The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: February 2013

Not getting it your way!


I have been noticing, lately, that when I use the drive-up window at some places, I am almost playing a game of chance when it comes to my order being right.

Take, for example, my most recent foray to KFC.  My wife and I were going through the drive through because neither of us wanted to sit in the place, and also because I had just gotten over a flu and was not wanting to be sociable or in a place with people that would, potentially, be sociable to us.   I am not a friendly person when I am getting over a cold or flu.

The first problem started with the order placement itself.  The gal on the other end of the microphone sounded like she had a half dozen Ritz crackers in her mouth when she askes us to place our order at any time.  Then, when we did place our order and she read it back to us, she got it wrong.  So we corrected that and moved on.  When we got to the window, my wife paid with a hundred dollar bill and our total was about $19 and change, when the change came back, she only gave us $60 and some change.   So we had to ask her to rethink it, and she did and then gave us our $20 that she shorted us.

For one evening, that would normally have been enough and you would probably, and rightfully, think that this was a one-off.   Something that just happened because we were in the right place at the right time.  But you would be wrong.

On the way home, we decided that we wanted a couple iced teas.  So we opted to drive through McDonalds by our house for two iced teas.   Now… we are already on alert with this particular McD’s because of their never ending habit of giving you exactly the wrong drink.  This is a chronic thing with them and instead of going to another location, we just accept it and check our order before leaving the window.   Think of it like that irritating cousen that everyone seems to have, that instead of getting into a family brawl because of them, you just accept that they are an idiot and deal with it.   That is the case here.

So Anyway, tonight we ordered our two large iced teas and when we get to the window, they confirm that the order was for one large iced tea.   We corrected him and paid the money and moved on.

The point being that it just strikes me funny how you have this method to order your food that is supposed to be such a time saver, turns out to really not be that much of one at all, when you factor in the process of correcting the order and then checking everything in the bag before you drive away.

This was just a little thought I wanted to share with all you readers out there.  Please feel free to share your personal drive through disasters with me.


How Gross is Gross


I am not the most financially minded person in the world, I will freely admit that and go one step further and say that this is one of the areas in which my Wife excels…  So I feel perfectly happy handing anything financial over to her.  I can look at most number problems and be perfectly fine, but then I look at the checkbook and I fall into this trance of mental loss.

On that note, I would like to talk about something that has bothered me for years.  I am not expressing this opinion as an expert, just as a generally annoyed person who is tired of being denied for certain things because of an accounting rule.

Gross income versus Net income.

Why is it that so many places where we go to apply for loans, benefits, etc, require you to list your Gross and not Net income?  If you earn $4000 a month and you only Net $2900, then why do places like banks, auto dealers, etc, base your income on the money that you do not have?

Likewise, if you go into someplace and apply for a particular benefit or assistance of some sort, then they use your Gross income as a deciding factor, when in reality, you only ever see a little more than half of that amount in your pocket?

It does not make sense to me, really.  But I am sure that there are those out there that are more knowledgeable about these things than am I or my wife.  To those people I would like you to comment and share your expert, and maybe not so expert, opinions and understandings of this.


President’s Day


Remember when there were two days commemorating the presidents?

When I was growing up, I remember school being closed for Lincoln’s  and Washington’s birthday.  I also remember that we did things like make stovepipe hats out of construction paper, and cotton wigs to look like George Washington.  There were also the obligatory beard cutouts for the ones that wanted to look like Abraham Lincoln as well.

When I was very young, we were taught the cliches about the presidents, as most 1st and 2nd graders are not apt to understand the details behind what really happened at Gettysburg or Valley Forge.   We did not care about Washington’s relationship with people like Lafayette and how that friendship is part of what saved the early United States.   We were more interested in the tales of Washington and the cherry tree and the stories about his wooden teeth.

But even with that early, and what may seem like silly, education, I worry that with the combining of the two birthdays, that there are some that are losing the understanding of why we celebrated those days in the first place.

A few years ago I was talking to someone I know and I met their daughter, a ten year old.   I asked her what they were doing for their president’s day holiday and she told me that they were going to buy a car, because that is what president’s day is for.  I asked her where she heard that from, and she told me, “The TV”.

This is sad in two major ways.  First because it tells me that if the school she is going to IS teaching about the meaning of the holiday, even if they are using it to celebrate all the presidents and not just the two that it was originally combined from, then they are not doing a good enough job at it.  Secondly, that their parents are not doing a very good job at teaching the child either.   Believe it or not, parents, education does not stop the moment the kids leaves school.

There is another thing that I thought of while writing this and that is that most holidays are suffering from the commercialism and sales aspect that has been assigned to them.  All the holidays seem to be getting lost in the commercialism morass these days.   I start to wonder if there will ever come a day when people will start to forget that July 4th is just about a day to go get a good deal on a big-screen television.  Or that Christmas is not one of the most important Christian holidays because you get really good deals on year end automobiles.

For me, and the way I am going to raise my son, President’s Day will be a day we sit and spend a little time talking about the past leaders of this country.  And yes, unfortunately, even Bush, Clinton and Obama.

Sempre Fi!

Playing well with others


Playing well with others is not something that I have ever done well.  I mean, I do get along with most people, usually.   And I try to fit into the usual social norms that are expected of me, and will be polite to people… most of the time.

But I have learned, mostly through the sometime gentle, sometimes not so much (ask Nick), chiding of others, that I tend to be abrasive, condescending and sometimes rude in my interaction with others.  But I just do not see it, myself.  I really, honestly, do not.  But I think I understand the WHY behind the reason that I do not notice it.

If you ever read any of Carl Sagan’s work, I would like to think that I have developed somewhat of a BDK… The polite name for this acronym is “Baloney Detection Kit”, but I like to use the less polite name of “BullS**T Detection Kit”.   This is something that I have constructed in myself over the years, and learned that if you listen to enough people, read enough books and meet a large enough cross-section of humanity, you begin to see patterns in human nature and in the way people talk, interact and spin yarns.

Through this, I have gotten to a point where when someone is telling a story of that is supposed to have been something that they personally experienced, yet I have heard the same story at least ten times before, it becomes increasingly hard to stand there and act like you are riveted to the tale.

For example… I used to work with a person, years ago, that one day told me this story of how they were in Las Vegas with their girlfriend and the girlfriend had to go back up to their room.  When she got on the elevator there was a black man with a dog…  blah… blah… blah… if you are over the age of ten and have an email account, then you know the rest of the story.  He yelled “Get down lady”, she hit the floor, it was Lionel Richie, yada yada, yada.

It could have been a very believable story, had I not already heard it two or three times before and read about it on the internet and on Snopes.  The story does vary some from time to time, mostly because people realize, at some point, that they are idiots perpetuating a mostly racial anecdote for the sake of humor.  Not that I am against racial humor, face it, some of it is pretty darned funny.  But unless Lionel Richie made it a habit to frequent Las Vegas elevators with his dog, for lack of any better entertainment, or unless there happened to be a whole heck of a lot of people in the elevator with him and they all “Hit the floor” at the same time, the story is rubbish.

As I stated earlier in the post, there is something in me that, with age, as prevented me from being able to just let people talk about things that really make them look or sound silly, and not say something about it or point out their faux pas.

OK… So that you, the reader, do not think that I am not the victim of my own social arrogance, I will be the first to tell you that there have been times that I have failed my own tests.   I have had several times where I will be talking to a person and suddenly I will stop, think about what I just said and then say something like, “That was a pretty dumb comment, wasn’t it?”

People who know and are comfortable with me are more than willing to agree with me if I am right and they know that I had a momentary episode of verbal or mental diarrhea.  But there have been a few that try to save face themselves by telling me that they agree with what I have said.

In any case, I think that we should all learn to develop our BSDK (Bulls**t Detection Kit) and keep it handy and ready to use.   There is a lot of BS going around out there and the quicker we are to understand where to see is and how to respond to it, the better life is going to be for all of us.

Think about this too.  If one quarter of the population of the United States would start using a little BSDK on a regular basis, then we would not end up with so many idiots in politics.  I present that comment with no political bias… I direct it at BOTH sides equally.  The BS quotient for the current elected body is astronomical.

As always… thanks for reading…  all five of you.

Who has it in for Russia?

This is just a quick post regarding the recent meteor strike in the Urals.

First, and most seriously, my prayers to all those that were affected by the event.   This has to be something unimaginable to happen to someone, and I would not have any way to identify with those who were there and affected by the hit.

When I think of things like this, it seems odd.  We all understand that we are at the mercy of the earth for most disasters.  Wind, rain, floods, earthquakes, etc… we all know that these are possible calamities that could affect us, dependent on where we live.   But who expects a meteor strike?

I mean, it’s not like that is even something you can prepare or plan for.   There are no meteor impact kits or things like that to even make you feel like you could be prepared.

I am just glad for all those people there that this was only an air burst.  If that meteor had impacted the ground in one piece, at the speed it was traveling and the size it was, we would have been looking at a much different set of headlines.

If any of you that were affected by this event happen to stumble upon this page, you have my best wishes.

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