Monday, April 30, 2012

I want THEIR tax guy....

Several news sources reported over the weekend that the most valuable, most profitable company in the world, Apple, is a tax-paying lightweight.  Or to put it another way, Apple is a tax-avoiding heavyweight.  

Last year Apple had profits of $34.2B dollars, yet paid only $3.3B in taxes.  That's a rate of just 9.8%, which is 1/3 less than the average corporate tax paid by other Fortune 500 companies.  By comparison, Walmart paid a rate of over 24% in corporate income tax.

And it's all perfectly legal.  How'd they do it?  By claiming that most of their profits were made by Apple entities located in foreign, low-tax places such as Ireland, the Netherlands, and various post office boxes in the Caribbean.  US taxes are paid based on where "value is created".  If you were making cars or appliances or almost any other tangible product, the place where the factory is located would be where "value is created" and that's where taxes would be paid.  But with intangibles like patent royalties and intellectual property that can be pretty much anywhere they want it to be.  That's why 70% of Apple's profits are made *wink* outside the US.

I don't blame Apple or any other company who takes advantage of this gaping tax loophole.   I blame our congress who created it and does absolutely nothing to fix it.  But with a TRILLION dollar deficit why wouldn't they at least try, you ask? 

Simple....campaign contributions, aka legal bribes.  "Big Bidness" likes our tax system juuuuuust the way it is, thank you very much....subsidies, loopholes and all.  And they make lots of "contributions" to make sure it stays that way.  (And BTW...they're "legal" bribes only because those receiving the bribes are the same ones who get to define "legal".  Pretty sweet, huh?)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Does "fairness" take sides?

"If the minimum wage had kept pace with the rise in executive salaries since 1990, America's poorest paid workers would today be making more than $23 an hour."

I'm not suggesting the minimum wage should be $23 an hour.  If that were the case we'd never export anything and we'd be covered up with ridiculously cheap imports....which would mean maybe 2 guys would be making $23 an hour and the rest of us would be unemployed.  What I am suggesting is that executives make too much.

How do you maximize profits?  It's easy.  Make people work twice as hard for less pay.  Look around you....that's how business works today.  They cut staffing, increasing everyone else's workload, yet raises (if there are any) barely cover inflation.  Raises for everyone, that is, except the executives.  I don't see this as a liberal / conservative / socialist / capitalist issue.  To me it's just a matter of fairness.  Does "fairness" take sides?

Pendulums swing both ways, you know.   


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Narcissists Of The Day

Did you hear about this?....At a recent Texas Rangers / NY Yankees game a Ranger player (don't know which one as they all look alike to me) tossed a ball up into the stands behind their dugout.  An adult couple grabbed the ball instead of the little kid sitting next to them who was presumably who the toss was aimed for.

Of course the kid was crying his little eyes out while the couple claimed "they never saw / heard the kid."  Dude, you didn't see him?  Really? He's right off your left shoulder.  Yeah, THAT kid.  This isn't a ball from Game 7 of the World Series.  It's just a baseball.  Give the kid the ball!

And to twist things around they're upset with one of the announcers who called them out and they're demanding an apology.  Sheesh....some people!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do I have "sucker" written across my forehead?

I dropped my car off yesterday evening to have a new timing belt / water pump / coolant and all the tensioners and pulleys that go with it installed.  It's just routine preventive maintenance, but my car is in great shape and I want to keep it that way.  The frustrating part of this was the comparison price shopping beforehand.

I called two Audi dealers and a private mechanic I've used for 20+ years.  The private guy wanted $1,000, the dealers between $1,400 and $1,500.  Because of the difference I thought I'd better check them again, so I went to one of the dealers (Boardwalk Audi) and had them re-price it while I waited.  Their $1,400 over-the-phone quote was now $2,050.  Huh? ("May we schedule an appointment for you, Mr. Sucker?")   My private mechanic was still $1,000, so he got the work.  He promises the parts are all new Audi OEM parts and I believe him.

I hate people (well...not really "hate"...let's go with "don't like") who play games with me.  I don't trust them.  That dealer lost all credibility with me, and I won't consider them again for service or another new Audi purchase.  Why do they do that?  There's no need for it.  Apparently no one today (except my private mechanic) wants to settle for making a reasonable profit.  They're all greedy.  They need to take the advice my dad gave me years ago:  "A fast nickel is better than a slow dime."  They need to think long-term.

That's what I think.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Life is like a giant game of pinball

Before the advent of video games all we had were pinball machines.  Anyone remember those?

A steel ball would come out of the top, roll downhill, and along the way bounce off little bumpers and occasionally, if you were lucky, you could flip it back up onto the board for another downhill roll and more points.  It was a game of hit and miss.

I sometimes think the life we're living today is just like a giant game of pinball and we're the little balls that get bounced around. Whether you succeed or fail is to a great extent outside your can only jostle the table so much before it screams TILT and the game is over. 

There was a time when we all thought we could plan for our own futures.  (How do you make God laugh?  Tell Him you have a "plan".)  A good education, ambition, hard work, and eventually a 30-year gold watch and your golden years spent fishing....that's the way life worked.  What happened to those days? 

I think The Greatest Generation, provided they survived the Great Depression and World War II, hit it just right.  After the war times were good, jobs generally stable, careers were for the long-term, and retirements were pleasantly comfortable (a relative term).  For my generation though, retirement is a crap shoot.  Our 401(k)'s have both soared and crashed-and-burned.  I'm still waiting to see where I'll land.  I'm not optimistic.

Meanwhile, those who deserve it the least seem to have fared the best.  I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, but I don't see it.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We are such suckers!

I see the US Government has reached an agreement with Afghanistan that calls for us to continue financially supporting them for 10 years after we cease combat operations there, which means through 2024.  Or as Afghan President Hamid Karzai sees it, his personal 401(k) will be funded through 2024.  Lavishly funded.  Highway robbery funded.

So Microsoft buys a bunch of patents from AOL (aka Dead Man Walking) for a cool Billion Bucks, then turns around and sells the majority of those to Facebook for $550M.  Is it just me or does this deal smell?  I don't have a Facebook account, never have, never will.  Something about this Zuckerberg guy bothers me.  From what I've read a lot of people are becoming dissatisfied with his Facebook, too.  I'm thinking his innocent looking kid-next-door face belies evil genius intentions.  Wonder where this is going?

Speaking of Microsoft....It seems hackers have infected a network of more than a half million computers worldwide by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system to install malware on the victim computers.  You can go here to see if your computer is affected.  I don't know diddlysquat about computers, but this has just made me realize once again how much I LOVE my iMac. Apple rocks!

Four days until the weekend.  Hang on.  :)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Some days you're the windshield....

....some days you're the bug.

For some reason me and the electric companies don't see eye-to-eye.  I think we're on two different wave lengths.  Remember last month I was locked in mortal combat with TXU Energy over what I felt was a gross overcharge?  Turns out I was right and they issued me a $123 credit.  Saturday I received my first bill from my new electric provider, Reliant Energy, and my bill was $85.49 including a $9.95 base charge, making for a bottom line of $.099 per kWh.

Hold on there Kemosabe!  I have it in writing I pay NO base charge and my per kWh price should be $.084.  Then I saw the fine print (literally) on my Terms of Service agreement that said, "$9.95 base rate if monthly consumption is less than 800 kWh."  My consumption was 798 kWh. 

Those extra 2 measly kWh would have cost me 17 cents, but instead I now have a base charge of nearly ten bucks.   Looks like my "luck" quotient is below zero this week.  I doubt I'll be wasting any money buying lottery tickets.  ;)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dog heaven

If there's such a thing as dog heaven it probably looks something like this:

I caught K's dog Luke resting with his head on the low window stool surrounded by his favorite toys.  It almost looks staged, but I swear it wasn't.  The funniest thing happened about 3 seconds after I took this photo....a bird flew right up to the window, right at his eye level, just flapping and squawking, and Luke came unglued.  We're talking 0-100 in a split second.  I laughed until I hurt!


Texting with daughter yesterday morning:

Andrea...."Good morning!  When do you think we could borrow Todd's truck to get that dryer?"

Me...."When is it available?  The dryer I mean."

Andrea...."I can have it whenever.  It's in McKinney.  I couldn't get it today though."

Me...."Could we do it tomorrow?"

Andrea...."I'll have to see when they will be home."

Me...."Um...Why are we furiously typing on these tiny little keyboards instead of talking on Alexander Graham Bell's wonderful invention?  I'm getting a cramp in my thumb."

Andrea...."Lol!  OK, I'll call."!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Do as I say, not as I do

Nope, that won't work with grandson Parker.  He watches and mimics everything.  He's huge into baseball....he has his own batting helmet, bat and ball (plastic, oversized), glove, and even an official Texas Rangers jersey (XXXXS).  The scary part is he can step into a pitch and hit it a mile, well into the yard next door.  And he isn't even 3 years old yet.

He watches every Rangers game on TV and tries to bat like the Big Guys do.  He gets his stance just right, taps the plate, takes a couple of check-swings, then holds up his hand, steps back, puts the bat under his arm and "adjusts" his batting gloves, and then he's ready.  Except he doesn't have any batting gloves.  Until today:

I found some Youth XS batting gloves for him.  They're still way too big for him, but probably not more so than his batting helmet.  We're going over to see his new 'lil sister later today and convention dictates he be included in the gift receiving, too.   Now I wish I'd bought some super-vitamins for ME.  He's gonna wear me out playing baseball!

Good Saturday everyone.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Blakely and Dick Clark are home

New granddaughter Blakely is back home, a home where my daughter readily admits she's been demoted to the second most beautiful female.  I dunno, it's still a toss-up to me.  She really is a pretty little girl.  Except for a small bruise on her head which will disappear soon, she's perfect.  Not that I'm prejudiced or anything.  ;)  

Here she seemed quite content in grandpa's care. Now my challenge is to teach her dad "the stare".  He'll be using that on all the boys who will come calling for her in about 16 years.


While most younger people may only remember Dick Clark from his Rockin' New Year's Eve shows and as a game show host, those of us with a few more candles on the cake remember him from the original American Bandstand show broadcast from Philadelphia every week.  For me, the closest I could come to being on AmBand was being on one of the many local knock-offs, such as Sump'n Else on WFAA in Dallas.

All us kids who could score tickets would hustle home after school, get dressed, pick up our dates, and get to the TV studio.  All the girls tried to copy the do's of the show's dancers, and all the guys dreamed of messing up those dancer's do's.  Needless to say it was an impossible dream.  If you'll look carefully at the set (top photo) you'll see they have a cut-out of my alter ego, Alfred E. Neuman.  I always wondered why they would want that when they could have ME!

While there were many American Bandstand wannabe's, there was only one Dick Clark.  He's back home now, too.  May he RIP.

Have a good weekend everyone. 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twinkies and Tony Bennett

It looks like Twinkies are on their last legs, their parent company, Hostess, threatening bankruptcy liquidation.  A world without Twinkies?  How could that be?  I mean Twinkies are a culinary institution.  What kid didn't chow down on a RC Cola and a couple 'o Twinkies?  It was a rite of passage into chubby adolescence....gone forever?  I can't imagine it.  What kinda crap do parents feed their kids these days if not Twinkies? Lemme guess....those little tiny carrots?  *blech*

Since when did Tony Bennett become our Secretary of Defense?  They try to dress him down with more distinguished spectacles, a less stylish do and a new name, but come on, who are they kidding?

Sec Def "Leon Panetta" (yeah... right) was on TV this morning chastising some of his military guys for their partying in Colombia recently, and I'm thinking, "Tony, you old you haven't serenaded a few Latin ladies in your day?"  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. "Leon", *wink* you'd better let Hillary play the "bad cop" on this one.

Don't you see it?  ;)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just thinkin' out loud....

This thing intrigues me:

They're constructing a new multi-story building right behind ours.  I can see it going up from my den windows.  Being a builder myself I'm pretty good at geometry and figuring out how things work, but this crane thing has me baffled.  The large concrete weights hanging off to the right are obviously meant to counter-balance the weight being lifted on the left side.  So far, so good.  But as you lift a load and slide it towards the mast, to maintain balance shouldn't the counter-weights slide in too?  In practice, however, the lifted weight varies and moves, but the counter-weight never does.  Are there some new laws of physics at work here that I missed?  (Maybe I should have paid more attention in class?)


Yesterday as soon as granddaughter Blakely was born they weighed and measured her, but then a few minutes later they took her to the nursery to "officially" weigh and measure her.  In between times she messed in her diaper and the new mom dutifully cleaned and changed her.  The nurse was slightly upset when she found out because she said this could change the baby's weigh-in.  Turned out to be a non-issue.  Her weight varied by .02 pounds, not enough to matter.  Which got me to thinking....when those little diapers say they're for 6-12 pounders, they're talking about the baby's weight....right??


Finally, some common sense business news:  Citigroup shareholders have rejected the executive compensation package proposed for their top people.  Their vote isn't binding on the Board of Directors, but they would be fools to NOT take the shareholders views seriously.  'Bout damn time, I say!  These days companies give their CEO's raises if they lose less than expected.  And "retention" bonuses?  If they're running the company into the ground, why would you want to retain them?  If they're in fact as good at what they do as they say they are you'd think they would agree to work for less while they turn things around, just to redeem their exalted reputations.

Maybe I think too much....


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Granddaughter Blakely arrived today!

This morning at 9:13 am my daughter Erica gave birth to my first granddaughter, Blakely.  She weighed 7 pounds even and was 19 inches long.  All the expected body parts were properly positioned and attached, and mother and father are resting comfortably.  This afternoon she will be introduced to her big brother Parker.  He's nearly 3, but going on 12 to hear him tell it.  It's going to be interesting to see how he takes to this new interloper on his territory.

To me all newborns look pretty much the same.  I will say her color was exceptionally good, if that means anything.  Everyone said she looks just like her big brother, but I'm going to have to wait a few days and she how she fills out before I make that call.  I just can't see it yet. 

I've been up since 3 am.  I need a nap.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz


Monday, April 16, 2012

Taxes....the good, the bad, and the ugly

This week it's all about taxes.  First the good:  April 17th is Tax Freedom Day.  The average American has essentially paid all the money he's earned so far this year to Uncle Sam to satisfy his tax bill.  After tomorrow he'll be working to put money in his pocket.  YEA!!

Now the bad:  Your taxes are due today.  Pay up.  BOO!!

Finally, the ugly:  IMO most Americans wouldn't mind paying their taxes IF we felt our government was being run efficiently and fairly.  I've heard it said that most Europeans don't mind paying much higher taxes than we do because they feel like their government is run efficiently (?) and they're getting something for their money.  A college education is inexpensive or even free for most, child care is free or heavily subsidized, unemployment and job re-training is much more generous, etc.  We won't even go into health care.  

Yes, those things cost a lot of money, and Europeans are taxed through the nose to pay for it (except the Italians and Greeks apparently), but at least they get something for their tax  And yes, since the end of WWII NATO (read: the USA) has covered much of the cost of their national security, leaving them more money for their social programs, but still....  (European readers, if this is not true please feel free to correct me.)  

By contrast, here in the US we have a system that taxes one group and generally gives the benefits to another group, fomenting class conflict.  For example, I had to pay 100% of the cost to have braces on my kid's teeth.  I didn't qualify for any type of government help.  (Here in Texas kids on Medicaid can get them for free.)   College....100% on me.  We made too much to qualify for any grants.  Child government assistance for us.  I know some will say, "But Scott, you could afford to pay for those things for yourself."  I disagree.  It was a HUGE struggle for us at the time.  We had to go without a lot, but my tax bill still came due on April 15th.  Imagine paying for car insurance, then having an accident and being told you didn't qualify for a repair because you made too much money.  Same principle.  You can imagine how such treatment might lead to "tax resentment".

Yes, of course, the rich pay LOTS in taxes, but they also get LOTS of special treatment / tax breaks, etc. And corporations....somebody 'splain to me again why we give BILLIONS of dollars in subsidies to highly profitable companies like ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConAgra, and others?

Here's my point:  I'm not necessarily suggesting we should adopt Europe's social programs.  We can't afford what we have now, I contend because our government is run so inefficiently it's criminal.  What I am suggesting is that we need to spread the payment of taxes and the benefits they bring more evenly.

OK, rip me. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012


In the previous post I was asked what my "passion" was, so I listed automobiles, aviation, football, etc. But the more I thought about it the more I realized those are not really my "passions", but my "interests".  To me passion means waking up in the morning and immediately thinking about "it", daydreaming about "it", and rushing home after work to immerse myself in "it".  Obviously I'm not talking about erotic passion.  That's a whole other subject.  No, I'm talking about obsessive interest in a subject.  To me that's a passion.

I'm not sure I truly have a passion.  I can go to a Concours car show and enjoy it, but I'm not obsessed with it.  Nothing rivets my attention to the point I can't get enough of it.  Same with a football game, or eating a special meal, or even my job.  Especially my job.  I've never had that burning 24/7 obsession some people have with their work.  Of course, they're gazillionaires and I'm not.

I'm not sure if this makes me shallow, lazy, or just someone with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.  I can wake up in the morning and go in any of 10 different directions and be perfectly happy. Maybe I was the inspiration for Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman.  

"What?  Me worry?"


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sunshine Blog Award

The rules of the Sunshine Blog Award are simple…

#1 Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to their blog.

#2 Answer a few questions about yourself.

Favorite color: Blue, although I must admit I'm not that passionate about any particular color.  Red, green, orange....they're nice, too.

Favorite animal: Dogs - They give so much and ask for so little.  And they're just so unpretentious.  I like that.

Favorite number: 1.  Hey, I'm a Leo.  ;)

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Coke Zero, although recently I've been enjoying Arnold Palmer's Half & Half Iced Tea/Lemonade.

Facebook or Twitter: Neither.  I'm much too private to want people to know everything about me and everything I do.

My passion: Automobiles, aviation, college football, history, reading, and of wife.  ;)  (Passions....plural)

Favorite flower:  It depends on who's maintaining them.  If it's me, I'd have to say "plastic".  Anyone else....the more, the brighter, the better.

Favorite movie: (Again....plural.)  All over the board:  Dr. Zhivago, Blues Brothers, and more recently I've liked Midnight in Paris.

Favorite painting: A real head-scratcher as I'm not very artistically literate....maybe a LeRoy Neiman sports theme?  Something more contemporary for sure. 

And finally, nominate a few other blogs and include links to them

Bugs Eye View

Thoughts From My Corner of the Couch

Westy's World  (I just need to light a fire under her to POST MORE!  *hint*)

Thanks for the award, K.  :)


Just waiting for "The Call"

Today is daughter Erica's "due date".  She's having a girl, we know that.  The baby seems to be just fine, no surprises expected.  Bags are packed (her's), camera batteries are charged (mine), SIL Donnie has the car positioned for a fast getaway.  Waiting sucks!  It reminds me of jury duty. 

More severe weather is expected for north Texas overnight.  Can you see where this is going?  Yep, baby Blakeley will arrive during that poopie-weather window, I just know it.  On the other hand, when our weatherguessers get all hyped-up and predict crawl-in-the-bathtub bad weather it usually turns out to be a non-event.  All things considered, I wouldn't mind that being the case this time.

We're staying local today, going to a city-sponsored "green living" fair in our old Shops of Legacy neighborhood.  Last year this fair drew 11,000 visitors.  I'm SO glad we moved away from there.  The every weekend events really made life difficult for us full-time residents.  Daughter Andrea is working the fair, and we're planning to pick her up at noon and sneak off to a nice lunch.  Unless we get The Call.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Family trees and freaky digits

According to a recent article in Men's Journal, which everyone knows rivals JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) as a repository of arcane medical knowledge, if a man's ring finger is noticeably longer than his index finger, he might have a likelihood of having a longer penis, a higher IQ, a lower risk of heart attack, a higher risk of prostate cancer, more athletic talent, and more success as a financial trader.  This is great news!  I now know I don't have a high risk of prostate cancer.   :)


Yesterday my brother took the bait and signed up for a two-free-week introductory offer from and began searching our family history.  

A little background:  Outside of my immediate family I've never been too chummy with my relatives.  My dad was sort of the black sheep of his side of the family, and my mom wasn't very close to her side either, thinking they were a bit too loose and wild for her liking.  We would make the obligatory big family get-together every Christmas where I always felt out of place because I knew barely a handful of my kinfolks.  Frankly I never thought much about it until yesterday when bro began his research.

So far he's traced our dad's side back 14 generations to around 1530 in England.  Back then they spelled our name Parke.  Somewhere along the way the "e" was dropped.  The first record of a Parke in North America was around 1640 in *gulp* New Jersey.  It's interesting to follow the migration of the family south and west through Virginia, North and South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, and finally Texas, where I presume the wagon suffered a terminal breakdown.  I know my mom's grandfather was a doctor because I have his medical school diploma from Vanderbilt.  Both Dr. Blasingame and my great grandmother died before I was born, and the trail became rather cool before that.  It will be interesting to see what we can dig up.

Next will come finding out more about my kin, putting a face with a name.  It's gonna be interesting.  I wonder if any of the men had exceptionally long ring fingers?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Me vs TXU Energy....Epilogue

To clarify, that would be me (metaphorically speaking) on the right, foreground.  ;)

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted a rant here against TXU Energy over the final bill they sent me saying that for just 12 days service I owed $153.34, nearly 3 1/2 times as much (average daily consumption) as I used the previous entire month.  NO WAY!  I called TXU's 800 Customer Service number and spoke with a guy whose training apparently consisted of little more than learning to say "NO" in several languages.  I kept demanding to go upstream and was finally told a higher-up would call me the next day.

In the meantime "Lauren", a TXU social media service rep (many large companies have such people who monitor Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc, looking for mentions of their company) commented that I could contact her and she would see if she could help.  I did, forwarding the facts and also photos of evidence of "meter room" door tampering, which raised yet another red flag in my mind.

The bottom line:  TXU requested a meter re-read from Oncor, the electric distribution company who actually owns and reads the meters, and guess what?....I was right!  They notified me yesterday my revised bill is $29.69.  BIG difference!

So what have I learned from this experience?  First, as the old saying goes, "Never accept 'NO' from someone not authorized to say 'YES'".  If you honestly feel you're right, and you have some logic / evidence on your side, KEEP PUSHING!  Principle matters.

Second, TXU Energy is firm, but fair.  They probably have hundreds (thousands?) of scams aimed at them every day, and their natural instinct seems to be to just say "NO", but if you're adamant, they will listen.  Thank you Lauren.  :)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The investment opportunity of a lifetime just for YOU!

OK, so here's my plan for us to get filthy rich:  Stay with me here....people buy our "fixed communications device", take it home, and plug it into a special wall portal.  Then they pick up the small satellite piece tethered to the base unit and put it to their face.  To speak to a friend the other side of town they put their index finger into one of 10 numbered holes in a spinning dial corresponding to their friend's designated number and turn it clockwise. This causes his similar device to "ring", letting him know they want to talk to him.  

I know....slam dunk, right?  Cha-ching!

This came to me as I was reading in the news of Facebook's purchase of Instagram yesterday for one BILLION dollars.  And what does Instagram do, you ask?  They take color photos from your cellphone camera and turn them into black and white photos. Apparently old is new again.  Ha!  Eat your heart out Eastman Kodak!  (Tell that to your bankruptcy judge.)

Fifteen people invented Instagram, an iPhone app they offered to users for FREE.  They have no subscribers, no revenue, and certainly no profits.  But somehow Facebook thought they were the future, and cut 'em a check for $1,000,000,000.  

And in other grandmother has been selected to fly "lead" with the U S Navy Blue Angels, Scarlett Johansson just called to say she wants to have my baby, and a good 'ol boy named "Bubba" won The Master's, golf's most prestigious tournament. *Yeah....right!*


Monday, April 9, 2012

The countdown begins....

My daughter Erica's baby is due next Saturday, but as we all know, babies don't pay much attention to dates and calendars and such.  As I recall her son Parker was born a few days early.  Does that make it more likely my first granddaughter (Blakeley) will arrive early, too?

Contrary to what I experienced yesterday (cool and rainy) I heard on the news this morning that the last 12 months here in the US have been the warmest on record, and that in just the month of March we set over 15,000 record highs and (warmest overnight) lows.  (Is it global warming, or just all the election-year hot air coming out of Washington?)  Then I opened my blinds and saw fog so thick you couldn't see across the street.  NOT a normal April occurrence, I promise.  I don't think I like where this is going.

Do you ever get the strange feeling things just aren't quite right?  I mean the weather, natural disasters, current events, the world-wide economy, etc?  I can't see how anyone can honestly say they have a handle on things.  My senses tell me to pull back, hunker down, and stay as nimble as possible.  Regardless of which volcano blows up, which tectonic plate cuts loose, whether Greece pays it's bills, China implodes, or Iran pushes the wrong button and blows itself up, it's all beyond my control. 

This just seems like a good time to lay (lie?) low.  I think sometimes we outsmart ourselves.

Happy Monday.  ;)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cars and Coffee, April 2012

This morning bright and early I met friends Neil, Frank, Ron, Ken, and Cal at our monthly Cars and Coffee event.  This thing just gets bigger and better every month!  In my opinion they've outgrown the BMW (west) parking lot where they've been holding it for the past year.  I expect them to have to move it somewhere else soon.  Nice problem to have!  OK, on to today's highlights....

While nothing exotic, this pre-bloated-bumper-era MGB impressed me, and it's for sale...$8,500. *checking piggy bank*

A slick BMW 3.0 CSi

I must give credit to the BMW folks for their sense of humor.

This Z3M was brought by a lady.  I'm not sure which drew the bigger crowd....her....or her car?

My first look at the new Subaru BRZ.  It's a modestly priced sports car ($30K) being built both for itself and for Toyota, who will market it as a Scion.  Only 11,000 were allocated for Texas, and they were ALL pre-sold.

The rarest car there?  No doubt this 30's vintage Packard.  I'd never seen one in the flesh before today.

The detail of the original car was legendary, and this restoration certainly upholds Packard's lofty reputation.

These were two one-off's that drew large crowds, but I wasn't that impressed.  Underneath they're just Corvettes.  I think I could have found something better to spend my money on.

A new McLaren MP4-12C.  *2 thumbs up*

Remember drive-in movies?  Remember the FUN we used to have at drive-in movies?  I'm just not sure this would be the car to have said fun in.  *wink* 

My Grand Prize Winner for the day....this Alfa Romeo Spider.  It was PERFECT, except it didn't have my name on the registration.   :(

After saying goodbye to the guys I came home and picked up K and we had lunch at In-n-Out Burger.  Mmmmmm.....


And just a short update on Luke....


He came through a helluva lot better than I would have.  He's ready to run and jump.  It's hard to hold him back.  

That was my day.  How was yours?  :)