Sunday, October 30, 2011

Travel Essentials

Off to Sin City at O Dark 100. Driving what is called a "High Security" vehicle so it is straight through. No overnight parking. Fly back the next day.

Miss the days when my "kit" was a small shaving kit and some clothes in an AWOL bag.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Redneck Woman

PROBLEM: Snow laden trees branch in danger of breaking. Two story house. 1/10 pitch roof too dangerous to climb

REDNECK WOMAN‘S SOLUTION. Five rounds of 12 gauge Pheasant loads into the snow laden branches, thereby removing the snow.

PROBLEM: Solved.

Don’t mess with my sister. She will hurt you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obama"s Fault?

We have been enjoying 80 degree weather along the Front Range. Yesterday, a storm came through dropping 8 or more inches of wet, almost cement, snow. Today Obama visited Denver. I'm blaming him for the mess.

Other than catching trees still with leaves, a heavy moisture storm like this is good for our parched soil. Going from 80 to snow kills off a lot of grasshoppers, etc., which will be helpful next summer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011


We were swapping stories at the early morning senior coffee McDonalds meeting.

The topic was winter driving and inept and ignorant drivers. Everyone at the table was, of course, a total professional. My contribution.

Prior to Interstate 70, going west from Denver you had two choices, US 6 or US 40. They merged from just East of Idaho Springs to just West of Downeville where they split. Drivers could then choose 11,990 foot Loveland Pass US 6 or 11,307 foot Berthoud Pass US 40.

Downeville had a large and prosperous gas station with a large service shop and wrecker service. Many drivers would stop there and have their tire chains installed. The workers would put the vehicle on lifts making installation easier and faster.

One winter evening in 1968, I stopped in Downeville for coffee, before going West over Berthoud Pass, and noticed a shinny black Eldorado up on a lift. The mechanic was putting chains on the rear tires. The owner was closely watching.

Being a helpful sort of smart ass, I pointed out the Eldorado was front wheel drive.

“Young man”, said the owner, “THIS is a CADILLAC!” Behind the owner, I could see the mechanic give a slight shrug. “Oh,” I said and kept on walking, leaving the damn fool on his own.

Advice for those who have never used tire chains. If you have access to an air hose, or a station with one is nearby, let some air out of your tires. Put on the chains as tight as you can by hand then air up the tires.

Oh, and know which of your wheels are powered!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The "My First Car" Meme

OK, I’ll play.

Ranch kid, so I grew up driving in fields and country roads. If the deputies happened to see you, and it was a farm vehicle, they would just wave.
Driving something else into town was different.

A great uncle I worked for in the summer had a ex Marine Corps M-2-4-233 one ton 4x4, no top, and no seat upholstery left. At some point, surplus 24 ply aircraft tires had been mounted. The plies were slowly peeling off but there were so many plies the tires held air. My great uncle would send me to “town” to get a load of bailing wire. Coming back one day with a load, a Colorado Courtesy Patrol officer (State Trooper) pulled along side me as I chugged along at 35 mph or so with tire cords flapping. Here was a 12 year old kid, sitting on two boards over a seat frame, no license plates, no windshield, and most certainly no current safety sticker, operating a motor vehicle. We made eye contact. He just shook his head and accelerated up the highway.

At the time, at age 14, you could get a license to ride a powered scooter. Two cousins had one they didn’t ride because they were old enough to drive cars.
Early 1950 vintage Sears Allstate, probably built by Cushman. Ah, freedom. Not practical for Colorado winters unless you are very stubborn and 14.

First car, 1951 Ford. Flathead V-8, manual 3 speed with overdrive. The previous owner had damaged the right front fender. I didn’t care, drove it for three years, and sold it for more than I paid. I could fix anything that went wrong with it with help from my father or uncles.

When I got it, the rear end was lowered, the shift lever had been moved to the left side of the column (allowing you to keep your arm around your date) and the dome light painted with nail polish. Nice pink glow! Got rid of the lowering blocks to improve the handling. Kept the other modifications. The one serious problem was the vacuum powered windshield wipers. They only got enough vacuum at low rpm. Fitted an electric fuel pump which had a vacuum boost on one side and fuel pump on the other side. Took at little plumbing to get everything working but I could both drive fast and see; a good thing!

Push button AM radio. All buttons set to KOMA, OKC, or XELO, Chihuahua, MX, the only stations we could receive at night that had good (teenager) music.

"Yes indeed folks, get your 3D framed wall mounted picture of our savior. His eyes follow you everywhere. Just send $5 to XELO, Chihuahua, Mexico for a 3D picture of our savior autographed by he himself! Yes, $5, XELO, Chihuahua, Mexico."

Monday, October 17, 2011


All this with a straight face?

Forest for Trees

One blogger I follow sends out occasional humor emails. A recent one had some huge business blunders which reminded me of a not so major blunder I participated in.

When the US Navy started building Sub Base Bangor on Hoods Canal in Washington State, one of the first projects was 100+ units of family housing. Basically, a condo project.

Like forty or more bidders, my company was a player. When the bids came out, Morrison Knudsen, Boise, ID was low bidder by 5%. MK??? Highways, bridges, airports, big projects were what they were known for.

Turned out we all over looked the timber rights. We saw all the damn trees that needed to be removed. Someone from MK saw a prime stand of old growth Douglas Fir.

You can guess the rest. MK sublet the entire project to us dumb shits, including the logging (there are a few logging companies in the Pacific Northwest), shuffled paper, and made a fat profit. We took the crumbs.

In later years, MK fell victim to their own mistakes.,9171,982764,00.html

Hope I never forget the lesson of not seeing the forest because all the trees are in the way.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jiggle Joint

The Situation. Three men, all seniors, in a Southern City, with six hours to kill.

The Solution. Bass Pro Shop.

One man’s wife calls him on his cell phone. Conversation goes much like this.

Man, “Hello honey” (Caller I.D.)

Wife, “Where are you? What are you doing?”

Man, “We are waiting on the client, have some time to kill, so we are walking around a Bass Pro Shop.”

Wife, “You are in a Bass Pro Shop with OUR credit card!”

Man, “We drove by three titty bars on the way here. It was Bass Pro Shop or one of them.”

Wife, “The titty bars would be a lot cheaper than you loose in a Bass Pro Shop!”

Yeah, age has caught up with us.

Dems Respond to Fast and Furious

Both my United States Senators and my District Congressman are Democrats. I've written all three, by email and snail mail, about this issue and have received zero response. What a surprise!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why We Care

Forced to spend part of the last two days with the grandkids. Two of the younger ones made this "art" for grandpaw. Now on a filing cabinet in my office area.

At my stage in life, my main concern is the world passed on to my children and their children.

Friday, October 7, 2011

FEMA Prison Camp Voucher

WARNING: Long Rant

December 2008 was the start of this blog.

To date, there have been 299 postings. Number 300 must be, to the best of my ability, memorable. Should I not already be on numerous shit lists, this should put me over the top. Or not; maybe I’m flattering myself and am not, in the overall scheme of things, important enough to notice! Just a trivial, bitter, clinger living in a flyover state.

The Lightbringer, he of the most transparent administration, seems determined to use class warfare to get reelected. This may well work because it has a huge amount of truth to draw upon. Set aside for a moment, his ethical lapses, flip flops, Chicago style politics, etc., please, and look at the target, the financial industry. (We will ignore the money he has taken, and continues to take, from them).

Under George W. Bush, we citizens got royally fucked. The principal regulatory agency, FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) staff was reduced from 21,000 to 6,000.

Bair's FDIC – 106 Banks Down, 400 To Go! | › Online Forex Trading BlogCached
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The FDIC wasn’t alone. One trick to gut a regulatory agency is to not fund portions of their operations.

Now I know we are over regulated, yada, yada, but the Great Depression was caused, in large part, by crooked bankers. I maintain the bulk of all regulations in this country STARTED in response to crooked dealings. Once in place, the self generating and self sustaining interests of the administrative staff starts distorting things.

The Bush family are no strangers to financial shenanigans. Ever hear of the Savings and Loan mess, circa 1980-1990?

Some say George W. Bush was the most scandalous president ever. Stiff competition there. For those who have the time, 400 scandals from his administration are here.

I’m Colorado country. Damn all sleazy Texas slickers!

Now along comes the Tea Party. Great stuff! Then comes the money folks. Congresscritters elected with the help of the Tea Party activists slide over to Grover Norquist. Who elected this asshat? Not you and I. He works for the moneyed interests, not you and I. Still, look at all the newby politicians breaking a leg to get in line to sign the pledge (and get the money). Oh, WSF, you exaggerate. Really, about Jack Abramoff’s old buddy? Fuck me running!

Colorado produced one politician I greatly admire, Ken Gordon. I certainly don’t agree with all of his politics. I certainly think he is honest, courageous, and will stand by his principals and promises. He has some advice to those who aspire to public office.

He lost his last two tries. I think most voters said, “Yeah, boy, Go! Go! Go!” then voted for Rudy Russo.

Rudy Russo, Kurt Russell’s character from my favorite movie, USED CARS, explaining to his boss why he wanted to be in politics (sorry, no YouTube):

There's an opening for state senate. The machine's looking for a fresh face, somebody with no axes to grind - - who wants to tell the people what they want to hear. They're looking for me! I talked to the party chairman last week. Sixty grand buys me the nomination.

Sixty grand, huh? That's all it takes nowadays?

No, that's like a down payment. Once I’m in, i go fifty-fifty on all the graft i take in. Politics, luke!

In total sincerity, I ask if there is anyone in Congress that would stand up to Gordon’s criteria?

Let us look at another grenade with the pin pulled, Social Security. First, be clear that FDR and the Democrats DID NOT CREATE SOCIAL SECURITY! The Republican Party created Social Security and shoved it down FDR’s throat. LBJ raided Social Security to pay for the Vietnam War.

He got away with it and his model has been used to raid trust funds every since. There are your crumbling infrastructures, your antiquated air traffic control system, etc., as a result.

George W. wasn’t the first to suggest privatizing Social Security. That towering figure of moral principals, Bill Clinton, floated the idea. So far, it hasn’t happened. Some in the financial world are saying, “Damn, there goes the second Beaver Creek trophy house!”

Another grenade with the pin pulled, the Post Office. Turns out the Post Office is really in the black. The revenue produced is misused.

Do any of you see a parallel between the Wall Street protesters and the Vietnam War protesters? Is this the left’s Tea Party? Good to see Oath Keepers and others getting involved in trying to reach out to the protestors and not try to marginalize them as hippies, etc. Now, the protestors aren’t sure what they want but they are sure their country’s financial institutions, most assuredly including the Federal Reserve, has been fucking them and their parents forever. Don’t discount the impact they can have on this country.

Those of us old enough to have come of age in the Vietnam era know this country was changed by protestors. Many of those same protestors are now in the Obama Administration.

Back to the upcoming election. The Lightbringer has a huge war chest and a solid target. Things will get interesting.

What am I personally going to do? Not join any “woe is me” pity parties. Will do what I always do. Work the local political structure and keep pushing my views. Donate a little money, here and there.

OK, WSF, is there anyone you like? I liked and voted for Gerald Ford. For a time, I was a John Edwards supporter - appealed to the Populist side of me. (As did a lady who was a huge Edwards fan. Politics does make bed fellows. Yes, I‘ve low standards). Today’s group? Megh.

Thank you, should you have persevered this far with this rant. STAT counters tell me many people look at my blog from all over the world. I thank each and everyone of you. I write this for me, some family members, and a few friends. If you enjoy it, or are outraged, etc., thank you for reading.

The photo? Look which hand is “over the heart”. Photoshoped? Damn good job of changing the suit buttons and wedding rings!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Electrons - Friend or Foe?

My daughter in law (FDIL) keeps telling me electrons are my friends. She is my go to person for tech stuff. Electrons may be my friends but I’m very suspicious of the wisdom in molesting them.

Past postings have referred to a Honda store where I sold used cars in the mid 90’s.

This store was built to mimic a Nordstrom store. Every conceivable upgrade and computer system was built in. The service department operated 24/7. The place cost $80,000 a month to operate.

The sales staff were recruited along the Yuppie college graduate profile and were expected to dress accordingly. The owners still had used cars to sell; the dark side of the dealership. They recruited (with substantial cash incentives) a few proven hard nosed used car salesmen, among them, myself. I didn’t fit in well but invested in the wardrobe and cleaned up my language.

Everything revolved around the computer system. At every turn, you logged on and updated your status. First problem, I was issued employee number 666. May have been appropriate but put off some customers. Was told the computer wouldn’t allow them to change the number. My response, terminate me and then rehire me with a different number. After much bitching by the administration, this was done.

Some genius decided all of us needed to be computer operators. You had to take, and pass, periodic tests, on the computer. If not, you couldn't’t log on.
So one day I am taking a test and came upon baud rates. WTF? Called over one of the managers. “What is this b__s___”? “Well, if the computer goes down you need to know how to restart it.” My response. “If the ____ computer goes down, I’ll call some computer nerd. I’m done, I’m not doing anymore tests.” “But you have to finish! You have the computer tied up and nobody can use it until you finish.” “Yeah, you better get somebody here to finish the test, I’m done.” And so it was. Never took another test.

Why wasn’t I fired? Try 20 cars sold per month with an average gross profit of $1,500 after pack. Was I resented by most managers? Probably, but didn’t care.

One wonderful day the best money making psycho manager I ever worked for called. “Yeah, I’m back from Montana, and running ________ Ford. Get your ass over here.” Ah, old school, trucks, Fords, Ford Red Carpet Leases, huge used inventory, and a manager with his shit together, drug/alcohol issues under control, and a deal working machine! Hog heaven.

For your amusement, my favorite scene from my favorite movie:

With computers, I wanted to be able to do two things. One, work deals (price, trade, down payment, monthly payment) and two, enter information and print paperwork. On those occasions I was forced at gun point to be the finance manager, learned what I needed. As to the rest, we could hire competent computer operators fair easier (and cheaper) than good salespeople. As the years passed, I learned more. Internet advertising, web sites, etc., made learning a necessity. I still am not a fan; just a user. I still don’t know baud rates from gigashits, nor do I want to.

The last time my cell phone died, I was en route to see youngest son, FDIL, grandkids, and grand dog (not necessarily in that order; it is a package deal). FDIL took me to the Verizon store and selected a phone for me. Took a few minutes until the salesman got it through his arrogant head his sole function in the transaction was paperwork. Phone is still in service and I can actually use 15% of it’s capabilities, thanks to FDIL’s torture, er, tutoring.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bringing in the Hay

This past weekend my sister’s “daughter’ (once married to her step son - still a daughter to my sister) asked my sister to help her put up hay bales. All that was required was driving the truck. A request with a dangerous lack of knowledge and history regarding my sister.

Our father would bale our hay and then leave it for me to haul to the barn. This was my welcome home after a summer away working hay for my great uncles. Our equipment was a flat bed Ford pickup. I would put the truck into the “granny” gear and let it roll along the line of bales, loading as we traveled. As necessary, adjust the track. Starting at about age seven, my sister would steer. Little shit would slide down until her foot was on the gas and then ever so slowly speed up. I would start at a brisk walk, then a trot, and then would be running. Then yelling. Fifteen minutes later it would all start again.

As she grew and could reach the pedals easily, she lobbied (cried, pouted, etc. as girls are born knowing how to do) to drive to the barn. The close fields were ok but the far field had a big dip between the fields. Giving in, I let her drive across the dip where she “goosed it” and half the load fell off. I do believe she exited the truck and took off at a run for the house.

My sister was a true ranch girl. Stack hay, drive equipment, break and train horses, then put on a dress and be drop dead gorgeous.

As a young man dating ranch girls, one learned to be careful with your hands. Most had a strong enough grip to crush bones.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Times are Tough

My old buddies tell me times are tough in the car business.