Tag Archives: transportation

“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.

Surviving Women’s Imaginary Things

bird flu1A fellow (not male) blogger took a light-hearted approach to her surviving her husband’s “man flu“.  Us guys took it on our bearded chins from the ladies.

Lies.  All lies, I say!

Blasphemy that us men would whimper and keel over from the invasion of tiny buggers we can’t even see with a microscope.


Well, guys, its our turn.  We must defend our manliness.  Light-heartedly, of course.

The other night, I survived another commute home with against hordes of women drivers.

Barely survived.

Actually, it was a wonder I made it home unscathed and not get hit by the invisible things only women drivers can see.

They are gifted.

Us men can only see real things.


It is not easy “sharing” the road with women drivers when they have a different perceptions of “lanes”, “sharing”…and things only THEY can see.  Invisible things that apparently take up a LOT of space.  Thank goodness they can see them or I would run into these invisible things.

And women’s maligned beliefs they had to suffer the consequences of the man-flu…  Dastardly.  If anything, a man-flu lasts but a week.

Commuting with against females and their invisible things (only visible to them) is five days a week, 50 weeks a year for us hard-working men.

And I thought about the man-flu smack down when I came to this (long) stop light.

I got my trusty new smartphone and managed to snap a picture for evidence (unlike the man-flu blog which had NO evidence)… but of course, none of the HUGE  invisible things only WOMEN can see showed up in the picture.

Invisible Car

(Trust me.  The two vehicles in front of me have female drivers.)


Here is a schematic of the picture.  By some miracle, it is as UN-females see it:

A schematic of the photograph - which for some reason coincides with a man's view.
A schematic of the photograph – which for some reason coincides with a man’s view.

Notice where in the lane the female driver of the world’s tiniest car has decided to stop at this intersection.  There was obviously a couple of those invisible things that only WOMEN can see…on both sides of her.  If you can catch the Man Flu, you probably can’t see these invisible things.  She is so blessed, isn’t she?

(This was during rush hour.  At a long signal.  With other drivers behind us.  Forming two distinct lines…except for the two cars in front of me.)

Also trust me when I say the perspective of this photo hastily snapped with my smartphone is as deceiving as is the ladies’ perception of the effects of the man-flu.  There is LOTS of space on either side of car #1.


Which brings us to the second car immediately in front of me.  There is enough space between car #1 and this one that the front offensive line for the Ravens could do their stretching exercises.

Well, she also stopped her car skewed to the right of center…  You can see the reflection of my curbside headlamp on her LEFT tail lamp.  Imagine that.

…and she is not trying to make a right turn…  Here, at least.

She made the turn at the NEXT stop light beyond the freeway overpass.


Well, gents, a lady friend viewed the photograph at my humble request…  and with her special vision, she pointed out the invisible things to me.  How blessed are women!

THIS is what they can see with their magic vision!

THIS is what women drivers can see with their gift of paranormal eyesight!
THIS is what women drivers can see with their gift of paranormal eyesight!
OK, guys…  How many of you want this special vision that only women possess??!

Private Photos of President Harding


The last few privately taken photos of an American president before his death were in an old Japanese lady’s photo album.

My grandmother’s.


These four photos had intrigued me.  They had caught my eye earlier but there were other precious photographs to scan and retouch.

But the curiosity killed this old sourpuss.

I had to scan them… and there were fantastic discoveries.


President Harding, our 29th president, arrived in Seattle on July 27, 1923.  He was on a 40-day tour of the Western United States.

He would pass away just six days later.


After collaborating with a flickr buddy and author, Shawn Hennessey, we came to the conclusion that this indeed was President Harding’s motorcade at the Port of Seattle.  Of course,  we will never know for sure who took these photos but they are of the same size and finish of many of Grandmother Kono’s other photos of that time period.  Still, they are remarkably an incredible capture historically.

They are unretouched.  I thought they look better as-is.

A shuttle bears the colors and a civilian stands at the aft.  US Navy sailors are at the fore.
Shawn Hennessy believes this to be a Pennsylvania class battleship due to the single stack.  President Harding did review the fleet in the harbor (about 50 ships).

You can clearly make out the Port of Seattle signage with the beginning of “Bell Street Pier” on the building.  Note the US Marine and US Navy color guards.  It is likely President Harding’s destroyer that is docked at pier’s end.  The blanket of flowers can be seen on the hood of the President’s limousine, too.

Motorcade begins

The President can be seen closer below.  Of note is the agent standing on the limousine’s running board – or more specifically, his clothing.  Compare his clothing to other images you can find on the web.  You will see gentlemen doffing their hats to the President as he passes by.

President Harding.  He will pass away six days later in San Francisco.


Just a glimpse into American history – from a Hiroshima photo album.

I hope you all won’t mind if I feel Grandmother Kono took these pictures in 1923.

Nuckin’ Futs

Nuckin’ Futs.

That’s the name of an old man.

An old and round Asian man.

Nuckin’ Futs

Only Nuckin’ Futs would drive an orange car…with a wing in the back.

Loud.  Low.

It was so low a cigarette pack couldn’t squeeze under it

Windows in the “you-have-the-right-to-pull-me-over” tint.

Photo by Drew Phillips

In the land of the California Highway Patrol.  LAPD.  LACS.

They love Nuckin’ Futs…a lot.

LEO’s love Nuckin’ Futs’ loud orange car

Why is that?

Polished Roushcharger with polished 2.57″ Carmen pulley; 505 HP VMP tune

Supercharger with pulley

Roush Cold Air Intake

PVD Black Chrome Moroso tanks and valve covers

Car stops on a yen.  Wilwood six-pistons with 14″ slotted and cross-drilled rotors and “Red Stuff” pads with fat Yokohama S.drives

Nuckin’ Futs gets to sit on full six-way power and HEATED leather seats…as does Nuckin’ Futs’ little girl on the way to school…

…while looking at Jack Roush’s signature in front of her.

Mr. Roush signing Nuckin’ Futs’ car

Before the before the “Before the Boo Boo” Now look.  You got it, yes?

Before the before the “Before the Boo Boo” Now look

Before the “Before the Boo Boo” Now look.  Nuckin’ Futs behind the wheel.  Only four of these body kits were in the US; the other three were on show cars.

Photo by Drew Phillips.

Before the Now look

Ouch. 12:30 AM near Gilroy, CA.

The Now Look

Just for fun – anyone see “Cars”?  See ya.

A summary of the larger mods for gear heads