Friday, December 16, 2011

Narrowing The Field

Fox's Republican candidate debate took place last night. I thought it was a good debate that defined the positions of several of the candidates. I think that the Republicans have several candidates who would make a worthy president. There is only one that I would outright disqualify.... Ron Paul. And I feel that there were two clear winners last night: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. There are two other candidates I like very well: Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum. I feel that Perry and Huntsman are weak candidates, but could still make good presidents.

Ron Paul, more or less disqualified himself with his stance on national defense. He is even weaker than Obama and Obama would like to give away the farm. One thing we must all remember, our nation was bought with blood, maintained by blood, kept free by blood, and it will require more blood to stay free. The best way to prevent bloodshed is through a very strong military. It must be the strongest in the world. The USA must chart it's own course and not be followers of the rest of the world.

Michelle Bachman did well, but she needs to stop attacking Newt because Newt is able to take care of himself and can turn the tables. I think she has great ideas and would have the resolve to be a good and disciplined president.

Santorum was good in every way. He just didn't say anything that was rememberable. I think He would make an excellent president, but the key is to win the election. All good ideas are moot unless you win. He needs a little more fire. There appears to be no skeletons in his closet.

Perry could make a good president but can't win the election.

Romney is the big pleasant surprise for me. He clarified several positions. He is also even tempered and well spoken and has a certain Charisma. He ranks very high on presidential credentials. I especially like his stance on foreign policy and national defense. I went from liking him but distrusting him to liking him more and trusting him more.

Newt. Well, Newt is Newt. I didn't like him because of things I had heard and because of his personal life. He seems to have those things taken care of. But this man is brilliant. Obama could never effectively debate him because Newt has the ability to turn the tables. Also, this man is the greatest reason President Clinton was successful. He would make a great president.

I have it narrowed to two probables: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I hope that who ever loses would consent to being vice president. A vice president with a more active roll. There is too much talent here to waste.

Who is the Republicans worst enemy? Donald Trump and Ron Paul. Why? because they both have the ability to split the party and ensure that Obama gets re-elected.

That's the way I see it.

Enjoy your coffee.

Monday, December 12, 2011


"Tebowing" is a new term and one day may make it into the dictionary. When a person "Tebows" it simply means that he is taking the pose that was made famous by Quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos. When Tebow Tebows it is sincere. He is simply on one knee thanking and praising God, or praying. Others may Tebow for a variety of reasons. Some people like it and some don't.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about Tim Tebow. After reading this article I have had to conclude that Tim Tebow is genuine through and through. He is the same off the field as he is on the field. He is unabashedly a Christian. Like it or not, that is who he is. I prefer to like it.

There is growing criticism made of Tebow's public prayer. It is a matter of discussion on talk shows around America. Many are claiming that there is no place for these public displays in the NFL where people can see it on national TV and are made uncomfortable. I disagree. First of all, the cameras do not have to zoom in on Tebow while he is Tebowing. They could just leave him alone and let him be who he is. Secondly, that feeling of discomfort may be the result of our own shortcomings. Mr. Tebows openess with his Christianity is an example of what other Christians should be doing, but are not doing, and therefore the sense of discomfort and guilt. I know that is true in my life. I should be doing more and should be more open with my faith. I haven't decided whether to "Tebow," but I have decided to be more forthright.

The world will be watching Mr. Tebow for him to make his first mistake. When he does, or if he does, all hell will break loose. He will get labeled as a hypocrite and the world will take comfort in that. We will all feel better because he will join the rest of us hypocrites. Misery loves company.

But I think I will "Tebow" right now and pray that Mr. Tebow will continue to be himself and that he will not fail those of us who need a shining example to make us feel uncomfortable so that we will get off our dead ends and do what we should also be doing. No, I'm not talking about "Tebowing". I'm talking about the Christian acts of faith and charity that makes Mr.s Tebow who he really is.

Come on Timmy. I'm pulling for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The One Percent

President Obama has for some reason set himself against the "one percent." That is the 1% of our population that makes up the wealthiest Americans. Of course, he and his cronies are excluded because for some reason they are the good guys while the rest of the wealthy are the bad guys. One thing is for sure, that when Obama is finished with his presidency, which I hope is soon, there will be fewer one percenters. America's wealth is diminishing.

But not only will there be fewer one percenters, there will also be fewer in the middle class, whom he claims to champion. I believe that my wife and I fit in the middle class somewhere. But during Obama's presidency our financial position has not improved. Quite the contrary. Obama wants to tell the middle class that is is for them, but the stark reality is that his policies hurt them. Obama calls this fairness.

What is fair? Well, to Obama it means that everyone should be financially equal. Therefore, tax the rich and give it to the poor. But, wait! the middle class is also getting taxed and their money is also being distributed to the poor. Who are the poor? Who's getting my money.... and yours?

What seems fair to me is that those who educate themselves, invest in their careers, take risks for potential earnings, and who work at it everyday should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and investments. What does not seem fair is for their financial gain to be confiscated through taxation and given to those who have made no effort to educate themselves, invest in their future, or work hard to advance themselves. Does it seem fair to you that a man should own a business, make all the investment, take all the risk only to have those who work for him make the same money, or as in some cases, make even more. Yes, "the laborer is worthy his hire." But should the guy who employs the laborer we worthy of something, too?

Yet, it is the employer that Obama stands against. Does he think I own my own press to print money? The government may be able to to that but I think there are laws against counterfeiting. It just so happens that large corporations, small companies, and the one percent whom Obama hates are the ones who can provide the jobs that other American's need. So, while he is endeavoring to tax the H out of them, how does he think they will be able to provide jobs? He needs a class in Economics 101.

Also, this president is involved with class warfare, he is racist, he is endeavoring to divide Americans, and he is failing to uphold the constitution. He acts like a guy with an IQ of about 70.

Electing someone else would make my Starbucks taste really good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I know that it is debated, but RLS is a real disease. That's restless leg syndrome. I know because I have it, and today it was very obvious.

Typically it manifests itself more in the evening and at night. Many nights I have tossed and turned due to jerking and aching legs. When this manifests itself there is no way to be comfortable. Sometimes painkillers relieve the ache and make it bearable, but that does not stop the sudden and unexpected jerking. Sometimes it is much worse than others and sometimes I have no symptoms at all.

Today was one of those times that I was reminded once again that I have it. The MRI lasted thirty minutes. During that time my legs had to be absolutely still. I didn't think much about that until about halfway into it. Suddenly my legs wanted to move. I was going wild. It was a mental challenge to keep them still. The MRI is a $1,000 test and who wants to pay for it twice? I was so relieved when it was over.

The tech, who is not qualified to read the MRI, told me that there is no new growth, and that it looks like the growth is very old.... which is good news. I hope the doctor has the same opinion.
Over the years I have had doctors say it is a cyst, others said it was calcification, a couple of doctors asked me when I broke my leg. My knee surgeon thought it might be a bone tumor. This is the first time they have really felt the need to take a look at it. I guess I'll find out in a few days what it really is.

Anyway, back to the subject. RLS is a real disorder. It is my hope that with the knee replacements there will be less pain and therefore the RLS will diminish.

That's worth celebrating with a fresh cup of Starbucks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Just about everyone has skeletons in the closet. This, of course, means that there are things in your life that you are not proud of that only you over very few others know about. And they are skeletons only if they are thinks you want to keep secret, or you don't want to have them published.

Candidates running for president of the United States need to really think this through before they become candidates. I mean, there are some really smart people like Herman Cane, who may have done some really stupid things. Does this mean that he would not make a good president? Probably. And I say that because in the first place he is probably not electable based upon the skeletons he may or may not have. And secondly, because he would eventually lose the respect of Americans if he were president.

I understand that one one is perfect. We have all done things that we later regret. So it depends on the seriousness of these skeletons whether someone should become a candidate for president.

This doesn't mean that that a man or woman cant change their mind. Their rivals like to call this flip-flopping. All of us have changed our mind about something or other. It's a good thing we do or we may continue down a wrong path. All presidential candidates can be accused of a flop-flop or two. What they thought was good at one time they now think is wrong. So be it. I appreciate the fact they can admit to the error and move on. That's part of building integrity. But that is far different than a skeleton (some hidden sin).

Obama has no skeletons that we know of. He has been fully vetted and we know what kind of crap comes out of this administration. Newt Gingrich has no skeletons because everything is out in the open. We just have to determine whether he is now genuine. He does have a few flip-flops. Mitt Romney has no skeletons that we know of, but does have a few flip-flops. Michelle Backman has no skeletons that we know of or flip-flops. Donald Trump may have skeletons as he has not been vetted and I know of no flip-flops. Ron Paul..... well, he's Ron Paul but will never be president. Richard Perry is an also ran so it doesn't make any difference. Herman Cane is out.

I see the top Republican contenders as Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Michelle Backman, and Donald Trump. Ya, Ya, I know, Donald Trump is not a candidate! Don't kid yourself. He will run as an independent, which, in case you haven't noticed is the largest voting block in the country right now.

Enjoy your morning coffee!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do you like the Stock Market?

Wow! yesterday was something! The DOW Jones surged 490 points. Hey, it's about time! Right? Well, ya, but don't hold your breath. A lot of money was made yesterday. But a lot will be lost again when they once again sound the alarm about the world economy. For the real players on the stock market, volatility is the name of the game. That's where the big money is made. That is also where your hard earned money is generally lost. That's because you have to play by different rules.

The market makers can sell short and can also move the markets with option trading, and of course by distorting the news so you panic and they gain. In your 401K you probably cannot short sell or deal in options. You can only go long and are therefore destined to lose on the bad news days. Not fair!

Here's how it works: If you own 500 shares of a stock such as GE. Traders have the right to borrow your stock that you paid for and short sell it. This nearly guarantees a loss for you and a profit for them and they don't even own the shares. Once the stock runs down they buy to cover their shorts which can drive the stock back up. They win on both sides and your 401K only goes up and down like a yo-yo.

If the SEC was serious about stabilizing the market they would ban the short selling of actual stock and restrict it to options trading only. After all, would you knowingly give someone permission to borrow your shares so they could sell it short and cause you to lose money? Probably not.

Enjoy the surge while it lasts. It will change, and sooner than you think.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good Bye Herman

Herman Cain may be a great businessman, but he has shown that he doesn't know much about world events and even less about family values. More important than family values is honesty.
He may be a nice guy in many ways, and a smart guy, but he is definitely not presidential material. So good bye Herman and good bye "9-9-9".


Well, after all, I'm 62. I don't really feel that old other than my knees. The surgeon will tell me tomorrow what will happen to them. I think he might suggest chopping my legs off above the knees and gluing titanium joints in their place. I must admit that I am not looking forward to that.

But thanks for the birthday wishes. Next year at this time I will be 63 and my knees will be 1. We will both have about the same life expectancy.

Well, this is my message from Starbucks this morning.

By the way, I like my coffee black.....very black.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Newt II

Newt Gingrich is the leader in the Iowa Republican primary for a good reason. He has shown that he is a superior debater, has experience in government, is level headed in not attacking his opponents, and offers a plan of action for the U.S. debt and for immigration.

On the subject of immigration, all the other candidates want to expel all the illegals and close the borders to illegal immigrants. Closing the borders to them is a no brainer. But sending them all back might not be the right thing to do. Gingrich maintains that many of these immigrants have been in the United States for twenty-five years. They have married American Citizens, had children, worked jobs, and paid taxes. He says that to sent them back would break up their families and that is morally wrong. I tend to agree with him. Let's remember, we are a melting pot and a country of immigrants.

There is a way to do both. First, provide a legal path to citizenship for those who meet certain criteria. Expel those who don't. Tighten the borders against other illegals coming in. Criteria that should be met is that the immigrant should be married to an American Citizen, have a job, pay taxes, have health insurance, and stay out of trouble. That includes cleaning up their own kid's graffiti.

Yes, I know there is much more to it than that. But breaking up families and leaving children fatherless and possibly homeless is not the right thing to do.

So, at this point I am leaning towards Newt. I just wish I could like him better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He Called Us Lazy

Well, I call him stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid. I am wondering how a guy who has never held a real job in his life can call the rest of us lazy. Does he live in the same world (nix that) universe as the rest of us.

For years I've been up at 5:00 am each morning, I drove out to my jobs, I climbed up and down ladders, lifted heavy shingles, sheetrock, lumber and concrete. I've worked long hours on bad knees and come home dead tired. Then that yahoo in the White House accuses me of being lazy while he is out on some Hawaiian golf course spending my hard earned dollars.

This president does not have the ability to think rationally. He doesn't even understand that you can't be in Hawaii playing golf while calling Americans lazy. He just doesn't get it. Can't the Democrats come up with somebody better than him to run for maybe Mitt Romney. Oh, I forgot Mitt is a Republican.... or so he says.

Anyway, I am greatly offended by this president who discounts the value of anyone who has an opposing view. Somehow he thinks he has helped our country, but in reality he has taken away from our country. He's not the savior he was elected to be. But he has further injured our economy, he has alienated our most important allies, he has bowed down to the Arabs, he has made us more energy dependent, he has..... well he has..... screwed up.

Now he has committed the cardinal sin. He told the whole world that I am lazy. Is that because I don't play golf with him?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Newt Gingrich is rising from the dead. It seemed that at one time his political career was over because of his personal life and indiscretions that turned Americans away.... even those Republicans who strongly supported him. Most of us know the details of his personal life, and those I do not care to recount here. During this election campaign season Gingrich has slowly edged his way to third place and is currently gaining momentum.

I have not been listening to the debates, but the word is that Gingrich is consistent and is by far the most knowledgeable and is the best spoken of all the candidates. I have heard several interviews with Gingrich and I must say that I do like what he is saying. And when I take a look at his record while Speaker of the House I have to think that he is most able to get things done. The "things done," of course is restoring our economy and reversing some very liberal pieces of legislation that have been passed over the past three years.... and longer.

One thing for sure is that Gingrich's character will e scrutinized. If he is, indeed, the Republican nominee the democrats and the liberal press will take aim at his past life and will pound away at it in the same manner they have been attacking Herman Cain.

When Gingrich was asked about how he would handle this he gave this answer, (not verbatim) He said that he was sure that his past life would be scrutinized. But he also said that he had asked God's forgiveness. Then he added that it would be up to the people to decide. And he said these things with no panic or fear.

I like his response. He made no effort to downplay his past or to cover it up. He just seemed to indicate that God had forgiven him and now it is up to the people.

Is Gingrich's past flawed? Yes. Will it affect his election chances? Yes. But would he make a good president? I believe that once again the answer is yes? Will he be elected as president? Probably not. But I am glad he is there making sense of the Republican debates.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Herman, Herman, Herman!

Where there is smoke there is usually fire.... but I am not sure in this case. Yet, having said that.... I'm still not sure in this case.

Herman Cain is a guy I would like to support because he has all the right philosophies, ones which he has proven in his business world. I think he would make a good president, if not a great president. The allegations against him do cast a cloud over him. Nothing is provable and like I said, where there is smoke there is usually fire. However, in this case we also need to take into consideration the character of those making the allegations.

I find it truly amazing that all the women coming forward are Democrats. I also find it interesting that some of them work for the democrat political machine and that these stories are breaking through Politico, which is an organization that truly hates Republicans and shows strong support for liberals and democrats alike (same thing). I wouldn't be surprised if money was changing hands in order to get these women to tell a story (like a book deal). They wanted money to not tell a story and I am betting that they want money to tell a story. Sorry, but that makes them pretty incredible.

I think the Obama Regime sees Herman Cain as their primary opponent. After all, a black Republican introduces a whole new concept to black voters. The democrats no longer have a monopoly on the blacks and that could spell trouble at election time. I know that the Obama camp is pretty thrilled over this breaking news. What is troubling is that there are also some Republican candidates that are equally as thrilled. But at this point Herman is holding his own.

I believe that Americans regardless of race or political party are fed up with the smear campaigns that have been prevalent over the last several elections, and I think they see what is happening to Herman is a smear campaign.

I think that Herman Cain's Candidacy will falter in time as a result of what is happening now. These allegations will continue to dog him. The only people who know the truth are those making the allegations and Mr.s Cain, himself. And we don't know, and may never know who is really telling the truth. But, hey, to this point he may be more forthright than Mr. Clinton ever was, and Mr. Clinton's lies never seemed to bother the left. Why all the to do now?

If Mr. Cain goes away, Newt Gingrich will be the benefactor. Think about that!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The 99%

The Occupy Wall Street mob is making a pretty big claim. They say that they are representing 99% of Americans. Well, my best educated guess is that they don't. I don't ever recall voting for a single one of them and I know for sure that they don't represent me. I'm a Capitalist as I believe more than 50% of Americans still are. I believe in free enterprise and the free market society.

I find it quite disingenuous for them to be carrying their iphones and to be taking transportation systems to the site of their protests, then protest against the very corporations that made it possible for them to be there. I also find it equally disingenuous for them to demand equality in the area of economics while I am working my tail off and most of them sit on their tail and expect benefits. Something just doesn't seem fair about that.

Now I can understand the frustrations of many of those who want jobs and have no jobs. But if that is the case, they should be protesting at the White House where they have the policy of making jobs go away, rather than at Wall Street that represents the many thousands of corporations that provide jobs.

In my opinion these protesters do represent 99%. They represent 99% of the druggies, 99% of the socialists, 99% of the lazy, and 99% of those who have no conscience. I say that because it either takes a person with no conscience to expect someone else to support him, or it takes a real jerk.

So, if everyone was equal economically, would that mean we would all have jobs that pay the same regardless of our work? Probably not, it would mean that everyone except the protesters would have jobs that pay the same. The protesters would still not be working. They would be protesting something else to apply leverage for their free ticket to life.

That's who these people are. They want a free meal ticket at someone else's expense. They don't have it in themselves to be responsible for themselves. They think that who they are is somebody else's fault. And of course, that somebody else is either a Republican or a CEO or some other Capitalist.

Why don't we just all be equal? That way we can all equally share nothing, because nothing is what we will all have.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eric Holder Should Be Fired

One of the things I don't understand about politics is how news agencies can be so openly biased that they destroy their own reputations by not being fair and balanced. If Eric Holder, US Attorney General, were a Republican the major news agencies would be calling for his resignation, and demanding that the the Republican President fire him. But as it is they are generally just sweeping this incident under the rug. Only Fox News is doing any amount of reporting.

What did Eric Holder do? Or should I say, what did he do this time? Well, the United States gave weapons to Drug Cartels and War Lords to our neighbors to the South. This was in hopes of tracking the weapons and rounding up drug dealers and warlords. The problem is two fold. First of all they shouldn't have allowed the weapons to leave the United States, and secondly, they forgot to track them. These weapons are now in the hands of the wrong people and they are being used to kill Americans. Over 200 Americans so far.

Why is Eric Holder Culpable? First of all, this happened under his watch. Secondly, he received two memos concerning this disaster and did nothing about it. Thirdly, he lied to Congress and the US citizens when asked about. Said, he had just learned about it now. And he continues to lie.

Evidently, the value of 200 American's lives is pretty low. Well, that is only if a Democrat makes the mistake that costs their lives. This can be pushed under the rug. But if a Republican made the mistake and only a single life was lost, the news agencies would want that Republican's head on a platter.

How does Mr. Holder sleep at night? Why doesn't this debacle seem to bother him? Why hasn't Mr. Obama fired him? I believe it boils down to this..... Democrats think they can do no wrong.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs

The death of Steve Jobs impacted me more than I thought it would. I actually wept, not once, but twice. Having never met him I had the sense that I knew him, and what I knew about him I really liked.

Since his death I have heard comparisons between him and Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin. I really don't know if you can compare because it is like comparing apples to oranges. But I do know this, that he was one of the great visionaries of our times. He had great ideas and knew how to develop them and bring them to market. I must say that I love my MacBook, and my iphone 4. Steve Jobs was on the cutting edge and was always running ahead of his competition. He not only knew how to develop products, but he also knew how to sell them.

What I am saddest about is that we lost one of the great Americans who is iconic as he related to the free enterprise system. He truly showed us how to do it. He took Apple from the edge of non-existence and turned it into the largest and most profitable corporation in America. He was also a great employer. Five thousand work at Apple in Cupertino, and now there are the numerous Apple Stores around the country. I have yet to be in an Apple Store that is not packed with customers.

I say to those of you who may feel disenfranchised by capitalism and the free market system, Steve Jobs is a shining example of how it works. The protesters on Wall Street this week ought to be ashamed of themselves. Their demonstrations are only telling me that they don't think they have what it takes to make it on their own. That they are jealous of those who have worked hard and become successful. They want someone else to do the work, pay their taxes, so that they in turn can get their government handout. That is not the way America is supposed to work. The sickness of entitlement is screwing up our economy. The protester is biting the hand that feeds him.

America provides abundant opportunity for anyone who will work hard to become successful. Believe me, most who have become successful have worked hard and taken risks that have paid off.

Anyway, Steve Jobs, I will miss you and so will America.

Too Busy to Blog

Apologies to everyone. I've just been too busy to blog, and sometimes too tired. Like you miss this when I don't. Like I said before, this blog is more for me than it is for you..... but I do hope you enjoy it.

But, I truly have been too busy. My business is rolling along pretty nice right now. After the summer rush it looked like it was going to slow down, but it picked right back up. Good sign for the economy, right? Well, not really.

Many of the repairs I'm doing are for older people who want to fix things up before they sell their house and downsize. I do fixing on houses that are to be sold because people can no longer afford them. When the recession first hit in 2008 my business picked up dramatically because people decided to keep and fix up what they have rather than upgrade. Back then they would have three or four things on their fix it list and I was hired to do them all. Nowadays they have three or four things on their fix it list and I'm hired to do only one or two. Their money is running out. But now, as apposed to then, there are a lot more people who need fixing.

So I figure it this way, when the economy actually improves, my business may actually diminish. During good times people want bigger and nicer houses in nicer neighborhoods. In bad times they settle for what they have.

I guess that's just the way it is.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Let me tell you about our villa at the Sheraton in Steamboat Springs. First of all everything is luxury from the ten foot ceilings, to the expensively carpeted and granite floors. There are the luxurious crown mouldings, expensive cherry cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, four TV sets, fire place, washer and dryer, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, one with a jacuzzi, and a balcony overlooking the mountains and ski area. All of this in a space larger than our house and on the eighth floor. My only complaint is the cheap toaster.

The fall colors are gorgeous, and the scenery is fantastic. Today we visit down town and some points of interest. I have a feeling that two full days here is not enough time.

I think once again how lucky we are to live in Colorado where places like this are only two to three hours away driving through some of the most beautiful country on God's earth. I love the solitude here. I love the sit back and kick back and drink some more coffee atmosphere. I love the time to read a good book. I especially love that there are no mosquitoes. Just sit on the deck and enjoy the coolness and the scenery.

Now that I've made you jealous I'll pour another cup of and sit back. Beautiful sunny, cool morning here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

From Seattle to Steamboat

Every time I think we paid too much for our time shares, I am reminded of the nice places we get to go. A couple of weeks ago we stayed at the W in Seattle, today we are headed for the Regency in Steamboat Springs. At the end of the month I am headed for the Kierland in Phoenix. Previous trips have taken us to Orlando, Orlando, Hawaii, Hawaii, and Hawaii, Seattle, Seattle, Seattle and Seattle.

Today we are headed to Steamboat Springs in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. It is prime time for fall colors and the weather is in the 70's. I couldn't have planned it better myself. O wait, I did plan it myself. I gotta remember my camera, and my swimsuit for the hot springs. Oh yes, and my hiking shoes. I won't have trouble remembering those since they are my only shoes. Yes, Sir! Nothing like hiking shoes and wool socks to keep your feet warm.... or cool.

The drive through the mountains is a great feature. I say there is no place in the world more beautiful than Colorado. Others must think so too since the traffic is bumper to bumper all the way up and back. I was born and raised in Minnesota and this has Minnesota beat hands down.... especially in the winter, spring, summer and fall.

Anyway, we are headed for the mountains, the place of much beauty and many Starbucks. Had to mention that because of my love for coffee. No, not that girly sticky stuff they call lattes. Just good black coffee. No room please.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back From Seattle

Well, actually I got back from Seattle six days ago..... not feeling well at all. I call it airplane sickness, which is different than air sickness. Air sickness I don't get, but I always get airplane sickness. I am convinced that every sick person in the city you are leaving gets on the airplane and the filtration system on the plane blows their germs right in your face. So, by the time I land my throat is already getting scratchy, the next day a little more scratchy, the third day I'm sick (really bad sore throat and cough). And by the time I fly back I am ready to give my sickness to others on the airplane. But I am basically out of commission for the next three to four days. So, now that I am feeling better I am finally back from Seattle.

The weather here, in Colorado is beautiful. Very cool mornings with highs in the high seventies, clear skies, and low humidity. The leaves are turning color in the mountains and soon will be here. What a great time to take a scenic tour and visit coffee shops. This morning I'm on my deck in my gazebo. It's about 50 degrees, the sun is shining, and the coffee is superb. I hear the train in the distance. Quaint!

It's great to be alive!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not Facebook Fan

Over the past ten years or so, social networking has literally exploded into multi billion dollar business. I have no issues with that. I think these networks are a wonderful way to interact. I use Facebook myself, but primarily to post my blog which I admit nearly no one reads. But that's okay.

So why am I not a fan? Well, it's because of the abuses. I can handle a one-a-day or two-a-day posting by my friends. But there are those who post 10-15-20 times a day and talk about really trivial things or nothing oat all. I'm not interested in your feuds, the color of your underwear, or how badly you feel because you stayed up too late the night before. I do like the pictures of your kids, but only so many of them.... get it? When you post, help me to look forward to reading it. Don't post so many times per day that I just skip over it. And also, remember, a derogatory remark about someone else is there for the whole world to see..... including a future employer.

There is something else in life besides Facebook.... right?

Well, I've had my say and I expect to get blasted for it. But that's okay.... I've had my say.

Taxes are Not the Same as Revenue

A subtle shift in political language has taken place over the past year or so. President Obama has resorted to calling "taxes" "revenue." But these are two different things. Taxes are a method for the Federal and State governments to collect what they call revenue. A business increases it's revenue (not necessarily profits) when it ups it's prices or sells more products and services. So them it would be logical to thing that the government can increase revenues by increasing the tax rate on the wealthy. Sorry, it don't work that way.

The reason it doesn't work is simpler than one would like to think. We are counting on corporations large and small to create jobs so people can go back to work. When these corporations are excessively taxed it hinders their ability to hire. Therefore, these corporations stagnate (do not grow) and many actually end up laying off workers. A smaller company means a smaller bottom line which translates into less taxes paid and therefore less revenue that the government collects. Also, fewer workers means that the work force is paying less taxes and less revenue received by the government.

President Obama is doing the opposite of what he should be doing to cause the economy to grow. The upshot of this is that Federal revenues will fall with the tax increases, unemployment will stay the same or go up, and the recession will be prolonged.

And here is the crux of the whole thing: Obama cares less about the economy than he does about bringing large corporations down. He wants everybody to be the same. He is therefore hurting the very people he wants to help because they still don't have jobs. Remember this: the poor will always be with us (biblical). And remember this also: If there is no financial reward for hard work, innovation, invention, and risk..... all of these things will cease and so will our society.

Obama is a misguided idealist, not a leader. He is involved in class warfare at the expense of our country. He does not understand economics. He will be a single term president.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sleepy In Seattle

The W Hotel is a wonderful place if you can afford it.... and we can.... with Star Points through the Starwood system. The 24th floor and a corner room with lots of windows offer a great view of Seattle. A super soft bed and central air conditioning ad to the luxury and the probability of a good night's sleep. Ah, Seattle! One of my favorite cities.

This time, unlike last time, I flew in an airplane that didn't flap it's wings. That's nothing unusual, in fact its normal. Except last time I thought we were headed for a crash landing. That jet shook, shuttered, and made unusual noises. This flight was superb.

Today is full of nothing in particular. Already had breakfast at Starbucks.... straight across the street from the W. I will visit the fish market, visit coffee shops, take pictures and not think about work. As Maynard G. Krebbs said, "WORK!"

Oh, I guess most of you don't remember the Dobie Gillis Show. That's back during black and white TV and when comedy was still clean fun. It was before wide screen TV, too (for those of you who think wide screen has always been with us).

I guess I got off the subject. All I wanted to say is that Audrey and I are in Seattle.

Enjoy your coffee.

Friday, September 9, 2011

More of the Same

President Obama's speech is the most disjointed and confusing speech I have ever heard. It was contradictory in message and it is clearly abundant that he does not understand economics. Now he wants to spend another $.45 trillion on more policies that do not work. More of the same.

How can he in the same speech say that he wants to bring manufacturing back to America, then promote the unions who are in fact killing manufacturing in America. Doesn't he get the connection between high wages and companies going for cheaper labor over seas? Is this guy a true idiot, or is he only acting the part?

At the same time we are dealing with record deficits, and our US credit rating is on the line, he wants to spend another $447 billion then additionally tax corporations that actually create the jobs? I just call that "in your face stupid!"

Government does not create jobs unless it is more government jobs. Proprietors, partnerships, S corporations, large corporations create jobs. Government excessively taxes these entities and hinders their ability to grow and create.

Sorry, Obama. But your speech was of little solace and of great concern. Fourteen months may be too long to wait for relief (election time) but it may be our best hope.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just As I Thought

On Monday European stocks dipped about 4% which is quite a lot. At that time I mentioned that US stocks would dip the following day and that would be a good time to buy. Well, that is exactly what happened. Then yesterday, the market had a 275 point rally which was based mostly on bargain shoppers pushing prices upward.

Last night the Republicans debated and failed to impress investors as this morning stock futures are down. Tonight, the president will make a speech about job creation..... but most people will be watching Monday Night Football. His speech will cause a small rally, but after it is analyzed for a day stocks will tumble once again because there will be no real solutions for our economy. Stocks will remain volatile. If you are a day trader you will love the volatility. If you are an investor, it will drive you nuts.

But overall, many stocks are still at bargain basement prices. Buying good stocks at a low price will still make you money.

Enjoy your morning coffee.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Show me a politician and I will show you a guy (or gal) who likes to talk. Politicians are great at making speeches. Well, that and making new laws. We've been speeched (my new word) and legislated to death. Laws and speeches...... speeches and laws. But for all that's worth, and maybe because of it all, our economy still stinks. And yet, tonight our president will make one more worthless speech.

This guy has no clue concerning what makes the economy tick and how to create a job. I have created more jobs than he has. What he doesn't understand is that tax paying Americans need tax relief, and net tax receivers need to start paying some taxes. Well, that was a side bar. All I know is that I can't hire even a subcontractor to a job if I have no job to hire him to and if there is no profit in the job. Otherwise, my only reward is working for free and added risk. And to stay afloat I can't just go get more money like the government does.

The long and the short of it, there is no job creation because the government is squeezing it's tax payers. While doing this government is reducing the reward for hard work while rewarding those who hardly work.

We don't need more speeches and laws. We need to repeal some of the laws that exist and we need to have our politicians keep their big mouths shut and do something constructive for job growth..... like keeping out of the way. Politicians are dead wood, but businesses know how to be creative and survive and thrive, if they are just left alone.

Anyway, that's my two cents. I hope it's worth more than the Starbucks coffee I am currently sipping.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Been A While

It's been a while since my last blog. That is because my business has been really busy and the heat has been really overbearing. By the time I get home I'm really exhausted and not much in the mood for blogging.

This morning, however, It is in the mid 50s, I'm sitting on my deck in the gazebo enjoying the coolness of the day, having breakfast, listening to the birds, watching the sun filter through the limber pine. I'm reflecting on the past several weeks and am looking forward to the day. Today is Labor Day and I am doing no labor. Sweet!

I did, however, read the Wall Street Journal, and I see that European zone stocks are down as much as 4% this morning. That is primarily based on the USA report of zero job growth. They think we are headed for another recession. Could be. This means that tomorrows stock market will sink. Ouch! But if you have cash, this week may be the time to buy. After a big slump the bargain hunters always show up and start buying, which pushed stocks back up. You will need a good stock and good luck.

Gold has been surging over the past year. A year ago I thought gold was too expensive at $1200 per ounce. Now it is nearly $1900 per ounce. Food commodities are also doing well, up about 30% in the past year. The Scriptures say the day will come that a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold. With drought, famine, and starvation in our world today we are headed that direction.

As I sit in the coolness of the day I am enjoy a good cup of black coffee. That is coffee "with no room" at Starbucks.

Until next time..... God Bless.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guanella Pass

Everybody has their favorite places to visit. One of mine is Guanella Pass, high in the mountains above Georgetown, CO. The road up there used to be a rutted dirt road which required a four wheel drive. Now it is a paved road and is becoming a very popular park..... not that I like the improvements. There are several lakes along the road which are a all fed by Cabin Creek, which is fed by snowmelt and natural springs in the mountains. And then, there are high mountains, one of which is Mount Berstad, which is a fourteener.

Besides the utter beauty of the place, there is fishing, hiking, camping and, of course, cool weather during the hot days. The other day when it was 95 degrees in Denver, just an hour and a half away it was 64 degrees at Guanella Pass. Lovely!

Oh, and did I mention wildlife along the way? The pic of the bighorn sheep is one of the photos I took.

Well, gotta go, I'm headed up there in just a few minutes. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I've been to the top of this mountain. The picture was taken from Rocky Mountain National Park and the mountain is Long's Peak, which is over 14,000 feet high and is one of the most difficult fourteeners in Colorado.

The best time to hike this mountain is in mid to late August when the snow pack is the lowest. The hike is sixteen miles round trip and must be started early in the morning..... like 3:00 am. Some hikers start up earlier. It is very cool that time of the morning, but don't worry, you soon will be sweating. You will need a pack with several bottles of water, energy bars, ibuprofen, a rain shelter, and some band aids. You will also need very good hiking shoes, a light, and a partner to hike with. You will also need good knees and ankles and not be afraid of heights. Oh, and one more thing.... not be afraid of dying: many have on this mountain.

You will start out at the trail head and join in a line of several hundred other hikers in the darkness of the morning. As you gain altitude and look back you will see a long winding snake of lights from other hikers who are coming behind you. The trail is always steep except for the boulder field which is about half way up and is a place where some hikers camp over night. After the boulder field, which is above the tree line, comes the eye which includes a short vertical climb and going through a small eye in the mountain. This is where a lot of the hikers drop out. Those who are afraid of heights.

Once you are through the eye the trail gets narrower with the mountain on one side of you and air on the other side. The trail also gets much steeper and there is a small rock climb on this portion of the trail. Unless you are in really good shape and used to the altitude you will be stopping often to get your breath. At one point you will turn the bend in the trail and come to a place that is perfectly flat, except it is tilted at about a 45 degree angle. This is where the push to the summit begins and this is where a whole bunch more hikers drop out. This is also the most dangerous part of the trail.

The push to the summit may not be the most difficult part of the trail. It runs about a quarter mile, but it is definitely the most nerve racking and the most dangerous. On this portion many hikers have lost their gripped and simply rolled off the mountain to a drop off of several hundred feet. If you have shoes or boots that grip well, you can walk up this portion of the trail to the summit. If you are fearful or don't have great shoes you can kind of go up here on all fours, grabbing fissures in the rock with your hands. Don't be embarrassed, most people go up this way as the drop off below looks pretty ominous.

Then suddenly you are at the top, which is flat, and is about the size of a football field. Here you will find rock shelters that have been built to protect you from the wind.... and you will use them because the wind is blowing and the temp is about 40 degrees. You'll take some pictures because the view from here is awesome, you will eat some lunch because you are famished, you will drink some water because you sweat a lot even in spite of the coldness.

After a fifteen minute to half hour stay you will start back down. You want to beat the afternoon rain and lightening that often occurs at this altitude. And guess what? You are a good conductor of electricity.

The hardest part of the descent is the first part. As you start down you see the flatness, the steepness, and the abruptness of the drop off. Again, with really good shoes and fearlessness you can walk down this slope. But don't trip or you might do summersaults right off the mountain. Or you can do as a lot of hikers do, plant your butt on the mountain and like a crab scoot down on the seat of your pants. It's weird, but safe. After that it is a long steep hike back to your car. Believe me, the seat of your car is very welcome.

If you have any Starbucks left in your cup, that is welcome, too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Couldn't Get Away

Every now and then I have a client that I can't stand, but for some reason they like my work and keep me around. In fact, I hate going there because it is hard to get away. Dwight is such a client.

I was there to install a fence post and to paint his swamp cooler. But before I could get started he had a few other things that I needed to look at. I had scheduled three hours for my work at his place but he was acting like I was there for the day.

When I looked at his swamp cooler It was obvious that he was wasting his money because it consisted mostly of rust. This was not just surface rust as it was rusted through in most places. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted. So I set my ladder up to his roof and removed the panels. I scraped and painted.... got stung by a bee, and scraped and painted some more.

When I was finally finished four hours later, he wanted to apply yet another coat of paint. Fortunately I talked him out of that. I picked up my tools and carried them to my truck. When I returned for my ladder I found him on the roof doing some other work. I reminded him that I was already late for my next appointment. I was informed that he would be down from the roof in a few minutes. With Dwight, nothing is ever a few minutes.

I left there vowing I would never work for him again! My wife said, "You've said that before."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why I Won't Vote For Romney

The last general election, if Mitt Romney had been the Republican nominee, I would have voted for him. But this time around I will not, and I have no one else in mind that I would vote for either. The reason I won't vote for Romney is because he has turned into a Republican Obama. He knocks Obama for his financial policies but I see little difference between Obama's policies and his own.

Today the Wall Street Journal came out with an article stating that Obama's, oops, I mean Romney's advisor are urging him to promote Obama's health care policies. It is these very policies that are helping with the killing of our economy. There are also other areas that Romney is acting like a Democrat. He has also stated that he feels that he is the best candidate to work with the Democrats. Maybe that is because at heart.... he is one. Working with the Democrats means letting them have their way. They've had their way and look at the mess our economy is in. We need someone who will stand up against them. Mitt Romney is not the man!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Redeeming the Time

The past couple of months has been a frenzy of activity as it relates to my work. There were always two or three jobs in progress on any given day. Time was a rare commodity, and spare time was non-existent. This all resulted in long work days and not enough sleep. My deteriorating knees also felt the pain.

Just now when I think things are letting up, the phone has started ringing. A ringing phone means more bids which means more work, which means less time.

Well, today is Saturday and I'm sitting on my deck.....blogging of all things. A dish of mountain mix is next to me and a cold bottle of water is on my other side. I'm not doing anything important..... except enjoying life for a change. There is a "time for everything." There is also a time to redeem. "Redeeming" the time can mean several things. It can mean staying too busy to enjoy life. But right now.... I'm "redeeming the time."

Lazy bumb! Hmmm, this is nice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hooray For Mitch McConnel

It's finally happening! The truth is being told. Mitch McConnel is the politician that had the guts to say it. Concerning the country's fiscal problems he said: "The real deal cannot be made as long as Obama remains in office." The Republicans know it, the Democrats know it, The President knows it, and soon the public will know it. Cutting the deficit and holding the debt ceiling down are a must if we are to avoid another recession. Obama's QE2 did not work and borrowing more money to pay interest on money we already borrowed will not work. It's time to take the President's credit card away until he can control himself.

We have all seen what President Obama's policies have led to. We have much higher gas prices than the day he took office. We have 35% higher food prices. We have a continuing flow of foreclosures and homes that continue to go down in value. We have employers afraid to hire because of Obama Care. And now the jobless rate is going up again. Mean while we are paying welfare to millions when we can no longer afford that level of welfare.

What is our President's solution? Raise Taxes! He just can't stand it that there are some who are savvy enough to make a good deal of money. These are the people who got rich by creating jobs. Taxing their wealth away will erode their job creating capabilities. We will always have the rich, the poor, and the in between. As jobs are created the rich may get richer, but so will the poor and the in between unless they choose to remain the same. The more jobs created, the less welfare will need to be paid.

You might think that I am anti entitlements and welfare. Actually not. I am anti paying welfare to able bodied people who prefer to sit and take a free ride instead of hustling for work, being creative, and endeavoring to make it on their own. Anybody can throw up their hands and give up. Not much spunk there. Sometimes it takes a little fear, a little survival instinct, and a little ingenuity. I know, I've been there!

My point though, is this. It's time for politician to stop buying votes through welfare and entitlements and to do for the country what needs to be done in times of economic hardship, setting an example for the rest of the world to follow. After all, isn't that what America is all about?

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm Not Buying In

Good luck to everyone who is buying stocks, sitting on them, and thinking they will make a lot of money. Today's stock market is not really designed to do that for you. as you have noticed, the market does not always go up. Yes, a companies performance does have something to to with their stock prices, but more important is the daily news and how it is emphasized and skewed.

It is interesting and somewhat puzzling how one day investors are worried over the Greek debt and the next day they are not. When they are done with the Greeks the move on to the Italians, then Spain, then Portugal, then back to Greece.

The truth is, large investors do not make their money with the market only going up. They depend on volatility! What news gets emphasized and how it is interpreted creates this volatility. After large investors have bought stocks at a low price they need good news in the market to cause them to go up in price. Once they have peaked, they sell what they have and short sell the same stocks which causes them to go back down. Of course a good dose of bad news helps them go down faster so they can collect their rewards sooner.

The key to making money in the market is to understand the principles of volatility and understand the large investor. That is not always easy. For example, a few years ago Grant Pride an oil corporation reported it's best quarter ever. So you would think that based on the companies performance the stock would surge in price. Not so! The stock went down $4.00 that day. The reasoning was that "investors" felt that the corporation had peaked so future profits would not be as lavish. In other words, they thought the stock was over-priced. So they sold their shares.

Then I have seen the reverse. I believe it was City Group that was losing billions of dollars at their quarterly report. The stock surged. The reasoning was that City Group lost fewer billions than expected and the future looked brighter.

By the way, you and I are not really "investors" as referred to in the news. We are not real players. Our money, buys and sells don't mean much. The investors they are talking about are the super rich money movers. And how the news agencies know at 5:00 AM what all the "investors" have decided to do is beyond me, unless, of course, there is a certain amount of collusion between investors. After all, they are in the game together.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Yesterday was a scorcher as temps nearly hit 100. I began work at 7:00 am to complete a deck, but the heat still caught up with me. I drank over two gallons of water and still dehydrated which resulted in really bad leg cramps last night. Whew! Sometimes I think I am an idiot for going out and working in the heat. I really had no choice as my customers expect timely completion of the job and my schedule also demands completion.

This is a strange year. My business had one of the slowest starts ever in the winter and early spring, but it is my busiest summer ever. I am currently booked two weeks ahead and have been booked as much at four weeks. This winter things will come to a screeching halt. That's just the way this business is.

But the heat is a killer! Slows things down and tires a guy out! It makes me wonder why I didn't go into banking or something like that. Oh well, it is what it is and I do what I have to do to get done what must be done.

With all this said now, I will enjoy my Starbucks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Big Week!

Today is the beginning of the biggest week of the year for me. I have two job start-ups this morning, both of which need to be wrapped up by Wednesday. I also have a basement remodel that needs to wrap up on Wednesday and a bathroom remodel that needs to wrap up on Friday. Then on July 5th I have two buildings to paint and a deck to stain.

This all adds up to time pressure. But things usually work themselves out. :-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ever Wished You Had?

Have you ever had one of those brain storms in which you had a great idea which would have made a great invention..... but you never followed through? I had that happen a few years back and every time I see a fiber optic Christmas tree I rue the day that I thought of it. It was actually an idea I had about three years before we saw them on the market. That doesn't mean that someone else had not thought of it, or even patented it by then. But there is a possibility that I might have been the first. But I let that idea slide. Then one day I saw them appearing at Christmas time and I realized that it was a good idea. I wish I had followed through.

Another thing I wish I had done was hang on to my Ford Motor stock back when the market was crashing. I had bought 5,000 shares at about $3.00 per share. Sold them at $1.32 a share. It looked like the government was going to take over Ford Motor along With GM, which would mean the stock would be worth nothing. I got what I could get. Then Ford bottomed out at $1.12 per share and announced that they would make it on their own. Since then the Stock has been over $20 per share and has become one of the premier car companies. Well, do the math. I just wish I had.....

I think life is full of those incidents. If we could see the future a little clearer we would do a lot of things differently. And doing those things could lead to a different future.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not in a While

Well folks, I haven't blogged in a while because life has been too hectic.... which translates "business has been really good." I usually have two jobs going concurrently and it keeps me busy with supplying them, quality control, and then bidding new jobs and getting them set up. I haven't even had the time to have coffee with my friend, Cory. And soon Cory will be going to his new job in another part of the city so I am afraid that that will be the end of our two man coffee club. This morning it is coffee alone on my back deck.

I know that it's not that you missed me so much, but I still felt the need to explain my absence.

While I am writing this page I want to warn you about a Facebook item. One of my friends by the name of Mikan, who is no longer my friend posted an item. It turned out to be pretty smutty. Unfortunately it showed up on my page that I had posted it. I had to go in and delete the item. I deleted Mikan as well, and reset my security. I have some real doubts about being a member on Facebook.

Anyway, that house keeping item is taken care of on this page. I don't know if I will write on Facebook or not. Now that I have blocked most of the world from my Facebook page I am wondering whether it is worth it to continue to blog. I'll decide later.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Black is Still Beautiful

Ordering coffee at Starbucks is one of the more frustrating things I do. I love their coffee but I hate saying "no room." It used to be if you wanted black coffee your ordered "black."

Here's the frustration. Ninety percent of their employees either cannot hear the word "no," don't understand what "no" means, or won't take "no" for an answer, as in saying "no room." "Black" means you do not use cream. Therefore when you order black coffee you get a full cup.

This morning I ordered coffee with "no room." She said, "One coffee with room coming up." I said "no room." She said, "What?" I said, "No room." So I got my coffee with "room." So I said, I wanted my coffee "black." That means I "do not" want room for cream.

And this isn't the first time I have had to go through this. So either Starbacuks needs to furnish hearing aids to their help, teach them to read lips, or change their terminology. I'm a good customer who deserves a good listener behind the counter.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Read My Lips, No New Jobs

Ever since the depths of the current recession, (yes, current recession) I have said that there will be no economic recovery with the creation of jobs. Jobs is the key! And jobs have not been created faster than they have been disappearing.

The sense of recovery that we have had up till now has been a false recovery. It has come from the government printing money, bailing out corporations, and overpaying unemployment. The stock market has gone up because the government has given corporations billions. Mean while the private citizens of this country have spent their nest eggs, used up their savings, and have refinanced their houses to survive. All of us know people who have lost their jobs and can't find one.

A few months ago a rating agency lowered the United States debt rating, which basically means that our ability to pay back our loans is being called into question. Today the Wall Street Journal carries and article that Moody within a month could also be reviewing our debt rating if congress does not strike a deal on the debt ceiling. If Moody downgrades our debt rating the recession will deepen and more jobs will be lost.

Stocks are suffering now as smart investors are now pulling money out of the market bracing themselves for what they believe is coming. This means that your IRA or 401K will take another hit. Retirement is getting further away, which mens you will have to work longer at jobs that will soon cease to exist.

The fools in the White House and Congress do not seem to understand this. But why should they care, they live off from government checks, which are paid for by the taxes that you will soon not be paying if your job goes away. But I guess the President and lawmakers will always get paid even if it means..... more borrowing.

We need less taxes, not more. For example, I run a small business which means I am self-employed. Which also means that I pay 16% of my net pay in self employment taxes regardless of how much or little I make. Then we add federal and state taxes. If I net $60,000 per year, I could easily pay up to 40% of that in taxes. That's $24,000 leaving $36,000 for me. Of course that figure does not include property tax, sales tax, licensing my vehicles, a special tax when I buy tires, taxes on my phone, cable, electricity, and gas.

The United States has taxed itself poor. Our industries are at a disadvantage on the world market because of excessive taxes. This means that our jobs are going someplace else. Some argue that these are low paying jobs that are going overseas. Well, not all of them. And right now there are Americans that would like even a low paying job.

The number one job our our government is to provide an atmosphere desirable for businesses to start up and grow. Business will provide the jobs needed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toyota Quality?

I have long been a fan of Toyotas. I bought my first one back in 1980 and have owned several of them since. The only warranty issue we have had until recently is the gas cap on my Sequoia, which I no longer have. We have owned two Corollas, three Camry's, one Avalon, one T100 and and now a Prius. And I really haven't had any complaints.... until now.

There are several things that lead to the Prius' excellent gas mileage. 1) It is a hybrid. 2) It is aero- dynamic. 3) They put hard tires on it which are noisy and compromise the ride. and, 4) They use a lot of plastic light weight parts. Some plastic is good, but not in some places.

For instance, they are trying to protect the engine by installing a plastic shield at the underside. While my wife was on vacation this plastic shield came loose and fell off. Before it fell all the way off it dropped down and dragged on the road. The piece was retrieved.

My wife took the car into two different Toyota dealerships and requested to have it put back on under the 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. She was told that it didn't qualify under warranty because the piece was damaged. Instead it would cost us $288 to have a new one put on.

This to me seems a little self serving for Toyota. They put a cheap (expensive) plastic piece on the under carriage of their car. The little plastic rivets holding it on come out. The piece drops down and bangs the highway. And now because it is damaged they won't cover it with their warranty. One of the dealerships said that there have been several of these repairs.

Is this what Toyota has to resort to to make a profit? How can this be a good decision on their part, knowing that their part is faulty, and are willing to displease the customers who buy their cars, for the sake of $288? After this I have determined to buy zero Toyotas in the future. It's not because I don't like their cars, but is the principle. I spend my money on their cars and they screw me on the warranties.

Perhaps they haven't heard that they are no longer the only ones building good cars. Ford Motor is up and coming, and based on my experience with my F-150 I am likely to go that direction with my next vehicle purchase. Who knows, I might even buy a Kia!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It Didn't Happen!

Well folks, I'm not surprised. I'm still here and so are you. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in the rapture and believe that it can happen any time. But Scripture does say that "no man knows the day nor the hour" and it also says that "He shall come as a thief in the night." I guess that means that he will come at a time that we are not expecting Him. So the best thing is to be prepared and expect Him at all times.

These predictors of the rapture have me a little bit confused. Surely they must be Christians if they are looking for and expecting the return of Christ. Many of them have given away their wealth for this cause. But the confusing part is that they don't understand that God has His own timetable for the event of this world. He has given us signs of the times, which would lead us to believe that His return is soon, but he has not given us a date and an hour.

What concerns me the most, though, is that they make a mockery of the Christian faith. While they may have good intentions, they have actually done harm to the Christian cause. True believers will probable not be hindered, but rather those whom we are trying to reach with the gospel of Christ. I imagine that this has caused many of them to scoff.

If we stick to the true message of the Bible, and are true to the commission that God has given us, we will not need to be concerned about the date and hour. When He comes He will find us happily working in the great harvest field. We will be rewarded accordingly. The key is to be prepared, and to be obedient to God's will. He wants to find a church that is busy about doing the things of God.

Having said that, perhaps there are many who should be a little worried, if not greatly worried. Are you prepared? Are you doing God's will with your life? Or, is Christianity just some kind of faith your subscribe to?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

85 Cents Per Hour!

Yes, Sir, folks! that's what I made at my first job. That is my first job after being a paper boy at which I made no money.

My first job was as a dish washer at Brehmer's Cafe in Brainerd, Minnesota. I worked four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday. That's a whopping $6.80 for the entire weekend. With that money I bought my first car, a 1952 metallic blue Chevrolet Biscayne. I also insured it and bought the gas. Of course gas was about twenty cents a gallon then.

I quit that job to work at the Sweden House for $1.05 per hour and worked about 16 hours per week. That's what you call "coming up in the world. " I worked there until I joined the Army Reserves and was shipped off to basic training.

As I look back I realize that one day at my first job would buy two tall Starbucks coffees today. Worse yet, it wouldn't buy me one gallon of gas today. In my F-150 I'd only get about 15 miles down the road.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back From the Dead

I think we all remember that not too long ago at the peak of the recession all three major Auto manufacturers in the US were facing bankruptcy. Only Ford Motor decided to refuse government funding. I remember when their stock was $1.16 per share. Now it is over $15.00. This company has resurrected itself and they have done it with some of the finest technology and best vehicles on the road.

Because I bought my F-150 during the worst part of the recession a got a great deal. After driving the truck over 40,000 miles I still think it is a great deal. I have had zero malfunctions with the truck, mechanical or otherwise. No rattle, no squeaks, no hassles. Highway gas mileage is 21 and all around has been 17. And it is comfortable, quiet, and nice riding.

But now I see a whole new line of Fords coming along that are pretty skimpy on gas and have great designs. Their Explorer won truck of the year awards, their Vertrek won concept car of the year. They are making cars on their new C platform that have great design and superior technology. The Vertrek is the design for the new Ford Escape coming in the future. I'd buy that car if it was available now.

Ford Motor came from death row to be a leader in the automotive world. They have proven that a company can remake itself. And now with their eco-boost engines in their F-150 they get even better gas mileage with more towing power. I give Ford Motor high marks, right now higher than Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedy Benz, Audi, and those South Korean cars.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So Osama is Dead

Osama Bin Laden was a mass murderer with an evil mind. He preyed upon innocents. He was cowardly and sick! And so are his followers. Let us not forget that he not only murdered thousands of people on 911, but he continued to do so up to the time of his death. The world is better without him. Those who are not supportive of his death evidently had not lost one of their own loved ones at 911, at war in Afghanistan, or in one of his planned suicide bombings. Of course, the coward always had someone else carry out the suicide bombing.

Do I rejoice in his death? Well, I'm not dancing in the street, but I am very glad that he is gone and can no longer murder innocents. I would rather he stood trial and would have to wait like so many others do in solitary confinement awaiting his day at the gallows, for the anticipation of death can be worse than death itself. I would even be in favor of no certain date foe execution. I would want him thinking that, "perhaps today, or tomorrow, or the next day would be the day."

I don't think for one minute that our world is safer. Perhaps the opposite is true because of the threat of retaliation. But they must know now that "they can run but they cannot hide." We will find them and they will be brought to justice.

For some reason my Starbucks tastes better than usual today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rain Dance

I know the sure fire way to make it rain.... when you don't want it to. We went through a very dry spell this winter. They got lots of snow in the mountains but very little here, in Denver. Of course, winter is the time we do little work outdoors, so it would be nice to get the snow then. But, no sir! No snow. Then March and April came and there was still very little moisture. The wild fires got going in the mountains and prairies and there was no rain or snow to slow them down.

Now the weather is warming and we can begin to work outdoors once again. I have some decks to repair and stain. But, hm, now there is rain every day. not enough to do the grass any good, but enough to keep me from staining the decks. If I didn't know better I'd think Obama was in charge. Oh, wait! He can;t be in charge because if he were he'd be printing money and sending it to me. Or something like that.

Anyway, want it to rain? Take a week's vacation and paint your house. But make sure you have alternate plans.

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Update on My Police Story

Yesterday I wrote a little about the police in our town. I was inclined top let it go at that. However, this morning as I pulled up to my local Starbucks there were four squad cars outside, and four officers inside. When I ordered my coffee I commented to the barrister that I felt well protected this morning. He said it's pretty much that way throughout the day.

A couple minutes later an officer said "good morning" to me. I replied that I feel pretty well protected this morning. I think I saw a light come in his eye and he promptly left. The other three hung around. But as he was leaving another officer drove up and entered.

But here is an observation: They parked in the choice parking places, only one of them ordered coffee, and now they are sitting in the choice places in the store. Like I said yesterday, we only need about half of these guys.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Police in Our Town

Let me tell you a story about the police in our town. Actually, I could tell you several, but just one this time around. Well, maybe two.

About two years ago I bought a 2010 F-150 for my work. Because it was too large to fit in my garage until I made some adjustments in the garage I had to leave it out doors for the night. That night it was broken into and everything inside was stolen. It was early morning when I discovered this and I called the police. The person I talked to on the phone wanted me to file a report over the phone. I declined and wanted an officer to come to the house. I was told that they would be there shortly. I waited over an hour and nobody came. I called again and was told things were a little slow because of a shift change.

I knew that the police made it a habit of gathering in the morning at the local Starbucks. So I drove down there, and sure enough, there were four officers sitting there enjoying their coffee. I called the police department again and was told the same thing, a shift change was taking place. I told the dispatcher that I didn't believe that because I had just went down to Starbucks and several officers were sitting there. An officer appeared at my house within ten minutes.

Well, I go to this Starbucks a lot in the mornings and there are usually several officers sitting chewing the fat and complaining about their jobs. Interestingly, they don't always buy coffee. There are four officers here this morning (the typical number). Their average stay is 45 minutes to an hour. OH, by the way, they left their cars running outside. I'm sure the taxpayers are happy to pick up that tab.

How many jobs are there where you can spend one-eighth of you shift having coffee club? And is this the only place they do coffee, or do they spend that much time at another coffee shop?

I guess the other story I have for today is about one cop, does not involve others. But one day while I was in Starbucks, he was here meeting with his girlfriend. They got a little passionate and started making out inside the store. You don't believe me? I have pictures. These camera phones are really nice.

Ah, the last police officer just left. A 65 minute break at Starbucks. Hmm.

As far as I'm concerned our city could lay off half the day shift and put the rest of them to work.
Sorry, but that's the way I feel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two Stock Stars

Two of the best performing stocks over the past week and for the past several months for that matter are Halliburton (HAL)and Apple (AAPL). The third star would be Schlumburger (SLB).
As long as Apple continues to make the best products and produce the best TV commercials they will be a stock winner. As long as the middle east and the Arab countries are unsettled oil will stay over $100 per barrel and companies like Halliburton and Schlumburger will continue to thrive.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hand Crafted

have you noticed how so many things nowadays make the claim to "hand crafted." Now, don't get me wrong, I think "hand crafted" is good for a lot of things. But, in reality, I think there are a lot of things that don't make one iota's worth of difference.

Now, if you are talking about furniture or a piece of art hand crafted is way cool. I can really appreciate that. Sewing and quilting is great for being hand crafted.

But I think the term wears a little thin when we start talking about sandwiches, sundaes, and coffee all being "hand crafted." For crying out loud, even McDonald's sandwiches are hand crafted. That doesn't mean they are tasty (although everything tastes like something). In fact, I'd like to see them make a sandwich without using their hands. Starbucks has a tea that is "hand shaken." I thought shaking hands was reserved for church. Anyway, does shaking the tea by hand make it taste better than shaking it in a paint shaker? really, how else are they going to shake it?

The other day I saw a sign for "hand crafted crepes." We have "hand crafted lattes". I was at a cafe where they had "hand crafted burgers." Isn't it amazing that they have to use their hands to install the lettuce and onion then put the top of the bun on and spear it with a toothpick?

Now my question is this: with all this hand crafted food they are making now, do they wash their hands before they make it? Do they wear those plastic gloves? Can it be like the Subway we went to where the guy blew real hard to open the gloves he was going to wear? That was appetizing. Are these the same hands that they wipe their nose with just before they make my sandwich?

I sure wish we could save hand crafted for our hobbies.

Excuse me now while I finish my hand crafted coffee.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Well, Folks, I was Right.

Well, folks, I was right! I knew we would have a problem fining a place to put our $15 roll of paper towels. It has official (maybe unofficially) land on our plant stand in the TV room. I even caught Audrey taking pictures of it there. She laid the corner back so neatly. I suppose she wanted it to have a good pose. I wonder if she will post the photo.

I have a great idea for it: print a smiley face on in and set it above the soffit above the kitchen sink so it can smile on all who enter the house. We're already doing dishes with those towels. I wonder what's next. I know for sure that bounty won't be getting our business for a while. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Are These?

Audrey is on a vacation visiting her brother for his 40th wedding anniversary. This item isn't about her vacation or the anniversary but about a photo she sent me of some of her relatives in a store. It's actually not about the relatives either but about what they had in their shopping cart. I'm told that they are paper towels. But if they are, two rolls of paper towels filled the shipping cart.... the other two rolls stacked on top would have filled another cart. They look like they could be used for aisle runners for a wedding. Maybe 10 weddings per roll.

The questions I have is: 1) Where are we going to keep them? They are a little big for our paper towel dispenser. 2) What are we going to use them for? Baby blankets? 3) What possessed all these relatives to buy them? and, 4) Did they have room in their cars for luggage?.... you, know, the things people actually use?

I have one final observation: Americans must have way too much money.

I have one final ugly question: Are these actually giant rolls of toilet paper?

With that I'll finish my coffee and go to work.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Arab leaders and governments only have themselves to blame for the unrest and rioting that is taking place in their countries. But they also have their repressive religion to blame. In most of these nations both their government and their religion has have been repressive and have resulted in poverty.

At the age of the internet has matured, as facebook, cheap laptops, and smart cell phones have infiltrated the world the people who live in these Arab nations have had a glimpse at the outside world..... and they like it. They see prosperity in democratic and free market nations while they live in poverty. They see people living in freedom while they fear the regime of their own government. They see peoples of free nations eating while they are starving. They see them working while they remain unemployed.

They have also seen the corruption of their own governments. Their dictators and military leaders live live of luxury while they live in poverty.

Just like you cannot put toothpaste back in the tube, these people cannot be turned back. Thousands of them, perhaps millions, have decided that death is better than the way things are now. They are revolting and cannot be stopped. And, they should not be stopped.

In the US we believe in certain inalienable rights. These are not rights only for Americans but are rights that peoples of all nations should enjoy. These rights do not make you change your religion, but rather, protect your religion. But they also give you the freedom to choose. And everyone should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Leaders of these Arab nations that are now in revolt have squandered their political capital. Over the years they have had plenty of time and opportunity to better the living conditions for their people, but they have not. Instead, in some of these nations they are living at Third World levels while they leaders live in luxury. Now these leaders will either live in exile or become martyrs for their cause, that is, if you can consider these thugs martyrs at all.

The cry is "Give me liberty or give me death!" The repressed peoples do not use those exact words but they are living them out, or should I say, dying for their liberty.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


BP are the stock symbols for British Petroleum. This is the stock that dropped by more than 50% because of the oil spill in the Gulf. The stock was actually greatly oversold and the price was artificially low. Ever since the big sell-off on the stock it has been gradually rising and has become one of the least volatile oil stocks for a major oil company. Shares are still very reasonably priced at about $47 per share. Because of the low volatility the options on this stock are very low priced.

For an $8,000 investment you could own 5,000 call options with a July strike price of $50. If the stock price which is now $47. 30 should go up to $50.00 over the next three months, the value of your options could go up from $1.60 per share to $2.60 per share. That would net you approximately $5,000 which is over 62% net earnings.

Just something to think about over your coffee.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Bargain

When my wife bought her Pro Mac computer, she was offered classes for $100. This proved to be one of the best bargains we have received in a long time. For the next year she can take as many one hour sessions with Apple's experts as she so chooses. And so far she has chosen a lot.

There are some differences between Apple's operating system and Windows and they train you how to use the Apple system. Audrey takes in a list of questions to each session and their experts work out solutions and teach her to use the various programs. Her recent class taught her how to build brochures and to build a website. I already have my new brochure for my business and she is working on the website.

They also helped her set up the internet service, Mobile Me, address book, and calendar. Mobile Me is also quite a service. With this application all our email addresses can be on one page, just click the address and your mail for that address is displayed. No matter what page you have up on your computer, a red number appears at the bottom of the screen indicating how many new emails you have, and the number stays current. I like that.

Anyway, each time I have seen Apple's experts at work, I have been impressed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cheap Vacation

Audrey and I went on our second winter vacation.... this winter! The first was to Phoenix, this one was to Riverside, California. You ask, "What is in Riverside?" The answer is basically, "nothing." That is if you consider sunny and 75 degrees F nothing. Oh, and one other thing.... It didn't cost us much to stay there.

Everyday was perfect, including the price. We got our round trip tickets to Ontario on an Airbus for United Miles. Status entitled us to to better seats somewhere up front. We got our Marriott hotel room on points from our business, and we got the upgraded room because of status (Platinum Elite). The upgraded room entitled us to the concierge, which entitled us to breakfast, snacks, dinner, dessert, and all the coffee we could possibly drink. The day we returned to Ontario we stayed at the Sheraton and once again got an upgraded room because of status that is tied to our timeshares with Starwood. So once again we had the concierge.

Did I mention that we also got an upgraded rental car through National because of status. The GMC Terrain was really nice.... especially when we drove it over to Palm Springs. We burned a half tank of gas and bought a total of two meals the whole time we were gone. In reality it was cheaper than staying home.

The biggest glitch we had the whole vacation is airport security. For some reason they just can't look at my junk enough. Somehow they feel they are serving society with this bogus security. But, hey! If they want to look, let em look!

The other glitch was the coffee shop at the Ontario airport. Man, was that slow! and expensive! If you are there and have time to burn at the airport, go to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They can fix you up so you have no spare time.... and no spare change. :( That was the most expensive part of the whole trip.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Riverside, California is a nice place.... especially in the winder. The temperature when we arrived today was in the mid 70s F. I'd say that is pretty nice for lat January. Lot's of sunshine, too.

Audrey and I went to "The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf" for our afternoon coffee. It was a nice stroll about Two block from our hotel. The espresso cheesecake was great, and s was the coffee. Black of course! Hey they understood what I meant when I said, "black." So did the flight attendant. Who ever started this "room" and "no room" business? When I say, "no room" I usually get "room". That must be because it's so noisy in those shops that they don't hear the first word. Why can't I just say "black" ?

Anyway, Audrey and I snacked ourselves out of much of an appetite. First it was the cheesecake, then we went to the hotel concierge and ate some pretzels. So we decided weren't not hungry enough to eat a big meal. So it is back to the concierge to see what they have for tonight. A free meal, how about that? It kind of goes along with our free hotel for this week. Yes, Sir! It's all on Marriott points. The flight was one United Miles. We also get free internet, a free upgraded room, and a large flat panel TV. I think breakfast is free also.

I am due for some more relaxation and reading tomorrow. Probably some Starbucks, which is also free, and a stroll around town. So far it is a great vacation. I'll check back with you tomorrow.

God bless.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Good Jobs

Everybody has to start somewhere! That is especially true if you are a teen. First jobs are never the best jobs but they can lead to better things. Here is a history of my earliest jobs.

I didn't know that in the USA it was possible to work for nothing, but that is exactly what I did when I worked for the Brainerd Daily Dispatch. Actually I was a paperboy, when meant to the Dispatch that I was and "independent business man." That was their way of saying "You're on your own kid!" My paper route had 51 news papers and sometimes went as high as 60. The extra news papers meant that I worked just that much harder for nothing. Papers had to be delivered summer and winter in all types of weather conditions six days a week.

The delivery truck would drop the bundle of papers at my curb. I would then walk or run the route delivering the paper to the doors of the people. It was against policy to throw the paper at the driveway. No sir! I had to deliver them by opening the storm door and dropping the paper inside the door. This, of course, meant that I had to put up with any dog that was chained close enough to take a chunk out of my leg. It also meant that My hands would freeze trying to open door and drop the newspapers.

And I was privileged to do all this for nothing. I was reminded, however, that other kids weren't luck enough to have a paper route. They had to stay home, inside, where it was warm. They weren't luck enough to go out and freeze their toes and fingers. And in the summer they had to go on vacation with their parents.

What I mean by working for nothing is that it was also up to me to collect the money for the newspapers. After collecting the money I had to give the Dispatch their share and I got to keep the rest, which was usually nothing. It was supposed to be something, but when a few of your customers don't pay their bill it turns into nothing. So I worked for nothing for about three years. Then I got fired because I forgot to deliver the newspapers one day.

Well, I was ready for another job anyway. I took a dishwashing job at Brehmer's Cafe for 85 cents per hour. He needed me only on weekends for about 4 hours a day. That came to a grand total of 8 hours per week. Let's see...... that's about $6.80 per week. Not too bad considering I could buy a coke for a dime. He was sorry to see me go when I took a job at the Sweden House for $1.05 per hour. There I got sixteen hours per weekend. Man, I was in the money at $16.80 per week. They must have been paying me too much because the Sweden House went broke.

That led to my next job as a chauffeur. I made $5.00 a day 5 days a week. It was for this elderly couple. They husband was disabled so it was my job to help him get to the car, into the car, out of the car, into the restaurant, to the restroom, back from the restroom, back to the car and into his house. They provided the car. They bragged on me as being the best chauffeur they ever had. Oh, did I mention that they also bought me a coffee and cookie at the restaurant. They were sorry to see me go when I took a job at the printing shop.... my first real job.