Jan 26

I am, I think, probably the poorest sport of a sore loser that I know. And it’s not just with stuff I lose at (which would entail a list far too long to list here). My sportsmanship sucks at all levels of losing. I’m a very gracious winner, but if I or my family or even people I don’t know but I have associated with on some level lose, I’m a pissed off cry baby waiting to cause a scene.

I mean, I was at the YMCA the other night and I was on an elliptical with a little TV attached. I was jamming to my MP3 player and I decided to put ESPN on the TV just to have something to watch other than my feet going round and round on the elliptical. There’s a college basketball game on, so I decide I’ll watch.  Now, I couldn’t give two craps about most college or professional sports.  A bunch of people with height and skills that I could never possess playing games that could lead to lucrative careers… playing games… while I struggle to make ends meet and try to face the fact that I will work a job making less in a year than most professional basketball players make in about half a week.  And I will work a job until the day I die.  And I start to hope for that day just so I won’t have to work a job anymore.  And that is depressing.  And I’m getting off topic…

So the teams playing are Florida and Tennessee.  I could care less about either of those teams.  I didn’t have a horse in that race.  So, how did I decide who I was going to root for?  Well, Tennessee is losing by about 14 points.  And Tennessee isn’t ranked.  Florida is ranked #6, so I decide I’m going to root for the underdog.  And you see, this is how I usually end up on the losing side of stuff.  When  one is predisposed to root for the underdog, one is going to face a lot of disappointment.  Underdogs are underdogs for a reason: they have less likelihood of winning because they aren’t as good as the favorite.  So, Florida starts to pull away.  Before you know it, Florida is ahead by over 20 points.  And I’m starting to get pissed.  I’m seeing smug looks on all of the Florida player’s faces.  The Florida coach is starting to look like an arrogant jackass.  I’m starting to see Florida getting away with fouls that aren’t getting called.  And Florida is suddenly up by 30 points and the game is over and I’m completely pissed off.  I hate the state of Florida and everyone associated with the state of Florida and I vow to do everything in my power, which is quite limited, to destroy everything associated with Florida… all because of a stupid college basketball game that I didn’t give two craps about before I started watching it…

I am a very poor sport.

My oldest kid played in an indoor soccer tournament a couple of weekends ago in Rapid City.  The family and I went to watch.  And for everyone of the three games that my kid’s team played and lost, I sat there acquiring a major disdain for Rapid City, South Dakota.  As our team would get further and further down in the score, I would become increasingly annoyed with the parents of the winning teams.  How dare they cheer for their kids!  How dare they encourage their players!  Whose bright idea was it for all of the parents for both teams to sit together?!?  Is someone just trying to make my life miserable?!?

Now, I honestly am a rational adult.  I know that those parents have every right to cheer for their teams.  I know that good parents encourage their children whether they win or lose.  I’m just not that good of a parent.  I want my kid and his friends to win.  Of course, they have to play better than the team they are playing against or that won’t happen, but when in the heat of the battle, I don’t think reasonably.  When in the heat of battle, all I can think about is how I want my kid to win.  If he can win at soccer, maybe he can win at life.  If he wins at life, maybe he will end up with a good paying job that he actually enjoys in a place that he likes living.  In other words, I don’t want my kid to end up like his old man.  I’ve lost a lot in my life and I have learned from those losses.  You know what I have learned from losing?  I’ve learned that losing sucks.  Period.  Sure, you win some and you lose some, but losing still sucks.  There is no redemption in losing.  You lose and then you work hard to improve and if you still lose after working hard and improving, give up and do something else.  Because losing sucks.  There is absolutely nothing you can do to make losing not suck, so avoid losing.  I know this isn’t possible, but it is a worthy pursuit.

My younger son plays in a kids basketball league at the YMCA.  His team played this past weekend, and his team lost.  These are 9 and 10-year-old kids.  And as my kid’s team is losing, I’m looking at the 9 and 10-year-olds on the other team and I start to dislike them immensely.  I dislike their smug little smiles and their cocky attitudes as they score more points.  Of course, their smiles aren’t really smug and their attitudes aren’t cocky, but it sure seemed like they were as they were kicking my kid’s team’s butts!  If my kid loses at 9 and 10-year-old basketball at the YMCA, he may be destined for a crappy existence in someplace like Scottsbluff, NE where he would have to work for over 100 years to make what the average professional basketball player makes in one year… and I want more for my kids than that…

See, I think of my current misery associated with life in the panhandle of Nebraska as being a direct result of the many loses and failures I have experienced over the course of my life. Because I am a loser, I am here.  If I were a winner, I would be living elsewhere doing something else and being paid exceptionally well to do it.  Currently, if I were to become fed up with my job and were to search for something else, what would I do? Maybe I could sell farm equipment; that sounds pretty rewarding, doesn’t it?  I could work at the sugar factory; there’s a dream come true!  I could maybe make slightly over minimum wage at Walmart; that would lead to my praying for God to strike me dead every working minute of every working day…

You see, winners don’t have to consider an entry-level job at Walmart as a real possibility for earning a living.  Real winners don’t even have to shop at Walmart.  So I’m a poor sport… I’m a sore loser… especially when it comes to my kids.  I want my kids to have completely Walmart-free futures…

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Sep 25

My purpose on this blog is never really to piss anyone off.  Oh, I know I come across as bitter and cynical at times, mostly because I’m pretty bitter and cynical at times.  Life is not fair, and life is less fair when one is short, fat, not overly bright, and ugly.  I know we are all made in God’s image, but I think I may have been made in the image of His big toe.  I know that God loves us for who we are and not what we look like or how smart we are, but I just have a feeling things would be a little easier if I looked more like Brad Pitt and less like God’s big toe.  So, yeah, my outlook and attitude need to change and whatnot, but I really do not set out to piss anyone off… except for maybe a county commissioner or two… jokingly… on occasion.

I received an email almost 2 months ago from someone who was upset by one of my posts.  She was upset about my attitude towards residents of Gering, NE.  I actually like most residents in Gering that I have met.  I feel that some of them may be a little closed-minded, but they are entitled to their opinions… and I am entitled to mine.  The lady who sent me the email was upset about a post I had written on the night Teresa Scanlan (a local gal) won the Miss America Pageant.

On that night, I watched a number of disagreements develop online about where Ms Scanlan was actually from.  Residents of Scottsbluff were claiming she was from Scottsbluff which infuriated residents of Gering.  Instead of just being proud of a local young person achieving such a prestigious accomplishment, they were bickering about who should get to claim her.  It was anal, so I wrote a post about it.  I poked fun at both Scottsbluff and Gering residents.  That post resulted, almost two years later, in me receiving the following in my inbox:

On Mon, 5 Aug 2013 13:54:22 -0600
Name…: Xxx Xxxxx
Email..: xxxxxx@xxxxx.com

 Subject: Your attitude toward Gering

Wow, I was interested in reviewing Teresa Scanlon s reign as Miss
Nebraska and Miss America and pulled up your blog. You
put down Gering residents this way and wonder why Gering is not eager to
merge with Scottsbluff? You’ve bolstered the case for why it will never
happen with your snarky attitude. Gering has SO much going for it
compared to out-sized opinion of itself that Scottsbluff has.
Scottsbluff has serious issues both economically, socially and educationally that Gering 
avoid by choosing to live here. As a former longtime teacher in Scottsbluff, I would
go into bankruptcy before sending any of my children and now grandchildren
to school there! The only reason Teresa transferred to Scottsbluff
High for her final year is that they could offer her more of the courses she
needed to graduate early…nothing more. She has grown up in Gering, attended
church and made friends there throughout her growing up years.

Finally, I like the fact that someone wishing to contact you has to identify
themselves, but we have no idea who you are.
>
> Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64;
> Trident/6.0)
—–
No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG – www.avg.com
Version: 10.0.1432 / Virus Database: 3211/6070 – Release Date: 08/11/13

Okay, so this former school teacher had a lot of points to make.  I didn’t take anything she wrote too personally.  She was, after all, apparently just venting at me.  Venting is mostly what I do in my blog.  I understand the need.  However, after reading her rant over several times, I decided I needed to give her a response.  I replied with the following:

 

Xxx,

Thank you for your email. I’m sorry you were offended by my blog. If you read the post about Teresa and where is she from and this is the post your email is referring to, you must have read it with blinders on. I made fun of both Scottsbluff and Gering residents. You seem to think I am from Scottsbluff. I am not. I am originally from another state. I have lived in both Scottsbluff and Gering in my almost 20 years in the panhandle. I currently live in Terrytown. I noticed several things in your email that didn’t seem quite right.

My snarky attitude is mine alone. To say that the reasons the two communities won’t merge are bolstered by my snarkiness seems, to be honest, snarky. You say that Scottsbluff has an outsized opinion of itself. The town? I didn’t know towns had opinions. Are you referring to the people of the town? You seem to feel that everyone in Scottsbluff is one in the same, but I don’t think that is probably true. You are entitled to your opinion, however, as am I. Apparently you don’t have any friends or family on the other side of the river.

You also say that “Scottsbluff has serious issues both economically, socially and educationally that Gering avoid by choosing to live here.”  First of all, you list three issues, so your use of the word “both” is not correct. And you were a school teacher, correct? In Scottsbluff? And you no longer teach there? Well, I think that will probably help Scottsbluff with some of its “educational issues”. In addition to the incorrect use of the word “both”, the sentence doesn’t make any sense. Gering can’t choose to live anywhere. Gering is a municipality and has no free will… or thoughts… or anything. The residents of Gering can make choices, if that is what you meant. You really like to pit Gering and Scottsbluff against one another as if there really weren’t people involved, at least that is the tone I get from your email.

You honestly would go into bankruptcy before letting your children or grandchildren go to school in Scottsbluff? I would never say anything like that about our local schools… not in seriousness. Both Scottsbluff and Gering schools are staffed by local teachers who, for the most part, care about our children and our childrens’ futures. I wouldn’t hesitate to send my children to either school system. I mean, I understand the good-natured rivalry between Scottsbluff and Gering, but to say that you would declare bankruptcy before sending anyone from your family to one or the other…
this is exactly the kind of attitude that exists between certain members of both communities (and it does seem to be more prevalent in Gering) that drives me nuts.

The entire purpose of the blog post I wrote about Teresa winning Miss America was to show that, on a great occasion for the state of Nebraska, we should be proud of an outstanding accomplishment from a local young person.
Immediately after she won, I saw several huge arguments on Facebook about whether she is from Scottsbluff or Gering. I thought that was silly. I thought we could all be proud for her, not because of exactly which city she is from, but because she is from our state and, more specifically, our area. Thank you for taking the time to send me an email letting me know that she is actually from Gering and that Scottsbluff sucks. I had no idea anyone from Gering would have that attitude? What a surprise. You have opened my eyes…

Rich

I replied to Xxx’s email within a day or two of receiving hers back at the beginning of August.  I have yet to receive a response…

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Aug 05

I’m having a hard time blogging as of late. Nothing much is striking me as funny. I’ve got a post I’ve been working on about Castle Rock Construction out of Minnesota (that did some hail damage repair for us last year… and into this year), but there is nothing funny about the crappy experience Castle Rock provided.  That post serves more as a warning.  I’ve also got posts partially completed about soccer as a sport, defining a successful career, and great free things in a bad economy.  I also took an awesome trip with the family to Mexico that I should probably blog about, but that holiday ended as most do… with going back to work… and there is nothing funny about going back to work.

I returned to work after almost two weeks off today.  As anyone who reads this blog knows, I hate work. My attitude sucks when it comes to work. It’s not where I work or the job itself (at least not 100%), it’s just that working any job sucks.  So, since my vacation was supposed to “revitalize” me, I thought I would try heading back to work with a new attitude.  In an effort to make this happen, I spent Sunday evening before returning to work reading Fish! A Proven Way To Boost Morale and Improve Results… I mean, it’s proven, right?

Okay, I’m not going to do a book review here. The book was stupid.  Much like Who Moved My Cheese, this crapfest was a silly little fictional story that makes it seem like adapting to change and changing your attitude is something easy that anyone can do… and your life will be much better for the effort.  The numbskulls who write these books need to spend a few weeks working in the real world with real customers before they write this nonsense.

Anywho, I decide I’m going to have a positive attitude.  Yep, just like that. That’s how easy it’s supposed to be. I’m going to look at the positive in every situation that comes up.  And I go to work… on a Monday… after being away from the office for almost two weeks. I don’t know who is stupider: me or the authors of this insipid book.

Now, please realize that these books are not really written to help anyone.  Motivational business books are written solely for the purpose of making the authors a lot of money. Since the advice found in most of these books is worthless, the only way the authors can make bank is to make the books attractive to managers and executives who are too lazy to really work with morale issues in their companies and are looking for an easy “fix”.  The people in charge need to say:

“Hey, we need to implement changes for, or get more results out of, our drones and we really don’t want to pay them more to make that happen… so we need some cute little book that will make them want to work harder for us for the same money (or at times less than) they are currently making.  Pick up a couple hundred copies of Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results and make it mandatory reading for the worker bees…

Then, the authors make bank and write supplemental books to their original book that are even cheesier than the original, like Fishing with Boys! A Proven Way To Make Your Preschool Boy Not Pee All Over the Toilet Seat. I knew all of this going into my new Monday morning positive attitude approach, but I figured it was still worth a shot. Something needs to change. My attitude may be the answer.

So, I get to work with my sparkling positive attitude. First thing, I get employees telling me about all of the stuff that went wrong while I was gone. I inform them that I am working on a new, positive attitude and have no need for their negative “facts”.

Then, the phone rings and a longtime customer that I have done many special things for to make their service work beyond what they paid for cancels service. They are going with a competitor that I don’t care for much at all.  But that’s okay… right? I mean, I have this whole new positive attitude thing going on, right?

And then a customer calls in and asks for a “manager”… which I guess would be me. Anytime, as a manager, you have a coworker say, “Can you take this call? They want to speak to a manager,” you know it’s not going to be fun. So I take the call and the person is upset that they haven’t heard back from tech support and they left a message over two hours ago on a Monday where the techs are dealing with all of the messages from over the weekend and this wait time is unacceptable and their service isn’t working and they need something done right this minute and no they don’t want to talk to a tech that boat has sailed and I need to get someone out there right NOW! So, I book a service call… for Wednesday… which is the soonest I have someone available… and the positive attitude that I started the day with slit its wrists during the call. It’s about half way through the work day and my negative, pessimistic attitude is giving my positive attitude a really scathing eulogy before cremating it and scattering its ashes to the hostile, unrelenting panhandle wind.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. Maybe Tuesday is a better day to try a positive attitude…

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Jun 10

The Union Bar in Gering Nebraska has its own little claim to fame: the Diet Burger.  The Nebraska Beef Council holds a “Nebraska’s Best Burger” contest every year.  The Diet Burger was one of  five finalists for this year’s coveted top spot.  Needless to say, it didn’t win, but still… a burger recognized as great in a state where cows are more populous than people has got to be good, right?

A tradition that my boys and I have is to go camping for a night somewhere local to give the wife a night with the house to herself.  We haven’t been able to do this for the last couple of years, but this year we just made it happen.  We planned on camping at a local campground on Friday night, cooking out that night.  Then, our big plan was to go to The Union for lunch the following day to try us one of these Diet Burgers.  I’m a big burger fan and am at a loss for anything other than chain and fast food burgers around these parts.   I haven’t had any burgers locally that have made me say to myself, “Wow, beef really is better in Nebraska.”

At first, my boys were a little hesitant going to a “bar” for lunch, but I had them so psyched up to try one of these burgers that I think it could have been served in an alley on East Overland and they would have been willing to go.  See, the Diet Burger is supposed to be a pound of beef and a pound of bacon mushed between two grilled cheese sandwiches.  Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, right?  Sounded like the perfect thing to split with the boys on the one “cheat day” I allow myself away from my stinking diet.

So, the boys and I camp Friday night.  We have a good time.  We do a little geocaching, we play with our new puppy (who joined us on our trip), we ate some campfire stuff, we played us a little UNO, and we talked about how cool eating that Diet Burger was going to be.  The next day, we pack up camp and head to The Union to top-off our adventure.

Now I was especially excited.  I have a lot of people who know me who complain that I never write about anything positive in this here blog.  They say stuff like, “Why can’t you focus on the positive” and “There are lots of good things around here to write about.”  So, I’m excited that I am finally going to be able to write about something in a positive light in the good old panhandle of Nebraska.   I’ve never actually seen one of these Diet Burgers, but I was imagining a monstrosity of meat and cheese just oozing with goodness.  I couldn’t wait to get a picture or two of the behemoth and attach them to my stellar review of the burger.  I haven’t been this excited about much of anything in the panhandle of Nebraska since… well… ever.

The boys and I stroll into The Union and take a small table by the front window.  Our waitress is a cute little blond gal with short shorts and a pleasant smile.  “What can I get you guys?” she asks.

I don’t even hesitate.  “We’ll take a Diet Burger,” I say, my mouth already starting to collect drool with which to help the feast of beef and pork that I am soon going to be devouring slide down my gullet.

The waitress got kind of a wrinkly look on her face and said “Oooh,” and I knew my dreams were about to come crashing down around me in small piles that somehow resembled mutilated unicorns.

“We don’t serve those on Saturdays.”

Suddenly, with her face all scrunched up, little blondie with the short shorts wasn’t so cute anymore.

She points to a little list of like 10 bar-food-type appetizer items.  “This is our Saturday menu.”

“Well…” I start, looking at both of my boys who, like me, are visibly fighting the onslaught of tears on the verge of exploding from their eyes, “… we really wanted the Diet Burger.”

“Sorry,” says blondie.

“Okay,” I said as I started to get up from the table.  “I guess we’ll go somewhere else.”

The boys and I got up and, stepping around the small piles of blood and unicorn guts, made our way out of The Union.  “Gering sucks,” I said to the boys as we climbed back into our car.  “You know, if Gering would merge with Scottsbluff, The stupid Union would serve Diet Burgers on Saturday.”

See, now I will never have a Diet Burger.  The Union pissed me off, and the ability to forgive isn’t my strongest trait.  It is completely within The Union’s rights as a small business in the USA to serve what they want when they want.  Maybe the Saturday lunch crowd (which may not exist… there were like two drunk dudes sitting at the bar — and that’s it — while we were there at right after noon) doesn’t deserve this “famous” local treat.  The Diet Burger is no longer “famous” to me… it’s dead. See, I also have rights… like the right to never set foot in there again.

We drove into Scottsbluff and went to the Original Submarine Sandwich Shop located in Route 66 Mart.  We got some 4″ subs, which are served on Saturdays, and although they weren’t as flavorful as I’m sure the Diet Burger would have been, they were seasoned with the extra saltiness of our tears…

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Dec 28

Since finding myself living in Nebraska, I’ve felt a touch of compassionate empathy for those poor folks involved in the tourism industry in Nebraska.  I mean, we are a world in search of adventure.  Nebraska is no grand adventure.

Life is actually usually pretty boring, if we sit back and think about it.  I remember, after going to see the latest installment in the Spider-Man big screen adaptation behemoth, my teen-aged son saying to me, “Man, being Spider-Man would be cool, huh?  I mean, after watching Spider-Man, real life seems kind of boring.”   Yes, boy, I thought, real life seems kind of boring.  And he is a teenager.  Just wait until you are an adult, with bills and responsibilities and a job, which if you are like 70% (and I believe this percentage may be a little low) of the population, you will hate. That’s why people get lost in television series about zombies and movie franchises about vampires and book series about young wizards, that’s why people get all tied up in “a galaxy far, far away” — because real life is boring.  That’s why grown men and women lose themselves in the utter ridiculousness of “sport fandom” — because our lives are pretty boring, so we need to live vicariously through people who we view as having “exciting lives.”  So, when we go to spend our hard-earned and hard-saved  vacation money (or rack up credit card bills we have no intention of actually paying off in our lifetimes), we are searching for some relaxation, some adventure, and getting away from our boring lives. Why would anyone in his or her right mind search out wind, allergens, the smell of feedlots, and the miles and miles of mind-numbing cornfields of Nebraska as a place to spend their vacation dollars?  Nebraska is a place you pass through on your way to somewhere that has something to offer.   No one in his or her right mind…

My thoughts are often with those poor folks who have jobs that require the promotion of Nebraska as a tourist destination.  Talk about some of the hardest jobs in America.  I’m actually surprised that Dirty Jobs hasn’t featured Nebraska Tourism in its spotlight…

Mike Rowe walks into the State Tourism office in Lincoln.  He is immediately greeted by a weary young woman who welcomes him with a weak, sweaty handshake.

Mike: Well, this looks like an office job.  It can’t be that bad.

Woman: Yeah, it’s an office job.

Mike: So, what do you guys and gals do here?

Woman: We try to convince people to spend their vacation dollars in Nebraska.

Mike (rolling up his sleeves): Well, Nebraska can’t be that bad.  What are some of the things in the state that people would want to come see?

Woman: … Kool-Aid was invented here…

Mike: Okay, that’s a start.  And we have a museum for that?

Woman: Well, no.  There is a display for Kool-Aid in a museum in Hastings, but no stand-alone museum.

Mike: … okay… what else we got!

Woman: We have corn, and cows.  Growing is big here.  We grow corn and meat and beans and stuff.

Mike (hamming it up, winking at the camera): How about pot?  Could we promote pot?  Some states are legalizing it!

Woman: The state is about 99.7% Republican…

Mike (coughing): … okay… uh… celebrities?  Any living celebrities people would want to visit the home towns of?

Woman: … Larry the Cable Guy…

Mike (tearing off his microphone and yelling at his producer): Nebraska?  Who in the hells idea was this?  They are FIRED!  We are out of here…

Woman (weeping): … Oh please, God, don’t leave me!  Are you hiring… anything… somebody has to wash the crap off your clothes after you crawl out of the sewers… I’ll do that…

Okay, Nebraska tourism might be too much for even Dirty Jobs.

Now, with Nebraska tourism being on my mind more than not, I am constantly looking for ways to help those poor folks involved in the industry.  So, when I came across a small article in the local Star-Herald newspaper, my grand plan began to formulate.  Nebraska might not be the logical choice for people in their right minds… but what about nutjobs and whackos?  We might be the place for those folks, and there are a lot of those folks… and they have money too.

The article in the Star-Herald was about a vampire in Serbia.  Now, you may be asking yourself why a small newspaper in Scottsbluff, Nebraska is carrying a story about a vampire in Serbia.  Well, it’s Nebraska.  Not much happens here, but there are pages to fill.  Now, from what I could glean from the story, the locals don’t really believe there is a vampire on the loose in Serbia.  The locals are just playing up the sensational story for — you guessed it — potential tourism dollars.  The residents of Zarozje, Serbia, want the nutjobs and the whackos to come spend their hard-earned vacation money in search of the elusive vampire.  This will probably work.  People go to Transylvania because of Dracula.  People visit the Loch Ness in hopes of spying the monster.  Weirdos and psychos head to the Pacific Northwest with the intend of snapping a picture of Bigfoot.  Now, if only the good folks of Nebraska had something freakish going for them… other than the freakishly boring everyday stuff…

Now, I’m thumbing through another edition of the Star-Herald and I see a piece on Stephen King giving a speech at the University of Massachusetts… and the Golden Tourism plan is devised for the great state of Nebraska!

Stephen King has used Nebraska in a few of his stories.  Children of the Corn takes place in and around the fictitious town of Gatlin, which would be somewhere in the western part of the state near the real-life Hemingford.  The real-life Hemingford is the namesake for Stephen King’s Hemingford Home, which was the residence of  Abigail Freeman in The Stand.  Hemingford Home is also where Wilfred James killed and was haunted by his wife in 1922.  Stephen King doesn’t seem to have a problem imagining strange things transpiring in Nebraska.  We should SELL THAT!  Screw vampires!  Screw hairy guys with big feet!  We’re talking killer children in the cornfields!  All of a sudden, those stupid cornfields seem to be more than a source for allergy issues.  Guys murder their wifes and bury them in old wells around here, folks: come and SEE IT!  Come to Nebraska and try not to get caught up in the ultimate battle between good and evil!  Try to keep your SOUL!

Oh man, this is tourism gold.  I mean, you walk into the local Walmart at an hour of any given day and about half of the dudes walking around look like they could have potentially buried their wives in wells.  Nebraska could be the freak-out capital of the world.  Farmers could have mazes going through their cornfields and hire some of the local illegals to chase tourist with machetes.  There could be bloody body parts scattered along the trails. The whole state could become like the worlds largest haunted house!  People would come from near and far to be freaked-out in Nebraska.  Oh sure, the new breed of tourist this campaign would bring in might not be the most mentally sound of people, but money all burns the same, right?

And I even have the new state slogan.  Screw “The Good Life”, because we don’t want to mislead people with false advertising.  Our new slogan would be:

Nebraska:  Something’s Just Not Quite Right…

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Nov 29

I turned ancient yesterday.

Truly ancient.

43.

Only 7 more years until I hit 50, but I really don’t count on living that long.  50 is way older than I ever imagined myself getting, and the thought of being a 50-year-old man holds no joy for me.  “50” reminds me of all of those fogies who think that you should automatically respect them for no reason other than the fact that they are old.  Just because cancer decided not to claim you yet doesn’t gain you my respect. I don’t want to be that fogey.

Anywho, along with marking my crawl toward death with another anniversary, yesterday was the day that my driver’s license expired.  I had been putting off going to get my license renewed because I have never… NEVER… had a completely positive experience in anything I have done at the Scotts Bluff County building in Gering. Whether it’s registering an automobile, or anything to do with my driver’s license, or protesting my property valuation in front of the county commissioners — it’s like the entire place is run on the foundation that you are going to leave pissed off; this is their goal.  And they will tell you that this is not their goal, but they lie.

Government employees have some of the best training in customer service of any profession… said no one… EVER!

So, three days ago, I put on my big boy pants and went down to the DMV in the county building for what I was sure would be a miserable, stresstastic experience.  I get in line and grab the paperwork to fill out. The other guys waiting in line are bitching about how much it sucks to have to deal with the DMV, but I try to ignore them and just concentrate on my paperwork. I don’t need anyone else to raise my stress level — I do a plenty good job of that myself.

Well, I get my paperwork filled out and come to the realization that the reason the other guys in line are complaining is the fact that the DMV’s computer system is down. They can’t do anything with their computer system down, and they have no ETA on when the computer system will be back up. So, I sit there for my lunch hour, hoping that the computer system will come back up, and it doesn’t. I go back to work feeling a little like I just wasted an entire lunch hour… and knowing I have to go back to the DMV…

… but I prepare.

I actually read over the “required forms” crap at the DMV before I leave so that I can make sure I have every stupid piece of paper that I am going to need to get out of there with no hassle, because that is usually where most of the issues at the Scotts Bluff County building come from.  You see, there are various hoops that have to be jumped through. Many of the hoops seem ridiculous, and many of the hoops are ridiculous. The hoops are what make any visit to the Scotts Bluff County building a major pain in the ass.  Well, the hoops and the hoopmasters.

Hoopmasters are the employees within the walls of the Scotts Bluff County building.  Many of the hoopmasters are so mired in rules and regulations that there ability to use common sense is turned off as soon as they walk through the doors of the building to begin their shifts.

One guy one time did such-and-such with a doohickey which caused issues for the county.  All of the “customers” of the county are criminals.  Therefore, a rule is implemented that no one can now use a doohicky, because everyone is out to screw the county and everyone must be blatantly treated like they are out to screw the county.  “We” (the residents of the county) are the “them” in the “us vs. them” that is how the hoopmasters view our relationship.

I have a different address than what appeared on my old license, so I need various proof of this in the form of various pieces of paper.  I make the necessary photocopies of all of the required pieces of paper in the morning before going to work so that I can use another lunch hour to get my license renewed.

When I arrived at work in the morning, I went online to once more check all of the required paperwork. I immediately called the wife and asked her to bring in the original forms that I had made copies of — because copies will not be accepted.  One of the forms was a recent credit card statement.

“But the part that you have to mail in with the payment is the only part of the statement that has your address on it,” said the wife.

“Yeah, but there is one that hasn’t been paid yet,” I said.

“But that one is in my stack of bills to be paid,” said the wife.

“I know, but I need it,” I said.

“But you’ll lose it, and then you will be making it harder for me to pay that bill,” said the wife.

“Yeah, I probably will, but I have a photocopy here that we can use to pay the bill if I do,” I said.

“Why can’t you use the copy you made?” asked the wife.

“DMV,” I said.

“Oh yeah, right,” said the wife, “one guy one time with the doohickey.”

“Exactly,” I said.

So, the wife brought me all of the necessary originals, and when my lunch break rolled around, I was all set to go. I had even taken a blank check so that I could pay with a check. The county treasurer accepts credit and debit cards, but they add on some stinking fee if you pay by that method.  You know, kind of like the cheap-ass gas station owners who charge an extra 3¢ per gallon if you’re using plastic.

Cheap-ass gas station owners and Scotts Bluff County, almost one in the same.

So I walk in expecting the worst, even though I feel like I am as prepared as I can be.  There is no line.  I take a number and a pleasant lady immediately asks what she can do to help me.  I tell her I need to renew my license.  I already have my form filled out, so she takes my form and my expiring license and sets to work typing into her computer.  She gets a little bit of a pained look and she glances at me from the corner of her eye.

“Uhm… it looks like your address has changed,” she said.

“Yep,” I said, and I handed her a pile of check deposit tickets, credit card statements, mortgage statements, utility bills and my most recent copy of Sports Illustrated.  Her pained look disappears and she digs through my pile until she finds two suitable forms of proof of address.

I look into the little eye tester dealie, she makes some notes, and I’m off and running to the treasurer to pay for my new license.  I AM STOKED!

I am so basking in the glory of having a pleasant experience at the Scotts Bluff County building that almost don’t understand the elderly lady who helps me at the treasurer’s office.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“How would you like to pay?” the elderly lady repeated.

“I don’t like to pay extra fees, so I brought a check,” I said.  I was almost giddy with how easy this was all going.

I fill out the check with the appropriate amount and hand it to the elderly lady.  This is the most fantastic experience I have ever had within the four walls of this building and I have never…

“I don’t think I can take this check,” says the elderly lady.

“…”

“It’s from out of county, and we can’t take out of county checks,” says the elderly lady as she points at the little homemade sign hanging on the back wall that reads:

NO OUT OF COUNTY CHECKS

“But I live in Gering,” I say.  “My address on the check is Gering. This county building is in Gering. Isn’t all of Gering in the same county?”

“It’s not your address,” says the elderly lady.  “Just a second…”

The elderly lady calls over a slightly-over-middle-aged lady (who I’m assuming is some kind of supervisor or something) and shows her my check.

“Yeah, we can’t take that,” says the slightly-over-middle-age lady, “it’s from out of county.”

“It’s from Western Heritage Credit Union,” I say.  “They have branches in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Gering.”

Now, I have banked at Western Heritage Credit Union since moving back to the craphandle of Nebraska in 2000.  Western Heritage Credit Union has been doing business in the craphandle for over 75 years, and has had a branch in Gering since at least 2000 (probably longer, I’m guessing).  Yes, their main office is in Alliance (a county over), but I bank at a local branch.  In fact, the local branch is less than 2 blocks from the Scotts Bluff County building.

“I’m sorry, the address under the bank on the check is Alliance,” says the slightly-over-middle-age lady, “and Alliance is in a different county.”

“But the branch I use is less than two blocks from here,” I say, my voice probably rising as I point to the south (the direction of the local branch).

The slightly-over-middle-age lady’s eyes start to get big and she thrusts her finger at the little homemade sign on the back wall.  You remember, the sign that read:

NO OUT OF COUNTY CHECKS

The sign looked like it was probably made on an inkjet printer and was printed on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ piece of printer paper.  The bold, capitalized lettering was in red.  The sign actually looked kind of junky, but now I was apparently supposed to bow down to the sign in all of its glory.

There is a Sign on the wall!  Yes, we made the Sign on an inkjet printer, but the Sign is all powerful!  There can be no arguing with the Sign!  Common sense cannot overrule the Sign!  The Sign has spoken!  Now, fall to your knees and worship the Sign!

I am left just staring in wonder at the fact that the slightly-over-middle-age lady felt that pointing at that stupid sign had some kind of meaning.  I guess I should make a sign.  I have an inkjet printer, I have 8.5″ x 11″ printer paper, and I can print in red.  And I have something to put on that sign.
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“You know,” started the slightly-over-middle-age lady, “one time there was one guy from out of the county with a doohickey…”

“NEVER MIND,” I’m pretty sure I may have shouted.  “I’LL PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD.”

“Well,” said the slightly-over-middle-age lady all indignantly.  “If you wouldn’t have gotten argumentative, I was just going to tell you that I was going to make an exception this one time.”

Argumentative?  All I did was interrupt her insipid story about why the stupid homemade sign was placed on the wall in the first place.  I wasn’t argumentative.  I was upset.  I was justifiably upset that they were refusing to take a check from a credit union with a branch that was less than a two minute walk from where I was sitting.  If she wanted to truly offer customer service, she wouldn’t have started her spiel about the “one guy” and his “doohickey” and she would have led with the “we’ll make an exception this one time” part.  You can’t get argumentative.  You aren’t even supposed to get upset.  They have signs all over the place threatening you with deputies and crap if you lose your temper in probably one of the few place on the face of the earth where losing your temper is guaranteed.

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Walking into the Scotts Bluff County building is like walking into the largest catch 22 of all time.

“I’LL PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD,” I say.  “I DON’T NEED YOUR EXCEPTION. I’LL PAY YOUR STUPID FEE AND USE MY CREDIT CARD.”

The slightly-over-middle-age lady turned and stormed off and I handed my debit card to the elderly lady who now refused to look me in the eyes.  She swiped my card and started doing her thing.

“Do you know your security code?” the elderly lady asked… AS SHE IS HOLDING MY CARD!

“No, I don’t,” I said.  “The security code has worn off, but you are holding the card.  You just swiped the card.  You don’t need my security code if you have swiped the card.”

“Yes, I do,” said the elderly lady.

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I give the elderly lady my Amazon Visa without saying a word.  I am looking around for an object sharp enough to slit my throat, but nothing appears to be within my reach.

Now, because the elderly lady swiped the card that I do not know the security card for, the machine does not seem to want to accept my Amazon Visa card.  The elderly lady is starting to look really nervous.  She keeps saying, “Oh my” with every button she pushes on the keyboard, and sweat is starting to pool in the wrinkles on her forehead.  She keeps looking around as if looking for help, but everyone has cleared my portion of the office.  I just sit there, staring at that stupid sign.

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After about 10 minutes, I believe a drop of sweat from the elderly lady’s forehead fell on the keyboard and shorted something out to the point that she could use my Amazon Visa.  She insincerely apologized for the wait, and I left without saying a word, the sign burning an image into my brain as I tried to keep my head from exploding…

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Here’s an idea!  How about instead of putting these flipping signs in every nook and cranny of your stinking building, instead of that, try training your employees to treat people in a manner where those people will not have such a strong desire to use abusive, threatening, or profane language!  Could we try that?  I know I sure in the hell wasn’t being treated in a courteous manner when the idiots in the treasurer’s office told me they couldn’t take a check from a bank that was two blocks away!  Could I have summoned a deputy to escort them from the premises for their noncourteous actions?  IS NONCOURTEOUS EVEN A WORD…

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Aug 25

I always get jealous of my kids this time of year.  They are off to school and have all kinds of new stuff start in their lives.  New classes, new teachers, new sports, new friends.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch of adulthood, I still get up every morning and go do what I do every stinking day.  Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing offering much of a reason to get out of stinking bed.

“Oh, wait,” says the tiny little voice of optimism that reaches out from the deep recesses of my small mind.  “Maybe you’ll make some new friends today!”

“Yeah,” I remind that stinking voice, “I work in tech support.  I may meet a new person who is all pissed off because his or her Internet isn’t working.  Sounds like fun.”

“Uh… well… they’ll be happy if you help them with their problem,” says the diminishing voice.

“Because I did what I am paid to do,” I replied. “They aren’t going to want to invite me and the family over for supper because I did my job.”

“… well… you, uh… sometimes, you’re coworkers are fun to be around,” squeaks the voice.

“Yeah, maybe today someone will come up with a new and exciting excuse to call in and not be able to come to work, and I can stress out (because everything stresses me out) trying to figure out how to reschedule stuff or make up for the work that coworker was supposed to do,” I tell the voice.

“You’re hopeless,” says the voice as it crawls back into the murk of my mind, hidden from all conscious thought… just where I like it.

Other than the weekends and the occasional scheduled vacation, I don’t find myself looking forward to too much during the course of any given day.  Sometimes, I’m gifted a sporting event or a musical performance in the evening that makes the latter-half of a work day go by a little quicker.  Usually, though, life is routine.  For the kids, their lives are pretty routine as well, but their routines change from year to year and from season to season.  Life as an adult can be… well… pretty mundane.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only adult who feels this way.  I know this is one of the main reasons why I have changed jobs so many times: just to break up the mundane.  I also have a feeling this is why American Idol and Monday Night Football are so popular: most of us just don’t know how to find excitement in our lives, so we settle for the faux-excitement of vesting our emotions in the efforts of someone who is actually living what we perceive to be the excitement.  And for many of us, even most of the stuff we look forward to isn’t really so much about us as it is about our kids.  Going to a kid’s baseball game or a kid’s soccer tournament or a kid’s piano recital.  Once you’re old, you start to realize why people live vicariously through their children — because the life of an adult kinda sucks.  All the good stuff happens to the young.  Even the Bible agrees with me:

“Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
I find no pleasure in them’ ”— (Ecclesiastes 12-1)

Old age is the days of trouble when no pleasure is to be found.

So, in an effort to add something interesting to the monotony of adulthood, I decided this year to get myself a small game hunting license.  As a kid, I used to hunt all the time.  I grew up out in the country, and all of my friends lived in town, so I’d find myself on almost any given day out in the fields near our house shooting stuff.  I’d shoot rabbits and snakes and all kinds of critters.  As I grew older, I tried to shoot only things that could be utilized.  I’d kill jackrabbits and feed them to our dogs.  My blue healers loved fresh rabbit and weren’t quite fast enough to catch them on their own.  I’d kill cottontails and make my mom cook them (which happened about twice before she said “no more”), and then I learned to make the best rabbit jerky in the world.  I’d hunt sage grouse and pheasant and deer (all during the correct season, of course).  I enjoyed hunting, and I haven’t hunted since I moved to the No-Hunting-or-Trespassing capital of the United States — Nebraska.

I’ve scoped out a few of the extremely small public areas around the panhandle where hunting is allowed, and I plan on killing some stuff.  I plan on getting some rabbits and some squirrels and some doves and some crow and maybe even a pigeon or two and I’m going to eat them.  I got a smoker a couple of years ago for Father’s Day, and I’ve learned that EVERYTHING is good smoked.  Heck, if I run into any rattlesnakes or big old bull snakes, I may even throw them on the smoker.

The wife is, of course, disgusted with my plan, and the boys are terrified.  But, by golly, I’m gonna start filling our freezer with numerous small, rodent-like creatures.  I need to go back and re-hone my skills at being able to provide for my family with my own hands and some of the firearms collecting dust in the closet.  I need to reconnect with my primal self.  I need to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse.

… I need to find something more exciting than the anticipation of Sunday’s new Robot Chicken episode to look forward to each week…

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Aug 15

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Although the actual season doesn’t end for well over a month, what we often think of as summer is drawing to a close.  It’s sad.

It’s not sad that the extreme heat of summer will soon turn to the frigid cold of winter.  I love the cold.

It’s not sad that my boys will continue in the educational process.  The sooner they get through school, the sooner they gain skills that will enable them to surpass their lame father in a meaningful career… outside of the panhandle.  I don’t want to wish away their childhoods, and I do not look forward to the day when they leave home to start lives on their own (along with my wife, my sons are really the only friends I have here in Huskerland… because I’m kinda pathetic… and people don’t really seem to be drawn to my vibrant personality… but whatever).  The sooner they move away from the panhandle, the sooner the wife and I can get the hell out of here and I can figure out what I’m going to do with my life.  I’ll only be like 52 — that’s young, right?  Yeah, I’m delusional…

Soon, every night will once again be filled with one kid’s or the other’s activities.  The peace and quiet, the time to collect one’s thoughts, the fun family time — they are all about to go out the window, and I’m not looking forward to it.

This year, the oldest boy enters high school.  The wife was looking through the pile of crap that the school sends out with all of the rules and suggestions and whatnot.  There was a flyer for the high school’s booster club in the mix.

“Huh,” said the wife, ” that sounds kind of fun.”

“Yeah,” I said.  “I wouldn’t mind getting involved with something like that.”

“Oh, never mind,” said the wife as she read the flyer over.

“What?” I asked.

“Never mind,” said the wife, “you’re not going to want to do it.”

“Why?” I asked.

The wife just looked at me, and I suspect that she may have been trying to come up with a lie.  She ended up telling me the truth.

“They charge $25 to be a member of the booster club,” she finally admitted.

“They charge you $25 to volunteer your time?” I asked.  I should have been incredulous at this point, but life has taught me that most things make absolutely no sense, and much of what life offers seems to have been created exclusively to piss me off.

“See,” said the wife, “I knew you’d get upset.”  She knows me well.

“Guess they charge $25 to keep out the riff raff,” I said.  “Looks like it’s working… ’cause they’re keeping me out.  All of those doctor’s wives and lawyer’s wives can handle it just fine on their own.”

“It’s twenty-five dollars,” said the wife.  “It’s not exactly country club membership pricing.”

“Yeah, twenty-five bucks is like twenty percent of our weekly grocery budget,” I said.  “They want our kids to starve so we can volunteer for the booster club?”

“I don’t think the boys will starve over twenty-five dollars,” said the wife.

“Well, they could!” I shouted, and the wife just walked away. Apparently she doesn’t love our boys as much as I do…

Oh summer, how I will miss you.  I wish the fun and relaxation you offer could be found all year round… but with colder temperatures.  I am, however, a little excited about the whole “high school” thing.  Just from the intro packet that the school gave out, I can already tell that I am going to find a whole new world of stuff to piss me off and to bitch about in a very short period of time…

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Jun 20

Jimmy John’s sucks, and residents of Terrytown and Gering, Nebraska need to boycott it.  (I wrote this intro sentence after I actually wrote the blog post because I’m working on my SEO :) )

A couple of days ago, the wife was looking for some fast food for supper.  It was one of those crazy hectic evenings where there really wasn’t a lot of time to cook.  She had a rough day and was looking to have something (other than the standard pizza) delivered.  “Hey,” she says to herself (because she talks to herself when she is losing her mind), “Jimmy John’s has good, relatively healthy food and they deliver!”

So, the wife calls Jimmy John’s, orders some grub, pays for said grub with a credit card, and then (thinking it strange that delivery was not offered) asked to have the order delivered.

“Uh, you live in Terrytown,” says the fast food genius on the other end of the line.

“Yeah,” says the wife.

“We don’t deliver out of Scottsbluff,” says the minimum-wage-earning superstar at Jimmy John’s.

“Huh?” says the wife.

“Yeah, we don’t deliver anything south of Beltline,” says my new favorite person in the whole entire world.

“But we’re only like 1 mile south of Beltline,” says the wife.

“Uh, you are gonna have to pick up your food,” says, I believe, Mr. Jimmy John himself, and can’t you just imagine him picking at a pimple as he’s talking?

So, the wife rubbed down the horses, pulled the irrigation line, pulled the milkers off the cows, rounded-up the sheep, put down our rabid family dog, pulled the fevered baby from his crib, loaded the crew into the sled and mushed the dogs all the way to Jimmy John’s.  Okay, that may be slightly exaggerated, but it was a pain in the ass.  Thanks for being a buttmunch company, Jimmy John’s!

Jimmy John’s does not deliver to Gering or Terrytown?!?  How have the noble citizens of Gering not taken to the streets en masse to demonstrate against this monstrosity?  How has this not made the cover of the Gering Citizen (a Gering-based tabloid that is pro-Gering… so extremely pro-Gering that its reporting often makes FOX News’ reporting on anything conservative and the Huffington Post‘s reporting on anything liberal actually seem fair and balanced), or at least the topic of a scathing editorial?  I cannot comprehend how one of the loud-mouthed, opinionated citizens of Gering (and Gering has a plethora of those) hasn’t started a boycott of some sort against the tom-fool shenanigans of Jimmy John’s!  Let me say that, as of this point in time, I shall lead the call for a boycott of the ridiculousness that is Jimmy John’s!

For those not from the panhandle of Nebraska, please let me explain the ridiculousness of that which I just wrote.  See, Scottsbluff and Gering are two communities separated by the North Platte River.  Terrytown is a village that occupies a sliver of land between Scottsbluff and Gering and is only a “village” at all because some guy named Terry with a lot of money wanted a town named after himself.  For all intensive purposes, these three municipalities are one community.
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Terrytown is so stinking small, it isn't even on this map...

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Most everyone in this area would agree with that except for the residents of Gering — they tend to be anal and think they are better than everyone “north of the river” (which is how they refer to the unwashed masses in Scottsbluff).

See, part of me blames the residents of Gering for the whole Jimmy John’s debacle.  If Gering would merge with Scottsbluff, we would become like the 7th largest “city” in Nebraska.  Instead, we are two puny little communities (three, if you count Terrytown… which no one does) who have issues attracting not only decent-paying employers (wanna work at Walmart, anyone?), but we have issues getting in amenities and businesses that many in the area would like to see come in (Red Lobster — the lower-middle class’s fancy seafood place).  If we were merged, I bet Jimmy John’s would deliver to Terrytown and Gering.

However, I’m not going to blame this one on Gering (mostly because I wouldn’t rule out a vehement Gering resident trying to murder me in my sleep).  I blame this one on the cheap-ass who owns the Jimmy John’s franchise.  I’m guessing one of two things is happening:

  1. The franchisee only bought the rights for the Scottsbluff zip code and is therefore contractually prohibited from delivering outside of the stated franchise area.  See, the franchisee doesn’t really care about the residents of Gering and Terrytown (whom I’m guessing provide a significant amount of business to the restaurant).  I guess the franchisee wouldn’t care if we all just stopped supporting the business?  I say we give it a try!
  2. The franchisee or management of the restaurant all come from an alternate reality where people in Scottsbluff look at people “south of the river” with the same contempt that Gering residents currently look at “northies” in our reality — because I could see some diphole actually opening a business in Gering and making deliveries to Gering only just to spite people from Scottsbluff.

It’s almost like the Hatfields and McCoys around here… except Gering is the Hatfields and they are out for blood, and Scottsbluff is the McCoys and they gave up on stupid, ego-driven feuds years ago.

I can almost guarantee that some ninny from Gering will read this post and think, “Adventurer Rich, as smart and well written as he is, just doesn’t understand the ramifications of a merger between Scottsbluff and Gering and how that merger would diminish the “voice” of the people of Gering.  Our opinions would be lost in the cacophony of noise coming from north of the river.  Not too mention the fiscal determent to our community and the … blah blah blah.  Come on, folks, we all (by choice or not) live in Nebraska.  Nobody gives a rat’s sittin’ spot about any of our voices.  The least we can do is try to come together with a unified voice so that we can all grow together.

Of course, I live in Terrytown.  Neither side of the river gives two cares about what Terrytownians (dibs — I claim credit for making that word up!!!) think.

Residents of Gering and fellow Terrytownians, let’s show the powers that be in the world of Jimmy John’s that we are not going to be subjected to their abuse.  I propose that all Gering and Terrytown residents refuse to purchase anything from that despicable restaurant until the day when we can have our orders delivered to our doorsteps.  All three worthless little communities making up the Tri-Cities of the panhandle of Nebraska deserve equality!!!

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Jun 12

I’m on a hunger strike!  I have been on a hunger strike since yesterday.  The last time I actually ate anything was Sunday evening, and it is currently Tuesday evening.  I am approaching the 48-hour mark.  I felt a little light-headed last night. Tonight, I’m feeling okay.

Why, you may ask, am I on a hunger strike?  Well, I figure I’m going to do the hunger-strike thing until Nebraska quits sucking.  In other words, I’m going to starve to death.

Last year, about this time, I posted about my experiences with the wonderfully craptastic County of Scotts Bluff.  See, the county commissioners and the county assessor are in cahoots and regularly pull random property valuations out of their asses in order to charge more for property taxes for the abused residents of Scotts Bluff County.  Last year, my taxes inexplicably went up.  I filed a formal protest and appeared before the county commissioners.  I intelligently stated my case and was quickly talked-down to and brushed off.  I wrote a post about my experience last year.

Well, last year’s increase was like 2%.  I filed my protest, appeared before the commissioners, was shot down and humiliated, and wrote a blog post about my experience.  This year, the jackwads at the county decided to increase the value of my property by 6%.  SIX FREAKING PERCENT! How can they keep doing this?

They can keep doing this because they are government — and government sucks!  All forms of government suck, which is why I can’t understand liberals.  Liberals want more government.  Liberals think the government (through more taxation of those who work for what they have) should take care of those in need (those who don’t work for what they have).  Screw that noise!  I used to be a conservative… until along came Bush Jr.  Seems to me Bush Jr. talked a good conservative game, and his tax cuts seemed like the conservative thing to do… then he created all of these billions of dollars in debt with all of these stinking bail outs.  Bush Jr. was nothing more than a liberal in a Texan’s clothing.

All politicians suck.  Period.  There is not one person who is serving in politics who is doing it for 100% the right reasons.  Every politician alive is doing it for:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Influence
  • Personal agenda
  • Attaching his/her name to a legacy

People will disagree, but people are idiots.  There is not a politician alive who is serving for the good of all people.  There is not a politician alive who truly puts the best interest of whatever he/she is representing (country, state, city, county) based on his/her actions.  These jerkwads always have an agenda.  These jerkwads are always looking to help either themselves or help whatever constituent provided the most kickbacks.  I hate politicians.  And Scotts Bluff county commissioners are politicians.

So, let’s see, what new and great things are happening around Scotts Bluff County that would justify a 6% increase in my home’s value (and, of course, the obligatory tax increase associated with that hike):

  • New employers with great new high-paying jobs?  Hell no!  Walmart may be hiring…  The only people making good money are people in the medical field and trust-funders.  Even teaching is considered a good paying job in the craphandle.
  • New amenities?  Are you kidding?  I suspect the newest round of tax-gouging is just to maintain the infrastructure at its current level.  I guess there may be a new drug dealer in the trailer park in my neighborhood.  Drug dealers = idiot drivers looking to score = a not very safe neighborhood for my kids to play. Yeah, increase the valuation of my property based on that…
  • Strong existing economy?  I don’t think so.  Gering recently had a new grocery store open, which replaces the grocery store that Walmart drove out of town years ago.  I don’t know how long that new store in Gering will stay open, but if it were publicly traded, I wouldn’t buy its stock.  In just the last couple of months, our local bookstore (Copperfield) has gone out of business, as has a pottery store downtown (Create Away).  JC Penney recently announced they will be closing their store in our joke of a half-dead mall.  I know about businesses closing.  Closing businesses don’t seem to be the kind of indicator that point toward the kind of strong economy that would justify a 6% increase in a property’s value, does it?
  • The county figured out a way to block the wind, filter the allergens, get rid of the feedlot/sugar beet smells, or make the stinking old Germans drive faster?  Of course not.

The pile of crap that falls from some county administrator’s mouth and gets printed in the local newspaper is that we aren’t being hit as hard by the housing crash as the rest of the country.  We don’t have the big rises in real estate, and we don’t have the big crashes in real estate.

Really?!?

Yeah, I guess if my property value is increasing with me making no improvements to my property, it would be hard to say the market here is crashing.  Stupid Nebraska.

I know, I know… I should be happy that the value of my property is increasing.  A small part of me is happy.  The rest of me is afraid that (if the local economy continues to sucktastically slide, and my wages remain stagnant while the cost of everything — property taxes included — continues to rise) I will find myself in the near future not able to afford my stinking house.  That thought pisses me off beyond all comprehension.

So, I am not eating.  I am not eating as a way to protest the suckiness that is Nebraska. I am not eating to showcase my displeasure in the idiots who run stuff around here.  I figure I will probably make it about 2 to 3 weeks.  And I will happily die knowing that my tombstone will read:

Here Lies Adventurer Rich.

He Died Because Nebraska Sucked…

The Life Right Out of Him!

Oooh, what’s that smell?  Is that chocolate chip cookies?  Damn it, I think the wife made chocolate chip cookies!  She knows I’m on a hunger strike!  Can she not stand behind just one of my attempts to show my displeasure at life in Nebraska?!?  DAMN IT!!!

Crap…

I’m gonna go get me a cookie.  Then, it’s off to McDonalds and its dollar menu… ’cause that’s what we have here for affordable fast food that allows me to STILL PAY MY FREAKING PROPERTY TAXES…

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