Wednesday, June 27, 2007


For years now a lot of people had called me crazy for my one man war against purchasing products made in China. I should not refer to them as products but rather by there true name, which is junk.

Now the headlines for the past few months have vindicated me as one item after another falls into the junk category. Just today 400,000 tires were found to be defective. How many pets have perished by feeding poison laced pet food?
Toothpaste recalled due to tainted content.

We are giving our kids toys laced with lead, and stuffed animals filled with garbage. All of this under the guise of saving a few pennies.

It has become hard to find things made in the USA. But what a thrill it is when you do. Comparable to landing a three pound bass if your a fisherman, or a birdie if your a golfer. They are out there, but you have to hunt for them. The one thing I have found is that they are comparable in price, and sometimes even cheaper.

They ship billions of dollars of their junk here, but allow only a few of our products in for sale. Our biggest export to China is our scrap metal, which cause higher prices here. So where is the savings as we pay more for anything metalic.

So join me in this war and boycott the made in China labels, there will be a recruiting office opening in a neighborhood near you.

Monday, June 25, 2007


There must be a million and one political polls and they seem to be taken almost on a daily basis. I have never been asked my opinion, nor the people that I know asked of theirs.

So the big question of the day is, who are these people that give these opinion, or are they just numbers drawn up by the pollsters to sway our way of thinking?

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I read a sad story in the paper the other day about the death of the small repair shops. Many people haven't experienced this delightful part of life, since we have advanced from the repair it era to the throw it away and replace it one.

Eons ago, when TVs were filled with tubes instead of transistors, we would either call a fix it man or took the tubes to a store and tested them and replaced them. Only as a last resort was something thrown away, as things were repaired at home or taken to the fix it shop, and only after trying to repair it yourself.

Screws were used to hold everything together as we could open things and tinker inside. As kids, time was spent taking apart and putting back together all sorts of gadgets, just to see what made them tick, and the thrill we had when it still worked after our inquisitive inspections.

Then the molded plastic era started where once it was put together at the factory, it was harder to get into then Ft. Knox. If screws are used, they are of a different variety that most people don't have around the house and a fortune is spent to procure them. No longer can the local fix it man repair it, it has to be done by factory trained specialists at outrages prices.

The outlandish prices charged for parts to repair something is highway robbery as the example given by the subject of the story. A man called him to repair a $2,000 TV set, when he inquired about purchasing the part needed to repair it, he was told that it would cost$3900 for said part.

It was a pleasant surprise when you did take something in for repair, and the repair man only charged a dollar or two for it was something minor, and once more the thing worked as good as new for years to come, and not another piece on the landfill pile.

The pride we had in ourselves as we tore down car engines and put them back together to get them to go faster. The joy of hearing a well tuned engine purring like a cat.

Now all we can do is turn something on and off, and if it doesn't go on, just throw it away and purchase a new one. Minds are going dormant as they are no longer used for problem solving, and we wonder why we are getting so stupid.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


At this time last year I was in Lithuania and the people knew what to do on this summer feast. In this and other European countries it is a holiday weekend as everything shuts down and people take time to relax and celebrate, as many head for the sea shore to relax and reflect.

No expensive toys to play with just a fun time strolling around and being with people you care about. People were doing things that people once did in this country. That was get together and talk and enjoy a bit of cheer.

Now we run out and play for a designated time and speed back and lock ourselves indoors in our air conditioned homes. It was nice to stroll around, and go to restaurants and not freeze as windows were open to let in the refreshing breeze. There were hundreds of out door cafes to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.

I just don't understand it. We sit inside our houses because it is to hot outside as we have the thermostat turned down low to freezing, and then when it is freezing outside we stay indoors and turn the temperature to hot. Something has got to be wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Are we that bored and stupid, that we really need the latest gadget that will be selling for $80?

I'm talking about an attachment for a land based phone that will give us a choice for different tunes instead of the standard ring. For $3 more a wider choice of tunes will also be available.

How many people will rush out and purchase one? And how many dollars will be spent on different tunes, since you can program it to personalize each caller that you know? And we wonder why we are getting poorer?

Monday, June 18, 2007


While killing time in an auto parts store, I cruised the aisle seeing what was new. I then stopped in the aisle that had valve stem covers for tires and since two of them were missing from my vehicle, I decided to buy a package.

The dilemma was, that there were so many to choose from. Should I spend a dollar and purchase the same dull black plain ones that came with the vehicle, or should I tap into my vast financial portfolio and spend a couple of bucks more.

My better senses told me to go for the bland, but in a moment of weakness I decided to go up in class and spend a dollar more. As I walked to the cashiers counter the doubts began to filter in as to how long these domed shaped with silver stripe covers would last.

I left the vehicle alone for four days, and to no surprise found all four gone on my return. I am glad, since I have been know to place a wager or two legally or with a bookie, and in this case I would have wagered that they would have lasted at least a week or two. So the only disappointment I have, is how fast they disappeared.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The word "HERO" is tossed around quite loosely these days, and it seems as if a day can't go by without a dozen or so new so called heroes appearing on the scene.

For as long as I can remember, I have had only one hero my entire life. Someone I looked up too, and admired in all that he accomplished and the peoples lives that he affected. This man was my father, but most importantly, he was my "Dad"

He was born on a farm in Lithuania, and he and his brothers all craftsmen, rose to a bit of prominence in their small town, as they plied their trade as carpenters. But World War II interceded, and seeing the writing on the wall, that hard times were coming, my father packed what he could in a buggy and took my mother, brother and I on a trek across Europe, not knowing what lay ahead.

We ended up in various displaced persons camps throughout Germany, as my father would go into the towns, not speaking the language, he would get jobs to take care of his family. After six years, we finally got the notice, we were going to America.

We got to Chicago on a Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday they had a party to welcome us. On Monday, my dad was at the stockyards applying for a job.
I remember the conversations at the dining room tables as friends from the camps gathered and enjoyed what were now considered feasts on Sundays as they drank and questioned each other about their work and pay. Finding out someone was making a penny or two an hour more, quickly meant a change in jobs, as they bounced from one butcher company to the next, in search of the American riches.

Even tho exhausted from a hard days work, it was very important for him to go to night school, to learn the language of this new country, and most important, become a citizen.

With only a third grade education under his belt, his wisdom and knowledge surpassed most scholars, and being small in stature he toward like a giant and was strong as an ox.

He taught me many lessons about life, with his stories and fables. His greatest gift was knowing how to give a compliment and making it sincere. As an example, I was working with him at a construction site and was very proud of the job I had done trimming and hanging cabinets in one of the rooms. I called to him to see this majestic job that I had done. He entered the room, pulled out his pipe and filled it slowly. He lit his pipe and slowly walked around the room, running his hand slowly across joints, taking a puff here and there, and not saying anything. What seemed like an eternity, he finally spoke. No it wasn't the words I wanted to hear, on what a wonderful job I had done. Rather it was a simple "someday you will be a fine carpenter", but I could see from the glee in his eyes, how proud he was off me.

Then there was the time I had borrowed some money off of him. One day as I sat and talked to him, I asked why he hadn't mentioned anything about paying him back. It was a simple, "if you are good and honest, you will pay me back, if not you won't, even if I ask for it'. Therefore I learned a lesson about you and will know never to lend you anything again. I couldn't pay him back fast enough. A few little words, but such a big lesson.

He knew the appropriate time to say things, so the message got across. Such as "I don't mind you drinking my whiskey, but don't water it down". Trying to be smart as a teen and putting in shots of water so he wouldn't notice any of it gone.

He would drive me crazy, for he seemed to have all the answers. No matter the problem, he would always seemed to find the solution. And he always knew whenever I had a problem. It was always "the back of my neck is hurting, and you know two heads are better then one to solve a problem". And it was such a relief, when we did solve it.

My greatest regret in life, is that he left me so long ago, and those that I love deeply never got the pleasure of meeting him and enjoyed him as much as I. I love you dad, always have and always will. Rest in peace, for you truly are my HERO.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I just shook my head in amazement as I dined and spoke with some patrons in Oakland's fine dining emporium, who had returned from watching the St. Louis Cardinals engage in a game of baseball the previous night.

The question was, why would people part with $8.25, for a beer, so that over compensated athletes could ask for more outlandish salaries? I could understand one to quench a parched throat. But from the conversation, it seemed people were consuming them as if Prohibition was to start at midnight.

We hear complaints every day how the gap is growing between the haves and have no ts, yet we are the ones wielding the shovels, as we dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


For the past several weeks, we have seen adds in print and TV for those perfect Father's Day gifts. Let's show dad how much we love him by going into debt and purchasing that wide screen plasma TV, or if he is a golfer, that driver that costs an arm and leg.

As for me I got my first present almost thirty-three years ago. That was followed by another a year later, then I had to wait three years for the third one. Thirty years later I got three more in one day.

These six, have combined to produce eight "grand" presents, making me not only a father, but also a grandfather.

There is nothing they can purchase me that would bring me more joy then they have already given me or will give me in the future. There is no greater pleasure then hearing "grandpa you are driving me crazy". The hugs and kisses are worth millions.

As for the older presents, the thrill is when they disagree with me, and I can see they are thinking and have a mind of your own. Then I know I no longer have to worry that the decisions they are making or will be making, will be foolish ones.

I have fourteen reasons to be happy on father's day, and who knows how far this number may increase.


It was bad enough that the Republican party pandered itself to the religious right, but now it seems that the Democrats are also quick to drop to their knees to kiss these holy posteriors in their quest for votes.

I was about to regurgitate a fine meal, as I watched the three leading candidates pander themselves on the Paula Zahn show, to the so called ministers of God. "HOW STUPID IS YOU" to believe that anyone of these three would truthfully and honestly answer any of the inane questions posed to them.

Edwards beating around the bush, when asked his worst sin, as if he would tell a national TV audience of his transgression. Or what did they expect of Clinton, when asked about how she survived her husbands infidelity. Tho not a fan of Obama, I have to give him credit for his avoidance of questions, with nonsensical rambling to a question, for his fifteen minute duration, so that only a minute was left for second one.

If one were to believe any of these dozens of candidates from both parties, they all have replicas of the Sistine Chapel where they all spend part of their days in meditation and prayer to help them make their decisions, in their quest to help man kind.

But being the skeptic that I am, and the legislation passed by our congress, I believe those chapels are shaped more like banks, to give them the needed inspiration.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007


There is a liquor store that is not to far away from my abode. Even if I was a tea totter, I would em bide in these alcoholic beverages, for medicinal purposes only, mind you, just because they play by the old fashioned rules.

From the time they open, till they close the stream of people is so steady that the place works like a fine tuned Swiss watch. The selection and prices are fantastic. The decor is in the staff who are very help full and efficient. No fancy names or gimmicks. Just great prices. The profit comes from the high volume of sales.

No overpaid CEO's, no beating last quarter profits to worry about. Both the customer and owner win as both parties are happy. One at saving money and the other making it.

No one greeting me at the door, no one bothering me while I shop, for they are to busy stocking the shelves. If all businesses ran as well as this place, we would all be better off. Like I said the old fashioned way.