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Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Looking Bike, Hipster Tuneup, and the American Slave State- The Sunday Collage

It all started with an email from my sister and then a phone call from Late Night Dave. Late Night Dave works in a law enforcement capacity and by all accounts is a pretty nice guy. He lives in Seattle. I've only met him once.

Dave had found a beautiful 1994 Harley Davidson Heritage in the Nampa- Caldwell area about 20 miles west of Boise. He had been negotiating with the owner who had originally asked 8,000 for the bike which Dave had negotiated down to 7,000. With only 9800 miles, Late Night asked me if I would go check it out. 

I met the owner at his residence. His name is Dennis. Dennis showed me the bike. I am in awe anytime I see a motorcycle that is 22 years old and absolutely pristine. Not even a discolored pipe. The only flaw I could find was a 1/4" rock strike on the gas tank which peeled a little paint- even the tires still had the nubs on them. Dennis had just put on the second set of tires.

I often refer to bikes as "riding" bikes and "looking" bikes. This bike was a "looking" bike, nearly a museum piece. A trailer queen. I've never owned one. My bikes get ridden hard, sometimes in rain, and sometimes they swap paint or find the pavement. I've agreed to all of those terms. But the point of this story doesn't have anything to do with that pristine bike. It has to do with Late Night Dave-who at age 62 and without a motorcycle endorsement- asked me if he should be buying motorcycles.  

Have I ever heard anyone, regardless of age ever say, "gawd I wished I hadn't bought that bike." I don't think I've ever heard that- certainly not in the company of men. If someone actually regretted buying a motorcycle, that is something you keep to yourself or perhaps utter in a confessional booth. Mostly, I know people who regret not buying a bike or who regret selling a bike. That is the stuff I remember. And so it was- Dave at the advanced age of 62- bought a motorcycle. A very pristine one. I think he'll love it.

Shifting gears so to speak...

This morning my gal and I went out to eat. I've been doing my annual meat diet hoping to lose 40 pounds. We often go to this small restaurant that is quite popular and on weekends there is always a line. As it turns out, there was only one couple ahead of us. This is a seat yourself joint.

So as we stood in line, these two hipsters showed up and one of them muscles past me into the restaurant. I'm thinking he already has a seat and he just ran out to the parking lot for something. His buddy stood behind me in the line. As it turns out, the first hipster located a couple of vacant counter seats, turned around and motioned for his friend to come on in.

I suppose 25 years of dealing with assholes doesn't just wash off overnight. I wish that I could tell you that my Zen Buddhist philosophy kicked in and those of us in line hummed a few bars of "'Que Sera...Sera....whatever will be will be"....but that's not quite how it worked out. 

As soon as the first hipster motioned his friend in, I looked at them and I said "Sure you guys go were first in line." The hipster behind me said, "you don't have to be a dick." That lit me up just a bit. I responded, "Well as a matter of fact it appears that I do and by the way, go fuck yourself." Now when you have a moment like this, and you decide to pull the trigger like that, you must accept the consequences. And for a brief instant, I was prepared to take an even more enthusiastic stand if you know what I mean. Sometimes that's how these things have to go. I am not particularly proud of how I handled this- but I'm not offering up any apologies either.

The truth is, at age 55 in my most lucid moments, I'm not sure I wanna dance anymore. I may get my ass kicked some day. Unfortunately, I just can't run away from my sense of right and wrong- it's like a part of me. I can't tolerate bullies either, I confront them. My gal was embarrassed and she's a girly girl- not much help in a scrap, so here's the deal.

People make mistakes. When I screw up, I apologize because that's what responsible people do. This sense of doing the right thing and offering an apology when you are out of line has apparently gone missing from whatever upbringing those two hipsters had. As is stands, I feel confident that those two won't be cutting in front of anyone having received that rather blunt, refresher course in manners.

For a couple of days, I've wanted to write a piece about the anger in this country as it applies to this "leadership" we have. We were conned. We had bank bail outs with tax payer money and then we had health insurance bailouts wherein our masters simply directed us to send in 6 thousand a year or more rather than simply steal it out of the treasury like they did for the bankers.

Do any of us actually think we are free?

American corporations, bankers, billionaires, the oligarchy. Winning. The rest of us....the middle class...

Are economic slaves. Our masters spend and we pay. Although I can't stand Warren Buffett, I actually like his father. His father understood well, the correlation between gold and freedom. I don't think I can explain it any better than this. Here then is a piece which will cause even the most skeptical people to pause. I think you'll like it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014

Greg drives to President Obama's new house, which is located in a very exclusive, gated community near Chicago, where all the residents have a net income of way more than $250,000 per year.
Greg arrives and takes his tools into the house. He is led to the guest bathroom that contains the leaky pipe under the sink. Greg assesses the problem and tells Obama that it's an easy repair, that will take less than 10 minutes. Obama asks Greg how much it will cost. Greg checks his rate chart and says, "$9,500."

"What?! $9,500?!" Obama asks, stunned, "But you said it's an easy repair. Michelle will kill me if I pay a plumber that much!"

Greg says, "Yes, but what I do is charge those who make more than $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free. This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It's known as the 'Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014'. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it."

In spite of that, Obama tells Greg there's no way he's paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Greg leaves. Obama spends the next hour flipping through the phone book calling for another plumber, but he finds that all other plumbing businesses in the area have gone out of business. Not wanting to pay Greg 's price, Obama does nothing and the leak goes un-repaired for several more days. A week later the leak is so bad President Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink.
Michelle is not happy as she has Oprah and guests arriving the next morning. The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and there's a risk the room will flood, so Obama calls Greg and pleads with him to return.

Greg goes back to Obama's house, looks at the leaky pipe, checks his new rate chart and says, "Let's see, this will now cost you $21,000."
Obama quickly fires back, "What? A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!"

Greg explains, "Well, because of the 'Affordable Plumbing Act,' a lot of wealthier people are learning how to maintain and take care of their own plumbing, so there are fewer payers in the plumbing exchanges. As a result, the price I have to charge wealthy people like you keeps rising. Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work by those who get it for free has skyrocketed! There's a long waiting list of those who need repairs, but the amount we get doesn't cover our costs, especially paperwork and record-keeping. This unfortunately has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, they're not being replaced, and nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they can't make any money at it. I'm hurting too, all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won't pay their 'fair share'. On the other hand, why didn't you buy plumbing insurance last December? If you had bought plumbing insurance available under the 'Affordable Plumbing Act,' all this would have been covered by your policy."
"You mean I wouldn't have to pay anything to have you fix my plumbing problem?" asks Obama.
"Well, not exactly," replies Greg. "You would have had to buy the insurance before the deadline, which has passed now. And, because you're rich, you would have had to pay $34,000 in premiums, which would have given you a 'silver' plan, and then, since this would have been your first repair, you would have to pay up to the $21,000 deductible, and anything over that would have a $7,500 co-pay, and then there's the mandatory maintenance program, which is covered up to 17.5%, so there are some costs involved. Nothing is for free."

"WHAT?!" exclaims Obama. "Why so much for a puny sink leak?!"

With a bland look, Greg replies, "Well, paperwork, mostly, like I said. And the internal cost of the program itself. You don't think a program of this complexity and scope can run itself, do you? Besides, there are millions of folks with lower incomes than you, even many in the 'middle class', who qualify for subsidies that people like you must support. That's why they call it the 'Affordable Plumbing Act'! Only people who don't make much money can get it. If you want affordable plumbing, you'll have to give away most of what you have accumulated and cut your and Michelle's income by about 90%. Then you can qualify to GET your 'Fair Share' instead of GIVING it."

"But who would pass a crazy act like the 'Affordable Plumbing Act'?!" exclaims the exasperated Obama.
After a sigh, Greg replies, "Congress ... because they didn't read it."

This will help you understand Obamacare .... And here you have it, the 'Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014'.