(Tacoma, WA)  A short column this morning, since I know you have a lot of important things to do…including getting ready for the Independence Day weekend.  A Potpourri of writer’s notes, though, since travel always puts things into perspective.

These are a few things I found interesting.  No useful as pick up line material (unless you’re trolling nursing homes) but these are the twisted thoughts that come from travel…

Media Distortion Lives

So Elaine and her son go off for some food and a beer.  And Elaine starts going into the big-city dangers of pedophiles and crimes against children and how are the kids going to protect the grandchild and so on.

But the son-in-law – while recognizing the threat, maintains it is minor – and yes, they don’t do stupid things in terms of child safety.

But what’s really going on?

Is grandma nuts?  The son irresponsible? 

Well turns out, none-of-the-above.  After some questions from Ure erstwhile reporter-type, what we experienced was a fine example of media distortion.

You see, Elaine and I live in something of a media bubble..  Sure, we will go on a couple of cruises this year and we’re vacationing right now.  But mostly, our view of the world is shaped by media reports.  We se maybe a couple of people a week, but most of our input is media.

On the other hand, the views of the kids are more experientially based.  They have lots of friends, workers, coworkers, you know the breadth of big city life.  Everywhere there are people and they have a much different slant on things that 10-hours a day of stream video and satellite input.  While different ratio.

From the viewpoint of the kids, worries about the risk of anything in media (dog bites, pedophiles, bad nutrition, Fukushima radiation, etc.) are certainly there in consciousness, but not to the degree that we see them from sitting out in the woods in near-total media emersion.

Pretty interesting to see it work out, first-hand.

The Decline of Style

Next social observation is about the ongoing decline of style. 

I mentioned this when we went on our cruise in February…how no one dressed up, anymore.

You know:  Gone are the days of regular seatings on some cruise ships.  It’s being replaced with a “when you feel like it” approach.,

I worked in the airline business, for example, as a kid when I was a radio and electronics mechanic way back when (IAM Local 751, I think it was).  Airline employees had to dress to fly.  Minimum was a shirt, tie, and jacket.

People used to do that…and dressing was an important part of the economy.

Not so much – hell, hardly at all, anymore.

We went to dinner with the in-laws and the kids last night and I don’t think there were more than half a dozen people out of a hundred plus men in this waterfront bistro who were wearing long pants.as  Everyone else was wearing cut-offs.

The women, mostly, looked like they had planned about as well:  Several I saw looked like they had walked into their closets, closed their eyes, and put on the first thing their hand landed on.

Not to say that it matters, but it does.

One of these days, I will pen the Great Ironing Exposé.

People no longer seem to care about wrinkles, and I may be the only person north of the Oregon border who appreciates a starched shirt.

And shoes that take a good shine?  Forget about it!

Yards as Signs

I mentioned to you the lack of rain up here.

A lot of yards are brown.

Sure sign of a person who is not flat-busted and who has some sense of pride-of-ownership is a well cared-for lawn.

I haven’t done it, but I’m tempted to go door-to-door and survey on this.

The Pet Theory being that people are on the inside, very muck like they surround themselves with on the outside.

If you see a neglected yard?  Almost a sure sign of people with a bad attitude, the way I reckon.

Card Declined

This was embarrassing:”  I went into the airport FBO after going flying with the father-in-law yesterday.  Off from Tacoma Airport and up to Bremerton (KPWT) where the Airport Diner more than proved itself the best fly-in breakfast joint around.

Came back (sight-seeing over Hood Canal and South Puget Sound) and needed a couple of quarts of oil for the return home.

Card declined!

Say what?

Yes, I could literally put a new Camry on my card but this largest Bank in America decided that it was suspicious and so my card was declined.

So a good part of the morning went into fixing that rat maze.

And this was after I had gone online before the trip and put in a travel notice.

A couple of hours later I was in a branch getting a big wad of cash and the teller was wondering “Huh?”

I explained that my card had been shut off, even though I’d gone through the bank’s hoops and I was not going to be Shanghaied in Bozo, Montana, or wherever, with 360-pounds of fuel I couldn’t  pay for.  So hand over my money.  I’m pissed.

“Oh, I’m sure that would never happen sir.”

“My butt!  It just happened with two quarts of oil.”


This is the first time we’ve gone on a trip with (mostly) plastic only but there’s a keen lesson here about why the transition to a cashless society scares the hell out of me.

I don’t trust banks and (remember: I did their travel alert deal) they are not trusting me back.

Cash still talks and plastic walks.

Next time I will know better than put my nuts in the Bankster’s vice.  I’m am in charge of my life and my money – which gets me onto that whole other problem of banks don’t think it’s my money…just an asset for them  to move as they see fit.

I was fit to be tied and just thinking about it raises my diastolic 12-points. 

Ure just renewed his old axiom “Always have enough cash to use as get-home money.”

Somewhere in Fed Region 10 there is probably a Suspicious Activity Report  (SAR) with my name on it.  For any one who cares, it wouldn’t be there if banks did their jobs right.

(Ever wonder what would happen if someone came in and wanted to get $5,000 of cash for a drug deal and told the truth up front?  Or “I need to buy some C4 and caps to blow some stumped up”?)

We have rolled from being a country where the Founders ruled to one where Kafka and Orwell got it more right.

The gap between theory and practice if you’re an optimist.  Denial don’t last long, if you’re a pessimist.

Well, so much for Mr. Cheerful’s Trip Report.

We will have a somewhat abbreviated report Friday because markets will be closed, but show up anyway, because you never know what happens when the gentle outback farmerly-type goes to the land of slickers and bumps into the New Reality.

Mostly it’s been fun and highly edjumacational.

Oh, should mention that with legalized marijuana, people are not running around stoned and we have yet to catch a whiff anywhere.  (Try, though I have, lol.)

One marijuana prescribing doctor I know up here tells me he’s gotten out of the weed business.  The healthcare professionals are being driven out by the low prices and wide variety of home “treatment options” available.

I told him thanks for being a trailblazer, though. 

Write when you break-even and come on by again and bring a few thousand friends.

George   george@ure,net