Thursday, December 31, 2009


I have very exciting plans to ring in the new year. I will be stocking the dairy department. I know, I know, you all wish you could lead such an exciting life instead of living vicariously through these blog posts. Just remember, no one said life is fair.

Seriously, 2009 was a good year for me. My overall health is good. I am having a few more aches and pains but considering I am 53 years old that is to be expected. I enjoy my job. Naturally there are things about it that sometimes drive me crazy, but I leave those at the store. They have no place at home. My relationship with My Lady is going great. I am in the best financial shape I have ever been in. This post is sickeningly sweet isn't it.

As good as this year has been 2010 looks even better. I hinted about a big change in my life coming. Barring an unforeseen circumstance something will happen to me that I never dreamed would. No, I am not getting married. I am going to leave this cryptic for now. It will be revealed in good time. I wish you all well for the coming year. Thank you to everyone who reads this. I was once told by someone that no one would be interested in what I had to say. That has been proven wrong. Happy New Year, everyone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Family Honor.

In practically any family there are members that no one likes to talk about. They have done things that bring shame and disgrace to the family so the easiest thing to do is to ignore them. Like the old adage, if you can't say something nice about someone don't say anything at all. What do you do if others say something about them, for instance if they say your grandfather was responsible for the death of many people? If your grandfather was Joseph Stalin, you sue. The only thing in doubt is exactly how many deaths Stalin was responsible for. That has not stopped his grandson from suing Russian news organizations for their comments. A couple of months ago one suit was dismissed, but he is trying again. It looks like the United States is not the only place where crazy lawsuits are filed.

Of course, maybe historians are wrong about him. When I read this story a song immediately came to mind, Springtime For Hitler.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Urban Legends.

A couple of weeks ago My Lady and I went out to eat. I have mentioned before that we do this every payday. When we got there the cook, who is a friend of ours, told My Lady that you have to be careful. If you see a baby sitting in a car seat and covered in blood, alongside the road don't stop. A Mexican gang is setting this up and any woman who stops gets beat within an inch of their lives. She was very serious in telling us that. She claimed some police officers had been in there and were spreading the warning. I was polite and didn't say the first thing that came to mind, Penn and Tellers show. After she was out of earshot I told My Lady I was 99% sure that wasn't true. I also told her I would look into it and let her know.

I consider myself a news junkie. I read several newspapers online every day, plus Yahoo news and a few other sources. Had there been any truth to that story I would have read about it. The first thing I did was check out The story had all the elements of a classic urban legend. I have enjoyed those tales for many years. People know someone who knows someone whose third cousin this actually happened to. When I looked Snopes did not have the story. It appeared a few days later. I do not know the reasons it was started, but it did come from someone who works for the Tennessee Department of Corrections. That person should have known better, but obviously it didn't stop them. TDOC did issue a statement that this was false.

Stories like this are so popular because people seem to want to believe in them. Usually the gang initiations involve Wal-Mart. They are going to grab any single woman they can. Yes, things like that do happen, but they are isolated instances, not some planned event. People want to think there are always these mass conspiracies going on. They can't except that for the most part evil things done are by one person who is either mentally unstable or who simply doesn't care about anyone else. I am a firm believer in checking out stories before I pass them along as the truth. It is too easy to get an email and then blindly pass it along.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. Mine was great. I will be back Monday and will start posting daily again. Since I am a super-hero fan, here are some pictures of the heroes celebrating Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


For Christmas this year I took My Lady to the Wal-Mart portrait studio and we had our pictures taken. I hate having my picture taken but this was my idea. This is my personal favorite pose.

I don't decorate for Christmas. When my wife was alive we had an agreement when it came to Christmas decorations. I put the tree together, put the lights on it, and then stayed out of her way. What you see here is a year round display. The snowmen were made by my Grandma. The bottles that they are sitting on is the special Jones soda Christmas pack. The flavors are Sugar Plum, Egg Nog, Christmas Ham and Christmas Tree. This was a gift from She Who Left In The Middle Of The Night. This actually came in the mail after she had left me. I have always liked Nativity sets. I am one of those who believes Jesus is the reason for the season. The final Christmas thing is the penguin snow globe. I saw it at Dollar Tree and bought it.

I am off for the next four days. I am ready for a break. I spent the last hour this morning straightening in infants. I do not like working in fashions but I go where they send me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rabbit Stew, Anybody?

Be careful. That is not a cute little bunny. That is a demon incarnate. I was very tempted to make him into rabbit stew Saturday. When I came home I found that he had jumped over my printer and was under my desk. While back there he had done a little chewing. I did not have an internet connection because of that. I had plans for Saturday. My Lady and I went to rome. She has been paying for a Sam's Club membership and had put me on her card, but we had not been over there to get the official card. Since there is a Wal-Mart next to it I went in and bought a cord. We return to Calhoun, I drop My Lady off at her house and I went home. I plug in the new cord and still no internet. The little demon had also chewed through the DSL cable.

I decided to go to Office Depot to acquire that cable. The person who helped me assured me that I had the proper cable. I specifically told her that I needed a DSL cable. She told me they were universal. Naturally I had not brought the chewed up cord with me. I have never been accused of doing the smart thing. I questioned her because the cord she was selling me was about five times thicker than the cord I had. She assured me it was the proper cord. I told her that i had got the cord with my DSL modem. She told me that AT&T made their own cords so it would be thinner because they gave you the cheapest cords that they could. I pay for the cord, go home, carefully cut the package, pull out the cord, (you see what's coming, don't you?) attempt to plug it in and of course the connector is too big. It won't work.

So back to Office Depot. They question me because the package is open. I told them I was told it was the right cord. They weren't happy about it, but I was told to go get the right cord and they would exchange it. Incidentally, this time I had the old cord. I am not that stupid. (No, that is not up for debate.) They do not have anything that will work. I am told that basically I am out of luck. They will not refund it because the package was opened. I told them I was assured that it was the right cord or I wouldn't have bought in the first place. After consulting with a manager I was given a refund. However, since it was more than $10, ($10.69 to be exact) I would have to given a gift card. I took it and left the store.

On my way home I decided I would call AT&T and find out where I could get a DSL cord. I was waiting for a light to change when I noticed a small computer store. I have been aware of this store but I had never been in it. The man was on the phone when I entered and I looked around while he finished that. I didn't see any so I asked him if he knew where I could get one. He told me all I needed was a regular phone cord. He went into the back, came out with one, and gave it to me. He told me they had a lot just sitting around in the back. After thanking him I returned home, plugged it in, and obviously it worked. That took my rabbit off the menu, for now. We have had a discussion,(alright, I talked and he ignored me) and he should never do this again. Of course the fact that I am now keeping a large piece of cardboard in front of the desk helps.

Had Office Depot not given me the refund I did have an alternative plan. I would have sent an email to their website, explaining that I had been guaranteed that the cords were universal. I would have pointed out that I specifically requested a DSL cord. I would have pointed out that they need to inform their salespeople that there is no disgrace in admitting that they did not know something. The main thing is I would have been polite in writing it. In dealing with any type of this situation always remain polite. I never raised my voice or showed any signs of anger. That is the best way to handle it.

I had hoped to pick up my pictures today but they had no idea when they would be in. I will get them Wednesday and will post them as soon as I can.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thursday Thunks-Two For The Price Of One.

I forgot to do this last week, so the first one will be last weeks followed by the current one.

1. Sometimes when you are sitting around doing nothing, a thought randomly pops into your head. How many measuring cups do you own?

2. A one cup and a two cup.

2. What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Hershey's chocolate syrup. Normally I am not a brand person but here it does make a difference.

3. Egg nog - is it digestible?

No. It is one of the nastiest substances known to man.

4. Were you one of the insane humans who went to a store last Friday?

Of course I was, but only because I was paid to be there.

5. There are 12 months in a year, anywhere from 28 - 31 days in a month, depending on the year, of course. Each day holds a special meaning for someone, some days hold a special meaning for everybody. Do you have a 2010 calendar yet?

Not yet. I normally don't buy one for myself. My Lady does that for me.

6. Kids are funny sometimes and say the darndest things, but it's OK because they are kids and they are so adorable. A two year old is cute when they say a swear word. Admit it, they are. What was your favorite nursery rhyme growing up? Hey - if you don't have a favorite, just work with me here and pick the first one that fell off the wall and broke like an egg or came out of the sky like a cow who just jumped over the moon.

Does The Hokey Pokey count?

7. Most of us have some type of machine that people like to call 'vehicles'. Some are blue, some are yellow, some are red. Some have trunks, some have beds and some even can't decide if they are a car or a truck. We put gas in them, check the oil and drive them all over the place and stop them in places called parking spots. Picture in your mind the machine you currently own and if you own more than one, picture the one you last drove - when was the last time you had a new tire on it?

I have only had my car for two years and new tires were put on it just before I got it.

8. For those of us on Facebook, do you wish to share your Facebook identity with us?

I have one but I haven't been on it in over a year. I do have a MySpace page that you can visit.

9. Santa's coming! Where's the best place to hide presents? Any clever little tricks for keeping those nosey people from ruining the surprise?

My Dad once hid a piano from my Mom. They had bought a new freezer. Dad took the cardboard box that it came in and set it up in a corner of the basement. Of course Mom looked behind it. Dad told everyone about that. I have two brothers and we each told individually. He told her brothers, Grandma, his sisters, anyone he could think of, knowing there would be no way Mom would look there again. Then he got the piano and put it behind the box. On Christmas day he sent Mom down to look behind it.
Off topic, my spellchecker did not recognize Santa's. It offered as an alternative Satan's.

10. Have you heard that the world is going to end in 2012? Some people think that the world isn't actually going to go BOOM! and be no more, they think that the "end of the world" is actually going to be a worldwide takeover by a certain country and/or religion, which all has to do with the current president of the USA. Do you agree?

No. I think it will end like T.S. Eliot said in The Hollow Man.
"This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but with a whimper."

11. Butterfly, butterfly fluttering through the air, please don't land on my freshly washed hair. What brand of shampoo did you use this morning? (and for those of you who still stink.. think of yesterday morning... and if that still doesn't apply to you - go get your stinky butt in the shower!)

White Rain Ocean Mist. Since I don't have much hair I buy whatever I find at Dollar Tree.

Now this weeks questions.

1. Isn't showing a condom commercial during Sex Rehab With Dr Drew almost like showing a pain narcotic or an alcohol commercial during Intervention?

Of course it is, but they are reaching their target audience, those who swear I am not that bad.

2. Burger King and Ronald McDonald met Colonel Sanders in a dark alley. They beat him down for just serving chicken and not sharing his "11 herbs & spices". The Colonel goes down. Begs for his life. Where do they go to eat afterwards?

They go to Hardee's so they can taste what a really good burger is like.

3. You take a shower, go to leave the bathroom and the door is stuck. Due to humidity and moisture it won't budge. It will not open. No one else is home. You can't go out the window. How long do you sit in the bathroom and how do you occupy your time?

Who closes the door?

4. You are a rock star, but you need a cool rocker name. What is it and how did you decide on that name?

I would take a name from Harlan Ellison's book Spider Kiss, Stag Preston.

5. Have you ever gotten naked at a family function?


6. If purple ate yellow, what color would come out?

I am not sue, but I definitely wouldn't look stunning in it.

7. The closest paper and pen to you right now. What color are they?

The paper is yellow and the pen is blue.

8. Corn chips or potato chips?

9 times out of 10, potato, but then a bag of corn for variety.

9. You are forced to swallow either a diamond or a piece of coal. Don't ask. Just do it. Which do you choose?

Coal. When I was little my Grandma had a coal burning stove that heated her house. I was told I would go to the coal bucket and eat some of it.

10. If your mouse decided to attack your keyboard, who would win?

The mouse of course. It has better mobility.


I was going to do this post Monday, but I got hit by the flu bug. It was just a minor case but I didn't feel like doing anything. I even missed a day of work which I don't like to do. This is my 400th post. In good comic book tradition, every 100 is something a little special. Sometimes I am amazed that I have actually made it this far. I have a few new friends so I am going to post a few links to old posts. If that doesn't scare them away, nothing will. First of all, I have finally found a video which delivers the line that I use as a title. It is not the full scene but it does deliver the line. If you don't want to watch the entire video, watch at least the first 45 seconds.

To give a little background on me, I was married for almost 22 years. My wife died suddenly from a blood clot on June 5, 2000. Three years later I started living with a woman who was 23 years younger than me. That lasted 4 years until she moved out on me in the middle of the night. Two months after that My Lady invited me over to her house for Christmas. Because of what I had been through I was not going to get into another relationship so soon. That plan lasted about 3 months. We are going together but have no marriage plans or any plan to live together. We work together and see each other several times a week away from work. She has a skin condition and I talked about that here. That gives you some background on me. When I started this blog my intention was to talk mainly about baseball cards and comic books. That plan worked real well, didn't it? I want to thank everyone who reads this and comments on it. If you are a lurker and haven't said hi yet, please do so. I read the blogs of those who do and have found several interesting blogs from it. I have also been lurking on a few and I am going to take my own advice and say hello.

I found this ad in Sunday's paper. It was in the coupon section. This is one of those ads that leads to two questions, what were they thinking when they decided on this ad, and what were they thinking when they approved it. The ad is for Farm Rich, which makes some really good mozzarella sticks. In fact, there is a bag in my freezer now. But to say since you can't return your kids you might as well feed them is ludicrous. Evidently the writer of this is a fan of W.C. Fields.

I have a message for Al Penwasser. I once again am not able to post comments on your blog. (I use Firefox and on a few blogs that happens. I had been able to open the page in Internet Explorer but now IE isn't working.) Al made a post similar to my Random Thoughts post on Sunday. Well done, Al. I have a feeling that if you and I ever meet it needs to be at a secret location. If we met publicly we would soon be greeted by those gentlemen with the fancy white coats and we probably would never be seen again.

It has been awhile since I posted a baseball card. This card is from the 2009 Topps Updates And Highlights set. Throughout the 2009 sets, Series one and two, they have been doing cards of the past stars. This is a very unusual Babe Ruth card. Note the uniform. It is Babe in his last year with the Boston Braves. I have several cards of Babe, but this one is now my favorite.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Random Thoughts.

My wife told me that I had an odd sense of humor. She said she didn't like going to movies with me because I would be laughing when no else was and she was embarrassed by that. About a year before her death she did tell me that she did think I was funny, she just didn't want to encourage me. Since there now is no one to stop me I will share a few of the things that I see that strikes me as funny. Remember, if you leave positive comments you are only encouraging me and I may do more of these.
When I see Uncle Ben's rice I always wonder what it was before it converted.

Why do they call it Minute Rice when it takes 5 minutes to cook?

Attention Tennessee Pride. Those are not biscuits. Those are buns.

These are biscuits.

Homemade ice cream? Whose home was it made in?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Increasing Milk Sales.

Here in North Georgia there is one thing that guarantees extra milk and bread sales, snow in the weather forecast. It was in the forecast for last night, and this morning we actually had some flurries, but it has already stopped and the snow has melted. People get into a panic over snow. 16 years ago they did have a blizzard which shut down the Interstates. That was three years before I moved here, but people still talk about it. I do not know exactly how much snow they had, but compared to some that I have seen in Illinois I know it wasn't that much as you see there. Of course the big difference is equipment. Northern states have plenty of trucks that are ready to roll before the snow starts. Here they don't have much, but it would not be cost effective to buy it.

There were a few questions from my last few posts. Instead on answering them in the comments section I will do it here. Al asked me where the restaurant was that had the couple arrested. I don't know what part of Pennsylvania you are in Al, but it was the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem. Al also asked about how the hand washing sensors worked. There is a chip in everyone's name badge. Near every sink is a monitor. When you approach the sink the monitor records the chip. The data is all compiled and if the boss wants see how many times employee A has washed their hands that day, the information is easily retrieved.

Caron asked about the pictures. I had hoped to put them here in my blog on Monday, but I will have to wait until December 15. I can view them online, but the studio has their name all over the pictures. After I have paid for them I will scan them and post them at that time. I smiled when I read your thinking about germs on cans of corn. That brought to mind a customer we used to see. I haven't seen him in quite awhile and I presume he has passed away. When he shopped he always started out in produce, where he would get a lot of the produce bags. When he bought a can of any type he would put it in a bag. At no time would he touch the cans with his bare hands. He would spend two to three hours shopping, and rarely bought more than 20 items.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hand Washing.

I have worked in hospitals, nursing homes and restaurants. Obviously hand washing is a big deal in all of those industries. With all of the bacterias and diseases floating around proper hand washing is a great way to stop many of those. Even knowing that a lot of employees skip that step and a lot of people get sick because it. So how do you insure that people who should be washing their hands actually are? Modern technology, of course. A company called HandGiene has come up with a way of checking up on employees to make sure they are complying. I am familiar with the technology they are using. Wal-Mart is using something similar to track merchandise. There a chip is put on a pallet. Sensors record when the merchandise enters the back room and again when it goes to the sales floor. Here the chip is put on an employees name badge. It then records when they approach a sink and when they leave. Here is a visual showing how it works. Of course there will be those who complain that this is intruding on their privacy. There will be people who will get into trouble because of this. In my opinion, they deserve to.
That may sound harsh, but how many people could they infect simply because they won't do what they know they should?

In a little while I am going to meet My Lady at Wal-Mart. We are going to have a portrait made. I do not like having my picture taken but I decided that I would like to have one with her. I have posted an informal picture of us but this one will be better. When we get them I will scan it and post it here. I am actually going to be wearing a suit and tie. It will be the third time I have worn this suit. It was my Dad's. I wore it to his funeral. The only other time I had it on was when I took My Lady to Red Lobster for her birthday. I don't know a lot of the day workers at Wal-Mart but I am sure I will surprise those that I do. They are used to seeing me wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tipping. defines oxymoron as "a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.” Other classic examples are jumbo shrimp, pretty ugly, and as George Carlin was so fond of using, military intelligence. I think another that would apply would be something that some restaurants now use, mandatory tipping. Going back to, the relevant definition of tipping is "a small present of money given directly to someone for performing a service or menial task; gratuity." One more, gratuity, "a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip. and something given without claim or demand." Using those definitions, how can a restaurant add a "gratuity" to your bill?

This was brought home last month when a couple was arrested for refusing to pay the 18% gratuity that was tacked on to their bill. The reason for not tipping? Their party of eight waited an hour to be seated, had to get their own tableware, and go get their drinks refilled themselves. That is inexcusable from any wait staff. Then to be told you would have to give them $16 for that, I would be upset about it. The restaurant has a policy that parties over six are subject to the mandatory tipping charge. The couple paid the $73 bill, but refused to pay the tip. That was when the police were called. They were reluctant to get involved but charged the couple with theft. Fortunately saner heads prevailed and the charges were dropped. Of course the restaurant is claiming that the entire story has not been told. It sounds like they are in full CYA mode.

Personally I have no problem with tipping. I have mentioned before that every other Wednesday My Lady and I eat at the Huddle House. Since we are regulars we have become friends with several of the waitresses. I know what they are paid and they do rely on tips to make their money. We always tip them well. However there was one time that we had a lousy service. It was a new person who seemed more interested in talking with his friends than taking care of us. My Lady did not want to leave any tip, but I talked her out of that. We left a penny. To me, leaving no tip could be interpreted as forgetting to do so. After all, he was new and did not know us. Leaving the penny showed how unhappy we were. He has since then waited on us several times and is now very attentive to our needs. If I ever go to a place where tipping is mandatory, I will walk out. Good service should be rewarded, bad service deserves little.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

See No Evil.

It is amazing how much panic sets in among management when the word comes around that a corporate visit is imminent. I am not sure who exactly was due in for a visit today, but last night our store manager was there, one of the daytime co-managers, and several people from other stores were sent in to help prepare for the visit. The department managers came in at 5:00 A.M. instead of their normal 7:00. It is not just Wal-Mart. Kmart did it a lot too. With Kmart I always suspected that the District Manager used it too shake up the store manager. There it was rare for the "visit" to ever take place.

I place the blame for this on the corporate offices. They want to walk into a store and believe that the stores are perfect all of the time. If they were serious about it they would simply walk into a store, get with the store manager, and tour the store. That way they could see any problems and figure out how to correct them. For this visit they even had My Lady dust off the cardboard baler. They were not leaving anything to chance this time. Some times they focus too much on the little things and not enough on the big picture. When we leave in the morning they want the shelves to look sharp, with everything pulled to the front. To achieve that sometimes all of the freight doesn't get worked. Personally I would rather have more on the shelves than they look nice. If you make it look nice but don't stock an item that someone wants to buy, what did you accomplish?

Even having the shelves, as Wal-Mart calls it zoned, does not always make the managers happy. A few years ago we had one manager tell us that the bottles of salad dressing had to be in a perfect line. He actually told us that customers would walk out of the store if they weren't. When you stock them and push them to the back they have a tendency to slide off-center a little. The only way to prevent it would be to have a plastic base on the shelf with dividers for each row. We do use those on some items, but for salad dressing it would not be cost effective. The bottles are not uniform in size. That statement is one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard a manager say. Considering what all I have heard said that is saying something.

I have been trying to think of a good analogy to describe what working in retail is like this time of year. It hit me last night. It is a hurricane. You get hit by the front of the storm, which is Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving more and more freight comes in. Grocery gets extra because of the big meal. The general merchandise side gets hit preparing for Black Friday. Right now we are in the eye of the hurricane. The trucks aren't as big as they had been. We are not having to work quite as hard. In about a week or so the merchandise will pick up again as the Christmas meal buying begins and the final push to get those last minute gifts hits. After Christmas things slow way down. Usually in January we lose two or three hours a week. By then I am so tired I am all for it. Right now I am starting to feel my age. I am coming home more exhausted than normal. Of course when you consider the alternative to aging I would rather grow older. I am off the next two days and I am going to enjoy it.