July 24th – A new post…post event

Hello!

I’ll let that sink in for a second. I said hello for the first time this month in blog form. For those who may not know, I suffered a heart attack on July 5, 2019 around the time of 8 pm CST. The event started to unfold towards the end of a tournament softball game being held at Dupree Park in Jacksonville, Arkansas under the Busch Classic banner.

Continue reading “July 24th – A new post…post event”

Flood Waters 2019

It seems, at least to me, that just about every year I am writing a blog piece about the local flood waters here in Missouri. There would be a certain contingent who would simply shout, “Just move away already!” OK fair enough but I’m not actually in a flood plain and where I live is above the critically afflicted. How the flood waters affect me is more superficial than anything. A few of the most convenience routes are under water causing me to seek alternative roads that may take a little longer to traverse. There are other people, some known, some unknown who are directly affected and displaced or facing total loss of possessions that are in more peril than myself and could use the relief. Continue reading “Flood Waters 2019”

Ninja Car Protector

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Good morning! This morning as I was rolling into work and decided to record my second podcast this week (https://scottlatta.podbean.com/e/sep-20-2018-60/). The main focus of the podcast was me addressing the horrendous traffic that we have been experiencing here lately in the St Louis area. My morning and evening commutes on a ‘normal’ day will usually take about 35 minutes each (roughly guestimating an average). But this week has been traffic ghastly. Auto accidents and stalled cars have been raining from the heavens it seems…without there actually being any physical rain to blame. Adding together my morning commute and evening commute from yesterday, my total drive time was in excess of three hours – easily more than doubling the norm for those combined drive times. Continue reading “Ninja Car Protector”

If I had five million dollars…

Good morning and welcome to June 5th 2018. What’s news and interesting? Do you know Bill Gates? Asking for a friend.

Continue reading “If I had five million dollars…”

Customer Service…or not

Hello and Merry one week until Christmas (Monday to Monday).

Today I have had two encounters with two different companies for issues that required engaging these companies’ customer service departments. The first one, after a 23 day wait and second impatient Tweet, resulted in the desired outcome to replace my damaged iPad from last month’s flight to Atlanta. The second interaction was not as successful, even though this bout of customer service is on its sixth e-mail response on top of a verbal call that came while standing in the TV room of a tire replacement business. Continue reading “Customer Service…or not”

Talladega Nights – Step Brothers Shenanigans

Sometimes me and my friend Mike will slip into a vortex of movie quotes. The easiest for us are probably the Will Ferrell movies Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. So sit back and scroll to the bottom! Enjoy!  Continue reading “Talladega Nights – Step Brothers Shenanigans”

Crazy Dreams

Good day readers, bipeds and people who ride those oversized tricycles!

Today is literally, Wednesday, October 4th. It is not the morning time but somewhere in the early afternoon of the Central Time Zone from a US (United States) perspective. For those that listened to my Freak Show podcast on the Podbean app from this morning – thank you. And if you haven’t yet, please check it out!

If you did listen to me earlier, you may have caught me yawning once or twice. There was no Facebook live but just the audio from the in-car session. At that time I was recording, I had not yet switched over my car insurance but as of now I have. Hey, saving 28 bucks a month is saving 28 bucks! If you are anticipating a Segway from that to what I dreamed about, relax, I did not dream about saving a bunch of money on my car insurance. To be frank, it wasn’t simply one dream but like 6 or 7 fragmented dream sketches. I did not say Sketchers, we are not selling any shoes here.

OK I’m back. Sorry about that lag in between paragraphs. I was texting with Jeremy, whom I do the Sports Stalkers podcast with; he wants to go to the WWE Live event coming to St Louis.

Back to the dream couch for analysis: In one of the disjointed sleep episodes I was trapped on a football field with a bunch of strangers. The grass on the field was pretty dead and around the perimeter of the football field was a pretty substantial canyon or gulf. People were trying to jump to the canyon floor but many were breaking their legs or getting caught in quicksand. I tried to drive someone’s SUV down an embankment that didn’t look as severe. About halfway down, a bunch of people jumped on the vehicle and it started to go sideways and eventually tipped over. I exited the vehicle, after it stopped rolling over, through the area that was the windshield (the windshield had just fallen out). Going through the windshield was necessary because the doors would not open and the battery died so I could not roll down the windows. At this point I was pretty stressed out and it was getting dark. I couldn’t see past the top of the embankment and all the people were now gone. On the far embankment to leave the canyon, there was a knotted thick rope leading to the top. I ran to the rope and tried to pull myself up but I guess the top was not secured to anything because the rope was pulling over the edge about as fast as I could climb it. <<Break>>

At this point I started awake for whatever reason. This was about 2:30am or so. There were 3-4 other mini-dreams before this but I don’t remember the details. Eventually I fell back asleep and…

I was standing in a parking lot of some closed mall or something. There were tons of cars everywhere but the building(s) were all dark and no one was around. The only light was moonlight and it glared off many of the vehicles. For the most part the cars and trucks all appears to be new or at least recently washed. The pockets of my jeans were empty. No phone, no wallet, no keys, no money – nothing! I was wearing a blank white t-shirt which is highly unusual and someone else’s shoes with light up soles when I walked. There was a cold breeze and I was panicked because I was late for something. There was a horrible, tight feeling in my chest, like when I was a kid and got lost in a corn field. Whenever the wind would die down I kept hearing a noise. It might have been someone calling my name from very far away or an animal or something. I tried to go towards the sound but the wind would pick up or a loud sound would come from the building(s) and echo for a bit. After a while I tracked the sound to one of the buildings. The windows were tinted and it was dark so I couldn’t really see anything inside except random light blurs. I knocked on a window and the wind stopped. The sound stopped. Nothing moved and a cloud covered the moon so it was totally dark as well. Something smacked against the window hard and I retreated until I fell over a muffler that was now on the ground by me. The cloud left the moon and I could see the old, rusted muffler that I tripped over. Right next to the window I knocked on was a door and that door was wide open. In that moment, I was pretty terrified with what this might mean and I took off. I ran along the parking lot while trying to look between the cars to see if anyone or anything was there. During one of these moments I was looking between the cards, I ran into a parked ambulance. Getting up off the ground, my arm was now bleeding.  I could not hear anything and my instincts told me to climb on top of the ambulance. With only one good, arm, I awkwardly scaled the hood and made my way to the top. Something or someone rammed into the back of the ambulance and I almost fell off the side. But when I looked down the back, there was nothing there. All of a sudden, the two driver’s side tires blew out and I started to fall / slide over the edge…<<Break>>

Once again, I flopped awake and it was like 4:08 or 4:09am. My eyes were a bit itchy and blurry so I am not 100% sure. After that I laid there for a while and listened to the normal house noises, I fell back asleep. If I dreamed anything further, I do not remember.

So for all the amateur dream interpreters out there, what do you think these two dream snippets mean?

Happy Hump Day to all and to all an enjoyable remaining 27 days of October.

Peace.

The Lowest Bidder

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day!

It is amusing for me to reflect on ‘water cooler’ conversations amongst friends or co-workers. A co-worker, who has a military service background, was discussing a recent plane crash with another co-worker. He was recalling that for some air drills the pilots would remind their human cargo that the planes they were traveling in were built by the lowest bidder. That simultaneously struck my funny bone and also sent a shiver down my spine. I laughed because somewhere along the line I remember some forgotten movie where a character spoke these exact words. But then the gravity of the truth of that statement was like a bucket of cold water against my unsuspecting back.

This is the world we live in today. Your plane, your car, your phone, you shoes, your pooper-scooper – nearly everything you use or come into contact with is produced by a company that is operating on the cheapest principal. Based on the minimum specifications and the materials needed, everything is factored on lowest cost to be profitable on the back end the quickest. According to the Google machine, the average cost of a 737 commercial airplane is somewhere between $51.5 – $87 million dollars. That is for a single plane. Doing a little rough math, if you figure a plane has 300 seats and you charge $100 per seat (or 100 seats @ $300 each works too), it would take 1,717 trips (using single flight, non-stop for simplicity) at full capacity to pay just for that one airplane at the low end of that cost spectrum. This of course is not taking into consideration: fuel, staff, maintenance on the mechanical parts, wear and tear on the interior, unforeseen damage repair (interior/exterior), inventory, safety accessories, cleaning and inspections et al. Now obviously some airlines charge more and that would factor in the number of trips needed to ‘break even’ on the cost of the plane but you can, in a narrow view, see how the economics play out and the need to minimize costs.

Take a look at your own daily life. If you own a vehicle, chances are you financed it and pushed for the best deal (cheapest in most cases) based on your available finances. In addition to the down payment (if any) and sales tax (if applicable), you now have to contend with a monthly payment, the periodic fuel needed, oil changes, scheduled maintenance (if following the recommended schedule set forth by the vehicle manufacturer), unscheduled maintenance and a plethora of other associated expenses with owning a vehicle (registration, emissions, parking/city permits, etc.). Whether you are looking at a product expense from the viewpoint of a CEO or just as an individual, the cost is just one piece of your financial puzzle. Usually people in an average income position are skewing toward the less expensive bottom line so that it leaves more dollars (or enter your host country’s currency here) for other facets of daily life and/or operating expenses.

Moving from the topic of flying in an airplane that was made by the lowest bidder, the co-workers veered into politics and Trump bashing. I’m not going to validate or rebut any of their arguments about Donald Trump’s alleged sanity but I will take some umbrage with their generalization that ‘people who voted for Trump are ignorant and racist’. Are some of the people who voted for Donald Trump ignorant and racist? Sure. Statistically speaking it’s almost a certainty. But for that measure so are some of the people who voted for Hillary Clinton. These co-workers missed the irony of their statement. In saying what they said about those voters (that they are ignorant and racist), it in turn showed that they were also guilty of at least being ignorant.

How many people in this country, or any country for that matter, have had grandparents or great grandparents? Now of those who have had grandparents and/or great grandparents, how many of you have heard them speak or convey something along racial lines that is just a stereo-type or vulgar with no valid reason? I’m raising my hand. I had grandparents and more than one of them spoke about people of a darker skin tone. They threw out generalizations and used racially derogatory names to describe the darker skinned people. That was them, not me. Were they a bit racist? Honestly I would say so but that doesn’t make me a racist because I have their blood inside me. But these people who call Donald Trump a racist (he may or may not be one) and also say the same about all of his supporters because they support him, pardon me but that is bull hockey. I like baseball and support the product on the field by watching streamed games and going to stadiums but that does not make me a professional baseball player. Heck there are people inside baseball stadiums who do not even like baseball (parents who brought their kids, stadium workers, engineers, security, etc.) but someone somewhere would say that baseball stadiums are full of nothing but baseball fans. If I haven’t mentioned before I hate speaking in absolutes!

Obviously I am using some liberal examples to make my point here but society likes to bully public opinion to win their cause. No one wants to use good old common sense anymore. If you’re not first, you’re last and no one wants to be last. Everyone, no matter how big a loser they are, wants to be a winner. Everything seems to have devolved from having multiple opinions and ideas seen as a good thing, to now there has to be a clear cut right (answer) and everything else is wrong no matter how close it may be to the ‘right’ answer or idea or solution.

Sorry about that. Got up on Ye Old Soapbox and started rabbling to the messes, er…masses. Just a little virtual tap on the shoulder to remind you; whether you are traveling on a train, subway, airplane, taxi/Uber, rickshaw, ski lift or what-have-you…someone probably fashioned it as cheaply as they could afford. And chances are it is in need of or overdue for maintenance. So good luck and may today not be the day that the buck stops with you.

As a side note from your favorite blogger (making a bit of an assumption here), it goes to show that even smart people can be ignorant. Do not pigeon hole people just because they do not think exactly like you do. There was a world leader for Germany in the 1940’s who wanted everyone to think alike and look alike. Aside from being a moustache icon…not too many people speak highly of him today. Keep thinking outside the box and for the love of Pete (Rose I’m assuming) please stop bemoaning the Trump/Clinton election outcome.

Peace.

Turning the Clock Back…

Peace.

Sometimes to solve a problem or unravel a mystery you need to start at the end and work backwards. With that premise, I have started this post with my traditional ending: Peace.

Now to channel my inner Scooby Doo. The good episodes -not that crap with Scrappy Doo and Scooby Dee- where the gang traveled around the country with unlimited gas money and never stopping to use an ATM. What source or sources did the ‘gang’ draw their funds from? Did any of them have a shellfish allergy? That last question is irrelevant but something that I often wondered about while watching the show and saw no real evidence to the answer. But if I was a betting man, I would have put money on Daphne. Not much, like a dollar.

So back to the mystery. In life there are societal things where across the board legalities are allowed. For example, legal drinking age at 21. Able to vote at age 18. Eligible to drive at 16. Smoking at 18 if desired. Entry into ‘adult’ entertainment venues at 21…I guess for the liquor provision. Cannot own a handgun or purchase ammunition under the age of 18 (CCW in Missouri is age 21). And the list of other restricted can do’s goes on…

Much of this I think is based on high school as a rite of passage. Obviously we do not want kids in the early years of high school showing up in their own car with a Playstation realistic handgun in a holster as they sip some vodka while Joe Camel peeks out from their shirt pocket.  Way too many hormones churning the waves of a spectrum of emotions to trust good judgement for some of the things mentioned above. Heck, there’s “adults” walking around who shouldn’t be trusted with guns, alcohol, vehicles or the power to vote. Just being honest. But the masses have spoken and agree that all you have to do is successfully survive on the planet for 6574 days to get access to smokes, a firearm and the right to choose your preferred idiot to run the country (let’s be honest, anyone running for president is an idiot). And then at day 7666, everything else is yours for the having except government office. For those you need to be at least 25 years old and in the case of the office of president or vice president you need to be 35 (only 30 to be a senator!).

If you are scratching your head trying to figure out where I am heading with the above stipulations and benchmarks, I will tell you.

At what point did things change from being a kid who pretty much couldn’t do anything without getting permission or a ride to go do something to being a full blown adult? Did the history book and the learning about James Madison’s War of 1812 secretly stick a pin in the balloon of childhood? What about getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time with your heart hammering in your chest with excitement and fear? Now it’s telling the little one in the backseat to buckle in so we can go. It’s crazy I tell you…crazy. So many experiences, good and bad, that tempered the person who is now free to do so many things in today’s world, only being bound by imagination and budget (for the most part).

I scroll through my Facebook friends, some jog the clock back farther than others, and it is hard to fathom. Clicking on a name and I am that pudgy awkward kid hanging around with my best friend, wondering if his mom really does cut his hair using a soup bowl.  A few slow blinks and the hazy memory dissipates like smoke in the wind. Time waits for no one which is good if you are waiting for something I guess. You don’t have to be too patient to get what you want, just don’t blink or you might miss it.

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Am I crazy?

I’m sure some of you reading the title immediately had an emphatic response jump to mind. This is because either you know me personally (which is to know some of my quirkiness) or because you have read some of my ponderings and therefore have already drawn your own conclusions.

Over the past two years I’ve gone on 6 or 7 different job interviews in person plus another 4 or 5 phone interviews. During the course of those Q&A sessions, I’ve used the phrase “if I would get hit by a bus tomorrow” probably more times than most people do in the course of their entire lives. The surrounding context is that I always document my work thoroughly; so that in the event “I get hit by a bus tomorrow” someone can follow my steps of work and know what the next action should be. Supporting internal and external clients, with a logical process and prudent business decisions, based on almost 25 years in and around the collections facets of business operations is my bread and butter. I am creative and confident in my actions with an eye on the desired end result(s). Not everything always goes to plan but I know what I’m doing and what I can expect of the possibilities. This is of course on the professional side of my life.

On the personal side, things are much more muddled. If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, the person cleaning up after me would find my podcast notes, 200 softball t-shirts, a bunch of softball equipment, a phone full of softball conversations, 9500 softball pictures, a set of Powerball lotto tickets up through next week, a skittish but lovable feline, a sleep deprived girlfriend and her very outgoing son. But what of my next steps on my personal path? Aside from a few softball schedules and going to work five days per week…there’s not much of a roadmap. That reminds me, I need to rollover my 401K from my last two jobs.

Does anyone ever get caught up on the perpetual list of things to do? Oil changes, dry cleaning pickup, dinner prep, grocery shopping, paying bills, attending friends’ events, cleaning the litter box, taking out the trash, calling mom, returning a friend’s text, personal grooming, yard maintenance, getting gas for the car, a million random chores and the list is ever expanding like a pop-up virus.

Populate these concerns and duties into your conscious brain and then minimize the sleep your body gets with an annoying bouncy song stuck in your head for days (and nights) … and you start to wonder about how to quantify your sanity.

In the event I do get hit by a bus and my ticket gets punched…I hope it’s the day after softball and I’ve remembered to pay my life insurance premiums.

Happy Monday to each and every person with eyelashes reading this.

Peace.