For Orlando…

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Today we gather in remembrance — to honor the lives of the 49 dead and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Their families grieve — and we grieve with them.

The man who committed this heinous crime pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State — and ISIS, in kind, has claimed victory in this massacre.

Today, we the citizens of Apex stand to say, “We are Americans. We are a nation of free people. You can not intimidate us, nor kill our people with impunity, nor put us under the oppression of your sharia law.”

We also mourn the loss of the child at the Disney resort and offer our prayers and support to the parents as they bear the weight of their family tragedy. Orlando has born much in the past week. And we pray for them.

For all these souls, lost, wounded and bereaved, we lay this wreath.


Lance Olive, Mayor

Apex, NC

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Magical Misery Tour

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There is something magical about sitting in a cozy setting listening to musicians that you’ve listened to for 30 years. Even though the songs are new, the feeling is familiar and harkens to a simpler time in my college days.

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Mike Roe, Derri Daugherty and Chris Taylor performed tonight at Rock’n’Roll High School in Apex, NC. It was an intimate affair, which is to say, there were a dozen or so of us there.

But the songs, oh, the songs! This event was full of masterful performances that only this small gathering will enjoy tonight.

Mike (77s), Derri (The Choir) and Chris are starting a tour called Misery Loves Company and Apex is “the second rehearsal,” as Michael quipped.

The older, more seasoned musicians, made Chris feel at home as the new younger guy, inviting him to join in the ad lib banter. And he’s growing into the role well. His talent and style fit right in.

If this tour comes anywhere near you, catch them while you can. It’s the sound of magic.

How Long Should You Wait Between Pets?

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When we lose a pet, how long should we wait before replacing them?

When we lose a pet, how long should we wait before replacing them?

Most of us know what it’s like to lose a pet. It comes with a sense of loss that hits us daily between one and four weeks until we finally acclimate to the absence of our once regular companion. It doesn’t take long for us to want to replace that pet.

So how long should you wait before you get another pet?

Sixty-two percent of American households have at least one pet. This says a lot about our human need for companionship. Singles especially enjoy the companionship of having “someone” else at home, with whom they can share their space. Young couples get pets for parent practice. Families get them for kids. Empty nesters get them to replace the void left by their grown children.

But when a pet dies, we are faced with the dilemma of replacement. Do it too soon and it feels somehow disrespectful. Waiting gives you time to think the whole thing through and perhaps make a change.

Here are three things you should do before you get a new pet.

Wait until you have fully grieved.
Emotionally we need time to heal. We just committed several years of our lives to our pet and we need to deal with our feelings. Walking in the door isn’t the same when there is no “one” there to greet you or depend on you to fill the food dish. But it’s good for us to shed a tear or two. It’s healthy and normal for us to ache when we see the pillow in the corner or the toy beside the chair. Embrace those emotions until they fade — that’s when you’ll know you’ve healed.

Evaluate your new situation.
In order to prepare for the future, you need to understand your current situation. Do you have a fenced yard? Will you likely need to move soon? Do you travel regularly? Would a different pet bet a better fit? Now is the time to think through and plan well. It might be appropriate to wait until you move or improve your home. Do you prefer a dog that barks less than before? Or a cat that is more sociable? You might need to switch from dog to cat, or cat to bird, or bird to fish. You have a clean slate, so take the time evaluate your new situation and be thoughtful.

Ask yourself if you can wait one more week.
It may sound a bit strange, but ask yourself to wait one more week. It’s a good mechanism to suppress impulse decisions. This technique can apply to many other areas, such as spending money on questionable items, participating in risky or questionable activities and making a long term commitment (e.g. tattoo or marriage). At some point, deferring your decision will either lead you to decide that it’s OK to wait indefinitely because the urge fades and your head is more clear, or the desire will become stronger until you are confident that the time has come. No matter which one happens, you can be confident that you made a good, well-thought decision.

How long should you wait between pets? Predictably, the answer is “it depends on the person and the situation”, but if you find yourself in this dilemma, give yourself time to grieve your loss, evaluate the situation and defer new decisions. You’ll be healthier and happier when you do.

Have you gone through this recently? What did you do?

Copyright 2014 Lance Olive, All Rights Reserved.

Money from the Dead

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Government Taking Money

US Government: Taking money from the dead

The San Jose Mercury News has reported that a very wealthy client has taken out life insurance policies worth a world record 201 million US dollars, spending at least 5% of that in annual premiums. Financial experts attribute just one likely motive — to mitigate and/or avoid estate taxes upon death.

The United States has had a federal estate tax in place since Congress passed the War Revenue Act of 1898, the purpose of which was to raise funding for the war with Spain following the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba. The Republican who proposed the original House of Representatives bill #10100 to fund the war favored fair public participation via sales taxes. The Senate Democrats, however, along with a few Republicans, made several amendments that added an estate tax to the bill. For the past 115 years, countless Americans have paid those taxes on their demise.

Despite the Supreme Court’s finding that these estate taxes are constitutional, we should ask if they are a good and fair way of raising revenue, and if the law should be finally be repealed.

Much of this debate centers around the definition of fair taxation. The conservative approach focuses on everyone’s participation through consumption, or sales taxes. The more one purchases, the more one pays, using a percentage of the price to determine the taxes owed. By contrast, the liberal approach is to tax the rich Americans at a higher rate, taking a disproportionate amount (due to an increasing rate) based on their possessions. And the least objectionable way to do that is to tax them when they die.

At this point, you might be saying, “Yeah, but this estate tax only applies to the super wealthy.” But first consider how you would respond to this approach if the law did apply to you, a middle class citizen.

Imagine this scenario: Your parents are driving down to Florida for a nice beach weekend together and have an unfortunate and fatal accident. The probate comes through and your tax attorney informs you that you have inherited all their possessions, with a net worth of $100,000. By today’s standards, that’s not a lot, but it’s something. Then he says, “But you need to pay the federal government $23,800 immediately.”

If you would object to the government taxing your parents at their death, and putting you in the position of having to sell some possessions in order to get the IRS off your back, then you should object, out of principle, to this same approach being applied to the wealthy. This country is founded on equality and this should apply to taxation as well as rights.

Today, the estate tax applies to all US citizens, with a 5 million dollar exemption and a 35% tax rate. When structured correctly, the proceeds of the life insurance policy go directly to the beneficiary, rather than the estate, and therefore can be excluded from estate taxes. This is most certainly what the mystery record-setting policy holder has done to avoid, or significantly reduce, the amount of federal “death taxes” to be paid.

Attempts to use regulation to take from the rich are often thwarted by clever financial advisors and legal experts, even when the objective is to wait until someone’s demise. Once again, the middle class gets hurt by this attempt and the attorneys cash in.

So is it time to eliminate the federal estate tax? Consider the following countries who have recently abolished it:

  • 1972 Canada
  • 1979 Australia
  • 1981 Israel
  • 1985 India
  • 1992 New Zealand
  • 2005 Sweden
  • 2006 Russia
  • 2006 Hong Kong
  • 2008 Singapore
  • 2008 Austria
  • 2014 Norway

In America, the government already taxes our property and our income while while we’re alive. And it’s difficult enough to deal with the passing of our parents when it happens. Let’s work to eliminate the estate tax and stop taking money from the dead.

Ron Shirley: In This World, But Not Of It

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Ron Shirley: In The World, But Not Of It

Ron Shirley: In The World, But Not Of It

What does it mean to Lick Life?  For starters, it’s Ron Shirley’s philosophy.  Ron and his wife, Amy, are stars in truTV’s reality show Lizard Lick Towing.  They have put the Wendell area’s crossroads on the national map with their brand of repossessing vehicles while dealing with typically unhappy vehicle owners.

Ronnie and Bobby, his number one helper, at one time a repo “victim” himself, take repo papers from the banks and go find, snatch and lock up cars that are a few payments short of being legitimately owned.  Naturally, people are loathe to give up their cars and usually fight back, at least in this world of TV reality.  Both guys have had their share of cuts, bruises and hospital visits as a result.  Even Amy has stepped out of the office a few times to do the dirty work, and as a former power lifter, she is not afraid to throw a punch in order to get her job done.

Ron has found that same country charm that Andy Griffith tapped into during the 1960s, each putting NC towns like Mayberry (presumed to be Mt. Airy), Mt. Pilot (Pilot Mountain), Siler City, Raleigh, and Wendell on the national stage.  His frequent use of comparatives (“tighter than a frog’s butt”, “on it like a duck on a june bug” and “more confused than Mike Tyson at a spelling bee”) conjure up vivid mental images that are natural to most southerners and quaint to others that have never heard them, but understand them.

In their latest Special Hometown Tour episode, which aired March 3, 2014, they finally take their fans behind the scenes for some reality behind the reality.  You can expect the following in that episode:

  • Ron gets his Bo-Hawk haircut at Earcell’s Barber Shop in Wendell, NC.
  • Bobby makes his own eggs at McLean’s country restaurant.
  • Amy visits the home place where she and her sisters grew up.
  • Krazy Dave shows off his musical studio bus.
  • Bobby and his friends blow up stuff by the pond.
  • Ron gets his “Lick Life” tattoo enhanced.
  • Ron gives props to Jesus Christ.
  • Ron inspires young people with a motivational speech.

As an ordained minister, Ron walks in this world with a mission.  He is often seen wearing sports jerseys with Biblical references on them, placing the book where the player name goes, and the chapter number where the player’s number would be.  In this episode, he talks explicitly about his spiritual beliefs and philosophies.

If I can give hope or inspiration to any one child, it’s worth everything that I do… It’s all about my beliefs and what I think… and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christians should take note of how Ron Shirley operates in his world, among the good and the bad, the believers and the skeptics.  He does not separate himself from them and, thus, miss an opportunity to minister.  In the episode, the tattoo artist shared that Ron asked him to read 77 pages of the Bible before giving Ron his tattoo.  Ron is not “of the world” (John 15:9, 17:14) and so he can act as a light in the world (John 1:5).

Kudos to truTV for letting the Shirleys stand up, without censorship, for what they believe.  They didn’t edit God out as many have done.  truTV let it ride and trusted that many times reality is truly more interesting than fiction.

Although Ron Shirley gets into more than his share of scrapes with very unpleasant folks, he is more than just a country boy with a tow truck, a bo-hawk and a TV show.  He’s a committed Christian and family man that has earned my respect for his boldness in speaking about Jesus Christ, and for his inspirational message to “Lick Life”.

In writing this, I had about as much fun as a NASCAR driver working part-time as a valet at the Detroit Auto Show.  How about you?

Copyright 2014 Lance Olive, All Rights Reserved.

Raleigh Council Mulls Restricting Business

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Raleigh Council Member Wishes to Clamp Down on Signs

Raleigh Council Member Wishes to Clamp Down on Signs

If a business owner wants to put a sign in his window, should he be allowed to put that sign there and exercise his right to advertise his business in a manner that’s not a public nuisance?

The city of Raleigh found out about one business’ use, or intended use, of an electric-powered sign placed in the window in order to attract attention to their real estate business.  And the planning board of citizen advisors and planning department staff are now looking into the possibility of tightening up the sign laws.

The placement of signs in the windows of a business is a practice long supported by free American business people for 250 years.  And despite this history of free enterprise and exercising private property rights, council member Thomas Crowder has gone on record citing his desire to “make Raleigh more attractive”, mitigate the “safety risk if police cannot see within a business” and address lit signs that “are like the sun”.  In other words, he’s making a case for regulating the type and amount of signage in a shop’s own windows.

Mr. Crowder goes too far in citing these as valid reasons for writing the new regulations. Mr. Crowder, do you wish to regulate signs out next to the road right of way?  Fine.  Keep them, low, static and safe for drivers.  It’s understandable to try and prevent the NC 17 and 24 effect that Jacksonville and the surrounding areas suffer, with so many billboards and lit signs.  But you want to stop a shopowner from putting signs in the window of his store?  Hands off our business. Government should stay out so long as it’s not a public nuisance or patently offensive.  When you say people complain about signs that are “bright like the sun”, your hyperbole belies the fact that you know down deep you’re overreaching and need to resort to exaggeration and emotion to gain support for your regulation.

The matter is expected to be presented to the Raleigh city council in one to two months.

Should electronic window signs be considered OK in the city limits?  Or are they the first step on the slippery slope of becoming “too Vegas”?

4 Valentine Arrows in Your Brain

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Advertisers Fire Valentine's Day Arrows Into Your Brain

Advertisers Fire Valentine’s Day Arrows Into Your Brain

Fellow Men:  For the last several days on television, have advertisers been firing arrows at your brain, hoping you’ll buy their products?  After all, you don’t want to be “that guy” that buys something lame, or worse, nothing at all.

One says skip the candy, because she’ll ask if she looks fat.  Another says skip the flowers, because they die in a few days.  What’s a guy to do when these companies are marketing directly at you mind, hoping to convince you to spend your money on their product, and telling you that doing so is the surefire way to get through Valentine’s Day unscathed.

These 4 advertisers seem to be spending lots of marketing budget doing just that.

1) Vermont Giant Teddy Bear – For only $99 you can give her a 4-foot tall teddy bear that “she will love because it will remind her of you when you’re not there.”  The funniest part of this TV commercial is when the man is getting his hug and mouths (to the camera) in slow motion, “Oh yeah…”  But ask yourself if this kind of gift really makes sense.  Don’t believe the marketing hype.  It’s not the size of the gift.  It’s what thought you put into it.  Chances are this will go over with more of a quizzical look that the same elated face as the actress on the commercial.

2) ProFlowers – It’s hard to go too wrong with flowers, but wouldn’t it be better to go pick them out yourself, than to order off the internet?  Besides, if you don’t know what flower your lady likes, shouldn’t you find out first?  So make a note to ask her randomly this June and make a note of it.  Then you’ll be prepared for next year.

3) 800-Flowers – Originally set up for phone orders, these folks contract with local flower delivery shops.  Word to the wise… they local shops don’t always deliver what’s ordered, sometimes different, sometimes smaller.  Buyer beware.

4) Pajamagram – Adult HoodieFootie purveyor.  Really?  You should really watch this commercial multiple times and break it down.  Analyze it.  They are appealing to your… let’s be honest here… hope that there will be some intimate times soon to follow.  If that doesn’t set off your alarm bells that you’re being targeted as a sucker consumer, I don’t know what will.  If you’re going this route, go with a gift card to a store that sells similar items and let her pick out what she wants, not what you want.

These advertisers’ arrows are aimed directly at your brain because they know that men are notoriously bad at Valentine’s Day, or at least are highly self-conscious about it, and we tend to either be oblivious to that fact, or aware and anxious that we’ll get it wrong.  But you don’t need those ads… the secret is not that complicated.

Pay attention to her all year so you know what she likes, change it up a little bit every year, and never ever forget to include a card that expresses how you feel about her.  And it never hurts to start the day off with breakfast, or at least, all of last night’s dishes clean.

“…be intoxicated always in her love.”  — Proverbs 5:19

Do you think you have better plans than falling for a TV ad?