Friday, December 30, 2011

An announcement from Matt over at Del Fatti Leather



"In an effort to shorten the build and delivery times, we will only be accepting new orders for holsters made for the following handguns:  1911 pattern pistols, Browning High Powers, HK P7 series pistols, Seecamp pistols, Rohrbaugh R9 pistols, and some selected revolvers.  In addition, we will limit the number of orders we accept in one opening so we can complete them within 6 months."

"Effective 12/30/11 - We are accepting new orders."


Planning out the New Year 2012



Just finished our 2012 family budget; I’ve been doing my budgets for home and work on spreadsheets since the days of VisiCalc.  It is getting tighter for us to make ends meet, but if we can quit adopting sick cats and helping out destitute friends and relatives, each who say that they “keep track of my finances in my head,” we should be okay at least for another year.  The taxes and health insurance costs are murderous, but I assume those problems are nationally pervasive.  It is funny that the government programs to help the needy are not available to help the needy that I know.  Quite frankly I am growing weary of people practicing foolhardy financial hygiene for their entire lives then loudly adorning themselves in the robes of victimhood when their world falls apart.  Please BUDGET, people.  Quit spending money you don’t have on things you really do not need.  In my blue, gray, and white-collar lifetime I was amazed to meet so many people who felt qualified to manage multi-million dollar corporate budgets when they lived one paycheck away from bankruptcy.  Money in your personal bank account is power and freedom.  Debt indentures you to a life of sycophancy and servitude, which is exactly where the banks and politicians (and occasionally, your spouse or significant other) want you to be. 

As far as our other contingencies, today I exercised the engines on the portable generator, both snow blowers, and (optimistically) the riding lawn mower.   I have cut down on the emergency supply of food and household paper products so I can reorganize the basement, but I expect to be done with that project and fully restocked before the end of the Mayan calendar when the gods shower cataclysmic horror down on our poor defenseless little noggins.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Restaurant Seatology



Have you been downsized, outsourced, or just plain shit-canned from your job?  Consider returning to school to get a degree in the growing field of restaurant seatology.  Restaurant seatologiststs are those well-coiffed mysterious looking folks wearing wireless-radio headsets and toting clipboards who stare you down when you enter most food establishments.  They all sport a rehearsed ceramic smile that would make a Doberman submissively incontinent.  

“Welcome to Olive Lobster restaurant.  How many in your party?”  (You answer, “Two please, and we would prefer a booth by the window.”  The greeting-seatologist’s razor sharp smile turns to a full snarl.)

“Ahem, WELL, we will SEE what we can do.” (At this point, the greeting-seatologist mumbles something into her microphone to the seating-seatologist about some lowlife troublemaker wanting a booth.  They exchange words for a few moments, glance down at their clipboards, and then several waitresses are called into the conference.  After many tense moments, a decision is finally reached.)

“Sir, there will be a twenty-minute wait for a booth. “(At this point, you ask why there will be a wait, pointing out that the restaurant is nearly empty and that there are clean booths right by the window.)

“SIR, that section is closed.”  (For the entertainment of the other customers, you ask in your loudest, most incredulous tone of voice, “Why is it closed?  Is there a problem with the Health Department?”)

“NO!  SIR, the waitress for that area has gone home and we have nobody assigned to it!” (You in turn point out that a waitress is serving a party seated across the aisle from the row of empty booths, a mere five steps away.)

“SIR, we have a system whereby all of the work is divided equally between all the staff for better customer service.  You can either take a table now (with the unpadded chairs, paralyzing backache guaranteed) or we will have a booth available for you in about twenty minutes.” (You now ask to speak to the manager, or you sulk back outside and go to another restaurant, or you tuck your tail between your legs and go sit where you are told.)

By gosh and by golly, those restaurant seatologists enviably have authority second only to U.S. Government Federal Agents.  You will sit wherever they damn well tell you to sit or you can go hungry.

While it is not for me to tell nationally famous restaurants like Olive Lobster or Red Garden how to treat their paying customers, it is my ever-humble opinion that folks tend to frequent establishments that treat customers to some good service.   While I am glad that these big chains offer a respectable vocation for willing American workers, fewer autocratic greeters and seaters on the payrolls sure would make me a happier patron.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

News to help you snooze



It was time for me to get a haircut today; it was 13-weeks since the last one.  I wish I could say that I look human again, but I don’t.

Stretching our cash and carry budget to the limits, we picked out a new all-leather sofa and loveseat for the living room, paid for them, and had them delivered today.  The cats did not want to let go of the 13-year-old raggedy furniture but it was nice for us to see it hauled away.  We had to settle for furniture made in China; we could not find anything we wanted that was USA made and NOT priced far beyond our means.  We did, however, buy from a local independent rather than from a high volume national chain.

The many expert predictions of “THE WORST CHICAGO WINTER EVER!” so far have been unfulfilled.  The benchmark winter of 1978-1979 began around Thanksgiving, so we have some serious catching up to do before the experts can thump their chests in victory.  2011 was the greenest Chicagoland Christmas I can remember.





Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Seasons Greetings from the Feline Opium Den



Despite being neutered, Freak continues to urine-spray mark “his territory.”  On December 16 we began testing Feliway on our cats.  Overall, the product does seem to mellow out all the cats, but today Freak is back to spraying.  We clean up and deodorize his “marks” as fast as we can to discourage his compulsion … he unquestionably has been a challenge.

Anyway, I am sure that Coyote (aka Her Royal Highness), Stick (aka Snake), and Freak (aka Mr. Pee-Pee) want to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Are you taking the kids to visit Santa?





“Last, please understand sometimes visiting Santa takes a little longer. There was the little boy who wanted his father to come home from prison. There was the little girl who wanted her late grandmother back. Both of these were young enough to think I could actually help. You don’t shove a candy cane in their hand and kick them off the stage after that. Santa also needed a moment; folks shouldn’t see him cry either.”


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blogging to you live from high atop a new 13-inch MacBook Pro



My strategic budget plan needed alteration shortly after my previous blog post.

The final error message from my old Toshiba was “YOUR MOTHERBOARD IS SMOLDERING.  FOR YOUR SAFETY AND COMFORT, PLEASE REMOVE THE COMPUTER FROM YOUR LAP AND DO NOT INHALE UNTIL THE ROOM IS ONCE AGAIN SMOKE FREE.”

The new MacBook is paid for, but now it will be a bit before I save enough for new furniture that I promised.  My cash and carry lifestyle is a bit inconvenient at times, but it keeps the wolves from my door.

This is my first Apple purchase.  In fact, the last Apple computer I did any work with was an Apple IIe.  When I mentioned that to the store sales geek his response was "whazzat?" 

It has been a long strange trip down the silicon road for me.  The first computer I bought was a Sinclair ZX81, which was just before the Timex Sinclair.  Then Commodore, then on to a string of MS-DOS boxes (anyone remember the 8086 processor?).  The many MS-Windows I had for personal and professional use were good enough and got the job done but the time is right for a change.  I’ve decided to move on to the world of the Apple… just don’t expect to find me lounging around Starbucks.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I have had this Toshiba laptop since June 1, 2006.


It has been a good enough workhorse but hardware and software wise it has been a challenge to keep it running for the 5.5 years that I have had it.  I keep putting off getting a new one but methinks I have pushed my luck long enough.  After the first of the year, I need to buy a new sofa and love seat for the living room BEFORE I can get a new laptop (if the unforeseen does not challenge my sacred budget).

I am not married to Toshiba hardware and MS software even though I have had decent luck with both.  I can find only one USA made laptop and I am not sure my patriotism will overcome my fears that the outfit may no measure up; I expect no less than 3-years of service from my computers and my current laptop is not the first one I have used for over 5-years. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Just as cell phones and personal computers did, I believe electric cars can evolve into a marketable product line.


First off, the range between recharges needs to extend well over 300-miles.  Next, the recharge time needs to drop from hours to minutes.  Third, recharge sites need to be as ubiquitous as gasoline filling stations.  Fourth, the unsubsidized purchase price needs to be competitive with conventional cars.  Fifth, battery life and electrical components should be fully guaranteed for five-years.  Finally, they should be as stylish, as roomy, as comfortable, and as fast as conventional cars.

I believe in the USA free market and I believe in the American People, and I believe that technological evolution results in lifestyle revolutions.  No government agency mandated iPods, iPhones, or iPads.  As this electric car business evolves, I can imagine some big-name big-box retailer offering low-cost recharge sites for shoppers followed by a big-name hotel/motel chain offering low-cost recharge sites for travelers.  If the automakers can capture the imagination of the American people as they did in the 1950s and 1960s, seeing the USA in your E-Chevrolet can become an adventure.  Every Mom and Pop business along the Old Route 66 can offer curbside recharge sites where the old curbside gasoline pumps used to be.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Smart Cars are coming


because drivers continue to do stupid things and the noble ideal of mass transportation has been nothing but an expensive government pork filled failure.

Hell, I look forward to letting my driver’s license expire and then drinking myself silly while watching TV or surfing the webz as my Apple iCar drives me around the country.  I hope they hurry all of this technology up; I am getting somewhat old.

Corzine uses the “I’m just The Village Idiot” defense



If his defense sounds vaguely like the songs sung by Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, remember that Jon Corzine was once Governor of New Jersey.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The wide wild world of guns meme



How many different countries are represented in your gun locker?  Glenn B came up with the idea; you can find the guidelines over at his site.

Off the top of my noggin, I can only come up with eight nine countries hanging on my gun racks.  USA is first, with most everything I own.   The balance follows.


Austria made Glock 17

Belgium made Baby Browning and Browning .22 take down rifle


France made Walther PPK (yeah, I know is says Germany but we all know otherwise)


Italy made Beretta Minx

Yugoslavia made Mauser M-48B (I have yet to blog about mine so the link goes to Carteach0’s most excellent coverage)

Thursday, December 1, 2011