We can stop these wackos.

Image result for aurora shooter

Except for the Vegas shooter most of the mass shooting chaos in this country is caused by loners with dead end jobs and limited financial resources.

80% of the mass killings were carried out with legally purchased AR-15 assault rifles. These guns can be easily bought for $300 to $600, by anyone with a credit card who has not been charged with a felony yet.

We can talk about additional guards or metal detectors or other reactionary measures, but the root of this issue is the ease with which weirdos can easily buy an AR-15, along with enough ammo to take out half an elementary school.

The Parkland shooter bought an AR-15 (legally) right there in his hometown.

We can’t predict insanity, but we can make the barriers to gun ownership so high that these young men will give up, and instead of killing our children they will go home and rant on reddit.

With every gun purchase let’s require a psyche evaluation and names and numbers of 5 personal references. Let’s require a monthly liability insurance premium on every weapon sold.

These measures might have shut down the Parkland shooter.

The Republican party can change the laws, and until they do the blood of the Parkland victims is on their hands, along with victim’s blood from the NEXT mass shooting.

Enough is enough.

-Ben Alexander

813. 391. 3895




A Temple Of Ego and Debt.


Yesterday I went up to Gables Honda in Wesley Chapel to get the first oil change on my motorcycle. I brought my walking shoes because I also needed to go to the bank and wanted to get breakfast during the 2 hour wait.

They got a Waffle House right there and I had a hankering for a pecan waffle.

There is a cluster of stores and dealerships right off the Wesley Chapel exit, and I had heard about the new Lexus dealer but had never walked in the building. I had time to kill, why not check it out?

Of course, the building is beautiful, with high ceilings and chrome accents. The $110,000 Lexus sports car is sitting there gleaming on the showroom floor. It reminded me of the first time I walked into the casinos in Atlantic City when I was a kid, minus the racket of slot machines and the old ladies smoking Newports.

Even then I remember thinking: if this place looks so fancy who is paying for all this?

In 2016 in the United States over 55% of new Lexus models sold were leased!

In the last few years Audi and Mercedes Benz have also built dealerships in this area.

This goes hand in hand with the upscale subdivisions that have been built in this area, places like Estancia where the cheapest homes were $250,000 but now range up to $1 million or higher.

I don’t have an issue with someone who buys a luxury car, they have beautiful interiors, powerful engines, etc… but how many folks buy a luxury car mainly for the chrome logo on the front and the back? How many of these leases are about impressing other people?

If you have to lease a luxury car and you’re also carrying a huge mortgage you’re probably are trying to look more prosperous than you actually are. No one will notice when you pay off your home and retire your mortgage, but everyone will see that shiny new Mercedes in your driveway.

Old Texas saying: Big Hat, no cattle.  

This is just old fashioned ego at work, if you read the book The Millionaire Next Door the author talks about how many people with a high income tend to live in expensive homes in ritzy subdivisions with expensive cars, yet they don’t have savings when times get rough.

Theses folks are trying to impress the world, but if they lose their job or have a financial reversal they lose all of it.

Of course, there are also the folks who buy their home and their Mercedes with cold hard cash, I run into this type in solar sales… they put half down on a $30,000 solar array and pay the remaining balance when the panels are installed. You see this from folks who retire down here from up North, normally in their 50’s.

This is where I aim to be in the next few years.

I used to drive a used Lexus, with a nice watch on my wrist… and then I decided to pay off my debt. I’m not there yet, I still hold a modest mortgage on my home… but I drive a 2013 Chevy Volt (that I bought used for $14K). My home is modest, plenty of room for me, my 2 daughters and a little cat named Ms. Lemons.

If I had rough times financially I could sell my home and live off the equity for a long time… and in the least year or so I’ve gotten to the point where I live on less than HALF what I earn. I have less stress in my life, and when I have a really big month in sales that’s even better. My sales income goes up and down, so when I have a big month I can pay down extra debt, or travel, or buy a motorcycle.

My roof is being done this week, followed by a solar array up top that will generate over $30,000 in electricity over the next decade. That’s tax free income!

If I sell this house I can get more for it because of the solar, but if I decide to stay here my expenses will be very low once my mortgage is gone: just insurance, the water bill and property taxes. I like having those options.

As for the folks leasing luxury cars? Good luck when the next recession hits!

Ben Alexander

February 2018

Crazy cat guy?

This is Ms. Lemons:


I’m a real badass, I own a cat.

Hemingway had cats, so did Mark Twain. I’ve had a cat or 2 most of my life. My most recent companion is Ms. Lemons. She was adopted by Grace (against my better wishes) a few weeks before Grace left for college in Pittsburgh. Grace named her, of course.

As a kitten Lemons hid all the time, ran around the house like she was being chased by a legion of demons, and jumped over my other cat Leo like an Olympic gymnast. She was only calm about 10% of the time. If I bent down to pet her she would run away at full speed and hide under the nearest furniture.

My old cat Leo had failing kidneys and passed on a few weeks ago, now it’s just me, Claire (who works so much she’s never here) and Ms. Lemons. After Grace went back to school in January my home felt very quiet.

I spend a lot of time in my home office with my feet up on my desk, normally listening to classical music… Ms. Lemons has started to jump up on my lap, and she’ll snuggle under my chin for a few minutes.

She’s really the easiest pet in the universe, just clean the litterbox and keep food in her bowl. If I had a dog I would have to walk it twice a day… sometimes I’m gone from 9AM to 9PM. I’ve owned many different pets over the years, and cats are not the cheapest, but they are pretty easy to keep day to day.

My office faces the west, so we get sun in the afternoon… Lemons has discovered the comfy green chair that sits in the sunlight half the day. She’s sleeping there now as I type this…

The one downside to owning any pet is that they tend to live about a decade, maybe a few years more. I hope Ms. Lemons sticks around, she’s grown on me a bit.

-Ben Alexander

February 2018


Speed Therapy.

I’m 43 now, single for the first time since 1995.

I’m a different person than the guy who got married as a 23 year old kid. I was totally naïve about the world, but in love with a cute girl from Taiwan…   

We were married for 20 years, and we were blessed with two wonderful daughters.

The only constant in the universe is change.


For the last few years I’ve been paying down a ton of debt, buying my clothes at Walmart, and living frugally. I started my family young and my daughters are already in college, with most of their tuition is covered.

In my thirties I rode a 1978 Honda Hawk that I had restored back in my college days. My old Hawk was slow, with old brakes and failing electricals. It still kicked over, but with no signal lights it was an accident in the making. I sold my Honda on Craigslist and used the money to pay down a credit card balance.

Ever since then I missed having a motorcycle…

As the Sales Director for Tampa Bay Solar I’ve been working hard, paying down my debt and living on much less than what I earn. I used all my extra income to pay down debt, with over $200,000 paid off in the last 4 years.

But there was stuff in my house that was worn out and falling apart…. I bought new living room furniture, ordered a new roof for my house.

…….and then bought a 2014 Honda CB1000r from the local motorcycle dealer, identical to the picture above. I did not NEED a 1,000 cc motorcycle, but damn I really wanted one.

That’s it for now, I’m done spending… after the roof is done I’m getting a massive solar array on the roof and my electrical bill will go down to nothing.

THEN I’m paying off my house.

So why the motorcycle? Why not?

College tuition for both of my daughters is covered. I have no wife to answer to anymore.

I’ve got a ton of life insurance.

I can fire up my bike and go anywhere, and get there really fast.

I know, you might think its dangerous, having a really fast machine with no airbags, no seatbelts… but I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1995, so this is not my first rodeo.

This CB1000r is faster than any machine I’ve ever owned, by far. Even at 80mph it jumps ahead with a little dose of throttle. You gotta respect that level of power. I’m wearing full flak jacket, helmet, heavy pants, boots, gloves, etc.

I’ve gone fast on the highway, but I’d rather keep it under 80mph. The fun is going from zero to 80 really fast, like faster than any car on the planet….

130 mph feels like sitting in a hurricane. Yes, I did it just to try it. Sue me.

I could die on this beast. But I could also get cancer and die in a bed, or get t-boned in my Chevy Volt by a drunk driver, or get the flu and die in a hospital bed. Lotsa ways to die, lotsa ways to live.

Last Saturday night I had no date, no one to hang with, no real plans. I put on my heavy jacket and my helmet and rode up to the Brass Tap in Dade City. Quiet country roads, twisting through the night… I had a beer and a cheeseburger, there were 2 musicians playing guitar, and I just enjoyed the music. On the ride home I felt peaceful, satisfied, perfectly fine with being on my own.

I felt at peace with my current reality.

I can’t imagine that I’ll be single forever, this is a chapter in my life that might be a few years, it might be a decade… but I’m using this time to define who I want to be as a man, no longer defined by marriage.

Part of that is my passion for riding motorcycles, so I’m going to be myself, and have fun doing it!

Ben Alexander

January 2018


The Electric company in 2050.

For most of his career my father worked at a nuclear reactor in southern New Jersey, previous to that he was a lineman for PSE&G, the main electric utility in NJ. Now that I’m in the solar business with Tampa Bay Solar we have some interesting conversations; not only about energy, but also about electric cars and some of the other changes coming down the line.

The traditional electric company business model was to generate and deliver electricity. Most of the power in the United States comes from a mix of nuclear, coal and now natural gas generation facilities.

Out of 100 million homes across the United States about 1% currently have some form of rooftop solar. Here in Florida solar panels generate power from about 9AM to 6PM (depending on the season) and some of that power gets sent back to the grid via a bi-directional meter.

If you do not have solar your meter only measures power from the electric company to YOU, with a bidirectional meter you can send kilowatts back to the electric company for a 1 for 1 credit. My Dad has a small 14 panel system on his roof, last month his system pushed 75 kilowatts (kW) back to the grid.

Dad still has to pay a minimum connection fee of $30 per month to the electric company, because his system draws power from the utility at night.

This is also known as net metering, and it works well here in Florida.

As more homes install rooftop solar there will be a need for energy storage during the peak daylight hours, and one way to implement this is through the use of plug in electric vehicles. My 2013 Volt has a 16 kilowatt battery, the newer Tesla models have 100 kilowatt batteries, and in the next few years cars with 200 kilowatt batteries (or larger) will become commonplace and affordable.

An affordable electric car with a 200 kW battery will have a 500 mile range per daily charge. These cars will be expensive as new models (in the $30,000 range) but on the used market they will go for the same price as a used 4 cylinder car like a Camry or Accord.

Imagine several million cars each plugged into the grid on a daily basis with 200 kW of storage capacity per vehicle. Some of these vehicles can charge at night (when electricity is cheaper and more plentiful) and sell back to the grid during peak usage.

My point? We will still need the electric company to move power from rooftops to charge stations to the rest of the grid. We still need a hard wired grid, but for different reasons.

The electric company in 2050 will manage the flow of energy, probably in some type of open marketplace that trades energy credits back and forth. Your car can sell 50kW back to the grid during the daytime, so will your rooftop solar. At night you can get those credits back.

I don’t mind paying a small monthly fee to the grid, especially if it allows me to sell energy back to the system in peak demand times.   

Some homes will never have solar, either because the homeowner refuses to install it or there is too much shade around the home. Older homes in communities with mature trees are normally not viable for solar.

In the next decade the electric company should see an increase in demand as more electric cars replace gas powered vehicles.

Demand for electricity will also increase as new communities are built. Here in Florida there is new residential and commercial construction all over the place. People are still moving to the sunshine state in droves.

The traditional electric utility will have to evolve, and the best way to do that is to add value to the marketplace in such a way that your customers don’t mind paying a modest fee on a monthly basis.

Ben Alexander

January 2018.


Zipping into 2018!

On Wednesday I took my daughter Claire to TreeHoppers in Dade City. We spent a few hours 40 feet up in the oak trees, zip lining and working our way through obstacles.

It was hard, and even in the cooler temps we got sweaty, but it was a ton of fun as well. My muscles are still sore a few days later, but I’m tempted to buy a TreeHoppers membership and make this a part of my fitness routine….

Trying something new is a great way to start 2018. There were big changes in my life over the last 12 months, some good, some challenging. Change always happens in life, nothing stays the same.

At 43 years old I’m navigating the surreal world of online dating, technology that did not even exist that last time I was single back in 1995!

There are many parts of my life that I’ve worked on over the last few years; becoming a student of leadership, paying off a ton of debt, working on my faith… and I know that if I want to get into another long term relationship there are many options out there.

I envy those men who get married young and stay married for 50 years, like my parents, but that was not in the cards for me. I was married at 23 years old, and what I did NOT know at that age could fill volumes!

My sales team at Tampa Bay Solar is slowly coming together, last month was the first time I had several reps write multiple deals. There are people who will join my team in 2018 that I haven’t met yet, and I’m looking forward to that.

Balloon Distractions is still booking gigs in a handful of cities, but I’m no longer driving the growth of that business. It would require travel around the country, and I can earn far more from the solar business without leaving Tampa Bay.

Besides, both of my daughters live with me (Grace goes to college at CMU in Pittsburgh, but she stays with me over the breaks). As a single parent I want to be here for my girls, even though they are both technically adults now.

For 2018 I’m broadcasting tons of hope, love and enthusiasm out there into the ether.

There will be MANY unexpected blessings this year, and I welcome those blessings wholeheartedly!

Ben Alexander

January 2018


An Unusual Christmas.


2017 was a huge year of transition for me.

My 20 year marriage ended. Rachel and I parted ways amicably, no lawyers were hired. We both agreed to allocate those funds to help Claire and Grace pay for college.

I’ll always love and care about Rachel, so I’m glad that we could stay friendly during this process. If she is happier not being in my life I wish her all the best, really.

The girls live with me, so I’ll see them Christmas morning, but then they will go to Rachel’s place for Christmas dinner.

I don’t have any plans for the rest of the day. I might swim laps, read, work on the yard.

My parents are up North helping my sister and her family (my sister’s husband recently had a stroke).

I was always surrounded by family, and then I got married right after college and Claire was born soon after.

I used to think being alone was tragic. It’s really not.

There have been many times when I’ve been on my own. Living in Asia back in 1995…  traveling the country building Balloon Distractions over the last 15 years… and more recently knocking on doors selling solar around Tampa Bay.

As a man of Faith I know that there will be another partner in my life eventually, but there is a process that requires discernment and patience. I know who I am much better NOW than when I was getting married at 23 years old.

It takes time to make a major life transition.

During these next few months I’m developing my sales team at Tampa Bay Solar with one goal in mind: get to $1 million per month in gross sales. This means that several reps on my team will earn in excess of 100K, and this will bless their lives.

My professional goals are in alignment with my spiritual purpose, by helping my team reach their financial goals it helps me do the same.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

-Ben Alexander

December 24rth 2017