Thursday, June 28, 2007

W.S.S.R. Revisited

It has come to my attention that the plight of our civic minded gas station owner that was discussed here, has once again made the news.

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin gas station owner who claims state regulators forced him to stop giving discounts on fuel to senior citizens filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying a law requiring retailers to sell gas above cost is unconstitutional.

Raj Bhandari argues in the lawsuit that Wisconsin's minimum markup law violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution because retailers who sell gasoline — and few other products — are barred from selling any item below cost.

Bhandari, who owns Center City BP in Merrill, Wis., about 150 miles north of Madison, made headlines earlier this year after he stopped offering discounts of 2 cents per gallon to senior citizens and 3 cents per gallon for donors to a youth hockey league.

He did so after being warned by state regulators that such programs may violate the minimum markup law, formally known as the Unfair Sales Act.

The full text of the article is here.

The law firm representing him is doing it pro bono, (holy cow and bully for them). I sincerely hope he wins. From what I have read and heard in various interviews, this law was passed in the 1930s in an attempt to keep Standard Oil on top of the heap. I think it has outlived its usefulness.

I have found a new quote from Thomas Jefferson that I throw out as much as possible and I think I will include it here.

A government that is large enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Something I Love to Share

Mostly because it always gets me in trouble. You see, I'm a nerd. Have been all my life. Even when I played sports (and I wasn't half bad either) I was still a nerd because I was one of those kids who could be athletic and still carry A's. Problem with that is, the rest of the athletes were threatened by that so didn't like me. The rest of the brainiacs were threatened by the playing of sports and didn't really care for me either.

Luckily there came an epiphany. A light shone down on me (actually it was from the concussion I got in practice) and I realized it was better to be able bodied and smart than brain damaged and beat up all the time.

OK, I've rambled about that long enough. It was meant to give you all some insight as to why I find the attached funny. Math jokes crack me up.
I do have to give credit for this to the forums of my guild in Everquest. It shows up alot in there.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Good News From the Doctor

Well, I have spent too much time and money ( I even got to hold my breath for one of those new fangled CAT Scan machines) to find out that the root of all my problems is that I am a fat tub of goo.


I could have told him that with just one cursory glance in a mirror. **grin**

Truth be told I am suffering from 2 completely unrelated problems that added together make me feel cruddy some days.

The first is that I have a fatty liver. No big deal yet, but left unattended it could cause cirrhosis later in life.

Cure? Lose weight you tub of goo.

The second is called Gilbert's Disease, which I find ironic in that my grandmother's maiden name was Gilbert. This condition is benign and the worst that can really happen is I turn orange from time to time. What it does is cause my liver (see a pattern here?) to not process bilirubin like it should. Again, no big deal.

Cure? None. It's genetic and you just have to live with it.

So, now that I know I am not going to be making my journey towards room temperature any time soon I am going to do my dead level best to get more time in on this little bit of blather. Sorry I bowed out for so long.


Monday, June 4, 2007

MSRs Don't Get Paid Enough...

Ok, this is a blatant rip-off from LawDog, but if you can't rip-off your friends, what good are they?

I have been trying for some time to figure out if anything I come across at work bears any value at all in sharing it with those of you who put up with my blather. Suddenly it dawns on me that there are plenty of folks who just don't get how it all really works, so the answer to my musings was a resounding YES!

Now, as it turns out, financial institutions have our own version of LawDog's poor downtrodden dispatchers. We call them MSRs, or Member Service Representatives. They get to deal with John Q. Public on a daily basis and some of the things they encounter will make blood run out of your eyes. I'll take it easy on you with the first story, because I fear that I could vapor lock your mind. I won't be responsible for causing that kind of damage...I won't. So I will ease you all in slowly...if that is possible.

John Q. Member says, "You all took my money and I want it back!"

(You'd be amazed how many of our encounters start just this way.)

"I'm sorry. We did what now?"

"You all took my money and I want it back. If you don't give it back, I'm gonna call the cops."

"Ok. First let's talk about what happened and see if we can figure out how to best handle your problem."

"I'll tell you what happened. You all took $1,500.00 out of my account at an ATM and you're gonna put it back."

"Ok, Sir. Someone took $1,500 out of your account at an ATM? Do you have your ATM card?"

"Damned straight! Never let it out of my sight, so you all must have stolen it and I want it back."

"Ok, I see on your account that you have 2 ATM cards. Is that right?"

"Yeah, my son has one."

"And I see by your account history that it was withdrawn in $500 chunks over 3 days at an ATM in Germany. Do you know anyone in Germany?"

At this point, our friends facial expression changes from one of indignant disbelief to one of "Oh really?"

"Why yes, my son is stationed in...Thank you very much for your time."

You'd probably also be amazed how many people don't realize that an ATM with drawl requires the use of an ATM card AND a PIN. Barring forgery, almost all of these situations end in the member realizing that they got taken by a family member, boy/girl friend or roommate.

I swear I keep a roll of grey duct tape in my desk to wrap around my head to keep it from exploding during one of these little conversations. Especially when I hear this...

"Well yeah I told 'em my PIN, but they were only supposed to use it that one time."

"Another little bit of info for your personal growth sir. If you give them your PIN, you have by default given them authorization to take as much as they want, unless you re-PIN after that time."

Short of the long, it is your money. It is your responsibility to safeguard it. We do all we can to keep criminals out of your stuff, but you have to help us.


Friday, June 1, 2007


Let me start this with an apology. I realize that my posting has dropped to almost nil in the last month. I am going through some helath issues that make me hurt quite a bit and it takes the desire to write right out of me. My doctor and I are working on nailing down exactly what is going on. It all seems to revolve around my liver. Add all of that to the fact that I tend to get depressed easily and BANG..I withdraw. I will do my best to get more out here. But please bear with me if I take awhile to put thoughts to digital paper.


To Kill a War Leader Pt 9 - Dining with a Madman

I know...I's been a long time. Life has just been crazy, so that's all I'll say about that.  The bathroom remodel is d...