Saturday, 1 August 2009

A Pen

This week, I had an interesting moment, involving an old pen.

I journeyed the 4th floor of my organization's work area, and had to enter a communications closet (locked of course). It's the type that you have to annotate when you open and close it. I was the guy who was supposed to close it.

I' m standing there and suddenly realize that I have no pen to mark my initials or time on the closure. My old associate (from SAIC).....was standing there, and I noted a pen in his dress shirt. He's a stylish old geeky guy, if you were interested.

I asked to borrow the pen and he was very hesitant.

Then he pulled the pen out and I marked the paperwork with it and noticed that it was pretty damn old. It was worn. It was a fairly expensive Cross pen....of a pretty fair age.

As I turned to hand it to the guy.....I made a comment over the pen, and you could see this twist of his face (like a cat) and there was a story here.

My associate explained....in his youth....his mother gave him the pen upon leaving for college. He was 60....so the pen is at least forty years old.

I stood there in shock. Over my vast fifty-odd years of life, I've come to gain and lose well over one thousand pens. I've been given various expensive pens as presents....and lost every single one of them. I've had cheap 19-cent BIC pens.....and lost them. I've bought entire packs of a dozen pens for $30....and then over three months....lost all twelve.

So here is a guy who somehow walked around for forty years and never lost this pen. I stood there....mostly in a state of shock.

For him, this pen meant more than just being a pen or something to write with....it was a gift of sorts. Maybe that's why it was so special.

Cash for Clunkers III

The White House and the Democrats apparently didn't come to a decision yesterday over where the next billion or two will come from....for the cash-for-clunkers program.

Apparently, some folks finally got wise to this entire business. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo): "....that extending the program with taxpayer money isn't affordable".

Then at some point......House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spoke out: "New money for the program would come from funds approved earlier in the year as part of an economic stimulus bill". And this got a bunch of Republicans all upset and they were talking about standing against such a bill.

At some point....the motorcycle industry is going to stand up and announce that they have a problem here too....and they want a $1k "cash-for-clunkers" program. Then the shotgun industry will stand up and say they want a $300 "cash-for-clunker" program for old weapons. Then the fishing boat industry will announce they ought to have a $1k "cash-for-clunker" program as well.

You can smell exhaust fumes on this stuff.

As one guy realized yesterday.....we actually own two of these companies to some degree (having already bailed them out) and we've already provided bailout and buyout money for them.....so this is just another layer of cake.

My guess is that the $2 billion being talked about.....will be whittled down in less than ten days. You guys who were waiting into the second week before making the trip.....won't wait anymore. Get the free money while you can.