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Two guys and a girl were sitting at a bar talking about their lives. The one guy says "I'm a YUPPIE, you know, Young Urban Professional." The second guy says "I'm a DINK, you know, Double Income No Kids." They asked the woman, "What are you?" She replied: "I'm a WIFE, you know, Wash, Iron, Fuck, Etc."

Let's talk about the rich - those people who, according to former Congressman Richard Gephardt, are "winners in life's lottery." Or the people whom director Michael Moore preaches, in his book "Dude, Where's my Country?" got rich off the backs of the poor.

Farrah Gray was raised in a predominantly black Chicago neighborhood. At age 8, he started a lemonade stand business, later a venture capital business, a food business and a magazine. By age 17, Farrah Gray was a millionaire, had been chief executive of four companies, and had offices on Wall Street, and in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

While becoming a millionaire by age 17 is rare, eventually becoming a millionaire isn't. According to TNS Financial Services' 2004 Affluent Market Research survey, there are an estimated 8.2 million American households with assets, excluding primary residences, worth over $1 million. That's a 33 percent increase over the 6.2 million millionaire households in 2003.

Who are these people portrayed either as winners in life's lottery or who got rich by exploiting the poor? One thing for sure is that they're not the sons and daughters of the Rockefellers, the Kennedys or the Vanderbilts. According to Drs. Thomas Stanley and William Danko's research published in their book "The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy," 80 percent of today's American millionaires are first-generation rich.

Drs. Stanley and Danko listed other characteristics of these 8.2 million millionaire households. Fewer than 20 percent inherited 10 percent or more of their wealth. More than half never received as much as a dollar in inheritance. Fewer than 25 percent received "an act of kindness" from a relative greater than $10,000, and 91 percent never received, as a gift, as much as $1 from the ownership of a family business.

Being first-generation rich is not new for Americans. Drs. Stanley and Danko say, "More than 100 years ago the same was true. In The American Economy, Stanley Lebergott reviews a study conducted in 1892 of the 4,047 American millionaires. He reports that 84 percent were nouveau riche, having reached the top without the benefit of inherited wealth."

This points to one of the most unique features of our nation. Just because you know where a person ended up in life is no guarantee that you can tell where he started. In other words, there is so much economic mobility in our society that starting out with modest means or even being dirt poor does not prevent one from ending up at the top. According to IRS tax data, 85.8 percent of tax filers in the bottom fifth in 1979 had moved on to a higher quintile, and often to the top quintile, by 1988.

Here's my question for you: What are we to make of people who preach pessimism and doom to people -- telling them that they're poor because others are rich or telling blacks that they'll never make it because of societal racism? What are we to make of politicians, media pundits and college professors who preach the politics of envy -- telling people lies that the rich became rich off the backs of the poor? I grew up poor in a housing project in North Philadelphia, and those weren't the lessons prevalent a half-century ago. My mother used to preach that "We have a beer pocketbook but champagne tastes." And my stepfather used to admonish, "If you want to make it in this world, you have to come early and stay late." Those messages are far more beneficial to a poor person than those of victimhood and pity. Personally, I like evangelical minister Reverend Ike's response when asked what should we do about the poor. He said, "The best thing you can do for the poor is not become one."

Why make your own mistakes? Savor these nuggets of wisdom from poor bastards who’ve been down the road of divorce before.

“All the while I was dating my ex–wife, I thought she was the ideal porcelain princess, even though she would get absolutely shit–faced and joke about ‘racial trash’ whenever she went out with her girlfriends,” says Perri, 28, divorced after two years. “It wasn’t until we finally tied the knot that I found out she was a card– carrying member of the KKK.” If she’s at the family kegger talking about lynching midgets and getting cousins to pull her finger, you’re probably seeing her real personality firsthand.

“My first wife hated the fact that I could have had any type of fun before she stepped into my life,” says Sandy, 34, divorced after eight years. “I had to pretend that I fell off the face of the earth from 1984 to 1997.” Jealousy keeps a relationship closed and secretive…not a good thing.

“Before I ever said ‘I do,’ I was already doing every damn thing she asked me to when it came to changing myself,” says Marcus, 32, happily divorced after two years. “When we finally split, I had lost all my friends, half my goddamn wardrobe was from the Gap, and I knew how to make flan.” If she’s constantly changing the external things about you, it won’t be long before she starts chopping away at the personality you thought she fell in love with.

“At first, I didn’t think much of the fact that her father walked out on her mom when she was young,” says Deano, 34, divorced after five years. “But soon she started accusing me of cheating on her and saying that all men were scum.” If she hates dear ol’ Dad for letting her down in the past, you can bank on her always figuring you’ll do the same. Handle women who hate their fathers with extreme caution!

True love can be tough going: Owning up to your feelings, tolerating disagreements with your partner, and running the risk of feeling inadequate in bed takes gumption - and the ability to withstand a lot of anxiety. One key is learning how to soothe yourself. "It can be as simple as regulating your body: deep breathing, sitting in a less tense position, or taking a moment to reflect," says psychologist Ruth Morehouse, Schnarch's wife and office partner. Once you've let some of your physical anxiety dissipate, you can address the mental aspects of your emotional tension: telling yourself you've been through this before and survived, reminding yourself that your partner isn't trying to drive you insane. Essentially, you give yourself an extra beat between stimulus and reaction so that you think before you act or blurt. You acknowledge the feelings, but don't let them threaten your sense of self or determine how you respond.

In the longer term, anxiety-reducing habits such as Pilates, listening to classical music, meditation, running or cooking also help increase your threshold. Most people already have a number of self-soothing tools they use in their life, says Morehouse - it's often a matter of recognizing what you already do and learning to apply it to situations that make you particularly uncomfortable. If you're doing it right, you'll feel calmer and more in control, says Morehouse. And it'll give you greater freedom to be authentic around your partner - come what may.

Yes - for a while, you can live without a heart?. To date, 14 people have been implanted with the AbioCor device, the world's first fully implantable, self-contained artificial ticker. Once surgeons sew the bionic heart into a patient's chest, he can live a fairly normal life, though he'll need to carry a battery pack. One transplant beneficiary even appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. (We hear Oprah gave AbioCors away to the entire studio audience that day.) At best, however, it's just a furlough from the Grim Reaper - the longest-living AbioCor recipient died 17 months post-implant.

A human heart besieged by an acute heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of the organ gets blocked and the heart tissue starves of oxygen and dies. You have a 30 percent chance of this happening to you by age 55. Fun fact: Roughly half of all heart attacks result in death.

Though men have about 100 grams more brain tissue than women, there are no real differences in intelligence. But there are differences in what parts of the brain each uses most. Men have about 6.5 times the amount of "gray matter" in their brains, while women have about 10 times the amount of "white matter." Thus, men more often excel in things like math, and women tend to do better in areas that require integration of information, like language.

Yup, there is such thing as bionic blood, but research is still perfecting it. One of the earliest blood substitutes was made with a chemical called PFCs - perfluorocarbons. The stuff was so oxygen-rich that a rat dropped into a tank full was able to breathe. The latest: HBOCs - hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers. One of the first, Baxter's HemAssist, made it all the way to FDA Phase 3 clinical trials. Another, Hemopure, is approved for use in humans but only in South Africa.

Sanguinarians believe they are mortal vampires. They "feed" on human blood, supplied by willing donors, to sustain "life force." What does human blood taste like? "V8 and beef broth," says one sanguinarian, who, not surprisingly, didn't want his name used. "That's what I use as a substitute if I can't find a donor." No horseradish? Hmm.


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