“PHONY” Express

Drawing of the Pony Express in Nebraska.

The short-lived Pony Express of lore…  We need you.  I think.

In 1860, a number of riders apparently rode on horseback at full gallop from roughly St. Louis to Sacramento over a number of days.  They would ride from station to station where they would switch to fresh horses.  These stations were anywhere from five to 25 miles apart given the terrain.  A rider would ride for about 75 miles.  Wild Bill Hickok was a rider in his youth – about 15 years old.  He rode something like 320 miles in a little over 21 hours because the next rider had been killed.  Imagine that…

Anyways, it was a rider on one horse.  One horsepower, you can say.


About a month ago, I mailed an envelope with two DVDs from Los Angeles to Ohio.  Not much further in distance than the Pony Express route in actuality.

I mailed it on Monday.

It reached its destination eight days later on  Tuesday the following week (because Monday was a holiday).  It took a week, for argument’s sake.

Perhaps the mail truck didn’t see a parked car along the way.


Or maybe the driver wanted a “Pimp-my-Ride” look and stopped off somewhere along the way to get it done?

30 inch

Or maybe instead of one horsepower, it was one boy-power.  Ignore the air mail signage.  It’s fake.


In today’s time of man-made hearts and boson particles, I feel there canNOT be an excuse for such lackadaisical service.  (Did you hear that Hermione’s invisibility cloak can be a reality?)

And the US Postal Service wonders why they are going out of business… as did the Pony Express after about a year.  They lost $200,000 on about $90,000 in revenues.


Well, you say, “Give the Postal Service a break.  It was only one piece of mail.”

I knew you’d say that.

On February 26th, I sent via official “Priority Service International” a package to my cousin in Hiroshima.  They alluded to “7 – 10 day service” in their ads.

This package had all the gizmos.  Tracking number.  Web tracking.  Etc.

The status as of March 8th of my “Priority Service – International” package.

On March 8th, I checked the status as my cousin hadn’t emailed me to say she got the (surprise) package.  Lo and behold, the last web entry was February 28th, that is was processed through the LAX sort facility…but that was it.

Fini.  No more progress.  Disappeared…like Obama during the Benghazi attack.

I had to call the US Postal Service as you are unable to inquire on an international priority package via email.  Waited close to ten minutes.

She told me the package had left the United States, that it was in Japan, and that it can take “up to seven to ten days for it to be delivered”.

I said, “No, I believe it’s lost here stateside so can you please initiate a trace?  Besides, its been 7 to 10 days.”

Her reply: “You can initiate a complaint (trace) after ten working days as it can take seven to ten days to get delivered.”  Didn’t she just say that?

I said, “Well, I mailed it Monday two weeks ago and today’s Friday.”

She said, “Ten business days will be Monday, March 11.”

You can imagine the response when I asked for a refund.

Can you see steam or the egg frying on my head?


Monday, March 11th.  TEN working days since I mailed a Priority package to Japan – with the USPS assurance of delivery in “7 to 10 working days…” going through my head.

Had to call again.  One “working day” later to place my complaint and initiate a trace.

This time, she asked me for details.  “How much did you declare?”

“I don’t remember.  Your clerk spent five minutes inputting tons of stuff and I filled out a form in triplicate.  Shouldn’t it tell you on your screen?”

You can imagine the answer…  No.

Had to hang up and look for the receipt from TEN DAYS AGO at home that I fortunately found.

Long story short, called again the next day (the 12th) and at the end, guess what she said?  “It will take up to 21 days for Japan to research, find the package and reply.”

I said again – very nicely – the Japanese aren’t that sloppy.  That the package was still HERE… in your SORT FACILITY at LAX.

She said (politely), “No, the information tells us it was shipped to Japan so its there.”

Double GRRRR….


So they finally initiated a trace.

And guess what.  The Postal Service was wrong.  It was NOT in Japan.

I was wrong.  It was not at the LAX sort facility.

Instead, the Postal Service found it… likely in the same post office I shipped it from as the package “re-arrived” at the LAX sort facility after the trace was initiated!


The Postal Service wonders why they are losing money.

The workers just don’t care.

Well, I’m making sure my future packages are arriving in Japan by using UPS or FedEx.

I’m through with the pHony express.

A Saturday in SoCal

A wordless post.

Well, almost.


So what happens on a beautiful weekend in SoCal?

Picked up the wall portrait of my kids from Alan Miyatake of Toyo Miyatake Studios.
This appears to be an artistic rendition of one of Alan’s photographs of Ms. Condoleezza Rice?
The famous grandfather of Alan, Toyo Miyatake.

Went to visit dad…  The workers there told me he’s not eating much as of late.  He only had a small salad with a little bit of chicken for lunch.  When I asked him if he was hungry, he said no but when I showed him one of his favorite Japanese treats, he went to town.

Number one.



There goes number two!


Number three down the hatch!


He’s happy now. 🙂  And he did finish the last ball.IMG_0102

Took him one of Alan’s 8×10’s…labeled.  He’s 94 now.


My bud Brian drove down from Reno for St. Paddy’s Day weekend – no better excuse to share a stogie together!


Played around with my new Canon SX260 HS point and shoot camera.  Never had one that I can remember but it was fun to shoot with.

Superior close up capability.


Hand held.  Look at the detail… Not bad for a shaky ol’ fart?







I’m keeping an eye on all of you! Who’s got Visine?

Fish eye setting…



My neighbor’s new son, Gabriel.  The father is USAF…  I pray for his safe return always.aIMG_0168

And finally, these were for me.  Like father, like son!  LOL


News Reporting? Pffft

This is what my monitor showed at 9:00 AM this morning.

For CNN:


For Fox:


If you click on the images, you can see the topics each news media “deems” important.

How can they be so different?

How can CNN essentially ignore the tremendous budget issues confronting the United States while concentrating on the election of the head of the Catholic religion?  (Just being factual here – Catholicism is but one religion in this world.  Just citing fact.)  Well, Michelle Obama got a line in “for being in the vogue”.

Just weeks ago, CNN was headlining day after day Obama’s attack on the “GOP” as he greatly exaggerated the negative effects of the sequester.  They even followed Obama when he went campaigning to bash the GOP…instead of trying to run this country.

I thought news was to be objective…or at least consistently applied?


I will WRITE it.

Our country’s WOES are the result of two dictatorships…  A dictatorship being defined as they do as they please as no one can challenge them.  A form of Hitler-ism…

One dictatorship is the damn LAWYERS.  We are better off without them.  We don’t need lawyers representing jerks who go into small businesses just looking for minor violations.  Attorneys WON’T restrict themselves as they feel they are “protecting us”.  Pffft.

The other dictatorship is the MEDIA.  Reporters are using it to spout off their personal feelings or agendas…or of their management…who gets revenue rewards of various “types”.

Media.  Double Pffft.

Rant over.

A Chatter Master Morning

Ever wonder what happens when Chatter Master influences your daily life…

Lots.  Just lots.

It started with a surprise from the reliable Chatter Master… delivered by the (usually unreliable) postal service.

A Surprise

What was in it?

A magic mug…made by Irish leprechauns, no doubt.  Mischievous little buggers, they are!


So what did this leprechaun-made magic mug do for us this morning?

A brew of dark, just ground French roast coffee magically filled my magic mug…brewed at the perfect temperature of 195F, of course.  Thank goodness they didn’t brew up a green smoothie.  Miracle of miracles!

And the mug summoned Spring.


And a little visitor joined us – laden with delicious spring pollen.  Achoo!



It made me make homemade waffles for the rug rats…with real maple syrup.


And the magic Chatter Master mug summoned our good neighbor Jake!  He ate three!  And the great kid he is, he took his plate to the sink.


The magic mug also compelled my son to work on his science project!  (Of course, there was a bribe involved…that only partially worked.)


See what happens during a Chatter Master inspired morning??

Wait…  What’s this?  The yard looks the same…  What’s up with that?

Dessert for a Nice Lady

There is a nice person at a place I frequent.

Always smiling and courteous.

So she deserved a homemade treat…  A strawberry and almond frangipane tart.


And you know what?  She smiled…and that made me smile.


And I thought it matched her hair…and she had two servings.

No better compliment at that.