Season’s Gertings Y’all

Yeah, I misspelled it on purpose but I will say that as we crawl into the new year I am happy for a couple of things:

The Happy Honda Days are over.  The Lexus December to Remember is but a memory.  Any and all car commercials with a Christmas/Holiday/Employee pricing/ Year End Event theme have finally vanished from the tube until next Halloween.

Adioski to Toyotathon.  And how can that be a thing anyway?

According to the commercial algorithm on my Pandora channel I am:

Bald and need the next generation of skin tightener for men.  I am either soon to be retired, retired, not retired or have no chance of ever retiring.  Pick one.

Note to self: When I become CEO of Verizon I will fire the geniuses in the marketing department thereby saving millions upon millions of dollars.

I’ll cut all our prices since we won’t have to support the bloated and self serving marketing boys and girls anymore.

Once word of mouth spreads about how inexpensive we are we’ll have more customers than we know what to do with.  We will be the only phone company left standing.



One Adam 12 – See the Man…

Obscure TV show reference but if you are a certain age you might get the point.

It’s another way of saying of a police dispatcher broadcasting ” Calling all Cars, Or Car 54 Where are You?”  Ok, so here we go:

Last evening I get a knock on my front door around 10pm from one of my local police officers asking if I had seen or heard anything on the street earlier around 7pm.  I say no- What’s up?

A car parked directly across the street from my house was stolen.  Eager to get a handle on an event like this in my neighborhood I ask the cop a couple of questions and he willingly obliges.

Me – What kind of car was it?

P.O. – A 2017 Subaru.

Me – ( Thinking this being 2017 albeit near the end of the real and model year that makes it a pretty new car)  I recall seeing the car and it is, well, was, a pretty nice ride.  Ouch is my reaction.

Me – How was it stolen, did someone break the window and jump it?  A broken window would have triggered an alarm.

The theft took place around 7, it was dark outside, almost 50 degrees but geez, there are still people up and about and outside walking dogs and such and also apparently checking car door handles to see if vehicles are unlocked which is what these two potential felons were doing.

Me again – Did they hot wire the car?  I guess, I don’t know anything about stealing cars or jumping them except way back when I used to own VW’s and if the car was parked facing downhill I could get in, release the e-brake, pop the clutch ( remember those things?) and roll away to start it up.

P.O. – No, the keys were in it. PS – That key ring most certainly includes house keys too.

Me – Thinking … Has the car owner never seen or heard of McGruff the crime dog?  Apparently not.  I quickly recap the event in my minds eye… Two guys walking down the street lifting car door handles checking to see if cars are unlocked probably looking for pocket change, maybe a cell phone or a backpack.  The hit the Subaru’s doors and the jackpot all at the same time.

What do you think? – Maybe 20 seconds to grab the door, find the keys, hop in, start it up and drive away?  Probably closer to 10 seconds I’d say.  Cars are pretty quiet these days, I’m sure the Subaru hummed and purred as it left the scene of the crime.

It’s a shame, someone is the victim of a pretty serious crime that is eminently preventable.  And someone else ruined the day and made someone’s life pretty miserable and complicated in a hurry.

Stay tuned for updates.






A Day in the Life – Sort of…

A quick trip through the local newspaper pages this morning reveals the following in no particular order of importance, horror, shock, whimsy or newsworthiness:

New Jersey expores passing legislation to ban ” Drunk Droning.”

Man accused of killing neighbor’s chicken with his walking stick.  A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

A local bank advertises a ” Relationship Strategist” in the Wealth Management Department.  The ad is right above an ad for Sprint featuring the guy who used to shill for Verizon only now he shills for Sprint.

As a career move I sense his switch was a bad one – Who would ever hire this guy to advertise anything knowing he could one day work for your competitor.  Stick a fork in this fellow cause he’s done.

And in truly horrible news Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices amid feud.


Gas Station TV


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How could I make that up?

Yesterday afternoon I’m on my way from somewhere to somewhere else.  I need gas.  I see a station.  Quick and decisive I turn into the driveway.

I swipe my card – Gas Station TV asks if it’s a debit or credit card.  I say if you’re so smart why don’t you tell me?  GSTV is silent so I have to touch the credit key.

After my card is approved GSTV asks if I also want to play the Pennsylvania lottery.  Say what?

Now that my card number is on file I have a blank check for buying lottery numbers.  Really, I can gamble at the pump as if the guy on his cell phone pumping gas 10 feet away from me is not gambling anyway with my life.

A side note, my state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania might or might have an unfunded budget – who can tell anymore?  The legislators still get paid and also get automatic pay raises even if we have no budget and no way to pay for anything.

One solution to the state’s funding crisis is to expand that ever shrinking cash cow – Gambling or as the gambling industry calls it ” Gaming.”  Gambling sounds so dirty but Gaming?  It’s got most of the letters found in Gambling except no one ever asks if you have a Gaming Addiction?  It’s always a Gambling Addiction.  Yes it is.

Remember when Gambling, excuse me Gaming was going to put Atlantic City on the map big time, pave the streets with gold and put a chicken in every pot?

Yeah, me neither but that was the promise.  Just ask the former employees of any of the President’s former casinos.

I decline to play the daily number opting to only get gas with my credit or is it debit card.

Gas Station TV thanks me and asks if I want a receipt.  I politely decline but maybe the next time I need the official fuel of NASCAR I’ll take them up on it.



On Saturday morning I found myself handing out winter coats and clothing to people who really need them at this time of year.

The deal was that each person who came to the warehouse would have one volunteer help that person shop.  The hope was that no one would get grabby and take more than they needed or that a fight would break out.

My first customer was Miguel.

I asked him what he was looking for and he said he needed a winter coat.  We found a big ski jacket on the rack.  I asked Miguel if he wanted to try it on.  He just slipped the jacket over the coat he was wearing.  We picked up gloves, socks, a scarf, two hats and a pair of boots.  And then he was done.

He thanked me, we said a prayer and he left the building going back out into the chilly morning.

And for the rest of the morning it was just like that.

That’s all I got.

Major Strasser has been Shot


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Well, guess what – Casablanca, the movie, is 75 years old.  And so to get more mileage out of the film TCM or somebody re-released it in big screen format.  And it’s in the that big screen format that I saw it yesterday afternoon.

The movie tells a story which needed to be told at the time.  You can look up the movie a film history site.  I prefer not to dissect Casablanca into parts.  It’s the whole that matters and the whole thing works really well.  You can read for yourself all about who did what and what the social and Hollywood implications were.  But the movie doesn’t need any of that and deserves to be judged for what it turned out to be.

There are no car chases, nothing blows up, no theatre rattling explosions on the soundtrack.  The sound track is a character in the movie. It supports the plot and the actors.

The one chilling sound effect that works very well is the sound of the advancing German artillery while Bogart and Bergman are in Paris.

The nicest, the best thing about the movie is that scenes take minutes, not seconds jammed with jump cuts, slow motion, fast motion aerial shots.  The camera locks in on Rick and Ilsa and they act.

There are no toss away lines, not a moment of the movie is wasted.  Every piece of dialogue fits into the puzzle and eventually pays off.

Take 1 hour and 42 minutes to lose yourself in some history, movie and otherwise.


A Tale of Two Scales

I have a part time job at a place that houses a fitness center.

We have two scales, one is electronic and the other one is analog, I guess, where you stand on the scale and move little weights until the arrow floats and that’s how much you weigh.  No graphic support necessary.  I’m sure you get the picture.

Last week the plug in scale goes on the fritz.  People are forced to use the old fashioned scale.  It does not require a quarter.

We received several complaints that the old scale was not accurate in that it told people that they weighed more than they thought they did.  It’s never an under weight is it?

We get the electric scale back and I plug it in.  Just for fun I take a ten pound dumb bell and put it on the plug in scale.  The weight is indeed ten pounds.

I put that same weight on the older scale which does not plug in, and slide the little markers until the arrow floats.

And the old scale reads…


Postcard Tax Returns

The latest bright idea from our friends in Congress is that they will change the tax code so dramatically you’ll be able to do your tax return on the back of a post card.

The first problem I see is that everyone in the US Post Office will be able to see just how much you made last year.

Here’s my return well before April 15th 2018:

How much did you make?    Umpty Nine Billion

How much have you stashed offshore? Another Umpty Nine Billion

How many Congresspersons do you own?  Several dozen

Tax breaks weasled from your state and local governments ?  About a Gazillion.

How many lobbyists do you employ? ( Optional)  No Comment

Taxes owed – $3.00

Taxes paid – $3.00

Amount you want credited to next year’s taxes? Eleventy Billion.





The Game Slows Down

As in when Wayne Gretzky played that game on ice.  That’s how he described it.

He possessed such a superior athletic intellect that when he played he was able to see the game in slow motion because I suppose his brain processed the action much faster than normal human beings or other normal human being hockey players.  It was a gift.  After all they did call him “The Great Gretzky.”

Supposedly in times of great stress we normal beings benefit from our brains speeding into hyperdrive and slowing the action so we can analyze the situation and make the best of it.

I sort of had that kind of experience the other night although it did not involve a stressful or otherwise athletic encounter.

The big band, all 18 pieces, was playing a gig and midway through the second set when I was warmed up and had my amp dialed in we pulled up Duke Ellington’s ” Take the A Train” written by his long time collaborator Billy Strayhorn.

It’s not an especially difficult chart for the guitar player, who would be me, but we zipped out of the gate at a pretty brisk tempo.  The four bar piano intro sets it up and we were off.

We’re zipping along, I’m sitting literally right on top of the drum kit and so the kick and  hat are providing plenty of drive.  I’m not only hearing it, I’m feeling it and me and the rest of the rhythm section is ” In the Pocket.” Look it up.

And somewhere during the tune, I can’t recall exactly where but somewhere on page two I’m floating and flying and even though we’re zipping along at 80 miles an hour I’m seeing the chart and playing my chords in what I can only describe now as the game slowing down.  The chart is as big as the windshield on my car.  The notes are a foot tall.

I’m driving my guitar right on the beat but my brain has somehow become disconnected. I’m reading the chart in slow motion but the song maintains the tempo and I’m right in the middle of it all.

My musical brain is right is directing traffic.  My eyes are locked on the page, I’m not looking at my hands.  They are doing just fine on their own acting together even though they are making separate and distinct motions.   My foot is tapping to the beat and what’s flooding my ears is pure magic.

I’m inside the song, I’ve crossed some kind of boundary into a zone I don’t normally get to be in but tonight I’m there and it’s beyond words – joy maybe?

I don’t want the song to end, I’m hoping there is a repeat sign at the end but I know there isn’t.

It’s the fastest 3 minutes and 5 seconds in the world that also lasts an hour in slowed down Wayne Gretzky time.

My thanks to Billy, Duke, the bands ( Duke’s and ours), Fender amps and Guild guitars.