Memorial Day 
"What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes -- ah, they have all the necessary leisure."

- Aldous Huxley

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Customer Service Done Right  
Cutting the grass on Tuesday evening, dunderhead me forgot to screw the gas cap on the mower* and, thus, it came off and I ran over it, rendering it unusable; shot it across the street, too. I was able to finish the front and then went to Sears Hardware to see if they had a replacement in stock. They didn't. So, the next morning I went to the Sears Service center in Phillipsburg and they didn't have one either. I was about to order one when one of the guys said to hold on and he would check a few old mowers in the back that were going out for scrapping or being held for parts. A minute later he came back with the same cap. I offered to pay for it but he said no. What an excellent example of customer service!


*This is highly odd for me as I tend to be obsessive-compulsive about things like that; doors locked, things that need to be tightened actually being tightened and fastened correctly, pen caps on, closet doors closed, oven off, coffee maker off, efficient refrigerator organization, newspapers neatly stacked before being bundled, money organized by denomination and facing the same way, etc.

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Rewind to 2000 
I found an Earth Day article from Reason Magazine, May 2000.

Some of the those early earth day activists really made some bold predictions about famine and civilization ending within 30 years that never materialized. But, alas, we can't fault the activists because they were citing scientists. Ah, such wacky times, the seventies were. The next generation or two will find it equally entertaining 30 years from now to reflect back on the balmy prophecies that were made in the first decade of the 21st century. Oh wait, this time it's real. We can't possibly be wrong.

Instead of planting a tree this earth day, I need to save one. One sprouted up in my garden, just inside the fence, last year and I need to move it. The sapling is about six feet high now. I had planted a few trees a few years ago but I couldn't keep them from the deer. I tried but to no avail but this one is tall enough now that it should be safe. Deer truly are a problem in PA and managing them is a contentious issue. I am currently reading Deer Wars which discusses this concern.

Today is also primary day here in PA. I will cast a vote for John McCain today, just as I did in the 2000 primary.

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96, 67.8, 0.3 
96 Percent of mortgage owners are "fulfilling their commitments." That's a tad vague but I would say that means they are paying on time or close enough to on time that the mortgage lender doesn't need to take further action.

Home ownership in the U.S. is 67.8 per cent; higher than it was in the 'prosperous' years of '98, '99, and 2000.*

Home ownership has 'fallen' 3/10 of 1 per cent during this current housing 'crisis.'

...if the numbers George Will gives are correct, that is, and I have little reason to doubt him. Today's column is right on the money. We have it so good nowadays that when we hit a little bump, the media panics, blames Bush, and rallies behind their candidate, Obama, and push the message of hope and change; without, of course, really saying what that means.

If people have to work a little harder, maybe cut some expenses, or postpone 'retirement' from 59 to 62, everyone panics and presidential candidates tell us that we have it so bad and the only solution is voting for 'change' - instead of instilling change in ourselves with our habits. To me, 'change' isn't voting for Obama, it's making the needed adjustments to live your life. So, if you buy something you can't afford, eventually it will catch up with you. If you have to put off buying that new car or can't take a family vacation this year, or have to delay retirement a few years, so be it. That not is not hardship. It's called dealing with it. It is not a sign of a crisis. If anything, it's an indicator of how good we have it.


*Census Link that covers through 2007.

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Vultures 


I snapped this photo of these two vultures perched in the copse behind my house yesterday morning. It's not uncommon to see turkey vultures in the field behind my house but a few weeks ago I had noticed increased activity; often three or four at a time circling and landing on trees and the grass. So, I took a stroll back there and saw two deer carcasses in the brush near where it meets the open field. Directly to the left of where those two vultures sit in that picture, are more houses, a complete street to be exact; about the same distance to these birds that my house is. So, with the mystery of the increased vulture activity explained, I wonder who or what put those carcasses there. Plus, I haven't looked for about two weeks so perhaps there is something new back there. By the way, there is enough of the deer remains to rule out that someone is doing taxidermy. Plus, the remains are mixed in with tree limbs that are machine cut so it has to be someone putting them there. My guess is that someone does his own butchering and just dumps what's left in the brush. I have no problem with that, by the way and it is likely whoever is doing it, owns that lot. I was looking at the township tax maps and quite a bit of that land in that field is privately owned but I can't tell if that particular lot is owned by an individual or the township. I also can't tell if that lot borders ours and if it does, it's on the far side of his nowhere near where our lot ends. Regardless, that person's use of that land is more favorable than building something on it. Trust me, I am not complaining at all.

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Eat Me 
...or maybe I'll eat you. I guess it all depends on who's hungrier. Once again proving that America is the only nation on earth where a person with an IQ of 43 can become a billionaire, quintessential nutjob Ted Turner believes that Global Warming will cause humans to resort to cannibalism. When they passed out the Global Warming Kool-Aid, some said no thanks, some took a drink, and Ted drank about three gallons and asked for more. What a maroon.

It is scary that a person with wealth and influence actually believes something like this.

It some ways, however, listening to Ted should inspire all Americans. After all, if he can make it big, certainly anyone else can. Ted has certainly proved that being stupid is not a hindrance to success*. However, if becoming successful means becoming a loon like Ted, I would hope most Americans would say: "No thanks; being rational and intelligent is more important than fame and fortune."



*Most celebrities have proved this too.

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Postcard from Michael Yon 
I got a postcard from Michael Yon today. Michael is a blogger and observer who spends a lot of time in Iraq. He chronicles what he sees and though he's not a journalist, many journalists can learn a lot from him.



The front ^ and back v



A link to Michael's Blog is on the right. Be sure to check it out. If you can, donate to him as well. I'll ask the library I frequent if they will order the book and I have added it to my reading list, which is usually two or three books deep but I can certainly fit this one in.

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Stimulus 


The letter informing us about receiving a stimulus came today. Instead of spending like drunken sailors like so many Americans do, anyone who gets a check should 1) use it to pay down debt; credit card debt first or 2) put into a savings account. Other good uses are retirement funds, college funds, and home improvements. Naturally, ours will go into savings right away until we decide if we need any home improvements or to pad the three college funds a little.

Unfortunately, the reality is that all this package will do is augment the already rapid rising costs of goods. It's a 'feel good' move that will likely do little other than make things cost more which, of course, hinders people from paying debt or saving.

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