Kuno’s obsession

September 29, 2010

Everybody knows someone who at one time or another has gotten obsessed with another person, or place or thing. Sometimes, that obsession lasts a lifetime and causes problems, as in the case of alcoholics, gamblers, gluttons and the like. The obsession takes over the person’s mind and it is like nothing else matters in the world, except satisfying that urge.

My buddy, Kuno has such an obsession. He does not to my knowledge drink alcohol,  gamble or eat to excess. He is however very single-minded when it comes to attacking spraying water.

It must be like an alcoholic passing a bar where there is a two for one special going on, when Kuno sees water shooting out of a hose.  I have seen him race at full gallop, thirty miles an hour to an irrigation sprayer in the backyard.  He reaches it in just a few seconds and immediately begins trying to bite the rushing water. With those 42 magnificent teeth chopping and those powerful jaws snapping, I fear for the poor water’s well-being. If  he does not get it fast enough, he begins to dig at the source until he has uncovered the irrigation line.

In order to get him out of that obsessive red place he is in, I switch the water to a different irrigation zone. He then races to the new active sprayer and begins his attack again.  It has become quite a game which he will do all day long.

What do they say, “One drink is too many, a thousand is not enough”.

Last night he brought the game indoors.

When I  clean out the bathtub I usually let him bite the water from the hand-held shower wand, and he likes that. For some reason last night, the wand was still in its holder when I turned on the water, Kuno thought it was time to play “bite the water” He reached over and tried to tear into that shower spray, but I was in the way, so he missed and bit the wand in two!

“Kuno”, I yelled ” What are you doing?”

I made him sit while I inspected the damage.

“Now, look what you have done, we need a new shower fixture”, I admonished him.

Then, as I was removing the remnant piece, the hose slipped from my fingers and fell down the hole between the tub and the tile wall.

“Great Kuno, now what are we going to do?”

Donna watching the circus in amusement, offered, ” We have to open up the access panel and rethread that hose.”

Kuno looked at me sadly. His eyes said, ” Sorry boss”.

“Nevermind”, I told him as I opened the access panel and retrieved the hose. “Lets go to the hardware store and see if they have the part.”

They did not have it, so Donna ordered it online.

Well, the cost is just coming out of Kuno’s pocket,  along with the enrollment fee for his 12 step program.


Kuno in his timeout.


The rich are different

September 29, 2010


The rich are very different from you and me.

The quote is from F. Scott Fitzgerald, to which Earnest Hemingway replied,

 “Yes, they have more money.”  

Truman Capote then noted that ” rich people prefer enormous houses and tiny vegetables”.

But Woody observes that, ” Rich people are out of touch with the daily struggles of most Americans”.

I guess while they are living in those big houses and munching on little vegetables, they must get bored at times and have to come out and make some pronouncements just to keep their celebrity status.  Naturally, when they do this,  the lap dog sycophant media hang on every word.

The latest episode of this type happened  last week when Mr. Warren Buffet, the multi billionaire investor, gave some advice to  the taxpayers of  America. 

I respect Mr. Buffet as a successful savvy investor and if I had his money, I would not worry too much about taxes either, but in this case, I think his advice is wrong.  He said,

“I hope we get over it [taxpayer anger] pretty soon, because it’s not productive,’’ Buffett said. “We will come back regardless of how people feel about Washington, but it is not helpful to have people as unhappy as they are about what’s going on in Washington.”

Mr. Buffet, when people in this country get angry about how things are going, they let the government know it. They protest. They write letters. They let the elected officials know what is on their minds. That is how real positive changes are made in the lives of the country’s citizens. It is the way productive democracies work.

 The alternative is revolution.

Another  rich person that  is hopelessly out of touch is Senator John Kerry. Senator Kerry is not as rich or as smart as Warren Buffet, nor has he worked for his money and lifestyle. He married it.  He also continues to put his foot in his mouth. Here is his latest off the wall observation:

“We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening,” . Kerry told this to reporters after touring the Boston Medical Center recently.

Sorry Senator Kerry,  but the American people DO pay attention to what is going on. That is why they are so damn mad. They are the ones who work and pay taxes. There are also over 9 million Americans who are looking for work.

Have you ever had to look for work, Senator Kerry?

Americans are the ones who raise their kids. They work to feed and clothe them. They send them to school.

 Have you ever had to  struggle to do that Senator Kerry?

I think your comments are another clear indication that you have moved from the fog of war to  live in the fog of the rich. It is still fog nevertheless.

I think it would be best for you to keep quiet, get off your yacht once in a while,  and quit  sailing  in that fog off Massachusetts.  Because, Senator Kerry,  it is you who does not know what is going on.

I’ll call you back

September 28, 2010

 Did you know that the 1965 hit song, Liar, Liar (your pants are on fire) by the Castaways was based on this poem by William Blake,  published in 1810?

 “The Liar”

 by William Blake

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Shall they dangle in the night?
When I asked of your career
Why did you have to kick my rear
With that stinking lie of thine
Proclaiming that you owned a mine?
When you asked to borrow my stallion
To visit a nearby moored galleon
How could I ever know that you
Intended to turn him into glue?
What red devil of mendacity
Grips your soul with such tenacity?
Will one you cruelly shower with lies
Put a pistol ball between your eyes?
What internal serpent
Has lent you his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
Are all these whoppers sprung?


When I was young, my father had a rule. He often said, If you tell someone you will do something, or be somewhere at a certain time,  just make sure you do it. He used to advise, there is nothing more sorry and wasteful that waiting on someone to show up or do something, and they never follow through.

To this day, I always make it one of my rules to arrive at  appointments on time.( Barring death or serious injury,  in fact, I am always early.)

Lately, I have been noticing that people are a lot more casual about being on time or calling someone back after they said they would.  You would think that in this world where everyone over the age of 6 has a cellphone, it would be easy to call someone back as promised.

Well, no it does not happen.

On the contrary, some people will say they will call you, with absolutely no intention of calling you.

Why is that? Is it some non committal form of saying good-by as in ” I’ll see you later” or “ Let’s do lunch sometime “. 

I wish they would be honest and say,” Listen, I am fixing your car, but I am too busy with other more important things, so I won’t call you when it is ready, you will just have to come over and get it when you think enough time has passed”. Usually, when you think enough time has passed, and drive all the way across town, you discover that your item is NOT ready. Then the response is, “Oh, I just got busy. Can you come back tomorrow?”

Oh sure, I have nothing else to do.

I put these call waiting people in the same category as politicians.

Then there is the waiting for Godot guys. They are the ones who  tell you they will be over to your house at a certain time to fix the A/C or  give you an estimate to paint the trim on the house, etc. They either never show up, or arrive 5 hours late; after you have wasted the whole day waiting for them.

I have a policy now. If someone tells me that they are going to do something and they do not do it and they do not call to say they will be delayed, they are fired.

There are just too many people in the world willing do what they say, I am not going to mess around with promise breakers.

Next time you run into one of these prevaricators, go ahead and give ’em the old heave-ho.

You will find it refreshing satisfying.


Egocentric Congress.

September 27, 2010

Did know that the statue on the top of the Capitol building is called the Statue of Freedom?

Too bad this 111th Congress thinks “freedom” applies exclusively to them, to do as they please, while the rest of the country remains stewing on the back burner.

Do you want proof  that Members of Congress  put their individual interests ahead of the country’s ? Well, here it is.  They have just decided to delay clarifying the expiring tax code until AFTER the elections, so they can leave early and go home to tell people how wonderful they are. 

That is just great.

This continued delay will prolong an environment of no confidence in the economy, further frustrating small businesses which could hire the unemployed and pull us out of this worst recession since the 1930’s. This is an unneccessary, reckless and negligent delay that  is  done purely as a political measure for congressmen and senators in their reelection bids.

It is just shameful.

In the meantime, 9.5 million Americans remain out of work, and thousands and thousands of small businesses that want to hire workers and expand the businesses , are unwilling to do so, because the future tax environment is clouded by uncertainty.

When will this Administration and this Congress learn that taxes, uncertainty and threat of  burdensome regulation, ( real or imagined)  are heavy wet blankets on a struggling economy?

If these self-serving Members of Congress, were as concerned about giving the American economy the freedom to create and grow jobs, as they are about saving their own individual paychecks, we would have roared out of this recession long ago.


September 25, 2010

The other day I was in Publix and walked by the deli counter. Cindy was working the sandwich station and called to me.

“Can I make you a sandwich for lunch?”

Since it was about eleven o’ clock, I thought, why not. I will get a sandwich,  take it home and watch the baseball game.  I told her I wanted that smoky boar’s head ham. While she was getting it, I began thinking about her accent. I knew she was from New York, but not Brooklyn or Long  Island. I thought maybe Staten Island or the Bronx. When she started making the sandwich, I thought I would try the Bronx and I made more of a statement than a question,.

“So, You’re a Yankee girl!”

Cindy said, “Yep, born and raised in the Bronx. I have pinstripes in my blood.” 

We talked a while longer and she assured me that Joe Girardi was going to get a new managerial contract next year. She liked  Joe. I had the sandwich for lunch. Cindy makes a nice sandwich.

The following day, I was at a restaurant with friends and the hostess was seating us. After hearing just a few words, I knew she was from Long Island. I took a guess and asked if she was from Babylon. She said no, Central Islip. I was off a few miles.

Of course, I never thought of myself  as having an accent. Trudy on the other hand, has a distinctive Long Island sound all her own.

Through the years, I have found that even though I am dyslexic with printed words, accents come easier to me.  I can tell an Australian accent from a New Zealand or South African. I can even tell if a native German is from northern Germany or speaks the more slurry, sing-song style of  Bavaria or Austria.

New England accents are harsh to my ears, but the slow southern speech of my father was always  pleasant, especially, when it was seasoned with a few courteous “sirs” and ma’am . However, when it gets artificial or exaggerated like that tiresome Paula Dean’s y’all , it can be unpleasant.

Happily, most southerners know the difference.

When I worked for the bank, both overseas, and in New York, many of my friends and colleagues’  first language was not english, so their accents were heavy and at times amusing to me. The best was my  friend was Santana. Not the guitar player, but a smooth talking Hindu from India. He and Saleem, my boss from Pakistan were always mixing up metaphors and getting idioms backwards.  It was so funny traveling with them.

Next time you hear someone whose speech pattern is different from your own, ask them where they are from. Get to know them, you will enjoy the conversation and maybe make a good friend.

Have a good weekend!

Oh, This is going to work well.

 I finally found a bunch of bureaucrats who appear as dopey as  some Members of Congress. In fact, they have come up with such a dumb idea that they could immediately apply for US citizenship and be elected to Congress. When I read this story I could not believe the words on the page.

Under a plan being hatched by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs  Bureau (HMRC) , the UK would received ALL paychecks first from employers. Then after it takes out its “share” in taxes, it will send what is left to the serfs,…I mean workers.

Oh, yeah this is a good idea.

They currently have a pay as you go type system like ours, but they want the money faster. It would be like the IRS getting your paycheck first, then taking its blood money and sending you what is left.

Can you imagine the millions of bounced checks the first week of this scheme when the HMRC screws up the process and workers don’t receive their “share” in a timely manner? 

Just think of the huge mistakes that could be made and the battalions of auditors needed to reconcile them. Meanwhile your paycheck will sit uncashed and unusable by you. Chaos I tell you, chaos.

The HMRC does not have a good track record either. It screwed up Britain’s National Health data and its involvement had to be scrapped.

This is an insane idea and typical of how bureaucrats and government think when faced with a money problem.

They first think, lets collect more taxes. But when there are no more taxes to collect, they  think, Let’s collect them faster. Never once did the rational thought enter into their pea size brains, hey, how about reducing spending.

The author of the story said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Mr. George Osborne could not be reached for comment. He is in hiding no doubt for fear of  being tarred and feathered.

Hey England, welcome back to feudal times.

Flat top

September 23, 2010

Back on August 17,  I talked about hair,… or my lack of it.

I really do enjoy the ease and comfort of being without a lot of hair. OK, without any hair. But, the other day I was in the barber shop getting a trim from Eddie and I saw a guy with a flat top. It brought me back to my youth when I had a cut like that.  Other than in the late sixties, when I did not get a haircut at all, as I was protesting everything from the war to bad college dining hall food, my flat top days were the most hair centered times of my life.

If I had hair today, I would certainly have a flat top.

I enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of the style. It did not get in my way while working and it was easy to maintain. I loved and the way that short hair felt with the wind in my face after a day at the beach.

At the time,  Frank was my barber. He had the big flat comb and took great care in getting my high and tight cut just right. He then gave me a little jar of that pink stuff that smelled good and kept the front sticking up and looking sharp.  

Back in the 1980’s, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Whitey Herzog sported a great flat top. He still wears  it that way today.  This year Whitey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of  Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. (I think the  flat top helped him get elected!)

I just have to believe, that  if I had enough hair to have  a flat top, I might have gotten elected  into the Hall of Fame too!


                Whitey Herzog and his flat top