On a wet, snowy Tuesday of February 23rd the Old Men of the Mountain trudged off to the Home Front Café in Altamont.

This was a sad day for the Old Men of the Mountain because it was the funeral of one of the OMOTM who was with us only last Tuesday at the Duanesburg Diner. Paul Paulsen passed away suddenly Friday night. Paul was 73 years old and by our standards just a kid, so it came as quite a shock to many of the OMOTM. After the breakfast at the Home Front a few of us went to the viewing at the Parkside Covenant Church in Clifton Park to pay our respects to the family of a loyal OMOTM. Paul traveled to most of the restaurants the OMOTM go to, no matter how far; he traveled from Glenville to do it. Some of the eating establishments were quite a hike for Paul and he was generally there. The OMOTM extend our sympathies to Barbara and her family.

After the initial discussion of Paul’s passing we began talking about other things and number one was the closing of our state parks. The OF’s agreed this was a very bad idea and wondered how it would be done, or even could be done, or even if it will be done. Those OF’s that use the parks on a regular basis wondered about the logistics of even implementing closing the parks. Seems to the OF’s that closing them would cost more than keeping them open.

The OF’s said that the few million dollars saved in closing the parks could probably be tripled if the legislators would cut back their staff, and not offer crony jobs to people at high salaries to do nothing. Almost all the OF’s that worked for the state knew of people in such positions. Some mentioned member items but one OF said member items would never go away because that is the legal way to buy votes, and is used as leverage by the party in the majority. Just in one discussion at our little table we saved millions and millions of dollars, and that did not take into account all the whiners that say take it away from them (whoever “they” are, they are the other guys) but not us because we are too important. We did admit something has to be done, but to kill a money maker instead of taker just didn’t seem to make any sense. The OF’s were wound up, and this was apolitical and not at all political. All of the legislators were in the same large pot of hot tar and the OF’s had a ton of feathers ready. Now there is a picture! Can you imagine all the legislators running down the hill of State Street in tar and feathers? It would have to be down the hill…up the hill would probably cause a few to go into cardiac arrest.

Then the OF’s entered into a discussion on Toyota’s problem, and right now they do have a problem. The OF’s brought up major problems with other manufacturers like Ford with their roll-over situation and the inflation, or deflation, or not, with the Firestone tires. General Motors with “Unsafe at any Speed,” and the Corvair, and Chrysler with some of its recalls, especially the recall with the seat belt bolts. It will be interesting to see how this will settle down. One OF said if you had the money go and buy a new Camry (he bet you could get a sweet deal) and then park it. When Toyota finds out what is going on take it in and have it repaired under the recall. The OF said that would be a great vehicle at a super price.

This led to some financial advice from the OF’s. (Now this is an area where actually the OF’s know very little, nonetheless we offer this advice from many, many years of just living, and observing experience. If you take this advice don’t come back to the OMOTM if it should turn out to be like curdled milk.) When large companies run into problems due to generally some design flaw (and this includes biggies, like GE, Westinghouse, Ford, General Mills, etc.) and their stock starts going down because of it, buy it. As a rule these companies generally come back and don’t tank. It takes patience to wait this out.

Again the conversation came to where people live, who lived where, and this time the OF’s discussed real wild country on the hill that even some of the seasoned OF’s get lost in when on these back roads. The interesting part is once the name of the person under discussion is mentioned the OF’s recall not only them but their relatives and where those relatives lived in relationship to the original one being talked about. This discussion wound around some real obscure roads. The area may even get a GPS system so confused it goes back to default. One OF was traveling what he thought was a good road, and it soon turned to gravel and dirt, and shortly after that it became a scene of Hyacinth leading Richard to meet the QE II.

Those OF’s attending the breakfast at the Home Front Café in Altamont and not requiring a GPS device to get there were: Tom Hotaling, Roger Shafer, Skip Skinner, Gary Porter, Robie Osterman, Henry Witt, Roger Chapman, Ted Pelkey, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.