Chillin’ With Cavuto

I recently purchased and read two Neil Cavuto books, More Than Money (2004) and Your Money or Your Life (2005), both published by Regan Books.

Disclaimer: I paid a buck a piece at a used book sale at a library for these books, but I feel that I got my two dollars’ worth.  As is the case with many books that I purchase and read, you can purchase it for a whole penny on Amazon now, so long as you pay the shipping:

More Than Money: True Stories of People Who Learned Life’s Ultimate Lesson Paperback – May 3, 2005 by Neil Cavuto (Author)

Also, I am going to donate these two books to my local Goodwill store after this post in an effort to clear out two more of my immense pile (hoard) of books.

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I read More Than Money first, which tells the stories of numerous famous persons, business leaders, sports figures and celebrities, and the difficulties and/or disabilities that they have overcome.  The stories were very inspirational and make a Middle Class Guy like me feel like a total loser for failing to rise to fame and fortune despite not having numerous hurdles to success in my way since childhood.

One interesting story that I recall is that Paul Orfalea, the son of Lebanese immigrants, suffered from dyslexia and flunked the second and ninth grades.  He was ostracized and made to feel different by others, but his parents taught him to rise above the hurt.  He began selling random school supplies to fellow students at UC Santa Barbara in 1970, from there to an 80 square foot former hamburger stand with a Xerox machine in it, offering copying services 24/7 to fellow students, and eventually opened a shop called Kinko’s, his nickname, in a garage next to a taco stand.

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For eleven years, I received monthly newsletters from Diane Swonk of Miserow Financial, at first by print and later via email.  I found her writing and insights into economic issues very informative and even gained a greater appreciation for her humility in a newsletter where I recall her admitting being wrong for not forecasting the massive financial meltdown of the Great Recession.  She left Miserow early this year and I have not received one of her newsletters since.  I was extremely surprised to learn of Ms. Swonk’s dyslexia also, and her years of working to overcome it in Cavuto’s book.

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Swashbuckling entrepreneur visionary Richard Branson merits his own chapter in More Than Money.  Tales of his daring and trying challenges against the toughest odds makes Branson seem almost like a superhero. One of his biggest ventures, launching his Virgin brand into airlines, against many obstacles and reasons not to, makes this chapter about this ambitious, humorous, decisive dyslexic man, who can see differences, potential and overlooked opportunities, has resulted in some of Branson’s highly unorthodox, even “nutty” stunning victories and billions of dollars as a result.

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There are many other similar stories in this book, which I suggest you read as an inspirational piece of work.

In Your Money or Your Life, I read ten things of interest to Middle Class Guys like me and you.  Individual sections in this book publish short essays written by Cavuto in past years, thus the references to various years:

(1) Where were you on September 11, 2001?  I had just moved to my current home ten days earlier.  I live way out in the burbs, and I was commuting to a job in a high-rise in the Chicago Loop back then.  I have a long story about where I was at the time, but we did not yet have a TV set up at our new house so my wife did not find out about the attacks for some time.  I walked by the Chicago Board of Trade every day on my way to the office and knew something was up when every trader was outside on their mobile phones in a panic when I walked by right before 9:00.  I got to my office in time to stand with my colleagues and watch the second plane hit, which I originally thought was a replay of the first plane hitting after my tearful boss told me that “they flew the plane into the World Trade Center.”

(2) In 2002, Cavuto wrote that the top one percent of wage earners pay more than 37 percent of the total taxes in this country; the top five percent, more than 56 percent and the top ten percent pay 67.  Go to the top 25 percent, and 84 percent of the taxes are paid by these earners.  So much for the wealthier getting all the breaks.

(3) People love to criticize the rich, as if being so were evil. I do not.  Although I am far from rich, due to my position working with many business owners, the rich people that I know are mostly bootstrapping business owners who built their wealth over a period of many years of hard work.  It’s the genteel, inherited their wealth rich people that I cannot stand and I knew many such people also while growing up.

(4) In 2000, Cavuto wrote that we are en route to becoming a nation of millionaires.  It’s not like the 50’s or 60’s, where that would put you in the high upper echelon of wealthy earners.  According to a CNBC article by Robert Frank from March of this year, “Despite volatile financial markets and slow economic growth, the U.S. added 300,000 new millionaires in 2015, bringing the total to a record 10.4 million, according to a new report.”

Frank further writes, “The number of American households with assets of $1 million or more, not including their primary residence, increased 3 percent last year, from 10.1 million, according to Spectrem Group, a market research and consulting firm.”

Us Middle Class Guys feel like we’re missing out on something here.

(5) Cavuto wrote way back in time, sixteen and a half years ago, that you should try to stick to a budget at home, but probably don’t.  We certainly don’t in my family, spending $7,000 some months, which is within our budget, but the next month it goes over $10,000, and then maybe $12,000 in a month before going to $8,000 the next.  Truth is, all of us Middle Classers have some big-ticket items come up from time to time that throws things off for a month and when it comes to unexpected costs, just learn to “expect the unexpected.”

(6) Considering last week’s crazy second presidential debate and the Republican nominee’s recent issues in the press over remarks made way back when, it is interesting that Cavuto extolled on the virtues of “The Donald” brilliance way back eighteen years ago in 1988.  He wrote about Donald Trump’s pride, ego and determination to claw his way out of debt and facing a heap of trouble into a casino magnate.  We saw all that last night in his tirades against Hillary Clinton.

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(7) In a prescient piece written in 1999, Cavuto wrote about “beeper vacations.”  No one, anywhere, will ever be able to go on vacation the same way again.  They can get you.  Reach you.  Nag you anytime.   It’s that easy, that annoying and that permanent.  Although beepers are now obsolete, the idea continues with cell phones.

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I can and will write posts on this subject, which has taken me from many a relaxing and enjoyable time with my family, hundreds of miles from home, back to nagging little troubles at the office that could very easily wait until my return.  Nothing brings you down while boarding a ride at Disney World or hiking with your family in the north woods like answering an inane question from somebody many miles away at your office; one that could just as easily have been answered upon your return with no difference whatsoever.

(8) In a 2004 essay, Cavuto lamented the overwhelming amount of commercial shown in movie theaters prior to the main feature.  It is come to be expected by now in late 2016, but I do remember seeing a polar bear-themed Coke commercial many years ago prior to a movie and feeling frustration at being forced to view it after paying my six bucks per ticket.

Fast forward twelve years and I pay upwards of fifty bucks taking my wife and two children to a first-run 30-screen multiplex AMC theater just for the tickets.  God forbid that I have to buy popcorn, candy and soda for everyone.  Tack on another $25 to $30.  Then, when we find suitable seats, I would miss the days when it would just be a polar bear Coke commercial. Now, we are forced to watch 20 minutes of bullshit car commercials, fast food commercials and whatever else.

Cavuto claims it to be a bold-faced lie that the theater owners need these commercials to defray the cost of tickets for the viewing public.

(9) In 1999, Cavuto wrote about a different kind of midlife crisis.  He writes about the long-held view of guys my age turning their lives upside down, ditching their wives, purchasing sports cars and scooping up a young blonde.

He wrote that although a few guys might do that, the overwhelming majority do not.  Perhaps it is because of the kinds of friends that our children have made, but most of my wife’s and my friends are the parents of children (and now college kids) who are friends of our own.  In the several dozen of the couples that we know, only one middle aged man has done this.  Most of us remain loyal to our spouses and children through thick and thin, as we promised to do at our weddings many years ago.

The main manifestation of my own “midlife crisis” is spending some dough to purchase a domain name and putting thoughts on the Middle Class Guy blog.

(10) In 1999, Cavuto also wrote about anger.  He characterized anger as a career killer as well as a killer of lives.  Cavuto cited a story in Investor’s Business Daily (something that I also read, although not even weekly let alone daily) noting that over a 25-year period studying medical and law students, those with calmer personalities only died at a 4% rate by age 50, whereas 20% of those with more hostile personalities died by that early age.

Coming up to 50 years of age, myself, in only four-plus years, this hit home.  I have been easily annoyed by things in the past, but not so much any more.  I try not to get so upset when I am told to re-do something at work for the third time even though it was fine already, or some bozo cuts me off in traffic.  I am high-strung enough without letting every little thing make it worse, which could ultimately cut years off of my life.

Angry people sit and stew and are often avoided, while those with positive attitudes tend to get raises and promotions.  I have witnessed it many times, and strive to come in with a positive attitude every day, something that some of the Millenials who I work with could learn from.




Dr. Cloud’s Integrity

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I just read this book, published ten years ago in 2006, in September 2016.  Having never heard of Dr. Henry Cloud before, I could not help purchasing this book (fifty cents at a library) because of the title.  I was brought up to have integrity, I am blessed to have learned to have integrity from a number of mentors (my grandfathers, my father, one of my uncles and my current boss).  I do my best to teach my children to have integrity, which they both do in spades, and to lead by example rather than just telling them to have it.

I learned or was reminded of eight points about this important topic from this book, which I will gladly share with you:

  1. The character traits that those with integrity have create and maintain trust, help you see and face reality, help you work in a way that bring results, enable you to embrace negative realities and solve them, cause growth and increase your success and also help you achieve transcendence and meaning in life.
  2. Those with integrity have the ability to connect authentically, which leads to trust.  We have all known a lot of bullshitters over the years.  I have met with, worked with and known too many to count.  In marriage, parenting, work, friendship and business, connection happens when one person has a true emotional investment in the other, and the other person experiences that and it is returned.  I have found over my 23-year career that this holds very true and when the businesses or organizations that I work together with truly connect with me and/or my organization, both tend to prosper.  Great and empathetic communication skills can be taught, and there are countless books and articles about it, but the kind of authentic connection that Dr. Cloud and I are talking about can’t be faked; it has to be real.  This will be the subject of future posts.
  3. An orientation toward the truth is important.  Whenever “integrity” comes up, an honest and ethical way of doing business with others is key.  The sad reality is that many people do lie.  In fact, most of us do at some time or another, in some form or another.  Again, over the course of my career, I have found that lies have a way of coming around to haunt you, sometimes years later.  As they say, it is easier to remember the truth than a lie, and I would rather tell someone that I am working with or for an uncomfortable truth than a more comforting and assuring lie.
  4. There are “ways” that high producers operate.  They are patterns in the way that they think, behave and relate.  This relates less to the “what” of the work, instead of the “who.”  I know that there are some that believe that my job, or yours, could be “taskified” to someone younger and cheaper to hire.  Many friends of mine have had this happen, but those Millenials coming up the ranks often cannot be as successful as us middle-aged, middle-class guys who have found our own way to be productive without an app for everything that we do.  In my position, I find that personal relationships and trust built over years, sometimes decades, goes a lot longer way than a text or tweet.
  5. A person with great integrity has to have character integration around the areas of strengths, gifts and talents.  If you have a well-defined identity on a number of fronts, you will be secure in what you like and do not like, what you believe in, your values, and you will love and hate the right things.  Do not be wishy-washy wondering who you are or what you are about.  Realize that you are not everything to all people.  It is not unusual to be defined by others for most of your life, sometimes to the point that you may not be in touch with who you really are.  Many of the improve your life/find yourself/get rich books that I have read have hit upon this point as well as many of the others in this book.
  6. A person with integrity loses well.  Having grown up playing and coaching sports, I can assure you that nobody wins all the time.  The athlete and team that I most admired growing up, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, took lumps for years from the Detroit Pistons.  The Pistons beat on them, fouled them hard, intimidated them and kept knocking them out of the playoffs.  We all know the story of how the Bulls beat them 4 games to zero one year and the asshole Pistons mostly left the court without shaking hands, i.e. “sore losers.”  I, myself, was so competitive growing up that I had a hard time accepting losing at baseball or basketball.  Unless the other team was clearly better, it was easier blaming a bad call by an umpire or referee, or taking some slight from an opposing coach or player as being a cheater or somehow playing unfairly.  My father was very wise and lectured me and my brother many times about being a gracious loser.  I recall telling him that that was a loser mentality during my high school years, but guess what?  Turns out that he was right.  Dr. Cloud writes that we all lose.  Things will not turn out well and sometimes be unable to be fixed.  Thus, losing is a reality that everyone encounters at some point (even Michael Jordan and LeBron James) and therefore we need to learn to negotiate it.
  7. There is more to the character aspect of work than a good work ethic.  Like many of you, I was taught to be a hard worker by my parents and by my grandfathers.  Working hard, consistently and with diligence and perseverance is paramount.  However, depending on how someone is put together, it is possible to do all of this while at the same time failing to achieve results.  I think about this all the time at my job, where we file weekly and monthly activity reports, the more items listed the better.  However, it is my belief that we would be better off listing four achievements during the past month, then the fifty activities we did in an effort to achieve those four.  Some months, you may have eight achievements and in some it may be zero.  Results are the fruit of other aspects of our makeup, not just doing the same preordained monthly or weekly tasks.
  8. A lot of people know facts, processes, what do to and even how to do work, itself.  They know a lot about it, perhaps more, than others do.  Many of these people have the credo of “Fire, Ready and Aim” instead of “Ready, Aim and Fire.”  Due diligence and thorough preparedness will help you succeed more than those who are so eager to get to an undertaking that they jump in before things are ready, get in over their heads, and then crash and burn or otherwise fail to complete their project or accomplish their goal.  When you look at truly successful people over the long term, as I have from my Middle Class Guy perspective, you will notice that they do not make impulsive decisions and can wait, plan and look at all of the angles before taking action.  Even though I am assigned seemingly random and unimportant tasks nearly constantly at work, I am once again after over two decades working with others in office/departmental settings, reminding myself to prioritize things and to not necessarily jump from one “fire” to another, just to put them out and get assigned another one to put out.

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This is the first day of the rest of my life…on Lisinopril

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I have had high blood pressure for years.  About twelve years ago, I had an asshole doctor (whom I have since switched from) who wanted to put me on blood pressure medication.  I had a very stressful job at the time (I still do, but it is a different job) and was consuming a diet high in salt, with little exercise unless you count commuting over two hours per day and working about nine hours per day in between the two hour-plus commutes.  I had a lot of meetings at night, too, after leaving home around 7:00 a.m. and regularly would not see my baby daughter awake for several days at a time.  The only positive thing about that job was that it allowed my family to (barely) pay our bills for three years.

I told my former doctor that I did not want to go on it, would exercise more, eat better, etc., just give me another shot.  I was not ready to go on old person medication in my early thirties.

Somehow, I lowered my blood pressure to an acceptable level for a few years, only to have it rise even higher (about 150/100 earlier this week) over the past few years.  It must be hereditary; my mother is on blood pressure medication, both of my deceased grandfathers were, my late father was, and my younger brother has been for over a decade.  My sister is a healthy vegetarian who works out daily and has no health problems that I am aware of.  Our brother diligently works out daily and is in great shape for his age, so it must not be due to that.

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Anyway, I have put off having a physical for a number of years due to not wanting to know what middle-age infirmities I have, although I suspected having them.  My doctor insisted that I have one this week, and high blood pressure was one of my problems, the others I do not want to get into.

I’m big on New Years and also believe in the power of a new month, which today is, in terms of listing out goals that you want to accomplish.  Also, my memory almost instantly worsened that day that I turned forty, which was over half a decade ago, and has not shown signs of improvement.  I fear losing my memory dramatically in the future, but I am far from that.  It is just that I forget a lot of things that I did not in the past, and my wife is well aware of it, so I wanted to start taking Lisinopril today, October 1st, so I could remember when I started taking it for my first ninety day prescription.  Pills and bottle shown above, along with the Allegra that I purchased at Walgreen’s about an hour ago.

I am starting off on only 5 mg, which is a very light dose.  The prescription cost me $15.33 for 90 pills, “saving” me $30.66 through my insurance.  The 24 24-hour Allegra gel caps cost $18.99 ($3 off) and was taxable.  As a life-long and frequent Walgreen’s customer, I “earned” over 5,000 points on their rewards program today, so I am 1,470 points to a $10 “reward.” Walgreen’s, like most other retailers, likes to track when and what you buy.

My wife said to take them the same time every day, or night, so I will take my first-ever Lisinopril later tonight and will put the pills in one of those old-people containers because I know that I’ll never be able to remember if I took it or not, and if my wife sees that I have not, she will remind me.  At least I can be glad that my wife still wants me to remain in decent health after 20 years of marriage.  I’ll be thankful for that and will post again about my middle class, middle aged blood pressure again in a few months or sooner if it goes to 120/80 by a pharmaceutical miracle.

We Charged $17,659 through early September

We've sent almost $18K to our credit cards before the end of September.

We’ve sent almost $18K to our credit cards before the end of September.

Hello Again from the Middle Class Guy.

One of my frequent topics will be money, moola, currency, scratch, dough, cash, credit, savings etc.   You get the picture.

This is how I felt many a time.
This is how I felt many a time.

After having multiple credit cards, with little income, for many years and also paying off a relatively small amount of debt on my master’s degree (about $7,000) while having first one, and then two young children, and a stay-at-home wife, I worked hard to pay off my debt.  We went years without vacations when our son was young and then when we had our daughter.  We scrimped in many other ways, forgoing many little luxuries that most of our other friends enjoyed, rarely going out to restaurants or seeing first-run movies, two of the things my wife and I enjoy doing together.

I remember paying off my little putt putt Nissan Sentra years ago, around the same time that I paid off my debt from graduate school, the last three or four thousand of which had been transferred on to my (now closed) Citibank Visa card that I originally obtained during my freshman year of college (with no job, the week that I turned 18).

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I opened a new Visa account with Chase, like tens or hundreds of millions of other people, and my wife opened a credit card with Bank of America, with more tens or hundreds of millions of others.  She already had a Kohl’s charge card (for twenty years now), so I was and am down to one credit card and she has two.

We have several recurring expenses including orthodontia for both of our children and our daughter’s dance company fees billed monthly to my wife’s credit card, contributing to what I feel is a whopping $12,744 charged to it so far this year, with not a mile or penny of cash back ever.  We need to change that.

My wife also winds up putting things like a new laptop for our son who recently started college, nearly $500 in textbooks for first semester (from what I call “the Giant Shopping Center in the Cloud,” Amazon), and many other things that I consider necessities than discretionary spending.

The $3,923 in charges made on my Visa so far this year include more fun things, like car rentals three times this year, once in Nevada and Arizona for spring break, and another for traveling to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last month, once for picking up our daughter from band camp, and about $1,300 for the rental house in the U.P.

This was the view from our rental house in the U.P.
This was the view from the back porch of our rental house in the U.P.

I also charge work-related expenses on occasion, for which I am reimbursed.  I also should switch cards to get 1.5% or 2% cash back, depending on the card.

I also mentioned Kohl’s.  My wife obtained a Kohl’s charge card over twenty years ago, which we know due to a recent letter from them with a discount indicating so.  I plan on many future posts on Kohl’s, which I consider the ultimate Middle Class clothing store.  I am currently sitting and wearing underwear and shorts from Kohl’s.  Usually, I would have a shirt from there on also, but I have a tee-shirt from my college instead today.  All of the clothes that I wear to work every day for the past twenty years, with few exception, are from Kohl’s.

Anyway, while checking the mail this past lovely Saturday morning, we received another bill for $1,738 for my wife’s Visa, after paying $1,295 last month, over $3 K in two months.  That, after paying just under $13 K in college tuition about a month ago.  Talk about strain on a middle class family’s budget, although we have not yet tapped our son’s 529 account (yet).

I will not detail all the charges, the most extravagant being Domino’s pizza while having a small family get-together and our daughter’s annual professionally done photograph for her dance company, combined about $100.

We order Domino's several times per month.
We order Domino’s several times per month.

The new Dell laptop with all the bells and whistles was about $600. Future posts on Dell to come.

We purchased this Dell for our son for about $600.
We purchased this Dell for our son for about $600.

All told, our three combined credit cards had charges for $17,659 from January through September (due in October) for a smidgen under $2 K average per month.  Since I strive to pay all three off every month in an effort to not fall into debt, like during my mid-twenties to mid-thirties, I keep paying them even though it makes me feel like I have money in the bank one day, but not the next.

B of A, Chase and Kohl's statements from 2016.
B of A, Chase and Kohl’s statements from 2016.

In closing, I am mostly using this post to vent.  Ten years ago, $18 K in charges over nine months would wipe us out.  Since most of our purchases and investments are not on these credit cards, this represents anywhere from 20% to 25% of our total spending, which ranges from a low of about $7,000 per month to about $10,000.  I used to consider the months with unexpected expenses, like auto or home repairs, or healthcare costs, the anomalies.  The biggest expenditure months would occur twice per year, when I pay our family’s (Cook County) property taxes.  Now, paying $13,000 all at once stands out much more as an anomaly.  One of these days, I’m sure that I will have to pay tuition the same month that taxes are due.  My already-high blood pressure (150/100 or so) rises just thinking about it.

$17,659 in credit card charges in nine months is a middle class amount.  Not a lower middle class amount, but a middle middle class amount.  My relatives and friends who are more upper middle class, in my estimation with incomes about $150,000 and up, charge more.  I do not really ask them, but they travel more than we do and to more exotic locales, dine out at more often and at more expensive restaurants than we do, and buy nicer clothes, electronics and phones.

If you are lower class or even lower middle class, charging $2,000 per month in addition to paying your mortgage or rent, property taxes if you “own” a home, $1,500 in groceries, utilities, insurance on your house and three vehicles, lunches and dinners out, another few hundred in gasoline and on and on, seems like a huge amount.

Like I wrote, we’re not living high on the hog.  We’re living a typical suburban middle class existence, striving to achieve and have good lives, striving for great education for our children and for some occasional R&R.

In the next few months, I intend on getting a cash back credit card since I get offers for them in the mail a few times per month and it wouldn’t hurt to get some of our hard-earned dollars back.   When I think of the $400 that we could get back after charging and paying $20 K (or even more), I get upset.

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Since I am big on New Years and intend on writing extensively on improving myself and yourself in 2017, maybe one little step for next year will be for me and/or my wife to get cash back or mileage cards, so we can at least feel like we’ll get something in return after paying thousands of dollars to our children’s rich orthodontist, airlines and rental car agencies, and the local dance company.

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Learning the Purpose Driven Life

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I purchased this #1 best selling book, written in 2002, earlier this summer.  The library that I frequent most often sells donated and discarded hardcover books for one dollar each (paperbacks for fifty cents), or you can fill a plastic bag with books for a whopping two bucks.  I think that this was one of about four or five books purchased in June for two bucks total.

According to Wikipedia, “The book topped the Wall Street Journal best seller charts as well as Publishers Weekly charts with over 30 million copies sold by 2007.[1] The Purpose Driven Life was also on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 90 weeks.[2]

The book offers readers a 40-day personal spiritual journey and presents what Warren says are God‘s five purposes for human life on Earth and describes itself as “a blueprint for Christian living in the 21st Century […] using about 350 references to the Bible, maybe this amounts to over 1200 Biblical verses and quotes to challenge the conventional definitions of Christian Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Christian Ministry and Evangelism.”

I  have purchased and read many books in what I call the improve your life/get rich/self-help/change your way of thinking genre  since May alone.  This one differs by stressing money less and helping you reduce your stress, focus your energy, simplify your decisions, give greater meaning to your life, and prepare you for eternity.

Even though who am I to criticize a book that sold over 30 million copies (including one re-sold to me for the equivalent of forty cents), I did not enjoy it and found a lot of it very simplistic and unrealistic.

I agree with reviewer Lauren, who wrote on Dec 27, 2007Lauren  rated it did not like it:

“I suppose this book can be genuinely helpful to some people (Scott Peterson, Brian Nichols, Fidel Castro, for example have all apparently benefited from this book), but it was uninteresting to me from the get-go. I went into it with an open mind, and hoped to gain some spiritual insight from it. However, when the book immediately recommended The Purpose-Driving Journal, The Purpose-Driven Calendar, Daily Inspiration for the Purpose-Driven Life, not to mention The Purpose Driven Life DVD Study Guide and The Purpose-Driven Life – Commuter Edition, I began to sense that despite the authors’ good intentions the book has become a commercial monster of (dare I say) Biblical proportions, and I couldn’t bear to be a part of it.” 

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I also agree with a Goodreads rater named Amanda who did not like it:
“I read this book thinking it would offer something deep and real about the purpose of God and the purposes of peoples in the world. But it offered little more than a worn-out run-a-round of the phrase “God has a purpose for you.” I know why this book is so popular – it, like many others, offers Christians the idea that “God’s purpose” for you has something to do with getting ahead in life and having more money. It’s that lame “name it and claim it” mentality.   I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.”

My own five key takeaways from the Purpose Driven Life, if you have not or do not want to read it, are powerful:

  1. A criticism of self-help books (even Christian ones) as offering the same predictable steps to finding your life’s purpose: consider your dreams, clarify your values, set some goals, figure out what you are good at, aim high, go for it, be disciplined, believe that you can achieve your goals, involve others and never give up.  Well said, Rick Warren.  That one sentence summary hits the nail on the head for the other thirty or so books that I have read in this genre this year.
  2.  The best use of Life is Love.  Like the Beatles singing “All You Need is Love,” Warren writes that life without love is really worthless.  Busyness is a great enemy of relationships.  Middle class, middle aged men like me become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life, which they are not.  He writes that the point of life is learning to love – God and people.  Warren writes about being at the bedside of dying people who realize that relationships are what life is about, not their money, diplomas, resume, medals and possessions.
  3. The best expression of Love is Time.  Warren writes that if you want to know a person’s priorities, just look at how they use their time.  You can’t just say that relationships are important, you must prove it by investing time in them.  When you give someone your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.  Your time is your life and that is why it is the greatest gift that you can give.
  4. You were put on earth to make a contribution.  You were not born just to consume resources – food, energy, to watch TV, purchase household goods, etc.  Warren writes that the purpose is to serve God.  I like to think about how my job fits into the scheme of things, helping businesses open and thrive being the ultimate goal and improving a local economy.  There are many ways that you can make a contribution, and it is good to stop and think about it once in a while.
  5. Admit your weakness.  Us middle class guys are not often encouraged to admit our weaknesses.  I readily admit to many that I am not a very handy guy.  As a middle-aged suburban white male, I am one of the only ones in my neighborhood who would be hard pressed to change a flat tire, change my car’s oil, fix the gutters, hammer together some wood, etc.  (Does putting together Ikea furniture count as handy?).    Usually, us middle class guys deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them.  Warren urges us to own up to our imperfections, stop pretending to have it all together, and be honest about ourselves.

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What I Learned from the One Minute Millionaire

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Before I decided to launch the Middle Class Guy blog, I had pondered (for nearly a year) if I should do one by some variant of the name “Avid Reader” instead.

I have read the average of at least one book, maybe a little more than one, per week for the past fifteen or so years.  Sometimes I read two in a week if they are easy reading, like Jonathan Kellerman books, or if I can’t put them down, like the spy novels that I favor.

I intend to write extensively on my reading, and had pondered selling favorable reviews for books (for a fee) after reading an article entitled “The Best Book Reviews That Money Can Buy” in the NY Times in August 2012 about a guy named Todd Rutherford who made up to $28,000 per month posting glowing book reviews on e-books that he, or those that he subcontracted to, barely looked at through a website called  What a great name, what a scam, and what a lot of money to be made.  I fell asleep many a night pondering how much to charge for posting reviews and also thinking of all the free books, paper and in digital format, that I would be able to read.

Here I am four years later, having purchased nearly 100 books (in print) since this spring, with the intention of reading them, learning from them, and then blogging about some of what I have learned. I should note that I purchase most of them at local libraries for anywhere from a quarter to a buck, depending on what library, and at used bookstores for one to three or so bucks.  I also purchased a number of books last year at college bookstores and libraries while visiting nine colleges with my son.  I ordered a few new ones from favorite authors from Barnes & Nobles.

My daughter and I ordered some books before our brief vacation in the U.P. from Barnes & Noble
My daughter and I ordered some books before our brief vacation in the U.P. from Barnes & Noble.

I admit here that I have a book problem, but people see it differently. I view my problem as not having enough space, while others see me as a hoarder of books, piling them in any and all available spaces.  I will post about that soon.

If I had a home library like this, I would not seem like a book hoarder, but a rich man with a lot of books.
If I had a home library like this, I would not seem like a book hoarder, but a man with a lot of books.
My house is not this cluttered with books (yet), but I'm getting close.
My house is not this cluttered with books (yet), but I’m getting close.

Anyway, in a dual effort to alleviate my book piles as well as share what I like about various books, in list form, I have selected The One Minute Millionaire: The Enlightened Way to Wealth by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen (2002) to comment on.  It is nowhere near my favorite book, or even one of my favorite books in the self-help/making money/change your way of thinking genre that I have read dozens of books on since May alone.

My favorite books are all works of fiction by a wide variety of authors, none of whom would benefit by my endorsement, but I will write more about that at a later time.

Now, for the fourteen (14) key takeaways that made me stop and think for a minute in The One Minute Millionaire, along with my own comments, which is the format that I will typically use since it is my blog.  Here goes:

1.Money is Neutral.  It is neither good nor bad.  It is like a tool and can be used to build or destroy.  Our lives, relationships and happiness improve when we have enough money.  As a lifelong middle class person it is easy to vouch for this without a lengthy explanation.  I was told many times that I could not have or do something because it is too expensive.  When my parents, and as a parent, when we could do something special like take a family vacation or go out for a nice dinner together, things seemed better.  As the authors write, “…understanding money – how to ethically make it, keep it, and share it – adds a positive dimension to wealth.”

2. Live Life Above the Line.  My daughter’s school preaches this   philosophy, which means do not blame someone else for what went wrong.  My previous place of employment, like many of yours, was always in crisis mode.  Where I work now is becoming the same.  At my previous job, the bosses spent at least as much time trying to lay blame on someone else for what went wrong, as things always do, than considering a good remedy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At my current job, my boss usually covers for me and the others in our department, which I realize is rare in a boss, and sometimes even when we did screw up.  Just a few years ago, I realized that many of my fellow high school and college graduates were executives at major corporations, or had founded their own companies, or had jobs of much higher stature (and pay) than my boss or even my boss’ boss.  That’s when it clicked one day that I had to explain a messy situation to some VIPs on my own and I told my boss, “Don’t worry, [boss], I’m a big boy and I made the decision and I’m willing to take the heat for it.”  Years later, I cannot even remember what it was, but ever since then, I am trying hard to Live Above the Line and not blame anybody else for my shortcomings.

3. Givers Get.  I have read this in at least ten of the books similar to this one, so I am beginning to believe it to be true.  “Give your time, your approval, your smile, your advice, your wisdom, your compliments, your sense of humor, your talent, your attention, your encouragement, your love.  All these things will flow back to you in abundance.”  There is something spiritual about this advice, and I intend to take it.  If I give a needy person on the street a five dollar bill, I do not expect it to automatically come back to me ten-fold, but I believe that if you give the above list, good things will come back to you.

4. Internal Assets and Liabilities.  You are undoubtedly familiar with these accounting terms and have, at some point, had to put them on paper.  Us middle class people have to live with mortgages, a process by which your net value is put down on paper in black and white for the many so-called professionals who make their living via the issuance of mortgages can review your creditworthiness.

We all have internal assets and liabilities.
We all have internal assets and liabilities.

However, we all have assets and liabilities that go beyond dollar signs on loan documents.  Internal assets may include things like what I am doing now, my ability to crank out words at a computer on a Sunday evening, your imagination, persistence, integrity, courage, generosity, speaking skills, mathematical skills, time management.  Internal liabilities, and I have all of these to one degree or another, may include small-mindedness, fear, anxiety, laziness, poor organization, perfectionism, pettiness and the like. You get the picture.

5. Tap Into Your Genius.  We all hear about the geniuses in our midst, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Bill James, Michael Jordan and on and on…

Us average, middle class, middle aged guys cannot be mistaken for geniuses, but we do all have unique genius-like qualities.  I just think that mine is writing about other people’s writing, and commenting on products that I like (or don’t), saving and investing money, work-related issues, education issues and more.  “The One Minute Millionaire” authors identify the characteristics of Passion, Talent, Values and Destiny as common among geniuses.  What is your passion, talent, values and destiny?

6. Goals Are Critical to Your Success.  The authors of this book suggest that you use a special notebook for your goals.  They divide goals into categories relating to Body, Brain, Being, Time, People and Money.  These are the goals and aspirations that we all have, but I had not seen it so nicely listed and explained.

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I spend a lot of time thinking about financial goals, and I suppose that my financial goal for The Middle Class Guy is to make at least as much money by the end of this year on it (a few hundred bucks) that I spent purchasing the domain name via BlueHost.  I would eventually like to make many times that much every month, but that is a long way off.

Time is a very important aspect of goals and I think that it merits its own blog entry, or several of them.  Actually, all six categories do and that will be an upcoming entry.

7. The Longer the Lever, the Greater the Impact.  Leverage is an important aspect of making big money, and one that I and many tens of millions of Middle Classers either do not understand, do not practice, or both.

My brother is a successful attorney, and he also believes in leveraging money, as well as looking at the way he goes about his business in a totally different way than I do.  Perhaps it is because I am older and spent more time with our Depression-era grandfathers that I have a “must save” money mentality, a mentality of scarcity, and a morbid fear of debt.  One of our grandfathers told me repeatedly that he never paid one cent of interest in his life.  This from a man who purchased a house in a nice suburb of Chicago, purchased new cars every few years, traveled extensively and gave generous gifts including tens of thousands of dollars.

The notion of leverage comes from doing something once, and then selling it to thousands or millions of people.  Some day, someone may click on an advertisement on this blog entry long after I have forgotten writing it, and a buck or two will go into my account.  Likewise, if I wanted to buy something for a million dollars, say a 6-unit apartment building with rents in the $2,000 range, the notion of leverage deals with O.P.M. (other people’s money) rather than spending the next fifteen years saving up enough for a $250,000 down payment, or the entire million bucks, is using the notion of leverage to its fullest.  I have considered doing this many times, but I never have, mostly due to my middle class-induced fears of risk and failure.

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The One Minute Millionaires write that one should leverage other people’s money (OPM), other people’s experience (OPE), other people’s ideas (OPI), other people’s time (OPT) and other people’s work (OPW).  For a more detailed explanation of these, buy the book.   I found a free PDF of it, although I do not condone this as an aspiring author, and I found it from a whopping penny (you pay the shipping) on Amazon just now:

Hardcover from $0.01414 Used from $0.01123 New from $1.7235 Collectible from $1.98

8. Mentors.  The authors claim that every successful person has mentors.  I would challenge that, but agree that most successful people have enjoyed the benefit of mentors.  I have come across many who raised themselves from their bootstraps without anybody there to help show them the way.

If you are able to find a willing mentor, drawing from his or her experiences and knowledge is the quickest, safest and surest route to achieving your goals.  Remember that people you meet along your journey can “accidentally” teach you something to help you out in reaching your goals.

9. Four Types of Work and Workers.  The authors pose an interesting typology of four types of workers.  Personally, I must be schizophrenic because I think that I have, at one time or another, fallen into each of these categories:

Hares think randomly, come up with ideas, think creatively, get bored and sometimes lack follow-through.  Owls are wise and think methodically and create action plans.  Turtles are slow and steady, suspicious of new ideas, believe in tradition and not taking risks.  Squirrels are great at step-by-step work, think and act methodically, keep things organized and running smoothly.

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In my typical work week, I embody all four of those types and, mathematically, embody one at least twice per week if I go to work all five days except for some Mondays, when my body is present but my mind is not, so I do not work any of those ways.

10. Making Money While You Sleep.  I am not a great sleeper, but the ultimate is to be selling goods or ads online or via your business while you are not even awake.

The authors go into great detail on this important way of increasing your wealth, and the happiest I have ever heard anybody brag is that they sold over $1,000 worth of items on their website while they were sleeping over the weekend.

The major points that they go into involve the importance of having multiple streams of income (which I just realized is another of my goals – see item # 6) and the power of residual income.  Relatives and friends of mine have both, and they tend to the ‘upper middle class’ range.  They list out income streams, and my goal is for this blog to become one.

11. Systems.  The authors claim that most failure is caused by the system, not the people.  They list out items related to this which I will not go into great detail, but it reminds me that I need to come up with a system for this blog.  I think that I have one, but I need to flush it out.  Things change so rapidly in technology, including how income is derived online.  I even read a lot of articles claiming that blogging is too played out and dead, but I believe that compelling writing on interesting topics will always have a place, and what needs is a good system.

12. Infopreneur.  When I heard this term for the first time, I realized that it is for me.  I do not make tchotchkes  or cutesy items to sell via a slick website.  I am not a re-seller of any tangible items that you can buy and then use.

What I am is an information entrepreneur.  What I intend to share via Middle Class Guy is knowledge, entertainment, inspiration, special interests, work habits, observations, successes and failures, my spirit, soul, enthusiasm, humor, sadness, bitterness, determination, ways to make money and live a better life and, ultimately, make some dough doing it.

After all, if I am a hoarder of information, why not share it with anybody willing to read it?

“Infopreneur is a person whose primary business is gathering and selling electronic information. This term is a neologism portmanteau derived from the words “information” and “entrepreneur”. An infopreneur is generally considered an entrepreneur who makes money selling information on the Internet.”

13. Identify Your Perfect Customer.  It is highly cathartic for me to write this.  After all, I will be ready to donate The One Minute Millionaire after posting this, getting one more book out of my collection (which my wife will appreciate).  As I write, I sometimes wonder who, if anybody, will read these words.  You are my customer.

I stop and think about my perfect customer, in this case my reader. Even though any blog or website is open to all, I must think about what my perfect customer looks like, what makes him/you tick (this is aimed towards men), what do you expect of me, what values do we share and what I will need to do to improve this blog.  I already realize due to the length of this post, that I should make my entries shorter and snappier.

14. Shield Your Money.  I sometimes worry about this even though I have yet to make my first penny on this blog.  I did apply to Google for an Ad Words account today, so advertisements should popping up on this blog in the next few weeks.  All I had to do was sign away my search history past, present and future, and disavow everything.  I clicked “Agree” without reading through it, like millions before me.

Shielding your money is important, but one generally needs to have some business-related income stream above and beyond your bi-weekly paycheck.  Ways to shield your money include LLCs, trusts, corporations, limited partnerships and other legal entities.   Once I hit my first $100 in Ad Words revenues, I will have to send info about where to send the dough.  I’ll worry about it at that time, but it won’t be a trust or LLC for some time to come.  If I had the choice right now, I would have it sent right into my checking account, it would become part of next month’s ComEd payment, and I would pay the fifteen or so bucks in income tax next spring.  New goal: make enough money blogging to need to shield some money.

I have read this advice in many of these improve your life/finances/change your way of thinking books.  I will review them in future blog posts, but the three best ones that come to mind are from Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki and Thomas Stanley.

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Thank you for reading this all the way through.  I promise to be more brief in my next blog post about a book that I like.

Beer and Coffee as Health Drinks

There I was perusing the September 2015 issue of Family Circle magazine.  As I might as well confess now, I purchase and subscribe to several “women’s magazines” in the guise of getting them for my wife, but I end up reading them and she does not.  I pick them up where I find them, bookstores, for sale at local libraries and at Walgreen’s for stocking stuffers in December.

September 2015 Family Circle magazine
September 2015 Family Circle magazine


I could not pass up this issue last September due to its awesome cover photo of shrimp, chicken and steak tacos with avocado slices on the cover and the grabber title of “Why Coffee & Beer Are Good For Your Heart.”  Page 99 had an article that I have saved for one year to comment on, claiming that two of my favorite beverages, coffee and beer, are good for you.  The article is entitled “Cheers!” by Mallory Creveling.

Beneficial Beverages
Beneficial Beverages

The beneficial beverages include:

Tomato Juice, filled with the antioxidant lycopene and Vitamins C, E and K.  Tomatoes decrease bad cholesterol and lower your blood pressure, two things that I need very much.  After starting this post, I even purchased tomato juice at the grocery store yesterday for the first time in at least ten, maybe fifteen years.

I purchased and drank tomato juice yesterday for the first time since about the year 2000.
I purchased and drank tomato juice yesterday for the first time since about the year 2000.

Coffee.  I could probably write about my love of coffee weekly.  I do not know if it is love, or an addiction as I tell my wife as she cues up our coffee every night to be ready at 6:00 a.m. (on weekdays).  We mostly drink Dunkin’ Donuts with occasional forays into Starbuck’s.

Coffee reduces the risk of calcium build up in your arteries, which can lead to heart attacks.  Both Johns Hopkins and Harvard have published studies detailing coffee’s benefits for cognitive skills, memory and fighting off Alzheimer’s.

One of my favorite treats in life, a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee on a payday.
One of my favorite treats in life, a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee on a payday.

Beer.  I have often read of the benefits of a glass of wine for your heart, but this is the first time that I saw beer mentioned. makes many claims on the health benefits of beer, including:

“Beer improves blood circulation.  It can help to lower blood pressure levels.  The foliates (water soluble B vitamin) in beer lower the risk of coronary diseases by as much as 30%.  Light beer drinking reduces the chances of strokes by as much as 20%.  Beer has Flavanoids (natural plant oxidants) that fight free radicals in the body which are associated with many diseases including cancer.”

Wow! I should have bought one to watch the Bears lose, I mean Bears game tonight.

Green Smoothies.  

Green smoothies are yummy, my sister makes them all the time but I never have even once.  I want to make my own smoothies and, if I ever do, you can be sure that I will blog about it.  Add some spinach or kale, a half-cup of skim milk (I prefer almond milk) or Greek yogurt and one banana and you are good to go.

I buy them sometimes, spending around $5 for one when I am at Jamba Juice, but typically prefer their Mango Madness smoothie.  I haven’t gone to Jamba for nearly two months now.

Matcha Green Tea

I occasionally drink green tea, but never “matcha” green tea.  A quick perusal of several health-related websites lists many benefits, some of which are that it is high in antioxidants, enhances calm, boosts memory, increases energy and detoxifies your body.  I need all of the above, as do most other middle class, middle-aged guys.

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Pomegranate Juice

Being honest, I do not care much for pomegranate juice.  Like the above listed beverages, pomegranate juice helps control hypertension by allowing blood to flow more freely to your heart.

Website also makes the claim that pomegranate juice may help improve sexual performance and fertility.   Research by C.P. Forest, published in the “International Journal of Impotence Research” in 2007, revealed that pomegranate juice improves erections in men with erectile dysfunction. This may be due, in part, to the effect of pomegranate juice on nitric oxide, a substance that enables smooth muscles in the walls of blood vessels — such as in the penis — to relax, widen and increase blood flow.

Who couldn’t use that?

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Anyway, I definitely had my fill of coffee this weekend, the equivalent of a little more than a full pot, since my wife made a full pot of Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin flavor coffee both mornings, and both days I drank more than she did.  I love the stuff.

I’m going to pour another glass of tomato juice now, although I do not love the stuff and, boy, could I use a beer tonight while watching a few minutes of the Bears’ ineptitude versus the Cowboys tonight.

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Prepare to Be Hacked!

Someone is trying to hack you right now.
Someone is trying to hack you right now.

While driving around during my lunch hour today, to and from Goodwill (one of my next posts) and listening to the Noon Business Hour on WBBM news radio 780 (I listen to middle aged guy radio most of the time), I hear a report that hackers stole personal information from 500 million Yahoo! user accounts, a massive security breakdown it attributed to a “state sponsored actor.” The breach disclosed today, the latest setback for the beleaguered internet company, dates back to late 2014.

Well, goodie! I have used Yahoo! exclusively for quite some time, since my wife and my split from our shared AOL account in the late 90’s.  Email was still in its infancy back then, so getting an email was fairly exciting back then.  We dialed up, heard the blips and beeps, and then the friendly male voice announcing “You have mail!”  Now, not so exciting getting an email.  Posts to follow on that.

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Switching email accounts, even though I do have a Gmail account, is easier said than done.    As a matter of fact, I am up to about 100 emails per day on that account, one or two of which may be from actual friends or relatives.  For every one of those, Groupon, Living Social (which I have never bought) and Trulia will each send several.

Note: while I was just editing this post during the past five minutes, Living Social sent me two more “deals,” one for a 6-day trip to Tuscany and another for phone chargers.

Thinking about the vast amount of accounts and things that I have sent to this account stressed me out today upon hearing this news. Bank account statements, investments in my children’s Bright Start 529 savings plans, my family’s Vanguard and T. Rowe Price accounts, both of my stock trading accounts (E-trade and Capital One), information on our son’s college account, dozens of newsletters on a wide variety of subjects, my Com Ed electric bills, you get the picture.

As I write this at about 8 pm Thursday night, I have received 431 emails in my Yahoo! account this week.
As I write this at about 8 pm Thursday night, I have received 431 emails in my Yahoo! account this week.

This subject makes me think of all of the other businesses that have been hacked that are highly frequented by us middle classers.  The massive Target breach last year, a hack of Michael’s craft store, Staples, Dairy Queen, Goodwill, Home Depot and more.  Usually, I hear these announcements a day or two after I shopped at that exact store.  My family has shopped at these places many times.

I go with my daughter to purchase craft materials for a school project at Micheal’s, boom!, next week I am hearing about a massive data breach there.

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Dairy Queen, well, we go there more than once per week from June until there’s snow on the ground, and sometimes we still go during the harsh Chicago winters.

I have purchased so much at Home Depot over the fifteen years of owning our older home, and before that while repairing our condominium for sale back in 2001 that, of course it was hacked soon after I made a series of purchases there in 2014.


Target is the retailer that my family shops the most.  School clothes, food, video games, you name it, we buy it at Target.  I have more posts planned about Target, but suffice it to say that we average nearly $1,000 per month in expenditures there.  It is the key retailer in the middle class lifestyle, and the hackers know it.

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I do not know if I will actually take any steps in changing my password, answering personal questions, etc., that these websites ask of you.  Asking a middle-aged man to change the password that he has used for the past 15 or so years is asking a lot.

Do you have Yahoo! email and, if so, are you going to change yours?

Middle Class Guy Topics

Hello Again from the Middle Class Guy.

I have introduced myself as the anonymous author of this blog, a middle aged, middle class white guy living in the Midwest.  I have mentioned that I have saved thousands of articles, hundreds of books and taken too many photos to count for this blog.

Here are the topics that most interest me and what I will be writing about.  The term “Middle Class” will not appear in a majority of my posts, but instead I consider these topics near and dear to many middle class people, and my posts are geared towards men from a male point of view.

Without further ado, here are the main topics of the articles and books that I find interesting and intend to comment on:

  1. Middle Class issues, including products
  2. Finance and investing
  3. Economics
  4. Economic Development
  5. Technology
  6. Work in general and the Future of Work
  7. Millenials
  8. College and Saving for College
  9. Books
  10. America
  11. Illinois
  12. Chicago sports and insane amount of violence in Chicago
  13. Suburbia
  14. School and Education



Blogging For Beer

Hello Again from your Friendly Middle Class Guy.

I don’t think that I am the first or will be the last to Blog for Beer.

312, Leinies and Oberon.
312, Leinies and Oberon.

My children will likely read this, but here I am admitting that my beer drinking commenced at the age of 14, at a party in a neighbor’s garage a few weeks before school began.  It was at a girl’s house and there were about five guys and a similar number of girls, the host and a few of her friends.  The girl’s whose house this was at and who invited me had an older brother, maybe 20 or so years old but already enlisted in the U.S. Army.   He was trying to get us to dance together by playing DJ with some house music mixes.

How he obtained the beer was not known, but I caved into peer pressure and tried the horrible stuff, making myself drink one down despite the horrible taste.  I think that it was Budweiser or Stroh’s or something of that ilk, i.e. very cheap.

After consuming two, I felt woozy but had enough confidence to dance with a girl when the house music began cranking.   I grew up in a City where even us white guys jammed to prominent mix masters back then on WGCI and WBMX like Frankie Knuckles, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and “Bad Boy” Bill.   Also, even though I did not know it at the time, the girl that I danced with became my first girlfriend the upcoming school year

My first beer was probably Stroh's in the early 80's
My first beer was probably Stroh’s in the early 80’s.

I attended many keg parties throughout high school and learned to tolerate the stuff, almost like it.  I was not highly popular, nor was I a nerd or outcast.  I was middle class even back in high school.  As my best friend in high school so wisely said, “Once you’ve had a few, it will taste better,” and he was right.

A typical Friday night at my college.
A typical Friday night at my college.

In the late-80’s and first few years of the 90’s, I attended a Big Ten University where beer was the beverage of choice.  My first week there, I obtained a fake I.D. card (from the International Student office) where we could fill in our own birth dates on the application.  I went there with my roommate and our two close friends, and I recall the four of us walking out laughing with our International student ID cards, purchased for $5 each, so we could legitimately get into bars by the second week of our first year.  I was still 17 for my first few months at the U.  My friends and I went to bars and nightclubs two or more nights a week for our first two years, drinking cheap beers on dollar beer nights and trying to pick up girls.

Fast forward 24 years, and I still like beer, but it is more like a few per week at most.  It might be six in one week, but none for the next five.  I purchase six packs of craft beer or at least middle class-type beer, my favorites being Blue Moon, Shock Top, Sam Adams and, to a lesser extent, Leinenkugel.  I also like Schofferhofer and a few others.  I also attend social, work-related events on a regular basis where I’ll have a beer and meet my friend at Buffalo Wild Wings every so often, where we each have a few.

I make my own six pack at Binny's Beverage Depot for ten bucks
I make my own six pack at Binny’s Beverage Depot for ten bucks.
The first time that I tried Schofferhofer was at the Germany pavilion at Epcot a few years ago.
The first time that I tried Schofferhofer was at the Germany pavilion at Epcot a few years ago.
I buy Leinenkugel's fairly often.
I buy Leinenkugel’s fairly often.
Homer Simpson likes Duff beer.
Homer Simpson likes Duff beer.

They say that girls put on a Freshman 15 going off to college, but I think that I beat that by five or more pounds, mostly beer weight. Now in my mid-40’s, I have long ago learned to moderate.  Also, my taste in beer has elevated since my college days, so buying copious amounts of the beers that I like would be pricey.

Last, but not least, I have to run to the washroom in the middle of the night, and if I enjoy a beer or two after, say 8 p.m., I may have to go two or possibly three times instead of the one time that is more usual.  Like I said, I am also middle aged.

This will not be my last post on beer, mostly because I like it a lot and enjoy kicking back with a cold one, especially while watching Da Bears.  As a matter of fact, they play this Monday night so I’ll probably be enjoying one on my couch tomorrow night while watching Cutler getting beaten to a pulp.  Perhaps the O-Line should consider blocking for him, but that’s a rant for another day.

Cutler's a very rich upper class man, but he sure takes a beating.
Cutler’s a very rich upper class man, but he sure takes a beating.