The Old Shell Game

If you are currently doing business with Shell Oil of North America, you might want to find someone else.  Yesterday I sent this letter to Shell Oil North America, most likely it will be filed in the round file at the corner of the desk.

What can I say … Another slow day at the Goat Farm and my prescription has just run out.

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently applied for and was granted a Shell Credit Card #003-118 —-, for this I thank you.  This month I discovered that you have placed a $400 limit on the card which I find unrealistic.

I presently own three automobiles, of the three, the combined fuel capacity of these vech. are 14, 22, and 24 gallons for a total of 60 gallons.  I also own a bus that has a capacity of 225 gallons.  At today’s pricing, a $400 limit on the card is just not a good thing for me personally.  Do the math, 285 gallons at $3.75 per gallon is over $1,000.  Just filling one car per month and the coach, eats up $400 pretty quickly as I am sure you can readily see.

Also, this month, my fuel consumption was $376 on the card, and even though the $400 limit was not met, the card was declined for use at my local shell station, what is the deal on that?  It was not only inconvenient but embarrassing for me personally, and I did not appreciate it.

It appears that even your $400 limit is no good either, it should have at least given me the $23 left on the card.  After all, “a limit is a limit” and this one wasn’t even met at the time.  I also feel you should have informed me of this action on your part at the beginning of our transaction (when I opened the account) and made it known then.

You need to increase the limits on these cards, or just do away with them altogether.

This is disappointing and frankly if this is the best you have to offer, perhaps I should take my business somewhere else?  Review the above account and make some corrections or adjustments, this is not working.

Thanks,

D. Smith

Then I hit transmit (send) and guess what?

The Email address printed on the billing statement is NOT valid. (I guess when you have a good thing going for you, you just naturally don’t have to give a ____ one way or the other.)

OOO

It’s A Dogs Life

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa,and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was ill and dying.  I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure.

They felt as  though Shane might learn something from the experience.  The next day,I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped
up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d  never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want what lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

“Reputation is what people think you are, Character is what God knows you are!”

Spell the word “Dog” backwards and what do you get? *

000

A special thanks to my friend Art in Nevada for passing this on.

Old Frog

It just has to be Monday.  Internet is acting up this morning, this may or may not get posted.  I am a little bit irked, you see the county went and raised my taxes again, some 12% this time.  Now here is the catch, “I didn’t get any kind of raise in MY income, have not had any kind of raise in a couple of years now.”  Why is it that we are constantly feeding this monster, and at the same time, receiving nothing in return?

You can take a frog, dump him in a pan, turn on the heat, and he will stay right there and eventually fry in the scalding water and die.  But you take the same frog, toss him in hot water, and he will hop right out.  You see frog # 1 his environment changed a “little at time” and he didn’t notice the change until it killed him.  Frog #2 noticing the immediate change, took evasive action at the very beginning.

Now I am just a little frog, swimming in a big pond, but I gotta tell you, I am starting to relate to croaker number one right now, the water is heating up in my pan and I am ready to get out.

It is hard to say how much more the American Consumer can take as a whole.I  t seems to me that the new catch phrase in this country seems to be “passed onto the consumer” and personally, I am getting awfully tired of it.  I really do not have a clue as to what can be done about it other than lament the fact, but I am so tired of taking it in the shorts on just about everything, it is far beyond funny anymore.  It is beginning to become tragic.

I Pledge Allegiance has been changed to … Bend over and take some more.

Gasoline comes first, no rhyme or reason to it, but it continues, unabated.  While I am at it, “I am tired of this rant over and over, on the environmentalists, and the tree huggers being the problem.  ”Drilling in Anwar, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, isn’t going to meet one year of our petroleum needs.

IT IS NOT THE TREE HUGGERS.

Why doesn’t someone ask them why there are no new refineries, why the refiners are only running at a small percentage of what they are capable of? Why we have an “artificial shortage” of motor fuel in this country.  The numbers are in, people are driving less, consumption is down, so why isn’t the price going down.  No, it increases.  It defies logic.OkieCity is a virtual Ghost Town any night of the week after eight o’clock.  We are shut down.

So if we are using less, much less, why are we still paying more?Bad math.  Even I can see that, and I wasn’t always the sharpest knife in the drawer, when it came to math.

Stop blaming the tree huggers … Last year during hurricane season, this stuff was increasing on a daily basis on the “speculation of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico that never really materialized.  But in America, what goes up ….. stays up … it doesn’t always go back down.

No profit in that.

Cops in Atlanta this week started adding a $12 fuel surcharge for speeding tickets, airlines are weighing customers, where does it end.B  ig change in breakfast items.  Grain cereals have jumped on the bandwagon and are now giving us less in the box for more money.  Weights are down, check it out the next time you are in the store, and you will see what I am talking about.  They are selling us less product for more money.  With the high price of diesel (which is a waste product of petroleum by the way) farmers are going to have to have more to cut even a marginal profit this year.

Beer is being served in smaller glasses, ice tea and other refreshments have gone to smaller sized glass.  I note that the plates in one place we usually frequent, over night, shrank in size.  Not necessarily a bad thing for the American Consumer who is face it, a bit on the tubby side.  We used to go to this place, and we would split an order of Fajita’s the wife and I, now I find out that they are charging me $2 for the second plate, which of course, “used to be free.”

They can now call me the hacked off Old Gringo and say Adios, I will go somewhere else.

Electric service is up, why not, everyone else is doing it.But there has to be a point at which this will cease to be realistic.  We cannot keep absorbing all of these price increases, over and over, there comes a time, when the glass is full.  We are quickly reaching our point on the scale, it has come to where push meets shove around here and sadly it has reared its ugly head a lot sooner than I thought it would.

Today I read but one more credit card article, this couple in hock up to their ears. $16,000 on one credit card, owed $106,000.00, on a house that had an appraised value of only $63,000.00.  I still see the big screen televisions going out the door at China Mart and the new paper tags on the cars (new cars) all over town, and frankly, I wonder how it is that they can still do this?

It is a lot different at our house … The wolf is baying at the backdoor and we have nothing to toss out to satisfy him.  Old frog number one is really getting tired of this —- .

How about you?

OOO

Lost And Adrift

The other day I was looking at some of the links to my webpage others have put up, and one of them said, “Creative Endeavors, Life Observations, Humor.”  I had never considered this a commentary on life, but it appears to have been labeled so by a few.

That is kind of nice.

Often in the morning, I sit here and try my best to come up with something new and refreshing for the day.  Every now and then I hit one over the fence, most of the time, I have to admit, I just try to get on base with a hit.  This morning, being no exception to the rule, I find myself sitting in front of an empty screen and wondering what it is that we will talk about?

This week I read an interesting book by Donovan Hohn, which was the true tale of 7,200 shipwrecked rubber ducks that rolled of the deck of a container ship in the stormy North Pacific about 15 years ago.  The ducks are not the story, only part of it.  It is about a quest in life, a passion that had to be fulfilled.  The author was so obsessed with finding out what happened to all these ducks that he quit his job as a English school teacher and set out to discover everything that he could possibly find out about these small lost rubber ducks.

Where they had been, where they are now, what was their final destiny after being shipwrecked.  That is passion my friends.  When was the last time you were curious, I mean “Really Curious” about something.  In my case, it has been awhile, I have to admit.

Following these ducks took him to the Northwest passage, Alaska, China and many places in between.  Who would have ever stopped to consider that chasing a flock of lost rubber ducks around the world, would lead to such a thought provoking work?  If you desire more information on this book, “Moby-Duck, The True Story of 28,000 bath toys lost at sea, you can find it at Viking for about $28.”

At 63 years of age, most of my passion in life, sad to say, has been used up.  I find that my get up and go, has gone and went, and my curiosity for the most part has peaked.  I am no longer thinking of moonwalking with Einstein, have lost the art of trying to remember everything that there is to remember in life, and lately, I have developed a little hitch in my giddy-up that tends to make me seek out the Aspirin bottle in the late afternoons.

Life … What happens when you are not paying attention.

When is the last time you stepped out of the box?  Ventured into something totally new and off the wall.  When was the last time you got truly excited about something that you were never excited about before.  If you are like me, it has been some time, an ocean of time.

I read where others struggle with this too.  Fun? Passion? Nope-nada.   Spending a little time on the net you can find other writers struggling with it too.  Are You Having Fun Yet?   No excitement in their lives, nothing left to shoot for, like my old man used to say, “I have done it all.”  I suppose that is the way of life sometimes, you cannot have your cake and eat it too, but a lot of us, would like it that way.

What is it about life that drains our passion, to the point, that we no longer even feel it remotely in our life.  What is it about life, that we no  longer wish to drink at the fountain of it, but rather just gargle.  Why is it that with age, we lose the drive the incentive to seek out new adventures, just sit back and do our best to be “just comfortable.”

I don’t know, I certainly do not have all the answers, most of the time, I have to admit, I don’t even remember the questions.

Perhaps I need to drive up into someone’s yard, get out of the car, grab one of their plastic lawn ornaments (Flamingo’s or such items) and take it on a trip around the world.  Photograph them in all these exotic locations (The Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower) and make a scrapbook of it and return it (and the book) to its rightful owners a year later.  It is a neat idea, certainly nothing original it has been done before, just not by me.

What is it that I need?  What is it in my life, this inescapable “bucket list item” I have forgotten?  Do I need to find a seemingly impossible rocky crag and scale it … Locate one un-dammed river in this country and run it … Simply because they are there.  Perhaps it is time to make a road trip and burn some expensive fossil fuels.  Take my grand-kids on a trip and one more time, try and explain to them why history and why geographic monuments erected by the hands of man are important in this day and age.

Why Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Tweets, Facebook and MTV are not.

Might be time to devote some serious time to study my root problem and find a solution.  Lay back in my hammock and take a well-deserved nap and consider something of an adventurous nature to do in the sunshine years of my life.  Which right now, seems to me, an impossible goal.

One constant in all this, and that is the weekend.

If it did not exist before now, I would have to invent it, because it is something that we all need.  A time to recharge, to readjust our priorities in life, or just “get away from it all” for a brief respite from what life has to offer.

Please enjoy yours, I am going to do my best to do the same on my end.

OOO

Big Sky

13 on the floor!  The other one out the door … Hammer down, Hammer down! 

This time of the year is terribly hard on a guy, especially a guy who has the wanderlust gene like myself.  I want to get out and roam, although I know that this is no longer a reality, it is not possible in this day and age.  So I fritter the days away sitting on the porch and I find other ways to amuse myself, like wondering, “What is the longest English word you can type with only the left hand?”

(Stewardesses)

Important issues like that.

Spring time.  Back in the day I would find myself lying on a blanket with some sweet thing and we would be whispering into each other ears, sonnets and secret phrases, but alas, they are gone too.  Now I wonder if the old air conditioner will make it thru another season?  How much water I am going to have to put on the lawn this year, to green it up and keep it that way.  Why women find it impossible to sleep in a bed that has a fan blowing across it.

I secretly pine for Montana, it is never far away in my thoughts, often just around the corner.  The pale blue sky opening up over Bozeman seems to stretch forever.  The air is fresh and clean at the top of Bear Tooth Pass outside Red Lodge and the roads empty before, now most likely are bare altogether.  A long BNSF freight racing across the land at breakneck speed to Chicago, clear water streams and long hot summer days.

In the summer, you can drive across southern Montana and the haystack dotted farmland seems to roll on and on forever.  You drive by the small outfits, and they haul out to the front fence, what they have to sell.  Worn out, beaten up pickups, a combine here and there, well used tractor an old motorhome, whatever.

I have driven on two lanes so striking, so majestic and mesmerizing, hauntingly familiar, that you swore they were objects of art.  Rolling green sea’s of prairie grass, visions of Native Americans, stampeding horses, bison and of course, cowboys taming an unruly bronco fill my mind.

You would not expect anything less of someone who’s favorite western is “Dancin’ With Wolves.”

Eye candy for the soul is how I always seem to refer to it.  A place in time, that lingers in your mind and often helps you thru your day.  Distant roads are calling me.  Through scenery so spectacular that much like a fine oil or a colorful print hanging on the wall it takes your breath away.  The mood and the feel of the land permeate your soul in big sky country, the home of Louis and Clark, the chisled Grizzly.

I yearn to roam.

The old time towns and the architecture mixed with the new style trendy restaurants and galleries of the new west.  Pickup’s with gun racks,  Small detailed dream catchers hanging from the rear-view mirror, a blue healer dog in the back, one stop light at the end of the block.

And always, a canvas of baby blue (sky) right above you.

Man, I hate living in the city.

000

CHROME  Catch you on the flip-flop

Hit Me Again

Mama is not happy, she cannot access the food channel and she cannot download her treasured recipes.

And we all know the drill …. If mama aint happy … then no one is happy.  Me?  I want her happy, happy wife, happy life!  I want to be a happy, happy man when I die.

The problem (or this one) is the internet router got spiked over the weekend and it is now toast and will not allow her to go to her beloved haunt for her fix.  It of course is now “MY PROBLEM” and I have been delegated to fix it.

The monkey never learns, you see the monkey, he loves brown rice.  And the monkey knows that if he sticks his hand in the tray to retrieve the brown rice, he is going to get shocked by electricity.  But still, he sticks his hand in and he gets shocked, because you see, “he loves the rice” and unfortunately for the little furry critter, “he never learns.”

And of course …. “The monkey is always surprised when this happens to him, over and over again.”

Said all that, to say this …. I did it again.

Have a calendar on the wall, a date minder book thing, even a tear off on the desk, but no, I have to click on my computer calendar, it is right there, a mouse click away.  I need a date, and a day, instead of getting up off my porky butt, and walking over to the wall, lifting up the page of the calendar and looking for the date, I click on my internal computer calendar.

I mean … gee whiz, this is supposed to be the “information age” right?

But the monkey, he never, ever, learns.  I go for the obvious easy solution, not the practical one.  I don’t use the any of the items available to me on the desk ….. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo .. I click on the one in the computer!

So here I sit, locked down on June 2nd, 2011 and everything is just peachy, and then the power spikes and everything goes down!  Pow!  It all goes south, oh yeah, I forgot.  I was sitting here making a note for June 2nd, 2011 when the power went down, ka-Pow! 

Unfortunately I discover to my chagrin, when the computer went down it also remembered the new day and date, and locked me into June instead of April. 

So now my virus checker doesn’t work, and it will not re-set.

Why?  Mr. Computer says that “Someone has tried to manipulate my clock/date setting” and therefore I have to contact support.  Now that is a hoot.  I contact support and they say, user name, password, I check my list.  I type it in.  They say no such user name, password in the known free world or the central part of the United States.

I re-type it, type it, type it … And you know the rest of it dont’cha? Support my ……..

Well, time to move on.  I am getting cranky again.

Yeah I know, how can anyone be this stupid you are asking yourself.  Well, it is rather easy to tell you the truth, regrettably it happens to me all the time.  I am descended from a long line of men with opposing thumbs who were prone to do something stupid from time to time, like the time my grandfather told me about getting his tongue stuck in the roller of a typewriter.

Stuff like that.

Here is one more and then I am outta here.  Don’t under any circumstances; squeeze a lemon for your Ice Tea when you have a cut on your finger, handy-dandy internet tip of the day.  I found out this weekend that this can be extremely uncomfortable. 

Gonna be an interesting week, I can just feel it in my bones.  Just imagine what it is gonna look like when the smoke finally clears and you see your barn burned completely to the ground!  Which is not all that bad a thing, at least tonight you will be able to see the moon more clearly, there is always a rainbow.

OOO