Sunday, June 28, 2015

B365 V2.37 - Like a King, Larry that is

                                        Mellon Plaza, downtown
                                       Also from Mellon Plaza
                                       Nearly broke my neck taking this, sliding on wet marble.  The blog's title was nearly "Out 4 to 6 weeks with a pulled groin."

Lisbon, hello!   Sorry was looking at my Google data for the page and in the last week I have apparently been visited by someone in Portugal, so I decided to start the blog off in a very Larry King like manner.

I am back on my blogging bench in the park, at least this time it is daylight, trying to find some words to say.  Unlike yesterday's entry that all but wrote itself, I was eager to get that one down today is just a gray Sunday.  It almost felt like a CM Punk pipe bomb, just drop the blog and walk away. It was the best I have felt in writing anything in a very long time.  Of course I left some material out, not on purpose or by design, but because I blog off the top of my head, there are times when I think to myself, you know you should have found away to work such and such into the blog.  Such as I wonder how many more black lives will have to be sacrificed at the gold calf like altar that is the Confederate flag in order to see the smallest of changes from the people who rally behind it. And don't give me that Southern heritage bullshit, your heritage is one of white privilege.  Just as waving a Nazi flag around conveys a certain image of the flag waver, the same stigma should be attached to the Confederate flag.  The difference being, of course, that Germany was smart enough to outlaw the Nazi flag, rather than wave it around as some sort of honorable badge.  And no, I don't give two shits for the "my pappy fought bravely in that war" argument either.  I am sure there were plenty of brave Germans as well, the fact is the South fought to subjugate an entire race of people, no amount of revisionist history can change that, so fuck your pappy and all of the traitors that took up arms with him.

Okay enough ranting for one day. Can't say there is much to talk about though, I am sitting on my bench, typing away.  No kids in the park, so the pedophiles get the day off.  Provided of course they work weekends to begin with.

I have been thinking of making some changes to the blog page, almost a brand new roll out if you will.  New title, new background, some new widgety things along the side.  Almost like slapping new paint on a house.  I toyed with some stuff earlier today, a new background photo, but first the file was to big, so I compressed it then the image was too small.  I need to find the
bowl of porridge that is just right.

On my way over I stopped by the Quick Stop, my favorite convenience store besides Smithfield News.  I like to pick Numan's brain as for what is working there, how's business, etc, etc.  he hooked me up with a free coffee today, he had shut it off and was now cold, so he popped it in the old microwave (channeling Richard Jeni, "And the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is just about done.). Anyone new to the page stick around a while, you'll eventually get the references or die trying.

Sorry, just threw away my Little Debbie wrappers and saw a sign that caught my attention.  Explanatoids, I think I had those once.  It was very hard to poop.

Funny thing I heard on the bus home yesterday.  A white guy was sitting towards the front of the bus sling to the bus driver.  Apparently before I arrived on the scene he said that they were looking for bus drivers, because when I arrived the white guy had said would they hire him if he had a felony from another state.  That was when a black guy who was sitting behind me chimed in, he started talking about turning your life over to God.  Now again, those familiar with me or this page know I come down on the Christopher Hitchen's side of things, when he refers to the concept of God as being like a celestial North Korea, so here I am thinking here we go with the God talk and me without my headphones.    This gentleman proceeds to offer the following advice, "if you turn your life over to God he will open doors for you.  Some times he will open them quickly, other times he will do it slower.  God damn, he is taking his time with me."  It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing, fuck I wish I could write material that funny.

I should meander my way back home, I have pictures to add to this as well as links to find.  Toodles.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

B365 V2.36 - The gloves are off (Blunt Force Trauma #14)

     No whining from me today.  I reread yesterdays entry and save for doing some edits to the typing, I can say that it sucked.  There was no flow to it and it just came across as me bitching and moaning a little too much.   It suckedity, sucked, sucked sucked.

     Which is a shame because it came at the end of what may very well prove to be one of the most historic weeks of my lifetime.    First you had the debate over the Confederate flag in South Carolina, as well as other states that have adopted at least part of that pattern into their flags.  Let's see if I can boil down the arguments against removing the flag, the civil war wasn't only about slavery, it was about states rights and the South was better off economically than the North.   That would of course, ignore the words of Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy prior to the start of the civil war when he said..."
The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the "storm came and the wind blew, it fell."
Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.
. . . look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgement of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws".

     Stephens recognizes that the founding fathers struggled with the notion of slavery, but unlike the founders, Stephen believed that blacks were sub-human and therefore not deserving of legal protections and should be subservient to whites.  That does not mean that the North went to war to free blacks, Lincoln's overwhelming notion was to preserve  the Union and had he found a palpable way to do so and maintain the status quo, there is a good chance he would have taken that offer.  But as the nation was adding territory, arguments consumed both sides of the debate as to whether those new territories would be free or slave holding areas.  Neither side wanted the other to add more representation in Congress via new states or territories that might be added to the Union at a future date.  It was from this nonsense that the whole 3/5ths clause was born, by counting blacks as 3/5ths of a person it kept the slave holding states representation in Congress in check.

      This notion of states rights was a determining factor in the war is hogwash, the only right the South was worried about was the right for states to implement slavery.  Sure the South was better off economically, it only makes sense when you entire labor force is unpaid laborers kept in shackles.  If I could pull that off at work I am sure our bottom line would be much better too.

    The other part of this historic week was the Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage.  Again I have heard the arguments against it and find them to be foolish.  "it's against the word of God" and "the government needs to stay out of our bedrooms".  Funny thing that word of God argument, the Bible is not the law of the land.  If people wish to live in a purely religious land, I have some fine Middle Eastern countries I can point them in the direction of.  I also find it funny that people put a single verse or two from the Bible as their own personal tipping point, while failing to live up to the remaining words in the book.  They must have gotten the abridged edition or something.  Because I am quite sure I could find words in that book for which they fail to abide and unless they are playing the role of God, I fail to see how they can ascertain which words in that book should be given the most credence and which ones should be ignored altogether.

     The government needs to stay out of our bedrooms is a premise I can get behind at least.  Because I agree with it, the government should for the most part stay out of our bedrooms, save for cases of rape and what not.  But I have always been of the notion that relationships were more than sex for the most part.  And people who wish to get married I would imagine it would involve an even deeper commitment.  If anything, the status quo was the government in the bedrooms of gay people, suggesting that their relationship was somehow inferior to that of straight couples and letting states put laws on the books that determined what gay couples could and couldn't do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.  So the Supreme Court ruling has the effect of taking government out of the bedroom, not inviting it in.  If someone feels the value of their marriage is somehow lessened by the ruling, I would suggest that your relationship is what has the problem, no the court's ruling.  If your marriage is so paper thin stable that a gay couple getting married has the ability to affect it, then that is your burden to carry.

Okay kids, rant is over.  History can take over from here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

B365 V2.35 - Running on E

     I am in what you might call a funk.  Not a cool Grand Funk Railroad kind of funk, but rather the kind where everything is just blah, where the day is more about going through the motions then anything of import actually happening.  The type of mood where you just don't want to do anything.  When I got on the bus to head in a homerly direction, I thought about going to the Squirrel Cage, a place that can usually lift my deadened spirits  and which is also along my bus route home (67H Squirrel Hill, holla!) albeit further past my normal stopping point to get off the bus on my way home.  But as the bus was heading to my own little oasis, I changed my mind.  I just wasn't in the mood for The Cage, and got off at my normal stop instead and came home.

     That wasn't the only thinking taking place in my head at that point in time however.  On my ride home I realized that I was spiritually empty, at least as empty as an atheist like myself can be (which is pretty empty I mind add) and started questioning why that was.  I came to a interesting conclusion, sort of an "ah ha moment" if you will, I suffer from either a need to be wanted or a want to be needed.  Ponder that philosophical conundrum for a moment.  Not that love is part of that equation, I get by just fine without a relationship, thank you very much.  And just like a handicapped person successfully completing some physical task, I have managed to figure out how to do things on my own, by myself.  I have a lockdown on this flying solo shit, if it were an Olympic sport, I would get the gold medal easily.  I don't spend my time bemoaning the fact I have no one to share certain moments with.  I am more like Doug Hoerth in that regard than either he or I would have guessed when we worked together oh so many years ago.

     However, the want to be needed seems to make sense with the hours/days I put in at work.  6 days a week, every week, and some weeks all 7.  Heck Ed just asked me if I could pick up next Saturday nights shift (4th of July) and I said yes.  I can't tell you the last company holiday I was off work, and work fills the void of being needed/wanted.  There I feel like I am doing something of merit.  Typing this shit, not so much.

     Speaking of typing this shit, the guest blogging spot is what I would say "up in the air" at this moment.  I extended the invitation to this blogger right here, given that I like her writing and level of snarkiness and her info page said she might be interested in guest blogging on a page.  Since I had mentioned last year that a guest blogger might be a good idea, given my level of mundaness at the time, I asked if she would be interested.  When she said yes, I thought, "wow, this is cool, someone whose writing I like might appear here, rather than me linking to it (like I just did above) and hoping against hope someone actually clicks the link".   So the other night before venturing off to the park for one of my blogs from the park bench, I added a reply to hers, stating that I would like her to write something if interested and there were really no rules beyond those she would put on herself.  I thought I had hit send on the reply before I left for the park, but when I came back the reply was gone.  I figured I had gone and fucked something up, forgot to press send or some such nonsense (a problem I often have when putting together orders at work too, only to return to the page a couple of days later and find a shopping cart full of things I forgot to order), so I banged out another reply similar to the first one, and made sure I hit send this time.  And again it is gone, so I am doubting whether or not anything will come of it.  I will not put too much significance to it, it is just a blog entry after all, not open heart surgery.  In the grand scheme of things it isn't that important.  To quote Ed, "It is what it is."  By writing this much about it, I probably have already given it more attention than it deserves.

     Oh, last nite the Nigerian email scam happened again.  I got another of those Facebook messages, my baby and I are out on the street, could you send $60 so we could get into a program.  I replied with the link to the article I linked to a few entries back (you know, this one right here) and said "It is probably best I extricate myself from this situation as soon as possible."  This is the downfall to wanting to be needed, sometimes you want it so much that you have blinders on to the obvious.  Me and my judgement concerning  women though, I should know better than to trust myself.

     I have come to the firm conclusion though that when I die, it will be alone in my apartment and I will be discovered only when I don't show up for work in the morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

B365 V2.34 - Warning shots

Don't say I didn't warn you?   In the middle of one of my 365 day sojourns into blogging I had stated that I may be in need of a guest blogger.  Funny thing about saying such things, I have officially extended an invitation to the show.

In the days leading up to the big event, provided such an event takes place, I will give everyone a heads up, such as the where toe and how's to rad this persons other stuff ( I stand by my rule of not calling blogging actual work) so you can get a better feel for who I. Invading this here space.

Truth be told, I had almost forgot I extended the invitation, it was part of the Yuengling fueled fiesta that was the day before my birthday.  I only happened upon the page checking out more recent entries when I saw what I wrote on the info page and saw it got a reply.  Something about being honored to guest blog here.  Not Klingon styled honor involving a blood oath or anything,so there are no guarantees this will take place.  I am just shopping my wares like the Asian lady who works the Happy Smile massage parlor.

I have finally caved in on Facebook and started taking part in the whole Throwback Thursday thing.  Not that there are old pictures of me popping up ( yikes to that notion) but rather I am reposting old blogs that still put a smile on my face when I go back and reread them.

Fuck, I wasn't expecting that.  I am sitting on my bench in the park again and there is a road that runs right behind it.  Well someone just came up behind me on a bicycle (I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.......) and I didn't hear or see him until he was practically on top of me.  That is what I get for being out here at 11 pm I guess.

I could take a nap on this bench, it is certainly much cooler than my apartment right now and the coffee I bought on my way here has since been consumed to no lasting effect on my ability to keep my eyes open.

Work has been the same recently, Ed has been helpful in his return, which coincides with Brian taking more time off.  As for me and my time off, I laugh at you for thinking such a thing.  Just on Tuesday Ed asked me if I could stay late, he messed up the schedule and needed someone to cover the register for a couple of hours.  To me it is like calling the righty out of the bullpen to close that shit down.  Or to quote the Greek philosopher Vanilla Ice, " if there's a problem, yo I'll solve it, check out the hook while my dj revolves it."  Yes, I really did utter those words in response to the request.

Well once again we see why Twitter and I don't get along, why say in 140 character what you can say in 1400.  And to think when I sat down here I had nothing on my mind to write about.

Speaking of work, I still haven't had that employee evaluation, though I did get a decent raise, an extra $1 an hour, so I must be doing something right.  I figure my salary plus perks, the store still pays my cell phone bill and I did get the company seats for two baseball games this summer (4 seats per game @ $45 per ticket) I am doing okay for myself.  Not well enough to buy heroin for others, but enough that I can definitely get by.

Is it wrong that I still watch planes in the sky and wonder to myself if they are flying too low?  Is that a remnant of 9/11 or something?  Speaking of 9/11, that was also the day that Krispy Kreme opened their first store in the Pittsburgh area.  I remember because we were in the studio that morning, I was working with Jerry Bowyer and they went ahead and dropped free donuts off at all of the radio stations in the area, thinking these peeps are all going to be talking about how good our shit is and then people will stop by after all of the almost free publicity we are getting, then planes star slamming into building and the world turns to shit and the last thing we end up talking about is donuts.  Funny how history gets in the way of a good pastry.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

B365 V2.33 - Benched

This is nice, sitting on my bench in the park, relatively late at nite (9:48 pm, late by park standards), enjoying the nice cool evening breeze.  Not really sure I have anything witty to say, just enjoying the peace and tranquility of this here spot.  I have a book with me, and while it is night time, there is a street light almost directly behind me, so reading until the wee hours is an option.

Some guy with a really loud car keeps driving by, as if that is supposed to impress anyone.  You are in a car, we get it.  When I am walking to and fro, it doesn't make my walking cooler by one iota if I start screaming at the top of my lungs.  Most people would look at me and think, "What a fucking retard."

Some college aged kids arrived to play on the swings.  I would say something smart but I used to do the same thing when I was their age.  Even now, if I had some partners in crime I think I could be persuaded to jump the fence and go swimming in the pool after hours.  Still no word from my mom regarding my birthday, but at this point I am used to her forgetting things so it doesn't come as a surprise.

My honest opinion of her state is that things that don't get exercised, including her brain, will continue to atrophy.  I know I feel that way when I get into one of my spells, where all I want to do after work is just sit on my ass.  If I don't have my mind working, reading a book or writing on this page, then I really do start to feel dumber.  And I know she isn't doing much besides sitting around and watching TV, and as we have discussed before, her TV viewing leaves a lot to be desired, unless you believe that " Mama's Family" reruns are quality programming. Fuck, I just started a sneezing fit, I may be allergic to this whole outdoors thing.

Not sure why I am mentioning it, but the most recent edition of Pittsburgh Magazine had its annual Best of Pittsburgh edition come out recently.  It should come as no surprise that this blog was not selected for Best Blog, seeing as how this is one of Pittsburgh's hidden gems.  The number of Burghers who actually know of this page I could probably on two hands, and of those people none of them frequent the page in a regular basis.

While I would not put my work in here ( remember, blogging is not work ) against others in the area, we all have our own unique voices and talents, I still wonder have my old job stuck with the talk radio format and had they tried to develop talent as opposed to riding the coat tails of existing talents (Doug Hoerth, Lynn Cullen, Jerry Bowyer), if I couldn't have developed the best radio show in Pittsburgh.  Honestly I think I could have, based in the nonsense I hear on the radio on those few occasions I listen to it.  Instead this market is still replete with the humdrum mediocrities that it always has.  If ifs and butts were candy and nuts, then Kim Khardasian's ass would be a Snickers bar.

B365V2.32 - Aiding and abetting

     So I regaled you all about my "so called" good deed of loaning someone money a few weeks back, well we have an update on that situation.  May 20th was the first day I wired money to this acquaintance.  After being harassed all day Saturday via Facebook and text messages, my phone was so blown up I actually missed a work related call, I decided to employ some of my old radio related skills in tracking information down to find out just what the damned emergency was all about.  And lo and behold I found out where my money was going.  It was going to this.  Yes, my good naturedness was taken advantage of again, more of a reason to just swear off women entirely.  My judgement just can't be trusted.

Monday, June 22, 2015

B365V2.31 - Adopt a myway

So I am riding the bus to work the other day, I got out of bed late and had to walk the extra couple of blocks to 5th Avenue and get my coffee from Six, the name of the cute girl at the gas station.  So I get my coffee, catch the bus almost immediately because there are like 15 I can take from that spot to get me where I need to be.  Because I am bored and I don't have a book to read, my eyes are peering out the windows on the left and the right when we approach the Birmingham Bridge.   The bridge connects lower Oakland and Uptown with the South Side, spanning the Monongahela river.   Here is a pic, just because I care.  

Now what I found funny was on the end of the bridge was one of those adopt a highway signs.  You know the ones, some company buys it for publicity, then once every blue moon they send some employees out on a weeekend  to pick up shit along the side of the road.  I am sure that makes for some fun times at the water cooler.  "Can you believe that fucktard Steve, he signs us up for this Adopt a Highway bullshit and then he doesn't even come out to pick up trash."  "Family emergency my ass, we all had places we would rather be."  "Next time he pulls this stunt I am dumping my trash on his desk."

So as the bus goes rolling by, I see one of these Adopt a Highway signs on the end of the bridge, I think Sprint or someone was the guilty party.  And I say guilty because they adopted a fucking bridge, there is nothing to clean up along the side of the road, unless they are out dredging the river.  Suppose someone does throw a bag out the drivers side window, are you dodging four lanes of traffic to go get it?  Fuck no!  You didn't take a job at Sprint to play Frogger with someone's empty McDonald's bag in the middle of four lanes of traffic.  And dredging the river, please the PA Department of Enviromental Protection doesn't even clean that shit up, so why should you?  You have cell phones to sell damn it, not play Sea Hunt with some Mon river trash.

See, this blog material stuff does write itself some days, even days where I am just along for the ride.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

B365V2.30 - Rainy days and/or Sundays

.    So I woke up this morning to lots of Happy Fathers Day posts littering my Facebook news.  No such utterances will be coming from me today, or to me for that matter.  I am quite confident in the fact that if Maury Povich showed up on my doorstep, it would be to proclaim " You are not the father." Because sex is one of the many things in life I don't have.  If sex were food, I would be one of those starving Ethiopian kids with flies buzzing around his head while Sally Struthers talks about how malnourished I am, before returning to her trailer to eat a sandwich.  As far as saying those words, well my father and I don't speak.   Perhaps I should rephrase that, we are capable of making the requisite noises that forms words and language and what not, we do not speak to each other.

     Today I am taking advantage of my free breakfast from IHOP, one of those many freebies I sign up for on the web.  And we all know how I like the word free, que Bueno and all that jazz.  But I figure I will eat my brekkie (Aussie shout out, holla) and then meander across the Homestead High Level bridge to the Waterfront.  I want to run by Barnes & Noble, because my brain is starting to feel like mush, I haven't read anything since the Calvin and Hobbes book right over there ------> and while it wasn't a collection of cartoons per se, i can't say I felt overly smarter after having read it.

      Was just sitting here and observing the confusion that is taking place around me, my table doesn't have sugar or salt and pepper, the table next to me doesn't have silverware.  Luckily one of the waiters is auditioning for the Improv today, he blamed these oversights on Federal budget cuts.   Now if Fox News were here, I am sure they would blame it on Obama, or tell us how the stuff we need is locked off in a Clinton email and if only everyone had a gun, then everyone would have silverware.  The logic of the right sometimes astounds me.

      Like common sense gun control measures are somehow an infringement of people's rights.  Let's face it, we are the only modernized nation that puts up with shit like Charleston on a regular basis, and then proceed to blame the victims themselves for not being armed enough to stop it.  Do the fucking math already, our current path leads to people dying and if the status quo is good enough for you, then the blood is on your hands as well.
                                               The walk from IHOP to the Waterfront.

                         For some reason there is a bench at one end of the Homestead High Level bridge.
                                           I love the view of the river from up here though.
                              Sandcastle off in the distance on the other side of the bridge.
                                                Steal your Starbucks WiFi here!!!!!

Okay, made it to the Waterfront, with a detour through limbo, limbo of course being that place where you decide you have to go to the bathroom, but you are far enough away from the starting point you don't want to go back, and far enough from the destination that your bowels are putting you "on the clock" so to speak.  But I got my shopping done, now I am sitting outside Starbucks, without purchasing anything, just robbing them of their Wifi.  Cause I'm a dick like that.

But I needed to check the bus schedule (, can you dig it sucka!) so I was not standing around waiting for hours on end.   I have about 5 more minutes here before I lose all interenetedness till I get home, which could be a while.  I have to run into work first.

And I am back, during which time I came to a pretty interesting observation, after I eat, I sleep.  I ended up napping on the bus, from almost Squirrel Hill all the way to downtown.  I went in to work and dropped a couple of things off, a Father's day gift for Ed and a small Itunes gift card for Steve since today is his last day.  I hate to lose him, but he got a job offer we couldn't possibly match.  In other words, he will be making more than I currently am and I run the dog and pony show, so there was no way we could match the offer he got.  Which is fine, I get that Smithfield News is a stepping stone for most people, not a destination,  so if anyone gets a better offer, I am happy for them.  If not, the you better be busting your ass for us because I have no desire to carry dead weight around.

And that is it for today, I am going to get about doing some things on the homestead, as opposed to doing things in Homestead.  Always with the semantics.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

B365V2.29 - Forget me(not)s

     Allow me to take a moment to the nearly 100 or so people that wished me happy birthday, either here, on Facebook, or in person (yes I am a real person after all).  Sorry I didn't respond to each and every one of you but then I would end up with carpal tunnel syndrome and how could I bang out my sometimes regularly scheduled musings here.  But I do not want anyone to think that their posts, or words of well wishing were ignored or unappreciated, they most certainly were. they helped make a typical workday all the more special (no, I am not one of those people who needs to take their birthday off of work, sorry). 

     I will say there were a couple of people who I was hoping to hear from, but for whatever reason they couldn't be bothered to acknowledge the occasion.  Some people I understand, like my mom, who really can't be expected to remember much of anything these days, her mental state being what it is, so the usual birthday card and phone call from her did not take place this year.  For some others, I consider it a slight, however unintended that slight may be and it causes me to reevaluate their presumed status in my life, whether what I have done for them in the past is just a taken for granted type thing.

     Not that I was expecting to be awash in gifts, I grew up poor enough that if I got a cake on my birthday, that was a big deal because it didn't always happen.  Maybe a card or two with a couple of bucks in it, but that would be about it.  So Steve and Belinda getting me a few lottery tickets at work was pretty awesome and Ed stopping on his way in to get a cake (which I did share, if you would have stopped by you could have had some too), but I am web savvy enough that I managed to get a couple of presents online as well, free breakfast at IHOP and a free buffet at Rivers Casino, neither of which I have used yet.  But all in all it was a good birthday, so thanks everyone for that.

     No thanks to Facebook though, who decided to take the occasion to remind me it was two years prior that my ex girlfriend was here.  I didn't need that, and most of you witnessed how that disaster went up in flames, probably because that gave me the kick in the ass to again start posting more regularly.  I had new material to work with an no one censoring me.  Just a tale of one idiot's (mine) stupidity for believing a pack of lies.  Thanks for that Facebook.  Like I needed a refresher course on my past fuckups. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

B365V2.28 - Cops and Robbers

Given a couple of things I have run into recently regarding the police and people's interactions with them, I guess it is time to tell every one to pull up a chair, because it's story time.

First, let me say that being a police officer I would imagine is a thankless task, I know I wouldn't want to do it, but it is a task that some people sign up for.  And for those that choose that career path, there are plenty of us that would wish they would actually do the job, as opposed to play dress up and imitate the role.  Allow me to agree with you some experiences with the police in my job in retail.

My first experience would come as one of our veterans ( a term used for anyone who has worked for us for more than a couple of years), had seen someone come into our store who we had previously thrown out for stealing.  Throwing people out is about all we can do in reality and god knows people can just come in at different times (we are open 24/7 after all) to try and avoid being detected, but in this particular instance, whether it be stupidity on the suspects part or alertness of our cashier, she told him he had to go and explained why.  On his way out the door he looked at her and said " I better not catch you outside."  So now not only has he stole from us in the past, he is now threatening our employees.  As it turns out, he stole from us again that day to, a 1 liter bottle of Brisk iced tea, which will become important as the story rolls on.  So now we track this guy down, all the while summoning the police via cell phone, until we catch up with him some 5 blocks away.  The police arrived and we explained the situation, we had thrown this gentleman out before and he just threatened one of our employees.  The police didn't see it that way.  Since the suspect never said specifically what he would do to our cashier, it is not a threat at all.  Now I ask, if someone had said something like that to you, would you construe it as a threat, knowing that every day after work you have to walk to your bus stop?  Here is where the bottle of tea comes into play however, it was pointed out that he stole the bottle from our store ( we had a witness with us who saw him take it), they ran his name for prior arrests.  If you get busted doing a retail theft three or more times it get upgraded to a felony, otherwise the amount taken must be more than $150.  Well they ran the suspects name and apparently it came up not once, or twice but thrice so the police were forced to take him.

My next run in with law enforcement would happen when some suspicious looking crackheads were lingering around the coffee area of our store.  Now some of you may be thinking I am being insensitive by calling them crackheads, but just as some people claim to have gaydar and can pick out people who are gay, I guess you could say I have crackheaddar then.  Nonetheless, they are lingering around in that one area of the store, where we have the self serve coffee, some snack cakes and chips and a sunglasses rack, so after they abdicate the area, I go upstairs and proceed to check things out.  Sure enough there is a whole section of the sunglasses rack that is empty, so I run downstairs and check the camera very quickly and see one of the three dropping sunglasses into a bag they brought in with them.  Brian and Ed were both in the office with me, I point it out on camera and they rush upstairs to catch up with the trio, who had made as far as the corner outside where they were waiting on their getaway vehicle, the 69 Trafford, a city bus.  I come upstairs, and as I do there is a police officer buying lottery tickets right at the counter, so I stop and say I may have need of his services momentarily.  Brian and Ed bring the male of the group back into the store, he was with two females who were presumably acting as lookouts, and sure enough in his bag was the sunglasses, roughly 8 pairs of them, as well as a handful of lighters he stole off of the front counter.  The officer sees this, as well as another officer that came, I assume he was called for backup, and they do absolutely nothing save for tell the thief he was no longer allowed in the store.

The third time was when the store was robbed at gunpoint in the early hours of the morning, a guy came in and pointed a gun at our two cashiers on duty demanding money.  I was called almost immediately after it happened and I climbed out of my bed to rush down to the store.  I got there about 30 minutes after getting called and yet there was nobody there, save for my employees, the cops had already come and gone, even though I could have given them video surveillance of the entire incident.  Instead two detectives came in some three hours later to review what I had.  He was caught and is awaiting trial (on July 6th), but not because of anything the police did, rather he tried his robbery thing again at a 7-11 and he picked the wrong store, because the cashier there was a Gold Gloves boxer, who proceeded to beat the shit out of him.  Mind you, the 7-11 attempted robbery was the 17 th this particular felon was wanted for.  So if you are thinking of starting a crime spree, you could pick worse places than Pittsburgh to get things underway.

Time #4 I was actually doing a favor for the police.  I received a phone call about a stolen credit card that was used by one of our customers.  After conferring with the investigating officer and getting a time and amounts on the purchases, I was able to cross reference those times and amounts with our cameras and register system and burn to DVD the actual footage of the pair of crackheads ( one man and one woman) involved as well as copies of the receipts in question.    I then left instructions for our crew that if they come back in to let me know, but don't do anything to startle them.  If they try paying with a card, obviously check their ID first, but beyond that don't do anything out of the ordinary.  It is kind of like one of those Mutual Of Omaha Wild Kingdom specials, don't do anything to startle the crackheads.  Behavior patterns suggest if they got away with shit in our store before, their migratory patterns would bring them back.  And when they came back, I would get them.  Sure enough, they came back in, I called 911 while they were being stalled at the counter (teamwork baby) and mentioned the case file they were wanted for and everything.  The cops came, they picked more stolen merchandise off of the guy, who had been busy stuffing his pants full of Red Bulls and e-liquids for electronic cigarettes.  We had these fuckers gift wrapped for the police, who issued them a citation to appear in court, told them never to darken our door agin and cut them loose.  Having spoken with one of the officers involved since then, it turns out they arrested them man for robbery the very next day.  Apparently breaking the law in our store isn't cause enough for the police to do anything.

And my most recent incident involved someone who came in Monday and stole a bunch of bottles of laundry detergent.  She came back in Wednesday, Ed and Steve followed her down the street and kept her until the police arrived, where they pulled more stolen merchandise off of her from her second visit.  All she got was a stern warning not to come back or it would be charged as a criminal trespass.  How about some charges for the thefts she actually did do?  No dice.

Something can only be viewed as a thankless task if an actual task has been performed and when it comes to the Pittsburgh Police, I haven't seen it yet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

B365V2.27 - A change is gonna come

So it has been a few weeks, actually more like better than a month, since I have update ye olde change meter.  For those not in the know, and knowing is half the battle (G I Joe!), the change meter is a little something I started way back in the blogs wee infancy, some two different blog hosts ago (shout out to all you former Mutiply and Yahoo 360 users) and what the change meter is is simply a collection of all of the money that I find laying on the ground.  A penny here, a nickel there, yada, yada, yada.  The only rules to the meter are, 1) it has to be money or something of which an established value can be determined, such as when I found a monthly PAT bus pass and 2) the money could not have been mine previously, so I can't go to the laundymat and find change in the dryer I took my clothes out of and call it found money, chances are that was already in m possession and just fell out of my pockets. 

So now that we have established the rules, lets get about the business of updating shall we.  When we last left off, the total was $621.35 and we are adding to the total the amount of $11.49, $11 of which I found on the floor at work, and put behind the counter becuase I expected the owner just dropped their change, and was not disappointed not more than 5 minutes later when someone came in looking for their money, but because it was my money for a brief moment and could have been for a lot more moments if my Mayberry style upbringing didn't get in the way.  Think I am kidding, go visit Elderton some day and get back to me or allow me to steal from wikipedia:
As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 358 people, 145 households, and 107 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,293.0 people per square mile (493.7/km2). There were 156 housing units at an average density of 563.4 per square mile (215.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 99.44% White, 0.28% African American, and 0.28% from two or more races.
There were 145 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the borough the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $36,000, and the median income for a family was $43,750. Males had a median income of $37,917 versus $23,021 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,805. About 3.6% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.

Anyway, the $11 dollars does count, even though I ended up giving it back so the brand new total is $632.84.  Or almost $2 for every Eldertonian in existence.   Math rocks!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

B365V2.26 - Weekend plans

Saturday, 9am and I am sitting at the laundrymat washing some clothes for later today.  I am supposed to meet  up with one of my high school buddies, Jim, and go to a baseball game, so it would have been advantageous of me to have done this task yesterday.  But as often becomes the case, by the time I got home yesterday and made something to eat, I pretty much didn't want to move.  Brian didn't show up yesterday, he took his kids to Kennywood and Ed was off for a drs. appt leaving the store once again in my ever so capable hands.  For those that do not understand the organizational flow chart, it goes something like this  ;  Brian - owner of Smithfield Hews, Ed  - former owner and Brian's dad, Brian usually refers to him when he is around, which is about half of the year, the other half he is in Florida, and yours truly who handles day to day operations and is there 6 days a week.

My issue comes from the differing styles that Ed and Brian have.  I'll admit they both have better people skills than I do, but Ed tends to get swayed by sob stories and breasts far more than Brian or myself.  I am a no nonsense results kind of guy, I don't want to here about why things can't happen, I just want them to get done.  As a result Ed and I but heads more than Brian and I do, including a couple of times since he came back from Florida this week.  Last week we had a girl ( of course) quit out of the blue on us.  To me that isn't an ideal situation, but one we can deal with, whether that be by rearranging the existing schedule or by hiring someone new, but when you quit without any notice, good riddance in my book.  Except tits and an ass were involved so of course Ed hires her back, and I told him point blank, I wish I could just drop a note, saying I quit and then come back and get whatever schedule I want.  I was told to calm down, I said I am calm, just explaining the precedent we are setting here for the rest of the crew upstairs.

Now had Brian  been around he may have been on my side in that argument, though him disagreeing with his dad is not a common thing.  But since Ed came back Brian has already not bothered to come in 2 of Ed's first 5 days back.  And unlike a year ago when I was unsure if I could handle this job, now I am all Marcus Lemonis like, in that I trust my process to get us where we need to be.  And my process doesn't have time for such foolishness as playing one manager off of another until I get the answers that I want.

In the time that Ed was away, Brian and I worked very well together, better than I even thought we would.  Not that Brian is a tough boss, but he does have a level of expectations from his workers and he and I tend to agree on that front.

Okay, completely off the subject, but my stomach is killing me.  Not in a vomitous type way, but just a nagging pain that makes me think I need to go to the bathroom, but I know when I do go it is going to be an episode of fingerpainting with my ass upon conclusion.  Not sure if it was something I ate last (most likely, that is when this started) or some other problem I don't know about, but I am leaning toward the jalapeƱo dogs I had for dinner last night.

Okay, stopping time, after that piece of information I am sure you didn't need. I have 3 minutes left on my dryer, then go shower and get this day kicked off.   I'll be back later on.

Okay, about a quarter after three in the pm, got some of my stuff done at work, though I will have to go back later on to finish up.  Jim is running a couple of minutes behind schedule, but isn't everyone today.  I should be done with my work by now, as opposed to half done, Brian was running late in getting me the tickets to today's game.  Though truth be told, Brian was not the reason I didn't finish yet, by putting off doing laundry until morning as opposed to the night before, that put me, hours behind in getting started at work.

Sunday afternoon and all is well.  Seeing Jim and Ronni was pretty freaking awesome.  Brian came through big time, he not only brought the baseball tickets, but a letter granting two people field access to the post game Big & Rich concert afterward.  I let Jim and Ronni  use the pass, I am not a huge country music fan and the seats we had were close enough to the stage for me.  So after the game they scurried off to the field, I walked around the stadium taking even more pictures.of course by going to the game I missed the Neko Case show at TRAF but I really haven't spent that much time with my friends from high school since my graduation year (1987, holla).  Was kind of hoping my friend Rich could have joined us, but his mom was having surgery on Friday, so he was otherwise disposed.   And I am all too familiar with health issues with parental units.   Last time I called home my mom was asking if I saw her cat.  I suppose if I was the cat whisperer that would be possible, but since I haven't been home since last summer when we were working on fixing their fire damage and her cat has been dead for better than a year, Vegas odds on me seeing her cat aren't very good.  You have a better chance of the city of Pittsburgh electing a republican mayor.

After the game last night, I went back and banged out my ordering.  I finished up around midnight, then came home and struggled with the process of taking pictures from my iPad and getting them onto my laptop.  I think I solved that issue though, just not sure I can recall every step I took to make that happen.

Now today is Sunday and I am on the bus, making a Walmart run.  Not that I really need anything there, this is just an effort to get out the house and get the blood flowing.

That was fast,ran in the store and bought a couple of things to snack on later today and ran back out of the store. Now I am on the bus home, hoping I don't fall asleep, like I nearly did on the way here.  Not even coffee was helping.  On the way back I am listening to podcasts while I type.  Nothing that I would recommend to the masses, just some guilty pleasures like Talk Is Jericho and Petros and Money.  The podcasts didn't help, I was conked out in the back of the bus, where at least I had enough space that if I fell over while sleeping I wouldn't have fallen into anyone.  But I am home now, time to post this nonsense, as well as some pics.  Too


Thursday, June 11, 2015

B365V2.25 - Passing hope

.    So birthday month is in full effect (holla!) and it seems likeeverydaynowanother someone I know is having a birthday as well.  Stop hogging my spotlight you greedy bastards, this is my time.

     Anyway birthday month is in full effect.  Ed is back from Florida and he and I have butted heads once already, I swear at some places I would have been fired for insubordination at this point, but apparently my value outweighs my negatives.  Or at least I think, I was told today that tomorrow is my employee evaluation.  I could be a stickler and say when I first took my current job I was promised one at 6 months,but since I am getting the company baseball tickets Saturday night, no sense in being too greedy.  Too greedy if for the annual Christmas list anyway.

    But Friday I get my evaluation for the "How's my driving?"  of the store after 12 months.  Hey we kept the doors open, that is always a plus.  I have had my good days and bad ones, though I would like to think more good than bad.  We caught another thief at work this week.  It all started when I went to do our order, I am going up and down the aisles scanning the shelf tags for items I need.  When you do this long enough, you get a feel for what sells quickly and what moves slower, but is what I call a just in case item, that being just in cases done needs it.  Laundry detergent would be such an item, anyone who does planning would go to the grocery store, or wal mart or even Cvs if it is on sale, before they would buy it from us, but some people do wait until the last minute, and we are the only place open they can get to, so we carry laundry detergent.  Except as I get to that section of the store I see that a bunch of bottles are gone.  Which is odd, because they were there the last time I did an order, so unless we had a run on the stuff, it obviously was stolen.

     So I start rolling our camera on the aisle back, the last time I recalled seeing it their was Monday when the grocery order came in late and I helped Sammy put it away.  So I have a starting point, 3 pm Monday and an ending point, 12 pm on Wednesday when I noticed it was missing.  I start at 3 pm Monday and move the cameras ahead, one hour at a time.  3 pm  - good, 4 pm - good, 5 pm - good, 6 pm - gone.  It's like playing the Clock Game on the Price is Right, not I have my hour down I can cut it into half hours. Then 15 minute increments, until I find the quarter hour I need, and then I can just start the cameras rolling in fast forward.  Sure enough at 5:07pn, their is a lady ( that is me being politically correct, I should have said fatblack crack whore) stuffing a personal bag full of bottles of laundry detergent, probably so she could go sell them on the street to buy her next fucking crack hit.

      I get a picture of her, save it to my flash drive and print off a copy of it so everyone upstairs can see what she looks like should she come back in.  Not more than an hour later she was back in the store, stealing more shit and asking for a job application.  Steve recognized her from the picture and because he was also working on Monday, so he and Ed chased her down, while I was pulling up her latest and greatest caper in the cameras.  I catch up to the whole party of them four blocks down Smithfield Street, and there are two bicycle cops there as well. Of course the cops do t do anything that doesn't involve eating a donut and drinking coffee, so despite us Catching this person with stolen merchandise from our store, they do nothing.  It is one of the complaints I have about my job, the cops never do anything.  I wish I could get me one of those cushy ass government jobs where I let criminals walk at the taxpayers expense.

     As I was saying about birthday month though, there have been a few things of note that have happened or will happen.  I saw Hope the other day, she was driving by the store, taking her niece to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, so we didn't get to chat for long, more like a wave and yelled hellos bak and forth while she was at the stop light.  It wasn't one of those cinema type reunions after 20 plus years, where people go bounding towards each other in slow motion, but those of you long time readers would realize how cool a moment that was for me.

     And a couple of my friends from high school are going to be back in the area this weekend, hoping to hook up with them since the only chatting we have done recently has been via Facebook, which I why I asked for the company baseball tix for Saturday.  So it looks like my social calendar just got a little more occupied.  And hey, no zoo pics this weekend.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

B365V2.24 - Nothing left to give

Have you ever let yourself get tied up a little too much in someone else's drama?  It is by far one of the major perils of Facebook for me, the idea that I might be able to offer insight or assistance to someone who I realistically don't know.  And such is the place I find myself in these days.

I made a mistake a few days ago, one of the people who pops up on my newsfeed from time to time contacted me.  Now we have shared some conversations in the past via messenger and what not, which from my perspective seemed like I was passing on fatherly advice.  I am much to old to be trolling Facebook looking for a date and with my luck with women and the internet, why would I bother anyway?  As long time readers are aware, that shit don't work for me. 

That being said, we have had conversations in the past when I get a message out of the blue the other day that she needs help paying for meds she needs.  Now I was at a point where I had a couple of extra shekels laying around so I decided to help.  I was told that I would be paid back in a few days, which  didn't care one way or the other, if I am helping a friend out, then that is just the way I am.  I don't loan people money because I don't want to be all busting kneecaps to get it back, if I have something and a friend needs it, I will gladly offer it.   So I wire $50 to help out, then a couple days later I get another message, could I help again.  So I do, mind you it was only because I had it.  Then a day after that I am actually busy with something important and I am being nagged again for still even more money.  And now all of a sudden I am Scrooge McDuck swimming in my gold coins or something, and anytime I get a message from her I cringe because I know it is going to involve asking for more money and I was stupid enough to enable the process to begin with.  Fact of the matter is I am far from independently wealthy and it has only been in the last 6 months or so that my job has me at the point where I am not robbing Peter to pay Paul with my own bills.  It was not that long ago that a part of every paycheck I got was put aside just to pay my rent, one pay period did not cover that financial burden.  But that doesn't mean I am making enough money, nor am I volunteering to be someone's sugar daddy either. 

I gave up on the damsel in distress nonsense a long time ago, sometimes people have to live with the consequences of their own decisions and I can't fix that.  Hell I can't even fix me, good thing I don't break down very much.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

B365 V2.23 - Almost an off day

Just sitting down to breakfast in what is possibly the best 24 me hours I will have during my birthday month of June.  Yes, the birthday is coming up, 46 years old in the 18th, which means my time in this earth is probably half over at least.  That is a pleasant thought to kick off what promises to be a good day and a half.

Last night, after work, I made it home with a $5 Antoon's pizza in tow and watched a hockey game.  It might have been the first time this entire hockey season where I got to sit down and watch an entire game.  Usually life or not having cable gets in the way of such things and with the weather being as ice as it has been I thought I would take my day off and go to the zoo and after that take in some of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

It has been a while since I have had breakfast at Pamela's, I forgot how much I like their potatoes and chorizo sausage, both of which are yummy.  On the plus side I also got here early, before 8 am, so no wait for a table either.  Of course I would have been here even sooner had I not left my cell phone at home and had to go back and get it.  Honestly I would like to leave it in the bottom of the Mon river.  The only time it rings is when somebody wants something.

As well as this being my birthday month, it is also the one year mark since I accepted a promotion at work to my current position.  Not sure what that position is, but I have held for 365 days so far.  So far we have celebrated by having one person quit this week and another get fired.   And I may lose a third person, who was interviewing for another (and better) job.

Okay I made it through the zoo relatively unscathed, though I learned again why it is best I don't have kids.    I was in the aquarium section, with the sharks and what not when I heard this kid in front of me alternating between a high pitched scream and some guttural phleghmy noise.  I first I thought he had blown his noise on the glass which would have been bad enough, but there was no snot and he kept alternating between that noise and his screams.  The noise sounded familiar but I couldn't quite place it immediately, but then it licked, I knew where I had heard that type of noise before,while watching The Exorcist.   Needless to say, I beat feet and put some distance between myself and the kid before he started chanting in Latin and the aquariums started to crack.

I also forgot how big the zoo actually was.  I was taking pictures which was slowing me down a little but even so it took me an hour and a half to go through the entire place, and that was spending very little time in the snake and lizard section.

Now I am headed back into work to post next weeks schedule.  It normally gets posted on Friday but the person we were firing was scheduled to work Saturday night and rather than have them not show up, I am stuck posting it on Sunday instead.   So I ride the zoo bus back to Oakland, then switch for a downtown bus.

Okay, that's done.  I took a short nap on my first bus, then transferred and went into work where I posted the schedule and fixed the western union money order machine,then took a quick stroll through the TRAF,but I will spend more time there on Saturday night, when Neko Case is playing.  There is a cute brunette standing about 10 feet to my left, I should say something but she is too well dressed for downtown on a Sunday, especially with me in my plaid shorts.  Plus I know my luck with women,if she reciprocates any sort of interest then she must be crazy. If there is one thing I don't need today it is a cupful of crazy.

Well we ended up on the same bus out of town,perhaps she is stalking me.  Fat chance of that, I haven't had a stalker of sorts since I produced Doug's radio show and someone wrote in saying that they wanted to meet me.  Doug suggested that I follow up, I said it speaks volumes of someone when they are sending letters to an AM radio station because they want to meet the guy who pushes the buttons.  That my friends, is as close as I have come to having a stalker.   Well that and I have one person who visits this page that thinks so highly of me that they have a reader set up for my blog.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for people stopping by the page, but I can tell the difference between someone  who comes here as a visitor and someone who downloads my page to read at a later date.

Well looks like I lost my potential stalker.  Truth be told I did get off of the bus one stop earlier than normal though.  When I was at work I bought a $10 scratch off ticket and it won $50, so I was going to take it to cvs to cash it in, as well as see what goodies they had.  I didn't get much, just a roll of paper towels, some bread and a pint of Ben and jerry's.  Then I made the walk home and proceeded to take a nap, now I am debating if I want to get back up, since tonight is the first night of free cinema in the park.  The Sandlot is playing, not sure I want to see it, but it would get me out of the house on my day off.  That would be a plus.

Anyway I have prattled on enough, perhaps some pictures to look at are in order.

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