Mouse Pads & Maple Syrup. Makers Mark & Pan Cakes, Hiding Democrats & Smiling Cats

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Greeting to all, and welcome new friends to the East Wing,

Mouse Pads! Do ya remember when they were free? Yah Mouse Pads were free, back in the day, they were given away as advertising. Last week I was cleaning out some junk in back room of my office and ran across a mouse pad from Gateway2000.

Bet many won’t even know ‘bout Gateway2000. ‘Cause their time in the sun, so to speak, was short and sweet. Gateway was a classic American Dream story. Created on a dairy farm in Iowa, moved to South Dakota, became the largest employer in that state at one time, before moving out west to California.

What’s so cool ‘bout Gateway200, this all happened before most of the people in the world even knew ‘bout PC’s. Gateway grew to become a public traded stock worth many millions of dollars.

It all started on that diary farm in Iowa, that Gateway2000 thing, when a young man had an idea to assemble computers form components he could buy from all different parts of the world. All he had to do was put ‘em into a box, and make ‘em work. But he needed money to buy the parts and money to advertise the magic box.

Local banks turned him down when he asked for a loan. They turned him down, every single one of ‘em, turned him down cold. Back in 1985, ya just didn’t loan money for stupid ideas like personal computers. But a Grandma had faith in the dream of a grandson. When Grandma signed the note, the kid got the bucks, and the rest is history, so to speak.

The kid started a company which would later be sold for 710 million dollars. Oh, by the way, the grandson, on the 10th anniversary of that loan from Grandma, that $10,000.00 loan from Grandma, he repaid Grandma’s $10,000 and then paid her interest, in the amount of Nine Million, Nine Hundred Ninety Thousand. Yup, the kid paid his Grandma $10,000,000.00. Ya just gota love Grandmas. The world works the way it does due in a large part to Grandma’s having faith in the future of their grandbabies.

The original Gatway200 computes were assembled in a shed on a dairy farm, hence the trademark of black and white marking of the shipping boxes. Black and white cows from the dairy farm. Holsteins all. Same color as my office cats, those black and whites of the office, Miss Kitty and Little Brother.

The serial numbers of the Gateway2000 computers started at number 1 for the first one ever sold, and continued as orders arrived. I purchased serial number 812 when I bought my first Gateway2000.

Many people never knew computers before “Windows and Microsoft” There were computers when windows were still openings in your walls of your house, not programs on computers. Yup, sure were, and Gateway2000 built ‘em. Wish I’d kept that computer, and not thrown it away like I did. Oh well, that’s life, win some, loose some. But serial number 812 on a GateWay2000. Damn! And that serial number 812, it didn’t have a mouse. ‘Cause back then a mouse was still just cat food spelled backwards.

All the commands to make that early computers work were typed at the DOS Prompt. So whoever knows ‘bout the DOS Prompt, raise your hands and win the prize of the week. The prize, ya guessed it, a mouse. In fact the first mouse I ever owned. Just one little problem, bet there’s not 1% of the computers running today that’ll have the plug to connect with that old mouse.

Laptops no longer have to rely on a mouse, they’ve got that little finger pad thing to move the cursors around. But I’m kinda old school when it comes to that little finger pad deal, don’t like ‘em. So I use a baby mouse, and it’s not even hooked up to the computer. Just plug a little thing, half the size of a postage stamp into a USB Port, it’s called a Port Bud, and the baby mouse comes alive. Still haven’t figured out how it works, that little baby mouse and the Port Bud, I think it’s either magic or Voodoo. Guess it don’t really matter which one it is as long as it works, and it don’t stick pins in ya when ya least expect it. OUCH! Damn Baby Mice & Port Buds.

What got me thinking ‘bout Gateway was I ran ‘cross a Gateway2000 Mouse Pad. It came free with computer serial number 812. As I was cleaning out some old, old stuff in the office back room, and there it was, a Gateway200 Mouse Pad. All black and white, just like the cow boxes that delivered the Gateway200 Computers by UPS. With 800 support numbers right there on the mouse pad. In black and white, and in English even.

It was in a time when ya spoke with tech support in your own language. Seems today to get good tech support ya need to speak Hindu, or Swahili, or some damn thing like that. Gateway2000 trained their own tech support staff right there in South Dakota. Being up there in South Dakota , I think most all that tech support staff trained by Gateway200 were Indians. Feather, not Red Dot, there’s a big difference ya know, Feather from Red Dot.

Remember when March was the first month of the year? I don’t but, yah, it was. In the very early Roman Calendar March was the first month of the year. Then along came those Cesar Boys and jerked ‘round with a whole lot of stuff, including the calendar, so March got stuck in the number three slot. I think it had to do with making room for the month of July to be named after Jules Cesar.

Boy, I just think it’s so cool to have a month named after ya. If I’d been the Roman Emperor , oh well, today we’d not have the month of May, but in it’s place we’d for sure have the month of BobbyRay! Sweet!!!

Even if ya change March from the first to the third, ya can’t get away from March still having a bunch of “firsts” every year, the first daffodil, robins, earthworms, skunk cabbage, along with those pretty little spring time friends of my, those pretty little dandelions . Skunk Cabbage? Ya know ‘bout that stuff? Smells bad with a capital B.

Spring’s arrived with the vernal equinox on March 20th And not a minute too soon for most people eagerly awaiting spring this year.. But I still like March 1st as the East Wing start of Spring. It works for me, every year.

March is notoriously temperamental weatherwise. And because of such temperamental weather an old, old weather proverbs:

If March comes in like a lion, it’ll go out like a lamb.

If March comes in like a lamb, it’ll go out like a lion.

This is considered by many to be one of the best recognized of all old weather proverbs. This year March came in like the lamb…….We’ll see.

One of the most devastating blizzards ever recorded occurred in the month of March. It was in 1888, and to this day it’s used as a benchmark of weather severity, that blizzard of 1888.

As the frost leaves the ground out here by the East Wing, March means mud, and maple syrup, ‘cept those East Wing Maples out side the south windows, I don’t know if they’re the right kinda maple tree or not. ‘Course I never stuck those little pipes in the maple trees and hung buckets to collect the sap either. Wonder if that’d work?

Maple Syrup From The East Wing, somehow I just don’t see it happening. Even with the best of luck, I’ve only got two maple trees, and if my memory serves me right, it takes 10 gallons of sap from the maple tree to make 1 quart of maple syrup. 40:1 is the ratio of sap to syrup.

Now it don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I’m not gona run out and try to get an exclusive contract to supply IHOP with maple syrup for the next year. But if I got 1 gallon of sap, now that’s 128 ounces, and if I convert it to the 40:1 ratio I get 128÷40= 3.2 ounces maple syrup. And WOW ! That’s enough for one breakfast of pancakes and East Wing Maple Syrup. YAAH ! That’s what I’m talking ‘bout!

After researching the detail on work required, as well as the equipment costs involved in producing that 3.2 ounces of maple syrup, I’m better off to just buy 3.2 ounces of Mrs. Butterworth’s Maple Syrup, and forget the whole thing. But it would be kinda cool.

We’ve never made maple syrup from the East Wing for very obvious reasons, I’ve never lived that part of the world that grows the sugar maple trees to produce the sap. Vermont’s famous for maple syrup, Kentucky and Indiana are not, and that’s where I’ve lived most all my life, Kentucky and Indiana, ‘cept a little bit in Chicago, but that don’t really count. ‘Course everything in life has it’s time in the spotlight, Vermont’s never ran for the Roses, or raced the 500, but they do produce the best maple syrup, up there in Vermont.

Now Kentucky has a reputation for producing a different type commercial product which for some has an even broader appeal than Vermont Maple Syrup. World class Bourbon Whisky from Kentucky stands second to none.

Makers Mark, a small volume producer of Kentucky Bourbon, when compared to such massive volumes produced by Jack Daniels or Jim Beam, Makers Mark is considered by many to be the Kentucky equivalent of Vermont Maple Syrup.

Some years back, Jack Daniels increased their total output for the year by 10% and that 10% increase by Jack Daniels exceeded the Makers Mark annual production for the same year. Sometimes it’s quality and not quantity that keeps ya in the market place. And so it is with Makers Mark, quality not quantity.

Although I’m not sure if Makers Mark and Maple Syrup would go well together on pan cakes, I’m sure ya’d have to be 21 to try ‘em. But I just don’t see that combo gaining a spot on the breakfast menu any time soon, that Markers Mark and Maple Syrup. ‘Course there’s already a product out there in the market place advertized as M&M’s,,,, I wonder, I just wonder if that’s the secret of their success. With peanuts even. And it melts in your mouth not in your hand. Boy that sure sounds like Makers Mark.

Did ya notice the little fake lady bugs are back again, finally waking up and getting ready to make life miserable for all those unfortunate enough to be blessed with their presence. Those little creatures were imported into our midst as an effort to control another insect problem. Brought ‘em from China or somewhere over there.

And as it turns out the cure was worse than the disease. Don’t remember for sure what the problem was but I think it had to do with tobacco plants, and something eating on and not smoking the plant. But if the truth be know, those little Asian Beetles probably came over from China riding the big container ships bringing all that crap to Wal-Mart. Yah, that same stuff we all go buy every day, buy by the boat load, everyday. Wal-Mart stuff. Inferior products, but it’s cheap. And we as a society have given up quality for price.

We’ve willing allowed much of our manufacturing capability to go to Mexico, China and other parts of the world ‘cause we can get our “stuff” cheap. We now talk ‘bout creating jobs. With a large portion of our consumer goods coming from off shore, it’s difficult to create jobs, except in one segment of our economy.

What’s really interesting in the job creation world is that during the last 2 years, 200,000 jobs have been created, and these 200,000 new jobs have all been created within the Federal Government. At a time when the national economy is suffering its worst hit in most very body’s memory, the Federal Governments adds 200,000 jobs. With the lowest economy in many, many years one has to ask what do these new 200,000 people do to serve the public need, and what was not being served in the past?

Why did we need to add ‘em to the public payroll in the first place? Is this yet another example of say one thing, do another by the current administration? Are those 200,000 jobs created within the Federal Government, which so happens to be the largest increase in the Federal Payroll ever in a two year period, is this the change the President was talking ‘bout when he ran for office?

Ya gota wonder. Wonder if this President ever thought ‘bout running and hiding in Illinois? Oh, I forgot, he used to live in Illinois, DUH!!! Of course he knows ‘bout running and hiding, seems its’ the new democrat thing to do. Sure worked wonders in Wisconsin didn’t it. I can’t help but believe that the Wisconsin outcome could have been different had those folks not left the state. It’s just hard to do the peoples business when you’ve left the state.

Of all the political things I’ve ever encountered, this running and hiding thing is the lowest I’ve ever seen. Why, oh why has my party abandoned me ? Does not common since still hold sway? When ever has a runner away won a debate? Shame on us, shame on my democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives. I’d rather loose than not show up for the debate.

This time of the year my office is extremely busy with a large number of people coming in each day, I’ve made it a point to ask many of them ‘bout their thoughts on our representative leaving the State of Indiana in protest to the republican majority. I’ve found two people, be they democrat or republican, who believe it’s the right thing to do. Two out of several hundred.

It’s being reported that 60% support such actions. Ya’d think if 60% supported such actions, then we democrats would be in the majority at the last election and not find ourselves being the minority party in the Indiana House of Representatives and not having to leave the state. I don’t believe anything could be said that would justify in my mind such actions on the part of my party. Shame on us.

And all the while the cat just smiles and projects expressions of false concerns. They laugh at us. In times like this, they laugh at us. As so they should, ‘cause when ya run away and hide ya should be laughed at. The most wrong thing I’ve ever seen in politics. Who ever thought up this strategy? Did this come from the backroom of Illinois politics? Nationally recognized by many as the most political corrupt organization in the nation, that Illinois Democratic Party. A political party tht has controlled Chicago for a long, long time. A political party that produced the President of the United States. His claim to fame, an extraordinary reader of teleprompter words written by others, and a community organizer.

As Sophia read the screen, she pointed out that the majority of the votes the President made on public matters during all the time he has held elected office, his vote on the majority of the issues at hand, his vote was “PRESENT”. A strong leader, a decision maker, a decisive leader. A voting record which only adds to his credentials for be the President of the United States. He was present, and chose not to make a decision on the matter at hand. Was this fellow elected to vote present? But ya never know ‘bout Illinois Politics, maybe he was elected to vote present, just so he doesn’t make anybody mad. “PRESENT” such a solid decision.

The President’s leadership and forthright decision making powers are amply demonstrated with his handling of the United States involvement in the whole Libyan mess. Maybe he would’ve been better off to have just voted “PRESENT”, and leave all the other stuff to the “Libyan Decision Making Czar”. I’m sure we’ve got one of those somewhere inside the 200,000 new federal jobs that’s been created in the last two years of the Obama Administration.

And all the while the cat just smiles. Ya gotta love it when the cat smiles. Sophia’s got an autographed picture of Herbert Hover, ya know. Damn Republican Cat!

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the East Wing., Mouse Pads & Maple Syrup. Makers Mark & Pan Cakes, Hiding Democrats & Smiling Cats.

I Wish you well,