The rains had ended a few hours ago. George, looking out over the bay, saw nothing but blue skies.
He had listed all the obstacles that stood in his way. He had drawn up his will expressly excluded his two ex-wives, their husbands, and his grandchildren from benefiting from his death. They never found it convenient to visit him except once a year at the most. He knew they would contest his will. He had it witnessed by his company’s lawyers.
He had liquidated almost all his vast oil and lumber holdings. He had sold three lumber companies, and two small oil refineries. Those sales had netted him over $30,000,000 after paying off his financial obligations. Some of these he had sold at a lost and all against the advice of his Chief Financial Officer.
All proceeds and his large ranch would be left to his caregiver. Someone who had really cared for him the last 20 years of his life. Who had been supportive in his last few years while he was in intense pain from his terminal illness.
He would end the pain himself. He already had purchased the rope to hang from his favorite old oak tree.
His mother always punished him by making him go outside and play in the old sandbox. The sandbox was halfway down their long driveway directly under a catalpa tree with its large leaves and long bean pods. It was large sandbox measuring about 6 feet by 5 feet.
After his dad left them, she made him go there when she had “visitors”. He really didn’t mind as it gave him a chance to play with his bulldozer in the sand. He took some sick pleasure if his sister had been there before him. She would decorate the sandbox with stones and leaves which he loved to rake over when he arrived.
One day while a visitor was with his mother he heard shots and a woman scream. Running into the house he saw his mother with his dad’s old shotgun and a man lying on the floor bleeding profusely.
“Gary, she called. I need your help! We need to use that old sandbox.”
He helped her drag the body to the sandbox and with his skills as a bulldozer driver they covered the man with all the sand they could find. Gary finished the job by putting some stones and catalpa leaves so his sister would find the sandbox as she left it.
I remember, as a boy growing up, wanting to play the clarinet. I was in awe of Benny Goodman, Woody Herman and his Orchestra, and Artie Shaw.
After much nagging, my parents finally said I could have one if I practiced every day. I did. I even had a little report card that my dad had to sign off on to testify I had played for at least an hour that day. One slight problem is that my dad practiced as much as I did.
I found out later in life that my parents had to take out a loan to pay for the clarinet. It was a large expense at the time. I never was any good. I was always “second chair”; I think everyone after the “first chair” was a second chair. The first chair was my next door neighbor Ginger. Not only was she good at playing the clarinet but she played the damn piano as well. Her parents even bought her a piano.
At a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California, Durant Motor Company introduced its first Bus Lane Departure System (BLDS) for use on city buses. The lane departure systems are aimed at warning bus drivers, especially drowsy ones, if their bus wanders out of their lane. A digital camera mounted on the windshield ahead of the rear-view mirror keeps a watch. The system not only causes the steering wheel to vibrate if it senses an unintentional lane departure, it will also steer the bus back into the right lane. A spokesman for Durant Motor Company showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous bus is doing and when they might want to take over.
Surveying the crash site where the bus was demolished, State Trooper Leon Stopper said, “They always wondered how hard the BLDS will fight if it misinterprets a driver’s intentional lane change. Looks like round one goes to the BLDS.”
The Carbuncle Cup is awarded each year to the “ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last twelve years.” Some comments on this structure include “a travesty in more ways than one – we shutter at its lumpen form and mourn the building demolished to make way for it.” One critic called it “oppressively bland and totally insensitive to the beautiful surrounding it.” The building was part of a multi-million pound bid to redevelop the town’s center district but is now apparently dubbed “the dumpster” by locals. According to Building Design, the centre “had so much potential before multiple revisions and cost cutting.”
The building has also been criticized for being “grossly: over-sized, for its failure to blend in with the Victorian design of neighboring buildings.”