Standards II (revisited)

OK, the last post about standards drifted way off topic, or so it seemed to some. I tried to get a screen grab of an interview with the owner as seen on FOX News. Since I could not get a direct link to the clip, I grabbed it and reduced it in size to post. Unfortunately the video clip is still too large, even after I reduced the resolution by 50%, so here is the audio from the clip. The video just included stock footage that many have seen before. The point is that he took the effort to exceed standards, deeper pilings, special windows and accepting the fact that the first floor would be swept away.


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Not trying to be a prolific poster, but…

Not trying to be a prolific poster, but I just have to share this; we were in receipt of a letter from our mortgage company yesterday. It said to call them, which I did just moments ago. They said that since our escrow was so high, we had several thousand in it, and my last payment was far less than that, they tapped the escrow for the last payment and our mortgage is done!

Continue reading “Not trying to be a prolific poster, but…”

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Doughboy’s letter from home

I inherited a few mementos when Uncle Fred died five years ago, and my Cousin Bo sent me some old papers. I started looking through them after Dad died two years ago. Among them is a package of letters that were preserved by my great-grandmother from my grandfather’s time in World War I. Mostly they are his letters to home that were kept by his mother. The Army heavily censored all soldiers’ mail, so they mostly consist of “I am still alive and I heard from” this or that relative. His name was Otis and he died when I was a small boy.

   A couple of the letters are different. Below is a letter that he kept in his kit and brought back from the war. It is a letter from home. We are approaching the centennial of that letter.

It is not real encouraging. Things at home were pretty grim. The Spanish Influenza had hit hard in the South.

The family lived in Memphis, where my great-grandfather was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He preached two sermons every Sunday; one in German and one in English. In the letter, there are references to “Synod,” which is the gathering of clergy and lay representatives that the Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod holds once every three years. It was always held in St. Louis in those days, but these days it moves around to different cities. (I served as a lay delegate two years ago when it was held in Milwaukee.) Since the Synodical Convention is only held once every three years, skipping one was a big deal. Arno and Victor were Otis’s brothers; Victor was a student in the seminary and had hoped to see his Father who had been planning to see him on a trip that got cancelled.

[Letter from home] Oct. 13, 1918

Dear Otis,

How are you? Is the Flu in your camp? Or regiment rather? I
hope you have not got it. Arno is all well again, and as the schools are
closed this week yet, he will work. Anna Ringger is quite sick with
the Flu. So is Mr. Wergle. Otis, I saw in the paper where “Bill Little” died.  I will send you the clippings.

Otis the Flu is quite bad in Memphis. All public places, churches,
schools, Theaters; everything is closed.

It sure did seem fam’ly today, real old timey. No church, no tele
phone was supposed to ring, no automobiles except doctors and under-
takers. And during the week after 6 o’cl. every store is closed. You
can not buy candy, Ice cream, cigars or cigarettes. It looks dead.
All public places closed. You sure would not know Memphis again.

Papa will not get to see Victor this week as the Synod is called
off, on account of the Flu all over the country. I know Victor will
be disappointed.

Mr. Schromm died this morning of tuberculosis.

That great singer Mrs. Walter Wynn Yates died of the flu, also.

Well, Arno just came home and we must eat,

So I will close,

with Love, your dear

Mother

Nothing to do til tomorrow.” Never in the more than 25 years of my ministry did I have so lazy a day. Even the trolley was hushed – to give the operators a day of rest. They sure need it, with their operating force shot all to pieces by the flu. –Am sorry I can not go to Synod, as I was looking forward to that all summer. –But such is life. Hope you are having a good trip.

with love,    Father


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Scam caller saga continues…

Well  the saga continues, I posted, (see BLUE text ), on several “who called me” sites because another scammer got through NoNoRobo. Why did they get through? Well this scammer, like many others, fakes the caller ID to that of a somewhat local number.  But the number they said to call was from Florida. So NoMoRobo did not recognize the (local) number as a scammer or robo-call (telemonster).

The message on my recorder said; “This message is intended for Jolene. I’m calling in regards to a pending matter that is being in the process of being reviewed today. I’m also calling to verify that we do have the correct address on file for this individual. To avoid any further proceedings at this time you have the right to contact the information Center. Should you wish to contact them the contact number listed as 561-223-6950 and you will have to reference your file number 16112.”

The message I posted on several web sites was; “called left this number to call back, asked for someone by first name that I never heard of except in Dolly Parton song, “Jolene”, LOL. Took the number they called from and forwarded it to the number they gave, let them get a taste of their own medicine. If you have XFINITY, you can do this free of charge, forward scammer calls back to themselves. Hope it ties up their call center!”

I hope XFINITY customers that are plagued by these calls do the same.


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Curmudgeon Musings on A Milestone Task

We began a key milestone task this weekend. We started to narrow down where we will buy our last residence.

I know the usual key criteria but they all fall by the wayside:
1. Overlapping fields of fire
2. High ground
3. Good location when Yellowstone blows, or the Cascadia fault goes, or Mt St Helens does a repeat
4. Water supply
5. Ability to hinder access by explosives when the starving urban mobs roam the countryside.

So we settled on the really important criteria:
1. No Income tax at the State level
2. Single level house- the knees , hips and ligaments have seen better days and stairs are the enemy.
3. Must have three bedrooms so one can house the office and gym
4. Must have AC and Internet, the two elements of an advanced society.
5. Must be reasonable distance from grandchildren and children.

It is a bittersweet task as we drove the ever shrinking zone of opportunity. It is the reality of time shrinking as we go along our usual paths, day by day.

I am exploring the various financing , including a reverse mortgage. I do so love the idea of a bank forced to wait until the last one of us kicks off to get their money back.

I do figure I can make a case to St Peter that “I need five more years so I can really piss of my banker”. He might go for it.

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What if all focused on giving and receiving Joy?

Right now, it seems like all the forces are focused on bringing anger to the world. Imagine if each of us, instead of worrying about what others are doing wrong, spent all that energy focused on bringing Joy to others. Imagine, when someone tries to bring joy to us, we are able to actually accept it.

It is easier to focus on what is wrong. It is easier to hate another, and to be honest, to hate what we don’t like about ourselves. Our brains look for what is going off, so we can protect. But if we charge around in protection mode all the time, we are not doing more than just staying alive. It is not living and thriving.

I am going to try to focus on giving Joy and Receiving it more. I need God to help me on this one.


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Persistent Bugger (revisited) or REVENGE

This is related to the persistent bugger post I made a little while ago.

OK, I did some looking around on Youtube regarding “telemonsters” or Robo-callers. There was everything from actual conversations that people had with them, especially the hard to understand Indian scammers,to people with the technical know how to initiate their own robocallers to flood the telemonster’s phone center preventing them from making outgoing calls.

Continue reading “Persistent Bugger (revisited) or REVENGE”


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Vacation Ramble from the Curmudgeon and the Red Headed Irish Wisecracker

Just got back from the latest vacation after driving 600 miles from Montana to Oregon in ten hours. I am both tired and wired.

Itinerary: We drove up for a quick grandchildren visit in Seattle with the three girls 8,6 and 4. Delivered each a complete set of Incredibles 2 toys from McDonald’s (courtesy of Grandpa hitting six locations in a week to get all the characters). Once again had a big hit.

Lit out for the border, allowed in despite being an admitted knife owner, and headed northwest into British Columbia, stayed in Kamloops, (Not a breakfast cereal).

On to Jasper National Park in Alberta. Many natural wonders to behold.

A wondrous and awe filled journey down the Icefields Parkway, which runs the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper Park in the north to Banff Park in the south and runs up to 6800 ft above sea level.

Stayed in Banff at a very classy place, treated ourselves to Victorian Luxury in service, atmosphere and food.

Lit out for the US border into Montana and revisited Glacier National Park which we had seen thirty years earlier.

Drove Going to The Sun Road across Glacier Nat Park.

Woke up in Kalispell MT, 605 miles from home in Oregon and drove it today on one tank of gas.

Still tired and wired.

Ground covered- 2685 miles, five hotels from Super 8 to Five Diamond class.

Casualties- One Windshield, One tire

See pics.

First- The wildlife knew their lines, made well rehearsed entrances and put on a good show. All these were shot from the truck window with no telephoto.

Then we suffered from Vacation Interruptus- a truck threw a rock chip into the windshield of the Faithful 150 and a small starburst crack turned into a three foot slice within an hour. We added a day, and the local Ford dealer suggested a little glass shop just outside the park. Next morning, I was there, drank coffee for 90 minutes while a very competent auto glass guy got the windshield in, connected the embedded sensors to the truck network so I could sense rain, maintain lane and sundry other stuff the windshield does for me. Even my insurance worked, so I just paid my $100 deductible in Canadian and was off.

Our highlight was one of the World’s best scenic drives- the Icefields Parkway. You climb almost 4000 feet over 140 miles and there is a photo of awesome nature in every mile. Do it.

On our way back to the States, about thirty miles out from Cut Bank Montana, just on the edge of the Blackfoot Indian Res. We were barreling down a two lane and my dash flashed a low tire pressure warning. My diagnostics panel showed my left rear tire was running at 28 pounds to the other three’s 40, and seemed to be dropping a pound every ten minutes or so. (I was still rolling hot down the road).

So we decided to keep rolling and make it to town. We did with 24 pounds left.

The tire place in town was just closed, but the guy told me to bring her in at 7am the next morning (Saturday) and he would open up and fix it.

On the next morning, of course the tire is flat, so I grab the inflator from the toolbox, plug it into the dc outlet and bring it back up to 40 pounds. Rolled down to the tire place and the owner waved me right in. He apparently had been working at tires since high school and he was my age, so he was what you could call a Master Craftsman of Tire Repair. He and his Blackfoot sidekick worked their magic, plugged the hole made by a small jagged piece of iron, remounted it and I was on my way, happy to pay the whole of $15.00 American, as requested.

I ran the diagnostics the whole trip over Going to the Sun Road and the tire never lost a bit of pressure.

It was great to see real folks who know what the heck they are doing and happy to do it.

Lesson learned from the trip. Even though I was tethered to work by the magic of the interwebs, it was easy to run that from my mind and refocus on the scenery, the sights and the people we met.

It was a good thing.

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1200 Klicks to Canada, in the high lonesome

Here we are , doing one of our classic vacations while working over the net deals. We just arrived at our first destination after driving the F150 over 1200 kilometers (they use different measures up here and pretend it’s meaningful).

Jasper Alberta is smack dab in the middle of a National Park with crystal waters, slate gray mountains and thin rooted pines struggling with pre-permafrost.

It is a cathedral everywhere you look, an imposing yet gentle persona in every view.

Wifi is working which means I can sneak a few hours to keep the wheels of industry turning.

More to come if I get the Muse.

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Visions of Future America

For many of us , America is a place and a state of mind. We share some beliefs, some traits and some legends.

We do get emotional about it, for it is home and more than home.

I have said before that I viewed the last election as America in all its facets sliding off a cliff to the ash heap of history, to become just another place where the many felt the whip of the few, where dreams were stunted and dark.

We have stopped the slide and begun the slow climb back, grasping for a hold in tenuous soil with many noisy people throwing stones.

I ask those in the tribe now to pause and reflect on what we will build as we get off our knees, when we stand up and pick a place to stride. We will shake off the rock throwers and move ahead to places only dreamt of.

Me, I see a place where we make things, where we take pride in creating in the physical world as well as the virtual one. The world is poised on the brink of new science in life extension, manipulation of matter, using the resources of the solar system and things unthinkable now. If a freedom and liberty loving America is standing tall and striding forward as these wonders happen, it means the masses get access to the bounty. If the elites are triumphant, it means miracles for the few and a dark and short life for the many.

Please share your thoughts on the next step in this journey , assuming we survive the crawling back process we are undergoing now. Where will a reborn republic take us?


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Doing Rich Lady Things Like Using Uber and Seamless Are the Modern Way of Giving to the Poor

I feel guilty when I order takeout. Why? Because that’s money I could be saving for a rainy day. The frugal American we-don’t-have-servants mindset is that anything you can do for yourself, you should, and paying others to do something because you’re too lazy, is wasteful. 

When my sister’s washing machine broke, she had to send out her laundry for a while as they waited on repairs. She said, “Olive, it’s great. I may never go back. I know it’s such a Rich Lady thing to do, but….” 

I began to think: The services that we consider Rich Lady Things–Uber, Seamless, laundry service, etc.–put money in the hands of the poor. If I tip the delivery guy generously I’m putting money directly in his pocket, much more efficiently than a government entity or charity could do. 

As much as I love the church, she doesn’t take care of the poor like she’s supposed to. Mainly because the government has stepped in to do her job for her, and made her irrelevant when it comes to taking care of the needy. Church budgets primarily go for buildings, and salaries, so there’s not much left over to give to the poor anyway. 

But could paying for services that I could theoretically do, but don’t have the time or inclination, be the modern way of giving to the poor? Those who are perfectly willing to drive me to the train station, or cook my food and bring it to me, are depending on my generosity. Could it be that I actually owe them their commission and tip? I’m stingy if I have the money in my hand, but don’t give them the opportunity.

The Biblical model of giving and helping the poor is outlined in the Old Testament in “not gleaning to the edge of the field.” At harvest time, the righteous were commanded to leave a little bit of crop around the edges so that the poor could come after the reapers and gather what remained.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22

This was the wealthy man’s field–his grain, his land, his laborers–but in the Biblical sense, he owed it to the poor to not reap every single inch of produce his land yielded. Leave a little bit. Around the edges. For the poor. After all, that was there only chance at gathering–they didn’t have their own land or crop.

Yes, you could rightfully command your workers to gather every single stalk, every head of grain, but don’t do it. Leave a little bit around the edges. For the poor.

Today, I could insist on doing my own cooking and cleaning, but why? In one sense it’s a way of being rigid and greedy.

When my brother goes to the bank, he gets $100 in singles, in order to tip his baristas every morning. The idea of tipping as a way of giving comes from him, who declares he does not give to charities generally. But if you go out to eat with him, you will see that he gives generously to the poor.

Thoughts? Are there any Rich Lady (or Man) things you do, that may actually benefit someone?


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KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid….

John, a friend of quite a few years, invited me to Ratburger.org. He said something like he would like to have me post some of my “home stuff” or something like that.

Checking back in my emails, forgive me John, he wrote; “Check out Ratburger. I’d love to see some handyman posts there.

Well to start it off let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a scrounger, dumpster diver, saver and hacker of sorts. Not a computer hacker, but someone that hacks one thing into another thing.

Continue reading “KISS”

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