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Opportunities

Throughout our lives many opportunities pass us by.  That is, the opportunity is there and for some reason we fail to act until the opportunity is no longer available.  This is not something to regret.  It just proves to us that opportunities do come by.  We have the experience and the motivation to grab the next one by both horns and hang on.  Remember: grab the next one.  There will be a next one.

Pakistan

Once there was a czar of Russia name Jahn.  When asked what to call the land of the Azerbais, he called it Azerbaijan.  He had a precedent.  The previous czar was named Stan.  He named the land of the Afghans, Afghanistan.  The land of the Kurds, Kurdistan, etc.  This makes it easy.  The land of the Pakis is Pakistan?  Not quite but almost.  When England released its colonies, the Moslems rebelled.  They did not want to be part of India.  You know the Moslems – they do not want to be part of anything.  They want their own country because they have a problem with the concept of a government that is not controlled by their religion.  So after a very bitter war, they got their own country: Pakistan.  But this is a new name.  It is an acronym.  Each letter of Paki indicates a nationality of its population.  P: Punjabi.  A: Afghan.  K: Kasmiri.  I: Indian.

Baseball

When I lived back in Milwaukee in the 1960's, there were rumors that the Milwaukee Braves were moving to Atlanta.  Milwaukee had stolen the Braves from Boston back in the early 1950's.  Milwaukee COunty had built a brand new beautiful stadium for its new team.  Milwaukee loved its braves: Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Del Crandell, Johnny Logan, Hank Aaron.  Hank Aaron.  He came on TV on Saturday and denied the moving rumors.  He stated that if the team moved to Atlanta, he would stay in MIlwaukee.  Such dedication.  The next day, Sunday, the move to Atlanta was officially announced.  Hank Aaron went with them.

Since then I have never taken baseball seriously.  Every now and then I watch a playoff game or the World Series.  Mostly between commercials on the NFL games.  I mean we kids took our team seriously argued with each other who was the best.  We were loyal.  Loyalty has always been at the top of my virtue list.

Curve Balls, Frogs, and Snakes

When I was a kid, they argued over whether the ball actually curved or was just an optical illusion.  Then film speeds advanced.  Then there were digital cameras.  Now they no longer debate it: they can see the ball curve on the photo track of extremely fast cameras.  First with fast-frame cameras and film.  Now on digital displays.  First with very scientific expensive equipment available to a very few.  Now on every ball pitched that talking heads want to show the TV audience.

It has only been in the last 10 years that they have actually photographed a frog catching a fly or a snake catching a frog.  These animals move so fast that it took until 1995 to have cameras with shutters that moved as fast as a frog's tongue.

Progress.  Really.  I am impressed.


Chicken

25 years ago, a woman friend started calling the fast food restaurants by their letters: IHOP, KFC, etc.  I thought that this just her.  Then I saw that the world was going to letters.  Not just for the fast foods but for almost everything.  I really hate talking in letters  but then I am a dinosaur.  The one that does pique my interest is the KFC thing.  I heard a TV newscaster comment that he was no longer permitted to call it “Kentucky Fried Chicken” and that he must call it “KFC”.  This made me very curious.  I wondered if the Colonel's family had won some sort of name lawsuit.  I heard an ad on the radio the other day and now I know:  the ad referred to KFC as “Kitchen Fresh Chicken”.  I guess anything with the word fried in it is now considered politically incorrect.

I do not know if KFC is kitchen fresh but I do know one thing from my own experience.  When my kids were younger, I would always have too much food for dinner.  This meant leftovers went in the fridge.  This meant that my kids always had nutritious food for snacks.  When we had KFC for dinner, this worked.  When we had Church’s Chicken, the chicken was spoiled by the next day.  There was also another local chicken chain that had the same problem.  This made me distrust all chain store chicken – even the KFC.

Since then I discovered Popeye Chicken.  I really like the place although a woman friend says that it is greasier than the others.  The one exception for me is the Popeye Chicken in Yuma.  The roll tasted like fish.  I do not know what the fries tasted like but not like normal fries and the chicken had a weird taste.  I debated returning to complain but decided not – my doctor worries about my blood pressure.  The Yuma KFC gives me a senior discount.  I like that.

Limes

I love limeade.  I make my own since the store brands make it too sweet.  A good lime is a heavy lime.  Limes should cost less than 25 cents each.  Brush your teeth as the acid etches teeth.  And my diabetic diet permits one free lime every day.

July 4th 1776 and the Gettysburg Address

Did you ever wonder why we consider our nation's birthday the Fourth of July?  I did.

There are rumormongers out there who like to think that the address by Lincoln was casual and written on the back of an envelope.  In fact, this was a speech Lincoln took very seriously and took days to prepare.  He was only invited as a courtesy and not expected to attend, let alone speak.  But speak he did.  He wanted to make two points very clear for posterity.  He was successful as today those two points are generally presumed to be part of the origin of the USA

The first point is that we are a nation and not a collection of states.  We had just fought a war over that concept and he wanted to make sure that posterity knew they were citizens of the US of A

The second point was to establish the birth date of our country as July 4, 1776 and not the 1789 date of the Constitution.  This was critical because Lincoln considered the Constitution flawed because it made slavery a legal institution whereas the Declaration of Independence stated: “All men had inalienable rights.”  So much for “The world will little note what we say here”.

Quality, Price, Cost, Value

When I moved to Florida I noticed something.  Out west we had Price Club.  In Florida we had Costco.  They were different.  Price Club has since bought Costco and the whole menagerie is now named Costco.  I liked Price Club better.

Price Club sold postage stamps at a discount.  Price Club did not do rebates or coupons.  Price Club gave you premium-quality products at everyday prices.  People out west bought for quality.  For example out local Price Club annually had racks of really good suits.  You had to know your size and you had to take them to a tailor to get them altered but a better suit for the money you would not find.  Even the tailor I chose commented on it.  Fujica cameras for half the camera store price.  The camera store stopped selling Fujica.  That is another story.  Price Club sold quality at a discount.

Costco did rebates, coupons (only its own), gave you lowest price.  People out east (or at least Florida) bought for price.  Costco had its own brand (like K-Mart) of cheap items.  For example, Price Club sold Ziploc-brand bags.  The Costco brand zipper bags were cheaper and low quality.  The bags would stick together generating holes when torn apart.  That is when I discovered Sam’s Club.

You can go off the edge discussing the definitions of price, quality, cost, and value.  The rule is: buy the highest quality that you need for the lowest price.  Buy Price Club.  Avoid Costco.  But then you no longer have the choice.  The price-oriented people won over the value-oriented people.

“We will match their price”

Other than the poor grammar, the concept is wrong.  I shall not do someone’s price matching for them.  For example, I can buy a 350-wattt inverter at Camping world for $68.  The Camping World clerk told me that they would match competitors’ prices if I bring in the advertisement.  I do not carry ads around with me.  Moreover most prices are not advertised.

I could buy the same brand inverter with the same capacity at Costco for $30.  I could buy a 400-watt (bigger) inverter at Sam’s Club for $34.  I can now buy a 1000-watt inverter at Costco for $70.  Camping World has reduced their 300-watt inverter price to $68.  I bought the Costco inverter.  4 of them.  I now have a Sam’s Club inverter and shall buy a 1000-watt inverter from Costco.  I told the Camping World clerk about their 200% price differential.  She said they would match the price – why should I bother?

Now, before I buy anything at Camping World, I shop other stores first.  I do not play the price-match game for them.  If their prices are not competitive, they lose my business.  I buy a lot of things at Camping World but I first make sure that I cannot find the item elsewhere first – and these prices include their President's Club card discount.

I really like Wal-Mart.  I own their stock.  I grit my teeth when I go there because I am in the group that believe that they are exporting money from the poor to the non-poor.  Rehiring as opposed to transferring their employees from the current Gilroy store to the new Gilroy Super Center is morally wrong.

To the point.  WalMart will match their competitors’ ads.  This is a good marketing ploy except they do not do it.  You have to carry the ad again.  This is wrong.  Some stores have the local competitors’ ads at the entrance.  Then if you can remember which item at which store at which price, you can have the lower price.  I tried this once.  I found similar items, regular-priced of the same item although a different brand, at a lower price than the ad making my memory work of the entry ads a waste of time.  If they placed placards at the counter, I would buy their claim.  As it is, I resent it.

Any store claiming to match their competitors’ prices had better automatically ring them up at the register with the lower price.  I shall not return to a store telling them about the lower price and expecting them to reduce theirs.  I shall buy at the lower price and may inform the higher priced store that they lost the sale -- if I am in a good mood.

Donations

If you use a service and they ask for donations, pay and pay freely.  The donation is certainly a lower cost than you would pay elsewhere.  If you do not donate, the service will go away.

Twenty years ago.  Maybe thirty.  Many National Forest campgrounds had honor drop boxes.  You put the two dollars in the envelope and dropped it into the box.  Best deal in town.  Maybe they wanted up to five dollars.  The problem was that nobody paid.  The National Forest Campgrounds were the best deal in town.  They had the best planned sites and facilities.  The sites were level and large.  But nobody paid.

Now the forests have had to contract out the fee payment system to profiteers.  The Republicans want all parks to be profit centers.  This is un-American.  The campsite price is now $20 and not $2.  Same site, more run down (the profiteers do not maintain – look at Juniper Springs in Ocala, if you do not believe this).

Some years ago I took my 2 daughters camping in Oak Creek Canyon.  They wanted $15 dollars in cash within 15 minutes of arriving at the site.  They do not make change or accept credit cards.  I do not carry checks.  I drove into town (a long drive) to get the exact amount.  I took with me an envelope and had it filled out.  This was very lucky for me.  When I returned there was an NFS ranger (not a profiteer ranger) waiting for me.  He was ready with the violation ticket.  Only by pleading and showing the filled-out envelope with the money did I save myself from a serious fine.  Bullshit.  First off, I should not be paying tax dollars to the NFS for them to write me tickets.  If they want to contract the park, contract the enforcement.  I should not have to pay the profiteer for the site and the government for compliance.

I have run into better mannered cops in the department store handling shoplifting.

Strangely enough it turns out that the membership campground companies also own campground charter companies.  When you buy into a membership campground they tell you how expensive public campgrounds are becoming.  Thus you should become a member to save money.  They do not tell you that the reason for the high price of public sites is that the company is controlling the rates.

This concept does not apply to those organizations that send me usable things and expect a donation.  I love the printed labels.  I use them.  I do not send money to the organizations that send them.  If I like the organization, I already sent them some money otherwise, I am happy to be an expense for them.

When asked, donate and you will save many dollars in the long run.

From a Friend of Mine (Tino Lambros)

Interesting but source unknown.

                                                   If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.

There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere,
both north and south

8 would be Africans



52 would be female
48 would be male



30 would be white
70 would be non-white



70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian



89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual


6 people would possess
59% of the entire world's wealth and

all 6
would be from
the United States.


80 would live in substandard housing


70 would be unable to read


50 would suffer from malnutrition


1 would be near death

1 would be near birth


1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education


1 (yes, only 1) would own computer.


When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, we realize the need for acceptance, understanding and education. And, therefore . . .

As you read this and are reminded how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed you really are.

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Written:  2000          Updated:  February 29, 2004             Back to Top