Saturday, May 30, 2015

Yak,yak, yak

Warning. Grumpy old man going off on a rant.

Cell phones and women. Yes, women. Men use them too,  only  far less and have shorter conversations.

My employer provides each driver with a company  cell phone for the duration of the shift.  These are old school flip phones. The procedure is to call “Dispatch” to log on with that specific number. At the end of the shift you call “Dispatch” and log off. Then you plug in the phone to the charger and leave. Other than talking to Dispatch or a specific customer there is no reason to use the cell phone. A phone may be used by three different drivers during a 24 hour cycle.

What do I find at the start of my shift? A phone not on the charger but with a low battery. OK, find a phone that is charged and swap batteries. Out of respect for others, find a charger and plug in the phone that now has a depleted battery.

Out of curiosity, I like to check the call log. When the preceding user is a man, there is usually four or five calls, all to Dispatch or customers. Duration? Under five minutes per call.

When the preceding user is a woman? Ten to twenty calls to other drivers or numbers not in our system. Duration? Many minutes.

In the short time I've been with this company, two drivers (both women) have rear ended another driver. The cell phone record shows they were on the phone at the time of the accident.

My question is, if you need to chatter with another girlfriend, why the hell not use your own damn phone? Do you take stupid pills before coming to work or are you totally, like, clueless?

My last stop at the end of shift is a gas station. Fill the tank and wash the windows. Takes ten minutes tops. One guess as to how I find the car when I come on shift.

Long ago I gave up on the fight where men don’t put the seat down and 5’ nothing women never slide the seat back. Slide the seat back is the first step in my preflight.

Over and over I remind myself I am RETIRED and no longer concerned with herding cats. The job is only to pay off some medical bills. That doesn't stop the ingrained management observations that still cause the stupid to burn. Shut up WSF, clock out, and go home.

Oh how I wish Colorado would go the Wyoming route and ban handheld  cell phones in moving vehicles. I see drivers cross intersections on the green never looking left or right because they are engrossed in their phone call. If their left hand holding the phone to their ear and their right hand is making gestures, I guess their knees are doing the steering.

Enough waste of bandwidth WSF. Go back to playing poker on your computer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tax Man

Received in an email from a friend.

The IRS has returned a Tax Return to a man in New York City after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly.  
In response to the question ,   "Do you have anyone dependent on you?"  
The man wrote: ... "2.1 million illegal immigrants,
1.1 million junkies,
4.4 million unemployed
80,000 +/- criminals  
450 +/-  idiots in Congress and a rag tag bunch that call themselves Politicians".  
The IRS stated that the response given was unacceptable.  
The man's response back to IRS was, "Who did I leave out?

Paging Noah

After a dry and mild winter, we get our winter weather patterns in the spring. Too bad rain doesn't pile up like snow and slowly melt.

The Colorado River drainage is getting a lot of moisture. That should help Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

After a devastating flood in 1966 along the South Platte through the Denver area, Chatfield Dam was built. It is now overflowing and the South Platte over it's banks in downtown Denver.

Seems Gaia does what she wants and us puny homo sapiens have little to say about it. That won't stop the econazis from screeching about "climate change".

This weather is tough on wildlife. The riparian areas support 
much of the Eastern Plains wildlife and this is nesting season. 

The people are losing fields, buildings, bridges and roads. County budgets are being hammered.

All this seems to validate the family wisdom handed down generation to generation. Build where it is high, dry, and windy.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Small Towns Still Get It

Maybell, CO Population 72

From the "Maybell Gazette"
The Maybell Women’s Club used to host Memorial Day Services at the Maybell cemetery, with services conducted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, American Legion Post 62, and the Sons of the American Legion. The pastor from the Maybell Church, Linda Taylor also participated. The ladies of the club baked cookies and served lemonade and iced tea after the ceremony was ended.
I particularly remember the year 2009. Grandma and I lived 20 miles out of Maybell and we had our cookies baked. It was time to go!
I opened the front door and the skies opened up and rain fell down in torrents. I made a run to the truck, opened the door and went back into the house to help Grandma make a mad dash through the mud and rain.
You might wonder . . . “Why would ANYONE want to venture out in a nasty rainstorm?” Well . . . even if you aren’t wondering, I’m going to tell you anyway. It was Memorial day and we were headed to the Maybell Cemetery. We were going to go despite the storm because the way I looked at it was that those who fought for our freedoms went through a whole lot worse than a little . . . . did I say “little?” . . I mean HUGE . . . Spring storm. We had the freedom of partying, visiting, vacationing or doing whatever we wanted to do on Memorial Day.
We made our way into town and as we climbed out of the truck, it quit raining. The wind was blowing briskly and a cold cloudy atmosphere surrounded us. We placed our plates of cookies on the table and huddled up next to others standing and sitting, hoping that the persons on either side of us would make good windbreaks.
And GUESS WHAT? All those who think Maybell is the armpit of the world. . . . well . . . she loves us Maybell-ites! Maybe cuz we don’t call her names or get ugly with her, but love her in return. I know I heard her over in the corner whispering to Mother Nature . . or maybe it was just the wind dancing on the wire fence. Whatever. But suddenly the wind subsided, the temperature rose a bit and the sunlight played “hide and seek” and “I see you” among the clouds.
The services began with Betty Morris playing music on her little organ and the Maybell Church Choir sang America’s great patriotic songs.
I know it wasn’t Arlington Cemetery . . . and there were no big wiggity diggity celebrities there, but nobody or no place could have had any better feelings and awesome moments than our little group of Maybell residents as they reflected and honored those who had fallen. We not only had the wonderful men who came from Craig 30 miles away, to help us pay our respects, along with the music and singing, but in the silences between songs and tributes, Mother Nature threw in several species of birds to sing for us too. Not even the 21 gun salute scared them away.
We thoroughly enjoyed the drinks and home-baked cookies afterwards and I heard several people comment that it was just dumping in Craig. So, the weather was nasty all around Maybell, but Maybell was smiling down on us. As we prepared to depart for home, the wind started back up and the clouds once again were looking black, blue and purplish. By the time we got home, it was thundering with lightning and yeppers . . . . dumping rain.
We’ve all heard the saying ”Home is where the heart is” . . . and yep, you can live in the fanciest mansion in the world, but if your heart isn’t there, then it is just a place. There are lots of times when folks don’t like their homes and wish they had something else, but life is the dealer. We take what we’re dealt and like it, or we can just be bitter hateful ole souls that nobody likes to be around. You can always do something to make your home a better place to live if you don’t like it, even if all you do is grab up a drinking glass, a fruit jar or beer can and poke some dandelion blooms in it and sit it on the table.
It’ll bring a smile to somebody’s face and by the time the dandelions served their purpose, there will be other flowers around to pick and choose from.
There are lots of people who don’t get the choices we have. . . . . Life is over for them way too soon. Memorial Day is a great reminder of this fact. So pay your respects and honor those who have helped us stay free. Memorial Day isn’t just all about BBQ’s.

4K Graduation?

Seems a little overboard to this old fart. That said, my youngest grandson is one cute kid.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Old Cars

Recently acquired a 35mm to digital gadget. I'm not happy with the quality but it is a learning process. Later, I will get better equipment. This is a car I owned before going into the Army in 1963.

The name is bigger than the car. Based on a Fiat 600, it is officially a 1958 Fiat Abarth Zagato M750MM Milano Coupe Sprint. Wonderful car! It would go as many as 5,000 miles on a headgasket. The Italians used Lucas factory rejected  wiring and switches. When the turn signals weren't working, and hand signals employed, your fingers were in danger of being stepped on. It was a huge chick magnet but so cramped inside.........

So, the big sports car man.
 On the left one of my cousins and on the right a high school classmate. The town rejoiced when we moved out of the area.
My daily driver wasn't as fancy, a 1956 Chevy Apache Panel, empty interior with just a drivers seat.
My dates, if they would go out with me, sat on a milk crate. (No, that isn't the truck. Have no pictures of it that I can find).

In Germany my first car was an English Ford. Somewhere I have some shots of it. When I made E-5 I was able to own this lovely item.
A 1958 Plymouth with a hemi! Unlimited autobahn speed limits be damned, between being detuned for 50 octane Commissary gas and suspect tires, I never went over 80 mph. In this picture we were coming back on a three day pass from Amsterdam. Parking that beast in Amsterdam was a challenge. 

Those who have spent time in Deutschland recognize the phrase, "alles in Ordnung ist". When "alles ist ordnung", the Deutschers are mellow. Disorder brings out their bad side.
On our trip back, the Zolls (Border Police) were conducting a car by car customs search. It was a warm day and the line was long. The Rads were pissed. Up rolls a car with five large and less than sober Combat Engineers. The Zoll controlling traffic took one look at us and motioned us into the VIP lane. We didn't even stop. Too bad, might have been an interesting German - American interaction. 

Going further down the memory lane, veterans might remember how the M -151(1/4 ton utility vehicle, aka Jeep) was dangerous to drive. The problem was the rear axles were independent and the tires had a positive chamber. If you took a corner too fast, the inside tire would become canted as the weight came off  and the vehicle could roll when weight was suddenly applied (engineers please forgive me, or leave a better description in the comments). It was a serious problem.

My Fiat Abarth had the same setup. We fabricated straps that limited the downward motion of the drive axle. Worked well. The car was already squirrely and was never meant to be a limousine so, to me, it didn't matter.

The Army was asking for suggestions on solving the M-151 problem. I carefully filled out the forms and had someone with art ability draw up diagrams pointing out how I addressed the problem with Abarth and submitted the paperwork.  Big mistake! A few days later I was in an office at the Group Headquarters having various field grade officers telling me what a dumb shit I was. Well fuck me running. The big issue, to them, was it would degrade the off road ability in a combat scenario. My rebuttal,

 "Why the fuck can't you get out and cut the fucking strap with a bayonet"? 

Didn't bring a positive response. Can't imagine why.

If memory serves, I later had a counselling session with the SgtMaj (who had been my 1st Sgt before his promotion). It may not have been his best performance as he couldn't stop snickering.

Rapious Bankers

Peter Grant’s blog often has excellent information on current economic and financial conditions. If you don't follow it, I would recommend you start.

His post on “The War on Cash” sparked a memory. While he focuses on macro issues, this memory is decidedly micro and narrow relating to Routt County, CO circa 1970.

Routt County (Steamboat Springs) in 1970 had a population of 6,754 and a median income (in 1989 dollars) of $35,005 per the Census Bureau. Now it has a population of 23,501 and a median income (in 1989 dollars) of $74,547.  Within the great Steamboat Springs area it is probably over $100,000.

My parents were well positioned to ride the real estate boom of the 1970’s. Mom left her job with the US Forest Service and Dad left his job as a power plant control room operator. They got their real estate licenses and prospered for awhile.

One day my father and I were talking and I remarked about how everyone was getting rich. My Dad gave me a stern look and said, “All that is being exchanged are mortgages. There are no hard dollars changing hands”.  He went on to say after every boom there is a bust. In the case of Steamboat, there were several busts.

What I take from Peter’s blog is the picture of a world wide exchange of paper with nothing of tangible value backing it. I've read elsewhere all the oil future contracts floating around amount to 250% or more of all known oil reserves.  Similar examples abound in every financial sector and commodity exchanges.

What should the average person do? Read the information available from places like Peter’s blog. Get whatever retirement money you have into something tangible you control. While we all need checking accounts, etc., we can do so with Credit Unions. I left Wells Fargo twelve years ago and have not one dime in any commercial bank. When the firewall between the commercial and investment sides of banking went away so did I.

Lastly, I would caution you not to think I'm some sort of financial wizard because I’m not. Read and learn for yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Graveyard Shift Wandering Thoughts

What follows is the rambling of an unfocused mind. You have been warned.

We have now had over a month of rain, the ground is saturated and the rivers are running high and muddy. Lots of flooding on the South Platte in NE Colorado.

Colorado drivers who think nothing of driving 10 over on black ice in a blizzard are doing 15 under in the rain.

One meteorologist has said we are back to normal, that the dry spell starting in the 1970’s isn't the norm!

All this is bad for those in the flood paths but good news for the vast region dependent on the Ogallala Aquifer and the smaller aquifers in the region.

SE Colorado/SW Kansas/Oklahoma panhandle is seeing a lot of rain after years of drought. This should be a good summer to visit the Comanche Grasslands.

My heart is heavy for my relatives and friends in the Moffat and Rio Blanco counties of NW Colorado. An out of state “Environment” Group along with an Obama appointed Federal Judge found a regulation (among thousands) not followed and have given the major coal mine in the area 120 days to shut down. This regulation was not followed by the Federal Government, not the coal company, but matters not to the enviornazis and the syncopate judge.    

While I hate to give these environazis any publicity, here is their “victory” statement.

What is at stake.

Governor Wishywashy leaps into the breach

What happens after the coal is mined?

 No need here to delve into my utter outrage about this situation. One source says Colorado families face a $700 a year increase in their electric bills with the 30% renewable energy mandate.

The only constant is change.


Our junior Senator weighs in.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bi-Annual Ass Chaping

A more useless money tick sucking program would be hard to find. Every other year, before you renew your tabs, you must have your vehicle tested if you live along the Colorado Front Range.

The places are staffed by either anal retentive former hall monitors or scruffy high school dropouts. Watching the tester abuse my truck on the treadmill while smirking and laughing with his co-workers made me want nothing more than to throat punch the whole bunch. 

Next stop is the county Clerk and Recorder where I can pay double or more than I paid four years ago for the same vehicle.
The Democrats have problems raising taxes due to the state Constitution so they gleefully raised every damn fee they could find.

As to the Recorder's office, those people are about as good as you can hope for with government employees. 

So, here is to the end of this cry, piss, and moan.  

ADDENDUM: Colorado specific - stinks, no reeks, of corruption.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Feel Good Story


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Enough, Already II

This Mother's Day morning. Springtime in the Rockies.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Enough Already!

The welcomed rain, after a dry winter, has overstayed it's welcome. The ground is saturated so the rain has nowhere to go except where gravity leads it. The streams, ditches, and rivers are starting to flood. Snow is forecasted for Mother's Day. 

In Wyoming, I-80 is closed East of Cheyenne due to wrecks. Suspect my sister is on her way to do the  Insurance Adjusting work.

The Top Secret location of Blogarado is getting hammered.

A good friend has wet spots in her floors in her ground level apartment.

A cousin is wondering if she will get a snow day off in May.

The confluence of a surface low pressure system meeting the jet stream over the Rockies is producing some fierce thunderstorms out on the Plains. Two days ago Colorado Springs had 4-6" of hail.

Colorado, where the only constant is there is no constant. Springtime in the Rockies! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Prius Isn't a Timex

It was a dark and stormy night. Out of the rainy darkness, a Isuzu Oasis (Honda Odyssey clone) ran a red light in front of me. 

The Isuzu received a three inch scrape on the passenger side rear bumper. Hardly noticeable among it's many scars, dents, and scrapes. My speed at impact was probably around five mph. I was doing 32 mph (set on cruise control in a 35 mph zone - speed adjusted for the wet road) when her van caught my eye and brake was applied.

The Prius? Entire right front torn off and lying on the ground. Such tough material it took me three tries to rip it loose and toss it in the cargo area. (think sarcasm font)

Police, etc., she was cited and I limped the Prius the five miles back to our base. Didn't want to wait a hour in the rain for a tow truck.

No one hurt. Irksome, because I wasn't scheduled to work. A new hire simply didn't show. 

We are into our third week of soft steady rain. Short of a flood, every drop is welcome after our very dry winter. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gun Grabbers Wet Dream

From the (P)regressive mind, more gun control, and more government control, means less crime and more prosperity. There is one place in the United States where this is fully implemented, except for outright gun confiscation. I refer to the Virgin Islands of the United States. They are officially an unincorporated United States territory. The residents are United States citizens by way of Congressional statute. They cannot vote in Presidential elections and have one representative in the US House who can only vote in committee meetings, not on the floor. They are not self governing, rather, under the thumb of the Federal Government, more subjects than citizens. In reality they are Federal serfs.

The attitude towards firearms and concealed carry by those in power? From their website.

From the Firearms Bureau Bringing Firearms into the Virgin Islands The Firearms Bureau recommends that you Do Not bring your States side licensed firearm into our beautiful islands if you will only be visiting for a short while. If you bring firearms into the islands without contacting the Firearms Bureau, you can have your firearm(s) confiscated and be prosecuted in accordance to the laws of the US Virgin Islands.

You can read more here.

So how is that working out? One of the highest homicide rates in the world.

I’ve never visited the islands, don’t know anyone from there, and most definitely am ignorant of the specific conditions and culture. That won’t change as I have zero interest in visiting. Here comes the "but".

I can read, learn, and draw conclusions.

A benevolent Federal Government staffed by dedicated public servants (sarcasm font) should keep the place a model of governance, no? Oops!

 My point in writing this blog is to point out the (P)regressive mindset is flat ass wrong. This place, the Virgin Islands, is one clear example and may explain Baltimore, New Orleans, D.C., New York and Chicago with their “tough” gun laws and oppressive government.

The region is much more dangerous than the mainland USA and, for the most part, has stringent firearms laws.

Contrast this with the third largest mainland city, Houston. We all know the (P)regressives think Texas is the Wild West with their “lax” gun laws.

Houston is the only one of the five most populous cities in the state to place high on the list, at #3. The types of crimes reported in Houston are fairly different from what you’ll find out west, though: While Odessa and Lubbock both go heavy on assault crimes, Houston’s robbery rate, at 233 per 100,000, is nearly double that of the top cities on the list. Its murder rate, as mentioned above, is 5.9 per 100,000. 

More on Texas here.

From casual reading of site such as “Keep and Bear Arms” firearm laws are oppressive and 2nd Amendment rights  scant in most of the USA territories around the globe.

This post is probably a waste of bandwidth as most who might read it already agree with me. It is offered up for the three or four Liberals who stop by to recharge their umbrage. YMMV

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pawnee Buttes II

The area is fairly rugged. This is looking Northwest.

To the Southwest the terrain eases. There was a lot of moisture in the air. Usually from here you can see 100+ miles and the Colorado Front Range from Longs Peak to Pikes Peak.

Air Force veterans will recognize these installations scattered throughout the area. May they never be used.
The area was once populated by homesteaders eeking out a meager living. Dry land farming isn't for the weak or faint of heart. The Great Depression and Dust Bowl era put an end to that. The government took over the abandoned homestead, destroyed any structures, and created the Pawnee Grasslands by letting everything go back to nature. The program was controversial.!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6IeDdGCqCPOBqwDLG-AAjgb6fh75ua

A large number of the homesteaders were Germans from Russia. The descendants still strive to keep the culture alive. While I find them just a trifle full of themselves, their festivals do have some damn good grub.

A few of the homesteads survived. You can spot them by the surviving trees. In many cases, newer, more modern buildings have been built around the originals. 
This is the end of the tour. Thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoyed it.

Pawnee Buttes

The weather cleared so early this morning drove out hoping the arrive before sunrise. Didn't quite make it. Old AF Sarge said he wants to see lots of pictures.
To the North is a mammoth windmill farm stretching for miles.

Getting there is fun as it is somewhat isolated. I've driven there in a Lincoln Towncar but a studier vehicle makes a more enjoyable trip.
The buttes themselves.

As these are as many pictures as blogger will let me upload, there will be a Part II.

This trip I didn't walk out to the Buttes. It is nesting season and people are requested to not disturb the raptors nesting as they will abandon their nests. Instead, I just sat and soaked up the solitude and listened to the birds. No one was around except for one vehicle and tent about 3/4 miles away in a fold in the ground.

The area is an open range but no cattle were present. On a trip several years ago, on the return hike from the buttes, I encountered a young Angus bull. He was  about twenty feet away. While Angus are not overly aggressive like dairy bulls, they are to be respected. I kept an eye on him, and he kept an eye on me as we passed each other. Lucky me! Had he decided to be proddy I had nowhere to go and certainly couldn't outrun him.

If you have read Michener's "Centennial" he used this setting as "Rattlesnake Buttes". I've never seen one in the area but they are common.

Part II is coming up. More information (and better pictures) can be found at this link.