Saturday, September 28, 2013

Building Flying Hours

Another flying story was requested. The picture is for Murphy’s Law. That’s Frank Tillman in that twin Beech.

Building flying hours when you don’t have a lot of money is always a challenge. In the late 1960’s, my solution was to live off my savings and become a pilot for Dick Nolan in Greeley, CO. He advertised in Trade-A-Plane, “Dick Nolan has $2,000,000, buys airplanes”. He sold, and financed, airplanes over the telephone. He used a Michigan bank and would finance anyone with a down payment as he guaranteed the “paper” to the bank. He needed airplanes delivered, picked up, and repossessed. His deal with his pilots was he paid for fuel, oil, and a bus ticket back. His restrictions were VFR only and no night flying. What an education as I built a few hundred hours with him. There were many nights in some hanger in a sleeping bag. I learned to fly in a conventional gear airplane (Piper J-4) and did most of his single engine conventional gear trips. I didn’t have much retractable gear time so I rarely flew them unless he didn’t have anyone else.

I hated flying with him. He was the most careless pilot I ever met. Once saw him takeoff in a Cessna 150 with a rudder gust lock in place. Another time I picked him up in Kansas in a Luscombe 8E. Two big men are “snug” in a Luscombe. We headed West with me flying and him reading. Occasionally, he would glance up and motion me to go lower to lessen the effect of a headwind. He wasn’t satisfied until we were at crop duster level. 

He did pay us when we repossessed an airplane. One trip saw us in the South, his “chief pilot”, and two dummies. We would find the plane, grab it, and stash it at a Mississippi Delta airport. One we found hidden  on a farm in Georgia. Bob, the chief pilot, rented a car and we drove to the farm. No one was home. The plane, a Piper Pacer, was out of fuel with a dead battery. Off we went to the nearest gas station for ten gallons of gas. Back at the farm, we “proped” the plane and let it warm up. There was no runway, only a field planted in, kid you not, peas. A true “pea patch” story. The field was about 500’ wide with a downhill slope. The peas were about to the top of the wheels. “No problem.” Bob said, and sent me off. The takeoff roll was rough but was going well until I saw the fence we couldn’t see from the top of the hill. Managed to bounce the Piper over the fence without stalling it and staggered along in ground effect until the airspeed got in front of the power curve. Landed the Piper in Tullahoma, TN for fuel. The entire underside was green. Bob told me later there was a green cloud behind me. Then he said, “Yah, maybe we should have pulled it out to the road.”    

In the industry, Nolan was known as, “Dirty Dick, the junk dealer.” Some of the stuff we flew should have been in a junk yard. Still, it was one hell of an education, mainly in what not to do. Ah, youth, testosterone, ambition, and determination; how did we survive it? For me, it was a grand adventure, and I’m glad I had (and survived) the experiences.

Who knew, back then, a television series would be made called Airplane Repo?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Care Packages

Greybeard at Pitchpull  talks about “Care Packages” received and one’s he plans to send. Though I might share what pleased my son and his buddies while my son was at Kandahar.

Along with the usual stuff, I sent him a wrist rocket. He had a lot of fun with one as a young teen. Thought he could plink rodents or just targets. Instead, he and his buddies employed it for a “Hearts and Minds” effort.

Seems they had a supply of Jolly Rancher hard candies that they would give to the Afghan kids as a friendly gesture. Seems the kids like to throw rocks and feces at our people in the guard tower, and especially the gunners in open turrets as the convoys moved along the roads. You can probably see where this is going.

The wrist rocket was used to dispense the hard candies to any kid that got too close, like close enough to throw something. My son tells me it was quite effective, especially head shots. Hey! The kids got candy!

The wrist rocket stayed in Kandahar when he came home. I’m not sure just how the use of the wrist rocket fit into the R.O.E., but I’m proud of my tiny contribution to the downrange effort and troop morale.

Yes, I know, used this material last year. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Foothills Flooding. Did You Ignore The Clues?

The last few years here along the Front Range in Colorado have been filled with disasters. First, wildfires, and now an epic flood.  While one can feel compassion for those affected, in the background is the question, “What did you expect? Did you not think through all the factors involved in foothills living?” Obvious answer for most is no.

As a child, my father was a section foreman on the old Denver and Rio Grande railroad. We moved often and lived, at various times, in several foothill locations, Plainview, Pinecliff, Rollinsville, and East Portal.

My parents were children of the Great Depression and had close to “The Grapes of Wrath” life growing up. They were preppers long before the term became common. I clearly remember my father backing up a pickup to the front door of an Arvada, CO grocery store and filling it. This happened two to three times a year. That store manager liked to see us. Quite often our neighbors would accompany us for the same reasons.

When we moved to a new place, my parents focused on four things. First, water. Where did it come from? How dependable was the source? Second, fire hazards. None of these places was big enough to have a fire department, even a volunteer department. Third, heat for the winter. Fourth, access in and out. My parents also believed in the old West saying, “High, Dry, and Windy.”

So you want the mountain lifestyle. You move to an area that has a history of embedded thunderstorms dropping rain in huge amounts (recently, Boulder received 17”). Your only access is a two lane road along side a stream running through a narrow canyon. You can easily see the stumps of fire killed trees from an earlier era. You ignore the volumes of information on making your homestead more fire resistant. You don’t store any water. You have maybe ten days of food on hand. You have no alternative way of heating or cooking, except that decorative fireplace for which you have a few bundles of split softwood for fuel. You are probably in the upper socioeconomic scale as mountain property, and living,  is expensive. So what are you excuses for not being prepared?

 Ever think of some of the other hazards?

Now your life is turned upside down. Good luck with your insurance as you probably didn’t buy flood insurance.

I need to stop kicking people who are down. Hubris is doing a fine job on it’s own.

All photographs are taken from Google. If your copyrighted photo appears, contact me and it will be removed. No infringement is intended.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


So I put some items for sale on Craigslist. Get an email reply that looks borderline legitimate. Respond. Damn, it is a scammer.

Part of the email exchange.
> Hello! Please let's do like this, actually now I'm not in town for
> now, I came to visit my son so i wont be able to meet with you but am
> ok with the price as seen on the advert,..I will be buying from you so
> please kindly withdraw the advert from C.LIST due to disturbance and i
> will be giving you $50 for keeping the item for me I'll proceed in
> issuing a Certified check Or Cashier Check out to you and when you
> received the check , I will make arrangement for pick-up. So get back
> to me with below details asap.

> Final Price
> Name:
> Address:
> City:
> State:
> Postal Code:
> Phone Number:

> And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
> and i will let you know when its mailed out. and Just to informed you
> that I use a hearing impaired phone # and will receive your calls via
> email I need you to be honest with the sale as I am a God fearing
Yeah, right. Copies made and sent to Craiglist. Anyone have other suggestions? Guess it comes with the territory.

My reply to the scammer? Even with the "Content Warning", far too lurid for a blog.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Stephen over at Standing Outside Looking In mentions riding in his uncle’s International pickup That brings back fond memories of various Cornbinders of my youth and early adulthood.

The 50’s and 60’s Internationals had better suspensions than the other pickups. You could cruise down Northwest Colorado dirt roads at a comfortable 50 mph. Ford/Chev/GMC/Dodge/Studebaker pickups would beat you up at any speed over 30 mph. What Internationals were  known for was poor fuel economy and, in latter years, body rot. Bad body rot.

I had a 1955 model ½ ton for a few years. No factory turn signals. Armstrong power steering. It did have a heater and radio. I loved that truck. The wife, not so much, especially going over frost heaved roads when she was seven months 

Being basically cheap (not frugal, cheap), I liked being able to buy Internationals at attractive prices. We had a 1960 Travelall  with a 70% Bondo body. It did have power steering. My then wife, who was hard on machinery, hated me for making her drive it to work. Her coworkers were quite impressed to see a 5’4” woman wheeling that beast into the parking lot.  Finally, I relented and traded it in on a 1966 Mustang, V-8, automatic, and a/c. She was back in love (for awhile). The new owner of the Travelall called me a week after the trade. He was very upset. Seems he backed into a pole and most of the body below the window sills fell off. Must have been cheap Bondo.

My last Travelall was a 1968 4x4 with aftermarket locking differentials. That beast would go anywhere except past a filling station. My territory was Utah, Wyoming, Western Colorado, Eastern Nevada, and Northern Arizona. That truck was handy in the winter time.

International was in deep trouble by 1970. They started having Checker build their bodies which were worse than the ones they were making. While they had something like 25% of the Class 8 market, and a strong agriculture division, they mismanaged themselves into a deep hole. Ford bailed them out, not wanting a foreign company to buy them (a hot topic in that era). Strangely, International stopped building pickups, and soon after the Ford ½ ton became the sales leader. That bailout was also the start of Navstar engines. The first 6.9 diesels were a Ford design built in a Ford built factory.

Nothing International builds today interests me. I loath the way their medium duty trucks ride. I do like the appearance of the current International trucks, especially some of their Class 8 offerings.

That is a handsome truck!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Birthday

For all you Zoomies, past and present. Thank you for all you do.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Shootings

Hell yes, I’ll ask the question. Did political correctness play a part in the Navy Yard shootings?


One day after the rampage, authorities were trying to piece together the details of his security clearance. They were also looking for a motive and putting together a profile. XXXX, 34, appears to have had a history of psychological problems and was deteriorating, and military officials said he had a disciplinary record that included insubordination and disorderly conduct.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus plans to order two reviews to examine security procedures at all Navy and Marine Corps installations, a senior defense official told NBC News.

The first will be a “quick look” at physical security requirements of bases, the official said. The second will be a deeper look at both the physical and personal security requirement.
The personal requirements include whether someone is likely to protect classified information and adhere to standard security procedures. The physical review is a deeper look at physical security requirements on a base: swipe access, perimeter security, patrols, etc.

According to NBC News sources, Alexis had been treated multiple times for psychological issues, including sleep deprivation, anger and paranoia. Most recently they said he had been treated at a VA Hospital in New England. 

I will not use this asswipes name, hence the XXXX.

Was someone, or were several someones, afraid to take action ala the Ft. Hood asswipe?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Short Time On A Job

Seems some readers like car stories. Here is another.

My shortest time, at a dealership as a car salesman, was five hours. I did leave as a minor legend.

In the last century (pretentious, yes, but love the phrase) a car salesman had the most portable job imaginable. Walk onto a lot, show the manager some past pay stubs, and go to work on the spot.

A friend was a manager at a Chevrolet store South of Seattle and talked me into coming to work there. Started at 9 am and around 1:30 a car pulled in and the driver parked off to the side. An UP! I went over and greeted him. The conversation went something like this.

“Hello, welcome to H_______ Motors. Thanks for coming in today.”

Big smile, extended hand. The driver rudely slapped my hand away and said something along these lines. “I own this place, and I don’t talk to any fucking salesman. You got that, jackoff?”

“Excuse me, Mr. H_______. I didn’t know who you were. It won’t happen again.”

Then he got two good punches in the gut. He folded up and puked his lunch all over himself. The alcohol smell was overpowering. This was pre cell phone days. I walked over to the used car office, grabbed a phone, and called the police.

“Yeah, this is ‘The Tank’ over here at H_____ Motors on _______. I just had a drunk take a swing at me and had to defend myself.”

Police arrive, Smell him. Asked me if I saw him drive in. Asked me if I would testify in court that I saw him drive in and get out of the vehicle.

“Oh, hell yes!”

People, especially managers, were milling around. Mr. H______ had regained the ability to talk.  Didn’t matter, he was cuffed and stuffed.

After he was hauled away, the managers started motherfucking me. I just smiled, picked up my umbrella, and went over to my truck. Offered to fill the most vocal one’s dance card but he was all bluster. Drove off. One hour later I was back at my old lot where we all kissed and made up. Sold a car that night.

Never was called to testify. Saw Mr. H_______ a few times after that at various car venues. For some reason he stayed clear of me.

I’ve had a lifetime problem controlling my temper. Sometimes it does feel so good to lose it.

When he slapped my hand away, that was taking a swing at me. Calling the police was a tactical move. Being first with my story, and him being drunk, negated his position and money.

The moral of the story? Don’t go all wretched on a dirty white boy.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Miscellaneous Colorado Observations II

Foothills flooding is beyond serious. Authorities are talking in terms of 100 year and 500 year flooding. Starting at Coal Creek canyon, just West of Arvada/Golden and extending North to Lyons, all the streams are over their banks. Boulder County is especially hard hit. We are not out of the woods, yet. The above picture is looking NNW where Longs Peak, the highest 14,000' peak in Colorado sits. Looking East, lots of moisture, and the clouds at about 1,000' AGL are moving North. That is not our usual weather pattern.

Outside the flood areas, there are many flooded basements. People neglect their roof gutters, or have none, and the ground is becoming saturated. Few people in Colorado buy flood insurance.

The South Platte is still running high. West of Monument, CO, this river drains all of the Front Range. After a huge flood in 1965, two big dams were built in the drainages above Denver, and dikes were built along the river below Denver.

Unusual doings this morning, an Amtrack train on the Union Pacific rails to Cheyenne. Passengers were aboard. The only scheduled service is the California Zephyr, which runs on the BNSF trackage.
This picture was taken around 10 a.m. The Zephyr goes Westbound around 6 a.m. and Eastbound around 7 p.m.

On the other hand, the neighbor's chickens were busy putting their feathers into place.

Once again, the Denver Post has given space to as vile an attack on 2nd Amendment supporters as you are likely to read. MSNBC has linked it.

The article says he is a businessman. Bullshit, he is a professor at the University of Denver School of Business. He inherited his business, that he has someone else run and has had two jobs in the private sector. One was for a firm run by a relative.

And this just in.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Miscellaneous Colorado Observations

The successful recall election of the two Democratic Senators is shaking things up. A local café often has local Democrats present having breakfast. Yesterday, not a one was to be seen. The remaining Denver newspaper, a Progressive stronghold, had a whining editorial. A “We don’t agree but respect the voters. Now, can we just put it behind us?” Oh, yeah, all the Progs would like to pretend noting happened. 

Democrats now have just a one vote majority in the Senate, and not all the Democrat Senators voted for the gun bills. The Republicans who did are probably taking notice.

 Governor Wishywashy is trying to distance himself from the debacle. The 2014 elections will be interesting. We will see how well the Progressive’s Colorado Model holds up.

 My hope?  Enough Colorado voters are pissed off at the way outside money is trying to buy the state’s elections, they will throw all the bums out. Faint hope?

Did contact my two US Senators about the Syria vote. The one up for reelection never responded. The other did, with a three paragraph twaddle that said nothing. Think he uses the same writers as Obama. Why not, Obama got him appointed after the Loathsome Cowboy (h/t Michelle Malkin) became Secretary of the Interior, and helped him win his primary election. How else does the Superintendent of the Denver Schools, who had never run for elective office, get elected US Senator?

After a long, dry, and near record breaking hot summer, we are in the monsoon weather pattern along the Front Range. A large low pressure system stalls in New Mexico. Moist air flows from the Southeast and hits the Rockies. The air lifts, it starts raining, and the system stalls while the moisture keeps coming. Areas in the foothills start getting 4” to 9” of rain in a short period. Now, for some of you in other parts of the country, that may not seem like a lot of rain. Here, the foothills have little vegetation so the rain become runoff and overwhelms the drainage system. Add areas denuded by recent fires and the problem gets worse. 

I live out in the plains near the South Platte River. Most days you can wade the river and it will be, at most, thigh deep in the channels between sand bars. Today, it is running bank to bank,  and four to five feet deep.

Many road closures in the area today. Several deaths reported. Prayers for all who are affected.

While this rain is hurting the foothills, out on the plains it is welcomed. Depleted reservoirs are being filled and vegetation revived. The trees in my neighborhood were showing signs of distress but have now perked up.

This is a historic weather pattern in Colorado. Bet it won’t stop the whining about “climate change”.

And this, from a recent email.

Moderation has never been in the lexicology of Colorado. A friend of mind posted on FB that if it snows next week, Colorado will have a hat trick. It could happen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sister Kink

See where Colorado State Representative Lori Saine (R) Dacono has managed to get herself mentioned in national news outlets, again. Not bad for a first term representative.

Lori was a minor legend in the car business and one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. We worked together for years. She was also one of the kinkiest salespeople I’ve ever known. In this context, nothing sexual is implied. 

To the best of my knowledge, she is a totally faithful wife to her husband. 

Rather, it is the way she dealt with customers. Every single deal had a complication (kink) in it. Now, in the car business, “You kinky motherfucker”, is often a high compliment. In this context, she was a superstar. Not every deal needs a kink; it is not necessary. She just couldn’t resist.

Super competitive, she was driven to win every contest. We often had six position “walk around” competitions as part of ongoing sales training. As you walk around a vehicle, at each position you present advantages, benefits, and commitment.

“This car has six airbags. If you are unfortunate as to be in an accident, they will protect you. That’s important to you, isn’t it?”

Usually, I was the only person at the dealership that could best her. While I really didn’t give a rat’s ass about winning, I did enjoy making her sweat. A seasoned pro can spend an hour doing six position sales. Every item on a vehicle, if you know your product, has a selling point.

“Folks, this vehicle has safety rims. Say you have a blowout. No matter what, the tire will not come off the rim and tie up your steering. Gives you a little peace of mind, doesn’t it? And, once you are safely stopped, call your complimentary roadside service to have the spare put on.”

Now, by law since 1932, every vehicle sold in the United States that carries passengers has safety rims.

At one point, I was overseeing four used car lots. I recommended Lori to manage the Windsor, CO operation. When I say she was a hard worker, look at the pictures below. The snow plow operator piled snow directly in front of a bay door. We needed to get the vehicle parked in the bay out. I arrived to find Lori, all 5’2” of her, attacking the frozen pile with a shovel.

I think we will be hearing more about Lori in the future. If hard work, long hours, and sheer determination alone makes for success in politics, she will be there for a long time. God help us all!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Maps and Prejudices

For those who enjoy maps and surveys this is offered.

Completely unrelated, and of trivial importance, a picture of a clever merchandise display.

Good vibrations along the Front Range today as the Broncos won last night. Bronco fans can be insufferable.

Sorry folks, all I have today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Kind and Gentle Army NCOs, Circa 1963

One son is on active duty with the Army (68W – “Medic”) and the contrast between his Army and the one I was in fifty years ago amazes me. The standards, physical fitness, and the skill sets are miles and miles higher than my era.

In my youth, the one common denominator all men faced was THE DRAFT. Conventional wisdom was the Army was the worst place to be. The Air Force, Navy, Marines, and National Guard were able to recruit enough volunteers that they didn’t need draftees. Hence, their recruits were probably better motivated, and, perhaps, more intelligent overall.

Digging through some boxes, came across my basic training “year book”. Below are the pictures of the “kindly and gentle” NCO’s that introduced me to the Army.
These men faced many challenges. The facilities, equipment, training aids, and barracks were leftovers from WWII and Korea. More than likely funding for anything was a problem. Then there were the raw recruits they were tasked with training.

Recruits fell into three groups, draftees (US), volunteers (RA), and National Guard (NG). The draftees had a few college men and high school graduates but had a high number of men dumber than a box of rocks. They were not highly motivated. The National Guard recruits had, in my opinion, a draft dodger mentality. They seemed to regard themselves as much higher in status and smarts than the rest of us. Volunteers had a few men that saw the Army as a career, many who saw the Army as three hots and a cot, and men like me. I never doubted I would serve. By enlisting, I was in a small way controlling my destiny and where I would go. Others joined to learn various skills. Draftees were in for two years active duty, volunteers for three years active duty, and the National Guard for six months of active duty. All of us had a six year obligation.

In a tradition that dates back centuries, these NCOs started grinding us into soldiers. They were not allowed to hit any trainee. Their method was induced fatigue. By working in shifts, they got us up at 0400 and kept us in motion until lights out at 2200.  For those few of us who were in great physical condition, we were drained of most of our piss and vinegar. For those who came in out of condition, it must have been hell. Few dropped out. The rumors of the conditions in the “retraining companies” were extra motivation. Also, we were told often by the cadre that the way out of the Army was a lot harder than getting through basic. This was reinforced when we passed the occasional work parties that closely resembled chain gangs. These men were “retrainees”.

My biggest challenge, which has been my life’s biggest challenge, was controlling my temper. Those kindly NCOs soon spotted my problem and came up with various ways of helping me learn “anger management”. What I could do was shoot. I’d spent years in the NRA Junior Rifleman program, and grew up in a hunting culture. That ability was spotted, and made me stand out from the “herd”, which brought certain perks. The cadre hoped we few “shooters” could raise the overall average of the company. Very selfish of them, don’t you agree?

What a challenge these men faced. There was no “drill sergeant” ethos at that time. Little effort was spent to build “esprit”. No learning the “Army Song”, which didn’t exist at the time. Their job was turning a mob into soldiers. The end result.
My advanced individual training (AIT) was at the same post (Fort Lost in The Woods in the State of Misery). A large package for me arrived in the mail at my basic training company. Rather than it being forwarded, I was allowed to leave early and take a cab to pick it up (cab fare was 25 cents). The cadre spotted me and invited me to eat with them in the mess hall. What a revelation! Friendly, laughing, and teasing me about my mishaps, these were not the same men who I feared for eight weeks. There I learned the Battalion had scored a new FLW low with our training cycle. How frustrating it must have been for those cadre members!

They did a good job of  teaching me soldier skills. Rarely, standing Guard Mount, did I fail to make Supernumary. All guard details have one extra man in case someone gets sick or otherwise needs to be replaced. This person doesn’t walk guard and is often rewarded with perks.

When I see my son and his fellow soldiers, I realize most from my era wouldn’t make a pimple on their asses. As a nation, we are fortunate to have them.

I will always be in favor of universal, compulsory, military service for both sexes, if only for a few months. Nothing else comes close to building a sense of national identification and unity.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Another car story, as requested from one of the (four or five) readers. In 1988, Hyundai did not have a good reputation. Mitsubishi, in their wisdom, rebadged the base Hyundai and call it a Precis. Since Mitsubishi didn’t have a much better reputation than Hyundai, selling a Precis was a challenge. (Many Mitsubishis were, for the time, good vehicles)

Circa 1988, enlisted military personnel under the rank of E-7 were not welcomed by most lenders making car loans. This is a story of one such financing effort.

First, the customer was black, i.e., African American. My description of him is not racially motivated; just painting a picture. Bluntly, when selling a car, I didn’t care anything at all about a customer except for three questions. First, did they have the means to buy a car? Second, would they make a purchasing decision? Third, were they legally able to buy (age, driver’s license, mentally competent)?

I was moved, not willingly, from my comfortable niche at the Ford franchise in a multiple franchise operation and dispatched to the Mitsubishi store to be a “closer”. This was supposedly a promotion. Yeah, blow me. My job was to “takeover” a sale when the first salespersons floundered,  and find a way to “close” the sale. Did the customer like this? We didn’t care. Old school, hard core selling was the order of the day.

The customer was a black E-3 airman from McCord AFB. He was tall, gangly, walked like he learned how to move from chickens (arms flailing, head bobbing up and down), and had an arrogant attitude. He overwhelmed the salesman,  and I was sent in.

As I came in, he stood up and announced, “Ize don’t want no fucking Precis”.

 Using my best NCO voice, I said, “Sit down!” He folded up in the chair. “Let me explain something to you. You are an airman. No one wants to finance you. You have $500, that’s it. You need a bank to buy you a car and let you buy it back from them one month at a time. Do you understand me?”  

“Shit, man, you hard”, he responded. 

“The only car the bank is going to buy you is a Precis. You have three choices. Buy some beater piece of shit that will break down, strand you, and make you AWOL. Or, you can keep bumming rides and use the bus. Or, you can drive the only car that the bank will buy you. What is it going to be?” 

He sat there in the chair, twisting, twitching, and bobbing up and down. “Can I gets me a red one”, he asked?

 “No”, I said, “Blue or silver.”

He again did his spastic chicken imitation and cried out, “Silver." 

Paperwork started, and forty five minutes later he was driving away in his silver Precis. As he hit the driveway, he spotted me, and yelled, “I still don’t want no fucking Precis.”

Three weeks later he was back for his license plates. The windows were tinted black. He had a sub woofer strong enough to vibrate the body panels. I made the weak suck salesman go out and put the plates on.  The customer told him, “Ize don’t got no damned Hyundai; I got’s me a Precis!”

Ah, wonderful. A happy customer.