Monday, December 26, 2011

Words of wisdom from Zen Master Phil screws radio show

I heard today the first, I mean the first in a long goddamn time, glimmer of creativity on the radio, Ive heard in the past 3-4 years.

On 710 ESPN, the long drawn out moaning about the Lakers by the hosts, the fans and the damned guests was punctuated by the voice of Phil Jackson, fellow North Dakotan, former double date partner and the first guy I ever knew who drank wine! (Phil drank that swill, Matuese that was sold in clay jugs)

From the audio version of one of Phil's books, with appropriately strange flute music under and appropriate echo, Phil said, "from beyond the beginning of time and the line that flows from the beginning and into the future, forever, there has been the wolf. The wolf is the strength of pack and the pack is the strength of the wolf".

The producer just dropped that nuggget into the chaos of callers and yelling hosts...they were stunned, speechless and then the asshole hosting the show said, "see, I told you, only Phil Jackson can run this team, we need him to come down from his cloud and take charge and, and, and, and, aaaa, and, uh, anyway Jeannie should talk to him, ah i heard he still has his condo, ah, uh, uh, he's the master, man, the master"!

Post Christmas Post

For the 2nd time since we've been together, Jan was down with the flu over Christmas....who does she think she is, what was she thinking? Kidding aside, she soldiered through it and seems to be on the road to recovery, good thing too, because our anniversary is on Saturday and we leave on on our Christmas trip on Sunday. Out of necessity it was a quiet, passive Christmas celebration at our house.

Best present...our new memory foam! I tried the pillow a few months ago and it helped my chronic neck problems. If memory serves me, wasn't memory foam developed by NASA for astronauts seating. If it was, you can add it to the long, long list of things that have made life better through the space program.

I made Jan a Vitamin C Martini on Christmas Eve. Keitel One Vodka, splash of white vermouth, splash of pineapple-orange-banana juice, well shaken and served with a rim crusted with candy cane and vitamin C tablets (after trying it I left the rim alone during the 2nd round) Tasted good and it enhanced Jan's Robitussin high nicely.

When I was a kid, my Mom and Grandmas always made dish after dish for holiday meals. Usually it was the only time of the year that parsnips, turnip and rutabagas were served. Now I do them all roasted in the oven, no boiling. Carrots,turnips, squash, rutabaga, parsnips, doused with olive oil, salt and them. We usually have prime rib on Chrismas Eve, since there were just the two of us (our friend Babs showed up,later) I was shopping for a small prme rib, like 3 ribs, smallest I could find was 4, most were 6 or 9 and yes, friends, beef prices have sky rocketed....about 12 bucks a rib by my mental calculations. Bought an organic turkey instead, a three meal, 2 lunch purchase. for 30 bucks. Turkey soup is on the menu tonight.

We have an additional Christmas celebration a week from today in Santa Cruz...the grandsons are spending a couple of days with us in the Airstream. I get the feeling that one of them will be sleeping in the back of the the dinette is pretty small for a 9 and 13 year old plus a German Shepard. We're keeping our trip internary loose, the Santa Cruz stop is locked in and lunch with Andy McClure and his wife in San Rapheal is too. We found an RV Park surrounded by the Point Reyes National Seashore, we'll base there and visit Jan's wine vendors in Sonoma one day and drive over the hill to Napa the next, we have been invited to park the AS at one of the wineries in Napa.

The final 4 days will be played by ear and the weather, a stop in Big Sur on the way back and if the Cochruns are around we'll make sure to see them in Cambria. Looking forward to holing up the AS with a couple of new books, trying out my Christmas Dutch oven and snuggling with The Cakes and the dog.

My sis Kathy and her husband (the good bro in law) got back from 8 days in London a few days before Christmas...had a spectacular time, only to get back to find Larry's mom in the hospital.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shit my Grandpa taught me

I have a beautiful wife and I had a stunning revelation at 3:30 AM on Sunday...she snores! Not major league, but Single A at the moment. Promising Rookie. And no, she doesn't believe me.
My lovely Granma Franklin remarked once after I farted in front of her, "I have never done anything like that in my life!" The Judge replied, "Yes, you have" and went back to his book.
Thinking of the old Judge. I was playing with model cars and had set up an obstacle course using knick knacks from the living room on one of Granma's Persian rugs. One of the objects was the tabacco canister from Grandpa's smoking stand. (yes, they had shit like that in the olden days, when people smoked in their own house) as I was crawling around putting my model Corvette through its paces I knocked over the tobacco. I scooped it up off the rug and put it back in the canister. Gramps came home, settled in "his chair" and filled, tamped and put a match to his pipe. Ten seconds didn't go by before he started yelling, "What the hell is going on with my pipe tobacco, dammit?" "A man can't even come home and enjoy his pipe, for crissakes!" He was pissed! He put the pipe down and fired up a cigar and settled in with the afternoon paper. Nothing more was said. The next day he and I hopped in the car to go have breakfast. On the way we stopped at the tobacco shop where he ordered his blend of pipe tobacco. I stood there listening to him rip the ass off the guy who had been selling him cigars and tobacco for years. I'm standing next to grandpa looking at the floor, hearing him say, "Where the hell did that tobacco come from? All the years I've been your customer and you try to sell me shit like that, if I wanted shitty tobacco to smoke in my pipe I'd buy that horseshit Prince Albert! That shit you sold me tasted and smelled like it was mixed with sheep shit, it even smelled like burning wool when I put the match to it, god dammit!" Gramps, got his fresh tobacco, a profuse apology from the shop keeper. When we got back in the car, Gramps said, "I hope you learned something b ack there, you can't let people take advantage of you and when they do, you have to set it straight if you're any kind of a man!" I just looked out the windshield and said, "I got it Gramps"

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Personal Bank Robber

My Personal Bank Robber
I met a woman, a bartender, a blonde with a husky voice. She
was a Texas blonde. This tall, blonde Texan was my spiritual guide in the early
days of my divorce odyssey.
I had changed jobs, changed my life, living in a hotel and spent
most nights on a bar stool across the bar from this guidance counselor blonde.
She was an alcoholic, dry since she had gotten out of prison for armed robbery.
“Armed fucking robbery” I said? “Yep, I was the getaway driver”.
I took her to a movie one night, Bar Fly starring Mickey
Rourke and Faye Dunaway. As we left she said to me “nothing better than being
fucked up in a bar at 2 in the afternoon while everybody’s at work, sometimes I
miss it”.
She introduced me to a local TV anchor babe by telling to
her “this is the only guy who can handle you”. Handle her I did until she
handled me and went off to New York and sent me back to the bar.
I had pneumonia, the bank robber brought me soup and said
“you shouldn’t ride your goddamned motorcycle without a jacket “. She was lying
on the bed next to me, propped up on pillows, her cowboy boots crossed at the
ankles watching MTV, she turned to me and said “White Snake really sucks, Duran
Duran is okay and George Michael is gay”.
She was on the money as usual.
Then, out of the blue she said, “Did I tell you Squeaky
Fromme was my cell mate”? “Ah, no you didn’t”. “Weird little shit, didn’t talk
much, but she was clean and tidy so I didn’t care, the one who was fucked up
was Sara Jane Moore”. I was stunned, my
counselor got up, straightened her side of the bed and said, “I have to get to
work, I’ll check on you later”, she patted me on the head and walked out.
“When I was in college at UT I was a dean’s list girl, but
heavy into pot, booze, pills any damn thing I could drink, smoke, swallow or
snort. I wanted to go to Jamaica on spring break but I didn’t have the money,
one afternoon while completely loaded my friends and I decided to rob a little
savings and loan not far from the campus. One of the guys had a gun, he went in
with my roommate and I drove and we headed for airport and the Caribbean. We
got just over 20k and we drove right by the cop cars flying to the Savings and
Loan. Beginners luck. A year later I was tending bar in St Bart’s and the FBI
showed up. My family tipped them off after my old roomie rolled over on me.
That’s how I ended up with Squeaky as my cellmate. I got 10 and 5 on a federal bank
charges and they paroled me after 4. Best year of my life tending bar in St
Bart’s, although the women’s prison was interesting too”. With that information dispensed she headed off
to class.
Little by little the story seeped out of my counselor. She
had been sentenced to the Federal Women’s Correctional Facility in Dublin
California. After processing she was assigned a cell with Squeaky. She thought
Fromme should have been in a mental institution, but there she was in a prison
with my bank robber. In the same building was Sara Jane Moore who had tried to
finish the job Squeaky had tried to do on President Ford and actually got a
shot off. Squeaky’s gun was loaded but had nothing in the chamber and she
didn’t even point it at him, simply waved it in the air. Sara Jane was
certainly more determined.
My bartender-councilor said her cellmate was quiet and
rather self-contained, so it really blew her mind when Squeaky attacked Julianne
Dusick, the airplane hijacker, with a hammer the next year. She thought it was
out of character; then again Charles Manson was her roomie’s idol, so anything
was possible with Squeaky. Fromme was sent to West Virginia and never got a
chance to say goodbye.
Sara Jane Moore was a jail house lawyer, activist and was
personally invested in holding her jailer’s feet to the fire. Somebody sent her
a food scale and she weighed the servings of food at every meal. If the rules
called for 8 ounces of green vegetables with a meal, there damned well better
be 8 ounces. As big of a pain in the ass as Moore was, she did get a few things
changed for the better. Things like more and better exercise and health care
Better and more nutritional food and she got the girl’s sweat suits to wear
along with running shoes. Moore also lobbied and got newer and R rated movies
in the theater.
There were tough cases in the prison; murderers, attempted
murderers, baby killers, armed robbers along with the run off the mill drug
dealers, swindlers, hookers and white collar criminals. My counselor said the
only prisoners who were delusional about why they were there were the white
collar types, you know the kind that embezzled 4 million from their firm and
weren’t the least bit guilty about it. She said if you asked them ‘how much of
that stolen cash were you able to hide? They just got a small grin on their
faces and walked away, whistling a happy fucking tune”. She said, “the rest
were about as warm, well fed and comfortable as they ever were going to be in
their life as it was going to be even harder when they got out of Dublin. Not
much of a market for a hooker in her mid-40’s with a recharged drug habit who
has spent the better part of life sucking dick in shitty hotel rooms and parked
cars. She sure as hell is not getting a job at K-Mart or as a cashier at a
grocery store, what the hell is she going to do to support herself?” Good point.
It took months of conversation to get her story, she told it
in short, brutal bursts. As far as her going to school and taking classes, she
did it because she liked it, not because she had any delusions about her
future, “anybody going to hire a convicted felon to teach 7th grade?
Didn’t fucking think so.” One day she told me she was going to do a work/apprenticeship
with a furniture builder-restorer-upholsterer. “I am so fucking glad to get
away from the bar, the drunks and the assholes, you’re the exception. I'm so
tired of creeps trying to get in my pants, the manager hinting around for some
naughty action from me at closing time. I am so happy and the first time since
I got out of Dublin I actually feel free!”
I was happy for her, she’d been good to me and a real help
in my life. I really liked her as a human being and she was damn good looking,
tall, strong with classic American looks and she had a nice sense of style. She
looked at me and said, ‘look you son of a bitch, I know what you’re thinking
and don’t think I haven’t thought about it too, but the last thing you need is
a girlfriend who has a year and a half of supervised federal parole left and
then another 5 of unsupervised, you’ll be moving on and when you do I wouldn’t
be able to go with you and my heart has been through enough shit for 5
lifetimes, let’s leave it like it is, okay?” We did and I moved back to Boston
6 months later. She owns her own business today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Venture Adventure Part 3 or Image is everthing

When you work with venture guys you learn quickly there is
no room for maneuver. Flexibility does not exist. They have rods of steel
shoved up their ass when they sign on, makes for an interesting initiation,
wouldn’t you agree? The reason? Venture guys are not business people. Most have
NEVER been involved in a day to day operating situation, never managed people,
never made a budget and never soldanything, much less created a viable product.
Venture guys get their start out of business school by going to work for a consulting firm or a bank and I don’t mean a little bank or consulting firm or a start up!
They start with the big guys, they are trained from the get go, that they know more about every
business than the people who run them.
Most of these guys went to top flight high schools or prep schools, had supportive families, got into top flight colleges, went on to graduate school and then were recruited by consulting firms and banks. They have never done anything from the bottom up, they get fed at least once a day by the company, they stay in expensive hotels, they drink the best wine, travel first class. Spend a few years living like that and you begin to think you are a Master of the Universe, even when you’re not. Out of touch with the real world, ah, yah!
Remember when my MBA told me staying at the Red Roof Inn was bad for image?
He didn’t give a shit that the cost differential was 300 hundred dollars a day or the same Jack Daniels I was drinking at Flanagan’s dive sports bar across the street from the Red Roof for $3.50 would have cost $9.00 or more at the 4 Seasons.
Here’s an example, the Big Guy and my MBA flew up to New Hampshire to look at some plant they were going to finance, at the last minute, maybe because it was late in the day or something, they called me and said they wanted to get together that night at the 4 Seasons.
These guys love image. I was ordered to meet them at the bar
at 7pm. I walked over and arrived about 6:45. My sales guy at Filene’s basement
had called the week before and sold me a new Italian all wool suit, a Armani
top coat, a couple of great ties and I got them all at a drastic discount of
around 65%, I looked good. (The venture guys had tailors come to their offices
because they were too damned busy, according to them, to shop. Big Guy had a
personal shopper and got his haircut at work, too!) I walked into the hotel and
ran into Robin Brown, the high powered GM of the 4 Seasons. Robin was and is a
good guy. He had been on the board of the Boston ballet when I was on the
marketing committee. We had known each other for years. Robin suggested we have
a drink and we chatted about my latest mission in life. The two venture guys
walked into the bar, they spot me. I introduced them to Robin and he spends 10
minutes stunning them with the names of all the big money guys he knows from
New York and Boston. He asks the Big Guy “how are your rooms”? Big Guy says
that the stay was planned at the last minute and they have to go over to the
Ritz Carlton. Robin says, “oh, don’t do that” he gets the phone from the
bartender and calls the front desk talks for a minute and turns to the venture
guys and says, “If you gentleman don’t mind sharing a two bedroom suite, I can
have your bags taken up immediately and one of the ladies is coming over from
the front desk with the registration forms and I’m charging you the same rate
as two singles.” Robin told them whenever they were coming to town, to please call
him first and he would take care of them, handed them his card, shook their
hands, turned to me and said, “Susan and I will meet you and Jan at the Isabel
Stewart Gardner Museum reception tomorrow night and we’ll leave early and go to
Figs for dinner, Todd owes me one!” Robin shook my hand and hugged me whispered
in my ear, “Fuck these assholes, I’ll bet you don’t spend more than 5 minutes
on business tonight.” With that, he told the bartender the balance of the evening
was on the house, waved goodbye and walked out. Oh, by the way, there was no
reception at the Gardiner. He just pulled it out of his ass! We did meet at
Figs and it was on the owner Todd English. Robin was right. We didn’t spend more than 5 minutes on business. I told them I had some ideas I was working on to improve our site
negotiations and they spent their time talking about their day in New Hampshire
at the fucking factory. While they talked, I watched the Bruins game on the bar
TV. I wondered while watching the Bruins get their asses kicked by Montreal, if
these guys knew as much about factories as they did about radio.
I left them at the bar at 10 after they ordered a 3rd bottle of high priced wine. As I walked up quiet and snowy Commonwealth Avenue, I called Jan to meet me at on the corner of Hereford and Comm and we’d let the dog run for a while in the doggie park. She did, he did and I stood with my arm around Jan thinking about my weird evening. The only thing I knew for sure was,
I now had huge Image with my masters, thanks to Robin.
A sidebar, while they were drinking massive amounts of high
priced wine, I was drinking bourbon. Big Guy noticed I had ordered, Basil
Hayden (the 4 Seasons is one of the few bars in the country who carry it) he
launched into a long discussion of single batch bourbon vs. the scotch he
had sampled while playing the great golf courses of Scotland, this sidetracked
the conversation I was trying to have about the resistance we were getting from
the neighbors around the transmitter site, like I said, they could give a shit!
I knew then that we weren’t in this together.
My suspicions increased the next time I talked with Sorry Ass Ed. I told him that despite
loving not having the money guys looking over my shoulder all the time I had two real
problems I needed help with, the firstwas the increasing resistance by the neighbors to the planned improvements on the tower site and the other was the deteriorating relationship with one of the partners on the site. Sorry Ass said, “Don’t make any waves about the deal, leave it
as it stands!” He went on to tell me that the firm didn’t care about the problems,
my job was to solve the problems and get it done the way I said it was going to
happen. I told Sorry Ass, that there was a better way to do this and in long
run it would increase the value of the property and be cheaper. He looked me
straight in the eye and said “they don’t care, they just want the fees, the
interest and then get out, and that’s it. Any changes make them look bad to
their investors.” Image-again!
My plan to buy another AM station with tower site included. (In the perfect location) Build our station there and move the other station to our site was now in the shitter. All I could do
is crank up the pressure and try to bring our existing plan across the finish line. Through the
months of March and April of ’99 I was shuttling from Boston to Providence,
to my lawyer’s office in Wellesley to the North End and back. I spent hours every day
on the phone with engineers, lawyers, vendors and my two feuding partners on the
tower site.
I was nervous, tired and stressed. I felt like I was the only sane person
in the mix. One day, driving 80 mph on Route 128, I went blind in my right eye.
I made my way over to the break down lane and sat there until my vision slowly
came back. I then went to a contentious 2 hour meeting about the site. When it
was over I thought to myself, what the fuck happened to me on 128? I called my
Doctor and by 6pm I was in the hospital, I’d had a god damned stroke!
Next: Doing business, against Doctor’s orders,
from a bed on the neurology ward at Mass General Hospital and why Blue Cross
and Blue Shield’s Platinum Plan is horse shit insurance

Monday, November 7, 2011

Part 2 Venture Adventure by Jager, CEO of New England Wireless

Over the Holidays in ’98, I discovered that venture firms
don’t work from around the 15th of December to the end
of the first week in January, other than the assistants in the
office in New York there wasn’t anyone around. They put in
long hours when they do work, but with long weekends and
numerous vacations they seemed to be around about 20 weeks
out of the last 26 and were seldom working on Friday after
12 noon unless they were putting together a deal.
We’d had our first round of zoning hearings and now we faced
a series of neighborhood meetings, nice little Q and A’s from the
tin foil hat crowd. I’d been through those meetings before and
felt confident we could get through them with only minor bumps
and bruises.
So like my masters in New York, I had some time during the holidays
to think about the last 6 months. What had I learned?
First thing I learned was my 22 million deal was chump change to these guys.
In retrospect they bumped the 19 I quoted to 22 million so they could justify
doing the deal to their investors. Yes, the principals in New York had three
guys they reported to. Those 3 really big guys had financed my smaller guys
with 500 million in cash plus expenses. That 500 million, under the rules in
force in 98 could be leveraged to just over a billion dollars. The going rate at
the time for venture money was a 25-28% return or 250 bucks or more on a
thousand loaned. Venture firms borrow money at market rates or below from
banks, then invest (loan) it at usury level rates. They never touch the principal,
My guy, Brett the MBA, was 29 years old, his MBA was from
Wharton and he was a small fish at the firm. His boss was 36, a
whiz kid hired away from Morgan Stanley by the really big guys to
run the company. My relationship with Brett was thin, I knew he was
married, had a little kid and his wife was a big deal VP of marketing
with a Fortune 500 company, he did send me a Christmas card.
Didn’t know much about the boss other than his taste in wine and
food was very high end.
Sorry ass Ed and I were the only broadcast deals they had.
Ed had used their money to buy a VHF TV station and it was losing its ass. (Although
his lifestyle wasn’t dented, I mean he lived in Greenwich and had a house in
Sag Harbor.) This was a good thing, because the venture firms that specialize
in broadcasting are filled with frustrated program directors and bean counters.
Our guys could have given a shit.
In my rush to become an owner, I conveniently
compartmentalized the reality that I was going to have to do one of two things,
buy the station in 3 years for a 27% premium, much like buying it on a Visa
with a really big credit limit and usurious rates. Then hopefully finance the
purchase at a reasonable rate for 10 years, probably at bank rate plus 2, meaning
I would have paid around 35% interest over a period of 13 years on this deal, 5.9
million on the original 22 and then another 2 million the refinanced 27.9.
Funny how the reality of those numbers just fade from one’s mind, isn’t it?
Somebody told me a long time ago that when you do a deal with venture groups,
you are really just buying yourself a job with a cool title. But, I didn’t want
to deal with that ugly piece of information. The other scenario was in three
years, we’d have a viable station making a buck or two and the venture guys
would sell it. At that point if we sold it for 30 million, the venture guys
would take back the original 22, plus the 5.9 million in interest and my 11%
would come from the balance of 2.1 million less the brokerage, legal fees and
any other costs of the sale. Kind of a quandary to be in…but I just put my head
down and kept on truckin’! I just didn’t want to think about it. Every once in
a while I’d snap awake at 3am and sweat for an hour or so, but that was ony 3-4
times a week.
Part 3 coming soon to a radio near you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Great Venture Adventure by Jager, CEO of New England Wireless

Here's my experience with a Venture Capital Group:

You have some money to accomplish your dream but not enough or you may only have the dream. You can't get any conventional lending, because you don't have the required capital to get in the game using traditional bank financing. So you turn to venture capitalists for money.

In 1998, I had an opportunity to buy a construction permit for a 50,000 watt AM radio station, the station as it stood was 10,000 watts days and 1,000 watts nights. The station was in a healthy top ten market. A market I knew well from having operated radio stations there for close to 30 years. The price in those heady days of escalating values was what seemed at the time a bargain, 14 million dollars. In addition to the purchase price, there were construction, legal and operating costs, I figured I needed 19 million dollars, a lot of money, but considering a similar station had just sold for 72 million in the same market, this deal had real upside, but I had no money.

Through a consultant, I was contacted by a former Microsoft executive who expressed interest in the deal, we met, I laid it out for him and he set up a meeting with a venture group in New York.

Our initial meeting was with the principal of the group and a young MBA who was designated as our “guy”. I laid out my plan, they listened and then we went to dinner at a really expensive restaurant. When I went to my hotel after dinner, buzzed on 300 dollar wine, I realized I had no idea what they thought of the plan or which way they were leaning on a deal. Neither did my “partner”. When I got off the plane the next day, I had a phone message from our “guy”, he wanted to know if I could be back in New York the following week for a meeting with the principles. I called him back and told him I'd be there. I asked what I needed to bring and he said, “just yourself”.

The next meeting was in the big conference room at the group's offices in Rockefeller Center. In the room with my partner and I were 11 members of the firm, for three hours they peppered us with detailed questions and I felt we weren't getting anywhere. Finally out of frustration, I stood up and said “Imagine if down the street from this building there was a big vacant lot, the only good piece of land available in Manhattan without a building on it, the location is great, its surrounded by prime real estate and all that has to be done is to decide what to build on it! That is exactly what we are dealing with the license of this station!” I sat down and noticed the atmosphere had changed for the better. We then went out and had a big group dinner at the same high end restaurant, the wine was even more expensive than the last time and we had brandy and cigars after dinner. Once again I went back to my hotel with out a clue of where we were at with the financing.

Three days later I was driving to a meeting, my cell phone rang, it was my guy at the venture group, he said “We want the deal, we'll do it for 22 million total and we'll give you 5.5% of it, there is a caveat however, get rid of your partner, if you don't, we don't have a deal”. I was pretty excited, so I told him, I was driving and I needed to find a place to pull over, I put the phone in the counsel and bought myself a minute. I picked up the phone and told him, “that's great news, but if I'm going to get rid of my partner and do this all myself I need the 11% of the deal we laid out when we first talked 2 weeks ago.” He laughed and said, “no problem, if you hadn't asked for it, I would have figured you were too slow for us to work with!” Then he said, “give me your checking account number, so your new company can start paying you.” I gave it to him and asked, “what am I paying myself?” He said, “15k a month work for you?” I told him, “ah, yeah.” He said, “Look, I have to go, so take care of the partner thing today, okay? We'll do a conference call with everyone involved on Saturday morning at 8, have a time line ready by then and congratulations, bye.”

Jesus H. Christ, it was done! Now all I had to do was to get rid of the “partner” which I did in short order. He was stunned, I felt like shit, when he asked me why, I told him to ask the venture guys, when he tried, they didn't return his calls. I had to go to a corporate budget meeting, I walked into that meeting with a whole new attitude. The next day there was 15k in my checking account from my new company. Jan, who at the time was my new girl friend, and I went out and celebrated that night.

Part 2 coming soon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our little "F-U" to Bee of A-Holes by Jager Lockheed

We divorced Bank of America today, the little red and white ATM cards are in pieces in the recyling bin. We, as thousands of others have, joined a credit union. ours is Lockheed Federal Credit Union. LFCU is handy, our branch is in Westlake Village. (Right next to the most expensive grocery store in the known universe, Gelson's!)

Interestingly, we had to register for an appointment to make the change to LFCU, they were that damn busy! I've read the switch from the "to big to fail" banks to community banks and credit unions is a massive movement nationwide, so we aint alone, buckaroo. Boeing Federal C U in Seattle reported an 820% increase in new accounts last week alone. If the crowd at Lockheed today was any indication, this is a big deal.

We've been thinking of switching, but when it was announced last week that B of A had transfered their toxic assets from an uninsured part of the company to a Federally Insured division, that was it for The Cakes and I.

The change took 20 minutes, checking, savings, Visa and car loan all switched and done. We left just enough money in B of A to cover the bills we pay on line, we'll pay them on the first, switch them over to Lockheed and then we are finished with the Bee of A-holes.

Mark us as "Contented Customers"

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Our Sources Say" by Jager Lee Bain

Clear Channel is discussing the following scenarios with their in house legal staff:

1. Sending a "cease and desist" letter with threat of lawsuit to all broadcasters, manufacturers, Internet platforms and satellite operators from using the word "radio" in any activity up to and including sales presentations, correspondence, internal communications, logos and any and all usage of what had been, at one time, considered a generic name for terrestial and satellite electronic communication.

2. A similar letter will be sent to Howard Stern demanding he cease using the term "King of All Media" as that term will be, in the future, used by Clear Channel to designate the chief executive position at CC.

3. A petition to the FCC to redefine "radio" in the current FCC statutes to "audio only devices operated by corporations other than Clear Channel". CC is also requesting that the FCC and other agencies allow licensing by CC to other broadcasters and other interested groups to use the term "radio" by paying a yearly licensing fee to CC for its usage. Our sources say the FCC petition was accompanied by a copy of a 4.9 million dollar check to the US Chamber of Commerce to be used (under the Citizens United rule) to back political candidates who will see things the CC way.

Our sources also said NPR has already changed their name to "National Public Audio Only Device" to deflect any further conservative criticism. NPAOD acted based solely on the rumored actions of Clear Channel.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boy Racer once again!!! by Jager Schumacher

I was getting my wife's car washed on Sunday morning. I pulled in and right behind me in line was a '69 Camaro. Orange, white hood stripe and it sounded like it was loaded. The guys took my car and I walked back and told the guy he had a very nice Camaro...he filled me in while our cars were being cleaned, 350 V8, aluminum heads, headers, roller cam, hot ignition, modified GM 400 transmission, said it dynoed out at 530 hp. I'm thinking he might be full of shit, but it sounded good, both his story and the car. He added he had 55 grand in it.
I suggested that I'd love to see and hear it run and why don't we leave together and hop on 101, I'd follow him and he could let me hear the V8 symphony. When the cars were finished, I bought a couple of bottles of water, handed him one and followed him out of the car wash and onto the Freeway entrance to 101. He canned the Camaro hard and took off with his back wheels spinning, I shifted The Cakes's car back into first and hit it at about 2500 rpm and stayed right on his ass, in fact when I shifted to 2nd I had to back off abit, we were quickly up on 101 and he crossed over to the left lane at about 75mph and hit it again. I was still in 2nd at at 4300 and shifted to 3rd at 7,000 still on his tail. I shifted into 4th at 7,000 and right at 110 mph I pulled past him on the right, ran it to 7,000 again and with him in my mirrors I shut it down at at about 130. Its just amazing what a Mercedes Benz C-43 AMG can do with 131,000 miles on it!
We pulled off on Westlake Blvd and into the shopping center, shook hands and laughed about what two old bastards had just done in past couple of minutes on 101. I told him to get his money back from the dyno guy, he said he was going to talk to the engine builder first!
I got back in the old Benz and realized I had left the AC on. I would have never done that when i was street racing as a boy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Sports Notes:
Did Tebow actually win in Miami or did the ‘Fins throw the
game to stay in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes?
Woof, we are getting a good World Series out of the Rangers-Cards!
The Colts are disgusting…are they in the “Suck for Luck”
Sweepstakes, too?
Carson Palmer looked like he got off the couch, suited up
and went in the game, actually, that’s what he did. Looks like he’s filled out
a little in the past nine months, doesn’t he?
We should have a ‘Luck Bowl” in between the playoffs and the
Super Bowl. The AFC team and the NFC team with the worst records play for the 1st
pick in the draft….winner gets the pick!
Watching HBO’s 24/7…Manny is one intense little dude. Best
line so far…Freddie Roach brought in a strength coach, his only advice, ‘Don’t
slow him down”. The one hand balancing on an exercise ball looks like a pure
bitch to do, that and the pushups on a weight bar set on the bar of a barbell.
Anybody miss the NBA? What, crickets?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Easy Target

efforts to cut Military and Veterans benefits are gathering momentum in Congress:
Determined to avoid spending reductions that would hit troop numbers, aircraft, ships and weapons, Levin, McCain and other lawmakers are urging budget-cutters to scrutinize the military entitlement programs.
So rather than cutting weapon system procurement or raising taxes on the rich, they are zeroing in on benefits. This is bipartisanship at its absolute worst
The military retirement program is really simple: Stay in 20 years, you retire with 50% of your highest acheived rank pay, stay 30, you get 75%. The program is the same across all branches and all ranks.

If you retire as an E-7 (Sgt First Class) at 20 years, your retirement is $2100 a month and they want to cut that hefty amount? That's bullshit, after a person has spent the best years of their lives working long hours, spending many of these years "down range". Moving from post to post, etc.

The trade off I've seen is one could get a partial retirement after 6-8 years in the service. A few hundred a month. For years the motivation has been "what the hell, I've been in 8 years, may as well stay another 12 and get my retirement."

Call your congressman and senators, today. Be nice but firm.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Award Time by Comrade Jager

I just got my "Lifetime Acheivement Award" from Kimberly-Clark

Off the Grid by Comrade Jager

We found this yurt on VRBO (vacation rentals by owners)

Think about this, we watched the sunset on the deck, ice clinking in our glasses, VanMorrison on the audio system, 26 miles from the nearest power pole. Solar electric, instant hot water, gas stove and fridge and when the sun went down, not a hint of light, anywhere.

The Yurt was one big round room, 30 ft in diameter, the shower and toilet (composting) are located on the deck a step or two from the back door-if a Yurt has a back? We had 4 days of heaven. We had a karioke (sp) but, no matter how much wine I poured down Jan she refused to sing ABBA's "Dancing Queen"!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feminine Hygene Products by Comrade Jager

When I was a kid my Mom would give me a note for the clerk at the grocery store. I'd hand it to him, get my 12 ounce Pepsi. In a few minutes he would he would be back with a box wrapped in plain brown paper, I'd hand him the money, finish my Pepsi, put the box under my arm and pedal home on my bike.
If I saw anybody I knew or didn't know, they would yell shit at me, like, "hey your mama's on the rag", "somebody's riding the cotton pony" or "there goes the Kotex Kid".

All that started when I was 8. I now have decades of experience in handling and transporting feminine hygene products. From those early years of trying to smuggle a large boxes of Modess through enemy lines with adolescent terrorists on my tail to being awakened at 3 in the morning with, "Honey, I hate to ask you this, but could you run and get me some Tampax at the drugstore?"

I had two daughters and a wife operating on menstrual cycles that were just far enough apart that I was constantly on the road buying supplies. The three of them along with a female dog and cat had me out numbered and I was swimming in a sea of estrogen.

I've purchased untold thousands of dollars worth of sanitary products over the years, I've been in line, boxes of tampons and panty liners in my hands in food stores, drug stores, country markets, national and state parks, marinas, convenience stores and gas stations. I've even purchased Tampax from a vending machine at a hotel (it was next to the tooth paste and just below the Mr. Goodbar) once again roused from a dead sleep in the middle of the night to make the buy.

I've pretty much solved the problem since joining Costco, I buy Tampax by the case, a huge carton filled with more cartons and inside those cartons are the individual boxes. One case lasts about 14 months. Problem solved, but not quite, because tonight Jan was in the bathroom that isn't suppled with "product" and I heard "Honey, could you run upstairs and get me a tampon". Once again the Kotex Kid was on the move!

Stepping into the future about 10 years too late! by Jagerhead

I've been composing long, drawn out e-mails and sending them to my friends, I'm sure I've bored the shit out of most them, but to hell with that! Let's get into the blogosphere, man!

Do I know the rules? Only a few, like: all caps is FUCKING YELLING! Got that one down. Arcane references to books few have read outside of certain circles, cool. Art movie references are waaay cool,especially if they have never been distributed in the US. The coolest shit of all is to mention bands and songs nobody except 27 people in Cleveland have ever heard of.

That is not what this blog is about. This blog is about not letting life pass me by, yeah I'm getting old, but I'm not quitting! I've got the next book in the Game of Thrones series to read if that bastard George RR Martin ever finishes it! That and a bunch of other shit to do.