3/01/2015

Basketball Saturday

I got to watch the ESPN "Game Day" coverage of WSU and a little of Kansas.  It was great to see that all three of the main Colleges in Kansas got a win.  What else can you say about WSU's capturing the Missouri Valley Crown against the only team that beat then in Conference play this year.  Then K-State helped KU buy beating Iowa State on their home court in Manhattan. 

As I sat in the stands for the KU game, I looked for the familiar face of Clifford Alexander.  I saw it, but he was in street clothes.  I had no idea and no one else does what has happened but he did not play at a critical point in KU's season.  Anyone that thinks Texas is a chump team that is easy to beat hasn't watched them play.  They are big and fast and with just a little better coach could beat Kentucky.  Kansas had to play about as well as they could to put that team away.  I love a good game and that was right up there with one of the best.  I told a nearby fan that this was a great game win or lose and he agreed with me. 



KU has a game Tuesday night against West Virginia and I for one will watch a good team play another good team.  KU has the 11th conference championship in their sights and it is theirs to win or lose.  Win against a WV and they can do any worse than share the conference title.  Lose and they will have to go to Oklahoma and win to tie.  Winning on the road in the BIG XII is never a sure thing. 

Now on to the real world.  For some reason the news stories are already hyping contestants for the 2016  run to the White House.   I am personally disappointed that there is no clear front runner that has a cohesive message.   They have reported that Hillary is still working on the message she is going to present.  I wonder how she can out spin the facts.  The overhaul of the medical system was little more than a continuance of her efforts as First lady.  They have screwed up a system than needed a slight tweak not an overhaul in a way that really has hurt a lot of people.  I don't have all the answers but I sure as heck would have written a frame work that worked and can continue to be tweaked.

Now, to be fair, there were a lot of people that hated the idea of Social Security when it was passed.  It has turned out to be the foundation for a lot of people's retirement income.  I know that my Mom and Dad would have not been able to survive with out the help of Social Security.  I do not need it but it is because I  chose to work in systems that had a retirement program.  I can say pretty proudly that I have not needed the IRA's, 401 (k)s or the 503 (b) we worked to save for. 
 
Speaking of the Tax deferred programs, I got a shock the other day when I sat down and did the worksheet as I tried to see what impact they would have.  I misread the instructions and multiplies their amounts against the 27.5 figure not divided them by that number.  We will be forces in a couple of years to withdraw approximately 4% not 27.5%.   Thank god for sanity putting me back on the worksheet.  The only question is what will I do with the additional $ other than pay taxes?
 
My Candidate for $ this year
 
The good news is that the snow here was only a little over an inch.  The roads on the main streets are clear and the only slippery places are here on the gravel road at Rabbit Run.   The hazard of walking out to fetch the paper was much worse than when I had to drive out.  I hear there is another snow storm coming but right now it sunny and little wind.  Perhaps the snow will go south of here like it has so far. I am not going out in a swimsuit but at least I don't need to bundle up like it was Alaska. 

Better get on my horse and ride.  Have a great day out there.

MUD

2/27/2015

Problem Solving

During my years as a manager, I used several different methods to solve problems.  Here are just a few tips I found useful:

1.  Make sure you have the problem defined clearly before you go searching for a solution to a problem.  Those of us that have a little ADD in us tend to rush madly off down the path of "a solution looking for a problem."  Sometimes spending a few moments defining the problem can save a lot of time in the time it takes to find a solution.

2.  Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to "Do Nothing."  If you can live with it, leave it alone.  Most of the time, dust won't kill you.

3.  If you listen to the expert's, using Occam's Razor (Achem's Razor or Ockham's Razor) is a way to tell you that the solution with the fewest assumptions is the one to use.   If your solution is based on an outcome in the process, you should be finding a solution for that problem.  Example I seem to be broke a lot - Answer spend less or make more.  KISS - KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

4.  Open your seeking solutions to multiple inputs.  Ask a friend, read Consumer Reports, search on the internet are all ways to search.  the more ideas you have the better to see if any are the best or cheapest. 

5.  Ask friends to look at your decisions or outcomes or processes and have them help rank order them by assigning a number from 1 to 10 to each.  (1-bad,  10 good)  Don't have them put them in their idea of good or bad, but how do they see the solution working.

6.  Those that are introverted and not outgoing will think asking others is silly.  They will want to build some form of a decision tree and try to assign each way a value in terms of money or time.
Extroverts will want more people in the solution.  I have always found this to be good if you can include potential blockers in the process.  It may be harder to achieve consensus but once a problem is solved, it may stay solved. (longer)

7.  Expect the problem solutions to last about as long as it took to develop the solution. For example, throwing dice doesn't take much time and the results are instantaneous.  The outcome changes the next time you throw the dice.  The Military answer is that a plan will last until the first bullet flies and things will change from there. 

8.  Sometimes using a template to write things down will give you a solution. 
      a.  Write what you want to do
      b.  Write down who will do what
      c.  Write down when it will be done
      d.  Write your expected outcome.

Using number 8 above will just be a framework for problem solving and each time you can add more steps or subtract things that don't work for you.

Clearly, the decision or problem solving process is one that can be simple or complex.  One thing I always try to do is to also look at the unintended consequences of any plan.   Sometimes the things that could happen will help you decide what to do. 

IF your problem is money, I always recommend the Dave Ramsey way.    He will start you by helping you identify the income,  define the spending (fixed and optional), how to develop a budget, the review process.  Just by knowing what you need to do and what you did is enough.  The exception to this is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is insanity. 

In case you are wondering, by taking the time to write this, I have avoided running the vacuum but in the long run I have the time to do it later.  Problem avoidance doesn't mean it will always go away. 

Try to look at your problems from a different way may help you.  Or not. Jes' Sayn'

MUD




2/26/2015

Warm Yesterday, Cold Today

When I worked on the 57 Chevy yesterday, it was in the mod 50's.  About three when I finished, the wind had shifted and was getting cooler.  By about 5:45 it was snowing.  The bad news was it got too cold to snow and the snow stopped about 7.  This morning it was 12 degrees with a wind chill of -4.  BRRRRRR!    

I belong to a 55-56-57 Chevy site on Facebook and it really has my juices flowing to the 57 out of the metal storage building and drive it.   I am going to work on the motor until I find that I cannot fix the stumble on acceleration and then I am going to put a new crate motor in it.   I also want to put power steering and disk brakes on the front.  Most important part will be the A/C.   I want to take a road trip out west in it.   Last trip there was to Reno, NV the first time I drove it.  Only had to tow it twice on that trip. 

Just watched a program about Shrimp and it is very interesting.  A worker on the assembly line deveins 800 of those tasty little shrimp an hour.  Must be a mind numbing job.  Makes me want to go get a bag of them.  

As soon as Barb gets ready, we are going to get out and about.  Not sure where all we will go but imagine the library and the grocery store are on the list.  Might even get to go to Cook's American Grill for lunch.  Nice place to eat.  Barb likes their salad and pies.  Me, I like the daily special.  It is always different and good.  

I think it is interesting what we call things.  This morning I mentioned the shed where I stored my tractor and car.  She said it was a garage.  It is actually a Metal Storage Building but what is a name.  I grew up calling the refrigerator "the Icebox."   My grandmother actually had an ice box and had ice delivered three times a week.  I think my father bought her a refrigerator that had one of those circular cooling coil on top.  She had that forever. 

Better get ready.  

MUD

2/23/2015

Warning This Post May Increase Your Blood pressure

This morning, CNN carried a short segment about the response from the Government about the possible ransom of the US female aid worker that was killed by ISIS.   They contrasted the exchange of Bo Burgdahl for the terrorists held in Cuba.   I was kind of struck by how unfair this was until I was reminded that the aid worker was there as a volunteer and Bo had been sent there by our Military.  I won't even get into why he was captured as that is a legal matter that I don't have to be responsible for.  I am sympathetic to the family for their loss but I lack the feeling of responsibility for her going there. 

On the heels of that story was one of at least one young woman that the Government thinks is going to aid ISIS in their war on everyone but Muslims.   As I recall the law, taking up arms or providing aid and comfort for another country or Army in Wartime is cause to revoke your citizenship.  That is my solution to that problem. Aid our enemy and you lose the label "American."

I will promise you that the idea of a woman going to help a group of men so set on taking the rights of women away from them is just hard for me to put in my brain housing group.  That group thinks nothing of making their women wear veils not get an education and then raping any females they capture. They don't even make any exception for younger girls. The idea of any woman supporting them is just foreign to me.  What kind of propaganda would negate the horror that group inflicts on women.

I have lived in the United States most of my life.  I have been poor and I am now not poor.  I will promise you that even when we were at the poorest level,  we live a darn sight better than what I see in the news of the average citizen in a lot of Muslim countries.  I will promise you that we have sent enough petro dollars to the Muslim world that there is just no excuse for them to have any poor people living in mud huts.  If they call us selfish, I challenge them to examine their own pocketbooks for the excesses they have. 

There is a part of me that thinks we should load up our Army and go crush ISIS.  On the other hand, why do we need to expend our young and finest young men and women to play cop for the World.  I think we should help but not lead the fight.  For some reason the UN doesn't seem to understand the saying "Follow the Money."  The countries that sponsor terrorism should be expelled from the UN.  One of these days our Government will wake up and realize that unless the UN becomes more than a paper tiger it should stop getting our support.  Send it to Belgium and see how long it lasts there if another world wide war breaks out. 

Once a good friend of mine toured the battlefields in Europe.  One of the major cemeteries is laid out in four sections off a central memorial.  One of the four sections is still empty.  My friend asked one of the managers why that is?  His reply was that it is for the next war.  I guess the inevitability of another conflict in a part of the world that has been the scene of so many wars is just an option they understand.  

The only good thing about this post is that you aren't required to follow anything I say.  I do encourage you to look at the events going on and be aware that ISIS is now threatening to export their war to our Malls and Country.  I don't want to ever have to play Cowboy and Indians with anyone but I am ready if needed.

MUD

 

Are You Tired of this yet?

I found a bunch of old pictures that a cousin of my father sent me a while back and some that my wife had in a folder.  Here are just a couple:

Bessie and Earl Petty
Earl as the Unit Barber Camp Chaffee, 1918

Here are a couple of funny stories my dad told about his father.  To be truthful, there are several names that my Grandfather went by.  Earl Ennis Petty and Ennis Earl Petty.  It was once explained to me that the boys in the Petty family went by their middle names.  Their legal names were never changed but they were known by their middle name.  My grandfather, Ennis Earl Petty enlisted in the Army prior to WWI and it was when they were building the Panama Canal.  Earl was supposedly discharged with a medical discharge and he came home to marry my Grandmother Bessie.  At the outbreak of WWI, he enlisted as Earl Ennis Petty and drove an ambulance all over France.  He must have done OK as Bessie wad later given a widow's pension after Earl died.     The other story was that Earl had a great sense of humor and would laugh that his ears would vibrate if he went downhill real fast on his bicycle.  From the picture above, you can see his ears did stick out.  I am prone to think that his real name was Ennis Earl Petty as my mom and dad added a D to Ennis and I have been known as Dennis all my life.  Never wanted to be called earl. 

For many reasons I won't get into, the last name Petty will not be taken past this generation in the family.  There is little doubt that there are many of us that have traits from Bess and Earl.  One of my cousins has the general look of Bess and has a daughter that also has that general look.  The jury is still out on what June Bug will finally look like but she sure is a cute baby.  I am not sure why, but Bessie was one of the people in the world that treated me like a second class citizen.  I don't miss her.

Over the weekend put Barbershop chorus sang the national Anthem at a Basketball game and the Circus.  I don't know why, but I always have a good time at these events.  Now the real question is if I am going to stay for the entire Chorus practice and miss the KU vs. K-State game.  I will do my best to stay during the first half and sneak out for the second half.  We'll see how that goes.   I write the practice schedule so I know what I will be missing.  The guys know that I have season tickets to watch the Hawks but this game is in Manhattan so it will be one of those ESPN Monday night games. 

At one time I had problems sleeping and I cut down the amount of caffeine to make it so I could sleep.  Sunday morning I only drank one cup so that couldn't be the reason I slept poorly last night.  Might have been caused by the afternoon nap I took.  Who knows, and perhaps better said, other than me, "Who Cares."   

Write if you get a job.

MUD

2/22/2015

More of the Same

Yesterday we had tickets to the 3 PM game between KU and TCU.  I sure hope that ESPN has film of Tubby Smith harassing the ball boy during a time out.  He was being an ass and showed his true nature.  He should be fined by the BIG XII conference for his actions.  My momma would grab him by the ear and make him apologize to that kid.  After the game, we ran into my niece Jennifer and I wish we could have stayed in Lawrence to visit with her and her good friend Donna.   I had to rush home to get to the 7PM singing of the National Anthem for the Washburn Men's basketball game. It went great and I always enjoy singing with the guys. 

Today, at 5 PM, I am going to go to the circus and sing with the Chorus as we perform the National Anthem there.  We were all set to wear our Tux's but we will just wear our winter uniform instead.   Oh well, we won't sound any different.

Where did your family come from?  Even thought my dad was born in Bridgeport Illinois, he grew up in and around Eldorado, KS.  Mom at least went to high school there and met Dad. I think she was a junior and he was a senior and they waited until she graduated to get married.  After that, we lived in Wichita most of the time.  I think Dad went to California to work in an Aircraft plant for a year or so but mom wouldn't go there so he came back to Kansas. We lived at 544 Byrd in the shadow of the Beech Aircraft Plant.  Our back yard ended where the Beech parking lot started.  Most of the time the parking lot lights were our night light. 

Dad and Tiger Edmonds, His cousin

On a different note, Barb was living in Yermo California when we met.  That's about 10 miles east of Barstow.  I convinced her to marry me and when I came home from Vietnam we would go to Kansas to go to school.  I knew that Kansas would let her have in State Tuition and California would not do the same for me.  I thought poor Barbara, her family is all out west and she will just have to make do with mine there in Wichita.  As it turned out, they loved her as much as I did.   When we moved to Ottawa, I found out that barb was related to about one half of the town.  It seems that her Grandfather had moved from Prairie Center Kansas and had many relatives still in the area.  When they built the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant there, the people all had to move and many did to Ottawa.   In my National Guard unit there, there were at least three people related to her.  Me, not so much.

Yesterday started with snow on the ground but it soon warmed up to in the high 40's.  The snow is all gone but it was only 20 this morning with a 20 MP wind out of the north.  I sit in the breakfast room and listen to the wind chimes sing its cold tune as I read the paper.  Thank god for modern furnaces. 

What good books do you like to read?  I tend to go to books that have some adventure.  One friend of mine told me that I need to read Bill O'Reileys  book "Killing Patton."  I do love WEB Griffon and Clive Cussler's books.   I was a Steven King fan at one time but have moved on.  

Oh well, I need to move on.

MUD

2/21/2015

Who Are You?

There is the age old question about nature vs. nurture and it can be the cause of a lot of problems.  It can also be a search for a solution when there is not a problem.   One side of the coin is that we inherit everything from our parents as they did and unless you come from a long line of horse thieves, that fact alone should be all you need to look for.

I have several relatives that search the Genealogy of our family(s).   The funny part is there are a couple of explanations of where we came from prior to coming to America.   My family name is Petty and is pretty common English unless someone attributes it to an Ellis Island Error.  One person thinks that we were French and the name was Petit (Pronounced Pet-ti). At this point in life, it is not very important to me.  I will live with either explanation.  

Glen, Bessie, Earl and Warren Petty (1930's)
When I first loaded this picture I didn't notice the difference in the way my Grandfather and my dad were dressed.  I have my doubts that at that age my Dada and his brother ever played a round of golf.  I know that Earl Petty was a sign painter and those were his work clothes.

Barb's Familial name is pretty obviously German but I know there is a lot of the Collin's influence in her genes.  In fact, anyone with the name Schmoe is related to my wife if they live in the USA.  As we have traveled, I have looked in the phone book and never have found anyone with that name that her family Genealogy Guru hasn't put on the family list.  We did find someone with that name in Germany but no one there spoke English when we tried to talk to them.   We did find a Minister nearby the city her Great-Great Grandparents came from and saw a picture of the church they attended. 

I grew up next door to Art Longhoffer.  He was the son of parents that were born in Germany.   He spoke German growing up and still used a lot of German words especially when he cussed.  "Got in Himmel" was one of his favorites.   When Barb and I traveled to Germany many years back, I felt at home there and loved the people and the food.  It just felt like an extension of home.  I am sure that a lot of it was the food that I had learned to love by eating at the Longhoffer table.  

I can't really get deeper into the question of "Who Are You?" much deeper than that.  I think and will go to my grave thinking that I am who I am and have adopted the Popeye saying, "I Yam what I yam." 

I write, I sing, I work on cars and I am fairly handy with tools.  I have managed to live a full and great life and still have the first wife I started with.  If I were to die today, I hope you know that I feel rich that I have been so blessed to achieve almost everything I wanted.  In a lot of ways I exceeded my wildest dreams and hope I can shout yahoo and slide into my grave an hour before the Devil knows I coming. 

MUD


2/20/2015

Another Conflict

Barb and I had season tickets for the KU Men's Basketball this season and another conflict is going to keep me from going to  3 March  game.  Oh well, I am pretty sure that my niece that now lives in Lawrence will enjoy the game.  It will be senior night but none of the starters are seniors.  Heck, most are Freshmen.  It has been a fun ride this year and I still have my fingers crossed that they will get Conference title 11. 

For the last couple of days, the critters have been here looking for food.  I took some corn down to the feed bunk at the bottom of the hill and when it is empty the deer stand there and look up at the house.  Perhaps next year I will put the bunk closer to the back door and feed them there.   Next I will probably have to keep a stock tank full of water with a heater.  Oh well, love to see the critters doing well.
The Turkeys love to sift through the leaves for food


Yesterday as Barb and I were going somewhere, the subject of a dog came up.  She looked me in the eye and said, NO Dogs!  Dang, I hate it when that happens.  I read a cute story about a police dog last week and have always wanted one.  I guess I will have to settle with a visit to the Grand kitties now and then. Pixel still will come to me and let me pet him when I visit.  It took a long time to get him to be my friend.  One thing I never did was tease him.  Just petting and a treat now and then.

Somehow my 2013 Turbo Tax program has disappeared.  I guess I saved it somewhere I didn't plan on.   I'll do a better search today and see if I have it on an external hard drive.  I am proud to say that I did find Barb's wonderful black ear muffs.   They had fallen off the top shelf and were way down in the side of the closet.  Guess what?  They were right in the last place I looked.  Isn't that amazing?  DUH Dennis!   Just remember you can say DUH to yourself but not to others.

One of the Facebook posts from a member of the family talked about the difference between Vengeance and Justice.  It is pretty simple to me.  If it is personal it is vengeance.  There is a certain inmate on Death Row that I would volunteer to put to death.  Vengeance is in my heart.  The good news is that I don't have the ability to make that happen.   Justice to me is that  he is not out walking the streets and is in a little room where he only gets out for an hour a day and get to shower once every three days.  Many people in the family want me to believe that Justice will be served when he is executed.  Unless he dies the brutal way he killed my niece, it will only be death not justice. 

Better get moving on down the street.

MUD