the problem is us, not them. The weight of our bureaucracy, the laziness our opulence has bred, our ludicrous legal system and our whimsical moral priorities are all our own creations which have lead us to the position we will take in the world to come - second position. Now add "homeland security" to the stew (see my "Eulogy to Freedom" 09/15/01) and... YUCK! My original proposals and observations in my earlier paper, "The China Eclipse", I feel are still accurate. But lately I've heard from so many people a level of disgust, distrust and abandonment of the faith in our government and a subsequent resignation of their patriotism to our country. Last year these were jokes. This year, these were said to me with dead serious faces:
    “I think I’m going to move to Brazil in about another year, I’ve had it with all this bullshit”.
    “About a year from now, I’m going to close all my bank accounts, max out my credit cards and move to the Phillipines, this isn’t the America I fought to protect when I was young”.
    “Northern Canada looks pretty good. If I’m going to live in a socialist country, I might as well have free health care.”

    In the grand scheme of globalization, I suppose this is inevitable. It is an ugly detail of this transformation. A resignation of patriotism by all citizens of this planet to their land of life and a reluctant acceptance of the rules to the space they happen to occupy currently seems to be the trend. Similar, I suppose, to the amount of patriotism Americans hold for their individual states. When employment is everywhere, transportation can take you from one side of the world to the other in just a day or so, global communication is virtually free and currencies freely exchange; what is the purpose and value of allegiance to one domain for the ordinary citizen? After all, this is the mentality that those with significant wealth have had for a century or more.

    Wealthy people are often multinational and so are large companies. Multinational companies and individuals have no reason to pledge their allegiance to anything but their own well being. And so, while those of us with more limited means are forced to watch the waters from our once abundant land be siphoned to other lands, multinationals simply follow the siphoning, or specify it, as they see fit. The problems we have created for ourselves in this country have made it advantageous for multinationals to move their resources to other lands. Additionally, successful individuals or companies are becoming multinational in order to move resources. As multinationals continue to buy influence from those in control who peddle it in our country and others, we can be assured that little will be equitable when taking a compartmentalized view of our country.

    My wife is from Indonesia. She had little there but she did have one thing most Americans do not have the luxury of today - a simple life. At least in countries with rampant corruption one advantage is apparent; life is still simple. If you have money, it's much less complicated trying to figure out who has to be paid to leave you alone and let you live the way you want in these other countries. In America, you still need to do the same thing, but the game is ridiculously complicated.

    I chided the people in control for not taking action against the outsourcing of America, long ago. And, as you maybe aware from my paper "The China Eclipse", I originally thought it was a significant issue of national security, let alone economic impact. But now I think I may simply have wasted my time in all my worry and complaining. National Security has really become all about securing our ability to consume. With that motive, the whole world is on our side. So, no need to worry that our industrial base has moved to China. We can just order our tanks from China. And, our consumers need only be smart enough to shop. So no need to worry that our knowledge base has moved to India. While we currently are trading $50K/year jobs for four $15K/year jobs, no need to worry there either. When the dollar crumbles, Walmart will be paying Greeters $40K/year. So I guess higher paying jobs will come back. And, when a Chinese screwdriver then costs $15 U.S., it will finally be economical for companies in the USA to start up again making screwdrivers.

    Of course, my last paragraph was just my sarcasm showing do to my frustration over this whole thing.

  • Hey kid, get back in line with the murderers and rapists!
    RE: Copyright laws. - 04/23/04
    Reading about the DOJ's sweep of school district's computer labs for pirated software, games and music got me thinking about something very disturbing today.

    I believe I heard that the US incarcerates more people than any other country. If that wasn't already bad enough enough itself, here's the disturbing part: If I spend years developing a product, and someone steals or copies my idea, with or without a patent, they have committed no criminal act. At my own expense, I may be able to sue and win a civil damage with a patent, but they will never serve time in prison. Or, I could spend years developing software and someone could copy the concepts in months. Again, no criminal act. But, if I place a copyright notice, and the entire software is copied without my permission, the people who copy it, no matter how innocent, are now considered criminals and they could face time in prison. The difference between whether that person is a criminal or not comes down to whether there is this little notice or not.

    With computers, copying material which is copyrighted, without permission, is such an easy and innocent act that children do it in epidemic proportions. The copyright law doesn't just expose these children and their parents to punitive fines, it makes them actual criminals! And yet, a man's lifes work can be stolen or copied with sometimes no repercussions whatsoever because it didn't fall under the category of work protected by the US copyright act, backed up by investigation and criminal prosecution, paid for by the taxpayer. It was maybe an engine part, a circuit, an algorithm, a new chemical, or other invention. Yet because it wasn't a song, book or software, he's left to protect himself.

    The flip side is that the only thing that makes a criminal out of an otherwise normal child or shrewd business person is that copyright notice. We're not talking rape, arson, assault or burglary. We're talking about a few wrong "clicks".

    If people want to make money at singing songs, writing books or producing movies, let them. And if they choose to use a medium or technology that lends itself easily to unauthorized proliferation, TOUGH! If they dont' like it, let them find another career or another way! It's their business, let them solve the problems and protect themselves or bare the loss. But don't let them put my kid in jail and use my money doing it just to protect their financial opportunities!

    Drive-in movie theaters use to have the same problem. Kids would sneak in or watch the movies from trees. They didn't make criminals out of them for it! Instead they put up walls or hired security, at their own expense.

    I've noticed that LAWS are rarely ever the right solution to a problem anymore. Yet time and time again and even more lately, that is the only solution we choose to use. We lose.

  • Steeling our future!
    RE: China's world consumption of steel. - 04/19/04
    For those of you who have followed my rantings in this column, you know that I've written a lot about the dangers of China and India in the last few years. Well, you've no doubt heard the latest about the prices of steel going up 60% just from the beginning of this year because China is consuming so much of it. The worst part of that news is, I'm not even sure if there are any US steel companies left operating in the US! Maybe one or two? So, even if we wanted to legislate some sort of control, we've already given that opportunity away years ago and we are now forced to buy steel in the world market as well as everyone else. Well, the good news is that maybe the value of your homes will increase just in raw materials alone!

    There is a veil covering the cancer that is in our system. We think that because our economy is still strong that we have no problems now or on the horizon. Ignoring the competition from countries with third world costs but access to first world technology will leave us with the rabbits losing position in the classic race against the tortis.

    I beg every American to take an interest in this dilemma and speak to your representatives in government whenever possible about this. The time to do something was 20 years ago. So, when are we going to act?

  • A good use for illegal aliens!
    RE: The plan to legalize 20 million illegal aliens. - 04/09/04
    As I was driving home the other night, I was pondering the whole illegal alien amnesty scandal. While most of us are worrying that, in the flick of a pen, 20 million illegal aliens will easily become US citizens and be on welfare rolls; some of us are trying to understand the reasoning behind this apparent political suicide plan.

    Some believe that the motivation is that it will bind a vote from the whole group to the party that purveys this plan. Others think it's to fill domestic positions which would otherwise go vacant because Americans are too lazy and self serving to work at menial tasks. Other's believe it's to help Mexico merge with the USA. The politicians say it's so we can keep track of them - after all, we don't want Little Bin Ladens running around who don't have their fake addresses on their fraudulent driver's licenses. And, most of all, we can't have them not paying for insurance and TAXES. Hmmmm... taxes. Then I thought... Social Security is screwed because politicians have used this savings fund as a slush fund. This has worked so far because of the expansion in the population - for the last 50 years, particularly from the Baby Boom. But, that's long over and baby boomers are starting to draw from the fund. And, relative to the baby boom expansion in payer's in is now contracting and withdraws are increasing. However will the criminal politicians who have sand bagged this program fix this embarrassing mess? Hey, DING... viola! 20 million new tax payers and many more on the way! And we think they're stupid - silly us.

  • When legislators attack!
    RE: Greenspan's recent statement and decency bill the house passed. - 03/11/04
    Maybe I've waited to long to let out a good rant. But oooh, this is getting worse than the after effects of a bean, garlic and bologna sandwich.

    First, let me address congress's response to Nipple Gate. As usual, the law makers look at any opportunity they can to expand the power and size of government. If you read my past rants through the years, they're probably riddled with like events and the subsequent result is always the same. Less for Joe American, more for Uncle Sam (has recently filed for a permanent name change to "Big Brother"). For some American's Janet Jackson's jewely single nipple fall during the great American football orgasm was worse than the twin tower fall of september 11.

    To the ignorant Americans who think that what congress has done was good for a change, let me illustrate the slippery slope we're now on. The FCC's charter is to control the use and content of the "Airwaves". If it was sent out over radio waves more than 50 feet, the FCC had complete control over what was allowed to be sent. So, when cable only broadcasters set up shop, they flew in under the wire because of the fact that they didn't transmit over the usual airwave medium and therefore were not as restricted. This is why XXX channels and R rated content can readily be found on Cable channels. However, "Networks" combine cable and airwave broadcasts so there has been some smudging of definitions lately. If this bill becomes law, the amount of money which can be taken in fines will expand so greatly that the money grab from broadcasters will dwarf the tobacco industries troubles. Keep in mind that in the end, the tobacco industry didn't suffer, only the smoker did by having to pay an exhorbitant price for cigarettes. When the well for FCC fines quickly dries up then those who got used to feeding from that nipple will seek another like source like cable content. The FCC will have expanded powers of what and where it can enforce its policies.

    Now for the shortsighted who think that there is ever a goal and subsequent end to government intervention other than growth and expansion of those government programs and interventions, consider this: websites are also transmitted on cable and through phone lines. Does this mean the websites will now be considered "broadcasters" and will fall under the regulations of the FCC? Maybe not now but just wait. Even if you don't own a website but post "objectionable content" in a blog or on a bulletin board somewhere, you could also be liable personally! And, I just don't know how this can be legal, Clinton help pioneer this crap, but apparently this new bill is RETROACTIVE! The new definition of HUGE fines and new criminalization could apply to those who ONCE HAD content objectionable to the FCC but but have since grown up or found god. Actually, my rant column here could be the end of me someday!

    Bush has indicated that he will sign it into law as soon as it hits his desk. Hmmm, why am I not surprised. I'm saving this for a later rant but, hasn't Bush just become the leader of the administration to create the largest expansion in U.S. government policing agencies in history? Considering it all, the FCC was one of the last ones to get a fresh, bulging, juicy taxpayer nipple to grow big and strong from except, the EPA.

    Greenspan's turn. Ya know, everyone (at least in government) heralds Greenspan as the God of our economy. Control of the economy rests greatly in his hands but that doesn't mean he is an oracle. He's certainly getting old enough that one has to ask... can he keep up? "employment will begin to increase more quickly before long" he says. I hate to be a wet newspaper but, is he talking about China or India? Because, the few hard goods producing industries left in America are not growing, they're packing the moving van right now. I have forecast this for sometime now (see my 7/7/3 rant below). I can't imagine how a country can survive if the only thing its economy produces is lawyers, fast food, and counselors for people who get their feelings hurt because they're fat. How will we innovate the weapons of the future if we're buying the parts for them from China, having India write the software then sending the resulting design back to China for production? I guess maybe we won't have to. After all, you only need weapons if you have something worth protecting.

    Here's the clincher though, in his latest speech, Greenspan noted that some were advocating "new protectionist measures" but warned that these could be self-defeating. I used to support this theory entirely. However, if you don't have protection from monopolies in a free market then you need protectionist measures. While there may not be just one manufacturing company in China, China itself is now a monopoly. So, the result is the same for us. Here in the US, anti-trust laws are meant to poke holes in the monopoly flaw of the free market theory. But, US laws mean almost nothing outside of the US. If our economy is now global and monopolies are allowed to exist in the global economy, then it's not a free market. You would have to read my earlier document linked in my 7/7/3 rant to know exactly where I stand on protectionism, but I think it's time. You would think that with a government that's nearly smothering us, you could at least count on it's blubber for security.

  • Phone companies win! Email doesn't work anymore!
    RE: Recent crippling of email systems across the internet by spam blockers. - 12/03/03
    Getting frustrated because that darn company is not responding your email? Did your friends forget you? Feeling lonely, not getting emails from anyone anymore? Fellow netizens, email is under attack. And, if you rely on email to do business then you could be relying on something that's not nearly as reliable as it was a few months ago. The onslaught of spam has infuriated so many people that they're trying anything to prevent it. And, companies are being victimized by those who believe their messages about transactions or notices are spam. Or worse, some spam blockers unfairly accept message content without strong technical review. If the message fraudulently points back to an innocent company or person as the source, the result is that innocent company or person can be "blacklisted" as a spammer!

    This alone has commercial sabotage implications which I will not discuss at this time. However, if we can't rely on email getting to it's target because it is blocked then email is unreliable. While the phone companies, Microsoft and the federal government are the ones who stand to gain the most from this, it is unlikely that this turn of events was crafted by their conspiracy.

    Rather, people looking for solutions to block spam and picking the wrong solutions are to blame. On top of that, Companies like Yahoo, AOL and others often take a single or a few unresearched complaints and block domains or entire classes of internet addresses from penetration into their mail system, without warning the right party or warning anyone. For example, our company maintains an emailing list of several thousand who voluntarily enter their email address to receive news about new products and special deals we may offer from time to time. Since we don't mail that often, people forget that they enrolled months ago. Then, when they see a message from us, they report it as spam rather than simply unenrolling which takes only one click. This happened with Yahoo only a month ago. A few people complained that our message was spam and Yahoo blacklisted our domain. Then lots of people who use Yahoo for their email service were unable to receive order confirmations, sales receipts and tracking information about their orders - they got pissed off and thought we were unresponsive to their complaints. A few of them realized there was this old thing called a telephone and used that which actually got them the response they were looking for. But, the people who emailed us usually forgot to leave a phone number to contact them so all we could do was reply to their emails, which Yahoo prevented them from ever getting. When we discovered this had happened, we tried to contact Yahoo but they do not offer a direct channel to discuss this so we just had to fire a random message to them in hopes that they would do something. A few days later, they unblocked us, but without notice.

    Spoofing is the biggest danger. Spamcop, a popular spam blocker has just blocked our domain. However, it did send a warning message. The message contained the message we supposedly sent out, which was PORN. We make flashlights, not PORN. We did not send out PORN spam. But, somebody did and they spoofed our name as the sender. So, Spamcop has blocked us. And while it's nice that Spamcop at least let us know this, they offer no recourse. I just tried to email a friend this morning, only to find that my message was bounced back to me hours later. My friend uses spamcop. Good thing I've got his phone number.

    If you've read my previous articles, you know I don't like to leave problems hanging without some suggestions for solving them. Blacklist spam blockers are not a good idea. Spammers change their addresses and names like underwear and they don't even have to use their address if they're spoofing someone elses address. The best system I've seen so far holds the message and sends a confirmation back to the sender. If the sender fails to confirm in a given time period, the message is deleted and never forwarded. Spammers usually won't stay in one place or set up a machine long enough to reply to confirmation requests. Of course, this type of system has its problems too. Frankly I think the best solution is a system like this one, but built into your email program. That way, it could file the throw-aways for you to view later if you think you've lost something rather than you never seeing them at all. And, it could permit specific addresses or domains which you specify through the screening process. While it doesn't solve the bandwidth waste problem, most people have enough bandwidth these days. Once a system like this is widely in use and spam fails to get through, the spammers will go away. In the meantime, polish up on using that old thing called the phone.

  • Hoops for President???
    RE: Recent email from an eternalight fan. - 11/14/03
    A kind person wrote me recently suggesting that I should run for president. Wow, could I really make a difference? I would like to think that my altruism, candor and honesty would, in a world that is so deprived of such. But then I remembered a column I wrote a few years ago "There are no good Presidents, No good senators and no good congressmen." It made me wonder, could I survive the fog and mist of Washington? Or, would I be overcome with desire to stay in power, do everything I could to keep it, at any cost? Which then made me think, maybe the way to fix Washington is not to continually look for new blood, but to do a little EPA work there. Clean up the filth that attracts the flies, provide some control so that the taste for power is chased with a nasty tonic of justice. Make the offices a painful experience rather than an embellishing one. But how? Well, maybe a practical answer would be that every office of power has an independent channel (or website) which does nothing but police the complete business of that office. It reports who visits, what the holder of the office is doing, how he votes, who his friends are, where and when he vacations, everything possible so that their lives are SO PUBLIC that its impossible to not SERVE the PUBLIC instead of themselves or special interests.

    OK, I'd do it, it would be uncomfortable, and it should. But, I would make the best of it that I could so that when I left (thank God) I could look back and be proud of my accomplishments rather than looking forward to my next term. Hmmm just a thought.

  • Where did all the jobs go?
    RE: Higher unemployment rates. - 07/07/03
    Well, I've ranted a bit in the past about the Patriot's Act and terrorism. All these are significant issues but they are things I consider distractor issues to what I feel is the biggest challenge facing Americans in the next 10 or 15 years. So much so that I've dedicated more effort to trying to make Americans aware of this coming problem than any of my rantings in the past. "China Eclipse" takes you to a document (.PDF file about 20K) I've written regarding this problem. In short, the loss of blue and now white collar jobs to foriegn countries is increasing at an exponential rate. This is too fast for our economy to handle gracefully. I believe it must be addressed immediately before it is too late and our economy implodes.

    If you feel the need to pass the document along to anyone of interest and concern, or distribute it in any sincere way, permission granted. I'm not seeking donations or remittance of anyform for this. I'm maybe too old to be in the military but I'm not too old to fight for our country and way of life.

  • Tired of BullShit browsers?
    RE: Explorer and Netscape are too fat! - 02/19/03
    Some free advice:
    Are you tired of seeing the pop-up ads for the pop-up ad removing software? I know I am. Not only that, I'm tired of waiting for my browser to load, unload and the other annoying delays that both Netscape and Explorer do because they're so big and inefficient, they can't even get out of they're own way fast enough to shut down quickly! I know this may look like an advertisement itself but it's not. It's some free advice! Try the new Opera 7.0 browser! I did and I'm in love.... Not only is it fast and small, but you can tell it to not allow pop-ups or, at the very least, tell it to pop them up in the background so you can keep doing what your doing and clean up the mess later when you're done! You can download it for free at:
    www.opera.com
    Opera has been around for quite a while but this latest version is definitely a large step in making it a competitive browser.

  • The dog has had his day. Now, it's a new day.
    RE: War with Iraq. - 02/18/03
    I recently received a letter from a young man (an eternalight fan) stationed in Bahrain. I don't even know where that is but I do know it's close enough to the last place on earth I'd wanna be right about now. His letter had a bit of fear and a bit of courage. Understandable and respectable. I wished him and his family a safe and swift return. If only I could send that reality to him, I would. He's part of a job that has to be done. And, while I despise the ridiculous security measures we now practice here, the statistical necessities for those measures may not be so ridiculous were we to not combat terrorism at its place of origin.
    As I wrote in my response to him:
    "The terrorist threats and goals here are mostly perpetrated by our media (good and loyal servants of panic and mayhem as can be sensationalized). The new homeland security needs lots of support and money for its new power structure and that support can only be popular if the citizens here are kept in fear... The reality as you know is that statistically, terrorists represent as much of a threat to the average US citizen as a lightning bolt - your more likely to win your state lottery than be a victim of a terrorist plot here. But, I think as a citizen of the role model country of the world, it is definitely important to remove Hussien from power and immediately. In fact, a year or ten years ago would have been good. Leaving him in power would be like killing wasps one by one and ignoring the hive when you know right where it is. So, you have my prayers and utmost support. Hang in there brother! Come home soon and safe and be victorious!"

  • A simple request.
    RE: an email from my niece to President Bush - 01/28/03
    My young and very sweet neice bombards me with emails. I appreciate them, they're cute and they give me a window into her mind. She recently sent me an email petition to ask Mr. Bush to allow prayer in schools. I guess I over responded...

    Dear Aubrey:
    This is a very sweet notion but it is the Supreme court which enforces this rule. Petitioning Mr. Bush is barking up the wrong tree. Maybe your generation will be the ones who see the wisdom in the original US constitution and seek to reinstate it. But first you must find it. Currently, its few pages are covered up by more than 50,000 pages laws and systems which have choked out its original words and spirit. If you can find it, you will then have to accept that you can not have freedom and security.

    The original US constitution has the liberties you seek that allow you free prayer but specifies that you must rely on each other for security. Feeding the beast that is now your government in hopes that it will grow large enough to protect and comfort you only results in a creature large enough to devour you and one which will sit on top of your liberties to guarantee that its own appetite will never be compromised. Unfortunately, the beast is already full grown and continues to become even more obese. You can thank my generation and the six or so generations before ours that allowed that to happen.

    Every American seems to want to live in Utopia. And the only way to get there is to build it. So, we pass laws, then raise taxes to enforces those laws, then pass more laws to regulate the taxes, then raise taxes to incarcerate the people who broke those laws, then raise taxes to administrate the enforcement and punishment of those laws. Categorizing whole sectors of our citizens as criminals in every phase of this growth. Eventually huge industries spring up which service and parasitically thrive off the vast and complex system of laws and taxes. And, the amount of money this system collects is so irresistible that corruption and hidden agendas become the only growing benefactors of the whole menagerie. Why we seek Utopia when we are not yet Utopians is a peculiar behavior of our species.

    So, don't be afraid to tear down what we've built. Don't be afraid to question the sincerity of government assistance and protection. And to do that, don't be afraid to vote for the guy who won't win. The only way to improve things is to throw good people at the problems, not more money. Putting people in offices who have NOT been funded by powerful agendas is the best source of good people. Usually, these people will not have a Democrat or Republican brand on them. If we can do that consistently and long enough, maybe the liberties you seek may surface again. Best of Luck! Love, Tom

  • 10-08-02 - Chickens don't give a cluck.
    RE: terrorist paranoia, etc.
    Terrorist are everywhere! Or are they? Ever since 911 I've said and felt that Bin Laden already threw everything he had at us. If he had more there would have been more. And we may have short circuited a few other attempts since then but it's hard to believe we got our act together that quickly and that confiscating nail clippers in our airports has had anything to do with the reduction of fuel laiden boeings flying into buildings lately.

    For most people, the fear is still there. And possibly, the 223 sniper in Maryland may be related and has a new surgical kind of terror tactic. But, with the exception of a few germy letters and C4 sneakers (NIKE "just blow it"), all we've had to fear is fear itself. In the fight however, what has had the biggest impact against our terrorist enemy is us simply punching back. Swift unrelenting action in Afghanistan and the feeling of hands around the neck in Iraq are the only things that are truly retarding terrorist activities. There will always be copycats or last minute losers who bequeath their sick efforts to some terrorist cause. But the real guys like Bin Laden, are numbered and stoppable. And, if there's a face to an enemy then there's a nose to break.

    The paranoia propagated through our media and the federal agencies and people who can benefit and use that paranoia to expand their budgets and power is a far greater and numerous threat in my mind.

    Suddam Hussein is a murdering, power hungry self serving bastard. He's willing to do anything to keep and expand his power. And he will take his own people with him if necessary before he ever gives up power. The sad thing is that most of that description fits our own politicians.

  • 09-12-02 - Paying for "WHAT IF" games.
    RE: the cost of the legal industry on society.
    I have a few friends who are attorneys. So, I have nothing against attorneys, I've even considered that career myself a few times. But, my most recent scuffle got me thinking about the benefits and downside of the whole legal profession as far as what it contributes to society. Ultimately, most attorneys make money while a problem perpetuates (that's the billing part). When the problem is actually resolved is when they collect. Of course there are exceptions to this and depending on what your particular snaggle is, and what side of the courtroom you're on and your relationship with your attorney, you may just be paying as you go. So, it is the nature of the profession to perpetuate problems and this is justified by service of the profession which is to try to anticipate every "what-if" scenario and document a legal resolve for those scenarios. This seems a sensible and fair product I suppose except for one thing: human nature.

    I've noticed that people tend to be group oriented, responsible, polite, compromising, generous, intelligent and generally of good nature when they have to solve problems by themselves. However, when there is a law, a definition, an enforcer or a contingency for something, then people depend on the system to solve the problem and the other virtues listed before are lost.

    A good example that I can think of where this played out is at an annual event held here in Nevada called "Burning man". This used to be a large get together out in the middle of nowhere in the desert where there were no police, ambulances, hand rails, paved streets, sewers or courts. And, while people there may have done things which more conservative people might have been offended by, they didn't impose it or cause harm to anyone and there was a genuine sense of community care, honesty and compassion during the event. This may sound strange but even though some people did things which others might consider irresponsible, at least they did them responsibly! As soon as the police began to invade the event, I noticed a complete change in the attitude of the whole gathering. No longer were people looking out for one another. No longer were people behaving polite and friendly. Why? They didn't have too, the police were there, the police and the insurance companies would take care of things. If you think about it, this is how children think (while they're still children).

    When there is no person, service or system to solve peoples problems, they will tend to behave in a way which avoids conflict or disagreement to begin with. And, if one does arise, they tend to behave in a fashion which is more conducive to coming to a solution if there is no other alternative. But, as soon as there is someone or a system or a service to resolve a dispute, they become lazy, forget their manners, don't worry about their behavior or how the other party feels and depend on the facility to do the work for them. Getting along is hard work sometimes. We all know that humans are lazy by nature. If we develop a system which does the work of getting along for us then we all become like lazy children in that effort ourselves.

    When attorneys try to anticipate every possible problem, every scenario and resolve, we are letting them put us in a position to be lazy about avoiding conflict and finding solutions ourselves. This is what has caused many members of our society to blame others or not hold themselves accountable for their own misfortunes. Worse, we now have several generations of children who know of nothing different and have been raised with this mentality.

    It may not be fair but for many conflicts, fists in the courtyard have no more equity than battles in a courtroom. In the courtyard, the person with the most strength, talent or sometimes resolve wins. In the courtroom, the person with the most money or legal resources often prevails. So, what's the difference? How about minutes as opposed to months. How about the costs? Finally, how about peoples attitudes. In the days of the wild west, there may have been a few people shot in the streets, but everyone else learned about politeness, manner and how to handle their own affairs.

    In other countries, there is public access to beautiful natural formations, unfettered by guard rails, safety lights and other security features we in the US have become so accustomed too. If you hurt yourself or worse when experiencing these well... natural selection is at work.

    I've found that contracts which leave some areas gray start some of the best relationships because both parties have to make some effort to keep the other party happy.

    So, I guess you can thank attorneys for trying to think of every contingency for us as a whole. Wouldn't it be nice if they could tell us when we're supposed to die too?

  • 07-26-02 - Is Homeland Security for US or them?
    RE: recent proposal gives powers to circumvent the constitution. Who would you trust with this much power?
    Today, carefully camouflaged and pervasively woven into almost every commerce possibility is a required tribute to our government. If you think about it, you can't even wipe your ass without paying some tribute. The accumulation of these tributes paid to the government now consumes over 60% of every dollar spent. That's allot of overhead, for anyone. And, when the titans of the financial world can't balance their check books or resist sticking their hands in the cookie jar, people lose their life savings, their retirements and jobs. But, those losses are segmented and usually still leave the victims with hope in the future. But, a runaway government is like a stealthy carcinogenic air pollution that can eventually choke everyone and extinguish all hopes.

    The gargantuan plot of WorldCom should illustrate that the irresistible fumes of money and power can overcome even those who already possess excessive amounts of money and power. Do you think for a moment that our government has less money and power than WorldCom? Do you imagine that the temptations to control and gain from that money and power are somehow ineffectual on the "trusted" and "honest" people we elected to manage it?

    The Homeland security ruse is the largest attempt to consolidate and focus the largest amount of civil policing power in the world. Just contemplate the tempting fumes of corruption a plate that large will emit. It's simply too much power. It's even too much power for an 80 year old castrated man with only 24 hours to live to handle responsibly, let alone the self-serving hooligans who parade around now. Whoa, talk about a GOD complex!

    And, they can't even roll the dough for this thing without gobbling a big ball of it before it goes in the oven. Think about it this way. When you merge two businesses, the consolidation usually results in lower per unit costs, increased efficiencies and often some some excess of cash. When have you ever heard of a merger that's going to take $338,000,000.00 to assemble! Just thought I'd put all the zeroes in there in case anyone forgot how big that number is. And, that's not the cost, that's just another one of those government forecasts, like the weather.

    George Orwell better late than never? I would have preferred never. I never like to leave my reader with a useless ending so, if you would like to see what kind of things our people in government are capable of doing behind your back under the fumes of corruption, check this out! It's a long read but wow!

    http://www.supremelaw.org/authors/gritz/gritz.htm

    Good material, even for fiction writers. But, lately I've been given testimony by several people who were at top levels during this time and who support the claims in the link above. Ohhh, my brain hurts.

  • 04-23-02 - THE TAX FREE MAN!
    RE: Are there really people who don't have to pay taxes?
    Occasionally we hear stories like "a carburetor that doubles fuel economy", "a machine that generates free energy" and "a man who doesn't have to pay taxes". In our minds we hold hope that these things are true but the way we understand our world to work leads us to believe that these are just fantasies. And, unless supported by the controlled media, they will remain just fantasies.

    We tend to believe only what we see. For example, I've heard of the state lottery and the people who win it but I've never seen one or known anyone who has. If it weren't for the controlled media telling me these people existed, I wouldn't believe it!

    In my very last example of the unbelievable, "a man who doesn't have to pay taxes", I admit that like most people I didn't believe it. And, I'm still not fully convinced. But I did actually meet one of these "tax-boogie" men! Supposedly, the IRS will leave him alone for the rest of his income days. Of course that remains to be proven but he did turn me onto some information which has, at the very least, provided some very thought provoking and interesting reading. Information I can find no standing evidence or conclusions against, yet. Want to see how to be one of these boogie men? Here is just one site that may open your mind a bit:

    http://www.cascadian.com/CRC/Court/UCCConnection.html

    I must admit after reading it that I felt like Neo in the movie "The Matrix" after he was first told about the matrix. There is much more to this than this one link offers but it is a start for those who want to take "the red pill".

  • 04-16-02 - A WORD ON TAXES!
    RE: End of the quarter paperwork
    The only thing I can think of right now that is more illusive than my missing sock is the prospect of true "Tax Simplification". With existing tax codes standing at over 50,000 pages, it would take monks dedicating their lives to its study to even begin to fully understand it - and that assumes it doesn't change for a lifetime!

    Even the IRS can not answer tax questions consistently or correctly. The argument of how much taxes we pay and how they are used could consume a whole volume of ranting. But more insulting and torturous than the sums we fork out is the work involved in the process of forking it!

    Maybe its the only politically correct way of doing it. It just seems more fair and democratic if we have to pay services to do it, fill out reams of paper work to support it and have huge software systems and companies to manage it. After all, "Guido" the taxman/tree trunk, may take less time and even less money but it just wouldn't be the popular way of doing it.

    You can thank your congress for making our tax code more complicated than our constitution for the purpose of circumventing the later. You can thank your congress for paying nice wages, wonderful benefits and pensions to over 110,000 people who's job it is to merely collect it and count it. You can thank your congress for making special concessions and tax breaks for those who lobby it which has resulted in the huge obfuscated tax code we have today. And, they thank you all for the money. Ah, wait, no they don't, it's theirs to begin with - just listen to them!

    Can we do anything? Maybe. Supporting congressional candidates who don't just say they want to simplify taxes but will sign a contract spelling out how they will do it and when. A REAL contract, not a "spintract". A contact like other contracts where the parties can be sued for breach or non-performance. I'll sign one!

  • 02-15-02 - PEARLS OF INVESTMENT WISDOM
    RE: Learning from ENRON
    The most money our company has ever made in investments were always in private investments in small private companies. Many investment strategists will warn you about such. This is probably good advise if you don't plan to be active in your investments. However, it is apparent that no matter how secure you think your money is in a stock, or how big the company is, your money is still at risk - a nearly unacceptable risk when compared in the light of Enron, Global Crossings and others before them that have fallen in the last ten years.

    But, active investing means effort. For example, investing in deeds of trust or real estate takes more effort than stashing your money in a fund but the returns are well worth it. Investing in a small private business also takes effort but the returns are well worth it. For example if you bought stock in Enron, could you have spoken personally to the president of the company? Would you have been allowed to see the facilities, speak to important employees, look at the books and call anytime to ask questions or make suggestions? How about GE, Disney, IBM, and others? No, you would have to assume they are fine and secure just like everyone thought of Enron a year ago. You have to take their public reports which are more prepared by their marketing and public relations departments than their accounting department, and that is all you get.

    Small private company investments can take many forms from an outright stock purchase (equity position) to A/R financing, PO financing or a simple loan. Small private company investments are not for everyone. Your money should be expendable, you should have the knowledge to understand the information you get from your sense and access to the business you invest in. And, your investment benefits and exit strategy may be untraditional. Talk to a your local CPA or a local Mortgage Lending company about investments. I think you'll find a better pick of opportunities there than a stock brokerage or funds manager.

  • 02-10-02 - WILL YOUR NEXT VOTE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
    RE: Political Corruption et al.
    You can thank the Clinton administration for making obvious to so many people what wasn't before - corruption in government. The simple fact is that our founding fathers intended public service to be just that, "public service". You went into office, did your service then returned to your life, whatever it was. When public offices became career positions, our government became a business. And, when our government became a business, like any other, it became its own interest. Sure, it will do work for the people but don't let the rhetoric fool you, it's number one job is taking care of number one. That makes the citizens "number two", and in the childish bathroom metaphor as well.

    Think of a senatorial seat as an asset. Imagine the cost to procure that asset. In state like California, a senatorial seat costs about 20 million! That's a big check! It's a check the citizens can't afford to write. But, big businesses can. And guess what. When a business makes that investment not only do they want a return on their investment but they want to protect that investment too. Enron, GE, IBM, GM, Mistubishi, Sony and hundreds of other huge multinational corporations invest in these assets. They are the puppet masters. Being multinational, many of them don't have that great of concern about America or our patriotism other than preserving America as a great market.

    Guess who the single biggest company in the world is? It's China. China dwarfs all others combined. Does China invest in our political chairs of influence? You bet. Don't think it's confined to senatorial positions. Any position of significance which the individual or constituency can't afford has to have outside funding - an investment opportunity for the savvy businesses. That's why whether you vote Democrat or Republican, the differences are little. It's the same puppet masters. Your vote does matter. It will determine whether a Democrat or Republican will get the office. But that's also where it doesn't matter, the person and platform doesn't matter, they're still puppets to the masters.

    To make the person you vote for matter, the cost of seats of power have to be affordable. Affordable enough to remove the investment opportunity for big businesses. The way to accomplish this is not clear to me at this time but the primary cost in the seats of power is advertising. To try to get legislation to control this will never happen, the puppet masters won't let it. The only solution is for the majority of voting citizenry to have the mental discipline to discard campaign information delivered through traditional means such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines and mailings. And to only consider information which is available through low cost mediums such as the internet or public forums. However, there are degrees of cost on the internet to consider as well.

    A Democrat or Republican who is buying banner ads on successful sites like Yahoo or Amazon is likely to be a puppet too. A puppet, if not through the expense of their medium, through the affiliation with their party - the ultimate PUPPET! A vote for the little guys, Libertarian, independent, or other party, if it ever amounts to enough to get elected, will temporarily place someone on the puppet stage who has few strings attached.

  • 09-15-01 - Eulogy to Freedom
    RE: WTC/Pentagon attacks.
    My ranting has subsided as of late, but not my spirit. However, this unprecedented event I can not lay quiet about. This is lengthy but well worth it!

    America is about a way of life. A way which was envisioned as "freedom" and implemented through much bloodshed and the creation of a document called the constitution. It wasn't long after the creation of America and it's revolutionary constitution that the creeping tendencies of human nature began to erode it. Our forefathers tried to imagine every conceivable situation where a government designed to protect individual liberties may run-a-muk and become an enemy of its constitution. They tried to account for those situations in the creation of our government and the constitution. And as a final catch-all solution for anything they could not foresee, should the government become tyrannical and corrupt, they left what they imagined at the time as the ultimate power, to the people. Those powers came in the privilege of voting, and the right to bare arms. From that time on, much blood was shed from the brave men of this country to define our borders, our culture and our place in the globe.

    As the empowerment of personal freedom granted by the constitution cultivated our potentials, we began to experience tremendous success and prosperity beyond any other nation in the world. The prosperity we gained allowed future generations to live easier lives. Lives not complicated or concerned so much with maintaining the freedom our constitution had given us, but rather more concerned about maintaining the fruits our freedom bore.

    So abundant were the fruits of our freedom that further generations even began to take the fruits themselves for granted. We began to not bother with the effort required to understand issues, our politicians and their platforms. We began to fear the responsibility of owning and using firearms. It was much easier to "trust" our government with our safety and our well being. To most Americans, without this dedication of study and responsibility, most politicians sound the same and only safety, security and personal prosperity become paramount issues. With the eye of the American people off it's own government, opportunists set in. Since the opportunists became the primary source of direction, our government began to serve its people less and less. And, began to serve itself and the parasitic special interests more and more.

    With a government that has become it's own organism and its own self interest, yet still vulnerable to the last two provisions of the constitution, it only makes sense for it to begin to combat those two provisions. Complexity and distractions are its immediate weapons. Incrementalism is its charge. So complex has our government made itself, that no one person is capable of understanding it. It is easier for us to let the experts who have spent years studying the government, its laws and ways do our bidding. Those experts are people who have their own self interests too. They've invested their lives learning to deal with the system. If they were to make the system simpler and more accessible to the people, their own worth would diminish.

    It's a lot of work to monitor peoples actions. It's much easier to just listen to their words. So, words have become what makes a successful politician. And, ability to spread those words is the practical side of a successful politician. It's too much work to attend small meetings or write letters - it's much easier for Americans to just turn on the TV and listen to the words. However, that severely limits just whose words we can listen too and thus makes those special individuals only the people who have been empowered by special interests. Whenever the action of those people comes under scrutiny of the public, distractions make a powerful tool. When Bill Clinton was caught deep in scandal, it was to his benefit to become militarily involved in a "righteous" cause to create a distraction and fill the volumes of media with other news. Thus, the government and our military became a tool of his own special interest.

    It's quite common for a government to have it's own agenda which may not be supported or even known to its populous. For a good portion of America's life, our people have believed that our government was our servant. But many times of late, our government has conducted business or behaved in ways which were not willed, supported or known by the people. If public opposition is too great, our government possess the means and media to persuade or deceive its public enough for compliance.

    This is where I wish to make my very first point relevant to the WTC and Pentagon attack. It is not right to hold a population responsible for the acts of its government when that population is unknowing, unsupportive or has been duped into supporting whatever behavior or action its government has taken. To that end, I believe that surgical strikes, with finality of intent, directly on the terrorists and the governments that support them are well justified! BUT NOT THE CITIZENS, unless they are fully supportive of their governments actions. We all saw the video clip of the people dancing in the streets when the news of the WTC/Pentagon attacks were aired. It was disgusting. But, knowing how the news media works, its lack of research, its love to stir the shit and its ability to paint pictures larger than reality, it would be a horrible crime against humanity to assume this behavior and sentiment was shared by a whole population without further investigation.

    Keep in mind that many people around the world hate Americans and they don't even know us. They hate us because they hate our government because of the way it has represented itself or some actions it has taken. Again, these actions may be unknown and unsupported by us. Yet they hate us because they believe that we and our government are one in the same.

    Strike the guilty and strike the rest of terrorism hard! Ultimately, we have a list of suspects. If these suspects are all guilty of terrorism, even if they are innocent of this attack, lets knock out the whole list. This will mitigate our future exposure to terrorism.

    MY MOST IMPORTANT SECOND POINT. As I said earlier, America is about away of life. It's about living free. Nobody ever said freedom came with security and safety. In fact, many founding fathers warned that freedom is incompatible with the other two - and they are! Let's not let this event scare us into trading even more of our freedoms to the government for the false hope of security! We have done this too much already - it is an epidemic of the last two generations of Americans to trade freedom for false security. Ask yourself, has America ever become more free than when it was founded? No, it only becomes less and less free. At some point, if this keeps up, we'll be no different than any other nation, no more spectacular and no more powerful - only calling ourselves "free" but the real meaning of "free" being long forgotten.

    It seems to be endemic in our population to find blame and seek a preventative measure. Blame is definitely necessary here - it ties in with the necessary solution. But preventative measures are creeping freedom stealers and they are mostly ineffective. Let me illustrate:

    Right now they are taking plastic knives, pocket knives and razors out of airport stores and not allowing passengers to carry on even a toe-nail clipper! This makes some people feel "safer" and makes them feel that something has been done to "prevent" it from happening again. What a joke. Anyone who believes that - I'm sorry - you're an idiot! The high-jackers were not your typical American people. They were foreign bred, highly trained and skilled at fighting - these men were not pussies! They could have walked on the planes naked and taken them over just as easily by merely hurting someone as proof of their seriousness, then threatening that their capacity was greater. To a crowd of people who thought they were just being high-jacked, not on a suicide mission, most people would just sit in their seats and do as instructed. A pencil would have been just as dangerous in the hands of these bastards. Their best weapon of all was that they were willing to give their lives for their mission - no other people on the plane knew that and no other people would have been willing to do the same without that knowledge.

    Illustration number 2: FAA says now we can't park within 300 feet of the terminal. Here in Reno where I live, we had a terrible time parking at the airport. After much pain, a new, beautiful parking garage was JUST finished. NOW WE CAN'T USE IT! And for what? Oh, we don't want someone parking a bomb to close to the terminal. DUH!!! Hello - is everyone this dense? You mean you don't want someone parking a bomb next to a population center? How does preventing us from using our parking garage prevent a terrorist from parking a bomb next to a school, shopping mall, disneyland, football game, concert... government building or where I live - a casino? It doesn't.

    Illustration number 3: Let's suppose we could 100% prevent high-jackings of our planes. Do you have any idea how much easier it is to high-jack a tanker semi? If you have 20 men willing to give their lives, you could highjack probably 7 semi's of fuel (each with 4 times the fuel capacity of a jumbo jet), another 7 semi's of liquid oxygen, losing a few men in unplanned mishaps. Now you have 14 men willing to die to crash into their targets and 7 HUGE - unbelievably HUGE bombs are now moving 50 miles per hour at 7 different targets - a school - a shopping mall (middle of christmas) heck - even an airport. It's not hard to find people willing to die for a cause - look at Jonestown. Is this so crazy? Well after seeing 4 jumbo jets become cruise missles, I don't think so.

    A person willing to die to harm others is the most dangerous weapon anyone can possess. If you want to pass laws, spend money, give up more freedoms now and enforce new tanker semi laws too - go ahead! I can think of a hundred other ways to accomplish destruction and loss of life on this scale. Trust me - you'll run out of manpower, money, and freedom long before I run out of ideas and I'm not even a terrorist!

    Please, I beg America! Please SNAP OUT OF IT! If we are to be a free people, we will always be an at risk people. I can live with that! I can't live not being free. Retaliation here will mitigrate this threat but if we give up our freedoms then the terrorist have won.

  • 03-19-01 - I hope justice finds them before our justice system does.
    RE: Brutal beating of two muslim men at mosque St. Patricks day weekend in Reno.
    Justice (a lost concept), hate (stupidity), greed (self indulgence) these are some of the things that set humans apart from the animals. We like to think we are making progress but maybe that's just political froth. When people are brutalized or murdered because of the their beliefs, race or class it largely goes unnoticed anymore unless it profits someone. There is so much of it that it is part of the background noise we've all grown used to. But then it hits home. This weekend I found out that a man who has been a Doctor for my family and friends will no longer be there for us. He won't be there for his family either. He won't be there for the hundreds of patients he served here in Reno/Sparks area. He likely won't be a practicing doctor ever again because some punk ass idiots thought they would be making some point. In their puniest of minds, brutally beating a great man nearly to death was somehow a justified course.

    Dr. Eltag Mirgahni never asked me what religion I was, I couldn't have answered him anyway, there is no religion for my beliefs. He is a black man from South Africa who cared for me and my family and friends. He didn't charge me more or give me lesser treatment because I was a white male. His friendly asian wife who helped run his clinic only cared about what insurance coverage we had, not what church we went to or our color or race, and that's just necessary business in the medical profession. He has a smart son who I understand is also in medical school. His daughter, now a beautiful young women who is also in college. Not much of his family or personal life is known to me. Not that he wouldn't share it, but I have been fortunate to not need his services that often so my contact with him has been minimal over the last seven years. Right or wrong, whatever you think of the muslim religion, his children were obviously raised in the light and those punk ass thugs in the dark.

    No matter how we humans transform the landscape, the jungle is always around us because we are its best and worst parts. And, it seems the harder we try to separate ourselves from the jungle, the more obvious our polarities become. In execution, our idea of justice on planet earth doesn't seem to be the same as any higher power. Or maybe it's not even of concern to such. Maybe justice is just a transitory concept for us, a crouch given to us by a higher power. And when we no longer need or desire justice then we will finally be out of the jungle and the jungle will finally be out of us. In the meantime, I hope justice finds the lower life in human form that committed this crime before our justice system does.

    Dr. Mirgahni, our hearts and best wishes are with you and your family. In your life you've built a world of friends, our help is yours and your families for the asking.

  • 03-06-01 - Cars and guns and knives - OH MY!
    RE: Latest round of mass murders
    This is really just an addendum to my last rant 3/3/01. And, I just can't help but say it. Lets see, in the last two multiple slayings, what were the murder weapons? Hmmm a car, ooooooooooh, and .22 caliber pistol. You know, I have friends who think a .22 caliber is about as dangerous as a cube of real butter. But, obviously it is a deadly weapon too. And since nobody in the media has the fuzzy ones to admit that they've been barking in the wrong forest all this time by going after assault weapons, what do they do? They bark up a different tree. This time it's premonitions. "Certainly someone could have seen this coming!"... "Someone should have been able to read his mind and stop this!" Well, it's much easier to keep the witch hunt going than to accept the fact of life. Which is that, "life is a risky scheme", enjoy it freely while you can. So here is a simple question for you. Would you rather live in the wilderness with a life expectancy of 10 years or a padded room with a life expectancy of 60 years? Now you might say there is happy medium here. No, there isn't a happy medium! We were at a happy medium 20 years ago! Now there's too much padding on the walls and the doors are locked. And people just keep looking for more places to pad!

  • 03-03-01 - Napster caught in the net, net caught in red tape, red tape caught in law, law caught in the wind.
    RE: Recent ruling in Napster case and everything else.
    David Letterman recently said something to the effect of "I think I'll go down to Radio Shack and buy one of those Napster things."... "They've got a napster thing for television too." He of course was referring to tape recorders and VCRs. The thing that really tweaks my trumpet about all of this is the grey line. By allowing VCRs and tape recording devices to exist, it's ok to tape anything and replay it and swap it (cause there will never be any enforcement at this level). But if it becomes too convenient and easy well... I guess it's time to get a judge involved. Napster doesn't really do anything for us that we haven't already had the ability to do for the last twenty or more years, it just does it better and faster. And, if you've studied this at all, you'll know that Napster doesn't break the copyright law, it's users do. It does however facilitate users in breaking the copyright laws - if used on copywritten material.

    But that just makes it harder to draw the lines. A car for example will facilitate its user in breaking the law by easily allowing the user to speed if he desires. Yet, you don't see states and the Fed going after the car makers to force them to stop making cars which can speed. Oh hoohohoo but wait a minute... you DO see them going after gun makers. Guns can facilitate breaking the law for some people. So, lets force them to make the guns "less deadly". Ahhhhemmmmmmm. Who decides what is "less deadly"? A single shot firearm is just as capable of killing someone as an multi shot one is. Heck, a single shot weapon is even capable of killing multiple people if you reload between each shot or you shoot people who are lined up. It's just the probability and rate and success which differentiates a simple single shot weapon from today's assault rifles. And, assault rifles just have the publics fear focused on them. There have been assault rifles used in crimes which resulted in no fatalities. And, there have been only knives used in crimes which resulted in multiple fatalities. Granted, if one were placed next to the other, the choice is simple. But as with many things, there are single shot weapons and an assault rifles and everything in between - who defines what is and isn't a "less deadly" weapon?

    So what do cars and guns have to do with Napster? Well, if you can't see the parallel here, you might be one of the people who has a skull as thick as a cows or you are tempted to follow the man with sheep all around him.

    Technology has changed the ease and quality for which people can swap copywritten material. Technology, not Napster has made this possible. Napster just has the focus of fear from the corrupt and backwards industries that are too cowardly to embrace this technology and use work and innovation to capitalize on it. Everyone knows there are alternatives to Napster, some which arguably could be unstoppable by anyone in the near future.

    So, who is deciding that Napster is the criminal and not the Napster users? Who has decided that Napster is "too" dangerous for public consumption? It's the same people who decided that many drugs must be controlled, that certain guns are too dangerous, that some areas are unsafe, that saying the word "bomb" on an aircraft is illegal, that playing cops and robbers is a bad idea and drawing a picture of a gun in school is worthy of suspension. It is the people who are NOT afraid to arbitrarily through up a wall in the middle of nowhere and say that's where you go, this is where I go. It's the people we grant authority to to protect us because today in America, we would rather trade our freedom for security. It's our legislators, judges, councils, agencies, police and almost everyone else in the non-producing sector of our economy. And, every time there is a new law, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, there is whole sector of our society who become instantly converted from citizens to criminals.

    So, Napster is the head of the whore, rolling in the courtyard, to remind us that there will be no more whores walking in the courtyard - they are only allowed in the white house and other such places equipped to safely handle such things.

  • 01-21-01 - Well, heh, I tried, but "They" just wouldn't cooperate...
    RE: The new White House
    I sure like the change at the White House so far, but my sneaky suspicion flag is still flying high. It's a cowardly act I see all too many times in politics now. Someone runs on a platform saying they'll do this and that. And sure enough, if the get elected, they send some half baked bill to the floor embodying they're promises, but set up to fail. Then they claim they "tried" and honored they're constituents - yeah, right. Well, I like the fact that George is GungHo and is reversing Billy's legacies of corrupt policies and executive orders. ANd, I really like that George is sending his Tax Relief package off. I just hope it isn't a half baked package. I hope he really fights, doesn't take dramatic compromise - another cowardly tool - and get its through. Then, instead of living off the bounty of the Reagan era like Slick has, he will really be setting the stage for long term stable economic comfort.

  • 12-13-00 - OH MY GAWD, THEY KILLED BILLY!
    RE: U.S. Supreme Court's Outcome, five thumbs for Bush.
    OK, I can't hold it anymore! I thought Al Gore invented voting! Towards the end, he was so blistering with his "tell them anything" enthusiasm that he had steam coming out of his business end! But, you'd think he had invented George Bush too for all their similarities. And then, how about that old Supreme Court huh? What a box of chicken poops! They made a decision by not deciding fast enough - how cowardly is that! Ok, not that it really matters what the outcome was. Tweedle dumb or tweedle dumber. Who is who still remains to be seen. Ol' Bill Klinton must have choked on his last yuck when he heard that ruling. His pen, speedily signing piles of executive orders, some 20,000 pages of new bureaucratic dung to further complicate all our lives, before his end. Yet peaceful, knowing that Hillary is well set now to run against Bush the next time around! Oh, "someone" will no doubt exercise the Freedom of Information Act strategically before the next election and perform their "own" recount to show that Gore would have won!

    Well, hopefully "Gee Dubb" will show us that he is his own man and will truly try to get the government off our backs as he promised. Maybe restore some responsibilities back to us and some sensibility back in Uncle Same. But, I suspect he's just fulfilling his commitment to participate in the family business - running our lives and lining their pockets. I guess I would have put more heart into my vote for George if I knew he was someone who came from a family that had experienced the RULE of the LAND as it is now. But, we know he came from a family that was the RULE of the Land! Sigh... we need only look at history to see where we are going.

    One funny think I can't shake is the thought that the people who were ignorant enough to not even know how to correctly vote could have been the people who ultimately decided who would be king, if their votes were counted. Then, there's the margin of error which pretty much makes the whole thing a crap shoot when you're splitting hairs anyhow.

    Well, show me Democrat how can keep his hands out of our pockets and off our guns and I'll show you a vote for him. Show me a Republican who can stay out of our wombs and bedrooms and I'll show you a vote for him. Show me a Libertarian who can even make it on the ballot and I'll faint!

  • 12-5-00 - I'm not saying Sh*t!
    RE: Gore vs. Bush
    Well, I've been trying to keep my mouth shut on this, but it's damn hard! It isn't over, 'til it's over! And Gore has had a good mentor to show him how hard it is to give up power and let go. I would expect Gore to ride this out to the bloody end. In fact, my conspiracy meter is going bonkers right now with this somehow being turned to Klinton's benefit, allowing him to stay in office after January! --- AAAAh but what fun would reading this stuff be if I didn't have some far fetched ideas!

  • 10-17-00 - THE REAL FACTS
    RE: Al Gore / George Bush dispute over whos reality to use.
    Facts: Number of physicians in the U.S. - 700,000

    Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year - 120,000

    Accidental deaths per physician - 0.171

    Number of gun owners in the U.S. - 80,000,000.

    Accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) - 1,500

    Accidental deaths per gun owner 0.0000188

    Conclusion: Doctors are 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners!

    Whoever sent me that article - thanks!!!

  • 9-29-00 - If Joseph Stalin and Thomas Jefferson were running in this up coming election, who would win?
    RE: The best question anyone has asked me this decade! (Kudos to Stephen Putnam).
    I haven't asked anyone this question yet who hasn't said Joseph Stalin. And yet, everyone I ask says that they themselves would vote for Thomas Jefferson, of course. So, if everyone agrees Stalin would win, but everyone votes for Jefferson, what does that tell us? It tells me that either I don't know everyone, and I don't, or my vote has no power anymore. Ask this great question to everyone you know, I think the result will scare you if you imagine everyone doing it too and getting the same answers! WHO is really driving the bus hmmmmm?

  • 9-28-00 - Miss me? Here is my Halloween story of - "The Gorey Bush"!
    RE: Election between GW Bush and Al Gore.
    Well, I just couldn't contain myself any longer. Those of you who have checked my rants probably figure I'm big Bush supporter. All I can really say is I don't like Gore. And, as the saying goes, "a Bush in the hand is worth giving the bird to Al Gore." - or something like that. However, if you ask me, the difference between Al Gore and GW Bush is about the same as the DNA difference between Humans and Chimps. There is an obvious difference, but statistically, it's really only like .01 percent. If you watched the primaries, it was like watching a play. It was all planned and executed according to plan with a planned outcome. There was a time not too long ago when primaries looked more like a battle ground and out emerged a victor. Maybe only recently its been made to appear that way, kinda like WWF. But this primary didn't even try to cover up the obvious lack of control or influence the lowly U.S. citizen really has over its political leaders anymore. Heck, maybe the next election, they won't even bother to tell us who is running - it's a waste of money!

    So who do I really support? Well, if you really know me, you'll know that it's a libertarian candidate. Will I be throwing my vote away by voting for him? In my opinion, I would be throwing my vote away if I voted for GW or Al Gore. If you really want to see some changes, elect someone who hasn't been a career politician and believes in the constitution and freedom - a libertarian!

  • 7-18-00 - Buyer BEWARE!
    RE: Consumer ignorance and expectations about purchases, returns and service.
    Now, and only in America, when the age of the "never satisfied customer" is upon us, I can't help myself but rant on consumers. Having been in the retail business for many years, I have been privileged to get an early glimpse of what todays consumers have in mind when they make a purchase. Unfortunately, I have to say that in most cases it reeks from lack of common sense and assumes a perfect and protected world. Let me enumerate:
    • "But I just bought it two months ago, it shouldn't break!" - when exactly did you think it should break? Where does it say it should never break? A warranty is to guarantee a service period, not to guarantee infallible service.
    • "It's brand new, I just opened the box, how can it be broken?" - well, maybe it was broken when it went into the box? Maybe it was broken while in the box and the shipping gorillas were pounding on it. And, maybe you broke it yourself just getting it out of the box, or installing it or putting batteries in it. And, my favorite, maybe its not in fact BROKEN, you just don't know how to use it! When you spend your money to buy goods, there is always a risk that you won't get what you've paid for. Often times, the better the deal is, the higher this risk is.
    • "I know its two years old, but you sold it me, you should fix it!" - ahh huhuh why? This is one still stumps me because it often pops up whether the item is still covered by a manufacturers or not. Most warranties are "manufacturers" warranties. This means the manufacturer will fix it, not the store. It also means that you are to send it to the manufacturer for repair, not the store. The store in most cases is not even capable of repair. And, the store did not get the item for free, if the store can not get a brand new exchange item from the manufacturer, it losses big in an exchange because often the defective item has to thrown away. However, big stores will muscle around manufacturers which allows them get credit and repair service for extreme situations that smaller stores are denied. And, it is because so many consumers are use to the protected world policies of large stores that they assume small stores or fly by night operations offer the same protection. I'm not advocating that people buy exclusively from large stores. In fact, it is the consumers trend to shop at large stores that is closing smaller ones and ultimately limiting the consumers own choice of products and services. But, understanding the limitations that smaller stores have will make you a smarter consumer.
    • "I can get that on the internet for 1/2 that price!" - you think you can. You won't really know you can until you try. Again, the better the deal the higher the risk. You may find you get a broken one at half the price. You may find that you don't get the exact one or it has some value reducing deviation. You may find you never actually get it all regardless of how many times you reorder it because the seller is unscrupulous and is illegitimately selling this item or is bundling orders hoping for a large purchase discount. It's the old "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." A retail store either has the item or it doesn't, it's right there to see.
    Well, only a few people may actually take the time to read this, but maybe it will help those few. Many people are frustrated by purchases because they are not in a "buyer beware" frame of mind when they make a purchase. And, they should be in every purchase. Use common sense and consider the business aspects of the deal so you understand the selling party's limitations and motives. You will get in fewer arguments and you will get your problems solved more rapidly with less aggravation.

  • 6/15/00 - OK, what you've been waiting for! What I think about Microsoft!
    RE: Microsoft case results and my history of Microsoft bashing.
    If you've read any of my previous rants, you probably know I hate Microsoft and love Linux. Actually, I think I hate Microsoft more than I love Linux. But why you ask? With all that Microsoft has given me? How could I hate the buggers? First, Microsoft has YET, in my 15 years as a PC user, yet to provide me with a product I truly feel is a best of breed product. Rather, if I use a microsoft product at all, it's because I'm forced too since it is merely the remaining survivor, not the best of breed. Some may argue that the survivor is the best of breed. This is not true. If you have a beauty contest and determine the most beautiful women to be the one left standing at the end of a bar room brawl, she may be the survivor, but I GARRRRANNNNNTEEE YA she ain't the peeertiest!

    Have you ever seen this cliche of action? Some sort of race is being run. The under dog is ahead. And, rather than the big bully behind the underdog pulling out in front with a show of superior power, he instead cowardly reaches out and grabs the underdog's shorts and pulls the underdog backwards! THAT's MICROSOFT! I HATE THAT! It's cowardly! They do it to anybody with the skill and worth to run a good race.

    So, what do I think about the outcome of the Microsoft trial? I love it! But, I'll gloat about it more when I'm confident I have something to gloat about. In the meantime, read some of my previous rants for my insights into this.

  • 6/14/00 - Great computer virus urban legends, ignorance is a virus too!
    RE:Recent articles and emails fear of computer viruses incorrect!
    I suppose it goes on in the medical industry too. Its the creation and dissemination of misinformation by people unqualified as experts to say it. Its the reiteration of this misinformation in media by those too ignorant about such to recognize an expert from a dangerous person. And, its the lower budgets, limited time constraints and strive for flavor over nutrition by the business end of the media that doesn't compel or allow the ignorant to do any homework before they reiterate!

    And, in this case, its the virulent spread of misinformation about computer viruses! I remember when the general public first became aware of computer viruses and most people thought it was something a computer caught from a human or visversa. Now it's become a little more detailed but still just as dramatically funny to those of who know how it really works. The latest rumor the media is now jumping on is that MP3 files can be infected with viruses and spread by Napster! GAWD...(hehe) your killing me here... stopit! A computer virus needs some things in order to perpetrate its design. They are: 1. Control of execution.
    2. Control of execution with access to the area of attack.
    3. Ability to replicate and spread.
    OK, now true, an MP3 file can spread simply by popularity. True, napster can assist in spreading (UNDER SCORE "ASSIST" - there are many other ways too) the file by making access and discovery easy. But an MP3 file is just that and it should only be played through a non-Microsoft player! If you have to unzip it first, then use use an unzip utility! Don't by gawd ever execute it! Falling for this old trick has nothing to do with MP3 files. If you use a Microsoft product, like the media player, or otherwise then Geeeeesus, I guess anything can work as a virus! Too many Microsoft products effectively hand unrestricted execution control over to the file they operate on! -- This unqualified expert heard Bill Gates is Johnny Wong's half brother and had his college paid for by the Kremlin :).

  • 5/16/00 - Hilary mysteriously nominated "unanimously" to NY senate
    RE:Hilary's nomination as the democrats candidate for NY Senate seat
    GAWD! I could just puke! As easy as it has become lately for me to believe that, never before have so many been duped by so few, I just can't. Which leaves the only other possibility which is that our election system is corrupted. Hmmm... that's not possible is it? A unanimous nomination for Hilary in a state she hasn't even lived in for as long as Bill knew Monica? Come on! In Hilary's speech: ``We are producing countless new fortunes, yet we have the second-highest rate of poverty in the country and the biggest gap between the rich and the poor,'' she said. Although I didn't hear this speech, or the rest of it, let me finish it for all you New Yorkers! "So, if I'm elected to the senate, I will push every button I can to take from the rich and give to the poor!" "Of course, I and Bill intend on being in the POOR group just so those poor people don't feel alone." "Oh, and I'll close the freedom gap too, between our citizens and the citizens of countries of communism by taking away more freedoms from US citizens!" And the cows moo and moo and moo! Yahoo!

  • 4/20/00 - Where will history be saved?
    RE:Just a thought I had...
    When I was in school, we studied history from... a history book! Additionally, much history was documented in encyclopedias, the remainder was in my grandmother's head. But today, history is being recorded as well as documented. Bits and snippets of the recordings are edited and compiled to become of whatever necessary influence they need be, whether a ratings booster or an A for a term paper.

    And now, most everything is tied to a resource of some sort on the internet. After president Klinton took office, it was terribly easy to see how someone with no respect for clarity and truth, no scruples of conscience for corruption of facts and no concern for the benefit of his fellow man (unless you happen to be one of his "buds"), could manipulate "History" for the benefit of his own agenda. To this end, the distributed nature of the internet, as it is today, protects the forum of free thoughts and is a sanctuary for true history. So, I make this plea to anyone who controls any article of information which is of the least bit of historical significance and resides on the internet: Please, never remove or encode your outdated information. Rather, reorganize it to stay contemporary or save it in historical bins. But, simply removing it for the sake of uncluttering may forever lose significant facts or thoughts. And, may make your work an editable or molestable work by others, with no resort of reconciliation against the original by those who seek the truth. Hey, disk space is cheap, just keep it hooked in! My rant column is an example!

  • 4/18/00 - Boooo!
    RE:Recent tech stocks plunge.
    Scare you a little bit did it? Did your DOT-COM fortune almost become DOT-GONE? Well, if your betting on a house of cards company, don't be surprised if whenever the wind blows that you're left with nothing. The value of these companies is all in speculation, not assets or earnings. And, people are just waiting for these plunges to dive in and buy up the losers again.

    However, I remember my first sling shot when I was a kid. The farther I pulled it back, the faster it would through a stone. One day I pulled it back too far, it broke, left a huge welt on my arm and nearly took my eye out. What I'm saying is that larger market swings are bound to come, but at some point, it won't be able to rebound, something will actually break. Those who were "speculating" when it happens... well...

    Blue chips may seem like dogs compared to these speculative shooting stars, but they can take a beating and keep on ticking because they actually are in the business of making money and doing it!

  • 3/22/00 - Can $500 computers destroy the economy?
    RE:Cheap computers used to commit expensive crimes.
    I was recently treated to an eye-opening experience. Some bonehead got hold of one of our business checks, not a blank one mind you; it could have been any of the thousand or so we seem to send out every month to pay bills. Then, they scanned the signature in (probably with one of these new $50.00 scanners) and created a counterfeit check on blank check stock (probably from quick books) with something as simple as Microsoft word and MICR fonts. The check cashed all the way through to our front door. It didn't even look like anything we'd ever released but never mind that, it looked legit enough. And, never mind that this felony fraud had the thumb print (as a precaution by the cashier) of the person who cashed it right on the bogus check. Great, the two worst mentalities of our times meet and could take down the entire banking system. Those mentalities are "NO FEAR" and "CHEAP COMPUTERS"!

    Then add to that the latest fad in thinking that its not whether what you're doing is wrong, it's whether you will get caught. And, if you do get caught, it's not whether you'll get convicted or not, it's what measly percentage of the potential punishment will you actually have to serve.

    These types of formerly sophisticated crimes can now be managed by a ten year old with $500 worth computer power. And, interestingly, the banking industry has actually made these crimes easier not harder. Because of the rabid pace of bank consolidations which creates internal operational confusion, the extension of banking services to multiple points which removes familiarity, the ravenous quest to provide every service and feature before the next guy which distracts from the primary bank functions, and the general incompetency that comes from high employee turnover rates, security and procedures thinking has lapsed and we are left with a few 1980 vintage precautions reduced by a calculated "to be acceptable" level of loss, which insurance companies pick up, against morally deficient fringe surfers armed with year 2000 technology. Whoa - was that a mouthful!

    So, the next time your bank pays your power bill directly, connects your computer to the internet, lets you logon from the internet to do your banking, and becomes your cable company, just be thankful that their using all this technology to provide you with all these great services and aren't wasting your time using it to better secure the fundamental functions they're supposed to uphold. Maybe the unrealized but feared fallout of the millennium is close by.

  • 3/13/00 - BITCH: With TAX Time Comming, I don't have enough time to BITCH!
    RE:The fact that it's been so long since my last rant!
    What can I say. I love to bitch, but, my bitch now is that I don't have enough time to bitch! Why? Overhead. The overhead of running a business is not just money, it's time. And around this time of the year, it takes a lot of time. But, it's not just the IRS. I must admit, there are many things changing here at TA which are keeping me quite busy. Don't worry, I'll have more time soon, then I'll make up for it!

  • 2/3/00 - How about laws against lawmakers sleeping at the wheel?
    RE:The Legislature's incompetents and insidious meddling with the tax codes
    Imagine you own two gift shops and decide to sell one to your cousin for $500,000. But, he doesn't have any money and you don't have much either after all your business expenses. So, you agree to finance the store for him yourself. He will make monthly payments to you for say 15 years. He will use the money he makes from the store to make payments to you. Now enter the IRS. The IRS is a wrecking ball, which when driven responsibly and competently, performs a necessary function. However, put a 12 year old boy at the controls who has done nothing but play video games all his life and you got what we have now when you combine a liberal mind set congress with the IRS. HR 1180, the "Work ticket incentive and improvements act" was signed into law by Klinton December 17th, 1999.

    On the surface it looks like another bullshit welfare enhancement package. Of course, the Klinton Amerika needs its welfare paid for somehow. Section 536 which is a funding provision for this pile repeals an IRS tax code which formerly allowed accrual based businesses (most business types) the ability to pay capital gains tax on sales of assets in "installments" if the sale was performed as such. But, this latest blunder requires you to pay the FULL tax liability as soon as the deal is done regardless of how small the payments are and how long they're strung out. So now you, selling the gift store, have to process $100,000 through your large intestine immediately to pay the IRS that year! BRILLIANT! This should be easy for every business owner to do right? After all, none of us actually have to work, we all have Bill Gates Bucks tucked under our mattresses and work just because it's fun.

    You know, every time I go to the polls, I believe that I'm making a difference. It sure would be nice if a few of our politicians would look at the whole machine they're part of instead of just the circumference of their own little gear. Maybe we should elect complete certified imbeciles to office. It seems obvious to me nobody has the power or the spine to fix this abortion of bureaucracy but maybe we could elect people who gum it up so badly it can't function anymore!

  • 2/1/00 - First, the eating of the crow.....
    RE:Epilog to the Y2K saga
    Well, here it is - something, I might add, you'll never see in journalism or politics. I'm going to publicly eat CROW. Did anything bad happen at the change of the year? NO. Did anything bad happen at the end of the first month of the new year? NO. Do I feel bad for issuing warnings to people about Y2K? NO. Here's why: Y2K was a real problem. What most of us who feared it knew was that uncorrected it could have been devastating.

    What most of us who feared it underestimated was the amount of real effort, money and planning that went into correcting everything on time. In my opinion, those of us who doubted the outcome of these efforts had no real compilation of information on the expanse of the effort to correct the problem, we only had information on the problem. So, at least those of us who feared the outcome had our eyes wide open. Those who didn't simply were too lazy to do the research and found it easier to have faith in the system. Apathy wins, this time.

  • 1/5/00 - BIGGER GOVERNMENT means smaller people!
    RE:GOV's recent raid on Ramsey Electronics, Inc.
    No, this has nothing to do with the Ramsey's in Colorado and their little girl who was murdered, and therefore you won't hear about it on CNN. This is a different Ramsey in New York. But to me this is as much as an atrocity and maybe more disturbing. See THE STORY for detailed info. But essentially, the GOV raided a small electronics company which produces "hobbiest kits" that "can" be used for surveillance among other things. My first question: WHAT THE HELL IS THE US CUSTOMS SERVICE doing being involved in this! GAWD! I'm getting sick of seeing all these agencies given more and more power that seems to overlap too much! Like why the HELL is the SECRET SERVICE policing cellular phone fraud? OK, now that got that off, if you read the article link above, you'll see that the "raid" really was a RAID! If you look at Ramsey's selection of equipment, at the very most, it deserved a law suit from the FCC.

    Ok, now for my platform rant. Should common citizens have access to surveillance equipment and be able to use it? Hey, the RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS is not about protecting hunters rights to own guns! The 2nd amendment is about allowing the citizens of this nation a fighting chance at keeping control away from a tyrannical government (or one that's becoming that way). As far as I'm concerned, whether it's lethal or not, whether it's a gun or not, if it can be used by our government against the citizens of this nation, then its an "ARM" and our citizens should have equal access to it and the right to bear it! All associated problems with that are tolerable for that!

  • 1/4/00 - Don't empty your water jugs or sell your generators yet...
    RE:Al Gore's campaign ala Klintonesk FUD...
    Well for those of you who are too young to have ever experienced legal fireworks, there is a thing called a "dud". It's what you get when you're watching, with great anticipation, the lit fuse of a firework burn violently into the device and then... nothing. Now, a smart person will wait sometime before going over and picking up the firework like a curious monkey. Nonetheless, the big worries of Y2K which were the utilities and communications have past the "embedded test" with the ultimate in boredom and should be fine. Accounting problems are what still remain to be seen and some of these may not manifest themselves until month or quarter ends. So, I'm still sticking with my rant from 12/20/99 below.

    But what could detonate the "hang fire" of the Y2K event is the Klinton machine spewing its propaganda about how the economy will be plunged into the 1930's again if Al Gore isn't elected.

    Listen, don't worry about the economy getting worse if Al Gore isn't doesn't get elected. Because, it's going to get worse all by itself *GRIN*. Everyone in the market and the accounting world knows that too many stocks are way over priced. The best the next administration can hope to accomplish is keeping confidence and hopes high enough so that the markets experience "corrections" rather than an implosion.


Click here for my 4th quarter 1999 rants.
Copyright (c) 1999, by Thomas Hoops. All rights reserved.

Use the contacts in the left column to contact the webmaster.

Unless specifically noted, all pictures and graphics may be visually enhanced for marketing purposes and should not be used as a basis for determination of performance.
Copyright © 1998-2004 Technology Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.

Powered by Apache Powered by PHP
Current server uptime: 13:55:01 up 284 days, 20:47, 2 users, load average: 0.86, 0.99, 1.19