Category: Inspiration

The ‘Little Red Hen’ Shall Define the 2012 Election

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My wife, Tanya, and I were talking this weekend about the upcoming Republican National Convention happening this week in our hometown, The Tampa / St. Petersburg area, and who will win in November.

Tanya’s opinion is that the outcome of the election will be determined by where voters stand on the parable of the ‘Little Red Hen’. What? I was not savvy on the parable so she explained that The Little Red Hen is parable that teaches a lesson about respecting, valuing and appreciating hard work. She further went on to mention that she always tried to instill values of the little red hen in our three daughters.

In preparing for this post I ran across a version of the parable told by President Ronald Reagan in November 1976 on one of his radio programs. I think he does a great job drawing out the differences between members of our society that are “Little Red Hens” and those that want to enjoy the spoils without being part of the hard work necessary to “bake the bread”. See below for a link to a YouTube video where Reagan tells the modern version of this Russian parable. If you can not click on the video below – copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://bit.ly/LittleRedHen

By Ronald Reagan in November 1976

Once upon a time there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some grains of wheat.

She called her neighbors and said, “If we plant this wheat we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?”

“Not I”, said the cow.

“Not I”, said the duck.

“Not I”, said the pig.

“Not I”, said the goose.

“Then I will”, said the little red hen and she did.

The wheat grew tall and rippened into golden grain.

“Who will help me reap my wheat?’, asked the little red hen.

“Not I”, said the duck.

“Out of my classification”, said the pig.

“I’d lose my seniority”, said the cow.

“I’d lose my unemployment compensation”, said the goose.

“Then I will”, said the little red hen, and she did.

At last it came time to bake the bread. “Who will help me bake bread?”, asked the little red hen. “Oh that would be overtime for me.”, said the cow.

“I’d lose my welfare benefits.”, said the duck.

“I’m a dropout and never learned how.”, said the pig.

“Well, if I’m to be the only helper that’s discrimination.” said the goose.

“Then I will .” said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for her neighbors to see. They all wanted some. And in fact demanded a share. But the little red hen said “No. I can eat the five loaves myself.”

“Excess profits!” cried the cow.

“Capitalist leech!”, screamed the duck.

“I demand equal rights!”, yelled the goose.

And the pig just grunted.

And they painted “Unfair” picket signs and marched round and round the little red hen shouting obscenities.

When the government agent came he said to the little red hen, “You must not be greedy.”

“But I earned the bread!” said the little red hen.

“Exactly!” said the agent, “That’s the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants, but under our modern government regulations the OrangeCountyDigiart productive workers must divide their product with the idle.”

And they lived happily ever after. Including the little red hen. Who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful, I am grateful.” But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked anymore bread. I guess a lot of us have been wondering something like that.

My Thanksgiving Theme for 2011: GRATITUDE

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Backstory: Since 1996 my wife and I have been honored to host Thanksgiving Dinner at our home for friends and family with 30 to 60+ guests not uncommon. We assumed this family tradition after the passing of my father in 1996. My late father was an English major at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and an attorney / judge by profession. He took his task of preparing the Thanksgiving prayer as seriously as preparing for a Supreme Court case. I’ve done my best to honor his legacy by keeping up that tradition. Here is my Thanksgiving prayer for 2011… 

GRATITUDE

One of my favorite stories from my misguided youth is that of the young boy on a cold Buffalo Winter afternoon…

This boy that was so poor that he had to walk home from school with big, giant holes in his boots.

He was cold and feeling depressed about his condition. “Why me? Why must life be so hard for me?

I don’t even have boots that will keep me dry!” he cried out. Then he came across a little boy sitting in the alley, who had no FEET!

He walked the rest of the way home with joy in his heart and never complained another day in his life.

 

It took me many years to truly appreciate the lessons from this story. Above all the last year has taught me to be grateful no matter how many holes I have in my boots.

My prayer for 2011 is one of simple thanksgiving. As the great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you ever say is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

Let us bow our heads:

My heart is filled with thankfulness for the continuous flow of God’s good.

And while I earnestly give thanks for specific things, occurrences and people,

I also maintain a grateful state of mind regardless of outer circumstances.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL !!!

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11/11/11 Is Nigel Tufnel Day

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This Friday is Nov. 11, 2011 (aka 11/11/11). Or, to put it another way, it’s Nigel Tufnel Day. 

Enthusiasts of loud (if not necessarily critically acclaimed) music know all about Tufnel. He’s the fictional rocker from the semi-fictional band Spinal Tap who loves to turn his amps up to 11 when he needs that “extra push over the cliff.” What better time to celebrate and salute the man and his technique than on 11/11/11?

We first learned of the unofficial holiday through Facebook, where folks are preparing to honor the great guitarist. One fan writes, “Friday, in Honor if Nigel Tufnel Day and Veterans Day, I will be turning it up to 11 and rocking the Star-Spangled banner.” Web searches on the holiday are on the rise, jumping 20% over the past 24 hours.

 

View Original Article on Yahoo

Happy 236th Birthday United States Marine Corps

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Today we celebrate the 236th Birthday of the USMC. Let’s not forget the gratitude for their never-ending vigilance. May God Bless the United States Marine Corps.

 

The Marines’ Prayer
Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose in deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate of those committed to my leadership. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold. If I am inclined to doubt; steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Amen.

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“We Are Wall Street”: The Top 1% Are Mad as Hell and Fighting Back!

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Like a scene out of Atlas Shrugged…

Wall Streeters recently struck back by dropping leaflets on the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Here’s what the leaflets said:

“We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, it’s not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back some whatever, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 4am and work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t’ demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team to $5k extra a summer, thank you very much. So now that we’re going to be making $8k a year without upside, Joe Main street is going to have his revenge right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but its really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom. We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Main street our food supply…will he? And will they?”

PS – When you are ready to stop complaining and ready to start thinking like a billionaire… follow this link to reserve your copy of “The Billionaire Mindset”

Fall Back(story): Sunday Morning Coming Down

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Today is one of my favorite days of the year! The extra hour presses the “reset” button for a life lived at full throttle.

Wanted to share one of my favorite “Sunday” songs and the back-story. Kris Kristoffersen wrote this song and tried to give it to Johnny Cash in the studio where Kris was working as a janitor. Cash tossed it in the trash without even saying hello to Kris. At the time Kris was in the Tennessee Air National Guard flying helicopters. So out of frustration he took the song aboard a TANG chopper and flew it into Johnny Cash’s back yard refusing to leave until John listened to the song, Johnny finally agreed, the rest is history.

Enjoy!

A Different Take on the Richest 1%

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My inbox has been bombed with e-mails from folks outraged by the wealth disparity between the richest 1% and the balance of America. A few bullet points:

  1. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Owns 40 Percent of the Nation’s Wealth
  2. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Take Home 24 Percent of National Income
  3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half of the Country’s Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds
  4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent of the Nation’s Personal Debt
  5. The Top 1 Percent are Taking In More of the Nation’s Income Than at Any Other Time Since the 1920s

I wondered what it would take to be in the “Richest 1%” certainly these are the  “jet owners” our President has vilified. When you do the research it takes an annual family income over $200,000 to qualify for the richest 1%. As someone who has spent his professional career “playing Monopoly” with multi-millionaires and deca-millionaires in the commercial real estate investment, development and finance industry the admission standards to be included in the top 1% seem appallingly low and describes nearly everyone I’ve ever dealt with over my business career.

The “Occupy Wall Street” folks want to take the wealth of the Richest 1% and redistribute it to “the people”. If that were allowed to happen I can guarantee that within 5 or 10 years the folks that had their wealth stolen from them will get it back. How will they do this? Because they have mastered intellectual, personal and financial discipline.

PORTRAIT OF A MILLIONAIRE [1]

Who is the prototypical member of the Richest 1% You may be surprises to learn what the typical American millionaire can tell you about himself?(*)

* I am a fifty-seven-year-old male, married with three children. About 70 percent of us earn 80 percent or more of our household’s income.

* About one in five of us is retired. About two-thirds of us who are working are self-employed. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants.

* Many of the types of businesses we are in could be classified as dullnormal. We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.

* About half of our wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher.

* Our household’s total annual realized (taxable) income is $131,000 (median, or 50th percentile), while our average income is $247,000. Note that those of us who have incomes in the $500,000 to $999,999 category (8 percent) and the $1 million or more category (5 percent) skew the average upward.

* We have an average household net worth of $3.7 million. Of course, some of our cohorts have accumulated much more. Nearly 6 percent have a net worth of over $10 million. Again, these people skew our average upward. The typical (median, or 50th percentile) millionaire household has a net worth of $1.6 million.

* On average, our total annual realized income is less than 7 percent of our wealth. In other words, we live on less than 7 percent of our wealth.

* Most of us (97 percent) are homeowners. We live in homes currently valued at an average of $320,000. About half of us have occupied the same home for more than twenty years. Thus, we have enjoyed significant increases in the value of our homes.

* Most of us have never felt at a disadvantage because we did not receive any inheritance. About 80 percent of us are first-generation affluent.

* We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles.

* Most of our wives are planners and meticulous budgeters. In fact, only 18 percent of us disagreed with the statement “Charity begins at home.” Most of us will tell you that our wives are a lot more conservative with money than we are.

* We have a “go-to-hell fund.” In other words, we have accumulated enough wealth to live without working for ten or more years. Thus, those of us with a net worth of $1.6 million could live comfortably for more than twelve years. Actually, we could live longer than that, since we save at least 15 percent of our earned income.

* We have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of our nonmillionaire neighbors, but, in our neighborhood, these nonmillionaires outnumber us better than three to one. Could it be that they have chosen to trade wealth for acquiring high-status material possessions?

* As a group, we are fairly well educated. Only about one in five are not college graduates. Many of us hold advanced degrees. Eighteen percent have master’s degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D.s.

* Only 17 percent of us or our spouses ever attended a private elementary or private high school. But 55 percent of our children are currently attending or have attended private schools.

* As a group, we believe that education is extremely important for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We spend heavily for the educations of our offspring.

* About two-thirds of us work between forty-five and fifty-five hours per week.

* We are fastidious investors. On average, we invest nearly 20 percent of our household realized income each year. Most of us invest at least 15 percent. Seventy-nine percent of us have at least one account with a brokerage company. But we make our own investment decisions.

* We hold nearly 20 percent of our household’s wealth in transaction securities such as publicly traded stocks and mutual funds. But we rarely sell our equity investments. We hold even more in our pension plans. On average, 21 percent of our household’s wealth is in our private businesses.

* As a group, we feel that our daughters are financially handicapped in comparison to our sons. Men seem to make much more money even within the same occupational categories. That is why most of us would not hesitate to share some of our wealth with our daughters. Our sons, and men in general, have the deck of economic cards stacked in their favor. They should not need subsidies from their parents.

* What would be the ideal occupations for our sons and daughters? There are about 3.5 millionaire households like ours. Our numbers are growing much faster than the general population. Our kids should consider providing affluent people with some valuable service. Overall, our most trusted financial advisors are our accountants. Our attorneys are also very important. So we recommend accounting and law to our children. Tax advisors and estate-planning experts will be in big demand over the next fifteen years.

* I am a tightwad. That’s one of the main reasons I completed a long questionnaire for a crispy $1 bill. Why else would I spend two or three hours being personally interviewed by these authors? They paid me $100, $200, or $250. Oh, they made me another offer–to donate in my name the money I earned for my interview to my favorite charity. But I told them, “I am my favorite charity.”

If you would like to know more about Millionaires and Billionaires – follow this link to reserve a complementary copy of my white paper titled “The Billionaire Mindset: Zen and the Art of Business”.

[1] Source Material for this article from The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D and William D. Danko, Ph.D

Visit this link for the complete article on wealth disparity by Dr. G. William Domhoff

 

 

 

 

Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment…

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Written by a third grader, on what his grandparents do.

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One child wrote the following:

We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa.  They used to live in a big brick house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Arizona .  Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass.  They ride around on their bicycles, and wear name tags, because they don’t know who they are anymore.  They go to a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now, they do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well.

There is a swimming pool too, but they all jump up and down in it with hats on.  At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it.  He watches all day so nobody can escape.  Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts.  Nobody there cooks, they just eat out.  And, they eat the same thing every night – early birds.   Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the doll house.  The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center for pot luck.  My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and, says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.   When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house.   Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren.

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Have a favorite song that tells a story?

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The weekend project in my oldest daughter’s 9th grade literature class is to find 10 songs that tell a story (narrative poem)… and then summarize ’em… very cool assignment.

Have a favorite song that tells a story? Here are five of mine:

5. Roy Orbison’s cover of “The Comedians” written by Elvis Costello
4. Pearl Jam’s cover of “Last Kiss” written by Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon
3. Johnny Cash’s cover of “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” by Kris Kristofferson which also earned the Country Music Association Award for “Song of the Year” in 1970
2. Johnny Cash’s version of “A Boy Named Sue” written by Shel Silverstein (poet, cartoonist and author of children’s books)
1. Waylon Jennings 1977 song “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” written by Bobby Emmons & Chips Moman is pure outlaw country magic

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