Monthly Archives: January 2013

Boise Is Not A Place For White Supremacists Or Robins, But We Do Have Plenty Of Slurpees

With all the melting snow Boise is like one big Slurpee.

With all the melting snow Boise is like one big Slurpee.

The temperatures in Boise have finally reached above freezing this week, but the snow remains, all be it at this point slush. It’s okay for Slurpees but not for driving.

The immigrant from India who works at the 7-11 was overcome bu tears. “I love America; a land of plenty, a land of endless Slurpees.”

When it snows I shovel my neighbors driveway and sidewalk. They are in their eighties.

Our last snow came during the evening and I speculated that the snow might melt by noon so there was no need for me the shovel. The snow did not melt as I hoped. An energetic friend came by while I was out and shoveled my driveway and walk.

When I returned my sidewalk and driveway were cleared. My eighty year old neighbor was shoveling. Immediately I was overcome by guilt. The thought crossed my mind ‘she probably assumed I’m no longer going to shovel for her since she had never pain me.’

It is certain my friend would have shoveled both walks if it was known that I normally do my neighbors also.

My fifteen year old granddaughter was with me. “Quick get the shovel from her hands while I go in the garage and get my shovel. Don’t take no for and answer. Shove her down if you have to. Don’t let politeness stand in the way of being a good neighbor and extending help to your neighbor and respect for the elderly.”

While in my garage I heard my granddaughters sweet voice say, “Let me do that for you.”

That’s what I had in mind. Just like Grandpa.

Later, I walked out in the backyard to scrape snow off my satellite dish. There was group of robins outside my garage door. I don’t know what they were doing there or what they were up to.

It occurred to me that robins cluster, yet there is no name for them when they do. Other birds have special names for their gatherings, like a gaggle of geese, a congress of owls, a murder of crows, a bevy of quails, and so on. Robbins have nothing but flock. It’s as if it’s unusual or illegal for them to congregate.

“Okay you guys,” I said. “Break it up. You don’t even have an official name, you can’t congregate here. Not on my property. You can’t even file a petition for a public gathering. You have no name. So break it up.”

It seems like Idaho has the reputation that somehow white supremacist groups and robins can come here and find it easy to organize. Well, not so.


Filed under Boise

My Dad And Louie, The Barber

For my Dad this was the kind of place he liked to get his hair cut. Of course, all the better if there was a bar next door.

For my Dad this was the kind of place he liked to get his hair cut. Of course, all the better if there was a bar next door.

For Dad going to a barbershop was like a religious tradition. In my Dad’s day barbershops were ranked along side bars and pool halls where men could be men.

Dad’s barber was a guy on South Main Street in Lima named Louie. Louie looked like Jimmy Hoffa.

When Dad and I showed up at Louie’s it was always empty.

“He’s next door at Harry’s,” Dad said every time. (Harry’s was a bar.)

“You wait here,” Dad would say. “I’ll go and get him.”

That meant Dad would tell Louie I was waiting for a hair cut. Louie was a whiskey shot man. He’d down one and come back to the shop. In the meantime Dad would order a beer. There is a long standing rule and tradition; you can’t just walk into a bar and breath the air for free, you pay for it by ordering a beer. Dad never went into a bar without ordering a beer. To do otherwise might cause him to be expelled from the brotherhood.

Louie cut my hair while drunk and reeking of booze. To this day when I think of barbershops it is not associated with the odor of colognes and aftershaves, it is whiskey oozing from the pores of a drunk.

After Louie was done with my cut he went next door to get my Dad. Another rule is that you never leave a bottle on the counter with beer in it. Dad had to finish the beer. Louie didn’t like wasting time so he would order another shot while Dad finished his beer. If they weren’t in sequence Louie might even have two shots.

Eventually Dad got over to the shop and got a haircut.

Dad liked to tip. “Let me buy you a shot,” Dad would say and they both went to the bar next door to finish the religious rites at the barbershop visit.

One day Dad and I got there just as Louie was opening.

“Good,” I said. “At least I’ll get a hair cut without him being drunk.”

“Are you kidding me,” Dad said. “Louie can’t cut hair unless he’s got a couple of shots in him.”

Dad asked him over to Harry’s and bought him a couple of shots before he let him cut my hair.

Louie died in the early sixties.

Harry told my Dad the morning Louie died he came in and asked for a shot of whiskey. Harry obliged him. “This is my last shot,” Louie said. He tossed it down and opened his shop, sat in his chair, and died.

Dad said that was a good way to enter the pearly gates. If Louie didn’t go there without the smell of booze Saint Peter would have thought it was an imposter and turned him away.

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Are You Interested In Investing In A Start-Up Company That Has Limitless Growth?

Where some people see problems, I see oppertunity. To me, this is a customer I can make money on.

Where some people see problems, I see opportunity. To me, this is a customer I can make money on.

I’m thinking about starting a company that just handles complaints. I’ll charge a nominal fee for every complaint handled.

I have a market that will never dry-up. Everybody likes to complain and nobody is ever satisfied. Besides big companies never listen anyway, for that fact, neither do small ones.

Normally people who complain only want to be heard by somebody; it’s therapeutic.

My operator’s will listen and put their name in a data base. If they call a couple more times then we know they are serious.

I may put the complaining calls into an automated listening machine that will say, “hmm,” every now and then or, “That’s too bad.” “If this happens again be sure to call us back.”

By starting a company that just handles the first few complaints the more serious ones can be attended to while the insignificant ones are discarded.

Larger companies will now have a layer of insulation and plausible deniability when it comes to customer relations. “Oh we outsource our complaint department. We have so few it’s hardly worth having one.”

I can even handle referrals from psychologists. We can split the fee and he can handle four times the patient load. A patient will only see the psychologists every third or fourth visit. That’s better than my doctor. I don’t think he exist, but he does have a physicians assistant. That’s kind of what my complaint company will be; a psychologist assistant.

Anyway I think it has real growth potential. You’re probably wondering how you can get in on the ground floor? Send me $500 and if you don’t hear from me in ninety days just give my complaint department a call.

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Filed under Business

Tanner Shipley, Boise State’s Latest Diamond In The Rough

Tanner Shipley, Boise's newest find.

Tanner Shipley, Boise’s newest find.

Tanner Shipley will go Bronco next year at Boise State. He is an exciting running back/receiver/d-back. He was wrestled from the jaws of BYU.

He is a solid 6’2” and his weight has been posted anywhere from 175 to 195.

ESPN has him graded at 70 and a three star recruit.

This guy is a steal. He runs, and cuts like he’s around 5’10”. What I mean is that he has some deceptive moves more often seen in running backs built a little closer to the ground. People don’t seem to touch him a lot and when they do he seems to slide through their grasp.

His running is great, but his real asset is his hands. It’s like a black hole in space. Once the ball enters his hands it can never escape.

Given his build and instincts he may see playing time early in his career. Much depends on how he matches-up with the rest of Boise State’s talent.

That said, it seems like he might be the taller version of Shane Williams-Rhodes, but with the ability to play on the defensive side of the ball.

A couple of months ago Boise lost wide receiver Jack Austin to California. Gaining Shipley more than makes up for that loss.

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Filed under Sports

Waiting For An Order At McDonald’s

I think every supervisor sees themselves as a Donald Trump.

I think every supervisor sees themselves as a Donald Trump.

Let me say I have tremendous respect for the people who work at McDonald’s. The have jobs and working is honorable. Employees at McDonald’s are polite and skilled for the most part. I have a little fun with them at their expense, but I can’t help what entertains me.

For many teenagers McDonald’s is their first step into the workforce. Every job they have after McDonald’s will be measured by that experience.

I worked at McDonalds’s for a brief time. It was a positive experience. In those days the menu was smaller, we had a cash register and not a computerized cash drawer. We took orders on a pad or did it in our head. After a while combinations of items and prices were memorized. Today the menu is much more complicated.

When entering McDonald’s I’m armed with the knowledge that the job is complicated, this may be an employee’s first job, they are unsure of themselves and nervous, and their supervisors are idiots.

Often I notice a kid at the counter sweating bullets trying to please me, the customer.

Correcting and humiliating an employee in front of a customer is one of the lowest life forms known to management and it is done far, far too often.

A few weeks ago I placed an order. I waited a long time. If not for the fact they already had my money I would have left. Finally there was a break in the line and I approached the employee who took my order. He had a little trouble remembering, but finally it clicked.

The supervisor watched the entire episode unfold.

He took the employee aside, but well within by notice. As he reprimanded him the supervisor continually glanced my way as if trying to gain my approval for doing his job and correcting an employee. His voice raised as it looked as if I was loosing interest. I felt the kid’s humiliation

“What did I tell you about watching the customers and the lobby?” the supervisor said.

“You said to keep an eye on customers on the other side of the counter who are waiting too long,” the employee said.

“Exactly, and did you do that?” the supervisor said.

“I was so busy taking orders I didn’t notice the gentleman was waiting,” the employee said.

“You must always be aware. That’s a part of your job. We got to work as a team,” the supervisor said. “If you have dissatisfied customers they will go someplace else.”

The employee was silent.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” the supervisor added.

“I’ll try harder the next time,” the employee said.

“It’s not a matter of trying harder,” the supervisor said. “It’s a matter of thinking. You’re not thinking.

“I’ll try to be more aware,” the employee said.

“We don’t try,” the supervisor said. “We do.”

Wow, that was all I could take.

I smiled at the supervisor and motioned for him. “Ya know, it’s not the kid’s fault. I have a little experience in industrial engineering and I was watching the whole process as I waited for my order. I’ve come to the conclusion that the system failed. The kid did all he could. My order simply did not get to the people in the prep area or was overlooked back there. I know what you’re thinking the kid should have caught that, but he didn’t. That’s also a part of the system. What’s your back-up for that?” (It’s interesting to fire something at them for which they have no answer.) “I tell you what it is. It is the supervisor who was running around making sure everybody was jumping at every command. You’re like the captain who keeps a tight ship, but not looking out for the icebergs. You are the back-up in the system and you are the one who missed me. You looked at me several times while that kid was taking orders. You‘re the problem.”

He stood there like a country boy watching the merry-go-round at his first carnival. “We’ll refund your money. You’re meal is on us,” he smiled.

To me that is not so much of gesture of goodwill as it is an exercise of power; as if he’s saying ’I have the power to feed you and make you happy.’

“No thank you,” I said firmly.

I few days later I went to McDonald‘s. The same employee was there. I looked at his name tag. “Jason, remember me?”

He smiled.

“I see I didn’t get you fired,” I said.

“No. but Mike (the supervisor) took the rest of the night off.”

“He probably needed it,” I said. “I was probably a little rough on him.”

“I don’t think so,” he smiled.

“You got potential and a future here at McDonald’s,” I said.


Filed under Essays

Music That Makes Me Cry

images[3]I burst into tears when watching sad movies or a sad scene from a movie. The full emotional impact hits me just like the writer and director wants it; the very moment they want me to, I’m always on cue.

I’m emotional putty in their hands.

No musical ever made me cry like Carousel.

Every song is a masterpiece.

To me the whole musical is about living life in such a way you have few regrets and hold closely those who are most dear.

The Carousel Waltz is one of the most joyous songs I know. It is uplifting and bold.

There is no finer song about courage from a musical than You’ll Never Walk Alone. It inspires integrity, purpose, reflection, and meditation.

They don’t make ‘em like that any more.

Here is the Carousel Waltz and You’ll Never Walk Alone.


Filed under My Music

Boise’s Newest Recruit Already Has A Lot of Moxie (or is it Moxey?)

Jonathan Moxey, on his way to Boise. He's a natural.

Jonathan Moxey, on his way to Boise. He’s a natural.

Boise State just got a commitment from West Palm Beech Dwyer High School’s Jonathan Moxey.

He was one of the best corner backs in Florida and was part of an awesome defensive team last year. Opponents seldom threw in his direction.

He is the first student athlete to attend Boise from the West Palm Beech area.

Boise’s recruiting this year is heavily on the defensive side of the ball. Moxey is fourth committed corner this year. That brings the count to 14 defensive players out of 23 recruits.

Boise must have been an easy sell for Moxey:

Boise had to name a chain of coffee shops after Jonathan Moxey, but what ever it takes.

Boise had to name a chain of coffee shops after Jonathan Moxey, but what ever it takes.

Petersen: See all those coffee shops?

Moxey: Yeah

Petersen: What do they say?

Moxey: Moxie Java.

Petersen: Do you know why?

Moxey: No.

Petersen: They want you to play here that bad.

Moxey: Really?

Petersen: Really.

Moxey: But the spelling is wrong.

Petersen: We’ll take care of that later.

Well here’s Jonathan Moxey’s new nick name; Java Man Moxey.

Welcome to the “Blue.”

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Filed under Boise, Sports