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Friday, September 29, 2017


We were watching old TV shows on an “Old TV Show” station the other day and Mrs. C asked me if a particular show was ever in color.
“Not for us.”
I’m not sure when color TV’s came into existence, maybe around 1955, but almost no one had one until the 60’s.  NBC was the Peacock Network because if a show was in color they opened it with a beautiful peacock and the announcement, “The following program is brought to you in living color.”
Most of us could only imagine the color.
The first time I saw color TV was at my Grandfathers.  Grandpa was always one of the first to buy new stuff.  We were at his house for some celebration and the Baltimore Colts were playing a championship game.  I remember they had injuries not only to the great Johnny Unitas but their second string QB as well.   Their quarterback was a running back that had played QB in college for a running offense.
You could barely tell the game was in color.  The uniforms had a slight tint and the grass was greenish.  I don’t know if it was his TV, or the broadcast, but even with the poor reception the color was cool.
The next day at school the kids asked, “Did you see the game?”
“Yeah, I saw it, and I saw it in color!”
I was the envy of my classmates.
When we got our own color TV most shows were still black and white, but commercials were in color.  The commercials were more exciting than the shows.  If there was a choice of a black and white TV show or one in color, we opted for color.
We always watched “Bonanza” and as I recall they seemed to go out of their way to make things colorful.   I remember the horrible orange vests the Cartwrights wore.
The can’t miss show in color had to be Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color.”
A color TV was one of the first status symbols of my childhood.  We did not have a princess touchtone phone, air conditioning, power steering, or membership to the country club, but we did get a color TV.
“Wow!  We got a color TV, an RCA Victor color TV” 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Flag Football

Flag Football
My son just (last Saturday) called me up very excited about his son’s win in an organized flag football game.  He is the head coach, and as excited as he was about the win, he was happy about how both teams, coaches and players, were such good sports.  It was a tough game but the losers took it in stride and everyone was friendly afterward.  He was excited to be part of teaching children life lessons through sports.
I had a similar feeling from my youngest son's experience playing flag football.  I don’t know why flag football is more relaxed than other competitive sports for young children but in the two leagues I know of, they are 2 for 2.
The rules are simple. It is football with grabbing a tail or “Flag” from a set of three on each player, instead of tackling.  There is no blocking, everyone is eligible to catch a pass and you are only allowed one run play per set of downs.  Everyone plays the same amount of time.  Everyone has the chance to run back a kick or play quarterback.
The coaches keep score.  There is a winner and there is a loser.  There is a league standing, but in the end somehow no one gets too exercised over the final result.  No one get a trophy.  Everyone gets a nice team sweatshirt at the end of the year.
The very first game my son played in I was given a crash course in how this league worked.
I was helping out as an “assistant coach” in a game that went back and forth TD after TD.  Near the end of the game, our team was leading by five points.  There is a clock on the field so it was easy to see the time remaining.  Our opponents completed a pass play to our five-yard line.  Time was running out and the other team used their last time out to have one more play to try and score to win the game.
Our team stopped their play.  They had one more down, but with the clock running down and only one second left, the win was clearly in our pocket.
Our coach ran out on the field yelling “Time out, time out.”
I was screaming to myself, “What…no…no!  Oh, the humanity!”
The other team had one more chance to score.  We stopped them again.  We won a very close, very exciting game.
After everyone shook hands and the kids all ran around passing, and catching, and kicking before the next game started I went up to our coach.
“Coach, the clock was going to run out and the game was ours.  You gave them one more chance. Why did you call that time out?”
His answer was simple and it established for me what this league was all about.
“I just wanted to see if we could stop them one more time.”
In thinking about it, that is pretty much what we would have done as kids when there was no supervision in our back yard pickup games.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reverse Discrimination

Reverse Discrimination
Mrs. C and I went to dinner tonight, “Bonefish”, a nice chain restaurant with good food at a fair price.  I like to go out to dinner and we do so several times a week as Mrs. C does not like to cook and she works three nights a week. 
Bonefish has a nice relaxed atmosphere.
The restaurant was not yet very crowded.  We were seated right behind a large table with three adults and 8 children age 2 to about 8.  I know restaurants often try and sit people at less desirable tables first, and this table was clearly less desirable as the children were…children.  Not especially ill-mannered, but children.
In my older cranky age, I generally will ask for a different table if any are available, and there were clearly other choices.   In this case I said nothing.  The three adults and the eight children were African American. 
If they were white I would not have hesitated to ask for a different table, but reverse discrimination kicked in.  Would people think I was prejudiced because I asked to sit away from a table of African Americans?
We took our seats.
“I should ask to move to a quieter space, I come here to relax…if I wanted kids and agita, I could go out to eat with my Grandchildren!”
“The other section might not have a waitress and they can’t seat us there.”
Then I got bumped from behind by a child running around the table; and again, by one going to the bathroom.
“I’m asking for a different table.”
As I was going up to the hostess to ask for a different table, a couple walked in before me, and they were taken to the table I was going to ask for.  As they were being seated I followed and gave Mrs. C the stink eye.
Then the manager came up to me.
“May I help you?”
Oh crap, the manager was African American.
“Oh, I was just hoping to be seated at a different table.”
“Is there a problem?”
“No, just there are other tables and we were seated next to a large group of children…they are not being bad, but they are children and there are other tables.”
“The table over there?” As he glanced at the African American party of eleven.
“Ah, yes…”
“Hmmm, I see…we will find a different table for you.”
“I don’t really mean to complain, but…”
“It’s all right sir, I completely understand.”
We moved several tables away and truth be told at this point the table of children was acting a bit bratty and extra loud.  They were a still little disturbing, but at least I was not being bumped.
As we were finishing an appetizer and the restaurant was filling up I confessed,
“I feel a little guilty, the manager gave me one of those looks; the ‘Yes sir, we can find your bigoted ass another table; wouldn’t want you to have to sit near Black Folk’ Look.  I just didn’t want to sit next to kids, if I’m prejudiced, it is against little children.”
As I was voicing my remorse and having a Larry David moment (“Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans will understand) another couple was seated behind the table of children.  And we overheard them,
“Ah, do you think we could we sit at another table?”
“I’m very sorry, this is the last table for now.”
“That’s ok, we’ll wait.”
I turned around to see this couple that also did not want to sit next to a troop of children.
It was a middle age couple. 
They were African American.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Proxy War

Proxy War

I am an owner of Proctor and Gamble stock.  I own a little over eleven shares.  Currently the company is facing a proxy battle.

Here is what I know about proxies.  They are ballots sent every year before a stockholders meeting.  People vote for various directions they want the company to go and for board members.  Most stock holders either vote the way the current board recommends, or they do not vote at all.  I seldom send in my proxy. 

There may be people who want to scold me for this. 

“Your vote is important! You need to vote.”

Save your breath, my vote is not important, I don’t need to vote.

Currently there is a proxy battle at P+G.  A very large stockholder wants to be on the board of directors and force the company to make changes.  He argues the company has been underperforming lately.  “Vote for me!”

The Company says they are making changes and the company is now moving in the right direction.  “Vote for us!”

In the last month, I receive multiple phone calls and multiple mailings every day from each side saying, “Vote for me,” or “Vote for us!”

Unless I do some very heavy research, there is no way of me knowing if the large stockholder would be good for the company, or if he would be a giant pain in the ass who would force changes for short term gains at the long-term detriment of the company.  I would need to read tons of literature and consult with many experts to decide if the current Board of Directors knows what they are doing or not.

After my many hours of research, most coming from experts with an agenda, would I really know what is best for Proctor and Gamble?  Would my eleven plus votes really make a difference up against holders of millions of shares?

Mrs. C keeps pushing literature about the battle in my face.  She says my vote must be important as both sides are spending a fortune on the campaign.  I push the literature back.

Is a vote that is uninformed, or based on false or biased information really a valid vote?  Is it possible to be informed when bombarded by experts on both sides who have Ivy League degrees in slanting information to win their point?

I don’t think so, so I vote no vote.



Watching squirrels go by; oh my, my-my*
This Cranky re-run is from September 2013 
Squirrels; to most people these are despicable rodents with big fluffy tails.  To backyard bird watchers they are a menace.  These crafty acrobats find a way into bird feeders and will not leave until the feed is all gone.  Except for what falls to the ground, the birds get nothing. 

My mom was a backyard bird watcher.  She waged a battle with the local squirrels for years.  I learned to just enjoy the show and become a squirrel watcher.

Squirrels can climb the slimmest poles, crawl along any wire, hang from any branch, and avoid any impediment designed to keep them off the feeder. 

I have watched mocking birds and blue jays torture cats by dive bombing them into submission to protect a nest or in the case of mocking birds just for sport.  These birds could not make a squirrel even flinch.  They are acrobats, they are smart, and they are brave. 

They do make mistakes.

Watching these creatures can sometimes be comical.  A squirrel will leap from tree limb to tree limb with incredible dexterity. 

Most of the time. 

I once saw a squirrel which apparently must have passed tree jumping with a low “c” average as it missed its intended limb and tumbled fifteen feet to the ground onto its back. I thought it was dead, but after about ten seconds this fuzz ball rolled to its belly, slowly stood on its hind legs and looked left and right.

“Fall, I didn’t fall, just a big jump that’s all.  Anyone see that? Nobody?”

The squirrel shook off his cob webs and his embarrassment and climbed back up the tree as if nothing ever happened.  They are tough little buggers.

Several months later, a large limb from a tree in my back yard came down in a storm.  This limb had served as a major squirrel highway from one tree to another for years.  The day after it came down, I watched squirrel after squirrel race up the tree and out on the limb only to screech to a halt when they found the highway had disappeared.  They looked confused and bewildered each time.  Some actually ran down, up and out again just to confirm their arboreal roadway was missing. 

A detour was quickly established.

One winter we had a very long cold snap.  I found a squirrel hanging by one hand on a cable line into the house.  He was exhausted and unable to move along the ice encrusted wire.  I looked for someway to help him down when he just fell ten feet to the hard ground. He appeared to be frozen and dead.  I had to move him from the yard or my Labrador would experiment with him.  When I shoveled him into a box,  I could tell he was breathing, not dead, but well on his way.  I put him in the lot behind my house and covered him with leaves so a cat or another predator would not find him.

One hour later I went out to check on the squirrel.  He was gone without any sign of “fowl” play.  The little bugger recovered.  They are tough indeed.

We have hawks in our area.  I love watching the hawks.  They need to eat to survive.  Top on the hawks menu is squirrel.  Sometimes I see this battle for survival; the hawk to eat, the squirrel to live another day.  The hawk will stalk and swoop at the squirrel, and the squirrel will scamper around a tree to escape. 

I love watching the hawks.

I always root for the squirrels.

*Sorry, could not resist.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Stupid Headlines 092417

Stupid Headlines 092417
It’s time again for
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
Aspen police: Taking selfies with bears is never a good idea – Advice that was never needed before legalizing marijuana.
Scottish man on trial for 'causing hatred' by posting joke video of dog saluting Hitler – I hate and am offended that they call this causing hate…it frightens me.  They should charge the people calling this a hate crime with causing hate.
Sign Language Interpreter Reportedly Issued ‘Pizza’ Warning During Irma Update - Statistics show that only 10% of the 24,000,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States understand sign language. The other 90% rely on captioning.  But then the sign language dude is just so much more politically correct.
Cameraman Absolutely Trucks Cheerleader at NFL Game – He accidentally ran her over and she was unhurt…I was hoping it was a typo.
Police seek 'mad pooper' woman jogger who's defecating shamelessly on people's front lawns – You can’t say she doesn’t give a shit!
California hotel will deliver 10-pound doughnut to your room – Welcome to the hotel in California, you can shove your face, if you’re a big disgrace, plenty of room in the Hotel in California, we have a huge doughnut here, wash it down with beer.
Tractor-trailer makes wrong turn, ends up on Atlantic City Boardwalk – You can’t make this stuff up:
“The driver of the tractor-trailer reportedly said he was following the directions of his GPS device and found himself on the boardwalk.”
Domino's sex couple faces jail time for 'obscene and disgusting' acts – I thought Domino’s was supposed to deliver the goods.
Murderer sues Kansas prison for 'imposing Christian beliefs' – Prisoner is upset by that “Thou shalt not kill” thing.
Parrot Places Online Shopping Order by Mimicking Owner – That explains a palate of crackers on the from door.
Bodily fluids found in Detroit airport soap dispensers – Ewww, I read no further!
Heroic Dog Saves Life Of Boy Stranded In Sierra Madre Mountains – I like cats, but if I’m stranded anywhere, give me a dog!
Come back again next week (maybe) for more

Friday, September 22, 2017

Taxes and Incentive

Taxes and Incentive

A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with no expertise on the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!

I studied Economics about 50 years ago.  I am not an economic expert, I barely passed my final exams.  I have never used my economic degree since graduation, and yet I have no problem spouting economic opinions.  To paraphrase the famous TV quick draw artist Bob Ross, “It’s my blog I can post opinions when I want to.”

There will soon be much discussion about changing the US tax code.  There will be statistics and claims from many different perspectives. 

Some will tell us that we are running a huge deficit and reducing taxes now would be CATASTROPHIC!

Some will tell us that any tax cut to the rich (defined as anyone who has more money than you do) will cause DRACONIAN costs to the poor (defined as everyone who doesn’t pay taxes.)

Some will tell us that cuts will benefit the middle class (defined as everyone except Gates, Buffet and the homeless.)

Some will tell us that reducing taxes will increase revenues because people will work harder and longer and rising incomes will increase revenue.

Some will say we need to increase taxes, but only on the rich, in order to provide more services and to reduce the deficit. 

There will be experts and statistics to prove each and every claim from all perspectives.  Who is correct?  As long as the economy is a political football we will never know.  The politicians are more interested in a position which helps them win their next election than they are at designing the best code for the well-being of the country.

We need a tax code that is not static, but adjusts automatically to changing indicators.  The best tax is one that maximizes revenue while still encouraging investment and discouraging bad behavior (smoking, drinking, cheating at cards, bad breath, etc. etc.).

A tax is similar to price of any good or service.  Increase the tax (price) and revenues will rise as long as people can pay it.  Raise the tax too high and revenues will fall. 

If a banana costs a dollar to produce and you sell it for a dollar your profit is zero.  Sell it for fifty cents and you run a deficit.  Sell it for 2 dollars and you are revenue positive.  Sell it for ten dollars and you end up with unsold rotten bananas.

Point being, raising taxes is not always a revenue producer and lowering them can increase revenues, or vice versa.  Taxes need to be adjusted periodically just as produce prices are adjusted based on varying factors.


To make my point let’s set taxes at ridiculous rates:

Tax the rich 99% of income and give the poor a tax rebate for zero income that reduces as income rises.  I don’t believe any thinking person would say this a good idea.

Tax the rich nothing, and tax the middle class 99% of their income.  I don’t believe any thinking person would say this a good idea.

Clearly any tax rate should be set somewhere in between these ridiculous examples, if only it were not politicians to make that decision.

Perhaps the most powerful economic stimulus is incentive and the biggest incentive crushers in the economy are high taxes and low competition.

We used to have one telephone company in the country.  There was no competition and government decided what prices were fair for that company to charge.  In sixty years, innovations in the phone industry was from operator assisted calls, to a rotary dial system and at its peak, push button dialing.

Better phones would not increase revenues, why develop them?  Improved service would not improve the bottom line, and lower costs would lower prices that government set.  The result was in sixty years we had pretty much the same telephone service; mediocre and fairly expensive.

When the telephone company was broken up and competition allowed, we had an explosion of technology and phone service.  People went from one phone homes to multiple phone homes and currently a cell phone for almost every person.  Long distance calls used to be prohibitively expensive.  You talked to great aunt Tilly for maybe a minute and then had to hang up or go broke.  Does the term long distance call even exist today?

The tax code is a major determiner of incentive.  It should be designed to be as high as possible or needed while low enough to stimulate incentive for investment and greater profits. 

Maximum revenue while maintaining incentive for investment and profits should be the goal that will be best for all, the rich, the poor, and the middle.

Unfortunately, politics will dictate the direction of any tax code changes.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.    

Happy Anniversary ATM

Happy Anniversary ATM
Apparently, the ATM machine recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.  It first appeared in 1967 in London England, so I don’t remember those early machines.  I remember first seeing ATM machines in the 1980’s.  I didn’t use one until 1987.  It was with great trepidation that I trusted this modern marvel to correctly distribute my cash.

When the machine belched out a few twenties, I felt as if I had hit triple cherries, or whatever it is that pays off in Vegas.  I still didn’t trust the machine.  I had heard stories, and if it jammed or something, what do you do, especially when you use one after the bank is closed. 
I am a little leery of new technology.  It’s like a new restaurant where food can be mediocre, and service sometimes poor; I want to wait a bit to see what others say, and to let the staff work out any kinks.  So for another few years, I wasted half of every other Saturday morning at the bank to cash my pay check and take out the cash I would need to survive the next two weeks.
Occasionally, I might need a little cash and I would trust the ATM for maybe $20 (there was no charge to use the ATM.) When I moved to a little town with a bank just around the corner from me I gained trust in the ATM and had my check deposited automatically and used the ATM as needed.
I only had one bad experience.
The day of my daughter’s wedding I needed money.  We needed to leave early for a 2-hour drive, so I walked to the bank and withdrew $300 from the ATM.  Except I withdrew a receipt for $300, no money came out of the machine.
Fortunately, the bank was open.  Unfortunately, the bank was busy.  The clock was ticking on my leaving for the wedding, and my impatient, anxiety ridden and unpredictable wife was waiting at home.  I was a block from home, but did not want to leave the bank until I had my money.  I did not have a cell phone in those days so I could not call my wife.  Could I have used a bank phone?  Probably, I didn’t even think of it.
It took a half hour for the bank to check the machine, confirm it owed me $300, and give me the cash.
When I got home, I caught holy Hell and took a wicked tongue lashing for being late.  We made it to the wedding on time, but it was a most unpleasant drive to say the least.  Of course, when we arrived, Mrs. Hyde turned into Dr. Jekyll.  No one knew the trouble I’d seen.
Anyway, that has been my only issue with an ATM.  Today it is hard to believe that I used to stand in line and wander through the bank maze every other Saturday to get cash.
Happy Anniversary ATM.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Why Post?

Why Post?
Gotta post, gotta post, gotta nothing…DAMN!
Why do I feel I need to post something?  Do I have to post every day? No…and yet I must, it is a compulsive thing.  I must post something, but I do have some standards. I don’t want to just post crap, or at least worse crap than my usual crap, however, I have nothing.
Hmmm…Politics?  No, I’m not ready for that yet.
Sports?  I could go on about golf.  My game is slowly improving, one step forward, three quarters of a step back.  I could tell how my pull hook has improved to straight and then I added a slight fade to follow the contours of my course, and how that fade is now an out of control slice…no, most people hate golf.
Football?  It looks like my Giants are going to disappoint “big league” this year (see, the phrase is “Big League” meaning big time, it is not bigly and Trump has never said bigly…OK, I snuck a little politics in there, please no comments) and my Jets as usual will break their fans hearts.  Besides people hate football more and more these days.
Baseball?  How about those Yankees? I can’t get excited, I see them as a wild card and losing the one playoff game.
I could post on TV.  I watch a lot of TV.  No; done that, and many people think TV is for cretins. I don’t even watch it any more, I now only read Biographies, the New York Times and listen to Public Radio.  I am also selling a very popular bridge in Brooklyn.
I could make fun of Mrs. C, but most of my readers always side with her and turn on me.
You know what?  Screw it! I’m going to be the “Blog Nazi” today.

No post for you!


License plate defacing.

Lots of stuff hits me like aluminum foil on a filling, but in New Jersey there is one thing that just winds my crank more than others.  
Defaced license plates.
I don’t know about other states, but in New Jersey if the coloration around the plate letters and numbers is scratched off, the plate number is not picked up by traffic cameras.  Besides scratching the coloration,  there are also special covers that are also supposed to make photos difficult to read.

I see these defaced plates all the time.
This drives me nuts, because: 
1.     What makes these people so special that they can run red lights with impunity?
2.     Why does law enforcement allow this?
Clearly if I can spot these doctored plates, the police could pull these cars over and issue a summons for defacing their plates.  The practice would end in days.
I think that in New Jersey most of the traffic light cameras have been shut down due to legal issues, but it is still important for license plates to be readable…otherwise why even have them.
On many toll roads, toll takers are being retired.  Tolls are paid by “Easy Pass” or a bill is sent to the driver based on a license plate picture.  If pictures are unreadable, you and I will be paying for these cheaters.
Pisses me off!!
There is an easy solution; ticket these a-holes!
End of rant
Cranky out.