Archive for January, 2014

SCHEDULE BRIBE

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Dawn was just crossing over into existence when Tubularsock heard a soft rap on the door of his top floor corner office in his underground bunker in Oakland, CA overlooking Washington, D.C.

Immediately after the soft rap a small bundle of papers were slipped under the door and true to form the messenger was so stealth that no traces remained of the visit except the bundle of papers.

 “Drat”! was the expression one would have heard being emitted from Tubularsock’s mouth “but there weren’t nobody around!”

Now Tubularsock has to admit that when it comes to Steamfitters and Boilermakers Tubularsock has limited exposure of just what they do on the job.

The only knowledge of steamfitting is when Tubularsock goes to the WestEnd Gym and attempts to fit into their rather small steam room. And as far as boilermaker all you have to do is bring up Dick Cheney’s name and it makes-Tubularsock-boil. So lets call this for what it happen to be ……… limited knowledge and experience.

 Well lucky for you and Tubularsock someone who does know the ins and outs of the Steamfitters and Boilermakers Trades has come to the rescue.

 Stamboul is a retired Boilermaker. He was kind enough to send Tubularsock the following information and it is a fascinating peek into refinery work.

Also Tubularsock in his previous blog post had stated that at times to save money the oil refinery will have the workers install smaller pipes in the run. This was incorrect. What they do do is slip in a lower schedule (thickness) pipe as Stamboul will explain. All pipes in a refinery are required to have a proper schedule (thickness) as designed for their use.

 Thank you Stamboul for this contribution and your insights.

 Let me tell you a story: After WW-2, many of the local home boys returned to Richmond, Martinez, Concord, Pittsburg and Antioch. Many were Italian and Portuguese and the refineries in the bay area put them to work. Back then all the refineries had excellent training programs and they all had their own Boiler shops on the premises. The new hires worked an 8 hour day then went to training school in the refineries for another two hours with pay. After a five year apprentice program where they were trained to be Boilermakers and steamfitters on the job, they graduated and were master mechanics.

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When I broke into the trades in the late 70’s these men were unit foremen’s and supervisors. Working out of the Boilermaker’s Union for Union contractors hired by the refineries to do maintenance work, I came across these old paisans in the various units I worked in. Here is what I observed about them: they knew there units backwards and forwards; they were master mechanics, and believed in union craftsmanship and would never hire non-union workers to repair their units; they were hard headed son of a bitches and yelled all the time, but if you worked hard and knew your shit, they would back you 100% and finally, they believed in running maintenance and were constantly repairing their units when things went wrong. One more thing about them, they were able to make decisions on the spot and most of the time they were right.

 

Things changed around 1985. The refineries force retired all these guys, imported crackers from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana to run these units. These jerks didn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, didn’t have the nuts to make any decisions without checking first with Houston or wherever and ran these units into the ground.

 

The refineries here made a concerted effort to take maintenance work away from the unions and hire nothing but non-union contractors. These contractors in competition with each other bribed the unit foremen and I personally witnessed this myself at Chevron, Shell and Tosco. The refineries took a position of no more standing maintenance work in the units, and let the units go to hell until they exploded and then let the insurance pay for the repair.

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I’m not going to get into it, but I worked many of the explosions that killed workers especially at Tosco and the causes were mostly utilizing the wrong schedule wall thickness of the pipe in the repair.  

 

No one puts the wrong size pipe in, but they do cheat by using the wrong schedule and bribing the inspectors who x-ray the pipe.

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Tube heading slingshot 2014SAFETY FIRST — A PARODY.

Lets say you went off to buy a car and you found one that looked real nice and was perfect for your needs. So you asked the dealer about its mechanical reliability and he says it runs well and it’s safety features are good.

But then you noticed that the tires had been painted to look new and they were rather worn and the dealer tells you that the Safety Committee had given them the “OK”.

Relieved you go with the dealer on a test drive and you notice that the brakes are spongy and that the brakes didn’t always engage when you stepped on the brake pedal. And the dealer says that the Safety Committee had inspected the brakes and had determined that they still had life in them and put out a memo stating that the brakes should be inspected again during next years safety update. But for now the Safety Committee had given the brakes an “OK”.

Comforted by the “OK” sticker you decide to buy the car but as you are driving off the lot you notice that the windshield wipers were not working so you call this to the attention of the dealer. He informs you that the dealership will take full responsibility for their replacement during the next routine safety check. The dealer tells you that the Safety Committee will be informed that this replacement has been schedule and because it is not raining now it should be fine.

Not convinced you say, “are you sure?” The dealer says that to replace them now would cost far too much because it would require a crew to be pulled off the regular repair rotation schedule and set back regular repair maintenance. This may jeopardize safety.

And it’s not raining so it should be fine. And in order to relieve your fears he adds, “DON’T BE CONCERNED, WE DO IT ALL THE TIME”.

As you are driving away the sales manager places a big red “X” on the sales performance chart and “high-fives” all around. The sales manager reminds the head of the Safety Committee of their golf date tomorrow followed with a night out on the dealership expense account to THE SUCKY-SUCKY, a Japanese sushi and lap dance lounge. Everyone is happy.

And you are happy too. You rush home and gather the three kids and wife and Fido and head off on your vacation. Driving down the California coast on Highway 1 the family marvels at the majestic views and the exciting curves with the sheer drop of the cliffs to the Pacific Ocean below.

All of a sudden you hit a thick fog patch and in your attempt to slow your left front tire blows and you swerve. Your visibility being limited, due to the failure of your wipers, the moisture masses on your windshield as you attempt once again to brake ……. only to discover your pumping action is to no avail and your car plunges off the highway and down the sheer drop with you and your three children and wife and Fido to a fiery death below.

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Sadness abound and all morned the death of you and your three children and wife and Fido.

Questions arose about the safety of Highway 1 and the safety of your car.

CALTRANS  puts out a press release stating, that while driving Highway 1 you must be careful. All protection barriers were in place and had been maintained to the specifications of the State Safety Commission.

The automobile dealership put out a press release stating, that like ALL autos sold by the dealership your auto too had been fully inspected and had passed their extensive safety check procedure.

However one young journalist who hadn’t been in journalism long enough to understand that the dealership was a major advertiser in her newspaper over-reported. She discovered by investigating beyond the standard coping and “reporting” verbatim from the press releases that other issues about the “track record” of the dealership safety procedures had been called into question several times before.

The dealership called the editor of the newspaper and discussed a possible reassignment for the young journalist to obituaries and the newspaper agreed. The dealership placed an additional order for a larger Labor Day ad. The newspapers sales manager placed a big red “X” on the sales performance chart with “high-fives” all around. And everyone was happy.

However, to ease public pressure the dealership stated that it would cooperate with the Safety Committee’s investigation of safety procedures because the dealership’s highest commitment was to SAFETY.

The Safety Committee set it’s staff to the task of doing a complete investigation of the safety procedures of the dealership and to submit a report back to the Committee when it had been completed. And everyone was happy.

Two years later the staff presented its report to the Safety Committee along with its recommendation for improvement  and a meeting was called to inform the public of the safety findings.

The staff recommend that rather than shoring up the existing safety procedure that allows the car to go over the cliff and then responding to the accident that maybe changing to a new  procedure based on the European model of safety that focuses on continually reducing accident risk by replacing parts with the best parts and keeping the upgrade current rather than reacting to safety problems after the accident has occurred.

The dealership immediately rejected the recommendations as too confusing and too costly. Following the European model where the dealership would replace parts with the highest quality replacement is not as good as what we do now by getting by on the old parts until they need replacing and then replace those parts with reasonably priced after-market product. THAT WORKS FOR US!

The Safety Committee voted down it’s own staff and told them to rewrite the safety recommendations to be more in line with the current agreed upon system. And everyone was happy.

Oh, I forgot. The Safety Committee all got really good deals on lease/buy contracts from the dealership. And none of the Committee ever took a drive on Highway 1 and they all lived happily ever after ………… the end.

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In Richmond, Ca in 2012 a massive Chevron Oil Refinery fire occurred which sent 15,000 to the areas hospitals and shut down one of California’s major crude oil refineries units for months.

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The cause was CORRODED PIPES NEGLECTED BY CHEVON.

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The U.S. Chemical Safety Board had its staff investigate the fire and create recommendations for improved safety.

This report was released to the public on January 15, 2014.

The key recommendations:

A. Replace the current California patchwork of largely reactive regulations with a more rigorous, performance based system. (A European model of safety)

B. Inspectors would have technical training and experience that is on par with the personnel employed by the oil companies. (What a concept!)

C. Safety case reports generated by the oil companies would be rigorously reviewed, audited and enforced.

Well Chevron and the oil industries, the “scientific” community, The United Steel Workers Union, and political interests all protested any real change.

Now let Tubularsock guess why this motley crew would oppose changes that would improve safety from the current hodge-podge.

Well for Chevron and the oil companies ….. profit! Chevron made more money when the refinery was closed down because the price of gas in California increased because of short supply and increased demand. As well as not paying out fort costly repairs until something blows up. PROFIT at the risk of people’s lives. Thank you so much Chevron.

Now, let me see …… what “scientific” community? Why would a scientist be in favor of corroded pipes? Well, only scientist who work for Chevron that’s what kind of scientists.

But, The United Steel Workers Union? Jobs! Now you’d think that a union would want to protect the safety of their workers ……… no ……… JOBS that is all that is important!

Most Steam-Fitters and Boilermakers that Tubularsock have discussed refinery safety with will tell you that the only thing that stands between the oil company and a worker’s safety is the foreman and the shop stewart. If they are strong willed they won’t put their work team in danger.

They also have plenty of stories where the company will use undersized pipes and fast repairs in order to keep production going even at major risk to life and public safety.

And then “political interests” which mostly is about campaign donations. What else is there for a politician?

So what is the end result of this 115 page report?

The Chairman of the 3 member  U.S. Chemical Safety Board, Rafael Moure-Eraso voted in FAVOR of a new direction to a broken system.

But his fellow two Board members, Beth Rosenberg and Mark Griffin voted for business as usual.

So the Board told the staff that they had 120 days to oil it down.

Progress is our most important product ……… bend over!

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LONE SURVIVOR BULL SHIT

Posted: January 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Be careful what you read. By pure accident Tubularsock was sitting at a bus stop waiting and right next to me on the bus bench was a copy of the Oakland Tribune which is considered by the brain dead the “local” newspaper.

Now in truth it is made of paper and it is “local” but if one wishes to get into say something like journalism well ……….

But it was just lying there and Tubularsock was just sitting there and the bus wasn’t due for another fourteen minutes, if that really means anything anyway.

So Tubularsock casually reached over and picked it up. And it was only the front section and that was all. No advertisements, no sports page, no travel, cultural, or movie sections. Just the front page all alone on the bus bench.

And the dominate story on the front page was a movie review of a new film Lone Survivor. Which is a new movie about the same old propagandistic shit. The film is about the failed June 28, 2005 mission, Operation Red Wings conducted by SEAL Team 10.

A title that would have explained the truth of the operation better should have been Dumb Shits Die Defending Aggression

Not to give away the plot but they all got themselves blown to bits. Ok, except for Marcus Luttrell who to this day says he still struggles from survivor’s guilt.

If the guy would wake up to what he did by joining the military his guilt might just overtake him! But he’s still lost in his own ego shit.

The Tribune’s story covers some local boys that got themselves all dead and their parents justification why their sons aren’t at Christmas “no more”.

It’s this kind of bull shit that makes younger people gravitate toward “joining up” but this type of aggrandizement has always been used. Lattrell says that the movie is as real as it can be and war is the lowest common denominator but “It happened and that’s what I did for a living. It’s business as usual.”

And that should be the take away ……. It’s business as usual.

As for the parents rather than wake up to the fact that their children were gunned down by their own stupidity and the government that sent them there are war criminals seemed to have missed their sentimental brains. No they are being quoted about their loss like it couldn’t have been avoided.

Of course they still all gathered with long faces and grief-stricken at annual barbecues for SEAL families but they have NEVER faced the true facts …….. their sons were the aggressors and occupiers of Afghanistan and the Taliban lived there!

Will this ever change ……… not until those parents who have lost children face the facts that their government lied to them and pumped them all up thinking that their dead children are heroes. And what do they have to show for it?

 

A folded flag, a couple of medals, a coffin and some memories that haunt. A very poor investment if you ask Tubularsock. Maybe it is time for military families to wake up to the fact of what their loved ones are really doing! 

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Not protecting America but protecting American Empire for the rich. 

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Now come on. Just because you are unemployed and you’re getting your $256.00 a week from the federal government you act like somehow Barrack and Michelle shouldn’t rush off for a couple of weeks to Hawaii to get out of the cold.

If you are so upset about it then get a job. Then you too can take a vacation.

Now the President says that we are recovering and hell yes! Even Tubularsock can see recovery from the golf course in Hawaii! If some of you working poor would take up golf then you might be able to see recovery too.

Now I’m sure you are aware that Congress is working hard at not working. And they do do a nice job at it. Pretty professional if you ask Tubularsock.

The Democrats want to extend the emergency unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people. These are unemployment benefits that kick in AFTER state unemployment benefits are cut off. Just how much money do these unemployed people need?

As Peter Morici, an EMPLOYED economist and professor at the University of Maryland School of Business stated in a UPI analysis, “with the recovery in its 55th month, the emergency is over. Additional taxes to pay for more unemployment benefits would impose a terrible burden on the working poor”.

Wow. Those poor working poor. You see Morici contends that, “Unduly long unemployment benefits in an economy the president says is picking up steam encourages many unemployed to postpone serious employment searches. From Wall Street to Main Street, white collar professionals have delayed accepting lower pay and changing occupations by running down savings and collecting maximum unemployment benefits of about $300 a week.” A princely sum indeed!

So if only those “white collar professionals” would get off their fucking high horses and take a job at McDonalds or WalMart or even change their occupations to say being an economist then life would be good!

It is so simple if you just think about it from an ivory tower or a golf course from Hawaii don’t you know.

But with all this unemployment talk one can miss some of the more positive aspects of the Washington, D.C. scene.

Now Barrack and Michelle went off to Hawaii for vacation on Air Force One.

According to Congressional Research Service the cost of flying a Boeing 747 is $181,757.00 per flight hour. Travel time direct from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours. So one way the cost, JUST TO FLY, is $1,635,813.00. Oh sure, they have to come back so add an additional One Million Six Hundred And Thirty Five Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirteen Dollars to the mix. Envelope pleze ……. the grand total is ……… THREE MILLION TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO DOLLARS! And that is just for Barrack and Michelle to fly to their vacation and home again. I guess they may have had to max out two credit cards.

Now what’s a vacation without the amenities of home. So a USAF C-14 cargo aircraft is needed to transport the Presidential limos (you can’t go on vacation without your ride!) and support equipment.

A C-14 has an estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour and the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours roundtrip. So that is $258,000.00.

And don’t forget that the United States Marine Corps provides a Presidential Helicopter which is transported by a C-17 cargo aircraft for an  additional $258,000.00.

Now that doesn’t include the 6 member helicopter crew’s per diem and hotel.

 Wow ……… this vacation thing is stacking up some costs.

Tubularsock needs to take a break here. Just checking my wallet.

Ok ……… now that we’ve got them to Hawaii there is a bit more expense.

The taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays.

That cost runs about $200.00 per bedroom per day which comes to $21,600.00 per day. That’s about $21,600.00 per average home for a nearly three week period, with special forces renting at least 7 homes. Which comes to $151,200.00 Plus $25,200.00 for the security that arrives ahead of the President. Costing taxpayers about $176,400 for the length of the visit.

The President’s staff and White House Press Corps typically stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. And wouldn’t you know it is during high season so there is no discount government rate during this holiday period! So the taxpayers are covering more than $131,600 in hotel bills for some two dozen staff.

Now like any good government operation there are some costs that can’t be released by the White House to the general public for SECURITY REASONS!

For example, the President’s security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the president’s stay. And you know just how important it is to not let anyone know what rents go for in Kailua. Lives could be lost!

And then there is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at a Waikiki Hotel. If these facts were allowed to be leaked well, lives could be lost!

And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President that may involve strip clubs and whores being vetted that must be kept secret because lives could be lost!

But if you take the total known cost for Barrack and Michelle’s Hawaii vacation it adds up to over FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!

But hey, before you get all pushed out of shape here just remember that that is only about $307.60 for each of the 1.3 million unemployed that have lost their coverage.

And that is only $7.60 more than their maximum amount per week.

So for the cost of Barrack and Michelle’s vacation 1.3 MILLION people would have had one week more of unemployment benefits to feed their families. Fuck’em!

But like Tubularsock likes to say ………. There’s More!

You see, Barrack and the girls returned to Washington, D.C. and Michelle  stayed on in Hawaii. Which may end up costing the taxpayers an additional $126,000.00.

Michelle in the past has used an Air Force C- 40B Special Mission Aircraft when she has flown before to Hawaii, the cost of a flight from Honolulu to Washington would be about $63,000. If the C-40B must be flown out to Hawaii to retrieve Michelle, as would seem likely, the first lady’s travel costs could amount to about $126,000, assuming the jet is dispatched from Washington.

And then there’s the Secret Service and personal staff ….. ahh, the price keeps going up.

Rumor has it that the Presidential couple were not in matrimonial bliss during their several million dollar vacation.

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Some attribute it to the Mandela Memorial and other photographs in the press, it seems that Michelle is not very happy with the President of late. Michelle remaining in Hawaii away from the President is just fueling speculation that they may be heading for a divorce in 2014.

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But what TMZ Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News should have reported is that there may be more to this entire situation. A photo acquired by Tubularsock News Corp. from sources that are not authorized to provide photos of the Hawaii Vacation presents an entirely different scenario  that must be considered.

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It has been rumored that Michelle and an unknown political gigolo have been having some “quality” time after Barrack and the girls left for Washington. But Michelle’s staff have categorically denied any such thing.

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WADER’S CONFERENCE 2014

Many don’t realize just how influential Tubularsock actually happens to be in Washington, D.C.

At the current Wader’s Conference 2014 at the White House Tubularsock was lecturing the First Lady Michelle Obama on just how her current husband, the President of the United States has completely lost the ability to recognize BULL SHIT. Both his own which he is obliviously stepping in all the time and that of the Director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander and the that of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

 As both Alexander’s and Clapper’s wives have been reported as saying, as reported by a staff member who was not authorized to speak on bull shit, “Our husbands spit out more BULL SHIT from their mouths on any given day than a bull with diarrhea.”

Wow. Now just how can Tubularsock get such information from their wives ….. hey just trust Tube! I only collect Metadata. No really!

So President Obama still insists that NASA’s collecting every phone call, email, tweet, and everything else on every America is only done to protect us all from the massive terrorist threat that is US!

And this information collected will ONLY be used to stop the terrorist except for the twelve known incidents called LOVEINT a flippant term used to describe NSA analysts who misused their surveillance powers to spy on romantic interests instead of terrorists.

 But hey, NSA is only collecting metadata right?

Well some NSA analysts were busy focusing on a little more than meta! One analyst was spying on nine women over five years, a woman analyst was spying on prospective boyfriends, another analyst was checking on whether his girlfriend was “involved with any government officials”, and another woman analyst was spying on her husband to see if he was cheating on her. Do you get the picture? Tubularsock just doesn’t have time to make this shit up!

Metadata my ass!

A favorite photo Tubularsock took as he and Michelle and the President landed in the Rose Garden this weekend.

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WADERS 2014

Posted: January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Well Tubularsock went out today and bought waders for 2014.

Now you may be wondering why Tubularsock, who works from his top floor corner office in his underground bunker from Oakland, CA overlooking Washington, D.C., would need waders, a waterproof garment for the legs and body, used esp. by anglers when fishing OR by anyone who realizes just how “fishy” the social/political/economic system that we live in can be. So in preparation for the 2014 BULLSHIT onslaught that will be stacking up it is simply prudent to acquire a pair. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

Last week Tubularsock was standing at the bus stop (not in his waders by the way) and a guy sitting on the bus-bench said aloud, “It’s just fucked!”

Because Tubularsock was the only other living person standing there at the bus stop it had to be determine whether the guy was on a cell …….. which he was not …….. or talking to me or himself. Because in general Tubularsock was in agreement with this universal statement it seemed safe to agree with this stranger at the bus stop so I said, “You fucking can say that again”.

From that point on this guy started with a barrage of information and opinion like he was talking to Snowden rather than Tubularsock. Come to find out he worked in a cubicle farm in San Francisco on the 45th floor and he was an economic analyst. In fact he had been doing what he called future strategies for over forty years and this was his third bank he had worked for after leaving university.

He also made it clear that his expertise was not always called future strategies. Not that I asked or anything.

He actually had his own office in the cubicle farm and was the manager over eighteen analysts specializing in future strategies for his employer.

He said that for the normal guy investing in the stock market in 2014-15 would be bettered served going to Vegas with a 20% chance of winning than investing in the rigged stock market.

I had no argument there so I didn’t interrupt. He said the banks were sitting on trillions of dollars and because of being flush they were once again investing in quick profit derivatives all over again. As well as other high risk investments.

His team had written up the dangers of the policies being used but “management”,as he called them, made a hell of a lot in year-end-bonuses by doing risky business. And he felt that they had been embolden by the lack of anyone having to take responsibility in the last go around.

He was finishing up his last year before retirement and he was really frustrated with no one caring and not listening. He was also a bit tipsy like he might have started off the day with scotch instead of milk on his cheerios. But I’m not entirely sure.

As we left the transbay terminal he said it had been nice talking to me and disappeared into the throng of worker bees swarming down Montgomery Street.

 Now what he had said wasn’t much different than what I had read over the last several months but having it come from a real living person was somehow more profound.

Now Tubularsock is rather a perceptive economic analyst himself. In research in UpTown Oakland I have noticed that a glass of Chardonnay that I was paying $4 a glass in 2011 is being sold for $10 a glass today. And to make matters worse a large hot saki is running for $15 rather than $6. Now do I need an economics degree to say that things are getting rough?

Don’t despair, Tubularsock will continue his research and keep you posted on the price of this essential food source and report back to you or go broke trying. Anything for raw research don’t you know!

Now why did banks have a boom year in 2013? And why are the bonuses for bankers skyrocketing?

Easy answer ….. The Quantitative Easing Scheme.

You see in order to stimulate the economy the Fed would in the past just buy and sell government bonds in order to keep the interbank interest rates at a specified target value. But for some time now the interbank interest rates have be set at 0% so that policy isn’t working any longer.

So enter the unconventional monetary policy ……. Quantitative Easing.

Now The Quantitative Easing Scheme is done by purchasing assets of longer maturity than short-term government bonds. The goal of this policy is to increase the money supply rather than to decrease the interest rate, which cannot be decreased further because 0 is 0!

Just like the magic show in Las Vegas the balls stay in the air because it’s called “magic” but when the lights go down so do the balls. Many predict that the balls are going to fall in 2014.

 Quantitative Easing is often considered a last resort to stimulate the economy.

Well it reminds Tubularsock of the time when he was watching his uncle act like the big spender by fronting his good-for-nothing-loafer friends for drinks at the night club bar. When the bill came due guess who got left holding the debt?

Yep, Uncle Sam …….. remember that’s YOU & ME!

And don’t you forget it!

But not to worry. Another use for waders is keeping your feet from being stained while crushing your own grapes for a glass of Chardonnay. As Tubularsock always has said, “necessity is the mother of invention”. And I call THAT …… good news!

And Tubularsock will drink to that!

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