Wednesday, November 27, 2013

World of Finance: Price drama that retailers play-2

And you would think that since the stores are going out of business, they would want to sell items at the lowest possible price but I read somewhere that they do not and they actually price it higher than the regular price to make sure they recuperate as much money as possible. And since the customers are not in the habit of remembering what were the prices a few weeks ago, they get lured into these shops and pay for it thinking it is a bargain but it is not. And I will readily admit that I have visited these places but the prices I have seen made me turn back. And when the prices go down each week by 10 percent and then you visit the store, there is only crappy stuff remaining and the staff about to get laid off does not care that much any way of who buys or not. And recently a news article came out which said was an open secret that businesses don’t sacrifice their margins even when the discount or put items on sale. They buy from vendors for a certain amount and then put amount on the item which is like 200 or 300 percent more and even if they discount it to like 50 percent that is their initial margin that they are comfortable with and that is what they adjust it in their books. It is like a casino where the house (casino) never loses money no matter how many gamblers win, it is the same with retailers unless the customers don’t shop their anymore in which case the stores go out of business.

World of Finance: Price drama that retailers play

I wrote long time ago about how the prices end up on .99 or .95 and I have noticed that not only in the U.S. but other countries too, maybe because they are copying from the U.S. or have conducted their own survey to suggest that those numbers are the psychological numbers where people buy their products. But there are other ways the retailers use prices to lure their customers and it can include discounts, point, price comparison, loyalty cards, sales, early bird specials, limited time deals and other tricks they have in their sleeves. And nobody has the time to see if the prices are really down from the actual prices or are the same by looking at the original price and then putting a line on it and giving it a lower price which may actually be the same price it may have sold a few weeks or months ago. Because the store rarely sacrifices their margin by giving sales and discounts. And I have noticed one more thing that when a department store or any store for that matter is having a going out of business, losing a lease or going bankrupt, you should notice the prices of their products during their normal store hours or in happier times and now when they are having a to liquidate all their inventory, the prices are rarely at the discount level and are even higher than the original prices. Maybe the owners want to recuperate as much or even more from the unsuspecting customers or they think that the customers don’t remember the prices before, but this is highly deceptive and unfair.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-Red 2 (2013)- Bruce Willis, John Malkovich

Those spies from the first Red movie (Retired Extremely Dangerous) are back, this time trying to retrieve a mobile nuclear device which can cause massive devastation. Enjoyable movie with fast paced action. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Grandmaster (2013-HK)

Another Hong Kong movie about the Grand Master Yip Man who famously was the teacher of another Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee. Less fights and more talk but executed brilliantly. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Getaway (2013)-Ethane Hawke, Selena Gomez

If you like cars racing and destruction on the streets then this movie is for you . A mess that I can say the least in which a former race car driver has to do certain tasks while driving like crazy so that he can save his wife from a clever kidnapper. Not recommended

Monday, November 25, 2013

World of Finance: It’s all about the points-3

The online businesses are not behind with as they are giving prizes, discounts and points to their loyal customers. I have also used these kinds of points from the credit card company where I used the accumulated points to purchase air fare and it saved us a lot of money. So as competition heats up and as more and more companies fight for the market share of the same group of people and hold on to them, you will be seeing more and more variation of points being offered on purchases which can then be translated into more purchases as all these points are already built into the sales, discount and other corporate sales and marketing strategy. A new variation is that you don’t get any points but you need to buy a certain dollar amount of products before free shipping kicks in. And this type is gaining popularity among online stores. My whole above discussion is that the winners in this whole points game are both the customers and business because the customers gain when they purchase and then get more stuff by redeeming their points and businesses have already incorporated all these points and perks into their prices of products so both are ultimately winners but more so are the businesses as mentioned above. Although I am not addicted to earning points or going crazy over it but it is nice to see that whenever you spend money, you can accumulate points which you can redeem for cash or as the need may arise.

World of Finance: It’s all about the points-2

Although some retail establishments have a variation on the points system like giving you 10 to 15 percent discount on when you initially open your store credit card, but you can get that discount anytime later on too if you can keep up with all the sales that happen throughout the year. The only difference is that you pay with the store credit card and then you have a monthly statement so essentially you are paying in about two months time from the date of your purchase in less value dollars. But I still would not care about the store cards so you should stay away from them if it is a credit card, if not then you can join in to enjoy perks if they have any. And apart from retail stores, the banks have been very aggressive in giving points on opening of checking or saving accounts giving away thousands of free points just for opening an account with them. These banks points are the same as it was done in the early days of banking where the banks use to give like toaster or some physical good for opening account with them. And usually you have to use their online service constantly in order to rake up points to get cash credit from them. I am not sure but it is the airlines that started this craze with their loyalty program of miles accumulating, although it is still going on but they have really slowed down and do not advertise it as much. I rarely see car dealers diving into this although the car manufacturers do it from time to time like giving extra money or discount to their customers who had previously purchased their cars.

World of Finance: It’s all about the points

What points am I talking about? The points where you shop or do some business online or offline and get to redeem it with cash or credit to your account or buy even more stuff from the retailer offering you the points. And more and more retailers are adding points to their loyal customers account so that these customers are hooked to these retailers and cannot buy from other retailers because they want to redeem those points. You know in a sense points are good since wherever you are spending you will be able to redeem those points for some items which want to buy but because of the point system just wait till you accumulate enough so that you can essentially get it for free. And now almost every business where offline or online have loyalty cards or some type of arrangement like that where you accumulate points and when you reach a certain level can redeem it in store or get credit towards your bill. And different retailers and service providers have different levels and different criteria how to accumulate points. Usually points are calculated at 1 point to a dollar but some may have 10 points to a dollar, the difference being the earlier one takes more time to redeem and the later on less time to redeem. Some retailers even give you free points when are asked to join their loyalty program. And sometimes these points can be huge like 20 thousand points when you open some account in some bank or give you points on opening some retail/store credit account.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Aren’t we all blasphemers?-3

This post is not to insult disrespect any religion or belief whatsoever but a deep thinking analyses about how people should respect other people's religion and not start to behave like animals and start complaining about how other people have done blasphemy to their religion or religious figure because as I said before what I think is blasphemous cannot be blasphemous to another person of different race and if you are not able to reason with the other person then you should not resort to violence just because you think that you can silence other people's narrative. If you happen to be in country where the blasphemy laws are applied mostly against Non Muslims then you should be careful of what you say about the customs or religion as people can twist the meaning and create a false claim against you. But these laws should be applied when the accuser should also face the music if he/she happens to report a false blasphemy case. I don’t know if there has been any discussion of what constitutes true blasphemy and if the government has the right to get involved in it through laws and regulation when they are unable to provide basic needs of their citizens. And wherever somebody did try to discuss this, he/she has been killed or has escaped death by moving to more liberal countries. It is a contentious issue and super delicate since religion is a very touchy subject for anyone, but my main point of discussion is that blasphemy is not only for the Muslim sensitivities but anybody could be offended when it comes to religion matters and you should not even try to discuss religions matters if you believe that it would be taken the wrong way some way along the discussion.

Aren’t we all blasphemers?-2

It is puzzling to know to that if Pakistan or any other Muslim country for that matter have laws on the books stating that blasphemous act is punishable by death, why would any non Muslim want to risk their lives to commit blasphemy but this does not goes into the head of the people ready to have blood on their hands just because they heard that somebody committed blasphemy. At that time, the atmosphere is so charged that any reasonable voice doubting the allegations can get killed too because people will perceive that he/she may also be sympathized with the suspect. And it is not only the Non Muslims can be a target, even Muslims who are in dispute with another Muslim can devise or accuse each other of blasphemy in order for his/her opponent to suffer. And why it is always that blasphemy applies in the case of Muslims sensitivities and not for non Muslims. For example, Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of GOD and Muslim treat him as one of the greatest Prophets so it can be said that if they speak at the same time, they are committing blasphemy against each other. And when a mob is enraged they really don’t care what they are attacking as long as it is targeting the opponent's religion and in such a case, a blasphemy has been created because a church or a temple has been destroyed including all the holy books inside. The same argument can be said for the Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and other religion who are make an argument which will be considered blasphemous to the another religion.

Aren’t we all blasphemers?

What is a blasphemy? By what I have read it is saying something against GOD, religion or a religious figure which may be considered insulting or disrespectful. In some countries Blasphemy is punishable by death if you happen to insult the Prophet of Islam, religious figures and religious books (name the Holy book of the Muslims-The Koran or Quran) especially in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. By this definition everybody in this world seems to be blasphemer as we think that our religion or even sect is right and all the others are wrong and in the heat of the argument start insulting the other religion and then there becomes no difference between any of us. And it is not just in the heat of the argument but inadvertently or by choice we do blasphemous stuff almost every day and then go about the day like nothing has happened. I was reading an article by a person long time ago and he raised an excellent issue that states that one person's blasphemy may not be the other person blasphemy and vice versa and started to think that he is absolute right about it. And further more blasphemous laws in some countries and especially and particularly in Pakistan have been used by some Muslims to instigate and settle their differences. For example somebody will say that he/she somebody insulting the Prophet of Islam or damaging the book of Islam and the police has to arrest the person and in the meanwhile this allegation false or not becomes a rally cry for the people of the area and they are ready to kill the alleged blasphemer without a hint of investigation if the allegation is true or not.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Global Neo Nazis movement-3

And why blame the white people only for racist tendencies when you can find it in other races also. If you read history you will notice that the Japanese in World War II had the same problem and still now the country does not allow widespread immigration despite the fact that the own population is dwindling due to xenophobic attitude. And it goes on and on, look at the Buddhist and Hindu Anti Muslim attitude and also among the Muslims, despite having a religion where you are only superior due to your characteristics, racists, xenophobic and superior attitudes abound. The Muslims may blame the white people for the racist attitude but when you visit Muslim countries and live there you will find out the even when you are of the same religion, you will be discriminated and felt inferior due to where you are coming from, you social status and your color. And it is perfectly fine with the people but they can only see the white racism not their own. And it is has nothing to do with religion and all the thing to do with human nature and attitude, if you want to blame Nazism for all this you can go ahead and blame them but nobody is forcing you to practice this hatred for other races and love of your own. It is what you have been brought up with through your parents, internet, and friends, social and electronic media. You cannot reason with these people until you go to the root cause of this problem and until you do that you will keep on having this problem in your midst. No need to say that they are misguided or are born that way since we have not done the job to educate them from the start regarding love and compassion and justice for other people. It is we the whole collective society that is at fault for this increasingly violent minority.

The Global Neo Nazis movement-2

This article is not to bash any race but the tell the readers that Neo Nazi movement is for anybody who thinks that his/her race is superior to other race and they can and must resort to violence to prove it. But the strangest thing that I have noticed is that despite the Nazis killing millions of people across Europe and Russia, the white people still adore their policies and practice it with fervor. If you have seen the salutes and the clothes they were and the policies they preach, they are not only similar but one and the same without realizing that the Nazis killed white people too. For example look at Russian Neo Nazi Skin heads who are increasingly target internal migrants from the other parts of Russia despite the fact that millions of Russian died because of the siege that the Nazi Germany laid to their country some seventy years ago. Maybe this new generation of Neo Nazis has forgotten or is just attracted by the idea of Nazism or just pride about their race, this is a dangerous phenomena. Although laws in Europe restrict access to the symbols and displays of Nazi culture but it is still thriving underground. In the U.S. because of the First amendment protection of free speech have a more open field to preach their hatred or their version of Nazi philosophy. And this thing has spread to many countries in Europe where the Nazis looted and plundered and killed so many people that it is just a shame that a whole generation of Europeans have forgotten about what Nazis did to their countries.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Global Neo Nazis movement

I have been long tracking this Neo Nazi phenomenon worldwide and have to come to the conclusion that nobody is immune to it. What is Neo Nazi? Roughly it is a person who is xenophobic, homophobic, racist, skinhead and anybody who does not like any other person not like him. Usually they are White who hates the Jews, gays, Muslims, Arabs, Blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and anybody who is not white like them. As you know that Nazism started with Germany and it grew out of the believe that the White are a superior race and are divinely destined to be the so called "Master Race" who need to rule the world and over all other races. The party was especially hard on blacks and Jews with the Jews the primarily target as they had planned the final solution for them. Although that was their plan and they tried their level best to achieve it but could not. But although the Jews were the primarily target, Whites were also the target too as you can see by the destruction created by them in Europe and Asia but this phenomena whatever meaning you can call it is universal. Neo Nazi is just a collective name given usually to anyone who adheres in its own version to the ideology of Nazis. And I mean it can include anyone not only the White people. If you look at World War II, the Japanese considered themselves superior to all the Asians and hence they kept on conquering countries in Asia although they may not thought themselves as Nazis but surely they acted like them in terms being all the above characteristics.

Immigrants and language

I was watching a video about a Pakistani family who claims to escape that country and have sought asylum in the Netherlands and they were documenting how the old lady of the family is learning Dutch. Apparently there is a new law on the books there that anybody who does not learn Dutch and pass the language and culture test after a certain number of years will be deported to the native countries. Although this law seems to be apparently passed in the Netherlands so that they don’t have many Muslims, in essence an Anti-Muslim law but it will be applied to people outside the European Union and Turkey as I believe. But even if it deemed to be an Anti Muslim law, what harm is there to learn another language. I am saying that if there were no law to this effect, don’t you want to learn the language where you plan to stay for the rest of your lives. Learning a language is just the first step towards integration to a society and if I am in a place where the language is not English, I will make every effort to learn that country's language no matter how much time it would take me. I understand that old people will have a hard time learning new language but for the sake of being independent and integration, learning a language should not become an issue of West vs. Islam. If you want people to accept you to the least as part of their community, the least you can do is to learn their language so that you can show that you are making an effort to become part of their community. And the more languages you learn the more you would be equipped to handle daily activities if you happen to travel to non-English countries.

On the lighter side-Movies-We’re the Millers (2013) - Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston

Funny and entertaining movie about a low level drug dealer who loses drugs and have to make it up to his contact by smuggling drugs from Mexico and he has to get help from his neighbors so that he can act like a family and get undetected from Mexico. Great acting by all and recommended

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-2 Guns (2013)-Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg

Two agents one of DEA and one of Naval intelligence who are unaware of each other’s identities have to work together and find out who framed them for a money laundering deal in Mexico and U.S. Lots of action and gun fights and little else. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-The world’s End (2013)-Simon Pegg

British movie about a group of friends who descend upon a time with eight pubs and start their journey peacefully and ending up for the fight of their lives as the world ends in front of their eyes in this hit or miss movie which is not that great. It was not for my taste and I therefore do not recommend it.

On the lighter side-Movies-Paranoia (2013)-Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Liam hemsworth

An entry level employee is hired by a business tycoon to spy for him against another tech tycoon in this good thriller which unfortunately was a bomb at the box office but if you had the chance to watch it on DVD, it is a good movie. Recommended only for DVD and once viewing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The word “work” problem between a man and a woman-2

And you cannot quantify emotional help when you need it and the loving households that the woman creates which you cannot put a dollar sign to it. When you need emotional support, no amount of outside help is equal to what you can get from your wife. And a help can leave at five or maybe six but a woman's work is never done. The amount of love she can put in for the work in her house cannot be matched by any outside help and this work is more than what a man could do by working for somebody else and bringing the money. Granted that a man brings home the paycheck but it does not make him any superior work wise than a woman as described above. He should be thankful a woman does all the household work and more without bothering him about the things when he comes home from work. This issue of I am working while thinking that a woman is not bring home money does not mean she is not working has got to stop. It just stresses out the parties involved and resentment ensues and nobody is ready to back down from their argument. If each parties understand their responsibilities and especially the men should understand that the women is carrying an equal or even more burden of work on their shoulders, then the argument would not exist in the first place. Once you realize that both people's work is needed in order to successfully and peacefully run the household, everybody would be happy.

The word “work” problem between a man and a woman

I was looking at some articles about work issues and then came upon this age old issue regarding work. This is an ongoing feud/tussle between a man and a woman because sometimes the man says something that he is going to work or he works hard to put food on the table and the women stays home and he tries to inadvertently or advertently belittle the work that the woman does at home. In essence that since the man thinks that he makes money by working and woman does not, the work is not comparable according to him. But think about it that if the woman is not at home and working, the man will come home and see that not all the chores are done or the food is not cooked and then how he would feel about it. Or if he feels that the woman should work and bring home money then he would have to hire somebody to take care of the house and kids and do all the chores that she is supposedly want/require to do. First of all the men should get this out of their minds that their work is equal to the women's work. It is not and cannot be because if you start to hire some help and let them do the work, then the men would have to pay upwards of USD60k and more just to get the job done and it stops at 5 or 6 in the evening. How about the rest of the evening and the evening dinner and taking care of the kids and then give a man company and then on weekends the woman takes care of households chores since if you have to hire help for 24 hours 365 days a year you will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and even more.

On the lighter side-Movies-Teeth (2007)

A girl has teeth in her private parts and uses it to kill people who have wronged him in this hilarious not for the kids horror/comedy movie. Not for all tastes and very adult oriented. But it is not fun to watch it. Not Recommended

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The video rental business as we used to know it-2

Being competitive with an online company which did not have much overhead and real estate burden to deal with, Blockbuster started to lose share and even imitate Netflix® by sending movies by mail but they came too late to the market and now have closed all their stores save for some franchises. And now with streaming all the rage, it was almost time that the demise would have reached its logical conclusion. I rarely see people nowadays taking out rental from a video store which have become increasingly rare in big cities as more competitors have come online and people prefer it that way. I use to go to neighborhood video stores and enjoyed the selection and not only in the United States but also in other countries but it was really a hassle to trek to these stores and select the movie and if it was not there then had to decide on something else. And that is also one of the hated parts of physical video rental business that if the popular movie is not in stock when you want it, you had to either rent something else or go home empty handed or to another store to find out if they had it. Taking the time out to go and then wasting gas just to find out that the video store does not have your movie is no fun and it adds up to your video rental fees. And I would never want to experience this again so there will be very few people who would be sad of the demise physical video rental business.

The video rental business as we used to know it

As you must have read this somewhere that the Blockbuster® the used to be biggest video rental store is closing its entire remaining store and will concentrate on the streaming business. But the franchises with their names will remain open as they are just closing the ones with the corporate ownership. Now you would what is Blockbuster® well they were the kings of video rental business and they drove many local video stores out of business with their huge selection and big spacious stores. And I did only once went to their stores, with its wide variety came the hated late fees that it used to generate tons of money when people forget to return the rental on due date. And the fees were heftier than what with the rental money you can get now. These were the times when the Broadband and streaming side of the movies were not as widely available and popular. This was the time that many people despite paying hefty late fees used to swarm Blockbuster® stores because of its wide selection. Although neighborhood video stores were also competing with it but they were declining and were unable to keep up with the big money and hence this juggernaut was unstoppable. But as the new technology came to the market with the help of streaming and new players entered the picture with no late fees, blockbuster® started to lose market share. Netflix ® became a huge competitive since it had one low monthly fees and unlimited rentals with no late fees.

Running after money

I was watching a movie and the characters were running after money like there is nothing more important than that. And it is true that very few people love their jobs and they are just there to make money so that they can pay their bills. Even if you see some happy faces in the crowd either they are happy just to have a job or just want to get out of the house and meet their friends while making money. Everything revolves around the money aspects and it is true that if you don’t have enough money or no money, you cannot pay your bills, go on vacation, save for retirement, pay your debt, give gifts to your loved ones, do repair to your car, do shopping for Christmas, pay for your kids college fund and do millions of other stuffs that you cannot do without money. It is a fact that everybody is running after money, even the rich people who have enough money to feed many families are always thinking about making more money than they have now. Sometimes I think that all this running after money has really improved our lives or make us more materialistic and we have forgotten that when we die no amount of money will help you in your salvation because GOD would not care a bit how rich you are in this world as you will be judged by your character, even if you don’t believe in a higher being it does not mean that there is none otherwise this universe would not have existed. So the money can make you temporarily happy but it is your character that will be remembered after you are long gone.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

World of Finance: Unemployed European Youth

So what is going on in Europe, yesterday I was reading an article that shows that the unemployment rate for youth in Europe especially for people in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France is way up high and these youth with high education are ultimately finding out that they cannot land jobs in their native countries and are unwilling immigrants to northern areas of the European Continent. And the gut wrenching stories that I read is really sad and alarming that how the highly educated youth are settling for jobs in other countries with language barriers and no network of friends and relatives and get jobs which does not do justice to what they have achieved academically. With masters degree in hand they are working in boutique shops and other places which would make the highly overqualified, but they are only doing it because it is better than to remain unemployed in their native countries. At least the bills are getting paid and the reality has been dawned on these internal migrants if you can call them is that how it feels for them to steal jobs from local by pricing them below market. But the point here is that these are the lost generation who are barely hanging on a thread, educated but unhappily semi employed in strange lands far from their friends and families and as I said it before the rigidities of the labor markets in their native lands have forced them to make harsh choices which they are not happy or were not trained to decide. It will just slow the pace of employment of these youth and they will be the lost generation which will have ever lasting damage to whole nations.

A trip to your beloved dentist-2

And so he set to work numbing the area where the teeth was supposed to be extracted and he started to drill on my teeth which is again no fun at all. There or maybe four times he asked me to rinse my mouth so that any blood remaining should come out and then as he said it was half an hour before the procedure was done. He said that the next appointment should be with the hygienist so that he/she can clean my teeth and take x-rays to see when the implant or crown should be inserted. And the dentist assistant gave me some cotton clothes so that I can put it in the area of the extraction and press it so that the blood can be sucked out. She gave me instructions not to eat heavy stuff for a day and not to eat anything on the side of the extraction. Anti biotics and pain killers was prescribed as needed. And I was told not to rinse for a day and she gave me further instructions regarding how to take care of the extracted area. I made the appointment for the hygienist in the next few weeks and paid the deductible and came home painful and still in pain after two hours of that procedure but time heals everything and so I am waiting and waiting. This going to the dentist is really painful but a necessary evil if you can say that way but I would not go until I am desperate but this thing has just started so I want to see it through. So if any other adventures I come across this exciting dental work I will share with you.

A trip to your beloved dentist

I went to a new dentist today to check out my tooth and it has started to hurt because it had root canal done on it. And I being the kind to go to the dentist at the last minute, since I really passionately hate to go to one, I had no choice but to see one today. Nobody wants to go to a dentist unless they have to and I am the one who have to with no choice in the matter. Well I had the eight o’clock in the morning appointment on a weekend, no fun waking up at 6.45 in the morning but again no choice and after reaching there, thankfully I was called in. The first thing the dentist did was to take the x-ray of the tooth which had the root canal. The most hated thing is the x-ray as they have to insert it in the area where they want to see the tooth and it is not at all a comfortable feeling. Taking an x-ray is worse than extraction or a root canal but it had to be done but after two and three attempts, the dentist assistant had a good shot of my tooth not a perfect one and the dentist saw that where I had my root canal the tooth had been broken so he suggested that I should come back to do the extraction or he could do it now. I asked him how much time it is going to take and he said roughly half an hour and since I was there already I said let’s do this thing.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is the silent majority too silent, don’t care, indifferent?

I can hear myself in whispers and still everybody is there but nobody is saying anything, what kind of silent majority this is? The west keep on criticizing that most of the Muslims are insisting that they are against terrorism but don’t hear them denounce it when times comes and then again we hear the same thing over and over again that the Muslims are against terrorism so where is this silent majority? It seems that every time they try to have an excuse not to say anything they are part of the problem and not the solution. They are not even saying anything about the terrorists among that they are so passionately supposedly oppose. Why this silent majority keeps on being silent and endures all this abuse from the terrorists. Are they enjoying this, are they afraid of being killed or are they are so indifferent and so Anti American and anti west that they are ready to suffer all the casualties in order to hurt the west? Even as this so called Silent majority remains silent, the only people that are being killed in this hatred quest of the west are the Muslims and the silent majority don’t say anything like they are really indifferent to the killing and that is what I think, that the majority don’t really care about the Muslims killing Muslims as long as they keep their head in the sand and think that they are say by not speaking out. And it is not only the Muslims but anybody who believes that something is wrong and don’t raise a voice against it is an accomplice to the crime and this silent majority will have limited space till they become the silent minority.

The season I love the most-2

I know this might sound strange but snow falling is so much fun, but I should readily admit that it is not fun to remove snow either from the side walk, your drive and especially from your cars as the bone chilling winds can make your hands really freezing and then you have to do inside your house to take a breather and warm your hands to start another round of snow cleaning. And if there is several inches of snow it is another pain since even if you have cleaned your cars, sidewalk and drive, there is this hazard of driving on the roads which may or may not have the snow removed from them. And if you have to walk over the snow, that is another juggling act since you don’t want to fall down when maneuvering yourself on it. Even if there is no snow, sometimes the weather is so called that you wish there was some snow to go with it. And the wind with the snow or without snow just isn’t the greatest combination as it becomes sometimes unbearable to walk but me being weird love the wind blowing against my face (but not my hands as I have to wear gloves not to have frostbite on them). But no matter how bone chilling the wind and the cold, I love winter and I always wonder how much cold temperature I can take even with bundles of clothes on me and I believe that is why most of the people hate that season because it is dreary, nights are long and days are short and the carrying of so much clothes on yourself is not fun but no matter what winter is my favorite season as I was also born in the winter.

The season I love the most

Everybody has their favorite season and if you hear from most people it is the summer. Although autumn (or fall if you like to call it), spring and winter also liked by some people but for the most part, people seems to love summer. With nice sunny weather, kids are playing outside, people going on vacation and wearing fewer clothes. Since the summers have near universal school holidays, there is always rushing at all the vacation spots as families travel for vacation. The days are longer and you can do more activities, everybody seems too cheerful as the summer weather casts its magical spell on people of all ages. And if you see by the looks of the immigration pattern, more and more people from cold areas are flocking to sunnier destinations like people from the cold north are settling in sunnier south or even have vacation spots in tropical and sunny climate areas. People pay a lot of money to buy houses in sunnier climates and vacation in the spots where sun is always available and I have not heard about anybody having a vacation in the frigid areas of the world like in the northern U.S. Canada or northern Europe. Everybody runs away from cold weather and specially snow but if you have been reading my opinions, I am totally opposite to these people. Although I love sunnier climates but nothing beats like cold areas. I love the cold weather as much as most of the people hate it. It is just fun to shiver in the cold weather, have a cold coffee, tea or soup cooped up in your bed watching TV or just browse online.

Expensiveness and Affordability

This topic had been boiling over for a long time in my head and I just kept on get distracted by other topics and the two series that I recently launched on my blog besides two regular ones. But I keep hearing this not only from my family members and relatives but friends and strangers alike. What is expensive and what is affordability. For example when I say that I want to buy a big house or a big car, the first thing that other people say that it is expensive and even if you are able to afford it, how are you going to pay for mortgage, insurance, maintenance and this creates a puzzling reply from me that if I can afford to buy an expensive house or a car, why can't I be able to afford it in the long run and the people don’t understand this logic. Why is that I can afford to buy expensive stuff but would not be able to afford its maintenance and long term care? Am I missing something or people don’t understand that if I am rich enough to afford, I am rich enough to take care of the stuff too. This problem does not crop up when you buy expensive jewelry, handbags and other things but when it comes to cars and houses, people bend over themselves and say that in the long run it would be really expensive. I don’t think that the person who is going to buy these things would worry much about how they will be able to afford it since they have already factored in all the costs associated with it and nobody keeps a car or a house forever and if they don’t want to keep it, they can sell it. End of discussion. Too tired of explaining this to other people.

On the business path: Retail- Naming your store-2

Look around your neighborhood for stores similar like you, ask your friends and family members, do some brainstorming and come up with a name which will catch the public attention. The name need not be fancy or exotic and you should have at least three to four names in your mind when applying for a state or local permit because sometimes the regulators may not grant you to name your store on your first choice and if you don’t have other choices, you will have to go to the drawing board again to think a new name. And it is useless to copy other names anyway because you may either get sued or the initial store may be the one people will flock too and you will be left in the dust or people may confuse you with a branch or franchise of that original store and then you will have to convince the customers that you are not the same as the original store. Naming your store or shop or your business is a delicate process which if not done correctly the first time can incur major money problems later on. If you name it incorrectly and later on find out the name is not to your liking or is offensive to some customers or is similar to another store online or in some other state then you will have to do a major marketing push to change the name and inform the public about the new name. Then the money that you may have allocated for other things like marketing, hiring, merchandise would have a shortfall which is not good for a small business. So it is better to name the store right from the start correctly so that you may not suffer grief later on.

On the business path: Retail- Naming your store

Once you have decided to open a shop, you need to find a name that is memorable and that sticks in the mind of your potential customers and that conjures up some symbol that is associated with your store. You need to contact your local authority to find out if your desired name for the shop has been taken or it. Even a variation that you choose will confuse your customers and may even get you sued by your competitor who was the first one to have that name. If you want to sell one thing that anything related to that thing will instantly associate people's mind with your store and if you want to sell different stuff in your store, you will need to come up with different name that closely encompasses what you are selling or the name should be a random name and then you will have to market it heavily in order to emphasize what your brand of shop is selling. Nowadays you may have seen some incomprehensible names of the companies on the internet and it has been a competition that who can name the most weirdest and illogical name that has nothing to do with what you are doing as a business. If you have already established a brand, then you don’t need to worry about the name, but if you are just starting out and you are in the physical world, try to avoid naming your store something weird because people would not know what you are selling and you will lose sales left and right.

On the lighter side-Movies-The good the bad the weird (2008-Korean)

A Korean version of the good, the bad and the Ugly film with very much violence than the movie it is trying to copy. Highly entertaining and different. Great fight sequences. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Turbo (2013-Animated)-Voice of Ryan Reynolds

An ordinary garden snail thinks big by imagining winning the Indy 500 race in this entertaining animated movie. Funny and very family oriented. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Man of Steel (2013)-Henry Cavill, Amy Adams

A highly entertaining reimagining of the Superman Saga this time, Superman does not know who he is and tries to find out before the whole world explodes in a clash between a Kryptonite general and the new Superman. Must see and highly recommended

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Disaster in Philippines

Another big super storm hit Philippines recently and the devastation that I have been reading and watching on the internet is incredible. I have seen bodies lying on the road and sidewalks, no water and electricity available and the threat of looters, not all of them criminal and many desperate to ensure food available for their families have been highlighted. Food drives have been started and millions of overseas Filipinos have sprung up to help their fellow country people. And many families outside the country are also anxious to hear from their loved ones who have been either missing or they don’t have any news about them and the devastation is far and wide, although the Filipino government already coping with the earthquake that hit that country recently had evacuated more than half a million people but only you can evacuate so many people and still casualties reports have been coming up high and it would be a long time before they will get near to an exact tally of how many people were killed. Same goes with the loss as it is an early estimation that tens of billions of dollars worth of property have been damaged or destroyed beyond repair. In the U.S, we had the same thing with Super storm Sandy although it was not the biggest one but the biggest one to hit the U.S. and the nation is still recovering from it after more than one year. So this will be case with Philippines too and much more since the devastation is so vast and wide and Philippines is a poor and developing country which will need all the help from rich countries to cope with this unbelievable disaster. Let us all pray and help in the speedy recovery of that nation as well as the people who have been suffering from natural disasters now and then.

On the business path: Retail-17

And on the other side is the elastic demand which is the demand of the goods changes due to fluctuation in price like buying a washing machine or other items which can be waited out so that the price comes down. You don’t have to buy it because it is not a necessity. Now you will have to decide which kind of items you want to sell. Other thing that you need to see is the disposable income which the people have after paying their income taxes. And here a family budgets what are the necessities and what is not and after all the necessities and expenses have been paid then you have discretionary income which people can play with like going on vacation, buy electronics or new cars, contributing extra to your retirement accounts etc. But since this economy seems to go nowhere many people have less discretionary income on their hands. But initially since you are just starting your business you should have a mix of products of both elastic and inelastic demand or if you want more security just stick with the products which has inelastic demand. Whatever you want to do you have to go through the process of all of the above that I have described you before in my previous posts. I have just scarped the surface of what it is like to have your own little business and it is just a start. The thing about displaying your products, security, hiring another employee, layout of your store, dealing with your neighboring stores and others will be dealt in the subsequent topics. Suffice it is for now to say that establishing and running a business is like no other venture you would have encountered and it is not everybody's cup of tea and not everybody is ready to make that hard work and sacrifice needed for their business to succeed.

On the business path: Retail-16

There are many inventories tracking software in the market which can you use to track your increases or decrease of inventory if you have a large enough store. And this inventory should be in a place where you can reach them in an emergency and the place should be locked and secure so that the chances of theft are either minimized of eliminated. If need be only one or two employees should be able to access the warehouse so that not many keys go around. If you are planning a small business then you don’t need to worry as you may have some space on the back of your store for the excess inventory. But a big store may need extra storage space and enough inventory on hand so that you don’t run out when you are having a busy season. And here comes another dilemma how do you figure out if you have enough on hand so that you don’t run out and lose money why the goods are on backorder? So how do you know how much to stock when you are just starting out? Tricky right, it depends upon how much money you have for each product. Initially keep ample number of products at hand usually the non perishable types but also perishable ones which are considered necessities and the demand is inelastic. Elastic and inelastic demand refers to change in demand due to change in price of the product. The examples of inelastic demand eggs, milk, butter, shampoo, soap and the like where even if the price goes up, people will be still find money to pay for these goods. These are called necessities of life without which you would be hard pressed if not impossible continue with your life.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On the business path: Retail-15

For a small business you really don’t need a salesperson as you would not encounter that many people in your store and even if you do, you can go by yourself and fetch the item. But if you have big store, then if it is absolutely necessary to have a salesperson (sometimes necessary) you need to keep them at a safe and visible distance from the customer so as not to intimidate them with your salesperson presence. There are some places where you do an experienced salesperson to help you navigate like a hardware store, electronic specifications and similar other places where you need a personal touch but other than that salesperson are become obsolete. So whatever you want to open, just make sure if you hire a salesperson they should be kept at a distance from the customers. In other cases you should just hire a person who can handle your day to day function in addition to helping customers that way you can save money on your labor costs. In the big stores, you need to have a tally of inventory so that when some of your items go beyond a certain number; you can order that automatically to replenish that product. In the same business you don’t need fancy software to fill this job as you can just walk around and see what items you need to replenish, go into your small warehouse area and see if you need something ordering and it is pretty much manual or if you like you invest in a small software but then the cost will be a factor as you have to scan each product and put them on the software and the pricing, number of packages, amount to order, type of color (if any) and other things that need to be done in order to keep tab on that particular product inventory.

On the business path: Retail-14

For now you don’t even have put price labels on things if you already know the price and you know that you can tell it to the customer once asked but usually it is for grocery items but even there if you are not that busy it is nice if you really put some price tags so that if you are busy attending to the other customers, some of them can save a lot of pain by not asking you since the price is already there to see. If I was a store owner, instead of remembering the prices, I would just put the prices below the item so that people can judge for themselves if they want to buy it or not. No need to have unnecessary contact when you can avoid it and let the customers alone to decide. I have seen in big stores sometimes the salespeople come and ask if they can help you with something and it is really bothersome for me since if I need your help I will ask. No need to follow me and watch me like I am going to steal something. Whenever I see some kind of aggressive salesperson ship like that I get annoyed and very angry enough to avoid that place where they are looking to help. I run like crazy if I see any kind of these aggressive salespeople ready to pound you as soon as you start browsing stuff. I know that it is sometimes the policy of the store to have these people help customers and there may be commission involved for every time a customer buy things but you don’t have to hound me and watch me while I am deciding to make a purchase.

On the business path: Retail-13

A small business owner has to compete harder against the well established and funded competitor and if he does not make a memorable first impression, he/she will lose sales for a long time or sometimes forever. If you have a small store, you should know the prices of the stuff that you are selling as I have seen many small business owners more knowledgeable about their products, prices and where they are located and if they are out of stock or not. I know that it is easier for them to see where the products are and since it a small store, it does not take them much time to replenish their stock and even tell their customers all of the above. But once you cross the threshold of being a small business owner (if you have the ambition to grow that is) then it becomes a bit harder to know your product knowledge. And hopefully you are one of the owners who would want to grow business from a small store to a bigger one and that means you have to think big also. You would need more financing and as compared to the small operations where you can ask your wife or your relatives to help you and pay them less money, when you have a bigger store, you would not be able to keep up with all the inventory and store maintenance and that is where you would have to hire somebody else to help you manage your store. And hiring an employee brings with it other set of problems which I will discuss later on.

On the business path: Retail-12

You know the shoes and clothes are easier to carry and discard at will at different counters of other products. But it is rare to see big items like household electronic stuffs misplaced. This is just a matter of organization and constant monitoring of the cleanliness of the store. Nobody would want to shop at a place where they have to search for the items and if found they are not of the same size or are out of stock or are misplaced in some section which has nothing to do with the product. These are the kind of signs that the either the store management/owner does not care about the business anymore or the employees are too careless enough to do their job. And I would rather take my business somewhere or shop infrequently if I have to trip over some stuff lying around to get to the product I want. I believe that the small business that have a small store in order to compete with big stores should take care of the stuff mentioned above and bring a pleasant shopping experience to their customers. It is also easier for them to replace and replenish empty shelves since they know the products and they know when a shelf is empty. In a small store an empty shelf is more prominent than in a big store but the big store can also have a problem if the shelves are too empty of the item that should have been stocked from the warehouse.

On the business path: Retail-11

Although it is a no brainer but I will mention it here that a toilet or rest room facilities must be provided for your customers and employees and hopefully it would remain clean and be cleaned every day. And if you have noticed if you are selling clothes, people expect you to sell shoes too but not the other way round since there are only shoes stores where they sell complimentary stuff like laces, socks or other shoe related products. But here I am saying that if you happen to sell shoes, be sure that each pair is of the same size and not different ones. I have seen in stores that when I want to buy some shoes and I have found my size but only one pair is there and sometimes the inventory is not there for my size and the one of the pair is in some area and the other one in some other place. There is no organization in the shoe area and stores which are understandable but you can be pro active and make sure all the things are in place. You don’t want your customer to run around trying to find the second pair of shoes and also the size of your shoes are nowhere to be found although you can other sizes which really I would not care since it is not my size. And it is not one store I am talking about , I have seen many where there are inadequate stock of shoes in my size and I really get mad that what I am seeing on the internet I cannot see in my store and try it before buying.

On the business path: Retail-10

And believe me when I say this that I have been in some stores where the clothes are lying around, different sizes are in different places which annoys me a lot and also sometimes the price tag is also not there and you are just scratching your head whether to buy it or just put it in the cart and ask the cashier what price are the clothes. I know how hard it is to fold the clothes and put it neatly just to be opened again and thrown around without buying them but that is the price one has to play in order to attract customers. Then you would need a fitting room so that people can try clothes on to see if it fits them rightly. And again I have see many fitting rooms where the common pins are on the floor, hangers hanging around and clothes from previous customer lying around. And some of the fitting rooms have no locks on the door so you have to make sure you are holding the door and at the same time trying new ones. Really is that how you are going to run your store? Sometimes there is rush in the store and you are unable to clean the fitting rooms or the clothes on the shelves cannot be folded or even replenished fast enough but it seems like they are really don’t care about what is being put in the fitting room especially the locks on the fitting room are sometimes missing and it is embarrassing (for me at least) to change clothes while the door is open or you are doing a juggling act to have one hand on the door closed or shut and with the other trying new clothes.

On the business path: Retail-9

Sometimes the stores which sell handbags put the relatively inexpensive ones out in the open but the expensive ones in glass showcases to make them more prominent and exclusive looking. But it maybe that the company whose expensive handbags are displayed prominently in glass showcases may have paid for them to be distinguished from other so called non luxury brand. No matter what the case is, it is up to the individual store policy how to display their products. So initially if you want your store to be small, then you would have to have fewer fixtures to display your products. But again it all depends upon what products you want to sell. Clothing would require hangers and sometimes clean tables to put your stuff on them neatly, and prices displayed prominently so that there is less need for interaction between the salesperson and the customer unless the customer specifically asked to be helped. Apart from fixtures that you can use according to your needs, you need to have proper and ample lighting so that the customers do not strain the eyes to see what the products is made of or how it looks like on them. I would definitely avoid a store which is not well lit even the ones which contains novelty items and horror stuff because I don’t want to strain myself to look what the item is about. The inventory should be ample and having a store with empty or partially empty shelves gives a negative impression of the store. If you are having a clothing store, it should be noted that the similar size clothes should in one place and not all around.

On the business path: Retail-8

I have seen variations in store display across different stores depending upon where you are shopping. For example, most if not all jewelry shops have glass cabinets where you can see the jewelry but cannot touch it unless it is opened by the staff of the shop. It is kept locked so that if some staff is busy with other customers, the jewelry is safe and would not be stolen. Although I know it is part of the trust issue but you never know who is or is not a thief. Although every person who enters the store is expected and should be treated with respect but that does not mean that you become vulnerable to unscrupulous elements who are there to exploit an opportunity amid the rush or distraction of the staff. And even if you enter a store, you will still find a mix of secure and seemingly unsecure locations populated by merchandise. I have see stores where the clothes are lying around and watch and expensive fragrances, jewelry are locked or are in a place behind the counter and if you are interested you would have to approach the salesperson to see that thing in your hand. This is good mix of secure and unsecure items or the items which the store things is valuable or invaluable enough to be stored in a certain place. Clothes are all over the place and even the most expensive ones like suits and other luxury goods are not securely stored behind the counter since it is hard to steal them carrying it outside without the prying eyes of the store security guard or other alert customers.

On the business path: Retail-7

Please note that since I am located in the United States that is why I am talking about liquor and club licenses, in fact all this information is related to the U.S. but you will find my useful information that can be applied to any retail establishment throughout the world. And the licenses I am talking about may not be allowed in certain parts of the world due to restriction on alcohol and night clubs. But anyway I am just letting you know that if you happen to be in a place where do have the option to open these kinds of establishments, you will need licenses to serve drinks to people of certain age and need age verification state issued cards to verify that you are of legal age so that you can enter nightclubs. Although lucrative in its own right but the responsibility to operate and act as the law enforcer is too much for a small business or the ones just starting out on the business path. If you are opening a small retail store, you need fixtures, and other things to open the store. If you are lucky enough everything regarding the infrastructure would be in place, otherwise you will have to wait till they have lights and other fixtures in place before you move in. The fixtures you will need depend upon which kind of business you will want to engage in as different businesses need different fixtures. Some may need open floor planning where everything will in sight and can be touched and then there will be the ones where you would have to keep it behind the counter.

On the business path: Retail-6

I know that once you like the place, you would want to get it before somebody else does but showing your exuberance and enthusiasm can get you in trouble with the inflexible terms that the landlord may impose if you he/she finds out about your urgency to sign the lease no matter what. Try if you can to get a two year lease so that you will know whether you want to continue with your business or just wrap it up. Even if you lose interest or the business is not work after a few months, you would not lose that much money if you breach the lease contract or don’t want to breach it by just staying open to cover your store expenses. In either way a long term or a short term lease, always involve a lawyer to review the lease contract to see if nothing is against your interest that may harm you or your business later on. Once your lease is signed and you have a place to start your business, you are ready to start planning how to furnish it and what kind of stuff you want to put in. Again it all depends upon what you kind of store you want to open. Restaurants, coffee shops and other eateries will have its own share of permits and if you happen to open a bar or club then you would have liquor or bar license with its array of laws, permits and regulations to take care of.

On the business path: Retail-5

Size will depend upon if you want to start small (recommended) and then scale up or you can start big but again it depends upon what is the available size in the area you are interested in. And the size of the store matters since the bigger the size, the more rent you will have to pay and also if the location is in a prime area with lots of traffic, then again you pay more for that location. As I have been emphasizing in my posts here, Location is the most important factor and it will determine whether your store is going to be a failure or a success. And since opening a store is not without full time commitment, you will have to be there during the duration of the shopping hours. Because nobody wants to patronize a store which is open at the convenience of the owner. Unless you are just going to do some part time work on the side during the weekends, you will have to be at the store most of time or hire somebody who can be there to attend to the store. So after reviewing what you want to do and have decided your location, then it comes to dealing with the landlord. For this you will have to think long term like in years not in months. You cannot go in there and say that I will do it for a few months and give it a try and if it works, then it is fine and if it does not, I will pack up shop and leave. Because even if your business does not plan out to be as you have planned, you will still have to pay the rent during the duration of the lease or have a clause in stating that you will leave after a certain period of time. But you will have to deal with the fact that even if you business fails and you want out, you will likely be in breach of the lease that you signed.

On the business path: Retail-4

If you store is going to sell items which does not need much browsing, then you can disregard the parking in front of your store but people will still need to park their car in order to shop in the store only for a few minutes. So the location of the store where there is ample parking even during rush hours is a plus point. I hate a place where I have to circle around looking for a parking and I am spending more time looking for one then to spend time in a store which if it is not unique will stray me away to another one where there is parking nearby or the purchase can be postponed just because the item I am purchasing is not discretionary. So after making a list of things about the demographics, parking and building codes, you then decide that the area suits your needs, and then you can proceed with establishing your store. Now the part where which store to lease starts and it all depends upon what kind of retail outlet you want. A grocery store can be either big or small, depending on your area of the store and clothing store will be different than jewelry or a restaurant. A store where you can provide service or sell general goods will need a different space than a sporting goods store and if you have a location in which you are the only one, then a grocery/general store will suit you the most considering most of the time these are one of the few stores that are allowed to open in a residential neighborhood (unless some other countries allow you to open whatever kind of store you want to establish).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

On the business path: Retail-3

And this is a long job as you see people going in and out of stores and you would still not know if they are from the neighborhoods or from the nearby neighborhoods. How can you find out if the person or family driving in a car and shopping at a neighborhood store is from that neighborhood or from another town? It is difficult but you can be sure that the people who walk to a store should be from the neighborhood. So how do you find out whom are the customers? You have to dig much deeper than just by standing near a corner for days on end. You will have to see the demographics of the neighborhood and the city that the customers reside in. The age group, the per capita income are some of the demographics that you can use to compile your customer list. You can also make a general observation about what kind of stores they have in that particular area. Because you don’t need to have a high end store which the people of the area will not patronize and it will be out of characteristics with the neighborhood. A small grocery store or other middle class store where the middle class even if the neighborhood is or poorer background can be workable since poor people aspire to join the middle class and anything that make them feel that way will be welcome. You will also need to know if there are available parking spaces that can facilitate your business.

On the business path: Retail-2

So how do you choose a location? you can choose to look at the ads in the newspapers, on the internet, contact your local realtor or scour the neighborhood yourself or contact with your friends, family, acquaintances, other neighborhood stores (here you have to be careful if you are opening a competing business, the next similar business may not help you that much or at all or may thwart your efforts to open up there). And it is not only that you have to check where to open but you have to be proactive to see if your location gets much needed foot traffic. The better the location, the more expensive will be your property if you want to buy it outright but for now we will stick to the rental situation where you will be renting from the landlord. Please note that commercial property rentals have entirely different lease terms then residential. While the residential lease can be anywhere from one year to at most two years but the commercial ones can be five years or more, so it is imperative that you chose the location which can maximize your profits and revenue enough to pay your rent and the retail stores expenses and leave something for your household expenses. Since you would be operating this venture part time, you would need somebody who can be there full time so that you don’t lose business. But first thing first, you will need to observe in person the locality of the proposed retail location and see how much traffic that neighborhood is getting.

On the business path: Retail

I have come to this topic after a few weeks since I was involved in writing about more immediate stuff and if are a regular reader then you can see that I would be putting more of other recent things in between the series of Business path, world of finance and on the lighter side-Movies (and as you can see On the lighter side-Travel depends upon my holiday schedule and more importantly my finances). So although there are many similarities between retail store and the one on the internet there are also differences to it which I will explain. For one thing there is the number issue of Location, like they say in real estate business that the number one, two and three issues are Location, Location and Location. Location is important because you need to have foot traffic in order to make your retail business a success. Unless you want to operate a very small store and have limited budget (no excuse here) and don’t want to grow your business and do not care about people outside your area knowing about your business then it is fine to just have your store in some area of the city where there is occasional traffic and you would be just fine but if you are millions of businesses who are desperate to grow their business or have in mind a plan to increase their business once they have established one store than internet exposure and marketing is essential which I will explain separately in other posts. For now I am going to go through the establishment of your retail physical location if you are planning to go along that route.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A drone, a killing and Pakistan-2

Do the Pakistani people deserve better leaders, I believe they surely do but are they striving for it, the answer is a big NO. The government of Pakistan is really not interested in any kind of law and order and they just want to desperately surrender to the Taliban in order to buy some time for them. I can’t believe that a bunch of rag tag army of Taliban armed with only hand held weapons have defeated the State of Pakistan and are now in a position to dictate its terms of surrender by the government. The weak and coward government there has completely forgotten the sacrifice the thousands of innocent victims that the bomb blast has blown them away and then they blame the U.S. for their own cowardice. I used to think that there can be some kind of redemption for this government but after this latest ruckus over a Taliban leader I have no hope for that country's future. Innocent people are dying every day and the only thing they want is jobs and some sense of security but meanwhile the so called elected government along with all the politicians is trying to cuddle with the Taliban in the hope that they will be spared their lives. Discussing peace with people who don’t care about killing kids, women, old men is the newest low for the government and the politicians there and all hopes have now been abandoned. Nations are going to the moon and mars even the ones who have become independent after Pakistan and all the politicians have to do is to cuddle favors with the Taliban that they so desperately immortalize and eulogize and publicly embrace. No wonder people are leaving that country in droves as all hope has been lost in that unfortunate country.

A drone, a killing and Pakistan

So a few days ago, a drone struck the head of the Pakistani Taliban killing him instantly who was carrying a bounty of USD 5 million by the U.S. and Rupees 50 Million (1USD= Approximately 107.00) by the Pakistan government. And what is the reaction of the Politicians there, outrage, crying, mourning and calling him a martyr and a peaceful guy. How pathetic you can be that a person responsible for killing thousands of Pakistanis is now being called a Martyr and crying for him. I just pity the nation where the killers are facilitated and celebrated and the victims are forgotten. And the Pakistanis keeps on electing the same people who have failed them over and over again and then they say that what is wrong with their country. Nothing is wrong with the country; it is the people inhabiting that country that are completely in twilight zone. Instead of appreciating the fact that one of their most wanted has been eliminated, they are now questioning why he was eliminated. And the news are coming that he used to live in a house worth USD 120k which is a huge amount of money there (where did he get that kind of money? nobody knows or wants or dares to know the source) just a kilometer away from the head quarters of the army based there just like OBL was living in the shadow of the Pakistan Military academy (equivalent to U.S. WestPoint). Is it just a coincidence or what, is Pakistan harboring terrorists or just looking the other way or afraid to lose their lives. Interesting double game I believe.

On the lighter side-Movies-White house down (2013)-Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx

A Secret service rejectee tries to save the lives of the President and save the White house in this variation of the Olympus has fallen seen earlier this year with big budget but not anything new in to make you feel you can watch it again. Just plain action and nothing new. Not Recommended

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-Solo (2013)

A recovering novice camp counselor who just lost her parents is sent to a isolated island as part of her initiation of being a camp counselor and encounters a stranger who kills. Pretty standard fare, nothing new here. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Sickle (2013)

Also know as Exit to Hell this bloody and gory horror movie about a gang of thieves who steals from a strip club run by the mafia and escape coming to a border town where they are hunted down by the demented sheriff. Not that great movie but if you want to kill time watch. Not Recommended

The habits we form and have-4

Taking shower every day and brushing my teeth has become a habit for me as it is for billions of people around the world. The babies sometimes have their security blankets or just suck their thumb even when the parents repeatedly tell them not to do it. And as you get married what you once considered a cool habit may butt heads with your wife's disapproval especially when it is financially wasteful or if it takes time away from each other too much. In this case you can either stand your ground and risk a rift between your relationship, scale it back to acceptable levels if you are not going to completely abandon it or just convince your significant other that it is will be fun if they both do it together so that they are not left out. Breaking a habit when you are a little kid is easier than reforming a grown man who is accustomed to having his own way. There will always be the case that some of habits will be disliked by your parents or your spouse’s but the point is to get past through that habits or you should have super valid reasons to convince them to drop it otherwise, but you if love the person, an annoying habits or some habits should not hinder you from creating a friction in your relationship because you know everybody has habits which the other person may dislike but unless it is financially ruinous or life threatening you should let go of the issue and move on. Life is too short for arguing about whose habits are good or bad and just try to get along as long it does not hurt anyone.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The habits we form and have-3

Although I will acknowledge that it is easier to find fault in others than yourself but let me start with the easy part, finding fault in others and I will self analyze myself also very harshly and critically to be fair. Driving your car slow while you are in the fast lane is one of the habits I have seen and I really get mad with that. Lying is another one to cover your behind is another one (I am guilty of that too). Parking between two spots is another one of the habits that some people do it. Cursing all the time is also not a good habit and also being rude and dishonest when you can be nice and get things done that way is also a big NO in the habit department. My habits are a little peculiar and I am sure everybody has its peculiarities when it comes to habits. I try to shave every other day instead of every day, you can call it laziness or just too much work but that is how I operate but I do not shave on the weekends unless it is some occasion like birthday or had to dress up. My laziness gets to me sometimes (well most of the time) and that is the most I hate about my habit. And I really get pissed off about it too since I can do so much stuff if I am not lazy but then again it is my loss at the end. I always promise myself that I would not be lazy but it is just another of those habits that I forget my promise to myself and then I back to my old habits. One of my habits is when I come back from work I go straight to the internet to check my emails and go on different sites to check the news which I may have missed for the last two hours of my commute.

The habits we form and have-2

As I was saying everybody even when a baby is born, habits started to develop which can be good or bad. You try to teach your kids good habits and stop them from developing bad habits. Even if you as a parent have a bad habit, you don’t want your kid to have one also. But it will be hard to justify to your kid when he/she says that if you are doing it and it is okay then how come it is bad for them since they are trying to follow you. And this is where you have to change your bad habits so that you can set an example to your kids. As I mentioned earlier that anything that you don’t do is and can be considered a good habit, but other habits which are peculiar to you can be either good or bad depending on how you perceive it. Leaving your heat on while you are away to work can be considered a wasteful habit but you can say that since you want to come to a warm house, it is okay with you and you are the one who pays the bill can effectively end the conversation but to me it is still wasteful habit. Taking a long shower while your other family members are waiting in line especially if you have one or two bathrooms and the family is like more than six or more can be construed to be a bad habit and not a good thing if you are being rude and disrespectful to other family member's time. I have noticed a number of bad habits (not that I have none which I try to reduce it but some other replaces it by the time I am cured of the bad one ).

The habits we form and have

I believe everybody develops a habit or habits in their lifetimes. Sometimes it is a bad habit which your parents, friends, spouse, your relatives and well wishers try to stop or put an end to it and sometimes it is a good habit that you get praised for and people try to copy it or instill within themselves and also encourage other people to do the same. Everybody can define for themselves what the bad habits are or what the good habits are. And when you are married what habits drive your other half crazy and he/she have tried their best to either eliminate it or at least curtail it from their daily lives and some have made peace with that habit as it is just a minor of their lives and you tend to see your loved one beyond that habit. Sometimes you don’t even know how you developed a habit and it just becomes part of your routine and you don’t even realize it unless someone points it to you. Some habits are universally liked and some are not and some you may think are wrong but the actual person doing that habit may think that it is right and vice versa. So what are good habits depends upon whom you are asking but there are some which are universally agreed upon like telling the truth always, be on time, pay your bills, study hard for your exams, be nice to other people, not picking your nose in public, cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing, or yawning, saying excuse me, thank you or sorry when required and others which are practiced by every human being.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

An independent Kashmir anyone?-5

It seems that no matter how many people get killed in Pakistan, nobody cares about them since all the eyes are directed towards Kashmir and what is happening there. First you have to fix your own house in order, secure it and give rights to your own people, grow your economy and then when you financially strong then make a case of yours to the world and then when the world will listen to your reasons and justification for the Kashmiris people. When you are fighting insurgency, waiting for foreign aid and shouldering an increasingly downward spiraling economy, rampant corruption and unemployment and people who would believe wild conspiracy theories without verifying the authenticity of it and a weak government who are unable to control areas under its control, I don’t believe anybody in the world would want to listen to your crying narration about how the Indians are killing Kashmiris when you are also following the path of supporting groups killing minorities and different sects especially Shiites in your own country. I don’t want to belittle the struggle of the Kashmiri people right to self determination but it should not eclipse the right of other people to live their lives according to their beliefs and customs. You can only champion the right of the other people, if you are respecting the right of the people living in your country and nobody now cares about what happen to other people unless they are backed by economically and militarily powerful nations and until that time it happens, Pakistan should concentrate on fixing its country and stop spending billions of dollars each year on a cause which they are not even themselves sincere about secretly.

An independent Kashmir anyone?-4

But with independence all the investments and money spent on this emotional debate will go away and this is not what both countries want despite the official rhetoric that you see all the time. Hypocrisies abound especially in Pakistan where government after government continue to champion the cause of the Kashmiris why the rest of the Muslim world don’t even care what happens to that region. And even after spending stupendous amount of GOD knows how much money, Pakistan is nowhere near gaining even a single foot or kilometer of the territory that it so desperately wants to portray as its own due to the fact that the Kashmiris are overwhelmingly Muslims. But it is just a bogus claim and even after launching diplomatic efforts in every part where they can he heard (or not heard) not even your so called Muslim brothers bother to give you much support in any forum let alone the so called Non Muslim Countries. Even as the so called diplomatic and moral support bankrupts the economy of Pakistan (and we know what kind of support the Kashmiris are getting), thousands of people are being killed by the Taliban, there is a low level insurgency going on in the Baluchistan Province and the biggest city burns and crime is rampant with the economy always on crutches of international financial institutions and rich Arab countries, Pakistanis have lost the will to be realistic about things especially Kashmir. Although their narrative that people are dying is true but how is the value of Kashmiris higher than the ones getting killed by so called fellow Muslims inside Pakistan.

An independent Kashmir anyone?-3

But will both the countries ever would want to let go of this land locked region over which they have been fighting for the last 65 years. The prospects are very bleak or you can say next to none because there is so much as stake that both are willing to spend billions of dollars each year to maintain a status quo while their millions of their own population go hungry every night. And both of the hungry nations are happy to claim Kashmir as their own while desperately trying to uplift the lot of their own population. I mean what really is the purpose of all this fighting when each one knows that they cannot win it outright. India does not want to mediate a settlement regarding this issue because it is a closed one for them and Pakistan wants to mediate and want to get the U.S. involved in it but the U.S. has always said no can do, it is your problem, you do deal with it between yourselves. But if one side says no and the other weaker one says this in a feeble voice, then things are not going to happen. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in insurgencies and uprising in Kashmir but nobody has ceded an inch of their territory held since 1948. There has been no study on either side of the border that details what happens if Kashmir is given its independence because instead of using brains, emotions are involved in the reckless pursuit of conquering the whole of the territory by either country.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

An independent Kashmir anyone?-2

Since I have been born some 4 decades ago, all I am hearing is the Kashmir issue and you know what more people have died in the urban cities if Pakistan than in the Kashmir issue but nobody is counting that and the people in both countries are attached to the so called Kashmir cause like a baby holding on to their milk bottle. Although there is a United Nation resolution stating that there should be a plebiscite so that the people of Kashmir can decide what they want to do but I believe that it does not include the option of independence which is still opposed by both countries. And this plebiscite will never happen because it may have results contrary to the wishes of both countries' governments. Whole generations have been brought up in both countries on the notion that Kashmir region is theirs to keep and the other side is the occupier and oppressor. I have not been to Kashmir, but the people who had been there before this new uprising started in the 1990s say that it is heaven on earth or some call it the "Switzerland of the East". So instead of just trying to spend money on an issue which is not going to be resolved anytime soon or forever, why don’t India and Pakistan swallow the bitter pill and let Kashmir attain full independent from either of them and emerge as an independent country. Even if they don’t have any industry, since its beauty has been touted and portrayed so much it can become in time a tourist destination more or so equal to Switzerland.

An independent Kashmir anyone?

As you know that my blog contain posts which span the entire world and if anything interests me I will read it and write my opinion about it and that is what I love to do. And as everybody knows, Asia and especially the Middle East has always been the most dangerous part of the world where the conflict never stops and thus you see me doing posts regarding ongoing conflict and conflict which has spanned decades and even centuries. I know that I have written about the unresolved Kashmir conflict, the tiny part saddled between Nuclear armed India and Pakistan on which both the countries have fought three wars and are still nowhere near to resolve this issue as both the countries are passionate about holding on to it no matter what the price is. And the price has been steeper every year that goes by but it is too precious and important to let go of it by either countries. Although it seems like a radical idea to a lot of people and many people on both side of the border have opposed it but there is a small minority inside Kashmir who advocate a complete independence for Kashmir, both the Pakistani and Indian Held Kashmir. Passions have always been high on both sides since they became independent countries in 1947 and have spent billions of dollars on keeping a huge army and maintaining their own rules on their held sides of Kashmir. And it is not that everything has been peaceful on either as from time to time skirmishes happen resulting in the killing of soldiers and civilians.

On the lighter side-Movies-Hell Baby (2013)

An expectant couple who moves into the most haunted house in Louisiana seeks the help of some priests in order to protect them from a demonic baby in this hilarious comedy horror. Recommended for sheer goofiness.

Friday, November 1, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-Monsters University (2013)-Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman

Our favorite fright fest monsters are back when they were not friends and how their friendship developed in this monster prequel to Monsters Inc. You have to see the first one to find out how this one goes. Excellent entertainment for everybody. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-R.I.P.D (2013)-Jeff Bridges, Ryan Gosling

Big loud action comedy buddy movie about a recently deceased cop who got hired in Rest in peace department- a sort of police for hauling dead people back from earth, where he tries to find out who killed him and why. Loud action and entertaining but not worth your money. Recommended only for DVD purposes only.

World of Finance: Immigrants and the economy-11

And you cannot force your new immigrants to marry the natives girls also. So skilled immigration will come with its own set of problems from the point of view of the host country. And for example even if they don’t how can you make sure that they will stay in the place you intend them to stay in the sparsely populated areas of the country. They may want to stay in a place where there are shops, entertainment, parks, work to go to, transportation etc. How the host country intends to stir them into areas where the population desperately needs to be replenished. Although this are the different scenarios I am painting but the countries need not be discouraged as a multi cultural society breeds tolerance and also there is no other way the population can grow from within but only from without. As Canada, the United States, Australia and other countries with less population have demonstrated that immigration has saved their own population from declining and their economy from collapsing. All the above that I have described makes immigration a complicated issue and you would not see the effects of it unless the immigrants start contributing to their host country and it may be many years before one can see the impact. The immigrants do contribute to society by way of communities, paying taxes, populating neighborhoods that have been vacated long time ago, increasing revenue base, preaching tolerance towards other cultures and learning about different people. So all these positive things should be emphasized but immigration should always be through legal means so that it is not fair to people who are waiting in line why the illegal ones gains just because they happen to in the country legally.