Archive for March 2006

“We’ll be right with you.”

March 29, 2006

Why is it that doctors think that their time is as valuable as gold, yet they feel that their patients time is worthless? It certainly seems to be the case. I'll bet everyone reading this has cooled their heels in the waiting room way past their appointment time more than once.

This week I had to go see a doctor;you do that a lot when you get old. My appointment time was 3:30, and I arrived about ten minutes early. I didn't see the doctor until 4:05, and then he spent less than 10 minutes with me. The problem, as I see it, is that doctors run their offices much like the airlines. They overbook. Of course there are emergencies and some medical problems take more time – but not everyday.

I would have walked out after waiting 15 minutes, but if one does that you cannot get another appointment for 3 months. I guess their lack of concern about keeping a room full of patients waiting…waiting…waiting is caused by the God complex they get along with their diploma and license to practice.

Anyway, don't schedule anything else for the day you're going to the doctor. You may have clients who won't put up with waiting 50 minutes to see you.

johnny b.

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Truck Drivers and Similar Species

March 25, 2006

We’ve all seen them. Those huge U-Haul or Budget trucks that people rent. We drive right along side of them, and never stop to think that the drivers – are not professionals. They are just people like us, at the wheel of a monster truck that could do us serious damage, if the driver is impaired, drunk, on dope, or just inexperienced.
It reminds me of that old joke: The fighter pilot who suddenly realized that the lethal weapon he’s flying was built by the lowest bidder!

Big truck drivers (the 18 wheeler genre) have changed over the years, too. At one time, if you saw a motorist stalled on the side of the road, there would be a truck stopped and the driver helping the poor soul change a tire, or whatever. The one time “Chivalry of the Road” is long gone.  In fact, I was driving beside a tractor-trailer and the guy started over in my lane and I was on the dirt being forced into the median. So I blew the horn at him and sped up to pass. Would you believe the guy followed me to the next rest stop and as I got out of the car, he approached me in a threatening manner for blowing the horn at him? I actually had to advise him that if he didn’t get back into his goddam truck, I would blow his head off.
I live just outside of Atlanta where two major expressways merge, and there is also a “perimeter highway” to bypass the city. All of those are full of trucks, all of which are exceeding the speed limit by 25 to 30 mph. Of course, there are a number of major wrecks on those roads every day of the week – and in 9 out of 10 there is an 18 wheeler involved.

Let me give you some advice which a former truck driver friend gave me. “Watch their turn signal lights,” he said. “They will give you three flashes, and then they ARE coming over into your lane.” After that I began observing that warning, and it is true. And if your rear view mirror is full of a truck grill, get over and let him by. Because tail-gating by trucks is a major cause of accidents. It’s not Kansa out there anymore, Dorothy – so watch yourself and be careful.

johnny b.

 

 

There’s nothing “FAIR” about the fair tax – unless you’re rich

March 14, 2006

It’s tax time again, seems to come earlier each year. The income tax code is about 4 inches thick, and so vague that (if they wished) the IRS could find something wrong with every return filed. The President appointed a committee to simplfy the income tax code, and after a year of kadoodling they ended up ADDING a few more pages. Some simplifying.
There’s been a lot of talk about the so-called “Fair Tax,” which has been sponsored by 21 congressmen. In it, there would be no more income tax, deductions, or loop holes. Everyone would pay a flat 23% on everything they buy. That’s right, if you buy a broom, or an 80 foot yacht, it’s all the same – 23% tax on everything.

The fair tax really only benefits the rich, because those who are pushing it have ALREADY bought the big items – the second homes in the Rockies and Florida. They already have their Mercedes and airplanes and yachts. The poor among us (and that group grows larger every year) would suffer most because they don’t have the big ticket items like the rich, yet they would pay $3.69 for that $3.00 broom.

But, not to worry. The fair tax is as dead as the Dubai port deal. Why? Because it would put thousands of IRS employees, tax preparers, and lawyers out of business. And since almost every congress person is a lawyer, do you think for a moment they are going to alienate all those potential voters? Not a chance. So, get ready to wade through all those forms again. Better yet, just send all your money to Washington and let them send you back anything that’s left over after all the computations.

Johnny b.

Dubai Dies

March 9, 2006

If you will refer back to my blog of 22 February, you will see that my prediction of “perception is everything” was right on the spot. I’m not sure if the politicos in DC are smart, dumb, or just depend on luck and the direction of the wind. It is obvious now that 70% of Americans are against the UAE taking over management of our ports. That this debacle should have happened in the first place is beyond my level of understanding.

Of course, we have Arabic airlines flying into our country every day and the clerks, baggage loading and unloading – everything affecting that flight, is done by Arabs who are employees of the country of origin, not by our homeland security people. So, the Dubai deal was probably as safe as a bug in a rug (since port security would continue to be handled by Americans) but just the perception of people from Arabic countries having anything to do with our ports was enough to trigger one of the biggest PR flops of the Republicans. Even the President seemed surprised when he first heard of it, which boggles the mind. Now, even Republicans who are up for re-election (and let me remind you that politicians want to remain in plush jobs over ANYTHING else) are speaking out against the Dubai deal. We may be losing one of the few friendly countries we have in the middle east – but Dubai is as dead as (and smells as bad as) last weeks halibut. I may be dumb, but I’m not crazy. I wish I could say the same for our government.

Johnny B

Weirdness prevails

March 8, 2006

Funny things have been happening to me lately. On a check-out magazine cover I saw a picture of Britney Spears, and the title of her article was, “Britney speaks her mind.” That must be shortest article ever written. Maybe one sentence: “High School Dropout Makes Baby.” Or, “How to dress for Church.” No, it couldn’t be that – how many women do you see in church with see-through-bra-less-blouses and jeans so low you can see she’s shaved her pubic hair. Well, speaking for American red-blooded men, I say, “Not near enough!” But, I digress.

I was in morning drive-time traffic yesterday, which is a rarity for me. Around this city people don’t work 8 to 5 because they can’t get to work before ten and have to leave at three – with an hour or so off for lunch that only leaves four hours for work. No wonder half the population, which is now close to five million works for the government, either national, state, or local. Anyway I was in this traffic and this black lexus whips by me on the right and I notice him zipping in and out wherever he could find ten feet to squeeze that car in and then I lost sight of him. But the funny part is that 7 or 8 miles later I pulled up behind the same car at a stop light. So for all of his maneuvering and dangerous driving – the son of a bitch hadn’t gained a block! To me, that’s funny.

You know that old cartoon that shows the cops hiding behind signboards, etc.? Well, on that same trip yesterday I saw this motorcycle cop pull out from a hidden space under an overpass with his lights flashing, and he pulled over the car that was just in front of me. Besides being relieved because I had escaped him I broke out laughing because it was so like the old cartoons. Nothing ever really changes does it? The same old plots and ploys, just the characters change.

Have a good day – I’m going for one.

Johnny B