What’s a thought worth? Just ask me.

Penny for your thoughts?

Well, a penny is worth $0.01 these days, says the government. Although when I was a kid back in 1963, the penny was worth $0.08 in today’s dollars, and it would have been worth nearly a quarter when my father was born back in 1915.

What’s that cent? I don’t know. It smells like a penny to me. Ha. Ha.

The origin for the saying, which basically means, “What are you thinking about?” is not certain. The question-and-answer newspaper and web column, The Straight Dope, places the saying’s first mention in print occurring in 15th century England. That column is entertaining although it takes some reading to get to the point, which is an answer to where did this saying originate? All of this is well and good, but it leaves one wondering about the worth of thought.

The old Greek philosophers were many times teachers of rich kids, or so I have heard. Aristocles a.k.a. “Plato” was one of these rich kids. He was a student of Socrates and apparently fell under his spell, according to this handy guide to ancient philosophers written by C. George Boeree Ph.D. He is a retired philosophy professor who taught at Shippensburg University, located in a Pennsylvania town of the same name. I mean Shippensburg, not University. I thank Dr. Boeree for this interesting article.

The Payscale.com site lists the earning power for those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at No. 75 on a list of earning power. Salaries for those with this degree ranges from $42,200 for starters to mid-career earnings of $85,000. That is somewhat lower than my degree in journalism fares. A Ph.D in philosophy is not listed in the rankings, curiously enough.

There are folks who credit study in philosophy for a successful career. The web site Business Insider published a list of very accomplished persons who majored in philosophy. Among them, Carly Fiorina the former HP CEO and failed candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Also mentioned in the article: investor Carl Icahn, progressive activist and zillionaire George Soros,  and PayPal co-founder and former CEO Peter Thiel. The latter is lately famous, or infamous, for helping wrestling legend Hulk Hogan take on the website Gawker in a lawsuit for invasion of privacy after the site published a sex tape of the wrestler. Oh well!

Once again, it is great that one who studied philosophy gains incredible wealth at some point in time of their career. But this highlights a fundamental question: What is a thought or what are thoughts, worth?

I would think it would depend on the thought and the action that is brought about or ignored with that thought. I mean, I’ve had some great thoughts. Some were impulsive and worked out. Others were not so successful.

Wealth is a topic near and dear to the hearts of my country men and women. Some people, among those women I have dated, apparently thought long and hard about the thought of wealth. I’m not saying that is why I am not married. I am just saying that is why I am not married to certain individuals who apparently thought wealth was more of a guiding thought than a young guy with a great sense of humor, nice hands and a cute butt. Hey, that was more than 30 years ago. Give me a break!

I hope that some day I might receive some compensation for my thoughts. If I don’t, that’s okay. Those thoughts are mine and mine alone. And many of those are near and dear to me. As a philosophy major once said: If Immanuel Kant perhaps Nietzsche will.



I’m tired, but here is the Labor Day story

It’s late afternoon and I feel as if I had worked today. I am talking about really working. I did put in two hours, but the Sec said we could take two hours off early for the upcoming Labor Day holiday. How generous.

I spent those two hours of work this morning trying to get my new “smart card” to work in my computer. The damn thing doesn’t appear very smart if you ask me.

There are a couple of things I’d like to say, but I feel like I am falling to sleep. So I wish everyone a happy Labor Day weekend to all, everywhere. Even if you don’t celebrate it — you need to celebrate. Labor Day good. Celebrate good. Cheerios good!

From the good ol’ Department of Labor, here is something that tells you all about Labor Day in America.



Pickin’ up that ol’ ring ring? Ain’t nothing new.

Sometimes I think as far as the telephone has come the distance is actually less than it really is. Kind of like those side view mirrors that say the objects are closer than they appear. We can talk about those substances that make objects closer than they appear at a later date.

Today I talked to a phone center person from a company called the Schumacher Group. Among other pursuits in addition to trying to f**k up a perfectly good day, the Lafayette, La., company is a “Your health care solution.”

Schumacher once provided emergency room doctors for a local hospital and its doc-in-a-boxes. The company also bills customer for those choices. I received a call the other day saying I owed $292 for seeing a nurse or physicians assistant for a couple of minutes about a year and a half ago. That was news to me since this was a worker’s comp case and the government paid for subsequent care that included arthroscopic knee surgery and physical therapy. My knee doc actually put the Ps and Qs together linking my fall, for which I went to the doc-in-a-box to begin with, proximately to a meniscus tear.

“Well, we sent a bill (to workers comp) and they rejected it,” said the phone center nag from Schumacher.

“Well, I sure as hell am not going to pay it,”  I said, after about the third time she told me I was responsible. That was followed by hanging up, my hanging up.

Today I talked to the people from the Xerox-owned company that now does our workers comp financial matters. Fortunately, the lady I spoke with was nice and dug through my miles of paper on computer only to discover the wrong coding was put into my initial ER bill.

So I called Schumacher back today and explained what happened. She didn’t want to hear it. The solution was for them to call the workers comp people and find out what was needed for the resolution of this medical mishap!

But no, Schumacher’s lady wasn’t hearing any of it. They would have to call “us.” And she would have to talk with her supervisor. Of course she would. So I asked if I could speak with her supervisor. As luck would have it, she wasn’t available. Of course, she wasn’t.

Click. Or rather a faint “beep” as my cell disconnects.

Well, this is nothing new. Right. Right. And that’s the point. This same scenario isn’t different from where I sit to two blocks away. Or across town. Or across the state line. Or 10 years ago. Or even 50 years ago. That was when I heard my Daddy say in his pissed-off and probably half in the bag voice:

“Well sue and be damned,” Daddy said, before hanging up abruptly, certainly for great effect.

He explained it was a bill collector. I think it was for something Momma bought from Fingerhut.

Things never change. We can watch the weather on our phone. The person we are talking with on the phone can see us and we can see him. My phone takes better pictures than any camera I could afford back in the day. We can listen to just about any song ever recorded on our phone. We can pay our bills — the ones we really owe. We can even take nekkid pictures, though I sure wouldn’t suggest it.

What a wonderful world it will be, Sam Cooke sang so beautifully 50 years ago. About love. If only she will be with me. If only people won’t call for bills I don’t owe. What a wonderful world it would be.

Forty years past. Ah, and a slow ride around the town square listening to Humble Pie.

This year marks some interesting anniversaries in my life as a scholar. I graduated from high school 40 years ago. And received my college degree 10 years later. It will be the high school anniversary I focus upon this year. There are several reasons why but mostly because it is the most distant year from the original date. A few of my high school cohorts — most I have known from as far back as the first grade — and I have kept in touch with Facebook. That shows perhaps that social media isn’t as bad as many portray it. A wider circle of classmates came together and we have put together some events for our 40th anniversary.

Our hometown is about 60 miles away so it shouldn’t be much difficulty to physically attend. However, I somehow mixed myself into the planning portion of this celebration. Although we come from a small town and school, we will not have just one event. We’ve got a brunch on the Saturday of Homecoming followed by a parade. Later that evening we will have dining and dancing. Plus there will likely be some private parties. There are other groups celebrating including my brother’s class who graduated 10 years ahead of us. I don’t know if the classes of ’84, ’94 or ’04 will get together. I have only been to a 10-year reunion and one, I suppose that was 36 years after our graduation, which was a small, improvised gathering. I have been selected as the “go-to” person for the parade this year. I do not know why.

I need to get this wrapped up so that I might call a classmate who supposedly is supplying a tractor-trailer for our parade “float.” I don’t know that for a fact. I suppose if worst comes to worst, we can hitch a trailer to my ’98 Tacoma pickup. If we can get some of my classmates occupied like in the old days they might not even know the difference.

I remember while practicing for our high school graduation on the football field, we inserted some of our eight-track tapes (yes, it was awhile ago) into the sound system including Humble Pie’s “30 Days In The Hole.” We can blast some music like that while riding around on our parade float. No one should know the difference.