Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grumpy Old Man Rant

Driving around after midnight I am always reminded why I’m glad to be retired. I’m referring to all the lit “OPEN” sign on business that are obviously closed. This was a particular sore spot with me and one that would bring my wrath on the store manager involved. Look, dummy, it isn’t that difficult. You, Manager, turn the sign on when you open the store, first thing. You, Manager, turn the sign off as your last act before locking the door. No delegating, your job.

Now why, WSF, do you get so worked up over something so trivial? Glad you asked.

Every business is being judged by their customers every time they pass by. Small things, signs, ragged American flags, trash blowing around the parking lot, and dirty windows tell a potential or ongoing, customer the people working at this business don’t give a shit. If they don’t care about their business, are they going to care about me? Paying attention to the “small” things may be the most important thing you do.

In my late night travels I pass an “Autoplex”, that, for two months, has a portion of the business sign lights  burned out. It is a “toplex”.  These are high end dealerships selling European imports. I would assume their customers are smarter than the average bear and quite possibly business owners. What message are they getting?

I don’t think an Auto Salvage Yard needs to look like a Nordstrom store. That said, the “Pull Your Parts” place I patronize has the “OPEN” sign on when they are open and off when they are closed. There is no loose trash blowing around. Port-a-Pots are conveniently placed around the inventory and the inventory is segregated by make. There is ample parking (although you might snap an axle in the ruts in the parking lot). In the business area the floors are swept and the windows clean. The message to me as a consumer is this is a well run business where I won’t be wasting time dealing with fools.

And parking! I always strived to have an unimpeded path to parking as close to the doors as possible for those coming to potentially spend money at our business. For an employee to park there was a fire able offense. Should you be coming in to sell us something, wanting us to spend our money with you and you parked in a customer spot, you were obviously too stupid and clueless to earn our business. Oh, the owner’s wife didn’t park there either.

Oh WSF, how you carry on.  Here is a shining example. We had a successful used truck and utility trailer business. The owner was ambitious. One afternoon a car pulled in and parked well out of the way. The man walked a ways to come in to see the owner. This was our first contact with the Kia of America District Sales Manager. In the next four years, we opened four Kia stores and had months where we sold over three hundred new Kias.

Enough, except this. I drive past a NAPA store to get to an O”Reillys. Guess which one has the “OPEN” sign lit 24/7.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Youngest son grew up with a father in the car business. At one point he sold cars for about a year. He was damn good at it but the ambiance of the business bothered him (smart kid).

Yesterday he bought a Certified Used Car, fair market value $20,000, for a shitload less. Bet that dealership is still reeling from that deal!

They tried the standard ploy of giving on the purchase price and making their profit in the box (Finance Office). Didn't work out for them. The only thing they got was the financing, and that was after he beat them down two points to where they were lower than his credit union. The old car dog in me thinks they made under $600 on the total transaction. 

Do I feel sorry for them? No. I will always remember the philosophy of Arthur Floyd Kinsman, the working man's friend, Korean war marine, ex Green Bay Packer lineman, and one of the best managers I ever knew (and the foulest mouth I've ever heard).

"I will always give the customer the opportunity to pay FULL retail. I will take a $300 deal but only after grinding their tits off for six hours. It is only iron, and I can always get more iron".

Bunch of pussys in that dealership. They caved in three hours.

Great job son! I'm a proud papa today.

Feel the Love

Chatting with my sister about my Facebook activity and my pleasure in calling (P)regressives on their shit. I said that I

1. Have a computer.

2. Am Mr. Maytag - always agitating. 

3. Have time.

4. I am an asshole.

She agreed (thanks for the support Sisty) but said I need to add one more reason.

5. I don't have a life.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'm Not Welcome in Boulder, CO

All I did was comment on a Facebook posting that the moose raised the level of common sense in Boulder, not that it was a high bar to begin with.

Sheesh, the hateful responses!

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Do You See? Don't Look If You Don't Want to be Offended

Many will find this highly offensive.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Reloaded how many times? Nobody fought back? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Spit and Polish

One of the fun things about blogging is poking good natured fun at other bloggers. Of course, you must accept it coming back at you with interest!

One blogger I’ve enjoyed poking is Old AF Sarge.

We have gone back and forth about starched fatigues, haircuts, bloused trousers and spit shined footwear.

My Army service was 1963-1966. We were a large Army then, and filled with people who were drafted. Drafted troop’s motivation was suspect. It wasn't until I was out a few years that I began to understand why the NCOs were so adamant about appearances. It was all about installing discipline, unit cohesion, and unquestioned obedience to orders. When an NCO hollered “frog” you didn't ask why, you jumped. Have a slob in your squad? Kick his ass until he got straight, or spend considerable time in uncomfortable physical conditions. Yeah, mass punishment. Can you spell, “Front Leaning Rest”? “Double time, harsh”?

I had NCOs that were both WWII and Korean War vets. Many more were Korean War vets. They had first hand knowledge of the consequences of lack of discipline, unit cohesion and not instantly obeying orders. Perhaps they were training to fight the last war but they damn sure weren't going to lose that last war. Bayonets may be obsolete, but twenty hours of bayonet drill will change your mental outlook.

Consider for a moment the job of an Army line NCO. The smart men were joining the Air Force or Navy. We will disregard, for the moment, the particular mind set of the men who joined the Marine Corps. The line NCOs took whatever the pipeline gave them and made soldiers out of them. First, they made everybody tired and kept them tired.  Then they pounded in the lessons one bite at a time. That carried on through advanced training, at least in combat arms, and on to the line units.

In my float bridge company in Germany, we operated in two states, field or garrison. In the field we worked. Appearances didn't matter, clean or dirty uniforms didn't matter, and spit shined boots didn’t matter. In garrison, it was just the opposite. Why did I work hard on my appearance? Every NCO had a hammer and I didn't want to look like a nail.

I have a friend who was a Marine for ten years in the 80’s. He tells me the Marines were much the same except recruits were already of the mindset the Army NCOs had to force.

My friend and I do a lot of teasing. One year, on the Marine Corps birthday, I called him. The conversation went like this.

“Happy birthday, jarhead”

“Thanks, ditch boy. Now go spit shine your shovel”.

I happened to be at his house this past Sunday and pointed about it was the birthday of the SENIOR service.  All I heard was some mumbles.

My view of today’s Army is that, for the past two decades, they have shown they're damn good at what they do. Hopefully the next administration will quit smelling unicorn farts and let the military be military and not a social Petri dish.

For everyone who has served, thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Civil Disobedience - Tax Divison

Obamacare and Student Loans; will the two cause massive civil disobedience as far as taxes are concerned?

The IRS has historically relied on voluntary compliance. For many years that has been around 82%. One reason has been the reputation of the auditors and well publicised consequences for not complying.  

In recent years the IRS has cut back on the number of auditors. My snarky take is they were cutting into the bonuses of the senior administrators plus the pain in the ass of actually supervising them.

People who are in default of their student loans lose both their tax refunds and any social security benefits until their loans are current. Many of these debtors have no hope of repaying and cannot clear them through bankruptcy. Add possible penalties for not having health insurance, and the only incentive for filing is fear of the consequences of not filing. Wonder how many are just saying, "Fuck it"?

Small business owners are getting squeezed by the health insurance mandates. The first response is making everyone part time. The risk assessment is staffing and productivity headaches versus going out of business. Say they go rogue, let all their employees claim ten dependents, and not pay into the system the money they withhold for social security and medicaid. They are betting the employee won't file a tax return. What is their risk assessment? Go under right now or face a potential dire outcome somewhere down the road? Another strategy is to bend some rules and make everyone a 1099 independent contractor. Again, the risk assessment. Stay in business now and hope to slip and evade in the future or go out of business now.

My guess is that already suspect 82% will go way down, tax revenues will go way down, and our economic death spiral will get worse. A good picture of our economy.

As always, YMMV.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Of Court Costs and Fines

Of the many issues raised by the recent events in Ferguson, MO is the traffic ticket revenue scams rampant in the area. Good explanation here..  

How many thousands of these places are there in our country? 

Some are very open about it. Going North on HWY 287 from Oklahoma the first town you encounter is Campo, CO. 100% of the budget is  from traffic fines.  They have bragged about it in local media this year.

I vote my wallet and the only time I’ve spent a dime in that town was when I forgot to buy gas in Boise City, OK and rolled into Campo on fumes.

The usual  response is, “Don’t speed, obey the traffic laws, etc. and you won’t have a problem”. Yeah, like you have always been in strict observance of the law.

If you have money, and time, the system is different for you. In 2003 I got a speeding ticket in Colorado Springs. I was one fish in the school but the only one with a dealer plate held on the tailgate with a magnet.

My experience with the Springs court system was similar to this.

In my case I became a pain in the ass for the system. After my third appearance, they offered me a deal. Pay  for traffic school and the ticket would go away. Their own version of this.

I ended up in an office with a cynical, but brutally honest, court employee. They didn’t care if I actually attended the school, just that I paid for it. It wasn’t cheap, but at the time I was making a six figure annual income so it was not big deal to me. Not having a ticket on my record was, professionally, a big deal.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was righteously nailed by the Colorado State Patrol going way too fast. The trooper said I was one M.P.H. from a mandatory trip to jail. I called a good attorney I knew and followed his instructions. He had me attend an eight hour driving school. $85 out of pocket. In court he got the ticket reduced to “driving too fast for road conditions” for three points, a stiff fine, and ten hours of “useful community service”.  Too fast for conditions on a hot day on dry pavement?  When I went to arrange community service, all they wanted was a check for the hours at the state minimum wage. Adding it all up, it cost me about a week’s pay.

What would have happened to me if I wasn’t making stupid money at the time? If I had to decide between court and gas to get to work? A decision between the fines and rent? Food on the table?

One of my very first blog offerings was a story about fighting a stop sign violation. I won.


Naïve me, I always thought traffic laws were written for collective safety on the road. Fines an inducement to change behaviors. Turns out it is big business. This information is from 2010. Note the compensation the red light camera providers give themselves. How many more are eating at this hog trough?

I’ve often described myself as a conservative Blue Dog Democrat libertarian populist with anarchists tendencies. (You expected consistency?) That said, I think the municipal court system is a collection of parasites feasting on the public and that brings my anarchist feelings to a boil. YMMV

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Did I Move to Seattle?

Per the Weather Guessers, this May was the wettest ever across the country. For Colorado it was the wettest May in 121 years. It may be that is as far back as their records go.

States downstream of Colorado have been complaining for decades about Colorado hogging all the water. This year the state gave them all their back claims. Surprisingly, they haven’t said, “Thank you”.

The area from Trinidad, CO East to Syracuse, KS has suffered a decade long drought. The Army’s Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is East of Trinidad. This picture was on the Army’s Facebook page. In rancher jargon, that grass is belly deep to a horse.

#USArmy Soldiers, assigned to 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, conduct air assault operations at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site during Exercise Raider Focus, Pinon Canyon, Colo., June 5, 2015.

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William J. Howard

Looking at the weather map, you can see the traditional Front Range rain shadow stretching from Ft Morgan to Limon and beyond (temperature gradients). When you are flying across the Plains westbound you can see the ground going from green to brown (or brown to browner) right along that line. You will also enjoy some interesting turbulence and virga for a few minutes.  The combination of a strong mountain wave mixed with summer convection updrafts makes for busy bars at DIA as arriving passengers sooth their nerves.

According to Ami’s blog the Pacific Northwest is having a heat wave. Having once lived in the Seattle area for several years I find hot days there to be very uncomfortable.

As usual, people complain about the weather but nobody does anything about it. Today we can say the econazis are trying. Too bad they have their heads up their asses. Their agenda is people control, not weather control IMO.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

We Are Getting Hammered

Strangest weather patterns I can remember. Two days ago a Denver neighborhood where my then bride and I had our first house had so much hail the city brought in front end loaders to clear it. Outside the one small area just rain. Other places along the Front Range have had several inches of hail with some hail as big as a baseball.

The Plains have seen many tornados which isn't too unusual except for one that was rotating counter clockwise. The town of Berthoud which lies West of Interstate 25 was hit by a tornado. That close to the foothills in unusual.

The rivers continue at flood stage or above.

Guess Gaia will do as she pleases but if we had a cap and carbon tax in place, per the econazis, this wouldn't be happening. Can we blame it on fracking? No, but if guns were banned, all the irresponsible shooters wouldn't be putting pollutants into the air. All that lead must be reacting with the soil to release methane which is causing this weather. Anyone disagree? 

One ray of sunshine. This will be good for insurance adjusters (You go, Sisty), paintless dent removal shops, windshield replacement specialists,  and roofing companies.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cheyenne Depot Train Museum

Mainly pictures.

 Outside information plaques.

 From inside. Far too many stations to include here.

 My late father was a Section Foreman for ten years for the Denver and Rio Grande. Saw, and used, many a caboose stove.

 A local resident spent many years crafting these and donated them to the museum.

These are just a small part. Located on the 2nd floor.

More exhibits.

A shot of the main depot.

I've always been fascinated with the Big Boys. What craftsmanship in this model.

And the real thing a few blocks away.

Two Wyoming mainstays.

And the state line. Lottery sales (Wyoming doesn't have a lottery) and a jiggle joint. Just nine miles South of Cheyenne.
Most years this picture would be in shades of brown. What an incredibly wet springs we are having.

I had originally went to see a restored 105 year old caboose but the exhibit hall was closed.

Warren AFB has a museum I would like to visit. You must get permission to visit ahead of time. I'm not smart enough to wade through all the various telephone systems to do so. Guess you need to be fluent in Air Force acronym language. If the Air Force's real goal is pissing off the public, they are doing a great job!

If you have a few hours and $7 (Seniors and Active Duty Military) this is a neat place to visit.