Well, not really, as they don’t have a blimp. Heck, even Goodyear doesn’t have that many blimps anymore. Of course, that's the point; back in the '70's Goodrich ran ads as the tire company without the blimp. I suppose the implication was "We cut out the blimp and passed the savings on to you."
But I did see one of them, it’s based here in Southern California and was floating over the freeway, heading south on a mission. I’d guess that mission was to either sell more tires or broadcast the same tired aerial shots of some sports stadium, but who knows for sure?
When I was a kid, there was a blimp base just north of my hometown, Houston. It flew around the city every so often, and made a very distinctive, very loud buzzing noise. (More on that later) At the time, this was a Big Event. All the neighborhood kids would run out into the street and try to decipher the primitive flashing light based graphics (I’m sure they were some Goodyear promotional messages), as the behemoth floated lazily by.
Once, when I was about 8, I got to take a ride in it. (Helllooooo connections). One of the other dads in my Y Indian Guides group worked for Goodyear and set up the whole thing.
We had to show up at this slightly space age looking facility built into an earthen wall and wait for our time slot. At the time, I was feeling a bit disappointed that my Dad wouldn’t be riding with me, but I was looking forward to it anyway. He had to leave town, but would never miss a boondoggle like this one, and arranged to ride with a different group. You don’t really understand scheduling as a youngster, so I was a bit hurt that he didn’t fly with me. (It’s ok Dad, I forgive you!)
Anyway, when our turn arrived, we walked out onto the big grassy area where at least a dozen guys were holding the blimp down by some big lines hanging off the nose. After the previous group got out, we piled in. The gondola was about the size of a big van if I recall correctly, with windows all the way around and 8 – 12 seats. I don’t really remember much about the ride itself, but the takeoff and landing were very memorable.
First of all, that thing was LOUD; my clearest single memory of the trip was that it was very noisy. When we took off, the ground crew dropped the lines, and the nose angled up while the pilot hit the engines. The nose must have been at least 35 degrees off horizontal, which may not sound like much, be let me assure you, made quite an impression on the passengers. Landing was basically the reverse; we flew up to the airfield and then pushed the nose way down. So far down that all you could see from the front windows was the ground. Then the crew rushed up to grab the lines as the pilot cut the power. Very Cool.
Anyway, I hope it doesn't hit Tony's black helicopter. I'm sure the xbi wouldn't appreciate it.
That’s what someone asserted to me the other night over drinks and dinner. As the sole conservative at a table of 5, I had listened quietly for about half an hour to a lot of bluster while trying to steer the conversation back to something a bit less controversial. Then I lost it.
Really! I shouted (note: I’m not really a shouting kind of guy) across the table. Where?!
The silence was deafening.
Now, I have to admit I’m no Africa expert, but I was fairly sure that most African nations were not especially capitalist. Sure enough, the countries of Africa don’t exactly head up the list of Economic freedom . In fact I asserted, the only countries I knew of that respected property rights and didn’t have massive government interference in their economies seemed to be doing better than the rest (South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria). In fact, my guess is that the lower on the index you find them the worse their economy (generally true as it turns out). That is hardly some scathing rebuke of capitalism; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. If anything is failing over there, it’s kleptocracies and central planning.
My real question is where do these people get ideas like this? They seem harmless enough on the surface, but I’m concerned that ignorance and assumptions on this subject (ooh, capitalism is bad in Africa) lead to more distrust of capitalism in general, but without any basis in fact. So here was a table where 4 of 5 reasonably well paid people working for an entrepreneurial company really thought that capitalism was failing. As a business owner – and their employer – I’m more than a bit concerned about this. I’m not really sure what to do about it, but you can rest assured I’ll start by defending my viewpoint vigorously in the future.
Who, you might ask? Well stars of course, this is LA after all. I've met Dennis Hopper (looks like my grandfather) and stood in line for a buffet next to Ahnold. Waited at the bar next to Anthony Edwards, and seen Dick Van Dyke at Best Buy (carrying a man purse no less!). Although I may blog about some of these events later, what really prompted this post was discovering that my next door neighbor's father is an actor. No, he's not incredibly well known, but you might recognize him - at least in a movie. I've seen this guy probably 20 times walking around in their yard playing with his granddaughter and never thought anything of it. Tonight though, he needed a jump, and his daughter in law's spiffy Volvo seemed to have moved its battery to a secure undisclosed location. While we were setting up, we had a fairly normal "get to know you" conversation. He mentioned he was an actor, I told him I was a programmer/business owner. Pleasantries were exchanged, the car was started and he was on his way.
Then of course, I raced inside to my computer, and then - to Google. No, I'm not going to mention who he is, but wow; he's even been nominated for an Oscar.
Update: As it turns out, I'd just as soon not have known him.
I find this story so incredible, I don’t want to believe it. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, and it's just dog bites man rather than the other way round.
If true, one of the most powerful stock analysts in the country changed his evaluation of a stock (probably affecting 100’s of millions of dollars of OTHER people’s money), as a quid pro quo. Why? It was part of a deal to get his children into the right preschool! I’m so angry, I can’t see straight. He should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.
I’m basically a conservative, and a business owner, but that doesn’t mean I’m likely to excuse this kind of behavior. My partners and I try to run our business ethically, and we hope that others do the same. Unfortunately, there are plenty of dirtbags in the private sector, just like anywhere else. Apparently, Grubman is one of them.
More on related topics later, when I’ve calmed down a bit.
The most recent one involved Earthlink. I had some of the least pleasant customer service experiences ever with those bozos. In one case, they didn’t pay about $50 dollars they owed us “because a supervisor didn’t approve it.” Uh, right, and by the way thanks for calling to let me know. Oh wait, I forgot – we had to call you! If not for The Fabulous Wife’s attention to detail, we never would have been paid. Somehow I doubt I’m the only Earthlink customer who got this particular run around.
Oddly enough, their tech support is pretty decent.
The first is about the name, and also pretty easy to answer. I live on the west side of Los Angeles, and my commute takes me over a short series of hills on a daily basis. On a clear day, which is fairly common in the wintertime, I get beautiful views of the mountains surrounding L.A., sunsets over the water, and a brief glimpse of the Hollywood sign. Less literally, sometimes I have a “clear” day (or moment); times when ideas come easily, problems are solved more quickly, and thinking in general just seems more fluid. If I’m lucky, those are the times I’ll be posting; if not, this could be a lonely blog.
But really, why have a blog at all? Do I think I can do it better than Instapundit, Den Beste, t. pierce, or Armed Liberal? No, not really, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say. In part, this blog is here for me to work out some of the ideas bouncing around my noggin, and to comment on the ideas of others. It’s also a place to chronicle the odd and delightful things I see in this incredible city.