MEMORIES: Buying the Nova

OK, it’s 1967. I’m working full time, going to schools full time, and dating full time. Making great money. Life’s good. She’s basically agreed to marry me when I graduate from school. No ring yet. No date. No telling anyone that we were committed to each other. (Like anyone could not see it.) She was wearing my college ring. (Yeah, I was whipped.)

She’s driving an old Corvair. And, I’m driving relatively new International Harvester Scout.

Her’s uses fan belts every other week.

(You’d love it. She had the spanner and a bar. And a supply of fan belts. She could slap a new one on in in under ten minutes. And, despite what Ralph Nadar said about fireballs, she loved that car. It was cheap on gas. When the girls would go to the shore, they always took Ev’s car.)

My Scout was not very “stylish”. It was OK, but I knew she hated it. (I never understood why? It was a sports model with the “swept back” roof. An injineer’s vehicle. And, every winter I earned my insurance money towing folks out of the snow. NYC always did a lousy job of snow removal.)

So, I said something like “you know we should have a new car. I worry that sometime your going to get stuck. And we’ll have it for when we get married.”

She was concerned about the money, but reluctantly agreed.

We agreed to spend the princely sum of $1700. She decided she like the Chevy Nova. She decided she liked brown. (What a surprise! She loved brown. I used to tease her about it being “Mahoney color”. And, “Aren’t Irish girls supposed to love green?”)

When it came to paying for it, I suggested we borrow from the wedding savings account. “No way. We have to be ready when you graduate.” (OK, nice to know that was still on plan.)

“OK, I’ll get a loan and we’ll go half and half.” “No, I don’t think so. You make more than I do; so you can buy it.” “OK” (Yeah, whipped.)

“And, since I’ll be driving it, we’ll register in my name. It’ll also need more insurance, so you can pay the extra.”

And about a week later, she was driving a brand new Chevy Nova. And, was happy as a … … Well, she was very pleased with it and with herself. Things always went better when they went according to her plan.

So, when we’d go out on a date. I drive to 39W8th street and park the Scout in the train station. Walk across the street and pick her up. And, we’d go out in the Nova.

My reward? I got to drive.

Funny the things we do for love.

I would love the opportunity to do it all again. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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MONEY: I would steer clear of Gooferment bonds

California Moves Closer Toward Default by Chriss W. Street

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California tax payers just took a huge punch in the nose from the same actuaries who provided the cover for state politicians to spike public employee retirement benefits. The latest shocker comes from California State Controller John Chiang who yesterday unveiled a new actuarial report that shows California faces another unfunded debt of $59.9 billion to pay for retiree health and dental benefits over the next 30 years.

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When I worked on Wall Street, I learned about risks. Seems to me that a lot of folks in California are underestimating their risks.

I’d not be holding any Gooferment debt.

Here in New Jersey, the State Gooferment just “stole” the state employees’ pensions by not contributing. In California,

Seems like the California folks are gonna get the same — employees and taxpayers alike. And the politicians get off scott free!

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FUN: Trying to be the Penny Zen Master

Frau Reinke wanted to go to AC so of course we went. We had dinner at the main buffet since drinking for me is now out of the question. I have to be in full control of my senses to help her get through this time of trouble. Yesterday, I played better on a Penny. Following some of my Zen, I walked away with 100$ profit which I split with Ev. I played for a long while on her card.

Interesting. A lady sat down to play next to me. She was very concerned with how I was doing. I was playing max bet max lines on a low progressive slot. Buck and a half a spin. And, was doing pretty good. I was trying to be the Penny Zen Master and not get caught up in the “feeding frenzy” of push push the button as fast as you can.After all I had two hours to kill and the Mac Book Air only runs for an hour on the battery. (That’s why I don’t recommend it and if I had known that I would not have bought it.) So so I was following my “timing the machine” strategy. (Three deep breaths between pushes. Being mindful of “speed kills your wallet”. Letting it count out all pay offs. “Respect the machine”. Calculate the eventually total of what ever I’d win with what I had. Setting stop limits. Being calm. Being in the moment.) So this lady goes to sit next to me. She bumps me hard. Mumbles something. Starts playing with a voucher from another machine. I could help but notice she started with 80$. But, I was in the moment with “my own” machine. I was hitting a lot of small stuff. And I noticed she was very interested in how I was doing. That usually is a giant turn off for me. I am superstitious had believe it brings you bad luck. Like an evil eye. Completely irrational I know. But that my feeling. Conflicts with my new belief — Zen of Penny Slots – Point #10 – It’s a random number generator — and I’m trying to master my emotions at the slots. Any way, I’m not doing badly. I played off my “free” money and put in my planned stake. Two spins in I hit the free spins. Usually I would avoid this kind of game since you have to pick in a “concentration” style bonus game. I am usually a terrible picker. So I used my “randomizing technique” of taking the top bill in my wad and using the digits on it to pick. (Hey, the casino has a random number generator; why can’t I? I probably should print a card of random digits from 0 to 9 at home. I’m not sure those bill digits are that random.) In this case it was my innermost twenty. Good old Andy Jackson. So I plunk out the numbers and sure enough I get top number of spins and top multiplier with a wild card for five additional spins. Now this machine is imho notoriously stingy in the bonus round. But I am the aspiring Zen Master of Penny Slots. And it’s just a random number generator. Any way, bout half way thru, it hits big. 70$ or so. And, the lady next to me is going nuts. She stops play and starts watching me. When I notice this, my machine stops hitting and the bonus round ends. Up about 90$. Normally I’d be pissed and move on. But not the new ZMoPS. I just calmly sit there as it pays off. She says to me: “How did you get so much?” DUH. Now usually I be all in a snit. Say something real nasty, but I’m now the new ZMoPS. So I reply: “Just dumb luck. Besides you shouldn’t be too concerned with what I win. You need to win.” She obviously didn’t like that answer. So she resumed playing and watching. Her husband sits down and she laments on her fate of a “bad machine”. And, tells him I keep winning and winning. With a thick Russian accent. She starts playing again. Stupidly imho. She’s tells hubby: “She’s varying her stake to bring out the luck.” I feel like yelling at her: “No, Grasshopper, that leads to the dark side.” I really wish her the best. Don’t you know she hits the bonus, picks max spins, with max multiplier, with 5 extra, … … with a minimum 30¬¢ bet. Argh! She goes nuts. Meantime, she focuses back on me. I’m still waiting for it to count out my win. But she doesn’t know that so she thinks I’ve hit again. Starts muttering under her breath and yelling at the husband. To which he says: “Lats go eat.” She says something. He walks away. She’s going nuts. Any way I continue to play with a new stop point set of 150$. I hit some more. Get the bonus a few times. Use different bills. Nothing big. My stop keeps edging up to to two hundred. She goes nuts and eventually puts more money in and finally busts out down about 300$ by my eye. So naturally, I start bouncing in and around the 210 to 225 range. At 230, my stop would move to 210. Can’t seem to get up to 230. Eventually the machine “turns cold” and I hit just under 200$. 199.12. And like the ZMoPS I am, I cash out. Thanking the Universe for a nice hour and ten minutes of fun. It was “fun”. Split with the old lady. And I can come another day. I didn’t ever indulge in schadenfreude at my “companion’s” loss. But it did teach me that I’m on the right path to control my losses at the casino.

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Categories FUN

MONEY: No alternative but return to commodity money

Don’t count on currency revaluation
Posted: March 09, 2011 8:37 pm Eastern
By Ian Fletcher

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In any case, the killer argument against balancing our trade by just letting the dollar fall comes down to a single word: oil. If the dollar has to fall by half to do this, this means that the price of oil must double in dollar terms. Even if oil remains denominated in dollars (it is already de facto partly priced in euros) a declining dollar will drive its price up. The U.S., with its entrenched suburban land use patterns and two generations of underinvestment in mass transit, is exceptionally ill-equipped to adapt, compared to our competitors.

Fundamentally, allowing the dollar to crumble is a way of restoring our trade balance andinternationalcompetitiveness by becoming poorer. That’s not what Americans want, or should want. A tariff is a much better solution.

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Perhaps, some one might care to opinion on this piece of bad advice. A hint of a tariff leads to the Great Depression repeat. Allowing currency to inflate takes us the way of all fiat currencies. If we don’t change course, we emulate the Titanic. Argh! OK, what is the “right answer”.

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In the absence of any good ideas, why not take small steps: reduce Gooferment spending to pre-Clinton levels, repeal “legal tender” laws, and transition away from the FED.

“We don need no stinkin … …” bureaucrats or Wall Street fat cats.

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FUN: RU Women’s berth

Rutgers snares a No. 7 seed in NCAAs

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer wasn’t exactly thrilled with her team’s NCAA tournament draw.

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I think they did pretty well.

The committee stuck Notre Dame in UConn’s bracket. RU dodged Baylor’s and Tennessee’s brackets. All in all, I can see RU getting to the Final Four if they play well.

Out in the first round if they play that funky “pass the ball around until we turn it over” style that seems, like a recessive gene, to come out when one least expects it. All her teams have had that. Perhaps it’s the coaching?

I’d expect that the hardest thing for a coach is to infuse the players with intensity.

And, RU hasn’t had a legitimate 5 since Sue Wicks left.

Now there was a woman with intensity.

It’s hard to see RU advancing without a traditional 5 for rebounds and points in the paint.

But then what do I know? I’m only a fat old white guy injineer. And this was the first year without season tix to RU. Among other things I am without.

Time to see RU pull a rabbit out of the hat, or put some intensity in the sneakers. That’s what winning is all about.

Raw naked desire!

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We’ll see. This was my wife’s “team”. Subway alumni. Had season tix from the mid-70s until last year. I think when ever she watched them that she wondered what might have been. Her common phrase was “I was born two decades too soon” and after the women would play badly “they have no idea what gift they have to play at this level”. Not in criticism, but a wistful sadness.

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Categories FUN

MEMORIES: Found my notes of a 6/9/10 trip to WalMart

Went to WalMart to get a cheap printer. Argh! FML. She said she was fine. We walked into WalMart form the handicapped space, walked the width of the store and she was getting shaky. Stupidly I didn’t suggest she take of the motorized carts. Stupidly I didn’t insist we leave. She dismissed me to go look for the printer, and I like fool went and got it. When I found it and brought it back to the dog food pile she was sitting on, she was gone. Argh! I caught up to her with the basket with a few items in it, looking for the table section. That should have been a tip off she was struggling. It was easy to find. She tired again and I sat her on a barstool. We headed for the checkout. She had to stop on the way. She sent me ahead to check out and like a fool I did it. I really thought she was just tiring. I was on line and I heard some commotion right behind me. When I turned around, it was her on the ground. Argh! FML. I left the cart and went to her straight away. Ripped the crotch of my pants getting there. Needless to say it was a mess. he’s OK. Once she got over the shock. They insisted she sit in a wheelchair. (Good response by the WalMart assistant manager, who really wanted to call 911. She was fit to be tied. But admitted she wasn’t up to walking out to the truck.) She has no memory of the events in WalMart. Only remembers being wheelchaired out to the truck.

We then went to the diner on the way home. She was still shaky. On the way there she checked her sugar and it was above 200. That means it was heart; not sugar. Argh! At the diner, she ordered a full dinner but hardly touched it. I’ve attempted once again to tell her to do less. But got told off, “I can’t do any less”.

Oh an the printer doesn’t work. It’s been used and repackaged. The contents aren’t right and the plastic was opened. FML I’m pissed that this is another example of a return sold as new. I didn’t think WalMart did that. I know Officemax, Staples, and Office Depot do. Back it goes today. Argh!

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Maybe H’s right. I need to collect all the stuff I’ve learned over the past year, or the past 5 years, or the past 40 years, and create “The Guide to Patient Advocacy”.


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