Wandering Through the Great Depths of Life

great-depths-of-lifeI wonder as I wander through the great depths of life, if maybe, just maybe, this has all happened before. Everyone has their own thoughts and beliefs but have you ever stopped to think that maybe since the beginning of time life has been repeating itself? From Dinosaurs and Caves to iPods and plasma TV’s everything has been done before.

In my “next life” I want to be a cat with a loving family, like my kitten, Gracie. But what if that is not possible? Maybe when I die I will go up to heaven and watch over the world with everyone else. Watch as the world ends and God starts to create it over again. I watch the dinosaurs become extinct and watch all history pass me by, fascinated. Until my mother is born and I am fixated on watching her grow up to be the beautiful woman she is. I learn from her mistakes and know that when I am born I will make my own. I watch her meet my dad and marry him, soon after my life in the sky is ending; I am being sucked into a deep and dark place as my wonderful memories start to fade.

After living in a tunnel for about 9 months, I am awakened into a very bland room and try to recognize anyone around me. I see one person I recognize, as I am handed to her, I smile and know that I am in good hands. I am passed from person to person taking in their faces so that I never forget. Once I am back with my mother and father I try to tell them all that I have seen and been through but they don’t seem to understand my language. I understand every word they say to me, but they look at me with confused eyes when I try to talk back to them.

I give up as I grow older and talk to them in their native tongue, soon forgetting all that I have seen. I grow up with a loving family and in a wonderful home and now have absolutely no memory of what I have witnessed and will see again some day. I will continue to get older, write this same article time and time again and watch as the earth expands, too soon it will be my time to leave again and go live in heaven as it all happens again. Will it never end?

This is just a theory that I have always wondered about. I guess we will never know. Any thoughts?

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Motorcycle Wreck at VIRginia International Raceway

motorcycle-racing-wreckLocal motorcycle racer, Al Smith is now ranked #1 in the Southeast championship Overall Standings as of June 25, 2009, on the Amateur Motorcycle Racing Circuit. We covered his most recent race at VIRginia International Raceway and told you about the wreck going into turn one. SearchAmelia gave you his account of the action that just missed his rear tire. The picture above shows our favorite Fernandina Beach rider #95. Now take a look at this 12 second video full of racing action, including the wreck – what a sport!

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Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival in Fernandina Beach

american-flagCelebrate Independence Day with your family and join your neighbors and friends at the Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival, to be held in Central Park in Fernandina Beach on Saturday, July 4, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed in the evening by a patriotic Parade on Centre Street at 7 pm, a Concert of Americana music at 8 pm in front of the Depot, and capped by Fireworks at the Fernandina Harbor Marina at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival at Central Park will feature a Touch-A-Truck Public Safety display to exhibit vehicles from the City of Fernandina Beach Police, Fire/Rescue and Streets Departments, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and Fire/Rescue, Florida Highway Patrol, Coast Guard, and more. The display is scheduled to include cars, trucks, helicopter, boats, motorcycles, dump trucks, garbage trucks, excavators, front-end loaders, 18 wheel log truck, school buses, and other service vehicles and machinery. Visitors can meet some of the personnel who protect, serve and work in our community and learn about functions and features of these vehicles.

Musical entertainment, featuring FACE FOR RADIO, will be provided throughout the festival on the Pirate Ship Stage. Other activities include a Parent-Child Look-A-Like Contest (sign up starting at 10 a.m., contest at 1:00 p.m.), an All American Apple Pie Contest, teamwork games, Fun for the Kids playground, food and arts and crafts vendors. Parents and kids, make a thank you card to send to a member of the active military and veterans at the Craft Center.

Everyone is invited to wear their patriotic red, white and blue to either participate in the Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival Parade, which starts at 7 p.m. or find a spot on Centre Street to watch. After the parade, gather in front of the Depot at 8 p.m., at the foot of Centre Street, to enjoy the Concert of patriotic and Americana folk music plus a selection of marches and other music in the spirit of Independence Day by the newly formed community choir, the Sine Nomine Singers and the New Horizons Band of the Amelia Arts Academy. The Annual City of Fernandina Beach’s 4th of July Fireworks Display can be viewed to the south of the Fernandina Harbor Marina at approximately 9:30 p.m. Be sure to bring your own folding chair!

Taxes are Rising and Income is Falling

watch-for-falling-incomeThis country is in big trouble economically from poor stock and crashing real estate prices. I expect the bond market and commercial real estate to totter next. Taxes are rising, income is falling, hours are being cut, the USA is averaging 625,000 lost jobs a month, and Congress intends to tax our cattle for emitting methane. BRIC is maneuvering to replace the dollar as the standard currency. Nobody more significant than Sri Lanka is discussing a gold standard. The far left is dismembering the carcass of business and distributing the bleeding hunks to favored voter blocks, and on Wall St. its business as usual. They are still committing all the crimes that led to the destruction of the world‚Äôs economy. Yesterday, Tuesday, they were attempting a not very successful last minute run up of the market indices. It was a day of major selling. Consumer sentiment dropped for June from 54.9 to 49.7 indicating that the consumer is justly frightened and not prepared to spend on non necessities. Tuesday‚Äôs stats are‚Ķ.The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI shed81 points, or .95 percent, to 8,448. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX lost 7.5 points, or .81 percent, to 919.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC slipped 9.02 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,835.04.

Adventure Travel Marketing

adventure-travel-marketingThe notice at the end of this story reminds me of the introduction of Adventure Travel to the Line up of Travel Marketing ideas. Having been directly or indirectly involved with the travel and tourism industry most of my life, I had an interesting conversation over candle light after Hurricane Hugo hit the US Virgin Island of St. Croix on September 17th 1989 (there are certain dates you will never forget). We had just finished building phase I of the Condo Hotel Club St. Croix two months earlier and for a usually dead September season I had almost a full house of guests.

Well “Hugo” decided that after 70 years of no direct hits, St.Croix was due. Hugo came in as a Category 5 Hurricane and Monday September 18 displayed a completely devastated brown ugly island that 24 hours before was lush and green and gorgeous. It was dark and devastating and the next installment on any type of future seemed years away for anyone on the island.
Well earlier that year my friend Cindy and I founded a Sk√•ll Club Charter and my condo hotel hosted the monthly meetings. Sk√•ll is a Scandinavian toast usually done with Acquavit and the Sk√•ll Club is a worldwide organization of thousands of clubs (like Rotary or Lion’s or Jaycees) where professionals in the travel and tourism business meet socially once a month and talk about anything or just have some fun.

Well the next Sk√•ll meeting was set for 2-1/2 weeks later (first Thursday of the month) and despite the enormous misery such as no potable water (except for cisterns), no grocery stores, no power, polluted beaches, no communication systems that were operable) the Sk√•ll members showed up and under the dancing flames of hurricane lanterns we discussed options and possibilities of trying to get the island back up before the winter season. Why would people come to a devastated island was the general concern. No shops, not a hotel room without damage, hardly any food on the island, the port and airport received major damage, and there were oil spills on the beaches. 95% of the charter fleet was destroyed. Why would people come? That night we came up with an answer: “Adventure Travel”.

We knew that utility companies from across the States would send manpower to repair the power grids, others would come to rebuild, the Army Corps of Engineers would come and set up medical treatment facilities and so forth. We would build an adventure travel package for families and loved ones to come and visit. The package included sleeping under the stars, driving almost destroyed jeeps through the ruined neighborhoods, eating meals from tin cans, barbecues, and treks through the rain forest. Well, it may not have been the most successful tourism marketing campaign ever designed, especially considering lack of funds and means to communicate it to the outside world, but imagine my surprise when movie actress Maureen O’Hare drove into my “compound” in a beat-up truck one morning and asked for a room. What this mindset did most however, it gave everyone hope and energy to get the misery of a major hurricane behind us.

We thought Adventure Travel had a future not realizing how serious of a future as the following showcases:

Pirate hunting cruises along the African coast are being offered by private yachts in Russia. For £3,500 ($5,813.36) per day customers can sail along the coast of Somalia at low speed to entice a pirate into attacking.

Former Special Forces Troops are on board to make sure no harm comes to the wealthy punters. If a pirate does take the bait, they are met with machine gun, rocket, and grenade fire. For an extra fee, customers can hire an AK-47 and join in. “They are worse than the pirates. At least the pirates have the decency to take hostages, these people are just paying to commit murder,” said Vladimir Mironov, a Russian yachtsman.

Lightning Strike Damages Fernandina Beach Home

fire-locationPress Release – Fernandina Beach Fire Department
By: Dan Hanes, Fire Chief
Date: June 30, 2009
Re: Lightning Strike Causes Heavy Fire Damage to Dwelling
Monday, June 29, 2009 at 1817 hours, the Fernandina Beach Fire-Rescue Department was dispatched to a residential structure fire at 2811 Magnolia Woods Court. The initial report from Nassau County Dispatch was that the house was on fire as a result of a lightning strike.

At 1821 hours, Engine-102 arrived on scene and reported that there was heavy smoke and flames coming from the roof of a single family dwelling. Firefighters used ground ladders to reach the roof of the house. While on the roof, the firefighters operated above the fire that was spreading through the attic. They were eventually able to achieve control over the blaze by cutting a hole in the roof to control the fire spread and gain access for extinguishment.

The occupants, along with their pet dog and cat, were at home when the lightning strike occurred. The husband, wife and dog were able to escape without injury. During a search of the house, firefighters found the family’s cat unharmed and hiding under a bed. The cat was safely returned to the owners.

Fire damage to the dwelling was heavy and estimated to be close to $200,000. It took fifteen (15) firefighters approximately 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. No injuries were reported as a result of this fire. The occupants had plans to stay with family and friends. The Red Cross was also notified for additional assistance.

Our Exploding Money Supply

exploding-money-chartFor anyone who has to explain to his broker, spouse, or friends why he’s been hoarding gold or buying gold stocks, the chart here may help you…

This chart accompanied a recent article written by economist Art Laffer. The article is the best analysis of our money supply problem I’ve seen anywhere. And this amazing chart shows just how much money the government created in the past year… it’s a visual everyone can understand.

Says Laffer about the massive expansion of the country’s monetary base, ‚ÄúThe percentage increase in the monetary base is the largest increase in the past 50 years by a factor of 10. It is so far outside the realm of our prior experiential base that historical comparisons are rendered difficult if not meaningless…To date what’s happened is potentially far more inflationary than were the monetary policies of the 1970s, when the prime interest rate peaked at 21.5%…‚Äù

No matter what your political persuasion, no matter how little you may know about money or finance, Laffer makes crystal clear what is happening right now to the value of our money.

The more dollars are printed, the less each one is worth. You don’t really need to know what role the monetary base plays in our system. You don’t even need to know that an increase to the monetary base of this magnitude could be catastrophic. All you need to know is the government has created over 100% more of it than existed a year ago ‚Äì the fastest increase of all time, by a huge amount.

The coming great inflation will destroy America’s economic leadership. It will lead ‚Äì eventually ‚Äì to the return of settling international obligations in gold instead of paper dollars. And this will happen much faster than anyone expects.

The World Economy

world-economyYou will read ‚ÄúBanks higher; Loyds Banking boosted by Goldman upgrade.‚Äù The banks are upgrading each other trying to sucker you in to take the last of your dollars before everyone wakes up to the ABSOLUTE fact that the world economy is in its worst condition in history. “What is most impressive about today’s rally is the breadth of the buying. Most sectors are on the advance with banks and energy firms leading the way,” said David Evans, market analyst at BetOnMarkets.com. Facts are that no ‚Äúinvestors‚Äù are buying anything. This is your Government protection team at work in the worst possible way. The energy sector was boosted buy the rise in oil‚Ķ.If we had a free market I‚Äôd put some money in this sector. But, the rise in oil is poison to the economies as a whole. A gallon of premium gas was almost $3 on Amelia Island today. No inflation? Right, gas, healthcare, taxes, utilities and more are in hyperinflation mode.

Madoff got 150 years sentence today from his legacy of shame. Why aren‚Äôt we prosecuting the Wall Street bankers that caused the much bigger theft of Everyone‚Äôs money? The spin doctors are in control and don‚Äôt forget it. The Monday stats are‚Ķ The Dow Jones industrial average was up 9o.99 points, or 1.08 percent, at 8,529.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 8.33 points, or 0.91 percent, at 927.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.84 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,847.19. It may not be tomorrow, but look out below.

SearchAmelia.TV Programming Comcast Ch29/Digital264

searchameliatv We have officially launched global webstreaming programming on SearchAmelia.tv and broadcasting on the regular Comcast Cable and Digital Channels 29 and 264, which makes our televised schedule now available to residents of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island and Eastern Nassau County who receive Comcast television’s local channel #29 or Digital Comcast Channel 264 or you can view our programming on SearchAmelia.TV on the World Wide Web!

The Line up for the week starting Monday, July 13, 2009, shows the following broadcasts on Mon-Wed-Fri-Sat-Sun:

6:00 PMSpotlight On. This features footage for the 2009 Tournament of Champions, King Fish Tournament recently held in Fernandina Beach.

7:00 – 7:30 PMSounds on Centre July 3, 2009; a fantabulous way to spend a Friday Evening 7:30 – 8:00 PM – Drop your Reins Experience, a very inspirational show with 15 year old Horse Listener Danielle Herb

8:00 PMLive From the Peck Center: Amelia Arts Academy Spring Recitals

9:00 PMThe Home Business ToolBox: Is a Home Based Business Right for You? This is an informative program with many ideas on traditional home based businesses and how to start one.

The Tuesday and Thursday schedules air the City Hall Meetings from 6:00pm – 8:00 (unless meetings continue) from where regular programming continues.

Stay tuned for upcoming shows, program times and information! Scheduled for July are a Daytrip to Cumberland Island and neighboring St. Mary’s, WhatsUp Amelia Variety Show, A full Hour with the Swinging Medallions, The Drop the Reins Experience Close Up and much more.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of our TV programs on SearchAmelia.TV-Comcast Channel 29/264, or advertising on the websites SearchAmelia.TV or SearchAmelia.com, give us a call. We are also looking for a sales associate to help us with our growing Client Services Department. Call Lawrence at (904) 583-0658 for more information.

Fernandina was the First Marine Welcome Station

welcome-center Fernandina Beach, Florida had the first Marine Welcome Station to welcome boats going both North and South through the inter-coastal waterway. Located on beautiful Amelia Island, boaters would stop for a taste of fresh Florida orange juice and tourist information. A lot of people referred to the old welcome center as the Tee-Pee because of its architectural design. It was a neat place to visit, though. This is an aerial shot of the Welcome Station and Centre Street taken in the early 1970’s. Things around town moved along at a much slower pace back then.

Government Sachs

government-sachsIt is almost redundant to post this story, but I suppose for “piling on” purposes there is a major story in Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi on ‚ÄúGovernment Sachs‚Äù. This goes to the larger thesis of the financial oligarchy that has emerged in the US in the past 2 decades, recreating similar conditions in the 1920s. (Right before another crisis I believe?)

The amazing thing is after this fallout almost all of Goldman’s major competitors disappeared or were damaged severely. Many of the markets they serve now have far fewer players which means … wait for it… higher profit margins. In the first quarter, their trading desk only lost money 8 days… which is like a baseball player hitting .600+ for 3 months. But our knee jerk market is one based on information flow and if you (a) have much greater access to information and (b) now dominate much of the volume flow – I suppose you have an advantage or two.

Or it could all be smoke and mirrors and the folks at this company simply are that much better than all the other bright financial minds in every other firm across America. If you’ve ever seen some charts showing the inter-exchange of humanity between Washington and GS, you’d think otherwise.

Other examples – Goldman and friends across the Street claimed naked short selling is not a problem and would be expensive and difficult to stop. This was when their traders and their largest clients (hedgies) made small fortunes shorting smallish companies with no chance to fight back, with shares created out of thin air. Then once Goldman (and Morgan Stanley) were the last 2 standing last summer in the financial implosion of investing banks, calls were put into Washington and … shorting of financials was banned. Oh yes, and naked shorting was also banned – and it worked effectively. Amazing isn’t it.

If you have qualms with anything coming out of Rolling Stone of value in regards to finance – the writer Taibbi is someone I’ve read many pieces from over the years and could write for the Wall Street Journal just as easily as RS. The March piece from Taibbi on AIG on the “Wall Street Revolution” is a masterpiece.

Writer Felix Salmon has some nice outtakes and his opinion on the Goldman piece…
• Suffice to say that in the second sentence of the piece Taibbi describes Goldman as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; later on, he calls it “the planet-eating Death Star of political influence”.
• Taibbi makes the case that it’s not just wheat futures which have been overrun by index speculation, but commodities in general and oil in particular. Indeed, Taibbi puts Goldman, Zelig-like, at the center of no fewer than four speculative bubbles: one in the 1920s in which Goldman-controlled entities ended up losing an astonishing $475 billion in today’s dollars; the tech bubble; the housing bubble; and the oil-price bubble ending in 2008. He calls the US “a gangster state, running on gangster economics”, and is very explicit about exactly who he thinks the gangsters are. (Clue: they paid just $14 million in tax on $2 billion in 2008 profits.)
• I don’t agree with all of Taibbi’s article, but I’m surprised at how much of it I do agree with, especially when it comes to the subject of regulatory capture. Taibbi spends no little time looking at Goldman subsidiary J Aron, and the semi-secret letter it was issued by the CFTC in 1991, the existence of which wasn’t even known to Brooksley Born, who was then the chair. The letter allowed Goldman to ramp up its activities in Chicago by orders of magnitude. When Congress asked to see the letter, the CFTC was careful to ask Goldman first if that would be OK.
• The chances that the Fed, or any other systemic risk regulator, will be able to rein in this powerful organization are probably slim. The best we can hope for, I think, is that Goldman will unilaterally decide to be a force for good in the world, rather than an inflator of bubbles and profiteer in busts.
This is not conspiracy theory stuff…… when so many people from so many places talk about all the smoke coming out from the crevices Рeither everyone is in a state of delusion OR jealous OR there is a lot of truth to what is happening in dark corners where we are not allowed to see. Sadly it appears there is no changing it Рjust part and parcel in living under financial oligarch.
Goldman Sachs (GS) will post incredible profits this quarter. ‚ÄúWe just raised the most money in secondary offerings ever in any quarter‚Äù‚Ķ.. as we diluted the pants off almost every major financial firm in America, and Goldman had its hand in almost every one. Not to mention all these bond offerings to keep the US borrowing machine going…. not to mention … well, expect a blowout quarter. And many more in the future… it’s Goldman’s sandbox.*
Find Matt’s article, The Great American Bubble Machine and devour it
• subject from a blog by Trader Mark

Nature’s Drive to Survive Keeps Me Entertained

blue_jayOn a gorgeous Amelia Island morning, sun rising over the rooftops on Fletcher Avenue, while sitting on the front porch indulging in two of my vices, coffee and nicotine, nature entertained me once again through its forces and intelligence unfolding in front of me; the spectacle of watching two Blue Jays chasing away a cat.

The cat’s desperate attempts to get to the nesting area high in the trees was strongly discouraged by two very confident and rather merciless Blue Jays in what seemed a strategic and detailed attack plan on the ‚Äúpoor‚Äù cat.

Now mind you, cats in general can be considered not easily deterred from their objectives by preying on little baby birds, which made the unfolding war-scene even more astounding.

The two Blue Jays with high pitched chirps and angry “high notes” undertook 50 to 60 dives towards the cat in a time span of no more than 15 minutes. While the cat was concentrating on avoiding one attack, still edging toward its objective, the second Blue Jay would commence its dive within a fraction of a second of the first Blue Jay dropping its bomb. No peace for the cat here. It was like in those old war movies with angry little Spitfires dive bombing in a constant rhythm.

At first the cat showed his or her determination to get to the nest, but within minutes it realized that its predator instinct was losing the battle to the will of the survival and protection of their offspring by the Blue Jays. The cat, giving up on the initial attempt, decided to hang around and stay close in case the tide would turn.

This was a mistake, a grave mistake. The birds where not satisfied with their territorial victory and were most definitely not going to allow the cat to stick around anywhere close to the nest. Oh no. The cat’s hopes of a changing tide were scattered the instant he or she dared to look up into the trees again only to be confronted by two sets of beaks closing in fast to what seemed to be an eye ball focused attack. Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” almost turned into reality right in front of my eyes

In all my life I have never seen a cat racing for shelter from two little birds, but here it was. The cat ended up licking her “wounds” under a boat trailer at a saf distance of these two vicious birds.

My faith in nature’s numerous scenarios for survival was once again restored in what could have been a cat and mouse game, but turned out to become a victory of the “drive to survive” over the sheer matter of “hierarchy in the food chain”.

Darwin’s survival of the fittest once again proved correct.

The cat never had a chance…

Communities in Schools

communities-in-schoolsFernandina Beach is the home to Communities in Schools which serves to assist the youth of Nassau County, Florida. This nonprofit organization focuses on students who are considered “at-risk”. Their mission to see every student graduate high school helps those who are faced with peer pressure, drug or alcohol abuse or are struggling in their studies. As schools lose funding they are no longer able to solve these problems alone.

Working with middle and high school students, Communities in Schools help with tutoring, mentoring and career exploration in individual, group and classroom settings. Governed by a Board of Directors that is compromised of education and business leaders in our community as well as volunteers who care to make a difference, this is the only comprehensive drop out prevention program available for these students in Nassau County.

Volunteers are always needed and you can help our children succeed. There are many opportunities available in Fernandina Beach, Yulee, Callahan and Nassau if you would like to help.

In 2008, Florida ranked 2nd in the nation in the prevalence of “dropout factories” with 49% of our high schools promoting fewer than 60% of their students. 2008) For more information visit their Web site and see what you can do to help!

Our Philosophy
“Communities in Schools believes that caring, one-on-one relationships between adults and young people make the crucial difference. Programs don’t change kids, relationships do. CIS creates comprehensive, locally controlled and owned support systems around schools. In partnership with the local school system, CIS identifies the most critical needs of students and families; needs that are preventing children from succeeding in school, and in life. CIS then locates and coordinates community resources, dedicated volunteers and agencies to serve in partnership with the public schools, both during the day and after school, thereby making the work of our educators much more effective. Thus, coordination of effort and accountability for results are essential aspects of the service CIS provides – because, too often, well-meaning programs are not focused on overall school objectives. CIS ensures that the work of these outside agencies and volunteers is interconnected and integrated to provide the support schools need the most.”

What to do July 4th on Amelia Island, Florida

july-4th-activities-amelia-islandMany activities are planned for the 4th of July activities in Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island, Florida. SearchAmelia’s Judie Mackie, shares with you the highlights of the week for locals, guests and vacationers starting with Trivia with Maggie upstairs at the Crab Trap on Wednesdays. The Independence Day weekend gets started with Sounds on Centre, this FREE family event lasts from 6 to 8 PM and includes Pirates, a street dance and live music by the band, “Out of Hand“.

Saturday’s July 4th Celebrations include more activities beginning at the Amelia Island Plantation at 9:00 AM with a parade, music, air show, bar-b-que and fireworks. 10:00 AM brings the Stars and Stripes Freedom Festival, brought to you by the City of Fernandina Beach and the Shiny Badges Ball. The festivities start at Central Park on Atlantic Avenue and then move into Historic Fernandina Beach during the evening. There is a wide variety of activities all day long including games, food, music, contests, a parade and fireworks over the waterfront at approx. 9:30 PM. At 3:00 PM, Blister returns to the Sandollar Restaurant on Hecksher Drive and the Ritz Carlton is hosting an event on their ocean view lawn from 6 to 9 PM for $75.00/adults and $35/kids thru age 12.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do, and if you really get bored, you can always go to the beach and watch the tourists get their cars stuck in the sand!

Getting Revenge on a Bad Financial Advisor

revengeA group of German investors is accused of kidnapping and torturing their financial advisor. The advisor, James Amburn, is alleged to have lost a fortune investing in Florida real estate. Police reports claim Amburn was beaten with a walker (aka Zimmer frame), burned with cigarettes, and chained up like an animal.

You’ve got to hand it to the Germans: They make great cars… and they don’t suffer bad financial planners lightly. Here’s one way to get back at a terrible financial advisor!

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