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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Locker Room Banter (NOT)

A real locker room talk

Seems that lately “Locker Room Banter” is dominating the news media and it makes me wonder where I’ve been growing up.  Enough people are coming forward to attest that that is exactly how men behave when women (and/or young ladies) are not around.  One person I saw in the news went as far as to accuse the female reporter: “that is exactly how women behave and talk over a glass of white wine.”

I tried to recollect all the occasions when I found myself in a locker room or office setting with male friends outside of the hearing range of women, and was unable to come up with anything that compared to the locker room banter presently in the news.  I do remember where one coworker tried bragging about his caveman approach to women, and I and most of the males in the room walked away and eventually shunned that person from our gatherings.

There is the one time where I unwillingly became involved in a prank (played on me) that went so bad as to almost break up a marriage.  I was on my third year into a mid-management position with one of the larger corporations in its industry.  The business was linen supply, and we handled the supply of linens to hotels, and restaurants, as well as, industrial uniforms to auto dealerships, gas stations, hospitals, etc., etc.

I was already successful enough to indulge in my passion for muscle cars.  If I must be honest I loved the second glances that my car got everywhere I went.  One day after work I was driving home on a beautiful sunshiny summer day (beach resort town in California), when I stopped at a crosswalk to let people have the right-of-way.  The people at the crosswalk were staring at my car and laughing almost hysterically while pointing at the front end of my car.  It bothered me so much that as soon as I could I pulled into the parking lot of a Frosty Freeze to see what it was they were pointing at.

I couldn’t believe what I saw, hanging from the front license plate was a very large bra (I don’t really know bra sizes) but it was abnormally large.  I quickly removed it and put it in the trunk of my car to try to determine who at work would have done that to me.  It’s not at all unusual to see men’s and women’s undergarment come into the linen plant with the bags of soiled (dirty) linen from hotels.  So I immediately thought of my coworkers.

The very next day at a coffee break one person quickly asked me if anything exciting happened to me when I got home.  Naturally I said no.  I asked should something have happened?  The Sales Manager couldn’t contain himself because he thought he was so slick, and that I would get in trouble when I got home.  He figured someone must have removed it before I saw it.  First chance I had I took that bra and placed it in the glove box of his car.  The sales manager (we shall call Larry) was a very nice almost shy kind of person.  He loved and feared/respected his wife and they had a little girl about 3 years old.  His wife was a high level bank executive, and dressed like Jackie Onassis (gloves included).  The car Larry drove was an Avocado green Ford Gran Torino.

The months went by and nothing was ever said about the extra-large bra so I assumed that like me he just got rid of it and moved on.  Approximately four months later I heard while on a coffee break that Larry and his wife were separated and getting divorced.  I went to Larry immediately and told him that I had just heard about the separation.  I asked him what the cause might be.  He explained that he didn’t know but that his wife was accusing him of messing around without providing him with proof.

I went directly to the bank where his wife worked, and asked to see her.  After about a 20-minute wait I was escorted to her office.  She greeted me very professionally, and I wasted no time in telling her that she was making a big mistake in divorcing Larry.  She explained that while she appreciated my attempt at intervention, she didn’t involve outsiders into her personal affairs.  I asked her if her separation was brought about by a lacey large black bra placed in the car of his glove box.  She reacted with anger in her facial features, and asked me how I knew.  I explained how the whole incident started with a prank being played on me.

Since she hadn’t told her husband the details of her suspicions, she knew that he and I couldn’t have shared information.  To make a long story short Larry and his wife made up but I lost a possible friend since his wife prohibited her husband from socializing with me because I was such a terrible influence.  My lesson at that early age was that acting like school boys playing pranks could have life changing outcomes.  As far as I know Larry never even found out about the large bra that I placed in his glove box.  Boys will be boys is not a good enough excuse for misbehavior or even locker room banter. The best is yet to come….

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Social Tipping Point

Social Tipping Point

As individuals go, we can be extremely different or fairly similar, we are a conglomerate of diversity, and yet unique at the same time.  Personally, I am multifaceted: some of my self-description comes from what I think of myself, and as described by people around me.

In my early adulthood, I was so involved in my community that I could be considered an activist (I even ran for elective office).  I lettered in three different sports in high school so I could be described as athletic, I also carry all the typical labels: son, brother, father, friend, boyfriend, husband, etc., etc. Depending on who you are and what roles you played in my life, I’ve also been described as: nice, friendly, considerate, a lover not a fighter, smug, mean, inconsiderate, etc., etc.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that as humans and inhabitants of Planet Earth, we adapt well to our surroundings (mostly for the sake of survival).  I prefer to be nice, peaceful, respectful, kind, considerate.  Most important, I prefer to be a survivor, and protector of my loved ones.

I own a firearm, but early in my marriage my wife convinced me to keep it in a safe and away from the children.  Some of my adult children would be shocked to know that I own a gun and that I am licensed to carry.  Over the years I’ve been observing our society spiral out of control.  I’ve been patiently standing on the sidelines observing, and making sure that neither I or my loved ones get dragged into the mix.

In all honesty, it is getting harder and harder to stay safe and out of the mix.  Earlier this summer, we had a motor vehicle stolen from our driveway.  The vehicle was recovered within 2 weeks with minimal damage, but it caused me to upgrade our existing home security system.  Within the last week there have been instances where three acts of fatal violence occurred in our country (USA) that has been covered on the national news scene.  Just last night a second incidence of violence at a shopping mall within a week happened within 100 miles of my residence.

Society is continuing to move in the wrong direction for my liking.  If you are familiar with the comic character “The Hulk” he is a mild mannered individual who gets pushed too far and turns into an angry green monster that strikes back.  I for one am running out of patience and tolerance. Don’t expect me to turn green any time soon, do however, expect Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson to accompany me when I go into public places that offer questionable safety and security.  Bad Guys beware, for your own survival, be more selective of who you pick on to victimize!  The best is yet to come……

Expect The Unexpected

Expect The Unexpected

Despite all the progressive changes in our wonderful United States from one day to the next, not to mention from one year to the next and especially from one decade to the next.  Life in this country can still be taken in stride.  Understanding our society progression and history we can assume that big progressive strides are in our future and even expect things to change.

But if you were to be coming out of coma after 12 to 18 months, you would not recognize the changes that have occurred in the political landscape.  I am making reference in particular to Election 2016.  Unless something changes to return us to more familiar times, I can’t begin to predict where our society is headed.   Not a good thing to be sure. 

Through hundreds of years of political experience, we have come to expect that if we pay close attention, we can catch a politician telling a lie here and there.  Well, it seems we finally are reaching the point of no return in politics: in today’s political scene (2016), if you pay close attention, we can catch a politician telling a truth here and there.

You would have to really be in my age group to remember a scene and quote from the movie Planet of the Apes (1968) Charlton Heston’s character (astronaut George Taylor) walking on the beach comes around a bend and is confronted with the view of the broken Statue of Liberty and a demolished New York City skyline, and he realizes that the whole time he was back on earth in a future time from when he left on his space mission.  He screams, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” My reaction when I first saw that scene, was that it was extreme and that it was great fiction that could never really happen.  Well, as politics go, that scene while extreme is becoming more and more appropriate.

I never thought that I would live long enough to vote on the basis of selecting the best of the worst. While I feel that my vote is important, I also consider it my business, so I will keep it private.  If you live in this United States, still the best country in the world, I urge you to exercise you right to vote, and stay involved.  It’s getting harder but we can still turn it around.  The best is yet to come……….

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion 2

While you sleep

Just an update on the story I shared two weeks ago:   My Durango was stolen from my driveway.  Fortunately for us the surveillance camera caught a great picture of the car thief.  After being shared over social media (over 2000 times) and with local law enforcement.  The vehicle was recovered in an abandon foreclosed home.  Someone broke into the home and parked the Durango in the garage.  I simplified the process (explanation), but it actually took over a week of following deadend leads from the well-meaning Facebook community. 
Vehicle Prowl while you sleep

The vehicle was reported seen in a couple of nearby towns and I made the dutiful drive to follow every lead.  From the first time law enforcement saw the video footage they knew the name of the perp (police jargon for perpetrator) and even referred to her as a well-known local tweaker.

The PD put out an all point bulletin (statewide) for the stolen vehicle.  Between the All-Points, and Facebook, the stolen Durango became so hot that no one dared to drive it or even give it away.  The vehicle was recovered with minimal damage and something like 10 miles additional on the speed-o-meter.  There is no arguing that criminals are especially dumb or they wouldn’t do what they do.  One of the perps actually contacted my son and tried to collect a few hundred dollars to return it.  The PD got involved and the rest is history. 

I know that for many of us, a criminal act against us is unfathomable, but it does happen.  Even nice neighborhoods have become prime targets, especially because we are comfortable knowing that we have good neighbors.  Well guess what, the criminals also love our neighborhoods.  About seven years ago I invested in a security system that includes 8 exterior infrared cameras.  Most of my neighbors must have thought I was paranoid.  Well, the saying goes, that just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.
50 Ft. with a 9mm (I wouldn't want to meet me in a dark hallway)

Please be proactive, material things hold the least value, besides all material things are insured.  A security system will keep home burglars/invaders away.  Criminals case their targets, and as dumb as they are, they are looking for easy pickings.  Besides in my case any criminals that don’t get discouraged by a security system will have to deal with a certified marksman if they get into the house.  The best is yet to come………….

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Priority

Take care of yourself first

Someone I consider a good friend was recently sent to the ER (Emergency Room).  She is being referred to a cardiologist and the outcome is yet to be determined at this time.  We should use this instance as a reminder that our personal health is and should always be a priority.  Not because we are selfish but because we are selfless.

We live to take care of family members and friends and the best way to do that is to make sure that our personal health is maintained.  I don’t know how many of my readers have noticed that part of airplane safety is to instruct adults that in the event that the oxygen masks drop the parent or guardian is to put their own mask first before helping a child or others.  The reason is that you can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

I once thought I was having a heart episode and my wife made the decision that I should go to ER immediately, I was 40 at the time.  The macho (very stupid of me at the time) in me convinced her that I knew the way and could get us there quicker so she allowed me to drive.  Fortunately, I got us there safely.

The Summer day was near 100 degrees, and I had been in the backyard digging a 24-inch-deep trench about 30 feet long for the cables leading to the house from a 10-foot parabolic satellite dish antenna. Around 4 pm I walked into the house, not feeling well.  As I got ready to take a cold shower to cool off, I went into shock so bad I was afraid to bite my tongue.  Among others, the weirdest thing I remember doing is jumping on to our master bed with my muddy work shoes on.  You need to know how much I respect (read that fear) my wife to know that I would never knowingly do that.

To make a very long story short, I was ready to make peace with the Lord, I swear that I even had most of my life pass before me in short order.  As it turned out I had managed to dislocate a couple of ribs near the sternum as I manhandled the satellite dish over a couple of fences and into my backyard.  The injury was further aggravated by digging the trench in the heat.

I still vividly remember what the attending doctor said to me with a very grave look on his face. Sir, I wish I could tell you (long pause), that my heart is as healthy as yours, but I haven’t been examined as thoroughly as you have.  Your problem is musculo-skeletal.  And with that I was released with some pain medication, and a referral to a specialist.

Ever since that incident, I take my health and prevention efforts very seriously.  I sincerely apologized to my wife for being so stubborn and promised that I would follow her guidance in the future regarding my health care needs.  Fortunately, I don’t have any health care problems, I subscribe to preventative measures.  I want to be around to provide for my family for as long as possible.  Quality of life should be the goal, so please take care of yourselves.  The best is yet to come……             

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Growing up during the 60’s, one of the favorite activities was the Friday Gillett Fights on television.  Our family was still one of the lucky ones in the neighborhood to have a television set.  Relatives gathered at our house on Friday evening all pumped for the wonderful meal that preceded the Friday Night Fights.  I never actually saw anyone get drunk but I do remember that the adult men in the family (my step-father, uncles and cousins) all drank beer with their meal and during the fight.

I recall that the more exciting the boxing match was the less beer the men drank because they were so into the fight.  It was obvious to me that the beer drinking was not the object of the night.  As was customary for the ladies of the house to be found working in the kitchen preparing the extravagant meal of the evening (a feast to be sure).

The children (anyone under the drinking age) downed their meal with a couple of cold glasses of Kool-Aid.  It was during this family gatherings that I became aware and a fan of Cassius Clay (Muhammad’s name before he changed it soon after the Liston fight).

I remember with great clarity my introduction to the big time 1965.  I was still a teenager, and was happily surprised to be invited to a close circuit television presentation some 40 miles away from my home.  My biggest disappointment came when we arrived inside the venue three minutes into the fight, and fight had only lasted two minutes.  We sat there and saw the replays over and over on the large screen.  The excitement in the room was unbelievable.

  • Soon after the Liston fight, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali upon converting to Islam and affiliating with the Nation of Islam. Ali then faced a rematch with Liston scheduled for May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. It had been scheduled for Boston the previous November, but was postponed for six months due to Ali's emergency surgery for a hernia three days before. The fight was controversial. Midway through the first round, Liston was knocked down by a difficult-to-see blow the press dubbed a "phantom punch". Ali refused to retreat to a neutral corner, and referee Jersey Joe Walcott did not begin the count. Liston rose after he had been down about 20 seconds, and the fight momentarily continued. But a few seconds later Walcott stopped the match, declaring Ali the winner by knockout. The entire fight lasted less than two minutes. ~Wikipedia

The loss of Ali is every bit as impacting to me as the day I heard on the radio of the other major icon of my youth’s passing, the King of Rock and Roll.  R.I.P Muhammad Ali.  For the rest of us life goes on and the best is yet to come……..

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hit The Road Jack

Road Trip Time

If you have plans to travel over the holiday weekend, be prepared to pay higher prices for a gallon of fuel if you travel to or through high traffic and popular areas.  The price for a barrel of oil just went over the $50 dollar per barrel mark since February 2016 when it was $26.
Whenever I go on a road trip I google the location of all the Costco gasoline station along my route.  They are not always as convenient as I wish they were, but I’ve been known to go a few miles out of my way to fill up at as much as 30 to 70 cents cheaper per gallon.
Looking at the Los Angeles area for this holiday weekend the Costco gasoline stations range from $2.32 per gallon on the low end to $2.42 on the high end.  By comparison the in the same area (LA) Super 8 in Norwalk from $2.37 to $4.29 at a Chevron on N. Alameda and N. Main St.

If you take a chance it will just come down to where you get low on fuel, and feel that you can no longer risk it and go for the best price you can get at a gas station.  On the other hand, if cost is no object, simply enjoy your trip and know that this holiday’s gasoline prices are amongst the best (lowest) we’ve seen for a while.

Many experts are predicting record number of travelers due to the great gasoline prices and the fact that we just came out of a long winter, and need the family getaway.  Expect heavy and slow traffic at times, and long lines almost everywhere you go.  Safe and happy motoring.  Remember the new laws regarding use of restrooms, keep your family safe.  The best is yet to come…………..

One Amongst Many

05/29/2017 - 11/22/1963

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35thPresident of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. ~Wikipedia
  • Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected to the presidency, succeeding the man who, at the time, was the oldest. He symbolized—as he well realized—a new generation and its coming-of-age. He was the first president born in the 20th century, the first young veteran of World War II to reach the White House. John Hersey’s powerful account of Kennedy’s wartime bravery, published in The New Yorker in 1944, helped him launch his political career.
  • In shaping his legend, Kennedy’s personal charm helped. A witty and articulate speaker, he seemed built for the age of television. To watch him on film today is to be struck by the power of his presence and the wit and elegance of his oratory. His celebrated inaugural address was filled with phrases that seemed designed to be carved in stone, as many of them have been. Borrowing a motto from his prep-school days, putting your country in place of Choate, he exhorted Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” ~ ALAN BRINKLEY

I am committed to writing about this very special man every opportunity I have for the purpose of keeping his memory alive so that we can at the same time maintain a point of focus for the sake of comparison.  We must never forget what a great and civil society we once were.  Because as long as we remember, we may be able to find our way back.  The best is yet to come……….

Monday, May 23, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion

Vocabulary Expansion

Just when I think that I am at a point where I believe, I’ve seen it all and am coming close to knowing a lot, if not all.  Guess what?  Something new is added to my vocabulary for starters.

I want to share this new experience because it’s always better to be forewarned.  We live in a nice development, considered until recently very safe, but crime has come calling and touched our lives directly.

Up until a couple of days ago, I used to be impressed by someone riding a bike or going for a walk late at night (sometime between 11pm to 4am).  I used to tell myself that I was impressed to their commitment to staying healthy.  Well, for sure not everyone out late at night is doing the same thing, BUT most recently thanks to my security cameras, I came face to face with reality.

A woman in her late 20’s to early 30’s was caught on camera, breaking into one of my vehicles and stealing a second one right from my driveway around midnight.  The security cameras are HD so the police were able to ID the person, someone that failed to show up in court for sentencing for a similar offense.  He referred to her as a well-known “tweaker.”
Thus my vocabulary expansion:
  • Also: tweeker.

    1. Person who constantly stays up cleaning, washing, organizing, power tooling, sorting or otherwise keeping themselves busy doing menial tasks.
    2. Someone who constantly makes slight alterations on (usually a very specific) object, i.e. computer, software, automobile, etc.
    3. A compulsive liar, thief, or both.
    4. A methamphetamine ("
    tweak"), or other form of speed, addict (who displays all of the above in an obsessive-compulsive manner).

Don’t you just hate it when you think you’ve seen it all, and BAM, it comes knocking into your life.  You don’t have to live in a bad neighborhood to experience criminal activity, the tweakers go out at night to case vehicles and houses for plundering.

The perpetrator hasn’t been caught yet nor has the vehicle been recovered as of this writing, but time is running out for this individual.  When she does get caught, the price she pays will be a double whammy, she will do time behind bars, but the worst penalty will be the withdrawals she will suffer not being able to feed her addiction.  For the rest of us, the best is yet to come……………..

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Life Well Lived

I still remember like if it was yesterday, how incredibly nice and empowering it is to
be young and have things going your way.  I was in my early twenties starting a family studying and held a job in mid management.  Among my passions, I lived for driving my muscle cars which I upgraded on average every 18 months.

Looking back from a fiscal point of view, I could be a very wealthy person if only I had taken a different tactic to fiscal responsibility.  As it is I am working on my third million!  I forgot to mention that I gave up on the first and second (LOL)!  No regrets, the lord took care of me despite my shortcomings.  At the same time, I harken back to all the wonderful times that I experienced being amongst the first handful of people in my city to drive the first of the new muscle cars for new year model.  Imagine driving the new models such as: 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, 1969 American Motors AMX, 1970 Dodge Charger, 1971 Dodge Challenger, etc.

All during this time I maintained a normal everyday work car (at different times), such as a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1956 Ford Victoria, 1958 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon.  In looking back, I cringe at the very thought of referring to these gorgeous classics as “everyday work car.”

I started out thinking Cadillac was going to be the level of class that I aspired to, but I quickly learned that it made me appear older than my age so I change direction and went to muscle cars. Gasoline prices being what they were during the era of the muscle cars, I still caught myself stopping at gas stations and asking for a couple of dollars’ worth of gas and check the oil please.  

The other passion that rivaled my passion for powerful and very exciting cars (looks and power), was my love/passion for music systems.  Top of the line 8-track stereo system with 4 speakers (my AMX had a 7 speaker system) surround sound.  That my friends was the life.

Full disclosure:  I wasn’t the kind of person that had all his money invested in cars, the house had to be nice and nicely furnished because as important as my car passion was, the family was even more important.  The best is yet to come……..