Monthly Archives: February 2012

What is a Successful Life?

What is it that would make you look back on your death bed and know you had a successful life?  I have often wondered about this question and I am still not sure what the correct answer is for me or anyone else.  Society, through media and advertising tells us success is being famous, beautiful, rich, and having the latest gadgets.  But when I see people who have fame, beauty, riches and toys, so many are unhappy.  (note my earlier story on Another Unnecessary Death).  Others are into the Buddhist theory that we keep reaching one level of spiritual growth in each life until we finally reach nirvana, the perfect soul.

I know that family and loving your offspring is important and gives me great depth of satisfaction.  My own family was close but I was physically abused growing up abandoned by many of them.  I can’t solve that, but I can be close to my own kids.  But what of those without kids?  Does their life have no meaning?

Some turn to fitness, diets, and exercise.  It’s all they seem to think or talk about.  They look great for much of their lives, maybe all of it, then they die from something.  Did a life of good nutrition and relative health make them successful?  Some are hedonists, not believing in anything greater than themselves and they just do what feels good.  But even hedonists I know still get depressed and feel a longing for more.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll does not satisfy either.

Many of us, including myself, turn to religion for meaning.  My most fervent prayer is always, “I believe, help my disbelief.”  I always wish I could have been a monk, devoted to God in some enclave at peace.  Or a great missionary, bringing others to faith and perhaps dying a martyr, full of faith.  But as I look at my life, I have pieces of many things, half-completed spiritual and secular goals.  I can never be the complete success in my life if I never define what that means.  So many of us go through life never thinking beyond the monthly mortgage, our next meal, or the latest problems at work.  I want to be different.  I want to know my goal and whether I have achieved it.  At 48, I am still not sure what my goal is.

I have long joked that on my death bed I will look up, announce, “I finally understand what I want to do.”  Then fall over dead.  Life seems that way to me.  Success is almost simply figuring out what your goal should have been.  I enjoy life and every moment is precious to me.  I love my wife, my kids, my dogs, my friends.  In the long history of the world I am blessed to live in America, live in freedom, not be starving, and have most material things I could ever want.  Perhaps it is the lack of a daily struggle simply to survive that leads us to wonder is there more.

Maybe Maslow had it right with his hierarchy of needs.  Survival, shelter, etc., until we reach the frustration with having met all those needs and now we want meaning.  What are your thoughts?  Remember, a friend of mine once told me, “Comments are the new hugs!”  Let me know what a successful life means to you, or if you are still searching for that yourselves, like I am.

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Please Help the Invisible Man

Many of you may have seen Hollywood depictions or read stories of the Invisible Man which make his life look glorious, or dangerous.  The truth is the medical condition that causes complete invisibility can be quite debilitating.  It is socially isolating, makes relationships difficult, and job seeking nearly impossible.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sadly left this condition out of the legislation and the Social Security Administration still does not recognize this disability.  Even those who qualify for Medicare find there are no effective treatments available for this rare condition.  One such sufferer is Frank Jenkinson, pictured below.  Please, if you come across Frank, or any other sufferers of invisibility, don’t walk on by like they aren’t even there.  It may look like they aren’t there, but trust me – they are.  Give today, help solve the invisible crisis.

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Steampunk Murder Mystery Tonight!

We are gathering to find out who killed Arthur E. Faxe in 1897 in Egypt tonight as part of the Arizona Steampunk Society.  We are hosting at our humble estate.  Was it Terra Sunder?  Major General E.B. Sawtedd?  Lester A. Fayre?  Lady Melissa Lynke?  Anne T. Inkwitee?  Hamilton Mactorr?  Ashley R. Sonnyste? or Conrad Iver?  Tonight, 15 people will investigate the death and determine which of those eight people did the heinous crime.  Will much food and adult beverages be needed?  Definitely.  This event is by ticket only and is sold out, so unexpected visitors will be violated.

Tonight, I will be Lord Whyle A. Waye, and all dignity aside, here I am with my fox hunting horn:

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Sherrif Paul Babeu

I first met Paul Babeu while I was Chief of Staff to the Arizona Speaker of the House.  He was a young, bright, articulate man working for Governor Napolitano’s border task force.  He coordinated efforts of the National Guard and the border patrol.  He struck as me as very intelligent, dedicated and energetic.  He is the kind of person you just naturally admire when you talk with them.  Through the years our paths have crossed many times and I consider him at least a friendly acquaintance if not a personal friend.  The entire time I have known Paul, he has been driven by one goal – to protect the people of Arizona from violence.  He not only has dedicated his career to this, been consistent on his message, but he has also personally put his life on the line many times and unfortunately had to suffer the injury or death of those he worked with in the same cause.

I live in Congressman Trent Franks district.  I have known and been friends with Trent since 1989 and I am glad to have such great representation.  My only regret is that I cannot vote in support of Paul Babeu for Congress, because I am not in his district.  We need people like him who are dedicated to helping their fellow citizens and willing to pay the price to do so.

I was saddened at the recent spectacle in the press associated with Paul.  He did what hundreds of millions have done – he took a cell phone picture of himself to show others what he looked like.  He had a relationship that ended with hurt feelings.  Both of those are so commonplace, they should not be news, but in today’s tear down everyone society they are.

If I looked like Paul Babeu, I would probably have thousands of pictures taken of myself.  Unfortunately, if I posted my own shirtless body, people would go blind, and that would have been the last image they saw.  It would be permanently imprinted on their damaged retinas.  Some things you simply can’t unsee.

No one is perfect.  Everyone wants to pile on nowadays and kick people when they are down.  I wanted to take this moment to do the opposite.  This incident does not change the fifteen years I have seen Paul Babeu put his life and his reputation on the line to help others.  Thank you Paul for what you have done in the past and what you will do in the future.  I have made many mistakes and done embarrassing things I still won’t share here.  Hopefully, this is the worst you will have to deal with.

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Facebook Ad

Just started a Facebook advertisement for The Travelers’ Club and The Ghost Ship  that will run until the end of March.  Let me know here if you see it pop up on the right of your Facebook page!  Wish me luck.

http://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Club-Ghost-Ship-ebook/dp/B0060QYM2K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330040223&sr=8-1

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Cara Nicole aka AZ Power Girl to Appear on Alternative History Anthology Cover

We completed a photo shoot with the ever so nice and friendly Cara Nicole yesterday.  For a person with such fame and a busy schedule, I was very impressed with her down to Earth nice personality and her commitment to local charities and the local arts community.  She will be appearing as a vampire on the cover of the anthology as one of the characters in the short story compilation.  Expect the book out in early March.  We also hope to be able to promote this and other works of the local community of writers in the upcoming conventions and in bookstores near you.  Please give a warm thanks to Cara Nicole for her awesome support to our local author’s community!  Thanks!

We are still finalizing the book name so if you have any ideas, post them here as a comment.  This book is being published by Michael Bradley and has a wide variety of local authors participating.  It will be available both in Kindle format and in print version.

For those few who don’t know about Cara Nicole already, here is a picture of her at Phoenix Comic Con in her AZ Power Girl outfit.

You will have to wait for the cover until the book comes out.  Sorry everyone, it’s still in the edit phase.

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Nerdvana Story on the East Valley Tribune

Thank you so much Bob Leeper for mentioning me in your article about local digital publishers.  Here is a link to the story:

http://blogs.evtrib.com/nerdvana/books/are-printed-books-histor-e-local-authors-embrace-digital-publishing/65468/

Many of you may know Bob Leeper as the owner of Evermore Nevermore or the organizer of Second Friday’s in Mesa.  He is a great guy and was nice enough to include me and some of my fellow authors in the story.  Thanks Bob!

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Even Dogs Have Economic Classes

We need to do something about canine class distinctions!  The 1% dogs live in paradise, while the middle class dogs barely get by, and the poor underclass redneck dogs have to make do with whatever.  Don’t believe me, just check out these photos:

Poor Dog

Middle Class Dog

One Percenter Dog

Something must be done!

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Inventor of Time Travel – Anniversary of His Death Last Year

This is a tribute to Emit Varlet, the inventor of Time Travel who died this time last year at the age of negative 137.  You will be missed!  Actually, you won’t be missed because of that whole time space continuum vortex thing that warps alternate universes when someone bends time, but the sentiment is still there.

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The Danger of Buying Foreign Drugs

The last several federal administrations, including Clinton, Bush and Obama’s have been pushing to buy oversees drugs because they are cheaper.  American pharmaceutical companies have been the target of many lawsuits and have become villains in the mainstream media.  Today, 40% of drugs in the United States are imported and 80% of the active ingredients are manufactured abroad.  So what is the concern?  Today, news leaked that there are potentially millions of doses of Avastin sent out since December that do not contain any active ingredient.  While American pharmaceutical companies are badgered, they maintain very high production standards.  Not so in other countries where they make them “cheaper.”  Leaving out the active ingredient certainly cuts out costs.  This means that people with colon, prostate and lung cancer receiving Avastin treatments might have been without any real treatment since December.  Many of them will die.

While pursuing my Masters in Economics I wrote a white paper on the topic of whether drug companies profits were excessive.  In the 60s, when the thalidimide disaster occurred, rules for drugs changed dramatically.  The drug had been given to women to help them sleep but pregnant women had terrible birth defects in their children.  Thousands were born without legs or arms.  No FDA administrator ever wants to approve another thalidimide.  The result is that for every 10,000 drugs researched, only one gets approved, and it takes about 15 years and costs between $500 million and $1 Billion per drug.  The patent on a drug lasts for 12 years, after which everyone can make it.  That means our pharmaceutical companies have to recover the cost for 20 years of research on 10,000 drugs on the one successful one they produce within just a 12 year period.  That is why a drug that costs 5 cents to manufacture can cost upwards of $20 per pill.

If you spent $1 Billion for a drug with 100,000 users that will take the pill once per day and you have 12 years to get your money back, plus a 10% profit you have to charge $2.55 per pill PLUS the cost of manufacturing, advertising, marketing, distribution, lawsuits and hope no one else comes up with something better.  Your pill will probably run $100 per month, so insurers and Medicaid and Medicare will force your doctor to use cheaper, older pills first, and only let you use it if the others don’t work, which will cause the pharma company to have to raise the price to $200 per month.  It is basic math.

By buying these drugs from unregulated and unreliable sources outside the country, we are making it impossible for new drugs to be economically developed.  At the same time, we are opening up the possibility of more Avastin disasters.  How would you like to know that the heparin you take to avoid blood clotting after a surgery might not have active ingredients, or may have three times the normal amount?  How about your anti-stroke medicine, your high blood pressure treatment, your insulin?  Think about that when politicians tell you about the evil pharma companies and how they plan to save you money.  With nationalized healthcare, do you think your bureaucrats would even let you know this had happened?  I don’t.

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