June 30, 2011

A duck quack will not echo

It would be cool if some bright young genius would find a way to insert a little code into Blogger that would allow me to type with an echo. You know, like the recording of Lou Gehrig when he says "Today...ay...ay...I consider myself..elf..elf..The luckiest man...an..an...

Because today's post would be rife with that cool echo thingy. When I write "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on Earth" I too, like the Iron Man Gehrig, could have that awesome echo.

You see, today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth (OK, just pretend there is the echo thingy). Today is my 27th anniversary. Yep, 27 years. I verified the math on my calculator. The wife and I stood in the Methodist Church back on June 30, 1984 and we mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Hold on, the Founding Fathers made that pledge. The wife and I pledged our love and marriage.

So far there has been a lot more health than sickness, and the poorer has far outweighed the richer. I will say this, the next time I get married there is going to be some kind of codicil in the vows about nookie. I'm just sayin'.

Seriously, my wife is a saint.  If you think I am irritating and obnoxious around here, you ought to try living with me. I am hard-headed, opinionated and find myself really amusing. There must be some redeeming qualities I fail to recognize when I look in the mirror, because the wife has stuck with me through a lot of thin and a little thick.
 
Woops, sorry about that. I just realized I forgot to turn off the imaginary echo thingy feature. Anyway, the whole point of this post is to tell you I am a lucky man.
 
Thinking back on the events of that warm June day in 1984, I have to question my wife's judgment. Not only did she agree to marry me, but she made the groomsmen wear light blue tuxedos. Clearly the woman has some flaws. But in all, I made a much better deal than she did.
 
Here is a song that echos that sentiment.  Not in the lyrics, the dude was not too lucky at all.  The title is what I am talking about, sheesh.
 
But I also dig the song.
 

 
I am a lucky man, indeed. But you have to admit I would be bordering on true greatness if I had an echo thingy for my blog. Oh, and duck soounds do produce an echo.

June 29, 2011

Business for fun and profit

Let's say you have a business that produces widgets. You lose, for whatever reason, your largest customer. Your business is reduced by 20%. Would it be a surprise if you raised prices by 20% until you found a way to make up the lost business? Is their anyone who believes the business should not try to maintain or make up the lost 20% of sales and profit?

The Government is changing the fuel mileage standards for automobiles. The new target is coincidentally 20% higher than the old standard for automobile fleet MPG ratings. This means in effect, you can expect your car will get 20% more miles to the gallon of gas.

This also means the Feds have mandated a loss in sales to the oil companies of 20%. Now think about your earlier answer. Should we expect the oil producers to take a 20% hit on sales and profit? Do you think this will make the price of a gallon of gas lower? There will be more gas, I guess, so the jump at the pump will be offset somewhat by supply and demand.

Once again we have an example of the Government sticking their nose into private business. If I choose to drive a car that gets 5 mpg, as long as I am paying for the fuel, why is it the Government's business? If I want to invest my private capital into producing the next Hummer, shouldn't the market decide the gas guzzler's fate? Is it really the role of Government to tell us what to drive, what to eat, how to live?

June 28, 2011

On the Road Again

I am off today to make my customers feel loved. A little lunch, a big thanks for your business is in order.

Maintaining relationships is an important and overlooked part of customer service.

I always end every customer visit by asking if there is anything we could be doing better and thanking my customers for their business. I mean it too.

June 27, 2011

You can't spread the wealth like butter on toast

Friday I asked if it was a problem if the rich are getting richer? No one had an issue with the wealthiest among us getting more wealthy.

"The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer" has long been the mantra of the Progressive Left. Like it or not, this is the central theme of Marxism. What modern liberals fail to establish is a correlation between the two sets of facts.

For one, the rich are getting richer. The poor of today, at least in the US, are rich by their grandfather's standards. We are all far better off than a few generations ago.

Economists and deep thinkers far smarter than I have studied the economics of the world. They do not have the answers and you certainly will not find them here. I limped through a couple of economic courses in college. The detailed discussions of monetary policy on interest rates, derivatives, the Theory of Value, Says Law and balanced payments makes my eyes glaze in boredom.

Here is what I believe. A rising tide floats all boats. Even the most cursory study of history and economics shows that taking from the most productive among us and giving it to others never improves the lot of society as a whole. At some point the producers just quit producing. The takers just keep taking. The Pilgrims tried it.  Their first year they operated on economic principles that would have made Karl Marx weep with joy. The problem was it took no time at all for most to understand they did not have to break their back in the fields and could still eat. John Smith quickly instituted the 'no workee -- no eatee' policy and New England got off to a rousing start. Too bad the descendants of those same idealists want to infest the region with the failed socialist policies of their ancestors today. I guess some of us are doomed to repeat our history.

The bottom line is this: Robin Hood was a thief. Good intentions do not change facts. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor, or "spreading the wealth" as the President likes to say, is a losing policy. The current administration continues to harp that the "rich" are not paying their fair share. I read a speech by Al Franken at the Netroots Convention last week that echoed that sentiment.

Here is the giant 8,000 pound gorilla in the room -- nearly half of Americans pay NO income taxes. What is fair about that? The richest 10% in this country pay most of the collected taxes. That is fact. I find it hard to believe they are not paying their fair share. Those of you who believe we have a revenue problem (need to collect more taxes) as opposed to a spending problem in Government today should be advocating a tax for all, not asking more from those already paying a progressive tax. Sadly, politicians of both parties have realized the best way to buy votes and power is to give away as much as possible to as many as possible and hope the rest of us can foot the bill. The 'bread and circus plan' did not work for the Romans and it will not create a prosperous America either.

Let me pose a scenario. It is true that the poor buy the majority of lottery tickets. Let us say your neighbor Sam picked the winning Lotto numbers and won a windfall of $10,000,000.  Would you think it all right if the Government kept 90%?  Instead of 10 million bucks, good neighbor Sam took home a mere one mill? Granted, we would all take a million bucks, but would you think it fair Uncle Sugar grabbed the balance? Liberal icon FDR imposed a 90% tax upon the rich. In fact, he pondered a 100% tax on income above $100,000.

Envy is not good economic policy.

I am not rich. I have lived paycheck to paycheck. My house is small and my subdivision is not the finest in town. I would like to be rich.  Living in a society where I do not have the opportunity to make money, earn my way, is not for me. I like the idea that I could become wealthy through hard work, risk, and opportunity. I love that America offers me the chance to own a business, develop the next new technology, to cash in on that better mousetrap. The choice is mine. The idea of a faceless bureaucrat taking the sweat from my brow, the fruits of my labors, and giving it to my neighbor makes me sick.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Sickness, unemployment and other factors can make us poor and dependant upon society for a helping hand. It happens. Many of of us have been there.  Many of the truly poor -- not those who have had temporary setbacks in life -- are poor for a reason.  They have made bad choices in life. Lack of education, having kids you cannot afford, turning to drugs and crime all contribute to one's economic station. There is no one in this country who is denied the opportunity for education. The poorest among us have a decided advantage in scholarships and financial aid. I suppose anyone can slip up and get pregnant once. But recorded history shows only one woman ever got with child without having sex. . My neighbor should not be forced to subsidize my poor life choices.

Again, there is a big difference in a hand up and a hand out.

Each to his ability, each to his needs leads to us all lowering our expectations. "Tax the rich, feed the poor 'till they ain't rich no more" does not float the fleet on a rising tide.  It leaves all of our ships sunk in the mud and mire of poverty and low expectations.

Edit. I actually wrote this Friday night and Saturday morning. As usual, why read my ponderous writing when you could get a better, clearer mesage from a guy way, way smarter than I?  Read This. You will be smarter when you are done.

June 25, 2011

Punch drunk from lack of sleep

I went to bed last night a little after 11:00 PM. I woke this morning a little after three. I puked up my supper. Unable to get back to sleep with my intestines tied in knots and my stomach churning, I turned on the television.

I surfed the channel lineup a couple of times. With nothing better to occupy the early morning hours, Errol Flynn and me went on Dawn Patrol. We nailed a bunch of the filthy Huns, shot down the evil Boches. I have been flying along with Eddie Rickenbaker during the day (Fighting the Flying Circus) and doing the same with Flynn during the night! I think I will pull out my copy of The Blue Max and give it a watch this morning.

It looks like I need to mow the lawn this weekend. I may get to that this afternoon.  The wife mentioned she had some stuff to take back to the mall.  Yard work will be a good excuse not to accompany her. Plus, since I was up a good portion of the night, I will need a nap!

I hope you have a great Saturday.

Here is a little WWI aviation photography to spur your interest. These pilots are pictured with the 94th "Hat in the Ring" squadron. Do you know what else they had in common?
Maj. John Huffer and Raoul Lufberry

June 24, 2011

On economics and politics

I was doing a little thinking this morning. I know, that is dangerous.

I have a quick question for you loyal readers.

Do you care if Bill Gates or Warren Buffett gets richer next year? Would you think it a bad thing if their net wealth grows?

I get up, I get down

The skies are grey and cloudy again this morning. It seems as if either rains every day or at least threatens. Some of the flowers we planted last month are starting to struggle.  I think it is just too much water. I am not sure what to do about it. I think the large amount of hail we had the other day did not help. I should mention I have the opposite of a green thumb. It takes a hardy plant to thrive around here. I have little interest in gardening and lawn work.

We have exactly ONE plant in the house. It is a planter from when my wife's mother died a couple of years ago. It sits on top of my desk hutch. It lives through sheer perseverance, not loving care. Sometimes I remember to water it. I threaten every year to put it outside for the summer. If I do, it won't come back in. The plant will not survive winter. Call me a softy, 

I cooked some thin ribeyes on the grill last night. We had a fine meal of steak sandwiches and baked spuds. I also bought a watermelon, but we were not hungry and it remains in the 'fridge waiting the knife.

We don't have any specific plans for the weekend. I think I am going to throw some burgers on the grill Sunday. I promised the boy we would drag out the ice cream freezer and make a batch of homemade ice cream to go along. I suspect ice cream is not on my diet. Maybe I can have a small bowl, if I skip the chocolate syrup.

June 23, 2011

Dear Terrorists

Patience, fellas. One more year and you will be free of that pesky US Military.

There is no need to keep wasting your lives, treasure and precious resources fighting the Great Satan. We will be outta there starting next year. You can remake your Afghanistan and Pakistan homeland back into the training and haven for Islamic Terrorism you have always maintained. Think of our intervention as a brief interlude. Hell, I have just offered you a ready-made recruiting tool. You beat the Soviets. You beat the Americans. God is on your side. Just hold out.

The American troops will be weakened and more open to attack if you can just bide your time. Look, you have been waiting for 1,000 years to bring about your great Caliphate, another year or two will not matter.

It does not matter what the situation is a year from now.  I am more interested in the politics of my actions.  Let's face it.  I know the military is filled with a bunch of worthless hicks, redneck racists and gun-lovers. The quicker we can cut down their numbers the better. I have a Hope and Change agenda and I need that money. This whole thing is Bush's fault anyway.

So take a page from The New Kids on the Block and "Hang Tough".

Your Friend,

B.H. Obama

Almost Friday

I was in the Pocket City earlier this week. You know, Dale Evans' favorite city. I did the Supertramp thing for my return -- I took the long way home. The drive was nice through the hills of Southern Indiana. It is nice to put the car over some curves and hills occasionally.

There is nothing of interest to report. Based on my stats, there are not too many of you left  to report these non-events to anyway. There is no doubt in my mind content has a lot to do with my declining readership, but my hits are down 40 to 50%. Let's face it, blogging is dying. Most of the peeps have headed over to Facebook. I look at it like this, I need to get weaned off this hobby. I have said it before, I have no intentions of getting caught up in another time-eating social media. I have done the blog thing since 2005 and have pretty much bored you all enough.

No -- I am not threatening to quit. I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon, but I will not be taking up my virtual pen in another medium.

The pile of to-do items on my desk gets longer every day.  Perhaps I should tackle a few of those unpleasant tasks today. On the bright side it is payday, so there is actually a little money in my bank account. Until tomorrow. Mortgage, car payments, food; someone always wants a piece of me.

Now I have Supertramp swirling in my noggin. You can too:


Have a great day.

June 22, 2011

On love and marriage

A guy walks into his bedroom leading a sheep and says "When you ain't in the mood, I have sex with this cow."

His wife puts down her magazine, looks at him scornfully and replies "You stupid ass redneck, that's not a cow".

He stares at his wife and says "Don't you ever interrupt me when I am talking to the sheep, you bitch."

Hey! That is my money you are spending

We see it at the Federal level. The State is almost as bad.  The local level does it too. The Government likes to spend money. Did you buy a house in a valley? The city will help reduce your flooding problems. We will feed your kids breakfast and lunch. We have programs to protect your favorite toad or fish or bird. We have programs to promote the environment, education, Indian Affairs, roads, arts, radio, television.  The politicians of this fine nation love to spend money.

There should be a big sign posted in the office of every elected official, on the desk of every public employee. This slogan should be part of every Federal publication. It should be written on your food stamp/welfare debit card.

The funds for this project were taken from the taxpayers of this country.

The only way any level of government can do anything -- build a road, clean a ditch, provide economic development, buy a car company, provide medical care or free lunch to kids and seniors is by taking part of my hard-earned wages. Taxes are a necessary part of living within a society.  I get that.  But somehow when a politician gets elected he or she conveniently forgets each and every dollar he spends belonged to someone else.

When someone takes a buck from me and my neighbor to help the guy down the block there is a moral obligation to make sure that dollar is needed and spent wisely.

Most of us would not consider borrowing money from our kid's piggy bank except under the most dire and necessary circumstances. Our politicians have been robbing from our kids' and grandkids' bank account for years.

So, Mr. Mayor, Governor, Representative, Senator -- keep in mind that is MY money you are spending. You took from my family, my kids, my savings, my paycheck. Is it too much to occasionally remind yourself of that simple fact?

June 20, 2011

Red sky in the morning...

Lightening is flashing and thunder is rolling in near constant waves this morning. The sky is a weird orange color. It was not raining much about 20 minutes ago, but while I ate my Cheerios and read the meager newspaper it started coming down pretty hard. I can't wait to jump in the car and drive this morning as I continue my "piss of the customers tour of 2011".

I had a great Father's day.

Weird shit continues around the old homestead though. You remember the weird frog episode of last week? If not you can search the archives over there on the left. Anyhoo, yesterday morning the boy and I were in the living room watching some Goodfellas while the wife finished whatever she does that takes so long to get ready in the bathroom. The boy asked if I heard that noise? He looked up and told me to look at the skylight.

A bird was pecking at the glass.  A very big bird. Another was staring down from the second skylight. I could hear the ghost of Tippi Hedren laughing in the distance. OK, I made the ghost part up. I grabbed a handful of ice cubes from the freezer and went onto the deck. On my roof was a whole murder of crows or ravens. Big black ugly bastids. On was perched on my fireplace chimney. I am sure he was the murderous leader of the gang. Four or five others were standing around staring in my skylights plotting mayhem with my family. I threw a chunk of ice at the leader. I am not sure but I think I knocked the Marlon Brando leather cap from his gang-leader head. A couple of the gang sang out a menacing caw-caw that I interpreted as "We'll be back to rape your wife and drink your beer." The evil birds circled around a few times and headed southwest towards the distant fields. I suspect a defenseless scarecrow was about to be tormented.

As I write this huge hailstones are hitting the house. I better take cover.

I just looked.  They are marble sized. I cannot wait to get on the road today.

June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day...

...to all you Dads out there.


Actual picture of Otter and I with our parents circa 1972
Remember, Andy Taylor, Steve Douglas, Mike Brady, Ward Cleaver, and even Homer Simpson all have a team of writers helping them with just the right line in any given situation.  I know I could be a better dad if I had a team of researchers and wordsmiths to give me the perfect response to any situation. Dads like you and me and my pop all have had to make do with the time-tested "winging it" method. My dad was pretty good at it. Me, I try. I suspect I have had as many bad reactions, if not more, than good ones.

In spite of my failures my kids have all turned out well. I refuse to give their mother all the credit.  After all it is Father's Day.

So, here is to you Dad's of the world. I salute you for sitting through every dance recital, coaching little league and soccer, leading the Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troops, bringing home the bacon and being there for every cut and heartache.  I tip my hat to you for driving across town to pick up your son or daughter from that slumber party and the early Sunday trips to pick up a box of donuts because your kid said they sure sounded good.. I salute you because you and I both know those things were not a burden.  You loved every minute of it.

At Christmas we watch A Christmas Story, on June 6th we view the cinematic versions of Normandy. Today we will slip in that Field of Dreams DVD and think about dear old father. "Wanna have a catch?"

Thanks Dad. Happy Father's Day to you all.

June 18, 2011

Saturday Music



I woke up with this song stuck in my brainpan this morning. The hair, the boobs, the act aside, Dolly Parton is one hell of a singer and songwriter. As importantly, she understood the idea of marketing in music long before the Madonnas and Lady Gagas of the world caught on. Only Parton did it in a classy, but still over-the-top manner. See any interview with her.  She got it, she embraced it.

It is a rainy morning here at the old homestead. I am not sure if it is the weather or what, but I have a pounding headache. Not complaining, just factualizing. No, I am not sure if that is a real word, but it should be. I had my prescription meds, my vitamin B6, my Cheerios, OJ and two mugs of java along with a couple of Advil, so I am set to face the weekend.  At this moment I have limited plans.  A new "Sharpe" movie arrived from the fine folks at Netflix, so I will meander mentally to the Napoleonic Wars after posting this and reading a few blogs. I may read a bit of Eddie Rickenbaker's struggles against the mighty Hun air force in the Great War. Beyond that I will have to await the Queen's direction.

In any case, please do not sit and fret about my well being. You should try hard not to let the awesomeness of ME consume your life. Go ahead and live. Enjoy your weekend.  You can worship me again next week.

June 17, 2011

Stabbing myself in the face with a soldering iron / reading liberal websites -- is there a difference?

I was reading a lefty-leaning article from the Daily Beast discussing Michelle Bachmann. I read one sentence that sums up the liberal mindset as clearly as any I have ever read:

Her ideological radicalism should not be mistaken for stupidity
.I have seen a similar approach from various progressiv/liberal bloggers. Sadly such a view is not liberal in the classical sense at all. I have stated often, and firmly believe, education is a life-long process. Every day I increasingly understand how little I know. There are a lot of people smarter than I. By the same token I would place my intellect, education, historical and economic undertanding against your average liberal.

I am truly amazed that for most liberals a belief in God automatically makes one ignorant. A significant amount of scholarly research over the ages was done under the auspices of religion. Sure religion has done many things wrong.  It has also made the lives of many better. Has religion over time harmed true scientific discovery -- yes.  Has it also aided in the progress of science -- yes. Are Georgetown, Boston College and Notre Dame not respected and noted institutions of higher learning? Is it not true that the religious private schools often turn out some of our best and brightest?

I often find liberals come to a discussion with intellectual dishonesty. When they are unable to argue the point they resort to pseudo-intellectual superiority. Their only salient argument is I must be too stupid to understand. Sometimes liberals are so sure of not only their superior worldview and my supposed ignorance they will discount my position, even when I agree with them! I found just such an example a few weeks ago when I left a comment on a liberal blog.

I find it laughable that according to the liberal position, the Bachmanns, the Limbaughs, the Hannitys, the Palins, the Reagans of this world are all ignorant buffoons, too stupid to tie their own shoes. The Obama's, the Clinton's are the smart ones.  GW had better grades than John Kerry and somehow managed to get through Yale, but was just an ignorant "shrub". Palin is ignorant because she mistakenly said Revere warned the British, but Obama made a mere slip of the tongue when he visited 57 states or needed to bone up on his "Austrian". One again liberals are good and smart while Conservatives are liars and ignorant.

Only in the liberal mind are belief in God, family, and a strong America extreme. Only to a liberal are holding conservative values  -- a trait shared by a majority of us-- extreme. Only to a true believer in liberalism are these beliefs equated with stupidity.

The comments to the linked article above are scary. They demonstrate a closed mindset as intense and hate-filled as the one they the ysuppose lurks in the heart of Bachman and conservatives.

This I know, no nation has found long-term success taking the wealth from one citizen and giving it to another. We all prosper under equal opportunity. We all sink to the lowest denominator when we strive for equal results. If believing that makes me ignorant, I guess I can take comfort that history is on my side.

A meandering post that just kind of fizzles at the end ( I really know how to sell 'em, eh wot?)

I am finally back from my long business trip this week earning my meager pay in a big way. I am pleased this trip was remarkably free of assholes. Hardly a jerk provided cause for me to cuss and swear. This is good for the old blood pressure, it does not offer much fodder for reporting on the old blog.

I was sure surprised when I got home.  The boy cut his hair off.  He has sported a dense shaggy mane for a umber of years and he cut it all off.  Buzz cut, if you will. I almost didn't recognize him.

I got a late start this morning, and I had several emails to attend, so this post is a bit late.

Father's Day is Sunday, I am told. I don't really want anything. If the yard were to magically mow itself or the shrubbery shed it excess branches and leaves, well that would be cool. The daughter will be still on vacation to tropical locales, and both the boys have to work.  I think I will motor off to the great flatlands of the Hoosier Heartland to say hola to my Papa. Then maybe we will come home and cook some burgers on the grill.  To be honest a Father's Day without plans sounds mighty pleasant to me.

Wadda ya mean I'm anti-social?

I forgot.  Remember the post below where the boy put in his notice?  Look it up yourself if you really care. On his last day the owner called him in and told him he was sorry to lose him, my son was one of his hardest workers.  He promised a reduction in hours, a promotion to prep cook, and a pay raise if he stayed. The boy will not be moving to the golden arches after all. He was not happy I made him go to McDonalds and tell them he was not coming to work after all. Welcome to the grown up world son. Doing the right thing often sucks.

It is Friday, Enjoy your day. WTH, knock off early if you can.

June 16, 2011

Things were moving too slow to even get road rage

It took nearly two hours to go from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport yesterday afternoon. We hit the road at 3:30 and I am not sure we got over twenty mph until 1/2 mile from the airport. If I had to deal with that every day you would never see another post from me.  I would be long dead from a stroke. There is far too much traffic for the roads to handle.

The big price increase tour continues with mixed results. I am doing my best to help the cause of inflation.  It is interesting to see most of my customers are leaning to a firm belief a double dip recession is imminent.

You get a short post today, I did not bring my power cord for the laptop.

Be of good cheer -- the weekend is coming!

June 15, 2011

Today's earworm



Here is a bonus:



Feels like driving "the strip" back in the late 1970's, when gas was cheap.

June 14, 2011

Today's Post

I read the other day some environmental groups are having real issues with windmills and their effect upon the wildlife and nature.

You people need to understand the radical environmentalists want us to go back to the stone ages.  They advocate farming methods that are not sustainable, that will reduce yields significantly.  They believe there are too many people on earth. They do not want you to have a house, a car. Environmentalists hate factories and modern chemicals.

Environmentalists think they should be allowed to move to the wilderness and plant potatoes and grain with the stick in the hole method. They do not want you to live nearby. Wolves and bears and deer are more valuable than you.  People are bad -- except them.  They are the ultimate elitists. What is good enough for them is too good for the likes of the unenlightened you and me.

I see the same thing around my neck of the woods.  People move out here from the big city and then do everything in their power to keep anyone else from doing the same.  They fight tooth and nail against any development.  They hate the idea of new roads, new business, new factories.  They will protest against a new housing development miles from their home.

We all have a NIMBY attitude, but some people go too far.

June 13, 2011

Why should I vote for you?

We are still a ways from the Presidential elections. But as a nation we have to begin taking a hard look at the future.

If you are member of the Democratic Party, what would you list as your accomplishments? If you were The Obama, why should America re-elect you as President?  If you are running as Democrat what have you done to deserve election or re-election?

At some point, you cannot convince the average American to vote against the other guy.  McCain, Dole, the Democrats in Congress last fall proved that point well.  You have to stand for something.

The same is true for a Republican running for office.  It is not enough to say you are not a Democrat, you are not The Obama. We are looking for a plan to bring the economy to life, to ease unemployment, and reduce the crippling deficits. How will you fix what ails us at home without further weakening our foreign policy?

Here on Gilligan's Isle

I mowed the yard yesterday. It was a pleasant day; the temperature in the seventies. i was in the mood to throw some meat on the grill last night. The boy asked for tacos instead.  Since he only gets to eat home about one day a week (see below), I agreed.

The big price increase tour continues this week.  Raising prices to your customers sure makes you an unpopular guy. Some of the responses are pure hyperbole.  I got a response email on Friday explaining how we are an awful supplier. We have held prices since 2005, in spite of raw materials, currency. energy, etc increasing by double digits.  We have never had a quality problem, we have never missed a delivery -- even by one day.  Sarcasm alert -- yes we suck.  The widget industry  is notorious for poor deliveries, late shipments and putting customers on allocation with the first sign of an manufacturing upswing. We are an exception. I am tempted to tell the guy to piss off. He will be back after paying higher prices and not getting product. I won't. But I want to.

I get to travel with company bigwigs this week.  As I get older and even more set in my ways I like travelling with others less and less.

Last week's SI Power rankings listed the Cubs at 30th -- the worst team in baseball. I don't think I can argue.

June 12, 2011

There will soon be an opening for a dishwasher

The boy got a new job. He is going to work at McDonalds. He swore he did not want to work in fast food. His current employer drove him to it.

He works at a local Italian restaurant.  He mostly washes dishes and surprisingly he does not mind the work.  He really likes the days when he gets to do prep work. He has told management he would like to move to the line, but they have not yet given him an opportunity. That is not why he is quitting.

He was hired as part time.  He will be entering his Senior year in high school. These are the salad days. I want him to earn some gas money, appreciate why he should go to college, develop some work ethic, etc. He likes making and having his own money. Unfortunately, the management has him working six to seven days a week. He works six hours (give or take) a shift.  He closes most nights. He got home a little after eleven last night and has to be back this morning at ten.

The boy told them several weeks ago he only wanted to work part time, three or four days a week.  The owner told him he could not afford to hire any one else. The boy gets no benefits. Other than administrative costs, like writing the check, it costs no more to hire two people to work twenty hours each or one to work forty hours.  Perhaps the worker's comp premium is based on the number of employees?

Anyway, the local place is losing a hard worker. One who never calls in 'sick", one who will do the dirty work without complaint. The boy has the rest of his life life to work every day. I want him to work, but he also needs some time to be a kid. Hopefully the new gig will allow that to happen.

June 11, 2011

Raining frogs

Frogs are very different from cats. Cats have nine lives.  Cats land on their feet.

When frogs drop from about seven feet, not only do they land on their back, but they die.

I know these things.

Yesterday afternoon I opened the front door to fetch the mail.  As I did, I saw something drop and go "plop" on the stoop.  I will be honest and admit I thought some critter was attacking me in the nanosecond before the sickening splat on the porch. I am pretty sure cause of death was froggy-type guts coming out of frog mouth -- if you are looking for a technical description.

Poking it with my shoe likely did not help. There was no stick handy to do stick science. The frog was dead certainly by the time I picked scraped it up with the shovel . I chucked it into the bushes and overgrown ground cover at the side of the house, just in case it takes a while for the remaining eight froggy lives to take effect. I am caring like that.

The neighbor's cat will probably eat it.

June 10, 2011

It really is another day at the office for Democrats

I discussed the lack of response from the NOW organisation and prominent Democratic women on Weinergate in this post.

Oddly enough, the AP agrees with me.

WASHINGTON – Pursed lips. Frosty glares. Polite demurrals. Icy silence. Women in politics are grappling with the distinctly unfunny choice of restraining themselves or letting rip what they really think about Rep. Anthony Weiner's X-rated online conduct and whether he belongs in Congress.
They'll be vexed by the question awhile longer because the 46-year-old Democrat from New York City told the New York Post on Thursday he won't resign.
The scandal presents a maddening choice for these female leaders, none shy, between speaking out or keeping quiet about behavior that, at best, is disrespectful of women. Source

I love to be right. Read the whole thing. Heck, the title of the article even agrees with me:

Top Democratic women dodge tough call on Weiner

Who is this guy?


Do you know this guy? This is not a very hard trivia contest for a Friday morning. I suspect one of you will give the right answer in the comments within about 15 minutes of posting.

BUT -- like Paul Harvey used to say: now for the rest of the story.

This guy once played for the Chicago Cubs.  Like many former Cubs, he went on to greatness after he left the Northside Club. He played for Chicago in 1951.  He hit .239 with 18 RBI and 2 HR. He was a first baseman.

This man also played in the NBA for the 1946 Boston Celtics. He was also drafted by the Chicago Bears, but never played.

This dude was an all around Man's Man.

Do you know him?

June 9, 2011

Random Ramblings

Thank you Tam for the awesome Tamalanche.

I think the wife had a great birthday yesterday.

I woke about two this morning with stomach cramping.  I have crapped all morning. I knew I was full of shit, but wow. I was standing at the sink in the bathroom testing my blood when butt gravy just erupted. You know you are about to have a bad day when shit is running down your legs early in the morning. I have to get over this in the next four hours. I have an appointment this afternoon. My customer is going to figuratively shit his pants when he sees the big price increase I am going to drop on him today. We do not need me to literally shit my pants in his conference room. That would be the true definition of adding insult to injury.

I saw a picture of Cubs legend Ernie Banks at Target a few weeks ago.  I was too cheap to spend twenty bucks at the time. I have been rethinking the decision the past few days. Now it is easy -- the picture was gone last evening. Yes, I know I could go to another Target, but this way I do not have to spend the $20, and try to figure out where to hang the picture in my office. Sometimes taking no decision works for the best.

My Son-in-Law has scored us some nice tickets to the Styx/Yes show in Indianapolis next month. You long-time readers know I loves me some Yes music. I have also seen Styx a few times. This will be my first concert in about two decades. I am a little concerned about the new singer for Yes. I have heard him on snippets of their new stuff and I am on the fence. The new material sounds a lot like the Drama album -- not among my favorite Yes recordings. I am stuck pretty much in the seventies when it comes to music and my favorite Yes songs are no exception.

We have made it to Thursday. Have a great day.

You will drive our coal powered car. We know what is best

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson thinks the Feds should raise gas taxes by $1.00 per gallon. The current Federal gasoline tax is 18.5 cents/gallon. The head of Government Motors thinks this increase will force you -- the consumer -- to buy smaller, more efficient cars. You know -- the kind of cars Obama and his lackeys insist GM produce. You know -- the kind of cars you do not want to buy.

The Chevy Volt is a dud. But if fuel reaches $5.00 or $6.00 per gallon, economics very well could force you to suck it up and buy a vehicle you hate. Little cars that are more likely to get you and your loved ones killed in an accident. Cars too small to carry your family in comfort. Oh, well, you won't be going on any vacations when gas hits $6.00 anyway.  The economy will be in collapse.

I suspect there some in the administration who think the Volga was a great idea.

June 8, 2011

One For My Baby

Soooo, today is the wife's birthday. Since I am a gentleman, I will not divulge her age. Let us just say she is older than me. It is one of the BIG ONES. It is not 49. Nor is it 51. No more hints. Did I mention she is older than me?

I am not going to tell you what I bought her on the remote chance she has discovered my super secret blog life. We are going out for a very nice dinner. We are going to the kind of place where I can't wear shorts and a raggedy Cubs T-Shirt. Why not, your wife only turns 49 twice. Three times if you count next year. I did tell you she is older than I, right?

So today is my Baby's Big Day. I suppose some would look at her and see her hair is no longer curly or as dark as it once was. She has a few laugh wrinkles around her eyes. Her vision is not what it used to be. Perhaps her body is not that of an 18 year old. I do not see any of those things. She is still the beautiful girl I fell in love with more than 30 years ago.

Shortly after midnight last night I wished her a happy day and she gave me a kiss. Her lips still send shivers through my body, Her kisses are electric.

I will get my "old" jokes out right here on the old blog. For her, I just wish the happiest of days, with many returns.

Just the facts

Back in the old days -- the earliest days of the brand new-formed United States of America -- there was a lot of talk about the structure of our Government.

Did you know there was serious question if the Constitution should be passed? Supporters and opponents alike wrote a series of articles arguing Pro and Con of the proposed Constitution. These articles survive as the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. They make excellent reading regarding the beliefs of the Framers of the Constitution and their vision for America.

What you probably don't realize is the primary argument against the Constitution was that it gave  too much power to the Federal Government. No one was arguing the limits placed on Federal Power were too great. The lefty/progressives of the time pushed for the limited Government espoused by today's Tea Party.

The only way the States agreed to ratify the new Constitution was if the Bill of Rights was attached. The Bill of Rights --particularly the 9th and 10th Amendments limited the power of the Feds. Individual and States rights were protected from an over -reaching Federal Government.

How far we have come. The Feds legislate individual Americans how we must spend our hard-earned wealth and dictate to States how to spend tax dollars. The Federal Government takes money from you and me to provide a free lunch to every kid under the age of 18 all summer long. The President thinks he should be able to dictate the temperature we keep our homes and the type car we are to drive. The Feds want to govern how my home is lit  and that my TV must accept a digital signal -- even if I liked analog.

Did you progressives not study history at all in school? For goodness sake, pick up a book.  Read the Federalist Papers, read the Declaration of Independence, read the Constitution.  Make a list of those nations that have been wildly successful pursuing the socialist/communist/progressive/liberal agenda.

Lefties like to pretend they are the smartest folks in the room. Really, they are just historically ignorant, power-hungry thieves. Liberals have no issue pursuing what they believe is right and good -- as long as I must pay for it.

June 7, 2011

Just another day at the office for your average Democrat.

So, if a Republican does stupid shit like tap dancing the gay dance in a public restroom, or sending texts to hit on a page, they should resign. Republican jerks are branded hypocrites because the Party and its supporters have moral values.

Democrats do stupid shit like send naked and semi naked pictures to college kids, or get a little head from an intern, or get drunk and leave a young woman to die in a pond and they should be left alone to sort out their family issues. They are not hypocrites.  I guess because Democrats think morality is icky, or something?

Does it not occur to you who think that Weinergate is no big deal that our nation's security could be compromised?  If the enemies of the State were to get those pictures Weiner could be blackmailed? That tactic was a favorite of Communist Bloc nations during the Cold War. Even before that, JFK was reportedly sent to the PT Service for playing hide the bratwurst with a  Nazi German agent during The Big One. There is plenty of precedent.

Weiner must resign because he is a moron, a liar, a sexual predator, and has no business representing the people of Queens. He is a security risk. He must go.  Today.

Of course the NOW women only care about sexual predators when they are not Democrats. The Democrats do not care if one of their own is a serial harasser. We have to face facts.  The Democratic Party IS the party of Teddy Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Tony Weiner. The Democrat Party says these guys are not hypocrites because they have no morals.  I guess you Dems can be proud of that.

Mountains of Pennies

We are a little numb to huge dollar figures these days. When lotteries and game shows give away millions we tend to think that is not much money. It is.

When the press discusses Government finance we are faced with terms like billion and trillion. I just cannot get my mind around Obama's projected debt total of more than 14 trillion dollars. I am no math whiz. I am no financial whiz either. So I sat down with a pencil and paper and tried to put Government spending into a term I could understand.

Here is the Debt: $14,500,000,000,000. The deficit is triple what it was three years ago.

To better understand this amount, I have tried to shrink these huge amounts into a monetary figure I could grasp. Let us say a million dollars is the same as having a penny in your pocket. We may not know a millionaire, but we all understand that having a cold hard million in specie huddling down with the lint in your right front pocket would be a lot of money. So if you were a millionaire you would have a penny.

If you have the investment savvy of Hillary Clinton you might increase that million dollars into one hundred million. Maybe your Fat in Indiana stock split or something. Instead of that shiny penny smell you would now have a crisp new one dollar bill to buy some Fritos or pass to a sweaty stripper.

You have that dollar which represents one hundred million. You are rich in a professional athlete way, but you want NFL owner type wealth.  You want to be a billionaire. You trade that shiny one dollar bill for a ten-spot and you now are a billionaire. Just think, with a few shiny pennies you have millions, but it takes a sawbuck with a picture of Hamilton to be a billionaire! Yep if you had Bill Gates' wealth you would be worth $560! Again, compare that kind of money to a copper penny million.

Now we are getting into real money.  Government spending amounts. Obama and the Democrats saddled us with a $750 billion stimulus bill. Unemployment has remained steady, the value of the dollar has dropped, food and gas prices are souring. How much is 750 billion in our little currency game? As a millionaire you had a penny.  If you could pocket the stimulus you would have a check for $7,500 in your wallet. You could buy a used car for your teenager with that kind of cash. You could fill up your SUV with premium. Seriously, most Americans do not make that much money in a month.

Finally, we get to real money. The kind of debt the government has saddled us with. The kind of money our kids and grandkids are going to have to pony up. If We The People were playing penny ante poker, the pot just grew from a couple of pennies to $140,000! That is correct. If we make pennies in our lifetime, the Government spends the equivalent of the price for a cheap ranch prefab house in the country.

As I said, I am no math genius. How many people like Bill Gates would have to be taxed the entirety of their holdings -- $560 to come up with $140,000? I am telling you, there ain't enough rich people. So tell me again we need another stimulus. Explain to me how we are going to get out of this mess without some serious across-the-board spending cuts. If you have a mortgage of $140,000 and only have a penny in your pocket you have some real issues. You cannot spend your way out of debt. You can't borrow your way out of debt. Most of us will earn a few pennies at best in our lifetime -- if we are lucky. Compare that penny to what Obama and the politicians from both parties have spent. We are not talking hope and pocket change here.

Will you sleep better tonight?

June 4, 2011

It has been a while since I detailed my reading habits.  I am sure you all have tuned in every day to see what I have read.

No?

I last detailed the books I have finished back in March. Below is an update (in order).

A Confederacy of Dunces  by John Kennedy Toole
Peter Simple by Frederick Marryat
The King's Own by Frederick Marryat
True Grit by Charles Portis
Follow the Stone by John Locke
Lethal People  by John Locke
Lethal Experiment  by John Locke
Saving Rachel  by John Locke
A Death in China by Carl Hiassen and Bill Montalbano
Now & Then by John Locke
Wish List by John Locke
A Girl Like You  by John Locke
Skipped Parts  by Tim Sandlin
Vegas Moon by John Locke
Capitan Blood by Raphael Sabatini
Sorrow Floats by Tim Sandlin
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
Don't Poke the Bear by John Locke

Yes, I have been spending a lot of time with my nose stuck in an electric "book". The total is 40 books finished since Christmas.

As you can see, I still have the habit of reading everything I can find by an author once I enjoy a book. I especially loved the Tim Sandlin books, and plan to read some more soon. The wife is getting a bit testy about the number of books I have purchased. Well not really, but I have a backlog of more than 50 books on the old Kindle and I want to work some of them down before I buy any more. For the record, all of the 55 books I have waiting in queue on the Kindle were free.

I am not sure what I am going to read next.  I may go back to Marryat or Sabatini.  I might take on Midnight Cowboy or Forester's Passage to India.

A friend gifted me with a bunch of non-fiction hardbacks that belonged to her father. I might just take on a real book for the first time since Christmas. I will let you know in a few months.

June 3, 2011

I hate people

The Feds have spent a couple of million bucks to scrap the old food pyramid and presented us with a new food pie. The same people who feed their kids Twinkies for lunch will ignore this advice too. No matter how many pie charts, graphs, or pyramids you show kids, they are still going to eat what tastes good. Listen, we all know what we should eat and what is food is good for us. It won't make my son eat veggies and it will not make him like fruit. The whole thing is just another example of the Government taking my money and wasting it.

I ran into the biggest jerk and asshole I have met in a long time at the airport the other day.  It was a TSA guy. Clearly he was taken in with his power. Perhaps the Feds could take some of my hard earned money they have confiscated from me and use it to train their employees in customer service. Just because you can be an ass, does not mean you need to. I bit my tongue, I had neither the time or desire to get a special security check.

I ignored three different sets of travellers at two different airports asking to move forward in the security line because their planes were boarding or about to board. I did not tell them no, I just ignored their bleating. I am growing increasingly hard-hearted to people who cannot bother to get to the airport on time. The ridiculous TSA stuff has been going on a long time. It has been decades since anyone could come to the airport and board a plane without going through security.. Every reservation and ticket states one should arrive at the airport two hours early. An inability to budget your time does not mean I should let you in line in front of me.  Nicer folks than I let them move to the front of the line.

Unlike the TSA people, I am not dealing with "customers" at the airport. I can be a dick. I am growing increasingly sick of the entitlement attitude expressed by most Americans. One couple was complaining they might miss their flight -- mentioning the troubles they had when they were late to their flight in Palm Springs back in January. One would have thought they had learned their lesson. Instead, the plane will push off late waiting on these assholes.

The Feds should put out a new pie chart explaining how people who feel entitled are sucking the life right out of me. I find them at the store, at the movies, at the airport, at restaurants. They are on the highways. They are jogging in the middle of a busy street.

Maybe I need to look for a new job.  Travel clearly puts me in a pissy mood.

June 2, 2011

These are a few of my fovorite things...

Do you have some favorite songs? I don't mean those tunes that catch your fancy for today.  I mean songs and artists you have loved for decades.  The songs you could play every day and not get tired of hearing? I do. Here are five songs that regularly appear on my iPod. If these played every day, multiple times, I would not mind:

1. Yours is no Disgrace  by Yes.  This is probably my favorite tune of all time, especially the live version from Yessongs

2. While my Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison. 

3. Aimee by Pure Prairie League

4. Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

5. One for my Baby One for the Road -- the Sinatra version

Do you have some songs you love? I have more, but these tunes never, ever get "skipped" when they play on the old iPod.

June 1, 2011

In the good old summertime

It was a beautiful day yesterday, hot and humid and most summer-like for the first day of summer vacation. I dug some holes and the wife planted some flowers. In the evening, I grilled some cheese potatoes and barbecued some pork chops. There is nothing better than some pork on the grill.

To make the potatoes, I slice a bunch of potatoes real thin.  Peel and slice a couple more than you think you will need.  I dice up a Vidalia onion.  I cubed up a pound of cheddar cheese. Make a foil pack of the potatoes, cheese and onion.  Add a bit of red pepper and salt. Make sure you put some extra layers of foil around the package.  I use about six medium potatoes, but I cut and peeled a lot more when my kids all lived at home. Cook over medium heat on the grill for about 1 hour. The new "no-stick" foil works great for this side dish. Some corn and lemonade rounded out the repast. Some fresh sliced 'maters would have also worked well, but it is still too early around here for good tomatoes.

I pissed my boss off yesterday. I probably should not make that a habit. People in authority don't like to be told they are full of shit by subordinates, especially when they know they are.

On the bright side, the week is already half over. On the dark side, I have to strap myself into a metal tube and brave the friendly skies this afternoon. I get to stand in line so I can undress in public, fight with recreational travelers for overhead space, sit in a seat designed for eight year olds with a shoulder width of nine inches, having even my short legs crammed to my chin with no leg room --it is good to be me.

Oh and ladies -- that fucking Vera Bradley bag that is bigger than my whole carry-on?  We all know you do not carry that monstrosity as a purse. It is a gotdamn extra bag. You could at least put it under the seat so the rest of us could have space for our little overnight suitcase. You know who you are.

I am not sure when flying was ever fun, but it is certainly a bigger pain these days than ever.  It is a sad day when I consider driving twelve to fourteen hours each way to avoid the airline experience.

Have a great Wednesday.
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