Quick Shots
© 2006 P. Arthur Stuart

Short and brief items that strike me as being interesting, intriguing, funny, and annoying. Some of them I may develop further. Others will stand as is or I don't think they're worth pursuing, unless I'm challenged or something else comes up on the subject. - - Updated: Updated April 27, 2012

It's OK, if Offered?

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, November 8, 2011, it was reported that at the trial of a policeman accused of having women he stopped for DUI's preform sex related behavior to get out of the ticket. The defense attorney ask a California police officer about the behavior of people he stopped. He told the court that women flirt and expose themselves to avoid being ticketed. I guess they are trying to say that the women that came forward probably made advances. My question is, is the defense saying that if it's offered, it's ok to accept?

And We Wonder Why We Are the Way We Are?

It is said that truth is stranger than fiction. I am reminded of the smoker that said, “I read an article on how bad smoking is, so I gave up reading.” The other day, around September 28th, there was a news report that when pediatricians told parents that their child was obese or fat, the parents stop taking their child to the doctor.

Only in the Mind of the Beholder

I find it more-and-more difficult to understand people as I age. I don’t know whether they’re prudes, ignorant, small minded, stupid or zealots. Parents complained to the Sesame Street producers that Katy Perry’s Outfit was to risque for the program. The dress she was wearing was about the same as a typical figure skater’s outfit, except it was perhaps a bit longer. They, the parents, complained that it was inappropriate for children of Sesame Street age.

I’m reminded of the story I heard abut an artist that painted nudes. He and his wife were worried what their three year old daughter would think if she saw him painting. The inevitable day came. The young girl burst into his studio while he was working, followed closely behind was his wife. The girl looked at the model from head-to-foot, place her hand on her hip, defiantly, and then turned to her parents. With a scowl on her face she angrily said, “If she can go without shoes, why can’t I?”

The point being that young children and toddlers don’t see the world as adults do. The fact is they have no concept of sex and what risque is all about. By the time, a child would view the outfit Perry wore as risque they don’t watch Sesame Street.

It makes one wonder if their child (parents that complained) go to the beach or community swimming pools or their own pool for that matter. Do these parents prevent the children from watching figure skating, gymnastics, the circus, .... I could go on-and-on naming typical events where the participants are minimally dressed and not considered risque. Maybe we should forbid cheerleading! I think that risque is in the mind of the observer. I guess what really bothers me is that it seems like even the most innocuous things or words offend someone. I worked at a place where the boss’s secretary didn’t like the word “gal,” so it was forbidden to be used.

A few more almost related comments, which should also be in "Parenting."

Pi’s Axiom “You cannot hide or hide someone from life, it happens.”

I believe when parents over-react to many things they actually hurt their children. As parents of four, we strove to impart the necessary values and knowledge that would provide our children with the skills to be successful adults and good citizens. I have observed, both as a child and adult, that parent that TRY (try is a failing word) to hide or prevent a child from seeing or doing something, it will only make it more appertizing to the child. They will find ways to see or do whatever has been restricted.

You Would Think They Know Better

While driving around the city streets in early September 2010, I passed more than a few bikers—type. I noticed things that these, apparently, older experienced riders did that disturbed me. They were decked out in their finest riding gear which included a helmet. You might ask, "then what annoyed you?"

Their clothing, although state-of-the-art riding apparel, was dark and easy to miss if a driver weren't paying attention, like so many of us do. What I don't understand is why didn't they have a blinking light on the rear of the bike and some bright strips of highly visible material across their backs to catch a driver's eye. From time-to-time I do see many riders with these small additions to enhance safety.

Further, while two motorcyclists can share a vehicle lane without interfering with the other lanes alongside, the same thing cannot be said of two bicyclists sharing a bike lane. Bike lanes were designed for single file riding. Many of the bike lanes have ridges and holes along the edge where the asphalt meets the concrete. Even a very experienced rider can lose their balance on this joint. Usually when two riders share the bike lane the outer rider will to some degree enter into the vehicle lane while the interior rider must be incredibly careful to avoid a spill because due to the asphalt-concrete joint.

Does She Really Know What She's Writing About?

In the "Parade" insert to Sunday's paper on Sept. 5, 2010 there was an article or something, I'm not quite sure what to call it, titled "The Place My Father Didn't Want Me to See" by Connie Schultz. Essentially the picture she painted was that her father worked in an awful place, was miserable about it and ashamed of it. She further implied that his work and workplace had caused him to have several heart attacks. In Addition, he often came home angry as a result of his work. She didn't say, but I would guess she never really had a long conversation with him about his work and why he did it.

From the time I was seventeen I worked in maintenance. I enlisted in the Navy and went to Electrician's Mate school. My first ship was diesel electric propulsion. When at sea I and my fellow electricians were required to stand watch in the diesel rooms -- two four hour shifts a day. Depending on the watch shift we would put in another four to eight hours of repair or preventive maintenance work. The engine rooms were exceedingly hot and smelled of fuel oil and lubricants. I served on several other steam driven ships and I can assure you the engine rooms were quite hot as well. What most of us did was to find a ventilation unit close by and stand under it -- most watch stations did not have places to sit. In addition, when a piece of equipment broke down or needed maintenance, we had to work on it in uncomfortable conditions. That was part of the job. For me and most other maintenance people I think I can say it felt great when we fixed something that broke or improved the operation by making proper adjustment or appropriate maintenance. And the tougher the problem the more the reward. For a few years after I got out of the Navy on my first tour I worked as a welder at the New York Naval Shipyard. I'd rather be in a hot place then standing on steel decks in freezing temperatures and because of the work having to wear minimal clothing, so that movement wasn't restricted. I can remember times that my white handkerchief was completely black for all the soot I was breathing from the welding.

First off, I was never ashamed of what I did, actually I was pretty proud -- not everybody was capable of doing it. My wife got to see where I worked and my working conditions, when she went on a couple of the dependent cruises. My son, the eldest, got to ride the ship for a few days on a kiddie cruise. If I came home angry, it wasn't because of the job, it was because of people I worked or dealt with. Machinery either works right or it doesn't and if that makes you angry you should see a psychiatrist. From time-to-time I would go home frustrated that I had not yet solved a problem but aside from being a little spacey I don't think it affected my behavior towards others.

If as her article seems to imply that her dad was ashamed and disliked the job, I would say he was either incompetent or stupid -- perhaps both. Why stay at a job that you really don't want to go to and that is making you unhappy -- if your ashamed of it, your unhappy. Somehow I don't think that was the case. At the time there were plenty of other places a good mechanic could find a good job. Some people just never consider taking their family to their workplace. Did she ever ask him if she could go with him one day or could he show her what he did? I think when she was growing up they hadn't yet started, "bring your kid-to-work-days." In the 1950s and 1960s, perhaps the 1970s, it was uncommon for a worker to take their children to their workplace. I never got to see my father's workplace and I never gave it much thought. I don't think he cared if I'd seen it or not. My dad was a Lather in the building construction industry.

Studies have shown that hard physical work is better for the cardio-vascular system then a sedentary work. I had a mild heart attack at seventy-one and had a stent put in. My father died in his fifties from the same thing I have and what I suspect her father had -- clogged arteries. There are many factors that contribute to heart attack risk. Some of them are controllable and others like hereditary, are uncontrollable. Most controllable heart problem risks that occur in middle life arise from bad habits, like smoking, not exercising and eating the wrong foods.

When I was noticeably young, I read an article in a sportsman's magazine about how vicious mountain lions were and how they would go out of their way just to kill for the fun of it. Movies and some media have presented the wolf as a man killer. And like her article it is all based on the writer's imagination and is pure fiction. I can't help but wonder what her father would think of her article?

Frugal or Cheap and What About Behavior

In mid-July 2010, I read a letter to Dear Abby. A woman was asking advice on how to deal with her father. She characterized him as being "frugal" and somewhat abrasive to servers and clerks. She explained that he had always been frugal but did not say whether he'd always been abrasive. He is currently retired. He avoids being around when the bill comes and argues with staff about prices. It embarrassed her.

Essentially, Abby's response was to tell her to avoid jumping to a conclusion about how much money he had to spare. And further she should consider going to places that were "lower priced."

So that we understand one another I'm going to summarize what the dictionary defines frugal as: Spends money economically and wisely. Saves some. Gets what is needed rather than being extravagant.

The following is what I would have told her:

  • I am sorry but your father is cheap and obnoxious.
  • Frugal people pay their share or they don't go out.
  • Frugal people check prices, usually carefully, before they buy. If they don't like the prices they leave and/or never come back.
  • Cheap people avoid paying their share.
  • To most of us, including frugals, sometimes the price is high, occasionally it is less than expected, but for the most part it is acceptable. To a cheap person the price is always too high.
  • Cheap people are always complaining about service, even when it is good. That way they're justifying leaving a small, or no tip. Typically they will say the service is to slow or fast. If a server asks, "How is everything," they will complain that the server is annoying. Other typical complaints are: the food is to hot or cold, there's not enough, doesn't look good, smells, blah, blah, blah.
  • In regards to his behavior towards servers and clerks, it is just plain rude and abhorrent. If anyone other than my family pulled that kind of behavior while out with me, I would defend the person, aggressively (not physical), and never go out with them again. If it were a family member, I'd flat ask them to stop and would discuss it with them later. I'm not saying we should ignore bad service or errors. However, there are better ways to resolve problems than to argue with servers or clerks. In nearly all cases they have little to do with the portions and pricing.
  • In general servers and clerks are not well paid and are at the lower end of the salary scale. They're people like you and I that work or worked our whole lives to support ourselves and families. It's hard, tedious and in many cases thankless work. What they don't need is a ration of shit from people like the woman's father. Because my father died when I was seventeen, I never got the chance to dine out with him or go places. If he were like that woman's father, I would do the same to him as any other family member. And as much as it would hurt, I wouldn't go with him again if he continued to behave badly. As a child I remember him vaguely but I don't think he was anything like that man. We traveled a lot when I was young and don't remember much complaining.
  • Unlike the woman, my mom used to embarrass me by being overly friendly. She always addressed people as honey or dear. She treated everyone like they were family and special. Even when service was poor, she would leave a good tip. Once we had service that was downright bad. She left a good tip. I said, "Mom, the service was atrocious." She replied, "I know dear, but the poor girl probably needs the money." I'm really immensely proud of my mom's interpersonal skills. I wish I had just a few of them. In addition, my wife almost always grabs the check. She frequently, gets into skirmishes with family and friends about who should pay. She usually wins; they just relent and give up.
  • For what it's worth, I don't get embarrassed by other people doing things. I ask myself. "Why get embarrassed, you're not doing it?" For the last twenty or so years of my mom's life I didn't get embarrassed anymore. In fact, I don't let myself get embarrassed by other people's behavior. I have nothing to be embarrassed about and I've been out with people that should be embarrassed about their behavior. It usually escapes them.
  • Cheap people will usually pick the cheapest meal when they are paying and the most expensive when someone else is paying.
  • Ask the person to pick the place, then if they complain you can say, "Hey, you picked it."
  • Before going out, suggest that everyone pitch-in a certain amount to cover expenses. Make sure the amount will cover cost plus extras, like tips. What's left over can be put into a fund for future events.
  • If he really must complain then suggest he speak to a supervisor/manager or write a letter to corporate. He can also send a letter to the local newspaper.

Food for Thought Question

In a movie I was watching, one of the characters asked this question: "If you could speak to anyone that is dead, who would it be?"

I gave it some thought and for me it would be my father. My father died shortly after I turned seventeen and was away at Navy boot camp. I have often wondered what I would say to him and what he would say to me. I know I would be able to converse with him as an adult with significant experience and education. I think he would be proud of me, particularly for getting a bachelor's degree in Physics and master's degree in Business Administration.

In my case it was life's events that prevented me from knowing my father better. It is unfortunate that when we do have the opportunity to ask and speak to someone close to us before they die, we don't.

So, perhaps we should rephrase the question: "Is there anyone you would regret not speaking to before they died?"

I'm sorry and regret, I should have taken my own advice. When I originally wrote this my wife was alive. There was so much I should have said and told her. Now I would like a few moments, or rather hours, to tell her how I felt and feel.

Doing the Right Thing is More Important Than Being Right

A while ago I was stopped at a light. When the light turned green, I started to proceed, without looking. A woman approaching from my left ran the red light. By the way she reacted I guess it was unintentional. If an accident had occurred, I would have been "right under the law." There were sufficient witnesses to the fact that I proceeded on a green light.

The right thing to do would have been to make sure that all cross traffic was stopped or stopping. If I did that I would have been "doing the right thing."

It's Not My Fault

I could have also titled this, "They Made Me Do It." You can insert he, she, my husband, my wife, the boss, a friend, the environment, or just about anything for "They."

If there is one thing, among the many, that pisses-me-off more than most others, it's those people that refuse to take responsibility for their actions and behavior.

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, October 7, 2006, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the guilty congressman that accepted bribes, in a letter, lashed out at those he blamed for his downfall. He blamed the reporter for doggedly pursuing the issue and uncovering his crime. And the contractor for bribing him. Hey, it's not my fault -- they made me do it.

Doesn't it make anyone wonder, if it doesn't -- it should, why a criminal blames a cop for catching them; when students fail, it's the teacher's fault although everyone else is passing; when a wife (or husband) blames spouse for everything that's wrong between them; the list goes on-and-on. It's the blame game. Psychiatrists and psychologists profess that the root of their patients problems rest with everything that they have encountered. It's life that made them the way they are. I used to think that politicians and lawyers were the biggest blight on society, but I am now shifting my views to the mental health practitioners. Yes, we are all influenced by the environment and people, but some of us (myself included) learned to accept responsibility for our choices -- behavior and actions. If you know what's right or wrong, you are responsible for the choices you make. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't some people that really have bad mental problems, most of which are associated with a physical defect like hormonal imbalance, tumor or injury. I'm just saying that we all face similar environments and most of us grow up well enough adjusted to get along.

Like a cartoon

Article in San Diego Union-Tribune Jan 30, 2009. Two prisoners in Wellington, New Zealand that were handcuffed together made a break for it. Unfortunately, a light pole cause their demise, when each ran on opposite sides of the pole and they crashed together and then fell to the ground.

A Cat in a Tree

There was an article in San Diego Union-Tribune about a cat in a tree. It appears that a young girl called the Fire Department to save this cat in a tree. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss story, but it's not. Failing to meet her expectations they explained that they really don't do that type of rescue. Oh, well, another myth to say goodbye to, just like the tooth fairy.

The article went on to explain that the myth was perpetuated by the media, chiefly of the entertaining kind. Just think of all the kids and teens being injured by the ubiquitous amounts of material like this, that create a false impression. I don't want to have any laws that prohibit what's expressed. Some years ago, one of our vice presidents suggested that the media needed to somehow police itself and be responsible. All the media's response was that the constitution guaranteed them free speech.

What's the Real Issue?

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, May 18, 2006, Currents section were the results of a survey the paper had taken related to Barry Bonds, his alleged steroid use, and his baseball records. The survey results were as follows:

  • Sixty-seven point seven percent indicated that an asterisk should be placed by his records.
  • Twenty-six point six percent felt it didn't matter how he got his record.
  • The rest didn't think sports records are worth much and not important.

Regrettably, the survey only had three choices. I think there should have been a fourth: If it is proven that illegal performance enhancing drugs were used should the record be stricken?

The issue is, if someone cheats should any record they achieve be recognized and the person reap the rewards. In racing, if a runner is found to have used illegal drugs their record is stricken and they must return all awards – e.g. medals and trophies. Sponsors will drop them quickly.

My point is straight forward and simple. If it's proven that Barry Bonds or any other player in any sport used steroids (banned substance, hence cheating) or other banned performance enhancing drugs, all achievements should be disregarded fully during the season(s) he or she was found to have used them. If it is not proven, then the record should stand without asterisk or comment, regardless of what anyone suspects. In America we are supposed to presume a person is innocent until proven guilty.

What troubles me most, and should really trouble any reasonably honest person, is that twenty-six out of a hundred people consider it OK to cheat. You know that's how they operate and get along in society. And you and I have to deal with these people everyday. I wonder what percentage of the sixty-seven percent that think an asterisk is needed, also thinks it's acceptable to cheat. It's one of the real tragedies that cheating has become so prolific and acceptable.

What a World

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, October 25, 2006, there was a report that three Tennessee volunteer firemen, including their chief, were arrested for setting old buildings on fire.

It's Not Fair

On a morning news show, December 14, 2006, they did a story about new red light cameras being installed at a busy intersection. When asked, several criminals drivers replied "It's not fair." I guess they thinks it's OK to break the law but not to get caught. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that think this way.

It's a Matter of Prospective.

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb 24, 2007, There was an article about volunteers that were helping the homeless. It was a cool morning with light rain. My comments are in no way intended to make light of the effort of the volunteers; they are doing wonderful work. Here's a verbatim line form the article that could and should provoke some thought.

"He pushed his hands deeper into his pockets for warmth -- as if that would help on a 46-degree morning made miserable by winter showers." They were referring to a well-insulated reporter.

  • Those people living in the storm torn north and mid-west would have a good laugh, but would have little sympathy.
  • It is really interesting to see how spoiled we are here in San Diego.
  • What's really interesting is how easily we can lose sight of that which is not close by.