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Mon, Oct 24, 2016 01:07
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Summer, Kittens and Writing

We are having an interesting summer: family reunion in NC; a day trip to Pensacola Beach; and planned trips perhaps to Savannah and Nashville. Someone dropped off a one week old kitten on our front porch in a boot box. And Jim Thompson keeps writing articles that are hard to top, so I’m going to quit trying (smiley face here).

Let’s take the last comment first, Mr. Thompson’s articles. The one of late that sticks in my head is the dooms day column on the eventual demise of newsprint. I love newspapers. We get two – the Montgomery Advertiser and the WSJ. I read something in both every day, well most days anyway. And I guess Jim is right as the trends toward electronic print continue to rise. My wife is reading a book on a pad as I type. If we take newsprint and compare it to buggy whips (or carburetors if you like), there are still companies making whips. The secret is to be the last one or to have a fallback position. In the case of whips, there was no substitute or alternative … well shoe strings perhaps. In the case of carburetors, fuel injectors took their place, though specialty cars and the restoration market still make up for a small carburetor demand. So the task at hand is to be the last newsprint machine running. I assume here that our raw material supply for newsprint will remain competitive with other world markets.

Tough decisions are ahead. Reminds me of the efforts IP made to make the Savannah Mill more competitive 13 years ago. It was tough. For newsprint someone is going to have to commit to the latest technology to provide the most economical operation to ensure long term success. Try that in a declining market.

Kitten – we are a cat rescuing family. Some time ago my wife and I decided “no new cats.” It’s been working until June 18th that is. Then we found a size 9 boot box on the porch with a kitten inside and no note from its mother. The source remains unknown. Probably illegitimate. However, the kitten is firmly established in our household and may outlive both of us for Pete sake. By the way, a rule of thumb for bottle feeding kittens, it's best if a kitten can have its mother’s milk for at least two days. This may apply to other species as well. Antibodies and such you know. And for those of you who find stray household animals, please keep them and have them neutered or spayed, or take them to your local humane shelter. Don’t drop them off here or in the country. Household animals don’t survive in the wild.

Summer – Oh my how trips can cause stress during the summer. Make arrangements, plan the schedule, pack, get vehicle in shape and get money from the ATM, all of which is completely out of routine. Well, maybe except the ATM thing. We’ve seen this in our family as we travel 6 to 10 hours in the car to get somewhere (remember we are both retired, sort of). One of the things we’ve had to do is stop every one to two hours to stretch and use the bathroom. I just can’t go much longer sitting in the car and we use to be road warriors in our younger years. Our worst two trips – go to Savannah (6 hours) for a birthday party and then turn around and come home. And second, driving 18 hours to get to Alabama from New Jersey. Can you say: Not anymore! Even with the stops, we can get to our destination in reasonable time. So use your travel time as part of the enjoyment by stopping frequently to stretch and see things. And don’t fail to take advantage of targets of opportunity along the way. Example: Abraham Lincoln’s birth place along I-65. We stopped on our way north one trip and are glad we did.

Remember, as the weather changes so does your car. Check things regularly -- especially tire pressure. Use the factory recommended pressures front and rear that are probably on a label on a door jam. Check tire pressure first thing before the tires have a chance to warm up on the road. And for modern radial tires, if they look low, they are probably really low like dangerously so. Be safe.

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA

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