Monday, April 30, 2007

Dog Attack!

The Attacker looked something like this

The Victim resembled this breed

Gadabout witnessed a vicious dog on dog attack at the beach today. I had just spent an hour reading Slaughter-House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, had packed up my gear and was walking back to the dune pathway when I noticed a hippy looking chick (mid forties, I am guessing) with a powerful looking dog. The hippy chick and her dog were accompanied by what appeared to be the hippy chick’s mother. Or so it seemed. I describe her as a hippy because she wore silver jewelry, a bandana and hemp looking wrist bands. Hippy stuff. So the stage is set with a hippy, a mom and very powerful looking canine.

After just a few steps after noticing the trio, a lonely, unleashed, log haired, over 10 year old female of unknown breed (Gadabout is not interested in specific breeds) rounded the pathway. I immediately sized the dog up as a non threat. Hell, it could hardly walk through the soft sand. Long hair pooch passes me then canters by the short haired beast and in a flash was taken to the ground by the neck. It was a striking scene! It happened in an instant. One moment calm and the next was frenzy with jaws locked on the neck with a body being whipped back and forth. I estimate the weight differential to be 90 lbs vs. 60 lbs. Wow!

Now, hippy chick did have “Spike” on a leash, which is unusual these days, and she was able to pull Spike away. Spike was so strong, our nature girl had to drop to the ground, place both legs apart and plant her heels in the ground, and the lean backwards using all her might to restrain Spike. After about 10 seconds of relative calm, our hippy heroin cracked a vile smile. It was frightful. Gadabout wanted to slap her one, but thought better of it—she did have the dog, remember? I bet she deplores violence, war and republicans. The next time this happens, and the victim is a todler (I pray to God it is not!), we'll see if she takes that pissy grin off her face.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Canine Hostilities, Citizenship and Property Rights

Revenge at Hand

Early morning stroll
Sea air, quiet solitude
Canine attacks me

Gadabout is frustrated with dogs and dog owners. I was taking a morning stroll on the beach this morning, taking in the fresh salt air and admiring the silent power of the Chesapeake bay, when a couple approached walking a filthy mongrel. As we passed I offered a pleasant nod, and in return I was greeted by the untrained mutt leaping and slobbering on me. I was disgusted and pissed off. My meditation was disrupted, I had dog saliva on me and the happy little couple made a few remarks on how unusual the behavior was for “Sparky.” That was an outright lie. They cannot control their animal because they are too stupid and uninterested in taking time and dedicated efforts to train their smelly animal. A few minutes after this molestation, I stumbled across a rather large pile of dog excrement neatly displayed on a perfect sunning area. Thanks, dog owner! This uncontrolled canine activity has to stop, and it is going to stop with Gadabout!

I have a theory as to why there are so many unruly dogs and inattentive dog owners out there. It all begins in college, when young women coeds feel lonely around their junior year. So what do they do to feel comfort and security? They buy cute little puppies, that’s what they do. And after 6 months, those warm little companions turn into full grown crapping machines. These women get in the habit of leaving Sparky unattended all day long, and when they finally return home they simply open the back door and let them do their business in the back yard. On weekends they walk Sparky. Waling Sparky is cute, shows they are down to earth and caring. Most guys accept Sparky, the yard full of crap and the barking because they aren’t going to “get” anywhere if they don’t. The happy couple gets married, have children and the cycle continues. Guys, let’s break this cycle of abuse and denial.

Breaking the cycle begins with citizen rights. Last year Gadabout had two significant dog issues that directly affected his life and property. The first had to do with a psychotic husky cross breed that resided in the condo behind mine. This dog would charge the fence, barking and try to bite anyone walking by. At first I tried dog treats, but that didn’t work. Then I tried avoidance, but that failed too. Finally, I called animal control. When the dog catcher police chick showed up and I introduced her to the situation, she immediately agreed that it was out of hand and ticketed the owners. Initially I felt bad about turning in my unknown neighbors, but I quickly got over it since peace returned to MY home. The second issue was a Rogue Great Dane that would randomly gallop freely around the neighborhood and do its business at will. Nice! This required about 10 calls to animal control to get resolution. The horse no longer resides on my shady street.

In reflection, dog owners are a lot like Muslims; it is difficult to distinguish the god loving peaceful types from those that want to kill you. The point is that from a distance no one knows if your dog is hostile or peaceful, so unfortunately in name of safety we have to assume the worst. Sorry, but it is the truth.

I have cleaned up too many piles off my lawn, been kept awake too many nights listening to a barking mutt and jumped on too many times at the beach to give a pass to ANY dog owner. Owning and caring for an animal is a responsibility—not a right, that’s why animals have to be licensed! So listen up, dog owners, Gadabout and his army are on the watch and will remain vigilant to protect OUR rights as citizens. In my opinion, most of you are good keepers of your animals, but those of you who are abusers will face the consequences of your neglect. Fight's on!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gadabout Jack Makes an Apology

Gadabout has received many emails from friends who did not receive an invitation to my retirement ceremony held yesterday, 27 April. It was not my intention to purposefully not invite anyone! I relied upon some emails passed to few people and hoped that the message would make it's rounds electronically. I guess this method did not work effectively. I am sorry for this, especially in light of the numerous invites that I have received over the years from others who personally took the time to invite me to their celebrations.

For those of you that did attend, I am eternally grateful for your fellowship. I think we all had a wonderful time, and I can now confidently face the realities and challenges of civilianship.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Radar Detector speed camera license plate spray

Gadabout is here to help! See previous post.

Running Red Lights—Pros and Cons

Gadabout has made mention in the past about running red lights, so I thought it would be a fine topic of interest and discussion. After some superficial internet research, I was astounded by the depth of information available on the subject, especially as related to traffic cameras installed at busy intersections throughout the country. This knowledge, along with my Master of Science Degree, promotes Gadabout to a traffic light expert!

First off, traffic accidents and related fatalities appear to be heavily weighted to the running of red lights. Thousands of deaths are attributed to red light running each year. Not good. The hazards of red light running have become so extreme that it is currently a major area of discussion at the local, state and federal forums. Lots of attention and resources are being thrown at the issue, and that’s why we are having those pesky cameras installed to spy on us.

Cameras make money! They catch red light runners without much police involvement. Specially trained police officers do review every citation for accuracy before issuing a ticket, but that is a lot less cash than a cop on the beat. Some intersections generate over $1 Million annually. Okay, in the spirit of safety, Gadabout favors this idea, but this is not the end of the story.

There are two general areas of opposition that are important to note—Timing for yellow lights, and rear end collisions. It seems that there are clear cut standards for the length of time a traffic light should indicate yellow based upon speed limits. The faster the car, the longer it takes to stop. Engineers have pretty much figured this stuff out, so just hit the “I Believe Button.” There are also standards for red in all directions to cushion safety factors. The problem is that engineers have shortened yellow timing periods at camera installed intersections in order to increase violation rates. More cash! Both sides seem to argue this point. Anyway, once motorists are informed that red light cameras are in use, they tend to jump on the brakes, resulting in an increase in rear end collisions. This is the ammunition opponents of cameras use to battle Big Brother.

What might the future bring? Well, the literature seems to suggest that increasing yellow light times, in conjunction with cameras is the way to go. If I were a betting man, I would buy stock in the camera companies because it looks like the way of the future! Once they make the yellow timing periods fair, there will be no stopping them. Crap!

So let’s look at safe and fun ways to run red lights, and getting away with it:

- Never run a red light at a busy intersection.
- Always scan the entire intersection for traffic and police before running it.
- Never run red lights with passengers aboard.
- Speed up when a light turns yellow. Remember, it is not considered running a red light (in most states) if the bumper of your car passes through the plane of the intersection while the light is still yellow!
- Become familiar with the timing of lights along routes routinely traveled to determine the best to run.
- Never run a light at an unknown intersection.
- Never run a light with a BAC over 0.05--EVER!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gadabout, AARP and Retirement

Sacred Ground Where the Retirement Will be Held

Gadabout announces his retirement from the United States Navy! I bought a keg of beer, a few bottles of wine and chow to celebrate this historic milestone in history. The Big Event is Friday, 27 April, at the Oceana Officer's Club, near the Tomcat.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Buffalo, NY Wrap-up and Lessons Learned

Gadabout Relaxes with Baseball

Gadabout Travel Note. One note from Gadabout concerning travel and the use of elevators when on the road; if you are last on, then you should be first off. Don’t try to be polite at 4:30 AM offering a woman in the back of the elevator with luggage to exit first. Just get off the damn elevator! Shut up and travel.

Gadabout has spent the past 5 days in Buffalo, NY, of all places. I had not spent any time in Buffalo since I was a young boy visiting family—the Browns. Once the Browns moved away from Buffalo in the early 1970’s there was no reason to return, so I never did. I don’t remember much of Buffalo from back then, only hanging out with my cousins during the summer with nothing interesting to do. My older sisters smoked cigarettes they stole from mom and were generally a pain in the ass. My mom and Aunt Marilyn spent their evenings drinking wine—trying to forget their children and rotten husbands. My cool cousins, Larry and Steven, and I played baseball in the street during the day, and spent our nights wishing we were older, and beating up our sisters.

The reason for my return to Buffalo was to help my friend, Rachel, find a house for the next couple of years. She is moving there this summer. I am staying in Virginia. Okay?

Anyway, I had preconceived notions and biases of Buffalo before the journey began. I was told that Buffalo was a place of crime, racial tension and poverty. “Don’t ever LIVE in Buffalo,” was a familiar firm recommendation. I was prepared for the worst, but the preparation was all for naught. Gadabout discovered that Buffalo is a fine place to live. Sure, we found a few places that were not safe and we were steered away from blighted areas where we wouldn’t fit in, but not everyone fits in everywhere in every city. Gadabout has been around the block a few times, and was raised in Detroit proper, so he understands boundaries.

Buffalo even has a presidential assassination under its belt. President William Mckinley was shot twice by Leon Frank Czolgosz (of Detroit no less). It was a nasty wound and he died of a persistent infection. Maybe that’s how the city got its bad rap!

The streets of Buffalo have a Midwestern feel to them—more of a Chicago experience than a New York City rush. We even attended a Bison’s Triple-A baseball game and were pleasantly surprised at the franchise’s professional appearance, ample parking and cheap beer. The one truly unsettling aspect of the ball game was the fifty or so seagulls flying overhead and landing on the field during play. Very Alfred Hitchcock like. The Bison’s lost 5-3 to the Pawtucket Red Sox. I drank beer and ate Buffalo Wings in mourning.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gadabout is in Buffalo, NY

Gadabout Studies the Mighty Falls

Gadabout viewed the magnificent Niagra Falls yesterday. Weather was fantastic, crowds were down and ice was flowing. Gadabout was amazed by the about of ice flowing down the Niagra River, feeding the Falls. Temperatures were in the high 60's as we watched iceburgs float by.

The top photo shows an ice formation at the base of the American Falls created by freezing mist. Very interesting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

John Edwards Feeling Pretty

Too good to be true.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Razor's Edge Theatrical Trailer

Gadabout believes this is the best film of all time.

Young Families, Crying Babies, Limited Tempers and Meditation

Fragile Silence

Temper tantrum whines
Ineffectual restraint
Meditation lost

Gadabout loves children, but he is annoyed by the noises they make in church (and other public venues for that matter). This issue of crying babies during worship is a touchy one indeed. On one hand a congregation has to accept a family with young children because they need membership numbers, but on the other hand a whiney little brat kid who disrupts services will likely drive short tempered ordinary folks like myself out the door—for good!. Many churches have to walk a balancing act to keep both parties happy. And as you might have guessed, Gadabout has all the answers.

First off, most churches unwittingly bring Disruptive Baby Situations (DBS) upon themselves. By demanding young parents actively participate in services prior to their child’s baptism, pastoral guidelines disproportionately populate gatherings with whiney kids. On top of that, these young parents are proud of their DNA achievements and successful transition into adulthood. “Look at my beautiful wife, children and shiny new SUV; I have arrived. My wife and I are good Christians and are preparing our new family to receive Christ and perpetuate our collective belief system. We represent a strong and bright future, so if you don’t find our minor disruptions acceptable, then that is your problem to deal with.”

Okay, mister proud family man, here is what Gadabout has to say to you. Are you ready? No, I don’t find your cute newborn’s screaming during gospel readings, homilies, or communion very amusing. I find it insulting and destructive. Your depthless struggle to control your screaming kid negatively affects all of those around you. We loath you. Our dark side is exposed, and we start to sin in our minds. We no longer pray for world peace, we collectively pray for your immediate exit. During those endless minutes whilst you fidget and rock your vociferous Terrible Two, the rest of us are filled with a destructive irritability usually only found in traffic jams and endless corporate meetings. Thank you, Mister Family Man! Peace be with you.

I do have a reasonable tolerance level, and am certain that most others do too. I can endure discreet disruptions such as a momentary cry or sob, random gestures and dropping of objects like a Thomas train or coloring book. I absolutely cannot worship in a nursery room though. I plea and petition you for solutions to engender peace and eternal harmony. There shall be no confrontation with Gadabout since we are in a house of the Lord—that would be unacceptable. So I ask that you please take your child to the lobby, or other area where their whines and ear shattering screams of pain cannot be heard. Please, I beg of you.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God, Inc - Episode 1

Gadabout believes this is hilarious. Go to youtube and watch all the episodes!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 01

I might make a few enemies with this, but it flows with the below. Gadabout is not trying to offend anyone!

The Bizarre World of Bumper Stickers

As a passenger on my drive back from Alexandria this past weekend I had an opportunity to take note of the remarkable variety of bumper stickers on cars these days. Bumper stickers have always been part of American culture for as long as I have been around, but the shear number and unusual nature of these stickers appears to have taken off exponentially lately. There seems to be a theme for just about any belief system and personal achievement available and I have determined that this topic is worthy of Gadabout scrutiny.

Gadabout does not personalize his own vehicle with stickers, decals or commercialized license plate frames. I guess it just does not turn me on, but I find the “bumper sticker” craze fascinating. Our love for personalizing cars may be an undocumented hidden cottage industry worth over a billion cold ones. Wow!

There seems to be several personality categories for discussion:

Political Loyalty—I find these two bifurcated groups interesting, especially when a loser party or candidate is left on a bumper or back window many years after an election. These individuals most likely represent the extreme left and right.

Boasters—Braggers out there in force. “My Child is an Honor Roll Student.”

Achievements—University stickers, Laws Schools and Medical Schools.

Goth—Witches and Druids.

Angry Lower Incomers—“My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Roll Student.”

Caring—Support Our Troops!

Green Minded—Several of these are interesting since they are mounted on junk cars. “Say No To ANWR!”

Been There—Stickers from every state and national park in the nation.

Redneck—Honk If You’re Horny!

Angry Redneck—Back Off Or I’ll Blow Your Ass Off The Road!

Young and Hip—Oval three letter identifiers for popular vacation spots.

Drug Users—Make it Legal Now!

Morons—They’ll put any possible sticker they find without any noticeable theme.

Sure, I’ll advertise your product—Endless variations here.

Go online and check out the endless possibilities. Americans seem hungry for venues to speak out and voice their opinions, and bumper stickers may be an unrecognized and underappreciated food for the masses. Interesting.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Myth of Hybrid Automobiles

Gadabout is uncovering one of the greatest shams of all time—the touted efficiency of Hybrid (gasoline/electric) automobiles. This research all began when I recently sold my boat a few months ago and questioned my personal need for my Chevrolet Trail Blazer. The Trail Blazer is a fantastic set of wheels, but averaging 18 mpg for mixed driving seemed like a waste of fuel and cash, so I started looking into alternatives to avoid giving the bad guys American cash for overpriced oil. Yes, Gadabout cares!

I have always been impressed with my friend’s Pontiac Vibe. It is roomy, gets good mileage, has some pep and doesn’t look too much like a chick car. Then I noticed all those Toyota Priuses (Gadabout only buys American) out and about, so I looked into the hybrid idea. I was shocked at the results of my research. Hybrids are a hoax feed with fear of global warming. People who buy and drive hybrids do so to make a green social statement indicating that they are doing their part in reducing green house emissions and oil consumption. Hybrids are a waste of money, and over time I believe the truth will be told. But for now, it is up to Gadabout to inform the world and dispel a monumental myth.

Let’s just take a look at the basic facts of the Prius and compare it to the Toyota Corolla and the Pontiac Vibe. Since Hybrids sell for a premium, comparable models sell for much less for about the same size and performance. The savings can be applied to a cash reserve to pay for gas over a period of time. I was interested in discovering when the total outlay of cash coincides over a period of miles driven. In other words, the break even point. The data shows break even points accounting for $2, $3 and $4 dollar per gallon gas. All price information was gathered from Kelly Blue Book for price and mpg estimates.

2007 Prius $23,690—55 mpg
2007 Corolla $14,925—slightly smaller vehicle, but comparable interior space, 36 mpg
2007 Vibe $17,345—slightly larger vehicle, but better performance, 30 mpg

Prius vs Corolla ($8765 cost differential)—break even mileage table:

$2 per gallon gas = 456,510 miles
$3 per gallon gas = 342,382 miles
$4 per gallon gas = 228,255 miles

Prius vs Vibe ($6,345 cost differential)—break even mileage table:

$2 per gallon gas = 264,462 miles
$3 per gallon gas = 175,824 miles
$4 per gallon gas = 132,231 miles

That’s right, you would have to drive a Prius 456,510 miles (using $2 gas) to hit a break even point if you would have instead bought a Corolla. Okay, you might say that that is fine because you were saving the environment from harmful gas emissions by going green with your Prius friend. Read on!

Hybrids have 2 power sources; an internal combustion engine and a heavy duty battery pack. Hybrids save fuel by shutting down the gasoline engine with the car is at rest, and accelerating the vehicle to speeds of around 30-40 miles per gallon. The battery is charged through braking (very cool idea) and via a somewhat conventional approach using the gas engine (puts a load on the power system and reduces mpg). In theory and in practicality this has proven to be a real winner and does, indeed, save gasoline. But there is a problem with all of this and it revolves around that nasty little battery pack. You see, the battery loses its ability to hold a charge over time, requiring more and more juice from the car’s engine. Take a cell phone for example. Over time you need to charge it up more and more often, and the usable talking time is less and less over time. The batteries in a hybrid lose their ability to hold a charge over time too and require replacement after about 100,000 miles. Toyota doesn’t like to talk about battery life, or replacement costs. Factory tests show that they can last as long as about 160,000 miles, but they stand firm with at least 100,000 miles under actual operational conditions.

How much does a replacement battery cost? Glad you asked. The literature suggests about $3,000 for the part alone. Most likely more to have it installed and for disposal of the old battery. There are several points to be made with this battery discussion, so I’ll summarize:

- Even if a battery lasts 160,000 miles, it will need to be replaced for at least $3,500
- The mpg for a hybrid will decrease over time as the battery degenerates so the figures in the tables above will not reflect truth
- A hybrid will drive just fine with a bad battery—it will simply use the gasoline engine
- What are the hazards of these thousands of replacement batteries on the environment?

Closing statements of findings:

Because of limited battery life, the Prius will NEVER break even in cost with the Vibe or Corolla with $4 per gallon gas—EVER!

If batteries are not replaced when required, then all hybrids will NOT save fuel.

I did not factor in tax credits for hybrids since there are usually factory and dealer incentives for other comparable vehicles.

Hybrid drivers enjoy other benefits such as HOV access even if their battery pack is exhausted. This annoys me.

We don’t know the environmental impact of battery disposal.

Hybrids incorporate many weight savings and performance measures such as aluminum frames and special tires (that don’t last as long and produce less traction and louder road noise).

Better batteries are being designed and produced, but until replacement costs are lowered to about $1,500 consumers will be reluctant to replace exhausted units.

Diesel engines are on the way which will likely increase mpg by as much as 10-15 %, thus making the hybrid debate even more dubious.

The touted 55 mpg for the Prius is a high estimate. The proud Prius web sites that I checked out indicate around 50 mpg as an honest number. I don't know about the Corolla, but my Vibe friend believes the 30 mpg estimate is dead on.

Gadabout believes you should shun hybrids until battery replacement costs are significantly reduced, the cost of gasoline nears $7.00 per gallon, and we figure out what to do with all the dead batteries. Once again—dispelling myths for the betterment of all mankind.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Gadabout Fans are Going to the Show

I have recently purchased dot com domains for “askgadaboutjack” and “gadaboutjack.” Not sure which I’ll pick when we move up to the majors (the show), but I’ll keep you informed. In the meantime you can Google “Ask Gadabout Jack” and the first choice in the list generated will be this blog, which I find very cool.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Holy Week

Since it is Holy Week, with Easter just a few short days away, I’d thought I’d share with you a few of my perceptions and beliefs encompassing this sacred time in the Christian calendar. Many of you might find this difficult, if not impossible to believe, but Gadabout finds a great deal of peace and spiritual awareness during Lent and its conclusion of Holy Week and Easter. My hunger for the communion is never greater than during these few weeks. For me, it is a period of reflection and harmony, a time of stillness and prayer, and an opportunity for self examination.

The forty-six days of Lent is the center piece of beliefs and remembrances of sacrifice, the crucifixion and rising from the dead. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by Jesus on his lonely journey. On Palm Sunday, we read the Passion of Christ and relive the Gospels as written by Luke, Mark, John and Matthew. These are powerful accounts and are very emotionally challenging for me because of the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit I feel surrounding me when reading them.

With Holy Thursday (today), we are brought into Christ’s final teachings at the last super with the washing of the feet (a powerful tradition and teaching) of the Apostles, prediction of the betrayal of Judas and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Whenever I hear the words, “do this in memory of me,” I am brought to my knees.

Tomorrow, we will observe Good Friday, when we acknowledge the horrific suffering and death of Christ on the cross, and the fulfillment of the prophecies. This Sunday, we cheerfully celebrate a risen Christ and a new beginning for all.

I am not a model Christian and catholic, but I do believe in the mysteries and cherish our centuries old traditions of peace and a risen God. This is an immensely important and historic time in our Christian calendar. Try taking a moment to reflect on your own personal beliefs and what Easter means to you and for all mankind.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Middle Class

What is the middle class? Is it growing, or is it shrinking? Politicians, mostly Democrats, insist that there is a widening gap between the rich and poor. This “gap” has always confused me since it seems intuitive that over time (accounting for inflation) those at the top end of the social-economic ladder would have higher incomes than those with NOTHING. This is easy math that does not demand the use of a calculator.

Before I go any farther, let me make it abundantly clear for all that I do believe there are people in the USA in poverty, who need help, and we should address their unique situations in a humanitarian manner. I don’t believe the picture is rosy, but I also believe that we are much better off in this country than at any other point in our history. Okay?

Now, Gadabout looked over some statistics from the census bureau department of labor statistics and found that there is no real definition of the middle class. I also went up several blogs and websites from nonprofits, institutes and various other agencies and was left confused. Generally speaking I found that:

- Poverty is defined as household incomes below about $25,000 per year
- The middle class is somewhere around $45,000 to $75,000
- The top 1 percent of households have income above about $340,000

Let’s look at military pay scales since that is what I am familiar with. A married E-1 (the lowest enlisted rank), not yet qualified to swab a deck, makes:

$15,612 Base pay
$6,324 Housing allowance (not taxed)
$3,360 Subsistence allowance (not taxed)
$600 Sea pay

Total = $25, 896 Sort of neat how that comes out above the poverty level! Now, this enlisted person could make much more if in a combat zone and is separated from his family.

Now let’s look at an E-3, a rank that can be easily attained after just one year of service. Remember, we are talking about a 19 year old with very little experience—the annual income amounts to $29,124—not bad for being fully qualified to push a broom.

How about a junior officer, and O-1 in flight school, running around lighting his hair on fire and drinking beer--$42,024. Wow, that’s not bad for a 2.2 GPA from a marginal university!

My point here is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of talent or effort to break out of the defined poverty level and move up through the ranks of the “middle class.” But Gadabout takes issue with “definitions.” First off, I think it would be very hard to raise a family on less than $40,000 per year. That would be the barebones minimum, so I am now setting the poverty line at $40,000 per year. After taxes, you’re looking at $30,000 per year tops. Subtract $15,000 for housing, $7,000 for cars (gas included), $5,000 for food and you are left with $3,000 for everything else.

My new income scale, commonly known as the Gadabout Income Distribution Scale (GIDS):

Poverty: $40,000 and below
Working Class: $40,000-$100,000
Middle Class: $100,000-$150,000
Upper Middle Class: $150,000-$250,000
Lower Rich Class: $250,000-$500,000
Middle Rich Class: $500,000-$750,000
Upper Rich Class: $750,000-$1,000,000
Lower Royalty Class: $1,000,000-$2,000,000
Middle Royalty Class: $2,000,000-$5,000,000
Upper Royalty Class: $5,000,000-and above

I think that if an individual is capable of working, then there is no apparent reason why they shouldn’t be able to avoid poverty and move up the scale. As for the middle class, I really don’t know, but it seems like there are plenty of BMW’s cruising the highways these days. Help me out here? How healthy is the middle class in America? I’d like to hear from you.

Bill Murray - Kill Golfers

An American Classic

Gadabout plans on posting Classic movie clips from time to time. It is hard to believe that Caddyshack hit the silver screens 27 years ago.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Gadabout Hates Traffic Signals and wants to save the world

Gadabout Jack is incensed concerning poorly timed traffic signals in cities, and how these antiquated systems are wasting billions of dollars in fuel, contributing to green house gas emissions and causing agitation to already frustrated drivers. If you have ever stopped at just about every red light on your way to the office, feeling the blood pressure in you heart pump to extreme levels, then you might want to stay with me.

America’s traffic signals received a poor grade of D-, according to the findings of the 2005 National Traffic Signal Report Card, a report published by the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC). This report concludes that if municipalities upgraded their traffic signals and surveillance related equipment that a savings of 25% in commuting time, a 10% fuel consumption reduction (18 billion gallons of motor fuel), and a 22% percent reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved.

Okay, where is the outrage? Why isn’t our neurotic ex vice president Gore out there hammering city government? 18 billion gallons of gas is no insignificant amount. Heck, saving half that amount over the next 10 years would make a lasting impression with our national goals of efficiencies. Why? Because it is easier to take aim and pull the trigger on General Motors, a corporate giant, guilty of many crimes against humanity, than to place blame on thousands hometown heroes, housing millions of bona fide voters. It would be like trying to herd angry cats—it’s just not going to work. GM is an easy target, and the thousands of municipalities across the fruited plain may have their feelings hurt if someone, or some organization, were to point out that their traffic engineers and road systems suck, and are the true culprits of global warming. And spending precious tax revenues on traffic lights won’t cure world hunger, won’t recognize a teacher of the year, and is simply not sexy enough to hold anyone’s attention. This is a shame, eternal shame!

So, we need better roads, so let’s increase taxes by use of tolls to pay for them! Bad idea! Toll roads have their place in contained venues where their use can be helpful, but they usually fail miserably in safety, fuel efficiencies and in raising revenues. Toll roads are typically 50% efficient. That is, for every dollar collected, only 50 cents is left over for use after personnel costs, equipment and administration overhead are covered. Conversely, an increase in the gas tax would be 100% efficient since it is already in place and no additional administrative support structures would be required. The problem is that our elected elite don’t want to raise taxes, because they want to be reelected, and for some strange reason the inclusion of toll roads is not considered a new tax—it is a toll! Come on, get with the program.

You want save money at the pump, reduce green house emissions and spend less time commuting? Then start recognizing what waste looks like, stop bashing GM, say no to tolls (my God they do suck), and demand better city management. Do I have to save the planet all by myself? Get off your lazy butts and start making America a better place to live.