Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » January 20th, 2023, 3:40 am

Here I am again. Lucky you.

During an enjoyable conversation with Rick, I was reminded of a funny story that sheds some minor light upon the world of Armed Private Security Contractors and, since it already kinda came up, martial arts. The two will very briefly intersect in this story. So, pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

First of all, I entered the world of Armed Private Securtity Contractors later in life. I had invested myself in 30 years of law enforcement and had one heck of a good time doing it. The trouble I was facing was, the writing on the Law Enforcement wall was screaming at me to get the heck out before things got squirrely. Things were changing and not for the better. By time I decided to bail out I had earned only a 20 year pension because my first ten year hitch was pulled in the Ohio State Highway Patrol so, no pension from those guys.

The solution to that was to do the risky overseas stuff for a while until everything related to retirement came into balance. Unlike most APSCs, I went in with a firm financial goal that, once met, would mean the end of my contracting. Simply put, the plan was to dip my bucket into the money well and pull as much out as I could, as fast as I could and then get the hell out.

On the other hand, regular APSCs are younger (and dumber). They are the modern day equivalent to traditional pirates. The have some training which isn't a good fit with the civilized world and so, they sell themselves to the highest bidder who sends them to the not-so-civilized world to earn their keep. They arrive with a sea bag over their shoulder (having no real home) join the crew, spend every penny they earn on shore leave, and then show back up for another voyage all starry eyed about some foreign lass they met and the thought of her keeps them going until the next shore leave. They do that over and over again until someone tells them there's a better paying contract somewhere over the horizon. They they jump ship and begin the same cycle all over again, somewhere else. All in all, it's a pretty empty existence.

Lastly, they don't like being around older, more cerebral gentlemen like myself. I guess it reminds them of the father they never had and the fact that they might just be screwing up the limited days of their youth...and where's the fun in that? Other than that, they're often some pretty great guys. BUT...there has got to be balance in the universe. Some of them are truly miserable human beings but those are just the sort of guys you want to have with you in a gunfight. Going overseas with these 'people' (and I use that term very loosely) was going to be interesting, to say the least. Oh, and one other really big thing....

The former military guys really hated the former police guys (hatred for authority methinks) and the former police guys who began with a high opinion of former military people, didn't understand the hatred so they did what came natural. They banded together and hated the former military guys right back. The very few guys who were former members of both groups simply couldn't find themselves a home. Keep in mind, these are very people who are going to be transported to the middle of a bad place where EVERYBODY hated them no matter what their affiliation and there they would be called upon to protect whatever they were paid to protect AND each other when the balloon went up. Like I said....young and dumb...and soon to be heavily armed.

Yikes! What a combination. :cry:

Oh, and there was a small faction I was part of; a group that I thought of as 'The Bears', based upon the old children's song, The Bear Went Over The Mountain (to see what he could see)? There was a very small group of adventurers, usually older guys, who were just there for the laughs (and the money). There is nothing really any better than getting very well paid to have a great adventure. Particularly one that is interesting enough that it might take your life. So, now you know the type of people I kept company with for four years in Afghanistan. But this ain't about that. This story is about getting ready to go on that great adventure and maybe just a little bit about martial arts, as promised.

The members of our group were recruited all over the country. With that done, we were given a little time to get our affairs in order. Then a plane ticket arrived and we all showed up in Virginia at a National Training Center. At long last, the gang's all here! Our instructor, Wes, was a former Army Ranger and a man who, apparently, was born without a personality or a sense of humor. Wes wasn't there to instruct, though he did a little of it on occasion. Wes was there to thin the herd. His man Friday was a guy named Dirt (don't ask me why). Wes took me aside on day one and put me in charge of the class. My job was to act as liaison between instructors and the class, and to make sure no one got lost. Great. This was going to be like herding cats.

Cat Herder Of The Old West Merit Badge - AWARDED!

I was almost certainly the oldest guy in the class and I might have been the only guy resumé qualified for a leadership position.

Hooray. Extra duties. :roll:

It didn't take long for me to figure out who our trouble-makers would be. Another way to group PSCs is to split divide them up by size. We begin with the normal-sized guys. The benefits of normal sized guys are, they are low maintenance, quick on their feet and if the need arises, they can become very, very small. Even tiny, when it comes to getting out of the line of fire. Then there are the really BIG guys. These are the guys who have muscles on their muscles and no neck. The benefits of the really BIG guys are, they are strong and if things get really awful, you can use them for concealment..and maybe even use them for cover. The downside is, they are high maintenance, and speedy (but only for a few moments) and otherwise they are slow as molasses in January. Because of their enormous size the have a natural tendency to draw fire.

The big guys eat small mountains of food and they are loath to leave any food behind. This means it takes extra time for them to eat...and eat...and eat. Between meals, they mix up powdered stuff and drink that to get them through til the next meal. What goes in, must come out, so they can also be counted on to spend an inordinate amount of time UNloading all that stuff they ate. AND, if there is a spare moment, they are working out, or doing endless pushups in the hallways of the facility. Those impromptu push-up festivals were eventually forbidden by the facility for being disruptive, by the way. These BIG guys required extra attention from me because...they were slow to finish eating, or busy in the restroom, or slipping away during classroom breaks to go do a few reps. So, they were showing up for class late..which is a BIG no-no in Wes's world. Wes would vent his frustration on me. Me, the guy with a mandate to keep order and no real authority to do it. The extra attention I was getting violated my single most important rule for training. Most of you know that rule.

Be INVISIBLE.

So I was on Wes's you-know-what list from day one. Fabulous. Now, I am going to share with you a little detail about the training center. First, it was a HUGE place and a LOT of Federal dollars were being spent there. The room accommodations were spartan but everything else was very luxurious and the weight room had the best of everything. The crown jewel of the joint was the thrice-daily smorgasbord. I cannot say enough good things to describe it. The had their own kitchen, their own chefs and their own kitchen staff. When it came to their food, they had almost EVERYTHING and it was all top shelf stuff. By way of example, you couldn't get salisbury steak because the top sirloin and the prime rib and the tomahawk chops took up WAY too much space. You COULD get some really good pastry (probably because a lot of cops trained there).

Our big boys quickly became an embarrassment. Wanna know how to make a large plate hold twice the food by making it into an even larger plate? Ring it with pancakes that overlapped, or ribs, or anything like that. In that way, you can put a LOT more food on a plate. These big guys would go through the food line like locusts. If Wes had come to me about that, I would have politely told him to stick my 'promotion' where the sun don't shine. I ain't getting between these monsters and their food. No way. No how.

Occasionally we would remove ourselves from the facility and go eat at the many nice restaurants in the area. For some of us the idea was, we wouldn't be seeing the civilized world for a while so why not take advantage of it while ya can, right? But then it was reported that some of our guys were acting up in these places and those particular restaurants were placed off-limits to us. ANOTHER black eye for us. :( Not happy. NOPE. Grown men, acting like clowns. I guess we found out which guys weren't suited to be in the civilized world. Apparently, bad behavior wasn't enough to give these guys the boot. On the other hand, failing any of Wes's many tests, was.

I drew some unwanted attention from Wes when, on a timed run I came in dead last, but well within the allowable time. Regressing to his Army years, Wes threatened to keep the others running until I crossed the finish line. Yeah, Right...WhatEVER. I called his bluff. We ain't IN the Army. Wes took me aside to give me some grief. I told him there was no prize for being first and there was no reason for me not to use all the time he gave which, if you think about it, makes complete sense. But in this case, I had violated the Rule of Invisibility. I was, once again, on Wes's list and probably too close to the top of that list for comfort. Wes, the former Army Ranger, just didn't see me as a hard-charger.

Then came the bench press qualification. In this test, you had to bench press your body weight, twice, on a free weight system. You weigh in, they round up and assemble the weights. Now, I'm not a weight-lifter and if there were actual test rules about this bench press test, nobody shared 'em with me. So, with Wes and Dirt in the weight room, they had me begin. Up off the pins, down, up, down and back up past the pins and Wes would give the command to return the weights to the pins. Simple, right?

Wrong.

I did the routine.
Wes said, "You didn't pass."
Dirt, with his pen hovering over the clipboard, looked confused which I took to mean he wasn't in agreement with Wes.
I said, "WHAT?!"
Wes said, "You didn't pass. You didn't raise both your reps past the pins"

Well that was hooey. My arms had been at full extension. Wes was going to give me the axe on some made-up BS. Not very Rangerly.

Playing stupid, I said, "Oh, you want extensions ABOVE the pins huh?"
He said without pause, "Yeah" as though he hadn't pulled a fast one on me.
"OKAY," I said. "Let's do it again."
Dirt looked concerned. I was a regular sized guy. Clearly, he thought I was making a mistake. This would be FOUR reps rather than two.
Wes taunted me. "Don't you want to rest? You only get two tries at this."
"Hell NO I don't want to rest," I said. I had a few other things I really wanted to say but kept my mouth shut.

Rage makes you strong. Rage, properly channeled, makes you VERY strong. I did the whole thing over again and I watched Dirt every moment. I was certain Wes had him there to be a witness to my failure. Up off the pins, down, up past the pins (I winked at Dirt and Dirt looked utterly confused by that) down again, and up past the pins. I challenged Wes to try and fail me...

"Hey Wes," I said. "D'ya like apples? How d'ya like THEM apples!!"

I put the weight bar on the pins and sat up. Dirt was attempting to hide his grin with his clip board. He didn't wait for Wes to say anything. He just marked me as good to go. Wes simply turned and walked out. I suppose Wes was still every inch the Army Ranger and maybe he was just wanting to see if I'd dig in and be stubborn when things didn't go my way. I felt like Joshua Chamberlain at Little Round Top. Tired, but still standing. As for Wes, perhaps he had a legitimate question about me; one that Wes may have felt needed to be answered. Business is business.

One day, when we were getting ready to break for lunch. The big boys were getting hungry and needed to be fed because I hadn't heard any of them pass gas for hours. Toot-toot-toot! Then a very long silence. Wes contacted me and told me to have the class take a short 5 minute break and then I was to ensure that absolutely EVERYONE returned to the classroom in 15 minutes for martial arts training. Apparently, our chow hounds had hacked off some of the other guests at the training center. After all, there's only so much prime rib to go around. ANOTHER black eye! There would be no fabulous smorgasbord lunch for us, this day. When we returned from break and filed into the room we found all the chairs had been moved to its periphery. This was going to get physical. I was a little concerned because these classrooms had industrial carpet laid directly over cement. Not good.

There in the middle of the room was a wiry little guy with an unruly shock of blonde hair that couldn't have been more than 5'6"...maybe 5'7" and maybe just over 100 lbs soaking wet. Why are all empty hand combat guys so danged small? Well, because they need to be fast. When you're small, if some big guy gets his mits on you...you're done. There was our instructor in the middle of the room; a tiny white guy in street clothes, standing with legs comfortably apart, feet below his hips, fists clenched at his waist and elbows bent. I knew what that body position meant. Intimidation. So, this was also going to be a mental exercise. He was obviously built for speed. He even talked fast. He was smiling broadly and said, "My name is Phil (*insert Phil's forgotten surname here*) but everyone calls me Phil Kwon Do. I am your Tae Kwon Do instructor. The big guys groaned. They were starving and losing muscle mass by the second. We were going to miss lunch and get rug burns...and maybe a few broken limbs. Great. And all of it depended upon Phil Kwon Do.

Playing the 'If-we-cooperate-maybe-there-will-be-time-to-eat-card" I said to the guys, "Let's get going with this" and everybody quickly found a seat. I sat in the back and put my feet up on an empty chair, crossed my arms over my chest and leaned back like the cowboy who sits against the back wall of a saloon. I had to conserve my energy. I was missing lunch too. This would also be a great time to be invisible and also a great time to allow some of our self-proclaimed bad boys take a few lumps.

Phil Kwon Do asked for volunteers and arms shot up. Phil demonstrated various techniques at a slow speed and then asked the participants to mimic his movements. There were kicks, punches, take-downs and all the stuff you would expect. Throws were performed in 2xslow motion. Most useful were the blocking techniques and we were told to pair up and practice. In a short while, those assisting Phil would need those blocking skills. Until then, guys were avoiding going down to the floor like the plague. Little guys were paired with big guys who simply stood there and let the little guys use them like a jungle gym. It was a sorry sight. I returned to my chair as quickly as the instruction would allow and resumed being invisible.

We took another short break and came back for round two. Phil Kwon Do was stretching. Oh crap. In fact, he began instructing us verbally while continuing to stretch. I knew what THAT meant. Finally, Phil was all stretched out and he picked a big guy to come up to spar with him. That guy was supposed to launch his best attack against Phil. Godzilla vs. Rubber Band Man. Clearly, Phil Kwon Do was very confident about being able to repel the attack. Our guy made a slow, half-hearted attack. (He was probably just hungry) Phil Kwon Do not only blunted the attack. He also counted coup on his opponent and danced away like Peter Pan.

"Do we have another volunteer," Phil asked sweetly.

Phil repeated his lesson as each successive volunteer gave it his best. The more timid the assault, the more Phil counted coup. Slaps to the back of the head were particularly entertaining. Eventually, all the big guys wanted to 'git some' to prove their superior manliness. The were apparently unaware of how pitifully slow they were in the cramped confines of this room. Like a freight train, once a big guy gets going, he has trouble stopping. The seated guys began to get up just to form a ring and keep the freight train from going through a wall. Phil encouraged each new participant to do more than the last guy and as the number of our defeated grew, so did our ire. Finally, someone asked Phil, "How do you think you'd do against two?" "One, two, four, ten," he said in a sugary voice, "it doesn't matter. The same methods apply."

Our hero. :roll:

Two came up, made a coordinated attack and Phil danced away from them, then kept them lined up so only one could do anything against him and that leveled the playing field in his favor. Phil was enjoying himself WAY too much and in my humble opinion, our guys were being made to believe that they couldn't win. Not by his rules anyway. Phil Kwon Do was setting my guys up and I couldn't have that. We should be training to win. And if you have to cheat to win, so be it, because, if you're not cheating...

you're not trying hard enough.

When I was a kid, my father told me a story that happened when he was in stationed in Japan with the Army occupation forces. With that brutal war just over and with all the bitterness, people really HATED the Japanese and made no effort to conceal it. There was no shaking of hands and let's all be friends. As such, anything even vaguely Eastern was not very popular. But, on a Federal level, efforts were being made to normalize relations with Japan. Remember that Japan had real plans to arm every man, woman, and child and go down in flames if that's what it took to win. Having a bunch of edgy warriors wandering around Japan stirring up dust really wouldn't help to keep a lid on things. Thus, the Army guys were being kept on base when not performing their duties and in order to help the troops vent, the Army decided to organize tournaments meant to focus on physical prowess, particularly in the arena of hand-to-hand combat.

After some time, that whole hand-to-hand contest came down to two very capable young men. One had been an up and coming professional boxer in his previous life and the other was an Army Jiu Jitsu instructor. Dad said there was a lot of money riding on the outcome and the longer the fight went, the more money changed hands. The Jiu Jitsu instructor really had his way with the boxer who simply covered up, took the punishment and rarely threw a punch. The ol' rope-a-dope. You can guess the rest. The instructor grew tired and slower and the boxer watched for the right moment, threw a jab, stepped inside with a right hook, followed with a wicked uppercut and it was lights out for the Jiu Jitsu instructor who, Dad liked to add, "woke up in the infirmary."

Finally, Phil had to allow us our mandatory break. I was the last guy out of the room and as I was leaving, Phil said to the back of my head, "I have noticed your'e not participating." "I'm on break. We'll discuss that when I come back in," I replied darkly. That reply put me in charge...if only for a moment. I needed that edge. Like I said, this is also a mental game. Once everyone was back in seats, I made my way to my seat. I could see Wes peering in through the double doors which were not fully closed. Apparently he was there to watch the final session or maybe Phil told him I was finally going to get my comeuppance. As I was sitting down, Phil Kwon Do jumped right in and asked me what my thoughts were on Tae Kwon Do. "Not my style," I said. "These guys are trying to do something you've had years to practice. D'ya wanna see how cops take care of business?"

Challenge laid.

Phil is a very upbeat kinda guy and he really believes in his art. "Sure! How many of you and are you finally gonna participate?"

Challenge accepted.

He was taunting me. What Phil Kwon Do didn't know was, through observation, I had discovered his weakness. "I think three guys will make it go faster but we probably will only need two and hell yeah, I'm gonna participate." I was erring on the side of caution because of that GD floor and up until this point, this stuff had mostly been brother-in-law sparring. Cops don't play around. They're not shy. They want the fight to end quickly. FAST. Like in a New York Microsecond. Nobody wanted to be introduced to that hard, hard floor...but we cops wouldn't mind it if we were the guys making the introduction. The trouble was, the moment Phil realized we were playing to win, he would turn up the heat and I was sure he was already getting that message loud and clear.

I also reckoned Phil would take the bait and demand three of us for the next match since he had been doing so well. All the better. "I get to pick the guys, right?" Phil was stretching again and looked over his right shoulder and said, "Sure." So I picked two other cops; both from Texas and all three of us were normal-sized individuals. We gaggled up and I quietly told them Phil Kwon Do's weakness. Phil finished stretching and we arranged ourselves around him in a triangle. "You ready," I asked. Phil said, "Just say when." Extra points awarded to Phil for confidence. But Phil Kwon Do, with all his experience, had to know that some days you get the bear and some days, the bear gets you. I looked at my guys who were, like me, savoring the moment before the final kill. I wanted Phil to know what was coming and to his credit, he did not squirm. I wanted him to have that coppery taste in the back of his mouth as his body switched into flight mode for the first time of the day. I yelled,

"GET HIS FEET OFF THE GROUND!"

We three rushed Phil Kwon Do like hungry jackals. Phil suddenly realized he wasn't going to dance his way out of this. He tried to kick one cop to make a hole for an exit. That guy took the hit and kept right on coming. That was awesome. Phil tried a desperate full-power strike on another cop who deftly brushed it away (a move that was so impressive I can dredge up that memory of it to this day) and HE kept coming and we all converged on poor Phil Kwon Do. Phil Kwon Do with nowhere to go. Such a nice little rhyme. We hauled him up off the floor, killing his mobility, and with his little legs desperately going 100 miles per hour we slammed him to that hard, HARD floor and pinned him there.... allowing him to struggle a little bit so as to wear him out out even faster. Best of all, Wes had seen every moment of it.

And all of this took less time than it took you to read that paragraph.

We helped Phil Kwon Do to his feet. He was flushed from exertion right down to the roots of his hair, red with rug burns and clearly rather sore. He accepted his defeat and there were hand shakes all around. "I noticed you guys didn't use anything I taught you." He sounded dejected. I replied, "I came from a police department in a big rodeo town in Texas, Phil. It's called San Antonio. You might have heard of it. We do things a little differently there."

After all....business is business.

And after that, I had no more trouble with Wes. Well, maybe just a little but I didn't blame him. After all, Wes was born with no personality and no sense of humor.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » January 23rd, 2023, 4:08 pm

On a lark, I put my 'air boat' kayak on Craigslist with a reasonable starting price. Normally, I don't sell there but thought I'd test the waters. (I know....that's a really REALLY bad pun.) But, since this ain't my first rodeo, I added a warning to scammers that this ain't my first rodeo. So who contacted me first? A scammer, naturally....using the oldest opening line in the book.

Scammers just can't help themselves.

And for the very few of you who have not seen this scam before.... here it is (the actual message, cut & pasted...and note the sections I've put in bold-

Thanks for returning my message. I'm currently not in town for now, so I won't be able to meet with you due to my work frame and also we are very busy at this time preparing for our daughter's wedding but I'm okay with the price and condition as shown on the advert. I'll proceed in issuing a cashier's check to you and when you receive the payment and it clears your bank, I will make arrangements for the pick up. I will also add an additional $50 to hold it down for me. So get back to me with the details below to mail the check out to you asap..

Name to be on the payment ...........
Address to mail the check to ........
City, state and Zip code ............NOT P.O BOX
Final Asking price...................
Phone number to text you on..

So, let's pick this scam apart.

1. The old 'I'm too busy to complete the transaction due to"... is a bunch of hooey. In this way, the scammer effectively turns what was meant to be an open offer to everybody into just you and him (or her). There's an implied agreement here and the first effort by the scammer to get you into the bad habit of saying YES to allowing them to gain control of the transaction.

YOU are the seller and YOU call the shots...forever and ever, Amen.

2. Being "busy with a daughter's wedding"... Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? People with kids who are getting married (and helping them to do it) is meant to lend credibility to this imaginary buyer. This leads you to conclude that the scammer is a nice guy (or gal) who is all about family. This is meant to legitimize him (or her) in your mind and get you nodding in appreciation for what fine people you must be dealing with.

Gee, I almost want to put 'em on my Christmas Card List.

3. And they're "okay with the price and condition" (from only TWO photos)? No interest in examining the piece to be purchased or even asking for a small break on the price? If you've ever paid for a wedding, you KNOW what a big hole that puts in your pocketbook....and if they're so well off that money is really no object, wouldn't they just be buying a new kayak. Alarm bells should be ringing in your head! But, what this is meant to do is make you want to trust them, because apparently, they CERTAINLY trust YOU....right? RIGHT?

Don't be friends. Be businesslike. After all. Business is business.

4. "Issuing a cashier's check to you and when you receive the payment and it clears your bank"... Yeah, they're SO trusting they're sending a cashier's check to a stranger?..with no assurance that I won't scam them? This is evidence of someone who is either the most trusting idiot in the world, or a scammer who has nothing to lose. Why? Because that cashier's check isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Either they're the dumbest person on the planet, or a scammer, OR BOTH. That is something you CAN bank on.

5. "I will make arrangements for the pick up. I will also add an additional $50 to hold it down for me"... This is a three-part process in the scam.

First, if you agree to the terms, you effectively agree to turn away any other potential buyers and if you do THAT, you are making them the only game in town. Then, you will have committed to an agreement which, if you have any honor (and the scammer assumes you DO) you are honor-bound to follow through on holding it for them, and them alone.

Second, why in the world would anyone offer the extra $50 when they might just as easily have asked you to wait without payment and then, if you declined, THEN offer the extra dough? Well, chiefly because they're setting 'the hook' so to speak. You're NEVER going to see that $50 and they're playing upon your greed. They're counting on your greed and hoping it will motivate you to see this process through till the end.

Third, all of this 'agreeing to their terms' is simply them training you to say YES, and effectively places you under their control. This is why it's so important for you to say NO, the moment things get even remotely stinky.

Now, up unto this point, this COULD be a legit buyer, right? By the way, I replied to the email and straight up told the author not to waste my time and that I had seen this particular scam many times before. There was no response from the scammer claiming they were legit and no protests about what a horrible human being I was so, make of that what you will. Easier just to call it quits and go find an easier target.

So how does this sort of scam play out? Well, first of all, and perhaps most importantly, they NEVER intended to buy this kayak. The sale of the kayak is nothing more than an invitation for them to try this scam on you. All they're interested in is your cash.

Yes, they'll send you a piece of paper that will look like a cashier's check. A very good looking check, in fact. Very official looking. With little or no contact information for the institution upon which it is drawn. You may even notice that the edges are very sharp and crisp and there might even be an official looking water mark or a happy little foil seal on it. But one of the dead giveaways is the lack of a serrated edge. Why scammers don't invest in a bit of quality paper with serrations is beyond me. If the scammer is very, VERY good, you'll receive this 'check' in the mail on a Friday (when you finally get home from work) or perhaps even Saturday.

And when you examine the cashier's check, you you will immediately notice that they got the dollar amount wrong. The cashier's check you receive from the scammer will ALWAYS be for too much money. Have you ever gone to the bank for a cashier's check and had them put too much money on it?
Right!

NEVER. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!

Being an honest bloke, naturally you'll do the right thing and try to get hold of the buyer/scammer, right? And every wasted moment that passes, you are missing out on doing business with legitimate buyers. This 'missing out' is meant to make you commit even more firmly to seeing this transaction through. Because you stupidly allowed this to be the ONLY transaction you have; the transaction with the scammer... and the sooner the better.

Because you want the money...and they're counting on you to go after it.

Here's where the scammer sets the hook. Contact them about the check being for too much money and they'll tell you they're terribly keen on locking the deal up and (here comes the part where they yank you out of the water and into the boat) so, why don't you just cash the check and oh, by the way, why not keep an extra $50 as an apology for your trouble (they're counting on your greed again). Just send them the balance back (via some sort of immediate electronic transfer.(...because hey, you're all good friends, right? Almost family, right? RIGHT?

WRONG.

All of this transferring of money back is meant to happen BEFORE you find out the check isn't worth a darn. And think about THIS. Would your bank call you the moment they found out that little scrap of paper you THOUGHT was a cashier's check....WASN'T a cashier's check at all? Nope. Not a chance of that happening. You couldn't even get Vegas odds on that going down.

And if you get lucky, or you're diligent enough to figure it out BEFORE sending a scammer your REAL money...they're only out the cost of a piece of paper and secure in the knowledge that NOBODY is coming after them.

NOBODY.

No, really. The odds against it are astronomical.

But, here's the good news. You can have a little fun with these sorts of folks. The fun is to see how many fake checks you can get them to send to you because there is really nothing better than decoupaging a toilet seat with cashier's checks made out for large amounts of money. Believe me. Your friends will be terribly impressed.

So, the first thing to do is call the financial institution who will tell you that no such account exists and the check isn't real. (They will probably politely ask if you will send it to them for evidentiary purposes and you are free to decline because it is almost certain they already have quite a few and they really don't need one more.) The scammer is sending 3, 4 maybe 10 of these out every day. Strength in numbers, after all.

Then, quietly wait an appropriate period of time and contact the scammer. Play dumb. Politely ask when they planned on sending you a cashier's check (even though you have already received it)...in short, tell a little white lie which, in this instance, won't count against you in the final reckoning. If they send you a second one, contact them again after a few says and say something like, "Since I STILL haven't received a check from you, I'm going to call it quits on this deal." Be indignant, but be polite.

I assure you, they will put another one in the mail. My personal best is scamming the scammer out of THREE fake cashier's checks before they figured me out..so you're gonna be on your own on trying to get the fourth fake cashier's check. If you do, I'll be impressed.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on January 24th, 2023, 2:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by raymond » January 24th, 2023, 12:06 pm

I love these kinds of stories.
I look at things such as this, not as a nuisance, but as an opportunity for entertainment.
But mine mostly involve telephone scams.
When I get those kinds of scams, I like to see how long I can keep someone on the line, and I'll use anything I can think of.
Very few last very long as most of these people have heard it all, but I did have one that went on for almost a minute.
And I wish I had a recording of it as it was my all time best.


BTW, my wife hates it when I tell this story, but my daughter, who witnessed it, absolutely loves it.

So I get one of those calls with caller ID of "Cardholder Services" complete with a computerized female voice which sounds exactly like the female computerized voice you get when you actually do call your credit card company.
The fake computerized female voice says "This is MasterCard Cardholder Services" and goes on to tell me that I now qualify for a lower interest rate on my card.

I'm sure everyone here has received this phone call.
All you have to do to activate this new low interest rate is press "1" and an agent will gladly assist you.

Whenever I receive anything remotely like this, and I have some spare time, I always press the number to talk to an actual person.

So I put the phone on 'speaker', signal to my daughter to come here, then press the number to talk to an agent.

After being notified by the female computerized voice that "In order to ensure quality service, your call may be monitored" an Agent comes on and identifies himself, in a heavy South Asian accent, as the representative of my credit card company and that I am to be congratulated for being a loyal and valuable customer and that I am to be rewarded with a new low interest rate.
All I have to do to activate this new lower interest rate is prove my identity by providing him with my full name, my credit card number, and the 3 digit security code on the back of the card.

So I ask the agent "Where did you get this phone number :?: "
Agent replies, in his thick South Asian accent that makes him sound like Apu from The Simpsons "We are your credit card company and you provided it to us when you opened the account."

I tell the agent "That's impossible, the only person I have ever given this number to is your mom."
The agent, who hasn't quite processed what I just told him waits for a moment, then blurts out "WHAT :!: "

I reply, "Well, after one night with me, your mom said she is going to throw rocks at your dad :!: "
Apparently the agent was not used to having things turned against him and instead of hanging up, must have thought "well I'll show him" and started to yell "Oh yeah, listen to me, I'm with your mom now, hear me." and then he makes fake sex sounds.

I reply, "My mom's been dead for years, so for this to be possible, you had to have dug her up."
Now the agent is getting quite perturbed, but his desire to turn the things back against me is stronger than his urge to just hang up and try to find another sucker.

My daughter is now laying down on the couch about to cry and pee her pants as she's intensely fighting the urge to laugh and possibly mess up the prank.

So next he says, "Well now I am with your sister, and she is giving me a great BJ", and starts to make exaggerated fake moaning sounds.

So I tell the agent, "I don't have a sister, (I actually do have 2 sisters) but I do have a brother. I don't think he swings that way, but I'll give you his number and you can call him and find out".

By this time, the agent, who apparently is not used to having things turned this far against him, is apoplectic and calling me every English language obscene term he knows, and is doing so in an increasingly broken English accentuated by his increasingly thick South Asian accent.

After a few seconds, there is a pause, and I ask "So, how do I sign up for that lower interest rate :?: "

"CLICK".
Raymond


"On the day when crime puts on the apparel of innocence, through a curious reversal peculiar to our age, it is innocence that is called on to justify itself." Albert Camus

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » January 24th, 2023, 2:24 pm

Revenge.

Revenge for wasting your time......

It's a beautiful thing.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » January 24th, 2023, 2:40 pm

By the way, I think I have found three CANVAS seats for the M151 in VVG condition. Lower seat pads, x2 and a rear seat pad x1. Gonna pull these out and take a closer look at 'em. If they turn out to be legit, I'll be posting them in the For Sale section. Stay tuned.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » January 28th, 2023, 9:15 am

Since I have acquired the ol' 1993 YJ, I joined a Wrangler forum in order to take advantage of some of the experience Wrangler owners have. Oh boy, what a difference from that of a MV forum. A lot of those fellas have Wranglers that are highly modified machines. Some professionally done. Others, strictly DIY. They carve them up like Christmas turkeys and by the time some of them are done, they have a machine that is really a Jeep Wrangler in name only. Over the years, dedicated Off-Roaders have really struck every chord when it comes to modifying Jeeps and there is absolutely no end to it. Their dedication to the cause is very impressive. The amount of money they must be spending, equally impressive. Yikes!

Unfortunately (or perhaps FORTUNATELY) I'm one of those guys who only wants to be able to explore some of the country's back roads, see some scenery and do some camping and perhaps get myself out of any trouble I got myself into. I'm content to leave the rock-crawling to people who enjoy being bounced around all day (makes my back hurt just thinking about it). People who will likely need therapy and then perhaps surgery because of all the self-induced Shaken Baby Syndrome.

a8eol9 sdio

AND CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY THIS CAT OF MINE IS SO INSISTENT ABOUT BEING ON MY KEYBOARD THIS MORNING?!!!!

So, I'm asking tiny questions on a big forum with most of those questions being stuff that is almost off-topic when surrounded by guys who would rather talk about the various recipes for turning a shy little Jeep into a rock-eating monster. no3oonlë

SHOO DANGIIT!

(Don't mind the cat's contributions. He may sound convincing but he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.)

I don't mean to speak badly of these proud Jeep owners. They go where their conscience leads them and in the end, I suppose civilian vehicles (having made a less consequential contribution to our country than any military vehicle ever did and as such are far more consumable) may be less worthy when it comes to the matter of their conservation. I really don't know. It's just something that has been rolling around my head for a while now.

They do have a fun section for Jeep owners who adapt their Wranglers in the fashion of...

:shock: PREPAREDNESS FOR THE INEVITABLE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE :shock:

...which is always a fun mental exercise but is something that wouldn't be fun in actuality. It still really galls me to see these guys hang representations of some giant machine gun on toothpick sized mounts and then weld the whole thing onto their Jeeps in such a way that there would be no workable space for a gunner, even if the gun were somehow made operational.

So, just for the fun of oneupmanship, I posted a pic of my old M151 all kitted up with my boat-anchor M2 which must have really captured the imagination of one fella in particular because he began posting about it and I had to remind him that (A) my old M2 was now just a big chunk of metal that only really looked like an M2 and was fully incapable of ever being an M2 again and, (Z) even if I ever did find myself legally in possession of such a beast, I wouldn't be able to afford to feed it.

Just call me Captain Buzzkill.

These conversations inevitably turn to a wink-wink, nudge-nudge where one guy feeds his own dream of owning such a monster by being coy and trying to make you admit that you have one (or thousands) stashed away somewhere...meaning stuff that is actually operable. *sigh*

Yeah, OK, fella. Ya got me. I have racks of 'em stored in my secret underground lair. :roll:

But, as with most forums, one must be prepared to peel back layers of good-natured attempts to weigh in on subjects. With the sheer volume of advice, sometimes it becomes difficult to 'separate the wheat from the chaff' as my Dad used to say. Making my questions succinct (brief and clearly expressed) can be difficult and after about five responses comes the inevitable hijacker who turns the whole thread on its ear. As the Mandalorian saying goes...

This Is The Way. :lol:

But, they are (mostly) good-natured fellas and I can count on the moderator (a wise man who seems to read everything and know everything). The forum does have one really valuable option; something clearly meant to keep some of the more lackadaisical members coming back and that's what I think is called push notifications. I receive an email that posts some of the more trending topics. Most of it I wouldn't have discovered on my own but is interesting, nonetheless.

Spending too much time in front of a computer is the fastest way to becoming a sort of forum junkie. I could begin to put down roots at The Command Post, which wouldn't be good at all.

In other news, I was introduced to a kindred spirit last night. He's a fellow who really is only about 10, maybe 15 years my senior and his hobby (finding and resurrecting old pieces of other people's lives and then, only for his own edification) finally grew to proportions where the voluminous results of his efforts eclipsed the amount of space he had available to store it all. He's big on restoring coin-operated machines. There are gravity fed gas pumps and Coke machines and you name it. So there are some very big pieces. Large, or small, all of it shows some VERY impressive attention to detail. Now retired, he owns an equally fabulous antique store (one of the finest I have ever seen, in fact) and continues to dabble in his hobby and be rewarded with a bit of additional income for his \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ (DANG CAT!) troubles.

He also owns a nice looking 56 Thunderbird with a bad master cylinder. Naughty, NAUGHTY master cylinder! So, I may be getting to prod him into getting that sorted out... with admonishments that a new master cylinder will only serve to make his car's old wheel cylinders finally give up the ghost... and why not do it right the first time, sort everything out and then be able to enjoy his fancy car and being assured that he'll be able to stop, when, where, and how he wants to stop.

It never fails to amaze me how some people own these really nice antique cars and yet haven't the faintest idea how they work. That's just strange.

Anyhoo, I think what he really feels he needs is guidance from someone he can trust and I'm not sure he's the type of guy who would feel comfortable in a forum setting while trying to sort out good advice from bad. It wouldn't bother me at all to see him have someone else do the work. He just doesn't like the idea of having some place pick his pockets and give him a shoddy job in return. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out.

I'd like to earn a ride in an old Tbird, wouldn't you?

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » January 28th, 2023, 10:14 am

Never really had the desire to ride in old T-birds. Now, my dad had three Ford retractible hardtops over the years with T-bird engines in them and one of those I would take. If you are not familiar with them look up 1957, 1958, 1959 Ford Skyliners.

I can tell you that some of those high end Jeep builds with the coil over suspensions and remote reservoir shocks ride pretty nice even while rock crawling. I owned a 4x4 shop for many years but here on the East coast we built mud machines which were a lot different from rock crawlers. I could tell you a few tricks for a smooth riding Wrangler though, but that is outside of this forums scope so I will give you a call later on.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 2nd, 2023, 2:00 pm

Icemageddon should be over and done with sometime today if the weather man is correct. I swear, this 'Out Of An Abundance Of Caution' business is worrisome. With Covid, everyone railed about having to stay home. Boo Hoo HOO. With ice on everything in our area (except the roads) people happily shuttered their businesses and stayed home and sipped their hot cocoa. After all, January 31, 2023 was National Hot Chocolate Day. It's a real thing...if only because the internet says so...so, be a good little drone and get in line for hot chocolate. :roll:

Don't have any on hand? Too bad, chum. The stores are all closed.........out of an abundance of caution.

I will allow that, once control of the condition of the roads is lost (or, will inevitably be lost) then yeah, maybe folks ought to think twice about going out for a drive on the skating rink. Closing down the engine that powers and drives this machine that we call The USA and doing it every time a mouse farts is now becoming dangerously de rigueur. One never knows if a particular business is going to be open, or closed. I say it's UnAmerican, and it's stupid. Playing the 'out of an abundance of caution' card is a bit like lowering the flag to half staff every time another click-worthy crime is committed. Why did we begin doing THAT?! And what are these people thinking? Half way down the mast is half way to complete surrender...and fellas,

I
AIN'T
DOIN'
THAT.

What follows is the part where I take the moral high ground and try to convince you that I'm a wise, salt-of-the-earth guy who knows how the ball bounces. You have been warned. I encourage you to make your own decisions, but hear me out. I promise, if nothing else, it'll be food for thought.

'Out Of An Abundance of Caution' 'Thoughts And Prayers' 'Moving Forward' All catchy phrases, designed to lead you around by the nose while giving you a warm fuzzy about how well your keepers are taking care of you.

All through high school, I worked at a full service gas station. George Queen & Nick Lamanna were the proprietors and they were open every day of the year except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, folks actually praised the Lord and they were actually grateful for stuff. We never missed a sale.

George Queen had been on General Eisenhauer's staff at the time D-Day was going down so he was familiar with weighing bad weather against getting stuff done (like...freeing a continent). So, we never failed to open. Queen & Lamanna knew that if you missed a sale, people would start buying their gas from someone else who WAS open. Simple as that. So, I never missed a day of work, no matter the weather or my particular state of health. I pumped gas in sun, rain, ice, snow, plague, famine, pestilence, and death. DEATH?!! Yeah....Death. I filled up many a hearse, fellas.

High Test. The funeral homes ALWAYS got the the good stuff.

And, I eventually chose a career where, the worse things got, the more I was needed. I drove around in the worst weather conditions we had...doing my job. What has any of that have to do with anything nowadays, you ask? Well, in a nutshell, WE GUYS (and GALS) SHOWED UP. WE DID OUR PART. Yer Great Aunt Tilley ain't gonna get her dirt nap without being hauled off to the cemetery and that depends upon being able to buy gasoline, brought to the gas station by a truck driver, who got it from some fellas who ran a tank farm, with gas provided by some other fellas who refined the oil to make the gas; oil that they got from some other fellas who pumped those dead dinosaurs out of the ground. Those people showed up as well. And even if no one was going into the ground that day, our community could count on us gas pump jockeys to be there for them....just like you could count on the cops being at work and taking calls for service no matter the weather. People have GOT to Show Up if they are able to. In our community, people could have shown up. I am embarrassed to say that decided not to and justified it as being 'out of an abundance of caution'.

My 'new age' wife has 'new age' beliefs. Only 16 years my junior, she might just as well have come from another planet. According to her, Big Business and I just don't care about all those poor, bedraggled employees. We're Horrible People (CAPITALIZED, because that's a 'new age' category for people who are knuckle dragging, Cromagnon types) implying that we don't understand how things work and that we are more than willing to run our country on the broken backs of the peasants. We 'old & busted' types need to roll over and give way to the 'new hotness' types who will show us the error of our ways and run the country far better than we ever did.

HA! Don't make me laugh! The people who don't understand how things work are the same people who assume that we can do anything we dang well please, as long as we please, no matter the cost. And if you truly believe that concept to be true...you're probably part of the problem in today's America.

NOPE. This anything-goes attitude was never any good.

We knuckle-draggers understand how things work, because we know, from long experience, that the first step toward success is - SHOWING UP. Ya GOTTA SHOW UP! SOMEONE has to man the oars, SOMEONE has to stoke the furnaces, and SOMEONE has to tote that barge and lift that bale. SOMEONE has to employ people to...

grow things
make things
transform things
transport things
deliver things
sell things
and buy things...

all of this in order for us to have things that help us live better lives and pay our taxes (but that's another topic altogether and you don't want to get me started on that). Like a machine, if you remove any of those pieces, the machine eventually breaks down. Sure, it may spin for a while, slower and slower but eventually, everything grinds to a halt. Don't believe me? There happens to be a very good (and very long) series about War Production on YouTube. How do you win a war? Make the other guy pay an un-payable price and to achieve that, you make his machine break down by removing pieces from his country's machine....including removal of the people who make the pieces of the machine go and countries, even friendly countries, are always at war with one another to some degree because trade is competition which is another form of war.

'Quietly Quitting' is also another form of making war on America, by the way. Quit and go work somewhere else or put yer ranch pants on and do what you're being paid to do. Otherwise, be on your way, bub.

And, if a country is willing to play the LONG game (certain Asian countries come immediately to mind) all they have to do to win is TAKE OVER one or more of the pieces of the machine like...say...manufacturing. Not the manufacturing of stuff like turnip twaddlers and toothpicks and IKEA furniture, but of stuff like medicines and other things that we really depend upon. And then, at the correct time, withhold those pieces of the machine from the country you want to harm. This is why, when some goofball allows our manufacturing capabilities to be lost to some other country, he (or she) should immediately be sealed in a 55 gallon drum with 49 rattlesnakes and rolled off a very high cliff.

Believe me, NOBODY is going to miss fifty snakes.

I've heard folks say, "People don't want to work anymore." Bad weather appears to be as good an excuse as any to not work. Well, that's UnAmerican and if I'm not wrong and that's truly the case, we might just as well raise a white flag right now and save ourselves all the added trouble that comes from electing inept Mister Magoo types into office who will slowly bleed us and diminish us and train us to live on hand-outs to make us perform tricks like circus animals until we Americans forget who we REALLY are.

After all, waiting too long to surrender never works out well.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 6th, 2023, 2:52 am

By now, most of you know I enjoy writing, so here's a little something I posted on another site; one that is dedicated to the lovers of everything JEEP.

Hope you enjoy it.

Cheers,
TJ

For most of my childhood, we attended our annual family reunion in Pennsylvania. Everyone piled into our station wagon and we left Ohio in the rear view mirror and headed East, bound for Pennsylvania. There, everyone gathered at a local township hall in a little town called Pavia which was located in Bedford County, on the outskirts of Blue Knob State Park. Bedford County had been a sort of starting point for my mother's side of the family (at least for those members of the clan still extant). Some of the residents of that tiny little burg provided hospitality services for our group. A mountain of tasty food was served to all of us by them (thank you Ladies for that wonderful fried chicken and corn on the cob!) and year after year, I never came away from that mid-day meal hungry!

After we finished, we kids were turned loose by our parents who wanted some peace and quiet to be able to get caught up with all the relatives. So, we kids did what kids do best. We climbed the hills and then the trees, played in the creek, considered that we might possibly be eaten by bears or perhaps even be carried off by wild, red Indians and occasionally, the older kids (those who could be trusted not to drown themselves) found a few adults who were willing to drive them up the mountain, to the area's public swimming pool. When I was finally old enough for that excursion, I found the pool was filled with spring water and I reckon I never swam faster, or spent less time in the water at any other pool.

Friends, that water was COLD!

Now, I had an older cousin who had experience the misfortune of polio in his youth and he relied upon crutches to get around on foot....which was obviously a real chore for him. But, there was always a friendly smile on his face. He showed up at reunion one year (mid 60s) with what had to have been a WWII jeep and once he got in that machine, oh brother, he got around just fine with the assistance of some clever, post production devices that served as his legs when driving. It was painted in some lighter shade of blue and to my young eyes, it wasn't a very attractive color. Against all odds, and many years later, my son brought another powder blue jeep into my life; a heavily civilianized M38 and I found out I STILL despise that color on a jeep. ANY jeep. What did appeal to me was the apparent hardiness and unmistakable austerity of the little machine. These were not words I knew at that young age but nevertheless, I recognized it for what it was.

That little jeep made a LOT of mechanical noises, even when moving slowly, suggesting that something was being kept very, VERY busy under that sheet metal; lots and lots of parts...all flying in close formation. It had tires that suggested that it would be more at home OFF the pavement than on, and a stance that was proud and a grille that was serious and unblinking, like a sort of banty rooster rooster on wheels. With the windshield down it looked even more formidable. Not a bad look, for such a little guy!

Something you might call, ATTITUDE!

Now, please recognize that, at that time, I was far too young to be a 'car guy'. I was a little boy who was ferried around by his parents; swallowed up, like Jonah, in the back seat of one of the many, large, whale-sized automobiles of the era and that was the limit of my experience with cars. But THIS machine was far different than the cars my parents had. This jeep was LITTLE. In fact, it was TINY! Almost kid-sized! Perhaps this is what our family car would look like with its body removed? I was fascinated.

After all....there was a LOT to see.

Up front, the hubs stood out with some strange device on the end, and not a hubcap in sight. In fact, there was no trim; no big, fancy grill; no bumpers; no....NOTHING! There was an unusual amount of room in the wheelhouses and that looked odd, even to my young, untrained eye. And there was no radio or ash tray (both my parents smoked, so I knew an ashtray was a very necessary bit of kit), no fancy trim ring on the steering wheel (I had seen better steering wheels on lawnmowers) no gussied-up knobs on the dash. In fact, there was NO DASH!! There was no top, which didn't matter because the windshield was laying on the hood. The windshield wiper arrangement had only a little handle on it to make the wipers go. Even the seats seemed like they were an afterthought.

I was sure someone had finally demanded that something had to be provided for people to sit on AFTER all the other design elements had been worked out and whittled down to almost nothingness.

ALL the cousins wanted a ride and rides were given, for as long as the kids were interested. To this day, I think of this as being very gracious of my cousin, putting up with all those kids climbing all over his jeep. Parents who became aware of what was going on warned us not to fall out and simply sent us on our way to Valhalla. (Safety belts, you ask? What the heck are SAFETY BELTS?). We didn't buckle up because there were no safety belts and naturally, our tiny bottoms ended up sitting on the tops of the rear fenders and everywhere else bottoms should not be as the kids eagerly competed for room enough to take in the whole experience.

The older kids had been admonished to keep the younger kids from falling out; a responsibility they completely forgot about with all the excitement. The wind in our hair made us all feel like we were flying! I remember closing my eyes, listening to the mechanical whine as the jeep was run through its gears and feeling dizzy with the wind blowing all over me from absolutely every direction. It was like being in a tornado and riding on a spinning tire swing, all at once.

We all held on for dear life as we weaved up and down the mountain on that winding road. Up we went, to the top and to the ski lifts (which was, then, still open for rides in mid-summer) and then we rode the jeep back down the mountain with nothing between us and all the stuff that was wizzing by....

nothing but the grace of God, that is.

It
Was
Glorious!

There was nothing like this where I lived. There were jeeps there of course, just like there were jeeps everywhere else...but jeeps really only existed n the adult world. Kids were kept safely from them because mothers knew that riding in a jeep was like having a BB-gun.

We might shoot our eye out....or something worse.

I never forgot and will never forget standing there by that strange little vehicle that smelled like gas and oil; its little engine quietly putt-putting at idle, while I waited for my turn to clamber in for a ride. That FIRST ride in a jeep was like....wOw! THIS singular experience was precisely the moment when I became a Less-Is-More kinda guy. I loved it and I still love it. I grew up like most kids do, with my young life blazing by at the speed of light with not a moment spent in calm introspection. That is the essence of youth, I suppose....and life goes by too quickly. Jeeps were not a mainstream thing in Kiddom. As a result, I never really became a die-hard 'jeep guy'....but, happily, I DID become a passionate gear head...which, to my way of thinking is pretty darned close.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 12th, 2023, 1:36 pm

Things have been in the doldrums lately for me, but Doc has been especially busy and needs some time off to clear her head. The weather has been all over the place and it seems like I have spent more time running the vacuum cleaner and being a Cat Dad than anything else. But yesterday was different. We all piled into the Doctor Car, including the Billmeister. Both he and I had coupons for a free 5 gallon bucket from Harbor Freight and we were determined to use 'em on the way, or on the way back. So we all trekked eastward, like lost Sooners.

Eventually ended up at a place east of Bastrop, Texas which is home to Camp Swift (yup, the Army STiLL has camps!) BROADWAY PAUL'S ANTIQUES & SALVAGE is located between Bastrop and Paige Texas on US Hwy 290. Paige is really not what you'd call a 'going concern'.

This particular civilized section of Texas is spotted with uncivilized places where you can hear the banjos being played every minute of every day (if you take my meaning). Front yards in the area may appear to be a large yard sale but, nope, that's just how they keep the place. Another notable place we passed was a residence where someone converted the whole property, meaning, EVERYTHING, except the house (which one might argue is also meant to be part of the experience because it was also spattered with mud). The whole place was something of an endless (and grassless) dirt donk' expedition....right up to the foundations. Only one rule in this place. BYOB. (Bring Your Own Bike) There is not so much as one square inch of level ground on the property and the place LITERALLY looked like the Western Front.... and somebody actually lived there. :shock:

I'm betting that guy gave up on vacuum cleaners a long time ago.

So there was Broadway Bill's Antiques & Salvage, situated in the middle of Hillbilly Hell and Nowhere. Yet another wonderful gem of a place with just a little bit of everything. The general theme of the place is automotive and industrial days gone by, but with a very healthy dash of pop-culture thrown in....and I have NEVER seen a place with that much stuff, so well organized. It's incredible and ridiculous and wondrous, all at the same time.

IMG_1319.jpg


A rat-rodder would swoon.

The only drawback of the place is, some of the aisles are narrow and, yes, there are stairs, which makes shopping with a wheel barrow purt' near impossible....and I SO would have liked to have had a wheel barrow. As a result of this shortcoming, I spent some time hiking back and forth from the antiques and salvage, to the check-out counter where my pile of things to purchase grew ever larger. Yup, I managed to find a few key bits I needed for several of my ongoing projects and did it right...which is to say I did it on the cheap. Things that I had been kinda passively looking for, for months. Some things I had been looking for, for YEARS. And some things that I didn't even know I needed. And all in one place.

My idea of heaven.

IMG_1318.jpg

Prices were exceptional. After we finally checked out, I talked the talk with Broadway Paul and tested the waters for the possibility of doing a little business with him. A lot of the stuff I brought home as pay from The Nice Lady's place really needs to come to this place to find a new owner. Broadway Paul already has one of everything. This is true...but perhaps he'd care to have two, because as you know....

two is one and one is none.

IMG_1320.jpg

During our chin-wag, Doc reexamined a piece that had struck her fancy; a double-headed drive-in movie theater speaker thingy (with an illuminated post meant to keep drivers from bashing into it) and she brought it to my attention. My conversation had just about wound down by then so, I went to have a look. Then came the doe eyes so, I bought it for the asking price (which was definitely not 'on the cheap') just to show Broadway Paul I was legit. So, maybe we can help each other out in the future.

It's all about networking, fellas.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » February 13th, 2023, 9:45 am

I see some rather interesting tires in that pile in front of the building in the first pic. You have to zoom in over the rather DIRTY Mercedes tail end to see them. You really did not let her car get dirty did you? And in the last pic a real live 73 Vega!!!
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 13th, 2023, 1:32 pm

I like my cars smutty. Can't barely see out of the driver's door window of the suburban. Setting a new record for lowness, every day!

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » February 13th, 2023, 5:49 pm

Yea, but that ain't YOUR car! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 13th, 2023, 6:22 pm

And I'm definitely NOT in charge of the Not-My-Car!

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » February 16th, 2023, 5:19 pm

Today, I did the thing.

YOU know! The THING!

Yeah, THAT thing.

The thing that your doctor wants you to do every three years....but nobody does....because it's so bloody awful. Well, it's wrong to use the term bloody. It was decidedly NOT bloody, as a matter of fact...

which is good. VERY good.

I don't mind doing The Thing. I really don't. There were pretty, doe-eyed nurses with beauty queen smiles, a giant, toe-headed anesthesiologist named Bjørn with exceptionally hairy arms a rather disturbing shock of crazy Scandanavian-blonde chest hair peeking out the top of his scrubs, and there was Doctor Jones. I first met Doctor Jones in a dark alley, and that's all I'm going to say about that. Today, our meeting was far more cordial. He has seen me in this state before and as such, he no longer warily looks at me like he might soon be staring into an unpleasant abyss.

♪ Me and Doctor Jones....♬ we got a th-ing, going on...

Bjørn hooked me up with the good stuff and put me right out. "Count backwards t..." That's all I heard. Then I woke up. Doc came back in as I was getting back into my duds, handed me a bunch of glossy color photos on photo paper, no less! (Wow! Mementos of our time together? Aw shucks! You shouldn't have!) Then he said, "I'll see YOU, later." :shock: I hate foreshadowing. Who does he think he is? Edgar Allen Poe?

But all that was the easy part.

It is what leads up to that part of The Thing that we all hate. I received an email giving me instructions on how to prepare myself.

'Prepare myself?'

Yup. Virtually. Literally. Figuratively. Ecumenically. All of the above.

Those instructions had me began two days before The Thing so, on Valentine's Day (yeah, Valentine's Day...can you believe it?) eating nuts, seeds, uncooked vegetables, all were strictly Verboten. Not so difficult. At least I could have chocolates. But, we didn't have chocolates. Instead of taking the low road, I made fancy Valentine's Day cupcakes for everyone; red velvet or fudge, in fancy cups; with butter cream icing and all sorts of sprinkles that, together, all screamed, "50,000 calories! Come eat me!" As a rule, I don't dig into those because I made 'em for everyone else. That would come back to haunt me.

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I am my own tormentor.

One day before The Thing, I was to begin consuming water. Lots and lots of water. Enough water to float a battleship and Oh BROTHER, was I gonna need every drop. Food? NOPE. No solid food. Just 'clear liquids' which is another way of saying, "No cupcakes for YOU!" The fancy cupcakes that were left (other, happier people had already gotten their fill) just sat there, silently taunting me and daring me to eat 'em. Then, that evening, I was instructed to mix up the most vile concoction imaginable...

and have THAT for dinner.

THE PREP, as it is called in common vernacular, is, in my estimation, 8 tablespoons of Splenda to 8 tablespoons of table salt to 16 oz of water. I was to mix that thoroughly and then "SIP" it until it was all consumed, over the course of 30 minutes. Whoever came up with that recipe needs to be hung, drawn and quartered....and a few other things I simply cannot discuss in polite company. Placing a 30 minute time limit for consumption, is especially diabolical.

Let's just give a little twist of the blade to honor ol' Torquemada! Your 30 minutes begins.....NOW!

The only good thing about this exercise was, it really makes one forget about eating. Prior to this moment, my stomach thought my throat had been cut. That all goes away with the first sip of 'prep'.

So I mixed and set my timer and sipped, and squinted, and made awful, sour-grape faces, and attempted to wash the flavor out of my mouth between sips (which only pronged the agony and made returning the cup to my lips all the more horrific) and somehow, the cruel odor of the stuff embedded itself into my sinuses so, even after consuming, rinsing, and yes, even brushing my teeth, the vile stuff visited itself upon my senses with every breath.

Friends, I used every second of those 30 minutes. After that, I was to resume waterboarding myself, per the instructions and the desire to do that was greatly enhanced by the fact that the deeper I got into that 16 oz. of liquid nightmare, the saltier it got. I managed to get it all down. So, I refilled my water glass, sloshed over to the living room and watched a bit of Workshop Wednesday with the volume up to cover up the, now distressing, boborygmus. (That's a real word. Look it up.)

....and the fun soon began.

What the instructions DO NOT mention is the necessity of having safety belts installed on the commode. My routine began slowly and finally rose to a crescendo wherein yours truly would complete the task, square myself away, get half-way back to the living room, think better of it and about face to return and repeat the process all over again. I am a stalwart fellow. I spent four years in Afghanistan. I can endure a lot of hardship. Throughout all this, I managed to keep myself sufficiently 'together' to keep a close eye on the clock because, you guessed it....I would have to get up five hours before party time and do it...

All.

Over.

AGAIN.

That's right! Now, in this enlightened day and age, we get to do this twice. Some dude named Sysyphus figured once is never quite enough, but ALWAYS IS....and so, here we all are...still doing things the hard way. And with all our giant brains, collectively, we can manage to put people on the moon, but we haven't figured out a better way to get The Thing done gracefully, and without a lot of awkwardness. Our failure to improve our situation in this area of human experience is really something that ought to keep you awake at night...What OTHER Very Necessary Thing have we not figured out?

Speaking of needing sleep, but not getting it, I hit the hay and got all situated and comfy and then threw off the covers and bounced back to the commode, did my business, then choked down yet another glass of water and returned to bed, only to repeat that process again and again until I felt safe enough to defy nature's whispered call and catch a few Z's until she screamed at me, top volume. I stopped keeping track of my ups and downs and I stopped looking at the clock, until my alarm went off.

With Mickey's big hand pointing at the 12 and his little hand pointing at the 2, I was up again, mixing sipping, regretting, calling upon my deity. This stuff they gave me for round two was TWICE as bad as the first and it came in two distinct packets. That concerned me. From that, one can only conclude that allowing the two powders to mix prior to adding water might initiate some strange chemical reaction that might threaten the very fabric of the universe.

I think times like this is precisely why YouTube is available 24/7.... so one can watch movies that are appropriate for the moment at hand. I selected The Blob, with a very young Steve McQueen. A perfect metaphor for whatever was going on inside my guts.

At this point, I was beyond thinking about food. I felt HORRIBLE which, contrary to all logic, is apparently something you have to do in order for some Learned Person to be able to pronounce you 'healthy'. Was I drinking from the vestle with the pestle or from the flagon with the dragon? At this point, it didn't matter. I was reeling. The 30 minute alarm went off and I had 1/2 inch of the stuff left unconsumed. Needing to feel good about something, I took charge and strolled over to the sink and unceremoniously poured what was left down the drain and I went to bed, feeling sick as a dog...

...only to get right back up at Zero Five Thirty in order to make myself ready for B-Day at Zero Seven Hundred. B-Day? What's the 'B' stand for?

(Think about it. You'll figure it out)

I got there and there would be no waiting in a waiting room. Oh no...these people had it TOgether. They see 100 patients a day and still have time to hit the links. It was going to be wham, bam, thank ya, Ma'am!

There, I would be asked by my lovely intake nurse if I drank all "The Stuff". Her words, not mine. Even the PROFESSIONALS acknowledge how awful it is by referring to it as, "The Stuff". I looked her right in the eye and said, "Oh H-E-double toothpicks NO!" She gave me a wry smile and knowingly replied, "Most people don't." I got down to my birthday suit and situated on the gurney and they wheeled me, post haste, straight down to my own little dimly lit room. Gotta keep the mood goin'! And you know the rest.

♪ Me and Doctor Jones....♬ we got a th-ing, going on...

Cheers,
TJ
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Last edited by m3a1 on February 18th, 2023, 12:42 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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