Archive for the ‘curmudgeonly rants’ category

%#@&#$$ Cars

June 8, 2018

TLNo one has ever accused me of being a car guy, not because I don’t like cars but because I am too cheap and too practical to actually own one of the dozens of upscale vehicles that roam the streets around our neighborhood in North Orange County California. It probably didn’t help that I was burned twice by fun but unreliable vehicles early in my car owning life, a 1966 Alfa Romeo Spyder and a Fiat (Can you say Fix It Again Tony?) 850. Beyond those it has been Chevys, Toyotas and Hondas, all kept until their odometers were well beyond 100,000 miles. I am currently driving an 11 year old Acura TL, which was my big (for me) splurge when our business was doing very well. It is the best car I’ve ever owned but as its odometer inches toward 150.000 miles it is having senior moments more and more often. As I do with my senior friends, I try to be tolerant of its signs of age, but as my Acura’s issues become more bizarre, my patience is waning. (more…)

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Pet Peeves

April 10, 2018

curmudgeonI didn’t sleep well last night.  Again.  And my lovely wife, Muri, tells me I was talking loudly and thrashing about when I was sleeping.  So, I’m tired.  I have things on my mind, medical issues to discuss with my doctor and personal things I don’t seem to be able to get to.  Muri is off for lunch and shopping with a friend so I’m alone in the park.  Usually that’s a good thing but today I’m in a mood.   My friend Ralph, who I usually meet for dinner on Tuesdays is sick.   The best way our of a pissy mood is often to write in my journal, put the garbage out, as I like to call it.  I don’t want to.  My Inner Curmudgeon is Outer.   So, in the interests of the safety of those around me, the best thing I can do is let him rant.   Here are a few of his Pet Peeves, things that get on his nerves as we go through our day. (more…)

Tax Day

March 26, 2018

taxes1It is Tax Day.  Don’t panic, please … Tax Day for me hasn’t been April 15 for many years, since I began having my taxes done by a professional tax accountant.   For most of my years working for Big Industry, I did my own taxes.  I would postpone filing as long as possible, then scramble to collect all the necessary records, re-remember from last what went on what line and hold my breath as I looked up the tax due in the Tax Tables.  That usually happened on April 14.  Since I started my own business and hired an accountant to do the dirty work, Tax Day has been the day of my appointment with Taxman Bob.   I gather up all my paperwork and fill out the tax organizer that Bob provides, them spend about an hour in his office as he looks through what I’ve provide, making sure nothing is missing or incorrect.  He checks to see that I’ve paid my estimated taxes (in the amounts he calculated the previous year to assure there will be no penalty) and makes sure I haven’t neglected any deductions.   Then we’re done.  Within a few days, he will call with the bad news.   It’s always bad news because I pay estimated taxes, so, at a minimum, I will owe the first estimated tax payment minus any return I might have coming.   It can be a substantial chunk of change. (more…)

Robo

January 19, 2018

dial phoneIn the little ranch style house I grew up in in East Haven Connecticut, there was one phone.  It looked like this one, a masterpiece of efficient electro-mechanical machinery, weighing about 2 pounds.  By placing your finger in the hole of the number you wished to dial, rotating the dial until your finger was against the stopper, then releasing it, the internal mechanism would generate that number of pulses and sent them out on the phone line.  I think that phone rang two or three times a day, always answered by my Mom.   It was usually a call from a friend or family, but occasionally it would be a business inquiry from an establishment where my parents did business.  There was a small pad next to the phone for messages in case the call was for someone that wasn’t home. (more…)

Whackers and Blowers

October 7, 2017

`As I write this post, it occurs to me that this particular title could be taken in a very different context than I intended.   So let me say first that if it is sexual titillation (one of the great words in the language, don’t you think?) you are looking for, there are much better places to get it than the blog of a 73 year old curmudgeon. So, take your dirty mind and move on.

20171007_115339464794329.jpgIt is Saturday morning, and I am in the park.  That is no surprise any day of the week but Saturday is my most consistent day, my day to assess my week and do some of the things that keep this old brain ticking … write, pray, make a gratitude list, and read some inspiring essays.  Maybe (only maybe) meditate. But there is a surprise this morning and it isn’t a good one.   The park landscape crew is out and for the last forty minutes I have been serenaded by the annoying drone of a weed-whacker.  And you know what that means … soon to follow is the main act in the parade of annoying noises, the leaf blower.  Yorba Regional Park is a beautiful place, partly because of the work of the landscapers but I’d be happy to have a some long grass around the trees and a few leaves on the sidewalks to be spared the constant whine.  And on Saturday, yet.  Saturdays are supposed to be reserved for screaming children, the thump of too-loud-music from family reunions, and the drone of weekend traffic on the nearby freeway. (more…)

The Eclipse Curmudgeon

August 22, 2017

Clipboard01When I was a boy, I saved up my money and bought a 3 inch reflector telescope from Edmund Scientific.  I believe it cost $29.95, which tells you how long ago it was, in the 1950s.  I don’t remember how old I was … I would guess twelvish.  With this telescope, from the hay field behind our house I could see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, some of the larger nebulae, double stars and of course, incredible detail of the surface of the moon.   Nobody ever told me not to point my telescope at the sun.  Nobody had to.  I was a smart kid.  But when I learned about sunspots and heard a report of exceptional sunspot activity, I certainly wanted to.   I don’t know where I found the piece of green plexiglass that became my solar filter.  To the eye, it was opaque but if I held it up to the sun, I could see the sun through itplexiglass … which gave me an idea.  Using my Dad’s jigsaw, I cut a circular piece the size of my telescope tube and taped it over the open end.   Wallah.  Sunspots at 60X power.   I seem to remember watching a partial eclipse using my improvised solar filter, too.  Those was the good old days … or the bad old days, depending on your point of view.  No one checked the transmittance of my plexiglass disc, checked if it was compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.   Was my tape job sufficiently secure to assure the filter wouldn’t fall off, vaporizing my eyeball?  Yep, it was.  I still have two working Older Eyes.

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Bad Reputation

August 10, 2017

shower.jpgWe have recently been doing some renovation on our guest bathroom.  As is often the case in tract homes, the builder used a cheap bathtub that rusted through and began to leak water into the garage, which is directly below the bathroom.  Some heavy-duty caulking stopped the leakage for a while, but in July, the drip-drip-drip started again.   We called our friendly neighborhood plumber (he really is, here) and had our tub replaced with a high-quality cast iron one.  The plan was to remove the lower portion of the tile tub enclosure, but when that was done, it revealed some water damage to the framing behind the tile, so we had the entire enclosure removed and the framing replaced.  Then it was time to call our friendly neighborhood masonry guy (also really is, here) to redo the enclosure.   This was turning into a marathon (to the tune of the ka-ching ka-ching of money leaving our bank account). (more…)