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Winston

  1. No Free Lunch

    Cheap gas is not a good thing. I know, all the news outlets are telling you to rejoice that oil is below $30 a barrel. You'll save hundreds of dollars a year. Etc...
    The real deal is we're looking down the barrel of a global recession. Oil is cheap because oil futures are cheap. Because, production of manufactured goods is going down. China is the catalyst. The opportunistic disease in the weak patient.
    I don't enjoy being the bearer of bad news. Historical econ cycles predict ...
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  2. Working the Wrong Muscle

    Any Dennis Leary fans here? One of my favorite skits of his was talking about exercise. He laments the idiocy of a "Stairmaster", noting that "...if you want to climb stairs, move into a (NYC) 5th story walk-up. What are we now, gerbils?"
    There's much wisdom there.
    A New Year means Resolutions for many. If your resolution involves exercise, here's my unsolicited advice:

    Change what you do, and how you do it, before trying to cram more stuff (exercise) ...
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  3. Xmas in 'Merica

    Yep. We hop in our 12 year old Dodge, made in Canada from Mitsubishi parts, to Walmart. We buy a bunch of stuff made in China, wearing our clothes made in Indonesia.

    Xmas breakfast is Mexican pastries and some coffee and cocoa with Abuelita syrup. Appetizers before dinner are Filipino Lumpia dipped in Cambodian pepper sauce. Watched a bunch of movies copyrighted by Sony on a set made in Taiwan. Dinner tonight was Portuguese Linguicia sausage on French rolls, served with Argentine ...
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  4. You're Too Bright

    Just a quick PSA:

    If you're one of these folks that think "more is better" all the time, please stop. Specifically, your headlights. I walk to work now, before dawn. It seems that a bunch of people like to flash their bright headlamps at me when they approach.
    "Look! A Person!"
    I'm not a deer. I'm carrying a small flashlight and wearing reflectors. I'm not going to jump out in front of you. You just blinded me, and there is a drop-off to a ditch ...
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  5. Run, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rinse, Repeat...

    ...And finally: FIGHT! General George S. Patton can stop rolling in his grave in agony.
    For the last decade or two, we have been told that when some maniac begins spraying bullets in a school, theater or church, you need to "duck and cover". It was stupid in 1950 defending against The A Bomb, and it's moronic now defending from flying lead.
    The idea is as simple as it is preposterous. When an evil psychopath begins shooting unarmed women and kids, you should go hide. ...
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  6. The Shredder

    I won't say I love my new job, but it is interesting.
    The people I work with are your usual lot of bureaucratic government types. Cliques, alliances, just like a reality TV show. I keep my head down and work just hard enough to look like the gullible butt-kissing new guy that I am not.
    Where I work is the basement of a building built in 1941. It's an odd mix of style and architecture from seven decades. The predominate colors are 1970's beige and burnt orange. Stenciled on one ...
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  7. Work and Leadership

    Kids are always a work in progress. But at this moment, I feel like I can mark down a win or two.

    My daughter just started her first real job. It's at a local "Victorian Tea Room", where she hostesses. The job is only fifteen hours a week, but it's a start. Already, she's seen other teens apply and be hired, and just not show-up. Meanwhile, my daughter is being tapped by the management there to refer her friends. She is so reliable and hard working, they want more like ...
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  8. Non-Trashy Cans

    Ponder The Unthinkable...

    I'm happy knowing that if people think I'm crazy, it won't bother me. I know that real crazy is knowing something may happen, and choosing to do nothing.

    Last month, I set-up my home-made "Faraday Cage". It's a simple solution to a hideous possibility.
    In the event of an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack, any unprotected electronics are vulnerable, and most will be rendered inoperable. The solution is to protect what you ...
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  9. Take Your Meds

    "Ponder the Unthinkable" addendum...

    I'm a true believer Capitalist. I also enjoy my Latin phrases, like caveat emptor.

    My grandmother lived through the Great Depression, and never threw anything away. She saw the expiration dates on consumer goods as overly restricting suggestions. Like always, she was right.

    The U.S. Air Force commissioned a study in the mid 1980's after the DOD way overpurchased medical supplies.
    (Remember, at the time ...
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  10. Bad Gas

    I've been sloth-like in my writing, particularly keeping my "Ponder The Unthinkable" series going. So I decided, in the meantime, I could drop a few hints and tips here from time to time.

    Gasoline does not stay good forever. After a period of months, up to a couple of years, the processed hydrocarbons break down. The fuel loses power. Moisture and even bacteria build-up. Eventually, gas 'gums-up', becoming gelatinous and totally unusable.

    All you dystopian ...
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  11. Diversity

    One of the joys of working in Seattle is the culture. The city is loaded with educated professionals, and has that certain air of slacker refinement.

    You get a feel for folks working in their homes. From the bumper stickers on their cars, their magazines, stray mail piled on the counter. Just stuff you'd notice, but not really care about.
    Surprisingly, there is a lot of political diversity in Seattle...

    First, there's the Obama Democrats. They seem to fall into ...
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  12. Shot Across the Bow

    Our good buddies in The Hermit Kingdom decided recently to pop their heads up. They want to play a game of Whack-A-Mole. This should be fun...

    Some DPRK Army genius thought it would be good sport to hack Sony corporate intellectual property. Just some pedestrian theft and vandalism. When we in the United States called them on this, they retort with, "You best let this go, or we're gonna go all 9/11 on your butt". Wrong answer.

    Yesterday, North Korea mysteriously ...
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  13. How To Be a Pedestrian (21st Century Edition)

    So, you're walking the city streets... congratulations! Because of you're selfless, well thought out lifestyle choice, you are now part of the larger community saving the planet, one step at a time! You also now have more disposable money left to buy trendy, yet unfashionable clothing AND occupy the moral high-ground with your friends (unless they ride a bicycle).

    After a well exhausted round of patting yourself on the back, take a deep breath. Know now that walking in the modern ...
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  14. Old Soldiers, Hidden Wounds

    Looking at the guy, I'd have never guessed he was a hero.

    I'd worked for the customer before. He's sixty-something, graying, average build and demeanor. He was baking fruitcake when I arrived yesterday (kid you not). His modest house is always neat and orderly, like you'd expect of many veterans. I don't chit-chat much with my customers generally. I'm there to work, not be their new BFF.

    Well, I kinda wish I did. I don't "oogle" my customer's possessions, ...
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  15. Let's Be Fair

    I took the family to our local big Fair and Expo, called The Puyallup Fair. I wasn't too excited to go, but I'm glad I did.
    Fairs today are expensive. I'm as stingy as they come, so that's a problem for me. There is SOOOOOOOO much stuff to blow your cash on. We mainly limited our spending to rides and food. Although my wife picked-up a couple of nifty kitchen whisks, and the kids got fancy iPod earbuds (Kevlar, titanium or something'). I wanted some of the freeze-dried strawberries or ...
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  16. Marine Corpse

    Let's start with a free ProTip: It's the U.S. Marine Corps (phonetically "core", not "corpse"). This applies to the brave little squids that patch us up, Corpsman. After their level of care, a Jarhead may feel like a corpse, but that's just the passing weakness (pain) leaving the body. Digression off...

    In "my day", we had the age-old debate comparing the "old Corps" and the "new Corps". It's about as philosophical as your average ...
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  17. Uncomfortably Numb

    We had a fairly regular routine on Sunday mornings. We'd all sleep-in a bit, go to church and see my father after services.

    It's Sunday morning, and I'm just sitting here. My father is gone. My doctrine / religious philosophy has taught me that unless a man is "saved", he will not go to Heaven. My father was many things, but he was never a "saved" man. It's a long story, involving a religion / cult called Jehovah's Witnesses, but he was turned from God.
    ...
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  18. At Your Service

    As someone who performs in-home service for a living, here are some helpful suggestions to make our experience much, much more enjoyable.
    (Note: I wish I was making this stuff up.)

    If your house doesn't have a number on it, please tell us. We can eventually figure out which one is yours. But your neighbors get weired-out when we wander out front.
    Also, if your house is not visible from the street, let us know. The alley access you always use may be obvious to you, but ...
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  19. What to Remember, What to Decorate

    Today is Memorial Day, or what used to be called Decoration Day. The idea was to commemorate those that have sacrificed, limb and life, in defence of our freedoms. Many (including the media and politicians) confuse today with Veteran's Day. I am a Veteran, but I did not suffer a traumatic injury in my service. And, obviously, I am not dead. This is not my day. It is the day we remember those that gave everything they had, and paid the highest price possible. I, for one, am grateful for every ...
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  20. (Hashtag) Bring Back Our Cajones

    The only thing worse than doing nothing, is doing something ineffective.

    The U.S. is sending some "special group" of advisers, law enforcement and and few military personnel to Nigeria. The idea is that this is some kind of rescue or hostage negotiation. People with a certain world view and ideology too often misdiagnose diseases like this, and propose the wrong cure.

    They were wrong in 1950. The "police action" in Korea has turned into a sixty four ...
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  21. Heroes and Cowards

    I've been blessed with great role models. At my dad's garage, one of the mechanics served in Italy during WWII. He was of Italian descent, and the Army used him to translate for the Italian prisoners. "Pete" was a tough, often profane man with a heart of gold. I'm sure he saw some real nasty stuff during the advance up "The Boot". He didn't talk about it much. 'Cept his bragging about conquests involving the Italian ladies.
    "Bob" was a Korean War vet. He ...
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  22. Carrot / Stick / Love

    As an aficionado of history, I often ponder the words of those that have set our world ablaze in the past.

    Many are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet many are unaware of this quote of his:“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his

    ...
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  23. Chemistry

    My daughter has a boyfriend.
    I took him out shooting, talked about my time in The Marines, and inferred a nasty anger management issue that randomly surfaces. I think we have an understanding.

    He's a good kid, maybe too good. So I have trust problem. It's just that everyone I knew at that age made Jeff Spicoli look like a choir boy. Of course, most of my old friends have done time, and some are dead. Yada yada yada.

    Anyway, my daughter met "Kurt" in ...
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  24. SochiS So What?

    Someone call Bill Murray and and Andie McDowell. I keep waking up and it's 1936.

    The world is shakily recovering from a global economic crisis. Madmen are running wild across the globe killing with abandon. The 'sleeping giant' US spends more resources navel gazing than promoting democracy. And, then there's that Olympic distraction.

    Vlad Putin just doesn't have that swagger that the German Chancellor had back in '36. Of course, he has the same delusions of grandeur ...
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  25. Bean Sprouts, Real Grass, Fake Grass

    I don't cook much, but I make a wicked good Yakisoba.

    Like most cooking, the key is fresh ingredients. Finding decent carrots and pea pods, not a problem. Canned water chestnuts, eh, that works. And I can cook and marinate ANY meat and make it succulent. Our local squirrels run at my approach.
    The lynch-pin has turned out to be bean sprouts. The quality doesn't seem to vary much, it's the simple availability. It turns out some idiot(s) didn't clean them or cook them properly ...
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