Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Storage Wars - Local Edition

If you haven't seen the show Storage Wars on A&E, I recommend it. Basically, they auction of the contents of a storage room at one of these storage facilities. The people who had rented the room had stopped paying rent, so the facility auctions it to the highest bidder.

I've long wanted to attend an auction of any kind, and heard about a storage auction today at a local facility. I managed to get the time to go and wanted to see if it was like the TV show. I arrived a couple of minutes late, but didn't miss any action.

The first thing the auctioneer said was that if we were expecting any "buh-de-buh-by" type auction, that wasn't him. But he did a pretty good job. He explained the rules (you have 5 minutes to inspect the storage room, you can't touch anything, can't go inside), opened the door and moved out of the way.

The first unit was #616 and contained (as far as I could see) a couple of lawn mowers, a chain saw, some other lawn equipment, a couple of old (stained) mattresses and who knows what else. Bidding started at $300 (the first bidder started bidding before the official bids began). When the bidding was over, the unit sold for $475.

The second unit was #632 and it was not full like the first (and later) units. It looke like someone had closed out a florist shop or something. There were imitation ficus trees, lots of vases, some racks for holding clothes (or plants?). There was less interest in this unit, it sold for $325.

The third unit was #208 and contained a bed (frames & mattresses), an armoire, some end tables, a glass top coffee table (the bottom looked like a cat or something had gotten to it), a love seat and some living room chairs. and a clothes butler rack. But the prize in this unit was a grandfather clock. I looked and couldn't see a name of the manufacturer. I noticed that the pendulums were off, but in the clock itself. It's impossible to know if it was working. This unit ended up selling for $725.

Unlike the show, I didn't get to find out what was in the parts of the units that I couldn't see or find out the value of the units in the end. But it was an interesting day. I'll go to another auction and maybe buy something that time.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thoughts on the death of Bin Laden

By now, you're probably tired if hearing about the death of Bin Laden. If you can stand some more talk, I want to share some of my thoughts.

1) I'm glad he's dead. I still wonder why it took so long. I'm not gloating, I actually would have liked for him to realize the error of his ways. But that wasn't likely. And now, he has finally realized the error of his ways. He knows the Truth.

2) I'm not upset that his body was dumped nor that he was given the Muslim equivalent of last rites. Part of me is, but in reality, I think his body should have been (and was by all accounts was) treated with civility. That's a lot more than he gave to others, but it's the right thing to do.

3) I'm glad the pictures of his body were not released. I see no value in it and a lot of possible problems. I wish the same had been done with pictures of Abu Ghraib. (Hat tip to Cal Thomas). But that happened under a different leader.

4) I've noticed that some newspapers are using the name Bin Laden instead of Osama Bin Laden. I think this is because of the tendency of people to say "Obama" when they mean "Osama". It's tripped up many a commentator.

5) All people, politicians, bloggers, etc. should carefully examine their feelings and what they say to make sure they are consistent. An example of inconsistency would be the comment in September of 2006 "[E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. ... And even to capture him now I don’t think makes us any safer."

This was followed this week by the same person with the comment "The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. . . . (His) death ... is historic." (both spoken by Nancy Pelosi and reported here)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Has President Obama evolved?

I've been wondering for some time that President Obama has changed in several ways since he first took office. His decision to send Navy Seals into Pakistan was actually "predicted" during the debates with Sen. McCain, so that doesn't really reflect a change. But his decision to use intelligence gathered at Guantanamo Bay, most likely as a result of "enhanced techniques" seems contradictory to his prior attitude.

Keeping Guantanamo Bay open was not entirely the President's decision, but he did not fight hard to keep his earlier promises. Troops have stayed in Iraq longer than he ever intended and he supported a surge in Afghanistan. President Obama even supported a new war (Libya) albeit not to the extent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So my question is, has President Obama evolved in his thinking? Has he come to realize that maybe President Bush wasn't as far off the mark as the current president believed when he was campaigning?

And most importantly, if his attitude on these things have changed, can it be changed in other areas? Might we see a move to less government? Might we see the removal of Obamacare? Might we see a return to his campaign attitude of "it's above my paygrade"?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Ding Dong the wicked witch is dead *Updated *

I don't mean to minimize the death of Osama Bin Laden by the silly title. Instead, a part of me wants to celebrate, just as the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. After 10+ years of being America's Enemy #1, OBL has been eliminated.

My hat goes off to the Navy Seals who took care of the matter. I wish that Marcus Luttrell could have been in on the final operation (see his story here and I highly recommend this book).

I listed to most of the President's speech (TV/DVR errors made me miss part of the middle) and have read the speech this morning. I think he was "spot on". This is a significant event. There may be some reprisals from Al Qaeda (I expect there will be). The war on terror is not over.

I was especially impressed that President Obama took the time to call President Bush (and possibly President Clinton). The former president(s) deserved that. It's a show of respect from the current to the former.

There are lots of questions that should be answered. What took so long? Why did one helicopter have problems? Who will take over Al Qaeda actions and what will our attitude be towards him? But for today, and maybe tomorrow, we should all recognize that this event was significant. I listened to a local conservative radio personality this morning and was glad that he felt the same way. No bashing of the current (or former) president. No complaints. Job well done.

* Update * Just heard the Cal Thomas commentary on local radio. Thomas used the same title for today's commentary (5/4/11). I didn't know Mr. Thomas read my blog, but I'm pleased he used it. Hopefully he will share his fees for the day with me...