Friday, November 28, 2014

Canadian, Eh?

A young friend in the used car business asked for a car sales story.

At car lots in the Seattle area, salespeople scatter and run for cover when a car with British Columbia plates pulls in. The occupants are always full of questions, will happily soak up your time, and seldom will they actually BUY a vehicle.

Circa 1992, we had a Canadian buy a truck, and traded in a Skoda. Canadians were able to buy imports that were not USA compliant. My dealership put the Skoda on the books for $1, assuming we could wholesale it to a Canadian dealer, or send it to the crusher.
A few days later, a car with B.C. plates pulled in. I was half asleep, the other sales people scattered, and I was stuck with the “up”. Shit! After a few minutes chatting, I decided to see if the Northern ally was greedy, and walked him over to the Skoda. I explained we could only sell the car for export, and the buyer must take it out of the country. I would put it on a trailer and take it to the border. At that point he was on his own. This was his unique opportunity to buy a car for a fraction of the market value in B.C.

In the next four hours, he parted with $3,000 CDN, I loaded the Skoda on our dealership trailer, and we convoyed to Blaine, WA. The Skoda was unloaded, and I watched him drive to the border crossing. I was a very happy individual when I saw him cross the border. Of course, I didn’t stay around to see if he got tossed back.

The next day, the General Sales Manager called me into his office. After I explained the transaction, he gave me the ultimate car lot compliment.

   “You kinky mother fucker”!

The deal broke down as follows. $3,000 CDN at .935 $US = $2,805 less $1 acquisition cost less $250 pack (overhead charge) = $2,554 gross profit. At my commission point, 35%, my gross pay for the sale was $893.90.  I did spend $20 or so in gas expense getting to the border and back, but still a nice days work.

The happiest person in the whole deal was the Used Car Manager. The Skoda had the potential of being a huge pain in the ass for him. Can you say, “future favors”?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson, MO My two cents.

Old saying, everyone has an opinion and an anus, and both smell. That said my opinion on the Ferguson, MO fiasco.

 A poorly trained and maybe unqualified police officer from a poorly run police department meets a stoner thug, and the thug dies. Perhaps the best summation of the Ferguson, MO fiasco I’ve read is by Peter Grant.

Then I read stuff on Facebook, posted by liberals, that makes me wonder if we live in alternate universes.  This takes time to read, but the absolute blindness to facts, and the editorial slant, boggles my mind.

This type of thinking only obscures the basic problem. In St. Louis County, the citizens are living with a corrupt set of self serving local governments that are all about money, and not about public safety or service. Most of the county is a “ticket trap” according to friends that have lived there, and articles posted in Peter’s blog. I sympathize with the frustration and anger of the people who live there. So, how do you change a corrupt system? Not by the thinking displayed by this liberal. That obscures the role of corrupt officials and gives excuses for thugs.

Looking at history, a lot of changes have come about by people using pitchforks and torches, just saying. 4G warfare, anyone?

And finally.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Army Story

Old AF Sarge’s blog often prods me down memory lane, and today it is memories of Army Mess halls, and one particular cook.

We had in our Engineer company circa 1965 a few WWII vets. One was SP5 Hyatt. He was married to a German national, lived off post, and was content with his place in the Army. He had no interest in becoming the Mess Sergeant nor being promoted. He was close to retirement and just wanted to be left alone.

We had, as every unit has, a new shinny bar 2nd Lieutenant. As was the case with all new Lts, he was the shitty little jobs officer which included being the Mess Officer. He made it his mission to motivate SP5 Hyatt.

In our unit, it was possible to go a year without putting on a Class A uniform. One day we had a formation where everyone not on duty, had to stand, in Class A’s, including SP5 Hyatt.

There he stood, with his 82nd Airborne shoulder patch (he had jumped at Normandy), POW ribbon, Purple Heart ribbon with three bronze leaf clusters, Bronze Star with V ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Airborne Wings, and about four years worth of combat stripes on his sleeve. If memory serves, his “brick” was five lines high and included the Korean Conflict ribbon.

After that day, the Lt never again bothered him.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coffee Addiction

All this immigration theater is such a downer, I want to write about something light and frivolous.

Old AF Sarge has a nice post with many comments about Navy coffee that reminded me of Army coffee circa 1960’s as found in our Engineer Company in Germany.

In the field coffee was made by dumping cans of coffee into 30 gallon pots of boiling water. Not bad, until you got to the bottom where the grounds had settled (no filters). 

Most of our power boats, and many of the trucks, had various containers mounted on exhaust manifolds where water could be kept hot for coffee and heating C Rations (all forbidden by regulations). Some used instant coffee (nasty stuff) but most of us just poured coffee into the water. Not being the most macho type, I had a small metal filter that was easy to tuck away.

One of our cooks was of Polish descent, and had perfected appearing stupid. After washing out of radio operator school (deliberately), the Army made him a cook. Few realized he was a Michigan State graduate with a BS in Applied Mathematics. One morning while we were bivouacked along side the Rhine River, Mike decided to wash his socks out in the coffee dregs before emptying the pot. A newly assigned 2nd Lieutenant observed him doing this. Aghast, and not waiting to discover any facts, he rushed up and ordered Mike to dump the coffee. Mike did, right on the spot, splattering both the Lt and himself. Relieved the daily tedium that it did.

It wasn’t uncommon to spend ten or more hours operating  bridge erection boats, coming to the bank only to refuel. Having something hot to eat or drink kept us going, especially in the winter. Whenever we had a higher headquarters formal inspection, there was always a rush to remove and stash the water heaters.  Otherwise, everyone turned a blind eye. When we had observers aboard, they were very open to sharing our coffee.

Growing up, we had “cowboy coffee” made over a campfire in the same manner as Army coffee; a large tin can of boiling water with the coffee dumped into the water. When brewed, a cup of cold water was carefully poured in to “settle the grounds”. I can’t remember the grounds settling, but do remember trying to strain the coffee through my teeth. My father liked his coffee and no hunting or fishing trip was complete without a fire and coffee.

All the coffee bars in the world are wasted on me. I like my coffee, but I like it “Folgers in the Cup”. I’ll drink it plain, but my morning preference is a 16 oz mug, freshly made, with a generous amount of heavy (real) cream and a big spoonful of raw honey. Some mornings I will grind the beans but mainly I’m too lazy.

Given all the crap going on right now, I find some comfort in my morning routine, and my coffee. I’m sure some Progressive out there is trying to find a way to control our coffee, strictly for our own good, of course.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


In advance of the Lightbringer's bloviation this evening.

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me over and over, I must be a mainstream media apparatchik.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dutch Harbor Story

Rev. Paul in his Way Up North blog likes to feature Dutch Harbor stories.

Thought I might contribute a related Dutch Harbor story of my own. Around 1990, I was stuck in a Mitsubishi store in Puyallup, WA that was owned by a multi franchise organization. I was able to sell any of the brands the organization carried.

One day a customer, “Angel”, came in. About 5’ tall, and as round. Redefined androgynous. Who cares, she was a customer. She was from Dutch Harbor, had $10,000 cash to spend, wanted only a brand new vehicle, and insisted on four wheel drive. No new small truck was in her price range. Still, a cash customer. Solution? 

An all wheel drive Tempo. In fact, for her $10,000 we could add superior rust proofing with a warranty! Please understand, this wasn’t a rip-off. At the time, Zibart rust proofing was a huge improvement on anything the factories offered.

Angel was happy with her purchase, and still had enough money left to barge the Tempo to Dutch Harbor. In 2002, happened to be talking to a commercial fisherman from Dutch Harbor. He knew Angel, and remembered she still was driving the Tempo. Given the total of roads there, bet it still hadn’t clocked 100,000 miles. 

I loved the Tempo. It was the perfect no brainer car. There is a class of drivers who don’t like cars, don’t understand them, and only have one out of necessity. All they want is that it starts, drives away when you shift, and is CHEAP. The Tempo was made for them.

I had a subset of Tempo customers, Chinese. Ford had a marketing gimmick printed on the window sticker, a “Value Added Discount”. This was additions like A/C that added up to $660, and was discounted $640. Typical Chinese customer went like this.

    “I’m very poor man. Need large discount”!

    “Look, we have already given you a BIG discount”.

Chinese customers were fun. Hard negotiators, but not time wasters or liars. If they said they had $2,000 down, they weren’t lying. They didn’t come in to “shop”, they came in to buy. The Chinatown Seattle First bank would almost always finance them. The whole secret was to get them laughing.

    "I like you. I send all my friends to see you".

    "Please don't. I can't make any money of you Chinese, and I have a family       to feed".

    "Hah, I send EVERYBODY in Chinatown to see you".

There was little gross profit in a Tempo, but was a good sale towards the monthly volume bonuses, so I was happy to sell them.

Ford replaced the Tempo with the Contour. A superior car in all respects except price, and the no brainer customers didn’t like them. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The War On Rural Residents

It may slow down, but it never stops. The use of government regulations to force people off the land and into the cities. Latest example, the Gunnison Sage Grouse. Here is a better explanation than I can give.

Travel around in "flyover country" and you will see the dying and dead towns where people are hanging on, or squatting (Farley, N.M. for example). The small farms and ranch families that the towns depended on are gone, forced out by various regulations imposed by government functionaries with no skin in the game. Can't have all those independent people not relying on some government dole, now can we? Too hard to control, don't you know.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Military Wives

                                   Winners do what losers won’t. 
                                           Jackie B. Cooper

Military wife; toughest job in the world? 

Probably what you make of it. My daughter in law (referred to on this blog as FDIL) has used the time my youngest son has been in the Army to earn both a Bachelors Degree and an MBA online. This is in addition to raising five kids, having her soldier deployed to Kandahar, and several moves. 

FDIL can fix her own car. She is a better shot than me, and sometimes her husband. She is active in the military community and works at the on post elementary school helping special needs children.

I like to call her Frau Feldwebel, as she is both organized and in charge. S-3 staffers could learn lessons from her. 

I think my son married the right woman.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Police Blotter

Not up to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska standards, but you must work with what you have.

Sunday, Nov. 2
2:45 p.m.: Evans police officers were asked to respond to the 2500 block of Crescent Cove Drive for a report of a child hanging out of a residential window. After speaking with officers, the child agreed not to hang out of windows anymore, saying he realized he wasn’t really Spiderman.
1 p.m.: A child living on 4th Street called Greeley police to report that her 4-year-old sister had been drinking beer all day and that an older sister had a broken arm, but no cast. Officers responded to the home and the child admitted to making up the story.
6:45 p.m.: A man called Greeley police asking for a ride to detox because he had consumed too much alcohol and marijuana. The man called back a short time later to inform officers he received a ride to detox from his mom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Clear Thinking

My sister straightens out my thinking this morning as I was flapping my gums about the results of the elections.

I’ve been thinking along the lines that resistance and revolution are part of out national DNA; that when something unpopular is shoved down the people’s throat, the people fight back.

Not so, said my sister. We live in a system of checks and balances. When the government and elected officials ignore the checks and balances, the voters step up and restore the checks and balances.

Could she be correct?

Hear in Colorado, Senator Uterus went down to defeat even with his wardrobe of cowboy boots, Wranglers, and big belt buckle.

Looks like Gov. Wishywashy will be reelected, but the close vote won’t give him a mandate. Look for more flip flopping.

Last year the Democrat controlled Senate got onerous firearms laws passed. Next session, control goes to the Republicans.

Seems there is plenty of humble pie to go around today.