Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Simple little things add up

When he's not on the production floor, one of the Sample Techs pretty much always has a Mountain Dew in his hand. He worked into his lunch to get some extra parts molded for me, so I could send them off for testing before this afternoon.

When he placed the parts on my desk, I handed him an ice cold Mountain Dew as a thank you.
It is a small gesture that only cost me $1.25. But it showed my true appreciation of his effort and will bolster our working relationship. Well worth a buck & a quarter.

Little things like that can change the dynamics of your professional & personal lives. A simple smile, holding the door, and a sincere "thank you" are easy to do.

Just reminder; insincerity can be spotted a mile away. If you do things like this solely for the gain, it will backfire on you big time.

Simple little things add up, and they can add up quickly. If your small gestures of kindness and appreciation are genuine and sincere everybody evolved gains.  If your a fake it has the potential to take away any credibility you may have.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same

As usual, I skipped last night's State of the Union address. I could never stand them. Even as a young kid I was irradiated by the fact that they had to interrupt prime time TV on every single station tell show a political pep talk that is mostly smoke and mirror with a side of empty promises and half baked facts.

From what I've heard today I didn't miss a thing, as I expected. One of the key points coworkers, friends and talk radio people laughed the most at was the President's empty promise of free two year education. We all know that it will not happen, including the President. We all know it was never intended to happen.

While sounds good to the gullible, naive and hopeful; it is not possible since nothing is really free. In order for it to happen our broke government would need to divert already borrowed funds from another social program or raise taxes. Either way, the American Taxpayer will get stuck with the bill.

So therefore it will never get past the Republican controlled Congress. Which is exactly what the President and the Democratic Party want to, so they can make the Republican Party look like a bunch of evil people who don't want poor people to get an education. It's all just a political trick to win votes. Same old BS both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have been playing for generations.

In fact, some of the discussions made me think of some of the awesome quotes from (in my opinion) the best political commentator of all time, Will Rogers. The most appropriate being:

"Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth."

I spent a little time reading and laughing at some of Will Rogers' zingers on Brain Quotes and a few other places. The only sad part about reading what Will Rogers said about our government and two major political parties, is that they sound like he could have said them today, not 80 years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Russian Capitalism: AK made in the USA

Facebook post from AK Operators Union, Local 47-74
It's been a little tough to focus on the day job when my phone is constantly going wild with news from SHOT Show 2015. A few friends, bunch of companies, YouTubers, and bloggers I follow are posting, texting and tweeting a ton of cool things that this lover of all things firearms finds more interesting than the tasks at hand.

The news that has gotten most of my interest isn't a new gun or the next must have accessory. It is some news posted on the AK Operators Union, Local 47-74's Facebook page. Kalashnikov Concern is in the process of starting production in the USA.

While I may not be the biggest AK fan in the world, and there is a very good chance I'll never buy an AK from Kalashnikov Concern; I am jumping for joy that they are going to start producing their product in the USA. I think it is fantastic that the Russian company has found away around  the import ban via Executive Order that was put in place in 2014.

Let's not fool ourselves. The 2014 import ban was not really put in place to by our Federal Government as political sanctions against Russia for their invasion of the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. It was a gun ban vaguely disguise has political sanctions.

If the our President truly wanted to pressure the Russian government with import restrictions, wouldn't he make much more of an impact by banning the import of vodka or other more widely imported Russian goods?

The ban on import of Russian made firearms from Kalashnikov Concern was a well thought out move that made a statement to the Russians without too much risk to the White House for retaliatory sanctions that could escalate things quickly out of control. And with a stroke of a pen the President was able to ban at least the import of some of the style of firearms that many of his political party tried desperately to ban a few years ago.

But now with Kalashnikov Concern setting up shop on US soil, this all changes. The Russian company will be able to sell it's product to it's US market, while providing jobs to Americans. Pretty interesting that the US is getting a lesson in Capitalism from Russia.

If you are into AK's and haven't seen the AK Operators Union, Local 47-74 YouTube Channel yet, you should check them out. Besides having one of the most creative names out there for a gun channel, the have some very good videos to watch.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Does Warped Humor = Russian Logic?

I just saw the above headline on BBC.com. After my initial WTF reaction, my warped humor found the root of the Russian logic: If someone can't stay in a gender role, you can't expect them to stay in a lane of traffic.

I know, I know.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm rooting against Boehner and I can't even remember the name of the dude challenging him

I'm rooting against Boehner and I can't even remember the name of the dude challenging him. It's not that I think Boehner is too liberal or too conservative. It's because I think he's been in the House Speaker position too long.

On the ride home last night, there were reports on my car pool rides radio of threats from "Boehner's people" that any Republican who doesn't vote for him will not be appointed to any high ranking committee positions. Whether that's true or just talk radio talk I don't know. But that is exactly the kind of behavior I'd expect from any career politician from any political party that's been in a position of power for too long.

My solution is simple: for every new Congress, there are new members elected to every position. Each and every leadership role from Speaker of the House to the lowest sub-committee chair will get a new person with zero experience in that role.

That would put an end of a lot of political favors to get bill voted on and other BS that goes on in Washington DC.

We need term limits. Not just in how long we have people in Washington DC and the State Capitols, but limits on what they do in there short stay there.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Losers in the Playoffs: Sometimes losers end up winning and winners end up losing.

I find it a strange thing that a professional sports team can make the playoffs with a losing record. That is something I'd expect from a neutered no score is kept everyone's a winner we don't want to hurt anybody's feelings pampered youth league. But the Carolina Panthers have made the 2014 NFL playoffs with a record of 7-8-1.

Bad enough they allow an NFL game end in a tie, but a team with a losing record made it into the playoffs? 

My first reaction was if a NFL division was so that all the teams have a losing record, then the division "winner" shouldn't be allowed into the playoffs because playoffs are for the good teams. There spot should be given to the team with the best record that didn't make the playoffs.

After I calmed down and thought about it, I changed my mind from my emotional reaction; like I often do. In the grand scheme of things; rearranging the NFL playoffs so that only the top teams make it in is really no different than a pampered youth soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy.

Taking the Panthers' playoff spot away from them and giving it to a more deserving team would be merely an attempt to make life fair. And life is not fair. Sometimes losers end up winning and winners end up losing.

Yes, there are better NFL teams than the Carolina Panthers that are not in the NFL playoffs. Yes Carolina has a 7-8-1 record. But they are the best in their division and some better NFL team were not. That's just how it goes.

Now today the Carolina Panthers take on the Arizona Cardinals and I'm actually going to root for the team with the losing record. Who doesn't like an underdog?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Random Thought on the Way to Work

On the way into work this morning, as song from The Cure came on the radio. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was that melancholy sounding one with the mildly depressing tone. 

For whatever reason it reminded me of a time many years ago, back when The Cure was popular. A bunch of us where at Valley Fair, an area amusement park. We were walking around the midway part of the park, playing an occasional game trying to win an overpriced stuffed animal or something. Overall just enjoying a nice summer day. 

As we worked our way through the midway area, we walked past another group of college aged kids. One must have been a big fan of The Cure. Dressed in black and chains, wearing more hairspray and eye liners than the girls in his group. And to top it off he looked both depressed and annoyed at the same time. As if he not only wasn’t having fun, but he was getting pissed at all the people around him enjoying themselves. 

I wonder what ever happened to him? He is in some cubical in the Twins Cities Metro Area still dressed for a punk funeral, or did he ever cheer up? Chances are, he’s another aging hipster and still putting an effort into looking angry and annoyed.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

America is not the greatest nation in the world anymore. And a lot of us are complete idiots who think we're smart.

The above clip from the HBO show The Newsroom shows up quite regularly on my Facebook feed. It is often shared by some of my more Libertarian friends and I enjoy watching it every time. I feel the video hits the nail squarely on the head. America is not the greatest country in the world and it's been going downhill for generations now. Sadly, the proof of this can often be found in the comments when someone posts this video clip.

For example today a friend of mine share this video clip on Facebook. One of his friends commented "This makes a good point, but it's obviously scripted. It's too convenient that the cameras caught all the people's reactions at just the right time. The debate is a fake."

Really? Smart enough to sniff out a fake debate, yet can't comprehend that it's either part of a movie or TV show? The fact that Jeff Daniels is the guy doing the majority of the talking wasn't a clue either?

We've peaked. America is not the greatest nation in the world anymore. And a lot of us are complete idiots who think we're smart.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Small victory in the coffee maker aisle

Now that I'm back to commuting for work, I'm focusing more on my budget. Something that I've been lacking over the last year or so. Just like diet & exercise we all need to work on keeping our finances in line. Just like diet & exercise when we keep on it with our finances we see continuous improvements. And just like diet & exercise who we stuff off a little with out finances, it's easy to lose all our gains and go back into our bad habits.

While I've been doing okay, I now need to get back in tight control of the checkbook. A tank of gas will no longer last me a week. And with the drive, I had to upgrade my ride a little before I wanted to. Now there is a car payment thrown into consideration.

The other weekend I was out doing the weekly shopping and knocking a few items of the Christmas gift list. I found myself in the coffee maker aisle of an area big box home improvement store. My old coffee maker was on its last leg and it was past time to replace it. And a sleek looking stainless steel number had my full attention.

Tons of features and tons of options. Timers, brew strength settings, self cleaning mood, brews a twelve cup pot like grandpa used to do, or a single cup using those little flavored plastic cup thingies. As I was trying to justify the price tag of the coffee maker to myself, I was already accessory shopping for it. They conveniently had a matching stainless steel organizer for the little flavored plastic cup thingies.

As I was replacing and accessorizing half my kitchen in my head, a nagging little item wiggled it's way back into my head. My budget. And my budget had no room in it for a decked out coffee maker. I stood up to my inner child and told it no. The excel spreadsheet I made to get control of my budget clearly pointed out that a $100 coffee maker is not happening.

I reminded myself that I don't need a button to adjust the brew strength, I can just put in more or less coffee. And since I make it the same every time, why would I need that setting for anyway?

I told my inner child that since I rarely drink coffee in any other flavor than coffee, so the why bother with the little flavored plastic thingies and the sleek stainless steel organizer they would require. Sure a custom single serving of coffee flavored to their choice my impress a guest. But if I'm already making the coffee, there is most likely no need for me to do anything to impress them in the first place.

The inner child pouted as I placed the no thrills $15 coffee maker into the cart. But the inner child doesn't add any revenue to boost the budget. And until it finds a way to do it, all it gets is boring coffee flavored coffee from a boring coffee maker.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Purge

It's that time of year. When people reflect on themselves and make plans and promises for self improvement. A majority are caught up in the "it's the end of the year and I've accomplished nothing" mindset. A few are getting a early start on getting the financials together for taxes, and wonder why they are broke. Personally for me, it's a time to start making some changes because I went to put up my Christmas tree.

I keep my fake tree in a box that spends about 11 months out of the year in the back of the guest bedroom closet. It took me about 10 minutes to move plastic totes out of the way to clear a path to the closet. That's when it became clear to me that I need to purge.

While my work areas at the day job and my home office are kept clutter free and streamlined for efficiency, my guest bedroom is quite the opposite. In fact, for a guy who prides himself in keeping things clutter free, my guest bedroom an embarrassing thing I do my best to ignore that takes up the southwest corner of my home.

Even me calling it "the guest bedroom" is a lie. In the thirteen years I've lived in my house, I've yet have had a guest bed down in my guest bedroom. Over the years it has basically become a big ass closet with a closet inside it that I keep a fake Christmas tree in for about 11 months a year. On top of what might be a bed, is a pile of clothes, camping & hunting gear, and who knows what else. The rest of the floor is cover with plastic totes, books, a bunch what can only be labeled as "stuff." Half of the "stuff" I'm not even sure is even mine, let alone what it's for.

Time for a purge. Currently I'm putting all that "stuff" into one of four piles. One pile of stuff to keep and put away properly or use. One pile of stuff to sell off on Craigslist or something. One pile of stuff to just give away to friends & family, or a thrift store if no one else wants it. And one pile to go to the recyclers & dump.

Now that I'm getting into the mood and have momentum on my side, I'm going to keep this purge going. While the home office is in decent shape, it could use a little purging too. Old files, notes, papers and other documents will be scanned & tossed, or maybe just tossed in some cases. The computers could use a digital purging & reorganizing too.

Every once in a while we look around and realized we've lost a little bit of our organization and order. Every once in a while we need to regroup. And when it takes ten minutes to rescue your fake Christmas tree from your clutter, it's time for a purge.