Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story

Bits & Pieces
No time this week for a good, well stretched out story, so you will have to settle for a last minute, short and (hopefully) sweet snippets of comedic narrations that will (again; hopefully) tickle your collective funny bone. I’d dearly love to add a little more padding to this opening paragraph but to be honest I’m not a good enough writer to drag this sh*t out any longer so without further adieu, and mainly since I have run out of clever, witty ways to embellish this short storey into an epic novel, the next writing junctures is my first short morsel of hilarity.

Back in the days where the latest, greatest technological advancement in communications consisted of answering machines and pagers or beepers or (well, I won’t provide you with the term I was most fond of employing to describe the piece of sh*t my company had ordered me to carry, so for the sake of the young and innocent, I will defer to the euphemism:) emergency communications device. As almost everyone in the western hemisphere and India knew at the time, to contact a person assigned to such a device, you had to first know the particular phone number assigned to the pager; second dial it and third, once the tone or “beep” was heard (thus endowing the evil devices with the nomenclature “Beepers”) you were to enter the telephone number you wished the respondent to call, usually but not always your own. Well, my lovely bride, Sylvia, had an aversion with machines in those days and she found communicating with mechanical equipment especially repugnant. Many people we knew used to call me, almost in tears from laughing, and ask why Sylvia hated machines so much, but they would caution me never to let her know they had called because they loved to listen to the messages she left while verbalizing with their answering machines. So it came as no surprise to anyone in my family when Sylvia said she wanted to call Paul and ask him to stop to pick up something at the store on the way home but knew he would get into trouble if she called his work number. I was busy working at home, which I did a lot in those days, and told her to call his pager number, since he was allowed to call out, but not to receive incoming calls. Everyone in the house over the age of 18 months old broke out in guffaws when they saw my wife pull the phone from her ear and then, holding it like a microphone simply stated… “Paul call home” and hung up.

The really funny part of this short story is that Sylvia did not understand what everyone had found so amusing but did not have time to question us as she answered our ringing phone and told Paul that we needed milk and asked home to stop and pick some up on his way home. Later, out of keen sense of hearing her beautiful ears provided her with, I asked Paul, “How did you ever figure out to call home?” His answer was, “Only a wrong number or Mom would call me on the pager and not leave a phone number, so I took a chance and called home”. Not wanting to appear to be verbose, I will end this mini-saga at this point as I am out of time and hope to use the material I could add in another, future MAAS.

Next week's 11-22-2010 (#168) title: TBD

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story

The Fun Train to Reno – Part II
I believe that last week I left you as we were de-boarding the train and watching the paramedics treating the “The Flying Wallenda’s” for various cuts, bruises and bumps. Now that we were at the train depot, we had to fetch our luggage, which was in the compartment below our traveling seats…that the Lord, and find transportation to our chosen hotel. There were cabs to share so that the cost would not be prohibitive but being the cheap SOB that I am, I chose the cheapest hotel in the package, and there were no other Signetics’ employees to travel with us. However, we did find another cheap couple and eventually got to our assigned hotel.  Now one reason I chose the cheaper hotel was because I knew my wife and only when she would stop gambling (and that was when she ran out money) would she venture into our room; wake me up to “check on me”. At that time, I would give her some nickel rolls (or a few dollars to buy whatever she wanted which would usually be nickels) and off she would a gambling again go. In fact she would gamble as long as the money lasted or until she collapsed…she reasoned there was always time to sleep on the way home.

We started in play quarter machines (since I found about $2.00 credit in one that somebody forgot or just didn’t know about…and boy was I glad I did. I could not lose,; nothing big ($30.00 was the biggest single payout) but it was a constant payout. That slot machine provided me with my one-armed bandit gambling philosophy lasting until today. Find a two coin maximum machine (other than the quarter poker machines which take five) that is close to an area which a lot of non-gambling people can either see, hear or walk by (as potential outside customers) because those machines are set to pay out more often so customers will be drawn into trying their luck. When that “Ding…Ding…Ding” sounds with a flashing light followed by a sire, I know it gets my curiosity up and the old “What the Hell take a chance” juices flowing. I did tell my wife that I didn’t think she would like the weather outside because I had observed the snow on the ground. I reminded her that we were more than 4,000 feet higher than in California so would be cold outside, but still she persisted. Even though I was happy as a pig in sh*t gambling were I was, I deferred to Sylvia’s demands to travel to another gambling facility to try to lose our money. Reluctantly I gathered my bucket of quarters and exchanged it for dollars (about $230.00; not bad for an initial $2.00 Free bet) and proceeded to the casino exit doors. We got about 100 feet from the doors when some customers staggered inside and a blast of Arctic Air followed in with them. That was enough for my honey (who did not bring her winter coat as I suggested) so we attempted to return to the slot machines that had treated us so well. Unfortunately, an old lady had been watching us and had happily staked a claim on both our machines and gleefully kept pumping both arms until the wee hours of the night. Needless to say we lost most of the money I had won on futile attempts to resurrect our luck, so I left my wife at the nickel bank of slots and retired to our room. She interrupted my sleep about three times and by morning, we had lost most of the money we had to gamble with.

The weather at least was bearable in the light of day, so we did manage to visit a couple of other casinos, but I was wondering what we would do for the next day and a half. I didn’t want to use any more of our money and then I saw the booth promoting $50 per couple in casino chips just to take a bus ride to the state line and sit through a time-share skiing vacation promotion at a California Ski resort. Well, neither of us had snow skied before, although having been raised on water skis I was willing to risk life and limb, but Sylvia was not. Anyway, we did not want to sign our life away for $9,000, which we actually could not afford to turn down but we did. It was funny to be driven back down to the casino by an Alabaman Chain Gang escapee instead of the dapper clean shaven drivers flirting with the skimpily clad champagne pouring tour guide who drove us up. Anyway we did get our chips (one $25 chip each that were only good at that casino and could only pay even money) so we bet on the even/odd numbers on the roulette wheel.  We hit both picks and cashed our chips in and then proceeded to take a different time-share skiing vacation promotion for $50 and this time, when it was over, we tried the red/black and hot one of our bets, so we ended up killing a day; getting free drinks and pocketing $75.00. I was ready for bed but Sylvia was ready to gamble so I limited her to the Nickel slots and she only lost $10.00 during the night. We had a great breakfast; bought some beer and booze for the ride home and had enough money to gamble until it was time to go (had to hold back enough to cover the $10.00 cab fee back to the train station).

Funny thing about the whole trip was the number of people who fell for the same Dan Cone “close the door” trick and the number of “show time” I had to yell. We never did take another “Fun Train Trip” because we discovered the bus turnaround trips that were faster and more fun because we did much better gambling that way…A side note here is that due to personal constraints, I may not be able to post any more MAAS stories for a while. If that is the case, I will post a notice to that affect…From the Main MAAS Managing Moron.

Next week's 11-15-2010 (#167) title: TBD

Monday, November 1, 2010

Could governors be the most important elections in 2010?

As we head into the 2010 mid-term elections, the question to answer is: “Could state Governor Elections actually be more important than Senators or Representatives?” My answer would be…Yes…and my reasoning is this… Details concerning voter fraud have been emerging which underscore the lengths to which the Obama Administration will go to ensure their victory in the upcoming elections. However, to me it is obvious that Obama is really interested his 2012 re-election chances, which currently seem to be slim and none. If you have been paying attention, you will notice that he has put more time and effort into backing Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls than any other political campaigns. Why do you think this is? My guess is based upon these facts:

Governors select the Electoral College electors
There is no penalty for not voting for your state’s winner
Electors have in the past not voted for their state’s selection
Now I must impart the fact that never has an Electoral College member cast an unconventional vote which has altered the outcome of a presidential election. What troubles me is the record number of “Firsts” this administration has accumulated and I would not doubt that the Progressives in charge would not hesitate to ensure that their “democratic” electors will cast their ballots only for Barack Obama no matter what the individual state election has mandated and therefore another “First” will be added to the legacy of the Barack Obama Regime.

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story

The Fun Train to Reno
I know I have written about this excursion before but it never made it into a book of mine and since I lost my hard drive full of MAAS stories, those who remember this saga will just have to suffer through it again. While working at Signetics (a lot my stories seem to originate at that time don’t they?) our director, Dan Cone, suggested that we should get a group together (for better rates) and purchase the Fun Train to Reno weekend package. He had his secretary set everything up and we got about 19 couples together which, based upon the choice of hotel, set our price at $139 each. The kicker was that this trip took place a few months after the infamous event that spawned initiation of the FAAS. The train departed from Oakland and we were again barraged with a host of convoluted travel arrangements, the most intricate being provided by Frank “Wrong Way” [last name omitted; but his ancestor was… Jonathon Corrigan Nagle], who insisted, again, that we would never be able to drive to Oakland in a respectful amount of time. His suggestion was to drive to Fremont and catch the Light Rail (it did not run all the way into San Jose at that time) to Oakland. This leg of the journey was 17 miles out of about 43 of the entire trip’s total miles. However, there was one small irritating detail associated with this schema and that concerned parking. There were parking lots, within walking distance, at the Oakland railway station expressly for extended parking unlike the Light Rail parking lot in Fremont that had to be cleared out by 3 AM every night. Frank lived in Fremont and indicated we could just go to his house and park (for free) and our boss Percy [can’t remember his name but I do have a story about him to tell later in a story that I will call “The Bionic Mom”] would then drive us in his van conversion (he was not going to Reno) and drop us off at the Light Rail Station. An itinerary which didn’t sound too bad until Frank added the small detail about living 11.5 miles away. We had driven to Frank’s apartment before and it took us twice as long to go the 11.5 miles as it did the first 17 since the first leg of the trip was on the freeway, so we declined. I felt I made the correct decision when I learned that no one had taken advantage of Frank’s offer.

Well, needless to say that after listening to all the disgusting details of everyone’s horror stories of traveling to the Oakland Railroad station, Sylvia and I decided to leave two hours earlier than our original plan had indicated. Bad mistake, again, because we had three hours to kill sitting and waiting on hard wooden benches in the dirtiest train station I have ever had the displeasure to visit. Anyway, I did get some degree of satisfaction and enjoyment from the fact that Frank [still unidentified] never made the train on time…he ended up having Percy drive him (at a price) to the next train stop. I must take time here to explain why the train was called the “Fun Train”. It had a dining car, bar car and a dance car plus the seats in all the cars were configured to twist and turn so that two or four people could sit facing each other and the Conductor had lap tables to use to play checkers or chess or cards or almost any game, many of which he also provided. There were also permanent tables (for poker, etc.) available in each car as well. Now the people who made the trip before told us that we should bring our own food and drink because we were allowed and it was extremely costly to purchase anything on the train; so we brought an ice chest packed with sandwiches and beer. The Signetics gang filled up a car but it soon became more than half empty as all the women and the younger, single guys who did not want to play poker, all went to the dancing car. I went with Sylvia but could I soon could not stand the hot, crowded condition and told her I was going back, but she stayed. All during the trip, she came back every so often to check on me, eat and drink a beer, until we were about two hours from Reno, but I’ll get to that later. The trip took about 12 hours because the train’s top speed was 70 mph but it could only reach that amazing pace about one hour total of the trip…when the rails were actually level or on a down slope.

After about three hours of playing cards, those California wimps had enough and most sacked out so they could be fresh and alert when we reached Reno. It was then that I discovered Dan Cone had a Marquis de Sade lineage. You see all the doors leading in and out of each car were open, but even when closed there was a huge sign about waist high that read: “Press Here To Open”. Having made the trip previously, Dan knew most of the passengers traveling through our car were heading to the bar car and if they possessed the ability to read before four or five such trips, they seemed to lose it soon afterward. He told me to sit down and watched and he proceeded to close the door, I couldn’t believe how many people would bump into the closed door and then either muscle the thing open (if they were strong enough they could) or ask for help. One girl in particular must have made over a dozen trips (it was a wonder she could still stand) and forced the doors open every time…except for her last time though. That time Dan stood up and uttered, “Permit me” as he touched the spot indicated by the sigh to open the door and the doors split open with a “whoosh”. This bimbo glared at Dan and said, “You let me open these [censored] doors the hard way you [censored…remember I have grandchildren that read] jerk. It really was funny to watch these budding morons come through again and again and never see read the sign. Some at least had the smarts to ask the conductor to “Fix the doors” and he would lock them open, but as soon as he left, Dan would unlock those demon doors and I would announce “Showtime”. Surprisingly, this nasty deed kept us amused until we were about two hours from Reno when a sh*t-load of people passed through our car and our women also returned. I asked why everyone came back so soon and Sylvia said that the conductor announced they were shutting the dance & bar cars down because they had run out of liquor. He added that this had never happened before; not in all the time the “Fun Train” had been in service. I still had beer left in my cooler and Dan had wine left in his so we became two of the most popular guys in the car, besides one of Dan’s managers, Vic McPherson [the guy who recruited me] who still had a full bottle of Jack Daniels in his possession. When we de-boarded the train in Reno, we noticed the paramedics had been called to the station and they were administering first aide to a couple of guys from a group that I had dubbed “The Flying Wallenda’s” because every time this group of six guys, clad in identical attire, passed by someone would shout for them to “build the pyramid” and they would do so by climbing on each other’s backs. I asked the fellow that looked the healthiest of the five men being treated what happened and he just shrugged and answered, “I guess we fell one time too many”. When I asked where the missing guy was he answered, “At the hospital; two cracked vertebra.” The sad thing was none of the injured felt any pain as long as the booze was flowing, but once it ran out I guess screams could be heard. We were lucky to have been about eight cars away.
I’ll finish my story next week because that way I can stretch one story into two and I don’t have time right now to think up more of this crazy, but basically true crap.

Next week's 11-08-2010 (#166) title: The Reno Fun Train Part II