July 8, 2015


Kathleen Staples of Calais, Me. suffered a terrible loss this past weekend when her 22-year old son lit some fireworks and put them on his head. The predictable explosion killed him immediately. Apparently he thought the explosive was a dud. She is now calling for stricter laws on who can have access to fireworks. Because, of course, the problem was that the fireworks were accessible to her son, not the fact that her son put a live explosive on his head. While he was drunk and “goofing off”. And, let me emphasize one point, he was 22-years old. He was an adult.

On Sunday there were several videos floating around the Internet of young men shoving live firecrackers up their nose and blowing a hole in their face. Another man held a live explosive mimicking his genitalia and then either severely burned or just blew his nuts off. Stupid people do stupid things. Everyone does stupid things. It’s the level of stupidity that determines if you’re going to kill yourself or not in the process of being stupid.

I’m going to say this again. I’m going to sound like a broken record but the fact of the matter is that you can not cure stupidity. You can not legislate common sense. Laws do not make people smarter. You can not introduce enough legislation to protect idiots from being idiotic. Rules and laws are not meant to replace the responsibility of parenting. Dumb people are going to do dumb thing no matter how much red tape is involved to get there and the general public should not be forced to live under legislation that is designed to protect the absolute lowest common denominator of society.

I’m sorry that the Staples family is mourning the loss of their son. It’s heartbreaking. But calling for more legislation is not going to bring her son back from his fatal, incredibly stupid mistake.

Try Again.

So on Monday I dropped our Jeep Wrangler off at the local Jeep dealer to have some work done. It needed an oil change and the tires needed to be rotated, plus there was some hesitation/jumping around if you stepped on the gas too hard. It was obvious that either the spark plugs and/or the plug wires needed to be changed. The check engine light came on during one of the jumps.

$2300 and two days later, the Jeep was declared fixed and it could be picked up. The requested maintenance was completed, the check engine light was out, the spark plugs and wires were changed and a few other goodies added to the bill: it needed tie rods, brakes and a complete transmission flush.


This evening, 39 miles after picking up the Jeep yesterday, the ABS warning light and the anti-skid symbol lit up the dash light a Christmas tree. On cue, one of the brakes started making a scraping noise.

I swore. I got angry. We dropped the Jeep off at the dealership without an appointment and I filled out an “early bird” form that simply said: “$2300 in service on Tuesday, 39 miles later, the ABS light is on and the brakes are making a scraping noise intermittently. FIX IT.” I authorized ZERO dollars in repairs without a phone call.

Anyone want to guess how much the dealership is going to fleece us for this next round of repairs. My guess is zero, because the contact information for the Jeep is Earl, and he puts up with nothing.

It’s one of the reasons that I love him so much.

It’s rare that the Jeep can get fixed in one pass, it usually takes two visits to the dealership to get it fixed properly. I don’t know why I’m surprised. Last autumn it was backfiring, again due to bad spark plug wires, and they told me it was because the oil pan was loose. The problem is, when the check engine light comes on, the other garage we use wouldn’t touch the Jeep until the dealership looked at it first.

Tonight’s little disappointment got me thinking about our previous vehicles. The only vehicles that we’ve had issues like this with are when we bought an American vehicle. The Hyundai and the Acura rarely had any trouble. The first Jeep would be fine for a couple of years and like our current Jeep, would require a hefty investment every couple of years.

I am hopeful that the brakes will be fixed properly this time and that the Jeep will last us for a few more years. I like it and I’m enjoying not having a car payment.

Let’s hope there’s no screaming tomorrow.