With Author Rodney Strange
I read on Time.com that somewhere around 44% of all husbands hide money from their wives. Well, I don't blame them...and there goes 50% of my reader fan base. So, now that it's just us guys...y'all know what I mean, don't you! Sure, sweetie has her own job and her own money. We all know what's hers is hers and when it's gone, what's yours is hers. And that's just the way it is.
I'm not looking for a fight here. I don't recall whether the author of the article I read was male or female, but I'd bet on the latter. It was a man-slamming piece intended to enlighten women to the fact that we men are holding out on them. In fact, in a follow-up article, our wives are tipped off to the revelation that 23% of husbands actually have a secret bank account, which from my point of view seems to be a smart move if we're going to hide our money from our wives in a secure manner. I do know of one man who just hides his money in the drawer his wife keeps her sexy lingerie in. He says he's done it for years and she's yet to find it.
We of the male gender are non-aggressive people. We really don't like confrontation especially with the opposite sex for there is no such thing as winning with them. It should be simple.
."Honey, this hundred dollar bill is mine. I worked hard for it all week. You can have the rest of my paycheck to do whatever you want with it....deal?"
Now come on guys, you know how that's going to go down. All that did was set the wheels in motion. She won't say anything but she's thinking it. Now she's convincing herself that you have a girlfriend on the side. A hundred bucks would buy your girlfriend some flowers...and lunch. Yep, you're probably spending your lunch hours with the new chick down in Human Resources. You sorry dog!
In reality, your wife's birthday is next month and you know how difficult it is to put back a little cash for her special day. If you could just stash a few twenties back from a paycheck or two, you could really surprise her with a steak from her favorite restaurant and maybe get her those diamond earrings she's been wanting. For deep down in your heart, you yearn to show her how much you love her.
Meanwhile, she is plotting your demise! How dare you so blatantly take a hundred dollars of your own money! Yes, she is convinced you are cheating on her! She'll show you, buddy boy! When she's through with you, she'll have the house, the Suburban, and you'll be paying child support for decades! And so to avoid all that you do what I would do. You slip a few bills out here and there and tuck them away. You don't tell her and pray she doesn't find out, for there will surely be hell to pay. It's so much easier keeping it a secret, right?
I had a wife once...well, I've had more than one. But this particular wife (shudder) was the one who taught me a thing or two. For instance...how to hide money and yes, even open up a secret account to keep it in. This wife really liked money! I couldn't tell seeing how we never had any. It all started about this time of year, back in 1992, I think it was. It was a Friday evening and after supper, I decided I'd set down and start preparing my tax return. I gathered the necessary stuff together and stacked them on the dining table, hunted down my solar-powered calculator, and stood staring at the task awaiting me. Glancing over at my wife, who was doing the dishes, I announced,
"Honey, I think I might run and get a six pack of beer before I start this."
She froze, her eyes staring straight ahead, in thought.
"Oh, I don't know if that's a good idea. This week is going to be pretty tight with the money. It would run us short."
I stared down at the W-2 form laying on the table...A hundred thousand and change in 1991. Back in '92 that was like a quarter million, right? My mind pondered the fact that it was Friday...payday...and we couldn't afford a three dollar six pack of beer?
So over the course of the next few days, I started snooping and discovered I had credit cards I never knew I had. Every credit card known to man! Sears, J C Penny, Discover (gasp!) and of course the typical Visas and Mastercards. I also discovered most were overdue. In the course of my investigation, I'd occasionally gander around the house in search of a clue as to where the money was going. Nope, no clues. Perhaps she was hiding money from me?
Over two decades later I still don't have the answer. But within a week of my discovery back in '92 I had opened a secret bank account and began socking away my bonuses and every other spare dime I came across. Over the course of the next year, I accumulated an impressive nest egg in spite of my wife's addiction to spending. To make a long story short, I kicked the wife to the curb a year or so later, paid off all her debts...and as luck would have it, wound up with another wife. But this time it was different. I made it clear to her up front that if we were going to get in it for the long haul, there'd be a few rules, number one: My money was my money and her money was her money, and if she ran out of her money, my money was not her money. Believe it or not, everything rocked along exceptionally well financially. Not once did we squabble about money. And we lived happily ever after for seven years...The End
Out here in west Texas, we tend to say what's on our mind and say it in a way that leaves little doubt that we are pretty serious about saying it. We tend to embellish and we tend to flavor our sentences with spicy words now and then. Fact is, we've been known to punctuate here and there with words that may not be acceptable spoken around preachers and our mamas. Yes, cursing is as much part of many of us out here as chicken fried steak. But...let me clarify by saying ...when we cuss around here...we tend to cuss good.
What is the difference between good cussing and bad cussing? I think the vast majority of us from around these parts know there is a time and place for everything, even for uttering one of those 'spicy words.' I'd say my social circle is pretty much the norm, as normal as any group of Texans gathered together could be. When the guys get together, talk may become as spicy as a delicately blended habanero sauce...but we know when the ladies come around, it's time to clean it up. We never cuss around the preacher, women, or children ...it's the way we were taught. I call that good cussing.
There's not a foul word that could be spoken that I haven't heard...or tossed out into the right crowd myself. But I must admit, in recent years, I heard words thrown around in everyday language that makes me blush. I see these words in print, generally with the user's name and photo proudly displayed right beside it. Yes, twitter and facebook have become a devil's playground for those who have never been taught better. What makes me sad is often these most vulgar words are being used by our kids...teens and even tweens. I learned my lesson the hard way. My parents were good, upstanding Christian people and I never heard a curse word escape from either of their mouths, but as I ventured into my teen years, naturally I began to pick up a few 'spicy' words here and there. I had a friend whose parents were, I'll say, pretty easy going. They said nothing about us smoking around them, drinking a beer, or saying a few colorful words in the course of conversation. So, me being the dumb neighbor kid, uttered a word out loud to my friend within hearing range of his mother one day. It was, what the evening news now likes to refer to as 'The F-Bomb.' That woman dropped the boom she was sweeping the porch with and approached me in a fury, wagging her finger in my face.
"Let me tell you, young man, I don't know what the rules are at your house, but around here THAT WORD is NEVER spoken around ladies!"
My eyes grew wide and perhaps even teared up momentarily as I stood there and took my tongue lashing. It would be a lashing I would never forget. That, my friends, was bad cussing.
I've tried really hard lately to obliterate all curse words from my everyday language and it's been a real challenge. Decades of letting loose with 'ample spice' to enhance my verbiage have proven this to be a hard habit to break.
The preacher found it his place to address this topic last Sunday, and while he chose his words carefully, with a congregation of hardcore west Texans listening to his sermon, he reminded us all that as Christians, we're better than that. In fact, he challenged us all to make an effort to enrich our vocabulary by discovering new and exciting words to add the 'spice' we seem so tempted to include in our everyday conversations. He reminded us we have a duty as Christians to set a shining example to the rest of the world. Then, with a smile, he reminded us that it wasn't his rule...it was God's.
Ephesians 4 Verses 29-31 says this: 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Perhaps we as a society should work on finding some new 'spices' to enhance the flavor of our vocabulary with. Can you accept this challenge? I think I can, by-golly-G-bum!
With author Rodney Strange (Authors note: I may have embellished this story a tad bit.)
I have reached the point of exasperation brought on by undue provocation! Yes, harassment in its utmost form, uncut, undiluted...dealt out with the precision of a North Korean rocket. I've been carpet bombed from all directions and I've found it necessary to go underground for my own protection...so....shhh! I'm hiding. I've let my phone battery die. Parked my pickup way back by the cotton field so folks can't drive by and see that I'm really home. I sit here in the dark to avoid raising any suspicion. I'm making an earnest effort to stay off facebook, you know that's a dead giveaway!
"Oh, look! He didn't die of a massive heart attack while taking his morning dump! He's right here on facebook! See that little green dot?"
I've had a rash of misfortune, well not me directly although it is affecting me directly. I've got so many family members and friends in the hospital, we're needing an entire wing dedicated to us. Problem is, they're scattered out in hospitals all across west Texas. This would be a whole lot easier on me if I could just get them all grouped together...in a single room would be ideal. You know how folks are when they're in the hospital. They're NEEDY! Well, they think they are. Fact is, they really don't need anything. Three meals a day, free open-air apparel, and literally someone there to answer their every beck and call, even empty their bedpan. And they have drugs, high powered drugs that make them delusional. They think weird stuff, like for instance..they think I should be right there, sitting in the room, watching them be sick. Can you relate?
I know I'm twisted a bit different than some. I see entire families up at the hospital, a dozen at a time! The kids all gathered around the foot of grandma's bed staring at the little bitty TV hanging from the ceiling while their mothers huddle around the lavatory mixing up baby formula. Uncle Louie is grilling steaks on a propane grill over by the window. Grandma's snoring, oblivious to the chaos surrounding her thanks to an overdose of hydrocodone. That's what family's for...I heard you think that.
I don't come from a big family and what family I have is in the hospital except for me and my daughter. We're stretched pretty thin right now. There's a map hanging in the kitchen and every day the two of us gather around it.
"Okay, you hit this hospital then make your way across the city to this one." I trace a route with my finger, "and I will take this one...this one..and that one."
Yes, we've had to split up to cover more distance. Have I mentioned it's forty miles to the nearest hospital? I'm always the last one to finish because, hey she's seventeen. Pop in..."Hi, thought I'd stop by. Gotta run!"
The sick people don't expect much from her because she's a busy girl and they know it. Me on the other hand...I got nothing better to do but sit in a bed-a-chair and watch people be sick. Forget that I'm a single dad of a teenaged daughter. Sure the laundry can wait until everyone is well. Did I mention I have a teenaged daughter? Try letting her laundry go for a few days. No groceries left in my house? A job? Bills to write and mail off? It can all wait! WE'RE SICK! Oh, by the way...could you pay a few of my bills on the way home when you leave?
Invariably you see parts of sick people's bodies that you just can't unsee when they're in the hospital. Hospitals smell funny. I just can't quite put my finger on that smell. Alien-like machines make sounds I'm not accustomed to. The other day, bells and whistles and strobe lights went off while I was just sitting in a hospital room wishing I wasn't there. Thought I'd won the jackpot until an army of nurses invaded the darkened room like a swat team. I casually rose from my chair and mentioned I needed to mosey on home..."Would you tell him if he wakes up?"
I've been a patient in a hospital several times throughout my life and honestly...I really don't want anybody staring at me while I puke in a gray tray the size of a ring box. Just let me be. I know there are people qualified to care for me just down the hall. I don't need spectators gawking at me while I drool on a hospital gown under the influence of morphine. I certainly don't want anyone sitting beside me in a bed-a-chair impatiently sighing in disgust, thinking 'Either get well or die...I got things to do!'
Nope, just give me a laptop and my magic vape stick. Send in a few pretty nurses every now and then to flirt with. I have a soft spot for nurses. They are all utterly undatable, mind you. Been there and done that and got the scars to prove it. I dunno, maybe it's the scrubs that turn me on.
So, my phone is charged...let's see. A voice message: "I know you're hiding from me! I need you to go over to my house and pick up the mail and drop it by so I can sign some checks. You need to pay my bills for me. Needs to be done today!"
Oh, and a text: 'Dad, you should see all these hot doctors up here! I need clean clothes BTW.'
I suppose sooner or later this will all pass...like a large gall stone. There are headlights coming down my road...it's the cops! One of those sick screwballs called 911 on me...making my get-a-way out the back door! Wish me luck!
Have we not seen our fill of 'fake news' this week? The media has inundated our social timelines with pure crap lately and I think its time we begin to ask ourselves, "Is this even news?"
Covington Catholic High School closed its doors Tuesday out of concern for the safety of its students after the now infamous encounter between a handful of their students and some native American wanna be 'Vietnam Vet' on the warpath apparently suffering a flashback set off by their red 'MAGA' caps. Some national media outlets ran with this brief confrontation due simply to the fact that these kids were wearing red Trump hats. Without any consideration to the damage they were about to cause to the reputation of these boys and the school itself, they unleashed a barrage of slanted news stories alerting the nation that these children were terrorizing an elderly Vietnam veteran, hurling racial slurs at him. I mean from the media's point of view, these boys surely must be racists. After all, they were wearing the red caps, the new stylish fashion that has replaced the white hoods of supremacists...to hear them tell it.
And as the dust settles, I must draw attention to the fact that this never was newsworthy. Had it never been for those red caps, nothing would have ever been said about the incident. I've seen the videos...nothing happened. No punches were thrown, no verbal exchanges, no rioting masses...just some old man beating a drum in the face of a teenager who happened to cross his path. No, this was never news.
Have you heard Vice-President Pence's wife has a new job? Imagine how boring our social timelines would be if everyone who started a new job had a story posted on Facebook. Ah, but she landed a job teaching at a Christian school...nope, still not news. But the fact that this Christian school has policies in place that adhere to their Christian principles, including an unfavorable view of homosexuality suddenly made this story newsworthy in the eyes of the national media. Really, what do you expect from a Christian school? Lady Gaga has gone public with her opinion, calling Pence a sorry example of a Christian. Lady Gaga, shut up. None of us care what you think, not one of us. Go get yourself another tattoo or whatever you do to pass your time. This story was never, ever news. Why did we have to be exposed to it?
Fox news slipped in Ruth Ginsburg graphic during an unrelated segment saying Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead. They blamed it on a control room error but the question flitting through my mind is, why was this particular graphic just laying around anyway. I wonder if there is such a picture with my name on it and the date of my impending death? Obviously, this wasn't news since she is still around, but yet another example of sloppy journalism that floods our nation.
Even Blake Shelton had to correct Billboard, yes that trusted source of music news we've all come to believe as the gospel of the music industry. Billboard erroneously reported that Blake and George Strait had signed on with Paradigm Talent Agency in Nashville to represent their touring interests. Blake Shelton came back with this; "When did fact checking go out of style? My god... One phone [call] would tell them this isn’t true. Please be careful about what you believe on the internet, everybody. Unreal."
I was destined to become one of the great journalists of my generation according to my high school journalism teacher, Miss Marshall. Personally, I am thankful I chose another profession for I would have never fit into the mold that today's news reporters come from. She taught me to write unbiased news and allow the reader to form their own opinions. The news has not been written in this fashion for some time, but the profession continues to unravel at an accelerated pace, as we can see from just these examples over the course of one week. Today's theory in the news profession is quantity over quality. Thousands upon thousands or articles flood our social media daily, many without any merit and most of no value to anyone. Little of the garbage I see is news, just someone's opinion. The Washington Post apparently has given up on calling their fodder news. Everything I see on my timeline starts with 'Opinion - Blah, blah...' And if I click on the link, they want me to pay them a dollar to read someone's opinion that I know I'm not going to agree with. Damned Jeff Bezos and his schemes to make another buck.
We, the American public must treat everything we read with a grain of salt. We must question the validity of what we read. We must form our own opinions and not allow ourselves to be swayed by the beliefs of some fruitcake journalist. And finally, we must ask ourselves...is this really news? As Blake Shelton said, "Please be careful about what you believe on the internet, everybody. Unreal."
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The more powerful and successful people are, the more they suffer when they experience defeat and disaster. Just ask Jeff, Mark, and Tim, some of the world's most powerful giants. Each of these men has stumbled recently and while none of them will ever miss a meal or a mortgage payment on their mansions, they have suffered significant setbacks. The latest being Jeff Bezos.
Jeff may not see the full impact of his infidelity at the moment. He is, after all, off on a lustful tryst with his neighbor. He has no worries, with thousands of qualified employees to run his trillion dollar company. His 'newspaper,' and I use the term loosely, 'The Washington Post,' has obviously lacked any leadership for some time and likely won't miss a beat nor an opportunity to opinionize politics as they see fit while their owner is off co-piloting around the world with the new love of his life. Even when the divorce is finalized, Jeff will still have a paltry seventy billion bucks to woo his new girlfriend with. But when the dust settles, Bezos will have to forfeit his title of 'Richest Man in the World.' The wife he leaves behind will take her rightful spot as the fourth wealthiest person in the world and according to sources, will capture the top spot as the wealthiest woman in the world. While the private affairs of Amazon's founder are certainly none of my business, two thoughts flitter through my mind; If Jeff Bezos were nothing more than a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, would his bombshell of a neighbor ever given him a second glance? And secondly, I ponder what would be the proper waiting period before I make my move on MacKenzie Bezos once her divorce is finalized? And I wonder how long the line to her door will be?
Mark Zuckerberg saw the value of Facebook, the company he gave birth to, fall by 120 billion dollars in 2018. Had he been able to thwart off the multitudes of lawsuits the company has encountered since its conception, he'd probably reign as supreme leader of the world's wealth. Faced with three dozen class action lawsuits in 2018, plus numerous others, Facebook saw its stock values plummet last year. Just last month Attorney General Karl Racine was suing Facebook, accusing the social media giant of wide-ranging privacy violations. But Mark is determined...and extremely greedy. And he just doesn't get it, even as his shares lost as much as forty percent of their value over the course of last year. He was summoned to Washington DC to explain why he put the lives of 2.27 billion daily users up on the auction block, for sale to the highest bidder. He faced a mass exodus of key leaders within his organization, including the original founders of WhatsApp and Instagram. The list of setbacks is too lengthy to bore you with but you can read more here (https://goo.gl/jD3cn6) In a nutshell Facebook the Giant has stumbled. I would bet the farm that in spite of a flawed business model, Mark Zuckerberg will never cease to follow the same path his company is on, not until Facebook draws its final breath.
Tim Cook, Mr. Apple himself, also stood by and watched his trillion dollar company begin to crumble as Apple's shares took a nosedive after the release of a series of iPhones retailing for more than what I bought my first car for. Fueled by the belief that folks all over the world would willingly trade in their perfectly good phones every year to keep pace with their BFF's, Apple continuously raised the retail price on their phones, which probably cost around a hundred bucks to produce, until finally, we got smarter than their smartphones. While Apple's year wasn't as dramatic a that of Facebook, the company received a wakeup call when its stock plunged to a four year low after lackluster results of their newly released line of phones. Still, the company we all love is worth a trillion dollars and Tim Cook is still king as long as his husband doesn't follow MacKenzie Bezos lead.
Nothing on this earth is forever, just ask Sears, which after 126 years is facing liquidation. Its a sad event for had Sears played their cards right there never would have been an Amazon. The top brass at Sears fell asleep at the wheel and rather than steering a company that pioneered the concept of shopping at home as far back as the late 1800s, they banked on forcing everyone in America to carry that dreaded Sears Card in their wallets, a credit line with interest rates so exorbitant that literally drove households to the brink of destitution. I notice of late that Amazon has followed the ill ways of Sears, touting their own Amazon charge card. It will be interesting to see if Jeff Bezos can recoup some of that fortune his wife is destined to pack into a moving van. Ah, but I stray.
There are those in these times who have claimed the title of gods, little g. With their fortunes came fame and as humans, flawed as we all are, they confused fortune and fame with power. Bezos with his Washington Post feels he has the power to change the world...and the way we should think. His mighty Amazon.com threatens to destroy the retail world as we know it, driving countless brick-and-mortar retail companies to extinction. Zuckerberg sees the world as few others do and has taken on the challenge to sway our thoughts and beliefs, censoring anything that goes against what he wants us to become. His social platform reeks of liberalism and to the most naive of us, paints a fictional picture of what our world is. And Tim Cook, who proudly boasts of his homosexuality, defends the banning of certain speech and news media on Apple platforms when they violate the "values" of their company. 'Not banning those who violate Apple's values is a sin.' We must all be, in his tainted and twisted opinion, what he wants us to be.
Is it a coincidence that these giants who rumble throughout our land spewing their foul ideologies upon us have stumbled? I think not. And when they fall, they will fall hard.
Are you ready to rumble? No, this story is not about billionaire owner of the NFL Jaguars, who just days ago announced the creation of a new professional wrestling company called All Elite Wrestling. I am sort of excited about that even though this new wrestling venture has some pretty stiff competition. Yes, I'm talking about the United States Congress.
At almost the exact moment Jaguars owner Tony Khan announced his desire to turn his attention to pro wrestling, Democrats were bringing in their own heavyweights. Representative Jennifer Wexton hung an LBGT flag outside her office door. Congress, Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat from Arizona, made the unusual choice to take her oath of office using a book containing the texts of the U.S. and Arizona constitutions rather than the Bible. She is the first openly bisexual person in the Senate. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (D-Mich.) the first-ever Palestinian-American woman in Congress, called President Donald Trump a 'mother-you-know-what' and promptly hung a Palestinian flag outside her office door. And then there's the rising star of the All-New Liberal Democratic Party... Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, Mother Pelosi has assembled quite a team.
We can readily see where these women's' priorities lay by the flags they've chosen to fly and the books they chose to swear a solemn oath on. The status quo of America is likely at risk as these women take their seats vacated by, what the press reminds us of constantly, 'old white men.' But none have been so verbally outspoken of their agenda as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC, a label applied to her by a media too lazy to continually type out her lengthy name. But isn't she just a doll? She reminds me of everyone's favorite drunk girl at the party, always good for a laugh. She can dance, too, a quality that caught my eye. I don't know if she can Texas Two-step, my personal favorite dance step, but I bet she could pick it up in a jiffy. She does have a few flaws, like my ex-wife, who's brain ran like a four-cylinder engine with a fouled spark plug. My ex wasn't a dumb person, she just misfired occasionally. And so does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who like any socialist worth her salt, wants to give us all free stuff. Except for very wealthy people. She wants to take 70 percent of their wealth.
I don't think for a moment that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is dumb. I think she is highly intelligent...and extremely dangerous. I read numerous news articles covering her adventures and scrolling down to the readers' comments, I am somewhat amazed at the loyal following she is garnering. Folks like free stuff and she is promising the moon. She is also promising something she cannot deliver.
She is the Democratic Party's worst nightmare, a party struggling to regain a foothold after many missteps. The party needs credibility and stability...and more voters. A self-proclaimed radical who is too radical for even the far-left? It's likely they never saw this coming. From Vox (https://goo.gl/zY2QDs) - 'Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is fine with being called a “radical,” believes President Donald Trump is racist, and is okay with sometimes fudging facts as long as she is “morally right.” And no, she has no idea how America would pay for everything she wants to give away 'for free.' Her words..."why should she be forced to do the math on every single thing she puts forward?"
Well, she's a Millenial, what do you expect. My daughter has wagged her finger at me numerous times for stereotyping, but I repeat, she's a Millenial. Just weeks ago I wrote an article warning that Millenials are beginning to make their way into positions of leadership and here she is. With absolutely no clue how to pay for all the changes they want to put in place, they are adamant and, regardless of the fact, will stomp their feet and demand results. How did we get here?
Those misfits of our generations, the fouled spark plugs we tossed aside, made their way into our universities and spewed their misguided ideas onto our children. They drilled their twisted philosophies into the minds of these naive young men and women. They cursed the very foundation on which America was built on and vowed there was a better way. Socialism, a failed system in every instance of history, was planted as a seed in the brains of these who now line up to oust those who stand in their way.
The media, not always shining a positive light on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, nonetheless fuels her fame. It is perhaps the very worst move we as a society can make...to give a voice to one who perhaps unwittingly will destroy the very fabric of our great nation if she is allowed to succeed. Any idiot can stand on a street corner and babble. It doesn't mean we need to give them a microphone.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is just a sign of what is to come. Bernie Sanders patiently waits for 2020. But just as Republicans spar with one another for their place on the ballot, and main-stream 'conservative' Democrats battle one another as their parties choice for presidential candidate, so shall, I believe, the Socialists.
Thankfully, Ms. Ocasio-Codrtez will not meet the age qualifications to run for president in 2020, but I predict another whose beliefs parallel hers will rise like a phoenix...or like Barack Obama did in 2009. His name?
“There is a fundamental choice in this election. It’s a choice between - we’re seeing nationally, socialists - like Bernie Sanders, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and indeed, Congressman Beto O’Rourke..." Senator Ted Cruz (https://goo.gl/FtV6bp)
I have all these streaming channels and can't find wrestling on any of them. Oh, here's CSPAN. That'll do.