Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Pancake Musings: New Year's Weekend

Well, as far as I know, I just had my last pancakes for the year. Maybe for a while too. My Dr. says I have high blood pressure and blood sugar. Unfortunately, the sore shoulder that I went to him for still hurts. I guess I have to go back and fight all over again. He was more worried about the blood stuff, I am tired of my sore shoulder. It is my body, I know what I need!

On to Pancake Musings:

1) Saddam was hung yesterday eve our time, early morning Iraq time. While I abhor his brutality, I am 1000% against State sanctioned murder, as the death penalty is. Would it not be just to have him rot away, broken and remembering all his misdeeds? Why make a martyr of him? But this was a decision for the Iraqis and I guess most are pleased.

2) I guess I will not be seeing Yo-Yo Ma when he comes to town. Tix are gone, not even the Maestro can save me. Oh well. Seeming like it is sour grapes, his programs (Haydn Cello Concerto and Strauss Don Quixote) were not real adventurous and thus not all that earth shattering. I wanted to hear the Shostakovich 9th more than Ma.

3) I got a blog visitor from "". Turns out it was a referral from my friend Jon's website Jon's Jail Journal. He is, as you might assume, a "guest" of the Arizona Department of Corrections. His blog makes wonderful reading. I guess some bureaucrat in Phoenix has nothing better to do than check out his blog and the links to friends. Something sinister about all this actually.

4) Been in a real lousy mood and am tired. Maybe it is the blood stuff noted above.

5) One thing that makes 2007 a Happy New Year is that it is that much closer to getting Bush out of the White House.

So for the year, Pato signing off. See you all next week. Happy Happy!~ Pato

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Forgotten Hero

Pato comes out of vacation to bring you this story about a hero, treated like shit, who was responsible for Gerald R. Ford living to the ripe old age of 93.

We hope everyone had a good Holiday, got lots of presents and survived their travels. ~ Pato

Oliver Sipple 1941-1989

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas & Happy 2007


We are off to visit my sister and although we will return on Tuesday, Pato is taking a little break from the blog, as are many people this time of year. Look for more Pato around the first of the Year, unless there is something I just have to say.

Take care, safe travels to all and I hope Santa brings you lots of toys!

~ Pato and Puggles

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Buddy Ralph

Ralph is a man of few words. Each one is carefully chosen from his limited repertoire. Be that as it may, Ralph is quite a communicator and actually is one of the more interesting residents of the Towers. Ralph also does not get out much; if he does it is an event of monumental proportions and usually causes quite a stir. But in his simplicity, directness and even touch of mystery, he is most fascinating. A rare visit to Ralph's always makes my day.

Ralph, you see is a parrot. A 27 yr old African Gray. I was going to take a picture of him, but the flash on my camera seems to not want to operate. He is pretty much as his name implies, Gray with a hint of red in his tail and a few white feathers thrown in for contrast. He lives in a big bird cage in Marcia's apartment on the 3rd floor. Soon Ralph (and Marcia too) will be joining us here in the basement of the Towers as she is renovating the dungeon for her new apartment. This is not Ralph but a typical pose of an African Gray.

As I said, he is a bird of few words, mostly "hello", "Come on", "Good boy", "I love you", "Gitch you" (sic) and my favorite "WHOA!!!", which he lustily greets you with upon arrival. He has a vast repertoire of whistles and squawks which are almost more meaningful than his words. The whistles and hellos are usually accompanied by a vigorous bobbing of his head with one eye plastered to the side of the cage, keeping close watch on the visitor. He also loves to clamp on to my hat and try to steal it. Lucky for me, it won't fit through the bars.

Ralph is my entertainment as I wander through the halls on my various rounds. I can tell if Marcia has used the microwave as I hear his "beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeep" which sounds just like the damn thing. If someone has went into the back room off the kitchen, I know that too as he mimics the squeak of the door. He really dislikes people invading his space and making noise. That usually is cause for him to sound the alarm, a fast "beeep beeep beeep beeep" just like a security alarm. He did the same thing when Puggles first came to visit him. "Sound the alarm, I have been invaded!"

Ralph and I have become good buddies. Since Marcia travels out of town occasionally, I am charged with feeding and entertaining Mr. Ralph. We chat, whistle back and forth and communicate in a strangely effective manner. I think he is happy to see me as I am in return. My hearty "hello Ralph" is met with a "WHOA!" or a "Hell-low" the "low" a bit lower in pitch. The combination is effectively casual-friendly. Actually, Ralph's greetings are more sincere and friendly than many of the inhabitants of this place. Says a lot about them, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Computers and Us

My faithful reader Callalilly offered this comment on the 12/18 "From Univac to Memory Sticks" posting. Callalilly made some very valid points. Much like the automobile and the airplane revolutionized our world and relationships plus opened up travel, the computer has revolutionized the way we conduct our daily lives. As the auto and the airplane also brought problems like noise, pollution and safety issues, the computer has also brought problems with it. I am also guilty of knowing more about the lives and stories of people I have never physically met than I am with my own neighbors. I have to drag my now officially fat ass away from the computer to do my daily swim. I should be out doing something but I am updating the blog.

So I offer Callalilly's comments here for your reading as many visitors do not check out the comment section. Thanks Callalilly for the comment. ~ Pato

For years now, computers have been doubling in memory capacity and speed each year while the price has been dropping by half. Truly amazing technologically.

The issue that needs to be looked at more is how all the technology is affecting us. Does it bring people together or separate them further? We communicate with people far away, yet we are too busy to get together with friends across town. Are the things we do with computers healthy for us? We spend hours on our butts in front of the screen, rather than engaging in more physically or mentally challenging activities. Are we really improving our lives? We have access to all sorts of content, but so much of it is very superficial. We can waste so many hours on fascinating but meaningless activities like games and "naughty" stuff. We can spend alot of time pursuing our narrow interests, and we are able to ignore bigger issues that might bring us together with more people.

And of course the computer has brought about a huge upheaval in the job market, resulting in various "winners" and "losers".

Monday, December 18, 2006

From Univac to Memory Sticks

Chuck Gooden loved to talk. Given a chance, he would start up a conversation with King Tut's mummy. He loved to tell his stories, most of which were not real interesting. However he was convinced everyone needed to hear them.

One that was mildly amusing, and even illustrated with some old Polaroids, was the arrival of a Univac computer to the Franklin Life Insurance Co of Springfield, IL. This was in the late 1950s and was a major event. Univac (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) was the first commercial computer made in the US. Only 4o some units were ever made and were a considerable investment for a company. Insurance companies, needing lots of information for billing and processing claims, were a natural market.

According to Chuck, most of the employees got the day off and most of Springfield watched as a fleet of heavy lift helicopters brought the unit to the building. While the workers used fans and open windows to cool in the humid midwest summer, Univac had his own air-conditioned floor. It took the better part of the day and several weeks of pre and post installation work to get Univac ready to go.

Just as a bit of trivia, UNIVAC used 5,200 vacuum tubes weighed 29,000 lbs, and could perform about 1,905 operations per second. The Central Complex (consisting of the processor and memory unit) by itself was 14" by 8 " by 8.5" high . The complete system occupied more than 350 sq ft of floor space.

Fast forward to today. Technology has rocketed forward in the last 50 years. Univac is now a museum piece. Computers are ubiquitous, and even throwaway. I have a 5 year old Dell in the corner that is now obsolete, it is going to be a second computer, much like the once shiny new car is now the second one for the kids, a newer one taking its place in the pecking order.

This whole essay came about as I bought a 1 gigabyte memory stick yesterday when I was out shopping. This little thing, illustrated here, is 1/100,000 or more the size of Univac. But probably holds more memory than Univac could even imagine. A Univac system cost nearly a million dollars (1950 dollars) to buy and even more to install. With only 46 made a Univac owner was in an elite club. A 1 gig memory stick costs $20 give or take and can be bought at Target. 2 gig sticks are also available and I am sure bigger ones are on the way.

The photo above is about life size.

The old tape drive, card reader computers are dead and gone, computer memory is cheap now. Someone without a computer is either a technophobe, lazy or just dirt poor. You just wonder what the computers of 50 years from now will be. Microchips I guess, maybe even inbred in babies. Provided there is a 50 years from now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Ludwig

Today is the high holy day for little Schroeder, the piano playing denizen of the "Peanuts" cartoons. Yes it is Beethoven's birthday; good ol' Ludwig Van turns 236 today. We think. His exact birthdate was not recorded, but he was baptized on December 17th so this date has been traditionally celebrated. Some think it was more likely the 15th or even earlier. But since we have no definitive proof, we'll just accept the date as today. Schroeder would approve.

No other composer's music reaches out, grabs you and shakes you quite the way Beethoven's does. He also had an amazing ability to make the most simple passage monumental in its impact. Unlike Mozart, he revolutionized music, took the symphony to new heights and perfected the string quartet and solo sonata.

I haven't decided what to listen to later to honor him, there are plenty of options. I am leaning toward my favorite Symphony the 7th or the incredible String Quartet op 131.

Happy Birthday Ludwig!

Friday, December 15, 2006

We Three Pugs

Her Majesty Puggles, Queen of All Pugs and Supreme Ruler of Alaska, etc, etc. wishes to share her favorite Christmas Carol with her loyal subjects:

We Three Pugs
(To the tune of "We Three Kings")

We three Pugs of Orient are,
Shuffling low, we cannot go far.
Bellies dragging,
Tails a wagging,
Hounding the Milk Bone jar.

O! O!

We love treats and we love hugs.
We love all 'cause we are pugs.
Licking, sneezing, snoring, wheezing,
Guide us to the warmest rugs.

We wish all a Merry Christmas from Puggingham Palace
D and P

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Myth of Lunch

Just like record stores, arctic ice cover, and the Democratic majority in the Senate, lunch time is in peril.

"What's for lunch?" is heard less frequently among the cubes and worker bees in corporate America these days. Most experts agree on one thing, it is not the worker's idea for the most part, it is increased workplace stress, less people to get the job done due to massive layoffs in the last decade and increased competition for the few plum jobs available. At one company only 3% of employees took a full hour for lunch and the vast majority said the 1 hour lunch was a myth. Many workers eat a meal at their desk, many do not eat at all.

Corporate America could care less about employees anymore. They are a liability to be shed like outdated equipment. Cut cut cut, work more, work more, threaten layoffs and closure, cut cut cut, if I don't produce more I'll be fired. No wonder we are all getting stressed out, no wonder depression is at an all time high while health benefits are at an all time low. No wonder lunch break is low on everyone's priority. I think the Roman slaves had it better.

Not having a proper lunch is not healthy for many. Studies have also shown that mistakes increase and productivity lags as blood sugar lowers.

Tell me, worker bees, is you job worth your life and health? Trust me, they don't care about you. Skipping your lunch or working 24/7 won't impress them. Only the "stakeholders" are of concern these days. Take it from someone who knows.

That is why I love my job. I can take lunch, fuck I even take a nap now and then. I don't make the big bucks, but with no debt, I have more money to spend than most do after all the credit cards and insane mortgage and car payments.

Do Pato a favor. Take an hour off each day. See if they notice. See if you feel better.

See if the big bosses go out for lunch.... bet they do.

"What's for lunch?" Not sure yet, I'll probably go to the local deli and find something, or maybe some take out sushi. Then I feel a nap coming on.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I rarely watch TV anymore. Most of it bores me to tears. "Friends", "Seinfeld", "Will and Grace"...I have not a clue what they are about. Reality shows? Forget them. I watched about 10 minutes of a "Survivor" episode and was bored and mystified at what all the fuss was about.

Give me some 80's prime time soap operas! Yes, I loved "Dynasty" and "Falcon Crest"... "Dallas" was ok, but the former two were top rated for me! Oh the fabulous people, the power, the clothes, the drama, the schemes, the double crossing, the love affairs, did I say drama?. And the wonderful stars, Jane Wyman, John Forsythe, Pamela Sue Martin, Linda Evans, the yummy Al Corley (what happened to him?) and of course the bitch herself, Joan Collins. As a trivia note, he verbal wars between Krystle (Evans) and Alexis (Collins) was one of the first times the word bitch was used on US television. The use of bitch on Dynasty made the use of the word more socially acceptable.

So I was thrilled when "Legends!" was booked to play here in KC this past week. Starring none other than Linda Evans and Joan Collins, in person! A ton of bitch on stage, it must be heaven.

Unfortunately, if it were not for the presence of the two names, this play would not be worth walking across the street to see. It was great seeing the two "Grande Chattes" together on stage. They looked as if time had stood still, great face lifts ladies! Only some slow movements belied the fact that they were no longer spring bitches.

The plot was tailor made for them. An unscrupulous producer wants to cast two old legends of film and stage in a new play. The ladies are notorious rivals. He succeeds in getting them together by lies and promises. Of course both are washed up and broke. Collins has to borrow an apartment to use as a meeting place so to impress Evans.

The rest of the play is not worth mentioning. Of course they meet, banter, bitch, exchange insults as their charade is unraveled, mostly due to their eating some "Alice B. Toklas Brownies (aka Marijuana brownies). They agree to do the show because they are flat broke. The borrowed apartment was to be a scene for a party and everyone is warned that the party is canceled, except Boom-Boom Johnson, the hired Chippendale stripper. He does his dance and leave the stage with nothing but a strategically placed top hat. What he had to do with anything except to enliven the dirge is beyond me. Beefy boy he was, he made the ladies and gay boys happy.

Yes I was disappointed in the play with its silly, pathetic plot. But to see two of my legends at the same time was great. Unfortunately they did not get in a hair-pulling bitch fight in a fountain. That would have made my day

Monday, December 11, 2006

More Random Questions

1. What time is it? 12:02PM

2. What is your full name? Donald Edward Clark

3. What are you most afraid of? Some nut starting a war

4. What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a theater? “The Queen”

5.Have you ever seen a ghost? no.

6. Where were you born? Decatur, Il

7. Ever been to Alaska? no

8. Ever been toilet papering? no

9. Loved someone so much it made you cry? Yes

10. Been in a serious car accident? no

11 Do you plan to have any more Children? no

12. Favorite day of the week? Wednesday, I have a happy hour with friends that night.

13. Favorite Restaurant? Cafe Trio

14. Favorite Flower? Iris

15. Favorite color? blue

16. Favorite sport to watch? None, really

17. Favorite Drinks? Diet coke, alcohol: gin and tonic

18. Favorite Ice Cream? vanilla but I really love Murray's Bailey's Irish Creme with real Bailey's!

19. Favorite fast food restaurant ? Arby’s

20. What color is your bedroom carpet? none

21. How many times did you fail your driver's test? none

22. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? Ann Dupont

23. What do you do when you are bored? Serf the net

24. Bedtime? after midnight.

25. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest? Not sending it on

26. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond? Michael if I sent it to him

27. Who is the person that you are most curious to see their answers? Same as above

28. Favorite TV shows? Weather Channel

29. Ford or Chevy? Ford

30. What are you listening to right now? Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

31. How many pets do you have? 1, Her Glorious Majesty Puggles

32. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Don't know, don’t really care

33. What would you like to accomplish before you die? Move to Nicaragua

34.How many people are you sending this e-mail to? 0

35. What is your favorite comfort food? Home made chicken & noodles

36. When was the last time you laughed till you cried? Watching Monty Python

37. Who would you most like to meet? Buddha, I think I could learn something

Since March 28th 2006 entry of "50 Random Questions and Answers" is my most looked at page, I thought I'd add 37 more.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New! New! All around NEW!

...and faster than a speeding bullet. That is my new computer processor. My old Dell was getting long in the tooth and slower than molasses in January. Actually, if you look at it, the dang thing did things that a few years ago we could only dream of, but in the scheme of things now, it was slow...and prone to crashing. The old hard drive was getting cranky, the tech who installed my cable internet in early 2005 said it would die any day. She is still going, not dead but a bit feeble.

My friend Michael loves to play with computers so he took his 2 year old HP, added a new bigger hard drive, installed a DVD player, a CD burner, upped the memory (1 gig, my old one had 126mb) and a speedier processor. Mine was a 1Ghz ( the fasted in the world for about 3 seconds in 2000 when I got Mr. Dell) this one is a 3 ghz. Damn she is fast.....

Mr Dell is still around, lots of data and things on it. Eventually it will migrate to my sister's house where I may teach her how to use it and have it around when I visit. Mr Dell has some life left yet. He served me well, and will continue to be a part of my family for sometime to come.

Meanwhile, I LOVE speeding thru the net!

see ya!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Speading a Little Cheer

It's a short message and not even real personal: "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friend Don. Take care!" It may not be much, but for the recipients, it is gold.

Sitting in their cold, stark, crowded and noisy cells the inmate will hear his or her name called for mail. They say nothing is as sweet as the sound of your own name. For those incarcerated their name called and a "you've got mail" is truly a magic moment.

"Someone cares, someone remembers, someone realizes despite my crimes I am still a human being with dignity", they think to themselves as they read the card. "I am someone who is lonely, someone who is in reality scared to death, humiliated beyond description, ruined, depressed, angry, despondent beyond words. I am someone who has to fight to live, endure incredible hardships, deprivation and humiliation. One day I was planning a night out with friends and making a note to get my car's oil changed. But in a whirlwind of calamity, I was handcuffed, stripped and given a number my freedom vanished. And now this stranger sends me a card and says he is a friend. "

"Maybe I can make it."

Get involved with Inmate penpals. Check out the link to Lost Vault on the links section of my blog. It is not for everyone, it demands a lot of time and patience. You may have to make the tough decision to stop writing someone because they are demanding, causing trouble or just not a good match. I have made at least 3 wonderful friends and look forward to their letters and cards.

If anyone would like to send a card to an inmate, contact me at and I'll get a name and address out to you.

I may change a life....maybe even yours.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

While Thousands Suffer in the Cold...Mattie Says Merry Christmas

It has been a while since I railed against our dumb ass boy Gov Mattie Blunt. Despite thousands being without power in the major metropolitan center of St Louis for over a week for the second time this year, Mattie had to take care of this pressing issue. Oh that's right, silly me, AmerenUE the electric calamity in St Louis is a friend of the Blunts, so the problem can't be theirs.

From the KC Star:

Although it’s been said many times, many ways, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has declared that state employees can say it too.

Blunt on Monday issued a directive to department heads asking them to assure state employees they would not be disciplined for saying “merry Christmas.”

“Last year, there was a great deal of public discussion regarding the Christmas season,” Blunt wrote in the memo. “Specifically, we heard from those who believe that the Christmas break should be called by a non-religious name such as ‘Winter Holiday.’ They also argued that traditional Christmas greetings such as “Merry Christmas” should not be used.

“Missouri state government employees should not have to worry about this matter. To ensure that there is no confusion regarding our state policy I am directing that each of you inform all members of your department that they should feel at ease using traditional holiday phrases, including ‘Merry Christmas’ and they should have no fear of official reprisal.

“I also ask that you inform your staff that the objections of those who are offended by these phrases be given due consideration, but that no state employee will be reprimanded or in any way disciplined for saying ‘Merry Christmas.’”

So how many employees had been reprimanded in the past for wishing people a merry Christmas? None, said Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for Blunt, who was unavailable for comment.

It was never a problem. Blunt sent out the directive in the wake of reports about retailers and others elsewhere instructing their employees not to use the phrase.

Religious conservatives have said there is a secular movement that has attempted to supplant Christmas and its religious elements with nonreligious terms such as “winter holiday” in schools and public places. Conservative Christians criticized President Bush for sending cards last year that wished people a happy “holiday season” but did not mention Christmas.

Observers on the left say the issue is a phony one that has been trumped up by conservatives, and they point out that “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” have been used for decades.

Robinson made clear that Blunt’s directive does not prevent any state employee from wishing someone a happy holiday. Or a happy Hannukah or happy Kwaanza for that matter.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Making of A Liberal

I am 1000% unashamedly Liberal. I support gay marriage and full gay rights, environmental laws, an end to the Iraq travesty, dialog not bombs and invasions with the radicals of the world, I support a Palestinian state but also recognize that Israel has a right to exist too, as do all groups, I am for separation of church and state, pro choice, pro stem cell research, pro universal healthcare, anti-privatization of services, pro prison reform and against the building of more prisons, I support tax increases when necessary to provide services, I support the right of assisted suicide under some circumstances, I think Government should provide services to all and not be restricting rights and meddling in personal affairs, I would support the end of the so called Patriot Act, and more I am sure I could think of.

How did I get this way?

I am a 50 year old white man. I was born in a smallish town in Central Illinois, went to public schools, even remember praying in school. I stayed pretty much around my small town, an occasional vacation broke up the monotony. I was raised by a pretty typical family, mom, dad, sister. Dad worked, mom stayed home, sister did her thing and I did mine. I was not a rabble rouser, I was a good boy. I was different as we all know now, but then I just thought it was normal to want to light your room with candles and listen to Beethoven. Despite that, I do not think I was highly influenced by my family. I did not see crushing poverty, injustice, discrimination or had a Communist for an Uncle, things that might make a leftist out of one.

I have a couple of theories however.

1) I did not have a heavy religious influence. Unlike some, I was not raised in a fundamentalist family. Church was never ridiculed but was also not a big deal. We went occasionally but not regularly. We were nice Methodists and supported the nearby church, but it just was not a big thing.

When I was a teen, the "Jesus Freak" movement was in full swing. It was cool to be religious for some folks. But it was a restrictive religion. "One Way" was their theme, only Jesus could save you and make you a true person. Not getting sucked into this, I think I developed a more open, questioning mind. I also never bought all the hocus pocus and divinity stuff. I truly believe Jesus lived and that he was one of the greatest minds of all time. Is he divine? That I am not so sure.

I somehow read the Bible differently than some. I tended to see Jesus as not a mean-assed "follow me or else" guy but someone who was a true radical and liberal (that statement usually makes the fundies howl) who brought the world out of the darkness, showed that we could all live together, railed against arbitrary, made up rules and showed us that the family of human kind was of utmost importance. Caring for everyone and equality is a sign of a true liberal, in my humble opinion.

Look up liberal in the dictionary. It usually relates to "generous", "tolerant", "non-judgmental", "not literal". Aren't those fundamental tenets of the teachings of Jesus?

2) Open Mind. I have a gift that is somewhat of a curse at the same time. I see every side of an issue. Liberal, as the definition states, is "not literal, tolerant". I am hardwired to believe that there are many ideas, many viewpoints and many circumstances to an issue. I refuse to see in black and white. For example, I think abortion is a terrible choice. It is traumatic for all concerned and does make the life of the fetus impossible to complete. Yet, I am never one to say to someone you can not have one. That is their choice. Maybe, just maybe, they have thought it through, it is the best thing for all involved. I can see their point of view.

Being this way can make it difficult to make a decision. But it also allows us to question our motives, re evaluate as things change and adjust for new reality. I would rather have a flip-flop liberal in Iraq than a "damn the torpedos, stay the course" approach of the "Conservatives" and risk certain defeat.

3) I read. As a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on. I looked at all views, I questioned things, I realized that it was not just about me. We had a huge diverse world out there and it was just possible that we as white Americans were not always 100% right. As I traveled the world as an adult, I found that to be very true.

4) Nicaragua. My beloved little Nicaragua showed me that a right wing powerful elite was one of the most destructive forces in all nature. Millions died of starvation, no health care, no homes, no work, no safety net. While a few got rich and worried about what palace to build. As I say this first hand, I vowed never to let this happen in my world. It almost has here, but lucky the people came to their senses and saw that some balance and checks had to be made.

There may be more reasons and these maybe totally the wrong ones. I continue to wrestle with this issue and may revisit it someday. Meanwhile, I remain Pato, proudly Liberal to the core.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Finally my dear sister has power. After the ice storm of Wednesday the 29th she got it back sometime this evening. She is not sure when, but her answering machine came on when called at 9:30PM.

It is amazing how we are so tied to our power. We can't function without it. She was going nuts, not so much from the cold but from the lack of TV and communication. I'd be the same without my internet for sure.

Many more still wait for power and the power company is threatening its customers by saying if the states do not give them a big rate hike they want, the service will be worse. Bullshit... it will get worse anyhow, the big wigs will get more benefits and money like all the companies do. The customers will suffer.

Oh, and while most of St Louis froze, Boy Gov was hob-nobbing in Florida with his GOP money men.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rich Does not Equal Smart

One of our most esteemed residents of the Towers had a cocktail party last Friday evening. The glitterati of Kansas City were invited. (Even dear little Pato was invited!) The names coming spoke of money, world famous businesses, generous donors and people accustomed to seeing large buildings named in their honor.

But for the most part, they are dolts. Case in point:

The Towers has its original 1915 elevator cab with updated mechanicals...updated to 1947 standards. Actually she works fine; the old DC current mechanics are so simple that nothing breaks down. The hemp guide rope is stronger than most steel cables. She does, however, have a couple of quirks. Due to her small size and age she is restricted to 1000lbs. This means no more than 3-4 people at a time. The old fashioned mechanical brakes will not level at the floors if there is too much weight. The cab will slide past the floor a foot or two. She also has a metal folding gate that closes and locks automatically but has to be opened manually at your destination.

Simple enough?

I wanted to put a small sheet of paper explaining these rules on the elevator but I was vetoed: 1) I was told no one would read it and 2) it had to be framed (rich people can't see loose sheets of paper, it is just not aesthetically pleasing). So they had to receive instructions on how to use the elevator from a live person. Even then they screwed everything up and at one point 6 people were on the elevator and it slid past the floor. They threw a ruckus.

So, if these are the high and mighty, the royalty of America, the captains of industry, the elite, the powerful, why then can't they take the time to read simple instructions, remember simple instructions and have some common sense? (Of course, common sense is really not all that common.) They expect their minions to know everything, to read every word they pen and know how to handle every situation. Maybe the richer you are the less you think?

So employees of many of KC's biggest employers here is a little tip: you have the right not to read signs and instructions and memos your bosses put out. They certainly don't. And if it is not framed or engraved, ignore it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Bagel Musings

Well, Callalilly are you a bagel fan as well??? Callalilly is a faithful reader who claims I am dangerous for her diet by describing my taste for pancakes and pastrami. Today, I am musing over a fresh onion bagel with some cream cheese. My favorite bagel combination (well besides lox, cream cheese, capers and red onion). Something a bit different.

1) Bagels I thought I would explore the world of these delightful baked treats. The most common origin story states that the bagel originated in the late 1600s when a Jewish baker created them as a gift for The King of Poland to commemorate a battle victory that year. The baked good was fashioned in the form of a stirrup to commemorate the victorious cavalry charge. That the name bagel originated from beugal (stirrup) is considered likely.

Did you know bagels are formed, then boiled first before baking? This gives them the chewy dense center and the baking provides the crisper crust. I like mine toasted lightly.

2) Stranded. I read this AM that thousands are stranded along I-70 here in MO due to the winter storm. The road was closed in a large section for hours and people have reportedly spent the cold night in their cars with no gasoline for heat. Many accidents along the hilly road compounded the problem of ice and drifting snow. We received some snow and ice here in KC, but it was easily dispatched and is now gone from the roads. Replaced by some bitter cold.

In my previous career, I was a road warrior, traveling 60-70,000 miles a year on the roads of Missouri and Kansas. I spread my Human Resources cheer to many a town large and small, navigating many of these roads. I thank my lucky stars that I am now in a nice comfy home based job and that I didn't even get out of the parking lot for a couple days as I did not have to.

I am sure if I still worked for Beverly Enterprises (RIP), I would have been one of the many stuck out there. It would not have been a pretty sight.

3) Powerless. I fear for the stock market on Monday. My sister has been without power from the aforementioned storm that raced into Illinois on Thursday. It maybe until Tuesday before she gets her power and TV back. Meanwhile shares of QVC and other home shopping networks will plummet from lack of her business.

And she can't toast her bagel. But she did heat a can of soup in the sterno powered fondue pot she had stored. Proof positive that you should never throw anything away, it may actually come in handy someday.

Friday, December 01, 2006

snow snow snow Snow

Winter had kept its distance here in KC...until Wednesday. Just in time to screw up the week's events, here comes first the ice and then on Thursday the snow.

It played havoc with our dress rehearsal for the upcoming HMC Concert. We rescheduled the Wednesday dress to Thursday only to receive more snow and ice then. Makes one of the numbers we'll sing very timely:

"Snow Snow Snow SNOW! It won't be long before we'll be there with snow....snow....snow"

I could wait..