Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the "o" fficial cola of hopeychangey?

via instapundit...is it copyright infringement? marketing savvy? or just coincidence?

well, my money is on the marketing; but who's really copying who? the boys at pepsi are no doubt trying to hook their wagon to the new superstar...for one thing, there's a big new chicago headquarters and it stands to reason they would try to make the tie-in to the hometown boy. but pepsi's slogans have for decades tried to appeal to the new, young generation. and the old pepsi logo looks eerily similar and could just as well have inspired the hopeychangey "o". well, regardless of who's ripping off who...it's one more reason for me to dislike that syrupy-sweet, flat-tasting imitation coca cola.

because it wouldn't be the first time that pepsi embraced exclusionary elitism to promote their brand. years ago i read the story of the corporate recruiters who come to college campuses to try to attract fresh meat into the company fold. and one of the main selling points of the pepsi people was to disparage coca cola as being old and stupid and slow...because you know, they're (shudder) a southern company based in atlanta. now pepsi on the other hand, they said, is based in hip and cosmopolitan new york...way cooler, way smarter, and so much more with it than those clingy, ignernt, porch-sittin' southern folk.

yeah, it does sound familiar...and looks familiar too. fuck pepsi, and the "o", and the logo they rode in on. i'm gonna go get me a coke.

jtc

Sunday, December 28, 2008

response becomes reminisce becomes rant...

the munchkin wrangler references (and soundly disputes) a "study" that concludes: “sexual content on tv is linked to teen pregnancy rates”. well, me being me, i started to offer a comment of agreeance...then i sorta went all tangential...


well, i can put the lie to that little study with my own personal little anecdotal history. there surely wasn’t any “sexual content” on tv in my little town in the 60’s and 70’s; we got snowy reception of abc and nbc only, and cable was just a rumor when my sweetie and i were missing the onscreen “features” in lieu of our own at the local drive-in…backseat rendezvous which eventually and predictably resulted in my daughter’s debut when we were both just 17.

hard to put the blame on something that didn’t exist, and we weren’t the only ones…several of our classmates made babies that year and the next, though we might be the only ones still together after 37 years; it’s not an easy or advisable path, that’s for sure. but it wasn't hbo, and it wasn’t ignorance either; this was the height of the counterculture age of “making love not war” which resulted in some fairly blunt and practical sex-ed courses in school, and most of us had pretty straight talk from the parental units at home on the possibilities and consequences. still, it was before aids had reared its ugly head and condoms were used not as much for std prevention as for their decidedly imperfect role of baby prevention, and there were those- ahem- whose preference for bareback sometimes outweighed the potential for parenthood in the heat of the moment, but who decided to accept responsibility and embrace the role of parent once it was, uh, thrust upon us.

but none of this is to say that popular entertainment for our young is anything to champion…the internet, videos, movies, “music”, and yes, television to which our young are exposed and addicted, has absolutely had its negative effects on their concept of what is good and decent and worthy as related to attitudes and actions towards others and even themselves; nudity and sex and love have been degraded and defiled and dulled to the point of eclipsing the beauty, tenderness, sacredness...and personal responsibility...that human relations are based on.

censorship at the hands of parents is an excellent tool; we limit the choices of those who are not yet mature enough to make wise decisions…but in the hands of gov, censorship and restriction of anything; entertainment, drugs, guns, and any other victimless pursuit or pleasure, is fallacy…even counterproductive as evidenced by the reduction in unwanted pregnancies, addictions, and other aberrant behaviors in societies which leave such choices up to adult individuals. that is one of the strongest arguments for "little l” libertarianism, and one which has been and probably will continue to be ignored as peripheral or antithetical to common thought and more importantly to those who would wield it, political control.

jtc

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry Christmas to all...

**********************************************************
and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

nothin' but the truth...

wow...today's day-by-day editorial episode is just amazing; truer words were never spoken, um, i mean written...well you know what i mean.

jtc

Thursday, December 18, 2008

thirty seven years...where did they go?

as i mentioned in the biff burger reminisce in my last post, today marks thirty seven years since my terrified little 17 year old ass joined together under the watchful eyes of God with the most awesome 5 foot nothing package of georgia dynamite He ever created. the baptist church where we sometimes went just to have an excuse for a sunday morning date was right next door to the old-line hardware store where i pulled down the huge sum of two bucks an hour for the first year we were married...and the other guys and gals at the store abandoned their posts for a few minutes when we came out of the church to shower us with rice. then it was off to the holiday inn for a one-night honeymoon, and back to our tiny one bedroom upstairs apartment which we had decorated for Christmas with lights on the wall in the shape of a tree. happy but scary times, with a baby girl on the way and a '61 vw bug that my pregnant girl had to help me push-start so we could go to the baby doctor...but i'd go back and do it all again without a second's hesitation.

how in the world could she be the same age as me, have the capacity for hard work beyond someone twice her size (me), a dedication and devotion to her children and grandchildren that amazes me every day, plus put up with my crap all these years and still look twenty years younger? i am one lucky s.o.b., and i thank my lucky stars for her every day.

happy anniversary, babe...looking forward to number thirty eight.

jtc

Saturday, December 13, 2008

biff burger...

came across a story on the old biff burger chain today, and it brought memories flooding back...

friday night was date night in our little town of pahokee, fl on the shore of lake okeechobee...my girl and i were 16 and would go to the local drive-in theater in nearby belle glade (think burt reynolds as gator mccluskey, though i'm afraid we didn't see much of the movies ;), then it was back to pahokee to hit the biff burger for a shake and a sack of fries to munch on as we joined the cruise circuit convoy through downtown, up to the levee overlooking the lake, and back again in a continuous meandering circle in my mom's nearly-new 1969 plymouth fury III...

that was 1970, and with a baby on the way we were married the following year at age 17 (like i said we didn't see much of the movies), had two girls by age 20 and a boy ten years later...next week on december 18th we will celebrate our 37th anniversary, have four grandkids and a good life in sebring, fl only about sixty miles from pahokee, and a mountain place in north georgia.

pahokee is (was) an agricultural town in western palm beach county; the sugar cane business is dying off, and along with it pahokee and belle glade; the biff burger closed along with most other businesses in pahokee long ago, and though the belle glade location lasted longer, it too is now history...and what a history it is to us...the glades drive-in theater and the biff burger are some of our brightest and fondest memories; we will never forget them.

little did we know that we on those date nights were some of the last that would enjoy the pleasures and freedoms of two of this nation's most melancholy memories and cherished institutions...drive in movies and burger joints. i'm sorry they're not around for our kids and grandkids to enjoy...and remember.

jtc

Thursday, December 4, 2008

on hiatus...

well it's back to work, for a while at least, as my son and i enact step three of my little obama recovery plan (see previous post).

doing the blog thing (a little posting of my own, but mostly cruising and commenting at others' places that i like) eats up time that i need to put to more productive, if not more enjoyable and educational, use. i have to say that i have been amazed at the knowledgeable, intelligent, creative, and often hilarious discourse at the blogsites i have frequented the last several months; thanks for that.

so ya'll play nice, and as frosty said as he melted away, "i'll be back again someday.."

jtc

Saturday, November 29, 2008

hey kids! learn how to have fun and profit from "the obama recovery"

the talking heads at the msnbc financial desk are telling us the three things we should invest in to profit as obama "fixes" the economy...yeah, those would be the same heads who totally missed (or worse, consorted to conceal) the falling domino effect as the various components of that economy fell hard and fast after being ballyhooed and cheered on to dizzying and unsustainable heights by...them.

me, i'll take a different tack; herewith, my own three-pronged plan:

1. guns and gun stuff. the widely reported boom in gun sales is really nothing new...something similar happened in '94 when the clinton ban enriched gun dealers nationwide by inflating the value of what had been common and not much in demand (a lot of 10 new-in-cosmolene norinco sks rifles was $690 wholesale in '92, you know what they are now); i was the serendipitous beneficiary of a lot of that...it was the most profitable period in my thirty years as an ffl...but it's different this time; the anti's learned some lessons, and disingenuous denials aside, there will certainly be a concerted if serruptitious effort to remove and ban hardware and supplies from the access of civilian Americans, backed up with legislation and a stacked deck of judiciary to make sure that those who would resist can be squashed for their impertinence. so after having divested most of my personal firearms inventory over the last eight years, i'm buying again...any and every decent firearm that i can buy "right", cases of ammunition, and though i never got into reloading, i'm also stocking supplies and dies for that...mostly because they don't want me to, but also just in case. and what better way to protect your assets and have some fun?

2. hard money. like guns, gold and silver are universal currency. because the values have skyrocketed over the last few years, much of what i had accumulated and kept when i sold my pawn store a few years ago in the way of gold and silver coins, bars, and heavy gold jewelry (heavy-link high-karat gold chains have for centuries been the favored mode of exchange in parts of the world where the politics are, shall we say, unpredictable) have been liquidated for profit. but now i'm buying again.

3. the pawn and estate brokering business. having spent thirty years behind the counter i was about fried and ready for some r&r when i sold out to clint in late '05, and i really still have little stomach for resuming the traditional-type pawn business. but my son, now 24 and back in fla with us, has sold his business in georgia and taken jewelry repair/goldsmithing school to develop a trade that will always be in demand...and with a major "redistribution" in the offing, people who have accumulated luxury items like jewelry, high-end watches, exotic cars and other unessential trappings of nouveau wealth, are going to be selling them off and/or using them as collateral to fund their expenses for the foreseeable future. so we're opening a nice little custom jewelry shop where eric can do his creative thing and do repairs and restorations, and i've kept my state pawn and estate broker's license active enabling us to do selective loans and purchases of expensive, but expendable luxury items.

not quite the path advised in the msnbc story, is it? yeah, well, that's exactly the point. let the "o" and his minions invest in his brave new "green" world, sink what remains of their cash into his "securities", and buy stock in the government-beholden "companies" that will do the fake make-work as the socialist regime re-enacts the wpa under their new, new deal...good luck with that.

ya'll go your way, i'll go mine.

jtc

Thursday, November 27, 2008

thanks giving

the same simple lines from the blessing we said as children applies just as well today...no matter what.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

where were you forty five years ago today?



it's one of those iconic occurences that freeze us in time.

on this day in 1963 the young and charismatic president john f. kennedy was assassinated...and many say this nation's innocence was murdered along with him.

one thing is undeniably true; if you are old enough to remember that day, you no doubt have a sickening sense of deja vu when you think of it...

myself, i was a nine year old playing football in the schoolyard of our little stucco schoolhouse on the shore of lake okeechobee , waiting for the bus to take us home three miles out u.s. 98 among the sugar cane fields, when the word spread that the president had been shot; we didn't know until walter cronkite told us that evening in fuzzy black-and-white that he had died.

we kids didn't really know much about the politics of the day of course, but thinking of it now still brings an odd snapshot image back to me of that sunny play yard and a sense that the happy and carefree childhood that we were enjoying one moment was gone the next.

would history have taken a different course if kennedy had not been killed that day? would the events that were hurtling us deeper into a war in some tiny God forsaken place that none of us had heard of, but quite a few of us would soon find ourselves in -with some of us never to return- have been altered under his guidance? the powder keg of unrest, the uprising on our campuses, racial war and rioting in the streets...would it have been the same if jfk had remained at the helm of our ship of state?

my own sense is that history holds him in a frozen reverence that would not have been possible had he lived and found himself forced to deal with those issues of the era; the world was in upheaval and exploding all around us, perhaps speeded along by the shooting, but inevitable anyway...it would have been more than the legacy of any president, no matter how powerfully inspirational, could endure.

but we will never know.

jtc

Monday, November 17, 2008

the empowerment of cassie...

xavier has a new protege...the need for cassie to go into areas where potential aggressors lurk had her justifiably concerned...i think that apprehension will soon evaporate, and the areas where she works...and the world...will be the better for it. this was my comment on xavier's story:


she is very fortunate to have you as a friend and mentor...

an aside, though...there are no "menacing locations", just places where menacing thugs are likely to congregate and take advantage of the unprotected.

but thanks to you and others like you, cassie's armed and capable presence there along with a growing army of similarly determined and inclined free and fearless citizens are our best hope to reclaim those areas from the evil, opportunistic lowlifes there, and in the process free the good people who are no doubt the majority there to live their lives fearlessly as well.

ain't equalized freedom great? protect the right of xavier to teach and cassie to be empowered, and ultimately save the world...what a concept, and more critical now than ever.

and keep up the good work, xavier...you are an inspiration.

jtc

Saturday, November 15, 2008

and so it begins...

didn't take the leftist msm cartoonists long to show their fear of the possibility of palin in '12...that oughta tell ya something.

jtc

Monday, November 10, 2008

thank you...

to every veteran, past, present, and future...for your service, for your sacrifice, for saving the world then as now...from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

well, this is it...

get out there and vote, ya'll!

'cause like ol' yogi said "i loves picinic baskets!"...wait, wrong yogi.

oh, here it is..."it ain't over till it's over"...yeah, that's it...VOTE!

jtc

Sunday, November 2, 2008

what it's really all about...

in the midst of a lively political exchange over at the munchkin wrangler, marko's blog system automatically placed a comment of mine in the moderation queu because i had insterted two links to posts at view from the porch.
when i questioned that, marko later answered that he had been busy feeding and preparing his children for bed...which brought focus anew to what all the chattering is really all about; our children (and in my case grandchildren).

here's three of mine (my oldest daughters two "kids" are not shown; they're teenagers for crying out loud!).

evan...


grace...


ozzy...


and evan and ozzy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

wasting away again...

in obamaville.

just saw on the late news that jimmy buffet will give a free concert in nearby tampa's ford amphitheater that is really an undisguised and unapologetic mega-rally for bo...it's the "last chance for change rally and concert" on sunday 11/2.

just another icon of my boomer generation in the tank for the obamessiah.

well, i guess the "o" is the 21st century maharishi m. yogi or l.r. hubbard...those privileged self-haters just have to have some magical someone or something to give their empty existence meaning.

adios, jimmy...i'll never waste away another three minutes listening to you again.

jtc

poll lock

no, not archie bunker's nickname for his son in law or the hard-working folks of poland...

what we're talkin' about here is the avalanche of polls being run by various and sundry vested interests to divine the leanings of likely voters. you've got yer msm'ers over at nbc/wsj and the ap, then you've got yer private "commissioned" polls run at the behest of unions and other "neutral" groups...yeah, right.

what they've all got in common is this: polls cost money to run and guess who's got the money in this here ratrace? yes, that would be the people of the "o", whether funded directly or just in the tank for the desired outcome, the polls are overwhelmingly slanted in their presentation, verbiage, and reported results.

and that's just a manifestation of one of our favorite refrains here at the pawnbroker's place...that perception is fairly easily shaped, and once shaped quickly morphs into reality. repeat enough times that the margin is overwhelming and that the "issues that are important" are weighed even more overwhelmingly in favor of the "client" and marginalize the issues where the client trails, and it might render that pesky election thing moot.

yep, there's a poll lock, all right...the whole shebang is all locked up and there's really no need for you bitter clingers to bother...that shit works, and they know it works; don't let it work on you and maybe, just maybe...the one poll that really counts, the one where you walk into that booth one week from today, will be the one where we the people hold the key to the lock.

jtc

could the o-man win...

...but lose?

hell, yeah he could...but nbc's new tim russert says it won't happen.

jtc

Monday, October 27, 2008

i knew i liked this news chick...

barbara west is a news anchor at orlando's channel 9, which is the abc affiliate for my sebring area. just watch ol' biden squirm...maybe they should get her to moderate one of those debates? well, not if the o campaign has anything to say about it...and of course they do.

jtc

Sunday, October 26, 2008

lemme get this straight...

that nbc/wsj poll from a few days back screams in headlines and the first two thirds of the story that bo has opened up a ten point lead, that he has won over independents, white women, suburbanites, that voters have reached a "comfort level" for him as president, and that palin is mccain's biggest drag since she is "unqualified to be president" (no mention that obama is even less qualified, and he's the top of the ticket!)...but:

"In the survey, Obama also holds commanding leads on the issues — especially economic ones. He has a 39-point advantage over McCain in handling health care (59 to 20 percent), a 21-point edge on improving the economy (49 to 28), a 21-point lead on the mortgage and housing crisis (45 to 24), a 17-point edge on dealing with the Wall Street crisis (42 to 25), a 14-point lead on taxes (48 to 34) and a 12-point advantage on energy and the cost of gas (44 to 32)." those are the issues?

"McCain, meanwhile, holds advantages on which candidate would do a better job in catching Osama bin Laden (39 to 19 percent) and handling the situation in Iraq (45 to 40)." handling the situation...you mean leading a nation at war?

"McCain also narrowly leads in having strong leadership qualities needed to be president (40 to 36 percent). But Obama has the edge in offering hope and optimism (53 to 23), improving America’s standing in the world (51 to 31) and having the right temperament to be president (50 to 30)." ah, hope and optimism...and certainly we want our standing in the world -aka pacifism- to be approved by the other pacifists.

"One other key advantage for Democrats is the enthusiasm gap. Fifty-two percent of Obama voters in the poll say they’re excited to be voting for the Democratic presidential nominee." oh, i'm so 'cited! chant with me...hopeychangey, hopeychangey...

well, good to know that the focus is on the important issues...over which potus has no control or constitutional power! and, oh yeah, mccain has the leadership qualities to be prez and would do a better job is administering a nation at war...but that's beside the point, right?

and besides, the o offers hope, optimism, and the sheeple are excited to vote for him! w...t...f is wrong with people?

jtc

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

update on last post...

it's now 60% of sheeple for the o...

and any of you that saw the nbc reporters revel in their numbers and marginalize the issues where mccain leads-iraq and trustworthiness; the only issues really within presidential purview-will realize as i do that the outcome is a foregone conclusion...or should i say foregone collusion?

jtc

Thursday, October 16, 2008

he said it, i didn't...

bo protesting biased media coverage:

"I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?"

i wish i could answer "no damn body!"...but if that "other" biased news coverage is to be believed, about 55% of the sheeple want somebody exactly like that...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

neither rain, nor snow, nor serpents' bite...

...can stay this mail carrier from his appointed rounds...

my mail-dudette won't even walk up the front driveway (she honks).

jtc

but those ballistic descents are a bitch...

with way too much money and a lot of faith in the power of the "reset" button, billionaire game designer is the first second-generation American spaceman...lucky bastard.

jtc

Saturday, October 11, 2008

same difference...

i knew this whole house-of-cards market collapse sounded familiar...it's just like this...

bunch of frat kids throwing around kazillions of opm and livin' large, with no understanding or concern about the consequences, and gov to back them up...sweet deal till it all comes crashing down.

jtc

Friday, October 10, 2008

from tiny acorns...

mighty "o's" grow...

"zomg, they stole the election!"

well, wink-wink msm, this time it's okay, yes?

jtc

armageddon?

we think we know what biblical armageddon might be like, based on various and sundry literal and/or twisted "interpretations"...though i personally like dan aykroyd's dramatic shakespearesque recitation in ghost busters.

but just as we have no proof that the existence of supernatural intelligence and design is at all like mainstream religion teaches, so do we have no idea what event or series of events could lead to the demise of life as we have known it for the last few hundred years.

is the financial tsunami that is washing over the world a harbinger of the breaking down of the gentlemen's accord of relative peace and codependent existence?

recent intellectual discussions of the morphing of perception into reality unnecessarily complicates what really happens...if enough individual entities begin to perceive (believe) that something is so, critical mass will guarantee a self-fulfilling reality.

so if the worldwide barter system that is based almost entirely at its source on American dollars breaks down because those dollars and the assets behind them are no longer perceived to be the highest-valued collateral on earth? then the reality could become that all bets are off and it's every man (woman, and child) for himself.

will the end of times be orchestrated by a deity through miraculous events, or will it be misengineered by ourselves into a renewed reality of a subsistence existence of man? in either case, the ones who will begin anew are not the ones who are running around doing the chicken-little dance babbling "zomg, we're all gonna die", but the ones who are prepared both to face Judgement and to survive what we may be doing to ourselves right now...whatever the hell that is.

jtc

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the ten least wanted...

nobody wants these losers anymore...

but i doubt they give a flying f..k.

some say these top-level financial geniuses deserve such obscene riches because they are rare talents demanding top dollar...yeah, they did a fine job.

they should be judged and sentenced not by a jury of their peers (they are peerless, remember? rare and valuable), but by a jury of the investors in the stocks and funds they pillaged.

oh, that's right...they aren't charged with any crime; but if they are anywhere near approaching the savvy savants they were paid to be, then they knowingly pumped zillions of other people's dollars into a market bubble doomed to explode, taking their clients life savings with it...except the nice chunk they kept for themselves...and the only price to pay is a little public derision and maybe a senate hearing just for show; not a bad trade for a million bucks a month for three or so years.

jtc

Monday, October 6, 2008

sleeping with the enemy...

yes, i know...i'm one who said he would never again patronize wally world's shooting department after they decided to cuddle up to bloomberg et al in a little quid pro quo.

but my son called me today while i was in town running errands and asked me to stop by clint's shop (my old pawn shop) to pick up a hundred rounds of fmj .40 for his glock and another hun of .45 for his firefighter friend alan's gold cup (i sold the colt to alan's dad who wanted a special gift for his son when he graduated fire college a few years ago).

well, clint only had hp's in .40 and only one box of fmj in .45, so...well, to make a sad story short wal-mart is right next door to clint's so i bit my lip and stopped in (and actually ran into a good old customer also ammo shopping for some '06).

they had the ammo in stock of course...and for a good price of course...so after a few minutes tracking down a blue-shirted booby to retrieve what we wanted from the showcase and ring us up, we were on our way.

principles...they're good, we have to have them, but when you don't want to disappoint your kid and his friend who want to spend the afternoon having good clean fun at the range...waddaya gonna do? so i bought the ammo, brought it home, and the kid informs me he called jim's pistol range for a range time...and they're closed on mondays!

ah, poetic justice; she is blind and she is cruel.

jtc

Sunday, October 5, 2008

good grief

just now, in the promo for tonight's 60 minutes, leslie stahl's voiceover about a story on the new tesla electric sportscar and i quote verbatim:

"powered by 6000 finger-size laptop batteries...and not a drop of oil."

i swear i didn't make that up...is anyone really that naive?

jtc

Friday, October 3, 2008

rest in peace, babykitty...

baby checking out his new house in 1992...

in his fat, fluffy prime...

and yesterday.

just a few days ago, tam lost her beloved kitty, and i said in comments that my family expected to share similar grief soon, as our 16-year old persian mix, who was so small we had to wait an extra week to bring him home from the humane society in 1992, was ill and getting worse.

well, that time came sooner than any of us thought, as over the last few days this beautiful, gentle creature began having labored breathing, his belly bloated, his hip problem worsened and his front legs and paws swole up like a tiny elephant's...yet he still never complained.

so when we took him to the vet this morning after my toughguy 24 year old son said goodbye with tears streaming (he was eight when he came home from school to find a surprise kitty waiting), we had a pretty good idea what he would say; babykitty's heartbeat was irregular and it was unlikely he would survive attempts at treatment or even going back home for the weekend...and even though he suffered silently, the doc said he had to be in pain. so we did what we had to do and let them inject whatever potion they use...baby went to sleep with his head in my hand and my wife stroking him and soothing him with her sweet, sorrowful words.

wifey and the kids love cats and we always had one or two...i'm more of a dog person, but from the beginning baby was extraordinary; he knew the sound of my truck and even if he was down the street he would run to be the first to welcome me home from work with gentle cat words and a forehead rub; he softly spoke whenever one of his family walked by, and over the years, he welcomed (sometimes just tolerated) a dozen or so other cats and dogs that came and went; even groomed, comforted, and protected some of them. but he was a big...and he was the neighborhood alphacat; when my wife or i took the dog for a walk on leash baby went along, staying several feet behind and facing down with a silent, icy stare any wannabe badass cat that challenged him or us...yet i never saw him actually have to fight. funny, even when he was old and ill and could only make it part way on the walk my wife would have to carry him home, and the other cats still gave him wide berth.

babykitty (he got his name based on the humane society lady telling us he was a girl, and by the time he went to the vet and we found out otherwise, the name was his to keep) truly loved us and we loved him...i will miss his deep eye-to-eye silent communication, and his loving, uncomplaining, never pushy companionship...

my wife, son, and i buried baby in the center of the raised flowerbed where he would lie in the sun, relax and survey all that was his, with a peace lily that seemed so appropriate for him as his headstone.

goodbye, babykitty; may your gentle cat soul rest in peace.

jtc

Thursday, October 2, 2008

gettin' the job done...

well, the veep debate just ended and you know that right this minute msm keyboards are burning up in criticism of palin and casting as negative a light as possible on her performance in the pressure cooker.



but i was proud of her...she was a little jittery at the beginning, but hit her stride and covered all her points forcefully and with great humor and composure, with her genuineness and conviction coming through strong...good job, cougar!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

nice "work" if you can get it...

un...fucking...real.

next time you hear how widows and children are being put out of their homes by the real estate meltdown, tell 'em about this stupid shit...

tam is fond of calling for wind chimes to be made from the hides of scalawags and scoundrels...none are more deserving of such ignominious fate than the geniuses who are responsible for this...right after i let them negotiate a contract for me.

jtc

Sunday, September 28, 2008

happy gold(card) anniversary...

it was fifty years ago this month that a middle manager at bank of america had his "golden" idea...take the new concept of well-to-do clients of diner's club and american express carrying a plastic card in lieu of the "bother" of cash...and mail 'em to the masses.

they called it the fresno drop...and the world, for better or worse, would never be the same.

later perfected by a gent appropriately named mr. hock, the use of credit cards for purchases this year exceeded cash sales for the first time...

jtc

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

from the dept. of...i did not know that!

with apologies to johnny for stealing his line, here's food for thought...er, make that fuel for thought...

when i was picking up the new truck, the sales guy took it to fill up the tank as i was signing the papers...there's a big new racetrack discount gas/c-store right across from the dodge dealership, and when i saw the salesman pull out and pass it up to go to a station further up the road, i wondered why, since racetrack gas is usually the cheapest around.

when he and i did the delivery checkout on the truck, i asked him why...turns out his boss is willing to pay an extra buck or so per tankful to get bp gas, and that's because (and this is the part i did not know), bp is the only gas in our area that has no ethanol mixed in.

well, i vaguely remembered reading that some outboard motor owners had claimed the 10% watered down fuel damaged their engines, and that others said their mileage suffered when using it, but i didn't give that much thought or credence.

but here's why the dealership owner specified new-vehicle fillups with bp only...because it vastly reduced the complaints of lower-than-expected gas mileage from new owners, and therefore lowered his cost of time spent explaining and improving the overall experience...well, beyond the surprise of a business owner actually giving a ratsazz about customer service and satisfaction after the sale, could the bp gas really make that much difference? well, i like most others had always avoided the local bp stations because their gas is always a nickel or so higher...why piss away money when the stations next door were cheaper?

but i was able to answer that question for myself on this trip from central fla to north ga...starting out in sebring with a full tank of my usual chevron, we always fill up in valdosta because it's just about exactly halfway...but when i went to our regular racetrack station right next to i-75 exit 18, they were out of gas (day after ike hit), but a bp was right across the street and not wanting to waste time finding another place, i filled up there.

when i zeroed out my odometer and onboard mileage meter, i saw that i had gotten 15 mpg on the first tank; a little less than the 16 that i expected but not too bad for a hemi 4x4 truck cruising at 75-80.

but here's the surprise; when i got to my northern terminus and decided to gas up right away in case the stations up here ran short also, the mileage for that leg of the trip was 17! well, not only did that bring my trip average to the expected 16, it also really shocked me to see such a difference in mileage just because of the non-diluted fuel, but it was true.

for a truck that holds twenty five gallons, an extra 2 mpg means an extra 50 miles per tankfull which in turn equates to three less gallons used! now i'm no math whiz but that looks like a savings of 12 bucks per tank to me, in exchange for paying a buck or so extra at fillup.

nothing scientific about my little 'speriment; striotly anecdotal and experiential, but it sure convinced me...guess where i'm going to be buying my gas from now on every chance i get?

and that's not even counting the great little side benefit of a more pure fuel for my rides, and a big fat slap in the face to the "environmentalist" airheads who advance the notion of an additive that costs more than it saves, reduces mileage therefore increasing usage, and is bad for the engines it's made for, is actually somehow a good thing...

jtc

Monday, September 15, 2008

4 sale...


one of the main reasons for this trip up to ga. is to get my son's house squared away for sale, and get it listed with the realtor.

it's a great little house, we bought it three years ago and moved eric and his fiance up on katrina weekend...that was scary.

they had bought a business here in this bedroom town of ball ground (north cherokee county; lots of commuters here into the atlanta area about an hour away), and 8 months later we ended up buying a house for ourselves nearby instead of up around blue ridge where we had vacationed for years and had always kind of planned to retire to.

but they parted ways (hard for him, but good riddance really) and sold the business. he has moved back to central fla and now i guess we've got a couple extra houses we need to sell. this one first and then i guess we'll move on to the other one where i am for a few days now...other than it being hard on my boy and pissing away a fair amount of retirement funds. when all is said and done, we're not that upset about it...retiring up here full time turned out to be more seperation anxiety from the grandkids in fla than wifey could deal with, so i guess we'll end up staying in fla mostly and continue to come to the hills for a break now and then.

anyway, nice house for a young family...anybody interested can check out the listing here... or here.

jtc

lil' red truck...roadtest!

had to make a quick trip up to the georgia mountain place saturday, and it was the first real shakedown run for the new truck.

contrarian that i am, when nobody else is buying, that's when i get interested...because anything that's not a perceived gas-sipper (like suv's, trucks, and anything with a v-8 that they were clamoring for a year ago) are now seriously discounted by the factories and dealers that have a ton of them in the pipeline...they've got to move that inventory to cut costs and raise cash to keep heads above water, and there's a real chance that at least one of the domestics won't make it...

that has resulted in $10k and more off of msrp for all of the fullsize trucks, even toyota and nissan. and then dodge got real serious...40% off sticker for all ram 150's. i had been thinking of swapping my little explorer sport-trac which was four years old with an expired warranty and in need of tires, brakes, belts, radiator flush, etc...about a grand worth of work. i had been wanting something with four doors, 4x4 for 'splorin the ga. woods, and i wanted a heavy duty tow package to pull large trailers full of crap from place to place.

so when my son and i checked out the local dealer to be sure the deal was for real and not padded with dealer add-ons, etc., he was drawn to a red quad-cab hemi that was pretty loaded and had a factory sticker of 39k and the only dealer adds were a bedliner and step bars (which i would need anyway for my barely 5' sweetie) which totalled the retail at exactly 40k...would they really take off 16k and sell this truck at 24,000? they did, plus took the sport-trac in trade at 10 (i paid 16,5 for it new), and added only ttt (no "dealer fees").

so, out the door at 16; pretty hard to beat even for a gas hog...but is it really such a hog? the 6 cyl. ford got real-world 14-15 mpg locally, and 20 on open highway...in the first two weeks around town the hemi 4x4 got 11-12, which included pulling my 16' box trailer some of the time and keeping my foot into the throttle a good bit to hear and feel that rumble...then this road trip of a little under 600 miles returned exactly 16mpg; not econo by any means, but not bad at all especially considering that i had cruise set at 75 most of the way on the fla turnpike and i-75.

okay, a little 'rithmetic's in order; the new truck gets 4 mpg less than the old truck and figuring 12k miles per year and four bucks a gallon for gas, it'll take more than 16 years to use up that 10k extra discount...and that doesn't take into account the grand that i was about to have to put into the ford, a fresh bumper to bumper warranty on the dodge, or the fact that the new truck will do a lot more of what i need/want to do...the stampede to econoboxes just doesn't make economic sense.

and yeah, that's my son's mccain/milf '08 sticker on the left rear; it's days are numbered though...wifey says it's disrespectful and she has a point, plus not very becoming with an old gray-hair at the wheel (still like it though; palin probably would too).

jtc

Friday, September 12, 2008

come 'n get it!

tam's been censored at both cafepress and zazzle...copy&paste her beautiful creations to your blog in protest...and maybe toss a few bucks in her tip jar to show your appreciation.




...and dare anybody to do anything about it.

can you say Constitutional Rights?

jtc

price/value

you see those terms thrown around a lot as if they're interchangeable...they're not.

there's a good illustration of this over at sailor curt's.

price is easy enough; for most things including the ak-47's at the heart of curt's post, it's the wholesale replacement cost, which is a pretty fixed amount...for instance decent clone ak's at bangers are under $400 to ffl's...anything extra is blue sky, and like i said at curt's, ain't nothing wrong with that, but how much?

well then you're talking about value, and there's nothing fixed about that...what i normally did was charge a $50 markup to order any firearm on a prepaid basis, so about $450 plus nics and tax; dealers who price their inventory at normal retail might use a 50% markup for a price of $600...though they may not sell many...so to legal buyers in no hurry and with a dozen competing gun sellers in town the value would probably be $450-$500.

but throw in an "exigent circumstance", (cops aren't the only ones...heh...who face those) and well...if i was in new orleans in '05 or maybe in houston today, the stores were closed and i didn't have a gun? that value shoots right up there to about whatever i had to pay.

or if i was an illegal-immigrant dope-ganger i guess the value would be what the evil, criminal p.o.s. with a "not-prohibited status" charges me to buy it and resell it to me.

and if i was lieutenant spokesperson of the hometown sheriff's office? well, i'm going to grab onto the highest figure i hear anybody within a mile of the investigation mention...'cause that makes us look good and goes over real big when the sheriff is beggin' for tax money to fund the new ninja squad...them's $700 ak's by gosh, that pot plant's worth $5000 of pot, and the mangled gold chain with a true melt value of $200 looks a lot better on the recovered-property sheet at the $2000 jacked-up-500% retail tag price down at mayor's jewelry...

price is easy...value is a whole 'nother thing.

jtc

Monday, September 8, 2008

"reagan in a skirt"

that's what tam at view from the porch said in a comment about what libs really fear about palin...

it just don't get no better'n that.

jtc

Friday, September 5, 2008

my son the conservative horndog...

my 24-year old son got his package from cafe press today...they should have sent it in a plain brown wrapper...

he's always had a thing for ladies older than he, and with his conservative views and visceral disdain for bo, when he listened (and watched) that speech the other night, he was hooked.

so when i showed him (via tam) sharp as a marble's umm...art, he was on cafe press making his order.

for this...

and this...


and this, which went on my new truck that he is borrowing for the weekend; he better enjoy it because i don't think my little georgia girl is going to let that stay on the truck that i'm driving around.

you know, what's funny is that i get the impression that palin would get (while probably rolling her eyes) the off-color humor and take it as the compliment that he intends.

jtc

perception=reality?

there's a whole big thing over at the munchkin wrangler's about believing/thinking/feeling becoming real world fact...i'm afraid i innocently kicked it off thinking in pretty pedestrian (but still critically important) experiential terms...and before you know it all the smart kids in class were tossing around quantum physics and the subatomic makeup of the universe...shit.

i was speaking in more day-to-day terms; that discussion got way over my comparatively ignorant head pretty quick, although i'm not sure perception/reality in the real world is much different than theory/science in theirs.

here's some illustration of what i was really talking about;

when it comes to perceptions and reality i've always been one to swim against the current...i was selling my real estate investment properties when everybody was buying...a little too soon, really, but at least i didn't wait until nobody was buying...listen to all the blahblahblah you want about what caused the bubble and the bust but there's really only one reason prices went up so much and have come down so much...perception. if people believe it, it very quickly becomes true. actually right now i'm starting to look at buying again...because few people are.

same thing with silver...when other dealers and pawnshops were turning down sterling silver, silver coins, and even silver bars because the price was too low (about $4per troy oz.), i bought everything in sight and piled it up in the safe...until '06 when all but some of the most interesting antique or handmade stuff went to the refinery...with spot price then at $14...gold was similar; chains, bracelets, etc. that i was retailing from my showcase for $10 per gram brought $18 in melt...largely because the false perception of a shortage became the reality of market price.

now what everybody's buying is small gas sipping vehicles...and that makes sense to a degree with gas at four bucks...but in the rush to save a buck (and of course to be seen as urbane and pc) sheeple are virtually giving away the big v-8 stuff that they lusted for just a few years ago. and in the process, they have nearly bankrupted the manufacturers who still had a ton of the big stuff in the pipeline.

and that means those manufacturers are desperate to raise cash and liquidate inventory...so in the spirit of helping them out, or else kicking them when they're down...i bought a new truck last week. i wanted four wheel drive so i can go places i have no business going when we're up at the north georgia place, and i needed decent pulling power and a receiver hitch to pull trailers full of shit that i have no business buying...so when dodge ran 40% off on all ram 1500 trucks, i checked it out at the local dealer to be sure it wasn't the typical bullshit; it wasn't...they had a lot full of trucks at true 40% off the sticker. my son was drawn to a red quadcab with a hemi engine and 20" wheels, (that's a stock photo, mountainous backgrounds are a little scarce here in central fla, but my truck is identical), and since it had what i needed (and quite a bit more) i bought it...factory sticker of right at 40k became buy price of 24k...minus 10 for my four year old 6-cyl. truck which i bought new for 16.5...

the little truck got 20 real mpg on the highway and the hemi 4x4 gets 16...at that rate it'll burn an extra 150 gal. per year; even at $4 gal. it will take 16 years to burn up the extra 10k off that i figure is the "market adjustment"...and that doesn't take into account that i now have more of what i need in a truck and that i was about to have to spend 1k (tires, brakes, and other regular maintenance) on the little truck...there's no economic sense to it so it must be paranoia with a little pc bs mixed in...more flawed perception nevertheless morphing into self-fulfilling reality.

the reverse is true of market adjustment, too...last year i preordered one of the tiny new "smart" cars designed by mercedes to use as a dinghy for the motorhome, but by the time it arrived at the end of this may, gas prices had gone nuts and the same pc sheeple who are dumping their suv's were paying several grand over sticker to get one rather than getting on the year+ waiting list...and since we had decided to not take an extended motorhome trip this summer (i'm contrarian, not dumb...that v10 ford drinks a gallon every 7 miles), i stuck the smart on ebay the day after i bought it at 15.5 out the door and an atlanta lawyer drove his hybrid lexus up to buy it for 18.5 the next day...i wish i'd have ordered a dozen of 'em, i'm a sucker for making a buck, especially off of yuppie tree huggers with too much money.

yep, perception equals reality...if you let it.

let's hope the perception among the stadium's masses that the man from hopeychangey is the savior of us all doesn't become reality...it'll be hard to flip him in the market and make a buck.

jtc

Thursday, September 4, 2008

older is better! well, sometimes...

sevesteen discusses form and function...

ditto from me on appreciation of simple, functional elegance...and watches, cars, and guns exemplify the best and worst of those attributes.

rolex watches were a specialty of mine...it never ceased to amaze and disgust me that so many of these fine handcrafted mechanical wonders would be festooned with diamonds and colored stones on the bezel, face, even the band...heresy, really.

i still come across and appreciate some of the early models and am always entranced as i fondle one and envision the craftsman carving it long ago from a block of gold and skillfully making and assembling that beautiful movement...

cars? how many of us who remember and/or appreciate American detroit iron from the fifties and sixties wouldn't trade our new benz, lexus, or suv for a showroom '67 chevelle ss? screw gps-equipped, ipod-ready, four-wheeled, three thousand pound bundles of microcomputers with an internal combustion engine buried somewhere deep inside and require an electronics degree to decipher!

and is it really possible to improve upon the smooth, sexy functionality that mr. browning designed a century ago?

since turning 50 in '04, i've developed a serendipitous appreciation for examples of these three categories that were all produced in '54, the year i myself debuted.

four years ago for my fiftieth birthday, i got a '54 chevy pickup that had been tastefully hotrodded with a built 350, four wheels discs, ac, etc...it was the last year for this classic body style that is now copied in the new chevy ssr...coincidentally, that same year a local deputy traded to me a very clean unmolested colt cobra snubbie revolver (for a glock m27, which he wanted as a backup to his department issue m22). a little research later, if found that the colt was built in '54 and its lovely fifteen-ounce self has been my regular carryon ever since.

then while cataloging my inventory in '06 as i prepared to turn over my business to a new owner, i took a closer look at an old omega seamaster wristwatch that had been in the showcase for over a year...it still had the original box and certificate and was in near-perfect cosmetic and functional condition. when i traced the serial number on the movement, i found that the range of numbers for 1954 included it...i'd always worn a rolex from the showcase; usually a two-tone datejust or submariner, and occasionally a presidential or cellini dress model...these are all priced in the k's, some way into the k's, and i enoyed wearing them, but mainly it was a sales device; i sold many of them right off my wrist. but the simple elegance of the little seamaster, with it's bumper automatic movement and clean unadorned face is now my everyday watch; it keeps near-perfect time if worn daily and is instantly readable by my 54 year old eyes even at arms length.

so i have kind of inadvertently surrounded myself with mechanical examples that are the same age as me; i depend on them all almost every day, and i have no qualms about trusting them as they are equal or superior to any newer or more elaborate versions available today...and i know that when (if) they do wear out they can be repaired/restored to like-new, serviceable condition...for another 54 years.

i only wish the same could be said for this also-made-in-1954 thing i call self...i'd replace the high-wear parts; a fresh set of laserbeam eyeballs, new springs for my ticker and my step, and maybe even a brand-new, supercharged umm...plunger mechanism...yeah, baby!

jtc

do overs! do overs!

after having himself a new asshole torn by our "it" girl, don't you know that bo is
desperately wishing he had swallowed his prissy pride and tapped hills for his veep?

jtc

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

nyt: "disclosures about palin raise questions"

yep, and the "questions" they want answered the most after it was "disclosed" that pops picked palin?

"where tf did she come from and what tf are we gonna do now?"

jtc

Friday, August 29, 2008

pow and wow...



good move, maverick...cougar will be a great wing (wo)man

jtc

Thursday, August 28, 2008

she hearts me googolplex!

another b-day for me today...at 54 it's a milestone you'd just as soon not think about too much...
.
but when your sweetie of 37 years makes a cake (complete with a forest fire of 54 candles), your favorite southern cookin' dinner (with homemade biscuits!), and she and your son both give you great books (brothers in battle, best of friends from my son eric and boom! by tom brokaw from sweetie) and meaningful cards...then the mail brings cards from daughter and grandbabies (rough, funny 4-year old Evan and sweet, beautiful 6-year old Grace...that's her in the pic)...punctuated with a note in the custom-made card from Grace "i heart you googolplex, papa!"...her favorite new word...well, it's a lot easier to take clicking off another year...and like they say, the alternative is kind of a bitch...

jtc

i'm going to want royalties on this...

what a great idea...now let's take it a little further ...

the old unimproved version of this (the little yellow foam rubber fish with a marina ad on it) saved my naa minigun once when i was dumb enough to let a friend take me on his catamaran that he just bought and had no frickin idea how to keep upright...saved the naa but my overpriced shades went down along with my knife.

this new iteration is great because it's so much more visible than the yellow fish, though it didn't have battery/electronic issues...sometimes the old simple version is still better.

but the next evolutionary development would be a model that inflates/lights/beeps not just when it hits the water, but when you press a remote button.

i'd attach one to everything i own, that i have no idea where i put it; then maybe i could f'n find something now and then...

my wife says i'd need to attach one to my ass since she says i can't find it...but i'd probably lose the remote.

h/t to tam

jtc

Sunday, August 24, 2008

fill in the blanks...O*ama Bi***den

and reveal the name of the world's worst threat to the USA...



really, am i the only one that sees that banner and reads it a little differently?

jtc

Thursday, August 21, 2008

crystal spins the meter...

good grief: this gal broke TWO MILLION on her site meter yesterday! She can write her ass off, but damn!

http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=sm6canofworms

i gotta get me some of that original dr. pepper recipe...

jtc

Monday, August 11, 2008

"i've got my pants on, don't i?"

lots of discussion recently at gunnie blogs about the relative inadequacy of so called mouse guns
...i tossed in my two cents, the primary gist of which is this: you might own and usually carry the bestest most powerfulest handgun in the world in the awesomest holster/carry rig made...but somebody in the comments said that carrying is like wearing your seat belt; you may never need it and probably won't...

but if you do, and it's on one of those quick trips to the store, gas station, etc. and it was just too much trouble to pack your main carry weapon...what then? how much good is that wonderful piece with the great ballistics and mag full of hydrashocks going to do you when it's locked up at home and you're two miles away at the hess station?


that is why, even though i usually have my old colt cobra revolver on me...since i got my first one in 1978 when they still had the black micarta grips...i ALWAYS have this naa in my pocket...my dad used to say, when i or one of my brothers asked him if he had his pocket knife with him, "i've got my pants on, don't i"? that's how it is for me with the items in the pic; if i'm dressed, my wallet, phone, keys, my dad's tiny old browning 2-blade...and my north american arms .22lr revolver...are in my pocket.

push come to shove...it's my mouse gun and me...but i prefer minigun, i really don't have much of a beef with mice; it's the rats of the world one has to be ready for...all of the time.

jtc

mood music...

comes the word that isaac hayes has passed at age 65...

people have said that barry white's voice is the ultimate aphrodisiac, but before there was barry, there was issac...if you were a teenage boy in the late '60s as i was, and you couldn't get to third base (or the great beyond) with isaac hayes deep, mellow voice on the 8-track...well, you just weren't trying hard enough or you were really, really ugly...

jtc

Monday, August 4, 2008

gratitude...

late friday night/early saturday morning in a suburb of tampa and about an hour from my home, a 39-year old teacher of special-needs children had the unmitigated gall to go over to his friend's house for help installing a car radio.

as they worked in the driveway, a couple of misunderstood youths decided to rob them at gunpoint of the radio, their wallets, and anything else they could grab...we don't know if the teacher and his friend would have been allowed to keep their lives or not, because...

that teacher was toting his own gun (and was duly licensed to do so)...he pulls his weapon, shots were exchanged, and that poor child, who the paper says was "working on planning to attend college", was mortally wounded, dying later after the other poor youth took him to the hospital...but they still got the goods, and the radio, wallets, etc. were still in their car.

but the teacher was also badly wounded; he also died later saturday morning.

would the poor misunderstood youth have killed both men if not shot himself? would he and his little pal have robbed and or shot others with the audacity to go about their lives on their own private property? we don't know, but one thing is sure; the dead kid won't.

the teacher's friend was unhurt...surely his mother, when interviewed, would express her gratitude that her son was saved and grief that the teacher was killed, yes?

well, no, when interviewed she said:
"he (the teacher) always had a fascination with guns...that always worried me..."

jtc

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

might be an opportunity for purina...

this is wrong and offensive on so many levels i can't even begin to articulate it...

can a balanced, nutritious formula of fibre and vitamin pellets be far behind?

"people chow...strong bones, clean teeth, regular bowels and shiny coat in an easy-pour bag...and people chow carries the .gov seal of approval!"

jtc

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

there goes another one...

damn, one week after my old elementary school burned down comes the news that my old employer us sugar is selling its thousands of acres of sugar cane fields to the federal/state consortium that is restoring the everglades; a worthwhile project if the corps of engineers can pull off the restoration of the region from lake okeechobee south through the glades and into the keys...that remains to be seen, in the meantime i will still mourn the loss of one of the largest agricultural producers in the nation, along with 1700 jobs and the certain death of several small towns whose only industry is "uncle sugar"...

just another icon of my youth slipping away; i went to work in the bryant mill of us sugar when i was 18 and worked there for five years...by nineteen i was making the average wage of a college graduate, and though i'm glad i moved on, many people in that region work their whole lives for a single company for good pay and benefits...those jobs will be gone and they're not coming back...sad.

"David Guest, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice and a longtime foe of U.S. Sugar, gloated over the announcement. "In the old days, you didn't just beat your opponent, you also ate them," he said. "Today, we're eating U.S. Sugar.""

any wonder i hate most lawyers and treehuggers?...eat this, you cold, heartless, smarmy, self-righteous bastard...

jtc

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

up in smoke...

the little rural two-story stucco canal point, fl elementary school where i attended 3rd-6th grades in the early '60s is burning to the ground at this moment...

i had recently written about my dad and mentioned the old school and its library; here's part of that...


..."so we kids were dad's hobby, and my interest in shooting, sparked by a gem of a canal point elementary school library book (i started there toward the end of third grade, there was just one class for each of grades one through eight in that old schoolhouse, and coming from a city school i was shocked and delighted that half the kids went barefoot, and the other half was barefoot too after recess), the book was "a boy and his gun"; reading it, feeling it, loving it resulted in my badgering dad unmercifully as i progressed through the bb gun phase until on Christmas morning when i was nine, the most beautiful little marlin single shot .22 appeared beneath the tree"...


abandoned for years, the school caught fire this morning about 2 a.m. and firefighters are letting it burn out while containing it and protecting power lines...what's left of the tiny lake okeechobee farming community of canal point is only about two hours from my home in sebring; i drove through there alone recently and stopped at the old school; at the time i didn't know why...now i guess i do.

my mom left a voicemail for me this morning to let me know about the fire; she had a pretty sad sound as she told me i didn't need to call her back...and i didn't because i don't really want to talk about it right now...but maybe the old school deserves a post of it's own later on...i'll think about it.

jtc

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a dad's dad...

the 15th anniversary of my dad's passing was this past march, and i wrote a little tribute to him then...there's not much to add except, happy father's day, Dad...i love you and i miss you!

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/03/i-cant-believe-its-been-fifteen-years.html

jtc

Saturday, June 14, 2008

tonight on cops...

tonight's 8pm episode of cops has a bunch of freshfaced deputies tracking down (with a copter and a dog) a guy who had just robbed an old couple at gunpoint...in the used car lot next to my old west palm beach pawn shop...

i wrote about that car lot in a post about my first negligent discharge in 1978 as a twentysomething new pawnshop manager...

funny, in the cops episode it's nighttime and the stores are closed but the old ihop across the busy road shows up like a beacon; had many omelets there while i waited to open the store at 9; i also walked out one day without my "manbag", yeah that was the day of curly perms and handbags for guys and i had both...that damn bag had an naa minirevolver, a vintage ladies rolex watch worth a thousand or so, and $700 in cash in it...never saw it again (neither did anyone else, winkwink eddy the manager), and i never carried one again...can't believe i ever did, but disco and a little dope had its effects.

that was thirty years ago and that strip hasn't changed much, don't know exactly when the cops episode was shot but looked pretty recent...the old couple was okay and id'd the lowlife who held a gun to her neck and his forehead; the old guy said he thought he would be shot and he'd been shot at before...in the war...and probably about the time that barrel was vibrating on his forehead he wished he weren't the antigun nyc liberal transplant retiree fron the giant century village conclave down the road that he almost certainly was...what went through his mind when he was sitting there waiting to be dispatched like dog by a lifeless scum right in front of his wife of how many years? and was she next? i wonder if he changed his attitude and voting habits after that little incident?

jtc

boomboom!

11:15 this a.m., standing on the front porch with wifey discussing her landscaping when a sharp double boom lifted me off my feet...i had known the shuttle was due back in fla today but feeling that sonic thump always catches me by surprise; it really seems like a physical force, like a roofer throwing a square of shingles down on the roof.

and that shuttle might be just a bus, but it's an f'n space bus, and it impresses the hell out of me...the future of earth has to involve unearthly exploits and all this experience has got to be a good thing for our kids and grandkids to build on.

jtc

Friday, June 13, 2008

nurse and nurture...protect and provide...

munchkin wrangler's chafing from ignorant assumptions about his chosen parental role...

no need for that, though...

nurse and nurture...protect and provide...
there’s a lot of depth and meaning in those four words when it comes to the functions of a real parent…culture mostly attaches the more obvious implications of the two former to mothers and the two latter to fathers, and so do i.

thank God, men and women are different and differently equipped, so i have no problem acknowledging that some of the literal meanings of nursing and nurturing are best left to women, and vice versa that some natural and/or archaic functions of protecting and providing are the chosen/assigned domain of most men.

but if nurturing also means being allowed the honor helping my children grow their souls, and nursing means holding them through the night to take away their pain, then count me in on that…those experiences were among the most gratifying of my life.

and if protecting means my wife’s vigilance over our kids like a lionness, (do not get between her and her kids!), and providing means imbuing to them the love, hope, devotion, courage, and strength that she is made of, then that is her role as well.

external expectations aside, who does what doesn’t matter much, but that it gets done…for the children as well as for ourselves, because it's really the same thing; there's not a me, you, and them in a family but just an us...

and fulfillment will come naturally from within…it is wonderful, you will miss it when it is gone but the rewards will last you and your children a lifetime.

jtc

a lucky day...

i've had some of my best days on friday the thirteenth...
happy birthday to my grandson j.r at age nineteen...

Monday, June 9, 2008

happy birthday to the best woman in the world!


today is mybaby's fifty fourth birthday....for about three months she'll be a year older than me, a fact i point out a lot as i look like i'm twenty years older...

how can she look like this after thirty six years of putting up with me and raising three good kids who now have four kids of their own? beats me...but i thank God every day that she stuck around.

she's down at the florida house after attending kindergarten graduation for Grace (that's her with Nana on facepaint day) and i'm getting my son ready to move back down there after three years here in north georgia; i'll be heading down t0morrow and we'll have a nice birthday cookout for her then.

i miss you baby, and i'll see you soon...love, me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

norman d day...

-------------

blessed are they
who came here to lay
down their lives to entreat us.

their crosses may've stayed
but their souls flew 'way
with God to keep us and greet us.

and come our own day,
we'll be able to say...
we thank you! we love you! you freed us!

jtc

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

so, it looks like bo or mac...sigh...

well, it looks like it's down to obama or mccain...and while i can't say that mccain inspires me or impresses me, obama does...just listen to him talk and you'll believe he is the chosen one!

but i'll tell you this, and nothing else really matters...

i have to think that iraq is (was) more of a vacuum than a sieve, and that our mission there, while p.c. couched in humanitarianism, is the chosen stage to draw, divert, and deplete the resources, concentration, and planning of the region’s terrorists, who would much rather be suicide-bombing sites in dc, nyc, london, and tel aviv…

judgement and criticism of this endeavor is above my need-to-know…at some point we must trust in the good intentions and expertise of those we have chosen to (at least for now) guide our ship…and while the captain and crew are employed by us the paying passengers, what we are paying for, it is hoped, is knowledge and experience and they should not be micromanaged by their employers. history will arbit the place of ghwb in its archives, as it also will for bho if and when he reaches the end of his term…

but if it is knowledge and experience we pay our “figurehead” for, i can’t see the bang for the buck with bo…if it is good intentions we value most, we need look no further than 1976-1980 to realize how worthless they can be on the world stage without also commanding the respect and at least the perception of willingness and capability to use force to protect us and ours,… and it is those very military and intelligence agencies you reference which failed on such a monumental, top-down scale until the reagan adminstration turned that perception around.

and while i am no bush apologist and remain unconvinced that the chosen theater will prove to have been the correct strategy (the actual costs in all guises will not be known for a generation), i am convinced that if “change” in our worldwide vision, strategy, and presence is required, i would like a “figurehead” who can do more than say it, howevery earnestly, and convincingly, he may do so.

jtc

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my melancholy babies...

marko at the munchkin wrangler has a post extolling the simple, wondrous pleasures of fatherhood, of sharing the innocence that is your flesh and blood experiencing the world for the very first time.

that quickly took me back and before you know it, my response had become it's own bittersweet post...

marko:

my son, my youngest child with two older sisters, is now 24 years old and a business owner.

20 years ago when he was four, i sold my pawn store and took a year off before starting a new one…i spent that year almost fulltime with my son, and that time is now one of the most cherished memories of my life.

in 1988 video cameras were a cutting-edge novelty, and i took one home from the pawnshop, about the size of a small suitcase…and during the year that i spent with eric, the last year before school took over as his main focus and influence, i took snippets of video of my beautiful son and me…

he amazed me with his depth of understanding, of love, of empathy...i had some of the deepest and most soulful conversations of my life with a four year old child.

a few minutes of video driving our little suzuki samurai around the sand trails near our home…eric shooting my old childhood .22 with me filming and doing dumbass olympics competition commentary…him learning to ride a bike without training wheels around the baseball diamond…us swimming and talking in nearby lake jackson and throwing a tennis ball for our two loyal cur dogs…watching a wading bird spear and swallow a good-sized water snake…and eric steering the little samurai along the lakeshore all by himself, with the suzuki creeping along in double-low 4×4 and me walking alongside, again doing dopey voiceovers…

how could i have known that this one vhs videotape, which also includes footage of my sweet daughters at Christmastime that same year…would be the only one we ever made?…the camcorder is a pain to carry around and ends up sitting on the shelf, you’ll always film the next event or get together, and before you know it…

before you know it and in the blink of an eye…twenty years have passed, and you sit with your wife now and then, and watch that old video, and feel the most awesome sense of love, and melancholy, and sadness…and pride.

it sounds corny...but my friend, embrace, and cherish,...and record...the moment and the feeling...it's gone before you can turn around, and it's never coming back.

jtc

Saturday, May 31, 2008

road test report!



picked up the "smart" car yesterday down at the buckhead dealership in atlanta...

the goofy little thing is actually kind of a blast to drive, as possible with a 3-cylinder 70-hp engine...the autoshifting tranny takes some getting used to, but with paddle shifters can be fun; the thing even has a little bit of an old mg type sports car sound, and it really does handle highway speeds well...seventy mph on i-85/i-75 at rush hour was no big deal, and this thing gets more looks and questions from people than anything i've driven in a while, and that includes some pretty cool rides.

so, anyway, the ebay auction starts tonight...my actual cost including sales tax, etc. was around 15,500 and the most recent ebay sales have been about 3k over that, so looks like i'll make a buck and that's a good thing.

i may go ahead and put in an order for another one...it'll take another year to get it, and by then maybe the motorhome can come back out of mothballs and we'll use the smart as a dinghy...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

free money...


about a year ago i read about a mercedes-built minicar that has been running around the streets of europe for several years and that they were prepping for the US market...

ordinarily, a car not much bigger than a golf cart wouldn't have me looking twice due to the inherent safety issues...but this mercedes designed "smart" car was built like a roll cage with multiple airbags, etc., and tested very well by the crash-safety folks...and it comes loaded with a/c, cd player, skid-control, and a lot of other equipment not usually found on a minicar small enough to park sideways in a standard parking space...and with a 3-cylinder engine that pushes it up to 90 mph while still getting mileage in the forties, it looked like a good prospect to pull behind our motorhome; most cars with automatic trans. have to be pulled on a trailer or dolly, but this one was designed to be pulled with all four wheels on the ground.

the program called for placing a $99 deposit, ordering the car the way you want it, and when they're available, they contact you...so since the deposit was refundable if i changed my mind, i ordered one...and i admit that the prospect of something new and different (think new beetle and mini-cooper) generating a profit due to supply/demand did occur to me.

well, then the price of gas started shooting up instead of just climbing, and we've about decided not to use the motorhome this summer for a long trip as planned...it holds about seventy gallons, and with the ford v-10 engine gets seven or eight mpg...every hundred miles would cost about $60 in gas alone...yikes.

so when the dealer in atlanta contacted us last week to let us know our all-black smart car was being delivered, i checked out ebay to see if the prius crowd et al would pay a premium to get the little car now instead of getting on the year-plus waiting list.

turns out it should bring 2500-3000 over our actual cost after including everything, so what the hell, instead of cancelling my order and getting my $99 back (and letting somebody else buy the car), i'm driving up this week to pick it up and flip it on ebay to make a buck...

i've never been one to leave free money on the table, and if i decide i want a smart for myself i can wait till the fever dies down bringing the price down with it as the supply catches up...in the meantime, i wish i'd of reserved a dozen of 'em...i'll take all those yuppies' dollars that i can get!

Monday, May 26, 2008

thank you...

on this memorial day 2008, my humblest most heartfelt thank you to all who serve and have served and sacrificed...you have saved and continue to save the world from those who would destroy it and us...may God bless you, us, the USA, and the world...

Monday, May 12, 2008

i got a "free" gun today...

i'm looking at a nice little surprise sitting next to me right now...a smith and wesson sigma sw9f pistol...and it was free!

well, not really...about seven years ago on 8/27/01, the day before my 47th birthday and two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, i took this pistol and a couple of cameras into pawn for $400; the customer, a setup contractor for mobile homes, had a 60 day option to buy his stuff back or extend the option. he had done some business with me in the past, buying tools, a necklace for his wife, and had done a few other pawns to pay his help, etc., and he always got his stuff back when he collected on a contract...routine transactions, a good customer, i had many like him.

but this time, with just a few days before his buyback option would expire, i hadn't heard from him...then i got a call from the local agent of the florida department of law enforcement, the fdle. it seems my gentle customer was pretty involved in a smuggling ring on the side; he was in custody and wouldn't be getting out soon...now jon at fdle was an acquaintance, so this was not adversarial at all, but jon had gotten notice through the detailed info that pawnshops file with law enforcement that the customer had pawned the pistol...and they could add a felony charge by showing that the guy was in possession of a functioning pistol, so they needed to take the gun and test fire it. so on 10/26/01 i was given a property receipt stating the gun would be returned to me when it was no longer needed as evidence. included with the gun when i got it back is a plastic zip bag holding two shell casings and marked "test fire, 10/28/01", and jons initials. then there is a receipt dated 10/30/01 turning the everything over to the feds (they sent two atf guys over 100 miles from west palm beach to pick it up) as evidence.

a couple of times i've had the local police or sheriff's office pick up a firearm for test firing and i had them back in a few days, but the state and fed involvement was different; i expected them to take longer, so no big thing. but after six months i called with the case number and they said we're still working on it...then after another six months i got the same answer...and after another year the same, so i'm figuring the gun is lost, stolen, or in some agent's collection. then when i gave up my ffl in 2003 and turned in my records to atf, i came across the receipt again and just tossed it; my gun records showed the dated disposition to fdle.

now i don't know if there's any connection between how this case was handled and 9/11, nor do i know if my ffl records got reviewed and the atf followed up with fdle, all i do know is that last week clint, who bought my pawn shop in '06 and kept the same phone number, got a call from the current local fdle agent who said they had concluded their use of the pistol, and how could they reach me to have me pick it up?

so friday i called and talked to the agent (a new guy; jon retired a few years ago)who was very likable, we talked about the crazy amount of time (he thinks the bad guy was getting out of prison, and that caused a review of the files and evidence), and the fact that if they couldn't reach me, the pistol would go to the sheriff's office evidence unit to be melted into manhole covers as is required by florida law. i told him my old friend tom is head of csi at the s.o. and he would have seen my name and tried to contact me before melting day. i also related that tom had told me the stories of transporting van loads of guns to the smelting plant in south florida where he had to personally watch unclaimed guns, which he said were mostly junkers but had also included fine colts, brownings, etc, as they went up the conveyor and into the furnace. the fdle guy said sarcastically how those inanimate objects had to be put to death so they couldn't hurt anybody...damn, he's one of us, which by the way, many of the cops i dealt with over the years were.

so the guy said he would be out of the office on monday, but he would give the gun and necessary papers to the secretary to give to me when i came in on monday. about two in the afternoon i drove to the local fdle office, showed my id to the lady there, signed the property receipt, and left with my little blue plastic box, still sealed with fdle tape...now i didn't really remember much about the gun, actually i had thought it was a ruger p89, so imagine my surprise when i peeled off the tape, opened the box, and found the little smith in perfect condition; it even looked like they had oiled it and wiped it down when it was sealed...which by the way, as marked on the tamperproof tape, was in 2003; probably after the trial. the original owner's manual, 16rd magazine, and chamber safety plug were even there.

so why in the hell did it take almost five additional years for them to contact me about returning the gun? who knows, it's just indicative of how efficient our cj system is, i guess...but i had written this off as a loss long ago, had even forgotten about it, so to me this is a free gun! ...but this is s&w's version of a glock, and i'm not real fond of the plastics personally...so i wish this was a nice 686 or some such...but you know what, i've been wanting one of those new ruger .380 keltec copies, so i'm gonna take this sigma to clint and have him sell it; that should bring me enough for the ruger (those things are still scarce to find at the wholesalers).

so hey, a new free gun, (kind of)...all's well that ends well, yes?

jtc