Monday, September 29, 2008

Does The God Particle Matter

Does The God Particle Matter?
I’m not a rocket scientist, but I think I need to pay close attention to Higgs Boson.
Higgs Boson is commonly known by scientist as “God's Particle”. Some physicists suggest that an experimental observation of the particle would help explain how otherwise massless elementary particles cause matter to have mass.
I don’t see why it would matter, but apparently it does because there's an European Organization for Nuclear Research, called CERN that's located on the France-Swiss border and they've spent $6 billion dollars and have over 2,500 full time employees, working 200 feet underground in the world's largest physics laboratory!
Last week, CERN went on line with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to provide experimental evidence that will confirm or reject the God Particle’s existence. Massive superconducting magnets cooled to near absolute zero by liquid helium, bent to 20 micron-wide beams of protons into precise trajectories, to be crashed into each other. Which may help to prove or not prove The Big Bang Theory.
I'm not a rocket scientist, but why are we concerned with the creation of the universe when we're so busy destroying it?
Is it me, or are we not at war? Have we not committed acts of mass destruction? Genocide? Intolerance? Have we found a cure for Cancer? AIDS? Have we lowered infant mortality rates? Have we stopped global warming?
What’s the point of understanding God’s Particle, when we haven't figured out the basic human principle of life?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Middle Class America For Rent

I was born into a long line of renters. My grandmother rented, my mother rented and I rented. No one in my family acquired real property, no stocks, no bonds, no retirement plans and nothing of real value to pass down to the next generation.
In fact, no real wealth had been accumulated throughout any generation of my family, for as long as my family has stood on American soil, more than two hundred years by a genealogist's account.
This fact became even more poignant in 1997, when my grandmother passed away at the age of 78. Nana died and left the unexpected expense of a funeral (her insurance didn't cover the burial). She also left us a few sentimental trinkets, her cherished memory and a host of dust bunnies under her bed. That was it. The life legacy of a renter. I decided then and there, that I would do better.

I attended a wealth building workshop that taught saving techniques for a First Time Home Buyer. As my knowledge grew, so did my self-worth. Three years later I purchased my home and officially became a member of America's middle-class.

The equity in my home grew and I had credit that allowed me to make home improvements, general repairs, purchase a newer car and ultimately to afford a college education for my kids. But most importantly, in the event of my death, my children would have something more than just a funeral debt.

In 2007 everything went terribly awry in the housing market. Like so many other middle class Americans, I felt it's affects through the trickle down method. It came in the form of increased mortgages, increased property taxes, increased water & sewer bills, increased food bills and the reality that our homes, as lovely as they were, weren't worth as much, as the money that we owed on them.

In other words, the equity that had been built up and borrowed had begun to ebb and I failed the Income to Debt ratio, and suddenly, credit was being denied. Then came a series of small emergencies-- failed car brakes and broken eyeglasses, I tapped into my savings, until my savings were tapped out. It was then that I saw the first "For Sale" sign on our sidewalk, then a line of them, like fence pickets.

I'm lucky. I've found a part time job to supplement my income. But, I don't have the time or energy to mow the lawn, so our once plush grass, is overgrown and looks more like chaffs of wheat than blades of grass and each day is a struggle. Yesterday, I put out a "For Rent" sign.

It reminded me of my family's legacy, a legacy of renters.