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May 26, 2013

Have An Hour? Take A Walk in Battle Creek History.

Have an hour this weekend?

Talk a walk in Memorial Park Cemetery (on Territorial Rd near Helmer.  The walk around its outer pathway is almost exactly 1.5 miles.).

Kiwanis have all the flowers and flags out and placed there.

Many families adding their own flowers and visiting graves.

Lots of friends and memories to recall and appreciate during the walk.

The Cemetery has an interesting history, as well.... a later timeline to that of near downtown Oak Hill Cemetery,  with its plethora of Posts, Kelloggs and other earliernotables.  

For more about Memorial Park Cemetery, its uniqueness and role in local history, go to my blog:



May 23, 2013

The Luck of Life's Draw

The Luck of Life's Draw


If lucky, at some point in life you stop, look around, and realize that 9 out of 10 of your best grade school friends, G.I. buddies and many family and friends are gone.  

Dead.  Buried.  

And you ask: "WHY ME?  Why am I the lucky one to STILL be here?"

And from that point, you have a little better appreciation of each day, of the luck that has been your life draw, greater patience in the face of pettiness, walk a bit more gently across life's pathway of egg shell existence. 

And your eyes are better at noticing the goodness in other people...and less...much less willing to criticize or complain. 

May 13, 2013




"Cell phone talk or text while ordering? Go to the back of the line!"

Friends had children and grandchildren over yesterday for Mother's Day, and made EVERYONE check their cell phones and I-Pads at the door.


OMG, what next, check handguns at the door?  Where's the NRA's phone number when you need it?

Do I hear an AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ?

May 11, 2013

Pay Telephone Scuffle Early Tripwire To Eventual Closing of Eaton Plant?


Pay Telephone Scuffle Early Tripwire

To Eventual Closing of Eaton Plant?


By Jim Richmond


The huge, tightly fenced, long vacant and unused land on the west side of 20th Street in Battle Creek has been a puzzle as I frequently drive by the location -- until the other morning.

eaton's. empty.jpgTurns out, the land may be a silent, sad witness to the all too familiar refrain in Michigan history – corporations and unions blindly fighting each other, and then killing working people’s golden goose of good jobs with high pay and benefits, as well as the law of unintended consequences.

“Let me tell you about what happened with Eaton’s,” my 81-year old friend and self described “retired Eaton’s factory rat” said to me over breakfast in Ritzee’s restaurant recently.

He described “pork chopper” union plant reps at Eaton’s  in the 1930s to 1980s, who the company paid regular hourly wages, but  “pretty much didn’t do anything but union business in the plant.”

“They were the real power, not the company people or the shift supervisors,” my friend claimed.

EatonPlant.BC.jpgOne day in the 1970s,  -- when he along with hundreds of others worked in Eaton’s 20th Street plant making car valves -- a management person from AT&T telephone, whose local union employees were on strike at the time – came into the Eaton’s plant just to empty the coins from the plant’s AT&T-owned pay telephones.

The Eaton’s union shop steward raised hell, physically barred the AT&T management person from the telephones, and then filed a union grievance with Eaton’s management over the pay telephone incident, my friend alleged.

“And before long, we (Eaton plant union employees) were on strike in ‘sympathy’ to our AT&T union brothers and sisters,” he said.

The U.S. automakers relied on the Battle Creek Eaton’s Plant for many if not most of their auto valves at the time. 

And, my friend claimed, he and other long time union employees watched as Eaton’s management quietly began a slow, steady process of dispersing its auto valve manufacturing out of Battle Creek, to other, new U.S. locations and throughout the world.

In 1983, Eaton’s closed the 20th Street plant facility in Battle Creek, after what the corporation described in news stories as “fruitless discussion with union officials to save the plant.”

Industrial pollution and contamination have kept the property from being used or sold for other purposes.

“You never know how something small -- like that scuffle over the pay phone incident -- can have unintended consequences,” my friend concluded.

Finishing coffee, getting up to leave, my friend’s wife touched the sleeve of my shirt and laughed: “Don’t let his libertarian comments, today, about the union fool you, Jim.  He (her husband) was right in the middle of all that stuff and as big a (union) supporter as any of those other people.”

Ironically,  nearby Ft. Custer Industrial Park is today home for a huge, seemingly ever expanding regional DENSO plant, which makes auto parts for Toyota and others.  Its non-union – like most plants in Ft. Custer Park – and pays a fraction in wages and benefits, relatively, to what Eaton’s union employees made on 20th Street during more than 5 decades of that plant’s existence.

Within the past year, Michigan has become a Right To Work state, over state capitol protests and demonstrations by union employees from auto plants, schools, hospitals.

May 09, 2013







A new national study released this morning reveals that women drivers (by 8 to 1 margin) are much more likely to cell phone and text while driving, and are responsible for 40 percent of all related accidents.

The study, appearing in the latest issue of The Onion, noted: "Women, by their very nature, put on lipstick, smoke cigarettes, comb their hair, drink coffee, text and cell phone while driving. It is a problem of epidemic proportions and second only to the National Debt in seriousness."

Men, on the other hand, refrain from texting and concentrate on driving and the work at hand, the study reports. "Men has much to put up with. Not just from women drivers, but from women in general," the study concludes.

May 08, 2013

"And Make It Look Like An Accident..."



".... Richmond Struck Dead by Lightening at Local Prayer Breakfast"

At a friend's invitation, I'm attending the 31st Annual Battle Creek Prayer Breakfast this morning, before going on to work. I tell myself, it won't HURT  to stretch a bit, like attending funeral wakes, bar and bat mitzvahs, or a friend's retirement party at Eaton's.

But, if breakfast organizers and prayer leaders knew my life background, and some of my views on organized religion, they'd bar me at the doors. 

If the Enquirer page 1 headline reads tomorrow: "ATTENDEE STRUCK DEAD BY LIGHTENING AT PRAYER BREAKFAST" you won't have to read below the fold or the jump page to figure out the victim's name.

AND, blogsphere friends, I WILL expect you at my wake Friday morning. "Contributions may be made to the JIM RICHMOND GOOD TIMES FUND, c/o The Las Vegas Community Foundation. All donations will NOT be tax deductible.


Author's Postscript.  Turned out to TRULY be an inspirational morning, and talk! And no lightening inside or outside the location. :-)

Don't Listen To The Special Interests

Don't Listen To The Special Interests

The World Health Organization now ranks the U.S. health care system 38th overall;  but #1 in cost.

And U.S. hospitals are the worst, the very worst contributors to our out-of-control system.

We wonder why lawyers, physicians and hospitals in Michigan are tripping over each other, trying to kill HB4936, the effort to limit personal injury coverage?

Do we think it's because of their concern for accident victims?

Don't listen to the special interests.

Michigan is the only state in the Union that mandates unlimited protection -- and it's why our auto insurance is so high. (Let's crack down, too, on the 1 in 5 Michigan drivers who are roaming our streets behind the wheel with no car insurance.)

For another example of U.S. hospitals 'at work', see story in today's NYTimes:


May 05, 2013

Life's Lessons


Life's Lessons Learned.....

Some of life's lessons are learned hard, while others we stumble into and through from ignorance and naivete.

For example, when we innocently volunteered our personal email address to Walmart or Match.com 20 years ago, how were we to know that our email boxes would STILL be crammed full of their nonsense each morning in 2013, or that they would be harder to shake than a recurring case of Navy gonorrhea?  

Not that I have PERSONAL experience, mind you.