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Friday, April 18, 2014


 A cranky opinion for
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with very little knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome…I will ignore them, but they are welcome, and please, no name calling, and that means you…you big stupid head!

Again and again I read of silly judgments in schools because of “A zero tolerance policy.”  A kid is suspended for pointing his finger like a gun…zero tolerance.  A first grader is suspended for kissing a girl on the cheek…sexual harassment…zero tolerance.

Several years ago, I ordered a beer at a baseball game and was asked to show proof of my age.  I asked if 65 was too old to order a beer and was told everyone needs to prove they are at least 21.

Doctors are not allowed to think like they once did.  Go in with a complaint of a stomach ache and they will put you through a battery of tests.  “Probably just the six slices of pizza and two liters of coke you had for lunch, but just to be sure…”  Health care costs are up dramatically, but the doctors cover their malpractice butts by ordering all those tests.  There was a day where ordering unnecessary tests would be considered malpractice…that is not today.

There are still people in jail with long term sentences for carrying a few ounces of a substance that is currently legal in two states.  The law is the law, no common sense allowed. 

I just read about a Missouri man who was sentenced to 13 years in jail for armed robbery.  Because of a clerical error he was released and did not serve any time.  Twelve years later, the man is married, has a family, owns a small business, coaches youth football, doesn’t miss church on Sunday and is your basic model citizen.  He has not been on the run, did not change his name and lives two blocks from where he lived when he committed his crime. 

The error has been uncovered, and this reformed robber is going to jail.  The victim of his crime does not want him to go to jail, but it is the law.  He did the crime, he must do the time.  Maybe while he is in jail his children will go astray without a male role model in their life.  Maybe while he is in jail the employees of his small business will go on welfare, or maybe they will resort to crime.  Maybe thirteen years in jail will take this reformed thief and send him out into the world with the tools and attitude to rob again.


Maybe Doctors, teachers and judges should be given the power to think.  Maybe sometimes laws and rules should be a guideline and not always be ridged.   

Our Doctors, teachers, judges and other leaders are generally intelligent people.  Maybe we should allow them to interpret a situation and apply rules as they see fit, as they see they make sense.

We need rules and we need laws, but maybe we should also be allowed to think.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


This cranky old man loves a good hot shower.  There was a time when I shunned soap and water, but from the age of about twelve I have loved a good long hot shower.

I wash my hair in the shower, I shave in the shower.  I like a good bar of soap; preferably a brand new bar of soap.  Soap slivers do not cut it with me.  I might use a sliver to lather up for a shave, but the body demands a full bar of soap.

Mrs. Cranky is a thrifty person.  She does not like to throw anything away.  Mrs. C wants to get the last bit of soap out of every sliver and she will not introduce a new bar to the shower until that last sliver is gone.  I understand thrifty.   I appreciate saving money, and I dislike waste.  However, though not a wealthy man, I have been lucky enough through hard work, saving, successful investments, and the hard work, saving, and successful investments of my ancestors to have reached a level of affluence where I can afford the luxury of a new or almost new bar of soap for every shower.

I do not live in or care to live in a mansion.  I do not drive or care to drive a fancy car.  Mrs. Cranky and I do not live an extravagant life style nor do we particularly seek or desire an extravagant life style.  I desire only a roof over my head in a warm home, three meals a day, an occasional change of venue, new tires on my car when the tread is below the recommended thickness, and a new or almost new bar of soap for my showers.  It is on that last simple pleasure that Mrs. C and I clash.

“If you are going to open a new bar of soap when there is still a sliver left, at least apply the sliver to the new bar.”
“What?  Who does that? The sliver just falls off and then I can’t find it and if I step on it I’ll slip and break my head wide open…do you want that?”


“What does that mean?”

“It means I have to think about it…about now I’m thinking yes!  Besides, the sliver will stick to the bar.”

"I don't think it will."

"It will stick, the sliver sticks to the bar."

“Oh for crap sake, give me one luxury, I hate the sliver.”

“OK…if you insist on a new bar all the time, you can get a new bar whenever you want.”

“Thank you!”

It struck me that that concession came entirely too easy.

“Wait…where do we keep the new bars of soap? 





Thursday, April 17, 2014


Some Cranky Old Man posts are aimed directly at family and or friends.  The following post is for my children and grand-children.  Even if you are not in this category, you are still welcome to join in and read.

This is about your Great-grandpa kids.  Some of these stories may not be totally correct, I have only heard them second hand, but I am passing them along anyway.   From the Grandpa I knew I believe they are true.  I can only imagine how many stories of Grandpa we will never know; these are three that I have been handed down to me. 

Grandpa was a loving man with a big heart and a wonderful sense of humor.  When he told a story, it was always punctuated with his own infectous laugh.  Often his stories were slightly off color (at least for up-tight WASPs of the '50's) and if Grandma was around the story ended with an abrupt Grandma admonishment,

"Oh Milton!"

This admonishment would be followed by more infectious laughter.

Your Great-grandpa ran his own business, The “J Milton Hagy Waste Works” in Philadelphia.  They made rags and wiping cloths.  I am told the big money was from oily rags used by railroad trains in their “Hot boxes”

From Wikipedia:

A hot box is the term used when an axle bearing overheats on a piece of railway rolling stock.[1][2] The term is derived from the journal-bearing trucks used before the mid-20th century. The axle bearings were housed in a box that used oil-soaked rags or cotton (collectively called "packing") to reduce the friction of the axle against the truck frame.

How he got into this business I don’t know.  The Hagy’s used to run a paper mill in Philadelphia, and they used rags and cotton fiber in the paper making process, so perhaps the Waste Works morphed from that industry.

One famous Grandpa story has it he came to work one day and found his workers picketing the business for higher wages.  Grandpa went up to the picketers and asked what was going on.  He was told, “We’re on strike” and was handed a sign.  Legend has it that he grabbed the sign and marched against his own business for a half hour before someone recognized him and yelled, “Hey, it’s the old man!”

The employees all dropped their signs and returned to work.

I would like to say Grandpa gave everyone a raise after that, but I don’t really know if he did…probably not.   

Your Great-grandfather did not have a strong heart.  He had a heart attack at about age fifty.  He was a big man, almost 300 pounds when his heart kicked up.  He also drank a bit which probably didn’t help.  After his attack he lost about 100 pounds and quit smoking, still he complained that his heart sometimes missed a beat.

Grandpa owned a small fishing boat.  One day the engine was not working too well and he crawled into the engine compartment with a hammer and a screwdriver to see what he could do.  Grandpa claimed that if something could not be fixed with a hammer or a screwdriver, then it could not be fixed.


While poking around with the screwdriver, and with his feet in bilge water, he hit a loose wire.  His body straightened out from the shock and it was many seconds before he could release the tool.  What little hair he had on his head stood straight up.  My uncle was with him at the time and screamed, “Are you all right?”

Grandpa looked up calmly, grabbed his wrist and held on for a minute before claiming, “Damn, it’s the first time my pulse has been normal in three years.”

Your Great-grandfather and Great-grandmother were terrific bridge players.  They were both grand masters, a big deal in the day when people played card games, not "Candy Crush."  My cousin Greg told me they were so serious about this card game he once heard the two of them arguing in their sleep about a bidding convention.

Several weeks before their fortieth wedding anniversary, they were playing in a bridge tournament.  Grandpa had just bid a grand-slam contract (winning all 13 tricks) when his heart began to give out.

Grandma asked, “What’s wrong Milton.”

“It’s my heart, call an ambulance.”

Everyone at the table started to get up, and Grandpa insisted they sit down.

“Not so fast, if you make the wrong lead, this hand is a lay down.”

They played out three rounds and Grandpa laid down his hand claiming a successful grand slam.

The ambulance arrived and Grandpa left with a satisfied smile.  He passed away the next day.  He left in his characteristic calm triumphant manner. 

He left a winner.