Shuffling the Deck…American Style

We live in volatile times. First, we have the weather. Aside from debate about the cause being human activity, normal fluctuations, or solar activity, everyone will agree that the weather is more unpredictable than ever. Severe droughts are contrasted with unseasonal blizzards and monsoon-like floods, as Mother Nature shuffles the deck with our seasonal expectations.

We also have foreign relations and global politics. While disputes between groups that really don’t like each other very much are nothing new, it seems that tensions are higher than ever. Besides the usual nation-versus-nation disputes, we also have a human virus of religious zealots that infect weak-minded individuals inside otherwise stable countries, causing grief wherever it appears. And if that is not enough, we have the troubling fact that what used to be the leading nation of the free world (that would be the United States, in case you were wondering) is now the hostage of some Iranian Imams and an ex-KGB colonel bully.

On top of all this, we’ve got a global economy comprised of wildly-fluctuating markets and insolvent or nearly-so nations. Rising prices on just about everything, alongside unemployment, underemployment and the crest of another real estate bubble, are all resting upon an uncertain future built with unsustainable, mind-boggling debt. With all that’s happening, can anyone’s blood pressure really be normal?<> on April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.

In light of all this, I have to laugh at all the political pundits that seemed so surprised at what is happening in politics. On the democrat side, what was supposed to be a fait accompli is being shaken, not so much by the fact that the subject of the assumed coronation is a person of dubious character, but by the fact the closest challenger within her own party is a far-left, socialist—a person that would have been considered a radical kook ten years ago.

On the republican side, we have the so-called “outsiders,” with the current leader dominating polls to such a degree that those same pundits are tongue-tied. “He’s a good entertainer,” they say, or, “He’s getting air time only because he brings high ratings”—their tone often implying that Americans who support these fringe candidates are, shall we say, “less than intelligent.”

Candidate Trump with signed agreement

I have a newsflash for all of the political experts and media elitists: You are missing the point.
Despite the steady stream (with your obvious support) of propaganda for the past several years, our country is in big trouble and most Americans know it. They are hungry for responsible leadership, as they see direct threats to our national security and financial stability.

They have witnessed a systematic undermining of race relations and the erosion of our cultural and moral institutions. They are saying, “Enough is enough!” A majority of Americans see that the United States has been fundamentally changed, as promised, and they don’t like it.

No, the American people aren’t stupid— they’re desperate. And just like what Mother Nature’s doing with the weather, the American people are about to do with our leadership; they’re going to give the deck a good shuffle.


He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear HSSS,
I woke up the other day to an email from a friend I’ve known for 25 years. She said she no longer feels our friendship is beneficial and that, in essence, she is breaking up with me! She was never a great friend, more a taker than a giver, but my ego’s a little bruised. What do you make of this and should I respond?
~ Jane in Danville

He Said: With friends likes this, who needs enemies! First off, what kind of person does this? This is just plain weird and I think she’s telling you this to get some kind of reaction out of you. That being said, no, you should not respond. Unspoken words are so much louder in a situation like this. Your “friend” will go nuts trying to figure out why you didn’t respond and in the end, you’ll come out the winner. And if you absolutely feel the need to say something to this person, you should thank them and wish them the best. Doesn’t sound like she was much of a friend, and I’m sure you won’t even notice she’s gone.

She Said: I’m kind of impressed. Haven’t we all wanted to do this? Unfriending people is easy on Facebook, but directly? I’d have been even more impressed if she’d done it over lunch and then picked up the tab. You admit she was more a liability than a true friend, so let’s just be glad the trouble is over. Real friends stick with each other through thick and thin, so put the extra time you now have into those who deserve it. Respond if you want to, short and kind with honest understanding sprinkled in. Resist the need to engage. Onward and upward.

Dear SSHS,

Beautiful young girl paying by credit card for shoppingMy daughter is in her third year of college and has already gotten herself into financial trouble. Last year she was able to get a credit card and has already maxed it out and is no longer making payments because she doesn’t have a job right now. Should I help her out or let her get through this on her own?

She Said: As a fellow mom, I know the temptation of wanting to save our kids from themselves. We don’t want them to fall too far, lest they mess up their futures. But this is one that’s going to take a little love and logic to prevent her from doing it again. Advice, yes. Help, no. Advise her to call the credit card company and negotiate a lower rate. She’s going to need to get a job, which will cut into her social time, but again, we’re trying to teach a lesson. Help her set up a budget for how much she has to pay each month to get the balance down. It should hurt a little. There will be no more new shoes for a while. She’ll thank you later when it’s time to buy something really big, like a house or a car.

He Said: Bottom line is that your daughter got herself into this mess, therefore she can get herself out. And you should view this is as the perfect opportunity to teach your daughter one of life’s most important lessons about financial responsibility. Whatever you do, don’t let her off the hook, and don’t give her a single cent to pay off her debt. Tell her to get a part time job or even sell some of the stuff she bought with that credit card and she’ll have it paid off in no time. Just keep in mind that if you help her now, she’ll forever think of you as that piggy bank to turn to whenever she has moneyHeSaidSheSaidgraphic troubles.

Robin Fahr is a public relations specialist and co-host with Shawn Shizzo on Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at You can also catch He Said/She Said on Send your questions to

Trivial Voting

It has not been great appointment television, but the debates among the republican Presidential candidates has kicked off another election season. Seems like an appropriate time for some Presidential trivia, keeping it light and not historically important.

1. In 1950, Irving Berlin wrote a song for the Broadway musical “Call Me Madam” which became a campaign slogan two years later. What was it?

2. Before his presidency, JFK wrote a book heralding acts of bravery over the years exhibited by American heroes. What was the name of the book?

3. Which President was captain and first baseman for Yale baseball team?

4. In which movie did Ronald Reagan play George Gipp?

5. Bill Clinton showed a light side by playing what musical instrument on late night TV?

6. Which U.S. president was an All American center for the University of Michigan?

Eddie Papa’s American Hangout

Today we take a trip into Pleasanton and discover a building dripping with Americana. It is not very often that I find myself completely bowled over by a concept, and certainly not very often that I encounter a person like Eddie Westmoreland that has not only put all of his heart into a concept, but passionately seeks ways to keep the product and message fresh. Eddie Papa’s is the most unique restaurant that I have ever set foot in, and allow me to remind you that I have eaten freshly harvested goat off an outdoor table in Kenya.

Before any of my spy-savvy readers have a chance to blow my cover, allow me to expose the platform from which I write this month. As of earlier last month, and on select days, you can find me tending bar or even waiting the occasional table at Eddie Papas as my business partner and I fight tooth and nail to side step those pesky small business loans and I prepare for the March arrival of my baby girl. Eddie has just built an amazing front patio off of the bar area and was looking for seasoned veterans to help carry the bar message to the throngs of patrons that will come to discover us, some for the first time and some again because we already know their name. I printed my resume and headed out looking for Seth Thurman, the Bar Manager. I met Eddie right inside the door and we quickly grabbed a table to talk.

Eddie explained to me that he created the restaurant as an homage to the large family he continues to build, the rich culture of the Country we are lucky enough to wake up in everyday and most importantly his grandfather that came here via Armenia to live this American Dream. Eddie has nailed all that he has set out to accomplish.

Eddie Papa’s American Hangout is built on the G.F.U.N.D.: Genuine, Fun, Uncommon, Nostalgic and Delicious. The menu is a culinary history and geographic lesson from around the country boasting items like the real Hollywood Cobb Salad, Kansas City Ribs or Louisiana Jambalaya and Beignets, all made to the letter of where they originated. He has quarterly specials that pay homage to regions like the West Coast Korean Tacos (a tip of the hat to the food truck scene in LA). He even has S’mores with house-made marshmallows and open flame for their guests to prepare, and at the end of every meal, the guests (with child or not) gets hand spun cotton candy to cleanse the palette. This is the sheer definition of unique and nostalgic. These touches have put him at the top of rated family friendly restaurants in the Bay Area.

Then you head over to the bar. The concept here is Pre-Prohibition Era Bartending where bartending was an art form involving hand squeezed juices, fresh ingredients, infused syrups, fresh herbs and bitters. Couple all of this with showmanship and the requirement for the men to behave as gentlemen and the women like ladies and you really do have a bar that would have thrived in the early 1920’s.

Seth is a Cicerone. For those unaware, Cicerone is to beer what Sommelier is to wine, and Seth knows his beer! He hosts a remarkably well balanced and predominately local beer selection on draft in either 16oz or 24oz pours. Labels like 8 Bridges, 21st Amendment and Drakes drive the beer program and if you have spare time, get Seth talking about his whiskeys. This man knows his stuff and his back bar proves it.

I am truly honored to be a part of the happiness that Eddie is turning out from this location and my only desire now is that you stop taking my word for things. Come down and let me shake you a Broken Spoke!

4889 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 469-6266

More of Something Often Means Less of Something Else

At United Capital, we often say, “More of something often means less of something else.” We repeat this phrase to ourselves and to our clients because we believe that it captures an important investment truth that can help us reach our investment goals.In fact, it resonates so strongly with us that we’ve aligned our investment platform around prioritizing sometimes-conflicting goals.We’ve outlined how investors must choose between strategies that emphasize outperformance, protection, tax minimization, or low cost tracking to a benchmark. So what does this really mean? We contend that it highlights the investment choices we need to make when identifying the investment goal for a specific, individual account.

Consider, for example, the resources that must be expended in order to achieve outperformance relative to a benchmark index, and how that must necessarily move away from “low cost”solutions. Moreover,if that strategy successfully outperforms a benchmark, it will no longer closely track that benchmark, much less be tax efficient. In a similar vein, a strategy whose primary focus is on risk avoidance can’t, at the same time, take aggressive positions that could pay off handsomely, because it could instead suffer notable losses if the investment thesis doesn’t pan out. No investment professional has a crystal ball, so it is impossible to invest in a strategy that can exploit potential profits yet takes no risks at all. Opportunities, by definition, come with some sort of risk or another. Otherwise, they are not opportunities.

By prioritizing which matters most to you for each of your particular accounts – low cost tracking, outperformance, tax minimization, or protection – we aim to provide solutions that best fit with your highest need for a specific account. Of course, these are spectrums, not a yes/no decision. One can have degrees to which an investment focuses on say outperformance. In fact, the spectrum can be quite broad. Even within the same investment series, you can choose, hypothetically, between a 100% equity version and a balanced version that contains varying elements of fixed income.

Of course, every investor is a complex individual and often has many nuanced investment objectives and accompanying emotions about investing. The answer of how to address these competing agendas is to reconcile your asset constituencies with your various, competing investment goals. Many clients have different accounts representing distinct pools of funds, each with a separate time horizon and investment objective. One may invest a retirement account entirely different from the college savings account for a child now entering high school. And then the same client may have one pool of funds with which they can take absolutely no risk and another pool of funds with which they can afford to take significant risks, depending on the ultimate goals that those funds serve. Each account may have a different objective – and thus a different solution, on a different axis on our platform, all aggregating up to a very multi-faceted approach to investing.

That means that our paradigm of viewing our investment platform holds true when one disaggregates your entire finances into a more easily understood (not to mention more actionable) framework of how to invest each of your individual accounts. And it is at this juncture where our platform fits into the equation.

By identifying where a particular portfolio fits along these axes, you can easily conceptualize the idea that more of something often means less of something else. A greater emphasis on protection by necessity means that one can’t focus on outperformance or follow a lowest-cost index strategy, and so on. By putting investments into this framework – and selecting investment vehicles that match your specific and mutually exclusive goals for an account – we can best help you achieve your goals. And by understanding this trade-off upfront, your journey to your investment destination will likely take a more satisfying and appealing route.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal, and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. The information contained in this piece is intended for information only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.

An investor cannot invest directly in an index. Moreover, indices do not reflect commissions or fees that may be charged to an investment product based on the index, which may materially affect the returns presented.

© 2015 United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Too Much Exfoliating Damages Skin

While doctors all over the country are selling strong abrasive exfoliant products to skim off wrinkles, what women don’t realize is their skin is becoming extremely thin and deficient in nutrients, thus the skin cannot maintain its elasticity, so wrinkles form faster. Not only is the skin getting thinner it gets dehydrated by using those strong exfoliants because it can no longer retain moisture as long. Once the skin becomes dehydrated it can no longer carry out its protective barrier role. If this continues, we’ll have more sun damage and skin cancer than ever before.

Ever wonder why physicians are telling everyone to use sunscreens? It’s because the protective barrier in our skin is gone. I see many in this generation having transparent, thin, ruddy, saggy and damaged complexions. Their skin is so thin you can barely touch the surface without breaking capillaries. Rosacea is at an all time high because women are overusing exfoliant products, trying to smooth wrinkles. It’s a sign that their skin can’t take it anymore.

Obage, Retinols, Glycolic Acid Peels, skin smoothing laser treatments are all to blame, to name a few. The prescribing physicians do not have time to oversee the care of each person, so month after month the patient keeps purchasing the same product without any direction, thus continuing on the same exfoliating path, ruining the surface of their skin. This problem is a global epidemic. Strong exfoliant treatments are at a new all time destructive high and it’s damaging effects are creating havoc to women all over the country.

While some of these exfoliant products can be very beneficial, you should not over use them. Period. You need a “Nutrients in your skin care program,” to build lasting suppleness and youthfulness to the skin. To properly apply strong exfoliating treatments you should only use them, “for one month,” (preferably in the winter months), and follow with highly nutritive products for the next three months, to heal the damaging effects of the exfoliants.

I recommend using pure, pharmaceutical-grade ingredients at optimal concentrations with proven scientific results so they can aid in building up the surface of the skin to achieve a strong foundation; nutrients that have building properties like DMAE, Lipoic Acid, Ester-C, Co-Enzymes, Peptides and Vitamin E. Pharmaceutical products can be found at licensed Aestheticians salons only.

Women with sensitive skin should never use strong exfoliants. Sensitive skin is already thin and exhibits inflammatory responses to various triggers such as allergens, preservatives or fragrances. Furthermore products that contain aroma-therapy often cause severe acne and dermatitis. Sensitive skin types require pure pharmaceutical-grade nutrients that have no fragrance to keep the skin healthy, free from break-outs, less irritated and hydrated properly. Women with acne have very sensitive skin, so they need to use a skin care program that is high in nutrients and is labeled for sensitive skin and is fragrant free.

It’s no wonder women are complaining of pre-mature aging. Strong exfoliants don’t promise one youthful skin! The key to beautiful skin is “Nutritive Pharmaceutical Treatments,” to keep the skin smooth, firm and youthful.

For additional information on the correct skin care program for your skin type, The Rouge Offers skin care consultations Tuesday through Saturday. The Rouge Licensed Aestheticians and professionals will get you on the right path and assist you with the right skin care program for the health of your skin’s future. Note: Doctors sell deep exfoliating treatments not nutritive treatments and or programs. Not all Aestheticians use Pharmaceutical grade skin care, so ask for pharmaceutical grade when purchasing products. These superior pharmaceutical ingredients build the skin’s structure from the inside out, allowing the skin to repair and restore the infrastructure.

Eugene O’Neill: No Trivial Playwright

September in Danville will be devoted to the memory of Ameroca’s greatest playwright, Eugene O’Neill. Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller are more well known to those of us who grew up in the latter part of the last century, but O’Neill, with a prodigious output, was the only American playwright to win a Nobel Prize. Let’s take a short day’s journey into his life.108_4_2

1. The most notable plays of O’Neill’s life were written while residing in a home in Danville. An easy one, by what name do we know this house?

2. A 1949 classic is set in a bar with the principal players being Hickey and Harry Hope. What is that play?

3. Greta Garbo’s first talking movie was a film version of which O’Neill play?

4. In 1940, four of O’Neill’s seagoing short plays were made into a great John Ford movie featuring John Wayne. What was the movie called?

5. O’Neill moved to Danville due to medical conditions relating to his wife. What was her name?

6. One of O’Neill’s daughters, Oona, married a famous Hollywood star. Who was he?

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