Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am up early and am going out to do some recon.

I'm back in.

Last night was Devil's Night which seems to be a western Ohio, eastern PA thing. It's the night before Halloween when the kids go out and settle a few scores with people. In most of the rest of the country the dirty deeds happen on Halloween proper.

No battle damage, as I had figured. Neighbor Bobs looks unscathed as does the rest of the neighborhood with the exception of Larry ande Helens, which got a dose of toilet paper and maybe a few eggs.

I had figured as much. They get clobbered every year.

The demographics of the neighborhood have changed over the years. There are a lot fewer kids of the age running around anymore as they have seemed to have grown up on me and left me with no one to play with anymore.

Over the years I have been good to the kids and they have in return given me a pass on Devil's night. They always clobber Larry and Helen's though.

I've picked up this laptop and I'm facing out the front window watching traffic. What I am looking for is a police car that will go down to their house for the annual 'Helen gets bent out of shape and demands the FBI get involved in the investigation' circus. Of course, she will dial 911 instead of the administrative line because this just has to be crime of the century.

When the cop heads back up the street I will walk out and flag him down and offer him a wastebasket to throw the complaint into and he will glare at me and surpress a smirk and drive off.

This happens every year.

They brought it on themselves by being mean to the kids.

I, on the other hand am good to the kids. Tonight it will be full-sized candy bars for the kids and hot buttered rums for the grownups.

Helen will get wind of it and she'll call the police on me for serving booze to kids and the cops will show up for about two minutes and leave. Word will go out among the adults that Helen called the police and their kids will overhear it and as the kids grow up, Helen will come out on the street and yell at them for being kids and the cycle continues.

She has just insured she'll get plastered for a few more years.

This does not mean I am completely safe, as over the years I have been the victim of some 'apply anywhere' mischief. I've lost a mailbox to 'mailbox baseball' and I once had some minor vandalism to my pickup, but when you think of it, that's not that awfully bad, considering I've been here almost a full 20 years.

Both incidents were attributed to a group of out of the neighborhood kids just passing through. Please to note I have never suffered any Devil's Night 'payback' damage.

I wanted a police report for the vehicle insurance people and instead of dialing 911, I simply called the admin line and told the dispatcher to send a cop when there was time because I just wanted a police report. The cop came and we had coffee and he wrote it up.

He was pretty grateful for the coffee and casual air over the incident. In the end, I fixed my truck myself rather than calling the insurance people as I could using the tools I had. I think it cost me under $50, which wasn't to bad for replacing a broken window on a pickup cap.

Helen, who also got hit that evening, as did virtually the entire neighborhood as usual over reacted and demanded the ususal Federal investigation.

As I write now the police car is going by and I figure she will have the poor bastard tied up for well over an hour with her carrying on, complete with moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Looking back on things, as a kid I lived near a major jerk that constantly called the police on kids and every Halloween he got just plastered, and suffered a lot of other damage during the year. My father hated Halloween because he just knew the jerk would try and blame my brother and I and we were instructed to stay well away from him and his house that night. ESPECIALLY that night.

When we got in after the night out he would make us retrace our steps (avoiding questions as to what we actually did)to insure we had an alibi when the inevitable accusations came up.

Truth is, we traded off Halloween duties with friends that lived a mile away. They did our dirty work, we did theirs and provided each other with alibis.

Here it is well over forty years later, the old bastard is still alive and still lives in the same place. About a year ago someone pitched a cherry bomb or something in his front yard in the middle of the night. I heard about it about a month later from and old friend. I instantly mentally checked my whereabouts of the time in question (I was at sea) to cover my ass in case he went into Alzheimers and accused me even though I live 600 miles away. Old habits die hard.

Still, I have to admit I laughed like hell when I heard the kids STILL make life miserable for him. You reap what you sow.

What is also interesting to note is that while growing up we only got hit once on Halloween. Someone stole our sign and the following evening it was replaced. Word came down later that the local Boy Scouts found the sign and replaced it after beating the living shit out of the vandals. Dad was involved in the local troop and they looked out for him in return.

I learned about living in a neighborhood from watching my dad. He contributed to the well being and safety of the neighborhood, got involved and it paid off in spades.

One of the biggest thing I learned is what to overlook. The other thing I learned is to be good to people.

It pays off.

In about a half-hour I will go out into the street carrying a wastebasket and get a dirty look and a smirk from the poor cop down at Helen's.

Tonight Helen will falsely report me for giving booze to kids, the cops will show up and drive off and Helen will insure she gets plastered again for the next few years.

You can't fix stupid

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Well, Lowes moved in nearby

And it goes without saying I had to check out their grand opening.

Outside was a car dealer offering all sorts of deals on GMCs. I walked by with the body language and aura of a guy tha did not want to be bothered, but it is totally impossible for ANYONE in the car business to keep their damned mouth shut so when they opened it, I shut it for them.

"Hey, ya interested in that?" he asked, pointing to a vehicle I neither wanted nor could afford. It was the antithisis of the kind of vehicle I would own. A big, heavy, clunky hard to park oversized truck with a monster V-8 in it. If you gave it to me for free I would drive it home, park it, and sell it instantly. Until it sold the behemoth would sit in my driveway undriven.

"No way in hell. I don't buy iron. I buy quality vehicles made in the United States by a company called Toyota. This piece of junk is 74% made overseas," I shot back. "Mine is made in the USA by Americans."

I didn't close his mouth, instead he stood there agape as a couple of other people chuckled at the poor bastards plight. Too damned bad. Already it was showing signs of being a good day. I had embarrassed a car salesman and that is the makings of a very good day.

Then there was the usual assortment of peddlers, vendors and grand opening raffles to sign up for. I signed up for none of these because the truth is I have everything I need and another drill or skilsaw will only get in the way. I am trying to dejunk these days and NOT collect more junk even if it is free.

ESPECIALLY if it is free.

I was handed a 10% off card, whch saved me two bucks on what I bought there, which is OK by me.

Of course, the neighbors were there and I got dragged into something at the paint counter.

I am not a paint guy and Larry was there along with the guy across the street and none other than Neighbor Bob. Larry is one of those guys that likes to make people look stupid. He will ask you what you think about something and then argue with you because he knows everything. After the first time he pulled that on me I've avoided taking his bait for years.

I remember a couple of years ago when he spilled an entire gallon of paint in his driveway, but I said nothing.

"Hey, Pic, whaddya think I out to look for in a can of paint for my shutters?" he asked.

Neighbor Bob flinched, he knows me and knows I have avoided Larrys bait for a long time. He also sensed I wasn't in the mood to suffer his foolishness because he knew I wasn't in the best of moods.

'Judging from the mass you made a couple years ago, you might want the guy at the paint counter to put a little sticker on the bottom of the can that says 'open other end'," I answered, innocently.

The guy from across the street fought off a snarf, Bob surpressed a smirk and I wandered off. Betcha both Bob and the guy across the street buy me a beer inside the next few days.

The next thing that happened is that some employee cheerfully asked me if I lived nearby and I told her I did.

So it goes without saying that she asked me about how wonderful it was that they were so close and I didn't have to travel far at all.

Wrong move.

I pointed out that had they opened a mile and a half down the road I would have been a whole lot happier because now there will be a whole lot more vehicular traffic in my area for starters and then there will be more riff-raff dragged up from the city area to contend with. I pointed out that all I need is some failed carpenter, loser contractor or run of the mill crackhead to figure out tht Alcoa aluminum gutters get sixty-five cents a pound and can be removed in seconds and Lowes is not going to replace mine for free if I get vandalized.

Apparently she lives close because she admitted, "I never thought of that." and replaced her elated look with a concerned one.

No, I am NOT a happy camper and I am NOT glad that a Lowes has moved in so close to me because the next step is a Homeless Depot will open up a block from them, followed by a Super Wally World followed by a Target followed by ad nauseum.

Our police department will be stretched thinner until they decide more officers are needed and taxes will then increase and my spendable income will decrease and the Lowes organization will get richer partially at my expense. Because of the increased traffic, there will be accidents and my auto insurance will cost me more money.

I would have been more than happy to drive an extra three minutes down the main drag and spend the quarters worth of gas to go a mile and a half further down the road. For what this is going to cost me over the next few years it would take an awful lot of trips a mile or two further to make it even close to worthwhile.

Sometimes you have to think of more than a false sense of convenience.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

One of the things that makes me cringe is when

I have a problem with either the phone or the internet.

The problem is that the technical part of the producet/service/whatever have been outsourced. My cell service comes from South America, my television service comes from the Phillipines and my computer service comes from India.

Now all of this is well and good and I most certainly do not have a problem with the Filipino that took care of getting my TV up and running a while back. The young man on the other end of the phone did a first class job. Every time I use my TV it works and every month the cable company takes my money. This is the way things are supposed to work.

The problem is that while many of these people outside of the country speak pretty good Ameerican idiomatic English, not all of them do.

I got lucky that day getting my TV hooked up. The Filipino, who had learned English in school had spent a couple of years in the States so he had tuned up his American English so there was no misunderstanding.

We were both patient and managed to set up my account and get my service up and running with few communication problems.

Then he handed me off to accounting and a friendly Filipina that was hard to understand. It took several tries and a lot of hassle, but I did in fact get set up OK.

My cell service was pretty much the same way except that instead of a tagalog accented English, the accent as South American Spanish. My cell service required two tries before someone stepped up to the plate and decided to get everything squared away in one fell swoop.

This second guy I could understand pretty good and he guided me through the technical problems fairly well and then explained that he was going to have to hand me off to someone else.

At one point I answered him in High School Spanish and he said, "Ah, you speak Spanish!" and started babbling away.

I explained to him that although I was fluent in High School Spanish,that it was a different language entirely and we had best continue in English. Then I explained to him that in Mexico I had trie to order two enchilladas and the waiter brought me out a baked, stuffed elephant with all the trimmings.

He laughed, but he did understand my point and told me quietly that people from the states that DID try working with them in High School Spanish were a lot more trouble than those that just worked in English.

I politely told him to try and make sure he passed me on to someone that I could understand and he thought for a second and said he would patch me through to someone that he knew that had spent some time in the states, but I would proobably have to wait a few minutes.

I told him that it would be all right as I only wanted to do this once and get it right the first time.

A few minutes later I was talking to someone else that spoke pretty good English and we got everything squared away in short order.

I attribute my success there to thinking ahead and being patient and working with the people there a little.

Computer problems and dealing with Indians is a little more difficult in a way.

The Spanish speakers KNOW that English is a second language and they try their damnedest. Indians learned English from the Brits and speak the Queen's English.

Winston Churchill once described British/American relations as being two countries seperated by a common language. This holds true for dealing with Indians, only it's worse.

My buddy, Clancy from down at the corner convenience store is from India and speaks pretty good accented American English and is easy to understand even though it is somewhat accented.

Guys like him are not the problem. It's when you couple British English AND a heavy Indian accent that all hell breaks loose. It's a whole lot worse for me than either the South Americans or the Filipinos, who have at least learned American English.

Having to call India for technical support is the one that really makes me cringe.

I just wished these companies would have made it easier for us by having Americans doing this work even though I would have to be putting up with a bunch of rude countrymen because at least we could understand each other a whole lot better.

What irks me even more is that even go to these people for the privlige of being misunderstood you have to play the push one for English telephone game and then get stuck on hold because all of our agents are busy.

my other blog is:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I have errands to do today

The Miata needs the registration renewed and I have to get my driver's license renewed, also.

Then I need a gallon of paint, cat food, dishwasher detergent and a few odds and ends.

The worst part is going to be the license renewal because the system in this state is archaic.

I just remembered, I have to get my picture taken. Hmmm. I think I'm going to pull my bridgework and give a big gap-toothed hill billy grin for that one.

Over the years there has been a running 'worst driver's license picture' contest going on in my family.

Seeing I have forgotten about this and have shaved recently, I can't look as thuggish as I like for this important portrait, so I guess I'll just go as 'Crash' Murphy.

That'll work.

Got everything done I had to do except for one thing.

My driver's license renewal does not print out the photo cards, the little thing you take down to get your picture taken.

This means it is going to be touch and go, as the day I get back from my next tour I am going to have to run like hell to the photo center go get the job done.

It's a shame, too because if they DID print photo cards on line it would make the ENTIRE process take about an hour instead of 10 days or more.

Oh, well.....


One good thing. I'll be able to stop shaving a couple days before so I can look pretty rough for the picture. Having kept first place in the family driver's license photo contest, I have no desire to come in second place for the next four years.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I've got a lot to do today and I think

that todays post will be in segments.

I'm just going to leave this open and chip away at it today.

If you see odd combinations of letters, just remember that the cat likes to take the short cut across my keyboard.

One of the things I have planned for today is to sneak an old friend of mine out of the rest home for an hour or so and give him a ride in the Miata. The guy is a WW2 flyboy that flew C-47s all over hell delivering men and materiel.

Like most of the guys that flew in the Second World War, he was a basic high school kid that they ran through a cadet program and turned loose with an airplane. They don't do things that way these days. The days of the teenager hotshot pilot are long over with. I have mixed feelings about the way they do things today, but I won't get into that.

Anyway, I don't think I'll have any problems getting him out of the rest home. Then again, if push comes to shove, I'll think of something. Maybe give the old swashbuckler a sword and watch him wave it around and battle his way out past Nurse Ratched or something.

About 30 years ago three of us sneaked an old Norwegian fisherman out of a rest home to make one last fishing trip. It was a pretty good adventure for all involved. I might post that sometime.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted,

1000 update.

Called a mutual friend first and found out the old guy is in terrible shape. I haven't seen him for 6 months and I heard this morning he was in a terrible car accident a while ago and is still pretty damned beat up from it.

I got his phone number and I called him. He's up, of course and we yakked for a bit.

He asked me if I would pick someone up along the way and it didn't take me half a second to figure out what he really wants. He just wants some feminine company.

I told him to call her and give her my phone number.

This guy has been a widower for about 15 years and I've seen him out and about a couple of times with a widow or two, which is probably par golf as things really don't change much over the length of a lifetime. When she calls I'll pick her up and deliver her and then take my leave early and be on the end of my cell phone to take her home again.

I think that spending a little time with the woman would really mean a lot more to him than going for a tour in the Mazda, especially because he is still recuperating from the accident.

Old age is a terrible affliction, bur I guess the alternative is worse.

A guy one up from Nurse Connie, my neighbor, is in his 70s and a cancer survivor and the chemo has really torn him up. He was VERY active until about 9 months ago.

They kicked the crap out of his cancer, but the price is that he really has to work a lot harder to get anything done. He's fixing something as I write and he's on day two of a job that he'd have normally knocked out in a couple of hours. He has to stop every few minutes and rest. He's gaining, though. A couple of months ago getting from his car to the house was a major chore and now he's doing things like mowing his own lawn.

1020. Phone rang and I'm going out to pick up the widow and deliver her to him. See you later.


1300 Dropped the woman off and I guess the two lovebirds are having lunch, which sounds like a ood deal. I'm at home sanding sheetrock and waiting for a call. I'll have to jump into the shower to drive her home because I'm covered with sheetrock dust.


1455 Into the shower, the phone rang. Later!


1550. I'm home. It was fun taking the old woman home. She's in her 80s and really quite attractive at her age. Betcha she was a real knockout a few years ago. I gotta give my old friend credit, he sure can pick 'em. What a classy lady!

Well, it wasn't a ride through the twisties and I didn't get him out, but that's cool. I bet he was a whole lot happier with her than with me.

I hope he recovers enough so I can take him out for a ride, though.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ahh, Yes. A day of inside work coming up

the slight water damage in the front bedroom is visible and I guess I ought to take care of it.

The water damage came from last winter when we got jammed upwith ice dams on th eaves and the water backed up under the shingles. It wasn't too bad in the front bedroom, but I guess I ought to take care of it.

Actually, I started yesterday with the scraping, and as usual it opened a can of worms and I will be mudding in several spots and taping and mudding in a few others.

Then comes the sanding and then the priming and then the paint.

This is the kind of interior work I don't like very much, but it has to be done.


Interruption. Bob just dropped by and I gave him a cup of coffee and I guess we're going to do breakfast. Please note that I gave Bob a clean cup. Mine I fished out of the sink a while ago.

While I don't mind reusing yeaterday's coffee cup, I am really loathe to fish utensils out of the sink because I often absentmindidly wind up with the fork I have just used to dish out the cat's breakfast with and cat food doesn't taste very well with eggs.


A walk in the driveway tells me that I have to get rid of a dead lawn mower and a dead weed whacker. Time to tape a small bottle of Jim Beam to the inside of the trash can lid.

The mower was a freebie I was going to use in the wayback but couldn't get it started even though it was supposed to be OK. It wasn't because the guy that gave it to me stored it with gas in the tank and you know what that means. The weed whacker is one Bob ditched with me to put in the trash, it's been dead quite some time, he was supposed to get it fixed but I guess it's totaled.

We call stuff like that 'dead strippers' because once someone said that I could stuff a dead hooker in the trash and the guys would take it away without raising an eyebrow. I've posted about taking care of the little people like the trash guys before.


I've got another blog going, It's called 'Officer Piccolo'.

A while ago I was asking a bunch of cops about how badly the 911 system is abused and I was not surprised to see that it's abused by society's idiots wha think that the cable TV going out is a major emergency and become astonished when they find out that a policeman isn't going to fix it for them.

The Officer Piccolo blog is how I would behave if I was a cop. Of course, I wouldn't last two weeks as I don't suffer fools very well. How the working cop in the burbs manages is beyond me.

An example of what I mean is a few doors down from me. The old hag raises cain and constantly calls the cops over every little thing. Of course, the annual equalizer night called Halloween is coming and I'll bet you she gets hit pretty hard like she always does. She'll call the cops and complain and the responding officer will give her tea and sympathy. Officer Piccolo would simply tell her that it was her own damned fault for being a troublemaker and throw her report in the trash.


I just saw something on the porch. I forgot to check yesterday. UPS just dropped off a new keyboard, an Itronix. It's another bulletproof piece of GI-type gear that I like because it is tough. Soldier proof is one thing, these are CAT proof!I opened it up and there it was, a GI keyboard, new in box, Irtonix part number 57-0026-002R. I'll try it out and post how well it works later.

There are 13 of them on eBay now, but ya gotta work fast, as there is only a day left on them and most of them have no bids on tham as of yet. To find them, type 'Itronix wired'into the search box.

my other blog is:

Monday, October 25, 2010

I have just opened a new can of paint

and I have come to the conclusion that a new can of paint is a pain in the neck to deal with because it is full.

When a can of paint is full it is somewhat difficult to deal with and it would appear that there is a simple solution for this, and there really is.

The paint maker simply puts the gallon of paint in a five-quart pail.

For me that would make the whole thing a lot easier to deal with except for two things.

First of all, there is a part of human nature that say that they will feel cheated if they open the can and see space in it because they are not getting their full measure. Customers will be disappointed and gripe.

This will lead to the paint company filling the can up and decreeing that it is a new size, the magnum gallon or some such crap.

Where are we then?

Not back to square one, but back to square minus one because we will now have a chock-a-block full FIVE quart can to deal witn.

When you get right down to it, there are some problems where there really is no realistic solution.

my other blog is:

I just got inside after taking a little

walk around the house over morning coffee.

I like what I see. The lawn is freshly mowed for the last time of the season and the wayback is a little fairy land.

The wayback has a twice annual maintenance plan that's pretty simple. In late March I pick up all of the limbs that fell off the trees and drag them up for firewood and in either October or November it's chainsaw/brush cutter/lawn mower madness.

Everything gets leveled and we go back to square one.

The forces of nature are amazing. Things just want to grow and grow. In the two seasons of spring and summer it is amazing as to how much stuff down there takes hold. The weeds, shoots, suckers and grasses just take over the entire wayback and ot becomes a real powerhouse of miscellaneous vegetation. As usual, I wind up fighting with the wild grapes down there that I have never seemed to be able to kill off entirely.

But then comes fall and I break out the machinery and level all of God's work so he can start over again in the spring.

He gets to show me the miracle of growth and nature for spring and summer and come fall I chop it all down and turn the wayback into a pretty little fairy land which I get to enjoy for the fall and winter.

It is a peaceful thing to look at and I enjoy looking at it during the dormant period.

During the spring as things start growing, the deer in the area start adding my wayback to their route as all of the fresh growth provides them with something to eat. That's part of the reason I let it run wild for the two seasons. The deer have to eat, too and it adds to the ambience of this little slice of heaven.

One of the things I have to note carefully here is that the house I live in is one of those places thet was built in '48 for GI Joe to raise a couple kids in. It is a simple Cape Cod with very little remarkable about it. It really is a simple place for a simple person to live in.

The part that keeps me fixated to this place is the yard.

Long before I moved in, the previous owner planted rows of trees and they are now at the mature stageIt provides beauty and privacy. It is just my little slice of heaven.

Keeping it up is fairly simple. The fall leveling is pretty simple, too.

I just put the brush cutter on the weed whacker and start in and follow up with the lawn mower and level everything. Everything gets mulched and that is that. It's a simple process. It takes a day or two and that's it for another year.

Right now I'm just looking out the back window as I type this and I like what I see.

my other blog is:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to square one.

I grew up in the sixties and I can remember the Civil Rights movement and Dr King and the Freedom Riders that stuck their necks out to insure that people of all colors could be treated equally under law.

I spent quite a bit of time collecting quarters to support the efforts of the people that went into the Deep South and other areas to fight for the right of the black community to vote and be treated fairly under law.

Forty years plus later, I have a lot of pride in myself for what little I did to insure the changes were made both legally and socially.

A recent trip to Wally World has sort of made me think that my efforts were in vain.

I saw an Obama Christmas tree ornament for sale there and I have to admit that maybe my efforts were in vain and we have not gotten anywhere bacause now it is again OK to hang a black man from a tree.

my other blog is:

What a joke? WHo do they think they are kidding?

The other day I saw another one of those "Look at the collection of deadly weapons we took away from such and such a drug dealer" displays.

Before I go anywhere with this, the cops took out another meth lab or busted a dealer or something. Good work. Some more of the forces of evil have been removed from society and that is a good thing.

Of course, with our present 'catch and release' system, the thugs will be back on the streets shortly after the bust, but thaat is yet another issue.

Let's look at the display.

At first it looked like a pretty good collection of hardware until you looked at it with a bit more of a trained eye than somebody's grandmother has. Great! Looks like some serious hardware there the Joe Citizen.

Here's what I see.

Two of the rifles are Arisakas, GI bringbacks from WW2. Ammunition for those is not all that easy to come by unless you are willing to either chase all over hell or special order it. In short, these really are not the weapons of choice of drug dealers.

Two of the pistols are airsoft, meaning they are nothing more than kids toys that shoot little soft plastic pellets the length of a garage. These are hardly a menace to society.

There are also two more pistols there, one is a single shot flint lock muzzle loader, the other is an 1851 New Model Army revolver. Both of these fire black powder and load from the muzzle. These are not really the choice of any criminal.

There are a couple of what looked to be serviceable handguns there, a revolver, a Glock and another automatic pistol that looks servicible, I can't tell the make.

The numbchucks look to be the decorative kind that would probably break if you tried to fight with them and the machete looks like it came out of a garage where it had spent its life whacking weeds in the backyard.

The three hand grenades are obviously inert They are training aids; they are incapable of doing any more damage to a person than a rock of similar size. The pair of Claymore mines are also inert. They are nothing more than pieces of molded resin and contain no explosives or projectiles. My friend in the National Guard gave a couple of these to the local kids to play with.

Of the pair of hunting rifles shown, one of them looks to be in pretty good shape, while the other had a missing bolt and trigger. It is incapable of firing anything.

The knives came straight out of the kitchen and are spread out between the firearms. If you look at them you can see thet it looks like most of a set of Gunsu knives straight off of a Billy Mays pitch. Everybody that cooks anything has a similar set.

The 1903 Springfield rifle there isn't a rifle at all. It is a kids toy made about 30 or 40 years ago. Right now a pair of them are selling on eBay for $12.01 with five bids showing.

The AK-47 isn't one at all. It is nothing more than a molded piece of solid rubber that could easily go through a metal detector and could really only be used as a clumsy club.

Of the two shotguns there, one of them is a black powder muzzle loader which takes forever to relaod and really isn't a drug lords weapon of choice. The other looks to be a common hunting shotgun and probably does work. At range it is deadly.

So now we have two tables side by side covered with this display and the final tally is that the police did in fact sieze a meth lab. From a practical standpoint they took a trio of modern pistols, a shotgun and a hunting rifle off the streets.

That in itself is not really a bad haul by and in itself. Fair enough. The streets are now a little safer and four crooks are out of the meth business for a while.

Why not just go with that? It's the truth and certainly nothng to be ashamed about.

The bust itself went down fairly smooth, too. The police showed up, assembled their assets and crashed in and took the lab without a shot being fired. That is a good thing, too.

Of course, the police want the public to believe that they charged down the guns through withering automatic weapons fire and persevered over the forces of evil, but that is a crock. They didn't. They out foxed the druggies, which is what they were supposed to do in the firt place.

Granted, a trio of pistols, a shotgun and a hunting rifle are serious deadly weapons and if the bust had gone sour, there easily could have been a bunch of dead policemen. I'm certainly not denying that at all.

Setting that table up with all of the stuff you collected doesn't make you look like conquering heroes to anyone but the most naive of people. Anyone with any background can see just what you did with your display and it only serves to cheapen the deeds of the officers that were involved in the bust.

Ever see a kid fresh out of basic go into the PX and buy a couple of rows of ribbons he didn't earn to make the girl back home think he was a hero?

Well, with that display you did just that. It cheapened the deed and the credibility of the police force itself.

And that IS a shame.

I have edited this post to add one thing. I really don't think this display I mentioned was the idea of the working cop. I'd just bet that it's the brain child of some higher-up that hasn't worked the streets in a couple of decades.

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I don't feel very good today for some reason or another

It's kind of a blah feeling and I don't want to do a damned thing.

I guess that's all I have to say today.

Sorry for nothing interesting

my other blog is:

Friday, October 22, 2010

One of the things old soldiers do is to

see what young soldiers have to eat.

This goes back to my scoutmaster when he asked one of the scouts that was the son of an acitvely serining GI. He took a bite ot the proffere C-Ration and blanched.

My scoutmaster had been a company commander in Europe.

I just tried out a spiced apple flavored drink mix that came out of an MRE. Unlike most civvies, I had a canteen cup to mix it in and I carefully calculated out the proscribeded quarter- caneen cup of water to mix it in.

It sucked.

What's new?

my other blog is:

I just fished the adapters out of the trash and will

hang on to them for the winter.

The weedwhacker just up and died.

I am going to wait until January or so to buy another one as they go on sale then.

I have to give the old weedwhacker credit, though because in complete violation of Murphy's Law it died right after I FINISHED the back yard.

The old weedwhacker headed out into the trash and because I get along with the trash guys the weedwahcker AND an old lawnmower I have will get stuffed in the truck.

There will also be a quarter pint bottle of Jim Beam taped to the inside of the trash can lid.

I know how to get things done.

my other blog is:

I just bought a brush cutter for my weed whacker

Looks to be OK, but it was one of those one size fits all types.

It came with a whole slew of different adaprers for different machines.

Here's a little advice from the old salt: Take the necessary adapters out of the package, hook the unit up AND THROW THE UNNEEDED ADAPTERS AWAY IMMEDIATELY.

They will be nothing more than useless acrap metal if you keep them, and worse yet, the next time you want to attach it to the unit they will make life very confusing.

Keep it simple.

my other blog is:

Thursday, October 21, 2010


caps lock.

Over the past year thet I have been writing this blog and other projects I have had to stop and rewrite things about a jillion times because of that damned key.

I am a lousy typist to begin with, and for the life of me I keep hitting that damned key and screwing things up.

By the way, you see a lot of grammaical errors on this blog and it is not because I do not know how to spell. It is the product of my lousy typing.

I am a self-taught typist. I had to learn in the army about three and a half decades ago when I ran an arms room for a while. There were reports that had to be typed. I became a hunt and peck typist.

Of course, there was no caps lock key on the old Remington GI issue typewriters and this was long beffore computers reared their heads, so this was not a problem back then.

Actually, on a regular computer keyboard I don't make the caps lock blunder too often. Where my troubles come from is the flat keyboard on laptops.

Anyway, folk, that's my little rant for today.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I am now back at home

and I have a lot of work to do.

I'm beat. See you tomorrow.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The postman rings twice

One of the things that makes me wonder is people that call twice.

Out here at sea the guys leave their cell phones in the galley because if they took them with themselves into the bunk room they would wake up another shipmate who would not really be a happy camper. I have dealt with this before and generally the promise to throw the offending phone over the side works pretty well, but I digress.

In the galley the phones rest on the galley table and every so often one of them goes off.

When it goes unanswered as often as not it starts ringing again inside of a minute.


Does the caller think the person that didn't answer is going to finish what they are doing in thirty seconds or what?

It simply makes no sense to me.

Then again, neither does a pretty good percentage of the human race.

my other blog is:

Monday, October 18, 2010

I just bought

a weather radio and I think I have found a winner.

As yor have probably found out, I like simplicity. I have posted that I removed the power steering, air conditioning and a few other things from the Miata and I have made an entire post extolling the virtues of the P-38 can opener.

I like to check the weather from time to time and in the summer it's good to have an idea of when the periodic thunderstorms are due. While I have cable TV and as a result access to the Weather Channel, it seems like a lot of extra work to fire up the TV and have to wait seven munutes and fifty-nine seconds for 'Weather on the 8s' because you always seem to turn the tube on the instant they have just finished with the 'Weather on the 8s'. It can't fail.

Now, I am not one of these guys that needs to see the Doppler Radar photos and see what is happening in Outer Slobivia and how it creating a front that is pushing a series of storms into Inner Mongolia that is going to effect the Festival Week coming up in Bumfuck, Egypt that is eventually going to create a storm that will push through to Canada and down to the Great Lakes which will work it's way south to Pittsburgh. I couldn't care less.

What I want to know is if it's going to rain, shine or snow later on in the day so I can figure out if the hot dogs in the refrigerator are going to be fried inside or if I can fire up the grille. I also want some heads up time for any aharp storms passing through the area.

For this I don't need a television and the commercial radio stations will make you wait until their scheduled news, weather and sports program comes on. This takes up more time than the TV does.

What I need is a simple NOAA VHF reciever with an on/off switch.

I used to have one until someone borrowed it and decided that they apparently needed it more than I do so they kept it. It was an old Radio Shack weather cube and they don't make that style anymore, but they do make one that's close.

I snagged it for under $20 on line and I think it's going to be OK. All I have to do is set the frequency and the volume one time and then when I want the weather, I just push a button and Presto! Instand local NOAA weather. When I have heard what I want, I press the button again and it shuts of, ready for the next time I want to hear the weather.

It is a simple setup with no alarm clocks, AM/FM bands, lights, built in cameras, keypads and the like. Just an on/off switch.

Although not heavily advertised, it was fairly easy to find which surprised me because slmost every time I go looking for sommething simple it becomes an exercise in futility. Things this simple are like the P-38 can opener. They work well, do the job, are inexpensive and generally do one thing exceptionally well.

They are also like red capes in front of bulls for every dweeb of an engineering type that wants to improve everything he sees. These mental midgets never seem to understand simplicity. Hand one of these geniuses a simple P-38 and he will redesign it with 2 battery packs, 4 computer chips, 974 moving parts and a per unit cost of $8762/ unit with a weight of 8 pounds and it won't open a can worth a tinker's damn. I wanted to avoid the product of this mentality.

When I went looking for this VHF radio, I saw dozens of different kinds out there with all sorts of different features.
There were multi band radios, radios with alarms, radios with flashlights built in, AM/FM radios that had the NOAA weather band installed and a whole slew of others. I was pretty quick at eliminating these.

I went straight for the simpler models available.

Somewhat to my surprise there were a couple of them out there, and reasonably priced, to boot.

The Weather Cube I had bought from Radio Shack years ago was available, and had been updated only by changing the style of the case and by a little internal polishing to keep it from 'drifting', which is a plus. With the old weather cube I would have to reset the frequency every several months because it would drift off frequency a little.

So I went this route, and it is sitting at home now resting on a table ready for me to checl the weather with the touch of a finger. Not bad for $20, delivered.

I guess this lousy little $20 radio may not sound like a whole lot, and I suppose the techno heads of the newer generation may scoff, but I feel this is worth the post because this entire blog really is about the little dopey things that add up to be a part of a complete life.

my other blog is:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I was raised by two parents

of the opposite sex.

Thank God.

Imagine this scenario. The kid does something bad and the father takes the kid over his knee and proceeds to administer an old fashioned spanking and puts the sobbing child down down.

He stands the little kid in front of him and wags his index finger and warns the little kid,

"You just wait until your OTHER father gets home!"

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I was looking

for something the other day in the basement and came across a spare electrical outllet that was new in box.

I instantly hit it with a hammer a couple of times and threw it out.

What, you say? You threw out a perfectly good spare electrical outlet?

You're damned right I did, It was the wrong color. It was brown and all of the outlets in the house are ivory. I got rid of it as quickly as I could. Right then and there.


Simple. It was going to be more trouble than it was worth.

Now, you KNOW that when an outlet fries it is going to be either on Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Year's Day when every place in the entire country is closed except for the Chinese Restaurant that caters to people who have had their holiday dinners wolfed down by a pack of rabid dogs or burned to a crisp by a new bride.

Having an outlet handy can be a lifesaver.

Except for one thing.

The minute you install that off-color outlet you are setting yourself up for major grief.

What will happen is this: Someone, generally a spouse, will start griping that it is the wrong color. It is, we know that.

Of course, because it works, it will have low priority on the Honey-do list and there will be constant griping for you to change it to the correct color. This will go on for months. One of the things that will be said is that it is only a five minute job.

Finally when you DO get around to changing it the brittle wires of the 1939 home you live in that have become brittle will break and you will have to spend the entire weekend fishing a wire through walls and maybe even tearing out plaster to replace the broken wire. When you do fish the wire, you will have to couple the armored BX cable, which was used when the house was built to the more modern Romex cable that is what you buy these days.

The project is llikely to take days and once started must be completed. Then where the plaster has been repaired it must be painted.

Because the new paint doesn't match the old paint, it will mean the entire room needs repainting.

It will be then discovered that the room doesn't match the other rooms that were painted the same color at the same time which means the entire floor will have to be repainted.

The paint you used a couple of years ago is no longer available, so it must be color matched and the color matcher at Homeless Depot isn't running too well so you have to go to Lowes and then pick another brand of paint which requires a primer which they don't have in stock which sends you back to Homeless Depot.

A minor temporary inconvenience has just turned into a major chore.

All because you just happened to have a spare outlet that was the wrong color.

One thing, though.

Just as I was going to the bench to grab my hammer, I glanced at the wall to make sure I had a couple of good extension cords to get by if I did happen to fry an outlet over the holidays.

Come to think of it, I DID burn out an outlet last Thanksgiving and Thank God it was the one behind the end table where nobody sees it because I replaced it with a brown one like a jerk. I think I have a can of spray paint that will match up with the ivory well enough to pass muster.

Time to get out the newspaper and blue tape and tape and paper the area around the outlet when nobody's looking because I'll be damned if I want to repaint the entire downstairs.

I just hope the fumes of the spray paint go away before anyone gets home.

my other blog is:

Friday, October 15, 2010

One of the things that some people fail

to understand is that sometimes big trouble has a very simple and easy solution.

Tonight, while perusing the web someone came across a great idea. Put a little mineral oil in floor drains to keep them from drying out. Not bad at all.

I have floor drains in my basemant and so does Neighbor Bob. They sometimes dry out and because they are attached to the sewer line entering the house, sewer gases come up through them when they do dry out. It makes the basemant smell bad.

Over the years Bob and I have soved this simply by pouring a quart or two of water down the floor drain to refill the trap. It does the trick and unless you want to tear the entire basement floor up and reroute the floor drain, it is the only practical way to take care of the situation.

At my house I simply pour a little water down the drain every time I think about it 'just in case'.

At Neighbor Bob's we did something a little different.

First of all, we both realized that Mrs. Bob probably wasn't going to believe that such a rotten situation could be cured so easily. There are a lot of people out there that are convinced that there is no easy solution to many of life's major problems.

A loose wire on an car ignition, for example. Reattach the wire and the car runs fine. Yet, it you do that in front of the owner they get upset and think that either you did something else or that you're being dishonest. They will also often think you jury rigged something somewhere along the line.

At Bob's we handled his little problem cleverly and avoided the hassle of having to explain to his wife that it was a snap solution. After we poured a couple of quarts of water down the drain we simply laid a bunch of tools and a plumbers snake out in his basemant and made a little bit of a mess.

When his wife came home, she looked approvingly and went upstairs. When she left, we picked up the tools and swept up the mess and we were heroes.

Then we realized that if it happened again, which it was likely to do inside a few months that there would be another minor freaking out on her part, as explaining things to the non mechanical is a waste of time and breath and they are generally dubious of things along these lines.

So we put a hose barb on the holding tank of Bob's dehumidifer and stuck a small hose on it and led it to the floor drain. This killed 2 birds with the same stone in that now Bob didn't have to empty the dehumidifier every few days.
We simply led the small hose to the drain and it was more than enough to keep it full and keep the sewer gases out of his basement.

At my house I simply remember to pour a little water down the drain as I keep an old coffee can near the laundry sink just for that purpose.

Still, next time home I'm going to add a little mineral oil to the drain so I can simply forget about it for quite a while.

Then there was the hassle I had one time when I had a leak in the roof. It was such a simple fix, yet I felt I had to milk the job to avoid a lengthy explaination. I just sat on the roof a while and pounded a few things with my fist a while to make it sound like I was busy.

It's too bad that a lot of people do not understand that often it is a simple thing that can cure potentially disasterous situation. It would make life easier for them.

It would also keep me a little more honest.

my other blog is:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One of the things that amuse me greatly about the United States

is the amount of crackpots we generate.

Now the term 'crackpot' seems to invision mental pictures of nutcakes in laboratories to many people. It doesn't to me.

It make e think of a people that think out of the box and experiment on their own.

On one website I frequent there is a guy that likes to experiment with firearms and he often tries to dispel somme of the myths that seem to run through the firearms community.

For vary short money he seems to constantly get pretty close to the same results that places like the FBI crime lab and independent test facilities do. He's generous and freely shares his results with people via his website.

I also have followed the adventures of some guy that built an Old School hot rod and took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats with hopes of breaking 175 mph.

He broke 150, but then ate a valve and threw a connecting rod.

I like people like these because to me it is a part of wwhat America is all about.

The guy with the hot rod probably knew he wasn't going to get nationwide recognition or set a new World Land Speed record, but he set a goal for himself and went for it.

He failed this year and probably tralered his hot rod home driving in a somewhat preoccupied manner thinking about what he was going to do so he could try and meet his goal next year.

I won't be surprised to see him eventually break his 175 mph goal if he keeps after it for a while.

One has to think that there are a lot of things that have grown into common use that have come out of the garages and basements of this country.

While Bill Gates didn't invent the computer, he did invent the concept of software ownership and made the computer into what it is today along with getting very rich. I believe he got started in a garage and things grew.

It's not so much the Bill Gateses that I admire, but the guys like the hot rod guy and the gun guy that simply get an idea in their head and, knowing full and well that they are only doing it out of curiosity of the desire to live a dream proceed to chase their dreams.

This is a wonderful country for people like that.

When I lived in Alaska there were a larger percentage of these kind of people. They were always interesting to talk to. I remember a guy that found a WW2 submarine periscope somewhere and mounted it in his living room so he could check out what was going on downtown without leaving his living room.

There was another guy that was constantly doing interesting stuff, much of it based on surplus equipment. A chat with this guy always left me grinning because he was just chock-full of half-baked ideas, many of which he actually made happen.

My favorite was when he went crab fishing with an old Navy surplus floating dry dock.

He covered the deck with web to entangle the crabs, wove dead fish for bait into the web and sunk the dock and let it soak a while. When he raised it, he simply clambered aboard, gathered the crabs, stick them into his holding tank and headed straaight to the cannery. I heard he turned a reasonable profit until something happened, probably a rule change by Fish and Game. I forgot what it was that made him stop doing this.

I think that if you go to, say, Europe that you will find out that garages are used to store automobiles in for the most part. In this country maybe the majority of garages serve the same function,, but the percentages of gagages that are used for other purposes is a whole lot higher.

You can drive through neighborhoods with garages and notice the number of cars parked in driveways and look in the garage if the door is open and see that quite a few of them house some pet project or another.

Maybe there is a wood shop in one, a boat being built in another or maybe you can see the work in progress of some automotive project. A few are used by people for sideline jobs. I had a timing belt installed on the Miata by one of these sideline job guys working out of his garage. He did a good job and fixed a couple of other things for free, too.

I think I am going to dedicate this post to The Ameriican Crackpot.

May he continue to follow his dreams and pursue his passions in his garage or basement forever and help make the country what it is today.

As for the hot rod guy? I'll be waiting to find out if he breaks 175 next year.

This post has been edited to add a hot link to another crackpot that figured out a way to launch a video camera and an Iphone into near space and take some pictures.
At least I hope the link is hot.

If the link isn't hot, I guess you can cut and paste. Thanks go to a reader that shared it with me.

my other blog is:

Yesterday for the first time I looked at the statistics

of this little blog and I was astonished.

I really didn't expect much, and over the past year I have been doing this I figured that I might bave found about a thousand bored souls that cruised the blogs here looking for something intelligent to read. I figured that maybe they'd open this one and read a couple of posts and add it to their list of blogs they'd skip th next time.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were quite a number of readers that seemed to be semi regulars of some sort.

Truth be known, if NOBODY read this, I would still write it daily for a number of reasons including keeping my sanity.

I do not do write this blog for a readership.I do it to try and keep my sanity.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Americans like getting something

for their money, and I can't say as I blame anyone for that. I like to see my money go towards something worthwhile.

Americans also hate to see the govenrment waste their money on things that give no return. I don't blame them for that, either.

One of the biggest things I see Americans gripe about is people that sit around on their asses all day collecting welfare and doing nothing.

Another thing Americans do not like seeing is trash all over the place and ratty looking cities.

See where this is going?

my other blog is:

I am thinking of starting another blog.

In this blog I am an imaginary policeman and as a policeman I deal with stupidity I run into on the beat as I see it should be handled.

Of course, if any cop DID handle things as they ought to, he would be off the force and sued so hard and hfast that his next home would be under a bridge.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On a certain intrnet forum

I am on there is a thread explaining what they are going to do to a certain GI returning from a year's combat duty.

There is going to be a small town parade and a hoop-dee-doo of some sort, all of which is a big part of small-town America.

I love small town America and a couple of years ago when I broke my uniform out of mothballs and wore it to Camp Perry I made a few stops in Ohio and more than one person had something nice to say about it.

Still, you have to be ready for a faux pas of some sort because it takes a while to decompress after a hard tour of duty.

While the GI may have simply been a clerk in a secure area, it is also likely that he was a grunt that spent his entire year out in the mud, blood and horror of a nasty little war.

Let's face it, the average combat grunt is not the All-American clean-cut kid tht used to mow your lawn. At least not when he was in an infantry outfit. When he was back in his unit, he was probably the filthiest human being you have ever seen in a torn, muddy uniform and badly needing a shave, yet his weapon was immaculate.

He was constantly angry and in the middle of an emotional upheaval that probably effected his entire system including his digestive system. He seldom got much sleep, ate MREs when he found time and was the most spiteful and nasty person you have ever met. He was profane as all git-go, and every other word he used probably began with the letter 'F'.

He'll return back to some semblance of normal, but it may take a little while. It generally takes a while to decompress.

Just cut him a break if you ask him to make a speech and he screws up and a few bats fly out of his mouth.

my other blog is:

Monday, October 11, 2010

I just read a police report

that says a fourteen year-old armed robber in Tulsa, Oklahoma was shot dead during a robbery.

I feel bad for the officer that shot the litle thug because you KNOW that Internal Affairs is going to be all over this like white on rice and that the officer that did the shooting is going to spend quite some time under the microscope. He'll be lucky to keep his job.

Personally, I took it upon myself to check the 55 gallon drum of 'Give a Damn' that we have lashed to the deck.

I smacked it and it resounded with a very hollow sound.

I guess this means that I am out of Give a Damn for the little thug. Too bad.

Of course, every single bleeding heart in Tulsa will want justice, which when you think about it has already been served. Then comes the neighbors telling everyone that the little thug was 'just coming around', which is another crock because if he was coming around he wouldn't have been committing an armed robbery.

Next of the predictable agenda is the bereaved mother babbling on about how her little baby 'din't do nuffin', which are probably going to be crocodile tears because the death of her little baby, who is only fourteen is going to cut her welfare payments and she won't be able to afford as much crack cocaine.

The only one I really have a whole lot of sympathy for is the cop because he is going to have to live with it. On top of that, he's going to have one hell of a time keeping his job.

Sorry 'bout that. Like I said, I already checked my supply of 'gave a damn' and we're fresh out.


my other blog is:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The last time I was home

there was a yard sale.

Now I can not bear to drive by a halfway decent yard sale because I am always in the market for a good deal, so I parked on the curb and wandered over to one of the tables and guess what I found sitting there for sale?

It was something of mine that I had lost a long, long, time ago. Of all of the things I have lost over the years, here was the thing I have missed the most of all.

My mind!

There it was, marked for a dollar.

I reached quickly for my wallet, yet I was beaten by seconds by a woman from downtown that also had a pretty sharp eye for a deal.

As quick as I was, she had snatched it up and was already paying for it. I was out of luck.

Oh, well.

my other blog is:

Just felt like posting a picture today

of my old boat.

This isn't the actual boat, just a stock photo I snagged somewhere.

left click on the picture to see it all.

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Today if has been one year

Today if has been one year since I started this blog and I am glad that I did.

It has given me a vent and a place to rant and rave. It's given me a place to be a little creative.

But most of all it has seemed to have given me a purpose and added a little meaning to my life in the form of a little more discipline.

Not every post has come easy, although most have. The ones I really want to beat my chest about are the posts I made when i was in a lousy mood and I really didn't want to continue.

My goal was to produce a post a day, but because of internet access being spotty at sea it hasn't quite worked out as well as I had hoped.

I did, however, write the post and save it until I got into internet range and caught it up as best as I could.

Toward the end of the year it bacame a nice place to vent and I found myself postig more than once a day, which i suppose is fine.

Anyway, it has been a year and I am grateful to my sister for showing me this place where I can do what I do here.

my other blog is:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Some things are more trouble than they are worth.

Several years ago at a former employers they had a safety bonus. If I recall, it was $500 if you didn't have an accident all year, but in reality it was that if you didn't have an accident all year coupled with being a good boy, which was nothing more than arbitrary hogwash.We had a one of supervisor that was an out and out jerk that took joy in using the bonus as a threat. If you did something he simply didn't like the looks of, he woud threaten to take your bonus away.

Truth is, he enjoyed taking someone's bonus away.

Every year you had to fill out some kind of form to be eligible.

One year I decided that the money wasn't worth the hassle, so I simply threw the form into the trash.

Of course, I was sent a memo that reminded me I had not filled out the form along with another copy. These also ended up in the trash. Finally I got called in to payroll and handed the form and I told them I wasn't interested and explained to them that my paycheck was ample compensation. The payroll woman was aghast and called my supervisor in.

I explained to him that I was content with the money I was paid in my paycheck and explained that the extra money would cause me more problems than it was worth.

When he asked me what I meant by that, I explained that first of all it would put me into another tax bracket and cost me more than I would get along with the fact that it would simply be sent to my house and my wife would put it into the account and I would never see a dime of it.

This was a crock, of course.

The reason I didn't want the money was that if I didn't sign the form, I wouldn't be part of the program and therefore none of the few mental midgets that used the bonus as another tool to threaten employees with couldn't use it to threaten me with.

My supervisor started trying to explain that I really should sign the form and simply take the money. When I told him it wasn't a part of the union contract and I was going to check with the union first, he caved in and simply told the payroll woman simply not to sign me up.

It wasn't long until the miserable jerk that used the bonus started throwing threats to take the bonus away from people to get his way.

My fellow employees told me I was nuts until I quietly pointed out that by not signing up for the damned thing that they couldn't threaten me with taking it away frome me. They were dubious. They didn't understand what I was doing because they were so caught up in scarfing every dime they could.

A number of them lost their bonus for petty things during the year and they were upset.

When the jerk in the office tried to threaten to take my bonus away from me, I simply told him that I hadn't signed up for it and that there was nothing to take away from me. He ran off at the mouth with a few empty threats, but after that he left me alone. I had taken his weapon away from him. It was noticed by my coworkers.

When the other guys recieved their bonus, I was called into my supervisors and handed a check for $500. I took it straight to payroll and tried to turn it in. Of course, she called my supervisor in and they told me simply to take the check and give it to whatever tax-deductable organization I saw fit. I took it, buut with a very dubious look on my face.

I took it home and cashed it and started a rumor that I had turned it over to the local volunteer fire department or some such thing. I simple deposited it and used it as I saw fit.

The following year I did the same thing. That year I was called in by my supervisor, a sharp guy that was actually one of my admirers. "I see what you did," he said to me. I played dumb, but we both knew and he kept quiet about it.

Again, I was given a check and went through the motions of trying to turn it in and again I was told to keep it.

That year a number of coworkers figured out what I was doing, but kept quiet about it. They knew and a few of them admired me.

If I had not gotten the money it still would have been worth it because it got one certain jerk off my back for five years.

This was clearly a case where the bosses were using what could have been a good program for gratifying their egos and not as a way of looking out for the employees.

I wasn't going to buy into it.

Some things are not worth it. and I am damned glad I do not work for that sad outfit any more.

my other blog is:

I want real American food today.

Like chili, or pizza or sausages or French toast or tacos or knockwurst or chow mein.

Real American food and none of that damned foreign crap.

my other blog is:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One of the things I hate most of all

is a piece of equipment that works intermittently. It will drive a man stark raving mad in a very short period of time.

As I write this, I am trying to submit a grub order to the people at the place we get chow from.

The internet service here is spotty as all hell and I watch the Email server pick up reception and drop it every so often.

It only works when IT wants to work, and not when I want it to work.

Things like this are very frustrating, especially when you lose something like an entire grub list when the damned thing drops service. I have that one figured out. I put the grub list on word pad, and if I lose it, I just copy and paste it and try again. It took me a couple of tries to figure that out.

My cell phone, in its infinite wisdom just rang and told me that I had a call about an hour and a half ago and that I missed it. Awful nice of it to keep me informed.

Of course, this spottiness is a temporary condition and when we move to another area, the service will resume and we'll be back in communications with the whole wonderful world again.

It's semi tolorable because an end is in sight.

What does drive me nuts is when gremlins infest a tool or a piece of machinery. I had a skilsaw once that had a trigger-switch that was on run when it felt like it mode for a while until I figured out what was wrong with it and replaced it. Replacing the switch was a judgement call because the skilsaw was almost twenty years old when it started acting up. I almost replaced it because as old as it is, it is living on borrowed time. I wondered about throwing good money after bad, but I guess I did OK because that was several years ago and it still works well.

The radial arm saw is the one I remember most fondly.

I was in my twenties building houses when I scored a pretty good used radial arm saw. It lasted me a few years and then started acting up. I checked through it carefully a couple of times with what tools I had to work with but I coould find nothing wrong with it. Still, it kept acting up.

Anyone that knows what a radial arm saw is knows that it can take an arm of in a second if the user is preoccupied, and having to work with a tool that isn't running up to snuff is a preoccupation in itself.

One day on a job, the thing was acting up again and I finally snapped. I grabbed a beat up old axe and beat the thing until it was an unrecognizable piece of twisted metal. Because I had not bothered to unplug the damned thing, sparks flew all over hell until finally the breaker tripped. Then I threw the entire mess beside the foundation that was to be backfilled and where it rests to this day.

A minute later I was on my way to the building supply house to buy another one.

Besides having a very satisfying mad minute beating the old saw to death, to this day I truly believe that in doing so I saved my left arm from traumatic amputation.

The lesson I have taken from that day has stayed with me.

When something gets either too dangerous, too frustrating or just plain causes more work than it is worth, it's best to get rid of it.

It isn't worth it.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There was an interesting

thread on a website forum the other day.

One of the members had been talking with his 93 year old neighbor who had suffered through the Great Depression.

The old duffer seemed to be a pretty wise old coot. He said that in a way what is happening now is worse than the Crash of '29 and the ensuing depresion. His point was taken by me.

Of course, during the depression there were numbers of people that were litrally starving and had little or nothing. Foreclosures were a daily occurance and the country was flat on its ass. There were no safety nets like there are today.

Sometime around 1964 my father comented that it was 'against the law to starve in this country' and he really was right. It pretty much is because of the vaious programs out there. It's even more so today.

In reality what is going on now isn't a puff of smoke compared to the depression of the thirties.

What is a reality is how much further the average guy is going to fall if the bottom really does drop out of the system.

I have lived rock bottom as a younger man and was as happy as a lark. I lived in a camper trailer in the outskirts of town, rent-free with literally no expenses. Food was a freebie because in that part of coastal Akaska all a guy needed was an old rifle and a fishing pole. The paradox of living in poverty there was that I generally ate better than the rich folks did. I had no electricity, no running water save an inside pump connected to a water tank that I filled up when it got low. There was no TV, but I did have a wonderful shortwave radio that I had rigged up to run off of 12 volts which was supplied by a spare car battery I had scrounged. I recharged it every so often by swapping it out on my pickup, which I seldom drove because gas cost money and it was generally easier to walk or hitch hike.

In truth, I had very little to lose.

Every so often the forces in power would make me move my trailer, which I did. It was part of a game that was played to appease the idiots that lived in town and had too much time on their hands and looked down on me and my kind. The police would tell me it was time to move and I moved to some other spot on the fringes of town.

It was that simple and I had no real problems with the lifestyle at the time. Go down a few posts and see how I handled a law suit. Click on the post 'Someone recently asked me if I had ever been sued'. It's pretty much a true story.

Today is a lot different, yet I'd have to say I sure have it a lot better than a lot of people. My home and vehicle are paid for and that means that I am not a slave to the bank. The difference between then and now is that I really have a lot more to lose.

Still, all in all, if I lost it all, it would not be the end of the world.

I've been there and it wasn't all in all a bad place to be.

A lot of people have not.

We have built a pretty good society here and people have had it pretty good for quite some time now. A lot of the things we have we take for granted and now refer to as needs.

The other day while I was making out the grub list I had a crewman tell me that we 'needed' potato chips and coca cola and he got brought up pretty short. I went to the cabinet and handed him a can of corned beef and pointed at the water tap and told him that it was all he needed to get by for a day and that we had enough basic food like that on board for the rest of the tour. He blanched, but it was true. It is what you need to get by.

I then told him that I had no intention of living in such primitive squalor, though so I would cheerfully give him what he wanted so I ordered the chips and coke. He hasn't told me he needs something since, which is nice, as I dislike whiners.

We eat like hogs, and a lot of us are outright fat. We have technology all around us to the point where even those on welfare have cell phones and high speed internet. It wasn't too long ago we had no cell phones or internet. Now we hear people say they would die wthout their cell phone, even though about 95% of what passes as important conversations are really conversations over what color dress Madge wore to the party last weekend.

In the thirties that would be back-fence gossip over what feed company made the burlap sack Madge wore to the church social.

We have a raised the standard of living to a much higher point than our World War 2 predecessors.

If the system collapses it is certainly going to be a lot more of a fall than the poeple of the thirties took, and it's going to hurt one hell of a lot more.

Back in the thirties, there was the WPA where men worked for the government building infastructure and there are a lot of roads and bridges still in daily use that attest to that. There was also the CCC and the reason our national park system is what it is today in part is because of the CCC.

The CCC paid fifty bucks a month and someone guesstimated that it was about $1600/month by todays standard.

It's not a lot of money, but back then it was the difference between keeping the family together and starvation.

Today, by the standard of the day, the average guy couldn't do squat with that, or at least come close to keeping his lifestyle.

Let's look at things this way by taking a trip to Wally World. We see two guys there of pretty much identical bone structure. The ideal weight for these two is 150 pounds. One of the guys weighs 155 and the other has eaten himself up to 300 pounds. Now we make them reduce to their ideal weight.

For the smaller of the two, losing a mere five pounds means he skips a couple of cheesburgers and walks around the block a couple times a week. It is no big deal.

Not so for the fattie. You KNOW he's going to be hurting. He's going to have to go from ten pounds of French fries, a large pizza and two dozen burgers down to a salad a day and spend hours and hours huffing and puffing on the treadmill. It's gotta just plain hurt.

It's the same way for our present society. If we fall it is going to hurt a whole lot more than it did back in the thirties.

The old man was right. For some people the recession is worse for them than it was for the guy in the thirties.

Incidentally, for me the country is in a recession. My neighbor is out of work.

Ronald Reagan said it. "When your neighbor is out of work, it's a recession. When you are out of work, it's a depression."

I drove the Miata to work the other day because

my pickup is being repaired following an accident a while back.

The other drivers insurance comppany investigated the accident and decided to pay me off rather than slug it out, which was a good deal. They even offered me a rental car, which I considered but decided against it.

The reason I decided against it was because I really didn't want to park it at work for two weeks and if I turned it in there was going to be a hassle.

I explained everything to the guy in the insurance company office, but I really do not think that things were going to work the way they are supposed to.

The reason for this is communication between more than two people involving a seaman.

Over the years I have had terrible relations with places like banks ordinary people and businesses explaining how things work with seamen.

Take this one for an example.

I was explaining to someone that I had made a deal with that I would be in town to pick something up in ten days and dropped a check in the mail. When I went to pick it up, she had sold it to someone else.

"I held it for three days," she said.

"We agreed on ten days," I said. I carefully explained that I was at sea and wouldn't be in to pick it up.

"What do you mean 'at sea'? she asked.

"I am a sailor," I answered. "I work on ships."

"Oh, you're in the Navy?"

"No. I am a Merchant Mariner," I explained. "I move things. Where did your clotes come from?"

"The store." she said.

"And they make the clothes in the backroom of the store?"

"Well, no. They get them from somewhere else."she mumbled.

"Like where? China, perhaps?" I asked.

'Well..well. I guess. Maybe Italy." she mumbled.

"And just how do these clothes get to the store?" I asked.

"In a truck, I guess."

"And they drive these trucks across the Atlantic Ocean?" I asked.

"Well, no. I guess they must get them here somehow."

"Did you go to school?" I asked.

She tried to return to sure footing. "I have a Master's Degree from Vassar," she bragged.

"My shipmmate has a fourth grade education and he sure know a lot more about the world than you do. Try going back to third grade geography and take a couple courses in reality and learn to think," I said,, on the edge of anger. "Now give me my money back. NOW."


"No hemming and hawing. You took my money, you didn't produce, I want my money back. What part of fraud do you not understand?"

I got my money back, but simply having to deal with stupidity is a rough go.

The ones I get a kick out of are the ones that say, "I've never heard of such a thing."

I used to tell them that it was because they didn't look beyond the end of their noses, but now I simply shake my head and walk away.

When I went for a mortgage, the bank was the worst. I finally gave up and as a parting shot, asked the jerk in the bank if he had any kids. He told me he and his wife were trying to.

I told him to check the fireplace daily because the stork never misses.

Back to the Miata.

The agreement I made with the insurance company is that I could drive the rental car to work, turn it in and pick it up after I got off work. Fine.

But when I got to the rental agency they had misunderstood the deal and I simply KNEW I was going to wind up in the company parking lot when I got off of work having to take a damned bus home because either the insurance guy or the rental agency screwed up the detail.

It never fails.

Not too many people relaize that at some point of another that 90% of our nations goods travel by water at some point or another, yet practically nobody realizes this.

In order to move goods by water, someone has to make these vessels move, and I'm simply one of the guys that do this kind of work.

It even goes as far as the media. How many time have you heard a weatherman say, "The storm has SAFELY blown out to sea?"

Safely, my ass. Some poor bastard is out there fighting for his life while Mr. Weatherman goes home to a nice bed.

I thought about the slim odds of the idiots ashore getting my reservations straight and opted for a sore ass and driving all day in a small car designed for autocross. It was a lot easier than having to try and repair a bunch of botched up reservations.

I'll drive the Miata home again and when i get there I will consider myself ahead of the deal, sore ass and all.

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Kapitan Piccolo is back in uniform.

This morning I put on my khakis and my U-Boat skipper's hat and went to work.

I am back on regular duties and it feels pretty good.

After four months of other duties, it took a few minutes thinking to get back in the groove, but I am in it again and that is good.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Off to spin the wheels of industry.

It makes for the ability to eat aand pay rent.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something happened.

I got jammed up with too many things to do and too little time to do them in.

Nurse Connie came by with a plumbing problem. Electrolosis had eaten up a piece of her copper plumbing and her water was leaking.

Of course, I dropped what I was doing and we went to Homeless Depot. I grabbed 10 feet of copper and a couple of those 'shark bite' connectors and Mickey Moused her plumbing.

I explained that I was Mickey Mousing the job, yet she was grateful as hell.

How I managed to get the rest of the day's work is beyond me, but I will always have enough time to help a GOOD neighbor.

The woman a few doors can lay before me and slowly die and I will not spend the three cents worth of cell phone expenditure to keep her alive.

Best friend, worst enemy.

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Today: a thoughtful post for a change

A couple of days ago I was in a body shop. The automotive kind, and NOT Madam Dolinski's House of 1000 Delights. I was yakking with an older guy that had painted cars for about 25 years and also taught body work at a local Vo-Tech school.

He told me that he made a pretty good living.

His teaching had also given him a little insight.

He told me that for every graduate of a Vo-Tech school there were 10 available jobs. He also pointed out that for every 10 college graduates there is 1 available job.

Now this is something that doesn't surprise me at all.

Americans are always looking for people that can DO things.

They need people that can build houses, fix leaky plumbing and mend a leaky roof. They need hands on people, yet they really don't hold them with the proper respect and think that these people are not as bright as they really are.

I once heard a woman telling asomeone else that her son wasn't doing well in mathematics and that perhaps she ought to get him to take carpentry courses.

What was that woman thinking?

Have you ever looked at the angles and layoutof the dormer of a framed house that hasn't been sheathed? It can be a geometrists nightmare. How in the hell aare all those cuts and angles figured out?

You guessed it, math.


Look at the math used to figure out circuits.

Tradesman are not stupid, and with the way things are today an auto mechanic needs computer skills. The days of a Sears tool set and a shade tree are long gone.

Yet we hold tradesman as being less useful than a college graduate. It ain't right.

A while back I gave a wooman a shot of reality when she was bragging that here kid was going to college instead of the Navy like the other kid next door was.

I told her that IF her son found a job out of school that he was most likely to spend his first couple of years making coffee and running a copier. Then I pointed out that the kid next door was going to be responsible for handling multi-million dollar aircraft on a heaving flight deck.

When she feebly countered that there wasn't much responsibility in that, I pointed out that the kid in the Navy was part of a team managing a multi BILLION dollar federal asset.

Then I came in for the kill. I believe it was Lee Iacocca (or someone equivilent) that came aboard a carrier and saw some nineteen year-old parking multi million dollar aircraft. He looked at the young man, aghast and asked him where his supervisor was.

"Who gives a damn, now how about you getting the hell out of my way so I can park this airplane," was the reply.

We're talking about a kid that was in high school a little more than a year earlier.

College isn't the answer for everyone.

A few years ago I was listening to a show on the tube about the civil rights movement of the sixties. One of the guys on it was trying to get George Wallace booted out of the governors seat.

Wallace, as you may recall, was a strict segregationist.

The former civil rights worker recalled talking to his grandmaother asking her who she was going to vote for and the old woman said, "George Wallace has opened more vocational and technical schools than anyone else ever has. I think I'll vote for him."

The civil rights worker was aghast.

Then again, the old woman wasn't really worried about where on the bus her grandbaby had to sit. She was worried about how he was going to make a living. Sitting on the back of the bus on the way home while coming home with a decent paycheck wasn't all that bad a deal to the old woman.

Makes sense to me. I'd sit on the back of the bus on my way to the bank.

Then when I got off, I'd laugh at the jerks making minimum wage.

I think it's about half a century too late to look at if college is for everyone.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

One of the things men do that women don't know about

is that they cut their toenails with diagonal pliers.

Dikes, wire cutters, diagonal side cutting pliers, all the same tool. Men have used these to cut their toenails ever since they were invented, probably by a blacksmith who looked at whatever it is they use to shoe horses and designed something smalller, yet similar to cut mens toenails with.

Now men generally cut their toenails privately. Rare is the man that performs this hygenetic chore in front of his wife and if he does, you can bet your boots that if he does this in front of his wife he will use the kind of clippers thay sell at a drug store.

On the other hand, if his spouse is not around, he will probably go straight to the toolbox and get out the diagonal pliers and whack away.

Lord help the poor bastard that gets caught by his wife trimming his hooves with them, though.

Women get all wierded out if they come across a man doing this with such a tool.

It has caused a number of out and out conniption fits on the part of the woman and the man after being subjected to such a fit makes damned good and sure he doesn't get caught a second time.

I do not know why this is, but it is true.

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I got a call from Neighbor Bob today.

He was at a property he owns an hour or so north of here.

He said his wife couldn't get the furnace started, which is par golf around here for this time of year. It's the beginning of heating season and the rusty old furnaces in the area begin to rumble back to life as things get a bit chilly.

I told Bob I'd run down the house, but he was to stay put. If I needed anything I would call.

Of course he was worried and I knew he would be calling every few minutes for a SITREP so I told him to simply wait and that I was going to turn my cell phone off so he couldn't bother me. He has a knack of calling me when I have my hands busy with small parts or things of that nature.

I moseyed down, his wife let me in which reeally is a pro forma deal, as I have a key but she does not know it. I went straight to the furnace and lifted the front panel off and took one look.

The pilot light had gone out at some time over the summer. It was pretty much as I had suspected.

I lit it, waited until the thermocooupling had heated up and then 'whoosh!' Bob and wife were back in business.

I called Bob, who was of course, over reacting and said he was just getting into the pickup to head home.

He was happy to hear that he wasn't going to freeze over the coming winter and I got to be a hero and probably won't have to cook dinner tomorrow night.

The entire thing took maybe 15 minutes.

It doesn't take a whole lot to be a good neighbor.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Today I had to pick up a rented car, which was interesting.

There was a young lady sitting at a desk that was supposed to get me squared away and I was my usually cheerful bubbly self. When I sat down in the chair, I introduced her by saying 'Hiya, Gorgeous. Where ya been all my life?"

Of course, her face lit up.

That has to be the hokiest line in the world. It was passe when my father was a boy and I am almost 59, yet as hokey as it is, it never fails to make a woman of any age smile.

We were discussing how i was supposed to drop the car off and she explained to me that I could have someone pick it up of if I delivered it, someone would give me a ride to where I was going.

"Great! I can leave it in the alley behind Lou Turk's!" I replied.

"What's Lou Turks?" she asked.

"It's a strip joint on Essington Ave," I replied with a straight face.

I heard a male voice in the next room laugh. "Don't want a DUI," he said out the door to me.

The woman shook her head and blushed a little, and then smiled at me and told me I had just gotten an upgrade, which is fine by me.

While I can't say that I got the upgrade for making a dull day for two working people a little more tolorable, I'll just bet you it didn't hurt.

Maybe I would have gotten the upgrade if I was just another grouch, but if there was aomeone else coming in and only one upgrade for them to give, I'd just bet they'd give it to someone that made their day a little nicer.

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Neighbor Bob just walked in about an hour ago and

threw a pizza box on my living room floor, grabbed a beer out of my refrigerator, popped it open and walked off.

I didn't even look up. He had done me a favor.

What? you say, he threw trash on your floor and walked off?

Not hardly. He did me a favor.

I have been off of pizza for quite some time and needed a couple of pizza boxes on the living room and dining room floor because the ones already there have gotten too old.

What in the wide, wide world of sports do I want pizz boxes on my floor?

Am I trying to make my place look like some college dorm out of 'Animal House'?

Certainly not. There is a reason for this and it is a good one.

The cat likes to lay on them.

There are now five of them in various locations that appeal to the Keeper of the Piccolo residence. They are part of the household furnishings.

When I vacuum the living and dining rooms I pick them up and put them on the counter. When I am done, I toss them back on the floor in their proper spots.

The cat is the boss and if the cat wants to lay on fresh pizza boxes, than so be it.

While it is the duty of the Marine Corps to keep heaven supplied with fresh souls, it is the duty of one Piccolo to keep the cat in fresh pizza boxes to lie on.

Since I have taken pizza out of my diet, the neighbors have been taking up my slack.

It's what good neighbors are for. They take up yoour slack.

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I settled a traffic accident with a major insurance company

by myself.

No lawyers.

A couple of weeks ago I got hit pretty good, no physical injury but my vehicle got plastered. The policeman that arrived whaled the other driver with a pretty good ticket.

I called my insurance company on the spot and propmtly was assigned a caseworker who explained myy options. She told me that I could simply do what most people do, which is cough up my deductable and let them take care of it or I could bypass my insurance company and see if the other guys company would cover it.

If I went the usual route, according to PA law, my insurance company would have to try and recover my deductable. I would have lost my good driver credits and possibly my rates would go up. As far as recovering my deductable, I really didn't think I'd get it all back because when you give someone money they are generally pretty slow on returning it. There always seems to be an angle.

I looked at the police report and what I had to work with and gave it a shot. After all, I had nothing to lose but the time I spent pursuing it.

I got in touch with the other drivers case worker and explained that I was trying to sidestep my insurance company and keep my record clean. He understood.

I was polite, professional, firm, and as he found out, persistent.

It didn't take long to get results, really. When he figured out that all I wanted was my truck repaired and that there was no personal injury I guess he was overjoyed.

All this required was some sheet metal being fixed.

Of course, I had to have his company adjuster look at my vehicle and therre were a couple more hoops to jump through, but I did it.

Based on the police report and a witness statement, the other drivers insurance company agreed to repair my vehicle and keep my insurance company out of it.

I get to keep my good driver credits and don't have to cough up my deductable or anything like that. As a somewhat unexpected bonus, he has arranged my transportation to and from work in such a way that works for both of us.

The caseworker from my insurance company is mildly astonished that I was so successful.

It didn't take a whole lot on my part, and I will admit that I was lucky to have witnesses and a favorable police report, but still, I did take responsibility for getting off my ass and doing what I could to save my clean record.

Everyone that told me to simply let my insurance company handle it will probably be agog, but I did it. I settled it myself.

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