Google Plus 1

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Years Is Coming – Are You Ready?

How many times have you made New Years resolutions only to break them in a few days? What was wrong with the old you? Aren’t you happy with what you are doing in life?

Many people spend a lot of their time planning how they are going to change their lives when they might be better off just living life to its fullest.

Instead of making a list of all the things you want to change, how about making a list of all the things you do that make you happy.

Have you:

1. Been in a loving and caring relationship
2. Made a real effort to help others
3. Grown your spiritual soul
4. Found more faith in God
5. Aided someone less fortunate than yourself
6. Tried to make a difference
7. Been loyal to your Country
8. Worked hard
9. Enjoyed successes
10. Been all that you can be

If you can answer yes to most of these things on this list than you can be happy with yourself just as you are.

Let’s resolve to do more good works in the coming year. Let’s resolve to be all that we can be. Let’s resolve to continue the game of life with vigor and passion. Let’s resolve to have faith in our future, our Country, our God, and ourselves.

Let’s resolve to make next year as good as last year, and even better. Let’s make sure we all have a healthy and a happy New Year.

Hi, it’s Arthur Levine wishing you and yours a Happy New Year. To read more about my novel Johnny Oops, please access

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Little Christmas Tree That Could

Many years ago when Johnny Oops son, Johnny Jr., had twin baby girls and was pursuing a quest to find his faith in God, he bought a tiny little Christmas tree to celebrate the holidays. It was all that he could afford at the time.

His wife and little children were very disappointed that the tree was so small. They didn’t say anything, but Johnny Jr. knew it, and was upset that they were not happy. He wished and prayed that the tree was larger and more magnificent.

The night before Christmas when he went to put his few meager presents under the tree, he was startled to notice that the Christmas tree had grown much larger. It was taller by more than three feet and wider and its branches seemed to sparkle. The few tiny ornaments and lights that Johnny Jr. and his wife had managed to put up also appeared to have multiplied, and now their sparkle lit up the whole room.

Johnny Jr. called his wife and little children over to witness this miracle of the little Christmas tree that could grow. He had been praying that things would get better for him and his family, but he never dreamt that his prayers would be answered in this manner.

Johnny and his family were convinced that it was their faith in God that gave them the miracle of the little tree that could grow.

Do you have something happening in your life that can help make your faith grow stronger? Has something happened to you that seems like a miracle at this wonderful time of the year? Think about it. Sometimes it is the little acts of faith in our lives that can help make miracles happen. Sometimes our prayers do get answered if we truly believe.

I believe that each of you has a little Christmas tree in you heart that could grow larger if you just have enough faith that it could. Miracles do happen. I pray that at this marvelous time of the year that the miracle of your dreams happens for you. I think it could. I think it could. I think it could, as your faith grows stronger.

Hi, this is Arthur Levine wishing you a happy holiday and a merry Christmas. Please visit us to read more about Johnny Oops at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CHAPTER 7 – SCHOOL FOR GIFTED CHILDREN – Excerpt from the novel Johnny Oops

Just when you think you have life by the cajones, fate grabs hold and squeezes the complacency out of you. It’s my own fault. I sold my father such a bill of goods on our fishing trip he decided to go all out to assure that I have a bright future. Who asked him? Anyway, he used his muscle at Yale to get me into an experimental Junior High School for gifted children; Yale it seems has some input in the school’s curriculum. Now I’m going to be surrounded by other would be geniuses. This is the pits. I don’t need peers. I need a flock to appreciate my wisdom.

I decided to separate myself from the other kids by evidencing my obvious superiority even to this august group of wanna bees. So I invented a new religion. I call it Dialectic Spiritualism. It meets the needs of the time we live in. The short form definition of it is that it allows people to practice a reasoned logical belief in a universal entity that has overall control over our lives -- a Supreme Being, the one God. Belonging to an organized religion is neither a requirement nor a deterrent to the ‘practice’. All you really have to do is believe that there is a reason for everything even if you’re too stupid to understand it. That’s what I’m here for. I am the interpreter. I am the Messenger. The ‘practice’ involves an acceptance of the fact that we humans are weak, frail, scared, insecure, and desperately in need of believing in a Supreme Being that will keep us safe and out of harms way. Once you accept this doctrine you are automatically a member of the club. We don’t have actual churches in Dialectic Spiritualism. Our faith is based on need, want, and fear for our very lives. No other symbols are required. To be a successful convert you simply have to believe. In other words, you have to have Faith.

Like most leaders of a new religious movement, I am meeting some resistance from the uninformed who consider my views not secular enough for them. This Dialectic Spiritualism stuff is definitely not for the Atheists in the school. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of getting burned at the stake or anything -- this is the twenty-first century. It is more like I am being shunned. I don’t mind. I am used to being alone. Even when I had Billy for a friend I was alone. I notice I’m not the only kid here who is alone. Traveling through the halls in groups of one seems to be the schools dress code.

“If you are uncertain about the future, if you are unhappy, if you are in need, come with me. All that is required is a reasoned faith in the Almighty.” That’s what I tell my flock in my sermons in the hallowed halls of the Esperanza School. I can tell they are listening because they stop milling around. The nervous tapping of feet stops, crotch scratching stops, hair primping stops and best of all the various nervous ticks and twitches of these pseudo intellects seem to come to rest. That’s the only recognition I get that they are listening to the Messenger.

“Don’t be afraid I tell them. You are the chosen ones. You have been selected by nature in Gods good wisdom to lead this country out of fear and complacency. You are the ones. Only you and I can make a difference. We are special. We have promise. It’s preordained.”

The third time I gave my sermon I observed no change in reaction by my flock. I was beginning to get disillusioned. Then an event occurred that was to be a major epiphany in my life. A girl came over to me after my speech and introduced herself. She told me how much she enjoyed my sermon. She told me I had given her faith. She now believed in the righteousness of Dialectic Spiritualism. She told me her name was Alice. For the first time in my life I was speechless. She was kind. Alice understood my shyness. She gave me time to compose myself. I was so grateful.

Alice has good words. In fact everything about her is terrific. She has shiny brown hair, really deep dark sparkling brown eyes, the clearest skin I ever saw -- I am getting that teenage scourge called acne -- and the most beautiful sympathetic smile you could ever imagine. When she smiles at me I melt inside. I feel all warm and prickly. I don’t know what’s happening to me. I think I’m in love. Can you believe it? Me the philosopher genius am in love and with a girl.

We spend all our time together in between classes now. Alice tells me I am really brilliant. She says one day the world will come to appreciate my theories and words of wisdom. I walk her home after school. We hold hands. I feel all sweaty in a good kind of way. I forgot to mention Alice has a great figure. She is two inches shorter than me and has the smallest waist. I can put my hands around it. She is starting to grow really nice breasts. They are small, upturned, and firm, and her nipples show through her sweater. Sorry I shouldn’t lie. I haven’t felt her breasts yet, but I want to. I’m sure they’re firm and delicious. What is happening to me? I am starting to want her in a carnal way. Boy have I changed. Is this what love is all about? How could I have been so dumb? I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. No wonder people get married. I can’t believe what a stupid head I’ve been. Wait till I tell Dad. He has been so worried about me. Nah, he’ll want to teach me about that protection stuff. Alice and I aren’t ready for that yet. We want to take things slow, at least I do. We haven’t even kissed yet. I should ask Alice what her timetable is on kissing. Her opinion is very important to me. I want to be sure I please her. I never cared about making someone else happy before. If this is what it feels like to care for someone I’m all for this scenario. It actually does make you feel better -- this giving pleasure stuff. It pays to believe in your own words. By the way I know the good Lord is looking out for me because Alice is nothing like my mother. She never nags me and when she looks in my eyes it’s with love in her heart. We share deep thoughts together. It is truly wonderful. Life is wonderful. I can’t believe how happy I am.

I have been looking in the mirror lately and I don’t like what I see. First of all I have three damn pimples replete with whiteheads on my forehead and one big one right under my nose. It’s disgusting. Secondly, I am starting to get this red stubble like hair growing on my face and coming right through my freckles. I look ridiculous. My cloths are really grungy: black frayed tee shirts, worn out jeans, and a western cowboy belt. I look like a throwback to Howdy Doody. The worst is my red hair. It seems to go in all directions at the same time. I don’t know how Alice puts up with me. She hasn’t said anything, but I know she cares. I need a makeover.

“Mom, can I talk to you? I think I need some new cloths. The other kids in my new school don’t dress like this. I need some real pants, shirts with sleeves and buttons on them, a pair of loafers, and a new narrow, natural leather belt. Can you take me shopping?”

Anne Wilbert was thrilled. She was pleased the new school was having a positive effect on Johnny and that he was becoming aware of his surroundings. She said, “I am happy to take you shopping if you promise to throw those dungarees out. They have reached a point where I think they can stand up by themselves. We’ll go shopping after school today.”

“One other thing Mom. Do you think the drug store has something to help me get rid of these pimples? It’s embarrassing.”

“I’m sure they do Johnny, we’ll stop by and ask Mr. Katz at the drug store on the way to the Gap.”

“The Gap, I was thinking more in terms of Banana Republic Mom.”

“That’s a little too old for you Johnny. Let’s start with the Gap.”

“OK, but I want real pants -- no more dungarees.”

That’s good old Mom, always trying to keep me from growing up. To bad Mom, I am going to do it anyway.

“Dad, can I talk to you in the bathroom?"

"No, nothing is wrong. I just wanted your opinion on whether I have to start shaving yet, and if so what do I do for a razor?”

“What do you mean once I start I will have to do it everyday? I was planning on once a week.”
“It doesn’t work like that? This is the pits. Oh okay, can you get me a razor, blades and shaving cream?”

“Thanks Dad, this growing up thing is hell.”

“So Alice, what do you think of the new me?”

“I really like it Johnny. You look great. What happened to your face?”

“I cut myself shaving. It’s no big deal. Listen Alice I wanted to ask your opinion on something. We have been going together for almost two weeks now, and I wondered when you think it would be appropriate for us to kiss?”

“Right now would be fine Johnny.”

And so it began. We kissed and entered each other’s mouths and mixed juices and saliva, and only occasionally got caught on invisible braces. It was wonderful. It was the beginning of a whole new way of life. It awakened in me a depth of passion I didn’t know I possessed. You know the funny part. I didn’t have to say oops once. I guess my clumsy stage is coming to an end, at least with Alice it is I hope.

“Watch out world, Johnny Oops is growing up and there is no oops about it.”

Monday, December 10, 2007

Disease Prevention – The Answer To Rising Health Insurance Costs

There is now a substantial portion of the population in the United States, which is unhappy with their health insurance coverage or lack thereof. There are approximately 46 million uninsured in the US.

Members of the New Middle Aged Group are particularly interested in their health insurance options because many of them lose health care benefits upon retirement. Medicare, which is available at age 65, does not cover everything, and individual or family health care insurance policies are very expensive and for the most part payable with pre tax dollars.

Health care costs in the US keep rising, and in most years health insurance premiums do too often at double-digit rates. .

Disease Prevention expenses as a portion of Gross Domestic Product (GDC) accounts for some 16% of the budget with only 4% spent on Disease Prevention while 50% of Diseases are preventable.

According to the Congressional Budget Office by the year 2020 health care spending which, is already more than $2 trillion dollars (16% of GDP), could easily exceed 25% of GDP.

Americans 65 and older represent about an eighth of the population and one third of health care spending. By 2030 older Americans could account for nearly half of health care spending according to a study by the Centers for Medicare Services.

Government statistics indicate that health care spending by Americans between 1970 and 2005 has increased on average 9.8% per year for private health insurance and 8.9% for Medicare beneficiaries according to the New York Times.

The Republicans by and large favor a private insurance plan called Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to solve the Health Care problem. An overview of this program is that it allows businesses or individuals to contribute a certain amount of money tax free to a HSA (Health Savings Account) and take catastrophe or major medical insurance for the balance. The good part is that it encourages individuals to become Disease Prevention conscious because most of their medical expenses are coming out of their HSA, from which the balance of funds can re rolled over like savings from year to year. In major companies where the program has been instituted savings have been substantial. The drawback is that it tends to draw in young healthy people, and does little to help the aging, sick or uncovered portion of the population.

The Democrats by and large favor some form of Universal Health Care funded by the federal government. The good part is that everyone would be covered. The drawback is that there is no inducement by individuals to practice Disease Prevention because the government is picking up the tab and this might result in a new massive federally funded program that over time cannot be adequately funded by the government as it grows in light of demands from our other entitlement problems such as, Medicare, Medicaid and Prescription Drug Insurance.

Today we find ourselves at the crossroads of escalating Health Care Costs and Health Care funding requirements that have brought us to the point of a collision.

The solution may lie in combining some form of both of these programs utilizing the platform of Health Savings Accounts, which would be federally funded to the extent needed to subsidize them so that everyone could be covered including those with pre existing conditions either through a series of federal corporate or individual tax credits, or with direct contributions in the individual’s name to fund the program, but it is not just about the cost of health care. It’s about finding a solution.

The solution to our health care needs may well lie in practicing Disease Prevention nationally.

The costs of funding this combined approach might be substantially less than under a straight Universal Health Care plan because people would have the incentive to practice Disease Prevention once they understand that it is their money that they are spending on their health care, which can be rolled over from year to year similar to an IRA, and because catastrophe insurance is generally less expensive then the current all inclusive small deductible type insurance program being offered.

To this end, a Disease Prevention Program should be made available to everyone that will help them maintain a better state of health, and enable them to minimize their health care expenses in keeping with good medical practice and the utilization of best care options.

We have to show people how to practice Disease Prevention at the same time that we seek to cover them with Health Insurance if we want to produce a program, which in the long run can be self-funding through medical cost savings.

To find out how to look, act, and feel younger, and to stay healthy by practicing Disease Prevention in your fifties and sixties plus please visit

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Big Tom Tom Beat Of Desire

Please feel free to use this article as long as you give credit to my resource box.
© Copyright Arthur Levine
Words: 603
Keywords: Desire, God, New Beginning, Faith, Holidays

I could feel it stirring in me. Pulsing stronger and stronger. I wanted it more than I had ever wanted anything before. I desired it. I craved it. All I had to do was to reach out and grab it when no one was looking.

I was ten years old, and it was the most beautiful, powerful yellow water pistol I had ever seen in my whole life. I tried to tell myself that the toy store owner would never miss it, but I knew better. I tried to tell myself that I would come back some day and pay for it. The price tag said it was only $3.98. Maybe I could save that much from my allowance, but I knew I wouldn’t.

I just took it anyway. I jammed it into my book bag. I gave into my desire. I could feel the drumbeat in my head saying, tom, tom; you’re a bad boy. Tom, tom, you’re a bad boy.

I ran almost all of the way home. The fear and the guilt was really getting to me. Later that evening I lay in my bed wondering what to do. That drumbeat just kept going on and on in my head. I think I can still feel it now; that tom, tom beat of desire and guilt all mixed together.

When I woke up in the morning, I ran out into the back yard and buried my beautiful water pistol in a little hole I dug, and then covered it up with dirt so no one would ever discover that I was a sinner. I never got to enjoy that water pistol, and I never got over feeling guilty about taking it. There are some drumbeats of conscience that don’t go away.

I am all grown up now some people would say. And when the dreaded tom, tom beat of desire grabs hold of me for one reason or another, I remember my toy water pistol. I remember how guilty I felt. I have learned to control my emotions most of the time, but not to quell them. There is so much more I want to learn and to do, but it has to be the right way.

If only I knew what was all right to do. If only those dreaded drumbeats would go away. For now I think I have things under control, but nobody knows when the drumbeats of desire will hit again. Nobody knows how he or she will react. Is any one ever really in control, or is God the only one that is truly in control.

As we enter this season of new beginnings, can you honestly say that you can control your emotions, passions and desires? You may be marching to a different drumbeat than I, but there are still things you want and desire, aren’t there? How do you know when it is all right to reach out and grab them?

I think the best way to decide what is right from what is wrong is to ask yourself, “What would God want me to do?”

If you have enough faith I am sure you will come up with the right answer. Enjoy the holidays. The best is yet to come.

Hi. I am Arthur Levine, the author of the novel Johnny Oops. To read more of my articles and excerpts from my novel please access:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Troubled Little Geese Of Christmas

One little Goose turned to another as they sat near the edge of a golf course that was covered in a half an inch of fresh snow and said, “My friend we should have gone South before it became so cold. I am afraid our wings will freeze up if we try and make the trip now.”

The other little Goose responded, “And do you expect a less icy reception in the South. Everybody hates us. We are welcome nowhere.”

“Why is that asked Goose number 1”?

“I think it is because there are too many of us, and we create a mess wherever we go. Besides people think of us as just Geese who don’t count for much,” answered Goose number 2.

"But I thought that in the spirit of Christmas people would be more willing to look kindly on the least amongst us”?

“I know, I know, but life is not always what it is supposed to be. We will have to learn to accept our circumstance with grace and good will to all at this holiday season.”

“I find it hard to accept our lot in life as it is. I don’t believe that this is the way God would want things to be. He is full of kindness and mercy. Perhaps if we pray to Him he will hear our prayers and help others to understand our plight.”

“I hope so my friend. My tail feathers are starting to freeze. I am afraid of what will happen to us in the future. We have no food. There is no one who wants to help us. We disturb there celebrating, impose on their happy times and impinge on their holiday spirit.”

“I believe it won’t always be like this my friend. One day people will be full of the goodness that God designed them to have. Then even little Geese like us will have a place in this society. Then even we will be able to find some happiness for our families and some sense of security. Then even us poor little Geese will not be discriminated against especially at this time of giving and kindness that represents the true spirit of Christmas.”

“Are there other groups such as us that are discriminated against even at Christmas time”?

“Yes there are, but most of them are human.”

“Do you think people will ever understand that we have feelings too”?

“I think they will soon. I think that as soon as the spirit of Christmas spreads its wings of joy over all of God’s people that they will begin to recognize that even little Geese or any other minority group have their place in God’s Kingdom, for in caring about them we can become more than we were. We can become what God intended us to be."

Have a very happy Christmas, and please don’t forget all the different types of little Geese amongst us.