Freezing rain and Sears

February 5, 2019

The last few days I’ve been busier than a long-tailed cat in a
room full of rockers. And now that I’ve finished spreading about
100 pounds of salt on the sidewalks, driveway, and alley, I’ve
just about have my to-do list finished. If we get the 1/4 inch
of freezing rain that is predicted we’ll be ready.

Then there’s Sears whose catalogs back in the day they were
Sears-Roebuck kept many of busy with our dream wish list. I’ll
admit we haven’t been there since Sears sold Craftsman tools to
Stanley along with the rights to the name and manufacture of the
tools.

While many fond memories remain of the ‘old’ Sears my last
experience there left no reason to return. Those of us old
enough to remember the thick catalogs probably remember that the
company began in the 1880s and the mail order catalogs that sold
everything from toys to tombstones.

The mail order catalogs made Sears the Amazon of its day when
the company started and now e-commerce is getting the blame
for Sears going under. It’s not the first long-established
company to go belly up but we miss it already.

In our local store the warranties on tools and power equipment
have become a joke, customer service just isn’t anywhere to be
found, and one could shoot a cannon down the aisles and not hit
anyone. A sad reality.

Now we wait for the freezing rain if it comes. A quarter inch may
just have us out later clearing fallen trees. Enjoy our Tuesday
as that means it’s not Monday anymore. Now I need more coffee
and a nap.
Comments are always welcome.

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Of steam engines and cell phones

December 28, 2018

Yesterday was one of those days I about had to beat myself up
to get moving. Everything hurt, my brain was disconnected, and
my body said ‘oh hell no!’ to anything that involved movement.
Not sure what the problem was but hopefully it’s just part of
getting older.

This morning I was thinking of Sprint Corporation for no
apparent reason and discovered something I did not know. You may
know that Sprint is a telecommunications company that provides
internet and cell phone services. But did you know its roots
can be traced back to a railroad?

The Brown Telephone Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
are both said to be origins of Sprint. Brown Telephone began in
1899 to give phone service to rural areas in Abilene, Kansas
and was started by Cleyson Brown.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was founded in the 1860s as a
subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. The company operated
thousands of miles of track and the telegraph wire which ran
alongside the track. In the 1970s the company was looking for
ways to use these lines for long distance calling.

This spawned several lawsuits between the company, AT&T, and
the FCC. Prior attempts to offer long distance calling wasn’t
approved by the FCC so the railroad used a loophole that would
allow a fax service called SpeedFAX.

Southern Pacific Communications came up with a new name to
tell the difference between the switched voice service from
SpeedFAX and came up with SPRINT. This stood for Southern
Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.

In 1982 GTE Corporation bought the telephone operation from
Southern Pacific. In 1992 Uninet (United Telecom Data) bought
enough of the Company to acquire the original company and in
1992 United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint
Corporation. And that’s my story.

Enjoy our Friday as the weekend has begun. As soon as I have
another cup of coffee before getting busy doing what should have
been done yesterday.
Comments are always welcome.


Here we go

November 29, 2018

Mary Barra, GM CEO, announced a few days ago that GM would
close several plants and cut 15% of its salaried workforce.
In her 5 years as CEO, Barra has made some decisions that were
not popular but she has made the company a profitable
enterprise.

Along with plant closures she is removing money pit sections
like Peugeot, has authorized getting out of Russia and India,
and is getting rid of cars that aren’t selling. Two mentioned
were the Volt and the Cruise. Instead GM will develop a Blazer
and full electric vehicles.

GM will keep investing in self-driving vehicles as they claim
there is a profit to had in that sector of the market. Deep
discounts have also gone the way of the dinosaur in the name
of profit.

And despite Michigan and Ohio taking hits financially due to
the plant closings and thousands unemployed, insiders claim
this is the best plan since sliced bread. So the buying public
will have fewer choices while spending more money to get their
next vehicle and former employees will scramble for new jobs.
Thank God GM will make a bigger profit.

Won’t people be needed to build the new SUVs, trucks, electric
cars, and self-driving vehicles? I’m guessing that the Camaro
will still be around along with 1 or 2 other models, but if you
like a car that doesn’t make the cut you will be looking for
something else.

We haven’t heard a timeline for when all this is supposed to
begin but once again feel like the redheaded step-child here.
One feels like we, the buying customers, aren’t given a thought
and going for the gold is all that counts. It bothers me and I
won’t even be affected.

I quit looking at new cars when the wing windows and standard
transmissions left. I don’t need 47 cup holders, back up
cameras, and a knob to change gears.

Enjoy our Thursday as it means the weekend is almost upon us.
Now I need to calm down and have more coffee.
Comments are always welcome.


Not my circus

June 11, 2018

We will forewarn those who think there are no bad kids, are
easily offended, or believe your feelings override everyone
else’s rights; this post is not for you.
——————————————–

After an increase in the number of shots fired calls and stolen
vehicle calls our Mayor became spokesperson for the upcoming
Youth Community Action Summit. On the local TV news he stated
that this recent spike in juvenile crime wasn’t a Mayor problem
or a Police problem, but a community problem.

So over meetings involving the city council, the police, a
local civil rights group, preachers and the public it is thought
the problem will be solved by mutual agreement. Personally I
believe it is too little too late.

Roughly 50 juvenile offenders are responsible for the vast
majority of the crimes mentioned. Isn’t it past time for some
tough love? Why not a juvenile 3 strikes you’re out? No, not
life in prison for the 3rd offense but perhaps some jail time.

On another track, a historic business district in our city
hosted a Pride event that is getting way too much media
coverage. As someone who was not in attendance I don’t have a
clue what went on other than what I catch on the local TV news
when I’m calm enough to watch it.

This all started when a representative of the Pride group went
before the city council for a permit to close the street. Also
at this meeting were people from the business owners association
who informed the council that they had not been notified or met
with those who wished to use the area for the event.

At some point in the event a business owner wanted some porta
potties moved away from his business and words were exchanged.
It is said the business owner used some bad language and the
porta potties were being used for testing. Now some of the
group who put on the event are talking lawsuits against the
business owner, a boycott of his business has been called for,
and people are worked up.

Even if said business owner did used some derogatory language
this has gotten out of hand. Enjoy our Monday as you know we
will. Now for some coffee and a Snicker’s.
Comments are always welcome.


The party’s over

April 26, 2018

The automotive rumor mill has been working overtime and until
recently I ignored the gossip. Now it looks like the rumors are
true and Ford will stop selling all but two cars here in the USA;
the Mustang and the Focus Active that thinks it’s a crossover.
Ford won’t end Mustang production because people would throw a
fit and probably boycott their business.

According to Ford, Taurus production will end in March 2019 and
Fiesta in May 2019. No timeline has been set for the demise of
the Fusion. If we understand correctly, Ford has decided to
focus on trucks and plan to make said truck will be 90% of its
offerings.

These trucks will fall into three categories; trucks, utilities
and commercial vehicles. The timing coincides with the debut of
the Ranger pickup and Bronco. Ford also announced it will
explore potential new models that combine the best attributes of
cars and utilities, such as ride height, space and versatility.
Think crossover SUVs.

If you’re not a certified car geek all that basically means is
that Ford doesn’t make enough on the cars sales so if they stop
selling them people will buy a truck and make Ford more money.

I guess Ford wants everybody in an overpriced, oversized money
making machine. When the time comes for the wife to buy another
vehicle and Ford only has two car models we’ll look elsewhere.

Enjoy our Thursday as the working folks just have to get
through 1 more day before they get a couple days off. Now I
need more coffee and that bag of donettes I found.
Comments are always welcome.


No more for us

December 6, 2017

Imagine our surprise when the wife stopped to buy a Wednesday
edition of our local paper and was told it now cost $4! Last
week it was $1.50. We realize costs go up and some increases
in price is needed but decided the ads aren’t worth it
anymore.

Last Sunday I stopped to get a Sunday paper and was told it
was now $4. That wasn’t hard to take as it was $3 before the
increase. Both newspapers are thick, but when you extract the
advertisements it thins down to what the weekday paper used to
be.

First customer service went to hell in a handbasket and now
the price jump? No thanks. We will no longer be purchasing the
paper on Wednesday and Sunday either. It just isn’t worth the
effort and money.

Since shopping isn’t one of our hobbies we’ll just get the
same ads, for free, at the places we do shop. The paper used to
be handy for checking the obituaries before making plans, but I’m
at an age now that I don’t even check the expiration date on
perishibles.

I remember delivering this same paper when the daily was a
dime, the Sunday edition a quarter, and customer service
mattered. At the prices being charged today I don’t think we’ll
miss the paper, or attitude.

Enjoy our Wednesday as I know we will. Now I need more coffee
and a waffle.
Comments are always welcome.


Bound to happen

November 30, 2017

Our run of good luck just came to screeching halt. Yesterday
was our youngest sons’ birthday and when he tried to call us he
couldn’t get through on our landline. He called the wifes’ cell
phone and told her, then got hold of me online.

I checked said landline only to discover there was no dial
tone. A call to Mediacom had them rebooting our modem twice
which didn’t fix the problem. So we were told there is a wide
spread outage that runs for Indiana to our little haven on the
east coast of Iowa.

This has been an ongoing problem and we were told they would
keep us in the loop by cell phone, but they had no idea how
long this outage would be. Here’s a novel idea; fix the damn
problem. At least we have access to our computers.

The last time this happened a friend tried to call then died
the next day and I never found out what he wanted. I don’t want
that to happen again. I’ve always been a man of my word and
when somebody tries to reach me for help, and can’t, I am not
a happy camper.

We’re happy with cable, the wife likes the TiVo, our internet
is faster than ever, but we keep having problems with the
phone. Not many people have my cell phone number as I can’t
hear it ring half the time and putting on vibrate doesn’t help
as I can’t feel it vibrate against my leg.

Hope this doesn’t last as long as the last time, and thanks
for letting me vent. Enjoy our Thursday, it’s one step closer
to the weekend. Now I need some coffee and need to look for a
bigger mug.
Comments are always welcome.