Steve Gillman's Blog / Site

The purpose of this website: 1. To let readers of my books and my newsletter subscribers know a bit about me and what I'm currently working on; 2. To have a creative outlet for whatever I write that doesn't fit well on one of my other sites. This is my personal-yet-public blog, where you read about any topic that inspires me to voice an opinion, along with a few creative ideas and various ramblings.

If you need me to write for you, please visit my freelance site: Webhiker Services

Most Recent Post

Flying El Cheapo Airlines

November 3, 2014 - When I booked my $285 flight from Tampa to Denver with Frontier Airlines, I assumed it would be a low quality experience and that they probably don't clean the planes. I also assumed they would charge for food and checked luggage and the seat assignment if I wanted to pick mine. But I didn't care where I sat and I bring snacks and hand sanitizer. I just wanted a cheap flight.

(Flickr photo by Cliff)

Of course the modus operandi of big business these days is deception. It is deception verging on fraud, but perhaps not quite crossing the line (although I might draw the line differently if I was a regulator). There's a reason why uber-cheap Spirit Airlines is the most hated airline in the U.S., and it isn't because of the uncomfortable seats.

I booked the flight through Expedia, and somewhere in the process (and it is a process), they mentioned that "The airline may have extra charges for carry-on luggage and extra services." I don't recall if I learned this before or after clicking the payment button. In any case, after paying I clicked the link that Expedia provided to see what these extra fees were, and (naturally), I received... Read More: El Cheapo Airlines

Other Posts

My Accidental Participation in Democracy

September 18, 2014 - This is my mostly true story of a trip to the polls...

One November morning I went to our local public library to get a book. You know, one of those square things made out of pieces of paper that have things printed on them. Anyhow, as soon as I got out of the car and saw the gauntlet I would have to walk through I realized it was Election Day (which is apparently important enough to be capitalized according to my grammar checker). There are laws stipulating that political activities have to be a certain distance from the polls, but our library has a long covered walkway leading to the door, providing just enough barely-legal space for a dozen red-faced people to loudly educate us citizens.

(Flickr photo by Katy Warner)

I took the pamphlets that were handed to me because well... you have to if you want to pass by without the voices getting louder. I glanced at the political sales pitches briefly once inside. Mostly they explained how wrong the other side was. As near as I could tell, if we are to believe their opponents, here is what the parties intend to do... Read More: Choosing Which Turd to Vote For

How to Make $2 per Hour Writing

August 12, 2014 - The pay scale indicator started at $2 per hour. That should have been a clue. I had signed up for Freelancer.com, a popular freelance platform to look for writing jobs, and I poked around to see what was currently available. One project that caught my eye involved finance articles. I could do that. But I noticed the rate was $3 per article, and the client required that the writer have a Bachelor's degree from a U.S. university. I laughed, thinking this was an anomaly. Then I started to get emails like the following from the website: Here are the latest projects and contests matching your profile and skills.

Apparently I had a horrible profile and no skills, at least if these "matches" were any indication. In any case, my understanding of the economic expression... Read More: Freelance Writing

My Current Income Sources

I am putting this post on my personal blog because I'm only looking at how me and Ana (my wife) are making money at the moment. It is meant for subscribers to my Unusual Ways Newsletter, but this blog is also a sort of digital memory and scrapbook for me. It's fun to go back and see what I was doing. In any case, here are some of the things we have done lately to make money.

Freelance Writing - This is becoming one of my primary sources of income since I launched my writing services website last month. I've had a handful of clients, and have had several come back for more after buying articles (always a good sign). I will always write on a wide variety of topics (politics and cleaning carpets recently), but if you want to read more of my money-related articles you can find them on... Read More: My Income

I Made $2.71 per Hour

My internet business income had been falling for a couple years so I decided in early 2013 that it was time to get a job, just in case. I didn't realize how low typical pay was now, because I hadn't had a job in about nine or ten years. After discovering that a 48-year-old with no recent job experience is not what most employers are looking for, I went to Labor Finders, a temporary work agency with a branch office here in Naples, Florida.

More than twenty years earlier I had worked as a temporary worker for about $8 to $9 per hour. In 2013 Labor Finders was paying the Florida minimum wage of $7.79 per hour for most assignments. Considering that things cost almost twice as much now, that's a pretty serious drop in pay over two decades. But it gets worse...

At Labor Finders you have to show up at six in the morning and sit there with other sleepy men and women, waiting to see if... Read More: Less Than Minimum Wage

My New Freelance Writing Service

Before I get carried away with the rest of the story, I want to introduce my new website, offering my services as a freelance writer:

http://www.webhikerservices.com

Okay, now for the rest of the story. I've made money from a variety of jobs, businesses, and investments over the years. In fact, I once put together a list of more than 100 ways I've made money from age eight up to the age of forty-nine. Just in the last year or so I have had income from the following... Read More: I Will Be Your Writer

Is Non-Conformity a Mental Disorder?

Did I have a mental disorder as a child? Perhaps not according to the standards of the time, but using today's "scientific" understanding I must have had one, because I was crazy enough to think for myself. For example, when I was in junior high school me and a friend were accused of knocking over some tables in the lunchroom and so we were ordered by a teacher to stay after lunch and clean the room as punishment. Since I didn't knock over any tables, and the teacher didn't want to hear that, I simply left, and my friend followed... Read More: Non-Conformity Disorder

My Skeptical Look at Jury Duty

I received a juror summons a few days ago, and so each evening after 6:00 I have to call in to see if I'm needed at the courthouse the next morning. It's rude to give us prospective jurors just twelve hours' notice that we can't go to work the next day, and it's exploitive to pay us just $15 daily for serving. I'm a skeptic of the whole "duty" concept, to say the least. It's possible I'll get in trouble for snickering or sighing when the judge bring ups that "citizens duty" crap, as he probably will. I've been through the selection process once before and listened to the little speech the well-paid judge made. For those readers who do not know about my attitude and/or perspective on such "social duties," I'll make it very clear: "Duty" is a concept invented to... Read More: Jury Duty Fraud

Give Until it Hurts?

If you give until it hurts, you are giving too much. I'm not disputing the value or ideal of charity, but I do dispute the value of extreme altruism. After all, if we believe it's a good thing for people to be happy and to have their suffering alleviated, and we are people too, then we cannot logically cause our own suffering for the sake of others. Of course suffering is a broad term, and we might rightfully suffer in non-fundamental and temporary ways. We might "suffer" an inconvenience to gain the satisfaction of helping someone, for example. But if you regularly give until it hurts it seems to me that you are giving out of ideology rather than from a healthy... Read More: Extreme Altruism

The Politics of Personal Responsibility

I want to suggest a set of rules that we can use when deciding who to vote for and what laws to support. We might call them strong guidelines, because I do not believe in absolute rules, but these ones make sense to me in most contexts. They start with the simple proposition that we should not support laws which require actions which we would feel were unethical if we did them ourselves. In other words, if it is wrong for me to do something, it is wrong for me to hire others to do it (which is what we are doing when we vote for... Read More: Politics and Responsibility

Working for the One Percent in Florida

Quite a few of the infamous 1% live here in Naples, Florida, many of them in a private community called Pelican Bay. The Pelican Bay Foundation, which is the residents' version of a homeowners association, manages the community for them. The foundation has about 60 drivers on staff to shuttle members from their upscale condos to access points for the miles of private beach they own, or to and from various places on the property, including exclusive restaurants and bars, which are down long boardwalks at the beach. This transportation is by way of thirty or so open-sided seven-passenger electric trams, which are essentially oversized golf carts. I was fortunate enough to be hired as a driver last year for 94 cents over minimum wage. It's a good example of what I believe is called the "tinkle down" theory of economics. One of the things I liked best about the job, apart from playing the challenging game of "spot the Democrat," was that I got to see... Read More: Working for the One Percent

Windows for President

It had been rumored for months that the first non-human candidate might be entering the presidential race, but now it is official. At a press conference held this morning Microsoft announced that its new Windows 8 operating system will soon be on the ballot in all 50 states. It isn't clear how this will be accomplished, but the process has "been in the works for a while" according to a Microsoft spokesperson. High-ranking members of the Republican and Democratic parties were consulted as far back as two years ago, but negotiations broke down quickly with both sides. As a result, Windows 8 will be running as an independent in... Read More: President Windows


Other Pages

Monkey Prostitution - A true story from the economics lab.

Family Duty - What do you really owe to your family?

Context - How important it is in judging almost anything and anyone.

The Morbid Math Report - How many people will die as you read this page?

A Case for Higher Tax Rates on the Rich - I try to clear up some misconceptions.

The Politics of Personal Responsibility - Is it right to vote for that which I could not do?

Taxing the Middle Class - An example of how the rich pay less.

What is the Value of Labor? - More questions than answers.

Thoughts About Money - Wages as profit and more...

Living Cheap in Naples - Part two; cheap meals and entertainment.

Are We Less Violent? - A look at the evidence of history.

The Stroop Test - Test your mental coordination!

Windows for President - Microsoft makes a presidential bid.

Radical Welfare Reform - Lower cost for a bigger safety net?

Do I Love This Country? - I don't hate it.

Can We Be Born Again? - My non-Christian answer.

The Spread of Pathogenic Ideas - A parallel with natural phenomena.

Bounty Hunting - An excerpt from 101 Weird Ways to Make Money.

Discrimination Against Atheists - It is common, to say the least.

Is It Arrogant to Think for Yourself? - An answer.

Marriage and Immigration - If we eliminate marriage, what about immigration?

Mountains I Have Climbed - A list and links to pages were I've written about my experiences.

First Television Interview - On FOX news.

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Gay Jesus is Published

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Give Until it Hurts?

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Everyone Is Wrong

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Prejudice in the U.S.

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