08 November 2011

I love emails like this

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job.

What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for - it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc.

Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.

This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear.  Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside.  You saw my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life. However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes.  Instead of hitting Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's.

My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business --- with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself.  I unfortunately do not have the freedom.  I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby.

You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn't.

The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.  Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what?   I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes.  You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what?   Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart?   Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers.   You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore. Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.

You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship. 

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero. So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't?  Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy Stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, Your boss,

02 May 2011

Obama says Osama is dead

So the exalted one says he has had Osama Bin Laden killed. Here's how I understand things as of right now:
About a week ago the US military attacked an estate that housed Osama and killed him. Tonight the results of the DNA identity was confirmed to be that of Osama Bin Laden. A few hours after the announcement another report came out stating Osama has been buried at sea.
It just doesn't feel right. So many reports of Osamas death have been printed from so many sources since 2001 and now we hear from Obama at a time when his popularity is very weak and he has announced he will be running for re-election. Great timing!
So the question is out there: Has Osama been dead all along and the announcement is intended as a boost to Obamas election bid? Or has it just happened and and the US dumped the body ASAP to keep other things secret. The body dump is just too soon. Why dump it just hours or less after the announcement? What's the point? No, I don't trust Obama. How can you trust a man that spent millions of dollars keeping his birth certificate private and then releases it with seemingly nothing out of the ordinary about it? He intentionally creates suspicion and then we are supposed to forget that?
Now Osama is dead and the body dumped? What is going on that needs so much misdirection?

21 April 2011

Ugly Drum Smoker

I have been wanting to build a smoker or BBQ for quite a long time but they seemed expensive. Bricks are permanent and I rent so that isn't gonna work well. I don't have a welder so making a 55 gallon barrel BBQ is kinda difficult and cutting one in half can be quite a chore. Not to mention getting the straight line.
Then I discovered the UDS. A 55 gallon drum that retains its shape and sits on its butt. No cutting! I searched the web for instructions and found The Q Joint and it includes pictures, instructions and a parts list. Pretty cheap to get going over all.
You don't have to go all out and you can buy cheap if you need to and improve later. You don't even have to paint it! But I strongly encourage you to burn out your barrel with high heat. The exterior paint will burn off and it will stink. The interior seal should burn off as well. Some guys go so far as to sand the interior down to bare metal. We'll see where I end up. I burned it pretty good and I dread having to stick my body inside that drum and sanding.

I got this drum for $15!

Picked up some materials from Lowes and my buddy and I started drilling and attaching parts

The red inside the barrel is the food safe coating and it has to be burned out

My Buddy Steve is a bit of a perfectionist Machinist and that's a good thing. I left for the weekend and came home to the barrel being painted and ready for assembly.

The biggest issue seems to be the fire basket. We tried a cable handle but that just let the basket fall upside down. So Steve went to town and build handles and a lift stick. Freaken sweet set up! We'll add a pan on the bottom of the legs to catch ash so we can avoid tipping the drum upside down to empty too often.

All said, we spent approximately $125 and that includes paint, barrel and bits and pieces. The build took about a week off and could be done in just a weekend if you don't spend too much time on the fine details. But details make it look damn good without looking like you spend a grand. It also helps to have a metal guy doing most of the work. without Steve this build wouldn't look quite so nice.
Also check out The BBQ Bug
There are hundreds of pages out there with info and pics. Read a few and make your own!

16 January 2011

Oregon gun laws

With all the recent rhetoric from those that fear guns I decided to do a little research about what my rights are as an Oregon resident. There are some very good sites out there that are informational and help keep us all legal. The problem is, the Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Any law restricting that right flies in the face of the constitution. Many people may disagree with that blunt statement. But think about it. The 2nd amendment guarantees us the right. There was no exceptions or exemptions.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The above link has a "note" that goes a bit into discussion about the altering of the 2nd Amendment. I haven't read it all but what I did see, I'm not a fan.

Cornell University Law School has a little to say about it too.

But I live in Oregon and want to be sure I don't give anyone a reason to arrest me. Here are a few more links to read. Be legal. Carry Legal. Defend your right.


Oregon Gun Rights