The View From The Golden Dome

Views on the week's events plus some of mine.

Les Berman Weekly 10-19 Sugar. Wild Children. #2 Commercial Day. and Ginger. Lots of Ginger. and much more….


So I was wondering about all the major upcoming events that will turn our North American world on end. No, don’t get that excited. Elected officials in Washington are not resigning. But, we have the International Day of Wild Children coming up, followed immediately by the North American Bitching and Complaining About Sleep Day.

I’m sure that you’re familiar with these celebrations. The first is better known as Halloween.

It is a proven fact that ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, and the like all live forever. (I may have read it in the National Enquirer .) Halloween dates back to Celtic rituals a couple of thousand years ago and our very own Census Bureau is here to help us with some Halloween-related numbers. For example, there are about 41 million kids, age 5-14, who might be on the streets throwing eggs and begging for sugar. And a number of them will stop in at the 115 million occupied houses across the nation. And some of those houses are in terrifying places like Tombstone, AZ, Sleepy Hollow, IL, Kill Devil Hills, NC, Casper, WY, or Scarville, IA, or wherever Bob’s ex-wife’s attorney lives.

Halloween does contribute to the economy. Doting parents will spend about $3 Billion on costumes for their kids, and perhaps another $300 Million on costumes for their pets. I’d love to see someone putting a costume on a cat ! And it lasting more than 45 seconds. The visual is hilarious. Dogs are really much more understanding. But the big money is spent on candy.

Now we don’t buy the candy for ourselves: we buy it to give to kids who will indulge and have those amazing sugar highs. We give it to kids who will climb walls faster and farther than any cat ever could. This is the payback for everything that any kid has ever done to you, and to the parents who tortured you with similar ‘gifts’ when your kids were younger. Understand this payback… your kids may have been out on Halloween for 10 years. But your payback lasts until you’re 90! Superb !! And all under the guise of celebrating Celtic rituals !

By the way, the candy merchants are pretty happy at this time of the year. You buy about $2.5 Billion of those sugar loaded bombs every year. And I know that you pick out the good stuff before the first ghoul appears at your door. I know you do because I used to do that too. And then what do you do when your wild kid finally crashes and goes to bed. Of course,,, you sneak in and either take the best stuff from the trick or treat bag, or, if you’re really mean (translate to “really care”), you take the whole bag and plan to dole out a few treats over the next week, being sure, of course, to take the best stuff for yourself.

Any way you look at it, you, the parent, are guilty of contributing to the sugar high of a minor.

I did hear that used clothing stores have lots of Halloween costumes from prior years, at prices that are a fraction of the new stuff. How bad can they be – they have only been worn once ! Maybe you can spend $3 rather than $30.

The evolution of Halloween is worth researching – and far too long to repeat here. Suffice it to say that with the huge flow of immigrants from Europe in the second half of the 1800s, the celebrations became more entrenched. But the big party cycles grew immensely from the 1920s to the 1950s. And then, as many of us came of age in the 1950s, Halloween exploded,  and has become the second biggest commercial holiday in the country. So, my final comment is “Booooo !!”

In Scotland recently, a claim was made that Scotland had the highest number of redheads in the world. That headline caught my eye because I’ve known a few reds throughout history. Of course now, there are ginger pride days. After a big parade in Edinburgh Scotland, with about 200 gingers taking part, there was a gathering in Breda, Holland last month that was attended by about 1600 redheads. There hasn’t been any definite research into the numbers of ginger heads (and when did they start to be called ginger anyway), but the guess is that I haven’t met enough of them. I do remember playing connect the freckles with one redhead when I lived in Vancouver. That was a never ending game !

So, this Halloween, I’m going to be looking for the best chocolates, for myself of course, and, to make it even better, with a ginger headed person of the female persuasion who can play connect the freckles.

And remember, need money. Have collateral? Call me today 818.305.4695

Have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

THINGS I HAVE LEARNED LIVING IN THE SOUTH….

A possum is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 of them live in the South.

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 of them live in the South, plus a couple no one’s seen before.

If it grows, it’ll stick ya. If it crawls, it’ll bite cha.

“Onced” and “Twiced” are words

 

 

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    Money Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com
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October 31, 2013 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, stuff, Uncategorized, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 10-12 Recall? Spider Webs. Exercise ? Blame Game. Golden Dome… and much more


So, the children in Washington still don’t know how to play together. I said before that their mommy’s need to come out and give those kiddies a good whuppin’ . And then they should be sent to their rooms, stripped of all electronics of course. I don’t write about politics because there really is no point. My only comment is that those who drafted the Constitution  made a grievous mistake by not providing for the recall of those elected to Federal office. I suspect that if a constitutional amendment was to be put forth today, that it would get approved in all 50 states in record time. But no federal politician would want to risk upsetting their own electoral annuity. Lily Tomlin said ” No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up !”

 

However, there are far more interesting things being revealed in today’s world. Being a person who is hair impaired, I have suffered the unbounded joy of doing the dumb dance when I unsuspectingly walk through a spider web. It’s not a major issue but I have learned some new dance moves as a result. But the big question has remained unanswered until now ! Why don’t spiders stick to their own webs. This arachnological mystery was solved by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the University of Costa Rica. Spiders have oily, hairy legs, and delicate movements that allow them to move across their webs. I’m sure we all know people with oily, hairy legs, or at very least, hairy legs, but those we know are devoid of delicate movements. Ergo, people cannot avoid being entangled in the webs… of any kind !

 

Meanwhile, scientists are now claiming that exercise may be as effective as drugs in treating coronary heart disease and stroke. I can tell you that I have enjoyed the benefits of regular exercise in improving my health and preparing for and recuperating from my surgery. And I never believed the doctors who told me to get off my ass, and do something. Interestingly, only about one-third of adults meet the recommended level of physical activity in the US and in the UK.

 

Having been incarcerated for the last three weeks while recovering from my knee replacement surgery, and having been dumb enough to watch too much TV, I can tell you unequivocally, that the pharmaceutical companies spend tens of millions of dollars, promoting their current drug concoctions. It felt like every other ad was for this pill or that one, or for incontinence remedies or help, or for some other possible psychosomatic need. Now I understand that some people do get sick… but these ads would convince people that they are sick, or nearly sick, or that they should be sick. Maybe, instead of watching that next talk show, or reality show, you and your significant other should get off the couch and walk around the block.

 

Now, I’m not saying that you have to talk to each other. That might be going too far ! And there is nothing in the medical research that addresses that issue. Hmmm… maybe I can get a few million bucks from one of the pharmas to study the correlation between conversation with your longtime spouse and the increased murder rate in that same demographic !

 

Therapists could assign the blame to the parents of the client and to some previously inconsequential event in their childhood that had to do with a shoe that had a scuff mark on it; psychologists would determine that the act of murder has roots in prehistoric times and the use of an animal bone as a weapon; and psychiatrists would prescribe drugs from the pharmas that funded the study.

But maybe exercise will help you. It has helped me, and if it could help me, it definitely is worth your consideration !!

If you’re looking for money, for real estate or for corporate situations, call the magic number 818.305.4695 and speak to the man with the golden dome !

Have a better week !

Les

 

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

You do not need a parachute to skydive; you only need a parachute to skydive twice.

I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

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October 27, 2013 Posted by | business, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, stuff, Uncategorized, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 10/5 Smart Guy, Hospital Bill !!! , Dangerous States, Chicken Nuggets… and much much more…


I like to think I’m a smart guy, or at least an intelligent guy. My daddy said I was ! mommy said I was; my aunt’s said I was; my kids never said I was but they never said I was stupid (so I am grateful for that). But there is one thing I don’t understand. Yes… just one thing… at least right now. Ask me again in 20 minutes.

 

I just got my bill from the hospital. I guess I would have had a heart attack if the bill had been presented so that the total, rather than the negotiated, charge, was on the front page. I guess that they do that so they can’t be accused of soliciting patients. I looked at my bill very carefully, as you are supposed to do, and decided that the hospital was fully entitled to every penny of the six figure plus bill. I had superb care and received superb treatment from the staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

 

But this is the part I don’t understand. Every hospital, including Cedars-Sinai,  has negotiated rates with insurance companies and Medicare. Why do I receive a bill for the 100% amount, which does not get paid, rather than a bill for the negotiated rate? I don’t mind either way but I’m really curious. So if any of you are hospital administrators or CPA’s that work with hospitals, I’d appreciate an email and I’ll run it next week.

I guess if I was an oil baron from a foreign country and was coming here for treatment, I would be paying full tariff, but I’m neither an oil baron (darn it !) nor from a foreign country (well, recently anyway).

So, in other news, I saw a listing of the most dangerous states in the USA. Of course, I would have thought that my home state was up there on top: they’re at the bottom for education so I thought that California had to be at the top for something, besides taxation and Los Angeles Worst Roads in the Nation trophy. The article described the causes of crime – low levels of education, low income, etc. No surprises there! In order, the three states with the worst crime records, are (cue the drum roll)… Tennessee (bet that one surprised you!);  Nevada (easy pickings) and Alaska (I guess all the crazies come out with the spring thaw!).

 

Sometimes, you have to be slapped in the head with the obvious. Remember the TV commercial from years past where some character was trying to find which part of the chicken could actually be identified as the ‘nugget’ ! Of course, the nugget location could not be found…. until.. a report in the American Journal of Medicine published their findings.

 

I will admit that I have, in the past, had nuggets. I was hungry and the drive-thru was there. I will also admit, that I will never do that again. And I hope that you and your spouse will also take that pledge, because when you read this, you will never subject your kids (or yourselves) to this things again.

 

Suck it up... here it comes… The first nugget was about half muscle, with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin and internal organs of the bird, the authors write in the American Journal of Medicine.

The second nugget was only 40 percent muscle, and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone. In fairness, the authors indicate that breast meat and thigh meat are identified as muscle, so that’s ok. Here’s the rest of the ‘good news” : “It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice. Even worse, it tastes great and kids love it and it is marketed to them.”

 

In fairness to chicken producers, and there are a lot of them, they did respond by saying that the size of the sample used by the study authors was too small ( I agree), and that some large chain restaurants have changed the ingredients to be mostly white meat. The chicken producers also said that nuggets are a good source of protein for kids who are picky eaters. Read the nutritional charts at the restaurant to get an idea of what your kids are eating. And if you don’t understand what you are reading, check it out on Wikipedia. Everything is explained there but do not be embarrassed. A lot of your friends have no idea what they are reading either !

 

Money makes the world go around, and if you might need some for a good project, real estate or otherwise, please call me at 818.305.4695.

Have a better week !!

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

 

Paraprosdokiansare figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.

In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, Notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR’.

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Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

October 20, 2013 Posted by | business, chicken producers, fun, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, stuff, Uncategorized, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 9-28 Hospital Rules for Survival. 12 Greatest Weapons and much more…


So, I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the follow up on my surgery. (Your friends will appreciate it if you brush your teeth now!!)  I was waiting for my surgeon to see me in the pre-staging area, when he came in and verified that it was my right knee to be fixed. I said ‘Yes but…”, he paused, as I pulled another sign out of my bag, wrapped it around my head, and he read ” This is NOT a knee !” . Dr. Klapper got a good laugh and a few minutes later, I was wheeled into the operating room and about 20 or more people waiting for me. I thought that was really cool because I couldn’t remember that many people ever waiting for me ! And I couldn’t remember anything after that either.

 

So I woke up in my room at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. And for three days, I received amazing care. And I also learned what you don’t want to do. Because a person in an adjacent room did it. He was loud, abusive to the staff, and over demanding. He demanded that food be brought to him immediately, not caring that the kitchen was basically closed. He was so loud that he woke the other patients on the unit, and all of us were complaining about him. And it got worse by the hour. I suggested a special sedative for him – other patients were not quite as kind.

 

Here are some rules for hospital patients: 1. Be nice even if you are in pain. The nursing staff will do everything they can to make you comfortable. 2. Say Please and thank you. 3. Smile (if you’re conscious). 4. Tell the nurses if something hurts and tell them if you’re feeling better. 5. Phlebotomists are people too. If they visit you at 530AM, you can ask them, politely, to come back after 730AM.  They will.  6. The people who clean your room are also people. Thank them for cleaning up after you. They are nice people too !

AND remember that you are lucky enough to be living in a country that offers amazing care. So, if you have lucky stars, count them !

 

Here’s what else I learned. If the doctor says that you need to get in shape for your surgery, assuming that it’s not an emergency and you have more than five minutes, do what the doctor says. I went crazy to get in shape and started distance swimming. My blood pressure went down, actually plummeted. And it was calm all the way through surgery. My muscle tone improved dramatically and it will speed my recovery. And it will speed yours too.

 

OK, so friends came over after I got home, and we ended up marveling at the medical care at Cedars. The wife had a kind of rare thing that caused an audience of medical peeps to be invited for the surgery because of the rarity. Then he had a recent 5 day stay during which it was discovered that he needed a pacemaker.

 

So we decided that we are going to host a seminar, tentatively titled, “Come See My Scars !” Please send me an email and we’ll be sure to invite you. But you must know that you will not be able to show your scars to the audience.

 

As you can imagine, during some of the boring hours, I did find some good stories, the best one being Twelve Weapons that Changed the World. You should know some of them because they are obvious. So take a couple of minutes to contemplate before reading on. Here goes:

– Bone. The act of picking up a bone and hitting someone with it was very early in history. An early example of leverage.

– The Greek Phalanx (750 BCE). This was really cool. A locked in formation that protected the adjacent fighter. Definitely worth investigating.

– The Gladius – (450 BCE – 300 AD) was a 12- 18 inch sword that supplemented the spear and shield of the Roman soldier.

– The English Longbow  (600- 1600 AD) – they finally figured out that it was easier to shoot from far away rather than engage in hand to hand combat.

–  Gunpowder weapons – 900 AD

– Rifled rifle barrels – 1840’s – Greatly increased accuracy.

– Colt Revolver – going from a single shot to a six shooter resulted in the deaths of a lot of people in North America.

– Belt Fed Machine gun achieved prominence in WW1.

– Tanks – WW!

– AK47 – one of the best weapons made – cheap, accurate, functional

– Atomic Bomb – nothing further to be said.

– Drones – the ultimate extension of the long bow.

 

And I’m back at it. For real estate or corporate loans, the magic number is 818.305.4695.

 

Have a better week !

Les

 

Berman’s Factoids of the Week :

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it..

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

 

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NMLS ID 227675
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October 13, 2013 Posted by | business, general interest, medicine, stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Les Berman Weekly 9-21 Doctors. Hospitals. Procedures. Knees… and much more, of course.


Way back in prehistoric times, before my kids were born… actually in the 1800’s, a guy by the name of Louis Pasteur came up with some interesting ideas. And he got some of his ideas from a couple of doctors who, as early as 1847, had suggested to their fellow physicians that it would be a good idea to wash their hands between patient examinations or surgeries.

 

However, it was de rigeur at the time for physicians to demonstrate their prowess by using the same bloody frock cloaks with detritus of past operations and examinations. Now I’m sure that you are totally grossed out, and, at the same time, thankful that your ancestors survived the doctors. But it does get better.

 

So in the 1860’s, another doctor, Joseph Lister, began to experiment with the concept of cleaning instruments, and his hands, after surgeries. What a strange idea that was ! The disinfectant he used was also sprayed on the incisions. While he couldn’t quantify the success with his experiments, he did continue. And in 1866, a patient was brought to him after having being run over by a wagon wheel (it was attached to the wagon at the time). The badly broken leg would normally have resulted in death but Lister used the disinfectant during the surgery and the post operation phase. The boy survived, the leg healed, and the practice of medicine changed forever.

All because one British surgeon thought it would be a good idea to clean up his stuff before starting the next procedure. So, on behalf of all of us, I send a shout out to Joe !

 

This is important to me because a couple of weeks ago, I started the pre-op process at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. It was interesting, to say the least. I went in and encountered reception desk #1, where a very nice lady said that I had to register and to please follow her. And I did. Down the hall, around the corner to the first waiting room. When I was called a few minutes later, all of my information was entered into the computer, verified twice, and I was given a wrist band.

 

I was then sent to the next window, where my wrist band was checked again, and I was told that they were busy there so I could go to another office for the same procedure. They gave me printed instructions, perhaps because guys never ask for directions, and I went out the door, turned left, then right, up the elevator, past Starbucks (yup – right there in the hospital), down the hall, through the doors and then…. I was lost. Instructions were missing and room numbers had stopped. So back I went, found two ladies in white, who told me that the room I needed was behind the construction area. Like I should have known??? So next room. Waited and was called in for the first session of blood testing. My wrist band was checked twice. The needle went in and I dared to ask a question.

 

I said that I had to give a unit of blood for my upcoming surgery – and are you doing it here. No, the nice lady said. That’s a different place. And I said.. you mean they’re going to needle me again??!! Yes, the lady said. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to do it all at once, and spare me more needles. Yes, the lady said. But that’s not how we do it ! OK…..

 

And then I was done. Out the door, past the construction zone. Down the hall, past Starbucks down the elevator, down the first hall, past where I started and on to the next room. I was getting nervous because I had never been drained of my life force before. I said to the woman, after waiting for a while, that I was nervous, that I didn’t want to see people being drained of their life force, and I didn’t want to watch it happening to me ! And she thought I was kidding. My wrist band was checked three more times.

 

So the next lady leads me into a room with all these reclining couches and I was lucky – no one was being drained. Once again, I went through my nervousness with this delightful lady, who assured me, that I would be ok. I lay down. They removed my shoes (I asked for that ). And gave me a warm blanket. And then I said – Wait ! I have to do something… and proceeded to put on a sleep mask so I couldn’t possibly see anything. Ouch ! the needle was in and I was clenching my fist every 10 – 15 seconds. And then I heard these words being directed towards me. The lady said… you’re almost done, and when you’re finished, there are cookies in the next room. And I thought COOKIES !? If they had told me this at the outset, I think my nervousness would have disappeared. Cookies and juice ! Wow… just for being a good boy. Cookies !!! How amazing !!

 

All of this was in preparation for my knee replacement that happened this last Wednesday (this is being written in advance). Because I’m either still in the hospital, or in a drugged out pain killer state at home, you won’t know any more until next week. Of course, with all the pain meds, I may not know anything until next week either !

Have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

What?? Do you really think you need them this week, of all weeks?? Ok ok…

 

Now that I’m older here’s the rest of what I’ve discovered:

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go
somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “here after”.

Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

HAVE I SENT THIS MESSAGE TO YOU BEFORE……….??????

 

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 Les Berman CMC
Money Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

October 8, 2013 Posted by | business, general interest, humor, medicine | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment