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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ethanol Cheaper But You Can't Find It

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am truly angry at the price of gasoline in this country. I do realize that other countries have had this problem for years and they pretty much tell us "Waaaa". If we had already had that situation, I would feel the same.

Nevertheless, we did not have that situation for all these years so I am angry at the companies who put out the product but hold back until the price is through the roof. Then, if that were not enough, they post huge profits from our dollars and thumb their noses at the buying public since we appear to not be able to effect change in any way. I do think that is wrong. If only enough people would have the courage to say no to those companies for a day or two, it would surely effect a change.

Now, about today's post, the same oil companies that have been thumbing their noses at us with those horrifying prices are doing so in another area. Some of the new cars coming out now have the ability to run on a mix which is called "E85" and is a blend of ethanol and gasoline at 85%. Those who do produce this type of fuel say that it is an alternative to the higher priced gasoline.

There is, however, a hitch in the gitalong. Seems that there are few stations selling the mix. There are many more cars out there that are capable of using the stuff but there are very few stations able to sell it. The vehicles able to use this mix are called "flexible fuel vehicles" and there are about 5 million of them on the road right now. On the other hand, in all of this country there are only 1,145 service stations available to the public for those same cars. Believe me when I tell you, that usually does not include many rural areas. At least, it does not include where we live in a rural area.

The real kicker here is that by the year 2010, the automakers have promised at least double their current production of the flexible fuel vehicles. In fact, of those who have that type of vehicle now, not all of them are aware that they have such a vehicle. Weird, huh?

Now, the problem lies in the hands of the gas station owners who are steadfast against spending a load of money on this addition to their stores. 167,000 retail gas stations exist in this country and almost all are extremely slow to work this out. The problem there seems to be that they have a load of trouble trying to get the pumps certified. Plus, the market is so new they do not want to take the risk.

There is this other thing about the ethanol mix. It is not as fuel efficient. While the current price of the mix (IF you can find it) is around $2.59 rather than the national average of $3.14, it drops the fuel economy about 10-15 percent. Not so hot either. At this point in time, it appears to be a toss up.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When There Are Things To Say But I Don't Know What They Are

Okay, I am totally reaching here. I have zero to say and I have already used that in a blog entry some days ago. Now, I have nothing to say and really nowhere to say that. What is the problem here? I am looking at a blank, white screen, that's the problem. If you are writing a book or article, it's called "writer's block". A malady that covers a multitude of writing sins.

Now, the page is not totally blank but the nonsense will not stop!!!! I admit that I have a tendency to blab on and on. It's a blessing and a curse. Depends on who is listening, I suppose. The children believe it's a curse....always. Who thinks it's a blessing? Uh, me I guess. I love to talk.

So, where were we? Yeah, love to talk.......and talk........and talk. Sigh. At the end of the last statement, more blank, white screen. It never ends. Sort of like that song the kids AND my sister like to plague me with? Yep, it's called the Song That Never Ends. Want the lyrics? You asked for it.

It is the song that never ends....

Uh, can you believe it? Now that I WANT to remember it, I can't remember the lyrics. GOOD!!! Now if I can only get by for a few days without hearing it, I will have won. Sigh (with a smile). Perfect.

Ebay Supports Dishonest Sellers

In case you have never had a problem with a dishonest seller on Ebay, let me tell you that the company that is EBAY supports the dishonest seller to the max. If you find that you have not received what you thought you were buying, try to find a way to let Ebay know this. Just try. Good luck.

They send you to a page that allows you to put in the item number of the auction. When you click on that, it brings up a page that tells you that you have not allowed enough time to pass. Give me a break here. When I put the number in, it was because the item I received was NOT what they advertised. What does the one have to do with the other??? Bear in mind that all of this is AT EBAY under the heading...are you really ready for this one??.......PROTECTION FOR BUYERS!!! Uh huh. (For the record, I have been through this process a couple of times before. It ain't pretty.)

I have been buying a few NEW DVDs from sellers on Ebay. Up to now, all was great. The sellers were sending out brand new DVDs, sealed and in brand new condition. However, I bought two DVDs from a seller by the seller name of "perfectfuture" who sent me two DVDs that were, in fact, in far from new cases. He/she says that the DVD is new regardless of the condition of the case. At this point, my response has to be....HOW DO I KNOW THAT? You put them in used cases.

One thing about these sellers that is truly ugly. Ebay used to be all about the feedback that a seller or buyer got for a transaction. A high feedback rating was valued. At this time, Ebay has been revamping the feedback system. We need to wait and see if it is effective. However, sellers have one edge after another over buyers. One of the more blatant is "holding the feedback hostage". What does that mean? The seller does not give you feedback for paying immediately. They do not give you good feedback for anything UNTIL AFTER you have given them your feedback. Then, if they are dishonest and you say so in your feedback, they hit you with horrible feedback, totally undeserved though it may be. No one will know that part. All they see is the negative RED feedback button. You can respond but that does not remove the bad feedback that you receive. If you have a great feedback rating, you either protect it by not giving the feedback the jerk or jerkette deserves or you do give bad feedback and they slam you with crap, crap, crap. At that point, your only options are to 1) live with the negative mark on your feedback rating or 2) go to Ebay and mutually have the rating removed. I am so ready to SCREAM over this. You have no idea.

I wonder how far Walmart would get if they put DVDs into used cases??? Or any retail seller? But since it is, for all intents and purposes, a private seller then it is okay with Ebay or at least all right for the moment. After the "proper amount of time" has elapsed, whatever that means, I will try again.

I should point out here that I received an email from the unscrupulous seller today that stated that since I complained, they have changed their auction pages to read that the DVD, not the case, is the new part, that they are not sealed. That, at least, makes them more honest. Also, they have offered to reimburse the money I spent IF I send the items back. The problem here is that they do NOT pay the shipping. Then, the problem becomes....can I trust this person to give back the money...minus shipping costs on BOTH ends.....when I send the items back? Absolutely NOT! I can't trust them now. I'm going to lose what little I already have to HOPE I get money back out of this? Oh please.

Now, the seller will likely get away with this because 1) Ebay could care less 2) there is no real way to actually TELL them about this particular seller since everything is a fill-in page where you simply answer predone questions with a radial button. There is not way to actually TELL them anything. THEN, adding insult to injury, when you do have a legitimate complaint, if you paid via paypal, which Ebay conveniently owns as well, Ebay sends you to paypal to resolve the issue. There are no guarrentees that they will listen either. Have you EVER TRIED to find a phone number for either outfit? Again, good luck.

Ebay, we call on you to reform the resolution department of Ebay. We call on you to do the right thing, make the sellers--YES, EVEN THE POWERSELLERS---be HONEST. What a concept. How about it, EBAY? Do something to help the buyer besides pass it off and hope the person will give up so your precious powersellers can have their way again.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tailgater Gets More Than He Bargained For-Road Rage

Road rage strikes again. Frankly, I do believe that you could find a road rage article in the news almost everyday. People are getting really tired of being tailgated, cut off, people standing on the brakes in front of you and an assortment of other offenses that anyone who drives would hate.

Remember the lady with the ice cup? Well, this one tops that. The lady had a 9mm and shot it at the tailgater. Bet he doesn't do that again anytime soon. I do not believe that shooting at someone is right. However, I do understand the frustration that happens when someone acts like the road belongs to them alone. Nevertheless, shooting is illegal and rightfully so. What if that shot had bounced off something and hit a child? We cannot just do whatever we want to even if someone else is being.....less than courteous.

Take the time to let the frustration go. Even if the other guy/gal isn't being polite, we must be to show them how to be courteous and polite.

Road Rage Shooter

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A woman who told authorities she was fed up with tailgaters pulled out a gun and shot at the tires of a pickup that got too close, police said. Officials believe the bullet missed the pickup, and no one was hurt.

Bernadette Headd, 39, was in rush-hour traffic Wednesday in suburban Detroit when the pickup pulled behind her, police said.

Headd changed lanes and fired one round from a 9 mm handgun, police said. The driver followed her and flagged down a deputy, who stopped her and found the weapon.

"She said she was tired of people tailgating her," Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another Scare For The Public

This probably should come under the heading of What Drives You Crazy?. Over the years, we have heard of many things that could have hurt us such as the killer bees that have apparently decided they didn't want to be that lethal. At least we have not heard of them in many years. I do know they are still around though. However, I read today that we can look forward to a bird flu turned human flu pandemic. Then, when we are scared out of our minds, they tell us to get to the grocery store and stock up on food because if we do not, there is likely to be a food shortage due to the up-to-40% loss of employees and delivery personnel

Homeland Security is trying to get us ready for this. I did read about this pandemic, which isn't as yet. The symptoms of a pandemic are not there yet either. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) we are waiting for this to occur. They do think it is a probability.

What I have trouble with is the fact that these folks are sitting around, looking forward to this particular virus, calling it more or less inevitable. But what really drives me crazy is that the journalists are writing about how to get prepared for it by stocking up on groceries. Hello? Are those groceries going to sit around for years until this thing hits? Even if it were to hit relatively soon, which is unlikely since they have not tracked any human cases in or near the US, we would have plenty of time to get the groceries, I would think.

What the real problem here is that they are using scare tactics much like they did with Y2K. Uh, did any of you have difficulties with that? The truth is...they DO NOT KNOW!!! They are only speculating on the possibilities of this happening. I am all for being prepared but I am not interested in a stampede to the store because some bird flu turned human flu is likely to hit us in the year 2014. I really think we have time to plan this out, don't you?

If you will read up on this a bit, you will see that they have had some human cases around the world, limited primarily to the Asian area but they are not at epidemic or pandemic levels.

Also, you might want to know the difference between an epidemic and pandemic.

Epidemic-a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease; many people are infected at the same time.

Pandemic-an epidemic that is geographically widespread; occurring throughout a region or even throughout the world.

The experts are looking for a pandemic. The thing is, I agree that it is highly likely. But I must also say that it will not occur until and unless certain conditions are met. These conditions are foretold in the Bible as prophecy. It states that, yes, there will be a worldwide spread of disease, famine, but it also mentions earthquakes, floods, and assorted problems. So, I would not start to pack and look for a safer place to live because there is no place you can hide from such things. Rather, if we seek to put our trust in the Lord instead, we will find true happiness.

So, how about not buying into the scare that this thing is about to hit. The WHO on it's website gives a number of conditions that need to be before such an event takes place.

World Health Organization

Grocery Industry Prepares For Bird Flu

In the long run, we can simply watch and learn as much as we can about these things instead of letting the media scare us. That is all from What Drives You Crazy?.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Microsoft And The Anti-trust Cases

It seems that there are folk out there in the wild beyond (my house) that believe that Microsoft has tried to be a monopoly. NO WAY! How could this be so??!! Let's see. You cannot have anything but windows when you buy a new machine unless you are an advanced person in computers and, believe me, I am NOT one of those. You cannot get rid of those programs that come with windows that are truly annoying, and there are several of those. You cannot change anything about a microsoft product. It is locked in, so to speak. Okay, I really don't know what I am talking about except Microsoft has made a monopoly (which even I, mostly a point and click chick, can recognize) out of it's products and several groups of people are suing the pants off of dear Microwhatever.

Micro-gates is, of course, denying the claim that they are a monopoly. Well duh! What else would they do if they didn't want to pay out millions of bucks? The claim in these cases, in Iowa and Minnesota, is that Micro is charging more because there ain't no competition. Micro is saying "Nay. We are the Knights of Honesty and Compassion and we would never charge more than the market would tolerate!"

The fact that micro is or has faced 206 class-action lawsuits since 2000 should have no bearing on what people tend to believe about them, don't you think? Maybe I am being a tad unfair to them. NAH!!

Oh say, about that Minnesota case, even though the lawyers went after $300 million, the case was settled for $174.5 million. Not a bad piece of change. Those people in that class action suit must have gotten a pretty penny out of that. Well, the lawyers got roughly $59.4 million. Here's the kicker...you knew there was one, right?...the six clients of the lawyers got...ready???......$5000 a piece. SAY WHAT? Okay, you got me. Where did the rest of the cash go? Here is the story. You tell me cuz I dunno where it went. It was just gone.

Microsoft Anti-trust Case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday settled a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of Iowans who bought the company's programs between 1994 and 2006. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

The lawsuit sought more than $330 million from Microsoft for allegedly engaging in monopolistic and anticompetitive conduct that caused customers to pay more for software than they would have if there had been competition.

I have to say that something like this could actually drive somebody crazy...if they thought about it too much, which I won't because I have had enough and it's time to go.

Posted by From Arkansas at 12:20 AM
Permalink: http://offthecuff.lurasbookcase.com/archives/2007/02/entry_27.php
Edited on: Thursday, February 15, 2007 12:28 AM
Categories: Are You Serious?, My Take on Things, What's Wrong With This Picture?, What Drives You Crazy?

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Friday, February 09, 2007

What Drives Me Crazy: Ads on TV For Lawyers

This is a pet peeve that goes wild when I see lawyers on television in a commercial. It's bad enough that I have to see them there but THIS is too much. I am an ex over-the-road trucker with a number of miles under the belt and 8 1/2 years of experience. What galls me is that the lawyers seeking clients are targeting truckers and truck accidents. Now, I am not trying to say that some people don't have claims against the over-the-road guys. I do know that is true since there are some drivers out there that do not respect the truck they drive nor the roads they run on. Nor do they respect the car drivers that are good guys too.

However, this is the OTHER SIDE of the picture. I was out there on those roads and saw many, MANY times when the car drivers did not respect the truck nor did they bother to care what they were doing to harm the driver of the truck. For instance, it seems that the car drivers do not know or perhaps care that a truck does NOT stop on a dime. In fact, if you will check it out, a truck...going at 55 miles an hour....takes an entire FOOTBALL FIELD (100 yards or more) to stop if the truck is loaded to 40,000+ pounds. Since the trucks weight something too, the grand (legal) total comes to 80,000 pounds of truck and load coming down on some car driver. That does not include the possibility that the roads are wet or snowy or some other hazard. So the car driver decides to pass the truck, come back into the lane and slam on the brakes. WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN? Now Aunt Fanny and family are in the hospital (or worse) and they are going to SUE the pants off that trucker that couldn't stop if his life depended on it, which it does.

The trucker must maintain a good driving record or he is out of a career. Is the driver of the car going to be out of work? Nah. If he hasn't killed himself with that assinine stunt, the idiot goes on to work. Maybe IF he is charged (which is doubtful) he loses his right to drive but he still has a career if he can get to work. (It's called carpooling, pal) The poor trucker needs to find other employment and that is only IF someone else will take this so-called reckless person who now has a record because of some foolish car driver. He can no longer be a trucker. Career is history.

That isn't the only thing that car drivers do. They ride next to the truck usually in the slow lane, pacing the truck (meaning staying right there next to it so the trucker can't get back into the slow lane). There is absolutely NO THOUGHT to the fact that the trucker, if it's a two lane, is now in a terrible place if there is a car or truck coming in the other direction. I have seen car drivers that actually enjoy the problem of the trucker in that situation. I've been laughed at by a car driver who obviously wanted me to be scared. What they do not seem to think about is that if it comes down to the car or truck coming AT the trucker in the fast lane, he is going to move over anyway in order to save that family in the approaching car. The jerk in the slow lane can hit the ditch. He deserves what he gets, in my opinion.

When the cars are pacing the truck or sit right next to a tire, that is scary to me. There is NO THOUGHT to the fact that tires blow rather frequently on big trucks and the idiot pacing the truck is endangering his entire family as he does this. I have had several blowouts on my truck. You have to understand that the trucker often does not even know that the tire blew out. One of my tires on the trailer blew so I stopped to check on it. I was told I had a flat by another trucker behind me. Didn't know it happened. When I looked at the bottom of the trailer, it was blown out and one of the support beams was twisted because the tire blew upward, thank goodness. Do you have any idea how much force that was? It was like a bomb going off. Size of the hole in the trailer? About 3 feet wide and to a depth of about 9 inches. The trailer was out of commission for a while to get fixed. Oh yeah, I was driving a refrigerated unit. That is a lot more metal and insulation than a box trailer.

I am certain it is no surprise that cars have a better manuverability than trucks. Truckers are often at the mercy of the car driver that can't seem to get a clue that trucks are dangerous to be around if the car driver is being stupid, which many are. We cannot stop on a dime nor can we turn on a dime. Those who get upset or indignant about what a trucker has done need to take a class in being around trucks first before they judge who is wrong. It is about time to educate the public in sharing the road with the trucks and give them some room. Know why? Because there is not one thing you can think of that you buy....not one...that doesn't come by a truck, one way or another. Go ahead. Try it. I can tell you that almost every item bought in this country comes by truck. And when there is an accident involving a truck or a trucker is charged unfairly, the price of your goods go up, up, UP! It's time to give the truckers a break.

Then there are the road rage nuts. These people are certifiable and should be locked up for their own protection. These brain-dead individuals "play" with the truck. They do everything they can to aggravate the trucker, usually in rush hour traffic. They stop short by slamming on the brakes. They give you the "number one" symbol and then cut into your lane without signalling or giving any space, bumper to bumper. They drive right up close and personal behind the truck. These people don't appear to know that they are in serious trouble since the trucker has no idea that they are there at all. The trucker cannot see the car. If you can't see the mirror of the truck, the trucker cannot see you! Where is a cop when you need one?

I said all this in order to get it across that lawyers who go after the trucker need to take the time to be certain that the car driver didn't cause the accident, whether the police found that out or not. On a number of occasions, I have seen the police AUTOMATICALLY assume that the trucker was at fault simply because he or she is the professional driver and "should know better". ARE YOU SERIOUS????

Lawyers, it is time to (shocker) be fair to the truckers and see their side before you put up ads that are prejudicial in their own right. The AUTOMATIC assumption with the ad is that the trucker did the dirty deed and "we are out to get them and get them we will. How much do you want? Okay, we can get that and more!" Yeah, I know. The world ain't fair. Well, neither are you. And that is how you earn your nasty money. There is no honor in that but then, most lawyers have no honor anyway. Ya know, I did find a lawyer or two that does have honor. Usually, they won't take a questionable case. It would be nice to see more of that kind rather than the ones that end up being politicians. Did I say LAWYER? I meant LIAR!

Shame on you, lawyers. And that is what drives me crazy today.

Posted by From Arkansas at 2:02 PM
Permalink: http://offthecuff.lurasbookcase.com/archives/2007/02/entry_19.php
Edited on: Friday, February 09, 2007 2:19 PM
Categories: My Take on Things, What Drives You Crazy?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

People Who Don't Listen

In my life, I've had numerous people around me who, for whatever reason, would not listen to a thing I said, no matter how urgent or critical. They appeared to be deaf. I was talking greek. They look at you as if you have three heads. It isn't pretty and it is annoying to the max. More recently, I have been blessed with folks around me who do listen. My family. At least they care enough to listen. What a relief.

However, haven't you ever had something you had to say that was so important that it could not wait BUT some yahoo blows it off as if you were speaking in another language? (Here you might like to read about rude salespeople) Frankly, there are blogs and articles all over the internet about dirty politicians, for instance, and people will go to the polls as if they were sheep. They don't vote their conscience. They vote for the cutest butt or the best looking bod. They vote for the biggest liar because they can't tell the little ones from the bigger ones. They vote for the top name because they have no clue at all who these people are and wouldn't even if they had had a nine month study course on them. These are the uninformed, the social and political illiterate who will get out and vote. It won't mean a thing to them except that they got to be in that booth and pull a lever or touch that screen. WHEEEE!!!

But what does it mean to the rest of us who give a crap about who is in office, who will one day legislate our freedoms completely out (not terribly far from that now)? It means that the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave won't be....free or brave. Someday soon, we will be told what we can and cannot do when we want to speak out against someone or something. Oh wait, we already have that.

How about "Free Speech Zones"? Know what they are? Ah well, those are areas where the local or national law enforcement officials will put you when a candidate or elected official comes by. It is usually a block or two away from the action so that the person you want to see is unable to see you. After all, you might be a terrorist. And isn't everyone a terrorist these days? Excuse me but aren't we just a tad TOO PARANOID here?

Or maybe you just want to go into the capitol building where the laws are made. They have their chaplain pray over the sessions each day BUT you cannot pray for anything out in the rest of the building. Why? Because they have rules against it. Land of the free? Yeah right.

In the end, the real tragedy is going to be that those uninformed, who frankly do not know about free speech zones and not praying in the capitol building, will vote in the inept, the clueless and the downright criminals in the know who will take over our country and disregard our freedoms much like they already are doing right this moment. SO, what will these bumbling idiots say then? It will, of course, be blamed on someone else. After all, THEY got out and voted. It wasn't THEIR fault that the candidate they voted in did all of the damage. But maybe if they listened to people who tell them that they are helping to kill our freedoms.....think they will? NAH! But we need to continue to try to get to them. If we don't, we are as bad as they are.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rude Salespeople

I realize that this is not the greatest problem in the world but it IS a problem, from time to time. Rude salespeople are those who know you need something but will do anything to keep from helping you. They have sized you up and found you wanting in some regard. Reminds me of the scene in "Pretty Woman" where the salesperson put her nose in the air and wanted the Julia Roberts character (lady of the evening) to leave the store because, in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive, she couldn't POSSIBLY be in the right place. Salespeople have tried to make me feel that way from time to time. That used to intimidate me but no longer. I am older and wiser. But they are still an annoyance. Still act as though they are better than others. It is sad.

Frankly, they need to be pitied rather than treated like for like as I used to want to do. On the other hand, where we live, there is a (snicker) SUPERCENTER Walmart where the folks are truly kind and helpful. Well, most of them. It is a blessing.