Money: It motivates the media, barbers should offer bargains for the bald, and driving a bargain

On Nov. 25, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Scho/Co Diner in Schoharie, and as usual discussed many things. The good, the bad, and the ugly, and most of the time it is the good and the bad — the OMOTM leave the ugly to other people.

The banter at the breakfast does, at times, use gossip that has been bounced about, or rumors that are floating around but primarily for clarification to how much of either is fact, or fiction. Somewhere in the group, an OF has clear information that either refutes, or substantiates the rumors.

The OFs discussed Thanksgiving, and in the process wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving that many could have considering their circumstances. The question arose: What is a Happy Thanksgiving, and what is a Merry Christmas? Are the wishes just words or are they heartfelt?

With the honesty that prevails among the OFs, the words do carry the proper caveat that should accompany the statements. One OF said that knowing a person’s circumstances should not stop anyone from wishing him a happy whatever holiday celebration it is, as best as he can apply it to his situation, or from offering the clerk in the store, or the stranger on the street a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas.

This OF thought, “Bah-Humbug only breeds more Bah-Humbugs.”  Amen to that was the comment.

Media spurs controversy

The problems in Ferguson, Missouri were discussed for a little while, and the surprising thing talked about was not who was right or who was wrong, but the media’s portrayal of the whole set of circumstances, and others like it, including the Ebola situation.

An OF said that the media doesn’t care; they want a riot to break out and actually contribute to the fire that brings things like this to a head. The media hyped this like the World Series, and the Super Bowl, with a rehearsed known agenda to the outcome.

The OFs feel the media is nowhere near the solution — they are the problem. Without some kind of turmoil, the same media cannot sell newspapers, or ad space on the radio, or television, so they do whatever they can to agitate until something happens.

It all comes down to money, not people. This went off on different tangents (as many conversations like this do) until the original points are so obscure much of the time they just become rants from different points of view on a subject that barely resembles what started the original conversation.

Hirsute pursuits

Haircuts!  Now there is a topic that the OFs know.

Much of the hair on many of the OFs is either gone, thin, or going. That is not what the conversation was about.

The OFs have long been resigned to the hairless syndrome and do not even worry about it. The problem with the OFs and haircuts is how much they cost

Again, the OFs are not suggesting that barbers should make whatever they want to. The OFs will choose where they get the best haircut for the best deal.

But the OFs maintain it should be on a sliding scale. Many of the OFs get in the chair and it is zip-zip and they are done — but the OF still pays as much for the haircut as the young buck that climbs in the chair with a huge mop of hair, and a complete set of directions on how he wants it cut.

This guy is in the chair for half an hour or more and pays the same price as the OF who was in the chair for no more than five minutes. Not fair, Magee.

Economics of hybrid cars

Electric cars and hybrid vehicles were another topic we chatted about and how more of these vehicles are now being seen on the road. The OFs are still not too enthused about this means of transportation, especially the trade-in value, and/or purchasing a used one.

The OFs wondered how long the batteries would last. This scribe went to where?  The Internet, of course, to check this out since the net can be trusted at all times. (Yeah, right.)  However, in this case, it seemed very plausible.

The Toyota Prius in California is warranted for 10 years or 150,000 miles; in all other states, it is 8 years or 100,000 miles. Currently, the battery is roughly $3,000 plus installation.

The Ford Fusion hybrid has had a few problems (according to the net). However, the warranty is about the same, and currently the battery is roughly $4,400 plus installation.

The net recommended, if purchasing a used hybrid car, to have the battery life checked and negotiate the price down to replace the battery. Otherwise, they are a good buy. The net has spoken.

This scribe could have saved himself all the work of researching the information on hybrids because a couple of the OMOTM have these types of vehicles and this scribe could have gone right to the source.

The OFs know how to drive

The OFs discussed having to take a driver’s test. Some of the OFs who have driven with younger drivers want to get out of the vehicle.

To the OFs, they drive too fast and too close. The OFs said, when riding in a car that is going 70 miles an hour so close to the car ahead, the OFs can count the hairs on the heads of the people in the back seat. That is too fast, too close.

The OFs, after driving many years and running into all kinds of situations, feel they can still handle a vehicle. Many of the OFs have had experience backing up a loaded four-wheel wagon over a barn bridge and that is a trick many young drivers wouldn’t even attempt. And the OFs having been doing that since they were 10 years old.

The OFs think they might have to go and get a new driver’s manual because they keep changing the rules of the road. Many of the new road signs do not mean diddly-dip to the OFs, especially at roundabouts.

For most of the OFs, the ability to drive is not the problem; it is the book-learnin’.   Some of the OFs give up their license after they bump into five or six things and get tired of paying the collision repair guy.

Those OFs who showed up at the Scho/Co diner in Schoharie in their conventional automobiles were: George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Frank Pauli, Harold Grippen, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Chuck Aleseio, Mark Traver, Karl Remmers, Steve Kelly, Jim Heiser, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Don Wood, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, and me.