Where Have You Been?

I’ve been away from home for two weeks, that’s where. Visited the state of Tennessee for two days, the rest of the time in Illinois.

Visited friends and family. Always enjoy visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.

There are many retail outlets across the country offering classic cars for sale. Not all at reasonable prices. Nevertheless, one such outlet, is Country Classic Cars, near old Hwy 66 and Staunton, Illinois.

I’ve passed by this place many times without stopping to look. This time, my brother, my nephew, great-nephew and I, took time to visit for a couple of hours.

There were several vehicles of interest. Some offered nothing. Especially, the vintage Cadillac Eldorado car body, mounted atop a four-wheel drive truck chassis. All I could ask, was why?

A ’54 Ford Crestline sedan, and a ’67 Ford Custom sedan, reminded my brother and I of our parent’s cars during childhood. There were “wars” over who rode “shotgun”–which was rare, because mom and pop usually occupied the front seat.   Losers sat between two brothers in the back seat.  Mom and dad intervened, if the struggle went too far astray.

The rest of the trip was taken up with carrying a friend, and daughter back-and-forth to the hospital on two different days. One for a routine cat scan, the other for elective surgery.

As I age, 765 mile trips each way, to our former home territory, become more difficult. Health may not allow this in the future? Changes may have to be made?

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the vintage ’57 Ford pickup, just to tinker with, and drive around the neighborhood?  Like myself, it seemed to be in good shape for its age.

Tuesday Before the Storm

Catch-up day before the madness begins. Yard mowed and trimmed yesterday. Today, Max the mighty mutt, got shampooed and had his nails trimmed

He’s still pouting, because I took him somewhere he hated to go. He’ll enjoy the trip Thursday. He’ll get to visit with his canine cousins, at our final destination.

Paying higher gasoline prices in Illinois, will be sticker shock.  Part of the new governor’s campaign promises.  Of course, the purpose was to improve roads/highways statewide.  Gas taxes were doubled.

I’ve never put much stock in campaign promises.  Four years is a long time.  Time will tell, whether or not, promises were kept.  One thing for sure, I will fill up the gas tank in Kentucky–just before crossing the state line.

Visiting with friends and family will be enjoyable for the next two weeks.  I don’t plan to waste time discussing politics.

What’s Your Frequency?

Not being able to receive programming from two of the four major US televisions networks, for going on two months, has become quite stale.

It’s no different than other abstentions of goods and services. Declaring a shortage of iceberg lettuce, then jacking up prices. Except, I am paying for services not received.

Meanwhile, Nexstar Communications and Direct TV continue their standoff. Nexstar owns a considerable amount of local TV stations–CBS, NBC, channels 44 and 55 locally. Each player in the stalemate blames the other.

Granted, summer replacement shows/reruns are nothing to brag about. I watch TV first thing in the morning, then for two hours before turning in to bed. I miss my favorite local station personalities.

I’m not a sports fanatic, but will not be given the opportunity to be one, this fall–if this stoppage continues. I’m locked into a contract with Direct TV. There would be a sizable penalty for changing.

Dish Network, the main competitor, is not immune to the same issues–rebroadcast of local stations. Tried an over the air antenna, in the past, and barely received one channel. My internet provider isn’t reliable enough for streaming. It may take some creativity on my part to solve these issues.

While Waiting

A beautiful sunny day at a busy intersection. Businesses at three of the four corners. I was waiting at the auto repair shop on the northeast corner.

The posted sign gave an 8:00 AM opening time.  Opening hours were relative. I walked through the open doors at 7:45. Greeted by office staff, agreed on a fair price for services, went to the waiting area.

Auto repair technicians showed up at approximately 8:00 AM. Customers began to congregate at the front service counters. One was an independent taxi driver. Another, a construction worker, with a flat tire on his work truck.

Traffic at the intersection frequently backed up in all directions. Which was the reason for the city policeman’s visit. He had a good sense of humor, necessary during our gabfest.

“Officer, I want you to arrest these guys. These guys are trying to rob us.”

The policeman got down to business. He was there to see recent security footage, concerning an auto accident investigation.

“We’re taking orders for lunch,” The cab driver offered the policeman.

“I hope to be out of here before then,” Said the construction worker.

The group came to the conclusion, video surveillance made it difficult for spring breakers to get away with mischief. Another member of the informal discussion panel related s story about spring breakers cutting holes in the walls of their room–to access adjacent rooms and wreak more havoc.

“After that, there was no way in heck, they got their security deposits back,”

Nobody liked the idea of $6.00 tolls each way, on the new bay bridge. Once tolls were set, they never went away.

Discussions ended for me. My car was ready. It had been 1 1/2 hours. That wasn’t a bad wait.

Negativity/Positivity

A You Tube car guru I follow, recently opined that it was incorrect to regard the late Lee Iacocca as a hero. He presided over, was ultimately responsible, for development and marketing of some unremarkable cars, while at the helm of Chrysler and Ford, that should just as well have been forgotten.

My car guru friend did make a point with which I agreed.  Many of those that never said anything positive about Mr. Iacocca when he was alive, were now pouring on accolades.

While it may be inaccurate to call Mr. Iacocca a hero, it is also inaccurate to only regard the negative, in Mr. Iacocca’s long career at Ford and Chrysler.

Negativity seems to be more compelling these days than positivity. Unlike in the cosmos, where negativity/positivity are in balance. Accepted social mores are torn apart daily by PC claptrap. Respected public figures, past and present, are subjected to constant negativity-fests.

It’s ultimately our choice whether to be positive or negative. I choose to look at the good things done by Mr. Iacocca. He brought Chrysler Corporation back from extinction. How it was done could be debated.

What were his lasting legacies in the automotive world? The Mustang is still the most popular pony car. The Chrysler minivan and various clones are still around. Chrysler Corporation didn’t die–even though it was absorbed by Fiat–at the US Government’s insistence.

Dr. Ben Spock (The Other Spock)

What constitutes being a good parent? Does it involve being one of the following types?  I’m inclined to think not.

Helicopter parenting: Being too involved in children’s lives. Not letting them experience failure.

Free-range parenting: Not enough involvement in raising children. Bringing children into the world to either succeed or fail on their own–where perhaps parents should have been involved more.

Snowplow parenting: This has to do with pro-sports parents asserting themselves in children’s careers. Guiding children’s careers from an early age.

Dr. Benjamin Spock wrote baby and child care books, popular when I was a child–and are still in print.  My parents, like most, followed their own beliefs and instincts.

My parents would have more likely swatted my behind, with Dr. Spock’s books than followed his advice.

They Come and They Go

I was a young, green technician.  Leonard was a battle-scarred veteran, that hired on in the middle fifties.

Leonard had been around for a long time. Long enough to see many managers come and go.  Just a few years away from a full pension, he didn’t scare easily.

It seemed his workplace was the proving ground for new managers. New managers introduced ceremoniously by parades of other managers. “I love a parade,” Leo muttered under his breath.

In the military, newly commissioned officers were called “jet jobs.”  Would this newbie adhere to the script? Probably. Crack down at first, to show who was in charge, then slack off a bit.

New managers started by riding along with specially selected employees. The purpose was to get acquainted, also, to suggest more efficient ways to work.

Leonard was wise to such tactics. He’d listen to suggestions, then explain pros and cons, why these new methods wouldn’t work in the real world.

Wait long enough, this manager would be gone–just like the rest of them. Kicked upstairs, transferred, or sent wherever. Because managers came and went–you could count on it.