Archive for October, 2011

Halloween is Here … Again

NOTE: Way back when, I used to write a weekly article for two  newspapers in our area. The articles covered subjects from political pandering to personal pontificating on any subject that struck my fancy. In other words, I had free reign.

 The following was written about Christie, my wife, dressing as a witch on Halloween night and giving out treats to the kids — from tots to twenty-something “kids” — who didn’t want to let go of the opportunity to fill their goodie bags with free candy.

 Anyway, I thought this article might tickle a funny bone, or two, and point out that political correctness is still alive — and just as dumb as I always thought it was. Of course, that’s just my opinion, right?

 

 

 

Halloween Costumes Getting Too Political

By Jake Jakubuwski

 I’m devastated!  Last week, I wrote a column about Halloween safety.  In that column I mentioned that some adults enjoying entering into the “spirit” of the night by dressing in a variety of costumes, and passing out treats to the youngsters that come callin’.  I also mentioned that my wife, Christie, would be one of those adults, and would dress as an ugly, cackling, old witch.

As I said, “I’m devastated!”  You see, at the time I wrote that article, I had no idea in the world that if Christie dressed as a witch, she would be displaying an overt insensitivity (I’m pretty sure I have this right, even though the reasoning seems a bit fuzzy to me) to women who had broken down sexist and stereotypical barriers, but may have been referred to as “witches” while doing so.

And, to make matters worse, by dressing as a witch, Christie would probably…in addition to being politically incorrect … cause others of her sisters who have not been even marginally blessed with physical attractiveness, deep misery (that’s the word I read) and anguish.  Honestly, I didn’t know all this when I wrote last week’s article.  So, I told Christie that the witches outfit was…NOT!

I suggested instead that she could be an Indian Princess.  We researched it, and found that it would demean Native American’s and continue to perpetuate stereotypical thinking.  “O.K.,” sez I, “How about a dancing girl?”  Research:  Tends to perpetuate male dominance by portraying a woman as a second class entity fit only to entertain the domineering male.

All right, then how about a grandmotherly type dressed in an apron and carrying a mixing bowl.  Nope.  I found out that elderly women might take offense at being categorized as cookie-baking, turkey-cooking, apple pie making grandmas.

A bum?  Shoot! You can’t even use the word “bum” any more as that would show a callous disregard to the plight of the socially disadvantaged, economically deprived homeless persons that roam our streets and neighborhoods.

A convict with a ball and chain!  A stereotypical portrayal of a socially dysfunctional element who, through no fault of their own, probably lacked a proper role model…demeaning.

O.K!  Then we’ll make Christie an angel!  No way!  Atheists and persons of differing religions may take offense. Since such a religious characterization might cause an irreconcilable conflict with their beliefs or lack thereof.

Wait a minute!  I just remembered:  my grandfather once told me that “you can please some of the people some of the time, but you could never please all of the people all of the time”.

So, I’ll tell you what.  When I wrote last week’s article, I wrote it mainly with the idea in mind that I would point out to parents and grandparents how to make Halloween a little safer for the kids this year.  When I wrote this week’s article, I didn’t realize that Christie and I would be politically incorrect and offensive to nearly everyone with a cultural ax to grind.

Consequently, Christie and I have made a decision.  Since we were raised in a culture that promoted Halloween as a time of fun, festivity, treats and being just a little bit frightened by the ghosts, goblins, witches and warlocks that run wild on Halloween night … Christie’s going to greet the trick or treaters dressed as a witch!

Besides, if any of the parents of the wee folks, and those not so wee folks, who come knocking at our door on Halloween night decide that Christie’s costume is inappropriate or offensive, they don’t have to let their becostumed offspring take our treats home with them!

As Christie says:  “Eee, hee, hee!  EEEEEE, HEEE, HEEEE, HEE!

 

To All My Locksmith Friends (And Others As Well):

On September 7th of this year, I gave my LAST Pure Jake face-to-face, standup locksmith seminar.

I want to thank my supporters, sponsors and “students” for their loyalty, encouragement and collaboration over the years that made PURE JAKE Learning Seminars a reality and a success. The good news — depending on how you look at it — is that I am STILL writing for The National Locksmith magazine, I am still editing their TECHNITIP column and I am still writing and selling locksmith related books.

Pure Jake Books and Videos are available at:  (http://www.purejake.com ). And, I still offer my FREE monthly — well, most months, anyway — newsletter  (http://purejake.com/purejake-newsletter )  if you’re interested in keeping up with me and my ramblings. And you can also view my books on my FaceBook page Pure Jake Books and Videos. Click the link below:
(http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pure-Jake-Books-and-Videos/180638255295761 )

To make all of this even better, a couple of years ago, I partnered with Elite CEUs in Austin, Texas (http://www.eliteceu.com ) to present my classes on-line. Through Elite CEUs my courses are recognized, and accepted as CEUs in New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana and other states.

That means, Pure Jake Learning Seminars are now digital! Which means you can take  your required continuing education on line on your computer or laptop and never leave the comfort of your home.

If your only interested in my books, videeos and articles, I have also made my books and other stuff available as digital downloads and you can access my catalog of offerings on my web site or my Face Book page. You can even find some FREE stuff in the mix!

So, you can see that I plan on being around the “trade” for a while longer. Oh, another thing. I now write my own blog on my web site: http://www.purejake.com.

I post new articles as they strike me and they are not always locksmith related. When you open the home page, look to the right side of the page. There you will see the various categories that I currently have articles written for. Take a look. Let me know what you think. The blog is interactive so you can respond to posts that I make and even criticize them!

If you still want some face-to-face, stand-up seminars — then my good friend, Derek Hooker, is the guy to talk to. He has a nice slate of classes to offer and his course material and content  is growing all the time. the_impressionator@yahoo.com . You can also contact Derek at: 877-636-8384 for booking and class schedules, M-F 8am-6pm.

Now, just bear with me a moment longer… I am also writing non-locksmith related stuff! Those writings will cover self-improvement, “How-to” stuff like carpet cleaning and concrete sealing, and a bunch of other topics that I have had experience with. These books are not “reseller” offerings. I wrote ‘em and they’re based on my personal experience with the subject matter. I have not always been a locksmith — it just seems that way! {:>))  My first two offerings are:

http://www.sellingatfleamarkets.com/ and http://10secretsaboutworkerscompensation.com/

So, stay tuned for more about PURE JAKE. And, keep this in mind: What I write is PURE JAKE to the core!

Finally, there are a lot of folks that may be reading this that are among those that are responsible for whatever success I have enjoyed as a locksmith, a  writer and a lecturer. You each know who you are. To each of you, I want to saya heart-felt:  “THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

9+9+9 = 27 or 3×9= 27 Do I Have That Right?

 

9 + 9 + 9 = 27

By Jake Jakubuwski

 

9+9+9=27.

3X9=27.

Simple — everyday math, right?

But 27% added to whatever I’m already paying in Social Security tax, state sales tax and what I lose in “deductions”; means I am gonna have to pay more money to somebody.

I hate to start an article with an apology.  In this case, I feel I have to.

You see, I am not an accountant, bookkeeper or math wizard. I’m just a guy who has operated my own business, of one kind or the other, for nearly 50 years. I figure that gives me some sort of platform to base my ideas of what constitutes profit, what makes up a loss and whether or not I’ve got enough money left over at the end of the day, week, month or year to have made it all worthwhile.

There are some things, financial, that I take as givens.

You can’t sell for less then the cost of your merchandise plus the cost of your expenses and stay in business very long.

You can’t spend your way out of debt.

And, no matter how big the pile of whatever it is that you have, if you keep taking away from it and not replacing it; one day — it will be gone.

Another thing I’ve learned is this: If you’re in financial trouble, the cure, generally speaking is not simple, sweet-tasting or fun.

That’s what leads me to believe that the economic problems this country faces (from the White House to the lowest paid laborer in a packing house) some tough choices, that will require a lot of sacrifice on everybody’s part in order to get our financial house back in order.

Those choices might be so hard to make that they prove impossible to implement.

None of them will be simple. None of them will be easy. None of them will be popular.

The politicians from the top of the heap to the wannabes are spewing mouthfuls of rhetoric that is so convoluted; it’s gibberish to the average voter. Some of it sounds so simple, and so easy, it makes you wonder why no one thought of that before. Here’s a newsflash! Someone probably has. The new group just gussied it up in flowery language, added a new twist to it and kept their fingers crossed when they delivered their solution to the voters.

I know I’m being cynical, but all of these folks running for office today remind me of what my granddaddy had to say about shirttail relatives that came seeking a handout. He said they had a mouthful of promises and a handful of gimmie. That seems to sum up all rhetoric; at least in my mind.

Specifically, I’m wondering how we’re gonna pay for all the bailouts, pork barreling, and give-a-ways that Uncle Sugar has been throwing around like we have an endless supply of money to give away.

Unless I’m not understanding the situation, Uncle seems to think that we can speed recovery by pouring bucks on top of the pile where the bankers and other financial sharks can gobble it up but when asked how we’re gonna pay for it, Uncle tells us we can cut programs to the poor and  “straighten out Social Security.” In other words, they look for the fix and sacrifices at the bottom of the pile. It might only be me, but I just don’t understand that idea.

With a new crop of presidential wannabe’s running around mouthing all kinds of promises and espousing ideas that they claim are a nearly painless way of fixin’ what’s wrong with the economy. I have to wonder if they really think Americans are actually so stupid as to believe their guff, or they figure the majority of the electorate is just so fed up with the current crop of crooks and cretins that they’ll vote for anyone who they think sounds like they know what they’re talking about.

For instance: Herman Cain has a plank in his platform that he calls, “9-9-9”. Just on the surface of it, folks seem to like the idea as a real simple roadmap to fiscal responsibility and a way to sort of make everyone pay their fair share. I don’t believe a word of it — at least not the way I’ve heard Mr. Cain talk it up.

First off, this “fair share” drum is rather tattered and worn. From what I read and understand only about 6% of the taxpayers (including Joyce Lunchbucket and Joe the Plumber) pay their full tax rate on their actual earnings. Is there anything “fair” about that?

My take on Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 deal is that businesses will pay a 9% rate on all of their income, period.  They will not get any deductions, tax incentives, set-offs or loss carry-overs. Does that mean McDonald Corporation pays 9% on their gross income and loses any incentives, or tax breaks, to support Ronald McDonald House, their scholarship funds and deductions for all the wages they pay as well as all of the hamburger, rolls, fries and drink cups they buy?

What about Mickey D’s share of FICA (Social Security Tax) that they pay into the Treasury on behalf of their employees? Do they still have to pay that? Or is it “included” in the 9% tax?

If I understand the program, it’s going to affect General Motors, General Electric, AT&T, NBC, Sheila’s shop of Tonsorial Splendor, Mike’s Garage, Mom’s Apple Pie Shoppe and every other business inAmerica— regardless of size or income.

If a guy or gal is self-employed and are paying their own Social Security taxes, does the 9% Mr. Cain envisions cover that contribution as well, or is it in addition to it? If this “9” is just another tax that businesses of all sizes and income levels have to pay in addition to FICA, State, County and municipal taxes that they may be liable for — I don’t see the benefit. Actually I see it as regressive.

The idea of a “flat” income tax has been floating around for years. The idea has a lot of appeal because of its simplicity and the fact that it would yank half a zillion pages out of theUnited States Revenue Code. There have been at least a half a dozen variants discussed over the years without any notable success.

The next “9” is the 9% income tax that individuals would have to pay. Does that 9% pay the wage earners share of their Social Security; or is the FICA deduction in addition to the 9%? I believe that most wage earners that are currently in a 20% tax bracket probably wind up paying far less then 9% when their personal deductions, mortgage interest, child care fees and medical expenses are deducted from their gross income.

Those folks that currently fall below the poverty level are not paying any tax at all. Are they able to take a 9% hit on their already poverty-level wages?

Then comes the final “9”. The National sales tax of 9% which, as far as I understand it, is in addition to any state, county, city or municipal sales taxes. Ouch!

InNorth Carolinawe currently have a 7.5% sales tax. If Mr. Cain is elected and his 9-9-9 program is adopted, my sales tax goes to 16.5%! That also seems to mean that anything I buy to run my business: paperclips, ink cartridges, pencils, staples and a plethora of other stuff will cost me more. Those items become expenses that I can not longer deduct.

Does that same ‘sales” tax apply to GM, GE and Mickey D’s? If it does, that means cars, electric motors and hamburgers are going to cost all of us more. Which means, as far as I can see, another loss I have to absorb because I can’t claim it as a deduction.  What’s fair about that?

Another thought. If Staples buys computers from Dell, does Staples pay a 9% sales tax on them? If so, Staples is going to charge me more for the next computer I buy from them…

Why? Well, let’s say they have a computer that I can buy today for $500.00. That will change drastically under the 999 plan. If they pay Dell $375.00 for it, plus 9% Federal Sales Tax, then I pay that 9% as well. In which case, Staples will add a MINIMUM of $34.35 to that computer. So now, I will pay NC State sales tax on $534.35 at 7.5% PLUS the 9% Federal Sales Tax.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that if your cost of doing business increases — your selling price has to increase as well. Not simply by adding in only the extra cost but by adding in the extra cost PLUS a profit. If a business does not factor in a profit on their TOTAL costs of doing business that means they will make less gross profit at the end of the year. Doing that as a matter of course is a sure way to lose your business!

Here’s the really scary part of 999 as I see it: The first year it’s 9%. The next year, how much? Who knows?

I know something else from my years in business: Whatever Uncle Sugar does to help us out is going to cost us money because there is one immutable facet to the  Law of Financial Reality According to Jake:

“Nothing happens. Nothing gets sold. Nothing gets built, nothing gets repaired, nothing gets refurbished and nothing gets “overhauled” (Including the National Debt, the US Revenue Code, bureaucrat’s and politician’s salaries) that consumers and taxpayers don’t foot the bill for.”

 So, is Mr.Cain’s “999” idea just a catchy campaign slogan to entice voters and has no substance or value beyond that? Is “999” something he believes will work but has not given any meaningful thought to the actual impact of the program if it becomes law? Or, is it a smoke and mirror cure that that might kill the patient?

At this point, for me at least, the only thing 9+9+9 adds up to is 27% more money that will be coming out of my pocket.

 

Fresh Picked and Natural — Wink, Wink!

 

 

 

Fresh Picked and Natural — Wink, Wink!

By Jake Jakubuwski

 A Face Book friend replied to a post that I had put on the site and although I’m not anywhere near in her league when it comes to eating right, exercising and working to be hearty and hale  — and enthusiastic in her vigorous personal regimens; I applaud her fervor and dedication. On the other hand, I’m somewhere to the left of her center in my thinking, eating and exercise (HAH!) habits…

 

Debbie,

 First let me thank you for the kind words.

 Next let me address the food supply issue as I see it; and with the caveat that I am far from being an expert, or even a well-informed layman, in that area. Although I do have a number of opinions!

 Back when Moog and Mooga got hungry, they simply picked some berries, dug up some tubers or hit a snake or other creature over the head. Voila! Dinner was served.

 As our ancestors came down out of the trees and out of the caves their needs began to change and being humans, they figured out that if they grew their own food supplies they could have a more dependable food source and be better able feed their families and maybe even sell, or trade some of  their excess, to their neighbors. Thus we became an agrarian society.

 The downside was that there were still a lot of homo-sapiens that didn’t like the idea of giving up being hunters and fishers and figured out that if Moog and Mooga could grow it, then Thug and Tugette could steal it. That led to cities, fortifications, bigger farms, armies, more mouths to feed and some form of government.

 Mankind was moving away from agriculture as the main source of income and support. With cities came the advent of shoemakers (Er, sandal makers) butchers, bakers, green grocers and spice merchants. These craftsmen and merchants were needed to provide the stuff that the non-farmers, priests, politicians, poets, weavers and real estate agents had to wear and eat. And, that’s not counting carpenters, masons, scientists and sewer cleaners that were needed.

 We sort of began experimenting with civilization (?). Right!

 As our food needs increased some folks began tinkering with the idea that if they could grow more, on the same acreage, they could feed more people and make more money. So, one day when one of Moog’s progeny was mucking out the cow pen, he noticed that the grass seemed greener and the earth was “richer”. That was the beginning of the fertilizer industry. That idea is still with us: it’s called,  “Black Cow” and you can buy it in bags at Wal-Mart.

 Somewhere along the line, farmers found they couldn’t produce enough seeds to plant the larger volume of crops that they needed and the seed industry was born. At first the seed companies put bunches of seeds in a little paper bag (Actually, at first it was a folded leaf from the forest) and sold the seeds to the farmer who could now devote more time to growing product without having to set aside a portion of his crop to obtain the seed for next year’s crops.

 By then the fertilizer industry was booming and seeds were selling by the leaf full and yet, there was still not enough food to feed the ever increasing population. In order to increase crop yields the seed companies began diddling with the genetics of the seeds they were selling and figured out how to genetically alter them so they would grow bigger plants with more tomatoes, beans, corn and peas on them.

 Beef producers, sheep herders, pig sloppers, chicken raisers and turkey farms all began trying to find ways to grow bigger, better and more tasty meat. They did it with a combination of genetic alteration, chemical additives and special feed lots that were designed to get more meat to the market…

 Even the  local gardener fell prey to the fertilizer fad. Someone discovered that Epsom salts made a good fertilizer, added a few other ingredients to the mix and sold it as a more miraculous growth enhancer then Black Cow. By that time, of course, there were all sorts of organic and inorganic fertilizers being used on crops.

 With farms getting bigger and cities growing by leaps and bounds and longer distances and time from field-to-table those products had to be able to withstand the trip.  Genetic engineering — from seeds to live stock — became an imperative. The chicken we eat today is force-fed and the field crops have also had their genes tinkered with and steroid cocktails liberally added to most of it.

 Here’s a bit of a side note about raising chickens. When I was in my pre-teens I spent a couple of years in a foster home. The home happened to be an active farm. One of our “crops” was chickens.  It took us approximately 12 weeks to get a hatchling from a chick to a chicken ready for market. Today, the time is six weeks and the bird weighs around 4 pounds!

 Also, I understand that today, through genetics, chickens can be raised to have large thighs, or large wings, or large breasts — sort of customizing various parts for specific markets. That ain’t natural.

 Now, we come to the processing of those foods. Each step of the way, from farm-to-table chemicals in the guise of preservatives, color enhancers, ripening agents, tenderizers, pesticides and other gunk is sprayed, injected, rubbed and marinated onto or into those foods.

 That goes for “natural health” foods as well. In order to get produce from Brazil to America requires that the produce stay reasonably fresh and as tasty as modern chemistry can make it while being shipped from the grower to the processor.

 In a certain TV commercial, a healthy, athletic lady fords rivers and seeks out remote villages to find ingredients for the product she is promoting. You see her tasting the “fresh” fruit, grains and nuts. The truth of the matter is that by the time those ingredients are picked, packaged and placed on board a ship or whatever from wherever to the factory where the product is “finished” and boxed — it wouldn’t be fit to eat if at least a pesticide wasn’t applied to keep the creepy crawlers from feasting on what’s slated to become someone’s breakfast cereal.

 In theUnited States, alone, there are three hundred million (give or take) mouths to feed. That’s a lot of groceries. The reality of the matter, at least as I see it, is that there is no way to feed that many people three squares a day, plus snacks, deserts, puddings, candy bars, ice cream and doughnuts without putting chemicals in the mix.

 Of course, you could buy some open land and start your own natural farm and not use any fertilizers, pesticides or genetically altered seeds. And you would probably get a lot less yield for the same acreage where all those chemicals were being used. That might be desirable for you and you might be able to feed your family and maybe even a few friends.

 Unfortunately, even on such a farm, you would have pesticides, air pollution, acid rain and carbon emissions to contend with. The reality being that even under “natural” conditions your foods would be contaminated. Pine forests are succumbing to acid rain, rain forests are succumbing to logging and oil exploration and concrete bridges, roadways and buildings are being destroyed by acid rain.  What chance does a natural farm have?  Is that splitting hairs? Probably.

 But the reality is that if we don‘t find even faster and better ways to bring food to the populace of the world — we’re in big trouble.  Organic farming and fertilizer-free foods would, most probably, only feed about 50% of our current population — if we were really lucky. Most likely we will find an answer to the problems in even more genetically altered and chemically enhanced foods. Is that really bad? Maybe, maybe not…

 In 1900 before we started tinkering with sheep genes and tomato seeds, the average life expectancy, inAmerica, was 47.3 years. In 2010, in spite of carcinogens from automobiles and barbeque grills, acid rain from industrial emissions, high mercury levels in fish; plus all of the steroids, stabilizers, starches and slop that is added to our food supply every year, the life expectancy in the United States is now 78.37 years.

 And that life expectancy is in spite of hamburgers and fries that can sit in a bag for months without growing mold, or deteriorating (I’m not saying they’re edible) and all of the nasty chemical particulates that we breath, ingest or drink in our water — I have to think that we homo-sapiens are a pretty tough and adaptable breed: even though we’re living better — and longer — through chemistry!

 Is all of this a statement against natural foods and good eating habits? Not by a long shot. I think that anyone who has the gumption and wherewithal to want to take care of their bodies and health and feel that natural foods are the way to do it — that’s great and more power to them. As a popular slogan once admonished: “Eat right, exercise and die anyway!”

 But here’s a warning from a dyed-in-the-wool couch potato: “Don’t you dare touch my Nachos!”

 

An Open Letter to:

Dr. Janet Kavandi,

Director of Flight Crew Operations

Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

 

 Dear Dr. Kavandi:

 I’ve been reading on the “Net” the last couple of days that NASA has announced it is going to open applications, next month, for an astronaut class that will start in 2013.

 This new class will be the 21st since the original seven in 1959!

 In the article I read, you said that this is  “…an exciting time to join the astronaut corps.”

 Sounds good to me, Janet, please send me an application!

 I know that I’m not exactly a prime physical specimen and since my back surgery six years ago, I sleep sitting in a recliner. However, from what I can see in the videos I have watched; when you go up into space, you start out in a recliner and spend a lot of time in it while zipping around your flight orbit and watching stars, planets, the earth and space junk zipping by your window. Or are they called ports? Not the recliners, but the windows?

 I also know that astronauts have to have flight experience. I’ve got that!

 I learned to fly a Cessna 150 back in the early 70’s. I even managed to graduate to flying a 172 and finally a 182. I think that’s what it was called. I have flown unaided from Fort Myers, Florida to Orlando, to Tampa and back to Fort Myers! No problems.

 Well, there was a small one when I asked to land in Orlando and the tower told me to “do a right downwind, and turn base…” Please understand, I was new and the controller thought it was funny when I reported a right downwind and he asked if I was “that little plane over the lake?” I said, in my best pilot’s voice: “Affirmative!” The controller told me that since there was no other traffic in the area I could continue with my “left” downwind.

 Okay…it could happen to anyone. I’ll betcha astronauts have flown on the wrong side of some planet, or the other! And, I’ve read about lots of pilots that flew the wrong way. So, I don’t feel that was a major mistake, right?

 I still want a shot at being a part of this new corps of astronauts! I don’t have to pilot the space ship. I can be a navigator; or simply make the coffee for the other astronauts on board.

 I noticed on NASA’s website that they kind of favor folks that have a scientific background. They also lean toward folks that have been to college and have master’s degrees and stuff like that. I wonder how much “Life Experience” counts with NASA?

 I’ve got a lot of that. On the scientific level, I’ve learned that it’s wrong to mix bleach and ammonia (Paint remover and bleach aren’t good together, either). I’ve also learned that when you want to make a Bar-B-Q grill out of a 55-gallon drum that formerly had contact cement in it — using one of those long, fireplace matches to look inside the drum is not the best idea in the world.

 No! It wasn’t me. Honestly! But my buddy, Glen. He told me that’s how his nylon socks melted down around his ankles and his eyebrows got frizzed!

 See, Janet, I really do learn by experience! Not only when I do it, myself, but when friends share their discoveries with me…I think I would qualify as perceptive.

 I’ve also learned to pay attention to signs and written instructions. I’ve seen pictures of the inside of the shuttles and they’re full of signs and tags and stuff. I want you to know that I pay attention when the sign says, “Wet Paint”; I seldom ever touch the surface anymore.

 If the sign says, “Slippery When Wet!” I don’t try to slide down the hallway with my tennis shoes on. The main reason I don’t is because I found out, early on, that the slippery areas most often have an end to them. Often a very abrupt end!

 Let me tell you this: You don’t have to worry about me holding on to the railings and handles on gangways and ladders! No, indeed! I mean, at my age and with my “back condition”, I hold on to anything that will help me walk better and I avoid stairways and ladders as if my life depended on it. Also, I always use my seat belt whether I’m driving or riding.

 But on a shuttle mission; stairs, ladders and gangways would not even be a consideration since I would be weightless and could float from level to level and “swim” from one end of a compartment to the other! That would sure take a load off of my knees and hips!

 As far as I know, Janet, I don’t suffer from vertigo so maybe we could eliminate that centrifuge thing that seems to be a part of an astronaut’s training regimen. If we did, then I probably wouldn’t need to bring a barf  bag, or anything.

 When it comes to math and plotting courses, I’m pretty good as long as I can fly VFR (Visual Flight Rules). I also have a pretty good sense of direction and can easily differentiate between “UP and Down” and “Over and Under”. I mean if the shuttle I was on were to pass over Australia: I would know that I was “Down Under!”

 And, when it comes to math, I can count backwards from “10-to-liftoff” without even thinking about it!

 Janet, as far as I’m concerned there is only one serious drawback to me joining the next astronaut class: my weight. The reason I mention that is I know I would need a specially tailored space suit (But, aren’t they all specially tailored?) and my weight might make a difference in the amount of fuel needed to get the shuttle into orbit. But those are, in my mind, minor considerations and I am sure they can be worked out.

 I can’t tell you how excited I am to learn that NASA is going to develop a new astronaut class and I can’t express how enthusiastic I am at the prospect of being one of the chosen few for that class.

 Please expedite my application and I will return it FEDEX Red Label. I’m really serious about this, Janet.

 Respectfully,

 Jake Jakubuwski,

Oxford,North Carolina

 P.S. I will be 73 years old in November. NASA wouldn’t disqualify me on that account would they? I mean John Glenn went back into space when he was a lot older then me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was I Right or Just Lucky?

Was I Right or Just Lucky?

 Over the millennium, prognosticators have been predicting all sorts of dire scenarios for us mortals  on this big blue ball that we call “Earth.” On the other hand there have been those that have predicted sunny skies, cool weather, good fishing and happy marriages.  The point being that either way, things sort of worked out like things always work out — on their own.

I’m not laying any claims to being farsighted enough to predict anything except I’m getting older and hopefully a little smarter. But I’ve read a few articles in the past couple of months about folks experimenting with jelly fish genes and making glow-in the-dark cells that can be used for a variety of medical purposes!

No foolin’! I’m not going to go into all the details ‘cause I don’t really understand anything about chromosomes, genes and genetic engineering except that a lot of good stuff seems to be coming from genetic research. Here’s a couple of links if you’re interested:

 ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLhU_Cfw9Lc

http://maryeaudet.hubpages.com/hub/Glow-in-the-Dark-Pets

That’s all good. It’s even exciting. It might even be a little scary for some folks. But, as sorry as I am to burst anyone’s bubble — it’s old news!

 Trust me…

Back in September of 2000 (Light years ago in comparison to the speed at which technological advances are advancing), I read in the News & Observer about a Brazilian artist and a French bio-tech lab that were corroborating on genetically altering a bunny so that Peter’s cottontail (Along with the rest of him) would glow under ultra-violet light!

Recognizing opportunity when it knocks, I immediately sent in the following OP-ED piece which the N&O (Raleigh,NC) published sometime around the end of September of that year.

Even though I could see the potential — lo, those many years ago — I failed to call up my stock broker and invest heavily (Even lightly) in bio-techs. Sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you ain’t. Well, at least the News & Observer) sent me a check for the piece.

Here’s the article, you decide if I was right or just plain ol’ lucky…

A Radiant New Industry

By Jake Jakubuwski

In case you missed it, the News & Observer ran a story about a Brazilian artist and a French bio-tech lab that collaborated on splicing whatever genome or DNA it is that makes certain jelly fish glow, into a rabbit’s genes.

Result: A rabbit that, when you shine an infrared light on it, glows in the dark! Like, everything glows. It’s whiskers, it’s eyes, it’s teeth, tongue and cotton tail!  Wow!

The article went on to say the artist was trying to make a statement and that there was quite a bit of negative feedback from geneticists, religious leaders, ethicists, scientists and a few other “cists”.

Of course there were the concerns about science tampering with the divine design. Animal rights activists expressing alarm and dismay over the fact that the rabbit was not a willing participant and that no one could understand its pain and suffering. Ethicists and creationists were blowing their particular horns; and scientists — along with environmentalists — were expressing concerns about what would happen to the rabbit population should this glow-in-the-dark rabbit escape into the wild and breed with its unenlightened brethren.

The obvious answer to that last question is: given the proclivity of rabbits for practicing the art of reproduction, it probably wouldn’t be long before the world would be overrun with bunnies that were lighting up the night around them. No hiding their light under a bushel for those guys!

Frankly, I’m not sure just how terrible that would be. Especially for hunters. I mean look how easy it would be to draw a bead on a bunny that glows brighter then the moon on a cloudless night!

I think all the naysayers are missing the boat on this one. I think the glow-in-the-dark bunny that the French lab created is the first example of a whole new technology that is on the cusp of revolutionizing a number of industries.

Smith and Wesson, Browning, Remington, Beretta, Colt and scores of other gun manufactures could equip their rifles with infrared scopes that would be guaranteed to illuminate whatever game the hunter is trying to bag. Think of it:Turkeysthat glow green. Deer that glow red; bear that glow chartreuse and quail that flash like a neon sign! Every hunter in the country would want one of the new scopes.

Think about this. Glow-in-the-dark technology would be a boon to regional dish aficionados. If someone ordered “Maryland Soft Shell Crabs” from the menu and their scanner revealed a pinkish glow rather then foam green; they would know those crabs did not come from the Chesapeake Bay! Bostonians would know instantly that the scrod they were eating was really Boston scrod and gourmands in New Orleans would know that the fuchsia fillets on their plates were genuine Mississippi catfish!

The potential is limitless. Not only could we have the family pet uniquely color-coded, scientists could splice infrared markers into the genetic structure of common household germs so we could determine how effective the latest sanitizing, household cleaner is. Carrying that concept a step further, eating at a fast food restaurant would be safer.  We could use our hand-held scanners to determine if the table we were sitting at was clean and the food we ordered was nontoxic. No glowing microorganisms would mean that salmonella, and botulism cultures were nil.

The impact of this technology would be felt in virtually every profession, trade and industry in the world. Building trades would be needed to accommodate the demand for expanded and new research labs. More lawyers would be needed to handle the increase in lawsuits brought against the geneticists by animal rights groups. New regulatory agencies would have to be set up at all levels of government.Hollywood would remake movies like “The Blob” and call it “The Glowing Blob”. Or the “Invasion of The Killer Tomatoes” would become “The Infrared Tomato Massacre”!

We could have a Glow-In-The-Dark Encyclopedia (Random House, of course!) that would rival a Sherwin-Williams color chart. Dusky Almond for eels.Cocoa for elk. Sandalwood for bison. Raspberry for French poodles. Eggshell for deodorizing or sanitizing cleaning agents. That encyclopedia would be a veritable smorgasbord of colorful critters, chromosomes and creatures that would satisfy any appetite, taste, hygienic or decorating need!

This genetically altered, glow-in-the-dark, bunny might well be the genetic equivalent of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1849. A small — artistically inspired — genetic procedure that could lead us down a glowing path to a new and glowing prosperity.

We might even have to change our National Anthem to: “Glow, Little Glow Worm!”

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