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Which Is The Correct Direction?

For some reason, my elders saw fit to pass trinkets from their lives onto me.  Some, I understand, like my Dad passing his Dad’s NY, NH & H railroad police badge to me. 🙂

And my Dad, his railroad pocket watch (complete with fob and Grand Central Station locker key)!

But others aren’t so straight forward.

My maternal grandfather (Gramp), took me aside one day and gave me a compass.  He didn’t explain where he acquired it, or who it was from.  Gramp passed in 1977 with this information.

I still have the police badge.  I gifted the pocket watch to my long-time friend Jim, as he has always been obsessed with trains, on his 50th birthday.  (He and my Father talked about trains for hours, when I wasn’t all that interested.)

I still have the compass.  Compasses of the same manufacture can be found on Ebay for $55.00.  Of course, they don’t have the personalization on the inside of the cover!

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The inscriptions read as though they might be of military origin, including a 1917 date.  The Great War?  I’ve no way of knowing.  Internet searches of the initials and dates haven’t provided any further information.

As it is with so many things originating with my family, like what happened to my twin brother, I guess the answers are lost forever.

 

Cash Issues

Not the usual not enough (although I suspect that applies to most of us…)

Wisdom from Peter

So much for the “cashless society”

There’s been lots of talk lately about doing away with bigger banknotes and moving towards a so-called “cashless society”.  To name just a few recent articles:

However, when banks start charging you for the privilege of keeping your money in their vaults, that changes the picture.  The Wall Street Journal reports:

For years, Germans kept socking money away in savings accounts despite plunging interest rates. Savers deemed the accounts secure, and they still offered easy cash access. But recently, many have lost faith.

“It doesn’t pay to keep money in the bank, and on top of that you’re being taxed on it,” said Uwe Wiese, an 82-year-old pensioner who recently bought a home safe to stash roughly €53,000 ($59,344), including part of his company pension that he took as a payout.

Interest rates’ plunge into negative territory is now accelerating demand for impregnable metal boxes.

Burg-Waechter KG, Germany’s biggest safe manufacturer, posted a 25% jump in sales of home safes in the first half of this year compared with the year earlier, said sales chief Dietmar Schake, citing “significantly higher demand for safes by private individuals, mainly in Germany.”

. . .

Germany’s love of cash is driven largely by its anonymity. One legacy of the Nazis and East Germany’s Stasi secret police is a fear of government snooping, and many Germans are spooked by proposals of banning cash transactions that exceed €5,000. Many Germans think the ECB’s plan to phase out the €500 bill is only the beginning of getting rid of cash altogether.

There’s more at the link.

We’ve already seen calls to eliminate the $100 bill in the USA, and high-denomination bills elsewhere.  They’re never made out of concern for our interests – always to benefit Big Brother or the banks.  Every time I hear such calls, I check, double-check and re-check my cash reserves (and expand them, if possible).

The anonymity factor is certainly important to many people, including yours truly.  In an era when certain purchases (e.g. firearms, ammunition, etc.) are ‘politically incorrect’, I much prefer making private purchases whenever possible, paying cash instead of using credit cards or checks.  (For that matter, some vendors such as PayPal and Square specifically forbid using their systems to buy such items, limiting one’s options.)  Also, if electronic payment and/or processing systems should go down for any reason (such as the infamous EBT ‘outage’ a couple of years ago), cash will instantly be king once more – so it pays (literally) to have some on hand.

I repeat my earlier recommendation.  Try to keep at least one months’ expenditure on hand, in cash – preferably in smaller bills such as twenties.  If you can stretch that to two or three months’ worth, it’s not a bad idea to do so.  You never know when that cash might come in very handy indeed.

Peter

While I respect Peter for his wisdom and sage advice, not unlike the ‘preppers’ , there’s only so much a ‘person of limited means’ can do.
There are months I run out of funds before they are magically replenished (being on a meager disability income), many times a week or 10 days before they appear.  Things haven’t gotten better, since my roomie has had additional health problems and must work less, putting more of the burden on my shoulders.
We cannot save a month’s worth of expenditures; forget two or three!  And, months of prepper goods?  Fuggedaboutit!
I suspect we shall be relying on our wits and few firearms for survival, when TEOTWAWKI limps ashore our community.
SIGH…

A Modest Bleg II

Here I am, in year FOUR of renting a room, having lost my home due to income reduction, as a result of illness resulting in my going on disability.

I know, everyone has their difficulties. 🙂

I still have boxes of STUFF that need unpacking, because I have even less real estate than my 740 sq.ft. home.

And it occurred to me that as I obviously didn’t have the NEED for this stuff during the past four years, perhaps a good idea would be to SELL IT!

CREATE MORE SPACE AND MAKE A FEW DUCATS.  What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong (or more correctly, difficult) is which method of sale? 

There are so many from which to choose – OfferUp, Etsy, EBay, Backpage, the blogosphere, ad infinitum ad nauseum!

Some local (requiring meeting in person or delivery), some national (requiring shipping, etc.)  And some of the STUFF may have legal restrictions placed upon it by EBay, fire and police, etc. (reloading materials, ‘firearms-related’ stuff…)

NONE ARE FIREARMS!  (Jus’ sayin’)

So, what do you guys recommend?  Some local, some shipped, depending on the particulars?

I’ve been told I cannot use my WordPress blog to sell stuff as it’s against their policy?  And EBay is weird about what they will allow that is firearms-related:  holsters yes, primers no.

Ideas, suggestions?

I’ve some left-handed holsters, reloading components and parts (brass polisher, primer tubes – Dillon etc. – no press), gun cases, pistol stocks, (maybe) some ammo.  Once I inventory the specifics, I’ll send a comprehensive list to a couple local folks who previously expressed interest (because fair is fair), then post the remaining stuff wherever.

And put a link or links here, if permitted.

Thank you in advance.

Who Am I?

I’m having a bit of an identity crisis.

I was born white, which makes me a racist.

I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which makes me a fascist.

I am heterosexual, which makes me a homophobe.

I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.

I am older than 55 and semi retired which makes me a useless old man.

I think and I reason; therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which makes me a reactionary.

I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.

I value my safety and that of my family; therefore I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right wing extremist.

I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which makes me anti-social.

I, and my friends, acquired a good education without student loans and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of odd underachiever.

I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland by all citizens, which makes me a militarist.

Please help me come to terms with this, because I’m not sure who I am anymore!

And now I don’t know which bathroom to use anymore….

H/T Doverthere, Theo Spark

Customer Service, Part Cinco

(Here we are, revisiting a common theme in this blog.  It’s as if they are not listening!)

I was fully prepared (okay, 85% prepared) to post last night for today, as this morning I was to be occupied during my blogging time-frame.  Another medical procedure.  Sigh.

Another endoscopy.  A camera-down-the-throat (and biopsy) to see the ‘progress’ of my esophageal erosion due to chronic acid reflux.  Which might lead to cancer and/or surgery.

Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be doing it!

This was set-up by my primary physician, as she saw I was suffering from this condition, and wanted to see the progression of the disease.

SO…I was referred to a specialist who saw me six weeks ago, and scheduled this procedure.  One day, outpatient, a few hours.  Roomie J will be driving, as I will be rendered unconscious by propofol (the Michael Jackson drug) for the procedure.

Last time I had this done, the clinic-de-jour called me (and sent me a letter) a month in advance to ask me questions about medical power-of-attorney, organ donation, that kind of icky stuff.  And advised me there would be an intake charge.  Up front.

I was grateful for the heads-up, as being on disability I don’t have lot’s of spare cash lying around for unexpected expenses.  I still wasn’t thrilled at the charge, of course.

But this time, the different facility (I changed doctors as the previous guy seemed to want to get as much Medicare money out of me as possible) had not called or sent a letter.  I assumed (NEVER do that – D. Brown) that if there were a charge, they would bill me.

WRONG!

They called me yesterday afternoon at 1630 hours (I was to be at the hospital at 0700 this morning) and advised me there would be a charge of over one hundred dollars!  They would not bill me, and if I didn’t have the funds, I would have to reschedule!

Of course, I don’t have the money.  And the caller had NO IDEA why I was upset, that this was in the very least an inconvenience and poor customer service!

THEN, she hung-up on me!

But not before telling me to reschedule I had to call my specialist’s office – THEY couldn’t do that!  At 1630 in the afternoon.

(I did rant, but used no foul language.)

Fortunately, my doctor’s office was still open.

SO…it’s been rescheduled for August 16.

Grrr.

PS – While I was writing this, the hospital called to see where I was.  I advised them of yesterday’s conversation and the rescheduling.  Must I do everything?

Neither A Follower Nor A Leader Be…

Because I’m more a follower…   (sigh)

Tamara and Borepatch took the test.  So I was compelled to follow…

Your English Vocabulary Size is:

22350

★★★ Top 6.08%

Your vocabulary is at the level of professional white-collars in the US!
Apparently, my blog-building/copying graphics ability is not as refined!  Please visit Tam (which you should already be doing, regardless!) to use her link to take the test, should you so desire…

Life

It’s a cereal; it’s a board game.  A defunct television series.

It also is what it is.

My favorite line from the James Bond books, is ‘M’ (the head of MI-6, Admiral Sir Miles Meservy) telling Bond when he complains about receiving an assignment change, “Things change, 007.”

M

‘M’

And that might be one definition of Life.  Things changing.

Of course, the best part are the good changes – grand nieces ascending from 6th Grade, and another graduating High School.  Others having birthdays.  A dear friend’s birthdays and their elder daughter getting her doctorate!

The bad?

That dear friend (Bob Hall) being unable to be present for his daughter’s doctoral degree.

Daily dealing with issues regarding aging, illness and finances – both my roommate and I.

Friends, relatives and acquaintances becoming severely ill.  Some almost certainly in their way out, others hanging-in-there, but…?

And some already gone.  More than I ever expected.

Even some leaving voluntarily, but still present.  Apparently, friends no longer.  :-(

“Things change, Guffaw.”

I haven’t needed a fictional intelligence department head to tell me.

I already know.

Things are as they are.

This just in. Ray Carter passed this morning.
Puts my whining in perspective.

Pity The Nation

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h/t Brock Townsend

Survivalism Is Not Necessarily Ludditism

Joel writes:

Things that aren’t necessities but may as well be

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I have a book that a reader sent me a year or two ago – and I apologize but I don’t remember who sent it – It’s about a guy who took it into his head to semi-retire into the Alaskan outback, near or above the Arctic circle. You know, just go out there and build a cabin and live.

Now, that’s more-or-less the plot of Into the Wild, and I think we know how that story turned out. But this older guy, Richard Proenneke, wasn’t some overindulged and suicidally starry-eyed kid. He was an old Alaska hand and actually knew what he was doing. He built a cabin that was a literal work of art – after he got old and retired from retiring, it became a tourist attraction for really hardy tourists. It makes the Secret Lair look like a particularly disreputable shed. And he made nearly every part of it from native wood or stone or bone – hell, he carved wooden door hinges.

Every single thing he had that he couldn’t make himself had to be flown in on a little bush plane and it could only happen a few months out of the year, so space and weight were real factors. And I was looking at the photographs reproduced in the book – Proenneke was a photographer, and my only complaint about the book is there aren’t enough photographs – and in one shot of the cabin’s interior I saw…a roll of paper towels.

And I had me a chuckle. Now, here’s a package of six paper towel rolls, which I just bought today…
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It doesn’t weigh hardly anything, of course, but it’s bulky as hell. I suppose you could open the package and distribute the rolls around the plane, but my point is that if it needs to come by bush plane, you’d have to really want that roll of paper towels. Seems like there are more important things to which you could devote that plane space.

Except maybe there aren’t. When I was first alone out here, experimenting with ways to make due with virtually no income and really studying the difference between a want and a need, I learned that the line between the two is not always clear. Some commodities, while of course you can get along without them in the sense that you won’t actually die, are themselves so useful that it almost doesn’t matter. It’s not a question of life and death, it’s a question of quality of life. Indoor plumbing: Have I ever wasted a moment wishing I hadn’t devoted all that precious Lair space to an indoor toilet? Nope, not so much as a millisecond. To the best of my knowledge, and leaving poisonous spiders out of it, nobody ever died from using an outhouse as I originally planned. But a flush toilet is just such a massive improvement that, if you’ve got the water pressure, only an idiot would decide not to go ahead and dig for a septic system. Electricity’s the same way: Not a necessity of life, but look at all the things it makes possible.

Those are big things. There’s a myriad of little ones, like paper towels. It’s good to pay attention and learn what those things are, because it’s the little things that mark the difference between living and just surviving.

PAY ATTENTION – my personal motto.

I’ve found in my years that had I paid attention (or more attention) perhaps things would have turned our better or differently.  Perhaps not.

But almost always were worse for having not done so.

Today’s Lesson: Read The Fine Print

scottWhen I moved in with J. (a good friend and ex-gf ) over three years ago! (Where does the time go?  “Cleveland!” – G. Carlin), she noticed we prefer different brands of TP.

She likes the girly, soft stuff, promoted by cartoon bears.  I prefer coarser grit stuff, like Scott Tissue.  And, when I can afford to, I purchase it in 12-packs (above). (I know, TMI)

And there is a small coupon for points toward something free on the package.  School Supplies, I think.  One of J’s customers is a schoolteacher, and has need for such things.

So J. asked me to collect the coupons for her friend.

And I did, as much of a PITA doing so was (no pun intended)…

After I had collected YEARS of these things, I presented J. with the bundle.  Turns out about HALF had expired!  I hadn’t noticed there was an EXPIRATION DATE on them!  :-(

I failed to read the fine print!

So, here it is Tax Time.  Regular readers know I am loathe to giving the government money, especially taxes! As oft happens, I just file under-the-wire.  I call myself Last Minute Louie.

And for the past couple of years, I’ve been using Tax Act software.  I used to use Turbo Tax, but when my income dropped, I couldn’t afford it!

Tax Act starts sending out reminder emails even before Jan 1, mentioning the sooner you purchase it, the cheaper it is.

Being of modest income (and not wanting to file, anyway) I put off the purchase.  Until I began preparation on Sunday.

And the total was much more than I anticipated!  And I didn’t have the money.  :-(

But, I able to finagle the fee to efile my tax returns MONDAY (two weeks ago).  Last Minute Louie it is!

Lesson learned – from now on I shall read the fine print!

(FTC – in no way is this an endorsement of either or any tax software product)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…