Five for Fixing, Part III….

1) Multiple person restrooms (those without locking doors) located in public venues, such as restaurants, shopping malls, casinos, amusement parks and movie theaters, etc., should be required by the NIH and OSHA to engineer their entrance doors to open as a pull door from the outside and as a push door from the inside…ALWAYS. People entering a public restroom will not care that they are forced to touch a door handle on their way in, but we all loathe any situation requiring us to touch the obviously germ-infested handles on our way outs, particularly those of us who make a habit of actually washing our hands after using the facilities.

2) Be it white collar, blue collar or maximum security prison, any person who serves time in jail during their lifetime, gets out after serving their sentence, and makes more than $100,000 per year (maybe less, but that would be a good starting point) at any time following their release, should be required to first repay the full cost in tax-payer dollars to keep them in prison throughout their sentence, and then pay a “prison tax” above and beyond their traditional tax requirements on a sliding scale, based on income.

The scale could ensure all moneys are repaid in full over the same period they were imprisoned, so for example, Michael Vick, who served nearly 2 years, would need to repay the full cost of his imprisonment over a two-year period, and since Vick earns a ridiculous salary, he would also need to pay the “prison tax” on top of said repayment, and continue to pay it for as long as he earned 6+ figures. Someone like Vick would be taxed an additional 25 to 30% over and above his tax bracket, making his total tax percentage somewhere around 60%. His ridiculous $100 million contract, if paid in full, would therefore net Vick around $40 million, minus whatever his total cost of imprisonment turned out to be.

It is totally ridiculous that people like Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, Plaxico Burress, Wesley “Demolition Man” Snipes, Michael Vick, Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, myriad Mafiosi, drug dealers, ponzi schemers, inside traders, embezzlers, DUI killers (like Donte Stallworth) and repeat offenders (like half of Hollywood), tax evaders, sex offenders, arms dealers, insurance fraud perpetrators, robbers et al are 100% free to make egregious sums of money without repaying the cost to taxpayers their crimes and others like them cost us every day.

I know. I know. They all pay their debt to society when serving their prison sentence. And I agree, in a moral sense. But financially I completely DISAGREE. There are costs to our society to have a criminal element among us. Police departments, prisons, auditors, and our entire court system to name a few spend billions in taxpayer dollars every year dealing with criminals of all types.

Compare this to our health system, which I agree is broken, but still helps make a case here. All of us who have health insurance are forced to pay even higher premiums and co pays to basically cover the costs of all the people who refuse or cannot afford to get insurance. Similarly, those criminals who will earn 6-figure salaries after serving time will be “covering” (or at least defraying) taxpayer costs for themselves as well as all the criminals who will not (and there are a lot more of them) as well as all the criminals who will never be released.

3) People (and by people I am generally referring to females, and possibly bottoms) need to stop referring to every milestone in a relationship or marriage as an anniversary. There is no such thing as a 5-month anniversary, or a 3-week anniversary. Anniversary is a word which derives from the Latin root word annus, which means YEAR, and versus, the past participle of vertere, meaning to turn. So while everyone is certainly entitled to celebrate 8 months together or 2 weeks together, please stop referring to the event as an anniversary. It completely dilutes and belittles true anniversary celebrations, and is frankly infantile, reminding people of early childhood when most of us referred to our ages in fractions. Moreover, our youth does not engage in celebrations upon turning 4 ¾ or 8 ½.

4) I think movie studios should raise their own stakes for cop-out decisions to remake a movie, whether it was a classic or not. With the pending release of an “updated” Footloose, and the atrocious recent performance of an updated “Arthur,” I had a pretty great epiphany. I am fine with ambitious updates of movies that market great stories to new generations in original ways. Last year’s release of True Grit by the Coen Brothers was a perfect example of re-releasing a classic movie with sharper writing, smart casting choices all while still honoring the original film with a modicum of deference and respect.




With Footloose, however, I am a bit skeptical. So, here is my recommendation, guaranteed to increase the stakes of releasing an updated film and generally heightening the experience for everyone. Every studio or producer that intends to update a previously released film should always have an addendum to their contract with the original studio/owner of the film when purchasing the rights. And if the same studio or owner of the film’s rights decides to update a film on their own, they still must be subject to this same addendum:

If the updated film fails to earn more than the original, when converting original box office receipts to present day dollars, all proceeds must be yielded to the original studio, cast and crew. If the updated film fails to break even, all future revenues attached to said update (including but not limited to international box office, DVD sales, television rights and merchandising) go to the original studio, cast and crew.

Recent releases “Fright Night,” and “Conan the Barbarian,” both updates of 1980s films, are not faring too well at the box office. Were my recommendation enacted, perhaps the Governator would have been right all those times he warned “I’ll be back.”

5) Why do armored truck companies like Brinks and Dunbar insist on emblazoning the sides of their trucks with the company name and the words “armored vehicle”? This is a clear signal to criminals to target that particular vehicle for a heist. I understand the advertising value inherent in name recognition, but there has to be a better, safer way. Banks put their name on the outside of their buildings because they NEED people to be able to find them, walk in and make deposits or secure loans. Armored trucks do not need or want people to find them.

The same principal holds true for police officers. Uniformed officers wear their uniforms and drive clearly marked police cars so that everyone around knows there is an officer of the law in the vicinity. It makes the innocent feel safer and deters criminals from committing crimes. But undercover police officers and detectives drive UNMARKED cars and wear civilian attire so they attract no attention. This allows them to perform their detective work and gain access to places and sometimes gangs or drug cartels unnoticed, to uncover massive injustice and illegal activity. It also allows some police officers and U.S. Marshalls to make our highways and airplanes safer by patrolling the roads and skies unbeknownst to other drivers and fliers. Similarly, unmarked armored trucks would be free to engage in their primary responsibilities without a blatant bulls-eye on their sides.

So to all armored truck companies, please rethink your strategy. Advertise on television, in periodicals and on-line. Put your name on billboards and in stadiums. This may not completely eliminate robbery attempts on your trucks, but it will certainly decrease their frequency.

1 Comment

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One response to “Five for Fixing, Part III….

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