Posted by Wizard
Sep 19, 2011

Debate with Terry Jones

Last week I made an east-coast trip. Starting in New York, then two days in Vermont, and three days in Montreal. Just by coincidence I was in New York during the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. I really wanted to have no part in the hand wringing over the infamous day, but that was just the convenient time to be there.

On 9-9-11 I did my weekly 13-mile run before flying to New York. On 9-10-11 I walked all over midtown Manhattan, including all of the Modern Art Museum, which is pretty big. All that walking and running had taken their toll so I decided to just sit and rest a while in Times Square. As I'm about to sit on the bleachers I see a lot of police and television cameras focused on somebody with a book in his hand and talking about something. When I got closer I could see it was infamous Koran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones.

So I just sat on the bleachers until eventually the media apparently got bored and left. Suddenly Terry was all alone. To be honest, I was feeling a bit lonely too, so decided to engage him a little debate. Here is more or less how it went:

Wiz: You're that guy who was threatening to burn the Koran, aren't you? (I already knew the answer, but was just making small talk)
TJ: Yup.
Wiz: Did you ever go through with it? (I had heard he did)
TJ: Yes, back in March (I could be wrong about the month)
Wiz: Why didn't I hear about it in the media?
TJ: I did a lot of interviews about it, but the media decided to do a black out about it (I applaud the media for this)
Wiz: Why did you go ahead with it after all? (He previously cancelled a burning)
TJ: At this point he went on a rant, including a long list of lack of freedoms in various Arab countries, which we enjoy in the US. At one point he said not all Muslims were bad people, and that his fight was against Sharia Law, which I understand to be a strict interpretation of the Koran regarding in part the oppression of women.
Wiz: I'm all for the first amendment, women's rights, and freedom of speech too. However, if your beef is with the extremists only, then why are you burning the Koran? Aren't most Muslims more moderate in their interpretation of it?
TJ: The Koran itself justifies killing non-Muslims.
Wiz: Can you quote me something to back that up?
TJ: Not off the top of my head.
Wiz: Don't you think you should be able to? This would seem to be your calling.
TJ: My assistant can give you a quote.
Wiz: (turning to assistant) I'm all ears.
Assistant: He quotes a verse. I don't remember the words but it sounded like one of hundreds of verses in the Old Testament.
Wiz: I don't see how you get from that to justifying burning the whole Koran. That sounded like something out of the Psalms to me.
TJ: The Koran was put on trial and found guilty of encouraging acts, such as those on 9-11.
Wiz: What trial? What was the verdict?
TJ: I don't know, but my assistant can answer that question.
Assistant: I don't know either, but let me make a call. (assistant calls somebody on cell phone). Then he recites the results of said trail. I don't recall the details, but basically that the Koran was guilty of encouraging the killing of non-Muslims.
Wiz: Isn't the Bible guilty of the same thing? For example, didn't god kill almost everybody on earth in the story of Noah's Ark, because they were so evil and wicked, the same motives of the 9-11 hijackers?
TJ: That god did that directly, he didn't ask anybody else to do it.
Wiz: Don't you think one could read that story, and misinterpret it as a justification to kill others that god would deem to be sinful?
TJ: My voice is getting hoarse, I have to save it for tomorrow.
Wiz: Okay, thanks for your time.

A media crew from Ganesville Florida was taping this exchange. Afterward the cameraman said I looked familiar. I explained who I was, but he didn't make the connection. Nobody has ever remarked to me about seeing this debate on the news. Too bad, I would have been proud to be one of only two people in Times Square to stand up to him. The other was a very cute brunette, who took over after I left.


ikilledjerrylogan Sep 19, 2011

It is true that there are similar verses in the Old Testament, however, we don't have a problem with Jews oppressing women and blowing themselves up in the name of Moses, Abraham or King David. Jews also dont mass migrate to new countries and insist that they be governed by only the laws that exist in the books of Torah (sharia law in islams case). The argument about there being two different muslims (moderate and extreme) doesn't make sense when you look at the leaders of religions. True Christians (followers of Jesus Christ) strive to be like Jesus, Mormons strive to follow the teachings of their prophet Joseph Smith etc. etc. Applying this to muslims one can only assume that a true Muslim would strive to be like God's only prophet, Muhammed. Muhammed's life was characterized by holy war and oppression of minorities and women.

"Having said that" - Larry David. I in NO WAY condone the actions of this so-called pastor. I would question his "calling" considering he has no proof that Jesus destroyed other religions' texts.

odiousgambit Sep 20, 2011

Influenced by Sun Tzu's Art of War I would never debate anyone in these circumstances; it's the thing about choosing the time and place of your battles. I also would have been concerned about being in the presence of someone on someone else's Jihad list.

If in a conversation with that Pastor, though, I would be happy if he seemed to seek out my opinion, which would have been that he needed to ''drop it" once the military had made it clear that he was endangering the troops. If he was still listening I would have continued on, to tell him that he diminished himself in my eyes by clearly craving the publicity, and that I felt that was all this was, a publicity stunt.

But I would not fail to also say that the people most in the wrong were the Moslems who went beyond simple censure and threatened or carried out actual violence on the matter; and that as a matter of fact he was entitled to burn a bonfire of Korans, Bibles, US Constitutions and Flags, Crucifixes, Effigies of Mohammed or Jesus, or anything else, daily, if he wished to do so.

pacomartin Sep 20, 2011

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) responded to another sign [of Terry Jones] which read, "Koran 9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them." saying that it was taken out of context {from Wikipedia}.

A similar sentiment is found in Leviticus 24:16 (King James translation), "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death."


Thank you Wizard for posting this blurb. You paint a picture of a truly ignorant person who can't seem to be bothered to memorize a few verses that support his claim to fame.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

I probably should have made this a forum post. If this goes much longer, I will. I looked up that verse to see the context:

Quote: Koran 9:5-6

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

This seems like any of hundreds of passages in the Old Testament. To summarize, if you don't bother us, we won't bother us. If you do bother us, we'll kill every last one of you. Since Christianity has never repudiated the Old Testament, I find any criticism from them of the violence in the Koran to be hypocritical.

Nareed Sep 20, 2011

Wizard, you should turn this to the forum.

BTW I fail to see how you interpret the passage you quoted as "if you don't bother us we won't bother you." It calls for slaying, converting or lording it over the pagans wherever you find them, even to lie in wait for them. That's pretty agressive and as far removed from a live and let live attitude.

You're right, though, that other religions can be just as bad. However, that doesn't make the Koran any less wrong.

Now, as to the Koran-burning guy, while he has a right to burn a book of his proeprty, whatever book it may be, there's no need to provoke the crazies with a petty gesture. They do fine all by themselves finding things to be provoked about, such as the Muhammed cartoons in Denmark a few years back.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

I had a typo in my last comment; I meant to say "If you don't bother us, we won't bother YOU." To back that up, I would need to go back further and look at the passage in historical context. To be honest, I was going by a commentary I read on another site about the passage.

This would be worth for a forum post, but why open up a discussion about the Koran when the number of us who have read the whole thing is zero. Also, I think the person who starts a post has an obligation to moderate it, and I just don't want to. I don't want to give the impression that I talk more about religion that gambling. If anyone else wants to bring up the topic, be my guest.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

Here is a link to the commentary on that passage: theamericanmuslim.org.

Nareed Sep 20, 2011

I read the link, but I don't buy it. the passage indicates something else and makes no mention of a cease fire or truce or anything like that.

FrGamble Sep 20, 2011

I am a little worn out on forum posts about religion as well and it seems there is less action here on your blog, that might be a good thing for discussion. I am still waiting for a kind blog or post about Catholicism you mentioned a while ago. A few related suggestions to this topic could be:

- The Catholic Church has always had a rich tradition that helps interpret the Bible using different methodologies. Sometimes literal, other times figurative or allegorical, spiritual, etc. This saves us from being fundamentalists when reading the different genres of Biblical literature. The Bible is a book of faith, nor a history book or science textbook. The truths to be gleaned from the Bible often come from a deeper reading than the surface.

- While the Catholic Church does not repudiate the Old Testament, in fact sees the Jewish Scriptures as essential to understanding Christ, it also makes it clear that God's revelation is not complete until Jesus Christ and the New Testament. God is teaching humanity and must teach slowly over decades or centuries certain truths. It is a long climb up to the culminating message on the summit of Mt. Calvary where violence and death are finally destroyed. The first steps are discovering monotheism, intrinsic moral laws, establishing a community (later to extend to the whole world), recognizing God's forgiveness and love, etc., etc... A Christian would not be hypocritical in speaking out against violence just because of the OT, especially when it is shown that the NT is the completion of the Old.

- The Catholic Church has a Pope. This is someone who can say what is in-bounds and what is out of bounds when it comes to Catholicism. This is huge! You can't call yourself a Catholic Priest and go around saying something different than the universal Church. I wish there was someone in Islam who had that authority and voice for Muslims, who could clarify clearly how to interpret those difficult passages of the Koran and what practices would be condoned or condemned in Islam.

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 21, 2011

Completely agree with the first sentence of FrGamble's comment. Frequently visit this site because of the blackjack survey, articles and your great hotel reviews which haven't been updated in a while. Instead lately you've been bashing an entire religion based on a few outspoken minorities (you reference the "god hates fags" sign and now Terry Jones as if those two examples reprsent the majority of Christianity) within that religion.......buuuut isn't that the same thing you fault Terry Jones for doing? You argue that there are moderate muslims and he is bashing the entire religion based on a few outspoken minorities within that religion.

Wizard Sep 21, 2011

Thanks Father, those are all good points. Yes, I do owe you the post saying something nice about Catholicism. I will attempt to do that next, if I don't get distracted by something else, which has been known to happen.

I never said that Terry Jones and those carrying "God Hates Fags" signs represent mainstream Christianity. You don't find average Christians speaking in Times Square to whoever will listen very often, so I wrote about whoever happened to be there. My remark about "God Hates Fags" Christians was to draw a comparison to the Mormon faith, where you never seem to see that at all.

By the way, I think if more moderate Christians don't like the extremists getting all the attention they should be out there more preaching their own message to the public, as Jesus did. Yes, I'm you could recite the names of missionaries in the Congo doing that, but I never seem to see it HERE.

Agreed, I know it seems I talk more about religion than gambling lately. However, to be honest, I'm running low on new things to say about gambling. I promised the Father a post, and I will deliver on that. After that, I'll tone it down.

Scotty71 Sep 22, 2011

I would like to think Jesus would slap that idiot.

EvenBob Sep 22, 2011

Did you tell him most of America thinks

he's a lunatic? Why not?

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 22, 2011

Bob, he would probably take that as a compliment.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 08, 2011


One of the things that I find very annoying are people who are habitually late. I have said before that people never realize their own faults. Those who are never on time seem to think it is no big deal and you can get off with an insincere apology. Let me tell you something -- if you're always late, it is a fault, and it is very annoying to people that try hard to get places on time, like me.

Through the years I have found that once you accept apologies for lateness, the other party keeps getting worse and worse. As the victim, I eventually I get pushed too far and either break off a friendship over it, or give the other party the cold shoulder for a while.

My question for those reading this is how to you handle people are you always late? Assume they always apologize, but you know it is just lip service. Do you:

A) Just take it, what is the big deal?
B) Be honest and tell them gently each time that you're a little mad about it.
C) Falsely say that you accept the apology each time, and silently stew until your pot boils over and you explode.

I'm not saying it is the best option, but I'm a C person. Probably the half German in me.


Scotty71 Sep 08, 2011

B. Its rude to be late for appointment. Some people thinks its funny that they are always late like it is just part of their DNA. I am way too OCD to be late and move all my clocks forward by 5-10 minutes.

It's also rude to be real early too, I hate that guy almost as much!

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 08, 2011

Going through this right now with one of my best friends who is out of work. I am also half German so maybe thats why I'm doing the C thing right now. B is definitely the best option though and probably the most healthy. Easier said than done though.

rdw4potus Sep 08, 2011

If I can do something else while waiting, then i'm annoyed but not angry. If I'm forced to just sit around waiting for someone, then I quickly reach the latter part of C.

buzzpaff Sep 08, 2011

I usually just do A if I know the person can't help it. Really some people just can't. I mean I will probably be late tomorrow for the

2009 Procrastinator's annual meeting.

FleaStiff Sep 08, 2011

"Sorry I'm late ..."

"That's okay, you usually are."

Ever notice how young attractive women simply do not tolerate a man being late.

NicksGamingStuff Sep 09, 2011

Are you mad my article is delayed?

Wizard Sep 09, 2011

"Are you mad my article is delayed?"

No. You're good with me Nick. What brought this is on has nothing to do with the forum.

odiousgambit Sep 09, 2011

I go with 'A' for the most part, with some exceptions.

I find there are people who assume that one party will be late, and that it is a matter of a game with them to make sure that they aren't the one made to wait. If both play the game, it escalates. With one friend to keep it from getting worse I try to be 10 minutes late when I know he will be aim for 15 minutes late. Blowing off the friendship is not an option in this case.

NicksGamingStuff Sep 09, 2011

Do what I do for tardy people if I want to meet at 2 I tell them to meet at 1:30

DJTeddyBear Sep 09, 2011

Quote: Nick

Do what I do for tardy people if I want to meet at 2 I tell them to meet at 1:30

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

Actually I was going to say that I tell them the time is an HOUR before the real time.

Tiltpoul Sep 09, 2011

HABITUAL TARDINESS... I don't have much tolerance for people like that. To be honest, I ended friendships because of that. In that case D), terminate all contact with the person would be the only answer.

For people who are late once or twice, not habitually, I don't make a big deal of it.

Nareed Sep 09, 2011

Shouldn't this have been posted on the forum?

Anyway, I'm obsessively punctual. If a movie doesn't start at the appointed time (plus/minus 2 minutes to allow for minor time-setting differences), I get very annoyed. If my flight doesn't leave on time, I get really very annoyed. This ahs actuallys erved me well in my current job, because many things ahve to be done by X:XX time on the dot at the latest, or you get disqualified. I've never been late to any of them. Also I've never missed a flight, a dcotor's appointment or even a hotel or restaurant reservation.

One thing I do is set a waiting period and then leave. Then I explain to the tardy person "I waited 30 minutes and you didn't arrive, so I thought you weren't going to show up." If I'm feeling particualrly mean, I'll add "Please forgive me for being ON TIME"

Wizard Sep 09, 2011

"Shouldn't this have been posted on the forum?"

I thought about it. However, with my latest ranting about religion and the blog entry about doing business with friends, I'm worried about coming off too negative and mean. My forum is more of a place for me to vent -- my own free speech zone. I've been going through some tough times and have been rather irritable lately. I didn't want to broadcast yet another rant to a wide audience, so I put it here. Thanks for listening.

Nareed Sep 09, 2011

If clocks had been common in Roman times, tardiness would have been one fo the mortal sins. Or it should be.

Rant away if you want. I assume as a fellow puncual person you find tardiness worse than any number of other social offenses. And I think we'd all understand letting off some steam from time to time. We can even have a section "Wizardly Rants" jus for the purpose, so poeple would know what they're in for.

In any case, I usurped your prerogative for the Spanish word of the day based on this post. I hope you like it.

FleaStiff Sep 09, 2011

Practices vary. In Los Angeles, one arrives anywhere from twenty minutes to a few hours late for a party. In Scandinavia, if you are 15 minutes late for a dinner invitation you apologize to the hosetess. I knew one young lady who returned to the UK where people were more punctual because she simply was not used to the Los Angeles practices wherein people accepted invitations but either did not show or showed up quite terribly late. She just was not used to guests showing up two hours late.

Now for less formal social engagements its often still annoying but we don't get too upset about mild tardiness but that is often because it simply is too annoying to us to get upset over it.

Face Sep 09, 2011

I'm closest to "C". Native and German, I'm either stoic or irate. There's not much middle ground. If you're late here and there, or late to an outting when I have all day, I usually won't mind. But I'm a working man with a 2 year old and a wife, my "free time" is few and far between, and precious indeed. I won't suffer the wasting of my time because you can't be responisble. I might extend leniency to "new friends" but old friends know, if they're not on time, I'll have already started without them. Dinner, fishing, golfing...you snooze you lose. I've ended 1 friendship due to habitual tardiness. I don't have time for it.

tsmith Sep 09, 2011

Habitual tardiness borders on the passive-aggressive as far as I'm concerned, and will continue as long as it's tolerated. You can forgive it once, but when it happens over and over without any good reason, don't pander to that person.

It's a control issue; if they know you'll wait for them they have control over you and the situation. But you don't have to say anything to let them know how you feel and you don't have to hold in your anger either and make yourself sick.

If you tell everyone that dinner starts at 7pm and all but the one person is there, serve the dinner. The people who are on time should not be punished for being punctual. If the person who is late ends up eating cold leftovers, so be it. And if next time that person is late again, let him eat cold leftovers again.

I once worked with a man who was 30 minutes late every single day. His boss got tired of it so he changed the man's hours to start a half-hour later. Guess what? He was still 30 minutes late every single day.

toastcmu Sep 09, 2011

I'd have to go with B initially, but progress to C as it keeps happening. I tend to run as an early person when I have meetings or appointments, so I think that has something to do with me getting fed up about late people. Unfortunately, as one who has to run meetings at work, all that means is I have about 10 minutes of dead time,while I make small talk and deal with those who show up 5-10 minutes late. I'm 25% German, but 25% Swedish and 50% Japanese, so what does that tell you....


Toes14 Sep 10, 2011

I'm about 50-50 between B & C. We have some friends who are always late. One couple were finally chewed out after we missed 2-3 innings of the Cardinals game waiting on them (they had the tickets). That actually corrected their behavior for the most part.

One of my wife's best friends is always very late. She always had an excuse, usually a lame one. Now she uses her son as the excuse. How can a 5 year old make you 2 hours late to a birthday party? (And why couldn't you at least call & let us know?) Talking to her has had no impact, so now we invite her an hour earlier than everyone else. That more or less gets her there reasonably close to everyone else.

AZDuffman Sep 11, 2011

I have found habitual lateness comes from of two things:

1. The person is scatterbrained and generally disorganized in life

2. The person is an arrogant attention-whore.

Ross Johnson of RJR-Nabisco freely admitted he was the second type and would always be late to "make an entrance." They said when George W Bush took over one thing holdovers from Clinton had to get used to was when Bush said a meeting started at 1:00 it started at 1:00 and if he said it was 30 minutes it was not a minute longer. I swear if it was not for my grandparents, who got to Church an hour early I kid you not, it would have been in 1st grade at Catholic school before I would have known how Mass started. I *hate* being late. I hate people who are always late. What is so hard about being somewhere when you are supposed to?

Ayecarumba Sep 12, 2011

But time is relative. We all experience it differently. For some it moves quickly, for others slowly. I think this may be why some folks are constantly running late. Try this experiment: Using the stopwatch on your phone, or even a wristwatch with a second hand, see if you can accurately predict when two minutes have passed without watching the time. Were you early, late or dead on? How does that match with your feeling regarding promptness?

JohnnyQ Sep 19, 2011

I feel your pain. And I don't know the answer. I married one. I guess I put up

with it, we're still married.

Now, if I may vent a moment. We go to the outlet mall. I'm going to walk around for

exercise, so I say "I don't care how much time you want to spend here, just tell

me when you want to meet, and if you get hung up, call me and let me know".

Guess what. When I get a call, it's about 10 minutes AFTER we were supposed

to meet. What's so hard about calling ! Besides that, she's a good wife.

So, definitely not "A". It is a big deal, it's rude, it's disrespectful, it's annoying,


JohnnyQ Sep 19, 2011


re - "I've been going through some tough times and have been rather irritable lately".

I hope things are looking up by now. If not, hang in there.

EvenBob Sep 20, 2011

I was in an accident 15 years ago and as a result,

my attorney said I should see a shrink as part of

'adjusting' to my injuries. The shrink was always

late for every appointment and had a stupid excuse

every time. I was always his first appointment after

lunch, he was never less than 20min late. One time

he was 30min late, so I left. There's a coffee shop

in the same building on the ground floor and I saw

him in there, sitting in a booth drinking coffee and

and reading a book. I was instantly furious and went

in and told him off. He said he got so involved in the

book he lost track of the time. I told him an appointment

was a verbal contract, and he constantly broke it. The

truth was, he didn't give a shit about anybody but him

it made him feel important to keep people waiting. I

found out later its a lifelong problem for him, having

his head shoved up his ass...

JohnnyQ Sep 23, 2011


Well it must not have been easy for the shrink

either, trying to listen with his head shoved up his

ass. I'm not sure what an ideal career would

be for someone with that particular condition.

Politician ?

EvenBob Sep 24, 2011

I had a girlfriend before I got married that was always

late for everything. If we had reservations for dinner,

we were always an hour late because she was never

ready. We lived together for awhile and I saw first hand

how these people operate. She was never aware of what

time it was or how long it took to do anything. This was

because she rarely thought about what she was doing

while she was doing it. Her mind was in laalaaland all

the time, just like the shrink. If she had three things

to do before it was time to leave, she'd start all three and

never have any of them finished by tee time. It drove me

nuts to be around her and I got away from the relationship

before she had me crazy like her.

hook3670 Sep 27, 2011

My wife is always late. It is really her only one major flaw. I occasionally ignore it but sometimes just lose my mind and it seems to get better. Of course she is never late for work or for a plane or for any "have to be on time" events. She just gets lazy and is late. I figure I am sure I have crap I do that bothers her or my friends so I can put up a flaw of hers or others. Now if that was combined with 2 or 3 other major flaws or I what I regard as major flaws, then its time to move on.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 04, 2011

LVMC Member of the Month

Check out who is the member of the month of the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club. You'll have to scroll about 80% of the way down.

Trivia Time: Where was the photo taken. As always, NO SEARCHING! I'll be very impressed if anyone gets it.


NicksGamingStuff Sep 05, 2011

I am just taking a shot in the dark and guessing Yosemite. I guess this for the following reasons: The shrubs and trees look like something I would find in Northern California, second you have your daughter with you and Yosemite is a popular family destination. Third putting a bicycle through a tree is something I would think only an artist in Northen CA would do.

odiousgambit Sep 05, 2011

I admit I don't know. btw I assume I am correct the tree grew around the bike?

Question that pops to mind is, did hikers chuckle and say "in 20-30 years that will look cool" or is the place so remote and off the trail a bit that it 'just happened?'

HotBlonde Sep 05, 2011

Congrats, Mike.

odiousgambit Sep 05, 2011

I did find the tree/bike thing using google.

You have me looking up "rim to rim" hiking. The first thing I thought of his hearing about people getting into trouble. The boy scout incident [with fatality] is well known, see link below.


Wizard Sep 05, 2011

Yes, the tree grew around the bike. I read the story a while ago, and don't remember it well, but it goes something like this: A boy was given a bike he didn't like and hid it in a tree. Perhaps he claimed he lost it to get a new one, I don't know. The tree is in a heavily forested area and not within plain view of anything, so it would have been pretty much undisturbed up in the tree. Decades go by and the the tree grows around the bike and it become somewhat of a little tourist attraction of its vicinity. The owner is now an adult but still lives close by his former bike.

Agreed, Nick, this is something a northern Cal artist would love, but that isn't the answer.

Ayecarumba Sep 06, 2011

My guesses are Santa Barbara, California, or somewhere in Alaska. Since you are wearing shorts, I will go with Santa Barbara.

Wizard Sep 06, 2011

"My guesses are Santa Barbara, California, or somewhere in Alaska"

Nope. The foliage is too thick and green for Santa Barbara. Alaska is not a bad guess. However, in the summer shorts can be quite appropriate in Alaska. I think Fairbanks gets into the low 80s in the height of summer.

Ayecarumba Sep 07, 2011

Rats! I looked it up, and am kicking myself now for not taking more time to think about it, as I am pretty sure I could have gotten it down to the nearest major city. These are fun (Utah hand signs, Where is this?, Venetian bridge...). Maybe "photo quiz" could be a regular feature?

Wizard Sep 07, 2011

The photo quiz is a good idea. I've also thought about taking pictures around Vegas and asking readers to guess where they were taken.

So, time to reveal the answer. This was taken at the bike tree on Vashon Island, Washington. It is a fairly large island close to Seattle. My father owns some property there, which brought me there in July, when this picture was taken.

JohnnyQ Sep 23, 2011

Ditto, I think it would be fun to have a weekly

photo quiz. The picture would need to be

something pretty cool, though.

Posted by Wizard
Aug 31, 2011

Business and Friendship

I just had a huge argument with a friend of several years over a project I hired this person to help me with. This was the first time there was ever a business deal between the two of us. Suffice it say the deal with horribly bad, some very unkind allegations were made, and there is a dispute about what proper compensation should be. I will not be getting into specifics.

Suffice it to say that a good friendship was ruined over a comparatively small business deal. I'm pretty upset about it. I think the lesson to be learned here is to avoid doing business with friends, whenever you can, unless maybe if it is a very simple cut-and-dry deal. Also, don't get too close too people you are doing business with. I've seen that go bad too. Rarely have I seen true friendship and business mix well.


NicksGamingStuff Aug 31, 2011

I do agree with you that becoming friends with the people you do serious business with can go sour easily. I remember at my last job that upper management did not like I was so friendly with the people I was in charge of, yet I felt this relaxed management style yielded higher employee morale. Hopefully this experience won't sour you from giving me some other small projects. As you said a simple cut-and-dry deal is probably the best type of work to give friends. Some people have a hard time separating their friendship hat from their business hat. I always believe in respecting the people you work for. If you are friends with them and they criticize or object to your work you have to remember the person is wearing their business hat at the time, the friendship hat will come on later.

Wizard Aug 31, 2011

Thanks for your comments, Nick. I too have a philosophy of being a nice easy-going boss. Perhaps some might say I can be a selfish a**hole part of the time, who knows. It is hard to see one's own faults. My wife always says people abuse me for my niceness, but that is just the way I am. In looking back, I have always worked harder for bosses that were nice to me, but maybe not everybody responds to sugar the same way I do.

You're good with me Nick. Paying for an article is pretty simple. I like to negotiate the price afterward, depending on the length and quality, but so far I think we've been happy with that arrangement.

FleaStiff Aug 31, 2011

Did YOU treat it as you would a business deal? Written specifications of what was to be done and when, written provisions for early termination and dispute resolution? The title under that dotted line should read Businessman. It should not be Friend.

Comparatively small business deal... small in dollar amount perhaps but alertness to pitfalls is still required. A good friend can still be a bad businessman particularly if you've only known him as a friend, not a businessman.

Wizard Aug 31, 2011

As usual with me, this was a mixture of an oral agreement and Emails. To my discredit, I did not probe deeply the issue of prices and what services/products were to be delivered. I knew this person's normal hourly rate, which was more than agreeable with me.

Usually people pay me for services and my philosophy is that if you're not happy with my work, then don't pay, I wouldn't want your money if you're legitimately not happy. However, that is not an official policy, because some clients will abuse it and pretend to be unhappy to avoid paying. There is often usually an Email chain to fall back on as well, should there be any disputes. It would be too time consuming to make a formal contract for every deal I do.

However, in this case I paid the other party for a service, and was unhappy with the result. So I'm not as used to being on this side of things. Again, lesson learned is that doing business with a friend is like playing Russian roulette. Avoid doing so if you can. Thinking about different hats is not of much help in this case.

buzzpaff Aug 31, 2011

"In business, sir, one has no friends, only correspondents. "

Alexandre Dumas

Wizard Aug 31, 2011

"In business, sir, one has no friends, only correspondents. " Alexandre Dumas

Indeed, Dumas is evidently smarter than this dumb ass. Speaking of which, trivia time: In which movie was Dumas referred to "dumb ass," by an illiterate trying to read the cover of one of his books.

ItsCalledSoccer Aug 31, 2011

It always seems to work better in reverse - making friends in the course of doing business, rather than doing business with friends.

It's always a bad thing when a relationship ends poorly, whether or not it was a good thing that it ended. But IMHO, installing hard-and-fast rules about things like this never seems to work. I think it depends a lot more on grace than on rules.

While I, of course, don't know you or this friend, it would be my guess that there were "grace" problems before between you guys. Was someone always getting "irritated" over things like deciding where to have a drink or having to cancel at the last minute? Did you ever hear him assign motive to other people or to you? Things like that are not a big deal and can be overlooked when you're friends, but it's harder when it's business.

Still, if there's a "rule" to be written as a result of this experience, I would say it's "do business with friends who are graceful in personal matters" rather than "stop doing business with friends."

My $0.02.

Wizard Aug 31, 2011

Agreed, better to make friends with those you do business with than the other way. There is a lot more that can go wrong with a business deal than having fun, so if you can get through the tough times, you can likely get through the good times.

I also tend to agree that establishing lots of rules probably won't help much. In my case I should have done more, but you can never completely mitigate arguments with contracts. There are lots of contingencies you'll never think of and words in the contract can be interpreted differently.

Yes, it came out that there were some hard feelings I didn't know about when work started. I didn't know until it all exploded. These hard feelings seem to have poisoned the water.

Until this happened I would have never questioned the grace of the other party. He/she was a friend and there was never a cross word in the several years we've known each other.

NicksGamingStuff Aug 31, 2011

The answer is The Shawshank Redemption, I knew without googling because I love that movie

midwestgb Aug 31, 2011

Stay true to yourself with this deal Wiz. And btw, I have received the same admonitions from my wife about my business approach - which pretty plainly is highly similar to yours ... ;-)

benbakdoff Sep 01, 2011

Sometimes you just can't win. Avoid doing business with a friend and watch that blow up on you when the friend feels snubbed.

HotBlonde Sep 01, 2011

Yeah doing business with friends can be a slippery slope. I feel bad that your friendship with this person ended. Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way and your circumstance is unfortunate.

In a similar way I've always felt more comfortable rooming with someone I was not originally friends with than with a friend of mine. I have always feared that being roommates with a friend would totally change the dynamic of that friendship and could very likely ruin it. And even in real estate a lot of times I feel better refering people I know to another agent for a referal fee just to avoid having things get awkward.

boymimbo Sep 01, 2011


You are actually quite generous, and that allows people to take advantage of your friendliness to their personal gain. I've had friendships ruined over business. Once I had contract work to write a computer program and was getting paid by the hour. Alas, I couldn't complete the project (it was too complex, and didn't have the time) and asked him to find someone else. I also really tried to get the project done and hid my project progess thinking I could come up with some breakthrough that would have ended the project with a success. My boss (and good friend) got really upset that I couldn't finish the project, but I just didn't have the ability to program per the business requirement. What I should have done was offer a rebate on some of the money that he paid me, but he was so pissed with me that he just didn't talk to me after that. That was 10 years ago. I really liked him too. He's the one who called me Mimbo.

It's important when dealing with friends and money to dictate what the terms of any business dealing are and never get in a situation where your friendship would be ruined if terms weren't met. Small milestones might be a way to accomplish this (small payments for project goals being met) along with a backup plan should the project fall through.

sunrise089 Sep 01, 2011

Of course if I have to pick a side here I pick Team Wizard, but I'm surprised you found yourself in this situation. I suspect if things went this poorly the other guy simply wasn't a true friend to begin with. I know I have true friends, imperfect friendships, and friendships of convenience. I'd only agree to an informal yet professional relationship with people in the first category.

DorothyGale Sep 02, 2011

I am so sorry for this, Mr. W. ... there are very few opportunities in life for friendship ... and very few friends we have for a lifetime ...

But, I also disagree with this: "the lesson to be learned here is to avoid doing business with friends, whenever you can, unless maybe if it is a very simple cut-and-dry deal" ... when it comes to absolutes, they tend to close doors not open them ... such absolutes can lead to being closed minded to great opportunities and relationships that may come your way ...

Wizard Sep 02, 2011

Thanks for all the recent comments. Agreed that my "lesson learned" was overly general. That is why I used the word "avoid," as opposed to "never." I agree, one should never rule out anything. Never say never.

Let's just say that if given the choice in choosing who do to a potentially hairy business deal with, a friend, or a stranger, all other things being equal, I would go with the stranger after the mess that just happened.

buzzpaff Sep 02, 2011

I have a box set DVD of Shawshank Redemption. How I got it is quite a story. I sell DVDS and books on Amazon. Went to Denver 2 weeks ago and Blackhawk( to hit thrift stores and pawn shops as it's August in Grand Junction, hot and yard sales about over,

Last Friday hit yard sales one last time as this weekend is a Holiday and will be dead. Air conditioning out in my car and from 8 am till

noon, I did not find anything. But saw an old 1939 plate and emailed a guy who collects them and had to go out in the heat again and get the plates in Redlands. Low end houses there are still over $300,000. Got plates got lost in development. Saw a guy taking down his garage sale sign in drive way and DVDs on garage floor, He had over 100 DVD's appeared to be popular titles and a dozen box sets on floor. Seems he had just sold the rack. I asked what he wanted for the lot and he said make an offer, but only after he took out a disney box set Cinderella, that he said was worth $50. I did not know condition of the single DVD so I said $100 and he said OK.

Got home and found the Dvds were all wide screen, mostly sealed, unrated versions, Special editions. Figure to make $500 on them and had my Unemployed daughter ( and partner ) list the 10 box sets left after I took out Shawshank Redemption. She said the Cinderella was worth $60, And while she was listing the box sets one of them, Stars Wars Trilogy, sold for $70. My Dad always said cast your bread on the water and it will be returned 10 fold. I think my $25 bread for the plates was returned 25 to 30 fold.

buzzpaff Sep 02, 2011

But the story is not over. I have fallen arches from working all day as a teen and then standing at night hustling pool. Had a foot

doctor appointment this morning at 10 am. Wife wanted to see the houses in Redlands I had described to her so we went there first.

Saw the old guy I had bought the plates from hanging up a sign. Followed him to his house and helped take the tarp off his 1928

Buick Roadster. Not for sale, just to attract to garage sale. He told me one jerk got pissed, because he would not sell him the hood ornament off it. I don't haggle. If i am buying a lot I just ask the people what they think is fair, and it usually is more than fair. The guy had a black 1941 Cali plate that he was nice enough to let me have for $5 even though every other plate was $25. It was 9:30 so

I headed to the doctors. Saw a yard sale that had a big sign antiques. I was running late, but what the hell! Nope, no more plates.

His mother-in-law had passed way and she had an antique shop. He was selling everything half what it was in her shop. My wife looked at some carnival glass, but we had to go. I saw a $300-500 brand new Huffy mountain bike as I was leaving. No sale sign on

it. Only noticed it because one pedal was missing, The tires still had those strings of rubber on the new mountain tires, so I was sure

it was new. I asked him about the missing pedal. He said he found the bike in back of shop, had no idea how it got there, or where the pedal was. Wife remarked Kevin, son-in-law needed a bike as they were down to one car and no job. I dont haggle so I asked what

he wanted for it. Then I drove to drs with windows down,( no air), and a bike wheel sticking out a rear door tied partially closed with a seat belt. LOL Took bike to son-in-law and daughter. Told Mary Jo she could reimburse me out of next Amazon Split_UP. I mean I had paid $25 for the bike.

That bread only comes back if you are honest about casting it. That's why I told the fella who gets the plates to not reimburse me.

But WIZ I will take you up on lunch or dinner in Vegas someday !!

Posted by Wizard
Jul 17, 2011

License Plate Display

As HotBlonde mentioned in her blog entry My Vegas Trip July 2011, she was kind enough to come over to the library to watch me set up my license plates. This lasted about five minutes before I had the sense I was boring her and suggested she check out the good selection of gambling books, which happens to include my own. I don't blame her. Of the hundreds of license plate collectors and afficianados I've known through the years the number who were women is zero.

Anyway, some of my license plate collection is on display at the Sahara' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://www.lvccld.org/about/branch_info.cfm?id=6]Sahara West library, at north-east corner of Sahara and Grand Canyon. There are two large cases in the lobby and a smaller one by the stairs in the library. In one of the lobby cases and the one in the library I put most of my collection of porcelain license plates. In the other lobby case I put my collection of inaugural license plates. Here is what I wrote about each display.

Porcelain License Plates
Michael Shackleford

Click on any picture for larger version.

In the very early car years, most of the various state licensing agencies told you your registration number and it was up to you to produce your own license plates. Some people made their own, usually attaching house numbers to a piece of wood. Some painted the number on the bumper. Most had them made by private companies, such as the Auto Club of Southern California. Today such plates are called "pre-states" among collectors, and are both rare and valuable.

After the pre-state years many states issued large heavy license plates made of porcelain on steel, such as those seen here. Other states, like Nevada, went right to making them with steel. Unlike today, in which license plates are made in prison, the porcelain plates you see here were made by private companies contracting to the state.

Each state has its own unique license plate history. This display seeks to capture just some of the porcelain plates of that era. Most porcelain plates that remain today are from the north-east states, because they issued them longer than other parts of the country, and had a greater share of the population at the time.

The following table shows the years each state produced a new porcelain style of license plates. Subsequent years may have seen the same porcelain plates in use, along with an updated registration tab, much like the stickers of today.

State Years
Arkansas 1911-1913
California 1914-1916
Colorado 1913-1915
Connecticut 1905, 1910-1916
Delaware 1909-1915, 1942
District of Columbia 1907
Georgia 1915
Indiana 1913
Kentucky 1910-1913
Maine 1905, 1912-1915
Maryland 1911-1914
Massachusetts 1903, 1908-1915
Michigan 1910-1914
Minnesota 1911
New Hampshire 1905, 1913-1918
New Jersey 1909-1915
New Mexico 1920-1923
New York 1912
North Carolina 1913-1916
Ohio 1908, 1910, 1911
Pennsylvania 1906-1915
Rhode Island 1904, 1908, 1912
Vermont 1905, 1907, 1909-1915
Virginia 1906, 1910-1913
Washington 1920
West Virginia 1907, 1909-1912, 1914, 1916
Wyoming 1916

Contact: Michael Shackleford, (Email omitted online)

Inaugural License Plates
Michael Shackleford

From 1933 to 2001, except 1945, the District of Columbia celebrated each presidential inaugural with commemorative license plates. These optional plates were valid for street use for a limited period of time during and after the inauguration.

Early Years (1933, 1937, 1941, 1949)

These four years featured a similar design from one year to the next, all with a red white and blue shield and similar coloring. 1941 was the only white year. Due to the metal shortage caused by World War II, there was no inaugural license plate in 1945. All four years saw a very limited printing, fewer than 1,000 each year, except 2,000 in 1949. Much fewer are known to still exist today. Consequently, such plates are very rare.

Eisenhower/Nixon Years (1953, 1957)

These two years are noteworthy for featuring photographs of President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon. Not just in inaugural license plate history, but in the entire history of U.S. license plates, this is the only usage of a person's image on a license plate. For this reason they are highly prized by collectors.

Flat Years (1961, 1965, 1969)

These years the plates were not embossed, but were completely flat, much like how Nevada plates are made today. It interesting that this style of flat license plates appeared as early as 1961, but did not become a norm for many states until recent years. By this time inaugural license plates were becoming more popular among the general public and registration numbers went up significantly.

Flag Years (1973, 1977, 1981)

These years are noteworthy for having a patriotic flag theme to them.

Stoic Years (1985 to 2001)

These years had a more serious and presidential look to them. No more large fonts and up-beat designs. Rather these years had small lettering and an official inaugural seal. The purpose of said design was said to be less for motor vehicle use and more as a souvenir wall decoration.

Souvenir Years (2005, 2009)

2005 marked the first year where inaugural license plates were no long valid for street use, and were sold strictly as souvenirs. Two separate styles were made. The only time they would have been seen on vehicles would have been during the inaugural parade. In the opinion of many license plate collectors, including me, I do not consider these two years to be true license plates because they were never street legal.

2009 saw one style of souvenir plate and a second that was used only on official cars in the inaugural parade.

More information: dcplates.com/Presidential.htm.
Contact: Michael Shackleford, (Email omitted online)


HotBlonde Jul 17, 2011

Great stuff, Mike. It must've taken you a long time to collect all of these. You assumed I was bored but I would've liked to have learned more about these. I didn't even know they used to be made with porcelain on steel until you informed me of this. Although I'm not much into history I'm always interested in learning about other people's interests. And I'm glad I had gotten to finally get my hands on your book.

It would be cool to see pics of you posed in front of the cases.

odiousgambit Jul 18, 2011

As usual with something I know little about, much more to this than I ever imagined. Thanks.

BTW I don't think you mean to include the states info listed twice.

Nareed Jul 18, 2011

I must admit I've no interest at all in license plates as such, but as historical artifacts they are very interesting. For example, I'd like to know more about how cars were licensed at first, how the idea of paltes developed, and so on. I find it odd that people were required to come up with their own plates, too. Also, how did the manufacture of plates wind up in prisons? And is that the rule in other countries as well?

Ayecarumba Jul 18, 2011

Thanks for the post Mike. It is very interesting how these things started out as almost a home based business, then grew to eventually be taken over by the government.

Some questions regarding the early plates... Since folks were free to make their own plate, why did they use numbers? Were they required to use numbers and not letters? Since they were often house numbers (and homemade), what kept folks with the same house number on different streets from making duplicates?

Wizard Jul 18, 2011


Since folks were free to make their own plate, why did they use numbers? Were they required to use numbers and not letters? Since they were often house numbers (and homemade), what kept folks with the same house number on different streets from making duplicates?

Sorry for the confusion. The motor vehicle authority would have given you a specific number, like 2745. Then you make your own plate, or paid someone else to make it, and then put it on your car. Interestingly, I think in Delaware this is still an option. Living 10 years in Maryland, often seeing Delaware plates, I never once saw anyone invoke this option. Yes, once you had your number, and you planned to make your own plate, you would most likely go to the hardware store and buy some house numbers. In California you see a lot of the same bases, giving me the impression said hardware stores sold a frame to attach them to as well. There is a good photo of California pre-states at http://www.worldlicenseplates.com/. Other states saw leather in use a lot for the frame of pre-states, but not California for some reason.

Good informative link: http://porcelainplates.net/california_archive.html.

AZDuffman Jul 18, 2011

This isn't a direct comment on your display but involved license plates. I read recently in Dubai some people (<36 I guess) have single-digit license plates. Supposedly the right to have such a plate is worth millions. I was wondering if you ever heard of this?