Author: The Timedok

Insanity Run Amuck

Insanity Run Amuck

A sudden rush of noise distracted me from being careful of the truck ahead of me, which seemed to have trouble staying in one lane. As his tires crept over one white line and then over the other, clearly, the driver was not paying careful attention to what he was doing. Perhaps this truck was not updated with the safety devices, or the driver didn’t care.

The noise, however, was not from the truck. It was from not one, not two, but three sports cars weaving in and out of vehicles on the busy freeway.

Two were Dodge Chargers, and the other was a Ford Mustang.

Traffic was moving at the posted speed. These folks passed us like we were not moving.

The last of the three, a charger, came inches from my back bumper. Had it collided with me at that speed, the formula F=M*A would have applied.

It would have been like a ‘pit maneuver’ at highway speeds.

Folks, this was at 17:05 hours last Friday, the 18th of November, on Westbound GBT.

Since this was on the tollway, is there a way to check which vehicles were on the tollway? I bet there is.

I won’t state the obvious of how utterly stupid this action is. People go to events where fast cars are involved to see the wrecks. Much like boxing, it is a sick sport. That is my opinion.

I live over a mile from major highways. However, I can still hear the Ninja bikes and other loud cars occasionally on those highways. I listen to them as they put the proverbial pedal to the metal.

There must be a way to track these drivers after the fact. There will be some who defend their actions, although they are indefensible. If the death of your loved one was caused by their stupidity, you would not even think to protect them.

Think of the attorney seeking to defend such a deviant’s actions. How can they sleep at night?

Possibly I am oversensitive because an intoxicated driver almost killed me. A head-on collision at highway speeds changed my life forever. Over thirty years later, every movement is a reminder of that day. Whenever I get behind the wheel, PTSD reminds me of how tenuous life is. It is a struggle to leave the house and get on the road because of the actions of one inconsiderate SOB.

As we head into this Holiday season, I implore you to think before you decide to drive while under the influence. The life you save might be your own.

Even after the fact, I would encourage the traffic enforcement folks to go after stupid people like that. I am not interested in speeding per se but in reckless driving, including speeds far exceeding rated maximums.

As you travel this holiday season, be on the alert for stupid people. Statistically, there are safer times of the day and the week to travel.

Early in the morning (after sunrise) until noon is relatively safe. From noon to first light the following day, rates of accident increase logarithmically, tapering off the closer you get to morning.

Rush hour most any weekday, sees a higher number of car crashes. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are much higher in incidents of accidents than Monday through Thursday.

We can apply a little common sense to this equation and determine the source of the rise in accidents. They are lower when people are expected to be working or will need to return to work than on other days of the week. Holidays are worse for that very reason.

I wonder if we could sue the liquor industry like other idiots are attempting to sue gun manufacturers. It’s obviously the booze causing the problem, right?

-Best

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Hamarama © 2022

Carpe Diem

That title won’t mean much to most of my friends, colleagues, or folks who stumble across this post.

It will, however, mean much to those who know what it is.

The cliff note version is straightforward. Amateur radio operators have been around since Tesla and Marconi discovered ways to transmit and receive noise. They didn’t call them that in those days, but I would argue they were two of the first. If you think about it, they were doing what we do today.

No FCC or regulatory board was selling them permission to transmit a signal. No Japanese or Chinese companies were marketing expensive radios or other products, gadgets, etc. There was only raw determination, a pioneering spirit, and scientific discovery.

When I got into the hobby, I built my first transmitter out of TV parts. That might sound impressive, and it was for a ten-year-old, but I built it from a schematic created by an engineer.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

Many of those giants, in my world, were the attendees at an event called Hamarama. A convention of folks organized by caring individuals for those like-minded is impressive.

Unlike most conventions for different hobbies, ham radio conventions and activities have ‘non-pecuniary’ as the cornerstone of their existence. Their motive is not for profit.

Most have a servant’s heart.

When there is bad weather, and your TV personality reflects his brilliance by what the ‘storm chasers or spotters’ are seeing, those people are genuine heroes. They are ham radio folks performing volunteer service that is risky and costly. They do this to keep you safe. And still, the FCC charges them for the right to have a license to use that same radio. Something is very wrong with our system of government.

Think about that as you try to relate your hobby to this one.

Contrast this hobby with the hobby of writing as an example. I can speak to this as I am a writer and author and out to change how writers think of themselves.

Conventions for writers are ridiculously expensive. Maybe someone can tell me or justify why someone should spend $500 on a ticket to hear these authors. They do public speaking to promote their brand.

I know many of the authors that would speak at this event. The draw for the writers is simple, access to an agent. Whoopie.

I realize that the description is vague, but the conventions for radio operators have the same programs, speakers, and alike that assist those who want to learn more about their craft. A ticket to Hamarama in Ardmore, Oklahoma, is $8, $10 at the door. That money goes back to the convention center rented for the event.

The speakers at writer’s events do it for notoriety, and they have pecuniary interests. They want to sell their books.

I have slogged through the trenches of both hobbies. Being an autodidact, striving for perfection is my way of life.

Marconi, Tesla, and Mark Twain were autodidacts. You could add Bill Gates to the list.

During my last trip to Ardmore, I realized that many of those people I looked forward to seeing were no longer with us.

Time is precious and fleeting. Don’t let it slip away from you.

Carpe Diem

-Best

Is critical thinking still taught?

Forensic computing is a real thing.

Wow, the hits just keep coming.

I take extreme delight in working with the feds and or Scotland Yard, tracing this kind of crap down to put the perpetrator in
prison where they belong. Were you aware that the UK is so crime-free they don’t need an equivalent to the FBI? I digress.

After 40 years of fighting viruses, the evil that men do has become rather
personal.

These time-wasting life-sucking jerks have cost me many hours of my life
unraveling the gordian knots they weave, and it sickens me.

For me, this started with the Michael Angelo Virus before there was
such a thing as Anti-Virus software. Can you imagine fighting a virus without
the tools we have today? This was an extensive company network with hundreds of PCs
in a token ring environment. I doubt we would have been successful if we had
not had a Network General Sniffer (a packet analyzer).

The reason it sickens me is simple. Many people fall for this crap, and it
costs them. There are scam artists everywhere. Retired people are one of the
targets they love the most. They freak out, click, call, or what have you.

Once the hook is set, the odds are much better the criminal will get
something for their efforts. Much like a worm on a hook, it only takes getting the bait in front of the fish.

One of the questions I am asked constantly is this. What is the best
anti-virus software out there?

There was a day I could have answered that. It depends on which company is
the most proactive at looking for the latest virus or threats. If they rest on
their laurels, they can go from number one to (never again.)

Many of these schemes can be easily thwarted if the victim employs some
critical thinking skills.

Here is the latest:

 

Look at this statement. Let’s use some critical thinking skills here.

Firstly right off the bat, you know you didn’t buy anything for $500. But wait, they didn’t charge tax. huh? If this was a legitimate invoice, it would most probably be a different number, not $499.99. It would be $541.24 for my tax rate.

The key is my tax rate. Tax rates are different per location. That would require the perpetrator to know where you were and then calculate the tax.

That is a huge red flag that just about any person should catch.

What else? Where is the hook?

 

Athur … What kind of name is that? King, I understand. Should it be Arthur
perhaps?

The Hook is the 888 number a person will call if they are …’What the
hell, this is mistake, I need to call them and…!”

No, it is a fishing scheme, much like the king in Nairobi who has tens of
thousands of dollars he wants to give you, if you will give him a bank account
number to send it to.

There are robbers who will steal your physical stuff. There are low life who will send out viruses and or
phishing scams, and then there are the professionals who rob you blind. They
are called politicians.

Think I am wrong?? Tell me good sir or madam, why would a politician spend
$19 million dollars of their own money for a job that pays 150K a year? If you
said they were altruistic, I have some ocean-front property…No wait, I have some
soon to be desert that used to be the Mississippi River.  Since it will be a desert it could easily
be a transcontinental rail for a bullet train or, a toll road sponsored by the
Saudis or perhaps China, to move freight the old fashion with truckers.

Nope, forget that, we won’t have diesel for them, as someone turned off the
American oil spigot and wants you to vote for them again.

Did you know that even though trains are electric they have huge generators
that power the gigantic motors. Care to guess what the generators use for
energy.

Critical thinking is a lost art. It might have died with my generation.

Hope your day is great! The food or lack of food on your
table might depend upon how you vote.

Hint, don’t California My Texas.

Chow!

Don’t use the condiments

Don’t use the condiments

On a local social networking site, a person sounded off about some child drinking from the chocolate syrup bottle at the local BBQ joint. She corrected the child and told management what had happened. The girl behind the counter tossed the syrup. When the boy told his father, he glanced at the woman, waved, and left the establishment.

The thread went on with many weighing in.

Since my thoughts are more verbose than intended, I thought I would put this on my blog instead.

It starts with the parents. It might be more profound than that. Kids are being raised by video games and what used to be Hollywood.

The economy is such that usually, both parents must work. Your children are not raised by ‘Father knows Best, or Leave it to Beaver.’ If they are in a single-parent home, that lack of good behavior goes double. Where do they then learn what is socially acceptable?

I am a writer. Often my characters bump into today’s value system. It has been incumbent upon me to learn where these kids get their values. It was not an exhaustive search. After looking at some of the games they play, examining the amount of unsupervised time they have, and the educational system tolerating bad behavior, I had my answers.

Not long ago, I was in the food court close to some teenagers who were lamenting about their home lives. These were kids wearing designer clothing. They each had a smartphone, some had braces, and they went on about how crappy their parents were. I had to leave.

Speaking with children of different generations, I notice a variance in what they think is acceptable behavior. It is rather shocking.

Today’s 30-somethings that I speak with are clueless. At their age, they should be saving for retirement. Instead, they rent an apartment equivalent to the house they grew up in. They attempt to live as if they were still under their parent’s roof and eat out as if it were free. Many parents enable this behavior by supplementing their income. Their kids live paycheck to paycheck, usually running a deficit by the end of the month. Much like that college loan, they also have credit card debt. Why? They were never taught to manage money.

Instead of attempting to do it for themselves, they complain about how crappy life is and, yes, spend their free time on the computer playing video games. It is no small wonder they cannot afford their student loans.

The gaming industry is $188 Billion. Proponents of video games will argue against what I am telling you. Still, from Sandy Hook to many other mass shooting events, most of those shooters had one thing in common. Can you guess?

One of the officers investigating Sandy Hook told the press that the kid was ‘very proficient’ at killing that many people. It was almost as if he were trained in the military. Huh…

The Parkland Shooter was part of a unique program where his misdeeds (criminal) were kept secret from the School to avoid the school pipeline to prison. The argument for this program is that kids will grow out of it. One trip to the south side of Chicago will change the mind of most. The FBI knew about the shooter’s violent proclivities and were even warned before the shooting. They did nothing. I am still amazed that the activist David Hogg has yet to figure it out.

A teacher in California was beaten by a student because ‘she gave him a failing grade.’ The school system tried to convince the teacher (while she was still in hospital) not to press charges. If memory serves, he broke her jaw, among other things. It would ruin the boy’s life if you pressed charges. I wonder where that ‘child’ is now?

Playing video games releases endorphins which make the player feel good. The hormones and chemicals released are addicting. We humans can be addicted to almost anything, even pain. Does that fact shed some light on why some self-harm?

Those game players reading this will likely chime in, telling me I am wrong. Truth is, I am not mistaken. If you were to honestly log the amount of time you spend playing games, you might be surprised. How does it make you feel to win or take that hill? How do you feel when you lose? When confronted with the truth, how does that make you feel? How does that make you feel if you are a sniper and kill the ‘enemy? No, I am not wrong.

Can you guess why Syrup Boy was drinking the syrup? Sure, it tasted good, but what else? Yes, chocolate is addicting, as is anything that makes you ‘feel’ good. That little feature of most animals is for the survival of the species. I don’t need to spell that out for most of you.

Those proponents of video games immediately tried to spin things differently, but…If you live in a world full of violence, day in and day out, guess what happens to your psychic? Where did this Sandy Hook killer learn to be so proficient? He blew one of the teacher’s heads off and was heard laughing about it after the fact. One wonders why. Was it what he expected?

Were you aware that you could get PTSD from video games? Now we have VR (virtual reality), which will most certainly make the game more real or immersive. Are we even looking into cause and effect? No, it’s the guns doing it.

It is almost as if we should have a consumer protection agency or something looking into cause and effect. What happens if?

There is a real danger among us; syrup boy is just one minor symptom that we are doing something wrong. The prison population is a vast indicator we are doing something very wrong. PFFT

Cause and effect, garbage in, garbage out. Why has nobody put this together? Is it that unpopular? Can we not handle the truth? Are we not paying anyone to look into such things?

Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, it will all be ok.

I mention the $188 Billion gaming industry because they hire PR firms to spin events like some mass shooting in another direction, away from the obvious. IT’S THE GUNS!!!

Guns are an easy emotional target or trigger word. That is why gaming lobbyists push the gun narrative. They know what it is, but $188 billion pays for PR firms and lobbyists and buys congressmen. It also makes the 2cnd amendment and the NRA the enemies of the people. If they can tie it to a political party, that is just a bonus.

Mental illness is rife. Covid, the lockdowns, and much more play into what is happening. With the lockdowns, the youth have more time to immerse themselves in these games. During the lockdown, the youth were not as socially active as they might have been. Games are an alternate reality. One wonders where reality and games collide. Add drugs into the mix, and that line will get super blurry.

Uvalde; his grandfather was a drug dealer, his mother a junkie, and you know grandma was not innocent or clueless about where the money came from. Pot today has a THC content of up to 95%. In the ’70s, the THC content was about 5%. The effects on the brain are mind-numbing and can cause uncontrollable rage. A toxicology report is still pending on the Uvalde shooter.

Riddle me this, why did the City of Carrollton, Texas, spend tax dollars on creating an E-sports (gaming facility for kids to play video games?) Wouldn’t it be better for kids to play these around their parents? Is this a taxpayer-funded babysitter or surrogate guardian who would also drink from the syrup bottle? Is it for kids who can’t afford a gaming computer?

In truth, I am uncertain what this facility is. On the surface, it sounds like a taxpayer-funded Dave and Busters, only for video games, period. Shouldn’t we try to get kids away from the keyboard and outside playing sports?

I am glad that the kid that shot up the July 4th celebration was such a coward that he gave up without committing suicide by cop. We need to learn what motivated him and everything else we can. He, like others, will end up being a statistic, but nevertheless, information is valuable.  

Where did he learn to be a sniper? He must have known about ballistics to shoot that distance and hit the target. Where did he learn?

Many people claim that School is a pipeline to prison. They blame it on things that are far from the facts. To quote Jack Nicholson, ‘They can’t handle the truth.’ In School, you learn the basics to get by in life and are introduced to social mores.

When I went to School, if your shirt was not tucked in correctly and you were caught, you earned a swat. For the rest of that day, every time you sat, there was this stinging reminder to make sure your shirt was properly tucked in.

Some parents argue against such things. They doth protest. Their argument is that you are teaching kids to hit; I disagree. You are teaching them that we have rules. While you are here, you will follow them. Trust me, parents, kids know how to hit already.

If you have flown, there are more rules than I care to count. Do not joke with the TSA.

In society, there are rules. You and I have those same rules. We get hit in the pocketbook if we speed or drive erratically. If you have one of your tires over the line in a handicapped parking area, the fine is over $600. I am talking about accidentally crossing that little white line with one tire.

One lady had just picked her kid up from school. She was on her phone while speeding through the school zone. The motorcycle cop had his lights on. He tried to get her attention for over a mile before he was forced to go up to her window at a red light and tap on it. I hope her child watched that interaction.

She was terribly distracted by the conversation on the phone. Speeding through a school zone is a hefty ticket. On your phone, while driving in a school zone is yet another. Not seeing the cop for at least a mile…Those mistakes will be quite the spanking.

My point is that there are rules; when do we start teaching them to our kids? There are social mores that are also incumbent upon us to teach. We don’t drink from the bottle. We cannot be our children’s friends. We must be parents first; that is our job. We are not talking about child abuse or beating anyone; we are talking about course corrections. We are talking about parenting. Know what your child is doing. We parents are held accountable for their actions until they reach adulthood. Our job is to raise them so that the criminal justice system does not have to.

Some scream about prison overpopulation. We, the parents, are in part the cause of this. The lack of morality and, yes, the violence are symptoms of not being engaged with your progeny.

Dysfunctional families are endemic to the problem, and that is what congress should be addressing. Breaking the cycle of single-parent homes requires education.  

Drugs and the promise of easy money probably eclipse poor parenting, as even the best of parents end up burying a child due to an overdose. Some lose them to gang violence. That, of course, is systemic of drugs and the drug culture.

It starts at home. You are the person they will model until such a time they attempt to emulate some actor or actress. If you teach them correctly and raise them right, you will not need to worry about what the schools are doing to indoctrinate them into this woke world of weirdness. You might also keep them from hanging with the wrong crowd.

Anyone who teaches your kids to hate their country must be in a different vocation. Any person who grooms your young child must be behind bars for pedophilia. The messages children get today are mind-bending. Homeschooling is almost a must.

Your options are clear. Either be of good moral character and lead by example or teach them how to look innocent in a lineup.

-Best

Retirement or just the next phase?

Retirement or just the next phase?

I hit that magic age where no employer wants to commit to a real honest-to-goodness job. That’s ok; I knew it was coming, most of my friends are older, and I have watched this phenomenon play out year after year.

There have been unexpected occurrences starting in 2020.

Before Covid was a thing, I managed to catch it from a masseuse. She was from China and spoke little to no English, not that it mattered. This was not my first time in this business. While there was a language barrier, she managed to know where it hurt and was able to manipulate the fascia or what have you in such a way to stop the muscle spasms.

It was 68 degrees in the room, and she was sweating profusely. I remember thinking, she must be working hard. I better tip her extra.

Three days later, I was in my doctor’s office with a sore throat, breathing issues, and a fever. At this stage of the game, the virus was not transmissible from humans to humans. It was not airborne and was only in Wuhan near the wet market.

We were assured by the CDC and the WHO not to worry. Pelosi was taking photo ops in China town along with its population, and the head of the health department in NYC was among the Chinese folks in NY, telling the world it was safe to go amongst them and…enjoy Chinese New Year’s Celebrations.

Words Matter and they all lied to us. While they might have given a get out of jail free card to Big Pharma, those that lied to us should be held accountable. They knew they were lying.

Backing up in history, about 30 years, I was in a head-on collision with an 84-year-old man who was drunk. I wrote the story as a memoir for the Anthology my writer’s group put together.

I wrote it as a cautionary tale. I will put a link to the Anthology for those of you interested in such stories. My story is the very last one in the book. The Roads We Take

That fateful day changed my life. I was forced to re-invent myself. The impact had a combined velocity of 110 mph.

There is a reason football players make the big bucks. The abuse they put their bodies through has a cumulative effect, and they will pay for it later in life. Much like every injury, broken arm, or leg you might have had will cause a twinge of pain during a weather change, imagine your entire skeleton as if it were on fire.

No, there were no grand settlements. One of my lawyer friends told me he could make me a rich man. The persons who were culpable had the same insurance company. They would not have paid the price for what she enabled, and he did. He was obviously well known in that town, the cop protected him, only wrote him up for left of center.

I heard the argument between him and his wife. There was only a thin curtain that separated the two of us. “You promised me that you would not drink and drive if I got you that new car!”

“Well, we were out of beer and it was halftime. I was just going to Kroger.”

Pffft! Every day, over thirty years later I pay for his lack of judgment and her enabling him. I am certainly not alone.

Life goes on; you do the best you can. Hence the massages and chiropractors and the occasional doctor who remarks while looking at the x-rays…’I would hate to be in your body.’

It could be worse; I know it, so I press on. Hence retirement.

Many, too many, in fact, have given up. They have taken the government up on whatever entitlements they can get and just survive.

It is always a red flag to me when I speak with a friend, and they ask have I seen this or that on TV?

I don’t watch TV. I know how that sounds, but to me, it is noise. Those that you see on the screen cannot relate to you or me for the most part.

If it were not for writers, many would be as vapid as the force that makes balloons rise, hot air. Don’t believe me, find some on Twitter and read the garbage that they spew. From their ivory towers and gated communities, they scream, “let them eat cake.” ‘Cake was a metaphor for the scraps that fell off the table that the dogs got.’   

With few exceptions, there are not many I would like to meet. Introduce me to the writers; those are the geniuses.

You might have guessed by now that I had to re-invent myself once again.

I went from an engineer to computer support to the management of teams of folks working in the IT field. Back when I started, it was Data Processing, that tells you a little.

Today I am winding down my company www.timedok.com. The company serves many but mainly takes care of municipalities. All good things must end. The machines I sell and service are used less and less. The pandemic has expedited the process. The supply chain failure by this administration have not helped.

Currently, I am in the middle of writing a science fiction novel which you will hear more about if you follow me.

Why not just retire, you might ask?

One of the most repeated failures by retirees is they don’t plan for what they will do after the job. I cannot speak for women, but as a man, I can tell you that most of us identify with what we do for a living. Most of us take pride in what we do, and we do the best we can.

Suddenly you find your pay has reached some magical number that a bean counter has decided is too much. Around your company’s fiscal year end, your boss is given his budget. He or she is forced to let someone go to raise your salary or find someone less expensive than you, and keep as many employees as he or she can.

Usually, that happens long before you reach retirement age. Then what?

I started this blog at a certain age nobody wants you. It is not because of age discrimination per se but they know you were probably making a salary that would exceed what they could or are willing to afford. The application, which is a legal document, most of the time asked what your salary was.

If you didn’t plan for retirement both financially and with an idea of how you will occupy your time, what do you do?

The house you paid for undoubtedly you will find yourself taxed out of.

Thanks to the failures of the government of California, my taxes have exceeded what the original house payment was, and there are no signs of the taxes going down. In fact, if I were attempting to live off social security, the taxes would take most of it.

Why California? There seems to be a mass exodus from the west, because of the cost of living and taxes. Those from the West who voted for the policies which have destroyed their state are heading East. They most probably will not have figured out that their ideology, and the way they vote is why they are having to find jobs back East.

Government is good at taking what’s not theirs. It becomes easy to understand why there are those who learn how to take advantage of the system and live on whatever handouts they can get, including housing.

It is a form of socialism but shhh, the right is not aware of it yet. They still think if Bernie is not in office, we are fine.

The re-invention of myself is nothing unique. I see retired people in the hardware store earning whatever the government will allow them to earn without subtracting that amount from their (entitlements.) I was offered such a job not long ago. I chuckled at that offer and left with my purchases to play plumber at my home.

With this book I am working on, do I expect it to make me millions? No, I am, in fact, a realist. One of the largest issues with getting published today is that everyone thinks they can write.

These people range from school-age kids to retired people who have a story to tell. Once they create their tomb, they send it off to agents, where it sits in what is known as a slush pile.

The slush pile of want to be authors sits for days, weeks, or months until either they have time to sift through it or they hire their teenage child to sift through the thousands of entries, while he or she plays games on their phone.

No, I don’t expect the weeks to months I have invested in this project to make me rich. This project, much like learning to 3d print, or teaching myself python, is simply a transitionary device from working to retirement. Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or they die.

You can be old and have a terminal illness, and still have a quality of life while you are sucking in air. Don’t waste it.

If you want to understand why writing isn’t a get-rich scheme, look no further than Kindle Unlimited. Ten dollars a month to Jeff Bezos and read all you want. That book that you might have spent a year of your life creating is basically free to anyone that subscribes to KU.

Unlike those books in Barns and Noble that sell for real dollars, e-books are worthless. Services like his and others have programmed the reading public to believe that your efforts should be free to them.

I know of an author who spent 35 years creating one novel. No, I don’t think writing a book is a get-rich scheme unless you are a tv personality and can hype your book multiple times a day.

Writing the perfect novel, is only a small part of the puzzle. In the future we will be examining what those other parts might be, and how to pull them off without an agent.

Make sure you hit that follow button.

-Best

The Next Domestic Crises

The Next Domestic Crises

The only thing more predatory than a politician are the credit card companies.

Carrying a balance on a credit card is by far worse than establishing a loan thru your financial institution. Those who can least afford it are frequently the target of predatory lending. PayDay loans and alike are one step away from borrowing from the mafia. Those who specialize in payday loans are not the financial institution you should deal with. They are the mob who will cash your check and attempt to solve all your problems by selling you magic beans for the cash, in the form of lottery tickets.

The root cause of the problem, however, is not those who seek to ‘assist’ those in need. The root cause is the need itself and a lack of intelligence when it comes to managing your finances.

If we glance at the past as in history, and then we look forward, we can see where this will end.

Having lived thru the lies of Carter, gas lines, odd and even days, and no more than ten gallons at any given time, we were happy just to get Gas, not really caring what it cost.

There is a price that is going to be the next crisis we must deal with.

I have not used a gas card in years. I used to have one that I did use to keep up with my expenses but that was a long time ago before frequent flyer miles.

The other day, unexpectedly, I received a new gas card. Why?

They know that there is about to be a boon to those who extend credit. We are used to budgeting X dollars a month for Gas. That expense has doubled. Depending upon how much you drive and what you drive, undoubtedly, you will feel it at the end of the month.

Not only is Gas twice the price, but food is also much more expensive. Heating and cooling costs have risen exceedingly fast.

Energy drives the prices for many things.

Where you might not have carried a balance in the past, you might now. Much like Sisyphus, pushing that rock uphill will break many.

Not to worry. A late fee is only $30, and your remaining balance might go up to 30%, but other than that, they have you covered.

If the current administration can blame all your pain on Putin, they stand a good chance to distract you from reality come election time.

It is imperative that you only listen to the very liberal media, which includes NPR.

Like Don Quixote, they truly believe that windmills will save the day. Tilting at tried-and-true methods of energy production, they seek to push this country back to the depression era. Little wooden shacks for the sharecroppers will dot the land in the middle of nowhere. They will need no amenities and will be totally dependent on their masters. Look no further than North Korea for a role model.

The poor management of your credit cards will be your undoing. Much like losing at Monopoly, you will mortgage your belongings to the very institutions that loaned you the money in the first place.

There are no do-overs. When you find yourself wishing for a solid cardboard box to keep the rain off your head, or fighting for a dry spot under a bridge, only then will you truly understand that this has never been about race, but a struggle between the have and the have nots.

Knowledge is power and that privilege that so many ignorant fools scream about. History is the source of that knowledge. It makes little difference if you like the history or hate it; it is there to learn from. Erasing history is just as foolish as thinking skin color is the solution or the problem.

If I were a gambling man, I would buy stock in companies that made loans. I would find companies that buy foreclosed homes and rent them out to invest in.

Most young people are stupid when it comes to money. They find renting is the quickest way to live the lifestyle they were accustomed to when mom and dad foot the bills. The attitude seems to be live for today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. If you look at their social media, you will discover what I mean. They are the market for the next breed of a predatory lender, those that buy foreclosed or ugly homes, spend as little as possible to restore or update them, and rent rent rent.

As prices continue to rise because of this administration’s piss poor policies, they will be among the first to suffer. Mom and Dad will be among the second to agonize as they end up opening their homes to their boomerang progeny along with their fur babies and maybe grandkids.

Mom and Dad, who saved for retirement, will end up using that retirement money to bail out their kids, who still think that playing video games all night is the equivalent of work.

Domestic disturbances will be over such things, and the entitled brats will be the spark that sets the next set of events into motion. The divorce, custody battles, and more money wasted on lawyers and court costs. Who could know this would happen??? Hello…

If you’re not putting money in the bank for a rainy day, you are screwing up. I would think that one should have at least three months of expenses saved in an account that you don’t touch. The wolf is at the door, and he is knocking.

When companies demand you return to the office, gas, tolls, and normal wear and tear costs return too. There will also be new clothes required. Are you ready?

-Best

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

I had written before on those fluorescent curly Q bulbs that were the next end-all-be-all to saving the planet. We talked about the fact that they contain mercury and, if something goes wrong, there might be a fire.

LED bulbs seemed much more promising.

Well, not so fast. First off, there is the issue of different types of LED bulbs for circuits with dimmers vs. without. How many ‘users’ of these things truly understand the difference and, how many care?

To that end, all LED bulbs entering the US market should be designed to work in either situation.

I feel a little like Ralph Nader when I mention this fact, as it seems obvious but, they should at the very least be clearly labeled.

The last batch of ‘dimmable’ LED bulbs I purchased clearly was marked ‘dimmable’ on the box, but no place on the bulb itself did it distinguish itself as dimmable.

My next nit to pick is quality control.

Out of six regular LED non-dimmable bulbs, I had a 50% failure rate.

The bulbs would either flicker or just not work.

My curiosity got the best of me.

If you notice those two blobs of solder, they are situated by the plus and the minus terminals for the LEDs. That blob of solder in the middle does not belong. In my business, we call that a solder bridge. This is incredibly shoddy work, and while the bridge is not zero ohms, it is close enough to render the bulb useless.

I have not opened the other two failed bulbs but, I can guess what I might find.

Are these a fire hazard?

I would like to believe that because these circuits are housed in plastic-coated aluminized housing that a circuit breaker might blow before the thing catches on fire.

The companies that create and sell these things need to tighten up quality control and, all of them should be made to fit into either a dimmable socket or a regular socket.

Since Underwriters Laboratories turned into a for-profit company, one must wonder who is watching out for the American public. Someone should be testing this stuff independently of company sponsors. Currently, the FTC takes complaints and tips but, to my knowledge, does zero pro-active research on something as basic as substandard or hazardous products.

While I loath bloated government, there is a need for an Underwriters Laboratories to test, check the quality, and so forth of products imported into this country.

Are they safe?

Is there lead paint?

Are they going to catch on fire?

Are they labeled correctly?

If I take the time to open the other two failed products, what will I find?

I would think that the Chinese companies would be overly careful of this type of quality. Just possibly, they know they are the only game ‘in town’ and that people will just accept the lack of value for the dollar and lower their expectations.

Maybe the Chinese should offer repair kits for their poorly constructed bulbs so those of us with the skills and know-how can fix them.

Is it worth it? Knowing these bulbs should last years, would it be worth your time to ‘fix them?’

Stay safe until we meet again.

If there is nothing new, maybe I will tell you all how to make Banana Bread.

-Cheers

Open Letter to Zoom

Open Letter to Zoom

As one host’s meetings over this medium frequently, the speaker might freeze.

The problem is, we don’t know if the speaker froze, we froze, and so on.

Solution… For the meeting host, we need a quick way to ascertain where the packet loss is occurring.  I would suggest a simple meter placed by each member’s name in the participant’s list.

The meter could be faux lights (red, yellow, and green.) Make the thing large enough to give us some resolution as to the quality of the signals.

It might also be nice to have the ability to run a report of the same information. If one of the members is constantly having issues, we have some quantitative feedback we can give them.

With this information out there on the WWW, your competition might see it and run with it, claiming this brainstorm of an idea as their own. PFFT.

-Best

Open Letter to Oil Change Business’s

Open Letter to Oil Change Business’s

We have a crisis on our hands with a simple solution. To Date, I have not seen anyone offering this service.

It is illegal for scrap metal places to purchase stolen catalytic converters. HB 4110 in Texas makes the crime of selling or buying stolen catalytic convertors a 3rd-degree felony which means time in jail.

That law went into effect on September 1, and yet the problem continues.

Here is the million-dollar idea…..

On your sign in front of your business, advertise ‘Free Engraving of your Catalytic Converter with Oil Change.’

The idea is to mark your property with your driver’s license, which will make the convertor even less attractive to the scrap metal dealer.

Since the threat of jail time doesn’t seem to stop the thief, just possibly the threat of time to the dealer would carry more weight.

If you had a little more on the ball than the other guy, you would have created stickers that would go on the person’s car window. These stickers would alert the would-be thief that the convertor is marked. The stickers would also be a reminder and advertisement of your place of business.

Even if you are not in Texas, businesses in other states can use this same technique to slow down the theft of convertors and increase business to your establishment.

I look forward to seeing how many companies follow through with this idea.

-Best

Check Your Ego

Check Your Ego

I admit that I spend entirely too much time on ‘groups’ that profess an interest in one topic or another.

We tend to search for our tribe, whether that be people interested in equine activities or perhaps restoring vintage electronic devices.

Today it was a group dedicated to Heathkit.

For those of you who don’t know, Heathkit, out of Benton Harbor, created and sold well-designed devices in kit form.

If you followed the instructions, when finished, you would have not only a working device, but you would have the pride of knowing that you built it and, you would also know how to repair it should the need arise.

This person purchased an old oscilloscope from the ’60s that, by today’s standards, is worthless. This same person opened it up, showing the repair job someone did back in the 70’s ‘as depicted by the age of the components’ and complained.

When he brought it up on his variac, it still worked. After opening it, he complained about the ‘mess’ inside.  He then went about requesting assistance from everyone in the group for information on the piece and so on.

Since the internet was not around when the previous person repaired it, and it was still working today, just possibly he should re-think his assessment of the repair.

I am from the age group who taught myself electronics, built kits, and designed and built my first transmitter from TV parts.  There were no online resources as there are today.

The FCC test was in person and not multiple guess.  

This behavior is not just in ham radio groups but many others.

If you read the online comments, it would seem that narcissism is as rampant as covid.

I am amazed at how quickly the comments turn into personal attacks. Is this the new normal where keyboard warriors use speech that they would not use around their grandparents, to feel better about themselves while attacking another?

The three weeks to flatten the curve has tested my patience to the absolute limits of my medications.

Turn off the computer, the screens, and the TV when you reach that point.

Reading opinions by other keyboard warriors that incite violence on a class of people with who they don’t agree is demented, and it needs to stop.

We forget that the technology we have today is because of those that came before us. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and yet we have narcissists like this person daring to complain about a fifty-year-old repair, that still works.  

-Best