Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Benefit of Getting Older

There's not a lot of enthusiasm among most people for getting older; oh, sure, teens want to be older, but after 21, being older just seems to lose its appeal. Muscle tissue weakens and sags, vision and hearing start to weaken, and memory is often relegated to things that happened many years ago while forgetting to turn the stove off on a regular basis. The worst fear of most of us, I think, is the dreaded trip to the nursing home...a fact of life (though mostly death) for most of us. Actually, lying in bed most of the day, having meals prepared and someone to give me a bath seem pretty darn good on most days when I have to drag myself out of bed long before I really want to and take care of those ADL's on my own. One visit to a nursing home cures anyone of that notion, though, and I think the worst part of all of that assails me as I walk in the door: there seems to be that "old person" smell all around. New evidence suggests, though, that older people actually smell BETTER than younger people! Johan Lundstrom, a neuropsychologist in Philadelphia (originally from Sweden) noticed one day that the nursing homes in this country smelled exactly like the ones at which his mother had worked in Sweden and set out to discover why old people smelled like that. He found, however, that older people did NOT, of themselves, smell bad at all! Here's what he did: Lundstrom got 41 volunteers between the ages of 20-95 to sleep in T-shirts for five nights that had nursing pads sewn into each armpit. During the day, the pads were removed and placed in freezer bags to eliminate the possibility of bacteria growing while the pads were not "in use." The participants took showers every night before bed with odor-free soap and shampoo, and the rest of the sleepwear was washed in odor-free detergent. The volunteers were also restricted from eating spicy foods which might otherwise affect the result.. After the five days, the pads were removed and cut into smaller sections and placed in sealed jars. Several pieces from various participants were placed in each jar, though all segments came from people of roughly the same age so as not to confound the results. Some of the results were no-brainers, but the one concerning the old people was somewhat startling. Keep in mind that all samples had a distinctive odor: some was less offensive than others. The study proved: 1. men smelled more than women, in general. 2. People aged 75-95 smelled FAR more pleasant that men 45-55...the group whose odor was the worst. 3. Women in the 45-55 age group had the most pleasant odor. Scientists have long felt that olfactory sense is used in a wide range of activities such as picking out romantic partners, distinguishing kin from strangers and distinguishing men from women. I would add that no study needed to be done concerning the association between smell and foot or smell and what Dad leaves around the Laz-E-Boy then blames on the dog. This, as we get older, there is one less thing we have to worry about. Now I have to see if I can get somebody to wait on me hand and foot while I still have most of my senses about me. A pleasant odor being one of them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dodged a Bullet Here!

Most people fail to understand the dark side of certain creatures. Oh sure, we ALL know about vampires, werewolves and those people that ring your doorbell, religious tract in hand. We usually are very aware of walking through deserted streets or graveyards at night, and we almost always lock our doors to forestall any intrusion by brain-eating zombies. Sadly, though, most of us are totally oblivious to the danger that lurks right outside in the flowerbeds. I'm referring to the ever-increasing horde of wild animal that is threatening our very existence; no, not the Burmese python that has overrun the Everglades to such an extent that most mammals have been wiped out as well as a fair number of alligators and neighbors' poodles. I'm referring to what I consider to be America's number one wild animal problem: rabbits. Oh sure, they're cute with all that hopping and twitching, and it would not be Easter (heretofore a religious holiday) without Peter Cottontail pooping eggs all over the place, and probably Peeps as well.The Disney people have given us characters such as Thumper as a way to make the critters seem more disarming, but the fact is, it's not just the plants they are eating. Gardeners everywhere, of course, decry the yearly intrusion of rabbits into newly-flowering gardens. They nibble the choicest parts of tulips just as these harbingers of spring arrive. In many cases, the destroyers only nibble enough to kill the plant as it blooms, then leave the rest. They are seem to be selective as well, nibbling parts of various plants and spitting out the distasteful ones like daffodils. This year, a tomato plant fell victim to the scourge of multiplicity, so at long last, I considered it my duty to try to eradicate the vermin. Putting pepper around plants is supposed to rebuff the buffet, but there were just too many massing in the yard to ignore. Rather than wage war with pellet guns, swords and arrows, I decided to do the Marlon Perkins thing and trap them alive, releasing them in a wooded area as fodder for the hawks, foxes and geese (I know geese probably don't hunt rabbits, but I needed a third local critter, and all the raccoon seem to get squashed on the road). Of course, releasing the dangerous rabbit into the wild is an exercise fraught with peril since, upon release, one is just as likely to rip out a captor's throat as trot off into the safety of the woods. I know this because I saw it in a movie once (see YouTube URL below). Fortunately, I am alive today to tell the tale. Having detained the voracious creature, thrashing wildly, in a wire trap (it not me), I carefully lifted it into the back of my car and drove to the nearest wooded area alongside the university golf course. Helmeted, gloved and covered in kevlar, I cautiously opened the trap, fully expecting a vicious assault by the maddened rodent/killer, and, for a moment, it looked as if it wanted to gorge itself on my flesh. Ultimately, though, it hippety-hopped its way into the trees seeking out those less-protected golfers on the fifth fairway. As it bounded away, I made sure to shout, "Watch out.There are geese all over the golf course!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Those Swiss Think of Everything

I don't mind the TSA in airports; actually, it is somewhat comforting to now that someone is checking for dangerous material, even if they are seeing my nekkid person in a photo. I think it's like being a gynecologist: seen one, seen 'em all. I was somewhat surprised in Dallas a while back when I was selected for "special" search by an agent who suggested that I was less than foresightful in my choice of pants...ones I have worn through airports for ten years because they do not have a belt. Apparently, the zippers (all 7 of them) caused some consternation. Anyway, the unfailingly polite TSA person did not grope me and seemed almost embarrassed that he had to pat me down in, um, sensitive areas. I just laughed and told him to stop apologizing and get on with it. It's not like I had a knife hidden. That family heirloom got taken away in San Francisco some years ago when my friend Patty wouldn't try to sneak it through for me. Anyway, the Victorinox company from Switzerland is about to come to my rescue. The company, founded 130 years ago to make stainless steel knives for the Swiss army, first started producing its famous "Swiss Army" knife a.k.a. the Swiss Officers' and Sport Knife back in 1897 and even today produces about 35,000 of them a day. The company was named by combining the founder's mother's name (Victoria) and a French phrase "acier inoxydable" (meaning unknown to me...probably something like "Don't run holding that sharp object.") Of course, the 9/11 terrorist attack dampened sales by 30% so the ingenious Swiss had to retool (as it were), given the scrutiny of TSA; but now, the company has come up with a "flight" model. No knife is available on this one, but it DOES have a handy flash drive so a traveler can take all his or her documents along. The problem I see, however, is what to call it. Obviously, the word "knife" cannot be part of the monicker, and Swiss Army USB Drive doesn't roll off the tongue. The Swiss are ingenious, though, and I'm sure they will come up with something Patty would agree to carry for me next time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Loo, Loo, Skip By the Loo

It is a problem that probably affects both sexes, but it seems to me that women are far more squeamish about the condition of public restrooms than men are. Of course, women have a more complicated procedure to undergo than men do...for half of the duties, anyway. As a result, I will give them a pass in the area of "cleanliness freak" in this area. I've never had to try to relieve myself while squatting over an open hole in the floor, hanging on to handrails for support...women I know have had to do so. Picturing it was somewhat amusing, but had it been me, I would have slipped and fallen...uh...cheek first on the no doubt slippery floor. It's just easier for guys to go out behind a tree or...well, let's just leave it at that. On the other hand, I cannot imagine myself sitting on a contraption that shoots water up at me, either, so I may be just a middle-of-the-road guy when it comes to the W.C. Still, I would hate to live in know, the country that fines a person for spitting on the sidewalk or launching used-up chewing gum? It seems that the sanitary conditions in the public facilities are less than desirable, according to BBC reporter Michael Bristow who notes that he will use one only in the most dire emergency (and we've ALL had those, haven't we?). Bristow's account mentions that one can always smell a public facility in Beijing LONG before it comes into view; this is probably due to the fact that most people who live in that city do not have a private bathroom in their apartment/hovel or wherever they reside. Imagine a city densely packed as Beijing must be in which everyone rushes to the washroom on the corner! Bristow also points out that such facilities almost never have soap OR toilet paper! WOW! This thought makes the Port-A-Potty in the park a five-star accommodation, in my book! Now, however, the Chinese government is attempting to rectify the issue by issuing new standards of cleanliness regarding a limit on how many discarded items should be found (2) without the washroom being in violation of public health restrictions. There is also a new standard on odor as well as a dictate that notes signs must be in English as well as in Chinese...not sure why that would be. Public facilities are always easy enough to spot; it's not like anyone would confuse such a place with a subway entrance...but then, I've not yet been to China. Finally, in an attempt to show that the government is totally committed to cleaning up (so to speak) the problem, a public bathroom that contains more than two flies will be considered in violation. Now THAT'S a standard we can all live with!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Even the Paranoid Have Real enemies

It's a plot Ian Fleming might have been proud to call his own. The potential for mystery is unlimited, and an entire country is looking over its collective "shoulder" finding plots everywhere...and believing every one of them! McCarthyism is alive and Turkey...and I don't blame them at all. Sitting amid the ever-increasing rhetoric of the Middle East and its fight with enemies near and far (though mostly the Israelis) has made Turks nervous. Two years ago, nine Turkish Islamists were killed by Israelis when they tried to break through the Israeli blockage of Gaza, so one might understand the suspicion, though Turkey has always been a somewhat mysterious place. Bridging both Europe and Asia means divided loyalties as much as the division between Christian and Moslem has created suspicion since the Crusades...or perhaps even earlier, as Atilla the Hun is said to have attempted an attack on Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul). Thus, it's no wonder that government agencies are a bit skittish, seeing would-be plotters and spies all around. But a European Bee-eater? really? It seems that a dead bird fitting this description was found lying on the ground near a village in Turkey. Not a real surprise, I guess, since it IS a migratory bird. However, there was a metal band attached with the word "Israel" inscribed on it. Spooked villagers took the cadaver to authorities who went so far as to contact an elite anti-terrorism group to decipher the mystery. It was discovered that this particular bird had unusually large nostrils, and the fear escalated that there might be a microchip hidden inside fitted for surreptitious activities. Fortunately, no such spy equipment was located, and everyone breathed a bit easier. This example seems far-fetched to you and me, maybe, but whoever thought men using a joystick thousands of miles away could launch bombs from drones? I'd be nervous if I were in Turkey (or Israel, for that matter), too! And I watch out for suspicious bird activity in my neighborhood as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Just NOT Done!

Sacrosanct...Iconic...legendary...Some things are just meant to be one-of-a-kind brain-seared images and/or cultural signposts...never to be challenged, never to be copied...held in such religious awe that nobody should even think of invading the revered space. Then, there is everything else like the vast array of reality television or copycat fashion items here today and gone next week...only to reappear in twenty years just to make us say, "I should have kept that..." I suspect that there have been copycats since before the Romans aped the Greeks' civilization by changing the names of the gods (like nobody would know!), then self-destructing in somewhat the same way. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I guess it's flattering to be copied for a really good idea, but still, there are some things better left alone. Anyway, I'm not an American Idol fan...or a Dancing With The Stars aficionado. Any program that asks the average American to judge the worthiness of an artistic performance is shrouded in hypocrisy. "I don't know art, but I know what I like," is NOT an acceptable criterion for evaluating talent. Nor is, "I'm voting for ________ because he (or she) is hot!" As a result of my bias, the opening to one of those "talent" shows caught my attention through the closed door and set me off...again. This show had the audacity to coverTHE most important band of the rock 'n' roll era with a group of nobody musicians and wanna-be singers. Brutal. So, I've decided to list a number of things that one should NEVER do...cultural boundaries NEVER to be crossed. Of course, it's all opinion, but I think you'll have to agree with at least some of my choices. According to a Jim Croce song, one should never do any of the following: 1. Tug on Superman's cape (sans Kryptonite). 2. Spit into the wind (to which I would add "pee" for guys). 3. Pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger (even though he often disguised himself as the "old prospector," and nobody EVER figured it out.) Okay, I guess I can go along with those, but I have some to add: 4.Refuse an invitation from the president to visit the White matter WHAT your political affiliation (as several sports "stars" have done). 5. Kick or otherwise maltreat children or puppies (though it's OK by me to push cats away). 6. Hit or cheat on one's significant other...ever...(the stink eye is acceptable on occasion). 7. Use a foot wedge while playing golf (take your punishment like n adult...and swear a lot). 8. Budge in front of or in the middle of ANY line on Black Friday unless you have a death wish. 9. Wear underwear more than one day at a time. 10. Cover a Beatles' song...under no circumstance...ever...ever...even if you're Joe Cocker or a house musician or contestant on American Idol. You're just embarrassing yourself. Eat slimy bugs on a dare or something, but do NOT cover The Beatles. ever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Told You So!

The Skechers folks are finally facing the music I foreshadowed months the tune of a $40 million fine for false advertising with regard to its line of "toning" sneakers. It appears that the exorbitant claims of "increased muscle action, toning of legs, abs and thighs in ways traditional fitness shoes cannot" were not exactly on the up and up. According to David Vladek, the Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, additional claims concerning weight loss and cardiovascular fitness increases were also misleading, if not outright false. Models of the rocker-bottomed shoes that included the Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups have been proven woefully inadequate. This tone-up shoe fantasy got a huge boost from the 2011 Super Bowl ad featuring Kim Kardashian firing her personal trainer to depend solely on her Skechers for that fabulous, uh, build. Of course, when one's ONLY claim to any kind of fame is a sex video, I would say "Caveat emptor" to anyone gullible enough to buy the product. The announcement by the FTC follows a similar one a year ago when Reebok settled a similar suit over its "Easy Tone" shoe, supposedly so good that it would "Make your boobs jealous." I told you so...but so did the researchers at UW-LCrosse in their studies last year. There IS one born every minute. But, hey, if you bought a pair of the $60-$100 shoes, maybe you, too can get some money from the settlement. After all, I'll wager that you didn't see the results promised. KK got paid, so you should, too. Of course, her money went toward a personal trainer (or plastic surgeon). Yours will go toward new running shoes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Slinky Was A Fad, Too!

Half of all Americans polled recently in an Associated Press/CNBC survey responded that they thought the Facebook phenomenon was merely a fad. That's an odd image: fads usually appear, rise to prominence, then disappear with none the wiser. Let's see, some phenomena that might fit that criterion...disco? bell-bottomed pants? midriff-baring tops? representative government? Anyway, you get the idea that fads are supposed to fade away. Facebook has been with us for eight years and has grown to produce a BILLION dollars (just picture Dr. Evil doing that thing with his little finger) in the first quarter of this year. Not even the hula hoop generated that kind of cash. Figuring that there are approximately 900 million users worldwide, it would seem that Facebook is something more than a cultural one-night-stand. Forty percent of the Americans polled indicate that they log on at least once a week to keep up with whatever is happening with people they know. Here's the deal, though...Facebook is going public this week, offering shares at between $34 and $38 per. There are, however, signs of trouble. General Motors just dropped its ads from the Facebook site, and everyone knows that's how The Zuck makes money: those somewhat intrusive ads on the right-hand side of the page. Does General Motors know something we don't? Here's something it might have learned from the same poll: 57% of those polled indicate that they have never, ever opened one of the ads while going through the site. That statistic might give a company looking for a gold mine pause. If you're rushing to the checkbook to see how much you can invest, you're probably out of luck. Remember when Google went public? I knew it would be huge and thought seriously about scratching together some scratch; foolish of me, it was, since by the time an investor like myself could even buy the stock, it had shot up to a price well out of my range. The same will probably happen to Facebook...the people with serious cash will cash in, and the rest of us will have to satisfy ourselves with what we have stuffed in the coffee can or mattress. Such is financial life at the bottom. Maybe I'm happier than Zuckerberg, though.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Truth Is In Short Supply

Cole Hamels Is NOT A Politician An unusual thing happened this, an extraordinary thing happened this week. It involved someone, out of the blue, telling the truth about less-than-acceptable intentions with the knowledge that "no good deed goes unpunished." In short, Cole Hamels, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, admitted that he threw a baseball with the express intention of hitting a batter. If you know the story, there's no point in my continuing with it; if you don't, well, there's no real point in my continuing except to say that pitchers throw at hitters "accidentally" all the time: sometimes in retribution. Nobody was surprised then, when the opposing pitcher plunked Hamels on the leg during his next at-bat. The difference? The second pitcher claimed that the ball just "got away from me. I meant to go outside, and it went inside." Of course, nobody, including both pitchers, managers, umpires, the thousands in attendance and literally everyone in the universe with any knowledge of how baseball is played "old school," believed it for a minute. That's what life has become, especially the sporting life: pretend something was an accident, and maybe you'll get away with it (until somebody rats you out a la New Orleans Saints.) For being honest, Hamels was suspended for five games. The person who "accidentally" hit him got no punishment whatsoever. However, lest you think this is merely another junket into the sporting kingdom, it's not. After careful consideration, I have determined that we actually lie a LOT in our everyday lives; even though we do not often follow such prevarications with a nudge and a wink, there is no doubt that we are straining our credibility quite often. Here is a list (in no particular order of frequency) of those lies we think we're getting away with: 1. No, that doesn't make you look fat. 2. Of course I want to go. 3. I can love the sinner but hate the sin. 4. I will reach across the aisle. 5. I love you, too. 6. It wasn't my fault. 7. I'm busy that night. 8. No, of course I'm not angry with you. 9. Nothing's the matter. 10. You don't look like you've aged a day. Well, you get my drift. I'm sure you can make up your own list of altered-states-of-truth that proliferate. You may have some that you use with regularity. If not, the political season is just heating up. Take some notes.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Take Two Every Four Hours

What do you take for a snake headache? I'm not going to Guam. Not now. Not in the near future. Perhaps never. And there are two million reasons: brown tree snakes. In a country that is a mere 30 miles long and about 6 miles wide, there are more than 2 million venomous critters like the one pictured. One would be hard pressed to swing a dead cat without hitting (and presumably angering) one of these three-foot snakes, it would seem. Power outages are so frequent from snakes slithering along the power lines that they've become known as "brown outs." It is reported by the BBC that people have even awakened with the reptile lying beside them in bed. No thank you. Explaining the explosion is easy...eradicating the nuisance is proving a headache. It used to be that one needed to fear only avian waste from, it gets more dangerous. It is postulated that the snakes, native to New Guinea, got to Guam at the end of WWII when military equipment was moved from Papua to Guam for refurbishing. Some (or maybe just one pregnant female) snakes came along, and with no natural predators to halt the (re) production of snakes, they quickly began to eradicate the bird population (being in trees, you see). After 10 of 12 native bird species had been wiped out, experts figured that since the bird population had been decimated, the snakes would begin to die off...there being no food source. This is a typical reaction in nature to overpopulation. As it happened, though, the snakes adapted and began dropping to the ground to feast on small mammals and climbing into beds across the country and whatnot. Now the problem has reached epic proportion, and the country has begun suing elite parachute troops to stem the tide. In hopes of eradicating the slithery suspects, mice loaded with acetaminophen have been parachuted (really!) into the dense, overhead foliage, tempting the snakes with an easy meal without all that strenuous climbing and without screaming people to distract them. It would appear that, while the main component of aspiring can ease pain in people, it is a major deterrent to life among the snake population. it's time to buy stock in any company that makes aspirin! And stay away from Guam, no matter what the travel brochures tempt you with!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Environmental Conscience? Not in Green Bay

SHOP BASS PRO SHOP BUT NOT CABELA'S! It was a sad day for environmentalists today in Green Bay. I normally avoid soap box material, but I cannot allow this to pass unnoticed. Last year, the legislature in Wisconsin sidestepped Department of Natural Resources recommendations and declared wetlands in Green Bay suitable for development at the request of the Green Bay Packers. The would-be development would have been anchored by a Bass Pro Shop retail outlet that would, of course, create jobs, visibility, and, of course, a different kind of potential visitor to Lambeau Field. There was an outcry (though moderate, I suspect) from environmentalists that was pooh-poohed by the politicos and the Packers Executive Committee. As my civic duty, I decided to call the headquarters of Bass Pro Shops to offer my two cents' worth of concern about destroying a wetlands in the name of corporate greed. To my great surprise, Bass Pro Shop eventually backed out of the project, indicating that its reputation as an outdoor-friendly operation could not support destroying a wetland: a logical, responsible stance, in my opinion. In steps Cabela's and chain very similar to Bass Pro Shops, and I suspect, a direct competitor. Undaunted by the destruction of a wetland, the company announced today that it would begin building a retail outlet on the very site currently designated as wetlands. Of the 21-acre parcel owned by the Green Bay Packers, LLC. 12 are considered wetlands. The city also noted that 1.6 acres of wetlands would be created somewhere else to make up for the potential destruction of the wetland by new construction. Fine so far, but what about the flora and fauna that will no longer have access to the REST of the wetlands that remain? Traffic, trash and other human detritus will soon destroy what's left. Plans have already been mentioned for additional retail space including restaurants. No Big Deal, you say? Ask the rapidly-disappearingwildlife in Florida what happens when developers and lawmakers are in cahoots. I will never set foot in Cabela's here or anywhere else. That'll show 'em.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

"She Who Must Not Be Mentioned" 2.0

I really have to feel sorry for Richard "Ric" Grennell. Here was a guy with impeccable political credentials as a political strategist who had also been the United States spokesman at the U.N under four ambassadors and served then-president Bush with great dignity and valor. Cast aside. In the latest "Boy! Who could have seen THAT coming?" episode that is politics as (sadly) usual. This is not a political rant as such. This is not designed to demean a party, a campaign or a particular individual, especially not Grennell. But, seriously! I could have predicted this sordid saga (and did) three weeks ago. Exactly WHAT were these people thinking? Grennell was hired in early April to be a political strategist for Mitt Romney's upcoming push for the presidency. Having cleared the field of all the flotsam with an eye on the incumbent, Romney made what his advisors said was a solid choice in appointing Grennell. That appointment ended abruptly this week when Grennell "resigned" his position...a highly-valued political veteran was cast aside out of fear: fear of people like Sean Harris and his potential influence on voters. If you have yet to hear the Harris story, let me fill you in: Harris is a minister in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Not coincidentally, North Carolina is voting soon on a provision that would allow same-sex marriage. This is what Harris had to say from the pulpit last Sunday: "The second you see your son dropping that limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist." "Man up. Give him a good punch." I don't remember Jesus EVER saying something about being violent toward one's fellow man, let alone his or her children. Oh, there are plenty of two-sentence fragments one can take from the Bible to promote such violence against children, but I thought we'd all somewhat agreed that hitting kids was a bad thing. Anyway, because the extremists on the right howled heavenward, it was decided that Grennell had to go. Never mind that he could have been a savvy political mind who could have benefitted something of a stagnant campaign with his knowledge. The fact of his sexuality was too damning to overcome...and it's not like he was secretive about it. So how could those vetting such a person "fail to spot potential hazards"? This has an eerie flashback to four years ago. WWJD? Forgive.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Reality of Living Here

Despite the recent surge in economic factors as well as the Dow-Jones Industrial Average eclipsing its highest figure in four years, many people still think money is in relative short supply. Nobody seems to have enough, and the lottery seems to be the only way to get more. I've often said things like, 'I should just move to a developing country where my money would go a lot farther. Heck, I could even be king in some of those places!" All of that, of course, was more bluster and naiveté than anything else. With the monetary exchange rate abroad and the dollar wasting away, it was a sucker bet to think that would work (except maybe in a place like Greece where NOBODY seems to have any money and the food is still great!). And I knew it. But now, some news comes from the International Labour Organization (an arm of the United Nations) that I might be better off staying right here. For the first time ever, this organization has released its figures that show in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) where the most lucrative places are to live in the world. Not that this was an easy task, mind you. The organization chose to, first of all, limit its study to the top 72 countries in the world in terms of employment numbers. Some countries are so poor that almost nobody works so it would be unfair to include them in the study. Next came the hard part: discovering how much money was paid out in wages in each country as well as the number of people employed in each country. I should note that self-employed individuals were not counted, nor were those people unfortunate enough to be receiving social welfare aid. Having somehow ascertained the total wage and numbers of earners, the ILO added the money all together and divided by the number of wage earners to come up with an "average" wage earned throughout the world. Since the PPP reflected the cost of living, each country had to be weighed somewhat differently. Thus, the money earned in China would be weighted differently that the wage earned in, say, Australia where there are far fewer wage earners. The BBC website allowed readers to calculate their place on the world's economic stage via a simple mathematical calculation based on the country in which one lived and the monthly wage. Want some fun? Find out where YOU are on the scale by accessing the website listed below. While not nearly at the top, I am definitely ahead of most of the world and happy to be where I am!