Boyz Night Out

Deliver (Oak Ridge Boys album)

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting with four very old but close friends. Our ages range from seventy-two to eighty-three. We enjoy a monthly get together to drink some adult-beverage and to swap tales while sharing a meal. We met on this evening at the Ashford House on 159th Street in Tinley Park, a midway point between our homes.

We sat drinking, and explaining where they were when the tornado ripped through the area. The storm had different effects on each of us. Sherman lives in a heavily wooded area and one of his mature trees blew down and ripped through the back wall of his house. A large branch from that same tree pierced the liner in his garden pond. I laughed, only because this summer he completed repairs to the pond liner caused by a ground-hog that burrowed up from the bottom and chewed his way through the liner to get at Sherman’s collection of bog plants. His further inspection revealed that the tornado ripped the  bark off his Linden trees. Al cut in, “that’s a class-four storm when the bark gets stripped from trees.”

Lou told us his neighbor had a very large Ash tree about fifty feet tall that died from an invasion of the Emerald Ash borer. The tree was dead, and Lou worried that the tree, which leaned toward his house, would someday come crashing through his bedroom. Lou reported the neighbor had the tree removed on the day before the storm hit. He lucked out. Rod, who also lives in a wooded area saw no damage to his property, but picked up many blown down branches. Al reported losing a single butterfly bush planted just three years ago. Al lives on twenty plus acres of trees. Joe told of a roof being blown off at the Mobile Home park just south of town, and the roof of the muffler shop on route thirty raised up several feet then dropped back in place.

Four of us ordered the Thursday night special, a five dollar hamburger the size of a dinner plate, with soup, salad and fries. Sherman had lamb chops.

As we ate we began kibitzing and telling more stories. Joe began by relating a sudden desire to hear the Oak Ridge Boys in concert. They perform in Branson at this time of year, but Joe didn’t have the opportunity nor the cash to go. Just for fun he searched the I-net for the concert schedule and learned that the Boys who were at Branson on Friday would be at the Holiday Star Plaza theater in Merrillville, Indiana on Sunday.  For more fun, he checked the ticket availability; they had eight tickets left in the mezzanine at seventy dollars a piece. “Okay,” he said, “sign me up.” By the time he paid taxes, fees, and seven-fifty to download the tickets to his printer his bill came to $194.00. He did it anyway because it was cheaper than driving five hundred miles to Branson to see them. A twenty-dollar CD would have been even cheaper.

Al chimed in next. “I was talking on the telephone with my sister in Amarillo. One of her good friends wanted to borrow some money, but she didn’t have enough in her bank account. I joked with her that I had invested five dollars in a Mega Million lottery and expected to win that night. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning, I sent my sister an e-mail saying that I had won the Mega-Million lottery and a check would be in the mail to her.

At 7:20 I received an e-mail from the NSA congratulating me for winning the lottery. The e-mail claimed it was from all NSA employees.

At 8:30 a.m. I received another e-mail, this time from the IRS. It said that a normal tax amount would be deducted from my Mega Million winnings, but they knew that I had sold 2 million dollars of houses this year, so I would owe a high percentage of taxes on the gains from the property sales as well as any other income I had.They requested that I pay an extra $100,000 in taxes within ten days, and another $100,000 by January 15.

Later in the morning, I opened an e-mail from the ATF. They said they had verified that I was stocking up huge stores of food including twenty-four frozen turkeys on sale at forty-eight cents a pound at Jewel.

I answered the ATF that I purchased the food for the Frankfort Lions Club annual food distribution to the needy at Thanksgiving. The ATF responded almost immediately wanting me to give them a complete list of names and addresses of the Frankfort Lions and the recipients of the food delivery. Also, I am to include an inventory of weapons possessed by everyone on the list.

Early in the afternoon, The DEA e-mailed me that they knew I recently had $400,000 in my personal bank account, and since I had no job, this was likely drug money. They said their drone had inspected my 21.3 acres of land and found many unusual, as well as some suspicious plants growing inside my house. They said if I was innocent, I would allow them to inspect my property and home. If I didn’t allow an inspection they would get a subpoena to do so.

Later that afternoon I mailed my sister two dollars and told her it was one-half of my lottery winnings.”

A moment of stunned silence overcame the group as they digested what they just heard. Al bust out laughing and confessed that none of the above actually happened but that it could happen today in the big government world we live in.

And that folks, is how Boyz night out goes.

I Like Street Rods Better Than Hot Rods

 After I win the Mega Millions lottery, I am going to buy a new car. It won’t be an Obama-de-ville, but rather a custom built street rod. I will begin with an older U.S.built car from the 1934 through 1959 period.  I will have it designed and built to my specs. It will be as stylish as anything from today’s car makers. The reliability will rival cars from Japan. The design will include all the modern technology that makes a 2010 car what it is: Electronic ignition, fuel injection, four wheel power disc brakes, automatic transmission with overdrive, power steering, and more. The cabin amenities will include air conditioning, power windows, keyless ignition, heated leather power seats,and more. In other words, it will be a 2010 car with a slightly used and reconditioned body.

Today’s street rods are an offshoot of the  hot rods that are made for speed, and drag racing.  Street rods are  totally drivable.  I am amazed at the design ingenuity of hot rodders that build their own cars. I recently met a man who has customized a 1939 Buick (shown below). He’s been building, and re-designing car for twenty years.  

Why does it take so long? Well, one reason is money. The builders usually have a day job with limited money to spend. A second reason is time. Most of these guys are family men and spend time on their cars after family and work obligations are met. Some of them run body shops, so they can work on their cars when business is slow.

The hobby of custom hot rod building is a huge business in America. There are many organizations dedicated to supporting  the builders. The  National Hot Rod Association, Good Guys, National Street Rod Association are a few of them. One of my most popular weblogs is  I Prefer Hot Rods With Fenders. This simple report keeps my BLOG alive with viewers.  Hopefully this post will be enjoyed as well. I photographed the cars in this collection at the Tinley Park, Illinois Cruise Night on a Friday in August, 2009.

All of these cars were saved from the junk yard. They all look pretty and go like hell! ENJOY.

After this post, I may even buy a lottery ticket.

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“New Socialism” a Radical Idea

National Representative Selection ComputerThe more I think about socialism, the more I realize how far away from “living” socialism the proponents are.  As I understand socialism, we are all to be equalized so we all have the same opportunities. I clipped a segment out of the Wikipedia Dictionary defining socialism for you to read here:

“Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, creates an unequal society, and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society. Therefore socialists advocate the creation of a society in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly based on the amount of work expended in production, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.”

I see a hypocrisy in both the “power and wealth” part of their dictates.  If  those who move us toward socialism, were truly living the philosophy to the spirit of the ideology, they would have the same  power and wealth as the rest of us. That is not the case. The Chicago Tribune had an article today(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/obama/chi-white-house-wealthapr09,0,1573304.story)  exposing the salaries and personal fortunes of Obama’s advisers. I won’t go into it deeply, but David Axlerod made one and a half million dollars of salary last year. I’m sure that is more money than you will earn in a lifetime much less a year.  In my book, that is not showing good example for the rest of us to follow the path toward equalism.  They should all be making the same mediocre salary that the rest of us make.

The same holds true for power also. If power was to be equalized, all of us could be president without spending seven hundred and fifty million dollars to win an election. Where is the equality in that? Most of us cannot afford a new car much less run a campaign.

I have a new idea for POTUS. He likes new untried ideas, that is why he won’t listen to Republicans, because they have “tired old ideas that don’t work.”

In the interest of moving toward socialism, as POTUS is doing, we must do something really radical. To start with let us TRASH the United States Constitution.” It has too many rules on elections that have failed to produce representatives who listen to their constituents. Instead, we must replace the election system with a National Representative Lottery.  It’s a simple idea, and most simple ideas work pretty good. Everyone who is born in this country is registered at birth, and when he reaches age, his name is activated in the lottery. When it is time to change representatives, names are drawn for each open position. This system works best if there are term limits attached to each position. The same system is used for selecting candidates to serve in the Armed Services.

Think of the money that will be saved. A candidate such as Obama will not have to solicit and spend 750 million dollars to reach his goal. In fact, since we are all equal under this “New Socialist System,” there won’t be any goals to stretch for. We won’t have differences in intelligence either. After all, we all get the same mediocre equal education, and receive the same equally mediocre grades.  Since each and every representative is equal to every other representative, there will be no need to debate or argue about bills. The result would be even more savings as Representative staffs are no longer required.  Lobbyists disappear too because Lottery selected Representatives don’t want money to go into a campaign fund. That is because under  “New Socialism,” campaign  funds are considered the same as a bonus,  and taxed 100 percent.  A Representative found to accept a bribe or a  gift from a lobbyist is hanged in the Capitol Rotunda without a speedy trial.

We all save time because we don’t have to vote. We don’t have to listen to all the stupid negative campaign speeches either. On the day after National Representative Lottery Day, winners receive a certified letter from the Representative Lottery Computer to report for service.  No need to be sworn in since the oath to uphold the constitution is gone. Another saving comes because we don’t have all the frivolous inauguration parties and parades to put on.

Both the republican and democratic parties can be abolished, thus saving millions of dollars in salaries and wasted effort. Campaigns are a thing of the past. The computer solves all of the problems of the vote counting by selecting leaders randomly, and quickly.

All these savings mean there is more money in the pot to spread the wealth. Hell, we could get so wealthy that the word “poor” will be erased from the Wikipedia library.

I keep hearing about how all the socialist systems in the world  fail. “They just don’t work,” say the pundits.  The reason they fail, is that the leaders have more power than the peons.  There is a huge imbalance in the system.  The imbalance of power causes allot of dissension among peons.  We all know that dissending peons wield a lot of power. POTUS recently warned bank leaders

“Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

In saying that, I take it to mean that he has empowered  us to take matters into our ownhands to make the dream of true equality real. 

 In Old Socialism, the leaders live like the hated “fat cats of capitalism,” while the peons  live equally. My “New Socialism,” plan eradicates that imbalance by selecting leaders totally at random by the lottery.  They all serve specific terms, thereby not becoming dictators who sit in the ivory tower for life. No one has to be educated in an Ivy League School, and no one has to be an eloquent snake oil salesman.

      ” But Grumpa,”  you ask, “the National Representative Lottery will not pick a person with experience who can go up against the leaders of the world’s evil countries?”

       “If the Lottery winner fails. we merely ask the computer to select another candidate until we find an ass kisser who  is acceptable to the rest of the world.” 

In reality, my New Socialism plan is really not new, it is a tired old idea that I’ve improved so it will work.

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