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Minimum Wage Wars

I used to think that the idea of increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour was outrageous.  How could a business afford such a drastic increase?  I thought that this would devastate the small business owner, and it possibly could.  But my thoughts about the minimum wage changed when I went to early voting today.

As we all lined up to wait for our turns in the voting booths, I passed a bulletin board with various documents.  One document stood out to me:  the minimum wage posting.  The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, and it has been at that rate since 2009.  The federal minimum wage has NOT changed in a decade!

When the federal minimum wage was first introduced in 1938, it was a quarter an hour.  When I started working as a teenager, the minimum wage was $3.35 per hour.  For the most part, the federal minimum wage has consistently increased throughout the years, except for a few times in my years working.  There was not an increase from 1981-1990, 1997-2007, and 2009-present. …
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FREE chapter from The Heart of Happiness

1 INTRODUCTION

What if I told you that you could start living a happier, more fulfilling life today?  Do you want to sleep better and have more energy?  Imagine living life with purpose and meaning.           
Many of us are dealing with stress at a chronic level.  Because of this constant stress, we are finding ourselves not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally depleted.  Stress has become an epidemic and is costing us greatly.  It is driving us to the doctor and is even driving us to our graves.  Chronic stress is connected to six leading causes of death!
One constant truth with all people is that we all want to be happy.  But happiness isn’t the same for everyone.  We must decide what we value, what our priorities are, and what actually makes us happy.  Most of us do not know where to start on that discovery.  Some may ask what do I know about the subject of Happiness?  I do not have a doctorate in psychology.  I didn’t even study psychology other than a couple of class…

Music and Its Influence on Our Moods

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~ Bob Marley
Music plays a special role in most of our lives.  It evokes a response that is universal.  It can take you back to a place and time long ago.  It can change your mood.  It can inspire, or it can make you cry.  It can get you through a long morning commute or accompany you in a workout at the gym.  Music can help you pass the time while you are doing mundane chores like laundry.  Employees have been found to be more productive when allowed to listen to their preferred music choices over those who have no control over their musical choices.  But even background music increases performance and accuracy in employees and also enables efficiency in repetitive tasks.  Music has been a teacher to us as children, helping us learn the alphabet and numbers.  Like with color, advertisers exploit music to get us excited to buy the products that they are peddling.  Example:  McDonald’s jingle for a Big Mac:  “Two all beef…

Money Does Lead To Happiness?

We've all heard the old saying that money doesn't lead to happiness, but does a lack of it actually lead to unhappiness?

Like most people, I have bouts of anxiety and depression from time to time.  I'm not talking about the kind of depression where you feel a little sad.  I'm talking about the kind of depression that makes it nearly impossible to get out of bed, where you sleep half the day away, and where you feel despair that homelessness is creeping around the corner.  One minute you can't eat, and the next you are eating anything that you can get your hands on.  I go from crying to feeling nothing at all. 

I recently had a relapse of anxiety combined with depression (which if you have never experienced both at the same time, you don't know what you're missing!).  For the first time in decades, I was late on my rent.  I also was behind on some bills.  I was devastated and felt useless.  I became worried that I may lose my home, really my everything.  Reg…

WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD

(I wrote this 11 years ago, but I think it holds just as true today.)
“Excuse me.Where do I go to be a star?”Heather Graham says this as she gets off of the bus in the movie “Bowfinger”.I saw this movie way before I ever moved to Los Angeles, and thought it was hilarious then.But wow, after moving here, I had no idea how accurate that movie was. Some reviews weren’t favorable for the movie, but I have always loved Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.And after living here, I realize how realistic those characters really are.We’ve all met the actor who keeps holding on, waiting for their break, and why, we don’t know.It never comes.We’ve met the lucky guy who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.The director (or agent) who’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear.The actress that, if it weren’t for her looks, wouldn’t be anywhere.The leading man, who is so arrogant and so self-centered, you’re surprised anyone would want to work with him.And the name-droppers.Hollywood …

The Tragedy of Comedy

I have been doing standup for over years now.  I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for twice as long.  It has taken decades of trial and error to figure out what works for me to cope.

And I am not alone.  There is a history of comedians who have committed suicide:  Robin Williams, Freddie Prinze, Ray Combs, Charles Rocket, Richard Jeni, Brody Stevens, Michael Roof, Micke Dubois, Doodles Weaver, Tony Hancock, and Andrew Koenig.  Many of them you know, and some of them you may have never heard of.  But what did most of them have in common?  Depression.  Greg Giraldo died of an accidental drug overdose.  Many people who have a history of drug abuse also suffered from mental illness such as depression.  Robin Williams had a history of drug use and abuse, but at the time of his death, he was only taking prescribed medications in the proper amount.  While he did suffer from depression throughout his life, he also had undiagnosed Lewy body disease, which is believed to be the r…

Finding Your Purpose

When I was in fifth grade, our teacher, Ms. Rader, used to make us write a story using all of the words in our spelling list.Most of the kids grumbled at the thought of all of that work.It seemed tedious to most, but I looked at this as a challenge.I made a game of the work by making my stories have recurring characters in each one.The other kids were entertained by my stories, and they began to look forward to seeing what would happen with these characters each week.
I took a chore and turned it into something that I became passionate about.I found the activity fun, and the other students were amused.I realized how much I liked the attention that people paid to something that I created.There began my love of writing.
But as I got older, life happened.Between school, work, raising a child, and having a social life, I didn’t continue my hobby of writing.I took writing up again when I started stand-up comedy, but it wasn’t until I decided to write a screenplay that I brought that passion …