Sunday, June 28, 2009

Family Illness V

My dad is still in the hospital after having half his lower leg removed. He is now awake and seems to be in good spirits.

Anybody who knows my dad will find the following story interesting:

In the hospital yesterday, the nurse asks him his height.

Reply: "I'm 6'3" on the left, but I don't know yet how tall I am on my right side."

Yep - his sense of humor & sarcasm is back, too! I'm glad he's feeling better. I still hope this was the right decision.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Repo Story 2

OK - time for another one. Setting: same as last time, I was the assistant manager of the largest branch of Enterprise in all of Tennessee on Covington Pike in Memphis, TN.

The repo was fairly straight - forward. Renter had his car in the shop, and refused to come pick it up when it was finished. I figured he did not have his $1000 deductible. So I took a veteran MT (Management Trainee - read: slave-boy), whose name I cannot remember (sorry!). His nickname was "The Leprechaun." I never really understood why.

We pull up to the renter's place of employment. A little research that day had let me in on when he came in to work and where (this company was large and had multiple entryways). I speak for a while with "the Leprechaun."

Surprisingly, the renter does two things I'd never have expected.
1. He showed up early to work. I mean like 30 minutes early. Sure, he still had some fried chicken to eat, but he was that early, but wouldn't return our calls. Give me a break - I knew he was ducking us.
2. He pulled in right next to us. Now mind you, there are around 1000 parking spaces in the lot we are sitting in. Perhaps 200 of them are taken at this time. Of all the hundreds of empty spaces, he picks the one right next to us!

We waited, talked, and it seemed like hours. Really it was only about 15 minutes. Finally he put away his chicken, grabbed some headphones, and headed in to work. As soon as he hits the door, I am in the rental car and outta there!

Here comes the really funny part.

Back at the office, several hours later, we are slammed. That is car-rental talk for having many more customers in the office than employees (or sometimes cars). I am one of three people furiously writing rental contracts and checking customers into cars. The Branch Manager, Rob, is there answering the incessantly ringing phones. Phones only ring at Enterprise when there are customers in the office.

So there are about 50-60 customers in the lobby (a typical Friday Afternoon) and three of us writing the contracts. Most of the MT's are out picking folks up and returning them to body shops. I don't know where the other assistant manager was (yes, there were two assistant managers at this location).

Rob (the manager) answers the phone. No big deal, right? I mean he's done it 87 straight times at this point. The next thing I know he blurts out the following:

"No, sir, I did not steal the car. I repossessed it."

The entire group of 60 plus people went instantly silent. A small miracle in and of itself. Then one customer spoke:
"Did he just say what I think he just said?"

"Yep, I think so." I replied.


Evidently, having 60 plus people laugh at you over the phone will make some people really mad. This former renter was one of those folks.

My boss turns several shades of red as he tries to explain why the whole office was laughing at the same time.

Laughter intensifies.

Manager turns several more shades of red. Possibly even purple.

Former renter eventually hangs up.

To this day, I still remember Rob saying: "No, sir, I did not steal the car. I repossessed it."

Funniest thing I have ever heard in real life.

The "King" of Pop

It seems that Michael Jackson passed yesterday.

Thus concludes a lifetime of late night comedy fodder.

The more people I talk to, the more I realize I am not alone in feeling ambivalent about his passing. I do not rejoice in the death of anyone, save mass murderers and the like (i.e.- Saddam Hussein). However, MJ was pretty close to that level for me.


Glad you asked.
1. Child molester. Yeah, I know, the whole innocent until proven guilty thing. But right after escaping from the last litigation involving his weird preferences when it came to children, the man (and I use the word loosely) moves to one of the only nations on earth that allows sex with minors. This is no coincidence.

2. Over-rated. Yes, he had some catchy songs. Yes, he was the master of getting attention. But that does not elevate him, in my eyes, above performers of more talent. Give me some AC/DC, Metallica, G'N'R, or the like.

3. Attention -hound. There was nothing the man (again, I use the term loosely) would not do for attention. Must run in the family.

4. General wierdo. 'Nuff said.

5. Liberals love the man (again, I use the term loosely).

With all of this said, the humanitarian in me still hopes he had come to know the Lord, Jesus Christ, at some point in his life. If so, he is now in heaven and deserves to be. If not, then I guess he would deserve that fate, too.


If you are reading this blog, I would like you to let me know with your comment below, the answer to some questions. All of these are in regards to folks who have concealed carry permits, also known as "Handgun Carry Permits" here in TN.

1. Would you be OK with me carrying (concealed of course, as I always carry) when I come to visit you at your house? (Assume I'm your friend, if I am not already)

2. Would you feel more safe, or less safe, knowing that if we happened to have lunch or dinner somewhere, I am probably carrying (definitely carrying after July 14)?

3. Are you uncomfortable at the sight of a gun?

4. Are some guns more scary looking to you than others?

5. Does the fact that you now know I carry change your opinion of me? If so, why?


So I'm here in the Holiday Inn in Valdosta, GA, and I think I scared the living poop out of the poor girl up at the front desk.

See, we arrived late after visiting my dad in the hospital this afternoon. It was after 1 am when I checked in. The nice lady, who looks to be in her mid-twenties, asked me for my ID and credit card. Meanwhile, she wanted my initials and signature on the rental agreement.

I absentmindedly gave her the ID and credit card, whilst focused on signing my name on the other sheet of paper. I hear her say: "Okayyyy," in a somewhat hesitant voice.

I look up to see the poor girl with a look on her face that I would expect if when had just accidentally swallowed a bug. She quickly wiped the look off her face and stared at my ID and credit card as she handed them back. I looked at them, too, to make sure I got both cards back.

Then I realized my mistake.

I had handed this poor girl my Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit, not my driver's license. Sure, it was a valid ID, but I think that surprised her. OK, I don't think... I know it surprised her.

I apologized for not handing her an ID she would be familiar with, and offered my driver's license, but she declined. Instead, she quietly offered me my room keys and quickly made off to find some other tasks that needed doing.

Saddest part - my Glock was still in the jeep at the time, not on my hip.

Repo Story 1

Setting: Summer 2001. I was working at what was then the largest branch of Enterprise Rent A Car in the state of Tennessee. I was the assistant manager (read: I got to do all the dirty work). This position - assistant manager at a large branch - was usually the launching point to get promoted to Branch Manager. I wanted that promotion.

That day, I was to make some sales calls with a new employee. His name was Mike. I do not give his last name for two reasons: I don't know if he would want me to do so, AND, I don't remember it. Mike was the All-American looking guy: blond hair, not too big, not too small, etc. I am not female, but I would imagine he did well with the ladies. Mike was fairly new to the company - having been employed less than thirty days at the time.

I knew that some of the calls would take us near the residence of a renter who at that time owed the company about $150. We could not reach her via phone. I had a spare key to the car in my pocket that whole day.

So we are riding along, having left a great sales call and on our way to the next, when I realize we are in the neighborhood of the renter in question. Now mind you, this was a fairly middle-class kind of neighborhood. Nice houses. Well-mowed yards, etc. Out of the blue, I asked Mike: "Say, have you ever been on a repo?"

Now mind you, Mike had only heard of repos, and never been on one. They were still the stuff of legend to him. We did not usually take the new guys on a repo until they had gotten their first paycheck. Then they were less likely to leave.

Mike replies: "No."

At this point, I notice Mike's hands trembling. And not the tremble in anticipation, either. This fella is scared. Quite possibly out of his mind. I felt sorry him.

But I also knew this could backfire as well. So I went over the two rules of repos with him:

1. Never leave until I do. (The car I'm going to repo could be out of gas or damaged and unable to start, or the spare key might not work)
2. Stay behind me on the way back to the branch. (The car I'm going to repo could be out of gas or damaged and unable to start, or the spare key might not work- do you see a trend here?)

Mike agrees to this. At least I think he agreed. His head went from a general spasm to a somewhat up and down motion... I think.

I get out of our car, walk up to the car in question, get in, turn it on, and drive out of the driveway.

To his credit, Mike fully obeyed Rule #1 and Rule #2.

I think the renter called later that afternoon to tell us the car had "been stolen." That must have been a fun conversation. I actually went back out, Mike in tow, to the sales calls. We closed a deal with an Allstate agent over lunch and had an excellent afternoon of sales calls.

Mike tells me at the end of the day that he had never been so "revved up" in his life.

This was actually one of the tame repos. Mike's reaction made it stick out in my mind.

PS - if you are Mike, and you happen to read this, please contact me, I'd love to talk to you & see how you are doing and where you are. I'd also like to learn your last name.


When I speak with different people out there about my past employment and interesting things I've done, one of the most common "fan favorites" is from my days with Enterprise Rent a Car in Memphis, TN. I say "fan favorites because a part of my duties there included repossessing cars in situations where renters were behind on the rental fees.

To clear some things up, repo's happen in in the car rental business for numerous reasons.
Sometimes people's credit cards would max out or decline for some other reason.
Sometimes people were getting a car through an insurance company (who was footing the bill) and they were delayed several days in getting their car out of the shop. The insurance company would naturally stop paying for the car, and the renter often would not have left a credit card on file (or it maxed out, or declined). Sometimes the delay was the person did not have the $500 for the deductible to get their car out of the shop.
Sometimes people just misrepresented themselves to the rental agency and intended from the start to get some rental time for free.

Regardless of reason, repo's happened. In Memphis more so than in other parts of the state. One manager I had said if we were not doing several repo's per week, we were not doing our jobs right. So I will on this blog, occasionally recount stories of repos.

To set the record straight, I was never shot at, or even really threatened. The typical repo involved me getting the car when the renter least expected it. Usually the renter did not know until later that the car was gone. Rarely did I speak to a renter whilst repossessing Enterprise's car. Never did I knowingly break any law, or put myself or the company in great jeapordy (other than simply bing in a bad section of town).

Repo Story 1: soon to come

Family Illness IV

So I saw my dad in the hospital today right after the surgery. He has the upper half of his lower leg still intact. My brother and sister and I are obviously sad from this turn of events.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Illness III

So I just find out that my dad is getting scheduled to have his foot amputated tomorrow.

Not happy at all with the diagnosis. I really hope those doctors got it right.

Another one down

This one in Nashville.

Evidently some robbers, looking for drugs or possibly money for drugs, waited for the victim to come home and then held him at gunpoint. Once inside, the victim tried to wrestle the shotgun away from one of the robbers, then drew his own gun and shot the robber.

The other robber, in a typical display of absolute cowardice, ran away and tried to carjack some people several blocks down the road. Those people sped off, unharmed.

Folks, once again I point out that the wolves and would-be-wolves of this world are looking for a victim, not a fight!

More Martial Arts

My son, Cael (say it like "Kyle" - Olde English spelling) finally breaks onto the internet. See his clip here on Youtube!

FYI - Cael is not yet 5 (Mr. Smith, the instructor forgot), he is still only 4.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Martial Arts

This Friday & Saturday, I am scheduled to teach a martial arts seminar in Cocoa Beach, FL. I am excited as I really enjoy doing these types of things.

The last time I taught anything (empty handed) martial arts related was last November in Kentucky, I did a prep class for a grappling tournament. Although i was unable to attend the tournament, I understand the attendees of the class did really well. I am and was really proud of them.

This time, I get to teach stuff I really like to teach. The title of the seminar is MMA (Mixed-Martial Arts) grappling for strikers. There will also be a side-focus on self defense. This seminar was the request of Jimmy Jackson and Bill Holland on behalf of their students who wanted an entire seminar on the grappling arts.

In this seminar, I will cover the most common situations that a person is likely to see and need in a regular fist-fight or in MMA. There are many similarities between the two, but make no mistake, MMA is a sport. There are rules (to prohibit the most effective techniques and ensure the general safety of the participants).

My goal is to teach the students who attend as much as I can, to become as effective as possible in a short amount of time (11 hour seminar). Naturally, they will need to continue to practice after teh seminar is over. However, any person who attends and stays awake will have the fundamental knowledge to keep himself safe in 95% of the street-fight situations he might ever encounter.

I look forward to this and would love to answer questions about what we are going to cover.

Facts - a liberal's worst nightmare

Well, we have some interesting facts that have come about. Some things in this life are purely coincidence. Some things are tied together intricately. Some things are just plain obvious.

File this under the label "obvious."

It is a known fact that since November 4, Americans have been purchasing guns & ammo en masse. My own father has acquired three since then. I've bought a couple. My in-laws recently purchased their first handguns. ATF statistics on numbers of background checks are through the roof.

Folks simply don't trust Mr. Obama.

Nor should they. But back to the point. The simple fact is that gun ownership in America, in terms of sheer volume, is at an all-time high. That leads to a great question - how is crime these days?

In the past, economic downturns, like the one we keep hearing the media blare at us, instigate miniature crime sprees. Desperate folks do desperate things and for many, that means turning to crime to make ends meet.

Not this time. As the NRA reports, While gun ownership levels soar, crime rates are at a 22-year low! As I have always said, criminals want a victim, not a fight!


It's been too hot to go fishing.

I've been too busy to go fishing.

I want to go fishing.

Might be that my last day fishing (over a month ago) I caught four bass - all legal limit size - and one catfish estimated at over 30 pounds. All on little plastic minnows. That was a great day.

Add to it that my fishing buddy that day - one of my clients who gets to fish all the time - said I was "not too bad a fisherman." Oh yeah, we also used his boat. It was fun.

Family Illness II

Well, my dad is still in the hospital. He has surgery tonight - no amputation as we once feared. Got a new doctor that is not in a rush to cut things off.

I will keep ya'll informed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Family Illness

My dad is in the hospital. He was admitted Saturday afternoon with severe pain in his foot and remnants of what was diagnosed as pneumonia.

I get word this morning that the doctors want to take half his leg off due to the pain he is feeling. That's a real sensible idea - don't try to diagnose and solve the problem - just remove the offending part.

If we did this with our members of congress - remove every one of them who made a bone-headed decision - we would wind up with no federal government. Wait - I actually think that might be a good idea... but I digress...

If there is anybody out there keeping up with this blog, I'll keep you up to date.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Three kinds of people

In this world there are three kinds of people. If you follow this blog for any length of time, you will see me reference them from time to time.

The Sheep - over 90% of the people in the world belong to this group. Chances are if you are reading this, you are one, too. The sheep goes around, somewhat oblivious to his/her surroundings. The sheep is able to affect his/her world, but usually does not. There's nothing wrong with being a sheep. It can, however, be hazardous to your health.

The Wolf - Less than 5% of the population belongs in this category. These are the hardened criminals that prey on other people. Folks, if you are reading this, you are not a Wolf. They don't read blogs.

The Sheepdog - again, less than 5% of the population belongs in this category. These people are the true defenders of others. Some Sheepdogs go their entire lives without having to use their skills. Some have had to use their skills many many times against the Wolves of the world. The Sheepdog trains so that he can protect his loved ones (or, occasionally, his employer).

Here's to all you Sheepdogs out there, keeping the rest of us safe!

Another Bad Guy down

As always, I do not celebrate any death. However, justice was served.

Here is the story.

I will use this blog, among other things, to bring to light stories of successful instances of self defense. These might be from home invasions, or from situations where a citizen was carrying a weapon for self defense.

Our liberal minded news media tends not to focus on the constructive use of guns in our society. They spew trash about guns hurting innocent people. I've had enough of the bias, so I am going to spread some truth. The truth is that every day in America, people defend themselves successfully with firearms.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

There are still good people in this world.

I came across this story today while reading threads at It would seem that the folks at Pixar granted a little girl's dying request to see their new movie "Up."

This story is moving on several levels, the very least of which is that I got to see this very movie today with my children. I am thankful to God Almighty that my kids are healthy and happy.

All I can say is - thank God there are still kind-hearted people in this world.

Should we keep guns out of parks?

No, it is not a good idea to keep "guns out of parks and away from little leagues and activity parks."

Here's why:
1. Handgun carry permit (HCP) holders must past extensive training and background checks in Tennessee. Additionally, the training class (usually $75 - $150) and the permit ($110) is not cheap. Not just anybody has one. These folks are not the bad guys - nor are they likely to flip their lids and "go off" on somebody.

2. The liberal media will ask "what if they do?" A better question would be, "what will the HCP holder do when somebody else flips their lid?" Answer: it's most likely they will try to restore peace if possible, and call the police if restoring peace looks unlikely. In the extreme event that the person who has flipped out brandishes a weapon, the HCP holder is in a good position to protect the innocent civilians there.

3. Many parks, especially in the beautiful state of Tennessee, have natural predators - bears and coyotes. Some of them, unfortunately, are so used to human contact that occasionally they wind up mauling a person because the animal and the person got too close. A HCP holder can defend himself and his family (or herself and her family) from such an attack. Now, before all the PETA types voice their opposition, in TN, we euthanize animals that attack humans. Therefore, the only questions in this case is who does the euthanization? And, do people die or not?

4. Posting a sign to keep out a law abiding HCP holder does only that - keeps guns out of the hands of the law-abiding. Criminals intent on commiting crime will bring guns in anyways - regardless of signs in the area.

5. Also, did you ever stop to think that the sign in Tennessee that prevents the HCP holder from carrying also lets the criminals know that there will not be armed resistance in the area? The criminals do notice this. Check out this link from Youtube, a piece done by John Stossel. Of particular interest is the part at 2:50 where some felons were interviewed regarding their thoughts on regular people using guns for self defense.

I will close by saying that I do not believe ANY areas should be off limits for law-abiding permit holders. However, I believe that until that day comes, those of us with a HCP should obey all laws.

This means if there is a place with a sign here in Tennessee that prohibits me from entering with my Glock, then I will spend my money elsewhere.

This means that in other areas (courts, schools, etc.) where carrying is forbidden by state law, I will minimize the amount of time I spend in these places and remain on high alert while I am there.

Also, this means that on July 14, I can protect my family when we dine away from home. Way to go Mae Beavers and Tennessee Legislature!

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Blog

This is my first blog ever. I will likely blog most often about my favorite three topics, in no particular order: guns & shooting; fishing; and the martial arts. Of course, I may also talk politics, religion, family, and other fun topics.

I welcome your thoughts, opinions, statements, etc. - even if they are contradictory. Let me know what you think.