Sunday, June 28, 2009

opportunity knocking...

annoying but effective teevee pitchman billy mays was found dead this morning...

he lives near here in the tampa area and was on a plane that blew its nose wheels on landing at tampa international yesterday roughing up a few folks including billy. he got a bump on his head and gave an interview on last night's local news, saying he was okay because "i have a hard head". not hard enough, i guess; his wife said he went to bed last night not feeling well and woke up dead this morning. man, you never know what's going to take you out.

sorry for him and his family, but on the up side, there's one more bad unreality show by the wayside. of course in this sick world, his "pitchmen" reruns will probably get huge viewership and his products will become collector's items...i can see the fleabay blurb now: "this is an actual unopened, nib container of the same oxyclean used by the famous billy mays before his tragic death...only $150!"

but from tragedy comes opportunity...a great idea for a new product; gel-cushion hat for those pesky crash landings. they'll have to get another pitchman, though. hey, is the sham-wow guy out of jail yet?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

a father's day wish...

last year, on the fifteenth anniversary of my dad's passing at age sixty five, i wrote a bit about him, and it seems appropriate for today as well...

"he wasn't a perfect man -or a perfect father- and he would spend some of his talks with us (my two brothers, two sisters and me) as we took our nightly turns nursing him in the final year of his life, apologizing for what he thought were his failings...i'm glad i was able to tell him this: there was never a day in my life, and believe me when i say i was an imperfect son, that i had any shadow of doubt of his love for me, or that he would give up his very life for me in an instant. that to me is the perfect definition of success as a father, and i told him that if i can just leave my own three children with that knowledge, and the love and peace and security that it imbues, then i will consider myself a success as a father too."

happy father's day, dad...i love you and think of you often, and i know that we will see each other again...some day, some how.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

rat rod on flea-bay...

i'd always liked the '54 chevy trucks...the sculpted and relatively homely design was the last before the straight streamline shapes that began for chevy in both trucks and cars in '55. plus, i was born the same year and i always felt a bit of ugly kinship with them.

so when i turned 50 about five years ago, i looked around for a hot rod driver that would be fun without being a show truck or trailer whore. this is what i found and it's been a blast to own and drive, but it spends most of its time in the garage, and i guess it's time to let somebody else drive and enjoy her.

i started an ebay auction last night, item number 250446134866 for anybody who wants to check it out. notice there's another similar but way more show-worthy truck that started on auction about a half hour after mine; it's worth checking out too, if you like this design.


update sat. 6/20: it's sold!

a fellow and his wife saw the truck on ebay and drove over this morning from their home near fort myers. after a thorough checkout (about two hours!) i let him beat me down a bit and drive the old girl home. i hated to see her go, but the guy had been looking for a hotrod truck for over a year and he promised to give her a good home, so i'm happy, he's happy, and my wife is especially happy to have the extra garage space, win-win-win, just like a good transaction should be.

so long little truck, it's been fun; we may be the same age but i have a feeling you're going to be around long after i'm gone...and that pleases me. jtc

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a visit from "the bureau"

wow. thirty years as an ffl and i had exactly three on-site inspections from atf. and while i had a couple of interactions with the fdle (florida dept. of law enforcement) related to gun transactions that would allow enhanced charges against defendants in ongoing cases, i sure as hell never had, or expected to have, a visit from the f.b.i. but that's just what happened to clint last week.

one thing is sure; being a firearms dealer is different now. i sold my pawn store to clint at the end of '05 but had already dropped my ffl a year before rather than renew for another three years. that would have been my first renewal since 9/11 and what had always been a process of just sending in the renewal form and notating any changes was going to be way more involved; an on-site interview and a much more in-depth inspection of inventory and logs. not that i had anything to hide...i stayed on top of the paperwork to avoid any difficulties and i always thought that the occasional atf trace request to which i responded quickly and accurately helped to avoid more in-person visits.

but the gun business for me, aside from my personal enjoyment, was more of a necessity to be able to accept firearms as loan collateral and buy collections as part of estate purchases rather than as a full-fledged gunshop. yes, i sold quite a few new guns because i liked to keep my cases and racks full and i was the only storefront ffl in town. but i operated on a pretty thin margin to be competitive with wallyworld (they were still full-line gun retailers for most of that time), and i did prepaid special orders at cost plus $50 for any gun. this helped me keep some nice older stuff in stock because of trade-ins, and it's the vintage guns that i enjoyed the most. but eventually the concern for liability helped me make the final decision to drop my licensed status.

but this f.b.i. stuff is a new twist...clint said two agents from miami spent ten minutes in a "get-acquainted" visit, and keyed on asking him to be vigilant and contact them when he suspected anyone or anything of being "unusual", with the implication that they were looing for terrorist profiles and expecting ffl's to do the profiling for them. that's a whole 'nother level of responsibility, liability, and judgement that i for one am glad not to be a part of. i don't know how widespread this f.b.i. contact is, and i'm wondering if it is a veiled scare tactic intended to further reduce the number of licensed dealers. i'd be interested in knowing other ffl's experiences and their sense of what it's really all about.


Friday, June 12, 2009

star wars!

apparently, the invasion from outer space has begun...

our little german friend may be exagerrating a bit, though...that pebble-sized meteorite "sent him flying"? unpossible, as any gunnie knows. of course reflex action might have caused him to send himself flying; i guess i'd be jumping around too, wondering who the hell was shooting at me! just a warning shot from the klingons maybe?


Thursday, June 11, 2009

degradation of dialogue...

on that at least, huffin' po's michael rowe got it right.

so somehow, the octogenarian loonybird (whose weapon of choice to take up the fuhrer's cause of killing all the jews was a .22 rifle) was goaded and guided in his cause by coulter, o'reilly, limbaugh, and...palin? yeah, that's a fine and thoughtful dialogue you got goin' there, mikey.

and nbc's evening news just led its bit on the museum shooter by saying..."he might have been driven by an obsession with guns as well as bigotry..." well, an obsession with .22 rifles anyway...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

happy happy birthday, baby...

my girl turns 55 today, two-and-a-half months ahead of me. and she still gets carded when buying wine at the grocery kidding. we were both seventeen when we married, and if i do say so myself, i was a cute little feller back then. little did she (or i) know, that soon my hair would start streaking gray and be nearly all silver by the time we were in our thirties. and we won't mention that the cuteness seems to have, um...lessened over the years.

not her though. she is the most beautiful, young-looking, blue-eyed blonde around. and the beauty goes way more than skin deep. she and i had our differences over the years as you might expect being together since high school; we even separated for a time in our mid-twenties. but through thick and thin (and there was a fair amount of thin), not only did she stick with me, but her strength, love for her family, and awe-inspiring determination and capacity for hard work is what got us through the tough times. the morning after her birthday she headed to tampa to attend 7 year old granddaughter Grace's dance recital; that's them in the's that for resemblance, and how can that old girl be fifty five freakin' years old?

while i usually get my jollies every year for the few months that she is a year older than me by informing restaurant waiters, cashiers, and total strangers of the fact, and watching them look from me to her back to me with an expression of doubt and disbelief, i won't be doing that this year...because, you know, she's officially a senior citizen now and deserving of a little more respect;o)

happy birthday, my girl. you know and i know that i would be lost (maybe even dead) without you. i love you and i promise to do my best to be worthy of you, provide for you and take care of you in your -ahem- golden years.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

modern priorities...

today is the 65th anniversary of the all-out allied invasion that turned the tide of ww11 and quite possibly won the war. so when the google artist who commemorates significant events with a creative redesign of their name put his talent to work for today, you'd expect what, landing craft, parachutes, a background filled with planes, and surf tinged in red?

well, no...see today is also the 25th anniversary of tetris, the iconic and addictive little time-waster that we all know and love/hate. so of course the google logo today is a conglomeration of little squares.

the priorities of the modern world...which probably would not exist as we know it had it not been for the awesome effort and sacrifices made on june 6, 1944. i for one will be thinking of a 65th anniversary today, and i may never play tetris again.

google is a powerful and amazingly useful tool, and its operators are business and creative genius...but they haven't got a clue.


Friday, June 5, 2009

the (new) china syndrome

are you just dying to drive the new chinese vehicles that are in our near future? good, 'cause you probably will.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

jon stewart: not totally sucky (this time)

i'm not jon stewart's biggest fan to say the least. but last night's edition had an hilarious and spot-on mocking rant on the bobo administration's foray into the car and insurance industries...segueing into a not-totally negative and pretty damn funny bit with john gad on the relative investment virtues of ar-15's vs. ak-47's.

sadly, what i thought would be the highlight of the show (and the original reason i tuned in) was an interview with one of my favorite writer/humorists, p.j. orourke. but p.j. disappointed mightily, in a very lame promo of his new book. the book is about one of my other favorite subjects, classic American cars, and i haven't read it so i will assume (and hope) that it is up to p.j.'s normal excellent standard. but the interview was truly pathetic. oh well, you can't have everything.


Monday, June 1, 2009

sotomayor: good for gun biz!

gotta print up some more posters for the gun shop walls...we'll put hers, "salesman of the month"right under barry's, "salesman of the year".

keep it up, bobo!