Monday, December 17, 2018

Bean Counters


A car story with a dash of bashing bean counters.

2003 found me working for an aggressive car dealer, Steve, a rodeo bull rider, who was a cinch short of a roping saddle.
We had gone from a two lot operation focused on used pickups, stock and utility trailers and occasional livestock to adding a Kia dealership. At one point we had three Kia stores.

Steve got it in his mind to have offsite sales. Colorado regulations allowed up to five days. He had a motor home taken in trade he wanted to use for a mobile office. He hired a man with “experience” and the first sale was a near disaster. For my sins, he and the General Manager decided to put me in charge of the program, the “Roadshow” as it was called.

The challenge intrigued me. My one demand was no one could dispute my decisions. Only Steve, the owner, and the General Manager could counter my decisions. That took two days to resolve but I prevailed. Of course, I was expected to account for all expenditures. No problem.

Steve’s instructions were straightforward.

“Do it right, do it legal, don’t cut corners”.

Man of his word. In the next three years we held about 60 sales in 18 different Colorado towns. I spent north of two million of his dollars. In that time we probably talked less than two hours. All he wanted from me was, “It’s handled or, It’s not handled because….”

Now to the bean counter part. Our pace was two to three sales a month. I would hit a town, find a space to rent, arrange telephone service, arrange advertising, and reserve motel rooms. This placed a great deal of stress on the accounting side of the business as I needed to move fast. At our home store this was no problem. At our Grand Junction store we had a person who got outside her lane, questioning everything I did and slow walking the money.

Had a short meeting with Steve.

Me. “I’m supposed to be working for you. Right now I’ve got $8,000 of my own money invested in your business because your bitch running the books won’t cut the checks – thinks I have to get her approval first”.

Steve, with a grin. “I like that, your money in my business”.

Shortly he defined her lane. As the conversation was reported to me,

Steve. “Who’s fucking name is on this business?”

Her. “Yours.”

Steve. “Then who are your to question my instructions to the Tank? The Roadshow is another store and he is the General Manager.”

Should say at the home store as I entered accounting with a fist full of check requests Shirley would greet me with,

“No! Get the fuck out of here with your bullshit!”

She loved me! Always got my checks done within an hour.

After three years of the Roadshow we shut down. The Kia incentives dried up. Steve had me find used car locations. At one point we had five used car stores. I “supervised” the managers, i.e, herded the cats.

I ended up doing all kinds of weird stuff for Steve. He liked me because I always got the job done, and I never failed to account for every penny. He didn’t like that I could piss off half the state getting the job done but he always had my back.

He had a strong friendship with the President of Kia America who bought control of a remanufactured engine company when he left Kia. Got Steve involved in pumping up sales. Yah, guess who Steve put in charge of that!

Steve finally crashed and burned. Had to start all over. He is still out there plugging away and fishing. The man lives to go fishing.

Keeping a business on track from the financing side is a thankless task. I have the greatest respect for those who do it well. It is when they decide they also need to have control over other parts of the business that we part ways.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Whee!


From the local rag. Good job by the deputies. The driver is someone we had dealings with a few years ago in the car biz.


His companions seem to be well on the road to a life of crime at a rather tender age.

Reminds me of another individual from the car biz who violated a restraining order by damaging his former finance’s car parked by a security camera. Got to love that video evidence if you are a prosecutor.

And on an otherwise dull Sunday, there was a stabbing at the local Goodwill store. No details. What is so valuable at a Goodwill store worth a knife fight?

Saturday I was once again reminded how much I respect big rig drivers. 60+ mph wind gusts along I-25 and I-80 in Wyoming. The company Yaris was quite lively. Coffee got lukewarm in the cup holder – two hands on the wheel drive.

Received a notice from the management company they are raising my lease 27% in February. COLOEXIT is looking more attractive by the day.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Nadaville

How I envy those bloggers that come up with something to write and publish that is of interest most days. Not happening here.

Most recent excitement? Employer's Christmas party. Came away with a bottle of wine.

The local rag is fixated on the monster who offed his family and has something every day on the case. Tiresome. The DOJ moved him out of state after his guilty plea. Didn't think he would survive in a Colorado prison.

People crashing their vehicles while not wearing seat belts continues. Damn fools.

Stay safe.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Antifa Sex


Looking at video of Antifa protesters I see many physically unattractive people. Then they open their mouths and the crazy shows. So what draws them to the protests? My guess is they are hoping to get laid.


Towards the end of the Vietnam War I was attending a “streetcar” college in Denver. After demonstrations were always wild times and wild parties. Seemed to really loosen inhibitions. Lots of sex happened.

So are these demonstrations more of social/sexual events for marginal to loser people? I do believe that is a component.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Religious Ire


An unchurched lapsed Methodist probably isn’t the best person to comment on things Christian. That said, this pissed me off.


YMMV

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Car Story


Had lunch with some folks I was in the car biz with and the “Out Story” contest began. My contribution was the saga of my friend Gene K., and his turbo Corvair Monza.

Gene and I were like a lot of young men and women from small Colorado towns. Out of high school we went to Denver where there were jobs.  Clearing right of way brush in the summer and plowing snow in the winter didn’t have a high appeal.

Gene tried to join the service but failed the physical. He was an apprentice butcher, made decent money, and had a clean older Chevy sedan.

At the time, retailing automobiles was changing with advent of factory financing companies. Spot deliveries came into vogue. Gene discovered he could drive away in a new car, drive it for a few days, and “have to take it back” because the financing fell through. About once a month he would show up in a Valiant or such.

One day he showed up in a Turbo Chevy Corsair. He decided he didn’t like it. He called the dealership asking when he should return it. “Why”, was their response?  “Your financing is approved”.

Shit!

So Gene manned up and paid it off in two years. About a week after the 90 warranty expired, the car developed a full blown case of Corvair disease. I would sit back and listen to him piss and moan and then laugh. Such a good friend am I, no?

The Corvair must have cost GM a lot of lost revenue. Gene grew up in a GM family at a time when brand loyalty was a big deal. You started with a Chevy, move up to an Oldsmobile or Pontiac, then a Buick and retired in a Cadillac. Gene never bought another GM product even to the point of not buying a Frigidaire because it was made by GM.

There are few things more dangerous to peace and tranquility than bored car salespeople, IMO. “Out Story” probable approaches that. Pity the people in the adjoining tables.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Winter Fool



Some comments on recent blogs centered on vehicles and winter driving prompt more development. The elephant in the room is why I do it? Short answer is usually I’m paid.

The picture is from one of my vehicles. My truck is far better equipped as I often venture to the back of beyond in it.

The small beat up backpack goes into any vehicle I’m driving. It carries supplies to keep me from hypothermia and frostbite for up to 72 hours. At my age and fitness I’m not walking far, especially in winter conditions, so I need to hunker down until the roads are opened.

 If I must travel or move around on foot, I have YAKTRAXs, slip on cleats. Mine are several years old and still serviceable.

A lot of what goes into winter driving preparation is from lessons learned. As an example, my father once spent four days on top of US 40 Berthoud Pass because avalanches closed both sides. He was ok but many of the others stranded weren’t. Being the man he was, he helped all who needed it. 

When he, and my older relatives, talked about what worked and what didn’t I listened closely.

As an example, if you need to move just a few feet, jack up your vehicle and slip your floor mats under the tires. You should be able to move a few feet. Repeat as needed. NOTE: If you can’t turn off your traction control you are screwed.

One thing not available to my father was the internet. I click on the National Weather Service and various state highway condition sites before I venture out. I will still go but with less stress about what I may find.

There are many sites and resources for what to include in a “GO” bag. YMMV. I’m not looking for the comfort of a Holiday Inn Express room, just survival.

A large part of my life centers around the phrase, “Winners do what losers won’t”. Yes, it bites me in the ass from time to time but I’m rarely bored.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Potheads


Legal pot is a boon for Colorado so say proponents. Not so fast say the detractors. From our local rag.


The source can be looked at as being prone to bias. Not saying they are but the source needs to always be considered.

Like any other crop, the quality is in the hands of the producers.


Asked a local LEO friend his/her opinion.

“Shitheads will always find something to fuck up”.

Tad cynical or a clear view of human nature?

The po po in neighboring states have their opinion, and that opinion is negative. Drive in their states with Colorado plates and you will get looked at, hard. Bullshit stops, and,

 “Can we check your car for drugs?”


Soon after pot became somewhat legal in Colorado, two of us traveling across Kansas on I-70 were stopped three times. No citations were issued.

 Bless dash cams!

 No getting back three wasted hours which bites when you are self employed.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Damn Fool III



Arrived to drive my route and found new tires. Also, an apology and a cash bonus.


Tough day. Yaris in Japanese means, "Wander all over the place".

Good timing as I was only in the storm system for about 45 minutes.  The downside was a very large tumbleweed over the hood at 75 mph.

A new windshield will be nice as that one is badly pitted and sand blasted.

Notice Prairie Adventure http://prairieadventure.blogspot.com/2018/11/sweet-little-lies.html has a post up with videos of the weather in Kimball. Lucky me I was about 30 minutes ahead of the storm once I got past the Double L Country store (about 10 miles south of Gering). 

So far it has been a mild winter on the High Plains. The usual suspects have been closing I-70 over the Continental Divide with multi-vehicle pileups and spin outs. I've never understood the mentality of skiers who blithely travel to the resorts when they haven't a fucking clue on how to drive on snow packed roads. (Do you hear me Californians and Texans?)

On a happy note my sister spent Thanksgiving in Reno with her daughter and was able to watch her grandson's high school football team win their semi-final game. Next stop, the state championship game in Las Vegas.

That grandson is still an underclassman but shows real promise as a future Division I player.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Criminal Justice System


I’m fortunate to live in a county where the criminal justice system works as intended and is full of dedicated and honest people.

Along that line, our local rag just ate some crow. My respect for those editors just increased.

A county resident made international news by killing his pregnant wife and two young girls. Motive? Wanted out of the relationship. The crow part?

Rourke filed a motion to seal the autopsy reports citing the potential tainting of still-to-be interviewed witnesses. In October, a Greeley Tribune-led coalition of media partners responded by suing the Weld County Coroner's Office to release the reports.

Turns out Rourke and Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch had a compelling reason to keep the autopsy reports under wraps.

As has now been widely reported, Shanann had a blood-alcohol content of .128 percent at the time of her autopsy. Although a raised BAC is a natural part of the decomposition process, Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death and Rourke worried the media would spin that information to raise suspicions about her innocence.
Not to be overlooked, Shanann had just returned from a work trip the night she was killed, which meant investigators needed to confirm she hadn't been drinking by interviewing anyone and everyone she might have come into contact with in Arizona, at the airport and even on the airplane.
"Had there been reports in the media that Shanann had a BAC of .128, it might have made people question what they had seen," Rourke said. "Because those reports had not been made public, everyone we interviewed was certain that they never saw Shanann drinking anything other than water."
No need for me to elaborate the gruesome details. Those who want them can find them on their own along with the name of the scum who was sentenced to three life terms without parole plus eighteen years.
I have the profoundest respect for the men and women who deal with this shit and the damage it can do to their souls. I’m also grateful I don’t have to do it.
This case never went to trial. That said, I respect those citizens who sit on juries.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Damn Fool II

The wipers that were on the Taurus when I bought it were starting to leave streaks. $50 later at the auto parts store they are replaced. 

The brand is Trico and they are a one piece silicon wiper with a shield over the pivot point. Nice lady at O'Reilly  Auto Parts upsold me. She and her husband have them on both of their vehicles. We salesmen are such pushovers.

Seems I wasn't their only customer.

I do find the steering wheel a bit odd.

Time will tell if the wiper blades were a good choice. 

Used my siphon hose to drain the windshield washer reservoir. Replaced the fluid with some extreme temperature Rain X product and redid the windshield with Rain X. The product takes some elbow grease buffing to get a smooth application. I find it worth the cost and effort. As always, YMMV

Yeah, I'm about five weeks late getting all this done. Sue me.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Damn Fool

The company who employs me once a week as a medical courier is a low rent operation. I don't mind being a low rent type myself. That said, there are limits.

Friday night into Saturday we had a nasty ice storm. Just below freezing with a drizzle. The above picture shows why I buy wrapped winter windshield wipers. Ice forms inside the blade holder and the blade won't make contact.


OK, I can live with the wiper blades. PITA but work around. Not acceptable are tires.
I've written up the tires on the Daily Driver Log for three weeks. Nothing has happened. Today I sent my "boss" an email that reads, in part,

"Not trying to create drama. That said, I will not drive the route again on those tires"

I've been driving this route going on three years. First, for my current employer. Then for the competitor that underbid them. Next for the company that bought out the competitor. Lastly, back to the original.They won the last bid. I might know what I'm doing.

My next scheduled trip is the day after Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to the pre-trip inspection.

And, yes, I was a damned fool for even leaving the lot yesterday on those tires. 400+ mile in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Nebraska panhandle is no place for worn tires regardless of the road conditions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Blatant Discrimination


From the heart of deep blue Colorado comes a story of heartless discrimination against trolls.


Are trolls anywhere safe? What about the Fremont troll?

There should be a law!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

(P)regressive Game Plan


Their game plan drilled down to the foundation is variants of Andy Stern’s infamous threat.

“If we can’t use the power of persuasion, we’ll use the persuasion of power.”
Andy Stern, Former SEIU International President
There is no compromise with liberals. It is their way or else. While they prefer people meekly submit to their program, they are perfectly willing to use whatever force it takes to “win”. Some win! Where is the joy, the satisfaction? They haven’t won any hearts and minds. What shallow, hateful people.

2019 will be a bitter year for Colorado politics. (P)regressives swept all the state offices and gained control of both the House and Senate. Gun control, single payer health insurance, mass transit, renewable energy, and putting an end to fracking and strip mining will be high on their dream agenda. It should be noted most of the newly elected state officials are from Boulder County.

In 2013 a serious effort was made by several counties to leave Colorado and form a new state. It failed, but it is far from dead. The county where I live, Weld, ultimately didn’t go along with the plan. Now? Weld is far and away the largest oil and natural gas producer with something like 23,000 wells. Not all are producing. With fracking, the oil and natural gas play has decades to run.

Colorado is unique in having TABOR (taxpayers bill of rights) as part of the State Constitution.


Were it not for TABOR, Colorado would be right up there with California and Illinois in debt and unfunded obligations. Liberals have been fighting for ways around TABOR and you can bet they will focus their efforts on eliminating or neutering TABOR.

I’m facing a decision. Do I just get the hell out? I was born in Wyoming and only need to move fifty miles north. Do I stay and fight? Part of me wants to get into a fight to form a new state.

While $200,000,000 of out of state PAC monies turned Colorado “blue”, I’m encouraged the “Blue Wave” turned out to be more of a blue puddle nationally.

There are a couple of issues I can find a sliver of common ground with liberals; health care and  K-12 education. The track record of (P)regressives in these two areas is awful. When the family’s insurance costs more a month than a house payment with deductible/co-pays equal to 25% of an average family annual income, that, my friends, is abysmal failure.

 As an aside, our governor elect, as a Congressman, voted for Obamacare while creating a new travel company for medical tourism.

All the monies poured into “education” have funded a bloated self perpetuating bureaucracy. Damn little has flowed to the classroom teachers. Those parents who can do so have their children in charter schools. Why?

Old fart rant. My high school had fewer than 150 students. We had a principal, who had a secretary, three custodial/maintenance types, and five ladies in the school cafeteria. All the rest, including coaches, were in classrooms teaching. All students who tried received a quality education.

The economy will collapse when more is being spent that earned. The deficit under President Trump is still not under control but at least revenues are increasing.

 We can’t have another Great Depression? What, fundamentally, is the difference between “Grapes of Wrath” and the homeless in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.? Better tents?

Prior to the midterms, I was feeling cautiously optimistic. Now?  Back to the Obama times where my only real interest was finding ways to protect me and mine.

It does occur to me that I am sharing the feelings of (P)regressives when Shillary lost. Karma is a bitch.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Idle Speculation


CNN seems to be fading and losing the rating wars grievously hurting their bottom line. Yet they are mentioned often by President Trump and others which keeps their name in the public eye.

Are they taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook?

He beat Hillary despite being outspent on advertising in part by keeping the “Fourth Estate” in a constant uproar. Is CNN now baiting President Trump as a strategy to survive? Does it get them free advertising from their rivals? Maybe they are rational. Or, they are irrational but entertaining.

YMMV

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Asshat for President


Howard Shultz, former CEO of Starbucks, is considering a run for President in 2020. He is a piece of work.

Back in the day, before Starbucks really took off, he had a house in Mercer Island, WA. A house with a nearly flat roof with a mansard elevation (formed a 36” wall around the exterior). Flat roof in an area with 3’ average rainfall in a nine month period might not be the best roof solution, IMO.

In 1984 I was managing the skylight division of my employer (a wonderful operation, things were always looking up) when we received a complaint that one of our installed skylights was leaking, badly. The skylight  was a 4°6° size. The home owner, Howard Shultz along with the contractor, joined me on the roof to conduct an inspection. After pointing out the scum marks ¾ of the way up on the exterior of the skylight, and the clogged drains at all point on the roof to Mr. Shultz, I declined on behalf of my employer to do “one damned thing” about any warranty claim. The skylight wasn’t designed to work submerged in a lake created by neglected maintenance.

Perhaps you get to be rich by bullying people as he started shouting and threatening both the contractor and me. I just shrugged, took about twenty pictures and started down my ladder. Not being a total jerk, I allowed him to descend before loading the ladder on the truck rack.

Moving on, and not involving me, was Shultz’s encroachment on a Seattle City Park to make a driveway to a home he and his wife had built along with using part of the park for staging materials and equipment to build said home. Numerous lawsuits ensued.

Around that time, Starbucks got the coffee concession on the Washington State ferry system. That bit of business never passed the “smell test”, IMO.

When my sister runs out of current events in which to torment me, she likes to remind me of my lack of business acumen regarding coffee.  When the espresso craze started I was living in the Seattle area.  Using my highly developed business analysis skills, I investigated this trend as an investment. Couldn’t make it “pencil” and concluded it was a fad. No long term prospects for $1.25 cup of coffee.

Lots of potential presidential hopefuls on the Democrat side for 2020 including Colorado’s own Governor Wishy-washy. Would I vote for Asshat Shultz? Only is he was running against Shillary.  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Happier Days



With all the angst of the midterms, my spirits were recently lifted. Thought I would share.

Heard some good news from my youngest son. He started going to the VA Hospital which he has avoided since getting out. They reviewed his records and upgraded his disability to 100%. Means a bump in his monthly check.

Went on to say he has participated in some of the PTSD programs and has found them helpful.

I find it heartwarming that at least one VA Hospital is doing a good job for our veterans.

Then we got into “the apple falls from the tree”. When he was sixteen and full of himself, he broke a kitchen chair over my head during an exchange of words. He then got his ass kicked, soundly.

Seems my sixteen year old grandson tried to get physical with his Dad (my son). Got his ass kicked but managed to damage his Dad’s thumb to the point it will need minor surgery.

That grandson’s genetic heritage is Finnish, Norwegian, and Celtic. Berserker? 

My son and I had a good laugh. Maybe that says something about our mentality. Maybe it is genetic. No damned wimp gene,  perhaps.

I never got into a physical scrap with my father. Then again, I left home at sixteen. Probably for the best.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Two Great Moves for President Trump


Mike Coffman (R) CO 6th, veterans best advocate, lost. Wiped out by massive amounts of out of state PAC monies.

Trey Gowdy didn’t run. Sessions just got fired.

Two moves for Trump. Appoint Coffman to head the Veterans Affairs. Make Gowdy Attorney General.

Put two more big drains in the swamp.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Bitching and Moaning


An election brings out different reactions from people. Some of us are engaged, feel the need to participate, and believe voting is a responsibility that shouldn’t be ignored.

Then there is a sizable number that find elections distasteful, hate the various ways candidates try to get their message across, and are irritated by the whole process. Others just don’t care.

I lump them in with the type of people who will drive around a school bus loading or unloading children. Their little world is the universe and they are the center of that universe.

YMMV

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Vehicle Anti-Theft Device That Works


The subject of car thefts prompted many responses over at Peter Grant’s blog.


The picture is something that works. I know from personal experience.

In 2005, while staying at a motel in Fullerton, CA I decided to do my laundry. Turned out the office had just been robbed and the place was on lock down. Returning to my room, I was surprised to find all four doors on my Lincoln Towncar ajar. The “club” I always used was twisted sideways but still functioning as designed.
Fords were easily unlocked and started with a “slap key” that were available from an ex con who learned all about them in jail. One was jammed into the Lincoln ignition.

These clubs lock the brake pedal on automatics and the clutch on manual transmission equipped vehicles. I own three or four. For around $50 at many auto parts stores and many online sources, they are a cheap but effective deterrent.  (Just to be clear, they won’t stop the repo man)

Two notes of caution. Find a way to secure it while you are driving. That is not something you want flying around in an accident. In my Lincolns, I slid it under the driver’s seat and secured it with a rubber bungee cord. In my regular cab truck it goes behind the seat.

Check the width of the brake pedal arm. A few (Ford Contour comes to mind) are too wide to use these devices without some fiddling.

As always, YMMV.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

By Design?


Anyone notice how many (P)regressive candidates are wearing purple clothing? Starting with Shillary and Bill’s appearance after she lost the election, I see more and more purple.

Significance? There is the theme of turning red states purple then blue.

There is this.

Thursday marks “Spirit Day,” during which people around the country are wearing the color purple to show their support for LGBT youth. Bullying and harassment, both online and in real life, continue to plague the country’s young people. Spirit Day is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with them and call for a more inclusive culture for all.


And this.


1.      
Jan 5, 2011 - Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purpleis often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.

Of course, can’t forget our candidate for Governor who has put $18 million of his own money into his campaign.


Ah, WSF, you are bat shit crazy. Better check what is in the coffee you drink.

But wait, there is more. Chocked on my coffee when I read this in the local rag.


It’s a fucking trade school. You come out of it with a marketable skill and an AA degree. Didn’t know it was an employment opportunity for people with useless liberal arts degrees who are otherwise unemployable.



With more than one campus, there will be a call for the same center at each facility.

One segment I will agree is worthwhile, a lactation room. Any practical help for young mothers trying to better themselves is worthwhile IMO.