Saturday, June 24, 2017

Illinois is insolvent. Can’t even pay lottery winners.

They have a pension problem.

So the solution is in Washington, D.C.?

Nice public relations campaign. Nothing in there to suggest the USA taxpayers bail them out. Snort. You can see that train coming if you only look.

So, WSF, why do you care? I don’t. I do care that the precedence will soon come to Colorado and make us Illinois Lite.

Colorado is unique in having TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights). While the Silicon Valley billionaires and assorted trust funders have made Colorado purple, if not blue, TABOR has kept the (P)regressives hobbled.

We have our own public pension problem.

The people running things are making all the right noises. I don’t believe them. Soon they will be working to make the taxpayers pay for their mismanagement, IMO. TABOR to block?

I must say, regarding Illinois, I rather like that portion South of I-70 and the residents. Good people, for the most part.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Every Blade of Grass has a memory provoking post regarding the true current dimensions of 2x4s.

Washington State circa 1970s had Certified Public Adjusters, licensed and regulated by the state; that would represent insured vs. their insurer on claims, mainly fire loss.

During one of my unemployment stints in construction, I solicited claims for one of these adjusters on a commission basis.

A very old Masonic Hall was hit by arson and suffered a significant amount of damage. We were able to solicit the claim. The adjuster killed the insurance company. The building was built with real 2x4s, 4x4s, etc. That was what the insurance company insured, with no wavier for changes in dimensions, and that is what they had to pay to replace. The proposed settlement was in the high five figures. After the Certified Public Adjuster finished his work, the settlement was in the lower six figures.

My commission on his commission caught up a lot of bills and replenished the savings account.

A valuable lesson for me. In addition to the most welcome commission, the necessity to look below the surface and consider the history of a project saved my ass a few times in the years ahead.

As an example, check the county records to see who is the actual owner of a piece of land before building on it for someone else.

Here and There

Nothing happening to provoke a rant and nothing interesting happening in my day to day bumbling. Should be my most boring blog posting to date.

As a vaccine skeptic, but not a hard core anti-vaxxer, like anything that supports my refusal to get a flu shot.  

A clear case of police harassment of a “Didn do nuthin” citizen.

Having recently ranted against wind power, time to pick on another target.

Since each of us humans use the earth’s resources, and produce waste and pollution, what is the time frame payback period for the zero pollution of solar panels to offset the pollution of the 79 humans making them? OK, WSF, you are questioning the meme and need to just shut up.

If I’m not on the first draft for the FEMA camps after the (P)regressives take over, I will be bitterly disappointed. Maybe I’m too old and therefore harmless.

As always, YMMV

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Halt! Who Goes There?

Daily Timewaster has a post that brought back a 50+ year old memory.

Our Engineer company was bivouacked in some trees near Wildflicken, Germany. As normal, having pissed off one of the NCOs, I was walking guard on a dark night.

Hearing noise on the perimeter I turned on my flashlight while calling out,

"Halt! Who goes there".

The light revealed the intruder.
Abandoning my post, I climbed up the nearest truck.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yeah, But

We are seeing a resurgence in fracking in Northern Colorado. Jobs, $15-50 an hour, are opening. There is a general feeling of optimism in the air. People are shopping and spending money. Lots of cars and trucks, mainly late model used, on the road with happy tags (temporary permits).

Yeah, but! Damned oil field trash drivers. You wonder if the HR Departments have some special selection process to hire only rude and thoughtless drivers.

Overweight, under powered, and running side by side on four lane highways for mile after mile. Assholes!

Along the Front Range are small towns that are now trendy suburbs, or exurbs. The residents don't know their history, how these towns were once coal mining towns for underground mines.

(And hey! A lot of that coal is still there and extraction is financially viable with strip mining)

A relative lives in one of these towns. She and her husband are angry that a similar sight to this one is 1/2 mile from their neighborhood and they see it every time they go to work.

What makes me shake my jowls is this. She is a coal miner's daughter. Her father put groceries on the table for twenty years killing his kidneys on a bulldozer in a strip mine. That fracking rig, which will be gone in a year leaving a small well head, is putting groceries on a lot of tables.

We are enjoying some of the lowest electric costs in the nation due to being up to our asses in natural gas and the power plants burning it. Gasoline? Around $2.50 a gallon or lower even with the seasonal jump. 

Yeah, but it is icky and awful to look at (but we will keep the lower costs. Aren't we entitled?)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pissing Away Resources

President Trump recently showed what was necessary, paperwork wise, to build 18 miles of new road in Maryland and the associated costs.

Seems they have been dicking around with this for nearly twenty years. So what have the Maryland taxpayers received? Nada, except for full employment of the report writers.

Close to my home is another bloated project going nowhere, a rail link to Denver International Airport.

My personal experience, albeit on a small scale, is extensive. From 2003 to 2006 my employer, Steve Lance’s Cowboy Corral Kia, held 60 car sales in twenty six different Colorado towns and opened six used car lots. Making this happen was my job. I answered to only the owner and the general manager. Twenty six different towns, twenty six different sets of ordinances and procedures, city codes, county codes, state requirements, ad nasium.  There was no blueprint for nobody had ever attempted what we did. One of our financial managers remarked it was like opening a new business, from scratch, at each new town. In Burlington, CO I was fingerprinted and we put up a $10,000 cash bond. Boulder, CO tossed every conceivable obstacle in our way. Seem to remember ten different permits were required. Five different permits in Glenwood Springs. Other places, like Trinidad and Canon City made it easy.

This is all to establish I might know what I’m talking about. Think we didn’t make our money back on the sales to the residents of these towns? Think again. You can call this a hidden tax, no?

Any regulation is double taxation. First the general tax used to fund the organs of government. Second, the cost passed through to the consumer by business.

So, WSF, you prefer anarchy. No, some regulation is needed for our general welfare.

To digress a bit, a look at why we were able to pull this off. The owner, general manager and I trusted each other. They knew I would never steal, skim, seek kickbacks, etc. I knew they wouldn’t shaft me financially. When we were moving fast, often I would use my personal credit cards and checking account. It wasn’t unusual for me to have eight grand of my money floating around.

Peter Butterfield, then President of Kia, put a lot of money on the line to promote the Kia brand. This was available to all dealers. Few had Steve Lance’s guts. Steve, a professional bullrider from Medicine Lodge, KS, had guts, vision, and drive. His assignments to me were in the following form.

This is what I want done. This is when I want it done. This is where I want it done. Do it right, and don’t cut corners. After that all he wanted from me, “It is done” or “It isn’t done because….”

 Not many people have the luxury of working in that atmosphere. Who else would have let me spend $2,000,000 of their money? A long conversation for us was ten minutes.

I relished the challenge (and the rewards). What we accomplished had never been done to our knowledge.
Another factor was Steve and the General Manager, Greg Miller,  rode my heat. I pissed off nearly everyone in the company at one time or another. The one thing I couldn’t control was time. Fuck with my time and I would steamroller you. Want to get physical? OK, out back and I’ll fill your dance card.

In addition to setting all this up, I managed the sales crew. That was why my title on my business card was, "Senior Cat Herder".

What soothed the hurt feelings and was balm to wounds was we made a shit load of money.

Getting back on track, perhaps the best business model is critical path analysis, critical path management. An outstanding example of this method was the Polaris Missile Program.

This kind of planning was part of the United States being the arsenal of democracy in WWII, IMO.

Over regulation kills CPA/CPM because you lose control of time. Government functionaries, under little or no accountability, consume your project time, and your personal time dealing with them. I won’t go further. Several regular readers of this blog (and I appreciate each and everyone of you) can write books on the subject.

So bravo for a businessman President who has lived the problem his whole business life. There is hope.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Wind Power Scam

With all the blather about global warming/global cooling/climate change/Paris Accords/ad naseum this analysis of wind power is eye opening.

Sadly, since it doesn’t fit the current memes and support the subsidy tit fattening favored industries and environment pimps, few will read or comprehend the message.

On a personal level I find the windmills to be ugly. From I-25 South of Cheyenne roughly following the Colorado/Wyoming/Nebraska state lines extending East  to Julesburg, CO is a ridge of high land exposed to strong (but variable) winds. Windmills are scattered all along this high ground. Ugly!

Windmills impact the ecology of the plains in this area and not in a good way. The disturbed ground, acres of it, has little forage. Raptors and other birds are being killed by the windmill blades.

The above is an Obama era report and probably watered down so as not to offend the eco-freaks. Still damning.

The whole output of all the wind farms in the three states can’t match the reliable output of one coal fired power plant.

The production of electricity is one of converting one form of energy to electron flow. The sources are the sun, moon, nuclear fission, geothermal and burning organic substances.

The sun causes weather. Precipitation distributes water at various elevations. Gravity plus water gives hydro power.  Weather causes wind. Direct sunlight can produced electricity via photoelectric reaction with some materials. Geothermal doesn’t presently lend  itself to large generation plants.

The moon causes tides. An overlooked and under developed energy source, IMO.

Fission gives the most energy for the weight of the source. Social stigma thwarts development. Still, up to 20% of electricity in the USA comes from nuclear.

Burning organic material, primarily coal and natural gas, provides the generating energy for the majority of electricity in our country.  From a cost point, the cheapest and most reliable option. 

Depending on the source quoted, the average is about 20 - 40 lbs of coal per day per person for electricity consumed.

Before we get into the more eccentric measures that we selected for comparison, let’s start with the measure that is most tangible and perhaps most sobering: coal. An average American’s residential and transportation energy consumption would require the burning of over 15,000 pounds of coal a year. That equals out to about 41 pounds of coal a day. If coal powered everything, every few days you would consume your body weight in coal.

Fossil fuels receive little or no subsidies. If one considers the myriad regulations imposed on the industry as a tax ( passed on to the consumer – no free lunch), and who can argue it isn’t, the end price paid by the consumer is still a bargain.

Perhaps the problem with coal is there is little potential for clean hands graft. Few ‘grants’ for “research”.

So ‘little’ people in rural areas get hurt. Oh, well. New opportunity to move people from self sufficient to the government tit, no?

Electrical power presents two big problems. First, it cannot be stored in commercial quantities. Second, transmission losses increase with distance. Virtually all sources are tied into a regional, and by extension, a national grid. Those areas bragging about using 100% renewal energy are full of shit if they are tied into a regional grid.

My hope is a businessman president will bring some rational economic sense to the energy sector. The public will have lower bills freeing cash for other things. The suffering will be borne by offshore tax havens who will have far fewer skimmed dollars to rathole. YMMV

Friday, June 9, 2017

Teaching Sons to Drive

When your divorced custodial father is a car salesman, and cheap, what car do you learn to drive? Subaru!

Mid 1990’s, Seattle area, a certain Mr. Wantanabe imported used Japanese automobile engines and transmissions. At the time Japan required all cars older than ten years be dismantled. Most were low mileage. A used Subaru engine was $150.

Being cheap I owned several old Subarus.  Bought them for $50 but never more than $100. After fixing them I would sell them for $500+. Nice little side business. Most went to families struggling with bills incurred raising disabled children.

The sons learned to drive them. Mainly stick shift, and learning in the hills around Seattle made them proficient quickly at starting and stopping on hills. My middle son struggled so his first car was a Subaru with an automatic. His ever so supportive mother had told him he probably would never drive. Oh how he and I enjoyed sending her a Polaroid of him holding his newly issued driver license while standing in front of his car.

 His biggest issue was parallel parking. He spent hours practicing in front of our house. The neighbors were as proud of him as me when he got his license.

My youngest son was, and is, one hell of a wheel-man. Once, age eight, he got to drive a rental go-cart. Within three laps he had that under powered go-cart drifting around the corners.

The next step in their education was my full sized Dodge pickup with a granny first and three more gears. It was a beast to drive. The Seattle area doesn’t get much snow normally but when it does snow it gets deep quickly, then freezes and ices. Near our home was a large parking lot, say an acre of asphalt, with a moderate slope. Made the sons drive the beast there, skidding, sliding, and spinning out. 

They haven’t had a problem with snow since, nor have they been in any accidents other than being rear ended.

So middle son has always been a grandma type driver. Youngest son, not so much. Had him working as a lot snot at the dealership. At the time he was driving a Chevy Luv (Isuzu).

 One of the salesmen took in a “project” Dodge Charger the owner had tired of. Had a Pacific Marine built up 360 c.u. engine. (Pacific Marine was a highly respected Mopar specialist). Cosmetically the car was a mess. Mechanically, near Nascar. The dealership had it on the books for $300.

Sitting at my desk I heard, “Dad”. He had that ‘look’ any parent could recognize as something monumental on his mind. He got the car. He got it with a restrictor plate and a ¾ throttle linkage restrictor courtesy of a great wrench who worked at the dealership. 
All came off on his 18th birthday. That car lasted him for years. I helped him get various daily drivers, mainly Subarus, for economy sake. One was a Daihatsu.

The current Subaru offerings leave me cold. Appliances. I remember the old ones fondly.

They did have limitations. I worked with a man who was a college shot putter. He was close to 400 lbs at 6’. I wasn’t a lot smaller. Once we went to the convenience store in my Subaru. We had to roll down the windows to get enough room for our shoulders.

The time my sons and I spent on their driving lessons became a special time. We seemed to be able to communicate easier and discuss subjects they rarely brought up around the house.

I was with my youngest when he got his first speeding ticket. We had driven to the top of Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to view a comet. Coming back, downhill, he was clocked at 10 mph over. I’ve always felt it was a chickenshit ticket. The roads were dry and there was very little traffic. It was an opportunity to teach him how to handle a traffic stop, something where I had a lot of experience.

Over the years my ex has lived with my youngest, off and on. (Off now, to the relief of all in that family). He told me of a comment she once made during an argument.

“You are cheaper than your father”!!!

Think I may have raised him right.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I'm Jealouse

Wish I came up with this. Could have been using it for years.


The fool has Presidential aspirations. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

People of Color

Another WSF rant. Will not be politically correct nor pay attention to “safe places”. Many will find it offensive. So, if your tender sensibilities are in danger, fuck off, and go read someone else.

President Trump nixes the Paris Climate Accords. One of the Lightbringers crowning achievements. Never submitted to the Senate much less passed. Government by executive fiat.  Immediately come the cry of racism. Here are two examples.

Or a cabinet appointment.

You want racism? Keep people dependent on the government tit.

“Poor people of color have been kept down by the system forever, so us smart (mainly white) people need  to help them because, let’s face it, they can’t help themselves”.

So how do “people of color” respond?

   Buy into the meme.
   Wow, these chumps can be hustled.
   Fuck you, I can make it myself – get the hell out of my way.

Strange, isn’t it, those so committed to “helping” people of color are helping themselves at the same time? Ego, financially, or both.

I spent decades working on a commission basis, mainly in retail automobile sales. Brutal business, you get paid what you are worth.

One black woman is stays in my memory. She was a single mother working in the back office shuffling paper and living in near poverty. Had the courage to step outside and sell cars. She struggled. In four years she was a manager. It wasn’t her looks (Whoopi Goldburg’s ugly sister), her sex, or her skin color. She learned how to sell cars and became good at it.  She kept her manager position by her performance. Did her sex and skin color help when the owner was making a decision to promote? Probably, but her sales skills were what put her in a position to be considered for management.

I remember one occasion when she stood up for me. I was accused of racism. Her response?

“WSF puts the R into redneck, but he is no bigot”.

The failure rate in car sales is extreme. You either sell or you starve. No one is going to carry you. The people who succeed defy any demographic. Young, old, black, brown, male, female, sexual orientation, education or past employment doesn’t count. Do you sell or not?

I’m dwelling on car sales here to make a point. It is a place of individual ability and with few artificial barriers.

Now, here comes the yabut choir. It isn’t the same as when you were doing it. OK, tell me anything that doesn’t change with time.

On many social issues I’m quite liberal. Having two mentally challenged offspring tends to open your eyes. I’m all in favor of a “hand up”. Go ahead and tax me. Never, will I be in favor of a “hand out”. 

Those folks who put their asses on the line to make changes and improve the lot of the needy and downtrodden have my support and admiration. Those who are social justice posers, have my utter contempt.

What helps people the most? Jobs! Along with the means to secure food and shelter, job holders gain self esteem and the approval, sometimes envy, of others. How do you calculate that value?

My oldest son is autistic. He is a professional dishwasher and has held that job in a semi-sheltered environment for many years. He only works three days a week. He receives SSI. He pays rent in a subsidized housing unit. Is he a burden on society? Yeah. Does he do his best to be self supporting and make a contribution to his world? Yes. Not lazy, he sells newspapers on the side. The kinds of social programs that allow people like him to live dignified lives are what I support.

I’m old enough to have heard about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from people who were in it. That program seemed to have succeeded in being a social pressure relief valve for its time.

Today we have the Job Corps. I’m embarrassed to say I know little about the successes or failures of this program.

The hideous reality of our inner cities and impoverished rural areas seem to be, sadly, part of our history and part of our present. Why? I don’t know but I’m sure, in part, because other people prosper from the misery. They, whatever the ethnicity, are the real racists.

I do have one unassailable advantage being Caucasian. No one will be sniping behind my back saying my success is due to affirmative action. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hate To Be Right

In my last post I mentioned the clusterfuck that is US 85 North of Greeley, CO.

I don't know any more details. I do know that area has heavy left turn traffic from US 85 to a feeder street to "O" street. Several county buildings are on O street including license plates and the county jail. The "construction" there has been going on for over a year.

Here we are just 1/2 way through 2017 and there have been 202 highway deaths already in Colorado. How many were caused by construction clusterfucks?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hope This Is A Trend

Maverick station, Torrington, WY.
I will pay more for Ethanol free gasoline. While my truck doesn't need 91 Octane, it's 1986 fuel system wasn't built with ethanol in mind.
One of the reason I don't let my fuel tank go below 1/2.

I enjoy these kinds of Bambis. Off the road and posing is great, running in front of me in  the dark isn't.  
If you are driving North from Greeley, CO to Cheyenne, WY, don't take Highway 85. It is tore up from North of Greeley to Nunn, CO. Has been since last year. The "repair and reconstruction" may get done in this century.

Oh, WSF, you simply don't understand the process. True, and also true I know a clusterfuck when I see one.

 Anyone who has the ghastly need to use Denver International Airport, beware!

The cloverleafs from E470 to Pena Blvd are a Denver revenue scam. Rare is the day I don't see at least one radar trap. Today I saw two. When you see a sign, 50 mph, Strictly Enforced, believe it or pay to become a believer. Pena from I-70 to the Airport has five units assigned during daylight hours.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Is The Thrill Gone?

Once again WSF goes off on a murky political rant. You may want to read the bloggers on the sidebar instead.

Some of my relatives are liberals, especially on social issues like health care, Aids, human trafficking, mental health, domestic violence, and gays. I respect their opinions, even share some, because they walk the walk. Most definitely are not Starbuck revolutionaries. They loath President Trump, and are thrilled by any news that puts him in a bad light. They revel in the thought he is hurting. The mainstream media caters, in my opinion, to the Trump haters. That is because the corrupt, lying, smug mainstream media (h/t Larry Lambert) shares in that hatred.

Look at Google News. Compilation of the brightest and best MSM (New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN). All, and I do mean 100%, of the stories about President Trump, his family, and his associates are full of words  like failure, scandal, disorganization, weakness and irrational behavior.  The liberals eat it up and high five. The deep state inhabitants, and the lampreys that feed off them, applaud.

The rest of the country? About as upset as when Billy Carter pissed in public. They aren’t thrilled by the MSM manufactured drama. They are too busy raising families and making a living.

President Trump won the nomination in spite of the MSM and the Jeb! RINOs. He won the presidency in spite of the MSM and Jeb! RINOs. He is the first president in my lifetime that is (1) not tainted with graft and corruption, and (2) making a determined effort to keep his campaign promises.

I will always vote for the honest person, even if I disagree with most of their positions, before I will vote for a tainted candidate I mainly agree with. Prime example would be the late Ken Gordon, Colorado Democrat.

So what is up with all this Russian bullshit? IMO, that is all they’ve got, and it mighty thin. Not an original though by me to be sure. My fondest hope is that it will come back to bite them in the ass.

Consider this. The FBI has suffered an enormous drop in prestige. Mueller, the former director, is now an Independent investigator. Who knows what direction that investigation will take. Like, the Obama administration’s misdeeds? The Shillary State Department? No DOJ running interference there, not with Sessions running it. Maybe the FBI can recover some of their mojo (and enjoy a little payback for years of humiliation?)

Consider the case of Candace Claiborne, State Department employee who may face treason charges. The first of many so the flacks say.

Back in the news is Lois Lerner, the retired IRS management poster child, who may still face criminal charges.

Who knows how many more will be exposed and prosecuted? Who will start singing to save their own hides now that the Obama thugs can’t protect them? Probably too many to be Seth Richarded/Vince Fostered. We can only hope.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Frugal or Cheap?

Poor People Have Poor Ways
Robert T. “Bob” White
1921 – 1985
Most vehicles with rubber timing belts should have the belts replaced as a precaution. Engines are either “interference” (most common) or non interference. Break a timing belt on any interference engine running above an idle and you are facing a $2,500+ repair bill. Much cheaper to spend $500 or so and replace it at 60,000 miles. Do the tensioner  and water pump at the same time. The parts aren’t expensive, the labor is, and everything exposed and accessible.

The Mighty Max was getting there, mileage wise, and summer trips are planned. What is a cheapskate to do? Buy a belt for $16 and pay an eager 17 year old to install it, with my supervision, $35.

A few years ago I would have done the work. At age 72, I don’t want the hassle. I’m literally losing my grip and the constant dropping of tools and bolts get frustrating. Then there is the pain of repeatedly bending and twisting. In the end, the frustration can only be soothed by an adult beverage. It is so much easier to “supervise” and then go to the adult beverage stage.

Should I have replaced other components? Maybe I will come to regret it. Nice to keep the funds in the credit union instead of earning reward points at O”Reillys Auto Parts.

And this is the reason you change one. Note the exposed metal reinforcement. One of the, “not if, but when,” situations.

 Note the battery. $30 at the local salvage yard with a 30 day exchange. That one has been in the truck for 18 months. At the time, no used batteries of the correct height were available. A little improvising was required.

I’m not impoverished, just a cheap prick that is damn careful with my money.