Sunday, November 28, 2010

Didn't we just Celebrate Christmas

Wow! We are already at Christmas and it seems we just got over the last one.

Then there was all the hype of the Black Friday Sales. That was exactly what it was hype. The effort to drive the buyers into a shark like feeding frenzy.

My wife and I almost got caught up in all of this hype but at the last moment we realize that one we really do not have all that much more to buy and two the stuff that Wal-Mart and the big box stores actually are pushing are inferior product.s that we would be embarrassed to give.

So we stayed home and did our shopping at a reasonable hour and found not too surprisingly that the crowds had died down and we really had the stores more or less too our self's. Found everything we wanted. So my advice is ignore the Black Friday nonsense and just enjoy the holidays.

In The Shop

You get what your pay for. This saying was driven home to me the other day when a Skill 2 1/4 horse power router reminded me why they are so much cheaper then most. In trying to round over the edges of the end table tops the depth adjustment slipped and I managed to ruin the edges and by the time that I cut off the ruined edges well they proportionally would be wrong.

When I bought the router new 5 years ago I thought I was buying a tool that was of the same quality represented in my Skill saw I have had for 30+ years. Boy was I wrong. I have struggled with this router to no avail and rarely have I managed to get it to do what I needed and it should have been able to do. So out the door it goes.

I console myself with the knowledge that by the middle of the month I should be getting the Bosch palm router out of lay-a-way from the pawn shop and I will continued to look for a heavy duty router like a Bosch or Dewalt in the pawn shops and Craig's List.


I don't know how you reader feel about used tools and just about everything else but for me many a time it is the way I go. I buy used for several reasons.

One, reason is that the price of a used item is such that it becomes affordable for something that might otherwise not be. The palm router I mention above for example normally cost $120 in the stores on sale sometimes at $100 but I was able to get it at $60 and since I didn't have the cash with me able to put it on lay-a-way at the pawn shop.  The router came with everything including the original package but also had 6 router bits that at $10 average price minimum made ti a even better deal.

Another example i offer is the power chair I now own. As you may know I have had to retire because of wore out joints and arthritis kept me from being able to the job I had done for 40 years. I also kept me from being able to visit folks at the hospital (very handi-cap unfriendly), grand children's programs and going to the flea market. Well kept my eyes open along with a friend who told me about seeing a power-chair in a pawn shop. When I went there I expected it to be wore out. But it wasn't and the asking price was $300 used VS $2700 new. I tried it out and realize that It would do for me and I put it on lay-a-way getting it out in a 2 months. Now I am able to go into hospitals with my wife to visit family and friends as well as go to the flea market. All because I don't have to have new.

Here is another reason I buy used a lot. It has to do with the fact that buying used I do not contribute too unnescessary use of raw materirals and energy in the manufacturing process. I recycle by restoring the product to useable status. Finally a product that otherwise might end up in a land fill doesn't. It might not be all that much of a enviromental reason but every bit helps.

Here is another reason I buy used a lot. It is the character or history that shows on the product. Take a old leather chair you saved from the dump. You fix the uphostery tighten up the joints, and cleaned it up. Even so it stills shows the scars of life on it. But that is ok because I look at it and think it might be beat and scared up but it is still useable like me.

It all depends on how you think.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Feeling the Aches and Pains

More than ever I seem to be feeling the aches and pains of a hard life. Of course it is mostly to do with the weather changes that my old joints are aching but your know that is all right for I got here on my own. I choose the work I did and do not regret it. How many can say that?

My only regret would be the times that I allowed work to step between my and my family. I believed in what I did mattered  in the long run. Was I right? Well yes and No.

Yes in that I believed that be there I held the contractor to a higher standard that he would not of followed if I hadn't been there to inspect his work. When found wanting then I was there to drive home the point that the client had specified a Cadillac not a Chevy Nova and at the same time to let him know by my actions I wasn't looking for a Rolls Royce either. I just wanted the Cadillac agreed upon in the contract documents and specifications.

I also believed I presented unnecessary waste of our natural resources by preventing the contractor from having to do the job twice. in catching the mistake before it got out of hand. I also believed that I protected the environment  by stopping the dumping of construction wast and stopping storm water runoff from the construction site into our drainage system. A job I took seriously.

But I didn't just hold the contractor to a higher standard but also the engineer who designed the project. I never hesitated in bring to an engineer attention errors that had made in their design either in pre-construction review of the plans seeing something specified that by experience told me would not work as designed. Also by never being intimidated by the professional who believe himself infallible merely because they had a PE after their name.

While saying this you should understand dear reader that I also held myself to a high standard. Hence the long hours and dedication to be on the job. I never told the contractor he had made a mistake until I had verified that I was not wrong myself. I was once asked by a contractor if I didn't trust him my response was "Absolutely" not for if I didn't trust myself why should I trust him." He looked at me and responded good answer.

I once had a supervisor, a Chief inspector,  tell me I needed to ease up on the contractor because it was just concrete curb. i remembered I looked at him and told him that if he felt that way then he could watch it himself because I was not going to accept the work in it;s current condition. 

In my 40 years as a inspector I never took a bribe. Never allowed myself to be intimidated by a contractor or crew member either physically or mentally.

What do I have to show for the 40 years I spent as a public works inspector.For the 10 to 12 hour days and occasionally 36 to 48 hours straight. What do I have to show for the wore out knees and hips the diabetes from eating crappy food for the lympedima from standing on my feet for for the 6 and 7 day weeks?

Nothing but my pride and self respect and a dis-ability check from SIS. So when the old knees and hips keep me up at night well I have no one to blame but myself and that is all right by me.

In The Shop

Absolutely did nothing as usual life got in the way while I was trying to do what I had planned. I did get a set of ramps made for the used power chair I bought to help me get around in the stores. and flea markets.

I also continued to work on the tops ot the end tables but no where near happy with them yet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where has the year gone?

I went out into the shop yesterday morning and was surprised to realize it was on the cool side. Of course it warmed up quickly but wasn't just yesterday that I had two fans going trying to keep cool?

Of course that led me to realize that the it was almost a year since I had retired in mid December of 2009. That during that time I have seen things absolutely stay the same. I mean almost no change in what been going one.

Think about it.

Unemployment is still holding at 9.5%. Flat lined seem to be determined stay that way,. The political right seems determined to lead us down the path of destruction and with their majority in the US Congress it was just enough of a shock to the Democrats that they will stay absolutely in the middle of the quagmire that the Republicans have led us into and the Democrats determined to allow us to wallow like a bunch of pigs in a pig pen. Why you may ask.?

That is easy to answer. Fear! Fear that if they do anything someone may take offense and not give them the monetary support to be reelected . Again I will say it we do not have in the progressive/liberal tradition men and women with sand in their boots willing to offend people by doing the right thing.

So where does this leave us?

Up a creek without a paddle and the boat has holes and taking on water on fast. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will the democrats realize that they lost not because they did something but because they didn't do anything they said they were going to do when the were elected. That they allowed the right to high jack the discourse and not likely to give up the bully pit without a fight.

So we will see another year i m sure if not another 2 years of democrats trying to point the way and the republicans shouting and screaming there goes the big government big taxation democrats and they will stymie and put road blocks stopping any hope of discussion or improvement.

To paraphase the Grateful Dead song "I may be going to hell in a bucket but I am difintly not enjoying the ride."

In the shop

Well yesterday I managed to find a palm router for my shop that look realitvely unused in a pawnshop so I made a deal and got it for half price. It wil lbe a great addition inot my shop.

Continued to work on the end table tops hope to get them done by Thanksgiving along with the legs.


Well I am still reading Robert Reich's book "After the Collapse" and tell you the truth I am finding it informative and waiting to see what he thinks will be the result of our current direction.

I am also reading "Writer's On Writing" it is interesting to find out how a lot of writer's work.

What's is New.

Well I and my wife have taken on writing for the Internet how to article for pay. The ideal is the money we receive will be used to help fill out the niches in what we need in trying to prepare for geezer hood. So far we seem to doing OK. But you know I found out it is one thing to know how to do something it is another to write it down on how to do something in 500 words.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Another Day

Just another day is what I told myself after the election. Did it go as I figured? Yep!

It was not a absolute toss out of the democrats but then again it just made it worse with the democrats now more than ever batting down the hatches fearful of doing anything least it come back to bit them. The blue dog democrats who are nothing more than republicans in sheep's clothing, will be encouraged to vote with the republicans believing that in doing so it will be less that the republicans can use on them in the next election.

After all it is the next election that they are already thinking of. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, a man who makes George Bush Jr. look like a genius has already begun posturing for the 2012 election as a presidential candidate with a book tour of a book he most likely had ghost written nothing more than a recital of old John Birch Society rhetoric and now TEA party slogans.

For now, the best ideal I think is to sit with your back to the wall, know where the exits are, and remember never let them see you sweat.


Finally received my copy of Robert Reich's new book Aftershock and I am finding him as engaging and informative as usual. I am looking forward to reading onward to see what his belief of what kind of economy is coming. But like any good mystery you should never jump ahead to the end to see how it ends for if you don't read the beginning and the middle how can you see where he came up with his ending.

Those who are finding his book informative might also like Warren Johnson "Muddling toward Frugality". Written in 1976 it is still applicable today as it was then. While waiting on Reich's book to be delivered I reread the book and took hope from his work.

One theory he postulated was that congress our government does nothing until the people by action make it so. For me it was a call to take responsibility for your actions without regard to what others are doing are think of what you are doing. The only thing that matters is that you take responsibility for what you are doing.


Watched the new TV series on AMC cable channel called The Walking Dead. Yeah I know another Zombie movie but I got to tell you it is a step above the average well worth watching. A side note after watching it I felt the need to watch a comedy to get the intensity of the last scene of the first show out of my head before bed time.

in the shop

Well I haven't had much time to spend in the shop but plan on getting into the shop to finish the end tables for my son's. I will post some photos after I finish them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2 just another Day?

Here is a questions for you when it is all said and done is it just another day November 2, 2010?

If you have been listenting to talking heads on radio and TV and by last count an average of 10 e-mails a day form the Democrats then it is the seminal event of our lifetime. If, depending on who you are, believe if they win then we all lose then I guess it is. But is it really?

Now I am voting and I am voting both my pocket book and my conscience and that means I am voting Democrat. But in the back of my mind I can't help but feel it really want make any difference in the long run.

I have been voting since 1972 and I have wittiness Presidents come and go and thought what it meant for as long as I can recall 1960.  So what do I know or have come to expect?

Well first most of what they say is just political get your vote rhetoric and changes nothing. I also know that under the Democrats first my parents, father a cabinetmaker and mother a housewife, and then myself a construction inspector until retirement in 2009 that we did overall better financially.

Second under the Kennedy and followed by LBJ we saw great social changes in the Bill of Rights and fight on poverty. Yet under Nixon the economy began to stagnate and experience the first oil crisis yet he initiated changes in EPA laws and improved relations with China and got us out of Vietnam. We also saw under Nixon how "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely". Under Nixon the US went off of the Gold Standard and we began printing money that had no physical value.

Under Ford I saw a man who was just trying to get us over Nixon's chicanery and not much else.

Carter was a president who confused me. On one hand I saw where he faceted the interest of the banks who helped him get elected by some deregulating of money and banking laws yet was truly bothered by the lack of moral fiber in our country in our inability to make sacrifice to improve our fuel situation. Under him we saw inflation increased over 10% and our second fuel crisis. He was a greater ex-president then he was a president.

Ronald Regan was the president who had one main goal and that was to initiate the Conservative agenda and that inculuded the destruction of trade unions, destruction of social and enviormental  programs, and deregulation of business and industry.  When inflation continued to grow the indicators that determined inflation were changed and consequently the readjustment said inflation wasn't as bad. Under Regan we saw the slow and purposeful destruction of the middle class begin.

Under Bush we saw more of the same as Regan other than involvement in the middle east in the Gulf war I. Again oil was the reason and 10 years later the Iraq war began and counties still over oil.

For eight years we prospered under a democratic president, Clinton, or so it seem. Yet in my opine he really did nothing other than what look liked a strong start with the health initiative but was scared off by republican and big business (insurance) resistance. Consequently while initiating lowering of national debt and pushing Free Trade Agreements he also cooperated with the republican controlled Congress to systematically destroy social services and anti-poverty programs while doing nothing for the working middle class. By increasing the number of FTA's the Clinton and Republican Congress systematically dismantled what remained of our manufacturing sectors and pushed the very jobs that had created a working middle class overseas. In my opine Clinton was nothing but a closet republican.

That brings us to GW Bush this president finished the middle class off. Under him we saw it the economy unravel with big business scams some that began under Clinton but came to full fruit under Bush with banking and fiance scams that were morally wrong if not legally wrong.  Bush has involved us in a war in Iraq
that has bankruptted the nation and destroyed the military and brought us to be hated by Muslim world and seen as the cause of their repression and worthy of destruction. So we elected Obama

What has Obama done with his window of opportunity to enact programs that would truly change the face of this nation. Absolutely nothing. He waffled under the pre-tense of it is congress responsibility to initiate laws and did nothing to support the ones in congress who were struggling to do just that. Result once more the big international business won and the US American people lost and could be said the world lost.

So here we stand on the eve of another national voting day. Will you vote? I will and I will once more vote Democrat even though I want to vote for he Green party in Texas. I just can't stand the ideal of my voting for a independent party candidate allowing for a republican win. I feel like we are caught between a rock and a hard place without much choice. May God have mercy on us for big business oligarchy representatives will not.

by the way the cartoon came from a blog worth reading check it out.