Thursday, September 20, 2018

Too informal

There's a romantic myth that family owned businesses and mom and pop outfits are intrinsically better than chain-owned and corporate outfits. Trust me, this is not always true. The reason such businesses do well is because of better accountability and a lack of bureaucracy. But family-owned businesses can suffer badly from disorganization and nepotism.

Years ago, I was an editor for a small chain of weekly newspapers - just seven. It was run by a husband and wife team.It happened that at one time both the editor and staff writer jobs at one paper opened up at the same time.

The husband was the journalist and he interviewed and ultimately hired the two people. One day the fellow who was hired to be the reporter comes in. The wife greets him and says, "So you must be the new editor!" The fellow didn't correct her. She got his paperwork filled out and got him all proper.

Then the guy who was supposed to be the editor shows up the next day. I don't know exactly what went down, but the fellow came on board as the reporter.

I've always had a good memory, so when the publisher had mentioned the two names, I remembered which was which, but apparently the wife didn't.

As it happened, the publisher had been right in the first place. The editor who was supposed to be the reporter wasn't up to the job and the newspaper suffered. But nobody said anything. The reporter who was supposed to be the editor was a nice guy and a gentlemen and got along very well.

In the long run the paper suffered because of the wrong person in the job. A few years later and it was in bankruptcy.

A corporate-owned newspaper would have been better organized and I'm sure could have avoided such a snafu.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Housebreaking failure

Our efforts to housebreak Bella have been unsuccessful. We will probably need professional help. A few weeks ago I started rewarding her with treats when she was a good girl, and that worked somewhat, well enough that I took the puppy pads up. But results were mixed. If when she goes out she is accompanied by one or both of her siblings, she often distracted and forgets what she needed to do. Then she comes back in the house and remembers to do it.

She also is not very good at getting our attention when she needs to go out. She's too subtle and we often miss her signals. She doesn't try very hard at it. Peltro and Sugar will stand at the back door, and if need be, bark. but Bella doesn't.

Patricia and I now are talking about the need to refinish the hardwood floor in the living room because of the staining. And this afternoon I went and put down puppy pads again. She was probably better at going outside a few weeks ago, she seems to have regressed. I will probably start calling around for some professional advice this week.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Bella is back

Bella is back home. sleeping in her kennel for the night, in my air conditioned library building behind the house.

I picked her up at the vet this morning after her overnight stay following her spaying. As I was afraid would be the case, the experience terrified her. I had to carry her to the car, and when I put her down she was trembling and fearful.

I took her to the office and she spent the rest of the day there with us. She quickly regained her confidence and after an hour or so she had eaten and was snoozing at her mommy's fee under her desk.

She's back to normal, and that chore is out of the way. We are responsible furrbaby parents, and she won't be having any puppies.

Monday, September 03, 2018

A spontaneous utterance

You know the old saying, don't wait until the eulogy to say something good about someone.

I just wanted to say that Selina Rosen is one of the best examples of humanity I know - friendly, helpful, caring, level-headed, hard working, and long suffering. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. She's fun and just one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people I know. The only people who don't like her are those who haven't met her.

The Talmud says that only 36 truly righteous people are living among us at any given time; they are anonymous, and it is for their sake alone that the world is not destroyed.

They may be anonymous, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet Selina is one of them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Poof! Gone!

Some of you may recall how I told the story last month of losing both of my original 2015 Hugo finalist pins while in Oklahoma for SoonerCon in June.

I fumbled the first one while trying to put it on my badge - I never even saw it land. I have no idea what happened to the second, but it disappeared, also.

I had a thought recently. Both pins had been put away since 2015. SoonerCon was the first time since then that I took them out with the intent of wearing them.

I wonder, with all the negative energy they possessed, did they simply disintegrate once disturbed???

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The little shack

On Aug. 22 I posted a photo of a run down two-story cabin on my Facebook page. I thought it was atmospheric, and I was curious as to what people’s reaction would be, which I asked to be expressed in one word only.

I found the responses fascinating, and now I will tell the story behind the photo.

In 2003 my wife and I had the opportunity to buy some property at a tax write-off sale. This is when the county sells land seized for the non-payment of property taxes. I worked at the local newspaper that published the legal notice, and I noted that, in one property’s description, there was a structure (usually land sold like this is vacant).

I inspected the property and saw that, indeed, there was a small two-story house. Apparently someone bought and had it moved to the site, but then never did anything to it. It wasn’t finished out inside, and there were no utilities.

We bought it was $1350 as an investment, and cleaned out the building (it was full of junk) and cleaned up the property a bit. I thought it was a pretty setting and had a lot of potential. I hoped one day we could fix it up and even use it for our retirement.


I lost my job at the newspaper in 2005, and changed jobs again in 2007. In both cases, we moved farther and farther away from the property. We ended up in both cases two hours away. It was difficult to visit it on a regular basis, much let keep it up. It was all I could do to keep it secure.
My wife never liked it and thought it was a waste of time, so we never agreed to spend any money on it. It slowly deteriorated.

I felt that, no matter what, it was an investment. In 2015 I went to work at The Clarksville Times, and in 2016 we bought a house in Clarksville. Someone made an offer on the property for $6,000, so we sold it and used it for the down payment on our new home. My understanding was that the new owner planned to tear down the cabin, clear the lot and put a new manufactured home there.
I always thought it was cute and rustic, and it was in a very pretty setting, but things never jelled for us to make anything of it, so when the time came we let it go.

Ironically, our new home in Clarksville includes a small bunk house behind the main house that pretty much is what I would have thought that old cabin could have been. I use it as a library, and it has electricity and air conditioning. It’s where the dog kennels are and where the pups sleep at night.

I found that old photo of the cabin, and I was curious what people would make of it, which is why I posted it. It was an interesting exercise.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Bella, bella, bella

We're having some problems house training Bella. She will go to the door and go outside on her own, but she won't actually go in the yard alone. This is a problem because:

Sugar is such an Alpha she will never follow another dog outside. If anyone else goes ahead of her, she will not go out the door. She is not a follower, she's always been that way. So she won't go outside if Bella went first.

Peltro is so submissive he generally won't go outside alone (unless he's about to explode). So if Bella goes outside, and Sugar won't go outside, he won't either.

The upshot is Bella comes back in without having actually gone in the yard, with the expected results.

Too informal

There's a romantic myth that family owned businesses and mom and pop outfits are intrinsically better than chain-owned and corporate out...