December 31, 2013


I am not one for big end-of-the-year retrospectives but this has been a pretty good year. We went on the vacation of a lifetime when the wife and I cruised the Caribbean in March. I went to China in June where I walked the Great Wall. We bought a new house and moved away from the small town where we have lived for 24 years. There were a few events that dampened the year, but I will not dwell on those.
another brick in the wall...

As far as the old blog goes, readership was down significantly, an indication of the quantity and quality of my posts. I also think the general state of blogging has changed with more and more people migration to Facebook and other social media.  Thus far I have resisted the temptation to move my (almost) daily musings to other platforms.

As you head out to celebrate the tuning of the calendar this evening avoid driving if you plan on drinking. Here is a musical interlude to get your party started:

This is the closest I could get, Teacher. I hope it will suffice!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you all.

December 30, 2013

I need coffee

Happy Monday. Today is a work day for me since I used up all of my vacation last week. I plan on writing my monthly report and other end of the year tasks, like filling in the 2014 holidays on my desk calendar: important stuff like that.

I had a post all written (albeit in my brain) when I went to bed last night. This morning it was gone like a wisp of smoke.  Do not grieve, it was nothing of life-changing brilliance. It was more interesting than what I have written so far. Perhaps you can do me a solid and pretend you read the post I did not write and let me know in the comments your reaction to my words you did not read.

December 28, 2013

Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath*

Here it is late on a Saturday morning and the damn cursor continues to mock me. I have nothing to report. No amusing anecdotes, no silly jokes, not one satirical cartoon, nary a biting, honest, and accurate social commentary. I could bore you with a mundane and unexceptional weather report. I could adopt a soporific tone and detail some historical vignette. But I will not bore you further on this eponymous day devoted to the Roman god Saturn.

I hope you have a great final weekend of 2013.


December 27, 2013

Padding for my a$$

I hope Santa Claus was good to you this year, but if you are an optimist, a bag of coal could help offset those Obama-inspired skyrocketing electricity costs. The EPA will probably stop you from burning that bag of coal, and declare your home an endangered wetland out of spite, but if you are willing to take the risk I say go for it.

Around here we had a good Christmas. The wife went overboard, as usual. She bought me a nice desk chair to replace the hard, $49 special I have used for the past five or six years.  Now I no longer have to keep putting back the  stuffing into the split in the pleather seat like I did for the old one.  The new one is leather covered memory foam and cushions me like a pair of angel hands wrapped around my ass cheeks

What? You did not think  I would forget to put up some Friday Music did you? How about Tom Jones and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young -- together? Yes, that Tom Jones. The look on Neil Young's face is priceless.

December 26, 2013

Wake up and smell the coffee

No better way to start the day.

December 23, 2013

I have questions

If getting health insurance for the millions who do not have it is so important, and if ObamaCare is so important to solving our nation's imaginary "health crisis" why was it not implemented for four years? More pertinent to today's discussion, why are millions being exempted?  Why is the employer mandate pushed out?  Why is the individual mandate being pushed out? How can the President or his designees make rulings in violation of existing federal law?

one last word

I was reading back over this post and thinking a little more on the whole Duck Dynasty kerfuffle.  I am not sure I have fully expressed myself upon this matter. My late Mother-in-Law (bless her soul) was a strict Southern Baptist.  For her, dancing and drinking of alcohol were sins. Playing card games was not an option at her home, not even benign games like old maid, crazy eights or euchre. Verboten, prohibito, interdit, zapresennyj, zakazano, jin zhi, forbudt -- in other words for her it was a sin. I did not subscribe to her beliefs. I did abstain from those particular vices while in her home.

I am still not sure why it matters if Robertson thinks homosexuality is a sin. As near as I can tell from the reports of his comments he did not advocate a pink "H" embroidered on the chest and internment in concentration camps. He just said he thinks gay equates to a sin. So what? My MIL thought I was a sinner because I enjoyed a cold beer while playing poker. Sometimes I got drunk and danced with her daughter. I am pretty sure she liked me in spite of my faults. When I was a teenager I was told masturbating was a sin and it would make me go blind. I sinned right up to the point I needed bifocals. 

There are religions all over the world who find my actions and beliefs heretical. I wipe my arse with the toilet paper clenched in my right hand (then I wash thoroughly with strong soap). I eat pork and shellfish. I have no issues consuming a steak on Friday, even during Lent. I munch the day away during Ramadan. I believe I will have to atone for my sins on judgement day. I hope I pass muster. But I do not agree with the notion a game of solitaire will send me to damnation. As such, if you do not agree with the idea that your love life is a sin, who cares?

When the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons show up on my doorstep I do not take affront that they want to convert me. I politely tell them no thanks and they move on, chalking me up to one more lost soul in their book. Unlike the militant gay lobby and the intolerant left, the rest of the world needs not conform to my way of thinking. But we all know if they did the world would be a much better place.

Searching in vain for the ultimate post title

Here we are bright and early on a Monday morning. I am ostensibly working today, but the head office is manned with a skeleton crew and few, if any, of my customers are open today. I plan to use the time to get caught up on some paperwork, do long-neglected filing, and clean up my voluminous email. I have low expectations regarding my level of success in completing these mundane tasks.  I find doing them as boring as you do reading about them.

On the plus side it may mean multiple posts from the blog owner today. You should check back every fifteen  minutes few hours to make sure you read the latest in riveting examples of blogging excellence (such as the opening paragraph to today's entry).

December 22, 2013

A sob story

I just finished watching It's a Wonderful Life and crying like a baby. That flick gets me every time.

That and The Blues Brothers...

Weekend Funny

I bought a turkey for our Christmas feast. Maybe it was "Coach".

I first published this way back in 2006. It is still funny.

December 21, 2013

Historical History

I first published this back in February of 2007. It is a true story. I have published a couple of times since. This is the one of first posts I wrote that was linked by other bloggers. Why am I publishing it again today? These events took place 35 years ago this week. Many of you will have read this story before, so as an added bonus I have added an update after the jump.

February 12, 2007

A love story

Thursday, the second wrestling meet of the week. I took a beating, yet still won. You remember the old joke about "does your face hurt?", yes it did. On the bus ride home I had time to think. In the dark it all became a stark reality. I just had to get out of going to that dance.

How could I break it to her? She bought a dress, I had ordered the corsage. Dinner reservations were made. I did not even know this girl. I could say I was sick. Think, man, think. If I cancelled I would be a heel, and Teresa would be pissed. That would be bad. She would not like me to cancel a date with her best friend.

Friday, I woke, no closer to a resolution. I had a crush on this girl, Teresa. Her best friend asked me out to a Sadie Hawkins dance. It was a big deal, the biggest dance of the year except for the prom: dresses were bought, suits were worn. I said yes, thinking the girl would talk about how wonderful I was and Teresa would see me as something besides a friend. Sixteen year old boys do not always think logically, especially when it comes to women. Yes, my motive was wrong. I did not care.

Wrestling practice was supposed to be short, most of the team had a date for the dance. I had two black eyes, the result of high cheekbones and sharp elbows. We started wrestling around and my partner Jeff got a bloody nose. He got them all the time and of course, I laughed at him. This really made him mad and he was determined to give me a bloody nose as well. The only problem is I had never had one. EVER. He proceeded to give me several hard cross-faces. He hit me with an elbow, he smashed me with his skull. No bloody nose. I took a quick shower before heading home to get ready for the dance. Shit, my left eye was swollen shut, my right eye and cheek were hues of blue, green and purple. I bet her parents would be real impressed.

I circled the block twice mustering the courage to knock on the door. Her nephew answered. Fortunately she was ready. A few quick pictures and we were on our way. No one asked how I came to look like a prizefighter.

On the way to the restaurant we did not speak much. I gave this girl a quick glance. I barely knew her. Only after she asked me to the dance did I discover her last name. Her short hair was dark, almost black. It fell in soft waves framing her face. Her nose was straight and narrow, freckles covered her cheeks. Her eyes lit up each time she smiled. They were hazel.

We went to the local Moose Lodge for dinner (the oldest in the world), there was not much else in the little town where we lived. I had pork chops. Neither of us spoke much during dinner. Aborted conversations ended with one word answers. "Is your steak OK?"

"Yes, It is fine," she muttered. Oh God, what have I gotten myself into? OK, dinner, go to the dance stay an hour or so and make an excuse to take her home. Maybe I can claim I have wrestling practice in the morning. I noticed her hands. The fingers were long and smooth, a small hint of white fingernail polish graced the long nails. A few freckles dotted her arms. I tried hard not to stare at her chest above the white sleeveless dress. The swell of her breasts was enticing. She was kind of pretty. When she stopped in the ladies room after dinner I briefly thought about just leaving. She was in there a long time, and maybe she was hoping I would.

I still remember clearly the events before the dance. What I ate. The back of my neck burning with embarrassment. The feeling everyone in the dining room knew I was a lousy date, a failure, a hoodlum. The rest of the evening remains a blur. We found our table at the dance. We were sitting with her friends. I knew some of the other guys. The lights were low and suddenly this strange girl looked lovely. The band was playing and we sat and tried again to talk. Finally a slow dance was played and I summoned the courage to escort her to the floor. She fit perfectly in my arms. the top of her hair came to my eyes. Her waist was the perfect size for my skinny arms. She smelled faintly of flowers. After the song we walked to the punchbowl holding hands.

As we sat back at the table I moved my chair closer, we began to find things to talk about. My hand was on her thigh. I forgot my mother's admonition to not try to be funny. Mom told me that often others just did not get my dry sarcastic sense of humor. The girl had the most melodious laugh. We danced some fast songs. She had rhythm, I could only jerk around like a spastic monkey with a lobotomy. I was having a good time in spite of my efforts not to.

Another slow song began and we moved to the floor hand in hand. I put my arms around her, her hands locked around my neck. I looked into her eyes and saw my soul. She leaned to me, and I to her. Our lips met and electricity shot through my body. My hair stood on end. As our tongues met, I never felt like this before! Wow, I said as our lips parted. I was out of breath. I was not sure if we had kept dancing or not. The room spun. I kissed her again.

The night lasted forever and ended too soon. As we made out in the front seat of my parent's Monte Carlo, hurried plans were made for another date the next day. I drove home with her taste on my lips. Pizza, a movie and more electric kisses followed on Saturday.

Monday came and Teresa did not look quite so hot. She asked me how the dance went, a knowing leer on her face. I know now girls talk about that stuff*. Teresa told me she just knew the girl and I would get along. She suggested a double date the next week. Why not?

I found an old picture taken at that dance back in December of 1978. I see a skinny boy, his left eye shut, his right black. I see a couple of kids, unsure of life, of themselves. The pretty girl is standing next to that boy. I know the picture was taken as we arrived, before the slow dances, before the kiss. I know this because in the picture I am just a shy boy, smirking at the world.

I dated the girl for several years. I left for college. I got engaged. I got married.

The girl is now my wife. Her kisses are still electric.

* My buddy Jeff just asked me if I got 'any'.

December 20, 2013

What I have learned in the past few weeks

The thought police are alive and well among the "tolerant" and much, much smarter and better than you progressive-types. It has come to this; you are not allowed to have a differing opinion on any matter. It is of no consequence that a news anchor thinks Jesus and Santa are white. It is irrelevant if a fundamentalist Christian actually believes fundamentalist Christian stuff. These thoughts and opinions must be censored and stamped from the public discourse.

Like much in today's political world this trend leaves me completely confused. Who cares what someone else thinks as long as those beliefs do not impact me? If you want to worship the right front fender of a '64 Ford Falcon, who am I to complain? If you like the novels of Danielle Steele, good for you. If you want to proclaim to the world your love of dildoes and ObamaCare, I am good with that.

If a businessman and star of a reality show thinks men boffing men and girls licking girls is a sin, who cares? His opinion does not in any way impede your lifestyle if you are into men or women or even giant fuzzy stuffed animals. Why do you need his approval?

If my customer chooses to say a brief prayer before lunch I can join him, or sit quietly and respectfully while he invokes a blessing. It has no effect on me or my beliefs. If a woman wants to wear a burqa on a hot summer day and walk three steps behind her husband, who am I to say she is wrong? As long as they have no similar requirement for my wife, it is of no consequence to me. Do you want your Santa to be black? OK, mine is white. For all I know my neighbor thinks Santa is a Martian, all green with a butt-shaped head. Who am I to tell him he is wrong?

Back in my old town there was a militant vegetarian who harangued the public regularly in the editorial pages about the evils of eating meat.  If he wants to murder a carrot or boil a brussel sprout alive, It is none of my business. But when he wants to ban chicken or beefsteak, then we have an issue. That is the problem with your average progressive, you must conform or else. It is a universal fault with the mindset.  Ask anyone who lived in Communist China or the old USSR.

Why is it the leftist insist we must conform to their worldview?

I am about half-afraid to publish anything here that is not pure pablum.

Friday Music

Claymation is the best.

December 19, 2013

Ghost of Christmas Past

I find myself in a nostalgic mood this morning. The decline of slick magazines and newspapers in this digital age has been much documented. But the demise of the catalog really hits home this time of year. When I was a kid. the excitement was almost palpable the day the first Christmas catalog arrived in late fall. It was the harbinger of the Season. Montgomery Ward's, JC Penney, sometimes Sears were the embodiment of Santa's workshop at our house. My brother and I would comb the pages looking for that magical gift; That Thing We Must Have. We dogeared the pages, looking through the selections again and again to make sure we did not miss a single toy option.

We lived in a small town. There was no big department store full of toys. The catalog was our lifeline to possibilities. Yet, as great as the toys were, they were never the same when lifted from their intricately photographed settings. There was no jungle hiding the GI Joe in my bedroom. That nifty truck caught splashing across a a rock-filled raging creek was not so exciting when it was pushed across the carpet of home. Major Matt Mason was slightly less awesome when there was not a barren moonscape to traverse in his space buggy.

Do you think forty years from now a pathetic old guy will reminisce about the days he scrolled through the Target ads on his iPad, looking at toys?

December 17, 2013

How to get $10,000 subsidy to pay for Obamacare when you make $174,000 per year

One way is to be Marco Rubio, dreaded foe of ObamaCare and federal spending, unless that spending helps him get cheaper insurance from the ObamaCare exchanges. Members of Congress make many times what the Average Joe in this country brings home.  In fact, a Congressman makes about 394% more than your average American worker. But you and I do not get $10,000 from the taxpayers to help pay for ObamaCare. Chalk this up as example 1,843 of why Congressional approval ratings are so low.

Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and  Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have elected not to accept the subsidy.

The secret to making a great cup of coffee

 I feel weird today. I think a cold is coming on. I feel light-headed and can't seem to concentrate. I would swear I was half in the bag, or stoned, but I have not had a beer in weeks and I have not indulged in illegal drugs since my college days three decades ago. Perhaps I need more coffee?

I feel like that. Have no doubt, if I do get ill, I will likely be more sick that anyone outside of critical care patients in the best hospitals.

Yes, I am one of those men.

December 16, 2013

One Tin Soldier Rides Away

I just heard on the radio that the author and director of Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin, has passed away.

Damn.  Billy Jack once broke my finger. True story. That tale is in the archives somewhere. I don't have time to look for it.

Hell yeah.

RIP Mr. Laughlin.

Tick Tock

I am not sure where the weekend went. I look back on the previous two days and I cannot point to a single accomplishment beyond shoveling the drive and sidewalk. A quick glance out the front window indicates there is more snow this morning, not much though. I watched TV. I read. I made a batch of chili and some cornbread for supper last night.

I have a bit of work to get ready for a customer visit today. I should have done it Friday. Tomorrow will be spent doing expense reports. A few more customers to see late in the week will pretty much end the year for me work-wise. I have some vacation time to burn off Christmas week.

Have a good Monday and keep warm.

December 15, 2013

How to skin a field mouse in three easy steps

Good morning Blog People. Here it is Sunday and I am a little late perusing the interwebz. I stayed up late and slept late (for me). I emptied the dishwasher and enjoyed some coffee before heading to the old 'puter. My office has been transformed in a gift wrapping station. Rolls of wrapping paper, boxes, and bows are scattered on the floor. I don't mind. I dig Christmas. I think most of the shopping is done. Now the wife is hard at work wrapping the goodies (not at this minute). I wrapped the gifts I purchased for her while she was in the shower yesterday. As usual, you can pick out the packages I wrapped.  Hers are a picture of perfection, mine look like a drunk distracted chipmunk taped on the paper while dancing to the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever. My best effort resembles a kindergarten art project.

I thought about searching the archives and throwing up a rerun this morning. I did actually post some good stuff at one point. This blog is living proof of the 100 monkeys and 100 keyboards theory. My inner primate has not hit a home run for a while though. But look! I have managed to make this semi-coherent rambling into a post after all.

Do you want to know something sad? I talk exactly like I write on this blog (albeit with that weird half southern/half Chicago south-of-seventy Hoosier accent. Yes, if we were to meet up for a beer or coffee the conversation would be exactly as presented here each day. That kind of gives you goosebumps in bad way doesn't it?

December 13, 2013

Lighten Up, Francis

Spending the week in airports and hotels coupled with unbelievably cold weather left me with a lot of reading time the past week or two. Since the beginning of the month I have managed to read the following:

A Dance With Dragons  by George R. R. Martin
Goodbye Enorma  by John Locke
The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell
Outside the Box by John Locke
Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
Grub Line Rider by Louis L'Amour
Open Range by Lauren Paine

I am still in the middle of 500 Strong, Wabash College Students in the Civil War (Barnes et al.) and Von Ryan's Express by David Westheimer.

What are you reading?

Friday Music

I need a cleanse.  I am too pissed off for a Friday.  GuyK used to have a policy of no politics on a Friday, I think he was on to something.

Here is some music to take us into the weekend.  After ranting about sell-out politicians I just cannot sully these pages with classic Christmas tunes, it seems obscene in a strange way. How about some rock and roll of late 1970's vintage instead? 

Dear Republican Party

So, you think conservatives are misguided and killing your party? You may be correct. I suspect you are about see if your theory is true. If you do not want my vote, or my support, that can be easily arranged. I am done voting for candidates who do not support a smaller government and lower spending. I want someone who thinks a "cut" in spending is actually reducing spending, not just spending less than you wanted. My wife did not buy that new bedroom furniture she wanted, did she "save" me a couple of grand?  Of course not, but those who go to Washington want us to accept just that logic. Worse they think we will actually believe that spending more now and promising to make up that difference in 2021 or 2022 is reducing spending.

The Republicans just joined the Democrats in scrapping the only true reduction in Government spending we have seen in years. In fact, spending has increased every year under Boehner's leadership in the House.

So, is it fair to punish a politician because they voted for a bad budget bill?  Why yes, So congrats Susan Brooks. You officially made sure you will never get my vote again. Stupid Republicans just do not get that the Tea Party is not a party.  It is millions of Americans who are tired of ever growing Government intrusion, of higher taxes of burgeoning bureaucracy, and legislation. Even a cursory reading of statistics shows Romney lost not because Obama was so overwhelmingly popular, but that a significant number of former Republican voters stayed home. I never attended a Tea Party rally.  I never identified myself as a Tea Party member. I am a conservative. But I will never, ever hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils again.

Increased spending, a failure to do anything about ObamaCare but claim "we will fix it later" a utter failure to retaliate in the Senate after Harry Reid blew up the filibuster rules, and a plan to shove amnesty down our throat is a recipe for disaster. The Boehner Bunch are the new Whig party, Democrats in every aspect but name. I can only hope the Republican Party garners the same fate.

December 12, 2013

Et Tu, Paul Ryan?

Geez Repubs, do you really expect anyone to believe if we increase government spending now we will actually cut
back 10 years from now? The Democrats have always proposed the Whimpy (I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today) promises for budget cuts, and now the leading "conservative" Republicans are doing the same.

Holy crap we have gone from fighting to defund ObamaCare and holding the government accountable for spending to scrapping sequestration, funding ObamaCare, and increased spending in less than a month! Hell, this deal makes it possible for the Senate to pass tax increases without fighting off a filibuster!

What the fuck Paul Ryan? 

0 as in Zero

...and I am not talking about the President taking selfies at a funeral (stay classy Obama). Zero is the temperature as I hunt and peck these letters. That is cold anywhere. Think of it this way, it is possible, if your 'fridge was outside, that you could open your freezer to get some warmer air. On the other hand, it is winter, so we should not be surprised that there is snow and cold and short days.

An asshole mugged my oldest boy Monday evening. He took his money and cell phone at gunpoint. At least he threw down the wallet after lifting the cash so he still has his credit cards and ID. Most importantly, my son was not hurt.

I am back in the old homestead after a week of travel to exotic and wonderful places, each warm and sun filled. Actually I was in Charlotte and other North Carolina venues, but it was warmer than here. My flight was delayed. so I got to spend about four extra hours in the Charlotte airport. Good for me (sarcasm font alert). I am going to slap alongside the head with my worn suitcase the next jerk who tells me "I wish I had your job,  traveling around must be fun",

Still, did you notice I managed to put up semi-cogent masterpieces of bloggity goodness all week? Well, I posted some stuff anyway. If you were especially on top of things today you might notice I pulled a Freddie (hey Freddie if you are out there!) and pulled a post I published earlier this morning. Don't worry, you missed nothing.

December 11, 2013

If you owned the company, what would you pay?

In all of the discussions about increasing the minimum wage a few points are lost. First, proponents claim that the increase in minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation. They argue that if we look at historic minimum wage as a percent of GDP, the wage should be north of $14/hr. The other half of that argument is if the price of the goods produced and sold by those making minimum wage have also matched the pace of inflation. Has the price of a Big Mac or pizza increased at the same percent of GDP? I don't know the answer, but that is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Secondly, we have to consider the value of the labor. How many sandwiches does a business have to sell to make enough income to pay the proposed wages? I will say this until I am blue in the face, a business does not exist to create jobs, it exists to make money. That is precisely why almost without exception the private sector works better than government. If a business owner cannot make a profit he will cut costs to make it so. The local convenience store, restaurant, pack and ship store cannot print money or operate for long losing money. A business cannot run trillion dollar deficits like the government. All businesses will reduce costs when they are losing money and in most cases labor costs are among the largest costs.

Unskilled labor is easy to find and thus demands lower wages. A trained tool and die maker takes years to develop his skills and is paid accordingly. It takes little or no skill to push a picture on a McDonald's cash register. That McDonald's worker may work just as hard as the union member tool maker, but the value of the labor does not demand a similar wage.

Finally, it makes no sense to have a federal Minimum wage. The costs to live in Manhattan, New York are significantly higher than the costs to live in Manhattan, Kansas. The buying power of $8.00 is not the same nation-wide, so why should there be a federal Minimum wage?  In fact, 20 states already have a minimum wage higher than the federal standard, so a significant number of workers will not be helped by the proposal anyway. But pushing for a higher minimum wage does focus the attention of the "Hey look -- a squirrel"  crowd from the utter failure that is ObamaCare.

Progressives want to make the minimum wage part of a dialogue about income disparity in America. That discussion can only happen if we are willing to consider all of the economic influences that affect economic activity and wages, including illegal immigration, the devaluing of the dollar, and the the governmental debt that weighs down the economy like a swimmer wearing cement flippers.

December 10, 2013

Feed the bureaucracy

Remember that lousy Leonardo DiCaprio movie from 2006 called Blood Diamond? It told the tragic tale of how diamonds are used to finance terror and human rights abuses. It is one of those stories that compels the stars of the movie to go to Congress and pose as experts. We saw the same thing about farms a decade or two ago when actors and musicians who never stepped foot in a muddy cornfield were suddenly experts on the plight of the small family farm.

According to that fantastic and highly reliable source Wikipedia:
Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, mostly in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the Congolese National Army, and various armed rebel groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a proxy Rwandan militia group.
 Under Federal Law (including the Frank-Dodd Act ) any publicly traded company now has to prove to the SEC that neither it, nor any company in its supply chain uses conflict minerals in the production of its goods.  The result is a massive database and reporting requirements.  Every supplier must report on its suppliers.

This is exactly the kind of ridiculous reporting and effort companies must do to keep the ravenous bureaucracy fed. How many employees did the Federal Government have to hire to follow up with every company to make sure the reports are filed and correct?  How many lawyers did we, as taxpayers, hire to prosecute businesses that do not file the proper paperwork?  How much have we added to the cost of goods and services to hire a person at each company in the supply chain to file the reports with the Feds?

December 9, 2013

Why I will never buy anything at Barnes and Noble again

This is an email I sent yesterday to the Barnes and Noble customer service department and the company CEO:

Dear Mr. Riggio,
I am writing to tell you why I will never buy anything from your company again. Based on our recent experience with your Customer Service department  I am certain no one will read, respond, or care about this email , but I will feel moderately better getting this off my chest.
At approximately 3:15 pm on December 7 my wife placed an order for three items on your website. These were Christmas gifts. The system told her two items were available now, the last would arrive in 1-2 weeks. She chose the option for free shipping since all items would be delivered in time for Christmas.
At 3:47 she received a confirming email that none of the items would ship until December 30. This is clearly after Christmas and very different from an arrival in 1-2 weeks. She immediately called your customer service department. It seems one of the three items is back ordered. We understand. These things happen and that is not our complaint.
Your Customer Service Department (I use that term loosely) said they cannot ship the two items that are available because we selected the ship all at once button. That choice was also selected based on the parts being available. The representative said we cannot cancel the order since "the two remaining are already packed". Now I am sure you have a great shipping department, but you do not process an order and pack and ready for shipment within one hour. Further, it is an insult to my intelligence to claim you pack a box with two items and leave the box sitting around for a month waiting on the third item to arrive. If that is your policy, you should immediately fire your management team and is a prime indicator of why Barnes and Noble is in financial difficulty. My wife repeatedly offered to pay the shipping on the two items, or even all three. Supposedly two items are in a box, but you won’t ship them. And we cannot cancel the order.
The only suggestion we got from your customer service team after being placed on hold by four different people for a total of two and one half hours was to wait until the items arrive in early January, refuse the shipment or send it back and we will be credited the purchase amount. It is unacceptable to wait 4-6 weeks to get a refund on items you failed to ship as promised.  You wasted no time in charging my debit card, however.  That you can do with your system. You are efficient in taking a customer's money.
I understand that the terms of the order stated "limited" changes could be made, but the items are not shipping according to the terms of the order.  I have worked in sales and customer service for more than 30 years. I have never heard of an order entry system that does not allow changes or cancellations of an order, especially an hour or so after the order was placed.
So you will get your puny $65 sale for the Christmas season. Your refusal to ship the in-stock items (that are supposedly in a box!) or cancel the order has lost you a customer for life. In the end, you will get the use of the money for however long it takes us to return the items (whenever they arrive). I hope those pennies were worth it to lose two customers for life and your company's reputation damage to however many people I can spread this tale of inept, lousy and insufferable customer service. Since those customer service representatives are the face of your company to the public I can only assume your company profile is one that is uncompromising, inefficient and uncaring.
Joe Hoosierboy
 Feel free to join in my boycott if you like. There is no obligation.

December 8, 2013

A bloggity face palm

I cannot believe I let the anniversary of Pearl Harbor pass yesterday with nary a comment. I guess December 7 is a day that will live in infamy for about 50 years.

I put in a new kitchen faucet yesterday. There was a minimum of swearing, I only had to re-tighten one connection after turning the water back on. I only had to make one trip to Lowes (a new water line since the old copper one did not fit the new faucet length). The thing  works as advertised. I am not sure how to handle this kind of success in a home improvement project, especially since I removed the garbage disposal and most of the drain pipes to make access easier. I fully expected to see the kitchen flooded with water when I got up. Nope, all is still dry this morning.

Have a great Sunday.

December 6, 2013

Friday Music

This tune is doubly appropriate in light of our first real snowfall overnight.

This is the Wife's decrepit willow bench in the backyard coated with snow. Very wintery, eh wot?

December 5, 2013

Why stop at a "living" wage?

Fast Food workers are going on strike (again) for an increase in the minimum wage. Some argue they need $15/hr minimum. Why not $20, $30, or $40 per hour? Why would we want folks to make a paltry amount, barely enough to survive when they could be living large? Why should we pay a brain surgeon hundreds of thousands of dollars when a cashier pushing picture buttons on a cash register only is raking in $13,000 per anum? How much is too much to pay the person making your Locos Doritos at Taco Bell? If you believe in a minimum wage, what is the limit? 

If we doubled the wages of a typical  burger flipper, the restaurant owner will have to either raise prices or reduce expenses. He could reduce the quality of his food, make smaller portion sizes or hire fewer people. The owner must accomplish this while keeping her customer base happy.

An increase in minimum wage affects more than just Billy Burger Flipper. The worker picking the lettuce, the man grinding the meat into patties, the Mom working 3rd shift running the machine that cuts spuds into fries, the truck driver hauling it all to your local burger joint all are getting a raise too. That burger used to cost the restaurant owner $5 to make, now costs him $7 (plus now she has to pay for insurance for all workers under the dictates of ObamaCare -- you did not think that stuff was free did you?).  Instead of selling the burger Combo for $7.35, now the owner has to sell it for $9.00. Duplicate this scenario for clerks at a convenience store, your grocery stock man, a WalMart worker. Costs go up everywhere, so an increase in wages results in higher unemployment and inflation (everything costs more). The increased buying power generated  through the big boost in wages is wiped out by higher prices everywhere.

Who loses their job in this scenario? Who bears a disproportionate share of the higher costs? Who is most affected by inflation and increases in the cost of living? Why the low wage earner!

December 4, 2013

Why I still read blogs

THIS  is probably the funniest post I have read in weeks. You made my day, baby.

The End is Nigh

This is what liberalism has wrought.  

My neighbors keep their dog chained in the backyard, I suspect that is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

December 3, 2013

Elvis passed out Cadillacs to his buddies, but you are gonna wish you did not have one when it comes to your health insurance

2013 and 2014 is the year of sticker shock for those who have private insurance coverage. In 2014 Obamacare's built-in cost increases and cancellations will hit many of those who have employer-offered health insurance, particularly those who work at small businesses or companies.

"If you like your plan, you can keep it" will enter the list of legendary lies, right up there with " the check is in the mail" and "I won't cum in your mouth".

In 2018 those who have really good insurance and were lucky enough to keep it, like the Public Sector Unions and Auto workers, will be affected in another way. ObamaCare dictated minimum standards in its first phase. It penalizes if your coverage exceeds a maximum standard later.  In other words, if your deductible is too low, or your out-of-pocket is minimal, or you have really, really good insurance, you have to pay a fine. This is the penalty on "Cadillac Coverage".

We are all required to have the same crappy insurance, or else. But ObamaCare is not socialized medicine, no way, no how.  Remember, the Democrat Party is 100% responsible for this mess.  No one else, only Democrats. They passed it, now you are finding out what is in it. BOHICA America.

December 2, 2013

But mostly I was waterboarding terrorists

We moved into this house on October 19. The only water we used prior to that point was to wash out paint brushes. I did occasionally take a leak. The water bill cut off on October 25. From October 2 (when they were supposed to read the meter) until October 25 we used 11,000 gallons of water according to the water company. From 10/25 to November 25 we used 3,100 gallons of water. The wife called on November 7th  to complain that the bill could not be right for October. The water company claimed we must have a leak and they would send someone to check for leaks on December 2. There are no leaks. There are no leaks in the house, there are no soggy places in the yard, and the mysterious leak would not fix itself by the November meter reading. Whomever read the meter was off by 100 units. We probably used 10 units, not 110. The water company says someone must have used our water. They say I have to prove the meter was read wrong.

UPDATE. The water man just checked for leaks.  Of course there aren't any. But he did allow that the "old" meter was replaced by a new one on November 1. Looks like the water company is trying to make me pay for a defective or leaking meter.

December 1, 2013

Soporific Scribblings

I've been treating the old blog badly as of late. I have neglected it it for long stretches at a time, at least by my standards. By extension that means I am neglecting you, my last five or six readers. For that I am sorry.

We had a great Thanksgiving, gathering with family at my Mom's in the afternoon.  Then, since one giant meal was not enough, we went to my wife's family in the evening to do it all again! I am still full. My oldest son had to work Thanksgiving, so he came over on Wednesday evening for a big lasagna dinner. The oft-used image of Mr. Creosote comes to mind. I hope your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable as mine.

Friday, the Boy helped me drag the Christmas boxes from the attic and we did the outside decorations. I put up the trees inside and helped the wife wrap garland around the stairs. I put up the second tree yesterday.

You are now caught up on the mundane details of my life. Do you feel better?

Say, you might toss a buck or some loose change into the red buckets manned by the Salvation Army bell ringers.

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