Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s ‘Merry Christmas’ and the hell with PC.

Christmas is coming and it is time to break out the mistletoe. This holiday season I am wearing it on my shirt tail.

The PC crowd is cordially invited to use it.

This year, with the exception of at work I am NOT going to say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ to anyone.


I am going to say “Merry Christmas’ like I am supposed to.

I have said that for 59 years, man and boy to those of all faiths and I have not yet had one single person of another faith take exception. Not one.

Several years ago a Jewish neighbor got his mailbox stuffed with anti Semitic literature so I hung a Menorah in my window during the Jewish holiday season to make it clear that whoever wasn’t going to get away with spreading hate in MY neighborhood.

Why? It is because I respect all religions. I make it a point to wish those of other faiths a good holiday season. I wish my Jewish neighbors a Happy Hanukah and the guy at the 7-11 that is a Muslim gets good wishes on Ramadan. It is the decent thing to do. I do this face to face in a respectful manner and generally their face lights up.

However, these are people that I know and it is a personal thing. They wish me a Merry Christmas in return.

I have asked a number of people of other faiths if they resent being greeted with “Merry Christmas” and to this date not one single person has told me they resent it whatsoever.

“Hey, if some Christian wants to share his holiday with me, that’s fine,” seems to be the prevailing attitude among the number of Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others I have dealt with over the years.

In fact, when you get right down to it, there are a whole lot of non-Christians in this country that do celebrate Christmas in their own way. They do the Santa thing at home with their kids and like the good Americans they are, they cheerfully join right in at the annual fistfight over a parking space at the mall or catfight over a Furbie Doll at Toys R Us.

Although they are not Christian, they join right in with their own style and get with the program. You may not see them at Midnight Mass at St. Mary’s, of course, but that is to be expected. Christmas is a 2 part holiday. There is the religious aspect and the Santa aspect. Many non-Christians celebrate the holiday simply by enjoying the non-religious aspect and that’s just fine by me.

Most non-Christians also know they are the minority in this nation and they respect the fact that they are permitted to exercise their right to worship as they choose. They also respect the rights of others so they don’t sweat the small stuff.

Several non-Christians I know grin and think it’s pretty generous of Christians to want to share their holiday with them.

The only people out there that seem to take offense to someone saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to them seem to be the usual gang of PC troublemakers and they are invited to use my mistletoe. Hell, if they are female I might be willing to move the mistletoe to the front shirt tail for that matter. Then again, maybe I won’t. Most of the PC women I have met are as ugly as a mud fence. It would take a lot of Christmas brandy to permit that and I hate hangovers.

The people that want me to use the ‘Season’s Greetings’ line that I will obey are the HR people at work. They know it is a crock, but they have a job to do and that is to keep the company from getting bad publicity or being sued by the crybabies in this world.

The HR at work people get a pass. It isn’t my company, so I go by their rules. Fair enough.

To the planet, I loudly sing out my greeting of “Merry Christmas”. To those that do not like it, simply use the mistletoe.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something pretty neat happened to me last evening.

One of my neighbors is much younger than I am and he is raising three kids. The oldest is an eight year-old boy, the youngest is a three year old girl.

The little girl as really shy so I don’t kid her the way I do the older kids. I respect her shyness.

Anyway, the family was out on the lawn doing their Christmas light thing and there were the kids helping, which mean that they were getting in the way. It’ll be a few more years before they are really able to help.

Letting kids that age get in the way is really just making an investment toward the future. When you invest the time to train them young it isn’t long before they actually do start helping out.The eight year old was now trained well enough so as to be pretty helpful

They had just finished putting the lights on a tree and the middle child, a daughter, wanted to go across the street and look at the finished tree. The two younger ones are not permitted on the street without an adult.

The father told the daughter to wait a minute, as he was untangling a string of lights, so I offered. The grateful father agreed, so I took her hand.

The little one suddenly didn’t want to be left behind, so she overcame her shyness and ran up and took my hand. The three of us walked across the street and looked at the tree.

Her shy little face lit up brighter than the tree did.

It is only a little thing, but sometimes little things are priceless.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maybe I'll make bird houses today.

i've just wandered through the garage and noticed an awful lot of leftovers from various household projects.

There really isn't much that is big enough to save for a serious project but I could sure make a whole slew of bird houses. That sounds like a pretty good idea.

This is my 60th year on the planet and I realize that my life is rapidly coming to an end as my family history does not include a whole lot of people that made it to a ripe old age.

Last year I didn't plant my usual annuals, either because I was led astray by someones ideas that never seemed to materialize. There was also the issue of the roof that came up, too.

Anyway, as I age I seem to feel a need to return to some of the simpler things in life like looking at pretty flowers and watching the deer and the birds from my little back deck.

I've had a pretty simple life and I have learned to enjoy simple little things like watching the birds and the animals.

I used to enjoy all four seasons, my favorite was fall, but as I have aged, I have found winters to be pretty hard on me so fall now means the onset of winter is near so fall is now a little bittersweet.

Somewhere along the line I got disgusted at people that thought that life was a contest that he who dies with the most toys wins. It never became my style.

When I got out of the service, I juggled a couple of interesting things. I went back to school and lived in a tipi for well over a year. It was a pretty good deal as I could go to school and live well on my GI bill and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. Wintering in the Rockies was a rare and challlenging treat. There were quite a few munus 40 nights to deal with and I enjoyed knowing I dealt with it with ease.

I remember more than one night studying in the tipi by gasoline lantern in temperatures well below zero while sitting in cut-offs and a t-shirt while the storm raged only a layer of canvas away from me.

I then moved to Alaska and lived pretty close to the earth there.

By my reckoning, by the time I hit 35 I had lived over half my life out of doors, sleeping under canvas or in a small camper-trailer or aboard a sailboat.

At about 35 or so, I started to settle down a bit and seem to have insulated myself from the earth and elements.

As I write this, it is cold outside and the furnace just kicked in. I'm warm and dry and grateful. I don't take these things for granted.

Still, as I age, I feel a need to get a bit closer to the earth because I seem to have wandered off a little to the world of creature comforts.

While I have no desire to move out of this house and back into a tent, it just occurred to me that it would be nice to spend some time with the flowers and birds and return to my roots.

I think I'll set up shop and build bird houses today and get ready for the spring.

Edited to add: At 1630 I packed it in. I now have 9 birdhouses to paint. I might givee them a coat of paint tonight. We'll see.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This is the weekend after Thanksgiving and Neighbor Bob

is starting to get ready for Christmas.

I hope he fools his neighbor like he did last year and I'll bet that he does.

Come Christmas, Bob sometimes gets his name changed by the neighborhood. Everyone starts referring to him as Griswold because he often lights his place up so you can see it from outer space.

A couple of years ago he had his house upgraded to 200 amp service, as a lot of these older houses only have 100 Amp service.

Now, you have to remember that the people next to him have a very serious case of Keeping Up With tht Joneses and if Bob gets a super sized inflatable snowman that his next doors have to get one too. It annoys Bob to a certain extent.

The Christmas after he got 200 Amp service he went hog wild so the neighbor, aping him, went out and got a boatload of lights and set them up to outdo Bob. They set them up and it sure looked like Bob was going to be beaten soundly in the neighborhood Christmas light contest.

Until light up night.

Light up night was a sight to behold. We got more lights than we expected.

Bob's neighbor had overloaded the circuits in his house so badly that the old style fuses started blowing and the idiot replaced the fuses with pennies.

The unexpected lights came from the fire department when the jerk started an electrical fire in his basement.

Shortly after, Bobs neighbor upgraded to 200 Amp service and last year managed to keep up with Bob.

A week ago Bobs neighbor ran into me and asked me what Bob was up to for Christmas this year and I told her he had all of these wild plans of inflatable Santas and snowmen and a sleigh on the roof ad nauseum.

Thinking she had Bobs master plan, she and her husband went out and bought MORE Christmas stuff. They'll start decorating this weekend.

Of course, I told Bob about what I did and he now has a pretty good master plan.

He's going to put a wreath on the door and call it good.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Piccolo braves the mobs on Black Friday

My brother in law and I had a pretty good turkey dinner over at his house yeterday and he did a damned good job. Dinner was the way I like it because men are generaly better cooks and don't dote around everything as much as women do. They do things simply. They leave fire alone let it do it's job.

Over the big screen TV and 'The Godfather' the discussion of digital cameras came up. I have wanted one for years and I scanned a couple of Black Friday ads and saw one that he recommended. It was for sale at Wal-Mart and was about $100 off of MSRP.

Now I have never gone out on Black Friday before because when I go to the zsoo I prefer that the animals are kept in cages, but I decided to think this one out and tempt fate.

I did my homework and saw that the camera I wanted was going on sale at 0500. I set my alarm.

Now there are at least 3 or 4 Wally Worlds in my general area of operation and I thought that one out. I figured the Super Center would just be a brawl, ao I opted for the smaller of the ones in my area, which was also the closest.

0400 came and the alarm cranked off. My regular alarm clock had up and died, so I used my cell phone alarm clock which meant that at 0400 I was awakened by the Official Tarzan yell which I have very mixed feelings about using it as a wake up, but it sure does the job.

I woke up right then and there and got out of bed, picked up my skin and put it back on, having jumped out of it s nanosecond earlier. I was up.

Then I pulled on my pants and stuck my feet into my boots and without so much as a cup off coffee, I slapped a quick snack in the cat's dish and went out and fired up the trusty Tacoma and off I went.

In the Tacoma there was a nasty old leftover dinner mint from Fat Ass Charlies Chinese Buffet so I popped it into my mouth to get the nasty taste of yesterdays dinner, bourbon and eggnog out of my mouth and off I went to Wally World.

The roads were about as busy as a normal weekday which was a pretty good omen of the bad things to come and as I pulled into Wally World I was overwhelmed by the amount of cars parked there. The place was chock-a-block full and there seemed to be dozens of cars driving aimlessly seeking out a parking place.

I knew better than to enter that fray, and out in left field somewhere I noticed a nook that was not really an officila parking spot, but wasn't marked as a no parking zone. I stuffed the Taco into the hole and wandered in. I had about 20 minutes before the gong went off.

When I entered it looked like most of the shoppers were probably mildly hung over and still terribly bloated from gorging themselves on turkey. They waddled around like they had just been pulled out of the sack on their first day of Basic training after two hours of sleep.

There were more than one of the shoppers in bathrobe and slippers.

I suppose I didn't look much better being in jeans, cowboy boots and a wool shirt still belching and farting from the feast I had just finished a few hours ago. At least I had gone light on the booze so I wasn't hung over.


II quickly headed over to the electronics section and the employees were setting up for the big 0500 shop-a-thon and the area was mobbed. I asked a three of the employees where the 'Nikon-that-is-on-sale' rack was going to be set up. The first two didn't know, the third ons said it was going to be at the camera counter, so I broke away from the mob scene and headed over and got in line,

My guess is that everyone that wanted this camera was over with the mob scene waiting for them to bring the rack out because I was fourth in line.

It wasn't but a few seconds before the line grew and I was glad I had chanced breaking off from the crowd.

The guy behind me mentioned that there were 21 of the cameras I wanted available so I relaxed.

The system was that when you got to the head of the line you told the clerk which camera you wanted and he reached into one of several boxes, handed it to you and you paid for it on the spot. This is presumably to prevent shoplifting, which is fair enough.

When the sale started the guy at the head of the line wanted the clerk to explain the difference between the two camera sets that were on sale and it particularly galled me. The jerk should have done his homework and known exactly what he wanted.

Someone behind me said something and the jerk turned and looked indignant.

He looked at me for sympathy. Wrong move.

"The kid's right,Pal." I said. "You should have done your homework."

He made his choice and wandered off.

The next woman gave her order and laid the EXACT amount of money out, including tax. She was gone in a second.

The woman that was in front of me had her Visa out, ordered and was gone in a flash, off to get something else. I could tell she was a power shopper.

I went up at bat, my Visa hit the counter and I ordered. The clerk handed me the goods, charged it to my card. I signed and left.

I had what I wanted, and had gotten it for a song. I took my goods and made a beeline for the door.

When I neared my truck I checked the time. It was 0511.

At 0512 I slipped the clutch on the Tacoma and headed toward home.

Black Friday was now over for me.

Never again will I venture out into such chaos.

I think I can do just as well on line.

Last night I searched and found the same thing on line at the same price including shipping. When you get right down to it, I would have actually saved a couple bucks because I wouldn't have gotten clouted for sales tax.

The only reason I braved the mob scene is because I would have been at sea when it arrived.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thaqnksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Christmas is not.

Let's leave it at that.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I just looked at my credit card bill,

which I pay off on a monthly basis and spent a little extra time looking at it from a different perspective.

It was about average for the month, and there were no unauthorized charges or any kind of funny business on it. Still, it seemed a little high until I looked carefully at it. It has seemed a little high for some time now, but now I understand it a little better.

This month I received no bill for my cell phone because the cell phone company bills my credit card. I also spent no cash on tolls running back and forth to work because the E-Z Pass people also bill my credit card. My vehicle registration and driver’s license renewals also appeared on my credit card as did a couple of other routine items that I used to have to mail checks in for.

I also looked at the gasoline purchases and these days gas ain’t cheap. Gone are the days of Red Hat gas at 20 cents a gallon, which I paid many moons ago. The price of a fill-up has changed since I got my new vehicle a year ago, but the amount of gas I use has stayed pretty constant. The difference in fill up prices seems to have changed only because the tank in the new truck is bigger. It means fewer fill-ups, but they are now larger. It all comes out in the wash. The gas mileage is about the same so the bottom line stays the same.

Anyway, the reason the credit card bill has grown over the past couple of years is really because I am using it to pay for more routine things instead of forking over cash. I’m not really spending more money; I’m just using the card to pay for the same things that a couple of years ago I would have used a checkbook or cash to pay for.
There is one important thing, though. I don’t use the card for credit, I use it for convenience. I make damned good and sure that it gets paid off in full at the end of every single billing cycle, without fail.

It is when people start using the cards for credit that they start to get into trouble. If you need a loan, go to the bank and take one out. The interest rate is a whole lot cheaper.

When you think about it for a few minutes, I guess it’s a lot easier than having to drag out the checkbook or carry cash.

The checkbook isn’t too bad, but cash burns a hole right through my pocket, so when you think about it, I very well may be spending less because I’m not packing a wad of cash around.

I’m glad I stopped to think about that for a few minutes as now I don’t feel so bad.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why is it that everyone and their third cousin twice removed

wants to keep sending me back to square one?

It never fails no matter how hard you try. I’d just bet that if you went to the booby hatch and asked around you would find that most of the people there were, at least at one time, victims of being sent back to Square One.

The family snow blower is a classic example.

I have a one car garage and I store the Miata there. It really never leaves the garage during the winter except in December for an hour or so to get an inspection sticker.

So I pulled the Miata all the way forward so it is against the lawn mower and the chipper-shredder. I put the snow blower right behind the Miata. All I have to do is open the door and start blowing snow come the next snowfall.

It’s a piece of cake.

I put the snow blower behind the Miata instead of in front of it so that I didn’t have to open the garage door, shovel out a space to pull the Miata out to get to the snow blower.

I bought the snow blower so I didn’t have to shovel snow in the first place.

Enter the powers that be that insist that the snow blower will get in the way and that the proper place for the damned thing is in front of the Miata.

Bam! Back to square one.

I am now right smack dab exactly where I do not want to be. I might just as well not have gotten a snow blower in the first place and saved my money for all the good it will do me parked in front of the Miata. I will still have to break out the shovel and bust my ass.

I dug in my heels on this one. The snow blower stays.

Going back to Square One is without a doubt the biggest frustration in my life. Nothing infuriates me more than to bust my ass just to see that I have gotten right back to where I started.

Another one took place when I thoughtfully installed an off/on switch to the roof vent fan.

The roof vent fan is thermostatically controlled and goes on when it is needed and turns itself off when things in the attic space cool down. The switch was installed as a safety by-pass to enable me to replace the thermostat if it ever burns out. That way I will not have to either flip a circuit breaker or wire the thermostat ‘hot’. In addition to that, I had gutted the entire upstairs down to bare studs and re insulated and sheet rocked the entire upstairs after intensive modifications to route the hot air to the highest point of the attic where it would be evacuated by the fan.

This included vents to draw in cool outside air. I did a good job.

Except that I added the on/off switch. The fatal mistake because everyone and their cousin INSISTED that running the fan was a waste of electricity even though I pointed out that the air conditioning, which does use a lot of electricity was not running nearly as much as it used to and that the roof would last a lot longer, too. Roofs are not cheap.

Nobody would listen to me and the AC kept running and the roof slowly cooked away and I was now back to Square One again. I was furious.

So I simply bypassed the switch with a jumper and now it runs on the thermostat like it is supposed to. Everyone wails about it, but that’s just too damned bad.

One of the worst back to Square Ones I ever had was in college. There were seven stations required to go through to get registered for classes. The line on station one was about eleventy-seven miles long, maybe longer than that.

Once you got to the first station itself, the rest of the process wasn’t all that too awful bad. It went pretty quickly, actually.

I was clever. I counter the number of people on Station one. There were four people manning the station. Then I went over to the nearby cafeteria and borrowed a tray and bought four cokes and put my packet under the tray.

As I headed up to Station One, everyone naturally assumed I was some kind of school employee and the crowd parted like I was Moses going through the Red Sea.

When I arrived there, they gratefully took the cokes and I slipped them my packet and they took it without batting an eyelash. I was through the bottleneck and went through the next several stations quickly.

It was the last station when the person told me I didn’t have some damned thing or another that I was supposed to have been issued at Station One.

There it was, back to Square One again.

Fortunately I got lucky and I had a friend that was near the front of the line at Station One snag me a form, but for the life of me I can remember the frustration of having to start all over again.

There is a Coast Guard Regional Exam Center (REC) where I used to keep my file. It was about an hour and a half from where I work and being so close to work, it was a slam dunk that I kept my file there.

These people were true Jedi masters of Catch-22. They could have you going in circles for months. They did until about a decade ago when I decided that I was tired of playing their silly little games.

I had my file moved to another REC, this one being five hundred miles from the original REC and I will say that the new place at first scared the holy hell out of me.

The woman there said, “May I help you?” and I inwardly cringed. After all, I was dealing with a Federal agency and any offer to help from a Federal employee is generally a good reason to cringe.

These people in this office were different. They actually meant it when they offered to help you. At first I was terrified!

Then she said something I will never forget. To this day I do not believe a Federal employee ever said such a thing.

“Let me go over your paperwork so we get everything right the first time,” she said. “I just hate sending people back to Square One.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Right then and there I knew I had made the right decision to move my packet five hundred miles away.

It was worth getting up to leave in the middle of the night to drive all the way there. The expenditure of gas and tire wear and time was meaningless. This was a deal at twice the distance.

The women found an I that needed dotting and a T that needed crossing and one other thing; my photographs were not to specification, but she had a quick fix for that one, too. She sent me to a photo shop a couple of doors down. I was back in fifteen minutes with the pictures.

My paperwork went through and I had my renewal in a few days instead of the several months it often took at the place I used to keep my file.

Best of all, I wasn’t sent back to Square One!

Can’t beat that.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 22, 2010

It is early today and yesterday Neighbor Bob and I drove through Ohio for a bit.

It was a little Sunday drive of sorts and I can tell you that when you cross the PA-Ohio line yoou know the difference almost right away.

The roads derastically improve and there seemms to be a lot less trash laying about.

When you are going through the small towns and farm areas you sense that you are entering the heartland.

We were traveling on a Sunday morning and noticed that the churches seemed to be well attended.

There was another thing I noticed, too, that really gave away the values of the state. A couple of times I saww signs along the road naming a stretch of it after a local GI that has been killed in action during the war on terrorism. I could tell that these were from the war on terrorism because they were fairly new signs.

Ohio seems to be a place where the small towns share the tragedy of the death of one of it's members. These signs seemed to be near the smaller towns where the loss of a friend or neighbor is felt through the entire town, as the nearer we got to a larger city the liklihood of seeing a sign like that diminished.

I suppose it cost me a few bucks worth of gasoline to take the drive, but it was worth it to see some pretty country and the values of this country on display.

Come spring when the farms start growing things I'm going to make the drive again.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I just met a mob guy…or so he said.

I have been in the market for a snow blower and have not really made up my mind of which way to go. I could either go with an adequate used one that will last a few seasons or buy new and have it last a few seasons. The 10% ethanol gas they use these days really tears up small engines.

It very well may be cheaper in the long run to buy a well maintained used one and just run it until it blows instead of buying a new one that probably won’t last very long, either.

Anyway, I answered a Craigslist ad yesterday and the seller assured me that the unit was in good shape, a two stage and an electric start. We agreed to meet this morning. I drove well over an hour to get there, but arrived at the appointed time.

I knocked on the door and this little thug answered it. I looked over his shoulder and saw the Italian flag hanging on the wall

One look at the little criminal and I knew exactly what I was in for. He was probably going to wind up as a mob guy poser. I just knew it. One look at him and I knew he had seen every single episode of ‘The Sopranos’ and it goes without saying that for three days after he saw ‘Rocky’ he would run around shadow-boxing.

Several years ago I sailed with one of his ilk. He claimed to be an Italian chef, yet everything he cooked tasted like Italian salad dressing. Everything! Worse yet, he couldn’t keep away from anything someone else cooked.

One morning I sat down to a nice plate of corned beef hash and the first bite told me he had dumped Italian dressing in it when I wasn’t looking. That particular morning has been often referred to as the morning Piccolo took the Godfather to Notre Dame and introduced him to the Fighting Irish.

I just waited for this little thug to say “Budda-bim, budda-bam.”

The man was a little punk, almost thirty. I also knew I was going to be looking at a piece of junk he wanted top dollar for.

When we stepped into the garage, my suspicions were immediately confirmed. This was a manual start single stage unit and it was in terrible shape.

I didn’t bat an eyelash and looked around a bit. There was a pretty good looking tool box in the back of the garage. I asked him if I could use a couple of tools to inspect the machine.

“You gonna buy it?” he asked.

I waved a wad of cash. “If it’s OK,” I answered.

Twenty minutes later the disassembled machine covered his garage floor.

I stood up and looked at the pile of pieces and admired my handiwork.

“Don’t want it,” I said.

The dumbfounded look of shock and outrage was a sight to see.

“What do you mean you don’t want it?” he cried.

“You told me it was an electric start, two-stage machine in good shape,” I replied. “I took it apart and carefully looked for the hidden second stage and the electric starter and can’t find them. The machine is also in lousy shape.”

“You have to buy it,” he declared.

“No I don’t. I don’t want it. It’s not what you said it was. If you can point out the missing second stage and find the missing electric started, we might have a deal. I couldn’t find either of them,” I intoned, solemnly.

“Wait a minute,” he shouted. “You know who I am? I’ve got some pretty good connections with the mob!”

“Wait, nothing,” I replied conversationally. You had me drive an hour and a half to come and look at a machine that you knew I didn’t want. You assured me it was an electric start, two-stage machine. You wasted three and a half hours of my day. Now you can waste your afternoon putting it back together. As for your mob connection goes, the mob isn’t going to whack me for this because if you tell your goombah about this he will laugh himself silly. Now grow up. See you.”


“But nothing,” I shot back. And I walked out and drove off.

As I was leaving I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him glance at his car and think for a second and turned back to watch me drive off. Then he turned and went back into the house.

The minute he was out of sight, I called Neighbor Bob and told him what happened. I gave Bob the little criminal’s phone number.

Bob must have been feeling mischievous because a few minute later he called me back and told me he had made an appointment to see the machine.

Of course, he’s not going to show, but it will probably keep the little thug busy all afternoon trying to put the machine back together.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

It is that time of year again.

Yesterday I went shopping around for snow blowers and stopped at Lowes to see what they had.

While I was there I picked up a couple of 2x6s and another unit of tube sand to add to the four I already have. It's that time of year again. I have to weigh down the pickup bed because Old Man Winter is coming.

I still haven't snagged a snowblower yet which is a certain guarentee of a long, hard winter so it's best to be prepared.

ABout 350 pouunds in the back of a pickup can make all the difference in the world when it comes to winter traction and I very well may add another 150 pounds to that, but we'll see.

The 2x6s were uses to build a rack of sorts to keep the tube sand from sliding all over the bed. I ran a pair of 2x6s for the full length of the bed and nailed in a pair of cross members spaced 32 inches apart directly over the wheel wells.

Pickups are notorious for loust winter traction because the beds are too light. They do have a reputation of being a bit on the bouncy side as far as the ride goes.

With the 350 pounds of weight in the back, the bounciness has gone away and winter traction is a whole lot better.

Truth is, what I really ought to do is go out and buy a snowblower,

If I do that we can be pretty well assured of a snow-free mild winter.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Well, I got my driver's license renewed and my picture is as usual

a real classic.

I look like a thug, complete in orange coveralls.

It is sort of a family thing that goes back about 30 years. Two of my sisters do this, also. They get their drivers license pictures taken dressed like streetwalkers.

It started about 30 years ago when I was in Alaska and had my license renewed when I had just gotten off of a fish boat and hadn't slept in about a week. The picture made me look like a hatchet murderer. About a year later when I went home my sister saw it and thought it was funny so when she had hers renewed she dressed trashy to give me a yuk.

My other sister didn't want to feel left out, so she jumped on the bandwagon.

As my sisters raised their children the kids got wind of out little joke and for years every time there was a family get-together the nieces and nephews would ask to see the licenses and would hold an impromptu contest.

I took first place consistently.

I just got word that the little family joke has gone multi generational.

I found out a niece and a nephew just renewed their licenses in some sort of costume.

I can't wait to see what they did.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am at home now and I am chilling out.

and that is that.

One of the things I am happy with is that there is NO DAMNED SNOW on the ground.

I have a bad feeling about the oncoming winter and there is only one solution and that is to buy a snow blower.

If I buy a snow blower than I can pretty much guarentee that there will not be a flake of snow that hits the yard all winter.

I wonder if the Old Farmers Almanac predicts the winter weather by looking at at WHO buys things like snow blowers.

"Piccolo bought a snow blower. Expect the mildest winter in 497 years."

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TOnight I am busy

I have to get this slab ready for the oncoming crew

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recently John Stossel held a bake sale.

It was an affirmative action bake sale.

The cupcakes were priced appropriately for an affirmative action bake sale.

Asians were charged $1.50 because they were considered to be too smart, whites paid a buck and blacks were charged fifty cents for the usual affirmative action reasons.

I would have just loved to see the uproar.

All I got to see was a brief section of a U-Tube video and it was funny to see a couple of Blacks being offended.

Can't say as I blame them.

Seeing as to how I work based in Philly I have been off the vessel any number of times over the past twenty years and have met any number of Blacks here and I notice that the honestly successful ones have somewhat of a resentment towards affirmative action. It offends their pride.

Can't say as I blame them. I'd probably feel the same way. I'd be insulted. It would be like the government telling me I wasn't as good as other people, ergo I needed some sort of help from Mom and Dad because I was being picked on.

There is also another side of things that really suck about it and I have first hand experience.

I have to deal with a certain Federal agency from time to time and apparently the Feds were forced to recruit a Black female to meet the quotas or some damned thing. Anyway, I have had to deal with a very iincompetent Black female that is the epitome of the square peg in the round hole. She really has no clue as to the workings of the real world, yet has been put in a position of authority where sshe has a stranglehold on a whole slew of people's careers.

The last time I had to deal with her I wound up getting an attorney and having him both go over her head and threaten her boss with a lawsuit to get what I should have gotten without even a second glance.

I have since made it a point not to deal with her branch office ever since. I deal with an office almost 500 miles away.

Fortunately, I live somewhat between the two and it is not a bad deal as it really cost me little time and effort, but what is interesting to note is that a number of people that live in the same town as the office in question opt to actually drive well over 475 miles to another office just to avoid the woman and the hassle she creates.

Affirmative action really has done very little for anyone but insult an entire race and cause problems when the government has to put the wrong person in the wrong place just to meet quota. The program has done nothing good that I can see and ought to go the way of the Zepplin.

If you want to call me a racist, go right ahead. I couldn't care less because the truth is that the peole that put this whole stupid program into play are the racists. They don't have faith in an entire race or they wouldn't have put it into play in the first place.

I do have faith in the race. My Black counterparts are every bit as good as I am.

Truth of the matter is tat I reaally don't like to differentiate between races, but every now and then I am forced to. That's because I truly believe that there is only one race and that's the human race.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It was an interestiing evening out here last night.

I seldom watch TV at sea for reasons I cannot understand. I might watch an occasional movie or something on an otherwise boring evening every once in a blue moon, but I generally don't.

Last night was a bit different as I am sailing with a certain shipmate. He's a real character and probably one of the oldest guys out here. The guy sure loves his Westerns and it's funny as all git-go to watch him watch a Western.

Now when I say Western here, we're not talking about something modern like the recent remake of "3:10 to Yuma" or "Unforgiven". This guy just love the old Grade B Westerns out of the 40s and 50s.

We're talking about real 'Head 'em off at the pass" oaters here with chases on horseback and plenty of shoot 'em up revolver play. Yes, they are hokey as all hell, but not to him and that is what matters.

So the guy comes stumbling out of the rack and being evening there really isn't a whole lot to do so he grabbed his coffee and sat down. I had the remote and had the tube tuned into something I just knew he wasn't interested in and he glanced up with a bored look.

I looked at the clock and knew it was time, having planned my moves out earlier.

"What do you want to watch?" I asked.

Being courteous, he told me he didn't care, so as I had planned I clicked the remote and brought up the Western Encore channel and an old Gene Autry type movie or some old horse opera. He looked up with some interest and I sat back to watch the masterpiece of entertainment I had created unfold.

I didn't really want to watch the old movie. Truth is, I wanted to watch him watch the old movie.

The movie was part of the fare of the fifties or maybe even the forties consisting of the usual ingredients of those old movies. The heroine had an old father and the greedy old banker, in cahoots with a gang of outlaws, was trying to steal his ranch to sell it to the railroad.

His interest here was mild to begin with and I knew he had seen this old oater several times before, which was OK as he never seems to bore of these movies. I knew his interest would perk up once the action got started.

First there was the arguement where the old rancher told the banker he wasn't moving out or selling out, complete with the lecture of pure old western gibberish about having built the ranch and fought Indians to keep it and so on.

Next the heroine gets all afraid and warns her dad that those men mean business and that the banker is in cahoots with the outlaw gang. She goes over to the saloon and talks to the hero that promises to help them out and the usual scenario takes place. My shipmate, with anticipation looks up as the first fistfight of the movie takes place and he puts up his dukes to help the hero out.

Of course, the hero wins and the losing outlaw makes dire threats and my shipmate puts his dukes down because his assistance wasn't needed. The hero thumped the bad guy soundly.

I have been watching this out of the corner of my eye and find myself greatly amused, but the best is soon to come.

The first chase of the movie is about to begin and my shipmate is ready. He's sitting there and his left hand balls up like he's holding the reins of Old Paint and they are sitting between his thighs ready to ride after the gang soon to be chased.

The chase scene begins and he takes the imaginary reins and his whole body starts to move the way it would if he were riding a horse. His hand comes off of his thighs and he starts riding his imaginary horse. Then he starts a galloping as the chase picks up speed. His right hand comes up and his index finger becomes a Colt .45 as the posse members draw their revolvers and fire. The chase is on!

As the chase continues, the man is no longer on board the vessel. Although his body is sitting there on the gallley settee, the rest of his entire being has moved to the Silver Screen where he is now a part of the posse chasing the outlaws.

Three outlaws are now being chased by a posse of six movie riders on the big screen and one old merchant mariner sitting next to me in the galley. I have to surpress a smirk and turn away and type something on the computer because if he sees me watching him he will get embarrassed and this entertainment I am getting for free will go away.

I hear his voice start to growl as he ride with the posse.

"Git 'em...git 'em," he growls in his old gravely voice.

He fires a shot with his index finger. A miss. He fires another shot. Another miss. I watch him carefully take aim for his third shot and his timing and aim is true. A nanosecond after the old tar fires his imaginary index finger shot, one of the bad guys on the screen falls of of his horse. In a voice reminiscent of Yosemite Sam he croaks,"Got him!" .

I look up. There is a deckhand looking at me and it is obvious that he knows what is going on. I look at him and flick my eyes torards the chair next to me and he sits down. He give me a grateful look and I return it with a grin.

Although the deckhand was doing something constructive, I know it can wait. Nobody will go out on deck and steal the mans work and the work will not run away. It will still be there when he gets back to it, but the opportunity to watch this old salt watch a Western won't. It is a precious fleeting moment and can not be re-lived and I won't cheat the deckhand out of such an opportunity as this.

The kid sits down and almost immediately I know I made the right decision to let the kid take a break. The kid repositions his chair to get a better view of the old salt in such a way that he can look like he's watching the movie while getting a good look at the old sailor from a reflection off the portlight. It's dark and the portlights reflect images like a mirror. The kid is sharp enough to know this.

The posse stops, they round up the body of the dead outlaw and tie it to his horse and head back into town. The old sailor holsters his right index finger and his left hand drops to between his thighs as he rides Old Paint slowly back to town.

The movie goes on and to he honest I can't tell you one damned thing about it because even though I was facing the screen, I was preoccupied with the entertainment I have just enjoyed and I was anticipating more of it.

Sure enough, another chase comes up. This time the hero is going mano a mano with the outlaw band leader.

The old coot is riding his imaginary horse hard now, he's a gallopping away. His index finger pistol is drawn and again he fires. The outlaw shoot back and the old sailor ducks. Then he returns more fire.

The kid hat joined us is having a hell of a time keeping a straight face now, and gets up and leaves the room to keep from laughing for a few minutes but returns and takes his seat to watch a little more of the old salt watching the Western. The kid was smart enough to know that if he started laughing the old timer would be embarrassed and the spectacle before our eyes would disappear.

The kid returns just in time for the bad guys horse to trip and fall, throwing the bad guy into the dust. The bad guy draws on the hero, but our old salt is quick with his index finger and shoots the gun out of the bad guys hand. Quickly the old tar holsters his index finger and as the hero hops off his horse for the fistfight scene, the old salt puts up his dukes, ready to pitch right in.

The hero and our shipmate win, and they head back to town so the bad guy can get turned over to the sheriff and our guy joins the hero as the banker gets called into the street for a genuine old-school High Noon shootout.

The cowardly banker slips out the back way and sneaks around to shoot the hero in the back, but at the last minute my old shipmate beats him by drawing his Colt .45/index finger and getting an imaginary shot off to save the day.

Of course, the heroine gets credit for it as right after the shot is fired, the camera pans onto her holding a smoking Winchester, but we all know the truth. It was my shipmate with his .45 caliber index finger that saved the day.

The movie goes into the credits, the kid gives me a very grateful amused look and goes back to whatever it was that he was doing. I turn to the computer at the desk and start writing this little piece.

The old man is pretty damned close to retirement now, and I have to admit that when he does pull the plug and swallows the hook the business out here will grow noticably smaller. Who will replace him to fight the forces of evil n the Silver Screen?

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I took water earlier today.

took water earlier today.

Most people in the United States don't even think of water at all. They just take it for granted that when they turn on the tap that clean water will come pouring out in unlimited quantities, and I suppose that anyone hooked up to city water can expect this. So can most people with well water in most places, however they are probably a little more aware because they have to occasionally replace a pump or pressure tank and when that happens they lose their running water for a little while.

I have lived for quite a while without running water while I was living in Alaska unless you want to define running water as me running down to the laundromat for a shower. It wasn't too bad once you got used to it, but I can sure say that living with it is a pretty damned good deal.

I have almost run out of it at sea one time while crossing the Pacific in a 42 foot sailboat because one of the crew was wasteful with it. The last several days of the trip were touch and go and I damned near had to beat the guy senseless to get him to understand the gravity of the situation. I still don't think the imbicile understood what was wrong. I think he started to behave himself and stop sneaking his two gallon sponge baths because I had made it clear to him that he was going to suffer some real pain if he wasted any more water.

Summers in the Pacific make the body need a lot f water and I had no intention of perishing of thirst or having to drink the water out of a can of green beans just to stay alive. Being out of fresh water at sea is a most serious business.

Of course, the instant we tied up in the mainland I was off the boat like a shot an headed straight for the nearest shower where I took a long warm one.

Out here moving oil at sea we have a water tank on board and every change we get we fill it. The tank is big enough so we can live like civilized human beings. Still, we fill it every change we get because one never knows when the day will come that we can't get water.

One of the things I notice by living so much of my life out at sea is that it makes one grateful for the most basic of things that so many take for granted.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Sikh joins the army (Hooah!)

On an internet forum there was a thread over the fact that the Army has given the OK for a Sikh to wear a beard and turban with his uniform. It is a good thing that all the griping was in the form of writing because my ears would have been beaten to death.

Now, this is nothing new. I remember seeing a picture of a Sikh in uniform wearing a turban with his uniform back in the 70s so this is really a rehash of a rehash because back then it caused quite a few raised eyebrows.

Unlike a lot of todays whiners that do something like enlist and then demand their right to wear something or do something, this guy played by the rules. He asked first.

The Army looked at his guy and his request and told him they would accept him if he could prove certain things pertaining to the mission. He had to be able to wear a helmet and his beard had to be able to wear a gas mask and haave the mask seal against his face.

I guess he made some sort of turban that would fit under a helmet and figured out a way to seal a gas mask so the Army said he was good to go. He was accepted for enlistment and is presently serving.

I don't have a problem with this guy whatsoever.

I suppose the pompous parade ground types are all worked up and clucking like a bunch of wet hens, but that's just too damned bad. In fact, watching a bunch of parade ground type bellyache about how their beloved army was going to hell in a handbasket would be music to my ears. I don't have a whole lot of time for those types, anyway. The mission of the Army isn't to look good in parades, it is to defend the country. I could care less about parades and so what if a Sikh sticks out like a sore thumb in one by wearing a turban.

In fact, I think it would be pretty neat to see. What a way to show the world that this country is a conglomeration of almost all races, colors and creeds.

It has been reported to me over the past few years that the Iraqis and ths Afghans marvel over how the United States military consists of just about every race, creed and color available on the planet earth. I have heard that a lot of other people overseas have had the same reaction. To some people unfamiliar with the United States this comes as a quite a shock.

The Sikhs come from a warrior culture and as such, reports I have had regarding the few I have heard about are that these people make excellent soldiers. Good men are hard to come by and I certainly am glad that these people want to serve with us because I really do not want to have people like this against us.

To the Sikhs in service, all I have to say is that I'm glad to have them. Serve proudly and don't let us down. I know you won't.


my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am glad I was not on

the Carnival cruise ship that caught fire off the west coast.

I know that as a trained seaman I would have pitched in and fought the fire. I also know that I would have probably helped the crew clean up the horrible mess that the fire caused. It's just boat courtesy.

Instead of sitting around moping after the fire was out, I simply would have just gotten my hands on a 5 gallon pail with a lid on it to serve as a toilet and, grabbed a little chow and finagled a bottle of Jamesons from somewhere, found a deck chair and kicked back and shot the bull with someone of similar interests.

I would have just plain been grateful that I didn't wind up in a damned lifeboat.

To me a cruise is about people and not the meals or how cool something is. I eat and I really am not a picky person. A five-star restaurant is wasted on me. A diner somewhere is just fine by me. It's fun to go in and check out thespecial or the meat loaf.

In short, I really don't sweat the small stuff.

They got the fire out, there were no storms in the offing and the tugs were en route. Everyone was safe so there were no immediate worries to sweat. There were no injuries to speak of. Everyone was OK.

The Coast Guard was there delivering basic chow so everything would be fine by me. There was food available. I wasn't going to starve.

The reason I would really not want to be on that particular cruise is because of the whiners.

Americans are the biggest crybabies on the face of the planet earth.

The moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth that must have gone on during the time they were waiting to get to port must have sounded like a major ordeal of the worst kind whe the truth is they should have been damned grateful to simply be alive. Listening to everyone feel sorry for themselves would have driven me to the door of the booby hatch.

A fire at sea is no joke. I have been trained to fight fire on board ahip and to me it is a damned scary thing. You have to act fast because if you don't get it out there is no place to go but over the side. The fact that the crew got the fire out means that everyone was going to live and the loss of power is nothing more than a minor inconvenience when you put it in realistic terms.

The average box of rocks never seems to understand that there is a time not to feel sorry for themselves and instead be damned grateful that things are as good as they are. Bobbing around in a life raft not only is no piece of cake, it is a dangerous, miserable experience.

Nobody had to do this.

When a cruise ends like this it can not be deemed to be a bad cruise.

Then again, pilots have a saying that it is a good landing if you can walk away from it. I have believed this all my life.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hippies who became capitalists

One of the things I have seen over the years is quite a few of the hippie types change and embrace capitalism.

Many with interesting results. While Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame built themselves quite a nice empire for themselves, they also practiced what I would have to call comassionate capitalism. They had rules regarding a number of things, including pay. They made sure that the highest paid person made no more than (IIRC) nine times the money the lowest paid person made. They supported various liberal causes, including donations to whatever group or candidate met their fancy.

Although I really don't agree with their politics, I'd have to say that the way they did things was fine by me.

They worked, developed a product, marketed and sold it and made money.

Whatever they did with their money is their business.

Then again, the company wasn't public when they were doing all of this (I understand they have since sold the company) they owned it. As a result they were not slaves to the stockholders so they could run the company any way they chose.

It strikes me as a good deal for all people involved.

There is also another example I can think of whereby a hippie type embraced capitalism and I have to admit that in a certain way I consider it rather funny.

The guy was a rabid hippie type in his salad years and somehow managed to finish college and enter the work force. His start into the working world was spotty until something changed him and overnight he became a rabid, miserable speciman of a capitalist. He became the poster child socialists use as the sample of the evil capitalist pig.

A mutual aquaintance has seen him recently told me he is the most miserable human being in the world which, oddly enough, I am not surprised to hear. He was a miserable socialist and now he's a miserable capitalist. I swear that if his mother needed twenty-five cents for a life saving operation, he would watch her die a painful death. My acquantaince says that he is always having problems either keeping people or with suppliers.

I know I wouldn't want too work for the guy.

I've also seen a third type of former hippie that interests me. This is the one that went charging into the capitalist world and made as much as he could as fast as he could set himself up for life and promptly dropped back out again.

I know of one that retired in his late forties and is presently living on a sailboat somewhere. I haven't seen him for years, but we have mutual acquaintances and I hear that he winters in the warm waters and summer in northern climes. He also does some kind of artwork which really is a hobby because I guess it pays too little to live off of.

One thing I head that made me laugh. He cut his hair off to enter the capitalist world, swearing that when he dropped back out he would grow it back. When he retired he discovered he couldn't because he had started going bald.

I can't slight him because he made his lifestyle on his own.

There's no moral in this post, just a couple examples of people that were hippie types in their salad years that turned capitalist.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No such thing as a free lunch

One of the things that the liberal crowd out there doesn't seem to get is that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Somehow, somewhere there is a somebody somewhere along the line paying for it.

The anti-capitalism crowd oftentimes doesn't seem to get the fact that the so-called fat cats were not always fat. At one point they took a leap of faith of some sort and created a business enterprise of some sort. When they did this they generally had a lot to lose.

In the business I am in, my investment really comes to a little more than a hundred bucks, and that is in the form of the various licenses that I have connected with the job. They must be renewed periodically, which is fine. Actually, when I started out in this business, the licenses used to be free.

So I really have a very minimal investment in my career.

On the other hand, the financial numbers that the owner of the outfit I work for has deal with are astronomical. He has really stuck his neck out and has built a whole slew of multi-million dollars pieces of equipment. I sure the hell hope it pays off for him!

Truth is, the owner does stand to get rich and I hope he does, but there's a whole lot more to that then some rich guy sitting behind a desk all day counting his money, smoking cigars and waxing fat. It ain't that one way. He works his ass off.

The guy I work for has created wealth.

Because of him there are a number of people that have good jobs that can afford homes, food, vehicles and a lot of other things. They pay taxes. LOTS of taxes. My employer has taken people off of the streets and made them self-supporting. In short, he has made the world a better place to live in by taking action and investing in himself and the country in general.

He's given me a pretty good job and I respect it.

One thing about capitalism that people forget is that not a whole lot of people get to the top alone. They have to bring people up with them. Gates put an awful lot of meat on an awful lot of tables on his way to the top. He made quite a few millionaires and created a slew of jobs for people that otherwise might be either unemployed of unemployed.

Of course, because the owner of an enterprise has made a comfortable life for himself, the envious start to complain that it isn't fair.

What in the wide, wide world of sports isn't fair about it?

We are all given the same opportunities to do just what he did. Any one of us is free to open a business of some sort and try and make a go of it, yet some people that have that very oportunity and do not take it seem to feel contented to gripe about someone else doing well.

But the whiners complain that it isn't fair so they gripe to the government to make it fair and the government comes along and takes some of the fruits of the successful (in the form of taxes) and give it to the whiners (in the form of welfare and other social proograms). This really doesn't sound too fair to me, really. The whiners have had every opportunity the successful have. Truth is, they have either been too lazy or made the wrong decisions in their attempt.

This mentality of punishing the successful begins early. How many of us have seen where a kid scores a piece of candy and gets caught eating it. The teacher promptly asks the kid eating the Snickers bar if he brought enough candy for everyone.

I grew up in the 60s and watched the hippies and I'll say this about them. They could find something wrong with just about anything and tear it to pieces. There was something wrong with just about everything and they were probably the finast all-around wrecking crew ever to arrive on the planet Earth. The Marines could learn a thing or two from these guys when it came to tearing things up.

Fact is, that's as far as it went. They tore things up and left them because they neither had the concepts nor the means to replace what they tore up.

'Good vibes' and 'creative energy' don't put food in someone's belly. It takes good old fashioned cash, or in the absence of that, a whole lot of hard work.

I remember watching a whole slew of them at a rock festival in 1970 in Connecticut. There were a whole lot of people there that were talking about how to take care of each other and damned few that were trying to solve the problem of how to keep everyone fed and taken care of. I remember just about the only people there that seemed to have any concept of organizing a free kitchen were the Cosmic Labs people, a pretty sharp dropout group that appeared on the scene.

Guess what, people? They used the same type of organization that businesses and the military does to set up their free kitchen. They took their cue from the very same evil empire they sought to destroy.

Why? Because it worked.

Being young, I decided to pitch in and help make the festival a little better. I had a curiosity about the psychedelic drugs that were going around during the era so I decided to earn from someone elses experiences about the possible side effects. I did this by pitching in and helping out at the trip tent. It cured me fast, as I decided after dealing with so-called 'bad trips' that gaining true enlightment and a trip to the booby hatch were too close to each other for my tastes. I chose to stay away from the drug scene.

The trip tent was really a makeshift booby hatch where people that had an adverse reaction to whatever drug they were doing were sent. A makeshift booby hatch of sorts if you will. I helped a couple of very overworked MDs deal with the problems associated with an overabundance of mind altering drugs and a shortage of responsible people to take care of the drug users that went over the high side.

Between watching the Cosmic Labs people trying valiantly to feed a bunch of hippies and working in the trip tent, I came to a few conclusions. One of which is that it takes competent people, work and money to get things done. While the Cosmic Labs people didn't have a whole lot of money to work with, they did have management and organizational skills and seemed to do a pretty good job considering what they had to work with. The overworked MDs in the trip tent managed, but you have to remember that even though they were volunteers, they were competent people to begin with.

The other conclusion I came to is that there are a lot of people out there that come in two flavors; they are whiners and doers.

Sometime after the rock festival was over and done with I found I had a little more free time on my hands and the good old MGB was running well so a pal and I decided to go and check out a genuine hippie commune on the other end of the state.

I have just read a Wikipedia article on the commune and it surprised me to find out that managed to stay together in some form or another for eighteen years after I visited it, and it had been up and running for two years prior to my arrival, so this is the perspective I had of it when I arrived on scene.

Most of the people I met were young and impressionable. They were idealistic and energetic.

The property the commune was on at the time was a bit ramshackle, but I understand it was improved later on.

My pal and I were invited to stay for a few meals which were actually a part of the recruitment process, I'm sure. One thing I noticed was there were a lot of government issued foodstuffs in the kitchen which told me right off the bat that the place was not as self-sustaning as they wanted me to believe. Government-issue foods were a sure sign of welfare at the time.

The next thing I noticed was the presence of the typical self-appointed charismatic leader that seemed to be the norm for a lot of hippie enterprises at the time. We heard that almost everything a member had was turned into the commune for the common good.

After a day or two of listening to a bunch of prattle about creative energy, good vibes and other fantasy rhetoric my friend and I decided that we were not going to buy into the lifestyle drink the Kool-Aid so we left.

I mention that the commune lasted for another eighteen years. How did that happen?

Simple. They turned capitalist, threw out unproductive members, opened a number of successful businesses, paid taxes and screamed to high heaven every April 15th.

How else?

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some poor baby got shot. Too bad.

I was just reading on an internet forum that some guy got shot trying to break into somebodys house.

I really don't have a whole lot against the guy that did the shooting. It sounded like a good shoot to me.

What got to me was the guy that started in on how every life is sacred and the preservation of all life is so all fired important. I suppose he has some kind of point, but how about taking abother tack.

The homeowner has a life, too. He certainly doesn't want to give it to the thug that is breaking into his house and very well may cause him serious injury or death. He has a right to live, too, and he certainly isn't out there trying to do another person dirt. He's just simply trying to get a good night's sleep.

Apparently the man breaking into the house really didn't have a whole lot of respect for his own life otherwise he would have not risked it breaking into the house when there was a chance he was going to be confronted by an armed homeowner. The way I see it is if the man breaking in didn't respect hhis own life, why should the homeowner respect it? After all, didn't the homeowner have his own life to worry about?

I think too many people out there are worried about the wrong person a lot of the time.

How about the honest citizen? Who worries about him?

There are a hell of a lot of people out there that are willing to make all sorts of dumb excuses for bad bahavior and are the first in line to condemn someone for taking exception for the bad behavior and it is starting to get pretty stale.

My favorite was the guy that got shot robbing a liquor store a while back.

A couple of self-appointed 'community leaders' tried to feed everyone the cock and bull line that the young man was 'coming around'.

I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. If the guy was coming around why did he do two things; rob a liquor store and shoot at the policeman that tried to apprehend him? 'Coming around'? In a pig's eye he was coming around. He was robbing a liquor store and when he opened fire on a policeman he put the cop in harms way. The cop had two choices. He couldd either shoot the little criminal or he could make his wife a widow and his kids orphans. The officer chose wisely, yet he found himself beset on by a bunch of windbag self-appointed community leaders.

It galls the hell out of me that my home state does not have a good, solid Castle Doctrine law on the books to protect good, honest citizens from legal problems when they try and defend themselves and their homes from the forces of evil.

I hope that with the change we just saw happen in this most recent election that the people in office will remember the good folks that make this nation of ours run, and also remember the bad people that are either too lazy or too stupid to take care of themselves and try do bad things to the good people of this nation.

It would be nice to see the people we just sent to represent us actually do their jobs and add a little common sense to the equation.


my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/

My sister and a couple of others have told me

to mass market this little blog.

Truth is, if nobody ever read it at all, I would still write it because it is a pretty good vent sometimes and keeps me sane when times are rough.

I am actually pretty internet ignorant and do not have a clue as how to go about marketing this and I wonder if it would really draw much of a readership even if someone did push it as it is really what I say it is; The grumblings of an Old School sailor.

Anyway, if any of you readers out there have a clue as to how to build up my readership you can leave me a comment or get in touch with me somehow.

It would be interesting to know how to do this.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let's get away from politics

for a while and I'll tell you what is going on outside at this time.

It is windy and the halibut are now feeding on the surface. There are a lot of them out there, more than I can count.

Now anyone that has been to sea knows that on windy days halibut and flounder feed off the surface because the wind blows a lot of edible things off of the land.

When a halibut spots something on the surface, he sneaks up on it and at the last minute he springs out of the water to leap down on his prey. They are incredibly quick fish and move like a flash.

As anyone knows, halibut have eyes on top of their head and can't see what they are landing on so they do a quick flip and go white belly up while then pounce on the prey. From a boat you can see a halibuts white belly from a good distance off.

So, those white things you see on the surface on windy days are halibut bellies as they feed on the surface.

Bet you never knew that.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The other day I wrote about Tim Wise

and his so-called anti racist activism.

I have been looking around for a while and I see a lot more conservative Blacks running around and getting elected.

I suppose that is a good thing in that it sort of makes the race card that has been played get a lot less credibility, but it might be a pretty good time to look at who the racists very well might be.

The liberals under the guise of various social programs have made it so that getting an education is not necessary for a lot of people. It's a whole lot easier to get knocked up and sit on the dole for the rest of your life, and in many cases one will live a whole lot better than a lot of us who bust their asses for a living.

It's human nature of a sort to take the path of least resistance and I think that it would be a lot easier to simply get on the welfare rolls and skate through life doing little or nothing. Why not?

Sleeping in sounds pretty good to me and so does being half bombed all the time. Start the day with a 40 and go and hang out somewhere and eat a pretty good meal on the taxpayers dime. Not that bad of a deal.

It gets generational and there are some out there that actually think that everyone gets a government check.

I listen to Brother Jesse, Al and a few others talking about keeping the black man down and that's a crock.

The country is full of successful blacks everywhere you turn. Look at the Marine Corps. The Black population is about 11% and the Corps runs about 20% Black. Being a good Marine is a damned hard row to hoe, yet there are a disproportionate number of Blacks that are damned good Marines.

A while ago I was talking to a truly polished older attorney that had come out of the deep south and we swapped notes regarding the changes we have seen over the years. He is a Black gentleman that had come up hardscrabble, yet here he was. He was a polished, well respected professional. He briefly told me of his highest hopes as a child. They were possibly getting on at the local mill of some type. They actually hired Blacks from time to time.

His shot at life came when he got drafted and decided to make the best of it. He completed high school in the service and spent 2 years in Germany where he saw a lot and learned. From there he went on to college and paid close attention to what would be expected of him in a world he had been able to even dream of a couple of years earlier.

He went for it and he made it.

I mentioned collecting quarters for the Freedom Riders in the sixties and he seemed genuinely impressed.

Then I looked at him and smirked and said that I didn't collect the quarters for him to be able to just wander into the mahogany paneled smoking room and drink brandy in cut crystal and smoke cigars.

He gave me a perplexed look when I said that.

I told him that there were things a guy has earn on his own and that he had done it all by himself.

He looked seriously at me and I chucked that I wasn't welcome in the paneled room even though my roots go as far back as the Pilgrims, yet there he was. God bless him for that.

I never aspired for such things, which I suppose is fine because I'm happy where I am.

Thinking about that tonight and thinking about that Tim Wise malcontent I wrote about a couple of days ago makes me wonder who really is keeping the Black man down.

I think it damned well may be the liberal part of American society for enabling so many people to skate through life.

Sure, seeing some lazy bum being supported by the sweat of the working stiff irks me, and it irks me to no end, but there is another thing that irks me even more. It's the waste of talent out there sitting around and doing nothing at taxpayer expense.

If the welfare rolls were slashed there would be a lot more people out there that were forced to work and, given half of an opportunity many would succeed. They wouldn't get rich, but they would at least be self sustaining and be able to take care of themselves.

A number of them would figure out that education and drive will make them a little more comfortable and they would strive to get ahead. In the process, some would become very successful and do a lot to making this country a better place to live. They would get their pride back.

Society as a whole would gain as there would be another group out there chasing the American Dream on their own. The sky would be their limit.

Truth of the matter is that World War Two did more for the Black man than any other thing I can think of. It took young men and put them in places they never had even heard of and gave them more responsibility than they had thought possible. Many of them became NCOs and a few of them were actually commissioned which says a lot because Jim Crow was one of the biggest Sad Sacks in the military at the time.

When you think of some sharecroppers son as a platoon sergeant or First Sergeant, it ain't a bad deal at all. It opened a lot of eyes. Running a company or a platoon is a lot of responsibility. Many people don't know that the famed 'Red Ball Express' that supplied the troops in Europe was about three-quarters Black.

The NCOs had to come from somewhere and they came from the ranks of the men who drove the trucks to the front.

When the war ended, they were entitled to the same GI bill everyone else was and some of them used it to further themselves. Having done things in the service, many of the more ambitious were steeled with confidence and a willingness to get ahead. Having been shot at, they were not so easily scared, either.

Of course, progress was slow and grudging, but it was genuine. It was the real progress that was merit based unlike the false kind instilled by quotas and minority recruiting. It was rough, but coupled with the doings of Dr King an entire race was on the move toward self-improvement. We Shall Overcome was an anthem to many Blacks and a lot of supporting whites at the time and many Blacks did in fact overcome the blatant racism of the time. It was a rough time in the history of the nation.

Those World War 2 veterans and their kids faced some pretty rough treatment under the likes of Bull Conner, George Wallace and others and still had the guts to sstand their ground. I respect them to this day.

I'm proud that as a kid I collected a couple of bucks in quarters to have tried help make it possible.

In the middle ot this President Lyndon Johnson decided to declare war on poverty and started in with a number of social programs enabling many people to sluff off a bit. In a way, it split a race between those that wanted to get ahead and those that wanted to skate and in my mind set the roots for the entire entitlement mentality of the nation.

We spent a lot of money and ten years later the same people that were poor before the War on Poverty was declared were still poor. It had done nothing, and in fact we were poorer for it because a lot of people had hopped on the government handout.

Of course, all of the people that jumped on the skate wagon were not Black. There are more whites collecting than there are Blacks, but the percentages among Blacks tends to be higher.

Frankly, I think that the people that are keeping the Black man down are the politicians that keep enabling people to get by doing nothing. It's keeping a lot of people that could be self supporting down and dependent.

It's also depriving us of capable citizens of all walks of life, from laborers to doctors to mechanics and plumbers to scientists and engineers because maybe if these people were forced off of welfare and started to shift for themselves many of them would become something and if not you can bet their kids would.

Somewhere in the welfare rolls sits a young person that would make a pretty good nurse or a guy that could create an amazing new way of doing things, but it won't happen so long as the person is sitting on their ass collecting.

It's the Brother Jesses and Al and the Tim Wises and the people in office that are keeping people down.

Then again, I may just have a little more faith in people than our so-called leaders.

If it makes me racist by wanting to put people in a position where people have a golden opportunity to carve their own path and plot their own course than I guess I'll just have to live with it.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

One thing that makes me laugh is a cheapskate

The most recent one I have heard of yet is a guy that hired someone to pour him a walkway.

The billing was supposed to be for time and materiels and when the contractor arrived he asked the clown where his garden hose was so he could start mixing concrete. The idiot homeowner got uppity and explained to the contractor that he was supposed to supply his own water.

The contractor simply said 'no problem' and sent his assistant back to get their water trailer, fill it and bring it to the job site.

Of course, the homeowner had to pay for the assistants time and also the water that the contractor charged for at the rate of about a buck a gallon or maybe more.

The homeowner was worried about his water bill going up, I suppose. Of course, he didn't think about the pennies he was saving in his water bill would become dollars paid out to the contractor.

Cheapskates generally never do come out ahead.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 5, 2010

I just read a rant by a guy by the name of

Tim Wise over the results of the recent election. He wasn't too pleased, of course, otherwise there wouldn't have been a rant.

Wikipedia described Tim as an anti racist activist, which is all well and good, but so are Brother Jesse and Ididot Al Sharpton.

I grew up in the 60s and remember collecting quarters for the Fredom Riders that went into the deep south and registered black voters. I supported Dr. King and have always believed in giving everyone a fair shake.

The entire tone of the rant was childish, like a little kid that didn't want what he got for Christmas or something like that.

Truth is, the recent election results were about money and runaway spending and had nothing to do with race, yet it seems that the other side wanted to drag the race card into it every way you turned.

If you don't support Obamas policies you are a racist.

Frankly I'm getting sick and tired of every liberal do-gooder hiding behind the cloak of racism. I don't buy it, especially when I looked at a number of black conservatives that I would just love to see in public office.

In fact, Alan West, a black conservative was just elected to represent Florida's 22nd district. I was elated to hear he won.

A number of minority conservative candidates were elected.

There are now two Indian-American governors, a number of Hispanics and a number of blacks that rode the recent conservative wave.

It certainly wasn't their race that got them into office, it was their politics. In fact, it should be carefully noted that virtually all of the newly elected minoritiy office holders were elected in white majority areas.

One of the things I have seemed to notice about the Tim Wises, Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons is that they continually seem to foster racism and are always trying to create it even in places where it doesn't exist. I figure it is because if it completely goes away, they will be out on their asses looking for an honest job.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Todaqy is a rainy day and you have to just plain live

with it.

Which is no big deal, but today I am really not in the mood for rain and wind.

There are things in life you can't change and just have to learn to live with them.

Days like today are one of them.


There is a company named Olin that makes ammunition among other things. A couple of days ago they announced that they are moving one of their centerfire ammunition plants out of East Alton, IL and down to Oxford, Mississippi.

While the announcement came within 24 hours of the union there rejecting their contract, I would bet that besides having to deal with a stubborn union, the local tax base has a lot to do with the move, also.

Mississippi is not the wealthiest state in the union and they are certainly willing to make things easy for a company like Olin to move down there and bring 1000 jobs down there with them.

I'd just bet that Mississippi decided to cut their taxes down if they moved operations down there.

Funny how that works.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One of the things that gets people disgusted are the

two parties we have.

In the previous post I mentioned that the two parties are the parties of the rich and the party of the low-life. There's something to be said there.

The Democrats want to give everything away and the Republicans want to get the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

Nobody represents the working guy and part of it is that we reaally don't have working guys in office. Most of the people that run for office are fairly well to do lawyers instead of working plumbers of small businessmen.

When the Dems see a pile of money somewhere they want to take if from whoever earned it so they can give it to someone else that didn't earn it. They do this by taxing the entity that has the money.

The Republicans, however tend to try and let big business get away with murder, often at the expense of the working stiff.

Neither of these are right.

Somewhere along the line there has to be a better way.

I believe the Founding Fathers never invisioned career-type politicians running the country. I think they invisioned people with businesses and farms taking a period of their careers doing whatever to pull a term as a senator, representative, whatever as a public service and then return to their business or farm or whatever.

While I can't see a working plumber taking time off as he can't afford it, I can see the owner of a successful plumbing shop doing a term in public office.

I'd just bet that a guy like that would at least have a clue as to what its like to raise a couple of kids while working for a living simply because that's exactly what he's doing.

During WW2 there were quite a number of people that put aside their businesses to become Dollar-a-year men. There were also a number of people in various enterprises that took temporary wartime commissions to bring their expertise to the services. There ranged from supply, transportation, logistics even public relations.

These people believed in public service.

Instead, these kind of people have been replaced by a gang of slick talking laywers that can't do squat.

What happened yesterday is that the people got sick and tired of the Democrats giving everything away and shoving things down our throats that they voted Republican out of sheer frustration.

Guess what? When the Republicans fail to get anything done, THEY will be booted out of office and the pendulum will swing the other way again.

I have hear a number of people say "Boot 'em all out".

I tend to agree. We ought to do just that in '12 and replace them with a bunch of normal people and see what happens then.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Well, it is now time to spin the wheels of industry

and make a few bucks.

The pickup is back up and running well so I didn't have to break my back driving the Miata to work and that is a good thing.

Looks like President Obama isn't a very happy camper today when he saw the results of yeserdays election.

What I have seen from where I stand is that people are just plain fed up with both parties. There really isn't a party that comes close to representing the wants and needs of the average everyday person.

As a friend of mine put it, you have either the party of the rich or the party of the low-life.

I have heard a lot of people say that they are not Republicans anymore, just plain old conservatives and I don't blame them. I'm in this particulay boat.

What happened yesterday probably doesn't really mean thaat people are happy to turn the leadership over to the Republicans.

It just means they are more disgusted with the Democrats than they are with the Republicans.

I know I feel that way.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election day and it is cold out.

Are voters going to put the Republicans back into action?

Stay tuned for evening election results!

I was going to pen a political diatribe this morning, but I thought better of it.

Whatever happens, though is those damned phone calls I have recieved from the various political candidates are now over with. Thank God!

I got tired of telling the person on the other end that I was going to vote for the candidate that gave me the FEWEST phone calls. Those people running for office better smarten up because calling a person at home to shill for their campaign is nothing more than an aggravation.
My call on the election: I'll bet that the President isn't going to be a happy camper tomorrow morning.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finally got my pickup sqiuared away.

I got clouted last September and I took an alternative route. I personally went after the person that hit me's insurance company and they agreed to pay, circumventing my insurance people and keeping my record clean.

I took it to the best auto body shop in town and they did me right, however there was a snag.

The cab mount bolts were not tightened and I had to take it back the next day to have it checked out and have them retightened. All in all a small blunder on their part.

I yakked with a couple of the guys and figured out what happened.

During the disassembly phase of the operation the boss pulled one guy off of the job and put another guy on the job. The second guy had to pick up on what the first guy did and overlooked it.

One of the things I have to do as a manager is to get two people to coordinate well and it's hard to do this.

Sometimes the best thing is simmply to give one man a job and let him do it, start to finish.

my other blog is:http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/