Car-mageddon Update.

The CEOs are up on Capitol Hill, hats in hand, begging for small change. $85 Billion in change, to be exact. And the Big Three have marshaled the troops to hit all the news shows, declaring (in no uncertain terms) exactly why bankruptcy is not the answer, and why we MUST give them a “loan” to keep them afloat. Here are some unanswered questions – and oddly enough, for once they are the questions that some in Congress are actually asking the Big Three honchos: Continue reading Car-mageddon Update.

Motor City Madness.

Let’s get one thing straight. I love American cars. My wife and I both drive Jeeps. While Mrs. Digital has, on occasion, driven a rice-burner, I have never owned anything but an American automobile. On the other hand, I think that American automobile manufacturers management is clueless, the Unions are parasitical, their boards of directors are derelict in their duties, and the whole thing needs to have one giant hycolonic, so it can be reformed into something that is once-again a shining example of American know-how and productivity.

Lord knows, it’s miles away from that today. Continue reading Motor City Madness.

You need to see this.

I’m not in the habit of endorsing products or companies. For a couple of reasons. First, it’s not like people are looking at me as if I’m the Great White Hope to dethrone the Oprah-centric world. Second, I like to think that people should make up their own minds as to how good a product might be. And Third, if you’re gonna buy my endorsement, my price is pretty high (a chalet in the Swiss Alps) and frankly, nobody’s been willing to meet my price (as of yet…I’ll let you know).

That not withstanding, a catalog came across my desk the other day, and I can’t help but to recommend it to you, my loyal readers. Continue reading You need to see this.

You can’t get there from here.

Cajun Country, USA

When I was a kid, I used to do a lot of powerboating with my family. My Dad is a very gung-ho kinda guy; anything he thinks is worth doing is worth OVERdoing (which is sort of the unofficial family motto). When he got interested in boating, he didn’t just buy a boat – he bought a boat and took every course the U.S. Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offered. Seamanship, Navigation, Meteorology – you name it. He took it. (He got interested in shrimping, and ended up with a commercial pilot’s license to take people out for hire 50 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, but that’s a story for another time.) Anyway, once upon a spring vacation, we were cruising along the Intracoastal Waterway in South Louisiana. Dad had us on a boating cruise looking for the grave of the famous pirate/War of 1812 Hero Jean Lafitte – and the location of his secret hideout known as the Temple. 

As a kid, the treasure hunting aspect of this fascinated me. The cruising down bayous at about 5 knots (5 nautical miles per hour for you landlubbers) interested me a lot less. Boring doesn’t begin to describe. But I digress. Continue reading You can’t get there from here.

Where will it all end?

I’m a big fan of Gilbert & Sullivan. In their immortal operetta, The Gondoliers, the ingeneue’s father, the Duke of Plaza-Toro (Count Matadoro, Baron Picadoro), realizes that being a member of the nobility is at odds with his current, destitute state of affairs. His novel solution was to apply for by the public under the Limited Liability Company Act. In American terms, that means he “went public,” offering shares in his Dukedom on the stock exchange. If Gilbert & Sullivan were alive today, I’m sure they’d write The Gondoliers II – The Baratarian Pirates Strike Back, where they’d script the Duke in debt once again, applying to the government for a bailout.

First it was the mortgage companies.

Then the insurance companies.

Next it was the automobile companies.

Now the credit card companies step up for a handout.

Will somebody please tell me where this governmental largess (with OUR friggin’ money!) will end? Continue reading Where will it all end?

I’ve got rhythm. (And you can, too.)

 

My daughter – let’s call her “Private Digital” – is studying the violin. She played with her symphony orchestra this past Saturday. Way cool. I wish I’d been able to play with a symphonic orchestra when I was in grade school. (I got to play with a lot of jazz combos and rock groups, but that’s another story.)

What I find interesting is that in many ways, she’s much like most of my better students, back when I taught music lessons for a living. I found that the ones that were pretty sharp had more trouble with the mechanics of music, because they relied on their ears instead of their eyes. That may sound odd, since music is an aural media, but using your eyes (to read music) is essential. It’s what makes the difference between someone who plays violin and a violinist. Continue reading I’ve got rhythm. (And you can, too.)

Economics and Perception.

One of my favorite stories involves a blind street vendor of hot dogs. One day, one his customers suggested that if business was good, he should consider expanding. The customer offered to help the blind vendor with introductions to a banker, and so the vendor ended up buying a second cart, and hiring someone to work for him. That worked out so well, that he was able to buy more carts, and hire more people. This gave him enough discretionary income that he was able to send his son to college. The son majored in business administration. When the kid graduated, he returned home to see that his dad had purchased a corner lot and an old diner trailer that he rennovated and opened as a freestanding restaurant. The son was horrified. “Dad…don’t you know the economy is lousy! You shouldn’t be expanding right now…you need to pull in your horns and hunker down for a long recessionary period. This has got “Depression” written all over it! You’d better be careful, or you’ll lose everything!” 

The father thought, “Well…my son did go to college, which I’ve never done, and he did major in business, and he did get a degree. Maybe he’s right.” So he sold the restaurant, sold off the other carts, and went back to working a single street corner, selling hot dogs. He thought, “Boy, my son was right. The economy is lousy.” Continue reading Economics and Perception.

Fatherhood.

I was at a banquet tonight given under the auspices of “America Supports You,” a group that helps Americans show tangible support for our military personnel and their families. It got me to thinking about tough jobs. Anybody serving in our military has a tough job. That almost (but not quite) goes without saying. Military families have a tough (and usually under-appreciated) job, too. Keeping things going stateside while your significant other is deployed can be every bit demanding (in a quite different way) from serving in harm’s way. Tonight, I’d like to talk about another tough job: Fatherhood. Continue reading Fatherhood.

Getting Malled.

 

Genuine Red Sea Sea Salt (by the Sea Shore)
Genuine Red Sea Sea Salt (by the Red Sea Shore)

Most guys hate shopping. I don’t mind it. I actually kind of enjoy going to the mall, watching the teeming masses, yearing to shop free. I’ve never been a big fan of the overpriced food court offerings, nor do I flock with the other lemmings to signs that scream “SALE!” or “EVERYTHING MUST GO!” Not my thing. I prefer to walk the mall and look for cool stuff that catches my eye. Sadly, there’s a trend in the shopping malls across this country that threatens my enjoyment of a visit, and is driving me to shun the mall in favor of online or WalMart. 

 

I call it “Assault of the Immigrant Kiosk Sales Staff.” 

It’s kinda like “Night of the Living Dead,” without the R rating, the cleavage, and the gore. But I digress. Continue reading Getting Malled.