Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Inevitable Happened.

Each year Black Friday has become progressively worse. The total lack of respect for others becomes more evident. The greed of people is amazing and the total apathy became crystal clear in Long Island, New York, where a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death shortly after the store opened. The picture you see here was taken minutes before the store opened. The worker, 34 year old Jdimytai Damour, was a member of the maintenance crew. Police are trying to identify shoppers involved but it will be extremely difficult.

One sad thing about this is when I heard the news I really wasn't surprised. I have witnessed some of these rushes and people are so focused on what they want they don't pay attention to anything but what they want. What a way to celebrate a season that is supposed to be about caring and sharing with your fellow man. People were actually mad when they cleared the store. They complained because they had waited so long. It was just too bad that someone died. I have read several news stories and have read the comments people have had about this incident. Of course Wal-Mart gets blamed as usual. This could have happened at any other major retailer but it is Wal-Marts fault. Some believe stores shouldn't open earlier than usual. As usual, the fault always belongs somewhere else. Is it too much to ask for a little civility among human beings? Have the words please, thank you, and excuse me been excised from peoples vocabularies? What about remorse? Someone should come forward and say that they were part of the crowd. One person cannot be blamed for this tragedy, but those responsible should be punished for their actions. My heart goes out to the family of Mr. Damour. When we are celebrating Christmas on December 25, his family will be reliving this tragedy.

There was a second incident on the west coast where two men shot each other in a Toys 'R' Us in Palm Desert, California. Evidently their women got into a fight and the men drew on each other. Fortunately no one else was shot. Hopefully people will see what is going on and start treating one another better. Let's all remember the meaning of this season and start showing it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday 2008.

Black Friday has come and as I write this the worst of it is over. For once I missed it. I was told they didn't need me and I didn't argue with them. I am sure if I had asked they would have let me come in, but I really didn't want to. I get paid for the holiday so I didn't miss ant time. If I hear any interesting stories I will pass them along. Instead of working at Wal-Mart I was unloading a truck at Taco Bell. That was a whole lot easier.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The House In The Street.

I have mentioned before I am a history buff. I believe in historical preservation, but I realize that not everything can be saved. It takes money to do so and since the money is limited you have to carefully weigh the projects and preserve those that are truly deserving. The house you see here is in Springfield, Illinois. The historical significance of it was built while Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield, in fact he loaned the money for the house to be built. He loaned the man $650.

The previous owner of the house was the Springfield Clinic and they wanted to tear down the house to make room for parking. The house had not been occupied for several years and needed a lot of work. The was some outrage directed at the Clinic for wanting to tear it down. Of course those who were outraged did not have any specific plans for it, they just wanted the house saved. The Clinic agreed to give the house away. The city of Springfield kicked in a total of $115,000 to pay for the move and to demolish the house where this one would go to. The mayor also talked the Clinic into footing 60% of the cost of the move.

Everyone seemed to be happy. The house was saved. What wasn't known was the fact that no real plans had been made for the house other than moving it. You would think before a move like this was made you would have a foundation to put it on, but that wasn't the case. What are they going to do with the house? Good question. They want $2 million to renovate the house, which would come from a city redevelopment program. The mayor has asked the city council for another $822,000, but there is no plan on how that money will be spent. So far the city council has not approved anything other than the initial $115,000. The house is sitting part way in the street because there is no foundation to put it on.

Of course hind sight is always 20/20, but you would have thought for a project of this magnitude it would have been better planned. The move was planned well, but what happens next should have been. Why did the city not ask what the house is going to be used for before they approved the help? How much more money are they going to be asked for? It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Will The Real John Smoltz Please Stand Up?

This is kind of like the old show To Tell The Truth. Donruss printed these cards as part of their 1990 set. These cards are bonus cards, which are not part of the regular set. They designated one player from each team as the team MVP and a card was printed and placed randomly in packs. Was this done intentionally to sell more packs? It probably was. The card companies will claim that is not the case, but most collectors don't believe them. Personally I don't go out of my way to get the error cards. I am not going to pay a premium price for any card. Of course since these cards are from a set was overprinted, they are not worth much. The true Smoltz card is worth all of a quarter, and the impostor is worth a whopping dime, and that is provided you can find a collector willing to get that. Of course, if I found a Braves fan I might get a little more for them, but I definitely couldn't retire from the proceeds. In case you don't know, the true Smoltz card is on top. The impostor is a legitimate MVP on his own, Tom Glavine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dark Half.

I am a Stephen King fan. I like most of his work, but for me this novel fell flat. I think I would have liked it better except for the fact I am also A Dean Koontz fan, and this novel reminded me a lot of Koontz's writings. The premise of the story is an author, who has written under a pen name, reveals his true identity and "buries" the pen name, complete with a tombstone. If you can't figure out what happens next you haven't read much Stephen King. Of course the pen name comes to life and the story is on. The book is very violent and the ending was confusing. The violence doesn't bother me, but that ending was a disappointment.

This book was inspired by the revelation that King wrote books under the name Richard Bachman. Overall this is not a bad book bit not spectacular, either.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama Cards.

This is no joke. In January Topps will be putting out a 90 card President Obama set. You can order them here if you like. Personally I am going to pass. I have a feeling that when they are released they will be big sellers, but I believe most of the buyers will be speculators. Check eBay when these hit and you will see what I mean. If you really want a set I would wait until June. Then the dealers will be unloading what they have.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Killer Angels.

Last month I talked about how much I like the movie Gettysburg. I just finished listening to an unabridged version of The Killer Angels, on which Gettysburg is based. If you are at all interested in the Civil War you will find this novel fascinating. Michael Shaara spent 7 years researching this book. He portrays both sides fairly and equally. In the forward he explains he did modernize the language a little. The words they used then, in Mr. Shaara's words, was more flowery than we use today. He felt if he had used it exactly it would have made it a difficult book to read. If you are looking for a full account of the three days at Gettysburg you won't find it here. What you will find is a fascinating look at several men who shaped the events of those three days. The main men followed are Robert. E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. You feel a better understanding of what these men went through and some of their thought processes.

This book came out in 1974. At the time of publication it was not a best seller. The Vietnam war was winding down and people did not want to read about war. It won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1975 and people then took notice. While it is a book about war, it humanizes it's characters and gives you a different perspective on them and what the war was all about. I find the Civil war a fascinating period of our history, and this book helped give me a better understanding of what happened in that small Pennsylvania town on July 1,1863 through July 3, 1863.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Therapy Session.

Last night was a very rough night. I deal with stupidity on a daily basis, but yesterday they topped themselves. As the night progressed I kept revising what I was going to write today. It was going to be fairly savage in a very sarcastic tone. Yet as the night progressed other thoughts took shape. The anger started to fade and I just started cracking jokes about the situations. By the time I left this morning I felt no need to vent. By writing the blog in my head I felt as if I had had a nice therapy session. I don't want this blog to have a whining tone. It did me good to write it in my head and that is where it will stay. If I let the job get to me then I become like most of the others I work with. I like to think I am better than that. I will just laugh at the absurdity of it all and go on.

I can hear you thinking. So what does the pig have to with today's post? Absolutely nothing. Yesterday I requested that you send post cards to a lady who has had a re-occurrence of breast cancer. This is the card I am sending her.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Do a Good Deed.

How would you like to do a good deed? It won't cost you much more than a dollar, if that much. I read about this on Mark Evanier's blog. Mark is a writer of many things, comic books, television shows, several books, and produced and directed Garfield And Friends. He wrote about a friend of his who's mother has had a re-occurrence of breast cancer. The friend has requested that people send his mom post cards wishing her well. What post card you send is up to you, but he has asked for funny ones. Something to help her get through this trying time. I know there are a lot of scams along this line, but I believe it is legitimate. You can read about here. I am going to repeat the address. Send the cards to

808 BARN ST.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Do It.

When working in retail most of the people you deal with are very nice. Then you have those who you just want to punch out. They are the know-it-alls who tell you what a lousy job you are doing, or how much your employer inhales vigorously. The one that truly stands out to me did just that. I was the Electronics Manager at K-Mart and had a "gentleman" tell me how great Wal-Mart was and how much K-Mart sucked because they had the same item priced differently in their stores. He claimed you paid the same amount for any item in Wal-Mart no matter where you were. I told him that all companies priced differently depending on their market. If there is less competition you will pay more. He was very happy to inform me how ignorant I was because he could walk into any Wal-Mart from Atlanta to Chattanooga and pay the same price for any certain item. I was also informed how much greater Wal-Mart was over K-Mart. I bit my tongue because I wanted so bad to ask him if Wal-Mart is so great, why are you here? I figured he had been at Wal-Mart bad mouthing them and they sent him out.

The reason I brought this up is yesterday in Springfield, Illinois a clerk in a meat store hit a customer over the head with a wooden stick. You can read about it here. His reasoning on it was very faulty however. He told the customer he still owed 35 cents. When the customer asked why he hit him. I have a feeling that employee is no longer working there. No matter how tempting it is, attacking a customer is never justified.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Last Days Of Krypton.

When Jerry Siegel and Jerome Shuster first created Superman they told us only that his home planet Krypton had exploded and that Superman had been rocketed out of there when he was an infant. Since then comic book writers have created several different versions of what happened. Now we have a novel giving us yet another story of the events leading up to the destruction of Krypton.

With a character like Superman, who has been around for 70 years, you have the option of choosing what stories fit your mold of what Superman and his universe consists of. If you don't like a story, fine, it never happened. There are a lot of Superman stories that I have done that with. As for this book, in my Superman universe this is what happened to Krypton. This book is heavily influenced by the movie Superman II, but that doesn't hurt it in the least.

Kevin Anderson kept shifting things around on me. I thought I knew what direction he was headed in with the story but he went another way. My only complaint about the book was I didn't want it to end. All the elements of the Superman story are here. We learn how his parents Jor-El and Lara, met. We learn why Zod hated Jor-El. The answer to why Ursa and Non from Superman follow Zod is here. I knew what the ending would be, but the cause of Krypton's destruction was brilliant. If you are a Superman fan, I strongly recommend you read this. Obviously there can be no sequel, but I would love to read a prequel involving the Kryptonian warlord Jax-Ur, who plays a role in this book. that is quite a feat for a man who had been dead 1000 years.

The book I am currently reading is The Dark Half by Stephen King.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Infringing On Your Rights.

A few days ago police in Springfield, Illinois conducted an undercover sting operation on tobacco sales. Six establishments were cited for making the sales. You can read it here. Now I am sure you are asking yourself, why is he bringing this up? Has he lost his mind? First of all, there is a debate as to whether or not I have ever had a mind to lose. As for why I am bringing this up, this little story has elicited 33 comments from the readers. Some are claiming this infringes on their rights. HUH???? Businesses are caught selling cigarettes to minors and the police department is blasted for enforcing laws. What rights are being violated?

Some of the comments are mind-boggling. Some say the law is wrong. Some say that the police should not be out doing this kind of thing. Some, I believe, got caught up in the heat of the argument and thought it was about keeping people from smoking. I guess some of them feel we should just put cigarette machines in schools and be done with it.

I don't feel sorry for the six who sold the cigarettes. They will probably get fired and by all rights should. I do not run a cash register at Wal-Mart but they have us take the training lessons for cigarettes and alcohol. We are clearly told that violating the policy is grounds for termination. In Georgia we are to ask for ID if the person appears to be under 40 years old. If we feel the ID is forged or if the person is possibly buying for a minor, we are to refuse the sale. If the person objects, we let a manager deal with it. I realize that sometimes cashiers in convenience stores get rushed, but there is no excuse for not checking.

I am not debating here the ethics of smoking. That is for each person to decide on their own. I do not smoke nor am I bothered by people who do. But until children reach the age of consent in their state they have no business buying cigarettes. I know that they can obtain them. However, if I were selling cigarettes, they would not get them from me.

I have no objection to police stings. In this case 6 failed. The story should also have had the number of stores that refused the sales. All they have to do is follow the law and nothing happens to them. Now if the police only conducted stings on one business that would be wrong. All they are doing is making sure business are complying with the law. What is wrong with that?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Does Anybody Know What Is Going On Here?

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to go to grocery. I agreed and was told the change would take place the next week. Now every time I ask about it I get the I don't know routine. They request it, I agree to it, and now the whole thing is in limbo. Isn't management great? I will still do it when they ask, but for now I am not going to bring it up again. I was doing it as a favor to them. I would not mind getting out of the cold departments, but the ball is in their court.

On another note, I got some real bad news on my schedule. I am scheduled off November 27. That means I will not be there the morning of November 28, which we in retail lovingly call Black Friday. Now if you bought my being upset about not being there, I have some real estate I want to sell you. It gets crazier every year and I am glad I won't be there. I will still get my 40 hours because I get paid for the holiday. Instead about that time I will be at Taco Bell unloading their truck. I would much rather do that. Normally that truck comes on Thursday, but they have pushed it back a day for the holiday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who Is The Real Loser?

The t-shirt reads "Only a real loser would stand there and take the time to read the message on someone else's stupid t-shirt." These 5 people obviously like that t-shirt. These pictures are their mugshots. Who are the real losers?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Money Keeps Rolling In.

Last month I talked about the $500,000 I was going to receive. Right now I am looking at a check made out to me for $4875. The enclosed letter tells me this is the first payment. I will receive another check for $120,125 after I talk to them. They are going to want me to cash this check and send them $2975, after which I will get my check. This has to be legitimate, doesn't it? I mean I have the check right here. They wouldn't be doing anything devious would they? Sadly, like the other scam there are people who will fall for this.

The first sign I had this was a scam was on the envelope. There was no return address. If it was legitimate the address would be there. I guess I will continue to gain my fortune the old fashioned way, by working hard for it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Goodbye Kerry.

Yesterday the Cubs traded minor league pitcher Jose Ceda to the Florida Marlins for pitcher Kevin Gregg. Gregg will become the Cubs closer which means that Kerry Wood became expendable. The Cubs will not resign him. Kerry has been with the Cubs since 1997. He became a phenom when in his fifth start he tied the major league record by striking out 20 batters in one game. Unfortunately he has been plagued by injuries and has been on the disabled list 12 times.

Gregg is somewhat of a question mark because he needs knee surgery, but should be fine by spring training. He currently is the highest paid player on the Marlins, and since he is eligible for arbitration the Marlins let him go. When healthy he is a great closer, so hopefully his health problems will be taken care of and he will pitch up to his ability.

I will follow Kerry next year. I hope he has a good season and I hope he stays a relief pitcher. He just gets hurt too easily when he starts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Mad Review

I promised some time ago I would do a review of Mad Magazine. I am not sure who I told that to. I believe it was my friend Travis, but I could be wrong. Mad is not as funny as it used to be, but it has its moments. This issue, number 496 is actually funnier than most of the issues.

I have been debating how to rate the issues. I decided to use a won-loss system, with good articles as winners and bad ones as losers. Then I will give a percentage for an overall rating. I subscribe, which is the greatest value. If I was buying it off the newsstand I probably wouldn't buy it. At $4.99 an issue it isn't worth it to me. For my subscription I got 12 issues for $14.00. They vary the subscription rates. Currently it is 12 issues for $19.99, which to me is a fair rate. On with the review.

The Fundalini Pages are found in every issue. They are written and drawn by various people. It usually is very uneven and usually to me it is a loser. This one however is one of their better efforts. The best one is called Signs Your Dad Loves Football More Than Your Family. There are 5 lines there. My favorite is "He always complains it's 'to cold' to build a snowman with you---yet goes to every Bears home game in nothing but face paint and a thong." WIN

The Rise And Fall Of A Rap Star written by Desmond Devlin, art by Hermann Mejia. This was very funny. It follows the life a rap star "Yung Carl" from his beginnings, his fame and his untimely death. I don't care as much for Mejia's art, but the story carries it. WIN

What The Deal Or No Deal Models Are Thinking. Written by Ross Garmil and Matthew A. Cohen, over a picture of the models. When dealing with 23 one-liners there are going to be a few clinkers, but over all I liked it. WIN

The Horse That Knew The Way. Written by Brian McConnachie, art by Leonardo Rodriguez. This is a short story that I simply thought inhaled vigorously. LOSE

A Mad Look At Road Trips. Written and drawn by Sergio Aragones. Sergio very rarely misses and he is on target here. WIN

7 Periods Closer To Death. Written and drawn by Ted Rall. This is an on going strip that deals with life in high school. I rarely find it funny and this one is no exception. LOSE

Monroe And The Natural Disaster. Written by Anthony Barbieri, art by Tom Fowler. I never have liked Monroe. His family makes the Simpsons look like Ozzie and Harriet. LOSE

Comments You'll Never Hear No Matter How Long You Live. Written by Darren Johnson, Art by Tom Bunk. I like this. My favorite is a lawyer telling his client "Sir, it was obviously your own stupidity that caused this accident and there's absolutely no grounds for a lawsuit." WIN

Spy Vs Spy. Peter Kuper has taken over this feature. He is not as good as Antonio Prohias but I like it. We also get two different tales in this issue. WIN

Planet Tad. Written by Tim Carvell. This a blog from Tad, who is in 9th grade and according to his blog his height, expressed in Vern Troyers, is 2.3. This, along with Sergio Aragones bits, is consistently the funniest thing in the book. You are given a week of Tad's activities, this time he joined the debate team. He practiced for the debate by arguing who is lamer, Aquaman or the Sub-Mariner. His opinion is they are both equally lame because they hang out with fish. WIN

The Darker Side Of The Lighter Side. Written and drawn by Dave Berg, new wording by ???. This would have been better if they had simply reprinted old Dave Berg strips. The new gags simply don't work. No wonder no one put their name on it. LOSE

Using Kids Books To Explain The Awful Bush Years. Written by David Shayne, art by Gary Halligren. They parody two Shel Silverstein books that I am not familiar with and The Little Engine That Could, which I do know. I might have found this funnier had I been familiar with Silversteins books, but I am tired of all the Bush jokes. If you can't stand him you might find this funny, but to me it was too mean spirited. LOSE

Al Jaffees Fold-In. Written and drawn by Al Jaffee. Al Jaffee is an amazing man. At the age of 87 he is still doing these. He has appeared in every issue since 1964, over 440 consecutive issues. He rarely misses and this one is another winner. WIN

The totals, out of 13 articles 8 were winners, for a winning percentage of 62%.

I will start reviewing each issue as I get it. Soon I will review an older issue from the late 80's to the early 90's to see how they compare.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Name Brand Vs Store Brand.

When you shop for groceries, do you only buy name brand products or are the store brands good enough for you? For the most part I am wallet loyal, not brand loyal. If the difference is pennies I will buy the name brand. However if there is a big price difference I will usually get the store brand. About the only exception to that rule is soda. I will normally buy Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, whichever I can find on sale.

I do not see a huge difference in taste or quality when it comes to food items. When dealing with cleaning chemicals or paper products there is enough of a difference to check closer. a lot of chemicals are watered down somewhat, so there it is better in most cases to get the name brand. The same can be said for paper towels and toilet paper, but if you look around enough you can get some quality products. Of course then you have to decide if shopping at different locations saves enough to pay for the gas going to the store. If you spend $5.00 in gas to save $2.00, well I will let you do the math there.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just did a story about this. Another interesting article can be found here. Some people will only buy name brand products. I have always looked at it from a retailers point of view. If you feel better paying more, I am more than happy to take your money. There are levels in store brands. Wal-Mart's store brand is Great Value. There is a higher quality level offered under the Sam's Choice label. Most stores offer the two levels now. Kroger has even taken it one step further with a third choice. You have Kroger Value, which has mostly a white package, Kroger brand, and President's choice.

With the economy today it makes sense to save every way you can. You should at least try the store brands before totally writing them off. If you don't like it, fine. You tried. If you do like it, your wallet will thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blueprint For Disaster.

Sales are down. Profits are down. How can you bring the numbers up? Wait a minute! I have a brilliant idea. Lets lay off our highest paid employees. We can replace them with people who make less money. Lets get rid of 3400 people. We not only save on salaries but benefits too. Our new people won't be getting as much vacation time or other benefits. That is a great idea and we can all look forward to higher bonus checks because our brilliance. And they all lived happily ever after.

Well if you are going to tell a fairy tell you should stick with the traditional ending. In March 2007, the little scenario I described took place. I won't say that is exactly how it happened, but I don't think it is far from the truth. Most business analysts said it was a dumb idea and nothing good would come from it. One said if it succeeded look for other businesses to follow suit. I personally know of one other retailer that has done so. We now know how successful that idea was. Last week Circuit City announced that they would close 155 stores. This week they filed for bankruptcy. They were a troubled company before March 2007, and their decision to let all of those employees go was the nail in the coffin. They realized the depth of their mistake before last Christmas and tried to hire back some of those let go. The damage had already been done. They had angered enough customers that they no longer shopped with them.

Too many business executives forget that without customers there is no business. Unless you have employees in the store no one will come. If your main business is selling televisions, DVD players, computers, etc. you need knowledgeable employees. If you don't have that why would someone shop with you? Executives need to get out of the office and into the stores more often. I am not talking about appearances where they walk in a store. They need to grab a name badge and spend an entire day waiting on customers, talking and listening to them. See what they want. If you don't do that, you end up facing what Circuit City is now, or even worse, closing your doors forever.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reading Time.

I love to read. When I was in grade school my Dad told me that I should get much better grades than I did because of my reading ability. He was right, but I wasn't interested in reading what my teachers wanted me to. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't do better in school.

When it comes to reading I don't have a favorite genre, although if I had to pick one mysteries would top the list. Some time soon I am going to post my ten favorite detectives, one at a time and in reverse order. I have the list made, I just have to write the entries.

I keep a book in my locker at work and read on my breaks and lunches. I mentioned a couple of days ago about reading a book of newspaper columns. I finished that book last night and then I started a book my friend from Illinois gave me for my birthday. It is The Last Days Of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson. I only read a couple of chapters last night and I like it so far. It is a novel that takes the Superman legend and tells the story of his home planet. A lot of comic book stories have been written about Krypton and this book tries to give a definitive history. When I finish it I will write a review.

I also listen to books on tape when I am in my car. Currently I am listening to The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I mentioned this book earlier. The movie Gettysburg is based on it. The tape is the unabridged version, which I found at a Salvation Army Thrift Store for only $1.99. My inner Jack Benny did cartwheels over that deal. My friend in Illinois always claimed listening to books on tape does not count the same as reading them, but I disagree. A lot of the books are abridged, but you still get the main story. Since my work commute is only 5 minutes it can take some time to get through a book.

I also usually read for about half an hour before going to bed. That usually consists of several comic books or magazines. Future posts will talk about the books I collect.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Forgot.

I had a plan for my entry yesterday and I forgot all about it. I came close to not posting anything today, then I realized what I had done. After using my stress reduction kit, and regaining consciousness, here I am.

Yesterday marked one year of blogging. I see I have made a total of 120 posts, meaning I averaged about one post every three days. I have really got into the swing of it in the last month. I will be explaining soon why I missed one day this month . I had an entry, typed the title and found something that I was not ready to discuss at this time. I am still working on it and when I get it right I will post it. Right now it is coming off a little stronger and angrier than I like.

I have always enjoyed writing but I can be very lazy about it. I have been trying to shake that and am attempting to post something here everyday. Some of it is ranting, some of it silliness, probably some of it is more than you ever cared to know about me, but here it is. I am having fun doing this and that is all that matters to me. If you like reading what I write, and I see enough comments to know that some of you do, that is just icing on the cake. Year one is over. My goal for year two is to at least double my number of posts. Will I do it? Check back here and find out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


These are the rules. It does not matter how dumb they are, we will follow them because they are the rules. You cannot question them because they are the rules.

It sounds stupid, but how many times at work or dealing with the government have you ran into that scenario? This came to my mind last night while I was reading a book titled The Rest Of The Best Of Baker, Vol. 2. It is a collection of newspaper columns written by Rick Baker, who was a columnist for The Peoria Journal Star. He died in 1988. My Mom loaned me that book as well as Vol. 1. She told me that both she and Dad had enjoyed them and reading the books I know why. He was an interesting man.

2 of his columns dealt with this kind of stupidity. The first involved a requirement in Illinois that you had to pass Drivers Education to get your diploma. I do not know if they still require that but in the 80's they did. What makes that a stupid rule? Because of that rule a blind girl had to take the course. She had no desire to drive and the state admitted she could never get a license. They did waive the behind the wheel portion of the class, but she had to take the other part. They came up with several reasons why she had to take it instead of saying, "You are right. A blind person has no business in Drivers Ed." It took him 2 months, but he finally convinced someone to waive that requirement.

The second rule does not exist today. It concerned a girl who wanted to play basketball. At that time there were no girls teams. She did play on the team, but when tournament time at the end of the season came, she was banned. She could not even dress with the team and sit on the bench. She was not a great player, but good enough to play in most of the games. When Rick contacted the person responsible for that, he said he wished the girl had contacted himself so he could have told her why she couldn't play. The reason? It was against the rules. He didn't try to defend it, it just simply was that way. Now schools are required to spend equal amounts of money on both boys and girls sports, which is only fair.

Friday, November 7, 2008

News Time

I love reading news. I follow current events but what I really like is the strange stories out there. In the last two days three stories have caught my attention.

The first comes from the city of Batman, Turkey. The mayor plans on suing the makers of the Batman film for using their towns name without permission. He claims he will come to the United States to file this suit. I did a little research on the town and they adopted the name Batman in 1955. Since DC Comics started publishing Batman stories in 1939 I don't think he will succeed.

The second story concerns a young man from England. He is claiming his name is now the longest in the world. His parents christened him George but he has changed it to Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined. He is having fun with it now, but I bet he ends up back to George before too long.

The final story comes from Finland. They have just released the DVD of the television series Little House On The Prairie. It is banned for anyone under 18 years old. To get a rating in Finland they charge so much per minute. When dealing with a series like that it would be very expensive, so the producers took that rating. There may be some very disappointed viewers if they are not familiar with that series.

One thing I have noticed in reading odd news stories. I always thought when it came to weird you could not top us Americans. I was wrong about that one.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


52. For some reason that number keeps sticking in my head. Maybe I will do an in-depth review of the DC series 52? Of course that would present a problem because I haven't read it yet. It came out during the time I couldn't afford comics. I do have the first trade paperback, but I still haven't read it yet.

Let's see. 52 years ago it was election day. Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected, defeating Adlai Stevenson. But I don't think that is why the number 52 is going through my mind. You know as you get older you tend to get a little absent-minded.

Oh yeah, I remember. 52 years ago today, at 12:18 AM, in Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Illinois, I was born. The world collectively yawned, and it continues to do so today. To show just how exciting of a life I live this morning I went to Taco Bell and worked from 5:30 until 9:00 AM. I will finish the day by going to work at Wal-Mart at 10:00 PM. I tell you, James Bond is envious of my life. (Of course I will tell you anything. Whether or not you believe me is up to you.)

Since we are both working tonight Vickie took me out to lunch yesterday. We went to Red Lobster. I had never ate there before. I am not a big seafood eater, but I am adventurous when it comes to food. Vickie ordered the lobster tail and she gave me a piece of it. It was not bad, but nothing I care to eat again. We also had a shrimp cocktail. The only way I had ever eaten shrimp before was fried. I liked it better than the lobster but still nothing I want on a regular basis. Vickie also gave me 2 shirts, 2 pairs of blue jeans, and a bottle of Eternity for men. She is spoiling me and I like it.

I am very satisfied with the way my life is going. A little over a year ago I was extremely unhappy, but things are now working out and looking up. I enjoy my job, I have a beautiful woman who I enjoy spending time with, my health is good, I like my hobbies and I am enjoying telling you about it here.

Major News Story.

You would have thought that Barack Obama becoming our president would have been the lead story in every newspaper across the country. Had you thought that, you would have been wrong. The Rockdale Citizen, published in Conyers, Georgia felt that a local story about a dog attack, The county board, and the sheriffs election was more important.
I went to their website to see if there were any letters to the editor complaining about that, and I found one of the least helpful newspaper websites that I have seen. I love newspapers and I like checking out new ones. This one has the least amount of news I have seen. I guess they simply want you to buy a copy, which is admirable from a business sense, but in this day and age it is an old fashioned attitude.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

License Renewed.

Great picture, huh? That was taken about 2 hours ago when I renewed my drivers license. As soon as i did that I went and did my patriotic duty and voted. I am not going to say who I voted for, but I will say I have tried again to get our county coroner out of a job. I hold a grudge against him. I spoke to him the afternoon after my wife died. He told me he would be issuing a death certificate in a couple of weeks. About 6 weeks later I was at the funeral home making a payment. I asked them about the certificate and they told me it had been issued. They made me a copy. He had listed the cause of death as morbid obesity. That was not what killed her. She was overweight and had that been listed as a secondary cause I would not have had a problem with it. But to list that as cause of death, and then not being man enough to tell me personally, was unforgivable. He has been re-elected twice since then but I continue giving my vote to his opponent. If he would ever be unopposed I still would not vote for him.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Deja Vu.

For the third time since I started working at Wal-Mart I am going to stock dry grocery. I was asked about doing it last night and after thinking about it awhile I agreed. I keep moving around. I started in dry grocery, went to frozen foods, went to produce, back to dry grocery, back to frozen, then to what I am doing now, frozen and dairy. Is your head spinning yet?

Getting out of produce was a sore spot. I was set up to fail and they succeeded admirably. The person who had been the produce lead was removed from the job. The new lead and the perishable assistant manager wanted her to stay in produce but someone had to go. Instead of asking me to step aside they made it look like I wasn't doing the job. When I did everything they wanted, they raised the bar. They finally raised it so high there was no way I could do it and I got pushed out. I said at the time if certain meteorological conditions took place I would return to produce. A couple of months after I was put out the new produce lead hinted to me they needed some new help. He was hoping that I would take the hint and apply. Before I agreed I had to check something out. So I went to Google and checked and found out that the temperature at the theological place of eternal punishment had not dipped below zero degrees Celsius, so I had to turn the job down.

As for my current decision, I will lose 20 cents an hour because pay is based on levels, and frozen is one level above grocery. However, the frozen department lead is one of those people no matter how much you do you cannot make her happy. She also is very good at making herself look good at others expense. So it actually will be worth that just to not have to listen to her anymore. Also my evaluation is due at the end of the year and I will get it back then.

I am not sure what day this will take effect. It may be next Saturday. I will still post my entries about it not being easy in frozen and dairy, I just am not sure when.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Silver And Gold.

Silver was arrested in Las Vegas yesterday for driving under the influence. Details can be found here.

Gold was arrested in July of 2005 for abusing harmful intoxicants. He was arrested at a Dollar General store where he was attempting to buy a can of spray paint. He had been huffing the paint. He was in need of a refill. Instead he was arrested. Details are here.