Is Craftsman better off now that it is not owned by Sears Holdings?

Craftsman is now owned by Stanley Black and Decker. Many of the tools bearing the Craftsman name are made under license, and not all are the renowned lifetime tools I own from my youth. Sears, Lowes, and ACE Hardware (among others) sell the licensed Craftsman name on some of their tool sets.

“When Stanley Black & Decker bought the Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings last year, the deal — valued at $900 million — let both companies continue making and selling products under the Craftsman label.” – from Competing Craftsman tool brands? Stanley, Sears aren’t concerned about confusion

While Craftsman has a fairly complete line of tools, Snap-on, Matco, Husky, Proto, Stanley, and others Have complete lines that are known for lifetime guarantees and Professional Quality. Top 10 Mechanic Tool Brands , What is the best brand of tools for mechanics?.

Being sold outside of Sears, The brand can be rebuilt and expanded -or just fade into obscurity. Time will tell. Hell, you can even get Craftsman on Amazon! craftsman tools

My hope is that Tools manufactured for the Craftsman label will retain the quality of the Craftsman lineage, and “no questions asked” lifetime warranty.

Here’s what happened to all of the brands Sears used to own, from a car-insurance company to a hardware store

Thanks for the A2A. I use all kinds of tools when I build for my website, The Chenkin Workshop

Craftsman (tools) – Wikipedia

Can Electric cars Supercharge your Portfolio?

Investing always has some risk, and you need to pick your stocks carefully.

Almost every carmaker is converting from Fossil fuel powered cars to EV’s and Hybrids. This presents opportunity, as the existing manufacturers move their production into electrics, autonomous driving vehicles, and better batteries/software/design.

Tesla, in my opinion, is the leader in the field, but GM, FORD, VW, Nissan, and other manufacturers are starting to change their thinking and are developing their EV lineup.

I believe that the manufacturers who address battery life (driving range between charges), lack of charging stations, and self driving adaptability will be winners, and investing in them early may bring you some great returns. (No guarantee, just my belief).

I also believe a diversified approach, by investing in more than one company, – or a fund that is investing in multiple companies – should give you a good outcome. (Look at IDRV, QCLN, LIT)

further reading from the internet:

Investing in the electric vehicle ecosystem

The Best Way to Get Exposure to Electric Cars When Investing in the Automotive Sector

Here’s how to capitalize on the electric car revolution — without buying Tesla’s stock


Books on Electric cars from Amazon

Best of luck with your investments!

Disclaimer: I am not a stock market professional, just an observer and investor sharing my thoughts. Get a professional to advise you before sinking any money into any stocks. I own TSLA, ford, and ARCC technology stocks.


Greatest Pancake Recipe of all Time?

Alan’s Pancake recipe

One of the greatest recipes of ALL TIME!

(also good for waffles – use same recipe)


1–½ cups flour

1 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Sugar (brown sugar, honey, or molasses are acceptable substitutes)

2 tsp Baking Powder

2 Eggs (Beaten like they owe you money)

3 tblsp Oil (canola preferred, vegetable oil ok — Never use Olive oil)

1 tsp Vanilla (Mexican or Madagascar are the best)

1 ½ cups Milk

½ ¾ cups Water, if needed, to thin batter.


Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, and add to the dry ingredients while stirring. Lumps are ok; they will work out on their own.

Leave batter sit for 3–5 minutes to thicken.

Drop spoonfuls of batter on a hot griddle, flip when edges are dry and bubbles form on top. Note: Griddle is ready when water droplets “dance” on the griddle. You may want to use some butter or spray oil like Pam to keep the first batches from sticking.

Serve with Syrup, powdered sugar, honey, cinnamon sugar, chocolate syrup, raspberry syrup, Whipped cream, fresh fruit, butter. ENJOY!

(Syrup available on Amazon and your local grocery)


Apple: Mix applesauce into pancakes (1–2 tablespoons).

Banana: mix banana & milk in blender, add to pancakes. (Reduce sugar).

Granola, coconut flakes, cereal, nuts, jelly all make good additives to pancakes.

Trial and error is required to determine the best quantity and texture, use a small amount of batter to work it out — not everyone likes flavored pancakes; be kind to the purists.

This is an Iteration of Alan’s original recipe. Pancakes are considered dessert food (“crepes”) in certain countries, and exceptional breakfast fare here in the US. Your use/abuse and experimentation are welcomed, and no results are guaranteed or assured. Exercise caution when feeding pancakes to small children as they may become airborne, slimy, gooey, and an immense source of adolescent fun second only to pratfalls, breaking wind, and laughing hysterically as they smear you with a syrupy half-eaten pancake. Pancakes freeze well and should be enjoyed at every opportunity. The US armed forces, cowboys, and truck drivers eat pancakes as a regular part of their diet. Please keep the tradition going.

This recipe is offered to you for your exclusive use. Commercial efforts must recognize my original. Feel free to donate to my efforts if you like my pancakes. (I also accept bitcoin — Which would look like pancakes if they were in physical form).

If slot machines in casinos are rigged in general, why do they still exist?

Slot machines are REGULATED, not “rigged” (or programmed to cheat you for the owners benefit).

Regulated slot machines have payouts that are set by the gaming commission, based on the configuration of the machine. This guarantees the payout percentage of the machine, and also guarantees the percentage of profit that the casino can get from each machine.

Having said that, casinos don’t require a dealer to stand at the machine, and cost very little floor space in relation to the money they make for the casino. When you see a casino with 3,000 slot machines and only 50 gaming tables, it’s obvious that the slot machines make a handsome income for the casino.

Modern slot machines are also more complicated than the old 3-reel slot machines of old; you can wager on 10, 20, 50, or more lines at a time, and at different denominations. basic slot psychology says you have to bet more to win more and the flashing lights lure you in to one more spin…..

Even though the machines are regulated, Slot machines are still games of chance and you have the possibility of a large jackpot – but your winning is NOT guaranteed.

Rather than be upset you are not getting the jackpots you deserve, I strongly urge you to play only slots that are entertaining or fun – and play for the fun! Don’t anticipate winning, as jackpots are random and unpredictable events. limit your contribution to the slot machines, and take frequent breaks to enjoy the ambiance of the casino, and keep a little more of your bankroll out of the casino’s coffers.

Also use your players card! that is the casino’s measure for giving you back some of your wagers in exchange for food, prizes, or points. It isn’t much for me (I am a session gambler and a known “low-roller”).

Also look at the paytables, and bet accordingly. they are not all the same!

The secret to how I win at slots:

I own 2 antique slot machines. Hopefully all my houseguests bring spare change. And trust me, they are really loose! (I would never lie). It’s a great way to monetize my home. You can buy one of your own on eBay.

Thanks for the A2A!

Disclaimer: I own 2 slot machines, so technically I am a Casino owner, such as it is. I also enjoy writing about gaming on my blog,

Is Sears (once a staple of American retail) positioned for a comeback?

Amazon, Home Depot, and others have taken business away from them. They have sold many locations and brand names (craftsman, Kenmore) to raise capital, for the purpose of paying off debt. they are not investing in innovative products, and not improving their supply chain.

Featured image:  Sears Roebuck & Co. Consumer’s Guide for 1894 Paperback — Facsimile, Available on Amazon.

Many of the Sears (and Kmart) locations are looking old and tired, not fresh and exciting.

This is not an opinion that is exclusively mine:

how Sears seded catalog and the internet to amazon
Death of the Big Book: How Sears Ceded Catalog and the Internet to Amazon, available on (where else — Amazon Books)

100 years ago the sears catalog brought amazing promise to the American consumer, you could even buy a complete house kit from Sears! (Via Mail Order).

Houses by mail, book available on Amazon

The management seems to be milking Sears of all salable assets, and then will be auctioning off whatever is left. They are closing more locations, as their business is clearly not growing.

I wish I was wrong, but the writing seems to be on the wall. Unless the management is willing to take risks, invest in the business, compete with Amazon, and develop new and desirable brands, they will continue the slow decline they are on now.

The houses that sears built
This book is all about the Sears homes — people are still living in them today! (available on Amazon)

Disclaimer: I worked (briefly) for sears in their appliance department while in college. Most of my tools are Craftsman, and I blog about these topics on The Chenkin Report.

I will miss Sears, although Lowes is trying to make Craftsman products a viable name again.

Why does Microsoft pay dividends instead of reinvesting it back into the company?

IMHO, any publicly held company (like Microsoft) has a fiduciary responsibility to return profits to the shareholders. This is done with increased Valuation (increase in stock price), and distribution of dividends.

You can buy books on dividend investing on Amazon.

Watching a company reward the CEO and management team handsomely while ignoring the shareholders leaves me cold, and I avoid investing in these companies. I also avoid companies that don’t treat/compensate employees well, and companies that are not good citizens (ie: pharmaceuticals that raise prices to milk a captive group of customers dependent on their medicines).

Companies that distribute dividends regularly are know as dividend aristocrats. You can read about them here: S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats — Wikipedia

Microsoft does invest money in the company, in new product development, market strategy, manufacturing, etc., but that is budgeted with funds that are not marked for dividends. In fact, cutting a dividend is a policy that can get companies punished by the market place. GE cut their dividend to increase their insurance reserves, and got soundly trashed by the market.  see GE slashes dividend to a penny to fix debt-riddled balance sheet, and GE CEO admits regular investors have fled the stock since he cut the dividend to a penny.

I hope this gives you some insight, and you invest in stocks that give you ongoing (and increasing) dividends.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor, but I do write about dividend investing in my blog. Make sure you consult with your investment, legal, and accounting advisers before you make investing decisions! — what works for me may not work for you.

You can buy books on dividend investing on Amazon, and ebay.

Thanks for the question, and thanks for reading my answer!— Alan

Can Ford compete against the other major auto manufacturers?

Alan Chenkin, Shade Tree Mechanic, Bicycles, Cars, Boats, and more…
Ford got hammered in the US with tariffs, ($1B +). In addition, they are shutting down some sedan manufacturing in favor of their successful trucks. They are also getting aggressive in the autonomous car business.

Trump’s tariffs have already cost Ford $1B; now it’s planning layoffs – NBC News… – Auto News


The old model for the car business is slowly dying; Ford is smart to invest in autonomous and truck technology, and bring features to an old business that can make it new and (hopefully) profitable.

For many years the automobile business, and its partner “big oil” dictated what we drive, and what features are available. Companies like Tesla have turned that model on it’s ear, and proven people want transportation that is elegant and bundled with features that make it fun to use, without bartering safety features as an option. Even today, less expensive cars have fewer safety options like collision avoidance, blind spot mirrors, etc. etc.

Fords real competition is not the other car companies – they are, sadly, becoming dinosaurs, unless they can adapt. The real competition is disruptive technology that is coming at the market – making today’s cars less desirable, comfortable, and lacking features that integrate with our connected lifestyles.

Top 6 Digital Transformation Trends In The Automotive Industry – Forbes

Fords competition is the Future, not other car companies. The sooner they can shed their commitment to the dealership model, funding oil company profits with bad gas mileage, obsessive love of the internal combustion engine, and holding on to old technology models – THE SOONER THEY CAN MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THE FUTURE AND BECOME COMPETITIVE.

Disclaimer: I own some Ford stock, as well as Tesla. I drive a Nissan (their CEO just got charged with financial misconduct), and will most likely have an electric vehicle as my next car.

Consider reading my article: Can you trust car companies?

Thank you – Please like, upvote, and share!

Do you have a collection? If so, what do you collect and why?

I have several,

About 50 Nascar 1/24 scale die cast cars. I like them. They emulate speed and teamwork.

Silver Strike Coins from Casino’s in Las Vegas. Not a complete set, but I have a bunch of them. I like to display them in my living room.

Souvenir Pencil Sharpeners. I first bought some of these at a yard sale years ago. My kids fell in love with them, and played with them. Over time I got more, not the rare ones, but ones that had a visual appeal or seemed very cool; I have a display case with them in my living room. These are cheap collectibles, they break easily, but they are small vignettes of cars, exotic places, old household items of years past, etc., and my grandchildren enjoy them. (And if they break some, who cares? I can get replacements on eBay for a few bucks each).

Now you know three of the things I enjoy collecting, most of which I have acquired over time. They don’t take up a lot of space, and are not Uber-valuable; They appeal to me and I enjoy that my family and friends get a kick out of them.

I hope you enjoyed peeking into my collections (yes, those are actual pictures of my “stuff”, taken with my Nikon D5600 DSLR), and that you will be inspired to accumulate things that bring you some self-indulgent joy!

Thank you for reading this article on  my collections!  Please feel free to like, upvote, and share!

Do slot machine attendants know which machines are most likely to payout? Will they usually tell you if you ask them?

Slot attendants, and floor mechanics do not know what machines are likely to pay out. The payouts are triggered by a slot machines RNG (random Number generator), and there is no way to know when the next payout will occur, and how big it is.

Some casinos do print a “hot sheet”, which shows which machines are paying out the most, and the staff may share that with you (if their casino prints it, and lets them share). A hot sheet usually shows that the machines with the most play have the most winners – not which machines are “overdue” to release a huge payday for a lucky gambler.

It would be more prudent for a gambler (IMHO) to pay attention to the pay tables on any machine they fancy. As an example, progressive slot machines will only make huge payouts if you bet the maximum ONLY – so it is smart to play progressive machines only with a maximum bet. If you are killing time and want to extend your play by betting smaller amounts, choose a machine that pays out proportionately on any bet.  Or the smaller bet you are willing to wager.

Book on winning at Slot Machines – amazon

Every play on the slot machine has the same odds of winning – despite our belief system that may believe luck, fate, lucky rabbits feet, and timing are somehow working in our karmic favor.

Even if the slot attendant had a “hunch” that some machines are ready to “hit”, they would not tell you – because they could get fired if you did not win and complained to the floor manager.  It most likely violates their employment agreement as well.  Most would suggest that “people seem to be having good luck over there” implying that you move to some other, more popular,  machines.

Rather than pester the low-paid slot attendants, you would do well to become a “session” gambler, to prevent giving your entire bankroll to one machine – or one table.  For example, if a session gambler is going to wager a total of $500 on a visit to the casino, the gambler can make that 10 $50 “sessions”.  Putting $50 into the machine to start the session, and playing it until:

  • The $50 is gone (start a new session at a different machine)
  • A Jackpot came in for $100 or more (cash out that session and start a new one on the same machine, if you think it’s hot, but put that $100 or more in your winnings pocket). FYI – A slot machine will take back your entire winnings and your bankroll over time; move around a bit.
  • The Big Jackpot came in (call me, I will tell you how to manage it!)

If you happen to meet a regular at the casino, that person can be a goldmine of information (“nobody wins at those machines”) (“people who play the double diamond machine always seem to win big”).  These observations may be coming from a half drunk casino dweller, or an “out on the town” businessman, but the insight may be thought provoking.  Some machines will take your money faster, so it may seem that “no one wins” on those machines.

Slot Machine T-shirts available on eBay

So keep your eyes and ears open, watch your bankroll (sessions), talk to the locals, understand the paytables, and try not to get mad or cry if your not winning; it may not be your lucky day – so try the buffet!

If you take the time to learn and practice discipline in the casino, you will keep your spending in check, limit impulsive bets, and teach yourself to look beyond the machines and take in the ambience.  You might even have fun!

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.

My Tribute to Burning Man 2018

This weekend is the start of Burning Man 2018.  I have had a personal fascination with Burning Man, harboring a desire to build an “Art Car” and join the festival in the desert.

The closest I came to Burning Man is the Exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in DC, which had artwork, the continuing story of Burning Man,  and a replica of the Temple – which caught me unaware, as it had an almost mystical feel to it.

This YouTube video may leave you with more questions than answers.
But That is totally OK.

Burning Man is an experiential Arts festival on a dry lakebed in the Nevada Desert.  the environment is fine dust, heat, and sunshine during the day – and fine dust, chilly, and filled with light at night.  Take a look at the official Burning Man Picture Gallery.

A city is built for a week in the desert, local transportation is mostly by (tricked out) bicycles (so you can find yours)  and “Art Cars” (note:  Art cars have been renamed Mutant Vehicles), Which are built just for  tooling around the city of approximately 70,000 people who come to the festival.  Google has an “unofficial map” of Black rock City and the Playa. The map has pictures of some art installations, and a detailed, zoomable map.

Many participants contribute to the festival, building their exhibits, Art cars, costumes, and more – months or a year in advance of the event.

Many of the costumes are practical as well as inspiring.  Stream punk goggles and masks keep the fine lake dust from choking and blinding participants, and layers of clothing can prevent sunburn or keep “Burners” (BM attendees/participants) warm.

If you are not handy, you can buy Burning man outfits and accessories on Amazon and eBay.

I may not get to burning man any time soon, but my fantasy of building an art car and trekking to the desert is an exciting dream, and I think of ways my bicycle can be tricked out for the festival, and if I would rent an RV – maybe with friends – to get to the Black Rock Desert.

After the finale, everyone takes everything – trash, exhibits, etc. – away, leaving the lake bed as it was when they arrived.