Monday, January 27, 2014

Lawn Gnome Ornaments and Convicts

What the official 2014 Winter Olympic uniforms bring to mind.

Your mileage may vary.

It has been brought to my attention some cannot post comments. If this is you, please send them as an  email, and I will do the copy/paste routine. ( Guess Google is getting persnickety again.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Know Who You Are

Some readers of this blog actually own GM products. Not to be judgemental, but why? In any case, here is something swiped off Facebook just for you.

And another for a former Master Plumber and strong salesman. Also, welcome to the new followers. If my computer skills were better, I could identify you, but, as they say down South, 'preciate you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good Cop, Bad Cop

“We don’t have time for this” was allegedly said by a North Carolina policeman as he shot a small 18 year old man suffering from schizophrenia while the man was under restraint by two other officers.

A good posting with numerous remarks (including mine) is by Guffaw in AZ.

As is the norm, not all the facts are available, but jumping to conclusions has never been slowed by mere absence of facts. Hopefully, the authorities there will do their due diligence and follow through with appropriate actions.

I contrast this with a personal experience in 1985 in Renton, WA involving my oldest son. He is a high functioning autistic man, about 5’4”, 110 lbs., with an awkward gait. Mentally challenged people are still people, with all the emotional components all people have. In his case, he was in the normal teenager rebellion phase including flirting with drugs. A pusher had him convinced my son owed him money. When his mother refused to give him the money my son demanded, my son decided to rob a local bar.

His weapon of choice was a 1” diameter twig about 3’ long. He brandished the twig and demanded money. The bartender called the police. When the police arrived at the back door, he saw them, screamed, and charged them waving his “weapon”. They grabbed him, subdued him, and took him to jail. I was called to come down.

When I arrived, he was sitting in the lobby with the two officers. My son ran to me, and wrapped his arms around me. Both officers were nervous as they explained what happened. My son was scuffed up with scrapes on his hands and face. I guess the officers were concerned I might go off on them. Instead, I thanked them for their restraint and professionalism. They could have shot him, and been justified in doing so. I was able to take him home with no charges.

I would like to think what happened to my son is the norm in this country; that most police officers would have done the same. I am disturbed by what I see as a trend, “I am going home safe to my family”, regardless. As I have mention before, I have enough past and present LEO relatives to staff a small police department. Of all of them, only one comes to mind who would do what the officer involved in this shooting allegedly did. That relative is a complete asshole, to the point he was kicked off the LAPD back in the day when you had to be really rank to get booted.

Becoming a police officer means you have voluntarily taken a high risk job. If you don’t want the risk, don’t take the job! A certain amount of bruises and injuries are part of the job. Restraining people who don’t want to be restrained is part of the job. Again, if you don’t accept the risks, don’t take the job!

I think of my youngest son who is an Army Healthcare Specialist, aka a combat medic with a downrange deployment. His scores were high enough he could have had any training the service offers. He knowingly took on a high risk job. There have been some negative personal consequences as a result of that decision. He doesn’t bitch about it, just drives on. (Do I need to mention I am immensely proud of him?)

I’ve seen on other blogs and posting words to the effect, “If you don’t obey the laws that protect us from you, don’t be surprised if we ignore the laws that protect you from us,” in relation to the police and the public. I would add, it is your profession, and the primary burden to keep it honest and honorable is on you. No “yeah, buts”, be that officer the public wants to admire and respect.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Older Than Dirt

Another car sales themed post follows. For obvious reasons, one of my all time favorite movies is “Used Cars”.

Sound Ford, Renton, WA, was my employer for several years. It was a hard nosed selling machine kind of place. Weaklings didn't last. You were only as good as your last month. 

We had sales meetings on Friday morning and Monday morning. Unless you were with a customer, attendance was mandatory. For nearly two years, I never attended a Friday meeting. Always, I would make sure I had an appointment that morning.

 Monday morning was when the week end spiff (bonuses) checks were handed out. That meeting I always attended.  The new car crew I worked on didn’t start until 1 p.m. on Monday. After cashing our checks, we would usually hit some restaurant for breakfast. We were the closing crew on Mondays nights. If any spiff money was left over, we would hit one of the local joints. Occasionally, legends would be created on those nights. Since we were off on Tuesday and Wednesday, this gave us time to recover.

About every two months I would host a steak and eggs breakfast at my house. There would be up to twenty guests; friends who worked at other stores, and a wholesaler of two. I would wheel the television out on the deck, hook up the video disc player, and insert “Used Cars”.

What is a video disc player, you ask? I’ve said I’m older than dirt. These players gave a picture quality no VHS tape could match.

If you get a chance to see the movie, you will get lots of laughs. 90% of the movie is close to real life.

 I realize most people have a low opinion of car salesmen. Here is a little secret. We don’t care. I’ve worked most of my life on commission. Even now, semi retired, my earnings are strictly performance based.

When I became a single custodial parent, I left to work at an affiliated used car lot. The money was less, but the hours were much better, and we had every other weekend off.

Sound Ford eventually went from a single owner, to a corporate owner, to out of business. Five hundred + cars per month to zero. Corporate “suits” just don’t succeed at the retail level. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nag, Nag, Bitch, Bitch

Seldom watch television but caught a news broadcast about e-cigarettes at an awards show, and politicians getting face time on air by being shocked, appalled, and determined to “do something”. From MSNBC.

 A group of Democratic senators are asking NBC Universal and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to avoid the “glamorization” of smoking e-cigarettes in future broadcasts of the Golden Globes.

In a letter from Senators Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, and Ed Markey on Thursday, the senators wrote, “Unfortunately, this year, many young viewers saw notable displays of e-cigarette use through the awards show… We are troubled that these images glamorize smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to begin smoking.”

Note the key words, “Democratic Senators”. The same asshats that are working to dismantle the 2nd Amendment, and otherwise run our lives. Strictly for our own benefit, of course, as we are too dumb to take care of ourselves. Isn’t it nice they care so much for us?

I smoked a carton a week for better than twenty years. Unfiltered Camels and Pall Malls. Quit cold turkey in 1984. If you choose to smoke, that is no business of mine. I prefer not to be around cigarette smoke indoors, and don’t like to see butts scattered around, but don’t see it as my place to tell others what they should do.

What is worse? These arrogant assholes who assume they hold the moral high ground or the lame stream media that gives them a podium?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Petty Bureaucrat Tyrants

Recently, I had occasion to drive in Loveland, CO, and was once again reminded how government employees can put us under their thumb. In this case, the city “planners” deprived the property owner of the use and utility of the owner’s property with no consequence to the city drones.

At the intersection of Highway 34 (East Eisenhower Blvd) and Highway 287 (North Lincoln Ave) sits a block long vacant lot. The lot has been vacant for nearly twenty years.

This is a desirable property. The majority of visitors to Rocky Mountain Nation Park travel Highway 34. Until Interstate 25 was built, Highway 287 was the major Front Range highway North from Denver. A very high traffic count makes for a desirable commercial property.

In 2005, my employer wanted the property. The bank owner was eager to sell. The city drones said NO. To comply with all their demands, we needed to buy out two residential homes and demolish them before we could even apply for a conditional use permit. There was no certainty that we could ever get a permit.

The bank owned the property through foreclosure. Their debtor went broke trying to develop the property. Since then, the bank has been required to keep the weeds mowed, clean the sidewalks, and enforce “No Parking” stipulations.  The person I dealt with at the bank said my employer was just one in a long line of people who have tried to do something useful with the property. It should be noted the bank is not local.

How many times across this country can you find a variation of this case? I bet it is in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. These drones, who have no skin in the game, can sit and dictate their “vision” with little or no consequences. To me, this is bigger “intolerable acts” than what the Feds do.

Now, being the asshole I am, I found a piece of property across the road that formed the South city limits and put in our tacky eyesore of a used car lot complete with advertising pendants, balloons, and large signs. In fact, we went over the top with the garish theme. Sold a bunch of cars, too.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Good Deeds

Yesterday we were reminded there are some good people in this world. My mother was sent a large check to cover a theft she suffered. 

My mother suffers from dementia and advanced Alzheimer. She doesn't recognize family members anymore and needs a wheelchair. I handle her financial affairs, and my sister handles her medical affairs. She is in an excellent care facility. She is now 90, and based on the life spans of other family members, may live for several more years.

This isn't a troll for sympathy. It is what it is, life isn't always fair, and we deal with the situation. 

We had prepaid her final expenses from her funds. The operator of the business we contracted with ruined his business by spending the monies in trust for personal use. He has been prosecuted, convicted, and will spend the next few years in prison.

After this came to light, we arranged and prepaid her final expenses with another funeral home. While some distance away, this business has handled the final arrangements for some four generations of one branch of our family going back to the 1920's.

The check was accompanied by a letter from Catholic Charities which reads, in part,

"This community donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has generously written a check to cover the monetary loss you experienced and has asked Catholic Charities to be the agency to contact you and distribute the funds."

Show me gobsmacked!

Matthew Chapter 6


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

OMG, OMG, Guns!!!!

Situation: Folks driving through Wyoming on Interstate 80 get into an accident with a Wyoming resident. My sister, the Insurance Adjuster, gets a call to handle the claim.

The pilgrims were is a panic mode. Seems the Wyoming residents HAD GUNS!

"Honey", my sister said, "This is Wyoming." (or words to that effect)

Other than the occasional outlaw motorcycle gang, one seldom hears of shoot outs in Wyoming. My guess you can find firearms in Wyoming vehicles as often as not. Why aren't the streets running red with blood?

How pathetic, that people go into full panic mode just at the sight of a firearm. Damn, we are a nation of wimps!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Coffee With A Liberal

Had coffee today with a high school classmate. She is a Boulder County Liberal’s liberal, and we disagree about most everything. We can disagree without being disagreeable. I have a lot of respect for her. She is far from a phony and has “put it on the line” many times in her life. I admire her courage.

After the usual talk about health issues and our aging bodies, the challenges of our adult children, and gossip about our mutual acquaintances, the conversation moved on to politics (as it always does).

Talking about Obama, she made the first negative remark about him I’ve ever heard her make. “After five and a half years,” she said, “I am very disappointed.” She is not buying the, "It's Bush's fault," theme any longer.

She is still a Hillary supporter, but less ardent than in the past. She is a big fan of Elizabeth Warren. I must admit I can agree with her about Elizabeth Warren vs. Wall Street. We discussed the faux Native American side of Warren. My friend knows the Native American issues about well as anyone, having worked in that field for many years. She went off on the whole “Cherokee Princess” ancestry claim so many people make, and claiming the status without having to prove it.

All in all, it was a nice two hours. Proves to me once again that people of good will can disagree, exchange views, and not be dogmatic.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Border Wars and Economics

First day for legal recreational pot purchases in Colorado. Talking TV heads report a large portion of today's customers are from out of State. Since Colorado borders seven states and is 48 road miles from the Texas line, we may have a new revenue generator.

Or maybe not. Retail prices are around $200 for a legal ounce. Smallest quantity being sold is 1/8 ounce for $45 plus tax. From what I hear, that is about double the illegal sale street price. In addition, the unlicensed pharmacists will deliver, are flexible on what they accept for payment, and offer more than one product.

Price, convenience, and selection; why switch?

Since my last ingestion of illegal herbal products was circa 1970, I'm simply an amused bystander. I will drive the extra 21 miles by going via Cheyenne to Laramie (home of the University of Wyoming) on I-25 and I-80 instead of US 287 from Ft. Collins to Laramie. Instead of Ragtime Cowboy Joe, there will be Stoner Cowboy Joe. That is a challenging highway for a sober driver on a sunny day.