Friday, October 29, 2010

View From The Ditch Bank

911 WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY? Caller--"I'd like to report a drunk driver" Operator--"What is your location?" Caller--"I-25 in northern New Mexico" Operator--"OK I'll notify law enforcement and get an officer headed that way." Caller--Uh! an officer is already here. He is the drunk driver.
Ok Ok so this is a fictional call. Kinda. earlier this week, on the news from Albuquerque, it was reported that a Deputy Sheriff for a northern County was located on the side of -I-25, passed out in his patrol car. And he was on duty. And he was MIA. When State Police found him, they gave him a sobriety test, twice, and he tested 4 times over the legal limit. Which is .08. So this makes his alcohol content about 3. something. He admitted to drinking during the day and a bottle of Tequila was found in his patrol car. The following day, it was reported that earlier in the day before the deputy was found drunk, he had lost a 14 year old prisoner he was transporting to jail. The 14 year old was later apprehended by another police department. So, can't you just see the hilarity that could take place in court.
Judge to Deputy. "How do you plead. Not guilty, your honor. Uh! yeah I was under the influence, but I wasn't driving, I was beside the road asleep. Judge--You were passed out. OK Ok so I was passed out, but I had to stop and take a nap so I wouldn't have a wreck. So that makes me a responsible person and not guilty of driving drunk.
Judge to 14 year old. In addition to the previous charges, I am charging you with escaping while in custody. 14 Year old. But your honor, I had to get out of the car. He was driving drunk, and my parents taught me to never ride with a drunk driver, so I was protecting my life, and am not guilty of escape.
Ho Hum, just another day in the life of Law Enforcement in New Mexico.
And That Is The View From The Ditch Bank.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The View From The Ditch Bank

THERE ARE WINNERS, AND THEN THERE ARE WINNERS: A few weeks ago I received in the snail mail, an envelope from someone. A law firm or someone like that, I believe. Inside was a lot of papers, basically saying that someone who holds a popular credit card had filed a lawsuit against said credit card company, and had hired an attorney. This was subsequently turned into a class action suit, and according to the credit card company's records, I qualified to receive an amount of money, should the plaintiff's be successful. I had some options. I could toss the papers and do nothing. And if a settlement was reached, that is what I would get. Nothing. I could hire my own attorney and join in the lawsuit on my own. At my expense. Or I could sign my acceptance of the law firm that had been retained, and then receive an amount of money when a settlement was reached. Depending on just what, exactly, my status was with said credit card co. I would receive an amount, credited to my account, somewhere between $30.00 or so up to $57.00. Yep, tops, $57.00. Well, a $57.00 credit on my account, sometime in 2011, would be fine,and since all it cost me was the price of a stamp, I signed said paper and sent it back. By the time this all comes to an end, I will probably have forgotten about it. Oh! and the law firm. If they win, they receive $12 million. Clearly the big winner. Well, maybe not. I am sure there are enough card holders to make the $57.00 each add up to probably millions more. So the Card Co. is the big loser. Well Maybe. This situation has been going on for 15 years or so. How much money did the card company make in that 15 years. Did they anticipate this coming up and put money aside, in an interest bearing account, to combat this, in the event it did come up? Don't know. I do know, however, that governments and company's do accounting different than us common people do. They don't say "Well, I have a hundred dollars, I can spend a hundred dollars without going in the red. Nope, the government raises taxes and company's raise prices and do other accounting things that I don't understand. By the time said company actually pays the attorneys, and the card holders, they will have figured out ( probably already have figured out ) a way to take a tax deduction, or whatever they do to show a loss, without actually losing, and will do all the other things that company's do to spread this around. So they will not actually lose any thing, in the long run. And my credit card statement. Oh I'm sure it will be charged a fee somewhere and somehow along the line, that will make back the $57.00 for the company. And after that, they will keep on receiving that fee. And while I may be a little winner for a time, and the attorneys will be a big winner, I think in the long run, the Credit Card Company will turn out to be the Biggest winner of all. And That Is The view From The Ditch Bank.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The View From The Ditch Bank

DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THE CLICK: I remember one time many years back, when I had been working in the mine for just a short time, An assistant foreman was watching me at my job and perceived I had done something wrong. I was a truck driver of a truck similar to the one in the picture. He pulled me aside and commenced to perform the proverbial chewing. After a bit, as I was explaining what had actually happened, it dawned on him what I was saying and that he was wrong in his perception. You could just see that light bulb click. It was gratifying to me to realize that he was wrong. I wondered why, though, he wouldn't apologise. Instead, he just mumbled a few more words, got in his pickup and drove off, leaving me to get back to work. Have you ever been in a similar situation. It sure is funny when it happens. except, of course, when it is you who comes to the realization that you are the one who is wrong. Still, there is that moment of "Click".
Well, now I am having more and more of those clicking moments. Oh! wait a minute. Maybe I am changing the subject a bit. But things are really clicking for me now a days. You know, in my knees, my hips and my elbows. Yep, clicking all the time. Now if I could just get the clicks in time with each other, maybe I could start a rhythm band. No? Well, guess you are correct. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The View From The Ditch Bank

IS IT EVEN WASHABLE? The politics of today's world. I don't know about the ads in your area, but here they are DIRTY. And after all is said and done, and before this is over I think all will be said and done, I wonder how the winner can look at their selves in the mirror and think they did good. I will assume that any of you who may actually read this blog, have seen the ads being talked about on the news. Those of a "National" interest. So I will write about a few in the State of N.M. Actually, some of them just leaves us in a state of confusion. There are three congressional districts in this State. The race for congress in the 1st and 2nd districts are getting so dirty it will take a box of Tide to clean up. The accusations are flying back and forth till you just want to say, Vote for neither of them. In the 1st district, The Republican ads are blaming the Democrat incumbent of spending billions while in Washington the last two years. Will, he did side with Pelosi on a regular basis, but he didn't do this all by himself, like the ad implys. the Dem is accusing the Repub of messing with Social Security as a lobbyist. Well, he didn't, and it has been proven he didn't, but the ads keep on coming. In the second district, both candidates are from the eastern part of the state. Neighbors, almost. Both very rich oil men. The repub has had the job before. He dropped out two years ago to run for the Senate. He lost. Now he wants his house seat back. He is being accused as being the most crooked member of congress. And selling his oil company for much more than it was worth, and then voting for items that would give the new owners perks. the dem incumbent is accused of taking a 3 million bonus from his company and cutting the health insurance of his employees. Just days before Christmas. He doesn't deny that. He says, I haven't taken any salary or bonus's from my company for the last 21 months, and and I had to make cuts to keep the people working. Um, perhaps so. But with the 3 million bonus and his congressional salary, he didn't need to take a salary from his company. And the ladies running for governor. The repub, who I will vote for, has, according to the polls, a 12 point lead over the dem. The Dem is the current Lieutenant Governor, and has been so for the last 8 years. She is saying she will create jobs, cut taxes, etc, etc. ( The repub says the same thing ) But the Dem has made a few mis steps in her ads. The last one, she accused her opponent of being a Tejano. Well, she was born in El Paso, but has lived her adult life in N.M. The dem is from the Southeast part of the state, and that area has been referred to for years as little Texas. Texans now joke that whoever wins, they will have two governors and New Mexico will have none. Who ever wins, it is getting nasty and dirty. On second thought, this is too tough a job for Tide. I think it will take Oxydol and Clorox to clean this up. Here and nationwide. And that is the View From The Ditch Bank.

Friday, October 15, 2010

View From The Ditch Bank

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE: OK Bear with me. I have been writing this post in my mind off and on for a few days now. If I wrote every thing I have thought to put in it, I would need to divide it into chapters and look for a publisher. Having said that, I will post some thoughts about the recent rescue of the Chilean miners, and the bond they now share.
We all have a bond with something or someone. A family, a church group, a work group, a community or even more than one of these. Growing up in a small Mormon community, I felt that bond of church and community. Marrying and moving away, I lost that sense of community and have not found it again any where I have lived since. I worked for a few years for a regional airline. Even though as a station agent in a small airport, I felt a kinship with airline employees every where, even though my contact was with the pilot's and stewardesses when the plane was on the ground. The rest of the employees were known to me only through teletype messages. Still, all these many years later, I feel the anguish when a plane goes down, or the lift of kinship when a plane is landed on the Hudson river. None of those employees know me. I have been out of the airline business since 1968. Still, there is a feeling in me when these things take place. I recently retired after 40 years in the mining industry. It is an open pit operation, with very large mining equipment. Never been underground. Still, my wife and I watched, with the world, as the 33 miners were brought to the surface one by one, until there were none left to bring up. We listened to the talking heads on the various channels, mostly CNN and Fox, as the hosts interviewed "experts", mostly Doctors. Most of them, maybe all of them, had no clue what they were talking about. We talked about what they didn't know. These 33 miners were in a survival chamber. They knew rescue was on the way. They didn't know how soon, so they went into survival mode. A mode that would make the TV show Survivor look like children playing in a sandbox. They have a mindset to even go underground that the "Experts" don't know any thing about. After their survival was discovered, they were given food and water, and video access to the outside world. Their health, mental and physical, now astounds the Doctor's. I feel that my experience around large equipment makes it easier for me to understand the effort that was expended to bring in the equipment that was able to level a spot on the side of a mountain that would hold the drills and other equipment needed to effect this rescue. The GPS system that told the engineers where the survival chamber was so they could drill in the right place the first time. I felt a bond with those operating that equipment and the miners waiting to be rescued. The different personalities of those miners was evident as they surfaced. Still, they all had a job to do, and they did it. And they survived. And they will continue to do so. Did it change them? For sure it did. Will they have mental problems? Undoubtedly some will. But I dare say that they will continue to astound the medical profession with the recovery most of them will make. And when this event is talked about, I will feel a bond with those men that is hard to put into words. A bond, even though I don't know them and they have never heard of me. And never will. Still, I understand somewhat of the mentality it took for them to survive. And long live the bond that forges us all together as human beings on this earth of different people. Different nationalities, different cultures, different politics and even different religions. Still, a bond that all should understand each in our own way. And That Is The View From The Ditch Bank

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The View From The Ditch Bank

THINGS HAVEN'T REALLY CHANGED ALL THAT MUCH: This past June there was the start of a 150th anniversary of the Pony Express. The first celebration I am aware of was in June in El Dorado, Calif. and the last I am aware of was a Labor day parade in Fallon Nevada. I know there were other celebrations in Calif., Nevada, Missouri and Utah through out the summer. The one in June starts in Ca. and ends in St. Joseph Mo. a reenactment of the original ride. Some events are in conjunction with this event, others are independant of it. What? you aren't aware of the Pony Express? Or the celebration's going on this year? Well, it was a short lived operation. It began in April 1860 and ended in October of 1861. It covered a 2000 mile route from St. Joseph. Mo. and ended at Sacramento, Ca. Postage was $5.00 a half ounce ( about $75.00 in today's money ) but eventually fell to $1.00 a half ounce. The fastest time recorded to cover that 2000 miles was seven days and 17 hours to deliver President Lincoln's inaugural address to California. The completion of telegraph lines across the country spelled the demise of the Pony Express. The enterprise ended $200,000 in debt. Now, the post office, or snail mail, delivers the mail at a lesser cost, but not much faster. And they are millions of dollars in debt. And are asking for a raise in rates. Just like the telegraph lines spelled the demise of the Pony Express, will e mail, face book, twitter and whatever else is now available, not to mention ( OK I won't ) what ever else is out there or may yet come about, spell the demise of the post office? Just a bit about the Pony Express riders. Even though the picture shows a pistol, they were not issued uniforms nor weapons. They were told to outrun interlopers. Mostly they did. It was an innovative enterprise for the time. Just like all the electronic medium is today. What will be the next thing to go by the way side. Already, e mail is becoming almost extinct. And I am just learning how to use it, kinda. All in all, I think a national postal service is essential to the nation. Just how it will evolve to become financially solvent, we will see. And That Is The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, October 8, 2010

The View From The Ditch bank

ALL I REALLY WANT IS: My wife and I belong to a couple of those big box warehouse type clubs. You know the ones. Where you can buy bulk items. There isn't one here in the little hamlet ( that's a small town, not a little pig ) where we live. And we haven't been to one for a while. And we are getting low on a few things. Like dish detergent. We use Dawn. No, this is not a commercial for Dawn. I'm sure whatever you use is just fine. We just happen to like Dawn. So, a few days ago, when we were in a big box store, ( a little brother to one of the big box warehouses ) we decided to buy a bottle of Dawn. Oh my gosh! What a choice. Now, they don't have the big bottles like we get at big brother. Just a regular size like you buy in a grocery store. But the choices. There were bottles of Dawn with Aloe, bottles that smelled like Cherries, or Lemons, or Oranges, or Cinnamon Apple, or Springtime or day time or like sunshine or a cold winter day. Well, maybe I made up that last one, but not most of them. The colors were yellow, orange, pink, blue, green, cloudy white, clear,and probably a few other colors and smells that I have forgotten about. Well, I don't know about you, but I don't need to use most of these. And I can dry my hands and then lotion if I want to. Does the dishwasher care what the detergent smells like? I think not. Maybe all those smells make working in a sewer plant more pleasant. No, I don't think so either. And there is one called original scent. After all this, which one is the original one. I don't remember. However, whether you wash dishes by hand like we do, or use a dishwasher like most people do, after all is said and done, I don't need detergent that smells like it came from the garden or an orchard, I just want dishes to be and smell clean. As in, no smell at all. And that's The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

View From The Ditch Bank

SO WHAT HAS HAPPENED? We used to be a great nation. Well, we are still a great nation, but something has happened. Have you been keeping up on the Education Nation that is/was going on in Washington. The D.C. one. It is all about education. I am in favor of education. I wasn't a good student when I was in school, but that wasn't the fault of the school. I just wasn't a good student. I would be a MUCH better student now. I guarantee it. When I was in school, teachers had control over the class room. Cafeteria employees had control over the cafeteria and bus drivers had control over the bus. And physical punishment, by the teacher any way, was not only allowed, but expected. Now, I am not, I repeat, I am not, in favor of teachers being allowed to whip, or beat a student. I do favor a teacher being allowed to discipline a student. I my few years, well 12, of schooling, I know of very few times that a teacher resorted to using spanking as a form of punishment. One of those was in high school. Yes, they had high school's even back then. And the student deserved that punishment. But now, that is not allowed. A good thing, perhaps, but some form of discipline needs to be allowed the teacher, without the parents crying fowl, oops, foul. This is a nation that developed nuclear submarines, put a man on the moon, and many other good things. And maybe a few bad ones. We had good schools and good teachers. Mostly. And we scored high against other countries. Now, we score very low against other countries when it comes to education. Why??? I don't know. That's why this blog is the uneducated opinion of me. But I do know this. The last President Bush started a program called No Child Left Behind. A noble idea. I don't know what all was involved in that idea, and have seen and heard many reports that said it didn't work. Or isn't working. Again, Why? The Democratic party is wanting to put money into Charter Schools. This is one of the things I have heard from the Education Nation reports. I find that ironic, somewhat, as the Democrat lady running for Governor in the State of N.M. is against this and accuses her Republican opponent as wanting to do that. Seems like the Repub. is in tune with the national Dems. Did you see the young teacher's comment on the news during an early report on the Education Nation. She wants to teach. She said ( and I will probably not quote exactly ) Some students are slower that others and need extra help. Sometimes she would like to stay a little longer after school and help this student, but she can't. Why, Cause the union won't let her. She would like to work extra with this student, and give him or her the extra help and assistance they need to learn, but she can't, cause the union won't let her. Those few of you that know me well, know my opinion of union's, so I won't comment on that. I do know that something needs to be done. And this State is getting ready to cut millions of dollars, again, from the education budget. Both candidates for Governor say they won't, but they have the LFC and the Legislature to contend with. I think a lot of fat can be cut from the bureaucracy of both federal and state budgets and leave education alone. The inventor of Facebook has committed $100 million to New Jersey schools and Bill and Melinda Gates have committed $60 million to education. That will help, but will it be enough? Not until parents step in and help their children from an early age, instilling a desire to learn, and teaching them readin, writin, and rithmetic long before they start pre pre school. Some parents do. Some don't. Some can't. And, unfortunately, some just don't care. And that's The View From The Ditch bank