Gay Fresno - Opinion

Opinion

Finances in Focus

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Saturday, 14 September 2013 13:42
  • Written by Michael Wright

One of the things I hear a lot writing is that the "average reader" is a guy in his late 20s, meaning I often get reminded that I need some columns and suggestions for the beginners reading my words. Guys and gals who are just a year or two out of college, now have good jobs and want to know what they should be doing for their futures. That's why this month I'll look at some of the "basics" and see if I can offer some tips.

First, I understand that if you're starting out as an investor, you might be feeling overwhelmed. After all, it seems like there's just so much to know. How can you get enough of a handle on basic investment concepts so that you're comfortable in making well-informed choices?

Actually, you can get a good grip on the investment process by becoming familiar with a few basic concepts, such as these:
Stocks versus Bonds — When you buy stocks, or stock-based investments, you are buying ownership shares in companies. Generally speaking, its a good idea to buy shares of quality companies and to hold these shares for the long term. This strategy may help you eventually overcome short-term price declines, which may affect all stocks. Keep in mind, though, that when buying stocks, there are no guarantees you won't lose some or all of your investment.

By contrast, when you purchase bonds, you aren't becoming an "owner" — rather, you are lending money to a company or a governmental unit. Barring default, you can ex¬pect to receive regular interest payments for as long as you own your bond, and when it matures, you can expect to get your principal back. However, bond prices do rise and fall, typically moving in the opposite direction from interest rates. So if you want to sell a bond before it matures, and interest rates have recently risen, you may have to offer your bond at a price lower than its face value.

For the most part, stocks are purchased for their growth potential (although many stocks do offer income in the form of dividends) while bonds are bought for the in¬come stream provided by interest payments. Ideally, though, it is important to build a diversified portfolio containing stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), govern¬ment securities and other investments designed to meet your goals and risk tolerances. Diversification is a strategy designed to help reduce the effects of market volatility on your portfolio. Keep in mind, however, that diversification, by itself, can't guarantee a profit or protect against loss.

Risk versus Reward — All investments carry some type of risk: Stocks and bonds can decline in value, while investments such as CDs can lose purchasing power over time. One important thing to keep in mind is that, generally, the greater the potential reward, the higher the risk.

Setting goals — As an investor, you need to set goals for your investment portfolio, such as providing resources for retirement or helping pay for more college education or that home you hope to use every Winter in Palm Springs.

Knowing your own investment personality — Everyone has different investment personalities — some people can accept more risk in the hopes of greater rewards, while others are not comfortable with risk at all. It's essential that you know your investment personality when you begin investing, and throughout your years as an investor.

Investing is a long-term process — It generally takes decades of patience, persever¬ance and good decisions for investors to accumulate the substantial financial re¬sources they'll need for their long-term goals. Do not be in a hurry, but do be prepared to change your strategy and move your money around to get the best results as time passes. What's a great stock or bond now might not be in five or 10 years time.

By keeping these concepts in mind as you begin your journey through the investment world, you'll be better prepared for the twists and turns you'll encounter along the way as you pursue your financial goals. As always, I, and other financial advisors, planners and accountants are around to offer help and suggestions, so do not be afraid to ask!

On this same line of thought, a reader recently asked me what he should do if he wants to change his mind and reverse an earlier decision he made not to go to college. In other words, he now wants to plan on attending. If you are like him or you already attend school, you're keenly aware that it's getting close to back-to-school time. Today, that might mean you need to go shopping for laptops or iPads. But in the future, when "back to school" means "off to college," your expenditures are likely to be significantly greater. How can you be financially prepared for that day?

Read more: Finances in Focus

Advice: Outside The Box

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Wednesday, 11 September 2013 17:57
  • Written by Dr. Frank Schloemer, Ed.D., LCSW

Dear Dr. Fred: My partner of seven years recently broke up with me and moved out, because ... get this ...he “doesn’t think he’s gay anymore!’’ He was married to a woman when we first met, but he had been having sex with men on the down low for some time. All I can say about him “not being gay anymore’’ is that he sure put up a good act in the bedroom over the years we’ve been together, (although I have to admit, we haven't had much sex at all for a long while).

While I was pretty torn up at first about the break-up and the reason he gave for it, I’ve been working my way through all o f that with my therapist and am pretty proud of the progress I’ve made there so far. So that’s not my biggest problem.

My biggest problem is that my ex and I co-own and operate a business togethera very busy and profitable salon and spa. There’s no way either one of us can walk away from it, as we still owe a substantial balance on a loan we took out to get it started. So now. I’m trapped in a situation where I have to go in to work every day and spend the whole day working beside a man who just dumped me!

Worse yet, he seems to want us to be “just friends" now, spending all day chatting it up with me, making stupid little jokes and acting like nothing ever happened between us, assuming I can do the same thing. But I can’t, and in fact, sometimes I just want to choke him, but I have to act civil for the sake of our patrons.

So my question for you is, how do I cope with working with this man who (I now realize) is completely superficial and about as deep as a mud puddle?

Should I continue as is, and wait for the day when our loan is paid off and we can afford to sell the business or I can afford to buy him out? Also, what are the health/ mental health consequences likely to be for me of having to work under these stressful conditions? I already have an ulcer. Is this likely to make that worse?


Sign me,

“Andy”

 

Read more: Advice: Outside The Box

Pecs and the City

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Monday, 09 September 2013 18:06
  • Written by Matt Ponder

PecsnCity

I used to think I was interesting. Always quick with a joke, a humorous anecdote or a hilarious story about some bizarre situation that I found myself in. I used to think my unnatural retention of trivia and encyclopedic knowledge of a myriad of subjects was enough to add flavor to any conversation. I realize now that I am not nearly as interesting as I thought.

I can't hold a candle to the fascinating allure of a glowing screen in someone's hand. It seems like everyone I surround myself with is more interested in the banal information scrolling across the face of their phone than they are in what we are talking about or experiencing firsthand. And to be quite honest, it's getting really fucking irritating.

Something somewhere else is always more fascinating than the present. That seems to be the general consensus in our twenty-first century' lives. Something that happened an hour ago on Facebook is much more intriguing than the people or interaction that is taking place around your hunched shoulders and bowed head.

Even major life events and cherished moments are viewed through a phone screen with the reasoning that we want to capture them on film to watch them later.
That's all well and good, but guess what? You ain't gonna watch them later. And guess what else? You just missed the actual moment while you were adjusting your focus or deciding how to widen your shot.

Gone forever while you were trying to get Instagram artistic. Filtering the world through the phone in your hand is not only a detriment to your social skills but also your chances for a true romantic connection.
Gay bars used to be filled with heat and sexual promise. Now they're full of a new breed of gay men whose faces are lit from below like Heather in The Blair Witch Project, reading about what their other friends are doing or scoping out their Grindr feed.

Forget for a moment the fact that staring down at your phone instead of looking around and smiling makes you less attractive, but scoping out your sexual options online is often a one-way ticket to disappointment when there could be a smoking hot suitor just a few feet away.

"It's not always a disappointment,'' is the refrain I've heard from many people who surf the hookup sites. Sure, I agree — there are times when Scruff gives you exactly what you need, but what's the percentage? Twenty-five percent of the time? Ten percent? Three? Someone may be extremely attractive in their photograph but that doesn't translate to sexual chemistry when you meet face-to-face.

Attraction is only ignited when two people talk and flirt in person; when you can hear the person's voice or feel their hand on your arm. That's when you feel the electricity that is written about in poems and love songs. Certainly not when you see their shirtless selfie with their tongue hanging out of their mouth.

The other side of this internet-bred disappointment is the on-going mystery of the fake profile or the use of someone else's picture. I have to know: what do these people think is going to happen when the truth is revealed? Has anyone ever pulled this idiotic move and had something good come out of it? It boggles my mind. The internet is a breeding ground for the worst kind of lies. Don't get me wrong — when you meet someone in person they may be hiding some horrors from you too, but the odds of it happening in an online profile are much, much greater.

People meet through hook-up sites or dating sites and are crushed or angry when they discover someone misrepresented himself. Most of this disappointment can be avoided by meeting someone for the first time face-to-face without the specter of Internet embellishment hanging over your heads. Sure, this means Nev and Max of Catfish would be out of a job, but it would spare a lot of broken hearts.

I know it's hard to meet the right people and it takes some effort to hunt down what you want, but people had been doing it for a long time before the invention of the smartphone. Have some balls. Talk to strangers. Leave your fucking house and go out into the world. You'll be much happier with the results.

Speaking of happy, let's shift gears.

There are 1.1 billion people on Facebook who can tell you about what kind of day they are having, the food they are eating, the new car they bought and where they went on vacation.

Our culture today demands that we trumpet our success and happiness to others or else our achievements lose their merit. Psychologically however, it's the striving for this very success that is supposed to truly bring us joy. The majority of us make ourselves seem happier and more successful in all the veins of social media so we can keep up with others who are doing the exact same thing.
When you spend your time scanning your Facebook feed while engaging in any social activity, you are basically seeing what other people are doing and measuring it against how happy you are with where you are in the present.
Not only that, it is a proven fact that 60 percent of people don't feel better about themselves after surfing through social media. Why is this? Maybe because when you're lonely you see photos of happy couples. Maybe because when you're broke you see photos of brand new houses and designer clothes. Maybe because when you're buried under paperwork or sweating through a double shift you see that annoying, overused photo of someone's feet on a sandy beach.

You see the things you think you need or want when in reality you are seeing the things that people want you to see in order to believe that they have a better life than you do. It's a manifestation of our societal desire for acceptance and the unending coveting of other people's lives.

Maybe you think you are above all of this shallowness, but none of us are. Every photo you post of acquired belongings or exotic vacations while telling yourself it's merely to share an experience holds a tiny glimmer that people will respond with envy or desire.

So why live your life with your eyes glued to a screen filled with the lives and lies of others? I know that in our plugged-in present that there is no reason to leave your house. Anything and everything can be accessed through your phone or your laptop. Socialization, sex, music, movies, food — all of this and more can be ordered and brought to your door.

Our electronic culture is like a bag of potato chips — there is no substance, we consume a great deal and it leaves us wanting more. Our amazing jumps in technology are making us a less social society. If they were to paint the Evolution Of Man now, the last image in the line would not be Man standing erect, but an image of him in mid-stride with his head down, hunched over a phone in his hand.

Life is for living. It's a journey, not a destination. Save your surfing for your alone time and feel the sun on your face. You can ask for directions instead of using Google Maps. You can enjoy an amazing meal without putting it on Instagram.

You can smile and talk to a stranger in a bar or a coffee shop instead of scanning through countless self-aware photos on Grindr. Candy Crush isn't as interesting as the conversation you are having with your boyfriend, even if it's about the new laundry detergent. You know why? Because this is now. This is what life is.

When you look back on your life it is the moments and experiences that you will remember, not how many Likes your summation of these events received on Facebook.
Henry David Thoreau said it best: "You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land. There is no other life but this."

Medical Matters - Hospitals... Meds... Oh My!

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 10 September 2013 16:47
  • Written by Ted Fleischaker

medical-matters
With all of the hospitals consolidating and competing for patients these days, as well as drug firms trying to sell this or that new remedy for a condition we might not even know we had or have, there are a lot of health-related ads out there asking for our attention. Some are in print, some on TV or radio and others on billboards. I think one thing they have done for sure is make each and every one I know a bit of a hypochondriac.

A shrink I used to see told me years ago all of this was merely making us all "a bit more health aware" and that might also be the case, but more and more of us seem to be running to the doctor, the ER or the doc in a box at the local drugstore or shopping center seeking answers to what ails us, even if we do not need to be there. That begs this month's question of when's an appropriate time to get help and what do we worry about and what do we not worry about.

Back in the day, before we had costly "miracle cures" for everything, remedies which have fallen out of favor usually did the trick.
Read more: Medical Matters - Hospitals... Meds... Oh My!

Video: WWE Superstar ... I'M GAY

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Friday, 16 August 2013 08:59
  • Written by Jason Scott

WWE superstar Darren Young just dropped a bombshell, telling TMZ, he's gay ... and no, this isn't part of the act.

Darren was at LAX Wednesday when we asked whether a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE, and Darren laughed, saying, "Absolutely. Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy."

For the record, Darren is now the first openly gay wrestler ever at WWE ... and the first headlining wrestler ever to come out while still signed to a major promotion.

Other pro wrestlers have been rumored to be gay, but that's it ... just rumors.

 

Continue reading at TMZ