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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Not-So-Ordinary New Year's Celebrations

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


 Tired of the ordinary New Year's Eve celebrations? 


Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.  May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!


About half of Americans plan to celebrate New Year's Eve at home this year, while 2 in 10 say they'll do so at a friend or family member's home. Fewer than 1 in 10 plan to celebrate at a bar, restaurant or organized event, while about a quarter don't plan to celebrate at all.

If toasting in the New Year with a glass of champagne at a large party is not really your cup of tea, get creative with your celebrations. We've gathered a handful of fresh activities you can easily turn into traditions. From water gun fighting, to jumping off of chairs, discover a new and unusual way to ring in this New Year's Eve…


January 1st may be the de facto beginning of the New Year in the Western hemisphere thanks to the Gregorian calendar, but some cultures believe the New Year takes place at a different time altogether.


The Chinese New Year is in late January or early February. Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year — is in autumn, and some cultures follow the Julian lunar calendar and celebrate in mid-January.


Here are ways the New Year is celebrated in a few other nations…


In Spain, they eat 12 grapes for luck.


Spaniards eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the midnight countdown while making a wish. The tradition dates back to 1895 when some savvy vine farmers realized they had a surplus of grapes and started the tradition to get more customers.


In Belgium, children write New Year's letters to their parents.


In Belgium, New Year's Eve is called Sint Sylvester Vooranvond. Besides toasting with the customary champagne, Belgian children write New Year's letters to their parents or godparents on New Year's day.


In Greece, people hang an onion on their doors.


It's believed that hanging an onion, or "kremmida" on your door on New Year's eve as a symbol of rebirth in the coming year. The following morning, parents traditionally tap their children on the head with the kremmida to wake them up before church.


In Finland, people tell one another's fortunes with melted "tin."


A Finnish New Year tradition is called molybdomancy, which is the act of telling New Year's fortunes by melting "tin" (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove and then quickly throwing it into a bucket of cold water.


In Ireland, women put mistletoe leaves under their pillows to find husbands.


Single women of Ireland place sprigs of mistletoe under their pillows on New Year's night in the hope that it will bring them better luck and a future husband.


Also according to Irish superstition, be wary of who enters your home after the 31st — if the visitor is a tall, dark handsome man, your year will bring good fortune. If it's a red-headed woman, she will bring a lot of trouble.


In Germany, they eat pigs made of marzipan and watch TV.


The German people eat jam-filled doughnuts made with or without liquor fillings on New Year's Eve, as well as a tiny marzipan pig as a token of good luck.


Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Nearly half predict that 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was, while only 1 in 10 think it will be worse.


Welcome 2015 in with these champagne cocktails


Amaretto Mimosa

In a large measuring cup with pour spout, stir together 1 cup chilled OJ, ½ cup of Amaretto and a ½ cup triple sec. Pour into classes and top with champagne, garnish with a cherry or orange slice.  Serves 8


Champagne Cocktail

In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 Tbs. of Cointrea, 1 Tbs. of agave syrup, ice cubes, shake and then strain into flute and add champagne and ice if desired.


We served these at our little Arizona ranch each year and they were always a hit! 


I hope your end of year celebrations are going well…

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’


The odd, the risqué and retro


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Myth of Being a Public Servant

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


"When it becomes dominated by a collectivist creed,
democracy will inevitably destroy itself."
-- Friedrich August von Hayek
(1899-1992), Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences


The Myth of Being a Public Servant


The older I get the more convinced I am that our government has become a branch office of multinational corporations which have no loyalties or care about the common good.  They no longer uphold the social contract we all once had.


Politicians such as the Clintons scramble for whatever office they can get in order to feed at the public trough of benefits, contacts and wealth.  There are too many so-called public servants who have been office too long.  We have term limits for the presidency and most governorships, the same should apply to all political offices at the federal level.

If a person has been in a federal office since the internet was created, it is time to retire.  These old timers have most often led to the bankrupting of this nation, eroding our rights and damaging our international reputation.

 Whether you are Democrat or Republican today most serve corporations and not the common good. We have to take back our government by closing the revolving door and demanding only true public servants are allowed to take office.

Most Americans are tired of the empty promises put forth by members of the various political dynasty families such as the Bush’s, Clintons and others of their ilk.

Most of us are tired of having a non-government group of bankers called the FED control our currency and treasury, conveniently putting us into debt…a sound money system would start with the elimination of these bankers.

Over the past five years I have spent thousands of hours studying the coming economic collapse.  In my articles you can find tens of thousands of facts and statistics that prove that the U.S. economy is hurtling toward oblivion and a large percentage of politicians in Congress are self serving.

Consider these few stats…

$40,000,000More than 40 million dollars has been spent just on vacations for Barack Obama and his family since he has been in the White House.

$18,031,021,541,347.52 – The current size of the U.S. national debt.  It increased by more than a trillion dollars during the fiscal year that ended a few months ago, and it is on pace to approximately double during Obama’s eight years in the White House.

$40,000,000,000,000 – There are five “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40 TRILLION dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.  This is a “sword of Damocles” that could destroy our financial system and our entire economy at any time.  Let’s just hope that it does not happen in 2015.

It is not always the most pleasant thing to write about, but it is the truth and my predictions are more often correct than wrong.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that the “too big to fail” banks are being extraordinarily reckless and Congress just passed a budget which gives them another FREE PASS at the expense of the taxpayer.  It is obvious that our formerly great manufacturing cities, such as Detroit [which has endured 50 plus years of Democratic rule/ruin] are being transformed into crime-infested hellholes. 


 We’ve witnessed firsthand that our middle class is dying.  Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that the exact same patterns that led up to the great financial crisis of 2008 are happening again. 

We cannot continue to consume far more wealth than we produce as a nation indefinitely. 

The increasingly socialist policies of our president and his incredibly foolish decisions he and other politicians have made did nothing except put us on the road to disaster.

Even the dullards among us can see how the anti-citizen set of laws misnamed ‘the Patriot Act’ has all but destroyed our privacy and eroded our Bill of Rights, while helping to further bankrupt our treasury with its costs.  Congress has spent so much on its wars that we’ve allowed our national infrastructure to erode to the point where many cities now resemble third-world nations.

The real terrorists and traitors in this nation hide under the guise of bureaucrat or politicians who are only interested in feathering their own nest.

We have term limits for most offices, why not for those in Congress?  If you've been in office since before the internet was created, it is time to retire as your generation helped create the mess our nation is in!


"What is a left-wing socialist but a Marxist without a gun?"
-- Don Feder


Submitted for your consideration…Bruce ‘the Muckraker’



The Storefront You Should Visit in order to support our effort


Monday, December 22, 2014

Origins of the Christmas Carol

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Remember:  Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle this year!


Origins of the Christmas Carol

It seems to be common belief that Christmas Carols, and the tradition of caroling, originated within the depths of pagan worship and celebration, so consequently were banned by the Church. According to The Oxford Book of Carols to carol originally meant to dance in a ring.

Some report it has its roots in ancient Rome where citizens would load up on wine and go door-to-door naked and sing to their friends.  Now, I have personally witnessed this during my college youth at Arizona State…

  • The word carole probably originated from the old French 'caroler', which came from the Latin 'choraula', from the Greek 'choraules', meaning a flute player for chorus dancing and finally derived from the Greek word 'choros' which was originally a circling dance.


No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ's birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?

The last time I sang in church, 200 people changed their religion!

The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.

In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.

In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year.

Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means "wheel," the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.

The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.

In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ's birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: "Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ."

What Happens When We Stuff Ourselves At Holiday Time?
The biology of having just one more slice of pie…



A few more parting resources you might enjoy…

Beautiful DIY Pine Cone Wreath


I’m not bothering to list our ecommerce store again as I know none of you will visit and beside, it is too late to order anything for the holiday…nonetheless, I hope yours is bountiful!

In the spirit [or soon will be],


P.S.  There will be no more posts until after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Sharing Economy Updates and Free Resources You Can Use

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

"Governing a large country is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking."
-- Lao-Tzu


      A few updates on a topic I’ve previously written about, the Sharing Economy.  We wrote about ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft and the new accommodation service, Airbnb…all of these services have pissed off regulators and competition as one would expect.


Here are few new ones for the sharing economy…


Postmates-a courier service that is affecting the way goods are moved around a city.  [Amazon might want take a peek].  The firm connects customers with local couriers who purchase and deliver goods via their own transportation from any store or restaurant in a city, in an hour or less.


Lantern – launched in 2012 it aims to deliver treatment programs in one of the most expensive areas of health care, mental health.  It provides customized mental health care delivered by a therapist via a smartphone app.  It is designed to be affordable.


EatWith – has been called the Airbnb of dining.  It matches carefully vetted local hosts who are great cooks [like me] and want to monetize their talent with guests seeking quality home-cooked meals, bright conversation and a taste of local hospitality.


Renting an extra room in your home has long been a means of making some extra cash…I couldn’t do it.  Too many episodes of failed ventures on Judge Judy and my love of privacy prevent any of that for me!




The Weekly Goodies List for You to Share






   Wash Your Fruits & Vegetables

Washing your fruits and vegetable in white vinegar removes waxes, film, dirt, mold and pesticides resulting in attractive produce which will stay fresh longer.  Clean your sink and fill with water.  Add 1 cup of vinegar and let the produce sit for 10-15 minutes…rinse and dry, use or refrigerate.

Handy Cleaning Supplies

If you are like me with limited storage space for cleaning supplies, I found that if I hang a shoe bag on the back of a door, I can put all my bottles, cans, etc. into the pockets. They are easy to get to without rummaging through a bunch of stuff.


I save a lot of cash making my own cleaning products and use roughly four ingredients for everything…bleach, lemon ammonia, vinegar and water.  Over the years we’ve fostered and adopted many pets, ranging from dozens of cats and dogs to horses and donkeys.  Cats are the worst in terms of odor and I keep at the ready a spray bottle with a solution of 60% water, 40% lemon-ammonia and a touch of dishwashing soap.


Spray it on the sofa or carpet, rub in lightly and damp up the excess and then vacuum later.  Sometimes I’ll add sprinkles of baking soda over the area and after it absorbs more odor, I’ll vacuum again.


I don’t waste water and electricity using a dishwasher but here’s a recipe for lemon detergent which cost about $2.50 and does about 24 loads.


1 cup washing soda

1 cup baking soda [cheapest in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco]

1 cup borax

20 drops of essential lemon oil


Combine ingredients in large bowl and store into a glass container with lid to keep dry.

To Use:  Place a heaping tablespoon per load in your dishwasher soap compartment and run as usual.


Natural Home
Cleaning Products

If the environmental and health risks associated with commercial cleaning products are not enough to convince you to look for alternatives, saving money should be. Anti-bacterial, disinfecting cleaners can be expensive, especially if you purchase different ones for every job. The actual expense might outweigh the benefits and there are many alternatives to expensive commercial products that will effectively and safely clean your home. Read more.


An internet search will yield a bonanza of recipes you can try.  I have a few on the Homemade section of our Poor Man Survival site.


Last Minute Holiday Touches on the Cheap
Last minute details can take a holiday home from ho ho hum to spectacular, and doesn't have to cost a lot of cash! Here are some great quick, easy, and inexpensive ideas to wow your guests and comfort your family.


Most of us give to charities this time of year, but we should do it wisely by both picking a legitimate charity and following IRS donation rules. Look for a charity that spends the vast majority of its money on the cause rather than on administrative expenses and commissions to phone solicitors. You can check out a charity at these organizations: >, >, and

Personally, I have my own private foundation which awards money to my favorite charities dating back to 2001…for years the Salvation Army has been its primary recipient.  Recently, in light of how Goodwill screws its handicapped workers while paying out large salaries to its CEOs and bypassing its retail customers [selling better quality items online instead], I cut off ALL donations and grants to them last year!

FYI-As I indicated last month, I will be closing down the Poor Man Survival website right after Christmas. I’ll also be closing off the Word Press version/host for this blog as well.

Support for the site is dismal and I needn’t waste further time and resources.  I am not certain how much longer I’ll keep blog going either but it probably will not last beyond the middle of January.


I’ll be shutting off the Gmail address associated with the Poor Man also next week…



A secret prize included with every purchase!

Yours for better living…Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stupid Lawyer Stunts: Sandy Hook Parents Sue Gun Manufacturer

Stupid Lawyer Stunts-Sandy Hook Parents Sue Gun Mfg.

When in Doubt, Sue-the American Motto...

   Several years ago I owned a chain of business newspapers.  Our most popular ‘fun’ column was titled Stupid Lawyer Stunts.  It always generated a lot of ‘letters-to-the-editor.’

The federal government is famous for misapplying the law and was the brunt of many examples what we published.

One of my favorites was about a woman who admittedly drank a quart of bourbon every day for 20 years and sued after she had a miscarriage, blaming the distillery.  A wise judge threw the case out.

Yesterday, several parents of the slain children of Sandy Hook launched a suite [no doubt aided by some greedy barrister] against the maker of the rifle the shooter used saying it is a military style weapon.  They conveniently forgot the weapon was and is legal and obtained legally.  Perhaps they should focus their efforts on the pharmaceutical firm who made the psychotropic drug this deranged killer was on.  [Studies indicate nearly every mass murderer in recent times has been on such drugs].

Given the premise of these people one would think they would like to see GM and other automakers be held responsible for every vehicular homicide or distillers of booze be held legally accountable for every drunken incident which ends in murder?
America is the only nation which does not have Tort Reform laws in place. 

  This allows lawyers [one of the most powerful Washington lobbyists] to proceed with stupid lawsuits, adding on average 25% to the cost of all consumer goods.

In December 2013, four captive chimpanzees in the state of New York became the first non-humans in history to sue their human captors in an attempt to gain their freedom! The chimps’ lawyers, members of a new organization known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed the suit.

I would like to sue the feds over their invasion of my privacy rights since the creation of those un-American, privacy-bashing set of laws called the Patriot Act.

In any event, let’s hope a judge throws this nonsense out AND as we all know when such people are interviewed on TV they all like shout the same lie “It’s not about the money.

It's ALWAYS about the Money!


A secret prize included with every purchase!

Yours for better living…Bruce ‘the Poor Man’