Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Untended Consequences

Untended Consequences
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 11, 2017

You have heard the term “untended consequences” but have you ever given it serious thought as to what it means.  Here is a definition from the Internet http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/law-of-unintended-consequences that sums it up nicely:

“The superfluous consequences may or may not be foreseeable or even immediately observable and they may be beneficial, harmful or neutral in their impact. In the best-case scenario, an action produces both the desired results and unplanned benefits; in the worst-case scenario, however, the desired results fail to materialize and there are negative consequences that make the original problem worse.

Consider the unintended consequences of a professional sports personality or personalities taking a knee during the National Anthem; there are many to think about.

  • Fan support diminishes, loss of income from fewer ticket sales
  • Fan support diminishes, loss of income from the sale of team approved apparel
  • Fan support diminishes, local businesses income suffers from lack of customers in host cities
  • Fan support diminishes, national and local advertisers stop their advertising expenditures
  • Lower paying jobs associated with professional sports will be cut to offset loss of income
  • Professional players will have less leverage over owners for their future income demands
  • Marginal players will be cut from the teams to save money whereas in the past they may have been retained
  • Team owners will have to make financial cuts to services
  • The very people the players supposedly take knees for will suffer the most
  • Intended or not, most of the players who take knees are Black thus providing the fuel for increased racial tensions throughout America
  • Loss of revenues to the very cities that spend millions if not billions to build stadiums

But it continues…

  • Loss of income means less money to pay the professionals on the teams
  • Massive incomes will begin to decrease
  • College athletes will NOT receive the massive bonuses as previously paid
  • Television networks will not pay the millions is now pays to air games on their networks
  • If taken to its eventual outcome, without some type of interference, professional sports may fade away and cease to exist as we now know them to be

But wait, on the good side…

  • Previous supporters will now have more spendable income for other endeavors
  • Previous supporters will now have more time to dedicate to other endeavors
  • Other sports will benefit by increased viewers/supporters

You the reader can probably create even more pluses and minuses to add to the above lists.  The point is that from the very first player who took a knee, Colin Kaepernick, the reason that players decided to take a knee have morphed into many reasons.  It is doubtful that if you polled all the players taking a knee, the purpose for which they initially did it would be lost and barely recognizable.  Speaking of Kaepernick, remember he initially said he was taking a knee because of Police Brutality towards Blacks; remember?  He even wore socks that depicted Police as Pigs.  Since then his purpose has changed and apparently so has his attitude. 

But what about the rest of the players who take knees during the National Anthem.  Why are they doing what they do?  Do you think they would all tell you the same thing – inequality in America’s “social justice?”  What does the term “social justice” even mean?

If you look up the term “social justice” on the Internet,  https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=Definition+Social+Justice&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8: 

“Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
"individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice"

It is amazing is it not that when someone applies a word or words to describe something, some words make it sound really good like “social justice”, who could be against that?  Meanwhile other words make the same thing sound absolutely horrible like the actual definition of “social justice.”  Most people, certainly not you, won’t take the time to look up the definition of “social justice” and then they just assume that it represents a good thing and not a bad thing.

Within the definition lies the words, “distribution of wealth.”  If ever there was a definition of Socialism or even Communism, “distribution of wealth” is it.  Is that not what happens in countries that employ either a Socialistic or Communistic form of government?  You know that it is. 

Let’s talk about “distribution of wealth.”  What does that mean.  To me it means that if I make more than you, I should be willing to give to you some of what I have earned in order to “level the playing field” as far as wealth is concerned.  Kaepernick makes millions.  All players in the NFL make millions of dollars.  In one case a kicker makes over 4 million dollars a year.  For what?  Kicking a football that takes maybe 3 minutes at most during a game.  You can do that math as to the value of kicking a football.  To me it is just not worth paying someone over 4 million dollars to do.  Heck, I’d do it for 3 million saving the team 1 million; not a bad deal right?  So what if I don’t kick the ball quite as far.  How far do you have to kick it to be worth 4 plus million dollars? 

My question is this.  If “social justice” or “distribution of the wealth” is so critical to these players taking a knee, why don’t they practice what they preach and give money to people who make less than they do – share the wealth; they can start with me.  And speaking of sharing the wealth, the NFL Commissioner makes in excess of 44 Million Dollars a year.  For what.  I would gladly do that job for $100,000 a year.  Look at the money the NFL would save if that were to happen.  I don’t see Roger Godell sharing any part of his 44 million dollars.

Why is it that players and management don’t share their millions in their wealth with the less fortunate?  Why? Because it is not the capitalistic way to do things.  Wallace Wattles in his book The Science of Being Getting Rich wrote that if you truly want to help the needy, make money and then invest the money you make in things that would help the poor to become rich themselves.  No one ever was hired by a poor person. 

The Unintended Consequence started by Colin Kaepernick is that the NFL is doomed to failure because it is difficult for people to garner any sympathy for Kaepernick’s cause, whatever that cause really is, when he is making millions of dollars and they are not.  A great many people would gladly sit on the sidelines, stand and salute the flag during the playing of the National Anthem and then sit back and enjoy the millions someone has agreed to pay him for being a failure on the field.  America, whata country!

I have made the decision NOT to watch any of the National Football League thus making me part of Kaepernick’s unintended consequences.  I have been an avid fan since I can remember back in the 50s and idolized my namesake, Jim Brown with the Cleveland Browns.  I have been a New Orleans Saint fan since they were founded in 1967, over 50 years ago.  But no longer.  Kaepernick’s unintended consequence was that he painted a redline on the field of play and I refuse to cross it.  It violated my principles and my belief in America.  Yes he has a right to do what he did and he also has a right to consider the consequences of his actions.  Unfortunately thousands of other people are also reaping the consequences of his actions including some who may have lost a job because of him taking a knee.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not blame Kaepernick for what is happening in the NFL.  No, he did what he feels he had a right to do.  I disagree with that because when you sign a contract to work for someone else, you agree to their terms of employment and it is your duty not to undermine the product of the owners.  If you want to protest you do it outside your place of employment, not inside as Kaepernick did.  Who is to blame for the falling attendance at NFL games?  Roger Godell, the Commissioner.  He should have put his foot down and create his own redline for the players.  Cross it and pay the penalty.  It is that simple.  It is called leadership.  What I truly fail to understand is how 32 NFL team owners extended his contract for five years for being a failure at what he does.  Look at how he mishandled spousal abuse and now the players taking a knee.  It did not take an income of 44 million dollars to screw up the NFL as much as he has.  Again, I would do it for considerably less and maybe even get better results.  In fact I know I would just as you would.  Godell lowered the bar so low that anyone could now do a better job.

You tell me, where have I gone wrong in my analysis?  I’ll wait…….

Yours truly,

Unintended Consequence

Friday, November 10, 2017


November 10, 2017

“If you fear that your children will fade into irrelevancy and you strive to ensure they fit in with everyone else, YOU ARE TEACHING THEM TO BE ORDINARY. Teach uniqueness and let your children grow from that.” This is just one quote from a book that contains many such valuable quotes. 

I have for many years felt our society and more importantly our children were on a path of self-destruction due primarily to the use of phones, tablets, notebooks, computers, television and movies especially those that feature sex and violence. I also felt like maybe I believed this to be true because that is what others have said of me and/or because I was just getting older and therefore I was misreading what was actually happening.

Having no medical background, I had no hard evidence to support my beliefs at least until now. EVERY PARENT OR PERSON WHO MIGHT EVER BECOME A PARENT NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK! WITHOUT EXCEPTION!

Why? Because the author is trained to observe what we have all observed and probably have also become ourselves to some degree; people distracted by electronic devices. I believe that the mind cannot do two things equally as well as it can do just one thing very well. Yet if you look around you see people of all ages trying to do two or more things at one time and one of those “things” usually involves using an electronic device(s).

The message of this magnificent book is summed up in that one quote above. It asks the question as to whether we are teaching our children to be leaders and stand out from the crowd or are we permitting them (as opposed to teaching) to just fit in and become ordinary. WOW!!! Think about that for a moment.

Do yourself and your family a tremendous favor and read the book. It’s short, easy to read but packs a tremendous wallop! You just might see yourself on the pages of this book and I know you will recognize a good number of your friends and family as well. But what will you do with the confirmation of the knowledge that should lead you to do what you may have been avoiding?

Who should read this book? EVERYONE – NO EXCEPTIONS; NO AGE RESTRICTIONS. Would I buy this book as a gift? ABSOLUTELY! Will I read it again? MOST DEFINITELY OR AT LEAST REVIEW CERTAIN SECTIONS.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Is This The New Normal?

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, November 3, 2017


Maybe it’s my age (72), maybe it’s my military background (retired after 20 years), maybe it’s my family values growing up in the 50s and 60s.  Maybe it’s just my understanding of common sense.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s my total disgust for the way people currently act in America regarding politics that has caused me to put my feelings and beliefs down in this Nugget.

Want another example of incivility, “Sarah Huckabee Sanders does not look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson… Sanders looks more like a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids' games. Rather than the fake eyelashes and formal dresses she puts on for news briefings, Sanders seems as if she'd be more comfortable in sweats and running shoes."  This was written by a Pulitzer Prize (as if that is not a political organization) winning reporter, David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times.  He had to apologize for what he had said.  Does anyone think Mr. Horsey would say similar very disparaging remarks about a man in the same position?  Frankly, what he said does not surprise me because he is from Los Angles where some of the most disgusting comments, articles, behavior, movies and television shows originate.

Not only did he say such horrible things about a woman’s appearance, there had to be an Editor for the paper who also approved what he said.  While Horsey apologized, it’s too late!  His words are like feathers in the wind; once the wind disperses them, there is no way every feather, like his words, can be retrieved.  Saying something so unwarranted and vile is a tactic used by attorneys during trials.  They know the judge will instruct a jury to “disregard” what the attorney had just said, but they too are like feathers in the wind.  How does someone not see or not hear or “disregard” what they just saw and/or heard?  It is impossible; the damage was done and wasn’t that the objective?

COMMON SENSE appears to have died in America; we just haven’t buried it as yet.

These are NOT lone violations of civil discourse and common sense; they have become the “new normal.”  Once the cat is out of the bag it’s all but over!

Some people will say it all began with President Bush #43.  I can remember very vividly photos depicting him as Hitler, posing with Swastikas, and being murdered, the list is endless.  I remember asking the question as to whether all presidents in our history were treated with such distaste. 

I am old enough to remember when Presidents since President Eisenhower and until President Clinton were respected regardless of your party affiliation.  There is no doubt that a great many Americans did not like the outcomes of those elections but they for the most part remained civil and showed respect to the Office of the Presidency.  I cannot remember any President receiving the kind of treatment we as Americans have given to Presidents since the end of President Bush #41’s term in office.  In my opinion, it all began with President Clinton’s behavior while in office that prompted people to respond in kind.  If you the reader are not old enough to remember what President Clinton did while in office regarding unwanted sexual attacks on women since his days as Governor of Arkansas and probably even before I suggest you look them up.  The House of Representatives actually impeached him but the Senate, then controlled by Clinton’s own political party, refused to accept it.  The result?  Clinton remained in office as if nothing had happened.  Compare that to the present treatment of Harvey Weinstein.  The behavior of both men is unacceptable and they both should have been fired but only Weinstein was.

Is the treatment of President Trump the new normal?  Is this what we are to expect in the future or is this just the beginning?  I believe that it is just the beginning.  If you doubt what I say, I encourage you to visit a web site that will clearly demonstrate what President George Washington considered as being civil.  I seriously doubt that children in our schools and more importantly in our homes of today are being taught what is considered as being civil and acceptable.  If President Washington lived during a time of cell phones, I am absolutely certain that his list of over 100 mostly “don’ts” would include the use of cell phones as well.  I challenge you to check it out but I doubt that most who read this far will; it’s just too much trouble and what could George Washington possibly teach us anyway.  Actually a great deal.

Dear American Citizen,

This is just for you…

George Washington

I’m not picking on just Snoop Dogg; after all we have Kathy Griffin holding the President’s bloody head.  We have actors like Rosie O’Donnel and many more all calling for President Trump’s death and/or removal from office some even before he took office.  It seems like no one can ever again win a political election WITHOUT forever more being attacked for everything he or she says, writes, tweets or policies enacted.  EVERYONE!!!!  No one will escape this very uncivil behavior by upwards of 50% of the American population.  Most elections are won by just a few percentage points or even just a handful of votes. So the winners are happy and the losers take out their verbal swords and pens and begin hacking away.  Given what has already happened as a result of the 2016 presidential election, does anyone believe that the next presidential election in 2020 will be any better regardless of who wins?  I believe it has already gotten worse because now we see similar behaviors in state and local elections as well as presidential appointments.

I was NEVER an Obama supporter and I reserved the right to criticize his policies and regulations and I did criticize them but I NEVER called for him to be forcibly removed from office or call for his assassination.  NEVER!  I learned to live with the man in office for whom I did not vote.  Now I learn to live with President Trump.  Yes I voted for him but that does not necessarily mean I liked him as a man or some of the horrible things he has said and continues to say.  For me it came down to a choice of the lesser of two very flawed candidates.  Now I have to learn to live with President Trump but that is NOT what thousands if not millions of people apparently have decided to do.  Instead they will fight him no matter what he does or does not do.  But the fight goes way beyond debating issues; the fight has turned ugly and very personal.  To prove my point, I believe that Laura Bush will be the LAST First Lady NOT to be vilified by opponents of the President.  Michelle Obama certainly has and the vile things people and the press say about Melania Trump is not warranted and is certainly over the top in regard to civility. First Ladies are NOT elected to office and neither are their children yet both have come under the attacks leveled at them because their husbands were elected to office.  In my opinion, this has become the new American Normal and I do not like it.  I find it all very depressing and that is not good for anyone.

I would like to see a return to civility but there is little hope I will ever see that happen.  If you want to see civility return to America it must start with each one of us including you the reader.  It starts by teaching our children what is considered acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior.  If you the parent do not teach your children what is right and what is wrong, exactly who do you think will?  Our schools?  Think again Mon Frere; that is not going to happen.  It gets worse than anyone could ever imagine once our children go to college.  Just look at the uncivil discourse on our college campuses.  Disgusting.

I was on the verge of posting this Nugget when I heard of the most recent shooting at the church in Texas.  Alarming, disgusting, intense anger, are just some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as well as the question, “is this the new normal?”  I certainly hope not.  I can assure you that no matter what your position on guns may be, there will be a host of politicians and celebrities using this occasion to once again attack the Second Amendment.  To do so would require that those people ignore the obvious.  The shooter could and probably would obtain a gun or guns regardless of what the law states because that is what people with criminal and evil intentions do.  But if the government were to remove guns from citizens, the neighbor who owned a gun would not have been able to pursue the shooter as he did.  If he did without a weapon, he probably would have been added to the list of casualties.  I do not know what the answer is.  I do know that if the shooter was dishonorably discharged from the military as reported, purchasing a gun was already forbidden in his case.  I don’t like the government snooping on law abiding citizens but I do think it is time that America should create a national database of individuals who for whatever reason, are forbidden from owning guns.  That still may not have prevented this shooting but at least it would make it more difficult for such people to obtain weapons.  For it to be effective, everyone transferring ownership of a gun (to be defined) would first have to have the police check the database to ascertain if the buyer of the weapon is on the list.  There must be severe penalties for anyone transferring ownership of a gun to another person without checking the database!

I truly feel sorry for my children and their children; they will never know the America I knew (past tense) and love (present tense) and that truly saddens me.  Once the cat is out of the bag, it is out of the bag NEVER TO RETURN.  What some people consider as PROGRESS is actually not progress at all but instead a return to brutal and insensitive incivility; apparently THE NEW NORMAL!

Sunday, October 29, 2017


By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 29, 2017

FACT:  The Number Two or Backup Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints who may NEVER play even one down for the Saints UNLESS the Number One Quarterback is injured, makes $900,000 a year.  Think about that for just a moment and then apply it to yourself.  How much do you make a year?  What do you do for a living?  Do you think what you do should be worth $900,000 a year?  What makes being a BACKUP Quarterback in the NFL worth $900,000 a year?

Do you know what a public school teacher makes in Louisiana per year?  Would love to know how much you said when you read that question.  My personal guess turned out to be right on the money.  Here it is from the Internet:

Average Elementary School Teacher Yearly Salary in Louisiana.
Elementary School Teachers earn a median salary of $47,460 per year.
Salaries typically start from $40,140 and go up to $60,320.

If I were to use my public educational math skills and compare the two as I did, I discovered that the New Orleans Saints administration could fund the ANNUAL salaries of 14 to as many as 22 teachers A YEAR on what they pay JUST ONE BACKUP quarterback, A YEAR!

What have professional sports figures done to deserve such out of whack incomes?  They can run faster, throw a ball more accurate, sink basketballs, score soccer goals, etc.  Tell me how that improves the lives of the millions upon millions people around the world – I’ll wait. 

Most of these athletes either graduated from universities with degrees in athletics or they didn’t finish at all.  Why?  Because they could run faster, block better, throw more accurately and didn’t need an education to earn the millions they now earn.  Even with their huge salaries, completing a sentence would be a miracle rather than the norm.  Yet when there is something going on in the world, where do the news reporters go for opinions?  When was the last time you saw the national news media interview a school teacher to see what he or she thought?  No, they will instead go to a Hollywood actor or Professional athlete as if these people have some form of intellect far above the “Average Joe” in America.

I am 72 years old and I am NOT a school teacher.  I include this fact because it is important to understand I have been following football, more specifically professional football since Jim Brown played (1950s) for the Cleveland Browns; he was the best that ever played!  That makes me an old timer when it comes to watching professional sports like the New Orleans Saints.  I have followed the Saints since 1967 when they were founded.  This year I have NOT watched a single game.  Why?  Because Roger Godell the National Football League Commissioner had absolutely NO guts, NONE, to do the right thing when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to protest the way police treat Blacks; at least that is what he ORIGINALLY said.  His story has changed since first taking a knee.  Unfortunately more and more players thought it was the smart thing to do to show solidarity with Kaepernick because they too have since taken to their knees.  I personally find their actions beyond disgusting.  There is no place for political statements during professional sporting events.  Roger Godell should have been fired for mishandling this BEFORE it got out of hand which it has. Right or wrong, I believe the protests are NOT about social injustice but are reflections of their dislike for President Trump.  Showing their disgust for whatever reason is fine BUT NOT DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!

WHERE WILL IT END?  What I would like to ask Roger is what he will do when a player wants to take a knee to show his disgust for abortions?  That too is a social issue, is it not?  What if a player wants to take a knee to demonstrate against Israel? Here’s one: what if players took knees to protest the totally inadequate salaries paid to school teachers? I can find any number of causes both good and bad.  What will good old Roger do then?  Oh, and by the way, Roger makes in excess of 44 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR to screw up like he has.  Or to put that another way, 44 Million Dollars would fund the annual salaries of between 633 and 1000 Louisiana school teachers.  Did I hear someone say INCOME INEQUALITY?  

Here is the second part that truly matters.  I have NOT missed watching professional sports.  In fact I have done so much more with my time.  It proves that my thinking is right on the money, no pun intended.  To Roger Godell and all the owners of professional sports teams especially Tom Benson of the Saints, you have broken Business Rule #1 – DON’T PISS OFF CUSTOMERS!  You have done that and it is my opinion you have sealed your own fate and deserve ever bit of what you will now fail to receive – our money!  Let’s see how valuable a punter is when the seats are empty and the television revenues dwindle. 

So why am I singling out teachers?  Glad you asked.  When you have heart surgery, you can thank a school teacher somewhere in the heart surgeons' history causing him or her to become what he or she has become.  I seriously doubt that your heart surgeon was convinced to enter the medical profession because someone scored a touchdown or punted a football (4.7 Million a year for the New Orleans Saints punter to play a total of maybe 2 minutes per game).

I singled out school teachers because it all starts with teachers in Kindergarten classes and progresses through grade 12. Then some students go to college but NOT ALL go to college.   What happens to those students who choose not to go to college and let’s say are taught by another teacher to become a plumber instead? The next time your toilet backs up, call an NFL kicker to fix it or a quarterback, or better yet a 7’ tall basketball player.

I’m sickened by the term “income inequality” because the people at the top of the income scale have no clue as to what they are talking about or protesting.  Let’s start with redistributing THEIR INCOME.  When we get to that point, the discussion will immediately terminate when the reality of their protest/concern actually sets in.  Wait - you want to redistribute MY income?  Seriously?  I never meant that when I said we need income equality in America.  School teachers will NEVER make 4.7 Million Dollars a year but their product is worth more when you realize they mold the future leaders of our country and world; my children, YOUR children.

For the record, when my toilet backs up I would NOT call a teacher or a NFL punter, I would call a plumber if I could not fix it myself.  Also for the record, I could apply this same logic to Hollywood Actors, Writers, Musicians; Politicians (especially politicians) the list of “types” would be endless.  Parents who care, want the best for their children and that would start with the best education their children could possibly receive.  But what are parents doing about insuring that the teachers they trust to teach their children are teachers of high quality.  To get high quality teachers you have to establish high standards for them and then totally raise the bar in regards to how much these vital positions mean to everyone’s future by paying them what they are worth!  Put another way, you cannot become a brain surgeon if you haven’t learned your ABCs.

Therein folks is your INCOME INEQUALITY!  Sleep on that one overnight, if you can.  Some day in the far distant future, it WILL be different and people WILL be compensated on the IMPORTANCE OF WHAT THEY DO TO SERVE OTHERS.  Sadly I will not see that day and I doubt you will not as well.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Meditation; Should I; Should You?

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 23, 2017

How many instructors, authors and some doctors have said that meditation is very beneficial for your peace and happiness not to mention your good or better health?  In my lifetime a great many of them have.

As a form of disclaimer, I have tried to teach myself to meditate, and here comes the but, but I have Tinnitus.  For those who do not know what that it, Tinnitus is a ringing in your ears.  For some people the ringing comes and goes.  For others like me, it is there, always there, and it can be very annoying.

Having been in real estate sales for over 33 years, I have experienced homes that are located very near to railroad tracks.  When the owners put their homes up for sale, I ask the obvious question, “How do you put up with the noise of the trains that pass?”  Almost to an owner they respond, “What trains?”  They have adjusted by blocking out the noise; at least that is what they say. Yet that is pretty much how I have adapted to having a constant ringing in my ears.  I have blocked it out or at least I try to.  What I have discovered is that I will go for hours without hearing it primarily because I don’t think about it.  Then, when I think about it, it’s there, it never really left. 

That leaves me to today.  I purchased and am taking a course Practicing Mindfulness; An Introduction to Meditation by Dr. Mark W. Muesse.  You can see this course and many more on www.TheGreatCourses.com web site; a great site.  I purchased several courses.

I know for certain that the lessons of the course have already had an impact on my life.  Like so many, it did not take much to upset me.  Whether it was stupid drivers; unknowledgable clerks at stores; wrong orders, you name it.  I may not have shown it physically but I can assure you that mentally, I was angry.  A lot of cars dashboards have felt the brunt of my displeasure with the way people drive.  I would jokingly suggest that turn signals are optional items when you purchase a car or drive in Louisiana.  This weekend proved that watching and listening to Dr. Muesse has made a difference.  I was doing work around the house and had a need to go to the Lowe’s store several times.  On more than one occasion, I had to return to Lowes to replace a broken or missing item in a product I purchased.  A week ago, I would have been really angry.  I didn’t realize it until several days later when I had a chance to think about what I had done over the weekend. 

I was focused on accomplishing at least 10 significant tasks around the house.  When I returned from Lowes to unbox a new overhead light for the garage, I found that the globe was busted in a lot of little pieces.  I boxed up the light and headed back to Lowes.  I did not argue with the clerk or even get mad; I simply exchanged the broken light for a new one.  I opened the box to make certain the globe was intact and it was.  I installed the light with no problems until I tried to put the globe on the base unit.  That is when I discovered that 3 of the 6 retainer clips on the globe were broken off.  In the past this would have sent me over the edge.  Instead, I cleaned up and when time permitted I looked up the manufacturer of the light and emailed them to tell them what had happened (twice).  I asked that they simply mail me 3 replacement container clips.  Done.  Have not heard from the manufacturer as yet but I know they will respond.  As per the instructions of Dr. Muesse, I put it aside and moved on and until I started writing this Nugget, haven’t given it a second thought.

Dr. Muesse talks about eating a tangerine in one of the lessons.  I guarantee you that if you were to watch and listen to the lesson; you will NEVER eat a tangerine EVER again in the manner in which you have eaten them in the past.  Me telling you about it simply could not possibly do his presentation justice.  How did that one less apply to me?  Thought you would never ask.

I had an outpatient procedure involving back injections.  As before, I would arrive on time and as in the past being on time only lets the staff know you are there.  That is when they begin the pre-op tasks like asking a lot of questions and inserting an IV.  When they are done, you lie there and wait your turn.  You are in an assembly line of patients.  I was #4 in line.  The actual procedure takes no more than 5 minutes. You are wheeled in, put under and the next thing you know you are awake, groggy and within 30 minutes you are in the car and on your way home.  However, the entire process starting with leaving the house to returning to the house took almost 4 hours. 

How did Dr. Muesse’s lessons help me?  I thought of him eating that tangerine as I lie there waiting my turn.  I could have gotten impatient like I have in the past – I am not the most patient person in the world.  Or at least I WASN’T the most impatient person in the world.  This time I started with the clock on the wall.  I noted the time.  Then I started to peel back the story of that very ordinary clock.  Like Dr. Muesse, I began asking a lot of questions.  I wondered where they bought it. Who bought it?  Who made it? How many people were involved in making this clock? How long have they worked at the company that made the clock?  How long will the battery last?  It was high on the wall, who changed the battery up that high?  I wondered if that person was married.  Did he or she have any kids?  It was amazing; you can ask a lot of questions in your mind.  It did not stop at the clock. There was the device where they heated their blankets.  There were the nurses.  I watched them.  I noticed how they moved, what they said, how they made light of the situation to ease the minds of the patients. The questions can be endless if you think about it.  And isn’t that the goal of the presentation – get you to be in the present?

Suddenly a nurse appeared at the foot of my bed; it was my time to go into the operating room.  I looked up at the clock and to my surprise, the time had flown by and not once did I feel impatient with the lingering time.  If you are going to have a medical procedure done, would it not make a great deal of sense to be as calm as you could possibly be BEFORE the procedure?

Another story for the road. I had tools all over the place.  When I finished the project in the yard, I gathered up all the tools and intended to put them away.  As I turned to look at a pass car, I say my pocket knife lying in the grass.  In days past, I would have just picked up the knife and moved on.  Not today.  I actually said thank you for enabling me to see the knife and put it with the other tools. I know I would NOT have done that prior to this month before I took Dr. Muesse’s course.

My Life’s Mission Statement is “To help people to do what they do to do it better.”  Unless you do not pay attention, there is no doubt in my mind that IF you were to take all 24 lessons of Practicing Mindfulness, you WILL do whatever it is you do, and do it better.  Pretty hard to screw up if you don’t continually get angry or expect the worse.

My advice to everyone is to go to www.ordergreatcourses.com and look up Practicing Mindfulness and order the course.  More importantly, don’t let it just sit there collecting dust, take the course.  Let me say it in advance, you are very welcome!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

RETIREMENT; Are You Ready?

What Happens To You
AFTER You Have Made Other Plans
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 20, 2017

Before I write another word, please consider my Life’s Mission Statement:

To help people to do what they do to do it better. 
Got it?

What someone does for employment and even fun, they do for “most” of their lives.  Every little assistance, no matter from where it comes, helps people to do those things better than they otherwise would had they not received that little bit of assistance or piece of advice; sort of a leg up.  Retirement is no different.  How do I know?  I retired not only just once, but TWICE.  In fact I actually retired THREE times (twice from the same position).

Most people who might read this Nugget are probably NOT retired.  They are active and engaged; doing whatever it is they do.  It would be hard for me to believe that they have NOT thought about THEIR retirement.  It would so unusual think that could be the case yet it has been my experience that few people ever give the kind of serious thought that is required to insure that their retirement is as they hope it will become.

Here are some questions to get you started thinking:

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • Where will you be working when you actually retire?
  • How much money will you need to guarantee you that you have the income to sustain your desired lifestyle?
  • Where would you like to be living when you retire?
  • Do you know now, how much income would be required to live in your desire place of retirement?
  • Will you have adequate health insurance upon your retirement?
  • Will you be debt free upon your retirement?
  • When you retire, will it be your decision or the decision of someone else such as your employer, family member or a physical ailment preventing you from continuing to work?
  • What will you do with your time in retirement?

I retired from the U. S. Coast Guard after twenty years in 1985.  Knowing that I could no longer stay on active duty because of a physical issue with my knees, I began studying for a future career in real estate.  I was extremely fortunate that for the last 5 years I served on active duty with the Coast Guard I was also able to engage in real estate sales for four of those five years.  The one year that I could not was because I had been assigned out of the state in which I was licensed - Louisiana.

As a disclaimer to the third and sixth questions posed above, my retirement from the Coast Guard insured that I had an income throughout my retired years as well as health care for not only me but also my spouse.  In all honesty, the opportunity to insure my health care throughout my lifetime was a major consideration in my decision to make the Coast Guard a career. That was 1969, back when people did NOT think that healthcare had somehow become a “right” that everyone is automatically entitled to from the government. People had until the mid 1990s made career choices based on things like retirement pensions, healthcare coverage and employment opportunities just in case you are not old enough to remember the way it was.

In 1980, five years before I retired from the Coast Guard, I became a licensed real estate sales agent and in 1982 a license real estate broker both in the state of Louisiana and later to include Mississippi.  In real estate sales there are for the most part no retirement plans that real estate corporations provide to their agents and brokers.  Of course there are some exceptions if you are an “employee” with the real estate company versus an independent contractor working under the company name.  Therefore, most real estate agents and brokers MUST arrange for their own retirement funds and healthcare coverage for use in their retired years.  It has been my experience that in discussions with real estate agents, they have NOT set up such accounts.  I think the main reason for this is that most are relying upon the retirement/healthcare accounts of their spouse.  Keep in mind, we all must surely know, upwards of 50% of marriages end in divorce.  If that were to happen what happens to the retirement income of the people involved in their divorce.  Most are at least split in half.  Not a pretty picture for sure.

I retired from real estate primarily due to a physical ailment not related to my knee issues.  I simply felt that my physical condition was preventing me from doing the best.  I used my performance level prior to the ailment as my guide; I could no longer perform at that level and that was unacceptable; at least for me.  Still, circumstances called me back from retirement for another two years.  I fully retired in December of 2012.

Now for the real reason for writing this Nugget; THE LAST QUESTION!  What will you do with your time in your retirement?

I have not made retirement a study.  I know what I know based on what happened to me in my retirement.  At one time I envisioned my retired life to include playing a lot of golf, traveling, reading, working around the home and doing writing such as the Nuggets for the Noggin that I started over 20 years ago.  While I certainly would not be confused as an independently wealthy man, I had managed to insure a steady income through the retirement from the Coast Guard, a small disability payment from the Veterans Administration, and the monthly amount from Social Security.  Of course I also had access to my wife’s retirement from the Federal Government and her Social Security.  Being brutally honest with you the reader, I did not set up a retirement fund that I should have done beginning as far back as 1966.  The greatest one piece of advice I have for the reader is that you MUST START THAT ACCOUNT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW, NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE AT THIS VERY MOMENT – START THE ACCOUNT.  Don’t take the information from your family, your neighbor or your best friend or even me as a guide.  Seek out a good financial adviser and get the information from the one person that knows how to provide you with the financial support into your retirement years.  Every penny counts.

Even so, it is that last question that haunts me the most.  What will you do with your time in your retired years?  You may think it to be one thing years before you actually retire, but when you pull the cord and actually retire, you will probably be much older (and hopefully wiser) and have a plan that you intend to work.  Here is the rub: ‘Life is what happens while you have made other plans.”  While a lot of people have said this, I attribute it to Connie Podesta, a great motivational speaker, author and friend.  The same is true for retirement.  Retirement is what happens to you after you have made other plans.

What was the first thing that struck me that I had not prepared myself for or planned for in my retired years?

To answer that question we need to visit my time in the Coast Guard.  Twenty years service.  During that time I was fortunate to perform a vast verity of jobs such as personnel administration, Merchant Marine Safety, first as a Shipping Commissioner and later as a Safety Inspector on Offshore Oil Producing Platform (that involved flying time), and as an instructor.  During this time I had a lot of people counting on me to (1) do my job, (2) be on the job when I was supposed to be on the job, (3) my supervisors counted on my expertise and advice in order for them to make decisions, (4) the people for whom I was responsible counted on my expertise and advice for them in order to make their decisions, and (5), maybe the most important of all, MAKE DECISIONS that affected a great many people both up and down the organizational ladder and the public at large.  Another way of putting this: people counted on me and as a result, I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility towards them.  This all came to an abrupt halt in August 1985 when I retired.  Suddenly I was without this massive support system.  I was fortunate to foresee this coming and that is why I began working on attaining my real estate license while still in my 30s.

Then came a 33 plus year real estate career.  The first 7 years I was involved in listing and selling real estate.  Everyday someone was counting on me to know what I was doing in order for them to either buy a piece of real estate or to sell a piece of real estate.  The challenges were great but I found them to be the most rewarding of all.  Aside from being part of a team that pulled a drowning sailor from the North Atlantic, sliding the keys to a new home across the closing table, especially to a first time home buyer, was the best experience of all. 

It was during this seven year period that I found a secondary niche – computers.  Real estate agents, new and experienced alike, knew nothing about computers in the mid 1980s and that is what immediately separated me from most of my fellow agents.  As a result, though for the first five years I was considered a “part time agent” (a dirty word in the real estate business), the broker saw that I understood computers and then began using me to train my fellow agents.  My limited success (part time) in sales, my previous personnel management training in the Coast Guard and my computer skills eventually led to becoming a Real Estate Broker in charge of a company of about 25 agents.  That led to being a Broker/Owner and eventually Managing and Brokering a company of 105 real estate agents.

So why am I telling you, a future retiree, all this information?  The reason is veru simple.  During all those years, a great many people relied on me to do my job at the highest level possible.  They wanted to know what I thought.  What I would do in a given situation.  How I would handle something.  How I would handle difficult customers.  How I would handle legal issues.  How I would help insure the agents and the company were profitable.

December 31, 2012 – that is the day IT ALL STOPPED!  Was I ready for it to end so abruptly?  I thought so.  Did I receive any training in my 67 plus years until that date?  No!  Did anyone take me aside and consult with me to let me know that I would soon enter a vacuum? No! As we all know, if YOU don’t fill a vacuum, something or someone else WILL fill it for you.  No one ever wants to lose control.  Yet on December 31, 2012 that is exactly what happened.  I now found myself in a vacuum.  Sure there was golf – but due to a back injury that did not last very long.  Sure I could read and I have.  As for travel, not so much.  Not easy to travel when you have a household pet; something to give serious consideration to if you plan to travel in your retired years.  You are now pretty much on a fixed income. There is only so much work you can do around the house.  In just one minute, I went from being goal driven, to being goalless.  Having a goal to fix a broken window is not something that will keep you afloat in all of your retired years. 

There is one more question that needs to be answered and it is more important than all the others:


I hate to think what my retired years would look like had I not planned and arranged to at least have a steady income and health insurance for me and the family.  If you can’t answer all these questions, there is one more question:


Keep this one thought in mind at all times…