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    • By Joe Marconi
      National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is annually on December 7, commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. Many American service men and women lost their lives or were injured on December 7, 1941. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day.
    • By Joe Marconi
      July 4th is this Wednesday. And as a shop owner, it means that sales may suffer.  But, there is more to life than sales.  Celebrate July 4th; commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence!   Speak with your employees about their plans for the holiday. This will send a message that you care about them as people, and that it’s not always about business.   
      With the right attitude, you will build morale and you will make up those sales. And let’s face it; we all need a little time off now and then. 
       
       
    • By Gonzo
      Semper Fi            Bob was well into his late 80’s when I met him.  He’s quite the talker, and he’ll never run out of things  to tell you.  I like old Bob. We have a few things in common, not much because of the years between us, but just enough that we can relate on quite a few  subjects. We both served in the USMC.  Of course,  the years we served were decades apart, but even  with the differences in time served, we still could  “talk-the-talk” like two old veterans who just got their discharge papers.   Bob had a problem with the horn buttons on his ‘92 Buick.  It was the kind of horn that has its buttons and the air bag all built as one piece.  He didn’t have the money to replace the entire airbag, but he did want to get that horn working somehow.  I thought I could get it to work even if I had to “rig” something up, but that was OK with him.     With his advancing years catching up with him, his hands weren’t the best.  Most of his strength had faded with time, and so did the ability to straighten his fingers all the way out.   I had to come up with a way that he could hit the horn button with the palm of his hand, rather than with a finger tip or thumb.  Not a big deal, actually if he didn’t mind the look of an old style horn button attached to the edge of the air bag (so it didn’t interfere with the air bag operation) it could work just fine.     Now Bob, being Bob, talking was his gift, and finding somebody with a little military background, and stuck in the driver’s seat of his car was all he needed to tell one of his stories.  Bob hopped in the back seat and leaned over to watch what I was doing.  As I worked on his new horn button, he told me all about his time in the Marine Corps.  Fascinating story; I could have listened for hours. In fact, I made sure I took long enough for him to tell his story in full and without any interruptions.   He told me about his time in Korea, in Inchon actually. It was a cold winter when he was there.  A bitter cold wind and heavy snow was only part of the horrific condition he had to deal with.   He went on in great detail how he was just a young kid who didn’t know a thing, and how you would be talking to someone one minute and the next minute the fellow Marine sitting right next to him froze to death.  When he told me that part of his story I had to stop and turn to him to ask, “That really happened, just like that, Bob?”   With a stone cold look on his face he said, “As sure as I’m sitting here talking to you, my friend.”   I don’t think he was kidding. He was dead serious, but it was as if he was telling me a story from a distance, but at the same time, a story where he was actually there in the mountains of Inchon still fighting the bitter cold.  I think it’s a way for time and age to allow a person like Bob to separate themselves from what was probably a terrible event in their life. I certainly have never experienced some of the things he was telling me about, like the chow, the hours of watching for the enemy, or how his boots didn’t have much in the way of insulation, so you put on as many socks as you could along with any straw or grass you could find. Bob made a point to tell me that if you needed to run to the “head” (bathroom for all you none GI type) … well, you tried to wait as long as you could, because exposing yourself in that kind of cold could be the end of you… and I don’t mean just “your” end that’s exposed.    I finished up my little project and gave it a try. It worked just fine.    “Hop up here Bob, and see if you can make it work like this,” I told him.   Bob made his way into the driver’s seat and gave his new horn button a try.  A gleam came over his face, beaming from ear to ear.  He had to try it a few more times, and each time the smile kept getting bigger and bigger.  “Don’t you know I needed that horn! Mercy, there’s some little kids in my neighborhood who get out in the street to play, and I just want to toot my horn to let them know I’m coming.  Thanks partner, ya done me right.”   The old Marine got out of his car and opened his wallet, “How much do I owe ya?”     “Bob, it was an honor to do this job for you. I can’t take a thing.”   “You most certainly are, Marine!” he said to me as he palms a twenty in my hand.   “Thanks Bob, I appreciate that, but I really appreciate the stories. You know I write a column for a magazine, and I think I’d like to tell your story if that’s OK.”    “Sure, not a problem. Go right ahead. I think I’d like that.”   You don’t shake hands with Bob, because of his crippled hands; his way of shaking hands is to “bump” knuckles.  Good enough for me.  It’s the thought that counts.  Then Bob turns to the car sitting in the bay just in front of his car. With whatever strength he had, he did his best to straighten one finger and point at the car in front.     “I’ll never get over seeing this,” he said.   It was a Kia Sportage in for a no start condition.  I made the assumption it was because it’s a Korean car, and I thought it must be bringing back some of those painful memories he had as a young man.   “I understand where you’re coming from Bob, it’s a Korean car. I understand completely; it’s something your generation had to deal with on the battlefield where your friends had died.  I’m sorry it brings up some bad memories for you.”   “That ain’t it,” he said as he walked closer to the car, and pointed directly at the name branded on the back door, “Killed – In – Action.”   I think my knees buckled a bit when he said that.  I didn’t know what to say next.  Bob waved good-bye, and pulled his car out of the shop, and tooted his horn as he made his way down the street.           I see old Bob once in awhile, still driving the same car, still tootin’ his horn.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget his story of how he served our country. He’s one of the last of that generation, a much simpler time, before computers, before cell phones, and when KIA stood for only one thing.      I’m proud to have served my country, I’m even more proud to have met a great man like Bob.  We should all be as lucky, and we should all remember what his generation and many others have done to keep this country free.  So the next time you see a Kia, think of it as something other than a car, think about my friend Bob.  Then, say this to yourself:   Semper Fi Bob, Semper Fi.  
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    • By Gonzo
      Joe Friday Diagnostics                                      "How would Sgt. Friday explain auto repair and diagnostics… que the music: "      The story you’re about to read is true; the names have been  changed to protect the innocent.       Monday morning, it was cold that day. I was working day shift out  of the repair division. There’s a suspicious vehicle at the front of the shop.   A customer walks in the door. I’ll take it from here.  I’m a mechanic, the name’s Friday.      It was a 2003 Ford, 5.4 liter, fully loaded and sounded like it was running rough.  The lady came to the counter.      “Good Morning ma’am, what can I do for you,” I said to the complaintant.      “Yes, I’m here about my car,” she answered.     “There’s a problem with the car, I see. What can you tell me about it?” I asked, in my usual non-threatening, but confident monotone voice.      “I was on my way to deliver my recyclables to the east side collection area, because I’m a concerned citizen you know, when my car started to make a coughing and clattering sound.  I thought I would bring it in to have it checked out,” the owner answered.     “Coughing and clattering, hmm, not a problem. I’ll get it investigated, I can interrogate the pursuant this morning, especially for a concerned citizen such as yourself,” I answered while maintaining my professionalism.     “Well, do you need any other information from me?” she asked.     “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” I said.     “The check engine light came on,” she reported.     “This could be of some help. Sounds like a possible 0300 (engine misfire).  But I’ll check it out first, I’ll need to finish my investigation in order to give you any proper results,” I said to her, while my pen was busy jotting down the facts onto the always present handy notepad.       She left the car with me for further interrogations.  Using the scanner made the results easy to locate. It wasn’t long before I got an answer.  It was a P0302 in progress… misfire on no#2 cylinder… normally an open and shut case.      09:30 Am, working on the assumption that the perpetrator was somewhere near the 2nd cylinder; I went in for further investigations.  I checked the usual suspects. Pulling the plug didn’t yield any new clues.  The plug was good and answered all the standard questions.  The coil was a more likely suspect; a simple test could answer the problem.        I’ll set up a little sting operation by using a decoy. Taking the nearest coil and replacing it with the suspected faulty coil, and put the known good coil on the other plug.  I was hoping to see the miss move to the other cylinder.  It didn’t. In fact it was gone.       10:05 Am, Now the challenge was on.  I’ll have to go back over my facts and check the crime scene again.  There’s something I must have overlooked that might be the key to this investigation.  Two things come up as good possibles; the connection or terminals at the coil, or the spark plug boot attached to the coil.  The plug boot had a good alibi… it had just been changed, in fact so was the spark plug.  That left the coil connection.        A more in-depth interrogation of the connector is needed.  My years of technical diagnostics work told me to look closer at the wire and the connector.  The guilty party in this case appears to be one of the wires at the connector.  It was barely hanging onto the housing.  Only the plastic sheath was still connected, and the wire itself was not answering to any of the standard questioning or interrogative tactics.       Under the intense glow of the high powered shop light the investigation continued.  Resorting to some strong arm tactics I pulled on the wire while using a few choice investigative words, the plastic sheathing kept getting longer and longer.  Soon, it snapped under the pressure to expose the desperado for the perpetrator it really was.       11:45 Am, The repair was completed, and tested to verify the repairs were effective.  The car in question was back with its rightful owner by the end of the day.  I now can close the file on this one, another job well done.     In conclusion: With the P0302 in question deleted from the computer history, the coil connector was then convicted of failure to cooperate. With her car back on the road she could once again be a productive concerned citizen of this great metropolis.       Case closed and now, back to the front desk waiting for that next problem to come through the door.  This city is full of broken, non-maintained, and poorly running cars.  As a concerned citizen I’ll be on the lookout for these suspicious misfires and other infractions of the auto world.      There are thousands of men and women in this city, who know that being an auto tech is an thankless, grease covered job that's done everyday without any fan fare.   Then again, I'm part of that glamourless, grease covered world... my names Friday, I'm a mechanic.      
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    • By Joe Marconi
      Let us always remember and honor those that served in the military to protect the greatest nation on Earth - The United States of America
      Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
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