Monday, December 31, 2007

Snowbirds

On Thursday after Christmas, I started seeing more rv's heading south and on Friday I decided to count them to see just how many I was actually seeing.

"Snowbirds" are people from the colder parts of the US and Canada that head for warmer parts in the winter. From the looks of it two things came into play for the high number of rvs I counted on I-30. The snowstorms in the mid and northwest had lightened enough for people to hit the road and Christmas with the grandkids was now over.

Most traveling rvers are on the road by 9am and stop for the night before dark. About 10 am on Friday morning I was heading east on I-30 and counted rvs for 50 miles.

I was afraid I might lose count from long periods of no rvs but boy was I wrong. In those 50 miles I counted 66 rvs. Most were large 5th wheels pulled by 3/4 and 1 ton diesel trucks. Second on the list were class A motorhomes with a few travel trailers and 2 c-class units in the mix.

Most were probably heading for south Texas and other parts of the Southwest. Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona attract large numbers of rvers and several return to the same location year after year.

For my non rv readers, "Google" Quartzsite or Slab City to gain a glimpse into some of the more adventurous.

Moral Victory

Another week that my weight stayed at 221.5 pds. With the holidays I should feel fortunate I haven't gained more. Over this week maybe ALL the sweets will be gone and I can get back with the program.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wrong Way!

My weigh in this week was another disappointment. I gained a pound and my weight is now 222.5 pds.

Too may Xmas parties ( another excuse, I see a pattern developing here! Blame everything except me ).

On a brighter note. Zac is home for the holidays. Nice to not have him half way around the world this year.

A new year is just around the corner and hopefully there will be progress made on some of things I would like to accomplish in the new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Corny Car

Why are we feeding corn (ethanol) to our cars. Most of that ethanol is corn based. One estimate is it takes 1 gallon of fuel (gas or diesel) to produce 1.8 gallons of corn based ethanol. Not to mention ethanol delivers less mpg.

In the process, we lose valuable corn production that should be used for our food supply. A nice "catch 22", corn prices are rising and more land is being farmed for corn that takes away from other grain farming. Corn and wheat production are needed to keep our food prices from skyrocketing. Don't just think of higher bread prices but all our foods (beef is fattened on corn) are ultimately going to rise.

"Grow our gasoline" sounds great if we do not look past the surface of the issue. I for one would rather know I can get food at the market even if I have to walk there.

Your mileage may vary.........haven't I heard that before?

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Week three weigh-in.

The GOOD,
my way too tight jeans are now a comfortable fit, my sugar levels are lower (about 100) , and my blood pressure in coming down (129/72), but need to be lower.

The BAD,
my weigh is the same as last week (221.5pds). !#!$#$%, Christmas cookies.

The Ugly,
my depression and disposition is only marginally better, but still better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It has been a year

It is hard to believe it had been a year since I wrote about my new truck . I have been the only one to drive the truck, but it is not the only truck I have driven in the past year.

On 4 or 5 occasions I have used another truck so it could be swapped out during the run or just used a bob truck for a small delivery. I also have taken three weeks in vacation, so I guess that leaves about 48 weeks of driving my truck. I have racked up 77,500 miles on it.

That is not a lot of miles by trucker standards but I also have to off load my truck when I arrive at my destination. Also as I have mentioned before, I am home every night.

This truck should still be in great shape when I retire. It has been a pleasure driving it this past year and I look forward to a couple more years.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

High school football

I mean good old American football. Don't get me started on soccer or the metric system and this whole "one world" thing. America is the greatest country in the world BECAUSE we are different than the rest of the world.

Our ancestors came to America to make a NEW life. They learned to speak English and the ways of their new country. They did not just relocate to America and try to change it into their old country. I thought I told you not to get me started!

Football is the glue that holds small towns together. People go to the ALL games even if they have no child on the team. People take pride in never missing a game. Most can tell you the score from important (aren't they all) games for years.

In my school years I went to six (2 in California and 4 in Arkansas) different schools and attended Bearden, Arkansas twice. Although I graduated from Gurdon High School, I attended Bearden more years than any other school.

Bearden is a small town of about 1800. Like most small town it is wasting away. Even thou it has annexed more property into the city limits the population has decreased by 400 since the 60's.

Bearden and Mt. Ida played for the state championship on Saturday. Both had made one trip to the state finals in the distant pass but never had won.

I listened to the game on the radio and it was the type game one would expect from 2 undefeated teams. Mt. Ida won with a 22 yard FG with 5 seconds left on the clock.

Bearden did not win but the Mt. Ida victory brought tears of joy to my eyes. No, I was not cheering against my old school.

They announced that the attendance was over 5800. That is a larger number than the total population of both towns together.

The tears came from the fact that not only did the head coach of Mt. Ida play for Mt. Ida (from 1990-1992) but his entire coaching staff are from Mt. Ida. In the post game interview you could feel the hometown pride of a small town boy reaching the top in front of his hometown.











Bearden and Mt. Ida played for the state championship on Saturday. Both had made one trip to the state finals in the distant pass but never had won.

I listened to the game on the radio and it was the type game one would expect from 2 undefeated teams. Mt. Ida won with a 22 yard FG with 5 seconds left on the clock.

Bearden did not win but the Mt. Ida victory brought tears of joy to my eyes. No, I was not cheering against my old school.

They announced that the attendance was over 5800. That is a larger number than the total population of both towns together.

The tears came from the fact that not only did the head coach of Mt. Ida play for Mt. Ida (from 1990-1992) but his entire coaching staff are from Mt. Ida. In the post game interview you could feel the hometown pride of a small town boy reaching the top in front of his hometown.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Twinkie Affect

A while back I mentioned I was having some problems because I was letting my stomach rule my life. When I said I was on the wrong side of 220 pounds, I should have told the real truth. I weighted in at 229.5 pounds.

I weigh at work just as I dress for work. Jeans, work shirt, steel toed boots, and pockets full of keys. I dress the same everyday ( except for the shorts I wear in warm weather).

After Thanksgiving I decided to get healthy again. I was wearing 36 inch jeans that were way to tight. I then decided to start eating right and let my weight slip back a little. The near term I am looking for 200 pounds and then I want to settle in about 185 pounds.

This is not "vanity pounds" but pounds that effect my health. I will not be loosing 75 pounds in 12 weeks as I did when I was diagnosed with diabetes as I became anemic and my blood pressure bottomed out at 71/48. This time I will just eat the things I should and eat more than I did the first time. The first time I basically had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and my evening meal amounted to about as much food as is in a tv dinner. 4oz. meat (mostly chicken), two very small servings of veggies (less than 1/2 cup) and a small salad. I did this while still putting in 14 hour days.

After the first week my weight was 225.5 pounds and today it was 221.5 pounds. I will weigh every Friday and post it here. It will keep me motivated and with Christmas coming I need all the help I can get.

I will leave you with this:
If girls with big boobs work at HOOTERS, does that mean one-legged girls work at IHOP?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December Book Review

With my December book review, I would like to remind everyone about PaperBack Swap .

I now have 45 credits,159 books listed (only my books I am willing to part with, hehe), I have received 67 books and have mailed 111 books. As you can see, I have been taking advantage of this site. They also swap audio books and now are swapping DVD's. Nice to sit home and order a book when you see one mentioned that catches your fancy. Another feature I like is the fact that when ordering a book you can have it sent to any address.

Now on to the book review.





" A Walk in the Woods"
, by Bill Bryson.

Subtitled, "Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail".

Bill and his overweight hiking partner, Steven Katz, set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. The "Trail" runs about 2100 miles from Maine to Georgia.

The books is more more than their attempt to walk the trail but is a lesson on the history of the trail as well as a lesson tree, plants, wildlife, how the topography was formed, with a splash of humor and human relationships thrown in.

Although they did not walk the full length of the trail, the book is really more about "discovery" than a walk of 2100 miles.

His account of Centralia, Pa. is very chilling and something that I had forgotten about.

At just 230 pages it makes for a short but entertaining read.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I love it!

As you know, I seek out the "characters" in life and genuinely enjoy the encounters with these people. People that fit in the mold of everyday life hold very little entertainment value. Heck, I might as well just look in the mirror if I seek a plain vanilla person.

One of the blogs I regularly read is "Randy and Diana" and Randy also loves eccentrics and often writes about them (hmmm, does that sound familiar?).

Here, Randy gets the story is his latest. Homeless doesn't seem so bad to this guy, because I am sure he doesn't consider himself "homeless" and I would have to agree with him.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Homeless

Saturday on my way to work as I exited the frontage road for my 3 mile use of the interstate, I noticed a bicyclist pulling a trailer I would have passed had I stayed on the frontage road. I pulled off the interstate and waited for him to reach me, expecting once more to talk to a touring biker.

"Steve" stopped and we talked a few minutes. I didn't ask his age but I would guess him to be at or near retirement (62years) age. He was riding an older mountain bike (its make hidden by what appeared to be several repaints) and pulling a modified child type two wheel trailer. I had a hard time reading him and his setup. Either he had been doing this for some time or had bought a used mountain bike with a few added features. All the extras were as used as the bike and I can only assume they were added when the bike was new.

The weather was just above freezing and Steve was wrapped up for it. He said he had spent Thursday night in a homeless shelter in Little Rock and headed south and spent Friday night in a church in Benton (20 miles southwest). The Benton police had told him that rain (maybe sleet) was forecast for the next 2 days so he had decided to head back to Little Rock.

I usually ask more questions but Steve seemed "homeless" and just had a bike to carry his possessions. The last thing I wanted to do was embarrass him. He could have been a traveling homeless person or from Little Rock, either way he was doing the best he could do. Several things did point to him as being a roadie. He was wearing a helmet and his trailer had a "caution, slow moving vehicle triangle" on it.

I wished I could have invited him into the nearby convenient store for a hot coffee and more conversation but I was running late (as usual). He said he was wanting to head south after the rains and I explained the best way out of town.

If indeed he were homeless and traveling, then he was rather ingenious because most police will not bother a touring bicyclist that is camping out except to tell them that camping is not permitted in their jurisdiction and ask them to move on. The public will offer to help where they would turn up their noses at a homeless person.

When I gave Steve some money I did not want it to look like a handout so I said, "Steve, I ride a bike and would someday like to hit the road for a trip, so please let me buy you a warm meal". He thanks me and we parted ways.

Homelessness in America is a big problem and just to get by on SS takes more creativeness, but I am not so naive as to think when I help someone it is about "them", helping strokes ones own ego and we all like be feel better about ourselves. I pick and choice and it does feel good to think you have helped someone that needs it as opposed to someone only there for a handout.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

c2c

"c2c", what on earth could that stand for? Well, "c2c" stands for "Coast to Coast" or "Sea to Sea", meaning a trip across America. These are terms used by bicyclist (among others) to identify the epic adventure in terms of traveling across America.

This idea first became popular (due to media coverage) in 1976 because of the 4000 bicyclists that cycled across America to celebrate the bicentennial of America. From this event the Adventure Cycling Association was formed and the rest is cycling history.

Cyclist now just refer to the trip as "going across".

Adventure Cycling Association sells detailed maps of several routes including a map of the original bicentennial route,
















also the northern route,
















and southern tier.

















In the past I have written about John and Jerry
but Friday was the first cyclist I have met that was "going across".













Bryan was not using the bike maps but was playing it by ear and using a small road atlas for general directions. I met him on highway US64 that parallels I-40 across Arkansas, just to the south of I-40 from the western edge of the state until Conway (nearly in the center of the state) and then north of I-40 (moving farther north of the Interstate) for the remaining route to the eastern side of the state. Most of this road has a nice wide shoulder to ride on.

Bryan had been on the road about 45 days since leaving Oregon and mostly camping with a few motel nights mixed in, he was in no hurry and just heading east to the Atlantic Ocean. He works as a campground maintenance man and his campground was closed for the winter. He had plans to head south and hit US82 and follow it east. Again his bike was not the traditional touring bike but part of his equipment was top notch. Any bike in decent shape can be used for touring but a traditional touring bike is designed to carry the load and be comfortable mile after mile. His Ortlieb bags (panniers) are some of the most popular used by touring cyclist. His tire pump was another thing altogether. He was carrying a "floor type" tire pump.







While they do an excellent job, they are a little heavy compared to







this small and easily carried model.

Since Little Rock and crossing the Arkansas River can be a challenge, I helped him devise a plan to stay on US64 past Little Rock and showed him the route I thought (again, not always the same on a bike as in a car) would be best for him as he headed south to US82, mindful that crossing the Mississippi River can also be a challenge on a bike.

Bicycling across America would be physically challenging but the mental challenge would be even greater. As a teenager I hitchhiked all over the west and as a man I have taken many motorcycle trips but when on a bicycle you are hours away from changing what ever situation you find yourself in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad Boy

Long before I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, I would have spells about once a year where I would be "mad at the whole world". It would build to a point that I could not stand myself. I would start taking a multi-vitamin and in a week or so realize my attitude had changed.

I now believe this was really early signs of diabetes. Now when my sugar gets a little high, I get depressed and mad at the world.

After being diagnosed with diabetes, I lost about 75 lbs. in 12 weeks, started riding a bicycle 45 to 70 miles a week. My sugar would be in the upper 70's in the morning and I felt better than I had in years (except for the fact that I no strength at 175 lbs).

Over the next year or so I let my weight ease up to 185 lbs., my sugar around 95, and my blood pressure about 110/70 and I gained my strength back. I would check it every day and it was always the same.

Slowly I rode the bike less, didn't watch my diet as closely, and checked my sugar only occasionally. The weight started easing up but it stayed below 200 lbs.

Fast forward and I haven't ridden my bike in two years, eat anything I want, weight on the wrong side of 225 lbs, and for the last month my depression and anger have returned. My blood sugar is too high @125 and something has to be done.

The world is not a pretty place when seen thru my miserable eyes. Blogger has been giving me fits, but the real truth is for the last month I have not had anything "good" to say about my life or the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Peggy Walters Lemons

This afternoon as I opened my e-mail I was shocked to find one of my "Gurdon High Class of 1966" had passed away. She was married to Huey Lemons.

Peggy was more than a classmate, she was the one that took my innocence (no, not that kind), she was the first girl to break my heart.

I moved to Gurdon my senior year but this story starts earlier than that. I knew Huey long before I knew Peggy. Huey moved to Bearden while I still lived there and we became friends. It has been so long ago but I think he only lived in Bearden a few months. Peggy has actually known Huey long before he moved to Bearden.

After moving to Gurdon and making a total ass out of myself for several months, I found myself seated next to Peggy in science class. After a few months I asked her out and she said she would have to get back to me on it. Later she broke the news, I had to meet her parents (things were different in 1966).

The Beatles were popular and I had "the hair" but was smart enough (with Peggy's
suggestion) to wet it down and comb it in a more traditional style when around her parents. Her mom seems to like me but I can't say the same for her dad, but dads never like the daughter's boyfriends. Mom won off and we were now a "couple".

We started dating and she was my date for "senior prom". We didn't actually go because I was having brake troubles with my 1957 Plymouth and found we were late to the prom and decided not to go in after arriving at Arkadelphia.

After graduation Peggy attended Ouachita Baptist College and moved back to Bearden and found a job. We dated for several more weeks but she finally dumped me (smart girl).

"Puppy Love" always holds a place in ones heart. I will always cherish her friendship and am truly saddened by her passing. My thoughts are with Huey and her family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bus Conversion

As a rver, I always notice rvs on the road. Most are "run of the mill" factory built units. When I see an unsual rv I take special notice.

I met Mel from Peoria, Il. at a rest area and struck up a conversation with him (image that!). He and his wife were headed to "the valley" in Texas for the winter. They spend their winters in the Brownville area and their summers at home in Peoria.

Their rv is a conversion on a 1962 GMC Greyhound bus. Not one of the "high dollar" factory rigs but an owner built unit with all the comforts of home. It was already converted when they purchased it 7 years ago but has been remodeled by Mel to better suit their needs.















The bus has apartment size appliances instead of the usual rv size units. Their Danby refrigerator (very energy efficient) runs off an inverter powered by six 6 volt golf car batteries when on the road and the inverter switches to a battery charger when hooked to shore power (regular electricity from a light pole) or plugged into their onboard generator.

I would have visited longer but I had over 400 miles to cover before my day could end.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rainbows

Life thru the windshield has its moments.


After more than two weeks I get to publish this. It has to be short and sweet.

!@#%#%^$#$ Blogger

Blogger and I are still not on speaking terms. I just can't figure it out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

October Book Review


It's been awhile since I posted but I have been working 6 long days a week and just didn't feel like fighting with blogger.

"Quakertown" by Lee Martin was mentioned on a blog I read and it did indeed turned out to be a nice read.

Based on a true story about a black settlement in Denton, Texas (in the 1920's) called Quakertown. The town wanted the land for a city park and needed to move all the black folks out. To accomplish this they enlisted one of the most respected men in Quakertown. A gardener of immense talent and offered him the job of seeing after the new park.

I back dated this to the first of the month. I have been trying that long to get it posted.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kermit


Small green tree frogs sometimes find their way into our trailers while riding on a wooden pallet. They seldom survive because once they get cold (our trailer in in the lower 30's) they can not move.
Yesterday I found one on the floor that could not move but was still alive. I put him outside on the ground to warm up. As I moved across the ramp from one trailer to another, I kept an eye on him. Slowly he began to warm and get some mobility. After a few minutes he started to hop around and a few minutes later he was out of site.
I knew I would need to find him and move him across the road to the tree line if he were to survive. After I finished loading my trailer I couldn't see him anywhere. I moved one of the trailers back to its parking place and came back to have a better look.
After searching I still couldn't locate him. As I turned to walk around the other trailer, I spotted him. He has moved to the shade under one of my tires and I had run over him. Sorry Kermit, I did my best.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Flashback Friday

France

Today I will post a few pictures and comments about my trip to France.











Milk is found on the shelf with the other groceries. No refrigeration is needed until it is opened. Can't say it really tastes that much like our milk, although it was not too bad.














There were jars with veggies stacked 2 and 3 high, very convenient.












This is an ATM for renting videos. It was on the outside wall of the video store and could be used 24 hours a day. Insert your video store card, select your movie (using a browse or search ), pay with cash or credit card and be on your way in about a minute. Movies could be returned the same way and could be rented for as little as 6 hours. Inside the movies were rented by the day just like back home. The same rates did not apply inside. Daily rentals were much cheaper inside the store, but if you just wanted to grab a movie and view it and come right back you couldn't beat the price.





























































































ff

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Talk is Cheap

He passed me in his Ford F-250 with a temporary tax showing he had purchased the used truck that very day.

When I pulled into the rest area just east of Texarkana, I noticed him getting out of his truck. Before he could walk the 150 ft to the vending machines, he had turned to look at his truck no less than 4 times. He was obviously very proud of it.

As I headed to the restroom, he was coming back to his truck (never taking his eyes off of it). I stopped him and asked about his truck (knowing he would like to talk about it).

His father and brothers both had diesel pickups but this was his first. It was a 2000 model that he would use to drive to work and pull a small horse trailer. After I bragged on his purchase, he was off to show his wife.

Upon returning from the restroom, I noticed a small car pulling up with its gas cap dangling. As I approached the driver, he was rambling in the glove compartment. He noticed me and rolled down his window and said, "Good afternoon young man". Yes, he was older than me (getting harder to find every day).

When I told him about the gas cap and the fact that it would cause the "check engine" light to come on, he laughed and said, "Heck, I knew that but would you believe I was just looking for the phone number of the rental car agency because the "check engine" light had just came on". He thanked me for saving him an embarrassing phone call and we both had a good laugh.

I love to talk to people and "talk is cheap". Cheap, heck it's free.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Accident

As I was leaving Little Rock today I saw a fool on a silver motorcycle doing a wheelie coming down the interstate. He was not even smart enough to be wearing a helmet like the guy in this photo.











Coming in this afternoon, traffic was stopped for a accident that involved a silver motorcycle. I wondered if it was the same one from earlier in the day.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Flashback Friday

I will start using "Flashback Fridays" to finish stories I have started and failed to finish or just update past stories.



FRANCE,

Zac had his "crew" over for dinner at his apartment on my last night in Le Mans, France.



We had time between his early morning class and late afternoon class to hop on the city bus and ride to the edge of town to do our shopping. I can't remember the stores name but it was a "big box super store", very similar to aWalMart Super Center.



What I found very interesting was the meat selection. It was displayed not unlike a fresh open air meat market. A large portion of the meat (and all the sea food) was not wrapped and placed on a bed of shaved ice. This was not in glass cases as in the US but on open beds as vegetables are displayed in America.

One large display caught my eye as the cuts of meat were large and a light pink color. When I asked, Zac laughed and told me it was "horse meat". I guess that explains the large ribs.Meat is very expensive in France and really used to flavor dishes.



We were having a pasta casserole for main dish, with a large salad and a pie size raspberry tart for dessert. The wine would be furnished by our quests.















Left to right, Matt, Emily (the high school teacher), Emily, and of course Zachary.

The meal was a great success and the wine flowed freely (until we ran out after 3 bottles) and the conversation was splendid.

I commented on the 2 Emilies (both New Englanders) not having the Boston accent. They both ensured me that it was there but hidden.

When Zac and I started with the southern black mammy "hush your mouth" routine, they about fell out of their chairs laughing.

All to soon we had to say our goodbyes and I would not see them again. I am most appreciative of the hospitality they extended to me. A fine a group of young people as I have ever met.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

PMSing


Things have not been going well in my little world and regular readers know I have been "on the rag" for some time.

There has been a big event looming for several weeks and yesterday "it hit the fan". I have two choices, take or quit.

Our company ( a division of a larger corp) has had a nice 401k package. With their match I have been saving over 20% of my pretax wages.

Yesterday we finally found out about our new retirement package from Prairie Farms (our parent corp). They have a "Thrift Plan" (similar to a profit sharing plan) that our 401k balances will be rolled into. We have no choice unless we quit.

Their plan is great for the younger workers (that they want) but terrible for older workers ( that they would rather not have [ and by the way, you will not see them hiring]).

Our 401k plan was with Fidelity and we had about a dozen choices where we could place our money. The money was placed once a month and "cost averaging" worked in our favor.

In the "Thrift Plan", one has to put in 2% of post tax dollars (can add up 6% more) to participate. That money will be sent to the plan manager once a month and once a year there may or may not be money added ( a percentage of your annual earning) by the company. You have no options as to how he will invest all monies in the plan ( your 401k money or the "Thrift Plan" money). It is put in one "blended vehicle" ( stocks and bonds). Even if you choose not to participate with new money, your old 401k money will be sent to the plan manager.

The 401k money (pretax) and "Thrift Plan" (post tax) will be separated within the plan as there will be no taxes due on the "Thrift Plan" money at time of withdrawal. You can specify which monies you want to withdraw at retirement age. You could use the two to minimize you taxes at retirement.

The problem (besides not having better control over you investments) for old workers and myself is that at only 8% maximum (and those being post tax dollars) and no guaranty of company money being added, it falls well short of my 20% retirement savings.

If company money is added, it will only be added once a year. Thus eliminating "monthly cost averaging". For younger workers or anyone saving a very small percentage it will be a winner for them. Plus you have to plan your retirement date after October 1 of your retirement year for fear of missing out on company contributions. One could retire several months earlier but it would be unwise to retire a month or two before a possible yearly windfall.

As for me, I will be screwed out of several thousand dollars a year, not to mention I have zero control of my retirement money.

I would like to work a while longer but don't like being boxed in a corner with my retirement savings.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Taxing Matter



In Arkansas, one pays “sales tax” on every vehicle purchased until the purchase price falls below $2500. Years ago it was an advantage to buy a used vehicle ( assuming it had been titled in Arkansas at one time and the sales tax paid), because one didn’t have to pay sales tax on a used vehicle.


My 2006 Dodge was bought new 16 month ago and sales tax was paid by the original owner. I have just paid sales tax again when I titled the truck.. That amounts to over $4000 for the state in less than a year and a half. If this truck were sold a few more times in the next few years the state would receive more in taxes than the truck cost new.


Our city of Bryant, Ar. is one of fastest growing (if not the fastest ) towns in our state. In this small town there has been literally thousands of new homes built in the last 5 years and yet they are asking for a “millage increase”. Where does it all stop.


When I first started doing my mechanic work in the early 70’s there was no tax due on used parts or labor.


Our state is eliminating sales tax on groceries and immediately the price of groceries go up ( a coincident, I don‘t think so). People haven’t saved a dime but it just added more profit for grocery stores.
I guess I need to check my sugar as I can't seem to get off this soap box.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unusual load












This picture does not really capture the image my eyes saw as I exited the interstate to drop a trailer at an Arkadelphia, Ar. truck stop.

From the distance of the interstate, my eyes could mainly see just the pipes on the trailer. It looked like several rows of pipe stacked vertically. Defiantly now the normal way to haul pipe. It made for a very unusual looking load.










The pipes were welded to sheets of expanded medal. I didn't see the driver , so I couldn't ask if he might know what they were going to be used for.

Monday, September 03, 2007

September book review

My September book review is a little late this month because, heck you don't want excuses.

"CASH OUT"
A novel by Paul Boray.

A bookie is robbed of $300,000 and his girlfriend badly beaten and raped by a Chinese gang that tells him he is going into early retirement or else. He contacts ex-cop John "Tomb" Tomie to help get even with the gang and recover his money (he offers "half" to Tomb). Tomb enlists a former cop on the Chinatown beat to help.

This novel has several twists and turn, some you see coming and some you don't. When I was thru with it, I had to recall some small details earlier in the book to see how the ending could be "the end".

The first person that shows an interest in this book will receive it free by e-mailing me their "snail mail" address. I will send it media mail to said address. Don't be bashful, I think you will enjoy this book and my book shelf is running over.

Mortgage bail out

The pres outlined plans for a mortgage bail out of some homeowners.

I don't think so!

There are exceptions to every rule but I don't see why the government (a.k.a. you and I) should bail out people that bought more house than they could afford on an adjustable mortgage just because the interest rates were at an all time low. Historical lows rates means it is a given that your payments WILL go up.

More importantly, we are bailing out the mortgage companies that made these inadvisable loans. I own some financial stocks so I am "cutting off my nose to spite my face". Decisions should be made by what is right, not what is beneficial to me. To me THIS is just not right for a government that can't pay it's own bills.

Your opinions you vary and I respect the fact that we can have different opinions.

OK, I will get off my soapbox for now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm getting smarter

I really must be getting more intelligent in my old age. I know it must be so because my son asks me questions and seeks my opinion a lot more than he did 10 years ago.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Intercourse for lunch!

I got your attention didn't I? Read on and I will explain the title of this post.


After leaving Zac's place we headed east to avoid the construction we had encountered on the way in from Pittsburgh.


Tuesday morning to started our journey south. A little before noon, Judy asked, "How about Intercourse for lunch?". I responded with, "Sounds good to me!", and we headed out into the country. About an hour later we were in Lancaster County, Pa. home to a large Amish community.






















































The name of this little Amish hamlet is....................









































































Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Almost a great idea

We had a "non-skid" bedliner installed under our tonneau cover on the Dodge. While there I spotted these little jewels.















They are tie-downs for the bedliner.















They fit in the grooves of the bedliner.














When you rotate the "eye" with the bar that is included, a cam closes the jaws to hold it in place. Great idea but they are not adjustable and my non-skid bedliner has smaller ribs than a normal one and they will not grip it. Darn!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Road Trip

We loaded Zac's stuff under our new tonneau cover Friday night because Saturday is my longest day at work and we wanted to get an early start Sunday morning for our trip to State College, Pa.



Our planned route would take us thru Memphis and Nashville, Tn., Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati and Columbus, Oh., Wheeling,WV., Pittsburgh, Pa. and finally State College, Pa. The first leg of our trip would be about 1070 miles.



After helping Zac, we would use the rest of the week for our vacation by driving south thru the Smoky Mountains.



Sunday morning we fueled the truck and was on our way by 7 am. About an hour later Zac called and said he and his mom were just leaving ( 2 hours earlier than I had predicted). I set the cruise control on the posted speed limit of 70mph ( I rarely drive my little S-10 over 65 mph) and let the Cummins diesel rumble east.

This was our first "road trip" in our Dodge 3/4 ton and we found the ride to be rather nice for a large truck and the room inside compared to our S-10 was amazing.

I always have an ice chest in our truck and on vacation we carry picnic supplies as well as our drinks ( sodas and lots of water). We stopped east of Jackson, Tn. at a rest area and had a picnic lunch. The hour or so it takes to spread a table cloth and prepare proper sandwiches ( as compared to having just meat and bread) always is time well spent as it fuels our bodies and gives us a much needed break. A sandwich with all the trimmings and chips just taste better at a picnic table than it does at the kitchen table. I called Zac and told him where we were, he and his mom were grabbing a fast food burger in Jackson and would pass us before we had finished our picnic lunch.

We always picnic lunch or grab a burger and try to have a nice evening meal if time and place permits. That meal came at Cincinnati, Oh., I then took a wrong turn that added about 25 miles to our trip.

We stopped for the night at Columbus, Oh. (over 800 miles for the day) and Zac and his mom were spending the night in Wheeling, WV.

Pittsburgh to State College is under construction so we decided to grab a burger for lunch when we were about an hour out. Zac called and they were there. He was not a "happy camper". He had to rent his place without ever seeing it in person ( he would be sharing a townhouse with 2 other people) and he informed me that it was in total disarray.

Jeff (the lessee ) had not been there all summer and the other guy would be moving out before school started. He had been letting other people crash at the house all summer and it was a total pigsty. He could care less ( I'm sure his mama didn't raise him that way) as he had already been returned his deposit and would be gone in a week. Add that to the fact the guy that was renting Zac's room still had his stuff stored in the living room as his new place was still occupied. It literally looked like a "crack house". The guy seemed nice enough, just a slob.

When we arrived, Zac was just returning with cleaning supplies. Being a fastidious person, the house would get a transformation in the next 3 hours.

After our cleaning and straightening the place was looking better and as soon as the extra stuff is gone, it will be fine.

After unloading our truck, Zac and I picked up a bed that he had purchased earlier in the day and and then unloaded his Santa Fe. We all had pizza at Pizza Hut and back to Wally World pillows and a few other things he needed.

His mom would be flying back on Thursday so he was in good hands. After our goodbyes, we were off on the rest of our vacation. Being a college town we found the motels outrageously high ( little did we know that was Pa. in general), so we drove east before spending the night.

Friday, August 24, 2007

!@##@$%^% blogger!!

I'm so sick of blogger loosing connection and not "saving" my posts that I am about ready to give up blogging altogether.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tired- Big Time













I took this picture thru the windshield of my work truck on Friday before we left on our trip to Penn State.

We are home after moving Zac to Penn State and traveling on to eastern Pennsylvania, before heading home thru the Smoky Mountains. We traveled 2800 miles.

When I rest up I will tell you all about our trip. BTW, the truck was great and averaged about 21 mpg. Very pleased with it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ram it !

After having a little "fun" at new car dealerships and getting close to the best price possible (their best price vs. my "I will buy today at this price"), I knew about what a new truck was going to cost me.

After taking everything into account, I had decided on a Dodge Ram 2500. A lot of things went into this decision but the Dodge just scored higher overall than a Ford F-250. Sorry but I just could not see myself driving a "butt ugly" Chevrolet.

Since I really didn't want to buy from a large dealer, I figured I would drive out of town on Tuesday (my only day off other than Sunday) to a smaller dealership and try to buy (if they would come within $250 of the big dealer price) my truck. Any dealer can get the truck I wanted.

I was looking at either a Bright Silver or Slate Grey truck as they seem to look the best with the minimum amount of chrome that comes standard on a truck. The red and dark red look rather "bland" on the lot. White was out of the question as it looks like a company truck and always will.

One last check of the newspaper on Saturday revealed a 2006 Inferno Red(dark red) for sale "by owner". The price seems right and I made arrangements to see it on Sunday afternoon.

Knowing this was not my preferred color, I wasn't expecting much but the owner said he had added a few extras in the 15 months he had owned it. The best part was it had never pulled a heavy load. He ran a lawn mowing service and pulled a 16ft trailer loaded with his equipment.

When we rounded the corner and saw the truck, it just "jumped out at me". He had added just enough chrome and tinted the windows to really bring out the dark red color.

When I saw it I said, "Well there is the piece of crap". I was joking but my wife thought I was serious since I had stated I didn't want a red truck.

We had a chance to look it over before the owner came out. It was nearly perfect. A couple of small scatches and a very small bb size dent in the rear bumper.

The owner had added several hundred dollars worth of extras to the truck.

He had tinted the windows, added chrome door handles and tailgate lever, a chrome bug shield, a tinted sunvisor on the windshield and black mud flaps. He had also added a high dollar K&N lifetime reusable air filter. Not sure I would have added everything but it sure made the truck stand out.

We talked a little with the owner and everything was to my liking but when he offered to let me drive it, I declined. Before leaving I asked for his bottom dollar and he said $400 less than the price in the paper. His lawn care service was a second job and just needed "pay off" on the truck. I gave him the usual "I will be back to you" and we drove off.

Since I didn't drive the truck Judy figured I was not interested. Not the case, I saw no reason to drive it because it anything was wrong I would just have it fixed because it was still under warranty.

I had written down the serial number because I wanted to check it out at the dealership the next day. They told me it had only had the a/c vent door replaced and a recall on the fuel system fixed.

After talking it over we decided it just made better sense to buy this truck because it was 25% less than the best price I could get on a new one.

I called him on Monday and said we wanted the truck. Really thought it would take a few days to purchase it as it was financed thru Chrysler Credit and it sometimes takes a few days to get all the i's dotted and t's crossed.

He called Chrysler for the "payoff" and needed $153.28 more than he had quoted me for his bottom dollar. I said, "no problem" as I knew he was needing out from under his payments.

Judy and I when shopping for the stuff we needed to add to the truck. It HAD to have running boards so Judy could get in without a step stool. We also wanted a bedliner and a fiberglass lid (tonneau cover). We found the running boards and bedliner in stock but would had to order the tonneau cover. It had to be ordered by Wednesday noon for delivery on the following Friday. Without actually owning the truck (things can happen), everything was on hold. It didn't look like we could get everything done before we go on vacation.

But on Tuesday by 4:30 pm the truck was ours. Wednesday morning before work we head out to Goss Campers for our running boards, bedliner and to order our tonneau cover. While we are at it , we might as well add chrome wheelwell moldings. Peggy (the owner of Goss Campers) said if for some reason our tonneau didn't come in, she would put a black one on for us to use until we returned from vacation.

The tonneau cover arrived on Friday and we are now packed to head for Penn State Sunday morning.

The truck is a 2006 Dodge 2500, 4dr, diesel, automatic with the tow package. It has all the usual "bells and whistles" you would expect on a nice truck. The only thing it did not have was the extending tow mirrors.

The color is called "INFERNO RED".












"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder", but we think it is gorgeous.











We sold our 1995 Mercury Sable that we have owned for 12 years.

Hope the Dodge is as dependable.


We will be gone for a week and will catch up with everyone when we return.


I have been trying to save a draft on this for a week.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Problems

Blogger is giving me a headache. I have been working on a draft for to days and it will not "save" or "post". I'll see if this post works.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Canada bound update

I have received three e-mails from Jerry the biker. His last stated he had to cut his journey short because of a doctors appointment ( he had mentioned his medical history to me) that he thought could be rescheduled but couldn't.

He had made it to Lexington, Ky. and had biked over 1000 miles. He was disappointed about having to stop but looking forward to completing his adventure at a later date.

I will be traveling in that part of the country next week as I am helping Zac move to Penn State and Judy and I will just make a vacation out of it.

It will be our first trip in our new truck. Oh, haven't told you about that. Another day another post.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Convoy

When I hear the word "convoy" I think of the 70's song by C.W. McCall about renegade truckers barrelling down the highway.

Today there will be a different kind of "convoy", these log trucks will form a convoy to head for the Georgia Pacific mill at Crossett, Ar.

This is a national campaign to raise money for "The Children's Miracle Network". Arkansas always ranks near the top or top of all states for moneys raised.


























This is part of the 16 trucks (from just one community) that was sitting over the weekend to gain awareness for the program.













Each load has a sticker to designate the contractor donating the load to the program. This is a great program and raises millions of dollars each year. You can learn more about it at their web site.
http://www.logaload.org/

Friday, August 03, 2007

August book review

My August book review is a little late. With Tuesday being my only day off (besides Sunday when you can get nothing done) and I have been trying to get a truck bought and get our car sold, I have been my usual busy self. But I think the wait is worth the book that I will tell you about.


The book was mentioned over at http://possumliving.blogspot.com/

and it sounded like something I would enjoy. I ordered thru PaperBackSwap that I had told you about some months back. "Enough already just tell about the book."



Border Music, by Robert James Waller ( author of Bridges of Madison County).
The book tells of Cowboy Jack Carmine ( an aging Vietnam vet with flash backs) and a slightly younger Linda Lobo ( but aging adult club dancer) heading to his rundown ranch in Alpine, Texas. A second parallel story is being told about Jack's disillusioned uncle Vaughn Rhomer, a produce manager in a Iowa supermarket.
The love (or lust) story is both familiar and unpredictable at the same time. I enjoyed the book and I hope you will too.
I continue to look for books that night interest me. If you have one just throw the title my way, thanks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Truck Shopping

I need a 3/4 ton diesel pickup to tow the Cardinal travel trailer. My problem lies in the fact I am not sure I can go through the shopping experience again. Dealing with the salesman while shopping for the Cardinal almost caused me to have a nervous breakdown (not trying to be funny, I think I came close).

I have a larger disdain for salesmen than any rational (maybe that says it all) person should have. What they say and what I say is really not what I am hearing or saying. My mind really processes if differently.

Here is a typical car lot experience.
What is said what my mind thinks.

I drive up in my 10year old vehicle that I have owned for ten years and park away from the salesmen you can always spot them by the cloud of cigarette smoke coming from one corner of the building.

As I walk across the lot, up drives a slick salesman in a golf cart too damned lazy to walk.

Hello Sir, Can I help you today ? why is it always my turn at a customer when one shows up should be down at the "buy here-pay here lot", it is obvious from that clunker that he is driving he has no pot or a window

Just looking, and why do I always get stuck with one of these salesmen

Were you looking to purchase a new car today ? if not, why am I wasting my time with you

I want to look at your 3/4 ton trucks. and no I am not buying today, but need to get your best price so I can compare

Sure they are right down here . I think they are this way, I never sell anything but 1/2 ton 4wheel drive pickups

I'm looking for a 4 door 2wheel drive diesel surely even you can spot the "one " that is not a mile high in the air and has a big CUMMINS emblem on it

Sure you don't want a 4wheel drive, I can sell you one as cheap as a 2wheel drive. I make more profit off the 4wheel drives, plus if I sell the only 2wheel drive we stock, we will have to order another one

No, I need a 2wheel drive. if you can sell me a 4wheel drive for the same price then you are OVER charging me for the 2wheel drive

Would you like to buy it today? I have ALREADY wasted ALMOST ten minutes on you

I am just pricing today and see if you have the options I need. I have already told you once I am not buying today

Would you buy today if I get you the right price? I can make a killing if you take my first offer, and I need to sell you a truck so I can get back to smoking and swapping tales about the last sucker I hooked

I am just shopping today. haven't I said that before, are you frigging hard of hearing

The boss says to not worry about profit, we sell on volume. this hayseed will believe anything

that statement is so absurd, reminds me of the two guys that bought a pickup load of watermelons for $1 and sold them for $1, at the end of the day said, "we didn't make anything, maybe we need a bigger truck"

How about I take your credit app and we can get your payment amount locked in. I have spent 12 minutes with you fellow, ***t or get off the pot

I have told you I am not buying today. HELL NO, I am not buying today and not from you

Does this truck have the "trailer towing package"? I know the answer but lets see what you say

Let me check, yes it does I see a rear bumper so it must have what ever you are asking about and these diesels will tow anything you hook to it.

Really? my trailer will max out the towing capacity Just need to find something to tow my 14,000 lbs. trailer that will last.

These Cummins will last a million miles, they are the same as in 18wheelers. a Cummins is a Cummins

This idiot hasn't got a clue, this is not even close to the Cummins in a big rig

And so it goes.


ps. This is Squire's wife, after reading this, I can say this is how he feels about ANY salesman. I hate to even shop with him for shoes. It probably doesn't help any that he used to have his own car lot.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Canada Bound

While driving on the frontage road today, I passed a touring bicyclist. I drove passed him far enough I could stop and walk back to meet him.



"Jerry" lived in Dallas, Texas and was on his way to Canada. He had ridden Interstate 30 most of the way from Dallas. Both illegal and dangerous. He would use the frontage road when one was available.



He was not sure how he was going to get across Little Rock but said he was headed toward Memphis, Tn.. With no frontage roads for most of the way across Little Rock, I asked if he would accept a ride. Some tour cyclist want to "pedal" every mile, but he accepted and we loaded his bike in my pickup.



I assured him that he would be better off riding US70, a 2-lane highway with a nice shoulder most of the time, that runs parallel to I-30. Since I don't have a set time to be at work, I drove him the 15 or so miles to put him on US70 a few miles out of town.



He was not riding a conventional touring bike (like the one below) that lets you spread your load front and rear on the bike.


















He was on a Mongoose mountain bike from WalMart. All the weight was on the rear of this "heavy" low-end bike. He was not wearing a helmet nor was he wearing gloves.
















I took this picture where I let him off on US70. He gave me a card with his name and e-mail address so I could e-mail him my blog site and he promised I would get the first e-mailed picture when he makes it to Canada.

I wished him well (wishing he was better prepared) and he was off.

ps. I just received an e-mail from Jerry and he made it to Forrest City about 8pm. I let him off around 11am. He had traveled about 90 miles this afternoon. Way to go, Jerry.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Aussie


Today I met Mark, he is from Australia and over here working on a visa. He drives a truck for CalArk trucking in Little Rock, Arkansas.


He saw an ad in a newspaper for driving a "lorrie" (their term for a 18wheeler) in America. The agency that placed the ad in the newspaper wanted a large premium for placing him with a company in the US.


He went "online" and found several ads and sent in inquiries, CalArk was the only one that responded.
His visa has run out but he has applied for an extension. The government has 240 days to reply. He could get an extension or they could ask him to leave at a moments notice or they could do nothing and he could be here the full 240 days.
He is staying with our next door neighbor. Only has a limited number of days in Little Rock as CalArk is an "over the road" trucking company, so it doesn't make sense to rent an apartment.
I asked about driving on the wrong side of the road and he commented that it really was not as big of a problem as he first thought. The only time he ever has a problem is when he makes a turn and no one is on the road. Says he has to really think when that accrues.
I hope he gets his visa extension as he is really a pleasure to be around. When I commented that he "talked funny", he replied that he was the only one he could understand.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Snake Oil

Last week at Hamburg, Ar. was a modern day gypsy. He was parked at a spot that I wouldn't pull my truck in and talk to him. Today he had moved a few miles up the road to Star City and I was able to stop and talk.

We remember the gypsies in the movies selling goods out of their wagons.











"JIM" was closing shop for the day when I stopped. He already had put most of his merchandise away.












He sells blankets, knives, cowboy hats, belt buckles, and leather belts that he will engrave with you name.

Jim is 71 years old and has been doing this since he retired at 62. He has a home in Alabama but travels most of the year. Normally he stays in one town about a week before moving on. After about a week his fresh water tank is empty and his waste tanks are full. He then moves up the road about 30 miles or until he can find a new spot on the main road.

Most smaller town do not require a permit, but if they do, he just moves along to a town that does not.

When he runs low on things to sell, he just orders from a company in Houston, Tx. and they ship to him where ever he might be.

Some towns might buy more of one item than another but he says he can count on about 100 leather belts every month.

He used to "flea market" but likes just moving around a lot better. Sets up to sell when he wants and finds people more than willing to stand around and visit. If the weather is not cooperating, he just stays "closed" and sits inside and watches his satellite tv.












He carries this scooter on the front of his c-class rv to do his running around.

A rather delighful man living like he wants to live. He is heading for Oklahoma, says he should be there in a couple of months.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

a little impateins goes a long way

Actually there were two that I puchased with a buy one-get one free coupon from Home Depot.
They were small and not very healthy about 6 weeks ago. I placed them on our storage building so we could sit on the deck and they would be eye level.

They are now FAT and healthy. Kind of like me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Guilty as charged

This was on the Yahoo Finance page today. Rather obvious the was written by someone under 40. I wonder if she will have the same outlook after she turns 50, somehow I doubt it.

Why We Should Be Grateful for Gen Y
by Penelope Trunk

What's the point of baby boomers complaining about Generation Y at work? First of all, it's a cliché, because people over 40 have been complaining about "young people" since forever.
Even worse, it's a losing battle. Generation Y is huge. It's one thing for boomers to verbally squash Generation X -- that was no problem. Gen X is tiny and the baby boom was huge.
But in Generation Y, baby boomers have met their match. And in the demographic catfight of the century, Gen X aligns itself with Gen Y over baby boomers, which means that the workplace gripes boomers have about young people are going to be moot in a matter of years.
Generation Which?
So maybe the over-40 crowd should spend less time talking about trying to "bridge the generation gap" -- which is really a euphemism for "get Gen Y to be more like us" -- and more time celebrating the great things that Generation Y brings to the workplace. Gen Y isn't going anywhere, and it's not like they're about to conform to baby boomer demands.
But before you continue reading, understand that the world doesn't actually adhere to demographer datelines: The generation you fit into is more a function of the choices you make than the year you were born. So if you want to know where you truly fit along generational lines, take this test.
And if you want to know why baby boomers should ease up on Generation Y, consider the ways that these youngest workers are making life better for everyone:
1. They won't do work that's meaningless.
These kids grew up with parents scheduling every minute of their day. They were told TV is bad and reading is good, and are more educated than any generation in history. They just spent 18 years learning to be productive with their time, so they're not going to settle for any photocopying/coffee stirring job.
But that's good, because we all want meaning in our jobs, and we all want to understand how we're contributing to the world at large. Why should anyone have to wait until retirement age to start demanding that?
These days, the workplace can be restructured so that we all do a little coffee stirring in exchange for each of us getting to do some meaningful work. And if work can be in some way meaningful for all of us, then the workplace in general will be a better place to spend our time.
2. They won't play the face-time game.
We've known forever that it isn't necessary to be in the office from 9 to 5 every day to get work done. But many of us have missed family events only to sit at a desk all day getting pretty much nothing done because of the stress of missing a family event. And there didn't used to be any option -- if you wanted a successful career, you made sure co-workers saw that you were putting in the hours.
Generation Y wants to be judged by the work they do, not the hours they put in. And what could be more fair than this? In fact, a good portion of the workforce has been requesting flextime for decades, but the requests have gone unheeded.
We have Gen Y to thank for forcing the switch, because if Gen Yers can't leave the building whenever they want, they'll walk out the door and never come back. Face the truth: Boomers weren't willing to go that far, but they sure are benefiting from it. Now they have more opportunities for flextime, too.
3. They're great team players.
If you've climbed a corporate ladder your whole career, then it's probably inconceivable to you that Gen Y doesn't care about your title. But it's true -- they don't do rank. Chances are they saw their parents get laid off in the '80s, so they know how ephemeral that special rung you stand on is and they don't want to waste time trying to get there.
Generation Y played on soccer teams where everyone participated and everyone was a winner, and they conducted playground politics like diplomats because their parents taught them that there's no hierarchy and bullies are to be taken down by everyone. And Gen Yers take these values to work -- they expect to be a part of a team. Gen Y believes that no matter how much experience an individual has, everyone plays and everyone wins.
Maybe it's annoying to you that you don't get to be team captain, or worse, the bully on the playground. But you've read the Harvard Business Review's decades of research on how essential workplace teams are and how older people have little idea how to be good team players, so relax: Gen Y is doing the teamwork for you. In fact, there's no way to work with Gen Yers except on a team. They go to the prom as a team, so they're certainly going to go to product reviews as a team.
That makes us all lucky. We don't need any McKinsey person coming to our company for $10 million a minute telling us how to promote teamwork. We can just follow Generation Y.
4. They have no patience for jerks.
Generation Y changes jobs every two years, typically because the work isn't a good fit, or the learning curve isn't steep enough, or they don't like their co-workers. And Gen Yers will disengage from a jerk before trying to get along with him or her, according to a report by Stan Smith, national director of Next Generation Initiatives at consulting firm Deloitte. They have no desire to bother with somebody they don't like.
This is really how we all should function. After all, according to research by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, the cost of putting up with a jerk in a company is about $160,000. Moreover, Harvard researcher Tiziana Casciaro found that people hate working with high-performing jerks so much that they would rather work with someone incompetent who's nice.
Nobody likes having to deal with jerks, but we've always believed it was asking too much to have a workplace full of decent people. Generation Y sets a new standard for this, and companies are having to dump jerks quickly or risk losing their ability to recruit and retain Gen Yers.
Don't Fight the Future
So let's get off our high horses and stop evaluating whether or not we like working with Generation Y. Its members have incredible leverage in the workplace right now, and they're not going anywhere.
It's time to admit that the workplace is changing and that we're lucky to have a group as optimistic and self-confident as Generation Y leading the way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Soon

Today Zac leaves Le Mans after an amazing one year experience living and teaching in France. I can only imagine the emotions that will be running thru him as the train pulls away from the station.

Saying goodbye to his French friends was hard because he will most likely never see any of them again. Friends are what makes life interesting and the ones I met seem to really care for him and I am sure there will be a few tears.

He will arrive here on the 18th after a few days in Paris and Dublin, Ireland. Even though he will be off to Penn State (about 1,100 miles away) for more education (both books and life), it will be great to have him back in the USA.

He phoned regularly from Le Mans as he had free international long distance on his internet plan, but I could not pick up the phone and call him any time I wanted. Back home he will have his cell phone again and I will again have that option.

If you look up "happy and proud dad" in the dictionary, you will find a color picture of me. Hurry home little man.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The fruits of Summer

I like to stop and buy produce from individuals selling their wares beside the road.

My favorite are the farmers that sell what they grow, but I also admire people that purchase from the farmers and make a sideline business to supplement their incomes. Of those, retirees are my favorite.

South of Pine Bluff, Ar. at the junction of 65 and 81 (aka I-520 and US425) is an older man that does both. He has a "truck-patch" garden plus buys for resale.

At the present time his 16' trailer is loaded with seedless mini citrullus lanatus. He travels about 150 miles to purchase the fruit. He buys one thousand at a time for $.50 each and sells them for $1.00. He also has a few veggies from his garden. It takes about 2 days to sell the load. Not a lot of money but still not bad either.
















An afternoon delight on the deck is very refreshing. At $.50 for a half, it sure beats most treats.


The seedless mini watermelon are about the size of a cantaloupe and very sweet. Very little is wasted as the "meat" goes all the way to the rind. I keep them iced down in my ice chest and when we eat them, they are placed in pie plates to catch the juices.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Friend

I really did not want to work on the 4th, but being the "slave driver" that she is, my wife made to go.

The day started out great. Two blowouts in the first hour, costing a total of 3 hours. A larger than normal load to transfer in Texarkana topped it off.

Heading home, as I approached the rest area east of Texarkana, I noticed a big truck coming out to the interstate. I moved over to the left lane as not to hold him up or have to slow behind him.

As he moves off the entrance ramp into the right lane, he is picking up speed rather quickly (guess he was empty). I am now beside him and looking in my mirror to see when I clear his truck so I can move back to the right lane.

I notice a brown Chevy Malibu leaving the rest area at a high rate of speed. He tries to pass the other truck on the entrance ramp but does not make it, so he whips out behind him and then behind me as I am about to clear the truck. It takes a while for me to clear him and I move back in the right lane.

Mr. Chevy Malibu speeds up beside me and blows his horn. When I look over he waves in such a manner that he must think I am number "1". He then takes off like a flash.

As we get close to the Red River, we run into a heavy thunderstorm. So heavy that the interstate traffic slows to 40mph. It lasts for about 5 miles and we finally reach where it has already passed. As we pick up speed on the still wet road, we are again slowing to almost a crawl. I figure there must be a wreck ahead.

As we go over a little rise in the road. There is Mr. Chevy Malibu sitting in the median stuck up to his axles. I started to stop and exchange e-mail addresses with my new friend but when I see him standing in the mud almost up to his knees and talking on this cell phone, I decide not to disturb him and just tooted my horn and smiled as I slowly drove by.

He instantly recognized me and reaffirmed his admiration. I smiled even larger as I was "feeling the love".

Sunday, July 01, 2007

July - book review

I consider this book a "must read" for everyone. Not because it is a literary masterpiece but because of its subject matter.


NICKEL and DIMED or (not) getting along in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich .


Barbara takes several entry level jobs in different cities to see if she could get by on the wages that a lot of Americans make. From being a MERRY MAID, a waitress , and a Wal-Mart employee, she struggles with the very basics. Putting a roof over her head and having enough to eat consumes more than she is earning.

The "working poor" in America have their backs against the wall every day. One paycheck (or outside help) from being homeless. I think everyone knows someone that just struggles and just can't seem to "catch up" much less get ahead in life.

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!
 

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