Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I can remember Christmas from about 4 years old on, they were all pretty good. However there were a few unusual ones and one was a huge mistake.

The mistake:

Buying my girls at 14 and 12 matching stereos (remember stereos?) for Christmas. And suffering through an ongoing "Battle of the Bands" for years. The stereos cost a little over $500. I would have paid $10,000 apiece to get rid of them. It was especially exciting when they were in High School and one liked head banger rock and the other dance music, sweet sleepin Hay-sus.

Weird and unusual Christmas Experiences.

Good, old, Irish, alcoholic Kevin B and I spending Christmas Eve together in Boston. I made a nice dinner and then we walked from my place down the street to Ciao Bella, an Italian place that offered Gefilte fish on Christmas Eve. We sat at the bar and wetted our whistles and watched Boston Jewish singles get drunk on their asses. When we were drunk on our asses at about 12;30, the owner Joe invited us downstairs to Daisy Buchanan's, he squeezed about 200 drunks in the bar, hung a sign on the door that said Private Party and kept us locked in until 4:30 in the morning. Kevin, Catholic, Irish and drunk said at about 3am, "tish is the furst Christmas in my life, I've missed midnight mass!" A ravishing beauty sitting next to him said, "Tough shit, freckle face!" I got home at 4:32, I have no idea how Kevin got home. he doesn't either.

Still single, I hit a Christmas double header in Palm Beach. On the Eve of Christmas Eve, I bought a box of cigars in Palm Beach, on my way home I thought what the hell, I'll stop at the Chesterfield Hotel's Leopard Lounge, smoke one and have a cocktail. 6 hours later, one of Palm Beach's most well known and prominent interior decorators is sitting on my couch, smashed. She was unable to drive so I offered her a lift, she insisted on coming home with me, I didn't argue with her. I was in decent shape, she was slack jawed, she was on my sofa, I was sitting across from her. I noticed a huge wet spot on the sofa, she had peed her pants!I hustled her into the bathroom, she handed me her pants and undies, I put them in the washer. I spent the next hour cleaning the pee off my sofa. When her pants were dry, I called a cab and sent her home. I went to bed, because I had a big time Christmas Eve party to host.

In radio, your business operates 24/7 and the stations have to be staffed everyday, holidays included. That means a working Christmas for some staffers. I had invited my radio orphans over for a Christmas Eve Feast. There was my fellow corporate guy, Geo, Eric the program director of our country FM, Kevin our Irish and alcoholic engineer, (who I had dragged down from Boston when I was transferred) and our 22 year old baby sportscaster Beau. I baked a ham, scalloped potatoes, yams all the usual Christmas Eve food plus a counter full of cocktails. We ate outside by the pool, my German Shepherd was filled with treats and we were full of food, good cheer and alcohol. About 11pm, young Beau piped up and said, "Hey, let's go to a strip club!" I looked at Geo and winked and said, "If you can find one open, we'll go." Never thinking he would. Young Beau got on the phone and after about 8 calls (South Florida's economy would collapse without titty bars) he found that Diamonds in West Palm was open. I left the dog in charge of the house and we piled into my car and headed for Diamonds.

Diamonds is a big club, it probably seats 250. On Christmas Eve it held two bartenders, two barmaids, 6 strippers and a handful of dreary customers. The 5 of us sat down right in front, ordered drinks and watched the Christmas Pageant. One little cutie, wearing only a Santa hat  focused in on young Beau. He was mesmerized. She invited him to enjoy a private dance or two. Off they went. Almost an hour later, she came back, punched me in the arm and said, "I hope you aren't a cheap son of a bitch like your son!" Young Beau had run up a tab well over $200.00 dollars in private dances and only had 42 dollars in his pocket. Happy Holidays!

When I got home, I sat by the pool, dog by my side and thought, this shit has got to stop! It did and it was best Christmas present I could give myself. The reward? 10 months later I met the "Cakes".

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Gun Lobby

I have a shotgun and and a .22 semi-automatic that are both over 60 years old, that makes me a gun owner. I also have a 19th century 45.70 caliber US Army Infantry single shot rifle. What I'm not is a "gun nut!"

The number of gun owners is dropping in the US, but gun sales and going up. How does that even happen? The reason, "gun nuts" are buying more and more guns. I guess at one time the NRA represented hunters, skeet, trap shooters and folks who liked to shoot targets. Not so much anymore. If you take a look at The National Rifleman published by the NRA, either in print or on line what you see are articles, tests and advertising for assault and military style weapons and gear. Very few hunting or sport weapons are featured. In the latest on line issue there is an article about a "tactical neck knife" that you wear on a lanyard around your neck. I didn't count the number of times I saw the word tactical, but it seemed that a high percentage of the products tested and advertised were tactical.

You don't hunt big game or ducks with tactical assault weapons, you have a hard enough time shooting a goose with a shotgun with some range much less a shotgun with a barrel that is a millimeter over the legal length!

Ronnie Barrett is an NRA Board Member. Ronnie manufactures the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle.

The military of many countries buy the Barrett and they are used by our snipers. The record kill using a Barrett happened this year in Afghanistan was just over 1.7 miles away by an Australian sniper. Hell of a shot. You can buy a Barrett from Ronnie anytime you'd like, they run about 10k and add the scope for another 4k and you've got a weapon that can fire a round through a 1/2 inch of steel plate from 500 yards, a weapon that will disintegrate a human body from a mile away, a weapon that scares the living shit out of law enforcement and it's legal to buy. A note on the Barrett from Wikipedia:

The M82A1 is known by the US military as the SASR—"Special Applications Scoped Rifle", and it was and still is used as an anti-materiel rifle and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) tool. The long effective range, over 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) (1.1 miles), along with high energy and availability of highly effective ammunition such as API and Raufoss Mk 211, allows for effective operations against targets like radar cabins, trucks, parked aircraft and the like. The M82 can also be used to defeat human targets from standoff range or against targets behind cover.[citation needed] However, anti-personnel use is not a major application for the M82 (or any other .50 BMG rifle, for that matter[citation needed]). There is a widespread misconception that a number of treaties have banned use of the .50 BMG against human targets. However, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's office has issued a legal opinion that the .50 BMG and even the Raufoss Mk 211 round are legal for use against enemy personnel.[citation needed]

You can buy explosive rounds for the Barrett as well, some legal, some illegal but they are out there, cool, huh? Your deer, dressed and cooked with one round.

Gun nuts have clubs, Check out the one in Scottsdale:

Here are some Patriotic NRA members having a meeting:

A friend of mine and I were backpacking in the Sangre de Christos in Colorado and hiked right through a militia camp. My pal, a former Infantry Sgt in Viet Nam, told them they better "Tighten up their perimeter."

In the world of the Gun Nut, its all about the marketing! (and knowing your market)

The Sandy Hook School shooter carried a Bushmaster .223 semi automatic with 30 round magazines and a couple of semi-automatic pistols belonging to his mom. He used the Bushmaster to kill the teachers and kids and a pistol on himself. His Mom was a "gun enthusiast", Lanza shot her 4 times in the face! So much for a gun making you safe in your home. And so much for Nancy Lanza being a responsible gun owner!
While the million dollar a year NRA guy Wayne LaPierre was making his speech laying the blame on everything but guns, there was a shoot out in Pennsylvania, 4 killed and a cop was wounded.
While LaPierre was lobbying for a cop in every school, he forgot to mention there was an armed cop at Columbine High School.
Years ago I had my Springfield Amory 45.70 evaluated for insurance purposes, the gun shop I went to looked like a Special Ops supply room. Almost everything they sold was 'tactical" from
guns and knives to clothing. Creepy as hell.
The NRA is a lobbying organization for gun manufacturers. Guns don't wear out. If you buy a fine deer rifle from Sako, the chances are good it will still be in your family 100 years from now. The only market left for gun makers are the idiots who'll pay $2,400. for a Bushmaster! Idiots who are paranoid and frightened.
A guy in northern Indiana last week was arrested for making threats about shooting up a school. The cops found $100,000 in ammunition in his house. The guy barely had a pot to piss in, but he spent a 100k on ammo.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Whitey's Christmas Party

Cakes and I went to the Anderson’s annual Christmas Party on Saturday. A group on us were sitting on the patio (yes, it is California!) and someone said, “What is the first Christmas you remember?” I began getting those ‘snapshots in my head” as soon as the question was posed.


The summer I was 4, we moved into Mom and Dad’s first house, a tiny GI Bill 2 bedroom on 1st Avenue North. It made a big impression on me, the street wasn’t paved, it was muddy, there were shallow ditches running in front of the houses that filled with water making them ideal wading pools after every rainstorm. Of course, the switch yard and round house of the Great Northern Railroad were about 100 yards away from the little street of brand new homes. Our neighbors, the Fetigs, lived in a basement house, a basement roofed over waiting for a house to be built on it. Housing was tight everywhere after WW ll, Grand Forks was no exception. We moved there from a basement apartment on Chestnut Street which I kind of, sort of remember. My parents were happy to get their own house; their delight was tempered immediately by the 24 hour noise of the rail yard.

On one of our weekly visits to my grandparent’s farm, my grandmother gave me a young cat she  liberated from a litter of barn cats, she trained him. I named him Whitey Whiskers. My mother (not a cat hater, just a cat skeptic) wasn’t happy. Whitey came home with us.


I loved Whitey and he loved me, he slept with me, he let the Karen Fetig put doll clothes on him and push him in a baby carriage. All in all Whitey was a very cool cat.

Christmas was coming and my mother was in full holiday decorator mode, we had a huge tree in our tiny living room, lights inside the house and out. My parents had a couple of parties and Pancho Martinez showed up in a Santa suit and played Christmas carols on his trumpet. Christmas Eve came and we headed for the farm for the big night. Whitey stayed home.

When we got home around 10, Mom switched on the lights and screamed. The living room was a shambles. Whitey had apparently lost his mind while we were gone!


Whitey climbed the Christmas tree and tipped it over, the ornaments were scattered all over the room, the water from the stand soaked the carpet, he pulled the light strings off the tree and they were draped over the furniture. Tinsel was everywhere. Not satisfied, Whitey ripped opened all the presents and dragged the paper and ribbons from room to room. One of Mom’s presents from Dad, a red night gown was in the hall, the marbles from a Chinese Checkers game had rolled all over the house, they were in the kitchen, the bedrooms and under the sink in the bathroom. I found Whitey in my room sound asleep on the pillows. I knew his life was in danger so I hid him in my closet inside the toy box until things cooled down.

My Dad cut his foot on a Christmas ornament and was swearing. My mother was crying and muttering something about killing that damn cat. I was lying low, worried about Whitey. I put on my pajamas and helped Mom and Dad clean up. When order was restored, my Mom and Dad had a drink and I had hot chocolate. My Dad said, “Did you find your damn cat, Robert?” I said, I hadn’t and offered that he might be somewhere in the basement, since he liked the boxes and stuff down there. Dad, said, “We’ll find him in the morning.” We all went to bed. I got Whitey out of my toy box and we both settled down for a long winter’s nap. Whitey moved back to the farm the next week and became my Grandmother’s favorite cat, he never touched another Christmas Tree as far as I know.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas with Tom, an Indian Princess and a Fire Hose

It was the night of the 23rd of December, the kind of hard, clear cold night you only get in North Dakota in December. My pal Tom and I were home from school. Tom was a senior and I was a junior, my first Christmas legal and his second. We were in the process of getting stupid drunk.
The night began at Kathryn’s Christmas party; I had my eye on her and her eyes were on me. If anything was going to happen, it had to happen quickly; she was returning to Barnard January 2nd. She invited me and then ignored me. I was pissed, Tom suggested we leave. I thought that was a fine idea. We got in my car, opened a couple of beers and we were on our way. The 2nd house party was in a fine, new house out in the country. The roads were slippery, we drank our beer and I drove slowly.  We didn’t stay long, it was a couple’s party and we were both ignored. We each drank a beer, left and headed back into town. I suggested we go back to Kathryn’s party, Tom said no, let’s hit some bars, more beers came out of the paper bag in the backseat, we drank to his idea. 

Tom and I were dressed like we stepped off the pages of a Brooks Brothers catalog, tidy, casual prep. We didn’t fit in at the Wagon Wheel. Didn’t matter, we walked in and stayed because the barmaid thought Tommy was cute. He agreed with her assessment, while they chatted and flirted, I sat and pouted, I was pissed about Kathryn ignoring me, I was pissed about breaking up with my girlfriend in June and now I was pissed because the cute barmaid was flirting with Tom and not me. I continued to drink, so did Tom. We were drinking free because Tom was so damn cute. After an hour, the bartender at the Wagon Wheel chewed the bar maid’s cute little ass because she was spending more time with us than with the 20 or 30 other customers who were actually paying for their drinks. Tom got her number and we left.

Tom and I walked 4 blocks to the bar at the GP Hotel. Dead, but we stayed anyway. We sat at the bar and we switched to Seagram’s VO. I started to flirt with the barmaid, a cute strawberry blonde named Cindy. When she walked off to take an order, the bartender told me to watch out, her husband was in prison. Tom asked what her husband was in prison for and he told us, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. I got Cindy's number after she told me he wasn’t eligible for parole for 3 years. I figured she was lonely.

As we left the GP I noticed the time and temp sign on the Burleigh County Bank and Trust said 10:05 and 5 below zero. We headed for the Elbow Room 3 blocks away; it was packed, loud, dirty and filled with assholes. Tom and I stayed long enough to pound down a beer and got out before we got our asses kicked. When we got back on the street, I remembered my car was still at the Wagon Wheel, 8 or 9 blocks away and it was 5 below zero. We had no hats and Tom left his gloves at the GP bar. It was so cold the snow under foot squeaked, it was so cold that even a good coat like my lined London Fog didn’t keep out the cold. By the time we got back to my car, we both felt sober. I suggested we go to the strip, Tom said no, The Silver Dollar. Okay then, the Silver Dollar it was.

My car finally warmed up as we passed the Standard Oil refinery halfway to Mandan and we had started in on the 2nd six pack we had in the car. The Silver Dollar was packed, I had to park 2 blocks away. By the time I swung the dump's door open I was freezing my ass off again, when I held the door for Tom he slipped and fell on his back on the sidewalk. I stood holding the door open, laughing at Tom. He was on his back, laughing. The warm, stale beer air from the bar was boiling out on the street and I heard a man’s voice yell “Close the god damn door!” I helped Tom up and we went into The Silver Dollar. The back of Tom’s coat was covered with snow and sand; he even had some on the back of his head.

The Silver Dollar is a Mandan institution. The bar is only 25 or 30 feet wide, but a half a block deep. A band was playing a shitty version of a Beatle’s song in the back room, 100 feet from the front door. Where we were standing in the front of the bar, Petula’s Clark’s “Downtown was playing on a sound system with blown out speakers. The only seats available were directly in front of the door. We sat down, ordered more beer from the pinch faced woman behind the bar, her idea of service was to stand in front of you, stare until you ordered, she’d return with your order, mutter the price, take your money and walk away. She was the owner’s sister. Good thing for her, anyone else would fire her. If you hate people why work in a business where you have to come in constant contact with them?   

The Silver Dollar is a bar that covers all bases, live music in the back, pool tables and pin ball machines in the middle and just to the right of the front door they had Go Go Dancers. On a winter night like this the girls would freeze every time the door opened. We froze just like they did. Tom ordered two shots of whiskey to ward off the cold, we tossed them down.
 If the Silver Dollar was close to a volcano like Pompeii was and an eruption froze this night in time, archeologists would have had a hell of time trying to figure out the local social hierarchy in Mandan. The place was filled with truck drivers, cowboys, cowgirls, local couples, local singles, rich, poor, bikers and their old ladies and college kids like Tom and I. As I surveyed the bar room, I raised my beer to take a sip and spotted Barbra Ann. Barbra Ann was a former Miss Teenage American Indian, I knew her brother Richard, I’d met Barbra Ann when I was giving Richard a ride to work on our construction job the summer he’d lost his license for drunken driving. Richard was a good guy and his sister was gorgeous and smart, she was on a full ride at Macalester College in Minneapolis. Barbra Ann spotted me and waved, she got up and walked over. The guys she was sitting with, a couple of tough looking Indians wearing red head bands and braids scowled at me. Barbra Ann gave me a hug and I asked her how her brother was doing; Richard was in jail, doing 30 days for driving without a license and resisting arrest. I told her that was the shits. She agreed. She sat down and I ordered her a beer and we talked. Between her dark eyes and her perfect chest, I was having a hard time concentrating on our conversation. I did learn she was here working on a paper on the failings of the BIA. She was staying with her Aunt who lived in Bismarck.

The two Indians got up, came over and told Barbra Ann they wanted to leave. They were giving me some hard looks. I looked over Tom’s shoulder and a biker gave me a nod meaning if those two  gave me any shit, he’d be on my side. Barbra told her friends she was staying. I guess that meant I finally had a date tonight. The two Indians looked around, caught the glare of the big biker and left. She told me they were from AIM and were planning to organize the Standing Rock Reservation. Barbra Ann and I drank and talked and Tom wandered off. A few minutes later he was back, excited as hell because he had run into a couple of people we knew and they had extra seats at their table.

Cheryl and Sally had lost their ride somehow and were stuck at the Silver Dollar, they were as happy to see us as we were to see them. Sally went to Columbia and Cheryl; her high school pal, went to UND. They were sailing drunk when we joined them. They both eyed my exotic companion and I introduced Barbra Ann, the five of us settled in, 20 feet from the band and commenced drinking again. It was hot as hell in the back room, packed well beyond fire code. I noticed Tom had wandered up to the stage and was whispering to the bass player while the band was struggling through the Stone’s “Under My Thumb”, the guy actually stopped playing for a couple of bars while he was talking to Tom. Tom came back and ordered a round of shots, we knocked them back and the band kicked off their frozen prairie rendition of the Beach Boy’s “Barbra Ann”. Our very own Barbra Ann punched Tom on the arm and told him she hated the song, meanwhile the entire bar was singing along while she sat with her arms folded and scowled.

I got up to take a piss, while I was standing at the Silver Dollar's foul urinal a skinny, shithead of a cowboy called me “Squaw Man”. I didn’t react right away; I finished, zipped up my pants, turned and punched him in the gut as hard as I could, when he bent over in pain I hammered the side of his face. He fell on his knees and I walked out.  I don’t normally do shit like that, but all the drinking had turned my dials just enough and he really pissed me off. Both my hands hurt like hell, my left from his face and my right had grazed his stupid, big cowboy belt buckle. I didn’t go back to our table; I walked to the front of the bar and told my new biker buddy that there might be trouble with a handful of cowboys. He grinned and said no problem. I bought him and his 4 buddies a round of beer. The cowboy I punched and his buddy accosted me on my way to the back of the Silver Dollar, they were drunk and mouthy. I pointed out my new friends who were standing at the bar and told the cow pokes that the big guy with the beard was my cousin and if they had anything to say to me, they’d have to include him in the conversation. The biker just looked at them through the smoke and smiled. They decided we should all be friends and the guy I punched apologized for calling me Squaw Man. We shook hands and I joined my companions. I was shaking from adrenaline. I started to laugh thinking about the piss stains on the knees of the cow poke’s jeans. When Barbra Ann asked what I was laughing about, I told her the story; she just beamed and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I thought, that was nice.

We sat through another, shitty, smoky set, the consensus was we should head for the Esquire Club on the strip. Because the strip was unincorporated, it stayed on Mountain Time while the rest of the two towns were on Central Time, the bars on the strip were open later, perfect for 5 college kids during the first hours of Christmas Eve.

We gathered our coats and headed for my car. We were giggling and laughing and the girls decided they had to pee. Tom asked why they didn’t pee at the Silver Dollar and the three of them looked at each other and laughed, Cheryl said nobody in their right mind would sit on a toilet at the Silver Dollar. Okay, Tom spotted the sign for the bar at the old railroad hotel. The bar was down a flight of stairs in kind of a half basement. It was a bar for serious and professional drinkers, dark, quiet and as we entered, the 10 or 12 heavy drinkers looked at us as we stumbled in. The place was classic, mirrored back bar with glass shelves, a long dark bar with leather booths lining the walls. The drinkers were all older, business types, solo and couples completely focused on their cocktails. The bartender was heavy, fat actually, he wore a vest and bow tie and I could tell he didn’t like the looks of us. We ordered beers and more shots and carried them to a booth. The bartender leaned across the bar and told Tom that Barbra Ann was the first and last Indian that would ever drink in his bar and we should finish up and get the hell out of there. We drank part of our drinks, then the girls went to the bath room upstairs in the hotel. After the girls left, I needed to hit the restroom, before I did, Tom told me what the bartender had said. We were both pissed now. When the girls and I got back from the restroom, I told them we were going to leave. I gave my keys to Cheryl who was the only one of them with functioning eyes and told her to go warm up my car. I told them we'd catch up in a few minutes. The girls left and Tom and I hatched our plan,
I had spotted a firehose in the hall on my way to the can. Tom and I said good night to the bartender, went out the street door and reentered the hotel via the lobby, we went down the stairs to the hall leading to the bar. We uncoiled the fire hose and laid it in the hallway, Tom slipped down to the door of the bar and opened it a crack and slid the nozzle just inside the door. He came back and I turned the hose on full blast. The water coursed through the hose, straightening it as the hose filled with high pressure water. As the hose filled it pushed the nozzle further into the bar. We could hear the yells of the drinkers as the little lounge was flooded with water from the hose. Tom and I walked down the hall, up the stairs and out of the old hotel. We ran down the street to the car, hopped in and drove to the Esquire. We drank and danced until closing, dropped the girls off at Sally's house and Barbra Ann at her Aunts. I woke up on the couch in Tom’s family’s den when his Mom woke me at 7am. I went home to Mom and Dads and slept until 2.

After walking Barbra Ann to her Aunt's door, I got a nice kiss. That was the last time I saw her, I heard she graduated and went to grad school in California. She teaches or did at a college. Cheryl owns a spa and Sally is a successful attorney. Tom went on to law school and has had a great career in business law. I’ve done what I’ve done. After all these years Tom and I are both proud of defending our Indian Princess’s honor on that ice cold night on the eve of Christmas Eve. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Clear Channel takes over Disney

From Heckman Memorial News Service
by Business News Staff
December 6, 2020
Clear Channel Entertainment announced today another round of pre-Christmas lay offs. Clear Channel, owned by Lee and Bain with notes due in 2021 of 291 billion dollars hope this round of layoffs will help the media giant once again avoid default. The total number of lay offs wasn't announced but sources say the theme park division was hit particularly hard.
The company once hailed by Forbes magazine as a "model of efficiency" after the purchase of Cumulus, Town Square Media and other broadcast groups by operating 3,210 radios stations
with a staff of 112 has seen radio revenues in steep decline for several years. As one former radio insider said, "When you are trying to sell Ryan Seacrest on 9 stations in the same market,
I'm not surprised."
Clear Channel avoided default in 2016 when they rolled their radio debt into the purchase of Disney. Since then, they have slashed budgets in all their divisions and added additional
duties to current staffers. Seacrest, in addition to his morning shows on 3210 radio stations is also hosting corporate groups at Clear Channel owned resort hotels at the company's theme parks.Seacrest along with syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh are contracted to broadcast next season's Monday Night Football games with Mylie Cyrus doing sideline reporting. Clear Channel President Bob Pittman told bond holders in a conference call, "it allows us to extend our brand across multiple media platforms and showcase our magnificent talent." MNF will no longer have a half time show with the dismissal of long time host Chris Berman. The ESPN veteran will be replaced at half time with a panel of 4 fans, 2 from each competing team. Pittman remarked, "we are giving the game back to the fans and we feel it will expand the Clear Channel brand."
Limbaugh in addition to his daily talk show and his MNF duties will also be hosting an updated version of "Dating Game" and is slated to debut a yet unnamed Reality Show in development at
the new Clear Channel studios at the failed "Great Park" site in Orange County. The studio is housed in former Marine Aviation hangers. Clear Channel's network production staff of 4 will be housed in former enlisted Marine barracks. Pittman noted "Clear Channel is the only entertainment brand in the world offering employees free housing."
Pittman said ESPN Radio's radical sports format of using only calls from listeners without the interference of hosts is going well, he added, "ratings are down, but the savings we achieved by
eliminating expensive hosts and handing the stations directly to the listeners and callers has worked well and we believe is a model for the future of terrestial radio." Pittman hinted that "fan hosts"
may be used on ESPN's cable shows as "another way to expand our brand."
Pittman also said in the conference call, the company, in addition to cuts in the broadcast division that additional cuts are pending at the theme parks, "our early attempts of total automation
were flawed, the bugs have been worked out and we will be moving ahead as soon as the equipment is delivered from our manufacturing plants in Bangladesh. Our goal of an American family
being able to visit our parks without any human contact other than with our other guests is going to be a reality and will revolutionize the destination park and resort business and allow us to
extend our brand across additional platforms."
In a surprise announcement Pittman said, "Clear Channel Entertainment has purchased the hotel and casino operations of Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas and Macao for 9 billion dollars,
the purchase will be financed as Pittman said, "By our partners, the Chinese ruling council and the Adelson Family Trust and will allow us to extend our brand across, not only new platforms
but help us make Clear Channel Entertainment a truly worlld wide brand." He added a "I Heart Gambling" promotion is in the works and the casinos will be promoted across "all of our platforms."
Towards the end of the call, Pittman was asked about the ongoing lawsuit by 57 families whose children were trapped for 21 hours on the newly automated "It's a Small World" ride at the
company's Anaheim theme park. Pittman responded, "The case is in litigation, I can't discuss it." Pittman also waved off questions about Clear Channel's 500.5 million dollar purchase of
two Boeing 777 Dreamliners, one said to be for Pittman's personal use, the other planned for "High Rollers" at the company's new casino division.

In other business news today,  Lee and Bain announced year end bonus packages totaling 35 million dollars. The packages will be distributed to 21 Lee and Bain executives.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rambling Thoughts on a Friday Morning

We have a terrific new family at DRIVE! The daughter is 25% Chinese, 25% Filipina, 50% American bred mongrel, she is smart and gorgeous. The dad is a successful engineer, the son of an Army Drill Sgt who was a WWII, Korean War and Viet Nam Vet. He and his brother spent their high school years at Fort Ord. He told me his Dad never raised his voice at home (probably because he spent his days yelling a young troopers) but was strict about the condition of their closets, beds, clothes,their shoes had to be shined daily and in the 70’s the two boys got their haircuts at the Army barber shop on base! He added his Chinese mom never bought a whole chicken or chicken breasts at the Base Exchange; they ate only livers, necks, gizzards and backs. He said the first time he had a chicken breast he had no idea what it was. Great family, great kid, All American!

We have now moved into full Christmas display mode. The house is decorated inside and out, Saturday the patio gets the full treatment. The theme this year is blue lights and more blue lights everywhere. I hate putting up Christmas lights thanks to my old man who was obsessed with them. More on this later with pix.

I was starving yesterday afternoon. I drove over to the Rhineland Deli on TO Boulevard. As was gazing at the menu I spotted a sandwich I hadn’t had in years. It brought back memories of my childhood and hanging out with my grandfather. The old Judge’s favorite sandwich was liverwurst, onions, mayo, mustard and lettuce. I ordered up a half sandwich on rye. In a few minutes the counter man handed me my sandwich, the liverwurst was 2 inches thick and the whole damn thing weighed at least a pound. I ate it at 1:30, now almost 17 hours later, I’m still full and I had nothing for dinner last night. I’d guess my cholesterol jumped 50 points. It was really, really, really good!

Growing up in a place where below zero temps were daily occurrences in the winter and spending much of my life in Boston where winter temps were only marginally warmer. I can’t believe how cold it gets in Southern California, the other morning it was a bone chilling 51 degrees, it was so cold on the patio as I was drinking coffee and reading the paper, I had to put on a winter coat. Oh, I forgot, nobody in North Dakota or Boston can even sit outside on the patio in December.

I seriously don’t think I could survive without heated seats in my car, chilly in the morning, turn on the seats, you don’t need the heater drying your eyeballs out, just nice warmth on your ass and legs. Bless the Swedes for inventing them. By the way, you can’t believe how great a heated steering wheel is! I have become a total wuss!

Best clothing discovery for when its too warm for a sweater, even a cotton sweater. Wear a waffle weave long underwear shirt…they look good, come in a bunch of colors and they are cheap. I paid 14 bucks for a dark blue Ralph Lauren at Stein Mart. The chubby lady who lives across the street told me it looked great and Mary Magdalene next door said I looked like “arm candy”. At my age, to women under 40 I’m invisible and both those babes are well over 50!