Monthly Archives: December 2016

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017

In the blogs during 2016, I pretty much sat out the election with only an occasional reference to the ongoing character assassination and lack of meaningful discussions on some of the important issues.

Now that it’s over, I plan to still keep clear of the personality politics; but in the blogs of 2017, I would like to address a number of issues that have been on my mind

  • Global warming or luke warming
  • Pensions creating governmental bankruptcies
  • Needed alternative(s) to impeachment
  • School choice
  • The unworkable theory of the California Primary System
  • Foreign relations rethink
  • The only way to dump the Electoral College

Yes, I understand that politics enters into each of these discussions.  I will try to explore them as objectively as I can and reach conclusions where possible based on reason, rather than party platforms.

We’ll still keep up a steady flow of blogs on travel, business stuff, personal stories and current interests.

In the meantime, here’s my advice for the New Year:

Make Your Decisions Count

A new year is a time to get your options clear and to make a significant decision to do what it is that makes you really happy.  The real issue here is that you must take each day as a new opportunity to keep moving towards what you want.  Do not look at what will happen in a year but more what will you do each day, to move forward, to put into action knowing that each day wasted can never be found again.  Each day is a new beginning, the chance to do with it what should be done and not to be seen as simply another day to put in time.

Make It More Than A Dream

Turn those dreams into a realistic plan where you are able to take steps even if it is only one action to keep your dream traveling forward and not stay stuck on the tracks with no power to the wheels.  Wheels of a train only can move with energy and that energy must be directed to the wheels.  And, just like a train, life moving forward needs your energy directed to life’s wheels.  Each revolution of the wheels, each revolution of your steps keeps the train and your life moving—do not waste energy.

 

H appiness depends upon your outlook on life.  Find the good in all situations.

A ttitude is just as important as ability.  Keep your attitude positive.

P assion find yours this year!  Do what you love and you will never work.

P ositive thoughts make everything easier.  Stay focused and stay positive.

Y ou are unique, with special gifts, use them.  Never forget you have talent.

 

N ew beginnings with a new year.

E nthusiasm a true secret of success.

W ishes may then turn into goals.

 

Y ears go by too quickly, enjoy them.  Wisdom from your elders, listen.

E nergy, may you have lots of it.  Take care of yourself.

A ppreciation of life, don’t take it for granted.  Live each day.

R elax, take the time to relax in this coming year.  Keep a balance in your life.

 

My Hope For You

In the coming year, may you find happiness and health so you can use your abilities to solve problems and challenges; and may you always have hope!  Never lose hope or your goals to keep you focused on your dreams and success.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

ArtSchwartzSig

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RANDOM OBSERVATIONS IN 2016

  1. Did you know, there are more chickens in the world than people?
  2. I didn’t like him, I didn’t support him, I didn’t vote for him and I didn’t think he had any chance to win; however, since he is the president-elect, it pays to heed the advice of Maureen Dowd’s quote in the N.Y. Times. “The press (the pollsters and all his opponents) took him literally but not seriously.  His supports took him seriously but not literally.”  At this point, we would all benefit from letting go the literal rhetoric of the campaign and see how he does.  He could accomplish a lot!
  3. My goal for 2016 was to lose 10 pounds…only 15 to go!
  4. I don’t mean to brag, but I finished my seven-day diet food plan in 1-hour and 42-minutes.
  5. I love being over 80. I learn something new every day, even though I forget five others.
  6. If President-Elect Trump is as fiscally responsible as his supporters think, he would cancel all plans for those megastar inauguration day and night activities. It would demonstrate fiscal responsibility and his desire to not be beholden to big contributors.
  7. We have enormous debt, but leadership is our country’s biggest deficit.
  8. About seven million men ages 25 to 54 have dropped out of the labor force (wonder what they’re doing). A little over 21 million people left the labor force in the last seven plus years and none of those people are counted as unemployed.
  9. In working through my issues, I realized that I cannot blame anyone else for my decisions. I’ve developed an equation of sorts for life:  life is 20% what happens to you but 80% what you do about it.  I’ve learned that the beautiful thing about life is that you never know when a sunny day is around the corner.  Today could be the day!
  10. If you’d told me only a few years ago that there’d be a national debate over whether men should be allowed in women’s restrooms and showers, I’d have said you were nuts. The Obama administration has ordered public schools to allow students to use locker rooms and bathrooms consistent with their “gender identity” or lose federal funding.  “Gender identity” is BASED SOLELY ON AN INDIVIDUAL’S SAY-SO.  Even worse, the administration’s directive specifically forbids schools from constructing special facilities to accommodate transgender students…and those pretending to be transgender students.  This is political correctness run amok!
  11. About 40% of Americans choose not to vote. My daughter thinks this is terrible.  I think it’s a shame, but it is a statement they are entitled to make.
  12. When are we going to convince or ignore the farmers and stay on Daylight Saving Time all year?
  13. Why do so many think their websites are user-friendly and easy to navigate—only for the techies who created them?
  14. There are 168 hours in a week and sufficient time to do anything you really want, if you set your priorities.
  15. Why do all TV commercials sound louder than the programs?
  16. The biggest lie I keep telling myself is, “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”
  17. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would’ve put them on my knees.
  18. Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just gonna transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?
  19. At my age, “getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I went in there for.
  20. Paul White told me his friend, Ron Chester, 89 years of age, was stopped by the police around 2am and was asked where he was going at that time of night. Ron replied, “I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as cigar smoking and staying out late.”  The officer asked, “Really?  And who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?”  Ron replied, “That would be my wife.”  The officer replied, “You have a great night, sir; I understand.”
  21. I recently saw a quote by Kahlil Gibran that captures the joy of this season: “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy.  I woke and I saw that life is all service.  I served and I saw that service is joy.”
  22. I think it’s time to dump the Electoral College EXCEPT it will raise the cost of campaigning to unbelievable new heights. We can only do that after we give each qualified candidate X dollars and limit campaigning to 90 or 100 days before the election.
  23. I find it very curious that when Obama started campaigning in 2007 to be president, he resigned his law license, instead of putting it on hold, and sealed all his school records. Wonder what he’s been hiding?
  24. I wish I still had a sled and a snowy hill to go down.
  25. For 20 years or more, I’ve had to take a driving test every two years to renew my driver’s license because of my poor eyesight. This year on my 85th birthday, I took the driving test again.  I passed; and lo and behold, the DMV sent me a new license for five years.  Will bureaucracy never cease to amaze us?

Ahe’hee’ (Navajo), Miigwech (Ojibwe), Wa’-do (Cherokee), A’No (Rrow).  Thank you for listening and have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Chanukah and Kwanzaa.

ArtSchwartzSig

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GOSSIP ABOUT OUR PRESIDENTS

Ron Kesslor, a journalist and former secret service agent, reveals some interesting snippets about the service, the presidents and he and his fellow agents served in his book “The First Family Detail.”

Then we take a look at how a collection of historians view the effectiveness of our past presidents.

First, the secret service agent’s take.

John & Jacqueline Kennedy

“A philanderer of the highest order.”

“She ordered the kitchen help to save all the left-over wine from State dinners, mixed it with fresh wine and served it again during the next White House occasion.”

Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter

“A complete phony who would portray one picture of himself to the public and very different in private; e.g., Would be shown carrying his own luggage but the suitcases were always empty.  He kept empty ones just for photo ops.  He wanted people to see him as pious and a non-drinker but he and his family drank alcohol a lot!  He had disdain for the Secret Service and was very irresponsible with the “football” with nuclear codes.  He didn’t think it was a big deal and would keep military aides at a great distance.  Often did not acknowledge the presence of Secret Service personnel assigned to serve him.”

“She mostly did her own thing.”

Ronald & Nancy Reagan

“The real deal, moral, honest, respectful and dignified.  They treated Secret Service and everyone else with respect and honor, thanked everyone all the time.  He took the time to know everyone on a personal level.  One favorite story was early in his Presidency when he came out of his room with a pistol tucked on his hip.  The agent in charge asked:  “Why the pistol, Mr. President?”  He replied, “In case you boys can’t get the job done, I can help.”  It was common for him to carry a pistol.  When he met with Gorbachev, he had a pistol in his briefcase.

“She was very nice but very protective of the President and the Secret Service was often caught in the middle.  She tried hard to control what he ate.  He would say to the agent, “Come on, you gotta help me out.”  The Reagan’s drank wine during State dinners and special occasions, otherwise they shunned alcohol.  The Secret Service could count on one hand the times they were served wine during family dinners.  For all the fake bluster of the Carters, the Reagan’s were the ones who lived life as genuinely moral people.”

George H. & Barbara Bush

“Extremely kind and considerate, always respectful.  Took great care in making sure the agents’ comforts were taken care of.  They even brought them meals.  One time she brought warm clothes to agents standing outside of Kennebunkport.  One was given a warm hat and, when he tried to say “no thanks” even though he was obviously freezing, the President said, “Son, don’t argue with the First Lady.  Put the hat on.”  He was the most prompt of the Presidents.  He ran the White House like a well-oiled machine.”

“She rules the house and spoke her mind.”

Bill & Hillary Clinton

“That presidency was one giant party.  Not trustworthy.  He was nice mainly because he wanted everyone to like him but to him life is just one big game and party.  Everyone knows about his sexuality.”

“She is another phony.  Her personality would change the instant cameras were near.  She hated, with open disdain the military and Secret Service.  She was another who felt people were there to service her.  She was always trying to keep tabs on Bill Clinton.”

Gerald & Betty Ford

“A true gentleman who treated the Secret Service with respect and dignity.  He had a great sense of humor.”

“She drank a lot.”

Lyndon & Lady Bird Johnson

“Another philanderer of the highest order.  In addition, LBJ was as crude as the day is long.  Both JFK and LBJ kept a lot of women in the White House for extramarital affairs and both had set up early warning systems to alert them if/when their wives were nearby.  Both were promiscuous and oversexed men.”

“She was either naïve or just pretended to not know about her husband’s many liaisons.”

Richard & Pat Nixon

“A “moral” man but very odd, weird, paranoid.  He had a horrible relationship with his family and was almost a recluse.”

“She was quiet most of the time.”

George & Laura Bush

“The Secret Service loved them.  He was the most physically in shape with a very strict workout regimen.  The Bushes made sure the entire administration and household staff understood that they were to respect and be considerate of the Secret Service.”

“She was one of the nicest first ladies, if not the nicest.  Never had a harsh word to say to anyone.”

Barack & Michelle Obama

“Hates the military and looks down on the Secret Service.  He is egotistical and cunning.  He looks you in the eye and appears to agree with you, but turns around and does the opposite.  He has temper tantrums.”

“She is a complete bitch who basically hates everybody who is not black, hates the military and looks at the Secret Service as servants.”

So much for the insider gossip.  Now, the historians.

There is no way to validate the opinions of historians and recognize these are opinions, not facts—so here are the effectiveness rankings of various U.S. Presidents.  In general, liberal and conservative oriented historians agree.

1.  Abraham Lincoln
2.  George Washington
6.  Harry Truman
7.  Dwight Eisenhower
8.  Bill Clinton
11.  Ronald Reagan
12.  Lyndon Johnson
17.  George H.W. Bush
18.  Barack Obama
24.  Gerald Ford
34.  Richard Nixon
35.  George W. Bush

Next…

ArtSchwartzSig

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OUR SHOPPING HABITS ARE CHANGING

Here’s an interesting article by Ben Benoy, one of Dent Research’s portfolio advisors.

“Thanksgiving is officially in our rearview mirror, and all I have to show for it is about five more pounds on the scale and a new belt loop going in the wrong direction.

“I always tell myself before the fourth Thursday of November that I’m going easy on loading up the plate.  But the sight of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole quickly drains out all the discipline the Marines has beaten into me over the years, as much as any enemy could.

“Retailers are smart.  They waste no time.  The very next day, on Black Friday, and then Cyber Monday, they cash in on your post-Thanksgiving lack of self-control (and the dinner-table reminder from the day before that you need to buy holiday gifts for your family), with once-in-a-year door-buster deals.

“Adobe’s digital marketing research group estimated that consumers spent $3.34 billion this Black Friday, which is a year-over-year 21.6% growth.

“What’s startling, though, is online mobile sales accounted for $1.2 billion of that total.  That’s a 33% increase from the year before!

“About 40% of all Black Friday sales were done via a smartphone or tablet. In fact, this Black Friday was the first day in U.S. retail history to earn more than $1 billion in mobile sales.  How far we’ve come in just 10 years…

“And this trend isn’t slowing down at all.

“So much for burning off that turkey gut by fighting off fellow shoppers in the electronics section of your local retailer.  Seems our thumbs get most of the workout now – scrolling through websites furiously to punch in credit card information.

“I can’t help but think: Are we shopping smarter or just getting lazy?

“It’s a combination of both.  Technology has made us more efficient, but make no mistake, we’re downright lazy, too.  Retailers, including companies like Amazon, are betting on it.

“The company known mostly as a giant online marketplace – where you can get anything – is hoping to take advantage of our inner laziness, and get some more traffic to its site, by encouraging you to buy an Amazon Dash.

“This little gem of modern engineering has one job only… to let you order more of your favorite products with a touch of a button, no matter where you are.

“That’s right, the Dash is a one-button device that sticks to just about any surface and connects to Wi-Fi.  Whenever you’re out of, or are getting close to running out of, a specific household item such as coffee or laundry detergent, press the button and Dash automatically places a refill order through Amazon.

“You then get an order form on your phone to confirm the order.  Good thing too, otherwise your small children could order up several hundred boxes of coffee in the mail. Imagine your surprise when you open that box!

“It gets better.  If you want to add some artificial intelligence to your car, look no further than the Dashbot, only this one isn’t an Amazon product.

“This electronic wonder is reminiscent of the red light display and interactive voice control for Kit, the talking car from the 80’s television show Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff.  (I loved that show!  My ring tone, for probably a year, was the Knight Rider theme song.  Turns out the show was way ahead of its time with the technology, too.)

“The Dashbot plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car and connects to your phone via Bluetooth. For just $49 you can suddenly interact with your phone hands-free, so you can stay focused on the road and the maniacs all around you.

“The coolest part of the Dashbot is that it leverages open-source code so the geeks out there can constantly customize its functions.  That means it’s always evolving.

“And, if you or your kid learns just enough of the Linux programming language, you too can hack this device for fun custom functions.  Hopefully ones that don’t make you too lazy! After all, there’s that turkey-gut that needs some attending to and the best way to do that is to actually get off the sofa.

“These devices are just the start of a new tech revolution that’s changing our world, right before our eyes.  Stay frosty, and keep your kids away from the Dash!”

How many more retailers will follow this path?

ArtSchwartzSig

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