Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Senior Dating Olympics

One of my best friends has been struggling for months with a decison about dating...he finally said to hell with it and took the leap. He is 70 and his new girlfriend is a woman of 28. Before you run to the bathroom to get rid of your breakfast and the bile the very thought of this conjures up, consider the following points:

1. She is not a gold digger. He has no gold and she is well aware of his lack of gold.
2. She is not on drugs.
3. She is more knowledgible about sports than he is and is content to watch them on TeeVee.
4. She has never asked him for anything.
5. She had to seduce him! (they are both enjoying the results of the seduction)

She is gorgeous and maybe whacked, but she enjoys his company and he enjoys hers. He was troubled for a long time about going beyond a simple friendship with her and asked his friends for advice. Quite a few said, stay away, you'll look foolish and the women he knows were all disgusted. When he asked me, I said, "Its a gift from the Gods, accept it with grace and thanks."

There some interesting dynamics in their relationship. He has two daughters he loves beyond recall, his new girlfriend is 12 years older than his youngest and his other daughter is older than his girlfriend's Mom.

The best story of this relationship is what a mutual friend of ours said to him, "Introduce me to her mother, we'll fall in love, I'll marry her and then I can be your Dad!" This is not as far fetched as it might sound, this buddy has been married 6 times. He falls in love with anyone he dates more than a handful of times. He married the same Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader twice! His sister said she is tired of going to his weddings and now only attends if they are held at a nice resort.

In other news:

A guy I know lives in Las Vegas. He was transferred there by his company and was fired in January. He got a good exit package and he has hung around while he looks for a new gig. Of course he is in his mid fifties and male, so the opportunities are slim to say the least. He allots himself $100 a week for the slots, some weeks he is up and others he is down. His routine is to wander into the new casino that's attached to his apartment building in the late afternoon, run twenty bucks through the slot machines, have a drink and then go home and eat ramen. One afternoon he won a couple of hundred dollars. When he was on his third drink at the casino bar a stunning Asian-American woman sat down next to him. She was articulate, bright and from LA. They talked for an hour or so and she admitted she was a working girl. Intrigued, he said how much? She told him $1,000. My friend quickly started to negotiate, she came down alittle, but it was still too much for an unemployed guy. Frustrated, he finally said what can you do for $300? She told him and they left for his apartment. An hour later he was stunned and exhausted. The next day, he went to the casino and did his usual routine, twenty in the slots and a drink at the bar. He won $2,500 dollars. He took her business card out of his wallet, called her on his cell phone and purchased her services for the night and put the balance in his bank account. I ask him how it went, he said worth it at twice the price! Disgusting, I know but it did wonders for his morale.

Internet dating services:

I have two people that do work for me from time to time who've started on-line dating. One is a divorced woman, when she posted her info, they matched her with her ex-husband. The other is a guy who got matched with the mother of a kid who works for him.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sir Michael Phillip Jagger

Today is Mick Jagger's 69th birthday. I've been a fan of the Stones since the first record. I've seen them around 14 times in concert. My favorite Stones record is "Stripped". I love the sound of the CD, on it the Stones sound like what they are, "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band." I like Exile on Main Street, Sticky Fingers, Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed...hell, I like them all and I don't get tired of them either.

Over the years Mick and his mates have had quite a few falling outs, arguments and have gone years without speaking.  Through all that for 50 years they have continued to rock. Not a bad record for English kids whose only goal was to be the "Best Band in London".

Stones songs have been markers in my life. I had a terrible break up with a long time girlfriend in college, the number one song at the time, "Paint it Black"!

Later, in between marriages, I had another falling out with a woman, I got in the car, punched the button for the classic rock station and the first song I heard was "Bitch".

When my daughters were little kids I'd crank up the stereo (audio system?) at home and put Stone's vinyl on the turn table and they'd dance their little butts off to Brown Sugar, Street Fightin Man and many more Stone's tunes. I can see them dancing around the family room when I hear those songs.

When Kristen, my oldest kid was in college she and her friends saw the Stones in San Diego, her friends asked her how she knew all the words, she told them, "My Dad!"

The Stones changed the concert business, in fact they turned the economics of it upside down. The promoters used to get all the money for a live show. Now thanks to the Stones, the performers get most of it. As Boston concert promoter Don Law once said, "Mick Jagger didn't go to the London School of Economics for nothing!"

Keith Richards (my favorite Stone) wrote in his biography "Life", when the Stones were a young band they toured England and Scotland as the opening act for James Brown and the Famous Flames. After a couple of weeks JB invited them to an after concert party. Keith said Brown was sending a band member out for food, another for drinks and another was shining his shoes. Keith said, "I was appalled and Mick was enthralled." When the Queen gave the band MBE's Mick was excited, Keith turned his down. The Queen made Mick a "Sir" and she didn't bother to offer a title to Keith. They may not like each other as they once did but when they are together they sure as hell still rock and that' good enough for this old, cranky Stones fan.

This tune is still their best....

Happy Birthday Sir Micheal and you know what? I'll always be younger than you are!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dating and Kidz

                           The 4 Seasons Pool and Spa, Westlake Village, California.

I have a friend who lost his wife of many years to pancreatic cancer 2 years ago. Shortly after his wife died he had a by pass operation, basically he's had a couple of bad years. He is finally rounding into shape and has accepted his new life.

About 6 months ago he was driving up to Pebble Beach, got to Santa Barbara and turned around because he didn't want to go by himself. He decided to start dating again. He is now 6 months into it. He sat in my office yesterday, relaxed and tan and said "Damn, these woman have too much baggage. I offered to take a woman to the 4 Seasons Spa for lunch and whatever treatments she wanted. Whether she just wanted to lay in the sun, get a massage, a facial, what ever I didn't care." She said, " What would we do?" He told her, "What ever you want to do, I'm going to sit in the sun and take a swim, have a drink, eat lunch, you do whatever you want." She couldn't decide, so he went by himself.

My pal has a place in Pebble Beach, he offered another woman a weekend there. My pal said she asked "Would I have my own room?" He said "Hell yes, the only woman I ever slept with was my poor wife and we started dating when we were in high school, I wouldn't know what to do with another woman at this point, maybe down the road but not now. I just want somebody to hang out with." That woman was disappointed and said, "Don't you find me attractive?" Pissed at this point, he said "You have a nice face and legs, I haven't seen the rest of you yet so I have no idea."

Needless to say, his new life is not going the way he envisioned it. If anyone knows any nice, attractive, healthy, stable, 55 plus women looking for a good date with zero strings, I'll let my buddy know. He is an old bastard, ex-corporate executive, smart, fun and crusty. He drives a Cadillac CTS-V wagon and a C-6 Corvette and owns a house and two resort properties. The old bastard will probably be the best date they've ever had!

My Insurance Agent is a single Mom. Her ex is an asshole who has wiped his hands of their son. The kid is a smart, good looking little dude. He is a sophomore in high school. His girlfriend is a baby Salma Hayek. She came home after work a few days ago and found 6 fresh used Trojans in the wastebasket in her kids bedroom. She told me about it and asked what I'd do if he was my kid, I told her, "I'd congratulate him, first on his taste in girlfriends and then on his use of condoms!" She was shocked. I said, "Tanya, he is fifteen, he's crossed the line into to having hot monkey sex, who the hell is ever going to stop him? Just tell him to keep on being very careful." I walked away thinking, "6 times in a day, wow that's so far in my past I can barely run the video in  my head anymore!"

I'm going to bed. Wow, 6 times! Wonder if The Cakes is awake?

Jager's Review of Books.

I've been reading books in series. I started with the Girl with Dragon Tattoo series a year or so ago, then read all of the Game of Thrones books back to back. (I was so into it I started to address The Cakes as Milady.) I then went back to single books, then hit it again with the Robert Caro LBJ biographies, back to single books like the new Cronkite bio and heavy into series with the Harry Bosch books and then the Easy Rawlin mysteries, all 6 of them. I'm a heavy reader.

            This past week I finally dipped into E.L. James 'Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy.

Jager's capsule review:

College senior (a rather rare young woman, a virgin at 22) meets a 27 year old Billionaire. Kinky sex and life changing affirmations ensue for the star crossed couple. Anastasia  discovers she likes to be taken to the "Red Room" spanked, "gently" whipped with a soft suede flogger, tied up, cuffed to a spreader bar, paddled with a ruler and has fantastic sex on top of Grey's grand piano and or his pool table. Plus she rather enjoys having toys inserted in her butt. Christian (the billionaire) on the other hand begins to like soft, sweet, sleepin' together boring sex. "Ana" who had never performed oral sex discovers she has a true and genuine talent for it, the first time she tries it! And she swallows, even. The tie on the cover is very significant, because its the first thing Christian uses to tie Ana's hands with! James takes her readers on a trip through the world of subs and doms. Chests full of nipple clamps, genital clamps, whips, canes, floggers, handcuffs, ropes, leather belts, ball gags, hoods and non-disclosure agreements. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has sold 40 million copies and James just sold the movie rights. I found in reading all three books it was a barely erotic fairy tale. On the other hand all the twenty somethings in The Cake's office love it. After learning that, I'm trying to conjure up young Esperanza trussed up in her mother's house in Oxnard with her sweating, grinning and aroused concrete worker boyfriend lubing up her butt plug!

On a personal note, many years ago a Dyan Cannon look-a-like talked me into a bit of bondage. I discovered that in addition to my claustrophobia I really hated being tied up like a hog with a hard on!

Continuing with this topic for a moment, at 5:30 this morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs, John Cole's Balloon Juice. The discussion was reality TeeVee. The comments went through all the usual suspect shows, then a commenter wrote;

"I never watch reality teevee, but if they had a show called "So You Think You Can Fuck!" I'd be there!"

Imagine the possibilities. Maybe E L James would be a judge.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's go Deer Hunting, This Fall!

Which Rifle would you use to get that Trophy Buck?

Sako L461, .17 Magnum.(.17/.222Rem Mag.),,20" bbl.,5 lb. 10 oz.,13 3/8" L.O.P.,Stockwork by Nils Hultgren. With Leupold 3-9X40mm scope & Conetrol rings & bases. Costs around 6k with a scope.

Tactical Customs model AR15 M4 in 5.56 mm with a 16: barrel, costs $1249.00

With the Sako you could get a nice clean kill at a good distance, with AR15 it would be a bitch, wouldn't it?
Somehow these two rifles, each designed with a specific purpose are classified as the same type of weapon. The Sako is for killing game the AR15 is designed to kill people. The AR15 with it's standard magazine holds 20 rounds of ammunition, The Sako holds 6. Most hunters, if they miss with the first shot, are lucky to get off another before the animal is gone, much less 20. Probably the last Military weapon that would work well for hunting is the M-14 and its been out of production since the early 60's. If you trek up to the Maine Woods this fall you won't find any serious hunters carrying an AR15 or  any tactical style weapon. Guys who buy them may say they are used for hunting but they are lying.

I had a guy working for me as a morning show producer who was permitted to carry. Shortly after I hired him I noticed he was walking around my radio station with a holstered Glock 9mm. I asked him what it was and he said "9mm Glock with 17 in the magazine and one in the snout!" I told him to unload it, give it to me and I'll put it in the locked file in the business office and you can have it back when you're done working and don't ever bring it in the office again, understand? He protested and I told him that if our freaking radio station was such a dangerous place to work that he felt he needed to carry a gun that maybe he shouldn't work here. He complied and didn't bring the gun to work anymore. We all felt more comfortable with Ernie after that. He was a good guy but, obsessed with guns.

Remember this guy? A life size cut out of Aldo survived a vicious attack in Charlestown, MA.

Aldo's cut out was placed in the living room of an off duty Massachusetts State Trooper by the trooper's 12 year old daughter, she'd gotten the owner of a neighborhood liquor store to give to her.
The trooper came home drunk around 2am, saw Aldo in the corner of the living room and he squeezed off 6 rounds at Cella and missed from 15 feet away. The rounds entered the troopers bedroom and stitched a tight pattern in the headboard of his bed, they fortunately missed his sleeping wife, a former nun. This guy, who did traffic reports for us, was well trained and had to qualify with his weapon twice a year. No wonder that about 80% of the people killed or injured by guns in this country are related to or know the shooter!

Do you think this guy is harboring any fantasies?

He is a militiaman "training" in a State Park.

300,000,000 Guns and way too many are owned by ill trained idiots. They are too easy to buy, too easy to carry. You'd think common sense would tell you it should be at least as hard to buy a gun as to get a driver's license.

Maybe we should seriously consider Chris Rock's suggestion, "Buy all the guns you want, but make bullets really expensive!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Jim and I got Revenge on a Jerk

During a week at camp in my 11th summer, we had an overnight canoe trip on the schedule. My tent mate Jimmy Hansen and I paddled our canoe in the midst of a canoe armada piloted by other little stinky, sunburned boys. We were headed for an island, trip of about a mile and a half. On the way over our counselors (boys, themselves, in their mid to late teens) in a powerboat came alongside and said, "Hey, we'll give you guys a tow." Great, Jim and I thought. The three counselors grabbed the gunwale of our canoe and off we went, in a minute or two we ahead of the rest of the struggling paddlers. Then the counselor in the front of the supply boat pushed the bow of our canoe down and the counselor running the outboard gunned the engine. Our canoe filled with water and swamped.

Not only were we swamped, all of our stuff, our sleeping bags, our clothing and our secret food stash was floating in the water around the canoe. Jim tried to collect as much of our gear as he could, it amounted to about half of our stuff. I grabbed the paddles before I lost my K-Bar knife, Jim his hatchet and we both lost our compasses and cook kits. I took off my life jacket and Jim used it float our sleeping bags and whatever else we collected.Without the life jacket I managed to flip the canoe over and with the canoe now floating upside down, I got under it. With Jim positioned on one side we flipped it back over. The canoe now had only about 8 inches of water in it as opposed to being full. I balanced one side as Jim climbed in the other, he bailed with a canteen cup and I bailed with a Chicago Cubs baseball cap, it took a half hour or so and we were down to 2 inches of water in the canoe. We piled wet sleeping bags and clothes in the middle of the canoe and paddled the rest of the way to the island.

Our fellow campers were already on the island and were shouting insults at Jim and I. Of course, the counselors joined them. We dragged our canoe on shore, we were soaking wet, our clothes were soaking wet and our sleeping bags were soaking wet. I found myself thinking, if only the head counselor, a guy named Neil, was just a little smaller I would beat him from here to Ely and back!

Jim and I rigged our canoe shelter and gathered with our fellow campers for dinner. Jim and I stood as close to the fire as possible, trying to get dried off. The fire helped, but not much. The ghost stories and the bear stories were told as Jim and I shivered by the fire. The wind started to blow, cold and hard from the Northwest and it smelled like rain. Lightning and thunder and sheets of rain driven by gale force winds chased us into our shelters. The counselors were snug in a big wall tent pitched on high ground about 50 yards from the canoe shelters.

Jim and I were miserable, we laid on top of wet sleeping bags in wet clothes as the storm raged on. The storm broke around midnight and the skies cleared, We laid there wide awake. Jim said, "Do you think they'd let us go back to the cabins?" I said, "Nope, but let's go anyway!" Very quietly Jim and I stripped our canoe shelter, we piled everything we had on the shelter tarp rolled it into a wet, messy ball, put it in our canoe and carried it to the shore line. Jim got in the front and as I was pushing off, I whispered, "I've got an idea."

While Jim held the canoe, I unhooked the gas tank from the counselor's outboard motor, I carried it away from the camp and emptied all but a pint of gas into a clump of bushes. I brought the empty tank back to the counselor's boat, hooked it back up to the motor. Jim said in a stage whisper, "Take one of their oars." I did and Jim dropped it in the middle of the lake on our way back to camp. We were back at camp in an hour or so. We hit the hot communal showers and were safe and warm in our beds by 3am. The next day the shit hit the fan when the canoe campers returned. Neil was outraged and Jim and I were put on kitchen duty until our parents picked us up the next day. Supposedly it was a disgrace to get set home early, we didn't care. When we told our parents what happened, they were actually proud we took revenge on the first of many petty tyrants we'd encounter in our lives. My Dad laughed until he cried. So did Jim's Dad.

That's the story I told my grandson Nova yesterday before he left for 10 days of camp at Mt. Shasta. He said, "Grandpa, that is so cool!"

He he is packed and ready to go!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mitt was just covering his (ass) bases!

When Bill Bain asked Mitt Romney to start and run a new investment division of Bain and Company, Mitt was flattered, it was a chance to run his own show and make a ton of money. But, Mitt was worried, what if it failed? Mitt would be blamed, ashamed and his career maimed. What Mitt asked for and received from Bill Bain was an agreement that he wouldn't be held accountable for any failure of the new venture and assurance he would get credit for its success. Bain gave it to him.

Fast forward to 94. Mitt has done a superb job, whether you agree with his methods or not he made his investors a shit load of money. Mitt decides to run for the Senate against Ted Kennedy. Ted is at his political nadir, he is weak in the polls, he's fat, he's drinking and looks ripe for the picking. Mitt has the support of the Massachusetts Republican party and the national organization, plus he has all the big Boston investment community and bankers and their money on his side. Mitt is young, respected and rich as hell. He comes out of the box strong and in the fall a few months before the election  he is tied with Teddy in the polls.

Ted's people get him in shape, sweat the booze out of him and Teddy goes after Romney on his record at Bain. They debate (I was there at Fanuel Hall) Kennedy just slays Mitt head to head. Mitt pours money into the campaign for the next month and a half, it didn't help. Mitt lost to Teddy 58-42. ( Kennedy's worst winning percentage in an election) He got his ass kicked and good. Mitt slinks back to Bain and continues to make tons of money for the next 7 years. The citizens of the Commonwealth forgot about Mitt. Not me, every time I drove on Route 2 to shop at Arena Farms in Concord I'd see the monstrosity of a Mormon Temple Mitt rammed through the zoning folks in Belmont and I'd think just what an entitled prick Mitt is.

When Mitt's friend's on the Salt Lake Olympic Committee got caught doling out 7 million in bribes to the International Olympic selection folks, panic struck in Salt Lake City, they needed a good solid Mormon citizen from somewhere else to get their asses covered. Mitt was their man. They called he answered. This was just what Mitt needed, he was going to "Save the Olympics", restore his reputation and get his dead political career going again. He left Boston for Salt Lake City. He gave his house to his oldest son, he bought a house in Salt Lake, he even got a Utah driver's license by all normal measures, he became a citizen of Utah.

And then.....

Oh, oh! Mitt needs to cover his ass, what if he can't save the Olympics? He'd be blamed! He can't resign from Bain, he needs to hold on to it if he fails with the Olympics. If he wins with the Olympics, he needs Bain to maintain himself as a citizen of the Commonwealth. Mitt says to himself, "Jeepers, I'll have to play both sides of the street, won't I?" Mitt plays the game, wins with his Olympic gambit and returns to Massachusetts with a big reputation. He decides to run for Governor in 2002. Poor chubby, little Momma Jane Swift the acting Governor, decides not to get herself buried by Mitt's money and drops out of the race. About this time the state elections people have a chat with Mitt. The premise is simple, you've lived in Utah for the past three years and you cannot run for Governor of Massachusetts, you ain't a citizen, pally. Mitt counters, I am too a citizen, I own Bain, I own all the stock, i sign all the paperwork, see look at the SEC stuff I signed and filed, look at the press releases, look, look, look and my wife and I have a apartment in Belmont, yes its only a couple of rooms in my old mansion, but its our home, darn it!

Mitt gets cleared to run for guv, he beats Shannon O'Brien by a couple of points. The election costs 10 million, Mitt put 6 of his own money into it. He attacked O'Brien by slamming her hubby's lobbying connection with the Enron scandal which is interesting because Ken Lay of Enron fame (is he really dead? Anybody ever see the body?) was connected by the hip to Bush and Chaney, but I digress.

Mitt is now the Governor, Massachusetts has a deficit, Mitt doesn't raise taxes he began raising every damn fee in the state from autos to zoos. Interestingly the state had three successive Republican administrations and Mitt's was the 4th in a row. (Weld-Cellucci-Swift-Romney) the piss poor financial condition of the state is on their shoulders. And don't buy the claim that Mitt balanced the budget, its a law that goes back to when the Commonwealth was a freaking English colony. Mitt governs the state for about 15 minutes and starts his presidential campaign for 2008. Mitt would jump on a plane fly to a confederate state and tell the rednecks how fucked up Massachusetts is. The teevee stations and the Globe would report his remarks, we citizens would get pissed and Mitt would blame the press. When he left office his ratings were lower than Jane Swift's and she used her staff to babysit and change her kid's diapers, not to mention using a State Police helicopter to fly she and her brood home to western Mass whenever the pressures of office got to her.

Mitt is a jerk, ask anybody who lived in Massachusetts, they'll tell you better than I can. And the Saving of the Olympics, total bullshit. We saved them with our tax dollars, all of us paid for them with more money than any Olympic games in history, 1.5 billion. Most of it in pork for Mitt's pals. Enjoy the new interchange on I-80 that makes it easier to get to Deer Valley, Mitt's buddie's ski resort, you paid for it.

Nice how Mitt's gamesmanship and ass covering is now coming back to finally bite him in the ass isn't it? or as Mitt would say, "H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, that hurts!"

Maybe Mitt can tell us all about some more Red Sox games he didn't attend!

I need a shower.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Good Things

As I was grinding coffee this morning at 6am, I realized my Braun coffee grinder just turned 21, I'll have to buy it a drink after work. The little grinder has been serving me roughly 50 weeks a year (probably more) and has ground enough coffee to make almost 7400 pots of coffee. Helluva deal, I paid 16 dollars for it at a store in the Prudential Mall in Boston. That's .0021621 cents a pot.

As I drank my coffee, I thought about other good "deals" and products. Here is my list:

Cephalon Commercial Cookware. I bought a heavily used set at an estate sale in Mystic CT, in 1992. I've used it for 20 years. A deep saute pan, a smaller saute pan, 3 various sized pots and pasta-stew-you name it pot. This set looks like it should be in the kitchen at Spago, heavy, grey-black with aluminum lids that can stop a bullet. Paid 50 dollars for the set. I'd guess that they were in use at least 35 years before I bought them 20 years ago. They ain't pretty but nothing cooks better. Cakes bought me the pasta strainer for the big pot at Christmas a few years ago, it cost 125.00.

My 95 dollar stainless steel Swiss Military watch. 14 years old, 4 batteries. I wear it all day every day, even sleep with it on. Its been underwater in the ocean, in lakes and rivers. The watch keeps perfect time. The steel band with the clasp lock works perfectly. The stopwatch functions all work to this day. Best watch I've ever had including a Rolex and a Breitling. I've worn it with a tuxedo. I'll never buy another watch, ever. I think I could hit it with a hammer and it would still work well and look good.

Our Country French rustic coffee table. Cakes has pretty elegant taste, but she fell in love with this piece we found in a warehouse in Dedham, MA. You can put a sweating glass of beer on it, spill almost anything on it, put your feet on it and it still looks good. The dog sleeps under it, too. 200 bucks in 1998.

We found a Mission style table at the antique mall on McGrath Highway in Somerville, MA in 1998. This small round table is now over 100 years old. Its beautiful and we eat at it 3-4 days a week. We found 2 red leather office chairs from a law office in Boston and they match well with the table, they are over 100 years old too. We paid just over $500.00 for the table and chairs, I'd guess somebody will be using them 100 years from now.

I have a Sawzall cutter set, I bought it to repair the deck on my old sailboat. You can cut, grind, sand and polish with it. Its 14 years old, I paid less than a $100.00 for it. The last time I used it, I sanded down our teak patio chairs with it. And it does a hell of a job on barbecue grills.

Our Sunbrella patio umbrella. Its been outside in all kinds of weather for 8 years. It goes up and down perfectly, it doesn't blow over and the tan Sunbrella is as solid as when we hauled it home. I paid 198 bucks for it at Costco. Our neighbor bought one for $99. it was gone in the first spring rainstorm.

Our Mercedes Benz C 43 AMG. 142,000 miles since new in 1999. Routine maintenance, tires, brake pads. We did put a new headliner in it last fall (850.00) and had the alloy wheels repainted (stay away from curbs, Janny!) for $500. The car drives like a dream, still goes like a rocket and even kind of smells new and it looks good in the timeless way a Benz does. The sticker was 52k, its still worth 12 and we both still like to drive it, alot!

North Face 30 degree sleeping bag. I bought it on sale in 1983 for about $100. I've used it in the mountains, on boats and in three different countries. I've had to get the zipper repaired once. I don't think I'll ever need to get another. At the same sale I bought a Coleman backpacking stove, still works perfectly. The next year I bought a Lowe Expedition pack, bullet proof.

My Giant 770ATX mountain bike, 1992 model. As the guy at the bike shop said, "an old school classic". Everything works, it's kind of beat up. (patina?) I bailed off it just in time and a car ran over the front wheel and fork in 1999. I put a shock absorber fork on it and new lightweight wheels, so its a custom model! $895 in '92.

Anything I have made by Patagonia.

That's my partial list, what's yours?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Working with Kids at DRIVE!

I had an interesting experience today with one of our students. In our Defensive Driving Course there is a segment on impaired driving. The simulator reacts slowly or over reacts to driver input and it is as close to driving while drunk as you can get without being loaded.

This young girl is a high achiever, she wins in everything. She was struggling with the lesson, getting frustrated. On the driving simulator, if you crash or make a serious violation you have to go back and start over. Her frustration level built to the point where she started to cry. I pulled her off the machine and told her to calm down. I told her, she was in a situation where there is no winning or losing. Its specialized training and the lesson was designed and programmed to teach her the futility of attempting to drive while impaired not to teach her a way to do it successfully.

Her frustration with driving is she can't be the best right now. We went back and forth on her frustration, I finally asked her how long she had been playing the violin? 11 years was her answer. I asked how much time she had behind the wheel or in training? Her answer was about 20 hours. Okay, how well could you play the violin after 20 hours? She lightened up and said, "Not very well." I asked, did you know how to hold the violin? "Uh huh." I continued, could you make it through a simple song? "Uh huh." I continued in this vain for awhile and she finally brightened. "You mean, I just need to practice more, right?" Right!

Another student is headed to Barnard this fall. She has been hesitant to even start driving. This is another high achiever who know she needs to get her driver's license. She's been doing really well and is now even better once we set a lofty goal for her. It's pretty simple, too. She is going to drive well enough that her Dad will let her drive his Porsche 911, something her Mom doesn't get to do.

Something I've learned about these kids is a one size fits all approach doesn't work. Each one is an individual and we do our best to customize and personalize our work with them. We get a big technology assist from the simulators and the sims tell us about the student's strengths and weaknesses, but if we don't spend some time with them, we can't know how to put all the information into practice and we can't find the key into making them into safe, confident drivers.

The boys on the other hand don't have the focus the young women do and honest to god, they act and look so much younger. But, there is something about the way the VDI programs are written and structured that challenges them. Once they learn it's not a video game and they can't force the sim to do what they think it should do...they just give up and go with it.  Once they hit that point they score as well or better than the girls do.

We have one somewhat shy, big tall kid who after about the 4th lesson on the simulator stopped over thinking everything and now is racking up scores on the 25 minute assessment drives that haven't dropped lower than a 96 out of a possible 100 for the past 6 lessons. He really thinks he is hot.

This is a very satisfying thing to do. We have now driving behind the wheel a young man who has had 17 operations. He has no use of his right arm (he was born right handed) and minimal use of his right leg, he can walk but he can't use an accelerator or a brake. We found a portable left foot gas pedal, put an old fashioned "necker knob" on the car and he is driving and really doing well. He will soon be taking his test and he'll have a license to drive. He was determined to get it, his family didn't think he could nor did his therapist. He told me the other day, "I'll be free, I can get to school on my own, go where ever the hell I want, even if there is no bus to get there on."

To me, that kid is living proof people can damn near do anything if they put their mind to it. We taught him how to drive, but he did the work!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lake Wobegon@The Hollywood Bowl and Penn State

We went to the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night and saw Prairie Home Companion. We had a Terrace Level Box. We had a nice bottle of white wine, roast chicken, salad and rice pudding. I packed it all in a bamboo picnic box we've owned for 5 years and never used. It was delightful, The Hollywood Bowl is superb! And so is the Studio City Park 'n Ride. Oh and people complimented our picnic box! The guy sitting behind me on the bus was a recording studio engineer, he had a few good stories about Eddie Van Halen.

Keillor put Cakes and I in such a mellow mood, I tried to not think about the bullshit being spewed through the fire hose around the country.

Let's revisit the Penn State tragedy for a minute. Coach Sandusky was caught blowing a 12 year old boy in 1998, rather than call the authorities Penn State covered up by letting Coach Sandusky retire. Not only did they let him fucking retire, they gave him 168k, an office on campus and run of the football facilities and of course, Sandusky continued fucking and sucking little boy's. In 2001 Sandusky gets caught again. Once again, Penn State covers up. This bullshit continues until last fall when Sandusky is arrested and charged. Paterno lies to the grand Jury and immediately begins to renegotiate his deal (it ran through the end of this year)with Penn State. The school gave him a one year deal worth 3 million dollars plus other bennies including a suite and use of the Penn State jet. Not only does old Joe get to use them, his family does too, for the next 25 years! This deal is so shaky, dirty and nasty, the Penn State administrators who put it together didn't even tell the board that runs the school until it was done. Paterno's entire exit package ends up being worth 5.5 million. Enjoy it, you assholes! 

You have to be pretty sure Sandusky didn't start his pedophilia in 1998,  you can also be damn sure that his "special interest" in troubled young boys went back decades. The school, its Athletic Director, the President and Joe Paterno knew about this for years and years as well. Take down Paterno's statue, take his name off the library because when Penn State needed him the most he failed.

Charlie Pierce says, "Joe Paterno is Cardinal law in horn rimmed glasses." 

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Saint and the Sociopath

Paterno, along with other high university officials, spent at least thirteen years carefully      covering up and enabling Jerry Sandusky’s ongoing serial rape

I'll leave today's post to Paul Campos of Lawyers, Guns & Money, its worth the read!

After the Louis Freeh Report on Penn State can we have him move on to the Catholic  Church? Have him start in Boston! Please!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ralph Lauren is an Asshat!

This handsome fellow is Ralph Lipschitz, we all know him as Ralph Lauren. Ralph started his career in fashion as a tie salesman. He has worked his ass off. He is a true American success story.

Up from nothing (his old man was an immigrant Jew from Belarus who made his living as a house painter) by his bootstraps, as the old story goes. The US of A welcomed Ralph's old man and mother gave them a life with hope. Ralph grew up and eventually had great success selling "Iconic American Style". Lauren was commissioned to design and manufacture the clothing for our Olympic Team. You know where those iconic All American red, white and blue outfits are made? In China. You'd think RL could have found somebody in  the US to make the damned things! Shame on you, you asshat!

After reading the story about the Olympic uniforms, I surveyed my clothing for today. Aasic running shoes, a non US company. made in Malaysia. Champion underwear, a US company, made in Vietnam. (I'm glad 58,000 Americans died  so we could get a good deal on undies!) Hilfiger polo shirt, US company made in Thailand! Levi 501's, another American icon, made in Mexico. I'm guessing my socks are from some other 3rd world hellhole.

When I got to work, my cell phone rang, its a Blackberry phone, made in Canada! The call was from a US company, SiriusXM sattelite radio. My free year was up, I thought I had purchased an additional year on line, nope, I hadn't. SiriusXm called to tell me I owed them $106. The SiriusXM employee had an accent, I asked her where she was calling from and she said SiriusXM. No, I want to know where you are calling from in a physical sense, after some confusion she said the Phillipines. Okay then, can you give me a number to call in the US, she said okay and gave me another 866 number. I called it and ended up back in the Phillipines call center. After fencing with guy who answered the phone I asked for the supervisor. I told her my problem and how when I dialed the US call center I ended up back in the Phillipine center. She said if I kept calling I would eventually get somebody in the United States...great fucking answer! She told me if I was reluctant to give my American Express card number to somebody halfway around the world, she understood and suggested I pay on line. I asked her if payments on line were processed in the US, she said no, all service calls, information calls and billing were done in the Phillipines! Mel Karmazin is also an asshat.

I'm not too upset about products made in Mexico or Canada, they are neighboring countries and they buy a lot of US made goods. The Phillipines, Malaysia, China and Vietnam, not so much. When Walmart opened its first store in Beijing a Chinese woman complained that there were so few "foreign made" goods for sale.

I bought my Hilfiger polo at his company owned discount store in Pismo Beach. It was 50% off retail. I paid 25 bucks for it. Hey Tommy, you're certainly making a shit load of money selling the shirt for half off, make the damn shirt in the USA, sell it for 70 bucks retail and when you put it in your factory discount store I'll pay 35 for it and be glad some little kid in North Carolina, has a Mom with a job!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Gov Bobby Jindal ( former exorcist) and potential VP for Mitt Romney signed a bill in Louisiana that pretty much privatises that state's woefully under funded and poorly performing schools. Under the new law public funds will go directly to religious schools, charter corporations, etc. After the bill was signed and went into effect the dummies in the legislature realized that funds could be sent to Muslim schools! They are now scrambling to rectify their error, good Christians that they are! They will be funding schools that teach that dinosaurs and man existed at the same time and pretty much pass over the reasons for our Civil War. Some of these new schools are housed in former office buildings where students sit in cubicles in front of a computer with a cathode ray tube monitor. One of the schools has a terrific basketball program but no library. And they have loosened teacher qualifaction standards too.

This is David Dreier a congressman from California, possible self-hating gay man and supposedly a 'centerist, moderate Republican voice". This dweeb said this the other day:

"While I don't think that someone who is diagnosed with a massive tumor should the next day be able to have millions and millions and millions of dollars of health care provided, I do believe there can be a structure to deal with the issue of pre-existing conditions," Dreier said. "

Excuse me, Congressman there are only three ways to deal with this issue; 1. Let the poor bastard suffer and die. 2. Inflate health care costs like we do now so the poor bastard's  treatment can be covered by charging me 14 bucks for a tongue depressor. 3. Increase the size of the risk pool, which is what the ACA does. Think David, think for chrissakes!

This is Riverside California, the third city this month in the Golden State to go bankrupt. They filed Chapter 9 yesterday by vote of the city council. Developers built thousands and thousands of houses in Riverside, the houses were sold using hinky-dinky mortgages by third party mortgage brokers. The prices were inflated and thousands and thousands of folks bought them and started to make 120 mile daily commutes to other places to work. Then gas prices went up and the LA Cop living in Riverside began to realize driving a Suburban 120 miles or more a day was spendy. The homes devalued, the homes were foreclosed on and Riverside's tax base went to hell in a hand basket. In Riverside sales tax receipts have fallen because nobody has any money to spend. Didn't anybody in Riverside think that the city is too freaking hot to live in much of the year, that most of the local jobs sucked. (plenty of warehouse work there at minimum wage) and its just too far from where good jobs exist? I don't even want to get into the deals Riverside tossed to the developers. Same story in Stockton.

Mammoth Lakes went into a public-private deal to expand the airport and build a hotel next to it. Let's see, the next time I go to Mammoth, rather than stay in the village or in the mountains or on a lake. I'd rather stay at the god damned airport. Mammoth thought better of the deal and backed out. The developer took them to court, sued and won a 43 million dollar judgement against a town of 7,000 permanent residents.

This is our National Highway System. Its one of the nice things we have in the country. Do you think that we could build this system today? Do you think some of our yahoo governors wouldn't object to a "Fed-Ral Stan-dard' being forced on the great state of Alabama! (or name most any red state) I imagine it would be called a Nazi-commie-socialist plot to put the great pee-pul of Alabama into chains!

This is the logo of the RNLA, the Republican National Lawyers Association, a branch of the party itself. They investigate voter fraud. The RNLA reseached elections nationwide over the past ten years and found an astounding amount of fraud. 400 cases nationwide! Of course this is a huge problem in a nation of over 300,000,000 people. The Republican party jerks off so much they must to have to part the hair on their hands. This BS is discussed all the time on cable news, but they never talk about the numbers. Hell they barely mention the numbers on their website.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Life Styles of Rich and Famous School teachers

Both my girls are teachers, at least they were. When they were teaching they were honored by parents, students and their peers. My oldest girl called and said. "Dad, I don't have to teach anymore. After all, my fellow teachers and I looted the economy, caused the banks to fail. Our high salaries and opulent pension plans have crushed the state of California. We teachers crashed the housing market. In addition, we're pretty much responsible for the deficit. I've got mine and I'm so outta here."

Her sister, who taught in a local school system and for the Feds on an Indian Reservation, feels the same.

After looting the economy, both my girls are wearing designer clothes and driving Bentley GTs. I'm hoping they will (they certainly are able) to shoot me some cash for my old age.

My oldest girl after looting the Santa Cruz School District and playing them for the suckers they are for 16 years is now ensconced in a multi-million dollar home in the San Lorenzo Valley. She is of course laughing at all of us work-a-day suckers trying to earn a living doing "real work". Her ex-husband after putting in a few years in the classroom is now living on his yatch in Santa Cruz harbor.
My youngest girl after leaving the teaching profession after 10 years and then spending several years "finding herself" is now living in God's country, Bend, Oregon. Bend is the locale of choice for wealthy school teachers to live in the sunshine, look at the mountains and breathe the fresh air while they clip coupons from their off-shore accounts.

I'm a proud father when I think of my con-artist daughters spending years fooling the public. Laughing while they took huge amounts of cash while only working 9 months (9!) of the year. My Baby Aunt Liz is in on this con as well and I have a niece and cousin who now have their beaks in the public trough.

Young Wall Street Bankers. brokers, bond traders and hedge fund operators scour the hot vacation spots trying to find a school teacher to hook up with so they can finally have some financial security. Teachers are literally wined, dined and romanced while they vacation in all the right places in the Caribbean, the Greek Isles, The French Riviera and Tuscany. One teacher said  Hedge Fund Operators were as thick as the humid Florida air while she was on a recent Palm Beach School vacation, to quote her "I had to beat them off with a stick, all they were interested in was my money and my retirement account, what a bunch of sleaze bags!" She went on to say, "Its no better for male teachers, Palm Beach widows have abandoned their 'walkers" and are chasing school teachers down in poor attempt to salvage their once opulent life styles."

I can only hope that my children can find the right partner, a person with their own income, retirement and a solid future. A person who works as a Prison Guard, a Post Office employee or better yet a city maintenance worker. I dare not hope for a bus driver or a DMV clerk!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Republican Folk Art

There is a thriving art market aimed at a growing segment of the population here in the good old U S of A. The market is the right-wing, semi fascist, christianist market. Found mostly in Red States and in some Blue states too. Orange County California is an example of a red dot in a field of blue.

                                         This Jesus as a Founding Father is an example.

                           Here is another, Jesus teaching a child about the 2nd Amendment.

Here are some "artistic" twists on the Shroud of Turin. People in other countries don't "hate us for our freedom", they just think we are nuts! can you blame them?

Then there is the very popular Muscle Bound Jesus, he is ready to beat his gospels into you!

  Then we have Jesus the Biker!

                                              And of course Jesus the businessman

            Then we have the ultimate marriage of Christian Belief and Republican Sainthood!
                                                            Reagan on a Raptor!

                                   Just let the power of that image wash over you for awhile.

I need a shower and a stiff drink!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Fourth of July

I was a kid in the 50's, so indulge me as I comb through the past with memories of ancient 4th of July celebrations.

My index finger and the middle finger on my right hand to this day remember having a cherry bomb explode in .0003 hundredths of a second after I attempted to throw it at a kid riding down Lincoln Drive on a Schwinn bike. The pain went all the way up my arm and exploded in my head, my ears rung for a week. 5 minutes later I was lighting them again. On our nation's Birthday!

John Gault (as he used to say later in life "with a U god dammit!") and I mounted copper tubing on the handle bars of our bikes (I rode a Raleigh, just like the bikes they ride in old English movies) a tube on each side of the handlebars. We'd slide in a bottle rocket, a punk clenched in our teeth. We'd ride up behind some unsuspecting kids, light the rockets and scare the living crap out of them. I hit Jolly Lindquist square in the ass one glorius night. Leslie Letourneau, the creep who lived with with his parents and worked at the sewage treatment plant. Yelled at us, "Hey you little assholes, cut that out!" Leslie was the first adult I ever gave the finger to and I did on our Nation's Birthday!

A friend of my Dad had a Chris Craft speedboat, one of those big old mahogany monsters with a Grey Marine flat head 6 for an engine. He wore a white captain's hat and called his wife "It". That CC was the first boat I water skied behind. I recall him turning hard to port and yelling, "Here you go you little bastard!" laughing like a madman as I fell and skipped across the water at 40 mph with my bathing suit around my ankles. Fourth of July, bitches!

In the good old days, charcoal briquets were close to impossible to light (still are, kind of) probably because they were chunks of anthracite coal. Frustrated, my old man poured about 5 gallons of boat gas on them and got them going. I can still taste those oily hamburgers and hot dogs. My little sister Margo, the apple of every one's eye, had the nerve to complain. The old man, responded, "Shut up and eat!" 4th of July memories!

There were plenty of people around when I was a kid who were born in the 19th Century. I always knew who they were because they were old and they got dressed up to go to a 4th of July picnic. My parents wore shorts, short sleeved shirts and drank in front of their kids. The old ladies wore dresses and the old men wore suits in the 90 degree, humid July weather on the prairie. Every so often the old bucks would wander out to where their cars were parked, three or four of them would gather around the trunk of an old Dodge, Ford, Chevy or Plymouth and yuk it up. The word was "don't bother the men." When they left to go home the parking lot was littered with bottles. My old man would would say to his bachelor Uncle Alvin, "Al, for god sakes sit down and have a drink, if don't like what we have bring the bottle from under the seat of your car!" Old Al, drunk as a lord would just grin at dad. He'd never think of drinking in front of ladies or kids or his sisters or anyone. Except maybe the shapely widow who owned the Arvila bar. Word was Al was "tappin" her, not only on the 4th, but on most days of the year!

My Dad's pal Bert drove a 56 T-Bird. I remember the 4th of July when I was 12. Bert was drunk on his ass and I asked him if I could drive his car down the lake road and back. Bert said "sure." Virginia and I drove around for a half hour. We got back, ate a hot dog and I asked Bert if I could drive his car down the road, once again, Bert said "go ahead." Off Ginny and I went. The third time we drove all the way to Erskine and back. On the 4th of July!
Happy 4th.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sleep at Last!

I couldn't sleep most nights last week, Friday night was better. I only woke up a couple of times. I opened the office at 8:30 Saturday morning and stayed until 3. Damn, I was tired. When I got home, I laid down in the den, turned on my Kindle and got back into another book by Walter Mosley. Within a half hour I was sound asleep. Jan got me up two hours later. I drank a couple of glasses of water, stumbled around for a half hour and finally woke up. We grilled tilapia and had a nice light dinner.

We watched Pulp Fiction for the 5th time. Jan claims she has never seen the entire film all the way through, so we finished it on Saturday.  She covered her eyes during the "Adrenaline shot" scene.

I've eaten many times at Pan's where this scene was filmed.

Pann's is about 10 blocks east of the 405 on La Tijera Blvd, not far from LAX. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a full bar! The staff (and clientele) is a perfect demographic cross section of SoCal. So is the food. Chicken and Waffles kicks ass.

We went to bed early, I read for about 10 minutes and passed out. Woke up at 6, Jan was up at 7:30. We had breakfast and I was back in bed by 10, slept until noon. We are remodeling our kitchen and we needed new hardware for the cabinets, we hit Home Depot. While wandering around in the store I noticed a sale on commercial grade kitchen appliances. An entire kitchen full of stainless steel Wolf for the sale price of only $7,999.00. My parents only paid $6,500 for their first little GI Bill house and it came with a 6 burner, double oven gas stove! We went home after a stop at Inn and Out Burger and I had another nap. Watched HBO's Newsroom and hit the rack early again.

The only benefit of not sleeping last week was I was able to experience LA of the 40's-50's and 60's with Walter Mosley's 'Easy Rawlins", three of them back to back. “If I knew where I stood then I had a chance of getting where I was going.” -- Denzel Washington in "Devil in a Blue Dress"

I've started to read books in series, lately. I did all of the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' books, back to back. then 'Game of Thrones", then "The Hunger Games Trilogy" and now the "Easy Rawlins" Mysteries.

My reading will suffer but I need the sleep this week!