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How Many More Blue Christmases?
Struggle and waning hopes in the heartland
by John Worster

John is a regular contributor, my main "man on the street" letting us know what it's really like for real people trying to get by in these days of (what I fervently hope are) death throes of the Space Lizards.

I'm throwing John's worldly blue collar commentary at you first, then I'm posting some pithy public-domain meme about 'billion' that's been making its way through the Web... probably for the 'billionth' time.

Christmas Cards, Tiger Woes, and Unemployment Blues

Hey Brian,

Thank you for the card. It is nice to hear from your friends during the holiday season. I would send cards out myself but I think you have heard my rant. Here is a sample: Christmas is a capitalistic exploitation of the poor, goading them into spending money they don't have because of some society-enhanced pyramid leaving most with feelings of inadequacy… There is more but it usually comes out while drinking eggnog, if you can't beat ‘em…

The thing about Tiger Woods... I have been in numerous relationships throughout my life, many you have met. The choice of fidelity is really not that hard. I try not to put myself in a position where I might have to make that decision. That being said, think about what it is like being Tiger Woods. No matter where you are, every girl in a 30-mile radius wants to f… [have sex with] you. (The Coffee Coaster is a family Website, regardless of what Google Ad Words says. — ed.)

  • "That Starbucks latte is 4 dollars, Tiger and I would also like you to see our break room."
  • "Tiger, you are under arrest for DUI and since I have the cuffs on you…"
  • "Our father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name... pssst, meet me in the confessional, I have something to tell you."

I don't agree with what Tiger has done, but I certainly can understand it. So the answer is to shake your head with shame for what he has done to his family but give a mini high five for the devil on the shoulder.

We are now at the year anniversary of me losing my business. I miss being an owner but I do not miss working 100 hours a week for free and losing money in the process. It is really strange to think I have been out of work for so long. It really takes a toll and gets one very introspective.

I have always been a jovial person but dark clouds start to filter through. I tend to wake up and wonder how everything went so wrong. I have always worked hard in whatever job I had. Waiter, bartender, manager, owner, all received my best. It is tough to put your all into “unemployed.” I am 41 years old and have nothing to show for it.

I still feel good about myself but to have no monetary support drops into the brain often and when the bathroom mirror calls in the morning there is a strange feeling that creeps in: shame. How have we got to the point where money has that amount control over us. I don't know what is worse, the shame or knowing that you are feeling shame about yourself.

It changes my outlook on life. I don't feel comfortable around other people. I don't like being in public. I don't remember what I like. All of this comes from unemployment? I see why homeless people always talk to themselves. Their brains just get overrun and spew out everywhere. I used to feel bad for them and throw them some change. Now I just look and think of how simple it would be to steal their five bucks in their rotting Wendy's cup.

Very dark, but true. How far do these dark feelings travel? I almost feel I should isolate myself from my family. How long until instead of helping Mom take out her garbage am I staring at her purse wondering how much is in it. It is like being a drug addict without the drugs. I have never needed companionship but I do enjoy dating. It sucks meeting someone and realizing I better stay far away because I am in no position to play the game.

Tough to pick up a girl in my late father's car where the heat doesn't work. Plus, as you know. I am so friggin’ charming that I would have her hooked on me immediately and my life has become some such an unmitigated disaster that I dare not share that magic with anyone.

My one-year-old niece used to always laugh around me. She would if I took her from her mom while her mom stayed in view, but if I picked her up and got mom out of view, then she would have a blast. Recently though, my niece always cries when I pick her up, no matter what I do. Do children understand everything? Maybe she senses a change in me. Maybe she can sense part of my soul has disappeared. It makes me wonder what kind of role model I could be for her?

I have knowledge but not much else I could share on how to survive in the world. I have an 18-year-old nephew who I work out with once a week. We get along very well but I hope he gets a lesson from seeing where I am at. He is in college. I was in college, on an academic scholarship, at his age. Things can seem to be bright, but 20 years can be gone before you know it. Ever forward.

There is much more going on in my head but I am having a hard time putting it on paper. I know this isn't my usual silliness other than the Tiger stuff but sometimes even I can't find silly. I always remember that no matter how bad it gets, someone always has it worse and I should stop my whining and step it up. [I know there are no paragraph marks again but I was rolling and didn't stop.]

Hopefully, my next piece won't be such an insightful downer, but I think with the unemployment rate where it is, many feel just like me. Those with families must really have it hard. Thank you once again for the card and being a long time friend. We will meet up for a beer soon.

... and so we shall, my friend. These are the times that try men's souls. I'm picking up what you're laying down. But we're all due for a major upgrade in our life situations soon enough. "Hang in there." Deep thoughts from Jack Handey. — bw

A Billion Here, a Billion There...

Also on the same day I received the missive from columnist John, the following forward came from correspondent Steve in the Lansing, Michigan, area bureau. I think it's a fitting complement to what John has shared; at some point the people are going to have to say "No mas!"[2] It's time we reclaimed our humanity from the Space Lizards.

Too true to be funny...

The next time you hear a politician use the
word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the 'politicians' spending
YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
but one advertising agency did a good job of
putting that figure into some perspective in
one of its releases.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

Actually, I performed the arithmetic, and a billion seconds ago it was roughly 1978. So what that tells me is this advertising mantra on government spending was issued in roughly 1990 (when Bush I was president… remember the no new taxes pledge?!) — ed.

  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
  • A billion hours ago our ancestors were
    living in the Stone Age.
  • A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain...
let's take a look at New Orleans...

What you can learn with some simple division...

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D)
is presently (I'm assuming this is 2005/6)
asking Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS
to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...
What does it mean?

  • Well ... If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
    (every man, woman, and child)
    You each get $516,528.
  • If you have one of the 188,251 homes in
    New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.
  • Or... if you are a family of four...
    your family gets $2,066,012.

What the heck, over?!

Dear Washington, DC,

Are all your calculators broken??

Now consider the vast numbers and types
of taxes that go into the government till:

Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration T ax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)

I believe over the years I have read or heard that the actual average tax rate upon the American colonists was not even so high as 10 percent, but I would appreciate a reader providing me a link with the validated information. Please send email to me courtesy of site or comment to blog. — ed.


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt...
We had the largest middle class in the world...
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians!'
I hope this goes around the U S A
At least 100 times

What the heck happened?????

… probably from a poor old soul who fusses about numbers. :)


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