Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Buttons Needed

Youngest son was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his work on a three week training exercise. The exercise had almost triple digit casualties; accidents, shock, hypothermia, heart attacks, etc. Nearly two score needed to be air lifted. This was his first real test dealing with real people and not training androids. Seems he passed the test!

Proud alone doesn’t describe how I feel. More like humble.

His reaction? “That is my job and it is 50 promotion points.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Makes Me Proud

Middle son, who I seldom blog about, has made me a proud parent today. He starts a new job tomorrow. He went the night school route to earn a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and has finally landed an IT job. He has sent out hundreds of resumes and been interviewed many times.

This one has chosen a hard path based on his deeply held beliefs. His hair, clothing, tattoos, etc. make him stand out. I've remarked he looks like the lead character in a slasher movie. He has paid a heavy price for his convictions and I am so happy to see him finally win.

All my sons have strong beliefs. I've never worried about those beliefs; only that they have convictions and are not wussy suck ups.

So, way to go son!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Military Draft

Once again the Army has reached out and grabbed me!

Youngest son and wife are off to a pre-deployment couples retreat to help them when he is soon deployed. Someone needs to watch their children. I’ve been drafted!

Will be forced to spend the next three days with my grand children. It will be tough but I will try to soldier through it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This is the letter I sent my Congressman.

The Honorable Ed Perlmutter
415 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Perlmutter,

I wanted to take a moment to explain why I won’t be contributing to your campaign for reelection nor will I be voting for you this fall. Simply, I am sickened by the way “Health Care Reform” was passed. As an attorney, how much of it do you think will stand up to legal challenge? You have a very direct responsibility because you are on the committee that handled the bill.

There are many things you do that I admire. Your commitment to constituent services. Your “Government at the Grocery”. You efforts on behalf of Veterans. My friends in the American Legion speak highly of you. At a personal level, one of my cousin’s daughter and your daughter were on the same soccer team. My cousin tells me you are a good family man. You make your position on issues clear in your communications.

Last election you received my contribution and vote. While I find you lukewarm in support of the 2nd Amendment, an issue important to me, your opponent didn’t seem to offer anything but negative rhetoric.

In this state, we have the outstanding example of bi-partisanship shown by Senator Gordon and Speaker Romanoff before they left the Legislature because of term limits. I see nothing of this in Washington, D.C. Perhaps I am wrong but you don’t seem to exhibit any leadership in this area. You seem to completely support Speaker Pelosi who seems to have learned her leadership skills from Tom DeLay.

As a Blue Dog Democrat, I will find it hard to vote for, much less work for, a Republican. I’m beginning to believe this country needs to send 535 fresh faces to Washington, D.C. this January. There seems to be a belief that any health care legislation is better than no legislation. As of today, thirteen State Attorney Generals are preparing law suits to block what was passed. More will likely follow. I think these people have excellent legal minds. That they are taking this action speaks volumes.

I hope you can spend the remainder of your term representing us, your constituents, and not always being in agreement with the House leadership.

Sincerely yours,


I have no illusions this letter will do a damn thing. I feel better for writing it and it is at least something I can do.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Same Sex Marriage

J.D. Hayworth, McCain’s primary challenger, recently stumbled while discussing same sex marriage. He somehow got off on a tangent that people might want to marry their horses. This issue was settled in 1975. Please read on.

A constant theme in my blog is the need for people to get involved, at the local level, in politics. By local level I mean precinct, city, and county. Doing so can produce some interest results. In the early 1970’s, students and others associated with the University of Colorado, Boulder County, CO overwhelmed and took over the political parties in the county at the caucus level, nominated their favorites, and captured many of the county offices in the general election. Their efforts were completely open and legal. All hell broke loose. Taxes, on the books but never previously collected from the movers and shakers, were now collected. Many other changes were made. The “establishment” was truly shaken.

Clela Rorex was elected County Clerk and Recorder. She was well qualified. Her father was the long term County Clerk and Recorder of Routt County, CO, and very good at his job. He was reelected by such margins he rarely had a challenger. Clela grew up working in his office as an unpaid helper. She knew the procedures, rules, and law.

Clela issued the first same sex marriage licenses in the country. She checked with the County Attorney. There was no law on the books forbidding it. She ended up issuing six licenses in all. One day a man came in and wanted to marry his horse. There was no law against it. Clela asked the age of the horse then informed him, by law, the horse was too young and needed written permission from both parents. Mr. Hayworth must not know of this precedence.

This is an example of how political change happens. What happened in Boulder County influenced Colorado politics and new laws for years.

The evangelicals have used the local process to gain a lot of influence. My hope is that the Tea Party participants will get into the gritty business of politics at the local level. It is not as much fun as parades and rallies but is much more effective. You won’t get a lot changed by spending your time talking with people who already agree with you. I write as a former precinct committeeman. My late father was a precinct committeeman and County Captain. He was a man of modest means but had a lot of influence. All you need is the willingness to give a few hours a month and a strong ego to withstand the critics that will come your way. The good is you will attend some great parties! Many precincts positions are unfilled. Call your Parties’ county office.

Was it Woody Allen who said 80% of success is just showing up?
Show up, and be amazed at what you can get done. Tip O’Neil said that all politics is local. Somebody in your locality is making your decisions. Why isn’t it you?

Much more fun than the 8" of global warming I just shoveled of the deck and stairs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Precinct Caucus

Attended my precinct caucus last night. Typical Democrat meeting; unorganized and argumentative. Colorado has 3,247 Precincts. All political processes start at this level.

A fellow Blue Dog and I met earlier and plotted strategy. We have two regular attendees who think Obama is a conservative. We were determined to thwart them. A total of seven delegates to county, Congressional district, and state conventions were selected. We were able to control the slate. Only one ultra lib got selected.

The various proposed “planks” for the party “platform” were debated. My friend and I were able to kill all but two leftist proposals and modify several more. We were able to get a positive vote on all but one “conservative” proposal.

One of three primary candidates for the State Representative seat is from our precinct. It was interesting to see the candidate lose control and get angry when things didn’t go as the candidate wanted. Something to ponder when voting in the primary. If you lose control in a meeting of twelve people, what are you going to do at the state level?

With 3,247 Precincts in Colorado, the impact of my fellow Blue Dog and I, isn’t even a pimple on the donkey’s ……… If two Blue Dogs were involved in say 3,000 Precincts, the impact would matter. Our involvement took about five hours. Two hours of plotting and three at the caucus.

The State Senator from my district lives in an adjacent precinct. She leans in the Brady direction on gun issues. I have a cordial relationship with her and her husband. When the the time comes, I will be able to make a case with her and know I will get a fair hearing.

Unless you travel a lot, most people can invest five hours in impacting the political process. Please get involved.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My young friend at Why Worry, Its All OK likes this story and suggested I post it.

Disclaimer: I do not now nor have I ever liked the taste of Starbucks coffee. Or espresso.

I was living in the Seattle area when the espresso coffee fad took off. As an investor, I took a long and detailed study of the trend, used my college training to work up business models, and concluded the business wouldn’t be profitable. That tells you how smart I am.

My business travels weekly involved using the Washington State Ferries. Depending on the route, I had thirty minutes to an hour to myself. Pre cell phones and no public phones on the ferries, I could only be bothered by my pager. My routine was to hit the galley, get a cup of coffee, find a table, and catch up on paperwork undisturbed.

Starbucks first major success was getting the exclusive on the ferries’ coffee business. I hated the stuff and have always resented Starbucks (yeah, irrational. No one who knows me well thinks I’m wrapped tight). Went back to the whole thermos hassle.

The current uproar about open carry, and Starbucks taking their stand, makes me want to support them. How, when I can’t stand their product?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Queen Juliana, the Netherlands

This is a story for my Blanket Head buddy who thinks my service time focused only on intoxication and low pursuits.

The Netherlands (Holland) in the 1960’s was a peaceful place. This is how a friend and I happened to speak to Queen Juliana.

We were stationed in Germany. I had an old beater English Ford that we took on leave with the intention of visiting Holland and Denmark. We traveled back roads and, being highly trained pathfinders, managed to get completely lost. We came across a huge house, maybe a palace, and stopped along side the road. We expected such a structure would be on our map. As we sat there, two ladies on bicycles rode up to our car and asked if we needed help. We explained we had been lost but thought we now knew our location. The ladies confirmed we were correct and peddled on up the road. Behind them were four very large men on bicycles. Three passed us and one stopped.

About this time, it dawned on my travel partner we had just spoken to someone important. The gentleman on the bicycle gave confirmation. He told us one of the ladies was the Queen. He also looked at our papers and identification cards. We didn’t argue.

We watched the group continue up the road and then turn into an entrance. What gracious people the Dutch are. The Netherlands was always my favorite leave or pass destination.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Dixie Lee Ray, PhD, 1914-1994, was a one term governor (D) of Washington State elected in 1976. Many attributed her winning to the 8% of the electorate who voted for the OWL Party (Out with Logic, On with Lunacy), a group of patrons of a Tumwater Bar who discovered you needed only $25 to register as a candidate for a statewide office and be published in the official election guide.

I admired the woman for proving, convincingly, women can be just as incompetent as men in high public office.

Now we have Barrack Hussein Obama, J.D. who used the Internet to sway disenchanted voters. Anybody not see where this posting is headed? If not, leave a comment and I will finish it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snake Expert Needed

What is it? Came across this critter on County Road 75 North of Trinidad, CO. Not moving out of the way so drove around it. I believe you shouldn't bother anything that isn't bothering you. I'm hoping someone can identify it. Yes, I already know it is a snake, Cody!

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Evil Car Salesmen Stories

Received a complaint my blog needs to lighten up and post another car lot story.

In 1986, Suzuki introduced the Somersault, er, Samurai, to the Seattle area. The only transmission was a manual. Seattle had at the time a large Asian immigrant population and all wanted automatics. A typical incoming phone call went like this. “Ah, you got Samurai $5995”? “Yes Sir” “Ah, you got automatic”?

We had a new hire who was not lacking self esteem. He made a bold statement, his first day, that he would now be the “Salesman of the Month”, every month. Either Byron or myself had that title from the first month the store opened. We decided to help him out.

“Ah, you got Samurai $5995? “Yes Sir!” Ah, you got automatic”? “Yes Sir, are you looking at our ad”? “Write my name down on the ad and bring it to me. I am the only one who knows where the automatics are stored.” “Ah, yes. What you name”? “Bob”.

Poor Bob, he never did make Salesman of the Month, even with all the extra prospects who asked for him.

A few years later, Bob and I were both at the Ford store. The advertisement hook at the time was zero down (it was a lease). One day a call came in that I, at first, thought was a prank. The call went something like this. “Ize qualifies, Ize got no money. Ize need me the ride to get the job. I get me the job, I can make the strokes, you understand”? Soon the caller had a firm appointment with Bob, the only one in the store who could do that kind of financing.

A few hours later I hear a voice behind me, “Tank, you blank blank blank” “Bob”, I answered, “What’s up”? Why he thought I had set him up instead of the thirty others in the store who disliked him, I can’t explain. (Not that I much cared)

Yes, car salesmen are a cruel, evil bunch.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


One of my grouchy old man pet peeves is wimps. Yesterday was a good example.

Someone decided they needed the year tab on the license plate on one of our vehicles. The vehicle was ticketed ($75) by the parking authorities. So it is find the title, drive to the county clerk office and get a replacement tab ($2.37).

At the office, the “take a number” dispenser wasn’t working. The mechanism is simple and I was able to fix it and get a number, 19.

Ten minutes later the clerks were up to 18 when this young man came up to me and said, in a whiney, aggrieved, “I am a victim tone,” that he should be 19 because he couldn’t get a ticket! I told him to go get another ticket and exchange it for my number 19. He started to argue. He then heard my “I’ll kick your ass” boss voice tell him to go get a F*&*ing ticket and bring it to me. He did, nearly in tears. The number he brought was 22. I gave him number 19 and waited a few more minutes to be served. He and his woman gave me several hurt looks, completed their business, and left. When my number was called, I was very pleasant with the lady, she was very pleasant with me, and my business took about five minutes.

This wimp was too intimidated to walk up to the counter and say, "Excuse me, the machine isn’t working”. Sheesh, how much courage does that take? I guess my grand fatherly look seemed less threatening than bringing attention to himself. Bad judgment, wimp! Best you don’t run into me at the parking judge office. I again won’t be in a good mood.

Blood From A Turnip

Collection company letter arrived today claiming I owed a cell phone carrier. Called them and found this “bill” was from September 2004. I was in Fullerton, CA when the phone puked. They (QWEST) had closed all their retail stores. A Verizon store was three blocks away. I’ve been with Verizon since then. Don’t like them but the job gets done. QWEST was paid including their early termination fee. Can I prove it? Not without a lot of research.

Earlier this year, another collection firm tried to collect for a long distance carrier I never used. Again, the bill was five years old.

I think these things are scams. These collection companies buy up these old debts and/or accounting/billing errors and start their process. A certain number of people will pay. In this state (CO), the Attorney General’s Office has an online complaint form. The office does take action. In the case of the long distance bill, the collection firm sent me an apology letter.

A friend said, “Why not just pay it and be done with it? The amount isn’t worth the aggravation”. Good point, but not my nature. Damn the torpedos, etc.