Top 10 Countries on Earth

Says who?
Based on what?

I’ll get to that.

In the past most countries are measured by their wealth. GDP.
Or GDP per capita (average income of individuals).

But I think we can all agree money doesn’t buy happiness.

In my research I have only found ONE group that measures many aspects of a country’s wellbeing. The Legatum Institute, based in London, has a “Legatum Prosperity Index.” It is fascinating. The information covers 196 countries and 96% of the worlds’ population and 98% of the globe’s GDP.

The Legatum Institute identifies and measures 200 different variables that have a proven impact on wealth and wellbeing. Then they sift these 200 variables down to 89 measurable variables divided into eight sub-indices. Some things, like confidence in government, are measured in percentage terms while capital per worker is based on US dollars. Equal weight is assigned to the eight sub-indices and the average of these eight measurements gives the overall rank on the Prosperity Index.

The eight measured indices are:

The Economy
Entrepreneurship and Opportunity
Safety and Security
Personal Freedom
Social Capital

Here are the Top Twenty “overall” results:

1          Norway
2          Switzerland
3          Denmark
4          New Zealand
5          Sweden
6          Canada
7          Australia
8          Netherlands
9          Finland
10        Ireland
11        United States
12        Iceland
13        Luxemburg
14        Germany
15        United Kingdom
16        Austria
17        Singapore
18        Belgium
19        Japan
20        Hong Kong

Some of the surprises for me were:
Number one country in Personal Freedom is Canada
Number one country in Education is Australia
Number one country in Social Capital is New Zealand

Check it out; you can spend hours reading about the research and results.!/ranking




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I’m ashamed. Ashamed of America, the great country of panic-stricken, cowardly congressmen trying to make political points based on stupidity.
We do this a lot. Our history is filled with McCarthyites.
Ashamed Child

Preying on citizens fear.

Preying on citizens ignorance.

Let me just state one clear fact.

The jihadists who blew themselves up and killed innocent citizens in France were citizens of France and Belgium. The ring-leaders, plotters were French and Belgium citizens.

If these people want to blow us up, kill us… all they have to do is get on an airplane. No visa required. They can be on our soil in a matter of hours.
They would not spend 18 months to two years to be vetted as a Syrian refugee would need to do.
Just get on the airplane.

We have no visa requirement with Belgian or French citizens.

Citizens of Belgium and France were the murderers. Refugees of Syria are fleeing these same jihadist murderers.

That’s all. Simple fact.

But let’s not talk about truth. Let’s get Americans all riled up and scared and talk about Syrians being “mad dogs” or “jihadists” or “Islamic terrorists.”

Meanwhile any French or Belgium citizen can get on an airplane, no visa required, and visit us.


“When we have these fits of hysteria, we are like the person who has a fit of nerves in public. When he recovers, he is very much ashamed and so are we as a nation when sanity returns.”
—–President Harry S Truman

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Random Thoughts

So now we have one mega-company in Belgium (run by a Brazilian) who owns over 70% of the beer sold in the USA. Mind you, that 70% doesn’t mean it’s quality-tasting beer, just popular beer. I suggest this company also buy and merge McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s. Mind you, that 70% of burgers consumed doesn’t mean it’s quality-tasting hamburger. They would then own 70% of all beer and hamburgers consumed in the USA. Then they could open up a huge chain of pub-burger stands all over the world. Give it an English Pub sounding name. They could call it Peebeer and Crapburgers.
English Pub

I dreamed I beat the shit out of Rhonda Rousey. Felt good.



Then I dreamed Greg Hardy beat the shit out of me. Felt bad.


I wish my Grampa would have just bought one lousy share of IBM when they went on the New York Stock Exchange. It was 1924 and he was raising my twelve year old father so I know he didn’t have an extra $47 lying around. BUT, if he had bought that one lousy share and hung onto it and then passed it down to ME….AHA!  That one lousy share for $47 would have magically turned into 11, 879 shares. The stock is now priced (and it’s way down) at $133. That one lousy share would now be worth $1.6 million bucks. Damn you, Grampa.



I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been written about the terrible tragedy in France. The emotions that are stirred up are certainly a mix-bag of compassion, sadness, anger, fear, helplessness, and frustration.

Our local newspaper had a small story in a back section about a young California girl attending Long Beach State who was one of the victims in Paris.
On the front page our newspaper had a big spread (did I say Front Page?) about a local Bakersfield girl who is living in Paris and through fate, luck and timing did not meet her friends for dinner that night in a restaurant two miles away from the carnage. However she and her mother did not state that fate, luck and timing had anything to do with her outcome. They both made a point (she has an entire blog about it also) that the reason she was saved was God was watching over her. When I hear such an arrogant statement I want to puke. It certainly points a finger at the hundreds of causalities and says, gee, too bad God wasn’t looking out for them. Well, I’m happy for her that she is so special and not just lucky.




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My Poison

I don’t have humorous takes on anything today. God knows there are plenty of crazy things to comment on, but I’ll leave Ben Carson for another day. And I will crack no Friday the 13th jokes either.

I am writing this on Thursday. It’s a bad day. I had my poison last night.

Maybe it’s yours, too. Mayo Clinic and other established medical web-sites insist that the FDA were correct in labeling MSG “safe.” Mayo says only a small percentage of people have what they refer to as MSG symptom complex. TRUE. Welcome to my world.

Yesterday morning I awoke to numb hands and arms and a painful mixed up brain. I felt like a truck hit me. I didn’t know the day of the week or where I was for about three or four minutes. I sat on the side of the bed and a familiar cobweb of pain shot through my head. I knew.
Damn! I had MSG poisoning. There is no other headache like that one. For me. It’s like an old evil friend that comes to visit once or twice a year to hit me over the head.

Mayo Clinic says the symptoms of MSG complex are numb extremities, migraine type headache, facial tightness, flushing, sweating, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, nausea and weakness. Typically a person suffers some combination of those things. TRUE.

Once again I quote Mayo Clinic which states there is no known treatment and the symptoms will eventually go away. TRUE. However, sometimes it takes hours.
Tests that have been done on mice and rats are scary. MSG destroys the retinal cells of those test subjects and eventually destroys the brain. We normally intake a smaller, less-dangerous supply of that crap when we eat, so we, who are allergic, just have a few hours of misery.

The only food I ate on Wednesday night was a dish from El Pollo Loco, the Ultimate Double Chicken Bowl. I’ve had that particular dish a number of times over the years. Never had a problem. This time was different.

I could go ask the manager if they use MSG. He would probably say no. MSG hides in 40 different FDA approved food products. Hydrolized soy protein or yeast extract, just to name two, both produce glutamates so there is no way to know.
That is the danger of eating restaurant food for me. It’s easy to buy the correct grocery food to consume, but not always possible to eat at home.

The good news is it is a rare thing. Twice this year so far.

Anybody else?





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Froggy Went a Courtin’

The other day I overheard an old saying by a young gal. At least she looked young to me. (you all do)

She was evidently talking about a fellow worker, probably in an office. She said to her lunch mate, “He went toadying up to the boss as usual.” Wow, I hadn’t heard that phrase in years. It’s still around obviously. Then I wondered why nobody ever said, “He went frogging up to the boss.” I guess that sound dirty, huh?

I looked up the dictionary meaning of “toadying” and it says, “grovel to, ingratiate oneself with, be obsequious to, kowtow to, pander to, crawl to, truckle to, bow and scrape to, curry favor with, make up to, fawn on/over, slaver over, flatter, adulate, suck up to, lick the boots of, butter up.


That’s pretty neat stuff. I’m going to start using that term again. But I also checked on my knowledge of toads and I was right…all Toads are Frogs. However all Frogs are not Toads. Uh-huh.

Toads are a subset of frogs. Toads like dry land and frogs like water.
Toads also have big glands behind their eyes called paratoid glands which produce poison.


Frogs have long legs and jump to get around. Toads have short fore-limbs and hop or walk. Frogs lay their eggs in clusters and toads lay their eggs in long chains…(ewuuu…that is toady)

Toads also have big glands behind their eyes called paratoid glands which produce poison.

Back to my overheard conversation. The meaning of toadying.
To me this picture shows a frog toadying up to a gal.
Frog kissing

Enough book-learning…have a good week!

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You Can Bet on It

I had this bookie named Max. He looked, acted and talked like a bookie in the movies. His voice was gravely, his eyes were shifty and he was always looking over his shoulder when he gave me my “parlay” card or took my money. It was the ‘60s. A $2 bet then is the same as $15.97. Yeah…$2 has now become $16.

It was a factory of 600 plus workers and Max would use his Monday breaks and lunch time to run around paying the winners. On Wednesday or Thursday the new parlay cards would be delivered. There were ten college football games and you could pick a minimum of three winners. If you got all ten right you collected 10X your bet.
Gambler 3

The college season was ten games back then. I may have placed my $2 bet four or five times during two seasons. That was my only use of a bookie.

In Vegas I’ll put down some money in the Sports Book of whatever casino I’m in. That’s happened a few dozen times over the last thirty years. Gambling and me aren’t a thing. No, not even the state Lotto is interesting.

Now comes the ultimate new gambling adventure. Fantasy Sports! I don’t think so.

For the past three decades, non-betting fantasy teams have been evolving and growing. No it is the fastest growing GAMBLING adventure ever conceived in our country.

The moderators tried to bring up this subject at the last Republican debate. Did you see how fast they turned it into a joke? Bush joked about his undefeated team and Christy acted like it was terrible to be talking about it. Really?

Most people don’t realize that fantasy sports was a “loophole” in an online gambling bill passed and signed by “W” in 2006. Online/offshore gambling had grown tremendously and Sheldon Adelson and his cronies didn’t like seeing their money going off shore.

So, in a hurry to adjourn for the 2006 elections, the House leadership attached a gambling bill to legislation aimed at making our ports safer.
Yes, I’ll wait while you read that line again.
A few representative hollered about it because Republican House Leadership refused to allow any amendments to the ports safety measure. But they did allow the gambling bill. Bush signed it into law on Friday the 13th. It might have been bad luck for the internet gamblers, but the bill had embedded language that exempted wagering on fantasy sports. There were five States that already considered it illegal and their laws prevailed (Washington, Louisiana, Arizona, Montana and Iowa). Nevada just banned in the last few weeks.
Gambler 1

Looking into the background of the lobbyists and who wrote this “loophole” is surprising to find that the National Football League played the most crucial role in securing the bill’s passage. That’s another sentence you need to re-read.

That’s right…the league has long-held opposition to sports betting, but they realized that this would create even larger TV audiences.

SO…guess who started DRAFT KINGS? They are one of the big two, the other being FanDuel. DraftKings is run by poker players and gamblers, most of who were heavily involved with the internet gambling thing.

Now DraftKings has hooked up with the World Series of Poker and enticing their fantasy betters to win a table at the big show in Vegas. Also DraftKings is now doing fantasy sports contests in the Hooters’ restaurants.

In knowing there was billions to be made, DraftKings became television’s No.1 advertiser when it showed a commercial every minute and a half in the week leading to the NFL season.

So that is why the Republican debaters turned a simple important questions into a big audience applause when Chris Christy said “How dare you talk about fantasy football when Isis is wanting to attack us.” They really don’t want to talk about their loophole.

Last May, Bryce Mauro, a junior at DePauw University in Indiana sat in his fraternity house and bet $12,000 on a fantasy baseball game and planned to bet another $24,000 later in the day. Young Mr. Mauro said, “I usually play between 450 and 500 different games a day. Over the past two years he won several hundred thousand dollars.

I wonder if anybody is losing?
Gambler 2

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Losing It

The weather has been and will continue to be exceptional. My second favorite month has started. El Nino will probably mess up December and January, but then my favorite February pops up. It too may be a wet one, but that’s ok. We need it bad. Real bad.

I was walking on the bluffs yesterday. That’s a popular walking park just a block from my home here in Bakersfield. People walk their dogs, babies and some are talking on their cells with every step.

Here is a picture of the Bluffs at sunset and one of the trails I like.
Bluffs at Sunset

Bluffs 2Bluffs 3

As I was walking I noticed speed walkers, joggers, runners, and meanderers.


I was thinking of all the weight being lost among those dozens of people. Then I wondered about lost weight. Is it really lost? Where did it go? I needed to hurry home and start researching. I knew that the “burning” weight had to be pure bullshit. We can’t turn fat into energy. Impossible. It has to be our atoms that vanish into thin air. Right?

I first checked my amateur scientific knowledge and I was right. It is impossible for our body to turn or burn fat into energy. That would break the Law of the Conservation of Mass. True.

I found some studies by an Australian physicist named Ruben Meerman. It seems he was thinking along the same lines as I was. Where does it go? It is “atoms” we are losing.

He found that we actually exhale most of it. Is that cool or what?  For every ten pounds we lose 8.4 pounds are exhaled as CO2. The remaining 1.6 pounds turns to water and that is shed as sweat, tears, urine and whatever.

So, the next time you and I are out trying to lose some weight…either at the gym or on the trails. Let’s tell each what we are really doing. We’re not out burning off weight. We’re blowing weight away. That makes it more fun. We chew the fat and work out and exhale it.
man exhaling smoke

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