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
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
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:
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
I Made $2.71 per Hour
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
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
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
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
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
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
Prostitution - A true story from the economics lab.
Duty - What do you really owe to your family?
- How important it is in judging almost anything and anyone.
Morbid Math Report - How many people will die as you read
Case for Higher Tax Rates on the Rich - I try to clear up
Politics of Personal Responsibility - Is it right to vote
for that which I could not do?
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...
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
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
The Spread of Pathogenic Ideas
- A parallel with natural phenomena.
Bounty Hunting - An excerpt
from 101 Weird Ways to Make Money.
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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