Archive for December, 2012

Navigating Today’s Economy

Most of the ordinary citizens that I’ve had the opportunity to speak with concerning today’s economy, have advised me that they find themselves reverting back to the lessons that they learned as children.

And forty five year old Patricia J. is one such citizen, and she confesses to laughing whenever her frugal minded mother would tell her and her younger brother that they needed to purchase the kind of food items that they would be able to live off of for weeks and months at a time since the grocery stores only have enough food to feed a limited amount of people in the event of a natural disaster.

The laughter stopped after Patricia’s husband unexpectedly lost his job after his company of twenty five years suddenly closed their doors for good, which left the couple in a state of sheer panic since Patricia’s husband had no other skills to speak of and since they realized that they had next to no savings since they had elected to pay cash for a costly home renovation project instead of financing it like Patricia’s father had suggested that they do since jobs aren’t guaranteed.

The irreversible mistake of paying cash instead of financing the project as well as the drastic loss of a job, which was coupled with dwindling unemployment benefits and a depleted severance package, caused the couple to have to rethink their entire way of life, and they immediately started to purchase large bags of beans and rice as well as Maruchan Ramen noodle soup which comes in many different flavors. The couple also started shopping at 99 Cent Only Stores since they learned that other Americans were finding bargains on the same types of food items that they previously paid far too much for since the items have the exact same expiration dates as well as the same nutritional facts.

The husband and wife team also takes turns purchasing cartons of eggs at various 99 Cent Only Stores since the store has a limit on the number of cartons of eggs that can be purchased during a single visit. Another strategy that the couple is currently utilizing is purchasing five gallons of water at a water store instead of buying the individual bottles of flavored water that can be found at most convenience stores since five gallons of water only costs them a mere $1.25. And as Patricia’s mother put it, “You can add your own lemon juice to the water instead of paying someone else to do it for you since this is what my grandparents did during The Great Depression since they were a group of penny-wise individuals that knew how to survive off of little or nothing which is something that you young people know next to nothing about.”

Realizing how important the lessons of the past are and how crucially important every penny is in today’s society, the couple has also limited themselves to driving one vehicle, which has saved them some four hundred dollars a month since they aren’t spending forty to fifty dollars each in order to fill up each vehicle every four to six days. Plus they have limited themselves to discount movie theaters like Regency Norwalk 8 and like the Starplex Cinemas-La Mirada Movies 7. They also frequent AMC Theaters since this particular movie chain offers $6.00 movies on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday whenever the movie starts prior to twelve noon. Edwards Cerritos Stadium 10 as well as the UA Galaxy Theatre at Los Cerritos Center is also among their favorites since they offer all shows for $6.00 on Tuesdays as well as $2.00 hot dogs and discounted popcorn for Regal Crown Club members.

Aside from searching for movie chains that offer movies that range from $2.00 to $6.00, Patricia and her husband also look for various manager specials since you can often purchase a whole previously prepared chicken from Ralphs Market for $3.00, and they also enjoy the occasional large pizza for $4.99 since there are certain mom and pop pizza outlets that offer pizzas that are just as tasty as the ones that are offered by the larger pizza chains.

In closing Patricia wants everyone to understand that navigating today’s economy is about having a strategy that is proven to work, and this is why she has also placed her younger brother under the same system even though he still makes $60,000 a year. Patricia’s father is correct in stating that jobs are not guaranteed.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA —

While there’s certainly been much debate about whether or not 12/21/2012 is literally the end of the world as we currently know it, there are several noted authorities that should be consulted when it comes to planetary matters, and one such authority is NASA.

As an organization that comprises the best and the brightest scientific minds that the world has to offer, NASA has never hinted at the possibility that the world is going to come to an end on 21 December 2012, which should be of some comfort to those that are stockpiling food and water in anticipation of a worldwide cataclysmic event of epic proportions.  There simply isn’t any concrete evidence that suggests that our way of life is going to come to a screeching halt on 12/21/2012, which is only a little more than ten days from today.

However, fear generates profits and there are those that have built their entire careers around the Mayan Calendar and its purported doomsday prophecy, which no one seems to be able to confirm.  Today, there are multiple books and DVDs that one can purchase and that do a spectacular job of forecasting the end of the world, however, the ten million dollar question that has yet to be answered is what will happen to the individuals that have devoted their entire careers to 12/21/2012 when everyone is still here on 12/22/2012?

Surely these individuals haven’t contemplated the possible political and financial ramifications and repercussions that may follow once their grandiose doomsday predictions fail to manifest themselves. We’re told that solar flares are going to scorch the earth and that hordes of zombies are going to rise up against the helpless humans while their terrified government officials hide themselves inside a series of pre-constructed underground shelters that have enough food and water to last the occupants for three to four years.  And we’re also told by those that are not paranormal investigators that the mysterious and illusive Planet X is going to appear prior to a group of aliens invading the planet earth.

Well, the respected former museum space science curator and former NASA consultant to Walter Cronkite and to CBS News, Richard C. Hoagland has a very different take on 12/21/2012, and he has stated on many different occasions that the world isn’t going to come to an end. Richard C. Hoagland is an authority when it comes to space and science and he would definitely know if the world were going to suddenly come to an end.

For most people that follow mainstream science 12/21/2012 is simply the beginning of the December Solstice.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA —

This article was also published by

“I became a bully out of a deep desire to obtain that which my parents were unwilling to purchase for me,” says Kim who doesn’t want to use her last name.

“And had my parents been a little more understanding then a lot of kids wouldn’t have gotten bullied since all I really wanted was to fit in with the rest of the cool kids at my school,” Kim openly stated during our forty five minute interview that was conducted on 12/06/2012 with the understanding that her last name wouldn’t be used.

Kim also confided in me that she became a bully as far back as elementary school, and she also stated that it started with her bullying another little girl that eventually brought a friend in an effort to take some of the heat off of her since Kim demanded loyalty and respect as well as secrecy. And with two girls hopelessly under her control Kim began to rack up more and more followers and her new recruits would eventually help her topple the toughest girl at the school since cliques are essentially a numbers game.

Kim’s schoolyard rival quickly found herself seriously outnumbered since her crew only consisted of a total of four girls, and with the numbers advantage being in her rival’s favor, the toughest girl at the school was accosted inside the girls restroom, and with her crew easily scared off by the sheer numbers advantage, Kim ordered her seven faithful soldiers to hold the girl down while she struck her genitals with her closed fists, which caused the victim to acquiesce to her demands and to accept the role as Kim’s second in command.

Kim continued to be a bully until she bullied a girl that had two older brothers that were willing to go to bat for their sister, which is what caused Kim to eventually change her ways since the girl’s older brothers were in high school when they paid her an unexpected visit at her junior high school. No blows were ever exchanged between the kids. A convincing threat of retaliation was all that was needed to set Kim on the right course; and her role quickly shifted from out of control bully to proponent for peace; and today she regularly speaks to boys and girls about the dangers of bullying.

More often than not, all it takes is a stern talking to and this is where authority figures come in. Titles tend to matter to children whether those titles be accompanied by badges or not. The boys that talked to Kim on their sister’s behalf were athletes and this is why Kim felt compelled to listen to what they had to say since everyone can’t very well become an athlete and since she revered what they collectively represented.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA —

This article was also published by

In today’s economic climate, and trying times, seniors are having to reinvent themselves in the sense that many of them are having to take on the role of parent all over again since their adult children have had to move back home due to a lack of suitable employment.  The reinvention has to do with cutting back on certain things that they’ve come to enjoy during their, “Golden Years.”

One such senior is a man that we’ll call John Doe since he doesn’t want to use his real name or his age.

John is a senior citizen that had enjoyed taking his wife out for steak dinners at least twice a week, and he would also take her ballroom dancing on the weekends, however, since their adult daughter returned home with a hefty car payment, and with multiple credit card bills that far exceed her unemployment wages, and with their grandson that’s under the age of six, the nights of bingo and dancing and carrying on conversations until well after 11:00pm have come to a screeching halt.

John and his wife are now forced to cut back on the things that they enjoy the most since they are now budgeting for four instead of for two, which means that their fixed income is suddenly less and less effective in today’s economy.

The steak dinners have been cut back to once every two to three weeks and the ballroom dancing only takes place once a month when they had enjoyed getting together with their friends every weekend. In addition, the grocery list has also experienced a change since John is now shopping for bargains for himself since he wouldn’t dream of having his wife give up her favorites like Entenmann’s donuts and cakes.

Based on their pronounced need for bargain based foods, John finds himself shopping at Walmart more than ever before since he can purchase value priced cans of sardines as well as Pure Protein value pack protein bars that deliver 20g of protein for around six dollars. Vienna Sausages can also be purchased for 43 cents a can, and according to John the Vienna Sausages that he’s able to purchase for a mere forty three cent contain less cholesterol than the ones that cost a few cents more.

The 99 Cent Only Stores also receive patronage from John since he can purchase value priced salads and vegetables and cartons of eggs as well as certain meats at a bargain. Dollar Tree is another store that sees John’s business since they offer bargains on household items such as coffee and laundry detergent and soap and dish washing liquid.

Our thirty minute interview concluded  with John saying, “Being thrifty and making certain well planned sacrifices is how a senior that’s playing host to his or her adult child can successfully survive in today’s economy, and it’s also how they can do it without starving to death.”

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA —