Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
by Harry Browne
December 25, 1966
(This article was originally published as a syndicated newspaper column, dedicated to his 9-year-old daughter.)
It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.
But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.
If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.
The truth is simply this:
No one owes you anything.
How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.
No one owes you anything.
It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.
When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.
It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.
When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.
No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.
No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.
Living your Life
No one owes you anything.
You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.
Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.
Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.
If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.
A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.
No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.
That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.
And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.
It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.
I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
T'was the night before Christmas:
All year through the House
And the Senate you'd find
Not a smidgen of nous.
Were there a machine
That detected IQ,
One could run it a month,
Then return it as new.
Except for one person
Asleep in a corner,
A government watchman
Named Ermingard Horner,
Who woke up abruptly
And pointed her Glock
At a fat man who stood
By the grandfather clock.
Drop em!" she said.
He replied with a quake,
"Dear me! Do you want
"All the presents to break?"
As she patted him down,
She concluded, right quick,
The nocturnal intruder,
In fact, was Saint Nick
But inside his bag
Was no football, no ring,
Nor a toy nor a doll
Or new video thing,
Just pieces of paper
And pieces galore,
And they spilled from the sack
On his back to the floor
"What's this?" she demanded,
"Start telling me true!"
"Each," he confessed,
"Is a big I.O.U.
"For many a year
"Congress plundered the store;
"When they spent all they had,
"Then they borrowed some more."
"Till the lenders, exhausted,
"Collapsed in distress,
"Then the government cranked up
"Its vast printing press,
"Until every tree
"From Nome to Miami
"Was cut to print money
"For your Uncle Sammy."
Knew in an instant
That Santa was right.
And even today, she recalls
(With some chills),
The ladies room stalls
Stacked with ten-dollar bills.
The money was there for
(She found this alarmin')
The banknotes were worth less
Than White Cloud or Charmin.
Somewhere, she knew,
Politicians would gloat
That they'd picked her own pocket
To buy her own vote.
Then Santa sighed, "Presents?
"Let's all just forget it,
"Since cash is now worthless
"And no one gives credit.
"So, Christmas? Prepare
"All the kids for bad news,
"As I stuff their wee stockings,
"With cheap I.O.U.s"
He mumbled farewell
With a cynical laugh.
But she said, "I've a sandwich
"And you can have half."
He paused and he squinted,
Then smiled with a sigh,
And sat down beside her,
A tear in his eye.
He said, "Christmas can be,
"What we make it to be.
"Merry Christmas to you,
"Tuna salad for me."
Thanks to S.J. Masty
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tax his land, Tax his bed,
Tax the table At which he's fed.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes Are the rule.
Tax his work, Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts Anyway!
Tax his cow, Tax his goat,
Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt,
Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,
If he cries, Tax his tears.
Tax his car, Tax his gas,
Find other ways To tax his ass.
Tax all he has Then let him know
That you won't be done Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him 'til He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he's laid.
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom...'
When he's gone, do not relax,
Its time to apply the inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax - CDL license Tax - Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax - Dog License Tax - Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax - Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax - Food License Ta x - Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Ta x (44.75 cents per gallon) - Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax - Inheritance Tax - Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax - Luxury Taxes - Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax - Personal Property Tax - Property Tax
Real Estate Tax - Service Charge Tax - Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax - Sales Tax - Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax - State Income Tax - State Unemployment Tax
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non- recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax - Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax - Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax - Well Permit Tax - Workers Compensation Tax
THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. We've come a long way, and not in a good way.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."--Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Vince Lombardi is one of the all-time great football coaches. The following is one of the best speeches he ever gave.
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.
“Every time a football player goes to play his trade he’s got to play from the ground up - from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.
“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization - an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win - to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.
“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there - to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules - but to win.
“And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.
“I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear - is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”