Friday, December 31, 2010


I was thinking about some of the regulars the other day. The old man who used to go to Snicks, Linda S. who is blind, and I suddenly thought of Donnie. Perhaps it was because I'd been watching old movie footage of American troops in Vietnam.

Ever seen the movie, Forrest Gump? Forrest was a hell of a soldier. Donnie was a hell of a soldier, and he really fought in The Nam. I don't think he ever got a drivers license after he came home. And I will leave it to your imagination, I wouldn't want to be less than complimentary. He and another fellow out ahead of the rest of the men. He was a man on point in a jungle patrol. He said his last memory was an explosion. The other fellow on point with him tripped a booby trap. According to him, it was a while before he woke up, as in days or weeks. Seems like he said he woke up in Germany, but I'd have to see him again to ask to be sure. It doesn't matter what VA hospital he woke up in, seems like he said he was there for a long time, as in more than a year. He was one of those people that all the drivers know, and I can't think of anyone who didn't like the guy.

My last memory of him? He was happily talking about a trip to Hawaii. A vacation. I'll bet he's still a happy guy. So much like Forrest, only happier, much happier.

Have a great New Year, Donnie.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The first chapter of the book

The version of the first chapter, that with minor editing will be permanent, is written. It went off to a couple of friends this morning for their opinion. As the chapters of the book are written, the corresponding blog entries will be retired.

Perhaps the great Canadian trip.......... Yes, why not? How did I end up in Madison, Wisconsin anyhow. When I chose the format and beginning, I'll share that story, as a blog.

By the way, there is a significant little twist to the cab driving book that has never appeared in the blog, and will not appear in the blog. You'll need to bop down to the local library to get that part of the story, actually buy the book, or ask an old time Badger driver about it.

Rescue the driver

The usual reason you rescue the driver is because the cab broke down. These rescue cab rides are handled the same as any other charge ride that is a person ride (as opposed to a delivery, which pays a different fare). You pick up the passenger at the specified location, fill out the charge slip for the fare, charge the fare to the company, and take the passenger to the destination. The charge slip, like all charge slips, goes in your envelope, and that goes in the slot at the end of the shift.

Lean Jean was the first ever driver I rescued. I want to recall it as off Granada Way, and I want to recall it as a robbery. It is a frequent move on the part of bad guys to take your keys as well as your wallet. They don't want you to be able to sic the police on them before they're safely gone. So, frequently the driver needs to be rescued.

It took a number of years before the hollow look left Lean Jean's eyes. She eventually recovered, but the few bucks that changed hands nothing compared to the trauma.

I guess I want to say it took me a month to recover from mine. That said, take into account that first of all I won, which is pretty huge. Second, take into account that it lead to the compilation of the 5 knife stories, and the passengers loved them. If I have sufficient requests, I will share them here.

All in all, the money is always trivial. It is NEVER proportional to the trauma.

In a future post, I think I may share 3 robberies where significant blood was spilled. That happens too sometimes. It's a rough business.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The story of the crockergator

A friend asked for the story of the crockergator. Well, she didn't really, but she did ask what a crockergator was, which is sort of the same thing. I was told this story around 40 years ago. It's designed to have a dig in it about a minority group, but that doesn't keep it from being funny.

And after you've hear the story of the crockergator, here's something you can do. If you're sitting around buzzed, say about 10 minutes after the pipe went around, quietly whisper crockergator. I can still picture my first wife's face, she'd turn and say, "Did you just say crockergator?"

Then you say, "Nah, what kind of BS is that?"

And it can go back and forth for 10 minutes. Yes you did. No I didn't. And at the end, you both laugh your ass's off. Now.... the story of the crockergator.

Picture 3 really poorly educated fellows sitting on a porch in Chicago, on a hot summer day. (fill in the ethnic slur of your choice) The first one says, "Do you know what the meanest animal in the world is? It's the lion, because the lion tear yo ass up."

The second fellow says, "Nah man, it's the gorilla, cause the gorilla tear the lion's ass up."

The third fellow has a sly grin, and he's slowly shaking his head no, back and forth. He says, "Nah. It's the crockergator."

Second guy says, "Crockergator?! You mean Alligator."

Third guy's grin widens and he says, "Nah....! Crockergator. The crockergator tear the gorilla's ass and the lion's ass up! He got alligator head at one end and crocodile head at the other."

First guy says, "Well, if he got alligator head at one end, and crocodile head at the other how do he sh#t?"

Third guy says, "That why he's so mean!!!"

To those of you out there saying to yourself, what a jerk, telling a story like that, all I can say is every ethnic group has 3 guys like that. Mine, yours, and all the others too. If you can say that none of your folk tell ethnic stories, all I can say is your folk must be better than mine. Are your folk better? And, did you chuckle?

To tie this back to cab driving, something every cab driver should have is a collection of really good stories to tell to customers. If you can make them laugh, they generally tip better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rescue the passengers

That is what they say when the cab breaks down, or gets smashed up. I really remember the first time I ever rescued passengers quite well. It was the corner of Park and West Washington.

It was a Saturday or Sunday, I was working a 3a-3p. All morning long this maniac had been zooming all over downtown, snatching stuff from right in front of me, and I'll assume everybody else.

When you've got a ride in, the dispatcher should simply give you the fitter. Give you the ride in front of you that goes with the ride you have in. But there are times when that doesn't happen. This morning it wasn't happening.

Who was this guy? He contested every call, and he never left downtown. I distinctly remember him stepping on my fitter in the 300 W. Washington, he came up the incline doing at least 45, in a semi residential 25 and did a U turn 100 feet in front of me to get in front of the house. The dispatcher let him keep it too. Who was this guy? A new guy for sure, nobody on the street knew him. Maybe a dispatcher knew him, but none of us did.

If I'd pulled that kind of crap the dispatcher would have yelled at me, taken the call back, retaliated by not giving me any calls for an hour. It just wasn't something that should have been tolerated. But it was.

Then around noon, there was a call to rescue the passengers, and I got it. Sure enough, it was that new guy. He'd T-boned a car in the middle of the intersection. Totaled both of them. I asked the lady who got in the cab what happened. She said he was sitting there watching the light, and when it changed, he floored it. Well, gee, there just happened to be a car stretching the yellow, and it was right in front of him. No matter! The light changed. Boom.

The lady telling me about it was pretty amazed that somebody would do that. All I could do was sigh, and say to myself, it figured. The only guy they ever let me train drove like that and I told them to not hire the guy, and they didn't. They also never let me train anyone again.

The moral of the story? Doing the right thing, and having the company's best interests at heart doesn't mean a thing. Simply doesn't.

Oh, yeah. We never saw that guy again, they did can him, and to the best of my knowledge he never came back.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I was also an over the road truck driver

Something made me think of: the gun case story. I'm glad I did, because I can write it and polish it and get it published. It's a great story, and it's another of the little parts of my past that make a good tale. But first, I guess I should perhaps explain how it relates to cab driving.

Cab driving is seasonal, so the money gets poor in the summer around here. That first summer, I'd go and sit at the airport after my formal shift was over to make a few bucks so I could have a profit on the day. You can't do that now. A guy named Hicks used to keep his cab out for hours after the end of his shift, which resulted in the time clock in the office. Now, they make you pay for those extra quarter hour units of time, and they're very expensive. And speaking of that jerk, I well remember the night he brought his kids to work in the back of his station wagon. It was a cold night, fall season, and his kids wrote stuff like, "Save us", in the condensation on the windows. Really bad show, all the way around..................... Where was I?

Oh yeah, summer alternative income. I got into house hold moving. Company's like United, Atlas, and North American. That was pretty good for a while, make great money in the summer, and go back to cab driving in the fall.

So, I'm getting empty in Naples, Florida. North American put a single item on me, which paid real well, considering it was a single item. It was a gun case. It was stunning. Made from the finest walnut, it had a taxidermy scene in a center section of the case that was a group of quail running through the grass and sand. Brought back memories. There were quail where I grew up, and I'd forgotten the little quail family running single file through the grass. Of all the furniture I ever hauled, it was arguably single finest piece of furniture. It really was stunning.

When I got to the twin cities to deliver the gun cabinet, I was told I'd have to wait until after 4:30 pm. to get the paperwork signed. It delivered to a fairly modest older home, with a ratty garage, in an old working class neighborhood. It was a neighborhood full of small homes, and this one fit right in. They had 2 kids, boys, about 10 and 12. Nice looking kids, very blond. The house keeper was a foreign national from someplace like the Dominican Republic who spoke good English. She cleaned the house and watched the boys until mom got home. I brought the cabinet in, unwrapped it, and sat down in the living room to read the paper and wait.

It was almost 5:00 when mom arrived home. I stood up, introduced myself, and offered to hand her the clip board so she could sign the bill of lading. I understood her reaction, but was still really taken aback by it. She immediately snarled, "Get that thing out of my house."

I should have taken it with me, but I didn't think of that until I was driving away.

She told me to put it in the garage, which had a leaky roof. Oh well, it's not my stuff. I took it down and made a spot in the packed with junk garage. It was right next to 2 other fine quality gun cabinets that showed the effects of being abused by the elements in that garage. Then I went back inside and got her to sign for it.

What I saw in my minds eye as I drove away was a well to do grandpa. Probably lived on Marco Island. When he was bringing up his son, they hunted together. They were his finest memories. The finest memories of an entire lifetime.

His son and daughter in law probably owed everything they owned to grandpa. His son had chosen a wife primarily based on looks. She was tall and slender, very blond, and very attractive. The kids looked just like her. She was one of these, we don't have guns, we wouldn't hunt, we're not that kind of people, types. I had to wonder if it was worth it. And I said to myself, she's not worth it. She doesn't give a damn about anybody except herself.

I then wondered how old her sons would be when they discovered the real pecking order. Or if they ever would. Mom loved mom first, then the kids. Did she love dad? Probably not. She was willing to tell the guy she loved him, but what she really wanted was grandpa's money. He just wasn't dying young enough to suit her. Then I wondered which one of those boys would be saddled with her in 30 years. I just wondered........................

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cab driving the job

It's the only job where you can come to work hungry, horny, broke, and sober, and have all your problems solved in an hour.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The movie

I forgot I owned a copy of Taxi Driver. I was shuffling my tapes, and there it was.

I'll watch it a couple of times in the next few days. The scenes in the coffee shop where 4 or 5 drivers are on break are very realistic. Wizard's comment that you take a job, and you become that job is very realistic of cab drivers too. Some escape, some do not. That coffee shop on break, or that bar where a lot of the drivers go after work is where you transition from not knowing anybody, to being one of the group. Being one of the group doesn't mean you're well liked, it only means everyone knows you.

It's also true that most people become a nick name after some period of time. People named Jonathan, who will only tolerated being called Jonathan simply will not make it.

At this point, I'd like to offer a line that I attribute to Sandy Van Sickle, who escaped in the early '90's if memory serves. "Everybody's doing something, all the time."

Think about that line. What does it mean?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lesson #2 ,of the how to drive a cab posts

Lesson #1 was primarily, how to get stopped by a cop and not get a ticket. Lesson #2 will continue the theme of dealing with the cops.

I know of NO JURISDICTION where the police will help you collect your fare. That doesn't mean it never happens. In 21 years, a handful of times, I saw a cop shake down a dead beat for the fare. Once or twice I even saw them make the dead beat pay the waiting time, but usually they would do nothing to collect any money what so ever. Most of the time they don't even want to write the ticket for not paying.

Why don't they want to write the ticket? It's real simple, cops want good numbers. Good numbers means they want a lot of convictions, and a good conviction percentage. I once asked a cop why they don't enforce the noise ordinance on these cars with the obnoxious sound systems. He said, "Because judges won't give us convictions."

I asked him what that meant, and he said that you write the ticket, the guy who gets the ticket shows up in court and contests it, and the judge dismisses it. He's guilty, no question of it. He knows he's guilty too. So what?

The guy who gets a ticket for not paying a cab fare is probably a low life who, has plenty of time to show up in court. He's going to lie and say you insulted him, or made him late, or what ever. The judge is a busy guy who wants numbers too, and he knows from experience that many cab drivers do sketchy things, and say objectionable things. It's your word against the low life, so the judge will probably tell both of you to refrain from wasting his valuable time in the future.

Does the cop have to show up in court for this? Probably, and he's not getting his numbers either. The judge knows the cop wants numbers, and there's no better way to tell him to not waste the courts valuable time, than to dismiss the ticket.

Result? Everybody's time got wasted. The low life tells a great story about beating they system to all his friends, and doesn't have to pay either the fare or the ticket.

What will the cops do for you? In my experience, probably 1/2 the time when you call the cops, somebody goes to jail. Why? Well, a lot of people have warrants out on them for not showing up in court, or are behind on their child support, or drugs.

Then there's drunkeness too. If this jerk looks visibly drunk, the cops can take them to jail for public intoxication. If he's got drugs on him and the cop has some free time, he might wind up in jail for that. Another thing you want to do after it's over, pull your back seat and check the ashtrays. Why? Those drugs might be under the back seat or in the ashtray. I have had that happen. What you do with the drugs is up to you.

The title of the post with the first lesson is "I found a direction to write in".

Puffie & Alex

I was tying to remember these guys and couldn't. Alex hated my guts, why I never found out, then I saw a reference to Merrill, Wisconsin and instantly remembered both of them.

Over the years there were a few pairs of good buddies among the drivers. When I first started driving, I was pretty good friends with a guy named Dennis. Dennis claimed he was in some kind of treatment program, booze I think, and that his life at the moment was basically all a scam. Well, if you're busted down to nothing, why not get free housing intended for drunks while you work your way up to having a couple of bucks free to rent some place. Dennis and I both drove 3am. to 3pm. shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I'd complain to him about the night drivers refusing to bring the cabs in. He'd just smile and chuckle, "Night drivers rule."

Dennis was gone with the end of the school year. Probably with the end of the snow, I don't recall when he left.

Alex and Puffy were both night drivers, who may never have driven a day shift. There must have been some mystery night driver who offered enough instruction to let this happen, contrary to what some people believe, it's not that easy to make a pile of money at night. Alex left town and moved to Washington, D.C. Puffy supposedly has an eatery in Milwaukee that his father bankrolled. I hope both of them are doing well.

Why was Puffy named Puffy? His full nick name was Puff Boy, and it was because of a ride went more than 15 blocks he wouldn't take it. Hence, he was the "cream puffer".

Years earlier, when the Hog couldn't move a long call, or a deep call, he'd sit there and mutter "Cream puffing fagots", nonstop. He always did it off mike, so you had to be in the dispatch office to hear it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Saw another something interesting on TV

They have work shows on cable. Many different themes, fishing in the artic, logging, basically dirty, and of course the cop shows. The guy who owns this logging company is screaming at a young employee, just like my father used to scream at me. Another guy who owns another company is screaming at his own son, they say he's driven off most of his other people. Why does this matter to me?

When I was in my early 20's I worked for my father. He'd come and scream for at least 30 minutes every day. And he wanted maximum effect, he wanted to hit me as hard as possible. So, one day I went over to a welding shop on Carpenter rd. and got myself another job. I learned a lot in that place. When I was visiting home, thinking about moving back there, I walked around the place a little. Only a little, it's a dead building these days, with bums living in the office. I didn't go back around my father for well over a year.

When I finally did go back around, his payroll had gone from close to 20 men, down to Pres, Doyle, and my grandfather. I always wondered if he really needed me to make money. Now I'm sure he did. He had to scream at somebody, and those fellows all went to work for his competitors. He made quite a bit of money off land, but that was just luck, being in the right place at the right time. When he was making the money to buy that land he needed somebody to scream at, and I was it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Your laugh of the day is.......

I haven't figured out how to resolve this. First thing is going to be, finish fixing the feather comforter. Why do I need to fix it? Well, the dog was fluffing up the bed (yes he sleeps on the bed, he's my dog isn't he) to get it just perfect, and he dug a hole in it. So, I fixed it, and the next day he dug an even bigger hole in it. I haven't finished sewing that one up.

Any idea how big a mess a handful of goose down is? Beyond belief.

It's amazing how hard it is............

It is real hard to throw stuff away.

I'm in the process of moving my life into 200 square feet. Years ago, the ideal living situation was a smaller space than that. And slowly, over time, stuff relentlessly attached itself to me. It is so easy to just shove it into the cabinet over the bathroom sink, or a dresser drawer, or.......

Which makes me recall the Dave Sun rule. Dave lived in one of the co-ops on Gilbert ct., I lived in Bag End (also on Gilbert ct.). Deal was, in summer the double rooms became singles, which made them nice to move into for 3 months. But Dave had so much junk he could never get back into his single at the end of summer, so they passed the Dave Sun rule. And it was, if you had a single for 9 months of the year, you had to keep it in summer too.

Once I had to accept giving my books away, that helped. I try to keep telling myself that I'm paying a warehouse fee for junk, but still it's hard. I have a nice scanner and a nice printer, they're going to goodwill, just as soon as I get the ambition to open that carton. Know anybody who wants a nice little chest freezer in really great condition?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why you can't let them win

Who? The passengers. Why? Well, if it's a win/lose issue, it's a scam. How can I be so sure?

I wasn't until I'd rewritten this about 3 times, and finally saw that the 2 guys I went up against on Wilson st. and the Nigerian woman were exactly alike. They had a plan, they knew what the plan was before they even called and ordered the cab. They'd worked the plan before, it was practiced. The plan had always worked too.

For the Nigerian woman, it was simply a refusal to pay. She knew that she could get away with paying about 1/2 of the fare, and all that would happen was is the driver would say he'd never take her again. That's ok. There are lots of cab drivers.

For the 2 guys, the plan was a little different. They planned on getting kicked out of the cab for being obnoxious about 3 blocks from home and walking the rest of the way. A lot of people work this scam, it's a very common student scam. Enough, so that I'd decided many years ago that if I was kicking someone out of the cab, I was also taking them back to where they came from to do it. Imagine being in the middle of trying to get kicked out of the cab and have the cab do a U-turn and the driver tell you he's taking you back to where you came from. Usually they say they'll behave, and you collect the money right then and there. The guys who went to Wilson st. probably set the protocol for dealing with people like them in stone.

What's most pathetic part of these scams? You can call up after the ride and scream bloody murder because the scam didn't work, or it didn't work as good as it could have, and the company will actually sympathize with you, and might even punish the driver. Who makes the first decision on dealing with the after scam complaint? The guy answering the phone usually. Is he trained to deal with anything like this? Not that I know of, not at any of the companies in town that I know of.

Is there any solution for this problem? The only solution I can think of is for there to be a shortage of drivers. Right now, you fire a driver and their are 5 people anxious to take his place. Do they need to know the town? No, a street directory will take care of that. Do they have to be great drivers? No, they need to have a clean driving record. Someone who has driven very little, can have a great driving record and be a disaster behind the wheel. Do they need to be good at dealing with the public? No, there is no test or criteria for that beside the job interview and everyone is nice in a job interview.

Sad, isn't it................................

Sadly, the majority of drivers will just go on to the next call. Consider it a small part of the price of doing business. At some point, it will grow in magnitude to the point where the only rides who can be counted on to pay will be charge accounts and hotel rides to the airport. Perhaps that's the way it should be, but if that's where the business is going, at least 1/2 the cabs (not drivers, cabs) will be sitting idle, and ultimately the owners of those vehicles will lose a bunch of money. Are those owners the people who drive them? Of course not.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is MY CAB!!

Sooner than later you will hear some passenger say this. They don't need to be drunk, but if they are drunk, they'll say it with even more conviction. I've heard it a countless number of times.

The issue is, the passenger wants to do something you don't think is a good idea, or they want you to do something you know you shouldn't do. People out to steal or rob have always been more subtle in my experience. When you don't snap to immediately, they'll tell you you're fired just as soon as they can get your boss on the phone.

Of course it is the drivers cab. Just ask any cop, and he'll tell you the driver is responsible for the vehicle and the passengers. But the passenger wants to do something reasonable! They have a right to do ___________. Nope.

I don't recall why I decided to never roll the windows down, but one day, years ago, I did. The cab is air conditioned, so why not? Rolling the windows down became a big issue a number of times. And when I got this, I'll get you fired crap, I used to tell them to go ahead and do it. Sitting there reading this blog, can you imagine wanting to take somebody's job away from them over not being able to roll down the window, during a ride that will take perhaps 10 minutes? Sounds really petty doesn't it?

That's the essence of J. Q. Public.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I found a direction to write in

21 years is a long time, but I mostly ran out of anecdotes about passengers. I've got more than enough passenger material for a book, but most books are more than collections of anecdotes.

While watching one of the many cop reality shows on cable TV, I saw something interesting. Something that made me think of the new direction to write in. Did your mom and dad teach you about dealing with the cops when you were a kid?

There are a bunch of other skills you'll need if you're going to drive a cab for very long, I'll get to them too, but dealing with the police is the beginning. They have expectations of you. They expect you to know they're behind you, for instance. And if you've been driving too fast, or ran one of those "pink" lights, you might as well simply pull over before he turns the cherries on. You can always claim you needed to look at something in your papers if he acts like he doesn't know why you pulled over.

FIRST: When the cop reaches your window, you need to have your drivers license between your first 2 fingers, and your arm needs to be out the window, your hand up as far as possible. Your other hand needs to be on the top of the steering wheel. You should be calmly looking straight ahead. You assume this position as quickly as possible after pulling over. It doesn't matter if it takes the guy 10 minutes to walk up to the window, stay still, and maintain this position. He'll take your license from your fingers, look at it long enough to read your name, and the expiration date. He will then speak, you ALWAYS let him speak first. You should have been watching him walk up to the car in the mirror, he will assume you did. No matter what happens, you only answer him, and you speak calmly.

SECOND: He may ask if you know why he stopped you. This is an opportunity for you to either commit a crime, or make him seriously angry. If you tell him you committed some specific crime, like going 16 over; well you just told him you committed a crime, he needs to write you a ticket, and usually he will. If you tell him you don't know why he's stopping you, you're obviously lying to him, and he doesn't like that. Something like, I was probably going too fast, is about the limit of what I ever say. If he comes back with a direct question like, "Well, how fast?" I tell him I was looking at the road, not the speedometer, but I must have been going fast enough for him to want to talk to me about it. They usually give up at this point, and either write a ticket or scold.

In my personal car, they frequently want to 'look over' the vehicle. They don't know what they're looking for, but they'll know it when they see it. So, what happens is the guy who pulled you over waits for another cop to come in a second squad, and both of them approach the vehicle, one on each side. You hand should still be on the top of the steering wheel, and safest place for the hand you gave the license with, is right next to it. Being able to see your hands is real important to a cop. They'll look in the windows, and if you act the slightest bit nervous they'll want to search the car. Calmly look straight ahead, don't give them an excuse. If your care was messy in the first place, it will be VERY messy after they 'toss it'. If they're simply going to toss it, they won't bother asking for permission. Politely say you'd prefer that they not contribute to your messy car becoming even messier.

This will get changed a little, I decided that I'd present the anecdotes of police contacts in individual entries. Putting them into a single entry would make this way longer than I like.

When dealing with the cops in a situation other than a traffic stop, being nice goes a long way. I pulled into a precinct station in Chicago one night, and the guy smiled and said he couldn't help me collect my fare. I told him the fare was collected, what I needed was propane, could he tell me where I could find some at 4:00 am. He said he didn't know, but offered me a desk with a phone and phone book, and told me I could call around and try to find some. Very nice fellow. It solved my problem, I thanked him, went and bought my fuel, and drove back home.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another story,

I just answered one of these open internet questions. The question was, would I (anyone) read a fictional blog. My answer, sure if it's a good read, I'd look forward to it.

Sure would. When a writer I like runs out of story, it's a drag. For example, Bernard Fall. He didn't run out of story so much as he just plain got himself killed. He wrote military stuff, and he was in the right place in time to specialize in Vietnam. He died in Vietnam with an American green beret, one of them tripped a land mine. Or, Rowling. She had great Harry Potter stories for about 3 books, then they just weren't as good (in my opinion). Anyhow, if the story is good, sure I'd read it in a blog.

Then I got to thinking, a bunch of people I've known over the years would make great characters. No, they were/are great characters. For instance..............

I knew these 2 guys who went into business, and they had a real big influence on my life. The professor wasn't a very interesting guy, he was simply good at using people. The other guy? Am I the only person who remembers he was the guy who kept the old candy machine in the basement of the co-op full of joints? It was called the new machine because the old machine had died and it got tossed out. The way it worked was: deposit a quarter and pull the handle, nothing happened, put in another quarter and pull the handle, out came a strike anywhere kitchen match, and on the third quarter out came a joint.

How did this guy influence my life? He was kind of like big bird, he was what they call smart in the head. His father was a big shot with an insurance company, and he'd lived in an environment that was conducive to doing well in school, and college was all expenses paid for him. Me? I was just a steel fitter at the time, a common idiot, right? But he had self esteem issues too, he was only smart in the head, he wasn't interesting or good looking. Is anybody ever happy with what they've got? Nah......

Then there was his old lady, he didn't have one when I met him, but right about that time he got one. He didn't pick her, she went after him. After a few rolls in the hay, she got him. She had self esteem issues too, she was, ah, er, well, pleasingly plump. She had a couple of older brothers who were good guys. I recall one of them, the one closest in age to her, Steve I think his name was, glassy eyed drunk, recalling the great taste of a real cold Genesee Cream Ale in a 7 ounce bottle, the hometown brew.

All these years later, recently their daughter was a grocery clerk at a neighborhood grocery store on the near east side. How do I know? She is the spitting image of her father. I wonder if she knows about the "new machine".

And Duckless, well, he's still around. Who is he? When he came here he as a rich kid, but that didn't last long. His grandfather was a banker in a wealthy town, but his grandfather died and his father got the money. Was his father really that stupid?

Well, his father liquidated the bank (at a loss? probably), and went into the sporting goods business. His father liked fly fishing. He bought a successful sporting goods store, got rid of the guns and anything else he wasn't into, and concentrated on fly tying and fly fishing. Duckless laughed when he described the bank's tow truck coming and towing away his dad's Cadillac. Needless to say, fly fishing didn't support the business like hunting and shooting had.

Do I like fly fishing? There is no finer way to waste time than fly casting for large mouth bass. Did I, as a kid, wonder why it was impossible to find fly tying materials? Yes I did.

Anyhow........ Duckless wasn't allowed in the grocery clerk's mom and dad's place, even though he was a member of their inner circle of friends. Why? Seems he had this fire cracker, and they were sitting on the sofa in the living room, and the lit fire cracker found it's way under her mothers fat butt. Duckless was 86'd permanently from the house.

Is there any literary hope for these bozo's? There are more of course.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I picked up a couple more cab stories

I also think I might have found the right starting point to write from to make this into a book. Maybe.

The problem with writing the book is getting the first page, and the first chapter to hook an agent or publisher. Many of the good stories are not good material for this, for a variety of reasons. The flow of the book needs to make sense. Ah yes, now I remember, the kid with lice!! That was the little story that I think is funny enough, light hearted enough, and peopley enough.

It's the first day of school, and I'm a day driver. I pick this kid up and the destination is home, it's about 10am. We get about 1/2 way there and he says with all the excited enthusiasm of a normal healthy 9 year old, "Do you know why they sent me home from school!?"

I tell him no.

He says, "I have lice!!"


Well, the guy who owns the company is a pharmacist, so I key the mike and tell the dispatcher what the situation is. There is this total radio silence that lasts about 5 minutes. What that tells me is that everyone in the office is rolling on the floor laughing. I was told that what I do, is up to me. So I went to the office and wiped down the seats.

Yeah, this definatly falls into the you never know who or what will get in the cab.

I have to remember to put the old German woman in, and the famous Don. Don I can actually talk about because he's dead. I have to wonder about the German woman. Her property redeveloped is offering free boat slips with condo sales now. The condo's aren't doing so well, but I offered her a chance to go home, and she passed it up. Maybe she actually liked living in the old folks home, but it's hard to imagine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not a 501C3.

I talked to the IRS, and they looked him up. Neither of the 2 companies are 501C3's. What does that mean?

Let's say I create a blogger blog that is a web site for a charity of sorts. Why, I could say I was feeding the poor. I could have buttons all over it that say donate, donate, donate. And, I don't have to be a charity. If I'm not a charity, the donations won't be tax deductible. Why would anybody want to contribute to such a charity, when there are so many legit charity's out there? Good question. I pretty much doubt that anybody would want to donate to such a thing.And it all works fine until somebody asks for the paperwork associated with making a donation to a charity that actually is a charity. 2 possibilities, you simply never get the paperwork, or you get phony paperwork. If phony paperwork is being passed out, that's a crime, and sooner or later the government will catch up with it, and then they will talk to EVERYBODY.

So back to the question of where do you get the designer tomatoes from? At the farmers market, when they're shutting it down for the day, some kid comes along and asks me to give him my unsold tomatoes, he'll give them to charity for me. Got a receipt for me kid, I'm going to want to write that donation off on my tax's. Now what happens? He either cuts me a receipt using someone's legit tax id number (a 501C3's), or he cuts me an invalid receipt that will get me audited if the tax people pick up on it, and the deduction for charity will be disallowed. What does he do with the stuff? Does anybody care? Can it be tracked?

If nobody cares where the tomatoes came from, who then will care where they went? The guy who grew them will care a lot! I've sold at the farmers market before, the vendors are a real close knit bunch. If one of them finds out about such a thing, it will be around the square faster than you can walk around the square.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Was I right?

Yes I was. Got a rise out of him too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Food pantry garden

I went by a charitable agency, CAC, and talked to them the other day. They said that for someone to be collecting for charity, they have to have a certain form filed with the IRS. So I went to the IRS and asked them if the kid's organization was compliant. Woman was, I won't say rude, but very unfriendly. Did I have a personal interest in the kid? Sure, would I be here looking into him if he was my favorite person? Get real. Up went the stone wall. Ok lady, I know how to deal with people like you. Monday morning I call Senator Kohl's office and ask them to get what I need. It will happen same day. Senator Kohl's office is REAL good about that sort of thing. If the kid is a legally registered charity, ok, fine. If he's not.............

I will say this, the people I talked to said that they check on all the food pantry gardens that come to them for assistance, or what ever else they interact with them for. This season, they checked on all the gardens, and there was one that was non existent, as in no tilled ground, no garden. It was the kids.

I also found out where all those bedding plants came from. WalMart gave them to the charity, and the charity put them out for people to take for free. That explains the trailer load of WalMart bedding plants. You keep them there so if people come out to look at the place, you can show them plants. Then you talk about green houses you're going to build on the furthest inaccessible end of the property, and if somebody wants to go all the way out there and look, let them, they only see weeds and potential anyhow, right?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm amazed

Suddenly, there are 100's of page views a month. To hear me offer my opinion about the wrongs of society here in Dane County Wisconsin? Nah, couldn't be. Could it?

The scams thing, I could believe. Which made me say to myself I'll start a scams blog and for the first time ever put paying advertising on it. This means a bunch of little behind the scenes things need to be done to protect myself. Anyone who thinks the internet is a safe place has lead a sheltered life (IMHO). For instance, I looked at the stats and where page views came from, did any come from China? Nope. Did the kid do a year of exchange school in a Chinese speaking country? Yup. Did I get semi smart aleck comments in a combination of Chinese and English that I deleted, which were never posted? Yup. What do I think? It was the kid keeping tabs on me, unable to resist the temptation to taunt. Who won? Has the kid filed for that money portion of the suit that was dismissed twice in the replevin portion of the suit? Nope. So, first I prepare a destination for the penny or so that a page view will generate that is bullet proof safe, then I start with the blog. Yes folks, there will be a scams blog, it will be a collection, like the collection of cab stories that were the beginning of this blog.

The new blog will start with the kids scam. By the way, for those of you who didn't figure out the scam, consider the following reasoning....... A guy gets himself 2 companies, one that collects surplus produce to be distributed to charity, one that sells designer produce to restaurants. He buys himself a few bedding plants at WalMart and expenses them to both companies. Then he collects the unsold produce at the end of the farmers market supposedly for charity in the name of company A and turns around and sells it to upscale restaurants in the name and bank account of company B. If he pays his income tax, who cares what he's doing right? Only, the people who "donate" their surplus are being cheated because he's directly competing with them, further devaluing their produce because there will be less potential buyers.

Meanwhile, the kid laughs all the way to the bank. His companies aren't about work, they're about friendship and fun, right? Go and visit his gardens. They don't exist.

Anyhow, the blog for scams is on the back burner, I'll offer a redirect to it when it's up and running. Right now I'll offer a disclaimer for it too. It's a collection, like a stamp collection, not intended to be used by anyone for any particular purpose. Particularly not intended to be used by anyone for any less than honorable, ethical, or legal purposes. Perhaps writers might find it useful. For me, if that's the kind of stuff that people want to read about, so be it. Once it's up and running, the stats will tell all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's dismaying

The next victim is beginning to move into the kid's house.

I can hear the line of BS, "The previous tenant was....." The people are looking at the house and saying to themselves, 'a house we can afford.....' Nope, by the time they pay all the little victim penalties, they can't afford that place. Garden? They grow a garden and the produce might simply vanish, after all who's going to care of a tomato or 2 walks away. They'll realize their mistake within 4 weeks but it's too late. They're hooked, some fish fight more than others but few get off the line.

A friend was helping me move a vehicle yesterday. He was also victimized by a landlord, so we looked her up, and sure enough, she's taking the same property tax credit the Chinaman took that got or is getting him audited. She never gives receipts, only takes green cash, and has a house that is designed to have paying 'room mates'. Well, her house isn't zoned for that to be legal, I don't even have to make a trip into town to check on the specifics of it. As far as zoning is concerned she's running a rooming house, and she's only zoned for residential. In order for the tax credit she's taking to be legal, she has to be living in the house, and she has to be a state resident, and it has to be a single family residence. Nope, rooming house. How can revenue determine that on casual inspection? Simple, how many non-related peoples tax returns show that address? For most years, if not all years, they're going to come up with 4. That's enough to make that tax credit invalid, the tax credit is enough for an audit, and from there..... I'm pretty sure my friend will tell them the amount is $1150/month that she brings in in rent. Revenue will say ok, 84 months X $1150 is close to $100,000, and they'll want the back tax's as well as the trifling sum of around $1000 for the back tax credit that wasn't legit, plus penalties and all. Then zoning gets into the act and says, get those people out of there. Then the house goes up for sale.

That woman will wail and cry to anyone who will listen that she's this big time victim, and the government has singled her out, and..... BALONEY! One of the reasons the government is broke is because she and a lot of other people like her should be paying their way, and they aren't. What will happen? I'm not sure, but I suspect that things called tax sales sometimes begin as some capricious, petty little hustler landlord, taking their bad day out on someone who has been paying them (like my friend), when they wish they had a hundred or 2 more in their pocket.

I do know this, that woman has no other major source of funds. She claims she's disabled. She moves around fine when she's painting the basement apartment to rent it out to the next person, but she's otherwise disabled. Now she's got real trouble. She thought she has privacy in the United States, well she sort of does, but there is also this thing called zoning. She wouldn't want a dog kennel with barking dogs next door, nor would she want an 8 unit apartment building, nor would she want an 800 square foot tiny house because zoning protects her from that. Well, zoning protects her neighbors from her. They didn't complain? Doesn't matter. My friend that you kicked out complains to me, and he or I take the complaint downtown. Zoning takes a look (and they can take a look inside with notice), says yes it's true, issues some kind of cease and desist order, and you don't victimize any more people. Zoning is also capable of looking up how many non related people have vehicles registered to the same address, that would do the trick all by itself. How is it the old line goes...... What a tangled web you weave, when first you practice to decieve.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Once you know the scam, it makes perfect sense!

At the end of August of 2009, I moved into a house out in the country. It was run down, that was ok. The guy who showed the property lied about a few things, that wasn't ok. I was to supposedly be a "room mate" of a guy who I will refer to as "The Kid". He said he was going to get a $60,000 'first time farmer loan' from the USDA. He has 2 LLC's (limited liability company's). His 2 LLC's never made any sense to me until today. For things to work, he needs them both.

Check out his websites:

and see it you can figure out what he's doing. You might also want to check out:
or just the local dirt site.

He mostly lived at his parents house in Sauk County. His dad is a nice guy, who works in the state capital, he's the number one assistant to the Assemblyman from his district. Thus his dad's job is political, and it's election time. His mom said she was a guidance councilor at the local high school, I don't know if that's true. She does show up on the internet doing business under her maiden name as a travel agent. The kid address's them as Tom & Jane, not mom and dad. Some day he'll realize why that's disrespectful perhaps, perhaps not.

My attorney said the lease was very preditory, I didn't understand that scam until May of this year. I'll go into that scam first. It's a rental scam. It goes like this...... Landlord rents you a place. In the lease he puts a clause in that says if you leave the place before the end of the lease he gets a 2 month penalty. So, if the lease ends at the end of August, if he can get you out at the end of June, he gets 14 months money for 10 months occupancy. Then he can use all of July to get the place ready for the next sucker, and rent the place out to said sucker in August. In May he started saying he wanted something from me in writing that said I'd be out at the end of June. Why I asked. He told me he always lived with friends, I wasn't his friend. Where in the lease does it say anything about friends? At the end of June he turned off the hot water, and all through June and July he and the Chinaman who actually owns the property would visit on weekends and badger me to get out. After I left the property he filed for eviction, I suppose thinking that when I didn't know anything about it, he's get a huge default judgement. Nope, you have to serve somebody, he didn't know that, but next time he'll factor that into the scam and hurt his next victim that way probably.

My attorney and I were in court for the second filing. First time was dismissed, lack of service, he refiled same day, I found out about it, showed up, judge dismissed it, and said he could file for the money part of the process. Now I show up in CCAP with an eviction action that was dismissed, twice.

I found the Freshest Farms website easily enough. It was only after I found the Pantry Garden stuff did the whole thing makes sense.

What's really pathetic is that nobody cares. Leave it there for the next victim to wander into, it's ok.

The Chinaman who actually owns the property is getting audited. How I know the Chinaman is getting audited by the tax people is his property tax is an open record, anybody can see it. In answering this eviction action may lawyer said get everything you can get on the actual owner of the property as well as the kid. So, I'm in the city/county building looking up the tax records and the lady who's helping me with the database says casually, "He's taking the lottery credit. He can't do that on rental property." He can't eh? Sure enough, across the hall, I find out that his claim that he'd lived there for a couple of years was a lie. The phone install guy told me about his first tenants who had quite the moving out celebration, VERY destructive. His second tenants left a business card in a drawer in the kitchen, I contacted them. The kid was the 3rd and the kid and the Chinaman claimed that they loved each other. But it was no sweat to get revenue to want this guys records, so if the kid would have left me alone, the Chinaman wouldn't be in the hot water he's in or will be in.

Now for the kid. I'll go into revenue and tell the lady to go to the first 2 websites listed, and I'll present my theory of what's going on. I'll offer to provide her with photo copies of my rent checks. Did the kid include the schedule 'what ever' in his income tax filing that landlords need to file? They won't tell me but they'll start digging. If he's accepted a check for any of the produce that he claims on a website that he sells or has for sale, there will be a paper trail. Kid, you should have left well enough alone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And knowing who your friends aren't

Years ago one of the original Union people, a fellow named Jack S. told me that because of Max Factor (nickname of a former Union driver), I would never drive at Union. I believed him. He's an honest fellow, nice guy, and I'm told a really good pool player. So when I applied at Union I asked if it was true. I know a large number of people in Union, have known them for years, and if it was true I could take it. You can't fight reality, so there's no use in trying. Both the HR director and top manager told me it wasn't the case. I've known that top manager for many years. I took him at his word.

Then they said I lied on my application so I could never be hired and never reapply. No, I didn't. I pointed out that my answer was correct, in the context of the wording on the application. That resulted in the unpulling of my application and an interview. I absolutely told the truth in the interview. I had yet to see all the Union employee materials, so didn't know what my "rights" were, but according to the published policies of Union, that was the way to go. Then I started encountering all this "dark" business. The top manager and a fellow named Jason interviewed me and the top manager told me that Jason thought I was too "dark" to hire, but he'd stuck up for me and I was hired. He then went through a litany of if you do this that or the next thing in your probationary 6 months, "I'll fire you." I sat there wondering if it was worth wasting my time, and said to myself I can behave perfectly for 6 months, is it really possible they'll treat me fairly. No, they weren't going to treat me fairly.

What I believe went on is Jason and the manager discussed being fair. Jason's position was that fair would be to not jerk me around. The manager's position was that I needed to be fired so I could never come back, and they'd find a way to do that. Thus, I was hired. Now, will the cops issue me a permit? They did. On to the next phase of the game, train the new hire, then fire the new hire at the earliest opportunity. I was to get 3 training shifts, 2 if I was good enough at it. I opted for 3 because they have equipment that is different, you mostly bid on calls by using a button on a meter like thing rather than by voice. The trainers from the first 2 days thought I was good. The trainer on the second day would have signed off on me. Then came the 3rd day.

The 3rd and to be last of the training shifts was with the guy referenced in the post 'why the guy doesn't like me'. I'm not sure if it matters all that much, the manager would have probably waited longer to make everything look good, but on that Friday afternoon I knew that fellow had it in for me. The manager said he'd think it through over the weekend, so he called me on Monday and said that it stood, that a fellow who'd held a grudge for 25 years since he was 19 over something silly was allowed to discriminate against me, I was fired.

I need to seek out legal advice on this. If it wasn't legally such a dicey thing, that manager wouldn't have been so guarded about the whole thing. He wouldn't have gone to such lengths to try to convince me it was a fair process. He wouldn't have made the cab driver wisecrack that I wasn't railroaded because railroading required a committee, I was assassinated.

Would I want to drive there? Well, for a 20 year driver, it's a good place to drive. Insurance and all, it's good. You won't get rich. Why didn't I go there years ago? 20 years ago, I could have gotten in, but in more recent times I knew this would happen. Would anybody stick up for me? NO. Why? They don't want to get fired, and objecting on the basis of fundamental right and wrong would be risking getting fired, even if you've got years of clean driving there. I found out that they canned the manager of the garage not too long ago, and I'll bet that stinks too, but it flew.

Bottom line, that manager could have said to me Jack was telling me the truth as he saw it. Then he could have said something like Jack is a real smart guy, and I'd have said ok, thanks for being up front, and I would have let it go. He didn't do that. He saw it as protecting the interests of the company to do what he did. Ok. Since this is a game of chess I should make each move be the best move on the board. Any truly good chess player knows that trappy play assumes your opponent is going to blunder, and that ultimately, if your opponent doesn't blunder will compromise your position. But I doubt that manager plays chess, he plays bridge, and in a bridge game the hand lasts for 3 or 4 minutes, is gone and forgotten, and the next hand is played. When my next move is ready, I'll touch the piece that I will move and place it in it's new square.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Knowing who your friends are

I want to thank an old friend who guided me in the direction of the opening chapter of the book. With the opening chapter to build on I think the material in this blog will be enough for a book. My initial thought was to make it the armed robbery, but thats dark material as they would say at Union Cab. The armed robbery is exciting, or at least I thought it was, but it's hard to build on, and I found that out when I started writing the book with that as a beginning.

I think I'm going to go for the happiest cab story. After all, few people realize that I pioneered cruising State Street and that plus the actual happiest cab story will fill out a first chapter nicely. Pioneered cruising? Yep, it were me. How did that go? I guess I can share that, I've got 15 minutes to spare.

When I first started driving nights, the dominant voices on the radio were The Hog, and Curley. Curley wanted to be everything The Hog was and more, and this particularly meant being rude, crude, and abusive over the radio, to the drivers. I resisted, and the usual retaliation came back. I'm the dispatcher, I control your income, you won't make any money, you'll quit! They were really proud of all the little tactics they employed in being unfair. Holding calls until some driver was on top of it or someone was past it for instance. Holding calls? Yes, refusing to put the call on the radio right away. Refusing to hear your bid was another favorite. What to do, I had to make some money.

It was always taken as illegal to drive up and down State Street looking for customers. In the old days nobody did it. I decided, what the hell, I'll do it until I get a ticket. In the beginning it was really great being the only cab on State Street around 10:00 pm. I well remember The Wombat once getting in my face for doing it. I also well remember keying the mike one night when it was slow, and telling Curley I'd booked $100.00 between 9:30 and 11:30 pm., when there was NOTHING on the board.

Now, many people cruise State Street. I've never heard of anybody getting a ticket for doing it. Technically there are ordinances that cover it and the cops could probably write a bunch of tickets, but they've never seemed inclined to start doing that.

Thanks David for influencing the start of the book. One of the best friends I or any other real cab driver will ever have, no matter how anything ever plays out. See, you never realize who your best friends really are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why the guy doesn't like me

Back in the '80's, I briefly delivered a few pizzas. Pizza delivery is NEVER worth the wear and tear that it does to the cars, and it is for this reason that pizza shops are always looking for drivers with their own cars. One night between delivery runs, the kid who was making pizzas offered the opinion that pizza makers ought to make as much money as skilled trades, iron workers or electricians for instance. I said that was nonsense, and that kid hence forth made it plain that he thought I was a real jerk. I promptly forgot about it until this morning.

Why did I dredge that up from my memory, and why am I including it here? I'm not sure I will ever share that in print. It depends on circumstances that have yet to unfold. This entry will most likely get deleted, and I will try to again forget about it.

Speaking of that guy, I did actually refuse to do something he tried to get me to do. I had this handicapped fellow in the front seat who wanted to go someplace specific that wasn't the destination on the slip. He started trying to tell me that since it was a charge to an account, the destination HAD TO BE the destination on the slip. I took the handicapped man to his destination, and there was no further discussion of it. When we got there, I parked just exactly like the passenger wanted, got his walker out of the trunk, helped him exactly as much (not more either) as he wished, made sure he was comfortable, he thanked me, and we pulled away. To have left that fellow 3 blocks away, on the other side of East Washington would have been almost criminal. And I don't have to offer to put it in writing, it is in writing, right here.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I rented a room in a place that I will call hell. Only the moron who runs the place made the mistake of bragging about being a mormon. Fool!!

He's a convert, a bible thumping idiot who needs to thump a bible to keep from thinking about how he lives his life, day to day. Well, he doesn't realize that the temple has elders and a system of justice, and that system of justice protects everyone, mormons and the rest of us too. The owner of the property is a mormon too. So he uses a shill, an idiot tough guy convert, to do his dirty work. Both of them will be in mormon court, and perhaps local circuit court, and the health department will be here, as will be the fire department, inspecting. It's casual inspection that the plumbing has been done by a non licensed plumber. They're toast.

By the way, I was orientated by Union Cab today. Until I get fired, I'm a driver. Back in the saddle!!!!!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yellow cabs

For many years, I felt that the company with the yellow cabs was the best place to drive. The only problem was I didn't think I could get in, or I was already driving a red and white one, depending on when it was. I kind of envied our drivers who got fired and ended up driving yellow cabs. So, I went and applied in June, I think.

First they said they couldn't have me because I'd concealed my criminal past. Criminal past? The application specifically said felony's and misdemeanor's, I pointed that out and admitted I was in the data base, but for what's called an ordinance violation. A lesser thing. Ok, so they had to interview me. I kept going back each time expecting them to say, 'Well, we can't have you because..........' Only, that didn't happen. The final time, yesterday, after that interview I was told that I was hired, and they gave me all the caveats, you can be fired for this that and the next thing.

What does it really mean? I'm not sure. I do know this, if March 15th rolls around next year and I'm still driving a yellow cab I'll think real seriously about throwing a big cab drivers party. I haven't been to one since Jack Jensen died, no, check that, we had one for Duane, and we had one for Club, but both of them were somber events, both were about to die. I think the last great cab drivers party, one where everyone was happy, was at Jensen's house, before he was diagnosed with cancer.

I won't give any excuses. I will take any and all abuse from the public, do anything the dispatcher asks of me, and do all the other things. Other things? Yes, check the tire pressure, wear the seat belt, fill out the paperwork correctly and put in the full amount of money. If I can't say something nice to another yellow cab person, say nothing at all. I don't have to attend the meetings though. How's that? Well, I'm not a member of the coop until I've been there 6 months, so I can't participate until I'm a member. Going to meetings is a responsibility of members, and if and when I'm a member I'll go to them, but until I'm a member, I won't take the risk that some member won't like me. Low profile, that's how I'm going to be for the first 6 months.

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Small town cops

A small town cop just came on private property to tell me I could get a ticket for my dog being off leash. My dog can be off leash on private property. The way he said South Beloit, made it sound like South Beloit is someplace special. South Beloit is special, in 2o days I've had 2 contacts with the police, they can go to hell. I'll leave here and never come back to this bull shit community again. I normally go YEARS without contacts with police, I'm not a criminal, I don't cause trouble, I'll never spend a cent here again.

I'm sure that asshole missed the ordinance that prohibits working on your car in your driveway. If they don't have such an ordinance then the city fathers have missed a shot, they have such an ordinance in Madison. It is illegal to fix your car in your own driveway in Madison.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chinese, and brunch at Charlie Browns.

Charlie Brown's isn't there any more. It's called Mary's now. It's a bacon and eggs joint in South Beloit. Years ago, I had this personal named Larry who had me drive him to Charlie Brown's so he could have breakfast here at 1:00 am. They say Larry is still around, I haven't seen him in at least 10 years. The service here is good, and I'm the only customer who isn't a local. I have to love joints like this.

I continue to attract comments in Chinese. I delete them all.

My PC died again last night, sigh..... I guess I'm stuck with replacing it. I'll take it to DO-IT and have it reformatted, AGAIN, but I'll take it to storage after I get it back. It's officially become an emergency spare computer, and I guess I'll have to buy a new one. It's actually pretty amazing how nice a computer you can get for 5-6 hundred bucks. I'm doing this post on my Apple, it's as slow as a 1990 vintage machine, but I guess I'll have to get used to it for a while.

Yesterday I bought a work truck. Today I will print out a few more business cards, the ones I have are buried in storage someplace. Print out copies of this agreement, both as a barn demolition agreement and as a welding agreement. Cover letter, and resume, which (thank god) are saved in an email I sent someone when they asked me to apply for a pipe welding job.

Resume for a welding job? How pretentious, but that's the modern norm. I guess.... I listed 9 previous employers and my own current LLC, and initially thought I'd left 3 off. I was wrong. I left at least 7 off. 16 previous employers? Yes, perhaps I've forgotten even more. Let's see, Wisconsin Steel Erectors, Speedway, Johnson, Victory,S&E....... Who are the other 2? It's bad when you can't even remember who you've worked for. Worse is when you look back on your career and none of them are still in business.

If it's steel and it's broken, I can probably fix it.

A brief explanation of steel welding repairs:

Most modern steel is cold rolled and has tinsel strength of 35 kips. In English this means it takes 35,000 pounds pull to snap a 1 square inch cross section of steel. The first 2 numbers of a welding rod description are the tinsel strength of the welding rod, so an E7018 welding rod is depositing steel that is twice as strong as the piece being repaired. The second 2 numbers describe the coating. The 18 in 7018 tells you the rod is low hydrogen, the coating and slag absorb hydrogen. When hydrogen from the air is incorporated in steel it makes the steel more brittle which is undesirable. Most repairs should be done with 7018.

Why do repairs break at the weld? Properly done repairs don't. Poorly done repairs often have a groove between the weld and the base metal, this is called undercut. It has the same effect as cutting a grove in a chain link, that's where it's going to break, and it accumulates stress. The other primary cause of welds breaking is inclusions. Failure to clean the weld between multiple pass's leads to inclusions, which look a lot like cavities in a dentist's X-ray. When welds are X-rayed, it is to discover these flaws. I've never had an X-rayed weld rejected, but I have repaired a large number of them. Most of the ones I repaired live in the Point Beach nuclear power plant.

The key to a high quality repair is to begin with the best fit possible. This is the first step. Achieving the best fit possible sometimes takes a little longer, but it is always time well spent. The best fit retains the original dimensions the manufacturer used, which means it will work like it did when it was new. Changing the dimensions can cause further breakage in other places, it should never be acceptable.

On site fabrication is also available. Need a gate, fuel tank, or custom trailer? I can make these things for you and give you exactly what you want instead of the closest thing available at the store. It may even be cheaper than the store, depending on what it is, and who buys the materials, you or me.

I hereby release, waive, discharge and covenant not to sue and hold harmless from any and all liability, claims, costs and expenses whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, that may be sustained in the dismantling process of the barn or removal of that barn located on the property of ______________________________________,
at or near _______________________________________.



I agree to pay the hourly fee for welding and repairs done by Randall Portable Welding on this and subsequent dates.

I further hereby release, waive, discharge and covenant not to sue and hold harmless from any and all liability, claims, costs and expenses whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, that may be sustained in the process of doing this work. The welding contractor mutually agrees to hold the customer harmless.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buying a new vehicle

The first one I called back for a second look, the guy said he sold yesterday. So, I guess it was priced right. That one created a slight problem anyhow, I like my little S10, ratty as it is. As Jerry at the cab garage said, I know what I've got. It's on it's last legs, the mechanical part of it is ok, but the body was shot 3 years ago. I shouldn't say that, it needs a brake pad at the moment.

Disk brakes have a little metal scraper that makes a squeaking sound when the pad gets worn down. It's telling you something. Ignore that squeaking sound, and you will be getting towed and replacing that disk. Since that guy sold that nice little Sonoma, I can get Dave to put brake pads on it. The mechanic sees it as throwing money out the window, but I don't know how long I'm keeping it at this point. So, it's not throwing money out the window, I might still have it on Christmas.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shopping for a new pickup truck.

I forgot how big a pain in the ass it is to shop for a vehicle. It takes at least 90 minutes per vehicle by the time you call the people and drive there. Then you get there and find out that the picture on Craigs List was taken 10 years ago. But I did see one I will look at tomorrow that was just sitting out on the street in Janesville.

I did see something that was exceptional while I was driving around though. A pair of turkeys, with 8 baby turkeys. The baby's were about 1/2 as tall as the adults, they might have weighed a pound each. It was cool.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I got a ticket today

The local cops like writing harmless tickets, eg. not wearing your seatbelt. So, I got such a ticket. In some ways a very good thing to happen. The cop told me I'd surrendered my CDL. OMG!!!!!! I never did such a thing, how did that get into the computer? Turns out that I surrendered my hazmat. What's a hazmat? Hazardous materials endorsement. I never used it anyhow, and in this modern age of homeland security who wants to comply with all the BS to keep this endorsement? Not me, so I dropped it. So I can't haul loads of paint thinner, big deal. But I need to know a cop sees this on the computer. So if another cop in timbuctoo says I don't have a license to drive the truck I'm driving I know what she sees and what to say, look closer and you'll see I'm ok. Only cost me $55.00. A decent investment I guess.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today is Friday

I've been in a motel for 5 days now, I checked in on Monday. It took until 4:30 am to finish moving out of that rat trap, and then I wasn't sure what to do. So I got this place. It's not the greatest motel, the air conditioning is weak, the little refrigerator only works good because I keep a box of ice in it, some of the cable TV channels don't work, and there is no high speed WI-FI. On the other hand, the dog loves the place, there is a place for him to go swimming within walking distance and it's safe. What more could you want?

I got the most amazing lesson in driving a couple of days ago. And after all these years, driving, lessons are rare. My pickup had been pulling to the right, and the front end had been shimmying, and with increased driving it was getting worse. I had visions of a tie rod end or a ball joint failing, and I was worried about it. The day was hot, and I went on a trip that was about an hour drive, one way. I was about 10 miles from being back to the motel when this noise like a blow out happened with a brief flapping sound. But I wasn't riding on the rim? Curious. So I got out and looked at it, and about 1/4 of the tread was missing. I was looking right at the steel belt. Tire was intact, just missing some parts. Wow. I slowly pulled down to the exit ramp, and drove into a tire store. $85 later I had a new tire, and my front end was 'fixed'. The guy at the tire store said they didn't see that very often. I've never seen it before, short of the whole tire coming apart. When the tread started coming off, it made the tire bigger around, which is why it pulled to the right, and the wobble was also caused by the odd shaped piece getting ready to break loose. I'm getting much better gas mileage now, 2 days later. So, in increased mileage I'll get the price of the tire back fairly quick.

I went over to Union Cab to get Rod's phone number, and I should know the guys name, but I'm guessing it's George. Anyhow, I got Rod's number so I can get my rototiller back from him, he's had it for around 15 years. Since I'm leaving town, it's time. Rod's a good guy, even though a lot of people don't like him. So George is planting a few flowers by the street and I stopped to chat. The subject of armed robberies came up. George said he'd been in 2, one in Palm Springs, California, and one here last year. He sort of laughed about the one last year. Said the guy only got $24 and described him being chased by a police dog. In the other one he got beaten so bad the drivers who found him thought he was dead. Everybody takes it differently I guess. I won't share the details he gave of the one in California because I wouldn't want to give anybody bad ideas. It was the kind of crime that would be profitable and re doable.

Most people don't take it as good as George. I certainly didn't. I might have won, but that's the luck of the draw. It makes me think of LeRoy, Mudpie, and Kate. LeRoy won a fist fight with some guys who tried to rob him and he laughs about it. Mudpie had $10,000 worth of damage done to his face by Hoser's criminal brother who is in prison in California these days. The guy was drunk, and I never heard what the provocation was, but I'll bet it was nothing. Kate had her arm in a cast for a long time. Radial fracture's take a long time to heal. Passenger twisted her arm.

The more I think about Roy Boy firing me, well, he's lucky he's about social security age. And I wouldn't have the stomach to be him these days. Union did more rides than Badger in 2009, for the first ever time. Green Cab is starting, and they're going to directly compete with Badger, doing a zone fare business. THM doesn't give a damn about the drivers, and that's huge. One day everyone will come to Badger and they'll see an out of business sign, and it'll be a total shock. No warning. The accounts are going away, does THM send out a salesman? No, that would cost money. Does THM send his daughter to golf camp at St. Andrews golf course in Scotland? Yes. Fewer rides than Union! The hand writing is on the wall. Will I be there to be among those hurt? No.

My DOT physical is in a couple of hours. Then I can get back in a truck. I passed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back in WI

It's Friday, I arrived home last night. The young slumlord served me with a notice to pay what he claims I owe him or move out. I asked for a complete accounting, he didn't provide it. He provided an accounting of the gas bill only, and that was in type 1/4 the size or normal type. He did that just to be an asshole, the reducing it to the smallest possible size. Today is the day that I either have to pay or else. Well, he's not a judge, nor is he a cop, so I will do neither and see him in court. In this state you need that paper of his to file for a court date, which he'll do, file for an eviction hearing. Now of course he didn't date it properly, and he didn't have what it took to hand it to me. It was sitting on the floor outside the door to my room. He did have what it took to get up at 5:00am to look outside to see if one of my vehicles was here, which it was.

Now we get in front of a judge! I can just picture a judge saying, "Let me get this straight. The defendant is supposed to pay for gas, and there has been no hot water for 4 or 5 or how ever many weeks now?" And, I have a witness who clearly heard him say that I have to give him money so he has incentive to fix the hot water at the 13 day point. The judge will say what I said, and what my friend said, which is, "You have to fix it sooner or later, you might as well fix it sooner."

This last trip is the first time ever that I didn't want to come back here. I actually sat on the curb where the bus into town let me off and felt noticeably crappy waiting for my friend to pick me up. Then I got over to said friends house and my pickup wouldn't start, what fun. So finally around 10:30 I made it into this place, and sure enough, kid is here. Sunday night, he told me he was moving out first day or 2 of the week. Ah, yet another lie. I wonder what he was hoping for with that one? What fun, eh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's Tuesday, I arrived here Sunday afternoon, I'm home. The trust got me a rental car and motel room, and told me to go play. That alone is around $150/day. Cheap by vacation standards, I guess, but if I come back to do this again, I'm going to have a tent and buy a car to come in.

Car insurance salesman says I have to have a Michigan license before I can have Michigan insurance on a Michigan licensed car. Guess I'm going to look into having Wisconsin insurance on a Michigan licensed car, wonder if I can do that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ongoing slumlords

I had to leave town for a few days, and had no idea what to expect. I'm sure the kid or the oriental disabled the hot water, and I've been heating water in pots on the stove for 2 weeks to bathe. It's looking like I'll need to leave my vehicle parked there, unattended while I'm gone.

When I return, will I find my vehicle vandalized? Will I be locked out of the house? If I'm locked out of the house, will I lose anything I haven't moved to storage? This is a hell of a way to live, all my stuff in storage. It's bullshit in fact.

The trip out of town is to take a look at a housing option. I'll take it, looking at it at this point is a formality. So I write this on a train heading into Battle Creek about 3 hours from home. Real home, where I'm from. I stayed at a friends house last night and he took me to catch the bus this morning. He's taking care of the dog, and it turned out he could let me keep my vehicle at his house after all. I got just about everything out of the house, just a few odds and ends, some food, and some furniture remain.

My lawyer said, he can't lock you out. "Ah, yeah, but what do I do if he does?" He can't. Well JJ was around last night and said he was sure he could fix the hot water heater with a small part he got at the hard ware store. The hard ware store couldn't recommend such a thing to me, and JJ is a mechanical moron. But he's sure it'll work. He Jimmied the hot water heater, and he's going to unJimmy it. It didn't work. And he's giving me 5 days to pay up what HE figures I owe him on utilities or he's shutting off the gas. Fine, on gas, no heat or hot water. I'm used to that by now. Question is, will he shut off the electricity? If he does that, there is no water, no light, no stove to heat water for a bath, and the place should be easily condemnable.

Next move of course is JJ will try to rent the dump to the next victim(s). As an absentee landlord. Ain't happening. Even if there is no electric, I'll be around, and any body that rents will have been lied to, and I'll tell them because I'll be there to do it. What a mess.

Friday, July 9, 2010


My landlord is this 23 year old kid who just (he claims anyhow) graduated from the Univ with a degree in Business. His landlord is an oriental who will remain nameless, and they claim to be buddies. The kid started asking for something in writing that said I'd be gone by July 1, back in May. Excuse me? Turns out the lease had a clause that said that if I left before the end, I owed 2 extra months rent, so that would have been 10 months housing for 14 months rent. No wonder he wanted it, only an extra $1400.00 for nothing.

So, June 15th rolls around, and now the oriental and the kid are showing up on the weekends and leaning on me to leave. The oriental is getting rather ugly about the whole thing. I'm telling them I'm going to get this place condemned, and I do believe I have the way to do it all worked out. The kid laughs and says I can't get it condemned. It's amazing, I'd forgotten how childish children are. The kid goes through this big taunting routine, like he's going to piss me off bad enough that I'd take a swing at him. Yeah, right, no way. I've seen this played before, and I guess there are people in prison who are dumb and impulsive enough to do it.

June 26, and the hot water magically stops working. Kid had made a glib comment about hot water heater thermocouples in the past. So I'm thinking, kid disabled the hot water heater, and I tell him my thoughts. He laughs, he's so arrogant. It's just a little too close to July first for me to believe otherwise. China man is back, screaming for me to get off his property in 24 hours. Excuse me? I have a lease, Asshole. Now you get off my property, no he doesn't have to, he's the kids room mate all of a sudden. Ah................... But I found out why he's so buddy buddy with the kid all of a sudden and why the pressure. The weed police!

Kid has idiot China man convinced he'll make the property a garden. Not!! Kid is going around trying to convince everyone he's ever met that gardening is such fun, come and do his gardening for him, he'll supervise. Cute twist to free labor, I've never seen that one before, are there really chumps out there who would go for that? China man knows that he can be cited for having noxious weeds on this property any day after June 15 that they're not cut, and if he is, they'll contract with a 3rd party to cut the weeds and send him the bill. Kid doesn't know this I don't think, and thinks his daddy's job in the state Assembly will protect him. NOT!!

So, I don't nibble on any of the bait. What bait? Well, last time China man is here I tell him I want hot water fixed. He wants to know why he should fix it, I'm not his friend, and he'd only fix it for a friend. Ok pal, I'm your friend, now how about fixing it? Oh, I've hurt poor Chen Su, I insulted him, he'll be scarred for life. I called him a slum lord. Well, gentle reader, what would you call this ass hole? He won't fix the hot water heater unless I'm his friend, GET OUT he says, I think he qualifies as a slum lord. So, following day, Sunday, he shows up again, and I say, I'll try being nice, I'm your friend, I tell kid I'll be nice to him.

So............ the bait: He says, ok, we should be friends, he wants to take me into town to buy me a drink. A soda. I say no thank you. And truthfully, I don't drink soda, haven't for many years. He goes into a minor rage, that I'm not his friend because he can't buy me a soda. Both he and kid are NOT smiling. I'll bet he had 3 or 4 friends staged at someplace like Culver's, and had it all staged for a public confrontation that could get me tossed into jail because his witness's all knew what to say. Geeee, too bad, I wasn't enough of a chump to take the bait.

Now, the political issue.......... Well audience, should I go to my democrat Assemblyman with all this? Kid's mother was pretty arrogant when I asked her what he and did for a living and she said I should ask him. So I did. He says he's the first assistant to a republican state Assemblyman, the one from their district, which is where the kid really lives, at mommy and daddy's house. They have hot water. Man is a terribly nice fellow, I like the guy. He's telling me that because it's an election year, he has to get his guy re-elected to keep his job intact.

Fast forward to Thursday, July 8th. A friend is helping me move some stuff, futon, futon frame, and so on, big stuff. Why? Well, if I get this place condemned, they will give me until midnight to be out, and anything left is lost. Kid shows up and says he has this lease termination agreement he wants me to sign, and if I sign it he'll fix the hot water. He says this in front of a witness, my helper. According to my attorney, this is extortion. Normally we think of extortion as a thug saying he'll let you go for a price, well the law doesn't read that way, this is extortion too.

I will be mostly out of here by Sunday night (7/11/10). The only valuable things that won't be out will be the washer/dryer, and freezer. They go next weekend I think.

After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that no matter how nice a guy the fellow is, I have no choice but to go to my Assemblyman, and the media. The media guy I went to is Bill Lueders of Isthmus magazine, in Madison, Wisconsin. Hope to hear from you sir. Any of you readers want to ask him to stick his nose in it, and thanks everyone for caring about me, and caring about right and wrong.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A train ticket home

I bought one today. I'll get reimbursed for it. Is this how my sister lived all her life?

Roy Boy replied to an email, said he'd speak well of me. Cool.

Back in the day, Spooner used to sit on the Diag (Univ of Mich people will know what that is) and crochet halter tops. They were a fad. He had a sign next to him that said, "I can alter a halter, to fit your tit." I want to twist chain mail head covers in that spot. It'll never happen, but it's a nice fantasy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Truely Amazing!!

My step mother just told me that if I move back home, the family trust will give me free rent in a house the trust owns, and provide me with a free pickup truck to drive, they pay the insurance.

Wow! My first reaction was to say yeah, sure, then my lawyer said, wait a minute how much cash can you get instead. She said she wanted me to make up my mind, and I'd already told her what I wanted to do, so I made the rounds of my friends and said, what should I do? Fast Eddie said go and look at it, Lynetto said jump on it, Heidi said Jump on it, Dickie said Jump on it, Jay said be true to yourself, and Jeff said he'd probably take it. That's 1/2 in favor of jump on it. They have cab companies in Ann Arbor.

But I can't drive cab there with a Wisconsin license. I'm not giving up my Wi. license right away, so I don't have an occupation, do I? Well, I have to go there and visit. Next week for 2 or 3 days. I finally got a friend to agree to watch the dog for me. Same friend might let me stay in his basement on and off if life got grim, but why would it? Sigh...... This has just been the year from hell. Dave has the option of renting the house for $800/month, maybe he'll do that and save me making the choice of moving there. Then I'd get the $800 for rent here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back in the saddle, I think.

I think I will have a silver cab to drive soon. Not a moment too soon, I'm going crazy with boredom. Joe invited me into his office and asked what happened, so I told him and he asked if the management of the red and whites are crazy, letting someone go after all those years for such petty BS. Well they did. Red and white used to be THE color cab to drive, but I don't think that's been true since they stopped being Dodge Diplomats.

Anyhow, I've always liked Joe, and all the people I've ever talked to who drive those silver cabs tell me they like it just fine, make decent money, and are treated well.

On some other fronts, my life is really turning for the better. My housing troubles are going to clear up in a few days. I won't have to abandon the dream of being in the portable welding business after all. And I actually feel like restarting work on that book I was trying to write. AND... After stepping back from it, I'll bet starting over will work out real well. Anybody out there got suggestions as to were to keep it on the web, let me know in a comment. I wouldn't keep it on a machine after going through all the hair pulling when this very machine had to be reformatted low level and I lost EVERYTHING. Life is improving, I want to write again!

My right hand has improved enough that I can touch type with both hands again. Again? Yeah. Funny story coming up here. I was trying to catch this cow, and I had her cornered, and I was trying to grab her halter. Say what? Really was, but don't laugh yet, it gets better. Little brown cow, not one of the huge black and white ones, jersey I think. She didn't want to get caught so she kicked me in the knee. I impulsively slammed my fist down on her rump and shattered the bone between the little finger and wrist of my right hand near the base at the wrist. Damn, did that hurt, and I mean immediately!! Fortunately for me, my health insurance was current, so following day I went and got it treated. They put on this removable 1/2 cast made out of plastic that attaches with velcro. And that was 25 days ago. It took about 10 days to basically knit back together, and I've been able to use that finger to type with for around 24 hours now. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to wipe yourself in the john with the wrong hand? Nightmare!!) I see a doctor or somebody for final time in 3 weeks, then I'm ok to return to work, if I had a job. I will though. I'll load trucks.

Load trucks? Yeah. I used to load moving trucks for a living. I'm not in that great a shape, so it will be like going to the gym and getting paid for it. I was stacking stuff in my storage unit this afternoon, and it wasn't that easy with that cast on, but it was do-able. I can still do it just fine. Loading trucks is kind of like a 3 dimensional tetris game, there's a learning curve to it. And there's a busy season to it too. God, was today (Wed 6/30) a good day.

While I'm rambling about random stuff, I've been looking at chain mail again and thinking to myself, everyone needs a hobby. My dad didn't like me sitting and knitting with my mother when I was 7. Well making one of those chain mail head covers that drapes over over somebody's shoulders looks like a cool similar thing. Only instead of yarn and knitting needles it's wire and pliers, why not, great way to kill time at the airport waiting for a plane to come down, right?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paper shuffling

Most people think the company is in business to provide rides. I don't think that's been the case for quite a while. It's true that you can get a ride, but the money is in the administrative charge for filling out a charge slip. I'm not sure how much it is these days, but it's non trivial.

When I started driving, a delivery cost a buck more than a passenger for the same ride. I really liked deliveries, and I think all drivers did. Over time, the administrative charge for processing that slip increased. They say that the reason deliveries have declined is because of the color fax, and digital photography. Perhaps. Was any effort made to find anything to fill that void? I sure didn't see it. Did that processing charge deter people? I think so, but they'll argue it didn't.

The charge rides for people, used to be competitive, then it wasn't, now it is again. The issue is mostly drug testing. In order to get the BIG contract, you have to drug test. I always said I'd never pee in a cup unless it was to drive a big truck. So, I drove big trucks, acquiesced to drug testing, and started doing it at the cab company. I prostituted myself, and I should not have done it. It was never worth it, which is why the other cab companies in town don't.

Poor post............... Really poor quality, oh well. Sorry bout that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

this is a really great quote

I share a great quote:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
Ben Franklin

Friday, April 23, 2010

My new career, unsuccessful writer, heh heh.

I've been writing, I just haven't been writing much here. So.......... What I'm going to do is post some of the things that I've written elsewhere, and see if y'all like them. This is mostly cab stuff, only perhaps fictionalized or polished or what ever.

This first one is about what is sometimes called, 'A heavy load'

Eleven (Former title - A Few - )

Last modified: Thursday 4/22/10

I pulled up to the green awning at The Essen Haus and counted eleven. They'd had a great time, were going to continue whooping it up at the next bar, and weren't going to be separated. Only got one cab? We'll all squeeze into it, unless you don't want to take us. All or none.

If it hadn't been so slow. The money had been terrible that night. "Ok, guys, I'll take all of you, but here are the rules: Rule one, you have to promise me that when I stop, you'll get out of the cab fast. Rule two, you have to pay me in advance. If a cop sees eleven clowns rolling out of a cab, that's six bozo's too many. The ticket for extra clowns is a hundred a head. It's $4.00 for the ride, plus ten extra passengers at a buck a head. Plus tip! A big one! Who's paying?"

A tall fellow with a southern accent handed me a couple of twenties and said keep it. Then he quickly announced "Shoddie!"

I had to smile. Where did this guy learn how to speak Wisconsin English? He sure did say 'shottie', funny. The woman behind him immediately complained that he wasn't entitled to shotgun simply because he paid, but it was already too late. A lady around thirty jumped in the front seat first. The fellow who paid next, then the woman who had been hanging on him sat on his lap, draped her arms around him, and went back to what she'd been doing.

Both rear doors opened up, and the other 8 people started piling in. I was standing outside the cab supervising. I would compare it to telling cord wood where to stack itself. A small woman hopped on the two people sitting in the center of the back seat. A sixth pushed and squeezed in directly next to the driver side door, then one of the two remaining people slammed and jammed that door into their friends. The final two people headed in through the my door. They were pulled over the seat into the back. They laid across everybody and hung their feet out the open drivers side window.

It was funny to look at. The cab was filled to the ceiling and hanging out the window, the bottom pair of shoes were on the outside and pointed up, the top pair of shoes were on the inside pointing down. I stood back and admired the load for a moment. The car was all the way down on the springs. They were all laughing and giggling. I never have a camera when I need one.

I was almost to The Plaza when we passed a cop going in the opposite direction on State. He turned his head looking at the feet hanging out the window, and I knew I had trouble. I looked in the mirror, and could see him pulling up to make a U turn by Paul's Club. Luck was with me, I got the light at State and Frances.

I whipped around the corner, pulled up in front of The Plaza, leaped out, and ran around the cab pulling open the doors, and pulling people out. Just as the last one of them was going through the door into The Plaza, the squad car pulled up behind me with the cherries going.

I reached into my pocket for my license, and held it out for the officer. Normally, they'll tell you to get back in the car, he didn't. He snatched the license out of my fingers and demanded, "How many people did you have in that cab?"

"Ah, a few", I answered sheepishly.

"How many is a few?", he demanded?

"Well a few."

"There were more than five people in that cab, now how many were there?", he again demanded.

He was pissed! For some reason, he needed me to tell him how many. I stuck with a few, thinking I'd get as small a ticket as possible that way. Each time I told him a few in some small varied way, his face got a little redder, but it wasn't going anywhere. Finally he told me to get in the car and wait.

Usually it takes at least 10 minutes for them to come and either hand you a ticket or tell you how lucky you are that they're not handing you a ticket. He as at my window in less than ninety seconds.

"Don't ever let me catch you doing this again.", he said, "Now, get out of my sight!"

I put my turn signal on, dropped it into drive, and pulled up to the stop sign at Gorham. I couldn't believe my luck! I couldn't believe that guy didn't give me a ticket. I guess he needed a number he didn't have.