Monday, May 30, 2016

Restaurant discounts for Seniors!

Forsyth MO - It's no real secret that attendance figures are a little down for many area eateries as the economy continues to spit and sputter along. That and the fact that social security income continues to lag behind inflation has had a negative impact on how us old folks spread their meager incomes around. As a group seniors have always been a 'filler crowd' for restaurants as they will often show up during the slack times for a late brunch or early dinner. But, that trend has been waning somewhat, as menu prices climb while there has been little or no cost of living increases coming via the Feds. 

So, what to do? Well here's on suggestion for all the area restaurants to consider. Give the oldie moldies a break by discounting meals on the days you owners find that you lack any customers at all! Be the first food emporium, on your block, to cut them a deal and enjoy the bennies right up to the time that your competition gets wind of what you're doing. Done properly as a marketing tool, profit margins will not shrink but rather expand under the burden of increased traffic, on days where there was little or none before. And note, that should you elect to do this, make darn sure your clientele are properly informed! Ads in local papers, store front banners and the Internet should all be used to the fullest extent. (Since you all have been collecting email addresses for some time, use those to target specific audiences.... uh, you have been collecting emails, right)? Seriously, being creatively proactive is not a bad thing.... On  a final note. For those Seniors who can afford it, and in those restaurants that may offer up a discount...please consider giving that extra amount of money to your server!

Since posting this piece, all I've heard is the sound of crickets....My response has been to curtail my visits to local eateries to a high degree. I would encourage others to also do so.

Update: December 2016 -  Zero participation by any area eatery that I was aware of. And, so my participation at eating in those venues was also zero.

Update: June 2017 - Things are changing. Discounts at one local eater may be announced soon. 

Update: June 13, 2017 - Charlie's Steak, Ribs and Ale was now offering a Veteran discount for meals of 10%. I also understood that the same discount was being offered to seniors on Mondays!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A bacon melt sandwich at the Frosted Mug!

Stock picture
Forsyth MO – While sitting at a local watering hole on an otherwise slow Memorial Day weekend. A good friend offered to share with me a grilled sandwich that he had prepared for himself. He had no name for it, I look closely and confirmed that there was bacon, tomato and that appeared to be jack cheese sandwiched nicely between two slices of grilled Texas toast! The first name that came to my mind was 'bacon melt'!

While this creation by chef Louis Murray was not on the John's Frosted Mug menu, it probably should be! The picture above is an approximation as I did not have my camera with me at the time. I'm hoping they might consider offering this taste sensation sometime in the future!

The Frosted Mug is a venerable institution of many decades and is staffed by a very aggressive staff of individuals who are dedicated to serving their customers in a professional and courteous manner.

River Run not ready for prime time!

Unwashed filthy signs greet park goers...
After a great early spring and with plenty of time, it appeared not much had been done to clean up the River Run Park near Forsyth MO on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend.
Locked gate screams stay out!

A closed gate on the Baker Street entrance, dirty unwashed signs and toilet/shower areas that had not been prepped.... these all spoke volumes to me. My thought was that perhaps I should find another park to camp in, say Shadowrock Park right across the river where everything was shipshape and many of the available camping spots had been taken.

In my mind the story was very easy to read. River Run is managed by the Federal government while Shadowrock Park is under local control. River Run is a mess while Shadowrock is clean and functional. That the difference, these days, with most everything that the Feds touch. My opinion? Perhaps River Run should be turned over to the city of Forsyth as they seem to know how to at least maintain while also making a profit....

 While Shadowrock support nice bathroom facilities, not so at River Run where porta potties are considered good enough....

2018 Update: The Park is closed for the season and partly under water. Great land management by the corps.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

CRE bacteria here in the US!

A long-dreaded super bug that is a strain of E. Coli has made its first appearance in the United States, researchers at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program announced Thursday.

After being identified in China, Europe and Canada, researchers identified mcr-1 positive— part of the deadly family of bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE— last month in a urinary tract sample in Pennsylvania, and found it was resistant to the antibiotic colistin.

Colistin, known as the last line of defense against the most antibiotic-resistant bacteria, now appears to be exchanging genes for its resistance and waning in strength, according to a news release.

"Colistin is one of the last efficacious antibiotics for the treatment of highly resistant bacteria. The emergence of a transferable gene that confers resistance to this vital antibiotic is extremely disturbing,” Dr. Patrick McGann, of the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), said in the release. “The discovery of this gene in the U.S. is equally concerning, and continued surveillance to identify reservoirs of this gene within the military health care community and beyond is critical to prevent its spread.”

Since the first transferable gene for colistin-resistance was identified in China in 2015, microbiologists have been monitoring food supply and humans for its presence, according to the study that reported the U.S. finding, which was published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. In Pennsylvania, the urinary tract infection sample from a 49-year-old female patient receiving treatment at a military facility was sent to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), where colistin susceptibility was tested. Tests revealed the bacterial infection would be resistant to colistin, and the center sent the sample to MRSN for sequencing, which identified the colistin-resistant gene, mcr-1. It’s unclear how the woman contracted the infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections with CRE germs are very difficult to treat. One report suggests they may contribute to death in up to 50 percent of infected patients.

In the new study, researchers reported that through intergovernmental communication, the CDC and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) also have identified a swine intestinal infection with a single mcr-1 positive E. Coli strain. The Pennsylvania case and swine case may not be linked, but “the evidence of the strain in the U.S. is a public health concern” that “could worsen the current global crisis of antimicrobial resistance,” according to the release.

At the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday, CDC director Tom Frieden called CRE a “nightmare bacteria.”

Excerpted from an article that appeared on Fox News

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The hidden delights of a grilled bologna sandwich!

OK. What delights might I be a referring to? In point of fact, there wasn't much to say in the way of good stuff about my luncheon sandwich this day. It consisted of a slice of bologna sandwiched between two slice of white bread. I also slathered on a tablespoon of mayo to to help make what was mildly bad nutrition into something even worst!

Have you seen this sandwich?

For this report, I brought in a police sketch artist who did a pretty bad job, (but he was free and so I had that going for me). But, if you use your imagination, you can see that he did a good job labeling the main ingredients:
  1. White bread which I toasted and which turns almost at once into glucose when it hits the intestines. A real sugar rush is then experienced. About 100 calories.
  2. A thin layer of mayo which is also egg white mixed with oil. Think the world 'fat' and you got it nailed! About 90 calories.
  3. Bologna is a sort of meat or meaty substance that, like its cousin Spam, comes from unknown sources. You don't want to know. Trust me. About 60 calories in each slab.
There you have it! A 250 calorie concoction that, were you to feed it to your dog on a regular basis, would likely kill him within just a few years!

Also, on this day, I had a small amount of Mandarin oranges 70 calories) in a desperate attempt to be able to use the words 'fair nutrition'.

So, what exactly are those hidden delights. Beats me. This junk is about all I can afford to eat while basking in Obama's Utopian Society....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A pseudo Paleo breakfast!

Changing your weight at the venerable age of 66 can be rather problematic. Drop it too fast and your heart implodes. Gain it too fast and you get the same result, only sooner. In either case, your junk shrinks... no wait, that happens all by itself...

For many years, I've wandered in haphazard fashion down the isles of weight loss programs. There are something like a gazillion of them, I think everyone on the planet has published at least one book on the subject... Currently, I am on the Paleo diet kick. Paleo stands for Paleolithic which refers to a time in human history that predated  the more current Neolithic period which is marked a change in human civilization. It was at that juncture, some ten thousand years ago that primitive man took a left turn and decided to settle down and grow stuff. We became an agrarian society which is defined as 'any society whose economy is based on producing and maintaining crops and farmland. Another way to define an agrarian society is by seeing how much of a nation's total production is in agriculture.' Once that new age began in earnest, we slowly began to walk away from a diet consisting of meats, fruits, berries and nuts and more towards one consisting of assorted vegetables and grains. And while that was not a totally bad thing to do, we've managed to pervert the process to such a point, by the 21st Century, that many of us are no longer walking very well. No, we are crawling, towards the nearest hospital. So, in review. The American male has gone from a totally lean eating machine to a fat and sloppy sophomoric blob who sits for most of his life while waiting for God to ring the recess bell... Not a pretty picture. Over just the past fifty years obesity has begun to run rampant with a corresponding large spike in the number of cardiac related deaths! Today, morbid obesity is pandemic in the US!  Did you know that Paleolithic man did not know about much in the way of diseases? Most did not exist! Heck, he didn't even have tooth decay to worry about! And while it's true that few survived very far into their twenties, most of the deaths were the result of predation for in those times as life was pretty brutal and short!

Be that as it may, a few scholars have taken note that the average Paleolithic man ate himself a pretty decent diet. On any given day, the successful hunter would perhaps score some meat, maybe a birds egg and some berries. (Note that while I refer to men, the women did every bit the same type of jobs only they also had kids to be concerned with while the difference in overall muscle strength precluded them from as much hunting). So, for millions of years, we homo sapiens pretty much thrived as a species with nary a single can of corn among us.

Some of these self same scholars have thought about those ancient lifestyles and then concocted diet plans that sort of kind of emulate those much more basic lifestyles of old. If one were to go for a 'Paleo Diet', one would be giving up all processed foods (meats included), all grains and dairy products. Note that left precious little to choose from at you favorite grocery store! In fact, you would be limited to just fresh veggies, meats, nuts (not legumes) and fruits. Wow! Talk about a severe diet! Most people could not exist in a world without Hostess Ding Dongs, Lays chips, pizza and ice cream! But, that be the world I was headed for for the duration of my diet! Note, however, that once I reach my personal weight goals, I may just grab myself a frozen Digiorno pizza!

Forsyth Patriot Day Parade

Forsyth MO - While the parade was a mite short on entries, it was very long on heart!

Kudos to our brave men and women who have and are now serving out country and I'm very proud to be an American!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Well, maybe not a best seller!

After two years of nefarious lurking about in Detroit's back alley's, our intrepid photo journalist DanO'manno' has just released a softcover book that exposes the uber soft underbelly of a nation in distress!

After a very shaky beginning in Detroit where this brave man DanO was repeatedly exposed to all sorts of viruses and germs, DanO went on to photographically capture much of the more seedy nooks and crannies of a once great metropolis. DanO was heard to remark that 'while a city may look OK from inside a limo, it gets a bit smelly when traveling from alley to alley in a tattered cab, after dark, and with someone who doesn't speak very good English'.

As of this post, DanO has not yet sold a single copy, but is encouraged, none the less. 'Someone will by a copy or two', he quipped to a reporter. 'Just look at what's selling on the Internet!'

We wish DanO the best as he heads for his next center of decay, Washington DC!

Shots from the hip!

Taney County Weather, what weather? - I sure don't want to jinx up the thing, but this sure has been a nice and fuzzy spring! Sure. We could have used a little more rain, but gee where are those big thunder boomers we would get exposed to most every year right about this time? One would almost imagine that the weather systems were running down a bit... Currently, Taney County is quite a few inches behind the curve, but wait! The NWS is now predicting a fun fill week starting Monday May 23rd with storm after storm after storm...
River Run Park – For years now, I've felt that the Corps of Engineers have maybe dropped a ball bearing or two out of their collective noggins. Take, for instance, the gates on Baker street in a small subdivision near River Run Park. Earlier this spring, one of the two gates near Highway 76 was opened as conditions in the park area proper appeared very ship shape. However, due to some mental process I'm not aware of, the Corps decided to leave the second gate closed thereby blocking Baker street access from the subdivision. A situation that could easily hinder emergency vehicles when every second counts....

There has been NO word, that I'm aware of, as to why they are keeping that f'ing gate closed. And while I'm positive they must have a good reason, the Corps of Engineers never have made much of an attempt at informing we the public other than perhaps a few posts on Facebook!

Be that as it may, River Run Park is there for the enjoyment and recreation of the public! And, I really don't care much for any excuses by them or anyone else from the government these days. Just please take care of your responsibilities and get the gate open!
Forsyth Patriot Parade – On Saturday the 21st, Forsyth Missouri will be hosting a parade to honor all of our vets, both past and present! I've included a link here from the Hometown Daily news site in case you desire additional information. The weather for Saturday should be exceptional!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Beating the cost of eating breakfast out!

These days I like to eat out, especially for breakfast. There's something about rising early and then going over to a favorite eating emporium and then sitting down to a big plate of steak, hash browns, toast and eggs! The thing is, that sort of lifestyle comes with a price!

Where I like to go to eat breakfast, in my small town located in southwest MO, is a place called Charlie's. They serve up one heck of a steak and eggs platter that I really enjoy eating! The trouble is that the cost is around $8. Add a drink and a tip and you've spent a good dime. That fact, and the high calories, were not very agreeable with either my wallet or my waistline....

OK, sure. The steak ain't that thick!

So it was, I decided to see what I could whip up in a similar vein, that might also not totally kill my diet! Here is what I came up with, and at only $2.41. It fit in with what I was trying to accomplish.

You will note that I did not include the traditional hash browns for a number of reasons. Not the least of which was it was a high calorie fried in oil kind of addition!

 At left was a quick look at the breakdown of this meal a deal. At 421 calories, this did fit in nicely with my diet plans while still giving myself a chance to enjoys some of the foods I love!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Surveillance can be useful!

As the prices of wireless surveillance cameras has gone down recently, I decided to order a kit contain two cameras for myself. I want the ability to watch both my garage that was some 100 feet away and to keep an eye on the skies off to the southwest for inclement weather.

The unit I choose for this application was a Uniden model with a resolution of 480 per channel and comes with a dedicated 7 inch display. This was enough for my needs as I can channel 4 cameras on one WiFi channel without the need to additional receivers. I would not recommend this or any other unit, personally. You need to do your own research or have someone who is knowledgeable in the surveillance field to ensure you get the right hardware and software for the job at hand.

This particular unit can detect motion and will then save a video file to a flash disk for later review. I installed it after suffering a loss of some items from my communal garage.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The rise of the mini burger meal!

For about as long as I can remember, restaurant burgers were always larger than life affairs. Even using McDonald's as a sort of standard, their Quarter pounder with cheese with a medium French fries comes in at about 317 grams for 880 calories! So, if you are on any sort of really serious diet, just eating those two items meant that you were in for a much more meager breakfast and dinner. (Add in the fact that the standard burger meal has a load of fat, cholesterol and sodium and you can see why many people shy away from them in search of more 'nutritious' fare).

Enter the mini burger (or slider) and small French fry meal deal with fruit! This is a much more slimmed down version (think child's portion) type of offering that comes in at about half the calories! In addition, I've added a little bit of fresh fruit to really change the entire culinary picture – Now I can enjoy a delicious burger and fries without any quilt at all!

This would be a great concept for a fast food emporium like McDonald's to latch onto!

Beaver Lake monster thingy strikes again!

Untouched photo of the Beaver Lake monster thingy

While it is very true that I can be prone to panic, (and sometimes for no real reason at all), mid May 2016 saw me really worked up, and for once, it was about something very real!

It seemed that a series of weather systems were posed just off to the west and were forecast to drop as much as an inch of rain over the next several days all across the region! Now as many of you might surmise, an inch of rain isn't all that much, especially when you consider that it would be falling on semi-parched earth! But, there was a really big fly in that ointment and I am one of the few, the blessed few you might say, who know it!

And now, I've decided that it was time to share my knowledge, to one and all! But, in order to do so, I would need to fill in some of the cracks in this pot. (The rain pot that is, not me, my pot is not cracked)!

You will note in the map at right, that there are three main bodies of water, each with a dam at its tail end, hence the name Tri-Lakes. Beaver Lake is at the highest elevation with the next two lying progressively lower. Now, when a rain system typically enters this area it comes from more or less the west and proceeds easterly dropping moisture all along the way. Thus, when Beaver Lake fills up they open the Beaver Dam which dumps oodles of water into Table Rock which as a period of time will dump its excess into the Bull Shoals system. Typically, this process would be very orderly, were it not for one strange fact. BEAVER LAKE SEEMS ABLE TO MANUFACTURE WATER OUT OF THIN AIR. Yes, you heard that right! I liken this phenomenon to the Bermuda Triangle in that some very strange magic happens over da Beaver from time to time. Perhaps even a monster! And, apparently that lake monster can create actual mass where none existed before! ( I realize that this is somewhat shocking news and I have repeatedly sent letters to the Corps of Engineers office informing them of this revelation. But, for some reason, they have elected not to answer my letters or even to inform the public). Is this yet another Government conspiracy?

I got B-E-A-V-R! Close enough!
Now, you might well ask if there is any proof to these crazy sounding assertions? Yes, I reply. You need only refer to my post titled 'The Beaver Lake Mystery' to see graphical evidence of the appearance of over eight feet of water made apparently from just seven inches of rainfall!!

And, just today, my trusty Ouiji Board has informed me that the Beaver Lake Monster thingy is about to crank it up again! You all have been warned!

Like an old man, Empire Electric can't seem to keep it up!

Power outages, no matter how infrequent, have become more and more problematical in 2016 mainly due to everyone's great dependence on digital devices.. And so it was that on May the 15th, 2016 at 9:58:22 AM a one second power loss wiped out everything I had done in the way of work on the computer that morning. Sure, I was able to recover a lot of it due to auto save, but that's not the point. The point is that having a power company keep the power up and running ALL THE TIME is a very important, some would say crucial, feature of their job description. Over the years, I've found that the Empire Electric COOP is not always up to that challenge.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Still frozen and waiting....

'Cathy, a silver ring offered freely from your mouth, and which I accepted so very long ago, still traps me even now... On those steps of Silas place and with innocent eyes wide open... I sealed this, our sacred bond, forever.' --- God help me now. As I am now only a poor reflection of my youthful self, I now wait for the next curtain to rise... I pray for God to catch me as a wanting soul. Failing that... Gee. Was your hair dyed black, Rae>??

Video tech!

On a lark, I purchased a two camera video surveillance system from a company called Uniden. I made the purchase so I'd be able to mess around with this technology to see if I could set up a camera that would upload to my web page on a regular basis. The other camera (both are wireless) will go in my remote parking garage to help keep an eye on the stuff I have stored there.

Like most things we buy, I'm sure that there will be a learning curve to overcome. The cameras are WiFi and will talk to a receiver that comes with the kit.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A path to drug deals? I hope not!

This seemingly innocuous path located in the back area of Taneycomo Terrace in Forsyth Missouri could be a drug access point, according to some.

Reports of 'unusual' activity has been reported by area residents as vehicles have been spotted drown the path only to emerge just five minutes later before driving away. As this was occurring at 2AM in the morning, one might easily conjecture that they weren't bird watching. And, if it was a guy and girl with amour in mind, then I'd tell that girl to dump him pronto – Only five minutes? Jeez dude!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Forsyth Patriot Day parade May 21st!

Parade starts at 2PM!
In these United States, Patriot Day, also known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, officially occurs on September 11, of each year, in memory of the two thousand nine hundred and seventy seven men and women who were killed in the 2001 September 11th attack by members of extremist Islamic faith.

In Forsyth Missouri, there will also be a Patriot Day Parade held on the main street of Highway 160 on May 21st to honor these and all of our fellow service men and women, and all who have placed themselves into harms way. 

Details of the exact time of the parade had not been released as of this post, but I later discovered that it would start at 2PM on Coy Blvd. I would would encourage everyone to attend this event and to spend a moment, on that day, to reflect on the very brave both past and present who have died as free individuals on the fields of honor. See for more details!

Well, they have a deck anyway!

Rockaway Beach MO - After hearing a rumor that some sort of bar was going to open out behind the Taneycomo Market off Hwy 176 in Rockaway Beach, I drove down there to sneak a peek.

When I arrived there was all sort of lumber strew about the front of the establishment, but no one I could see was actually working. I came to find out the the carpenter that had been recently hired had also been fired! And, while there was a nice expansive deck situated behind the market, I could see little if anything else. No chairs, no tables... really, no nothing.

I inquired as to this state of affairs with one of the locals and was informed that things were pretty much at a standstill. Even the interior of the market itself looked partially gutted. I was told that there were problems with licenses and other paperwork (neither was substantiated) and that the owners were looking for a new carpenter.

Here's hoping to an eventual grand opening and I personally hope they have an open air bar and eatery as those types of establishments are pretty much non existent in my neck of the woods. And, while I may not know very much, I do know that this deck needs to be stained and treated pretty darn soon! Otherwise it might be a bit warped...

June 1, 2016 Update

I drove by this now closed gas station only to learn that they plan to reopen soon as a bar! Other rumors were that another gas station located just to the north in  Merriam Woods was also shuttered.Also, I have no information on when this new drinking emporium will open or even what it will be called, as the owners who have my email have failed to contact me....

Forsyth City wide Garage Sale!

Forsyth MO - On what was a picture perfect Saturday in May, the main drag on Highway 160 was the scene of a city wide garage sale with hundreds of vendors setting up tables and booths featuring everything from brick a brac to live plants! Everyone who was selling stuff I spoke with told me that business had been brisk with moderate to good traffic all morning and then stretching into the afternoon hours!

I had a chance to talk with a few of the men and women who were at the City Hall location across from the National Enzyme Company and was told that sales had been 'exceptional'. One vendor by the name of John, who had a large flatbed of assorted items, told me that earlier the surface had been covered with all type of  stuff and that now you could see lots of open space!

Seriously, garage sales can offer a real savings if you are willing to hoof it from display to display to find just the right items.

On this occasion, even the Mayor Eddie Coleman (below) was present to help promote what has become a much anticipated annual event!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tick season offically begins! Wonderful!

Tick season has already begun down in southwestern Missouri where I make my home, and this year, they are forecast to be heavier than ever!


My goodness! We all have enough to worry about without having to swat these critters out of the air on some fine summer evening! (It would make for a great movie though)! This year, what you do need to think about are the varieties that may carry Lyme disease or the more dreaded Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! Short of never going outside at all, everyone will need to be very careful to inspect themselves after romping around on their lawns or in our area forests. (Ticks can be found anywhere there are both deer and other small mammals, like mice, and we certainly have enough of both!

Scientifically speaking, our three species of hard ticks are mites with 8 legs, a small plate over their mouth parts, and skin so tough it’s hard to crush one. Adults are 1/16  to 1/4 inch long (about the size of a sesame seed). When engorged with blood, they swell up to about 3/8 inch long and turn gray. Ick!

Hard ticks suck blood, parasitizing mammals, including us humans. They cannot jump or fly but only crawl. Their foraging strategy is called “questing,” where they climb to the top of a grass stem or branch of a bush, hold on with their hind legs, and extend their front pair of hook-like legs, waiting for a likely host to brush by. Ticks sense exhaled carbon dioxide and emitted body odors, as well as vibrations and changes in light, which can alert them to a possible approaching meal. So, if you are a heavy breather and smell bad, be especially careful out there. (Taking a bath once in a while might also help with the ticks and your love life)!

If you are bitten, remove the embedded ticks promptly. You cannot make a tick remove itself; you must pull that sucker out. Use a good pair of tweezers. Lightly pinch the tick as close to your skin as possible (don’t squeeze the tick’s body fluids into yourself). Pull that little bastard straight out. Wash and disinfect the area; then apply antibiotics if you have some around. [Note: If the tick is still alive and you have people around you you don't care for...... just kidding].

Forsyth City-wide garage sale!

Add caption
On Saturday, May the 7th, the small town of Forsyth Missouri will be having their annual city-wide garage sale. Yes, lots and lots of folks will be setting up tables and booths in an effort to display all the junk they've managed to accumulate and which they now hope to unload on someone else for a small fee.

You never know exactly what you're going to find at any garage sale and therein lies their slightly weird attraction. (That is assuming you get to the event rather early as all the really good deals are long gone by the 9 o'clock hour)! And, it's best to also assume sporadic traffic jams on the one highway that runs through town for you people who have a job and need to get to it!

This year, I hope to find a parking spot just up the hill from where I live and maybe walk around for a bit to see 'the action'. I'm referring not to what's for sale, so much, as I am to the circus of people these events always seems to attract. You get individuals from all walks of life who, like moths to a flame, seem drawn to spend money on stuff they would pass by if observed on the curb on any trash day. But that's the way it is. And the stranger something it, the more attention it seems to garner. Take any old piece of rusting metal, call it an antique, and suddenly it's worth a lot of money! Yes, good old country fun is to be had all around!

Thankfully, there is a bar or two in town, where one can go after a day of browsing where you can get a cold beer and some grub. And, by some interesting quirk of nature, I happen to live right down the hill from John's Frosted Mug! See ya all there!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Picking the right handy person!

'Insurance? I don't need no stinking insurance!'
There's an old song by Kenny Roger's that went, in part...

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run..

That little lyrical snippet is very apt when it comes to selecting a handy person to do work for you. I've found that, over the years, it pays to do a little checking and to look for signs of trouble before you ever hire someone for a project. Here are a few things that I've done and looked for in every repair person I've used or did not use....

  1. Background check – there's a wealth of information to be had, at reasonable cost, on the internet to make sure a person that is otherwise a complete stranger is on the up and up.
  2. Check around town to see what kind of rep the person has – if that person has screwed someone, the word will be out and pretty easy to find.
  3. Interview the individual to get a feel for how well they understand your needs. This would also include the person being able to fill in areas you might not have been aware of – A sure sign the the individual is experienced wit the type of work you are asking them to do!
  4. Make sure that the individual is insured – Ask to see and verify that their coverage is current.
  5. Ask for three references. If the person is vague in this area, drop them like a hot potato.
  6. Make sure that the individual shows up at agreed upon times, ready and able to do the work requested. Check to see if their vehicle is in good shape and has advertising on the side..
  7. Ask for a business card and or email address.
  8. Ask if they have a web presence... or alternatively, ask how long they've been in business.
  9. Ask for a work order to be made out for each project – this paper should indicate the exact nature of what is to be fixed, what the materials will cost the homeowner and the estimated amount of labor to be incurred.
  10. Make sure that you know exactly who will be involved with the project and stipulate where the person or persons are allowed to go and where they are not allowed to go on your property.

If you do these ten checklist items each time, you might find that getting someone who meets all the criteria to be a little bit few and far between. But, understand that the ones that do meet with your approval process are likely to do a good job, safely and at a fair price!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

All those little charges do add up. Don't they?

Recently, I received my water bill and was confused. (Not an unusual condition for me to be in). This bill came from a small town called Forsyth located in southwest Missouri. (I would assume that it is typical of most water bills in other towns and burgs of similar size).

Now I think my little town has about 2,419 citizens with about 2.1 people living in each dwelling (source: That means about 1200 homes, give or take, pay water bills whose amounts depend on some formula developed by some bureaucrat some time ago. Following is a section taken from Forsyth's web page (

My questions are simple - 1) What formula was used to justify the cost of the infrastructure and its expansion and maintenance? 2) What do the Primary fee and sewer fee cover and why are they there? and 3) Where do the taxes go? Why are they even there?

Being a simple man, I am almost always perplexed at how we humans seem to make a game out of what and how we charge our fellow humans. (The problems starts at the top of the pile with the IRS. The federal internal revenue code is 2,412,000 words long and federal tax regulations are7,655,000 words long. And this does not include the substantial body of tax-related case law that is often vital to even fully understanding this unholy mess)! What we need and must do is to begin the work of making more simple that which is currently complex. And we can start that process at the local level with something as basic as a water bill!