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by Rose A. Valenta, author of Sitting on Cold Porcelain
Wasteful government spending that makes no sense is often referred to as “pork barrel” spending or just “pork” spending. It has been referred to that way since before the Civil War.
Yes, even honest Abe had some pork in his budget.
Pork spending often includes ridiculous things like “$2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe,” or “$1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton, NJ, as an historic monument.”
Many of these ridiculous and absurd things have been suitably noted and itemized in “THE GOVERNMENT RACKET: Washington Waste from A to Z”, by Martin L. Gross.
Then, when they are done with that, they bring in the scavengers like “dung beetle spending.” That’s when all the tax payer’s budgets have been bitten to death by “snake spending” and the only thing left in our Capital One wallets is dung.
Now is the time to stop snake spending!
People like Glenn Beck have been pointing fingers at the Progressives. However, if they were really “progressive” they would be part of progress and the solution, not the problem.
Actually, I think the USA should seriously consider a consolidation project. Forget about building an ancient Hawaiian canoe. Sell Hawaii to Oregon for a profit.
California can be sold to Las Vegas so it won’t go belly up and become a sewer destined to go down the tubes as an historic Black Hills monument.
After all the consolidation is complete, States like Rhode Island with only four electoral votes can be easily merged into States like Massachusetts, which has 13; Vermont can go to New York; New Hampshire to Maine; and so forth, until we evolve into an economic Godzilla.
Then, we go overseas and stomp on China for pirating, bootlegging, and violating US copyright and trademark laws. We should then be able to sue and raise about $100 trillion just on what we find in Shanghai, alone. That should wipe out our national debt, yes?
I wouldn’t like to see the 2011 Federal Budget end up as a Gōng Yáng knock-off.
Congress should take the sage advice of Will Rogers, who said “The budget is like a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, then reaches in and tries to pull real ones out.”
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Rose A. Valenta is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her irreverent columns have been published in Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, the WSJ Online, and many other local news and radio websites.
She is the author of Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog. This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn’t stretch the truth. “What else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?” Rose said.
Rose regularly attends the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).
Rose lived in Philadelphia for over 40 years, where she honed her humor writing skills by being married to a Philadelphia Policeman and giving birth to three children. “Times have changed. Now that we have 10 grandchildren, I’m not sure how I feel about children being exposed to the evening news. Humorous things happen, like the time my grandson asked us to come outside to see his version of ‘Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman’ right after Snowmageddon.”
Rose worked for a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, Datapro Information Services, for 12 years as a technical staff writer, and also wrote freelance articles for other computer industry publications.
She claims that her Italian heritage stunted her growth. She is English on her Father’s side and believes that in a past life, during medieval times, she was probably a trusted member of the Counsel of the Jesters.
We have a special guest today! Steff Deschenes, author of The Ice Cream Theory, talks about how she handled her first booksigning!
When I was twenty-two I received a call from a representative of Jack Daniels asking me if I wanted to become a “Jack Girl” – one of the official spokes models of the company – at a weeklong Spring Break for adults in Killington, Vermont. Having no idea what Jack Daniels was, I agreed sight unseen because I needed the money, but more importantly, I needed an adventure.
That adventure has never stopped. Four years later and I’m still an alcohol spokes model – one of the best in my region. I’m not sure why exactly I’m such a natural at the job when I don’t really drink and I don’t really like people (that’s not true all the time). But something happens to me when I put on my outfit – which is usually an inappropriately tight tank top and short skirt – and step onto the floor to start hustling my product. I forget my insecurities and just become this larger than life character who, for two hours, becomes everyone in the room’s best friend. And somehow, I easily persuade and coerce nearly everyone into drinking my (sometimes awful) alcohol product.
Maybe it’s the big blue eyes or the fast-talking, maybe it’s the impressive product knowledge, or maybe it’s the way I make people feel at ease around me. But one thing’s for sure: I could sell snow to a polar bear.
As a direct result of being a “beer girl,” I’ve worked with several companies as their marketing specialist. I think my years of peddling alcohol really trained my intuition and judgment. I am excellent at reading people, reading a situation, and then responding appropriately. I know when to back down and I know when to be relentless. Employers have told me that somehow I manage to walk a fine line between “adorable” and “annoying” – and it really works for me.
There’s a saying in the alcohol business: When the economy is great, people drink! When the economy is bad, people drink! It seemed to me that wallets opened much easier for a drink at a bar with a stranger then they did for artistic endeavors from a twenty-something. Especially one who wrote a self-help book. (Because what could I possibly know about life and the living of it at Quarter Century that I wouldn’t be more well-versed in at a Half Century?).
So, when I did my first book signing I had no idea how to promote myself to strangers. Sure, I had plenty of experience in the marketing industry, but I couldn’t imagine that the same way I approached people about booze would be the same way I approached people about an indie self-help book. This was a lot more personal, too. If people hate a certain beer or think I’m ugly (remember: we’re beer models after all – mean people feel like that’s an open invitation to critique us), I really don’t lose sleep over it, because 1) the beer isn’t MY product; it’s some multi-billion dollar company’s that I’m promoting; and, 2) sometimes I am ugly!
Not knowing what to do, I threw on my standard wardrobe for my book-related appearances (a t-shirt that says “I Scream. You Scream. We All Scream!” with a terrified looking ice cream cone on it, jeans, and a tweed flat cap) and a ate a bowl of cake batter ice cream with hot fudge sauce in it before heading to my signing, which perfectly enough, was held at an ice cream store during their town’s art walk festival.
The first few moments sitting at the table by myself, outside on a patio overlooking the ocean in a very well-to-do area while people looked awkwardly at me, were extremely tense. I had nothing to offer these people who were leaps and bounds ahead of me on the socio-economic ladder.
I had nothing to offer these people?, I suddenly thought angrily to myself. I’m a twenty-something who wrote an eleven-time award winning book, and I did it completely on my own as I’m a self-published author. I had something to offer these people – ME.
And that’s when, just like it does when I’m an alcohol spokes model, a flip switched inside me. I jumped up from the table and began very animatedly just making conversation with passer-by’s. People wanted to know what I was doing. And that’s when I told them – and sold them on – me and my book. I walked the fine line of adorable and annoying, I intrigued and bewildered people, and wouldn’t you know – I sold some books.
They say a successful book signing sells three books.
I sold fourteen in the two hours I was there!
What I learned from that night was incredibly valuable, and was something that, while I always knew, I had simply never applied to myself as a brand (which you become the moment you step up to the plate and start playing the game for real. You are not your book. You are a brand and your book is simply a part of that). And that’s: when you’re knowledgeable about something, and when you’re passionate about that same something, magic happens.
And what are we more knowledgeable about then ourselves?
And what are we more passionate about then our dreams?