November 30, 2007

Rednecks in Action

I guess these people just love dining al fresco -- have picnic will travel.

Edit: RIP E.K., your jumps gave me the thrills of my childhood. You will always be the greatest stunt performer in my book.

Return of the Friday Five

I love the Holidays. The trees, the lights, the music. Christmas tunes are playing while I type. I love Christmas movies. Holiday Inn is among my most favorite movies ever. Here is one of my favorite scenes: The Big 4th of July Dance. YouTube will not allow me to embed the video, so click to see some of the best dancing you will ever witness. Trust me, those are mere hacks on Dancing with the Stars.
Here are my five top Christmas movies:

Holiday Inn
Charlie Brown Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street
White Christmas / Its a Wonderful Life
Christmas with the Kranks / The Santa Clause (tie)

So, I get seven. What of it?

What are your five favorite Christmas movies?

November 29, 2007

Please Christmas Don't Be Late

Man, I never get tired of hearing The Chipmunks sing the Christmas Song.

Me, I want a hula hoop...

I hate those fucking dogs barking Jingle Bells though.

Back home again...

Do you know the song Back home again, in Indiana? Well, that is where I am, back home in Indiana. I wish I had some interesting tale of mishap and humor from my trip home, but the journey consisted of long waits in various airports and boring, bumpy flights home. The day started around six am, and ended around midnight. So much for the joys of travel.

I was amused by a sign at the approach to the Tappan Zee Bridge. It told me life was wonderful and gave a suicide helpline number. I wonder if that last second reminder has saved any lives? Is the thought of crossing the Hudson that depressing? Of course, Westchester County is where the Clintons live, so that may account for the sign.

Should I be concerned when I return from a sales meeting completely demotivated? Is it just the season? The cold weather? A serious lack of nookie?

November 26, 2007

The big road trip continues

Whoo hoo, I finally made it. Gave my sales presentation late this afternoon. It went over well.

I have to sit through 3/4 day of more drivel tomorrow. Then it is back to the airport and a flight back home. Joy of joy I get to connect through Cleveland again!

It is good to be me

So here I am, stuck in Cleveland. My flight to White Plans cancelled. I must say the Airport Sheraton is expensive, given the quality of accomodations.

I hope my very early flight goes, I would sure hate to miss my sales meetings. And if you believe that...

November 25, 2007

Gettin' in the Mood

Here is a picture taken of the wife's little 'Charlie Brown' tree and redware collection a few years ago. I think this is a nice old-timey picture. As always, you can click to embiggen.

I got almost all of the lights put up outside yesterday, I have a couple of bushes I want to do still. The tree is up in the living room. The lights are on, but no decorations yet. I still have to put up the aformentioned scrawny tree. I will try to take some pictures of the outside later in the week.

Sadly, the kids go back to school today. It sure has been nice having them home.

November 24, 2007

Rednecks in Action

This is the can-do spirit that makes America the greatest nation on Earth. These guys live on College Street for a reason.

November 23, 2007


First off I would like to offer a huge thank you for all your kind wishes of a Happy Thanksgiving. Among a host of other things I am thankful for each and everyone of you taking time to let me in your busy life almost every day.

I think I ate more yesterday than I have in any one meal all year. Heck, I believe I ate more than I often do in any two meals. But it was sure good. Then I went to my wife's niece's house and did it again. Well actually I only took enough food to be polite.

On the way to my niece's I had a brief panic attack. Not a real one. I just remembered she does not have cable. Nor does she have an antennae for her TV. She can only pick up the UHF CBS affiliate from Lafayette, Indiana. She does not want her kids spending all day in from of the electronic babysitter. I can respect that up until it interferes with my ability to watch the Colts on Thanksgiving. Of course I know outside of Metro Indy and Atlanta NO ONE got to see the Colts, but that is because greedy NFL-types want us all to pay for the privilege of watching reruns, the draft, and eight games we do not care about. Anyhoo, one of the enterprising nephews rigged an antennae in the garage on a spare TV and the grown-ups who cared watched the game with a hint of snow on the screen. Perfectly acceptable -- again, I have plenty to be thankful for.

Well here we are, a chilly Friday morn, reading blogs and drinking coffee. Life is good. I hope you all have a great day -- buy something. The economy is counting on you.

November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

What are you doing reading blogs? Go eat or watch parades or football. have a happy day. Be thankful.

November 21, 2007

Rednecks in action -- holiday version

Some good advise when doing your Christmas shopping on Black Friday

The strangeness around me part deux

If you read deep in to Homer's tales of war and heroism, you see the dark side of human nature. Cassandra carried a heavy burden for her powers. Some days I too carry a heavy monkey on my back. It is a tough job always being right in every thought, deed and action. Superiority is a terrible load to carry. As such, when I criticize those around me, it is more in a spirit of trying to improve the lot of my fellow man, to show those in need how to build a better mousetrap, of educating those with less brainpower. Or it could be that some people are basically stupid and should be made fun of. The choice is yours. The following is a case in point.

We live in a large subdivision across the street from the Middle School. It is about a four block walk for my son. He walks home every day. Since it has been dark in the mornings when he goes to school (class starts at 7:25 am) and there are no sidewalks, I have been driving him and a friend each morning. He would rather walk in subzero temperatures naked than ride the bus. The bus picks up the elementary school kids as well as the few middle/high schoolers that deign to ride. I do not blame him for preferring to walk.

My boy's friend lives a block south of us. On the corner. Across the street from the friend and one house to the west is a boy who also goes to the middle school. Each morning as I pull into Kevin's driveway to pick him up a white Caddy pulls out from across the street. She drives past the one house separating hers from the corner and stops and sits. I take the boys to school, drop them off and return home. The white car is still there. It finally occurs to me one day last week when we were a few minutes late what she is doing. She is waiting on the bus.

This woman gets up, starts her car and drives 50 FEET to drop her kid at the bus stop. I drop my kids off at school and return home while she waits on the bus. Does this seem crazy to anyone else but me? Why doesn't she just drive him to school? Of course, this is none of my business, but I find it incredibly odd. Kevin also says they back their cars into the garage. I suppose they need to get away with Batmobile-like speed in case she is running late getting to the bus stop?

November 20, 2007

Hump day already

So much to write, so little to say. My forecast (all 112 pages) is done. I have turned in my sales presentations for the Big Fall Sales Meeting next week (Big Apple here I come). There is not a customer in existence who will see me this week.

Basically I am putting in time for the next two days. You just have to love three day work weeks. In fact, my job is boring for the next 6 weeks. I will make a few goodwill visits, but as far as beginning new projects or finding new customers -- it just is not going to happen.

It is supposed to hit nearly 70 today. I may drag out some of the Christmas decorations later. I have to take the daughter to have her stitches removed this afternoon. I hear my cigars calling me from the depths of my humidor. They are saying "HB it is warm, smoke me dude".

Take it from me, if you ignore the voices, they just get louder.

November 19, 2007

Freud, Jung, HB, and Pavlov

I was mixing the batter for a pineapple upside down cake last night and it occurred to me for about the one millionth time that I really do not like baking. I have a strong dislike for the electric mixer in general. In one one stark moment of self-analytical clarity I realized why. Dr. Freud, call your office, I have a revelation!

Last night we were sitting down to watch a Christmas movie. I was finishing up the cake and there came a confluence of memories. I remembered a Christmas long ago as I was trying to watch one of the many Christmas specials, Rudolph or Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mom was in the kitchen making divinity and other candies for the Christmas Holidays. In those bad old days the TV signal came over the airwaves, not through a cable or beamed from space to your satellite dish. And there were only three channels. I can not remember if the picture was black and white or color, but I am guessing black and white, since I was probably only nine or ten. Anyway, in the dark ages whenever someone turned on an electric appliance like a vacuum sweeper or electric mixer, it interfered with the TV signal. You got lines on the screen and static for sound. And the small appliances were significantly louder in those days. It seemed Mom would chose the most exciting moments of the show to run the mixer leaving me angry and frustrated. I hate divinity. I ain't real fond of electric mixers.

There you have it, do-it-yourself psychoanalysis. I will have office hours from 1-5 every Thursday. My couch is comfortable.

November 17, 2007

Rednecks in Action

Your basic redneck pickup truck

My daughter had her wisdom teeth extracted yesterday. She is one tough cookie. The vicodin is making her sick, so she said she would rather just tough it out. We finally convinced her to take a few Advil. The dentist said he could prescribe a different pain killer when he called last night to check on her (how about that in modern medicine?), but she said no.

For all of those BCS apologists who claim their cannot be a playoff in big-time college football, how do you explain that NCAA Division III has managed it for decades? BTW, these are TRUE student athletes.

November 16, 2007

Cookin' with Hoosierboy

I consider myself to be an above average cook. I prepare 99% of the meals we eat at home. I am not talking about manning the grill while my wife prepares everything else either. Sometimes one needs a quick and easy meal. Last night I prepared one of those.

Nearly every grocery now offers pre-cooked rotisserie chickens. These whole birds are hot and ready to eat. This chicken makes the perfect chicken and noodles. Pick the chicken from the pones and shred the meat into small pieces. Add to packaged or frozen noodles along with a can of chicken stock or bullion flavored water (I use both). Add your favorite side dishes (here in the Midwest that would include mashed potatoes) and you are set for a quick, cheap dinner that tastes like you spent hours preparing.

Take that semi-homemade Sandra Lee, you hack.

November 15, 2007

The strangeness that surrounds me

Yesterday I returned from my fun-filled business trip. As I was unloading the car (suitcase, coat, trash, briefcase, etc)the mailman made his appearance. He dropped off my mail and drove straight into my neighbor's trash cans. Instead of getting out of the white USPS truck, he backed up and hit the cans at an angle to push them into the street. He then backed up and weaved between the two cans to get to my neighbor's mailbox. He proceeded onward with his duties. "Not, rain, nor snow, nor trashcans"...I guess.

Some acquaintances moved in on the street behind us, but on the same block as us. These people are not exactly friends, but we have known them for a long time. Our sons have played on the same baseball team almost every year since they began baseball. They have been on the same all-star and football teams. We know them pretty well, but we do not hang out. The wife is a loon. The husband is a know-it-all, but they are basically tolerable people.

This morning the wife calls me around 6:45. She said her husband is travelling and she is doing her practical nurse training at a hospital some 50 miles away. She wanted me to go over to her house and make sure her two kids were up and getting ready for school (6th and 8th grade). WTF? Who would leave two middle school-aged kids alone all night? Who would trust them to get up and ready? How do you say no to such a request? I got dressed and drove around the block and rang the doorbell. I told the kid who answered that his mom was worried and to call her and reassure her they were up and getting ready for school.

Of course, I get another call around 7:10, the boys did not call her. I hope this does not become a regular occurrence. What do you do? Further, I can envision this neighbor slinking across the backyards every time he sees me on the deck in the summer -- boring me with his tales and mooching my beer. I have made it my lifetime practice to avoid knowing and socializing with my neighbors. A twenty year habit is not going to be broken now.

November 13, 2007

Truthful Tuesday

So here I am, in the land of Freddie, of the Hummer, of the venerable Steudabaker and the Golden Domers. More specifically, if you wanted to find a manufacturer of RVs or musical instruments I am in that city. You can look it up yourself. I am not here to visit a customer from either one of those industries, however.

I am blogging using my Treo today, so we will see how it works out.

If you are looking for something morre entertaining or substantive than yesterday's effort, you are out of luck.

Maybe something interesting will happen during my stay at the fine Hamton Inn.

November 12, 2007

A special post for YOU

It would be great if this post were to offer some bold political insight, some humorous observations, pithy wit, or banal historiography. Even an amusing tale, anecdote, story or parable would be nice. How about a cartoon or funny picture?

You get none of that. You get nada, nothing, zero, no gold ticket, no lifetime supply of candy, no $200 for passing go, no mulligans. Rien. Niets. Zip. Niente. Zilch. Nichts. 无关. ничего, Diddly f-ing squat. The big goose egg.

I have nothing to say. That is all, good day.

Come back tomorrow.

November 11, 2007

Is there anybody out there?

The bed makes a familiar creak as I roll over and slowly stand up. My knees pop and the accompanying pains shoot through my arthritic right shoulder and knee. I pad to the toilet. I yawn as I do my business. I wash my hands and glance at the clock: 7:03 am. During the week I cannot get awake, on the weekends I wake up early. No point bitching, life goes on. My wife gently snores as I close the door.

I shuffle my way to the kitchen. I throw away the used filter from the coffee pot, the old grounds a sodden heap. The used filter is stained brown. I make some coffee and turn on the computer. I read the online newspaper as the sky lightens outside the living room window. I see the tall decorative grasses are gently swaying in the wind and a bit of frost paints the tips the still-green lawn. Low clouds hint of rain later in the day.

I sip my coffee as I sit at the computer, breaking a hard and fast household rule regarding drinks near the computer. I break this rule every single day. The mouse pad serves as a perfect coaster. I will get away with it until the inevitable spillage shorts the keyboard or worse.

The television is off, the radio silent as I gently click the mouse. Head East plays background music in my brain. There is the irregular click of the keys as I slowly hunt and peck. The sound of warm air being forced through the registers is a faint whisper in the room.

I hit the blogroll, reading most, rarely offering a comment. One of my favorite reads is gone again today. I am entranced by a story at Counts place.

I can feel the tugs of loneliness and depression as they sing their melancholy siren song in my skull. I resist, focusing instead on the words that flow from my fingertips -- live blogging a Sunday morning.

November 10, 2007

Monon Bell Game Today

How seriously do people take Little Giant football? Last year, Wabash, an all-male school with 900 students, was second in Division III in attendance, averaging 5,447 per home game.
Indianapolis Star

Ohio State & Michigan, Navy & Army -- nothing compared to the hate and intense rivalry found at this game between two little Division III football powerhouses. Ticket sales for the game today have topped 8,000. I know this is roughly the equivalent of the number of people standing in the restroom and concession lines at the Big House, but consider the student populations at these schools is combined about 3,000.

This is the 114th meeting. Suck on that.

Oh, and you Dannies can suck on this...

Rednecks in Action

Redneck Wedding Cake

November 9, 2007

Friday Thoughts

Free speech is one of the foundations of this country. It was deemed so important to the Founding Fathers it was listed as numero uno in the Bill of Rights. For the Founders, the ability speak out against the government, against tyranny, was paramount.

There does exist a fine line. The famous right to shout fire in a crowded theater does not exist. When does our free speech cross that line? When does criticism become sedition? When does protest morph to treason? Does your right to speech trump my right/desire not to listen?

There was a strong contingent who felt the Bill of Rights was not needed. The Rights of Man were too numerous to list, these men feared the enumeration of Rights would limit them. Read the Constitution, it is not a document that gives power to the Federal Government, it is a document that limits the power of the Government. The Constitution and the Amendments place limits on the Federal Government's powers.

Back to the point. Does Code Pink, and religious wackos like Fred Phelps have a right to decry what they view as immoral, or just plain wrong? I guess. But when they cross the line of decency, urging soldiers to shoot their officers or protesting at funerals they have crossed the line of decency.

In times past such behavior would not have been tolerated. The perpetrator would have been ridden out of town on a rail. This is not just a corny phrase. An undesirable person would have been placed upright straddling a fencepost or length of train track and jostled and bumped his painful way through and out of town. Often he would have been tarred and feathered first. This involved pouring hot, burning tar on the person and throwing feathers to stick in the tar. The concoction would be nearly impossible to remove without also taking off the top layers of skin. Humiliation and pain are strong motivators.

In days past, if an individual had the temerity to desecrate a funeral of a community's' young war hero, to cheer the death of a soldier, to cross the lines of simple human decency a family or community would have dealt with the manner in a clear and forceful manner. No jury in the town would convict such a response.

When did things change? How did we come to this? Was it the mass demonstration of the anti-war crowd in the 1960's? There were draft riots and anti-war rallies during the Civil War. The pacifist/ isolationist crowd was strong in the days of the Great War. Somehow they were able to make their point without spouting hate at innocent soldiers graves, without barring their sagging breasts to children. Lindbergh may have supported the Nazis, but he did not encourage common soldiers to kill their officers.

Why, as a society, do we tolerate such behavior? Why is sedition accepted? Why do we tolerate treason? Why do we turn our head to bad behavior? Why is it unaccepted to have community values? Why is it racist to insist those who break our immigration laws be punished? When did having moral values become an undesirable trait? When did bums and tramps and panhandlers become 'poor homeless persons'? Why do we have to let them live and bathe in our libraries and court houses and bus stations? When are we going to take back our cities and towns? When did a knotted rope become the ultimate symbol of racist hate?

The next time a Code Pink hippy drops her top she should be immediately arrested for public indecency. The next time a Phelps follower shows up at a funeral they should be tarred and plopped on the nearest rail. If a person gives aid and comfort to our enemies they should be tried and executed for treason. That includes you Cindy and you Jane.

November 8, 2007


With apologies to Jean and her wonderful blog "Pondering" there is an issue or two I am pondering.

One of the races for city council in my town came to a tie on election day. Both candidates are considering a recount petition. The local fishwrap today had an article about the race.

One party says they are looking to see if they have the money to pay for a recount, or if they want the city council to decide the race (as per statute). They feel confident the absentee ballots (there were only 24 in that ward)were counted and the machines worked as advertised. Electric voting machines have been used in this city and county for years without an issue.

The other party has hired an attorney to look into possible voter aberrations and problems with the machines. "[P]arty leaders and supporters...are trying to find election-day anomalies, discrepancies and events that might translate into an extra vote."

Guess which position was taken by the Democrat Party? In their arrogance they cannot conceive they would lose an honest election. Too bad the last two elections have been swept by the Republicans -- they hold EVERY office in the city and county at this time.

I guess if I were a Democrat I would be desperate for any victory I could find.

Quantity vs. Quality

Well, if I can not offer you quality posts, I will get you with quantity. Here is lunch today. Re-grilled last night's steak and salad. I enjoyed this fine repast accompanied by Booker T and the MGs. It is good to be me some days.

The boy asks why I do not go out for lunch.

Rerun Thursday

Here is a rerun post for your enjoyment.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Noble 24th Foot or the South Wales Borderers

You may be familiar with this unit unknowingly if you have ever watched the classic war movie ZULU or ZULU DAWN. If you have not seen these movies go rent them or buy them. Now. This post will still be here, go now.

OK. Awesome right? I planned to talk in detail about Isandlhwana and Rorke's Drift this weekend, but in my research I found that this regiment is not only remarkably heroic, but cursed with hard luck, so what better day to write about bad luck than today?

The 24th foot is an old regiment in HRM Army (hence the number!). The Regiment took part in the ill fate attack on Brest in 1694 where over 300 English soldiers were killed. More than half the regiment died of disease in the West Indies during the War of Jenkins Ear (1739 - 1743). In 1756 the regiment surrendered to the French at Minorca. The entire regiment was captured in the Revolutionary War at Saratoga (Freeman's Farm). Almost half of the second battalion were casualties at Talavera in the peninsula War. Almost half the regiment was captured by the French off a troop ship bound for India in 1810 (before the French became surrender monkies). Over 500 men were casualties (238 killed) in the idiotic bayonet charge at Chilianwala (India now Pakistan) during the 2nd Sikh war. Most of the 1st battalion was destroyed by the Zulus at Isandlhwana. It was at Gallipoli in WWI. The 24th left the lines in France at the end of WWI with 76 men and officers, total. They were captured by the Germans at the disastrous Battle of Tobruk in WWII. The ship carrying the Regiment hit a rock and sank on the way to the Invasion of Norway.

The 24th Foot were great and heroic fighters. But the regiment was cursed with bad luck as well.

Why I hate expenses part II

This is one month's pile of business receipts. You can admire my filing and organizing system. Most are still bent and creased from my wallet. I bring this on myself, but now you know why I dread expense day.

And yes, I will concede the obvious. Writing about doing my expense reports is just a means of postponing the task.

How not to start the day

I overslept this morning. I have not done that in ages. I am still not sure what happened. I am positive I turned the alarm on, I must have turned it off in my sleep. In any case I woke with a start about 20 minutes late. It put the little one behind the eight ball on time, but he took a quick shower and we left about five minutes later than usual for school. He made it on time.

I have to do my expense reports today. I hate doing my expenses. I should do them every week, then the pain would be lessened, but for some reason I do them at the maximum interval allowed -- one month at a time. I was supposed to mail them this past Monday, so I am already late. To make matters worse, I am out of envelopes. Then there is the trip to the post office...I know I am making excuses.

Seriously, does anyone find this crap interesting?

November 7, 2007

I deal with idiots

I just had to bitch slap an engineer. He made some slights against me I could not let pass. If he hadn't copied everyone in the company with his critical and wrong email, I would have let it go. When you single me out in an email to my boss and the President of the company among others, well, you get what you ask for. The sad part is this guy is so far off base he hasn't a clue.

Update. While writing this post I just got a call from a different engineer thanking me for my email. He has been arguing my exact points for a week.

I spent 11-1/2 hours driving and 2-1/2 hours in meetings yesterday to discuss the same items with a customer we covered in August. This time a big honcho from customer's corporate office ran the meeting. The buyer and I had already covered the same items long ago. The buyer smirked and I smiled politely. Now the big cheese is involved, so things will go smoothly -- ha!

edit. Some people do not know when they are kicked. They guy has to respond, making his same ridiculous assertions. I emailed him back in private, but I am sure it was to no avail. If I was not sure I would somehow get found out and fired I would publish the correspondence here, just to show you what I deal with.

November 6, 2007

I 39 where are you?

Travelling today. Off to make customers happy. I hope we can conclude negotiations to return a portion of this customer's business to us, where it rightly belongs. If that happens the 16 hour day I am about to have will be worthwhile.

As an added bonus I get to spend time in Rockford, Il. Whee Hoo. Oh well, at least it is not South Bend or Detroit or Syracuse, NY or Kincheloe, Michigan.

November 5, 2007


Congress can Legislate. The ICC can rule. The Governor can opine. The clock can fall back and chime its lies.

My stomach says it is noon.

What are you looking at?

Is it Monday already?

I did the stupid clock change ritual yesterday. Now we can turn on the lights in the evening instead of the morning. I bet the same morons who think we actually "save" daylight believe not spending as much on welfare as you planned is a cut. BTW, why wouldn't we want the sun to go down later in the winter, when the days are shorter? I guess it is true, the golf industry is the true power behind DST.

Great football yesterday. The pundits and especially Pats fans will not see it, but that game could have gone either way. The best news of all -- the Bears did not lose!

I do not know if it the Monday blues, the weather, or just a case of classic Jimmah Carter malaise, but I am surely feeling low today. Help a buddy out, won't you?

November 3, 2007

Rednecks in action

This is a new series: "Rednecks in Action". Here is a redneck version of skiing.

November 2, 2007


The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate
father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr.
Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, "Well, I'm off now. The man should be
here soon." Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby
photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. "Good
morning, Ma'am", he said, "I've come to..." "Oh, no need to explain," Mrs.
Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you." "Have you really?" said
the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?"
"Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat".
After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?" "Leave
everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and
perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can
really spread out there." "Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work
or Harry and me!" "Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several
different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be
pleased with the results." "My, that's a lot!", gasped Mrs. Smith. "Ma'am, in
my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five
minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that." "Don't I know it," said
Mrs. Smith quietly. The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a
portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus," he said.
"Oh, my God!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat. "And these twins
turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult
to work with." "She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith. "Yes, I'm afraid so. I
finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were
crowding around four and five deep to get a good look" "Four and five deep?"
said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with
amazement. "Yes", the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and
yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush
my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had
to pack it all in." Mrs. Smith leaned forward. "Do you mean they actually
chewed on your," "It's true, Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're
ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away." "Tripod?" "Oh
yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be
held in the hand very long." Mrs. Smith fainted.

Big Oil and the Economy

Economics has always been one of my weaknesses. I can carry on a conversation about a wide variety of topics, but talk to me about Micro and Macro Economics and my eyes glaze over. The midpoint elasticity formula, monopolistic competition, interest rates,money supply,and the famous ceteris paribus are about as interesting to me as Hillary's love life.

That said, I find it interesting how the clearly left-leaning news shows present information. For the last few years Exxon/Mobile has been the epitome of the evil corporation. The media described their record profits accompanied by record high oil prices as the definition of evil capitalists. Today, the news reader on the Today Show blamed Exxon/Mobile's 10% loss in profits as one of the reasons the Dow had a 300 point drop yesterday.

It looks like Exxon/Mobile cannot do anything right. Make profits, you are evil. Make less profit and you are blamed for the stock market corrections. I may not be completely versant in economics, but I do understand politics. The subtle message is clear--oil is bad. Save us ALGORE!

November 1, 2007

The Office on Meth Lab Road

It is amusing how cultural differences can affect conversation. Here is a case in point. Back in the last century I went to work for the big company. I was told to find suitable location for my remote sales office. After a quick search I found a great place in an old building on the public square. The five story edifice was once state of the art. It sported a copper-clad awning over the main entrance, now a motley green. The main staircase and lobby were tiled in marble. There were mail slots on every floor that led through the walls to the brass mailbox in the lobby.

The building once was a center for professionals. Doctors, lawyers and accountants roamed the halls. Now the five floors were occupied by an aging attorney who worked a few hours two or three days a week and me. The place was old and worn out, but I got a great deal and a whole suite of offices.

I called my boss in suburban Philadelphia to give him the details. I explained it was an old worn out building, right downtown, near City Hall. I mentioned the owner agreed to paint the walls and replace the worn carpet. Jerry asked me if I thought the building was safe. I mentioned the elevator had an updated inspection certificate and I assumed the wiring etc. were up to code. He asked again if I thought it was safe. I said the walls seemed solid. He said "No, will you be physically safe in a building downtown? Will you get mugged, is the parking secure?"

I could only laugh. I have never felt like such an idiot. It never occurred to me I would not be safe in a building in my little Indiana town of 17,000. For the boss, who grew up in Newark, NJ and lived his life in the Philadelphia area "right downtown" had a much different connotation. He envisioned crack whores and the human debris that inhabits the center of our major cities. Those who live and work in such areas have to be cognizant of their environment.

Later he admitted he had also never felt more foolish, our mutual confusion regarding his question became the lore of future sales meetings. "'I asked is it safe?' and he replied 'I guess it is up to code.'" A perfect example of how two white guys, of a similar age and professional background can have such a disconnect. The confusion all because of where we were raised.

I am glad the question of commute times never came up.
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