Friday, October 30, 2009

Driving ages

An article in Governing magazine discusses the age at which a youth should be accorded the rights of an adult. Drinking is 21 but you can enlist in the Army at 17 with a parent's signature when you become 18. I was just talking to a young man who just signed up to help Uncle Sam when he graduates high school. However, even the Army no longer allows under age privates to take a drink.

Driving ages vary from state to state. New Jersey has a rather complicated set of rules for setting down the road legally. Ruminating on this topic led me down memory lane and my trips to Texas as a twelve year old to visit with dear Mama's kinfolk.

I remember she set me out to play with my young female second cousins. One was thirteen and one was ten. "Y'all want to come for a ride, Yankee boy?" the older cousin yelled. First thing I knew I was aboard a 52 Chevy Impala and the thirteen year old was driving the three of us around the byways of rural East Texas. Soon we came to a gas station and we all emptied out nickels and pennies from our pockets and bought thirty five cents of gas. The younger cousin wanted to drive too, so, to be fair, her older sister let her take the wheel for the ten miles or so back home where chicken and hush puppies awaited us.

My mother explained to me that down in Texas kids drove all over but mostly stuck to country roads. They also shot quail, chewed tobacco, and drank corn liquor before they were fourteen. After reading the article in Governing I was curious if what I saw was routine or out of the ordinary. Please let me know if you grew up in a rural area and drove before you were twelve. I'm just curious.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The recession is over

Today the New York Times reported that the Gross Domestic Product had gone up, technically ending the recession. As I passed out the GDP report this morning, one of the economists congratulated me on ending the recession. I am happy to be of service. Here is the technical definition of a recession.

This does not mean everybody is going to go back to work or that everyone will remain in their homes. It does mean that most people will be okay economically in a year or so.
Next year the good times will be back. Everyone will be happy, sexually satisfied, and will get raises in their jobs. Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monday mornings

The time in life when you feel most alive and most part of the working world is when you get up late on a cold Monday morning. You gulp down your coffee, skip breakfast, rush to take a shower. The water takes a long time to get warm. Oh %&%$$79 I'm going to be late. Oh why do they schedule those stupid meetings for Monday morning!

You manage to get dressed. Your tie is on wrong but you can fix that when you get to work. You go outside. NOOOO %)(*&^&^% there's ice on the windshield. You don't have time to warm up the car properly so you get out the darn ice scraper. You scrape it off. It is hard and the ice comes off only with a great effort. You drive down the street with a peephole that you can see out of. Oh *&^%^&()*) the darn sun is making it impossible to see.

The best part of retirement must be those Monday mornings when you can have a second cup of coffee and listen to the witty people on the radio. You don't have to scrape ice off of your windshield. You can let the sun do it's hard work.
Editor's note: I just read in Newsweek that I won't be able to retire after all. I need another cup of coffee.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spare the rod and spoil the child

The recent incident of the balloon boy shows why America needs to bring back an old tradition. Belting our children. Making the whole world think he's aloft in a balloon while he's hiding in the attic. Reminds me a bit of the incident in Tom Sawyer where the kids go to their own funeral. What that kid needs is a good spanking. A couple belts and he'll think twice before getting into any more shenanigans.
Editor's note: My apologies to the poor misunderstood child. Apparently it was the parents who were at fault.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The big news this week in terms of blogging is the FTC regulation that bloggers must reveal when they get money and goods for plugging a product. This has made me think. Perhaps I had been missing out on an opportunity.

I went to the local supermercado and I found the weekend manager. After she finished describing her boyfriend's Volvo, I got the chance to tell her that I was writing a blog.

"A blog? she exclaimed. Wow. Diggity dog sleds!" She then proceded to bring a pallet over to my car in the parking lot. It was filled with enough groceries to fill my refrigerator and all of my cabinets. All I had to do is shill the products on my blog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Men with mustaches make more money

Read this on the web today. Here it is:

CHICAGO (Reuters Life!) - Maybe American men should skip a day of shaving, especially when interviewing for a job.
Sporting a mustache may improve your chances of landing a higher paying job, according to a study commissioned by financial services provider Quicken and the American Mustache Institute which admittedly represents people opting for facial hair.
The study found that mustached Americans earned 8.2 percent more on average than those with beards and 4.3 percent more than the clean shaven.
But the news is not all good. Mustached Americans also tended to spend 11 percent more and save 3 percent less than their collective counterparts, according to the study, titled "Saving and Spending Patterns of Mustached Americans."
"If efficiencies in financial management could be realized in the near-term .. it's highly probable that over the next four to five years, we will see mustached Americans' savings rate grow to surpass their bearded and shaven peers," research consultant Hans Menjou-Bartchen said in a statement.
The study was conducted during the first six months of 2009, examining a random sample of 2,000 mustached American men along with 2,000 bearded and 2,000 clean-shaven peers.
(Reporting by
Ben Klayman, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

To be honest, having a mustache has never helped my get a job. Heck, I took eleven years of interviewing to get my first librarian job! Still the part about men with mustaches being big spenders is certainly true. Sometimes I even go to a restaurant without a coupon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


When I bought my condo I was told by the engineer doing the inspection that my dryer vent may be against the building code. Rushing to get through the closing I figured, "Who would ever know?" I was happy in my sweet ignorance. Two weeks ago I got a notice that all of the units would have to be inspected and that I had to make an appointment. I did not know that they inspected condos for code and fire hazards.

All week I was worried that I would have to vent the dryer to the attic. Then the squirrels up there would come down into my kitchen. It would all be a major nuisance and cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

The inspector came. He pushed the buttons on my carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. They beeped. The inspector left, never looking at my kitchen or my washer dryer. I am a happy man. The neighbor downstairs failed for not having a carbon monoxide detector. He ran to the KMart, bought one and showed his purchase to the inspector who was still making his rounds on the premises. He passed.

Having a government that protects us from fire hazards and enhances our safety as citizens makes every penny we pay in taxes worthwhile.