After 40 years as a computer programmer and game developer—and the passing of his wife of 47 years—Rick has retired and is now living in Ye Olde Folks Home, where he still tinkers with tech and likes to write these amusing and/or thoughtful tales about his storied life.

An Embarrassing Moment
In Memoriam: Betty Edwards-Vessel
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing
Who Would Jesus Stab?
The Eggshell Incident
First Chapel Service at Ye Olde Folks Home
A Yearly Ritual at Menards
“Mr. Loftus, the Town Hero”
The FCAL Project
Pepe Le Pew Finds New Lodgings
In Memoriam: Dale Lear
Bingo Bedlam at Ye Olde Folks Home
There’s a Shortage of Perfect Movies…
One Day at the DMV
A Visitor from Microsoft
“He Who Should Not Be Named”
Downton… Abbey?
This Home is a Liver-Free Zone
My 9/11 Rememberances
My Yearly Pumpkin Spice Rant
Done In By Baker’s Square
My Eulogy for Alice
“Dear Rikki…”
A Clean, Well-lighted Place for Books
Memories of my First Computer
A Little Excitement at the Staff Meeting
The Tale of Mrs. Butler
Sun, Sand, and a Margarita
“Thou Shalt Not Steal”
Troubleshooting at Ye Olde Folks Home
Stories of my Mother
I’ve Heard Angels Sing
Elevator Mishap at the Eye Clinic
One Day at Fair, Isaac
Saturday Morning Cartoons
A Sprig of Parsley
Fun With Recruitment Ads
Leave Her to Heaven
“Squirrel!”
Bring me Dave Bringle!
Beware! The Oldsters Are Coming!
Life Among the Progressives
A Family Ritual While Watching Masterpiece
The Unforgettable General Oppy
“Don’t Even THINK About Parking Here”
A Dubious Plan Gone Awry
The Singing Christmas Tree!
One Day in the Hospital Lab
The Legend of the Broken Timer
Nelson’s Fruit Stand
This One Time in Glee Club…
Star Trek References for the Win
Family Psalm, Stuck in Lodi
Vacation in Branson
Clyde and Ruth Revisited
COVID Policies During my Wife’s Fatal Illness
I Guess I’m the Shadow IT Department Now
The Tale of Clyde and Ruth
My Garden of Gethsemane Story
We Might Get a Virus!

Life Among the Progressives

In the late ’70s, while attending college, I was a writer on the staff of the Chico News and Review, a weekly tabloid magazine run at the time by a fun-loving ragtag crew of professed progressive socialists, who fancied themselves as being an employee-owned collective governed by “consensus.”

Was I a progressive? Depends on your definition, I suppose. (By today’s standards, no.)

Was I a socialist? Decidedly not.

Fun times, fun times. It paid the bills. I really did love working with them all despite our differences.

“Consensus” involved a lot of meetings at which there were frequent loud arguments and myriad votes were taken, many of which were not decided in a way I favored.

One of them involved the problem of people mistakenly entering the wrong restroom at our offices.

This mistake was made because there were no signs on the doors of any kind; the two doors were completely identical. Someone suggested putting up signs saying “Men” and “Women.” But this was swiftly voted down as being “sexist.”

Yeah, I had a difficult time wrapping my head around that.

I suggested two signs reading “Bathroom With Urinal” and “Bathroom Without Urinal.”

The rest of the staff thought this suggestion uproariously funny, but it was voted down also.

And so the bathroom doors remained unadorned.

One time our bookkeeper was having a tough time making payroll, so he decided to simply not pay the IRS their cut that month.

Well, that didn’t work out so well. The IRS soon arranged what is sometimes referred to as a “Come to Jesus meeting” at which an orderly repayment schedule was worked out.

But the next month when payroll time came around, we all were surprised to learn that the IRS, ignoring the payment schedule that had been negotiated, had simply taken the whole sum they were owed, all at once.

This meant that our payroll checks bounced all over town.

When our bookkeeper called the IRS up to complain, he was told: “We changed our minds.”

Many years later a couple of the senior staff decided they were the “owners” and sold the company off. A number of people were pretty sore about that. Hah. Capitalism, ho!

I bet the new owners put some signs up.

The staff of the Chico News and Review, circa 1978.