Saturday, December 31, 2011

Small, Small Town USA

Some of what is best about this country is found in small towns. Seems a sense of community is lost as population density increases. Of course, privacy increases with population; hard to have a totally private life in a small town.

The internet now gives these small town a bigger voice. Economics have killed off many a small town newspaper. In place, we have blogs. I would direct your attention to a small town blog HERE.

Nothing unique, just a sample of small town life. (Someday I will learn how to do hyperlinks.)

This little town looms large in my paternal family history. Various forefathers have roamed that part of the country since just after the Civil War (excuse me, The War of Northern Aggression) as both solid citizens and down and dirty outlaws. Maybe both at the same time.

The Ladies Club is today, and has always been, a potent force in the town and surrounding areas. It takes a fool hardy man to tell a Moffat County woman what she is going to do. Personally, I would rather play chicken with a coal train.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank God and Greyhound

SUZ has started a Meme, “The top 25 on my play list”.

My contribution? Just one. Roy Clark, “Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone”.

This story starts when my wife of twenty two years left me for another man, and moved out of state, leaving me the two youngest to raise. My standard joke, in absolute seriousness, is I wanted to send him a thank you card but feared he would send her back.

Forward a year and half later, she is back visiting. She was staying with our oldest, who lived on his own. Her wealthy paramour turned out to be all hat and no cattle. She came to visit on Greyhound and had no money for a rental car. I had loaned her a car, which she started abusing, so I put and end to that. Finally, she decided to go back to whatever she called home.

I agreed to take her to the Seattle Bus Depot. By the time I got her disorganized self there, my tolerance factor had nearly been eclipsed by her nuisance factor.

The depot was the usual zoo. One individual caught my attention. He was wearing a leather vest over a bare torso and flexing his muscles. Maybe had 18 inch “guns”.

The bus was oversold. She had two metal trunks and miscellaneous soft bags. The bus driver, already late, didn’t want to board her. Said he had to have a least two empty seats. I pointed out her luggage. I told him I would follow him clear across Washington State. At some point he would have to let her on. Then he could load her luggage. As an alternative, he could let her on, and I would load the luggage. He liked my alternative. After loading her trunks, I could see her in the bus struggling to stuff her other bags in the overhead luggage rack. Boarding the bus, I went to her seat and stuffed the damn bags into the rack. Going up the isle, I passed the gentlemen with the leather vest sitting in an aisle seat. He made himself small as I passed. Hmm, a six foot 280 pound red faced Celt, in a T Shirt, with 22 inch “guns”, and a most unpleasant visage, might have prompted him to avoid a confrontation.

The bus departed and I followed. Once Eastbound on I-90, I passed him and then exited on I-405 but pulled onto the shoulder. I wanted to see the bus go by by. As I waited, I put “Thank God and Greyhound” in the tape deck. Enjoying the moment, I was whooping and pounding the dash as the bus rolled by. Right then a Washington State Patrolman was at my window.

After the license, registration, insurance formality, I explained the situation to the officer. His question, “Have you been drinking” brought the answer, “No, but in about fifteen minutes I will be”. He lost his professional demeanor, leaned against my truck, and started laughing. A few minutes later I was on my way and he on his. As promised, fifteen minutes later I was making sure a few cold Rainiers weren’t getting stale.

That song will probably always be my favorite.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Sad Story of "Dead Dog" Fred

Two readers have been asking for another car lot story. Decided to relate the sad fate of Freddy “Dead Dog” Dayo.

Freddy could make a very realistic sound of a hurt dog. He and another miscreant salesman had a routine when things got boring. Freddy would crouch down behind a row of cars and start yelping. His partner in mischief, Flea, would rush up and down calling, “Muffy, where are you"? Soon, the green peas would be helping find Muffy and lose focus, allowing the veterans to beat them to fresh “ups.” The managers started calling Fred “dead dog” (when they were in a good mood).

Freddy wasn’t know for his reliability. Once he broke his arm. When he called his sales manager to be excused from work, he was told, “Fuck you, Dayo. I want to see the X-rays, not the cast.” When he finally arrived at work, the owner sympathetically asked, “Hey Fred, want to arm wrestle.”?

His passion, aside from loose living, was steelhead fishing. He lived to fish.

One day his ship came in. While driving a T Top Firebird from one lot to another, the glass T Tops shattered, showering him with glass. He was so horrible injured, he couldn’t raise his arms above shoulder level. Happily, he was able to start drawing Workman’s Compensation.

About that time, the State Labor and Industries managers hired private investigators to start checking out the “injured” drawing tax free state money.
Freddy was the star of a video showing him lugging coolers, balanced on his shoulder, up and down steep river banks. The video showed his fantastic form casting lures.

Alas, his ship hit a reef. He was given six months to pay back every cent he had received from the state. When he put his mind to it, he was an effective salesman and paid the state back in the allotted time. Then the IRS hit him for the “tax free” money he received. Poor Freddy! For about ten months he had to work his butt off.

No moral here or purpose other than a requested story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Please check out this site if you think deep pockets have too much influence on elections.

One of the founders, Ken Gordon, has walked the walk. I don't agree with him on all things but have the highest respect for him and what he has accomplished.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cell Phone Madness

This %$###@%^ nanny state bullshit just keeps flowing. Last statistic I could find was 2008. Per the Department of Transportation, there are over 196,165,666 licensed driver in the USA. Some will always be knuckleheads. Defensive driving, people. So here is the latest self important airhead wanting to further restrict our freedoms:

"According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents", said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving."

"No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."

Can we find people in government service who at least pass reality once or twice a day in the hall?

The fundamental problem is government people—pointy-headed bureaucrats—telling people what to do. There is an environment in this city of people unwilling to admit their mistakes and move ahead. The attitude toward rule-making has been so curtailed that common sense recommendations now take years and years.

— James Hall, NTSB, 1996

I am for hands free cell phone usage and no texting; even a scofflaw like me can change. Given the need, I will even learn to use the Bluetooth ear piece I bought four years ago.

Want to knock the economy down? Make people less productive and business less efficient. That time I’m in a vehicle, during business hours, is lost time. Any portion used productively is a boon. How well I remember the four D Cell pagers pulling down my pants, the frustration in finding a working pay phone, and the dangerous places I found a pay phone. Cell phones forever!

The illustration that accompanied the article with Ms. Hersman”s remarks? A black revolver on the left, a red blood splatter on the right with a black cell phone super imposed on the splatter.

Too bad this statistic wasn’t included:

The accidental gun death rate has been falling since 1930 and US accidental gun deaths per year were down to 613 by 2007, out of the 301,579,895 people in the USA, according to the CDC. For comparison, there were 29,846 accidental deaths by poisoning in 2007, again according to the CDC.

These are accidental deaths. Murder and suicide are not accidents. From Wikipedia:

The real percentage of suicides among car accidents is not reliably known; studies by suicide researchers tell that "vehicular fatalities that are suicides vary from 1.6% to 5%".[32] Some suicides are misclassified as accidents, because suicide must be proven; "It is noteworthy that even when suicide is strongly suspected but a suicide note is not found, the case will be classified an 'accident.'"[33]
Some researchers believe that suicides disguised as traffic accidents are far more prevalent than previously thought. One large-scale community survey (in Australia) among suicidal persons provided the following numbers: "Of those who reported planning a suicide, 14.8% (19.1% of male planners and 11.8% of female planners) had conceived to have a motor vehicle “accident”... Of all attempters, 8.3% (13.3% of male attempters) had previously attempted via motor vehicle collision."[34]

Might I suggest Ms. Twit and her staff focus on this? Oh, sorry; hard work involved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas Poem

From my friend Hal Swift, Nevada Poet

Christmas is a Birthday Party
R. H.Swift

Christmas is a birthday party
we celebrate every year.
And happy invitations call
our guests from far and near.

The party held in Bethleham
found shepherds the first to go.
Then wise men followed, gifts in hand,
to worship in the glow.

This Christmas, too, we celebrate,
sing carols of peace on earth.
Just as the joyful angels did
the night of Jesus' birth.

Christmas is a birthday party,
and you are invited in...
to celebrate with grateful joy
God's wondrous gift again.
Just a note to wish you

The Swifts
Ralph "Hal" and Carol
cjrhswift@pyramid.netevade Poet.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Remora Feeding Frenzy

Received by snail mail from the Social Security Administration, Form SSA-4926-SM (1-2012), detailing my 2012 “Benefit Amount”. Nice, off the top they deduct $1,198.80 for Medicare medical insurance. Not mentioned is few mainstream medical practices are accepting new patients.

I am extremely fortunate my city has a good public health clinic. Copay visit is $15. The care is adequate. Kind of like Sick Call in the Military.

(Thanks, Sisty, for your many years as a board member)

Now, if I don’t have supplemental insurance then I pay more. I don’t understand it all, and don’t want the brain damage of learning. My sister, who does understand, and the insurance broker in her building, hand me forms and tell me what to do. All I know is I have United Health Care, the outfit that gave their founder a $1.5 BILLION Golden Parachute, and is so close to AARP I think they are the same. While I despise both organizations, my broker tells me this is the cheapest way to go. Ah, money beats principal once again.

The tangible “benefit” is my generic blood pressure placebos are costing pocket change at Walgreen.

I do keep my VA status up to date. My children have been instructed, in the event of my becoming incapacitated, to drop me off at the VA Hospital entrance like an unwanted pet, and drive off.

Even the mainstream press report massive Medicare fraud. Didn’t the Lightbringer, he of the most transparent administration ever, promise to go after the fraud? Wasn’t that a centerpiece of paying for Obamacare? Perhaps when the political donor dollars were tabulated, money beats principal once again.

Seems the Remora have been feeding so long, and so lavishly, they are now part of the “entitled classes”.

I’m getting my “entitlement”. Never mind I’ve been paying into the program since 1958.

Text Message Rant

This Latter Day Luddite dislikes texting. Some text messages conveying information are useful. Phone numbers, status updates, information requests, and addresses are examples.

Relationships via text just piss me off. Want to dirty bitch me? Call. Don’t try to be in complete control by using your digits and a gizmo.

I tolerate it with my offspring. Others? Hell no.

The day I sign up for Twitter please shoot me.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anarchy, OWC, and Soldier Posers

Identifying problems isn’t hard. Solutions are hard. Recently came across this.

Discusses problems and offers solutions. Are the solutions possible? I don’t know. I do know I find it refreshing to read something that isn’t a bitch session pity party.

Murphy has an interesting post about the Occupiers and soldier posers.

How hard is making it in today’s military? Probably no harder than in the past. Unless there has been a total change of focus, and my active duty son says not, the NCO’s at all levels are focused on success. Getting into the special ops units may be different. Seems most of the “veterans” at the Occupy sites fall into the loser category.

My experience started in the fall of 1963. Surprisingly, many of us served together throughout our time in the service, start to finish. Out of my basic training company, around twenty of us went to Combat Engineer training. When we went to Europe on the good ship Rose, we met up with many of our basic training members who had attended other specialty schools. About fifty from the Engineer AIT company went to Europe. Most ended up on the same Engineer Group; two battalions and four separate companies. We kept encountering each other at training sites, service clubs, and bars where we discussed the current status of soldiers we knew. Somewhere around one in fifteen didn’t make it. If there was one common denominator, it was laziness.
You could see it from the first few days of basic training. They were unwilling to work, to learn, to carry their share of the load. In my company, you could be a drunk, “civil” rights rabble rouser, get in fights, be stupid, etc., and the NCO’s would work to change you. Be a slacker, not do your job, and be lazy about your duty, and you were on your way out. Not just the command, but everyone would be unwilling to even acknowledge you. The common route out involved a Bad Conduct Discharge.

The 60’s 70’s anti war movement spawned some violent splinter groups. Bank robbers, kidnappers, etc. Between then and now, violent groups like Earth Liberation Front have formed. Watch for it; there will be organized attacks on the perceived 1%. The theory being, they can’t break the 1%, but they can insure the 1% don’t enjoy themselves. Golfers getting sniped? Bombs in exclusive area night clubs? Old generation, but still lethal, one man SAMS against private jets? Not hard to take the joy out of life and install fear.

No, I’m not advocating violence. Far from it; it is usually innocent bystanders that get killed or wounded. I just see a situation developing. Then the 1% use their wealth and power to protect themselves. How will that impact our liberties? Mix in a faltering economy, dysfunctional government, disappearing social “services” and we get perilous times.

Getting back to the start of this blog, I think all of us need to examine our approach to those we disagree with. The very first step is to vote. The second step is get involved with local politics at the local level. The third step is to find some common ground with your neighbors you disagree with. That starts the process.

As always, your mileage may vary.