Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When you absolutely, positively hafta NAFTA

Windsor, Ont. - In case you haven't noticed, the people who tell you what you've got to have and how you must – simply must – go about getting it are more than rude.

They're downright pushy.

Just saying, but, hey, like they told me 40 years ago when I was first breaking in as a journeyman scribbler, it's not the big old, balls to the wall, full-blown stories told in stentorian, muzzle blast flash and blaring brassy alarum tones that really matter.

It's the little things that count.

The little stories tell the big story; the big stories are just typing – dictation.

They could get someone from the stenographic pool to tell those kind of stories, and they do. It's just a steno pool with a much higher price tag, where the transcriptionists have sheepskin minds and struggle through their fears to tell you why you need what's new and improved because, don't you see, what you have is – quite obviously – old, and inferior.

Touché. What else can you say?

About the time when certain corporate arrangements made it very easy – and very inexpensive - to unload entire trailer loads of international freight aboard Santa Fe piggy back, intermodal flat cars at Forty-Eighth and Kedzie in the windy city of Chicago and truck them to just-in-time assembly points and warehouses all over Ontario, John Boy and Sam Walton of Wally World fame had his son-in-law's hands from J.B. Hunt Transport waiting – and waiting – on both sides of the border, either at the very windy corner of Forty-Eighth and Kedzie, or all over Ontario at truck stops, trailer drop yards, and the back lots of factories.

And nowhere else. 

So what if the old boy behind the wheel hadn't been home to Pomona, or Salina, Sopchoppy or Bogalusa for three - maybe four months?

Now, Detroit City and Windsor, Ontario, have a good will policy spanning the Detroit River like a stainless steel friendship ring.

It's called the Ambassador Bridge. Cuts like a knife if they back hand you with it. Make you want to fight back, don't you know.

The Purple Gang of Prohibition fame was nowhere near as ambassadorial as the bridge. They relied on Garwood race hulls powered by V-8 mills burning competition fuels to run that blended whisky across that little stretch of water – all day and all night.

All about the taxes.

When you get the low-paying, freight-cut, less than minimum wage-paying load to the Ambassador Bridge, you're obliged to park in the corral at the Customs House while you go inside to get the runaround and what James Jones called THE TREATMENT from the ICE dudes. Hurry up and wait.

This is where you “cancel” the T&E (transit and excise) bond posted by a customs broker. If you fail to do so, the carrier pays a penalty by forfeiting the bond to the Customs Service of the U.S. Treasury.

Now, there's a no no for you.

No sweat, unless you haven't been home for three-four months and you aren't even making back your expenses.

So, one of John Boy's men in khaki shirt and buff colored jeans locked his 56-mile-per-hour, fuel-squeezing truck up in such a way that no trucks could get in the bull pen and no trucks could get out of the bull pen – blocking traffic on both sides of the river.. Within a short time, the bridge was jammed up tight.

Nothing moved. Everything with wheels on it was at a dead standstill.

Takes a big wrecker to move a big truck, or a man with enough savvy to back off the air brakes without hurting himself. Coil springs under many thousands of pounds per square-inch pressure will leap out and slice off a jaw, a nose, or the entire head if you don't have the tools and the know-how to deal with the problem.

In the lean-and-mean corporate atmosphere at Wally World and J.B. Hunt, it's hard to find someone with the say-so to organize all that in the wee, wee hours of the morning.

It took hours and hours to get them big wheels rolling – again.

Didn't see a thing about it in the local press, the national media, or even the funnies. It be that way, most days.

Worries about making the advertisers mad, that they might pull their ads?

Ho hum. Wally World, et. al., do not advertise locally. What's to worry?

That's just one bottle neck. There are a lot of them. They're everywhere; they're everywhere.

America, land of the free, the homeless, and the brave, where we don't make anything but merry hell - globally. 

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