Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of the things that makes me pretty damned happy

 is that I am sixty years old and come from short lived stock and with any luck at all I won't be around when this nation truely implodes.

For the past sixty years I have tried to use our freedoms and enjoy them and I have. The other thing I have tried to do with a marked degree of success is to try and pass this way of life on.
Guess what? It ain't gonna happpen.

We're leaving our children and grandchildren so hopelessly mired in debt that there is no way in hell they are going to be able to enjoy half as much of this way of life that I have because my generation of idiots has seen to give it all away in the form of foriegn aid, welfare and God only knows how many entitlement programs.

They have raided the one and only program that was successful and that is Social Security but even that would have eventually collapsed.

A lot of my generation right now tells me how much they enjoy bouncing their grandkids on their knee and I have some advice for them. Enjoy it now because when they get older and have to start paying for this folly they are going to realize that what they are doing is busting their asses to pay the bills that we as a generation have left them.

Bounce your grandchildren on your knee and enjoy their love while you can because it will not be long before the love turns to hate.

When they figure out that we have had a life of Riley at their expense then you had better hope you have had the foresight to either have been creamated or buried at sea because they are pretty likely to go hunt your grave down and piss on it. I don't blame them. I would.

Over the past couple years I have contemplated retirement but I don't see that coming because I'm thinking some corporate thief will find yet another way to collapse my 401k and empty that out and leave me a starving old man. I have little faith in government programs anymore. I doubt Social Security is going to last.

I have tried to explain for years that unlike government drunken sailors stop spending money when they run out of it, yet nobody seems to listen. Instead they generally counter with some bright idea or another of how they can tap yet MORE money out of a government that simply does not have any.

We've spent a hideous amount of money on backwash countries only to have our money pad the pockets of corrupt leaders and warlords. We've also spent a bundle in this country reenforcing failure and propping up failure when we should be reenforcing success. Our welfare programs have mostly been failures that have simply kept bellys full instead of giving them a bellyful of welfare and motivating the recipients to get off of it.

I see an awful lot of morbidly obese people paying for a lot better food than I can generally afford using EBT cards. For years the Big

Government people told me that it was because the poor can't afford anything but inexpensive carbs but I'm no fool. I see what is going on in front of me. Fact is, a lot of the poor so-called spend their EBT cards on things I cant regularly afford like shrimp and steak. The reason they are so damned fat is because they spend the rest of junk. I see it every time I shop outside of the burbs and often in the suburbs.

Gray power is working it's way and it is pretty likely that they are going to have a lot of greed and political clout and will dip even deeper into the already empty well and try and make their lives easier at the expense of their grandchildren. The AARP, a liberal organization that does not really appear to me to have anyone in their membership that knows how to count, is growing in size and they will start demanding yet more resources that will have to be paid for by their grandchildren.

I have tried to take little from the system and leave more behind for the next generation but I don't see it happening. Many of my peers did not learn how to count and a lot of those that did really are not thinking of anyone but themselves.

All I know is that with any luck I will not be alive to see the implosion. Thank God for that.

Because I am being buried at sea I have already written a letter, two actually, to the captain of the ship that gets assigned my burial detail. One of the letters is to be handed the Chief Petty Officers of the boat-the go-to guys- instructing them to try and figure out a way to make my casket land in Davy Jones Locker face down so as to make it easier for the people that made this mess to kiss my ass.

This post is dedicated to my neices and nephews on the off chance that after I am dead and gone and they are working their asses off to clean this mess my generation has made up that they will read it.

At least they will know that their Uncle Piccolo tried to leave them in a lot better shape than they are in when they are paying the bills incurred by my generation.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I just picked up a replacement backpack after my old Kelty

 up and died on me a year or so back.

I snagged a vintage one on eBay for short money and it is a gently used duplicate of the one that gave me good service for over 30 years. It looked pretty goood in the pictures and I suppose it ought to be pretty good when I get it because most stuff on eBay is as advertised.

At my age I am not going to be living out of it like I did back in my mid twenties of course, but it'll get some good use as a backpack is a damned sight easier to go up and down a ladder with than the traditional seabag is. I've been doing that for the past year or so since the old Kelty died.

One of the guys told me that there are all sorts of newer models out there and if I were going to be doing a lot of hiking or I was going back on the open road I sure would have at least looked into a newer one because I imagine that the ergonomics have improved over the past 30 or so years.

Someone mentioned this and I told him that when you got down to what I planned to use this pack for it was ideal. Of course, he wanted to argue because he doesn't think and ask the first question one with at least half a brain ask generally asks when someone shows him a new piece of equipment.

"What are you going to use it for?"

He pointed out that the place for parking an ice axe was not as good as the newer big money model and that the tie-down for the sleeping mat should have been somewhere else and that the straps should have the newer adjustments on them and on and on.

Then I asked him if it would do the job of hauling a bunch of dirty socks, underwear and a set of oily clothes down a ladder and he looked stunned as he humbly answered "I suppose so."

I have no plans of climbing Mount Everest or K-9 in the near future, not have the Boy Scouts asked me to go to Philmont with them and I doubt they will. SEAL team 6 isn't asking me to join them, much to my disappointment, nor do I see myself joining an alpine rescue team saving stranded climbers.

I do see myself for the next few years coming and going to and from work and climbing up and down the ladder as I board and debark the vessel I work on, though and I suppose the vintage Kelty will do the job nicely.

Besides, I won't be fumbling around looking for things in a new style pack because thirty years of habit will not have to be relearned. That's good for something, too.

As for the ice axe holder, the kid is right. The newer ones make an ice axe accessible. The old one is a little more clumsy so I guess that means I won't be tempted to carry an ice axe with me and that is a good thing because if I had one handy I would be tempted to whack someone like that stupid kid on the head with it.

my other blog is:

Monday, May 28, 2012

A couple of wholsome clean cut looking kids.

I can picture this innocent saying, "Gee, Wally! Maybe Larry Mondello and I can spend this afternoon down at the firehouse with Fireman Gus!"

And here's another

ANd this one saying, "Gee, Mom! After church can we go on a picnic?"

And here's the first one all grown up


And here's the other one

Click on the pictures for full size.

While Martin certainly wasn't anything like Manson, the point is that it really isn't too fair to post the Baby Jesus pictures of Martin.

On the other hand maybe the media today might have posted the Leave it to Beaver picture of Manson.

Who knows?

my other blog is:

So I read that nowadays an awful lot of doctors

are not accepting medicaid which did not surprise me when I read it.

Why should they when there are a lot more people out there that either are willing to pay cash or have insurance programs that pay the doctors a whole lot better.

Let's face it, we're all a bunch of whores in this country. We simply sell ourselves to the highest bidder and that is that. Of course, it shouldn't be long before the government steps in to fix this and as usual the cure will be worse than the disease itself. The feds will likely do something to make life miserable enough for the doctors that they will start accepting medicare again.

Of course, this will result in doctors either retiring early or simply getting out of the business of seeing patients altogether, and this will create a shortage of doctors that will not last too long because the shortage will likely mean the lowering of standards and then the nice kid that used to be a roofer will be the guy giving you a liver transplant.

One of the things that has drawn the best and brightest into medicine is the opportunity to get ahead and make a good living. It wasn't a whole long time ago when good doctors were extremely well paid. Competition was pretty keen among specialists and the richer people of the planet came to this country with cash in their pockets to have their ailments treated because we were the land of the trend setters in medicine.

While the rich folks are most likely still coming to this country to be treated, it is not likely that they will do so for very long becauuse as soon as Uncle Sam sticks his fingers into that pie and starts regulating the income of the medical people that plum will go away.

As for my fellow countrymen, their medical care is likely to drop in quality over time and they have none other than Uncle Sam to thank for it. Of course, those on medicaid are probably get the kind of service they pay for, which really isn't too much. Those that pay cash probably won't be getting the care they would have before Uncle tried to fix everything.

Right now there is a sharp young lady out there that is a pharmicist because she saw what was coming and decided against going into medicine. I do not think she is alone, and I damned well do not blame her. She is most likely headed into a career that will wind up paying her more than she would have made if she had gone into medicine and with a whole lot less headache.

my other blog is:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

There was a sheet of plywood outside the submarine

that the Carnegie Science Center maintains. For all I know it is still there. It had a hole cut in it and the rule was that you had to be able to get through the hole before you were allowed to board her.

I was downtown and for some reason found an empty parking spot near her so I decided to take a tour. There was this kid on the wrong end of the hole sitting there in a wheelchair with mom waiting as dad had the other kids on board going through on the tour.

There was something about the kid, an intangible of some sort. I can't really put a point on it but something came over me. Maybe I was thinking about getting by with a little help from your friends, maybe I just wanted to be a pain in the ass to the system or maybe I was just in a kind and generous mood. Still, that kid had some kind of special air about him. Ten or twelve years later I still can't figure it out. Something told me this kid was worth something.

I looked at the kid, "Hey, Kid. Wanna take the tour?"

He looked sad. 'Yeah, but I can't because I can't get around too well. They won't let me."

"Hmm." I said. I noticed it was a manual wheelchair. I figured the kid likely had 'wheelchair arms', meaning pretty strong from wheeling himself around. "Your arms work OK? Any tube or wires sticking you to that wheelchair?"

"No," said the kid. "My legs don't work. That's all."

Of course, the mother spoke up as mothers are supposed to do and pointed out that there was no way a wheelchair could get through the hole in the plywood.

"Howzabout you let the kid and I take care of that," I said, with a broad smile.

"But I don't understand..." she started.

I did a deep knee bend in front of the wheelchair. "Kid, grab my neck, wrap both arms around it and hang on. I'll get your legs as soon as I get straight up."

A couple of seconds I had the kid piggyback. I looked at the mother, "Shall we?" I asked.

"You don't have to do this," said the mother.

"All I have to do is die and pay taxes," I replied. "This is my pleasure.

"Well, OK," she said, a little dubiously.

We were through the hole in the plywood in no time.

The gatekeeper started to say something but I interrupted him. "A problem here?" I asked in an intimidating tone of voice.

"Well, there are areas below that..." he started. "The rules say you have to get through the hole on your own power."

"Keep your shirt on. You ain't no stripper and this ain't the Kit Kat club," I said, conversationally. "The kid and I are taking a tour. Howzabout you keep an eye on his wheelchair?" and I simply shuffled past him. The mother had folded up the kids wheelchair and really didn't know what to do. She simply followed us.

I turned to the kid perched on my back. "Kid, if I drop you off outside the plywood, can you drag yourself through?"

"I sure can!" he said.

I turned to the gatekeeper. "You wanna watch this guy scrape his legs on the plywood, or are you gonna give him a break?"

The gatekeeper, still in a little shock, simply took the folded wheelchair and parked it where he could keep an eye on it. We got to the assembly area as there was a group big enough for a tour and we joined in with the tour guide agape for a minute.

The tour on board guide looked and, of course, suggested I rethink what I was doing and I told her that it wasn't her problem. Then in front of her, I briefed the kid.

"We're going on board a genuine US Navy fleet submarine,Kid." I said. "It's cramped and there are about a jillion and one levers, wheels, controls and all sort of stuff you can run into and smack yourself on. We gotta look out for each other. Keep your eyes open and if you see something I don't, speak up. No one gets hurt, see?"

"OK, Mister," said the kid.

"Don't call me 'Mister, Kid. The name's Pic."

"I'm Jeremy, Pic." he answered.

We took the tour.

The mother spotted her husband and the other two kids. They were on a tour that started earlier. She went over and explained what was going on and the father gave a surprised and concerned look that went away as soon as he saw the look on the kid's face.

When I had an opportunity, I'd park Jeremy on a bunk or table to get a breather. A couple times I would have to either fireman's carry the kid or lug him around like a sack of potatoes but between the two of us, we got 'er done. I had to watch every move to keep him from bumping his head a couple of times going between compartments. At times I knew the kid was uncomfortable but he never complained, in fact in one compartment where there was no place to set him down, he let go of my neck and grabbed an overhead pipe of some sort and pulled up to get some his weight off of me.

When he was pulling on the pipe, I said to him that I had half a mind to walk out from beneath him and make him take the rest of the tour himself by swinging on things like a chimpanzee.

As to be expected, a lot of the people in our little tour group gave me a dirty look and I felt the kid chuckle from where he was. The 'get silent when a handicapped guy gets on the elevator' crowd had spoken.

The kid got his tour. Two tours, actually. The tour the guide gave us and the tour I gave him. He was curious and between the pair of us asking the tour guide questions the guide had a difficult time with the two of us.

I'm pretty knowlegeble about subs so between the guide and I think we gave the kid a pretty good basic knowledge of the workings of a submarine. Being a weekend day the local radio club manned the radio shack and it was pretty cool watching one of the guys bang out about 30 words a minute on the old key on the old Navy AM set.

The diesel room was fun. I parked him atop a piece of machinery and explained to him that it was so noisy in there they couldn't talk. "They talked like this," I said. Then I stuck my finger in the kid's ear and shouted, "Hey, Jeremy!"

He put his finger in my ear and shouted back, "What, Pic!"

One of the other people on the tour asked, "Really?" and the tour guide confirmed this. I explained that the shouting would send just enough vibration down the arm into the finger that the ear could pick up the words.

I had to do a deep knee bend to give him a shot at the periscope, and I guess he looked out at the city. When it was my turn I checked out some broad in a scoop necked top and a short skirt. Because I was holding the kid's legs, he held the periscope handles for me. It was surprising how fast we had turned into a pretty good team.

While we were in one of the more cramped areas I looked at the tour guide. "I can imagine sitting it this pigboat sweating bullets listening to the click-click of detonators a nanosecond before the blast and spasming as I wondered it it was going to be my last second gefore I got crushed into jelly," I said. "I'd bet you the cigarette smoke was so thick you could cut it into cubes and mail it home."

Some hippie sounded off, "They let people SMOKE in this thing?"

"In 1944? Yeah. 90% of American males smoked," I explained. "The figure among servicemen was a lot higher than that. Nonsmokers were a rarity back then. That brown on the bulkheads is most likely nicotine."

"I wouldn't have sailed on one of these things if people smoked," he said in an uppity tone.

I smiled. "Not to worry, you just failed the preliminary Silent Service personality test right here and now," I said.

"Whaddya mean by that?" he demanded.

"You are intolorant," I answered, without rancor. "You let other people's habits bother you, and you are a snob." I was being patient and tactful. What I wanted to say is simply, "You're a selfish asshole." His tone of voice told everyone he was in fact a real asshole.

"And you?" he asked angrily.

I smiled. "I suppose going for a couple of months unwashed and in cramped quarters wouldn't bother me too much. After all, I just got out of the joint. Pulled three years for cracking the skull of a hippie that told me to put my cigarette out. Split it wide open. He's a pants wetting slobbering vegetable in a state hospital these days."

The hippie went into a huff and stayed well away from me the rest of the tour. Most of the rest of the people in the tour smirked. A couple outright laughed.

The kids mother looked at me concerned over my imaginary criminal record until I gave her a smirk and a sly wink. She looked relieved and a minute later she looked at the hippie and turned away from him to keep from laughing outright.

When we got through with it, the kid thanked me as if I had pulled him out of a burning building. I grinned at him. Of course, his parents thanked me, too. I think the father was a little embarrassed, but I have to give him a pass because after all, he did have two little kids to watch and hauling his crippled son along with watching two kids would likely be a little much to ask for.

"What's next on the agenda?" I asked the kid. "A little skydiving? Swimming lessons?"

The mother looked concerned. "He can't do those things," she said.

"Sure he can," I answered. "His arms are already strong enough to pull himself through the water and I suppose he can tie a pillow to his ass and jump. Hell, maybe even tie himself into his wheelchair and have someone roll him out the back of a C-130. If he puts his mind to it, he can do almost anything he wants. He's a pretty sharp kid. He'll figure out a way."

When I said that the kid's face lit up like a Christmas tree.

Thank you," said the father, simply. The look on his face said it all. I knew he was going to go home figure out a way to sit down with his wife and reassess a few things. It was obvious that the mother was babying the kid a just little too much. I didn't envy the guy because I figured he was going to have to deal with an emotional woman, but maybe not. She seemed to keep her mouth shut during the tour, so maybe she'd be all right.

I glanced at my watch.

"Later, Kid," I said, and started to walk off. I noticed the father following me so I stopped.

"My wife said you appeared out of nowhere and offered to take my son through the sub, for that I thank you but I'd sure like to know why."

I shrugged. "Seemed like the thing to do at the time," I said. Then I grinned. "Let's just say I enjoy stirring a few things up. I have fun bucking the system, but only when I think some good will come of it. Truth is I had a pretty good time hauling the boy around. He got to see the sub and I got to swim upstream for a bit."

I took my leave.

As I look at my career at sea I don't have second thoughts. However, I suppose if I didn't decide to work on the water, I could have done a whole lot worse than working with handicapped youngsters or maybe even busted up GIs because I know two secrets about them. First, most of them are no different than anybody else and secondly most of them truly want to overcome their handicaps and given some support, encouragement and in some cases a boot in the ass, most of them can.

my other blog is:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recently the Feds have again stuck their nose where it ought not to be

, in private sector hiring practices.

Most recently in a coffee shop that hires bubbly teenaged girls and dresses them in pink. I think the angle is age descrimination. A while back a woman that started to show up in Goth makeup was fired from a Christian bookstore. She sued.

I think the one a lot of peope are aware of is when they went after Hooters a while ago. I have eaten in one once and truth is I didn't like it very much because I have eaten enough bar food for this lifetime of mine and also because young women do not really do a whole lot for me.

Actually it was a pretty quiet night at the Hooters and I was traveling and decided to check the place out. The waitress was young, attractive and not very busy and actually sat down and kept me company and we had a nice conversation. She was what I'd call a pretty good kid, but I really didn't find her hot because she was just too young. In my opionion a woman isn't attractive until she hits at least 40 but that is just me.

Anyway I guess the requirements for being hired at Hooters are that you have a couple of hooters which is fine because they want to sell that particuar image. It makes sense as there are a lot of younger guys out there that find women their own age to be attractive.

So someone sued and I guess the case just disappeared but the point is that the freedom to run a restaurant chain the way you want came under fire.

Hooters was simply marketing themselves to a specific clientele. So was the Christian bookstore that fired the Goth chick after several warnings.

I think the feds must have gotten to the airlines years ago because back then the stewardesses were attractive and svelte. These days they look like someone went into the SPCA and grabbed every Heinz 57 they had and stuffed them into 'airline attendent' uniforms and also drug up a lot of homely guys to boot.

Airline travel lost a lot when that happened and to tell you the truth about a year or so ago I wound up wondering if the airlines hadn't also been forced to hire Rhea Pearlman's twin sister because I had to deal with the nastiest foul tempered attendent I have ever met. I almost got thrown off for facepalming when they announced yet ANOTHER delay.

(I got even with the little whelp when I got off the plane with a little humiliation. I told her that of she were my grandbaby I would have taken her over my knee and given her a spanking. Laughter ensued.)

This used to be a place where a person could take their talents, skills, brains and looks and run with them but I guess it isn't that way anymore.

Ron White commented that we could fix anything. "See her? Give her those boobs, those lips, that hair and that ass!"

In a lot of cases I suppose if the people complaining and suing over hiring practices had just scraped up a few bucks and gone into the body and fender shop for a nip, tuck, boob job and a little Bondo and a grinder they would have been hired. Yeah, it really is that simple.

Then again, this line of trying to make everything 'fair' has been around since I was in grade school when teachers would catch you chewing gum and ask you if you brought enough for everyone.

Back in '63 a teacher asked me that and I found out that "What are you, some kind of communist?" wasn't the correct answer. (Neither was handing out gum to everyone, which was the tack I tried the following year.)

White pointed out that you can't fix stupid and because of that do not expect this situation to get any better because the Feds are running the show.

my other blog is:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Uneducated recreational boaters irk me.

One of the things that irks the living hell out of me as a professional seaman is uneducated recreational boaters.

Sailboaters as a general rule come in two sizes. They are either the best out there or without a doubt, they are the all time worst. The rule of thumb is that if they are experienced cruisers they are the best. If they are weekenders (most are) they are the worst.

Ships, tugs and barges are pretty heavy vessels and the laws of physics hold true to all things, including ships, tugs and barges. A body in motion tends to stay in motion and it is this law of physics that means that a heavily laden ship can not stop on a dime and give nine cents change. It can take literally miles to bring a ship or heavy barge to a complete stop.

Generally a barge at sea is towed behind a tug by either (not too often these days) a long rope or a cable. The barge is generally quite a ways behind the tug, a quarter mile is not uncommon. It is done to keep the tug and barge in step with one another so it rides evenly without jerking on the cable and damaging the tug or the barge. The weight of the long cable acts as a shock absorber.

Every once in a while some idiot that has his head where the sun doesn't shine tries to go between the tug and her tow. Many get away with it, but every so often someone doesn't and their boat gets damaged by the tow cable or they wind up getting run over by the barge or sometimes both.

Back during my sailing days I knew to keep well clear of tugs and ships because I did not necessarily run my sailboat by the official Rules of the Road. I preferred to run it by another set of rules known informally as the Law of Gross Tonnage.

Unlike most, I wasn't afraid to turn on the VHF and make passing arrangements with whatever larger vessel I came across and when I was taking my sailboat up the Frasier River I got on the horn and made arrangements with a couple of grain transporters. The pilots were glad to hear from me and was complimented for giving them the courtesy of keeping then posted as to what my ententions were.

Most recently we were trying to anchor in a harbor when a sailboat skipper decided he was too lazy to tack and ran it in so close to the bow of the barge I was running that I had to hold off on dropping the hook until they passed.

The instant they cleared and it was safe I let her go with a loud rattling of chain and the anchor hit with a loud splash. I ran to the side of the barge and watched the startled sailboaters.

"Hey! You almost scratched my anchor!" I shouted in my best Rodney Dangerfield voice.

What were these people thinking?

They obviously didn't know about tug and barge rigs or they would have steered clear of us.

The truth is that these yachties, or a lot of them, think that they are lord and master of the entire ocean when they are at the helm. There are an awful lot of them that do not even know that the rules of the road exist much less know what they are.

I have nothing against a person siglehandedly winning a Darwin award, but I do get upset when they drag others into their little game.

my other blog is:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

tale of a disabled guy in the 60s

Back in the late 60's and the beginning of the 70's I worked in a supermarket with a giu that could neither hear nor speak. Back then the term for him was deaf-mute which was actually a pretty accurate of his situation and back then it was not demeaning. It was simply the truth and had the man been able to hear us use the term he would not have been offended.

Now I was in the grocery department then and a lot of the work we did was after hours so there were no customers to deal with. We stocked shelves all night and the guy who I will call Vinnie had the responsibility for stocing the two aisles next to mine.

He was pretty good at his job and I guess he had a young wife and a kid. He also did something else when he was not working at the market but I do not know what that was. I believe he and his wife has some business enterprise going somehwere.

The fact that he could not hear wasn't too much of an annoyance and the fact that he could not speak wasn't too bad, either. Because he had his own responsibilities there really wasn't a whole lot of need for communication. We all took to carrying a pad and pencil with us for the few times we had to communicate.

He did a good job and was respected, and although every once in a while someone would mutter something about how it was occasionally aggravating not to be able to communicate with him, nobody thought any less of him for his disabilities.

He asked for no special favors and got none. In all respects he was an equal.

The electronic ordering in the aisles was in its infancy back then and the machine was almost as big as a shopping cart and had a thing on it that looked like an adding machine. It was a damned difficult thing to learn how to use and the grocery manager generally ran it. He had learned to run it by having one of the company bigwigs spend about a week teaching him. The manual was about a foot thick and the only one that knew how to run the damned thing was the grocery manager.

In an exchange of notes with the grocery manager Vinnie asked to learn how to run it but was flatly refused because of both the time it would take and the difficulty in communication but then the grocery manager on a gut instinct had a change of heart.

The grocery manager simply handed Vinnie the manual and told him to study it carefully and if Vinnie felt he could run the thing the grocery manager would train him, figuring that if Vinnie learned enough out of the book there really wouldn't be a whole lot of teaching.

Vinnie took the manual home and pored over it and practically memorized it and after an exceptionally brief class taught by the grocery manager he was permitted to order merchandise for his own aisle.

Of course, like most early electronic systems the new technology was prone to failure and it wasn't long until it broke down. The grocery manager was running it at the time. He was pretty upset and went to call someone to get it fixed which most likely meant waking someone up at the ungodly hour we were working.

WHen he came back to the aisle, he saw that Vinnie had seen that the machine was down and had already taken it apart. He got worried to say the least and because I was a known radio guy at the time I got called over to look at the machine. I knew nothing about it, but I saw Vinnie was pretty confident and in a minute he was putting it back together. He knew that machine like a pro and a minute later it worked like a charm.

The grocery manager was impressed and asked rhetorically where Vinnie had learned to fix the machine.

Tactlessly I said, "You were taught to run it by a couple of guys. Vinnie probably memorized the whole manual so he could learn to run it because he had to teach himself."

The grocery manager turned red, but he was a fair man. "You're right," he said. "I have never gone through that damned manual because it is written in some engineer's language. I couldn't understand a word of it."

Vinnie had taken his disability, overcome it and turned a disability into an asset. He simply HAD to learn to read that manual and he did. As a result he immediately became the go-to guy for the machine. Every time it didn't run right they sent for Vinnie.

Today, of course, such a person would be considered to be hearing empaired and orally challenged or some such crap and be given a disability and not have to do anything but sit around and drink beer all day collecting from our beloved Federal government.

What a waste of talent!

People like him do not belong stuffed away sucking on the government tit at taxpayers expense, they belong on the work force like everyone else.

Someone ought to sue the feds for making disability so easy to get on on the basis that it cheats the disabled out of the dignity of doing an honest day's work.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The only celebrity I have ever met

I have met damned few celebrities in my day because I simply do not live my life in circles that most celebrities live theirs in but there is one that I have met a couple of times and I really like the guy.

R.Lee Ermey, known best as the Drill Instructor in 'Full Metal Jacket' shoots at Camp Perry every year and I've met him three times. He's quite a character. He makes me laugh.

He told me that he makes sure that it is written into his contracts that he gets time to shoot at the National Matches every year and often gets 'drafted' to be an awards presenter. The first time I met him was outside the Perry auditoriun after he had presented an award and be had a brief chat and he gave me one of his challenge coins which I have prominently displayed in my room. It is next to a picture of me standing next to him that a kind National Guardsman took and emailed me.

I didn't ask the Guardsman to do this, he simply took the shot and afterward asked me for my email address and sent it to me. What a gracious thing to do!

It's things like that which are the reasons I look forward to going to Camp Perry. The people there are nice as all get-go.

Gunny Ermey also beat me out of ten bucks a few years ago during the Garand match. The bet, of course, was payable to the Toys for Tots program run by the Marine reserves. He's a pretty good shot with a Garand and he whipped me by several points. I challenged him to the ten dollar bet and he really didn't seem too interested until I said that the bat was payable to Toys for Tots. His face lit up and he took the bet like a shot.

Another thing Gunny told me is that he also has one other thing written into his acting contracts. He doesn't work during the month of December because he does charity work that month. He told me he really enjoys that because he gets to meet an awful lot of damned good people when he does charity work.

I'm pretty sure almost all of my readership knows who the Gunny is so I really don't have to say a whole lot about him other than the fact that he's the real deal.

The reason for this post is that today I was dealing with a retired Air Force NCO and he was mentioning that the Gunny visited his unit in Iraq and according to the now-retired airman the Gunny was up for about 48 hours straight yakking with any of the guys that wanted to chat with him. Ya gotta love a guy like that.

An awful lot of the celebrities in Hollywood are just a bunch of jerks that live in LaLa land and have no sense of basic reality. Gunny doesn't fit into this category so it is really refreshing to find a guy like him and I consider it to be an honor to have met him.

Still, I hope I run into him again this year. He's a hoot.

Bet you this year at Perry he drops in on our little radio station.
my other blog is:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I am sitting here wracking my brain trying to figure out what to give a six-year old boy for his birthday.

He's a little too young for illegal fireworks or a BB gun. He doesn't quite yet have the coordination for a slingshot yet and they do not make little kids tool sets like they used to so I can really sharpen the saw up for him. Those plastic tool sets are worthless.

It'll be a couple more years before he'll be able to handle a bull whip so that is out of the question. So is a bow and arrow set.Maybe next year for that one. Seven year old sounds about right for the bow and arrow. I've got a few more years until he'd appreciate a chemistry set, so that's out.

Being an uncle is really quite a challenge because it is the sworn duty of the childless uncle to give the kid the things his parents do not want him to have to insure he has a good childhood. It has been this way for generations. I had an uncle that took care of me with the needed things of childhood.

Maybe when he's about 11 or 12 I'll dig out my model T spark coil and give him that. There's nothing like a Model T spark coil to give to a kid, especially one that has a parent with naturally curly hair because one good poke from a spark coil will make it stand straight up and knocks the curl clean out of it.

Of course, I have the excuse, being childless, to the accusations of the angry parents that discover the leg of their Chippendale coffee table has been sawn off by their son with the saw Uncle Piccolo gave him.

"Gee! I didn't know! I never had kids. Who'da ever thought?"

Of course, I will make sure that whatever I get the kid will be accompanied with a big bag of candy and a case of Mountain Dew.

Maybe next year he'll get a slingshot and a bag of 1/2 inch steel ball bearings, but I guess he's just going to have to settle for a set of drums.

my other blog is:

Monday, May 21, 2012

One thing I just read yesterday is that a number

 of our more successful businessmen are either considering or are actively renouncing their American citizenship and moving elsewhere.

Until I thought about it a second or two I was shocked but when you think about it for a second it sure makes sense. The reason, of course, is taxation. I also read where Maryland has decided that the category 'rich' (as in higher state tax bracket) is going to start considering $100,000.

I predict an exodus from that state to come along soon. I have a friend out on disability and goes on Social Security retirement pretty soon and he tells me his plans are to move as soon as he starts drawing Social Security because while his disability isn't taxed, his Social Security will be. He's already looking at land in North Carolina.

Of course there is quite a difference between the people running a huge internet empire the size of Facebook or Google or something along these lines and a busted up old sailor but the principal is the same. People don't like living in areas with high taxation.

The difference between busted up old sailors and CEOs of multibillion dollar corporations is how far they are willing to move to avoid excess taxation. The old sailor might move a couple of states away to save a few bucks, but the CEO can well afford to move out of the country. Then again, if he has a responsibility to his stockholders things change. He can't afford NOT to move out of the country.
I have heard that the tax bases in Singapore for both capital gains and income taxes are well under half of what they are here which means that there will be one hell of a lot more profits after taxes to a company that moves there. I read where one person that is considering doing just this has a projected savings of $600,000,000 in tax savings over the next several years if the business keeps on keepin' on.

Just picking a figure out of a hat of a 50% savings by moving a business to Singapore, that means that the various Federal, state and local governments were going to whacking the business at a projected rate of about $1,200,000,000 over the next several years. That's 1.2 BILLION bucks that Uncle Sam isn't going to see.
As usual, the government is starting to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. They get nothing.

The same is going to hold true in Maryland.

Several years ago I worked for a company in Philly that did a similar thing. They offered a number of companies tax breaks to come to Philly and maybe some did, but the company that had been in Philly chugging right along wasn't offered a tax break. Instead he was forced to compete unfairly against new companies that had to pay fewer taxes.

What did he do? He moved us to Tampa and Philly lost out. I heard he wasn't the Lone Ranger. Other companies did the same thing. It made sense to move and for the CEOs of these large companies it makes sense now. The CEO owed it to the stockholders to turn the biggest profit he could.

What does this mean to all the rest of us?

It means that either OUR taxes are going to skyrocket OR there are going to be an awful lot of services that the government provides now that are going to be slashed to the bone or eliminated altogether.

Planning on retiring soon? Hope you can support yourself because Social Security has been broke for some time now. It WAS working. The money WAS there but back in the 60s Johnson convinced congress to add it to the general fund and then it got spent on all of LBJs wonderful and unsuccessful Great Society programs that accomplished little but frittering it all away.

Of course, the answer seems to be to raise taxes.

Over the past couple of years I have heard an awful lot of people in my line of work seriously considering that they take their money someplace out of the country when they retire. I know of two guys out here, both married to Filipinas that are retiring to the Phillipines shortly, and another guy headed off to Costa Rica in a while. All three of them consider themselves forced to in a way because they expect Social Security to implode inside the next few years.

So taxes rise and then get to the point where a lot of businesses leave the country and take it all with them.

So where did all the money go?

Simple. We gave it all away. We gave it away in the form of social programs and foreign aid and frittered it away on unnecessary projects. We gave it to foreign governments so that the hotshots could line their pockets. We gave it to people that should be taking responsibility for themselves but have chosen not to.

We simply gave it all away.

Of course, we didn't slate any of it for maintenance so right now a lot of out infastructure is going to hell in a handbasket.

And my plans?

I plan on working until I am either too crippled or I out and out die because even though I have a few bucks stashed I can pretty much depend on inflation to eat that up quickly.

my other blog is:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One of the things I have noticed about social programs

 is that most of them make it too easy to quit.

I learned that at the homeless shelter because I tried to get to know a few of the guys. There were a couple that were motivated and simply needed a little help to get back on their feet and back in the game. I wrote about one of them the other day.

Still, the majority of them really didn't seem to be too motivated and it didn't take me long to figure it out because in a sense a lot of them are an awful lot like the rest of us. There are not a whole lot of us that would simply go back to what we were doing if we hit the lottery. I don't suppose I would.

To be honest what keeps me going is that by working I can do things I couldn't do otherwise. I spent an awful lot of my earlier years carefree and living wherever the hell I wanted to and I suppose by modern definition I could say I was homeless for a long period of time. Believe it or not, for the first ten years I was out of the service I only paid rent for about five or six months (excluding a year or so's sailboat slip rent. $250 a year. Big deal.) for the entire decade.

I lived in an assortment of places ranging from under a bridge to a camper-trailer I bought to a sailboat and God only knows where. For a couple of weeks I'd slip under the bandstand of one of the bars in Kodiak and sleep there.

As such, I tend to understand a lot of the homeless guys better than most.

I didn't really live anywhere because I was young, healthy and pretty impervious to the weather and was about as insensitive to the cold as a hemlock stump. My first 14 months out of the service were spent in a tipi in the Rockies and that served as a pretty good shelter for free. I took classes on my GI bill and could spend time studying and doing well on what the GI bill paid and still have a couple bucks left over.

After I moved to Alaska I realized that the rents there were outrageous and that most people I knew that were renting didn't seem to have a whole lot left over so I decided to simply snag a camper of some sort and go that route which I did for most of the time I lived in Alaska. I have never spent a single night in a homeless shelter unless the night I spent in the Kodiak jail counts.
Come to think of it, I never needed any of the social programs. Ever. I just took care of myself.

I only really worked when I wanted something and for quite a while the first thing I would do when I woke up was to open my wallet and see what was in it. If I had more than ten bucks I'd generally roll over and go back to sleep as I knew ten bucks could last me a few days. Then I would get up again and go looking for something interesting to do.

Truth is, I had it pretty damned good in Alaska and I knew it. It was damned hard not to leave but I finally did because I knew if I stayed I would wind up trapped in the lifestyle. I left in my sailboat and went looking for adventure.

To a certain extent the social networks have made it a whole lot easier to be homeless and stay that way. There is shelter available and there are a lot of ways of staying fed with little or no effort.

Clothing is so easy to come by in this country. When you break life down like that and put it in the simple terms of being fed and staying warm it is really pretty easy.

Entering or reentering the rat race really isn't too appealing when you think about it. It's too easy to say 'why bother'.

While not all of the homeless guys out there are simply unmotivated individuals, many are. Some are mentally ill and a lot of them have a monkey of drugs and/or alcohol on their back. Still, there are quite a few of them that have copped to the same attitude I had at the time. Why bother?

Now, of course, when I wanted to work then there was work and to tell the truth there was a constant string of people that wanted me to do things for them because I had a lot of the necessary skills to do any number of things. If there was something out there that I wanted I would work for it and get it. If there wasn't, I'd simply find something interesting to do like hang around an air service and load an airplane in exchange for a flying lesson or something.

I often wonder whay I did leave the gravy train I was living in when I lived in Kodiak.

Right now I have a home that is paid for free and clear and it has a yard. I have a few toys that I could easily do without but they are fun and fulfil my needs for mental challenge and activity so I suppose they are good to have and worth the effort. Still, there is a freedom of being able to live with little more than a sack of clothes and a few other odds and ends. There is something to be said for having nothing to lose.

I guess the compromise I seem to have made is that I don't go overboard on a bunch of stupid stuff and junk that means little anyway.

Ben Franklin once said that the way to cure poverty was to make it so awful that the impovershished would find a way to climb out of it. Who knows? Maybe he was right. If it wasn't so easy to let the world go by I might have just entered the rat race and wound up in a cubicle somewhere, although that would have sucked.

my other blog is:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

There is a thing out there called a non profit corporation

 and many of them do a lot of charitable work. Many of these get no money from the feds, some of them get no money from the state or local governments while others I suppose get money from both.

Almost every one of these are charitable corporations and while some are most likely mismanaged and there is a certain amount of dishonesty involved, there are quite a few that are run well and do a lot of good work.

These non profit organizations pay no taxes. Neither do churches and I am all right with that because most of them are charitable organizations doing things that most likely ought to be done but I am rethinking the tax exempt status of the churches these days because many of them do not appear to be doing the charitable work that they used to but that's another thing in itself so I won't go there.

I have an old high school classmate that recently retired from a career as a social worker and right now she works at the local food bank which from what very little I saw appears to be a local non profit organization in the community it exists in.

While I don't know where the money comes from, I hope that most of it is local because I am an ardent supporter of grass roots community activity. There's a lot to be said for it.

One other thing, too. When a non profit outfit meets their aim they can simply either change their mission and keep serving the community in a different way or simply fold up shop until the need they were fulfilling comes around again. When the feds start something it seems to be forever.

Look at the federal wool subsidy. It was so there would be wool available for army uniforms in time of war. Thay haven't used wool in decades but the subsidy is still there.

Local grass roots organizations can move a whole lot faster and custon fit things for the specific needs of the community. They can work with each other and because they are working at a community level which is more personal they tend to share similar goals and are less prone to the complexities of empire building and politics. While these things probably do exist at a local level they are in no way as nasty as the dirty in-fighting that goes on in Washinton.

If the feds managed a local food bank there would be a whole lot of lazy staffers from somewhere else just sitting around doing nothing but collecting fat government paychecks and brushing off the people that they were hired to serve.

The next thing that would likely have to happen is that there would be massive paperwork to account for every can of beans that hit the shelves and we all know that those beans would have to meet the exacting government specifications before they can be handed out to some poor slob that just needs a few things until payday a few days from now.

Now because those beans are awaiting a government inspection of some sort to make sure they contain the proper nutrition they would simply sit on the shelf unissued and the poor slob that needed them would most likely be sent home hungry with a bunch of promises that in 60 days the official government report would be in so they could release them for consumption.

Most likely the local food bank can simply hand the guy a can of beans, loan him an opener and give him a plastic spoon and send him on his way, admonishing him to toss the empty can in the basket outside and not leave it in the parking lot for someone else to pick up. Laugh all you want, but that's efficiency. The man was hungry, the man was fed. It doesn't get more efficient than that.

The food bank my classmate works for gets a lot of the stuff from donations from both businesses and individuals. If someone comes in and applies for aid they are most likely going to leave with at least a few things to get them by. It would not surprise me to hear one of the workers there ask a food donor if she would mind dropping a bag of grub off to Old Mrs. So and So on the way home. Grass roots organizations can be that informal---and efficient.

Of course, if the government ran it there would be a deuce n' half truck standing by to see that the poor old woman got here bag of groceries delivered and there would have to be a truck driver with a CDL standing by to do this errand. Halfway to Mrs. So and So's house the driver would have to stop for his mandated lunch or coffee break and that'd kill another hour.

If I know my classmate I would be surprised to find out that every so often she didn't stuff a few bags into her car and drop them off on the way home at not much cost to anyone as she was headed that way, anyhow.

In short there are an awful lot of things that can be taken care of far more efficiently and far cheaper by local programs.

Quite frankly I wish the feds would go out of the damned charity business and go back to running the country more like a business and get us back into the black again. It seems that most of their charitable projects simply either do not work or are to big, cumbersome and slow to act or are so full of pork that it costs millions to do what a church or non profit organization can do for somebody's pocket change if left to a local control.

It would work a whole lot better and be a whole lot cheaper.

This reminds me. I ought to give the church a call and see if they are still making dinner a couple of times a month for the homeless shelter. I've been a little lax on things lately and I ought to get back on the stick and keep my right to complain by trying to do something about it to keep my bitching rights current.

After all, if you ain't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

That is, of course, unless you are government because if you are the government then you are the problem.

my other blog is:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Every time someone in my travels suggests

that the government do something I generally go along with it for a while and ask for details and who would benefit from it. I play pretty sympathetic and act like the idea is a good one until I tire and then I blow the entire thing out of the water by asking one single little question.

Where are you going to get the money for this?

That generally blows the entire thing out of the water like a torpedo hitting a Liberty ship full of TNT if the person has even a quarter of a brain. If they are clueless, they look at me like I'm nuts and say, "We'll get it from the government."

Truth is that the feds do not own so much as one thing red cent. They get every nickel they have from the poor bastard that wakes up in the morning and goes to work. Every payday he looks at his check stub to see how much he has coughed up to the feds to give away to someone else. More often than not the someone else is somebody that doesn't deserve it.

I used to go to a certain church and just about every single time the church wanted to raise money for something one of the members would ask if we could apply for a government grant. I let this slide for quite a while until I grew tired of it.

Finally I asked Jimmy why he proposed the church resort to outright cowardly thievery. He went into shock and demanded to know what I meant by my comment. I told him that he didn't have enough moxie to pick up a gun or a knife and jackroll some poor slob for his wallet and that he was proposing having the government do the robbing of the poor joe by making him pay even more taxes.

Of course, if we are talking a federal grant here, this means the people in Idaho or Mississippi are being fleeced to help support some church in suburban Pennsylvania that they do not even know exists.

Fortunately the Pastor of that church was pretty sharp and thoughtful and I saw a look of enlightment on his face. He looked at Jimmy and told him that asking for government money wouldn't be the right thing to do.

A lot of things seemed to go over Jimmy's head so he wound up being pretty much ignored. Like the time I showed up with a bunch of venison for the monthly night we fed a local homeless shelter. A lot of the churchgoers were not hunters and commented that the homeless guys would turn their nose up at venison.

My comment is that if they didn't eat it then they really were not hungry.

The woman that was the cook told the naysayers that she'd be surprised to see a spoonful of it left. (She was right. The venison disappeared in a nanosecond and several of the guys asked if they were going to serve it again.)

Jimmy then suggested that the venison might have been poached. I looked at him and dryly told him that 'poaching is a Saxon thing. You wouldn't understand'. He immediately demanded an explaination.

"FIrst you put on your green tights," I explained. "Then you get a green hat with a pheasant feather in it and get your longbow and check your arrows for straightness and then grab Little John and off you go. Ya gotta be sneaky because if King John gets wind you get hung."

It went over his head again but did draw an awful lot of chuckles.

Truth is the church managed to feed all the guys at the local homeless shelter a decent meal for about a buck a plate, and maybe even less. When I supplied the venison it was a lot less. All of this came from local sources and didn't cost somebody in Idaho or Kansas anywhere else. It came from local donations and volunteer labor.

Of course, it the feds managed it they would spend millions on bureaucracy and equipment and it would be months before they ever got a single meal served. The food would have to meet government specifications and dieticians would have to approve everything to make sure everyone got the proper food groups. By the time it actually got served to anyone the whole process would cost so much a plate that it would be a whole lot cheaper just to give vouchers out to the homeless to eat $450 meal at a five star restaurant.

This latter may not be a bad idea. I can picture a group of homeless people clad in cast off clothes sitting down in Monsuier Pierre's French restaurant with a bunch of celebrities and other assorted limosine liberals, most of which would pick up and run. Then again, I can picture Bruce Willis sitting with them shooting the bull about the latest Steeler game and maybe taking a couple of them out with him after dinner straight down to the nearest ginmill, or maybe buying a case of beer and tailgating with them after dinner in the parking lot.

Bet you Prince Harry wouldn't bat an eyebrow. He'd find a couple that had been in the service and swap stories with them. Harry likes former GIs and is often seen gabbing with them when he's in the States.

But you can bet your ass that just about every other snooty uppity up in the joint would be crashing out the fire doors panic stricken and headed to their waiting limos in fear that some homeless guy would breathe on them. I wouldn't mind seeing that happen. I'd pay good money to watch Babs Striesand gasping in panic and busting through a fire door.

I think I am going to digress here and the hell with making a coherent post aboout the ineffiency of large governmant. I'll do that post later. I'll just write about the times I helped out at the homeless shelter.

It was interesting the way the thing was run and I know little about the politics or the way anything worked but the chow line although I did observe a few things. One night I got there early to watch the admissions process and they sort of checked people that were checking in for signs of drug or alcohol abuse. If you were high they did not let you in which was OK by me. The door person was pretty good at spotting anyone under the influence and took no guff.

Then there was a bedding issue where everyone there got issued bedding and they took it to the open barracks type of room and made their racks up. I could spot service veterans a mile away as they seemed to just whip right through the bed making process making neat hospital corners. One guy traded his fitted sheets for a set of flat sheets because he was uncomfortable making his rack up with them.

I saw one guy actually bounce a quarter off the bunk to insure it was tight enough. He actually borrowed a quarter to do this.

The non-vets tended to take forever to make their bunks and they looked a lot sloppier.

The conversations I overheard were interesting, too. There were really quite a few that were honestly looking for odd jobs to make a few bucks, while others wanted to know where the next handout was. I tended to ignore the latter and tried to help the former a bit and made a few suggestions.

It seemed to me that a few of the guys that were looking for jobs were not so much in need of a shelter so much as they were in need of a launching pad and a place to stay as they got back on their feet. One or two of them in particular interested me. One was a bull of a black man that looked like he could easily throw an anvil fifty yards. He also seemed to be pretty bright. I suggested he go down to the strip district and see if he could score any casual labor unloading fruit trucks.

The next month he saw me and told me he had struck out in the strip district but had scored a gig as a casual laborer at some warehouse nearby breaking down pallets after they were unloaded from trucks. He worked as he was needed and to insure he didn't miss a job he simply set up camp nearby and checked in several times a day. He was paid in cash for the days he worked.

I guess he made an impression of some sort on the boss man because he told me that as soon as there was a serious opening he'd get hired but only if he could figure out a way to get messages. I suggested he talk to the pastor of a couple of nearby churches and see if one of them would take messages for him until he could get on his feet. I recommended a Catholic church because I knew a lot of them had housekeepers and therefore the phone would be answered all day long.

This was before cell phones became inexpensive or the solution to this would have been a no-brainer.

I didn't see him the next month, but the month after that he showed up but not as an overnighter in the shelter. He was looking for someone.

What had happened is that someone had quit and that had made a regular job opening for him. He was no longer a casual, but a bona fide employee that was receiving a paycheck and was paying taxes. He had moved into a little room somewhere and his landlord would take messages for him. He had not come to get a place to stay or grab a meal. He had come because his boss had asked him to find someone else to take his place as a casual laborer.

There was one other thing, too. He had been homeless for a couple of years beforehand and wanted to know how to handle his taxes which were coming up. I told him that what I would do if I were him is simply go into an H&R Block and sit down for a free chat with one of the people there. Maybe someone would know what to do and how to explain things to the IRS. I figured the H&R Block people would know what to do and not fleece him too bad.

He was now on pretty sure footing and although he was unlikely to buy himself a Ferrari and an 8 bedroom house, he was taking care of himself, which is really all that matters. He had a job, a place to live and had gotten his pride back. He also must have been doing pretty well for his boss to send him out to find another guy to be a casual and replace him.

I didn't see him after that except for a chance meeting a few years later. I was downtown going to the County Building and we crossed paths at an intersection. He recognized me instantly and greeted me. We chatted briefly while we waited for the light to change.

He now had a halfway decent apartment and had salted some money away and had no car as he was a city guy and felt he really didn't need one at that point, preferring public transportation and walking. This was pretty viable for a city dweller.

He was running his own little crew, which he hired and fired and he asked me for one last piece of advice. He now had a steady girlfriend. I told him I wasn't touching that one with a ten-foot pole.

I'll admit this guy was an exception to most of the guys I met at the homeless shelter, but he was the most interesting one I met there. Most of them probaby wound up living under bridges and slept on gratings until they died at an early age.

Still, I enjoyed my trips to help out the church at the shelter and it confirmed my belief that the further down the feed chain you go the more efficient things are and that the answer is not big government but grass roots local programs.

my other blog is:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I really ought to tell the whole story about buying a bar and chain for my saw in Lowes the other day.

I had just bought a chain and a replacemant bar and I guess it was the wrong one so I was returning it for the right one. I was in the customer service/returns line and I was next at bat when the phone rang. I did know the clerk. He had a pretty good sense of humor.

A couple of months ago I asked him where the rope was because I needed a piece as a satety line for some roof work. When he asked me what I needed the rope for I treated him to a delightfully ficticious wild story about some whore four blocks away that I had done some gardening for in exchange of her letting me tie her up and abuse her for an afternoon. He thought it was pretty funny and cheerfully and suggested manila because it would be scratchier on her. He also suggested a couple of pretty good knots.
You gotta like a guy like that.

A glance told me who was calling and it brought out an immediate instinct. I was an artilleryman when I was in the army and was trained to do recon work. One of the things I learned about is targets of opportunity. I can take a single look at a situation in a heartbeat and exploit it thanks to good army training.

The person calling me I have known for years. We met through a website I frequent and I will vouch for the plain and simple fact that this man is incredibly intelligent, can think on his feet and is exceptionally quick witted. There's also something that ain't quite right with that boy. He's what I often call a poor sick puppy.

Needless to say this was an oppoortunity I could not pass up on so I answered the call instantly.

"Hi, Dave. You caught me at Lowes. I got the wrong chain saw bar and I'm returning it and trading it for the right one," I said. The phone was on speakerphone because I have had a few minor problems with it. I need a new one but keep putting it off. The volume control keeps readjusting itself so I generally leave it on speakerphone.

"Cool," he said. "Who you going to hack up this time?" was what he said.

'Ahhh, the damned paperboy missed my porch again and I had to get my feet wet on the dew. I've warned him about this before," I answered.
The guy before me had finished up and was leaving. He had heard this and I saw a bit of a smirk on his face. He knew what the conversation was about and like a lot of men he had a pretty good sense of humor. If he didn't think it was funny, at least he knew it was a crock.

I went to the front of the line and the clerk was trying desperately to keep a straight face. I quickly explained that I wanted to exchange the bar and chain and he started going through the necessary protocol. While he was, I returned to my call.

"I'll settle this tomorrow," I said into the phone.

"Didn't you hack the paperboy up a few years ago? What did the police do?" he asked.

"Yeah," I explained. "Same thing. He kept missing the porch so I fired up the saw and did a little job on him. His family was poor and figured that there was no good to come out of keeping me in jail so they dropped the criminal charges and went after me in civil court to make me pay the medical expenses."

"How'd that work out?" He asked.

"The judge threw it out. Said the plaintiff didn't have a leg to stand on," I replied. I looked at the glass case behind the clerk at the reflection of the woman behind me. Her face registered total horror. When I saw that I knew I had a pretty gullible one on the end of the line. She was clearly upset at what she heard.

A glance ahead at the clerk told me he was having a pretty damned hard time keeping it together. He'd be a lousy poker player. He looked like he was getting ready to wet his pants to keep from laughing.

I decided to set the hook.

"Lou told you about the little thugs running through the neighborhood selling magazines a coupla years back." I said.

"Yeah." he replied.

"They played on people for information and I just knew Louise down the street would tell them everything about the neighbors, what time they went to work, everything. She did, of course, so I parked my pickup three doors up and left the lights off for a couple of nights and sure enough, they broke in on me. Capped all five of them in the head with a surpressed .22 and stacked 'em in the basement. Next day I went to Homeless Depot and bought the chipper/shredder and ground them up. The extra green spots of the grass down back are a telltale giveaway there's a body buried there so I figured chipping them up was the way to go. Use a posthole digger instead of a shovel."

"Is that what you mixed with your mulch last year? he asked. Christ! You had the prettiest garden! The marigolds were huge and the zinnias were over four feet tall!"

A glance at the reflection told me the nosy woman was hyperventelating slightly. I knew she was convinced she was standing behind Charles Manson's kid brother. Her imagination was running at about Mach 4.

The clerk looked ready to explode. He said something about having a bladder ailment and took off like a shot for the man's room leaving me waiting there.

"You got it," I said into the phone. "It was a win-win. I had pretty flowers and the world was out five teenage druggies. Nobody misses kids like that. Nobody goes looking for them."

"Yeah, we're better off without them," he replied. "The 'every life is sacred' people just don't know how to think.Better we off the little crackheads early before they rob us blind."

"I 'spose. At least the paperboy will smarten up tomorrow," I answered.

"Yeah. Ever have anyone look for any of the kids?" he asked.

"Naw, but one morning while I was eating my cereal I had one of them staring at me from the milk carton," I replied. "He musta had a druggie kid sister that cared or somethin'. Probably a Northside crack whore."

"Cool. Hey, I'll swing by the house tomorrow," he said. "Check you later."

"Do that," I replied. "Later."

A minute or so later I saw the clerk step out of the men's room, look at myself and the woman and bust out laughing again and duck back into the men's room. A minute later he emerged a little more composed. In the reflective glass I saw the wide eyed woman was still taking a series of short, rapid breaths. She was really keyed up.

The clerk returned, finished the paperwork and I took my chainsaw parts and the reciept and wandered out feeling pretty good about myself. I had made the clerk's day and left him to deal with the mess.


The following day I needed a piece of wire and wandered in. As I passed the service desk I saw the clerk I had dealt with yesterday glance, recognize me and laugh outright and he came out from behind the counter and chased me down.

He had a hard time trying to explain to me that he had quite a rough time keeping the woman that was behind me from dialing 911. He was trying to be serious about things but kept busting out laughing.

He asked me when I was going to grow up and I told him that I had. After all, when I was his age I was a serious young man. I told him that the years between about 20 and 50 are wasted being serious and worrying about all of the wrong things for all of the wrong reasons and then asked him when HE was going to grow up.

He walked away with a thoughtful look, but still smiling.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

off to take care of things

wELL, i AM GOING TO HAVE TO FIND A way to disarm 'caps lock' which has been a pain in the neck since Day One.

I am now writing in a little dinky netbook instead of the Combat Laptop asnd it isn't all that hot.

Yesterday was a day I will call the Day of Good Manners.

I only had to deal with a couple of rude people which is a joy.

As I rapidly age I have gotten to the point where I think it would be nice to have anyone that wanted one to carry a small pistol because back when most men did everyone was a lot more polite.

Several years ago I stuck an empty holster on a pistol belt and went about my business. Thhe holster had flp on it so you had to look carefully to see if it was empty. It led to an interesting day. Nobody was rude to me that day.

While I do not think the answer to someone lipping off is summary execution it would be a nicer place to live if rude people were brought up short and had it made clear to them that their behavior would not be tolorated.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I almost got the boot from Wally World yesterday.

They were making a TV commercial and I commented that they were doing it all wrong.

"That woman doesn't belong there. She's a hottie. She belongs playing a MILF on an internet porn site," I said.

"What do you mean by that?" demanded an angry manager.

"This is Wally World," I said. "That woman doesn't have even a dab of cottage cheese on her thighs. Get yourself a porker with an ass four axe handles wide and enough cottage cheese on her thighs to stock the entire dairy cabinet. Make it look realistic."

He started to chew me out but some guy about my age wearing a Marine T-shirt interrupted him. "He's right," said the Marine. "She doesn't look like she belongs here."

Both of us got told to butt out.

About ten minutes later in dairy they were photographing and I almost got caught on film but I covered my face with my list, and changed course and went behind the cameraman. "I'm wanted by the feds for arson," I said to him.

He didn't bat an eyelash. "I'll crop you out," he replied.

my other blog is:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today willl be a day of major business.

And I will be pretty busy starting now

my other blog is:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Well, SD came in yesterday

After a couple of months, 2 SASEs. 2 QSL cards and a letter some doctor in SD never sent me a QSL for SD which really had me angery. Last Tuesday I found anothe ham from SD that was on an internet forum and he agreed to work me right then and there.

We both turned out rigs on to a 20 meter frequency and instant QSO and the following morning he postman in SD recieved a QSL card marked for delivery to me.

Most likely this guy was a regular working stiff.

Anyway there are a couple of ARRL QSL card checkers nearby and I am going to take them there next time I get a chance and see if I can get an official WAS certificate and pin.

Yesterday I dropped three trees and had to deal with major stupidity as when I dropped the big one it unexpectedly decided not to follow the direction of pull and it nestled itself into the tree next to it. It was touch and go for a while and when I shouted to Neighbor Bob that I needed his Come-Along he reached into his pocket and ate a big, giant, new and improved sized stupid pill. He decided , Hey! I've got a good idea! I've got FOUR WHEEL DRIVE! and drove his pickup into the back yard where, of course, it promptly got stuck.

Of course, there is nothing quite as stupid as the human male when it comes to getting a truck stuck. I had a tree flapping in the breeze that could have torn up all kinds of stuff if it wasn't brought to the ground fast, yet like an awful lot of males the entire planet stops when he gets a truck stuck. Unsticking it becomes Top Priority.

You could be fifty yards from the hospital with a wife who has just had her water break but the average guy will stop right then and there and start the process for getting a truck unstuck.

This, of course is stupidity. Nobody is going to steal the truck and it will be there forever unless you unstick it. If it is not in the way there simply is no reason to get in a dither about it but an awful lot of men do.

Ther is no way to convince a lot of men otherwise. Logic does not work here. The reasoning is strictly emotional. When you explain to a guy with a stuck truck that there are Rebel forces en-route, cannibals a quarter mile away and closing, and three alligators headed your way led by a pair of Grizzly Bears and that you have to get out ot there, the average guy will look at you incredulously and say,, "But my truck is stuck!"

The easiert thing to do was to unstick the truck and pray the Wind Gods kept silent.

I finally got back on task after I yanked him out of the mud and chewed him out for being stupid enough to try and make a simple project of getting a come along into a circus. I also chewed him out because he KNOWS you never bring a truck down back until at least mid June until the land dries up completely.

Thhe Wind Gods, of course, gently pushed the tree into the crotch of another tree and I had to make a couple af very risky cuts to dislodge it and I got lucky and finally got it to fall where I wanted it to.

The other two I felled without incident. All three trees got de-limbed and bucked up and right now I am tired but have a day's work to get done as there is yet another tree I have to deal wiht and will do so as soon as I finish here.

I also have to get grub today which is another pain in the ass because I have to get it a couple of days before I go to sea so as to be able to freeze a lot of it hard.  Almost every single time I plan this for Sunday someone somewhere suggests I do it at the last minute which, of course I can not do.

When I say so, I get a confused look followed by, "Well, I don't understand."

Anyway I have a busy day today and it is likely that everyone and their first cousin twice removed will want me to do something else as an add-to and they will be upset when I point ot to them that they had almost two weeks for me to help them.

Truth is, that's just too damned bad. I can only do what I can do.

my other blog is:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Is ham radio obsolete?

I had someone the other day tell me that with the event of cell phones, the internet and so on that ham radio is obsolete. In one way he is right. So long as things are up and running there really is no need for amateur radio. For most hams is is nothing more than a hobby most of the time.

On the other hand, when the system falls, and it does on a local basis from time to time ham radio provides a pretty good form of emergency communication.

Last night I was listening to a couple of hams ragchewing about a couple of tornados that clobbered Oklahoma a while back and managed to take out phone service and cell towers. It also took out a couple of commercial radio stations.

What happened is that the hams simply set up operations and set up a couple of message centers and helped out the local authorities.

Some of the message centers were pretty instrumental in getting medical and rescue crews to where they were needed and also provided a few of the simpler things for the locals.

One of the simple things they do is pass word to other hams where there still is phone service and have them make phone calls to relatives of the people in the stricken area that they are OK. It is a simple thing that really has no immediate bearing on the lives or deaths of people in stricken areas but it sure does relieve worrying relatives.

They also pass word on to the locals of areas to avoid such as torn up roads and missing bridges, which to the average joe are good things to know and to rescue and other emergency crews are pretty important things to know.

There are a number of other things about hams that should be taken into consideration, too. One is that they are not government and therefore can simply set up shop as they see fit without having some big shot authorize and organize. They don't have to get the OK from some feedbag in Washington or the state capitol to be up and running. There's an awful lot to be said for that. They can be on the spot before the smoke even begins to clear while it can take government days or even weeks to get something started.

They can also custom fit things to the situation and the needs of the local people. The government generally arrives with some sort of one size fits all plan and don't always take the needs of the locals into consideration because they are generally more interested in making headlines and adding statistics in the never ending quest for more government money.

It is also a lot nicer getting a hand from a neighbor instead of some government bureaucrat that doesn't have anything invested in the neighborhood.

I heard one of the interesting stories from Katrina. Someone showed up at a message center trying to get word out to their family that they were OK and went to a message center where he found a 12 year old boy sitting there. The kid simply took the message from the guy, picked up the mike and sent word to another ham that picked up his phone and called the persons relatives. No sweat.

Ham radio is not obsolete so long as Mother Nature can still topple cell towers and tear things up.

Which leads to what I said earlier in this post about government one size fits all disaister relief. Sometimes I think that people would be better off if the government simply cut back on all to the usual crap they show up with.

Much of the usual FEMA and other federal crap ought to be turned over to the National Guard because the NG is state level to begin with and the sub units are little more than local. Just about every city has an NG unit of some sort. Guardsmen are our friends and neighbors. They know the ins and outs of an area a whole lot better than the feds do.

Same holds true for hams. They are just local people and because of that hams are a whole lot better to serve the needs of the local community.

Another thing is that there are a number of nets out there that can turn around and be put to use in a moment's notice. I can think of a couple. The YLISSB (Young Ladies International Sideband Society) and the OMISS (Old Man's Internationsal SIngle Sideband) are two.

While these two nets meet on different frequencies daily and either ragchew or play the "Worked all States" game, this is little more than a fun way to train. One call and either of these nets can and will turn into a pretty good team of message forwarders spread all over the country.

Grass roots. No tax dollars 'at work' here.

Anyway, ham radio may be quaint, a bit old fashioned and seemingly hokey to many but the truth is that it works when nothing else does.

my other blog is:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Well, yesterday I took another tree down

which kind of sucked but really had to be done. Last year a storm damaged it and it really should have been taken down a while ago. I dropped it, de-limbed it and bucked up the trunk. I started at about 0900 and was finsihed at about 1500 which is an awful lot of time to take to drop a tree and buck it up.

An awful lot of time was spent diddling with the chain saw partially because I didn't plan ahead as I simply woke up and decided to just fall the damned thing. As soon as I got started I realized the chain was dull so I swapped it out and dropped the tree in pretty good time.

It was in a location where it really didn't matter which way it fell so I didn't bother roping it. I did, however cut a  slightly oversized notch in it to drop it in the direction that would make it easiest to haul the bucked up sections off. Of course, the damned thing fell where it wanted because I didn't rope it off.

While notching it generally works, it is not foolproof. Anyway, I got it down all right and got a couple of limbs off before I ran out of gas and stopped to go get some. WHile I was at it I got a new bar and another spare chain, the new chain was defective so I had to return it.

While I was returning it a friend called me on the cell phone and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was returning a chain because it had broken just as I was getting ready to chop up the paperboy for leaving my paper on the lawn.

Of course, the clerk snickered but the woman behind me got worked up big time to the point I am surprised she didn't dial 911. I haven't seen anyone get so worked up since I asked an eBay seller if the cattle prod she was selling would get my grandkids to eat their vegetables. I got reported to eBay for that one. They threatened to take away my birthday or some damned thing. I think they threatened to close my account for ten minutes or something.

Once I asked a Lowe's clerk for some rope to strangle the paperboy and he dropped what he was doing and showed me how to make a garrote out of some thin cable thay sold. It was a delightful conversation that drifted into the proper way to tie up a sex partner. I suppose if any customer had overheard that conversation they would have either laughed like hell or reported the guy and gotten him canned, still it was delightfully sick.

It was one thing after another and finally things came together and I got the damned job done. It is down and cut up.

Today I'll drag the chipper/shredder down and grind up the limbs.

There are 5 more trees that have to get taken out this summer but none of them are in a position where I can simply drop them. I'll have to get a pro in because they are going to have to be taken down in sections as one slip and there is likely to be major house damage.

My guess is that most of these evergreens were planted about the time I was born, about 60 years ago and they were nice and provided a lot of shade and privacy but now that they are mature and too damned big they are a liability.

Anyway, my summer is planned. I have a lot to do. I am going to be a chain saw wielding tree murderer.

As I post this early I woke up ahead of my usual schedule and made breakfast and finished up the last of the Amish thick sliced bacon. I fried it up slowly and enjoyed it.

Now I am fed I guess I'll just have to wait about three hours until the witching hour of 0900 before I haul the chipper down back.

The chipper has lasted me over 15 years and is living on borrowed time. I wonder what I am going to do when it finally craps out. Right now I am at the point where it really makes poor financial sense to cough up another $700 for a new one as I am well along enough in years so anything new I buy will outlast me. I won't get my money's worth out of it.

I have a few tools that I bought in my late 20s and 30s that have been used and still work well. I spent top dollar for them and got good service out of them. Good tools are worth the money.

Still, a new chipper/shredder sounds like a pretty poor investment to me at this point.

We'll see if it holds up for the season.

That's all for today.

my other blog is:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Well, we'll see what happens to the property tax

Went in for an informal hearing and pled our case. The guy agreed with is and when I gave him my reasoning. He knew right away that I knew what I was talking about and he agreed with me that the county wants to tax me on nonexistant living space.

Anyway, it was interesting and we put together out package and in about a month we'll see how it goes and see if we have to file a formal appeal.

In other gnus, I planted the rest of the marigolds and now have 288 of the little guys in my yard. I need another dozen and will snag them and put them in. While last year's were from seeds and grew into giant colorful trees, I do not think these will grow as large as last years jungle.

Last year I went all out.

There are now 6 trees that have to go and I think I am only capable of taking one, or maybe two of them down safely.

While smaller evergreens can be quite an asset on a property, as they get huge they can become quite a dangerous liability if they are close enough to the house to fall on it. Evergreens can fall in a storm without warning and most people would be amaxed to find out how much a tree weighs. The damage can be tremendous and can easily be avoided by removing the tree.

In a bit I'll fire up the chain saw and haul it down back and take the tree I can safely fall and drop it and buck it up. Chainsaw madness will be the order of the day. This tree will probably wind up being piled up and left to rot as it is a pain in the neck to haul it up front.

The other one in the lower 40 will suffer the same fate but the four in the yard itself will be bucked up and stacked next to the street and will have a sign on them offering them as firewood to anyone that wants it.

While most people will not burn evergreen in their home fire places there are a lot of people that will most likely snap it up little by little for recreational use. A lot of people in this area have camps.

Of course, after it is all gone there will be those that come by and tell me that they would have taken it all away for free if they had known. While it is out there there will also be someone that will ask me to save some of it for him because he has no room for it at home. Sorry, Charlie. First come, first served. I want to get rid of it.

Several years ago I had a mountain of wood chips to get rid of. I was smart and put them on a tarp. Instead of taking them down to the lower forty I put them in the front yard with a sign that said,"Free. U-haul".

They stayed there for a couple of days until I changed the sign to read that anyone could have them for either a case of Heineken or a bottle of Irish. I came home and the chips were gone and there was both a case of Heineken AND a bottle of Crested Ten on the doorstep. The note with the bottle said that the bottle had been in their house a while and they were afraid it might have gone bad so they left the beer in case.

That was pretty cool if you ask me.

I'll leave you with that.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guess who's back?

My favorite trash guy. Cool!

I saw the truck coming by and went outside to snag the can after he emptied it and there he was. Now I don't have to worry too much about getting rid of stuff.

That was the only good thing that happened yesterday. It was a mess. Every time I tried to do something the world went to hell. It went from the ridiculous to the sublime.

When it would stop raining and I would go out to do yardwork it would rain again and finally where I got to Kinko's to get some papers copied there was a power outage. No lie! The power dropped just aas my papers were getting scanned. It was out for a while so I had to return about an hour later. Third world stuff!

If there was nothing but days like yesterday to look forward to I think I would just jump off a damned bridge.

This is coupled with the property reassessment that is a total ripoff because according to the county calculations I am going to have to pay for space in my house that simply does not exist. I am fighting city hall today. Wish me luck.

This whole reassessment is the result of a couple of school districts whining for more money so they can produce less.

An awful lot of teachers are being grossly overpaid these days because they are baby sitters. A lot of them should be paid day care worker wages for all the good they do. They just sit on kids and send them off to the next grade come June.

Back in the day if you didn't pass the muster they held you back a year.

I came close to taking 13 years to graduate from high school because of bad grades and I graduated with a couple of kids that had been held back twice and that took 14 years to graduate from grade 12.
I do not mind paying for good teachers but a lot of kids coming out of high school today can not even make change for a buck. Yet the teachers want more money for fewer results.

There is no tenure in the private sector. If I screw up or fail to produce I am gone.

I suppose if I had it to do over again I might become a teacher. And why not?

Over the years I have had to deal with teachers and they do not like me whatsoever because I have a pretty bad habit of telling them to go urinate up a hawser when they carry on about their self-importance.

Those that can, do. Those that can't teach. This that can do neither administrate.

Adios for today.

Today has to be better.

Wish me luck at city hall.

Pic, out


Shortly after I wrothe this post late yesterday afternoon I managed to QSO South Dakota again and I think he's sending me a QSL card and I can put my Worked All States project to bed. I also ragchewed for a while with another ham I have met only on the internet but has been very helpful to me so the day finally got salvaged. Thank God for small miracles.

my other blog is: