Thursday, April 30, 2015

Must Be Spring

We are seeing a profusion of the unofficial State flower on routes driven daily.

After six days of steady rain, everything is turning green. The rain, though I had to postpone some plans, was perfect for the crops and plant life in general. Soft, even rain around 2" per day. The Platte is running a bit high but clear, a good sight.

Lots of soft sweet smells as the leaves open and the flowering bushes bloom. Then, there is the aroma of freshly manured fields.

Birds are back, if they ever left, and lots of chirping.

There is an interesting piece of public art between the town Recreation Center  and Senior Center. A tribute to the agriculture in the area I suppose.

Decided to join the Senior Center. My health insurance has a "Silver Sneaker" benefit and my $22 annual Senior Center dues gives me free access to the Recreation Center. Way past time to start focusing on my physical fitness and start meeting new faces.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Good Dog

Hope I haven't violated any copyright laws posting  this. Certainly not my intention. Just want to share some humor.

My parents had a small (emphasis on small) ranch along the Yampa River in Northwest Colorado. They had a dog someone had “gifted” them, a Weimaraner  named “Chip”.

My senior year I had a car and often got home before my parents. One winter day I came home to find the REA (Rural Electrification Association) meter reader sitting on top of his pickup with Chip calmly on his haunches at the truck door.

The man was seriously pissed off, and cold. Words were spoken as to harboring a vicious dog and reports to the sheriff, etc.

I pointed out his footprints in the snow and told him had he got out of his truck, read the meter, and got back in his truck he wouldn't have had a problem. His tracks clearly showed he had gone snooping around the yard, shed, and machinery.

As he was about to leave, I slapped the roof of my car and called out, “Chip”! The dog was on the roof in one jump.

Good dog, was Chip.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Snark Attack

A few years ago, I worked with a young man with a huge drinking problem. That probably would have been tolerated but he was marginal at best as a salesman. He did, however, put me down as hard as anyone in my life.

I bumped into him the other day and was reminded of that day.

I was getting some crap about my expanding waistline from several co workers. Wanting to shut them up I said,

 “When you have a magnificent tool, you need to protect it with a shed roof”.

There was a moment of silence then he said,

 “Especially if it is an antique and doesn’t work anymore”.

Since murder was off the table, all I could do was laugh.

Do you wonder where my blogger name comes from?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Got Nothing, Want to Blog

Nothing much to say but that has never stopped me.

Last night a  Flight for Life landed on the hospital roof as I was about to leave. Saw it at a different viewpoint than usual, from underneath and five stories up. It was about 0320 and the heliport lights were illuminating the rotor. Awesome sight. I've always been impressed with those Flight for Life pilots.

Some poor soul was shot earlier, around 0200, on a portion of I-25 I often drive as a courier, and at the time I am on that route. No motive given at this time.

My sister, the Insurance Adjuster, has been working her derriere off on the two multi truck wrecks in two days on I-80 in Wyoming. She said the second scene looked like 9/11 Ground Zero. Among the many terrible tragedies was a two woman team. One was killed. The other, asleep in the sleeper portion, was ejected, injured, and everything she had burned up (clothes, drivers license, credit cards). Imagine being on the side of a mountain in freezing fog, with only the (torn) clothes you are wearing while your friend is dead and all your possessions and livelihood is burning. There is more to the story but my sister has conflict of interests issues due to different clients. My sister, by the by, is the most ethical adjuster you will ever meet. That pisses off a lot of people. Shoot, she won't even discuss many things with her “Big Brudder”.

Have the next four days off. May take a day and visit the Pawnee Buttes and Grasslands, a favorite place. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Management Woes

The pictures are of the Prius I drive. It has been in service less than 60 days. None of those marks were caused by me (there but for the grace……) The incident of hitting a curb two days ago by the driver I relieve ruined a tire and bent a rim.

My employer was recently acquired by a larger and allegedly better funded company. Merging the two corporate cultures isn't going well. As an example, the Prius I drive’s temporary registration expired 4/10/15. An extension isn't hard to obtain, nor terrible costly. Instead, all of us drivers are now scofflaws. We are assured the company will pay any tickets. Gee, that is comforting but having that on my driving record won’t help my personal insurance premiums.

I keep reminding myself I am a retired ringmaster and only a fill in monkey in this particular circus. It is hard to see sloppy practices and disorganization, things that don't cost much money to fix, and not say anything. Little things like no toner for the copy machine and no towels or toilet paper in the bathroom and twelve post’ems on the edges of a computer monitor are red flags to an old manager like me.

The folks who work full time and count on that paycheck to feed their families and pay their bills have my sympathy. The day to day uneasiness and questions of long term survival can’t be easy for those who can think. Like most firms, most of the workers are in condition “White”.

As lesson learned in the dim past from college business classes is workers will intuitively determine management’s dominant desires, regardless of management’s proclamations, and fill those dominant desires. The example is rude bank tellers who may get scolded for being rude but will be fired if their tills don't balance. On that basis, I can only conclude the management wants chaos and confusions as that is what they are getting. My conclusion? The top managers have their collective heads up their asses.

Am I a hypocrite for staying on the job? Don’t think so, as again, I'm a fill in temporary money in that traveling circus. I'm keeping my mouth firmly shut. The last thing I want at this stage of my life is to go back to herding cats, and they might try to promote me if I appear to be an answer to their problems.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

No Easter Rising

Being a well seasoned fool prone to foolish situations,  I recently was in a conversation with those of the progressive bent. Firearms control and citizen rebellion were discussed. Citizen rebellion was part of the discussion along with “gun confiscation”.

The progressives seem to envision some form of the 1916 Easter Rising with the police and military under their control and direction.

My mention of Generation IV warfare was greeted by dumb stares. They had no idea what I was yakking about.

The idea that Americans can be forced to do anything for long is to ignore our history. Be it neo communist Progressives with their collectivist power dreams or evangelical assholes railing about “Queers” and abortion and working to make their views the law of the land, they all have forgotten the bedrock principle of Americanism, “Leave me the hell alone”.

Our history is full of resistance to domination. Here are just three unrelated examples.

1.    The massive resistance to Prohibition.
2.    The Deacons for Defense and Justice.
3.    The 60’s radicals.

Since few, if any, (P)regressives read this blog, nothing new is offered to regular readers. My fear is this country may implode leaving us vulnerable to our foreign enemies, and the horrors of civil war.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Springtime In The Rockies

Sherman Summit on Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne. Photos are credited to the Wyoming State Patrol.
My sister, the Insurance Adjuster, and her office are there doing the necessary aftermath work. 

Sitting fifty miles South, we are receiving much needed rain with a small amount of snow mixed in. We are blessed.

Sherman Summit is about 8,200 ft asl, and is the highest point on the Union Pacific railroad. 

Interstate 80 through Wyoming is challenging. West to East, from Evanston to Lyman,  there are three climb and descent sections usually called, "The Three Sisters".  

From Creston Junction to Rawlins is a section infamous for high wind blowovers. 

East of Rawlins to Laramie is Elk Mountain. Year around black ice (I once hit some late at night in July), winter blizzards, and high winds. Once observed a pickup with a fifth wheel RV blown over while parked on the shoulder near Anderson.That day was so windy the tailwind gave my Lincoln Town Car 31 mpg instead of the usual 22.

From Laramie to Cheyenne is Sherman Summit. The portion around Buford, while not as steep, is prone to ground blizzards.

Cheyenne to the Nebraska line? You are not home free, Bubba. High winds and black ice has closed that Section of I-80 many times.

Over the years I've driven on I-80 countless times, and even before on US 30. The truckers who make their living running that route have my upmost respect and admiration. As for outright guts? The Wyoming State Patrol  troopers!

ADDENDUM:  Video here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rachel Maddow is Wrong Again (Surprise, surprise)

"After the Republican gains in the 2010 midterms, Congress has fallen on hard times. The legislative branch has approved no meaningful legislative accomplishments in over four years"

Yes, Rachel, they have. Four years of blocking stupid and wasteful Progressive wet dreams is a worthy accomplishment.


Friday, April 10, 2015

#@%^$&^** Construction

The home city has two of the four lane N-S arterials I most often use tore up. Of course, the damn sheeple just plod along texting and picking their noses. Alternate routes, which I take, are all two lane city streets which take more time. 

For my sins, have spent the last two days in Fort Collins. Leaving Northbound I-25 at the North end of Fort Collins is Mulberry aka Highway 287 aka Highway 14, a four lane arterial used by those going to Laramie, WY and Walden, CO. The bridge over the Cache la Poudre river is closed Eastbound and is being rebuilt. Say you want to go to Laramie. North on Mulberry across the river then turn 45 degrees to the right onto Riverside. Parallel the railroad tracks for a few block then another 45 degrees to the right onto College (four lanes) + 287 +14.  College extends about four miles then becomes two lanes. Eventually, you escape into open country. OK, not so bad? On your return, the right lane of College is blocked, Riverside is one lane, and Mulberry is closed. Want to get to I-25? About one mile Southeast down  Riverside, make a 270 degree left turn on Lemay that will take you to Eastbound Mulberry. The traffic is a mix of cars, 18 wheelers, farm trucks, and large pickups pulling gooseneck trailers. Fun, fun, fun!

When I need to go West on I-80 in Wyoming I will drive the extra 22 miles to Cheyenne. That way takes you over Sherman Summit, the highest point on the Union Pacific system at  8,000+ feet but I don't care. My sister, on the other hand, dislikes Sherman Summit. One of the many things we agree to disagree about, and do so disagreeable.

It is going to be a long Spring and Summer.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Adventures in Travels at Sea WWII

As usual, reading Old AF Sarge's blog stirs the memory banks.

My late father went to war from the West Coast to India via Australia in a converted passenger liner (name escapes me). Other than boredom and the fear of Japanese submarines, the one story he liked to tell involved fried chicken. Seems the officers were fed fried chicken and a bucket of necks and wings was being  tossed overboard. Said bucket was intercepted by he and his buddies and the contents promptly consumed. He remained indignant all his years over the difference of treatment of officers and enlisted.

He returned from India on a Liberty ship via the Cape of Good Hope to Baltimore. At some time during the voyage the hull started coming apart at the bow. The Captain slowly steamed home astern (I think that is the correct term). The trip took over a hundred days and rations were very slim toward the end of the voyage.

He crossed the Equator three times. The Pacific, the Indian, and the Atlantic Oceans plus the International Date Line going and the Prime Meridian returning. Other than salmon fishing off the Oregon Coast, I don't think he ever ventured aboard another vessel.

I thought of him when going to Europe on the General Maurice Rose. I was bored by the third day. I could well understand that he felt like livestock. 

Mortal Enemy

This morning was vacuuming day. The cat found the highest corner in the most remote closet. About an hour later she slinked into the living room with her head on a swivel. Looked like the point man on a combat patrol.

She has hated me every since, five years ago, while wearing leather gloves, I stuffed her into a cat carrier. Blasted feline. I've threatened to sell her to a Vietnamese restaurant (ok, start hating on me for stereotyping). 

Business Manners

“The toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you need to kiss tomorrow.”

Author unknown

Good business manners, like good manners in general, seem to be a thing of the past. Maybe it is my age speaking; grumpy old man.

A recent example is my decision to end my job delivering from the pharmacy to care centers. I’m too busy with other (more profitable) endeavors. I sent a polite message to the manager giving him reasonable time to find someone else. No response, thank you, no thank you, go to hell or whatever.

One of the companies I do property inspections for hasn’t been sending me much work. I know they are struggling. Recently they “upgraded” their system. Installing it on my computer will take as much disk space as Google Earth. I made the decision to drop them and sent them a polite email. Once again, no response.

About a month ago the management of the delivery company changed the way they pay us contractors,  with no prior discussion. Sort of a “take it or leave it” situation. Am I the only one that remembers the Laws of Adhesion from Business 101?

The stronger party cannot dictate terms and conditions detrimental to the weaker party. In my case they backed off.

I've always tried to use good business manners. Running late? Make a call. Can’t make an appointment? Make a call. Now we have cell phones, there really isn't an excuse not to MAKE THE DAMN PHONE CALL. Show some respect for the other party’s time.

The best example of the benefits of excellent business manners I know of is my sister, the Insurance Adjuster. A lifetime of good manners and treating everyone with respect and consideration has given her a vast network of people inclined to help her. Who else could get someone to cheerfully open an impound yard at 2 am on Sunday in a raging Wyoming blizzard?

Ah hell, enough of this rant. I'm really becoming an old fart.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hold' Em

Recently downloaded this app and started playing. Good thing I'm not playing for money. Set at Beginner level, I'm winning about 33% of the time. I does pass the time between calls.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Much Ado About Nothing Important

I truly admire bloggers that can put up something everyday. My output seems to go in spurts and recently the spurter has been dormant. The lead off picture was just to catch your attention.

How about some random thoughts?

Do you need to be a long time Colorado resident to savor the sight of a two car collision where one car has California plates and the other Texas? What would it be in Wyoming, Fargo? A greenie and a saint?

Two days ago saw a mother with a toddler in one arm at Wally World. The toddler was tugging at his mother’s top partially exposing her underwear. That reminded me of another case a few years ago at a local King Soopers (Kroger’s). Said mother had a toddler in one arm and sacks of groceries in the other hand when her little darling pulled her top down. The mother wasn't wearing underwear. Being the gallant sort, I stepped forward to assist and carried her groceries to her car for her. She was very embarrassed. I said to her, “If that is the worst your child ever embarrasses you, you will have a blessed life”.

The Prius I’m driving now has 12,000+ miles of fleet service. I’m even less favorably impressed. Usually I can warm up to almost any vehicle but this one leaves me cold. One part of my route requires me to accelerate from a right turn at a stop sign to 65 mph in the merge lane of a four lane highway. The acceleration is adequate but the car, by today’s standards, is noisy. It rides no better than my ancient import pickup. My three nights a week drive is usually under 200 miles. That is good because I can't find any seat setting that is comfortable.

We've had a very mild winter. I hope we don't pay for it this summer with a hot and dry drought. Driving around, I'm happy I'm not a dry land farmer. Maybe I'm just dumb,  as all of the tractor/implement dealer lots are full.

The low crude oil prices are having a local negative impact. The local economic forecaster types say every rig equals about 100 jobs and many are shut down. I've had two recent calls asking me if I want to help doing repos. Sorry, not interested.

My landlady is mid 40’s and does all the heavy and dirty maintenance. She is a very hard worker. The other day she was dressed up to go out on a date. Wow! As Crocodile Dundee would say, “She scrubs up nice”.

My youngest son and family are settled in upstate South Carolina. They are in their house and he is working his promised job. The grandkids seem to like their schools and the youngest is in a preschool program. He gets to walk out to the bus stop with his siblings every morning. I'm so happy for all of them.

Saw the quack today for a ninety day follow-up. No big problems detected but some adjustments to prescriptions seemed to be in order. There was some initial concern about my extreme weight loss until the Medical Assistant figured out the digital scale was reading out kgs instead of lbs. As usual, the visit ended with the PA’s standard admonishment, “Stop getting old”. Wonder why the Physician Assistant reacts to a smart ass patient by being a smart ass herself? Inquiring minds, etc.

I should be getting worked up over the Lightbringer’s S.C.O.A.M.F administration but it all seems  SSDD (same shit/different day). Depressing, it is. Once again the shits want to hurt veterans which hits close to home with my youngest son’s situation.

Is there some parallel to the idea that love of country is akin to love of a bad significant other? Just how deep does loyalty go? Damned if I know. YMMV