Vier from my Pedistile

- I want to thank all of you that posted top the blog about CPL Tillman. He was a fine young man that died in tragic circumstances made worse by people that didn't have the opportunity to learn our life lessons. Last night, the Sydney Portier movie, "To sir with Love" was on TV and it was about a teacher that thought life lessons were worth the effort. I'm not sure that they were as important as to take all the time of the class but many of the lessons in the movie were right out of Life Lessons 101. Makes me wonder how much I remembered from that movie?
- I want you to know that three days this week I had the lives of students in my care. I did a fourth grade class two days and was a Middle School Librarian on the third. The fourth grade class was down right fun. There were about 20 students that were hard working and we kept ourselves on track. "Um, teacher, Mrs Morrow doesn't do it that way" One of the little girls had a broken foot and was on pain medication the day before I got there. The substitute gave her two marks on the group record for being silly. I found out that she was medicated and declared amnesty. The kids were just appalled that I did that as it had never happened. I explained that as the teacher, I made the rules and it was just as much my right to give amnesty as it was to give the group one mark for being "Petty" about what I saw fit to do. End of discussion.
- I would like to say to all the parents out there that your children wear inappropriate clothes to school. The little 8th grade girls with their short skirts were just wrong for school. Short pants with thong underwear and short tops are wrong. I know that their t-shirt was OK when they left home but they tie a knot in the side and shorten it by several inches. I saw more belly buttons in one day that I had seen in a year. For some reason the guys are wearing shoes two sizes too big and not using the shoe laces to tighten them up. They walk with a clump, flop that is just stupid. Two boys could make more noise than a whole class.
- My only meeting engagement worth mention was when four boys gathered in the door of the library and hassled people that came in. I went over and said, "Gentlemen Please move away from the door." One of them was eating a cupcake on the carpet and I ordered him either to get out or throw the remaining paper away. One of the junior hoodlums said you didn't say please.
That was when I raised my voice and told him that he wasn't listening because I started the conversation politely and said please. I then told him that if he didn't leave right now I would drag him down to the office and let the administration sort out the offenses he would be charged with. They left post haste and never came back. Sometimes a big dose of reality is needed.
- Tuesday is the election and I will find out if I have committed myself to two years of Monday night meetings, or not. Stand by for news.


The Life & Times of CPL Pat Tillman

There is a lot of discussion ongoing about the tragic loss of CPL Tillman in Afghanistan. It now appears that the report of an ambush by enemy forces was in error and it was in fact "friendly Fire". People are calling for heads to roll all the way up to the Secretary of Defense.
First let me say that in my humble opinion, people that have not been in combat, in addition to being blessed, should not make judgments from the easy chair. Decisions made in combat when the bullets start flying are difficult and all decisions are life and death. It is tragic that CPL Tillman was killed by mistake but it happens and no one feels worse than the poor soldier that made it looks in the mirror and know that (t)he(y) took the life of a comrade in arms. I feel sorry that (t)he(ir) suffer and now that wound is being replayed in the National Media.
Now let me apply the life lesson here and make sure that everyone knows that as tragic a the death was, a simple stupid mistake compounded it into a black eye for everyone. Had the Ranger leader on the ground stood up and said, Oh shit oh dear, we killed a comrade and we feel so bad for that loss". I think the Tillman family would have hated the result but not the people their son served with.
This simple lesson is one that everyone needs to remember from the first time they able to understand . If you make a mistake, own up and move on. It is the lie that gets you Cover up a lie and after a while it begins to smell. I have students look me in the eye and say "not me" when I see them do something stupid. They must think I am stupid or just haven't had anyone tell them this story. My comment is almost always, "nice try, now you have two things you have done wrong and trust me you don't want to have three."
I worked this week in a 4th Grade class of the brightest kids I have ever met. They were like sponges and soaked up everything I gave them and worked hard to not have to take any work home. As I graded their papers they were mostly A & B students and I don't think there was a failing grade on anything those two days. Even there, the life lesson needed reinforced. MUD


International Pressure to do the Right Thing

I am reading a book about the US Civil War and during the period 1862, there was a lot of pressure put on the Union (and Lincoln specifically) to just let the Confederacy go. It seems that the pressure the Union Navy put on the ports with blockades stopped the flow of cotton to Europe and they had a lot of problems making do without the southern grown/slave picked cotton. Old Abe saw the answer was the Emancipation proclamation to shut down the diatribe from Europe. When the battle became morally opposed to slavery and not just States Rights he felt he could maintain sympathy in Europe. Just another example of follow the dollars. Guess who was Lincoln's biggest opponents? Yep, the Democrats. Frederick Douglas knew, what happened to the Black Leadership and their vision? MUD

Monday Morning in the Laundry Chair

For many of you, Sunday is Laundry day. I would have done laundry yesterday but it just didn't seem the right thing to do. I knew I would be off today because I had an appointment in the middle of the day. (actually it is Mom that had the appointment but hey, that's life) Here I sit watching TV, blogging and doing laundry. I can opt out of the Substitute system if I need the day off.
I am over the need to be sad about the Basketball games outcome. It made it a lot easier to swallow the results when Roy's boys in North Carolina got sent home also. Just shows me that it is luck at this point of the season not superior talent from the players or the coaches.
Yesterday I went out to start the truck and it was dead as a doornail. I put the battery charger on it and this morning I went out and na' da', zip zilch, bupkis again! I tried to think back about what I had done and remembered that I had opened the fresh air inlet and perhaps I had undone a wire. Bingo, right in the middle of the steering column there is a god wire that had come undone. It took only a few minutes to find the culprits location and everything is fine again.
I have put up a couple of Petty for School Board signs and will drive the truck with the signs posted for the rest of the week. Next Tuesday is election day and then I will find out if I got elected to a twice monthly meeting for no pay or not. In a lot of ways I hope not but in other ways I would like to help the schools be as good as they can be.
I am struggling with Mom's desire to going to a retirement home and her ability to pay. If it was more of a assisted living home I would be more positive. I know that Mom needs a lot of help and soon will have more needs than Drury Place can and will be able to fulfill. Right now she is putting a little money away for later and the formula I figured for the Retirement Home is about 45 to 60 months to a zero balance. Oh well, there is no guarantee she has another 60 months. We will get more on that today when we see the heart doctor.
Better run and take care of the laundry, the buzzer is going off... MUD


What Do You Get?

What do you get when your team is full of young team members. They show up about 5 times out of 38 as the young players they are. About 33 times they win and beat great teams but every once in a while their inexperience shows up and they lose. The wide eyed innocents, like me, expect them to win all 38 and for a short while act like we were punched in the nose when they don't. Another season is closed and we will move on until the next round ball season when we can cheer our teams on to whatever. I know there are some UCLA fans out there still on the cheering bandwagon, but I will forgo that this time. This time of the year only 6 teams are still in the dance and they are all good.

I will still root for my beloved Jay Hawks and go work on my taxes. I guess I should be glad I made enough money to pay taxes.

Have a great day.



As a Jay Hawk fan, I am sad to announce that UCLA brought their "A" game and defeated the hawks. I am flying the KU flag upside down in sympathy.
My only complaint is that the Referees don't call the games at the end of the season like they did during the season. (Oh well, Kansas couldn't hit free throws anyway)

Wait for next year.


Another Good Viewpoint

"muddyroadsanddustytrails@blogspot.com" wrote in the latest column that recognizing the expertise of people that you are getting a good or service from is often a good starting point. Asking a waiter for their recommendation about what is good that day is asking them for their viewpoint and adds to the positiveness of the transaction.
This might not work well in the Big Box stores where things are put on the shelf and all the employees know is the location of items but it works well where there is an implied knowledge of the employee. I probably don't convey a trusting attitude often enough and get the steak that got dropped on the floor. I have witnessed my Son Dave's ability to help a customer in his work at Radio Shack. He tries to convey an attitude that he wants to know what they need and then provide a good, better and best solution to the customer. I have watched him show the lowest cost solution and the best solution to the same customer. Seems like all I ever get is the lowest cost stuff handed to me. Wonder Why?

Life Lessons 101 (Cont)

Yesterday I got to spend the day with Dave working on the heater in his Corscia. He had a T-Shirt that said, "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't, The courage to change the things I can and the weaponry to make a difference". We talked about this a lot and laughed at the fact that guys often have too much Testosterone to not jump in and try to save things when the crap hits the fan. His Corsica has a sticker that says, "Don't medal in the affairs of Dragons for thou art crunchy and taste good with Catchup". Dave really comes from the side of the house that lives the motto. "Nien Swet da Vider Sheist". (Don't sweat the small shit, after all it is all small shit)
From one of my regular readers "Incognito said...

I think for me it's counting on other people's promises that never come through. I learned to just be open to the possibility but not disappointed when it doesn't happen.

Same thing goes for expectations. Being very loyal and trustworthy I used to have high expectations of others. I still have high expectations, I just learned to not be disappointed when those expectations are not fulfilled.

Kind of the same thing. But makes life easier.

Oh, and last, but not least. I learned that trying to control things in my life just doesn't always work, so I have learned to "let go and let God"! Makes life much simpler."

Simple wisdom shows through from her. I think she comes a little more from the nurture side of the house and guys from the nature.
A my worst critic, I often had higher expectations and worst self doubts than anyone else. I found that accepting kind of a side bar about hard work being the answer. I found that if I tried to do my best that was often more than enough. I can tell you that people working to do their best have a high quality life style. Even if they probably don't live as long. There is an old saying that, "Pride goeth before the fall". I say that if you combine workmanship with that pride you will create masterpieces. Every once in a while you will get an "a'w shit" to cancel the "Attaboys" but you will shine.
There are Managers and there are leaders. Managers count everything and manage people like they are an asset not people. In abundant situations, not declining situations, managers make good sense. A manager will figure out the cheapest way to do things and produce an optimum return. When time is short and you really have to minimize the loss you need a leader to take charge and win the battle. When you really need to get the best out of people and there just isn't enough of anything to go around, leaders fit the bill.
A few years back (about 20, is that really possible?) I commanded an Artillery Battalion in the Guard. We had to take the same evaluation test that the Active Army units did. It was called an Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP) and was designed by a manager somewhere. I'll bet he got a big medal for that spent millions of dollars publishing the several inch thick manual. The National Guard battalion I was commanding had a shortage of people, places and things. For two years running two different commanders tried to get that battalion to have a successful (70% or better) evaluation. Both times they fired the people that tried and hired new folks to make it work. I got that battalion and sat down and tried to figure how to manage the assets to pass the test. It was clear as mud that there was just no management solution to the problem. I figured out that a good dose of leadership was needed and worked my butt off making sure that everyone knew what they had to do to get us to that magic 70%. I spoke with every soldier in the battalion during that year getting ready for the summer. I made sure that the section chiefs shared with their people what everyone needed to do. If our battalion at 80% strength did 100% of what they could we could pass with 70% and get that monkey off our back. We went to Fort Riley twice that spring and ate small bites of the ARTEP apple. We didn't try to do everything, but what we did, we did to the standard.
That summer at Camp, I told the Active Army Commander that I didn't want friends, I wanted evaluators. They weren't to tell us how to do anything their way, but they were to measure us against the standard they would use for the ARTEP. Any of his people that were evaluating training and didn't have a stop watch and the standards with them I would send to him and they would be sent home. Do it by the book, do it right and to the time standards. By Wednesday night the first week I had a report that we could do at least 70% of the items in the ARTEP to standard and called in the commanders in and told them so. Thursday we worked on the other 30% and Friday we started the test. By Sunday evening the evaluator reported to me that we had performed 100% of the items/events to standard. We had one more day to complete but we were a go!
Near the end of the Camp I talked to every man and shook their hands. Almost to a person they said they knew we had it in the bag when I was their biggest cheer leader. I did have to lose my temper a time a time or two but it was mostly when people forgot to do things the safe way. I could not lose a single man to stupidity and did not tolerate unsafe acts. I told them so over and over and we had the fewest injuries or medical evacuations of any unit at camp that year.
I guess the life lesson here was that there are leaders and managers. When time comes to get down to business and "unhit that fanload" of manure it is often better to have a leader rather than a manager.


How do you post Pictures & Text

This is an example of how I can load pictures and text in my blog. Our friend Julie in Morocco asked me how I can make that happen. First, you must load the bottom picture you want to display first. It is the same way you combat load a boat. The first thing you need is the last thing loaded. This post is in order of first on, last off. (Threw than in for Gerald who is in accounting) My program gives you the choice of left, centered or right. Then you can select the size of the picture. I use JPEG pictures as some of the others just don't work.
This Kiss is 1968 and the start of Barb's 39 year ride with this guy from Kansas. Little did I know then that Barb's family was from Prairie Center, KS a few generations back and she would turn out to be related to half of the town of Ottawa.

If you want your words to run along the edge of the post find the bottom of the picture above and hit return. That will put the cursor along the edge and you can write to your hearts content. On Blogspot.com, you can hit preview and it will show you what your post will look like. At least that works if you have the same kind of computer. Barb's Mac has a mind of its own and the pictures come in where ever it thinks they look good.

In the edit mode, the picture of the kiss and the text has no space between it. In the Preview it seems to have a couple of returns

Here is another attempt to get the left edge right below the picture. In this case the cursor actually was a couple of spaces up on the edge of the picture. I think it is because the text from above wrapped around a couple of places and drove the real text further down.

This smiling little guy was shot right before I started school. Must have been in 1951 or 52. It is a picture of me in that silly sailor suit. Never wanted to be in the Navy.

This picture is one that was shot probably in 1948 before I learned to walk. Walk heck, I ran about the time I realized I could get up off all fours.

I just wish I could be there to show Julie how to do this in person. I would love to hear the laughter of the girls and to see rainbows out of their window.

Life Lessons 101

I am searching for lessons learned the hard way. I would love for you to share a few with me. Not the simple - "Use Puffs when you have a cold because Kleenex will wear the skin off your nose" kind of lessons but those that have cost you and you want to share.
  • My number one lesson of all time is never loan money to anyone that you must have back. I can cite several times I have been a giver of a "Loan" and it didn't come back. This is doubly true with relatives. Hell, give people money, just don't expect it back. Unless you want to cut that person off your contact list.
  • I can cite several hundred examples where a woman told her husband get out of the Army or I'll leave you. He left the Army and she left him anyhow. Changing where you are won't change how unhappy you are.
  • Marriage won't change your mate. If they like to fish, go with them or learn to sit on a creek bank reading a book. Learn to like fish to eat or just be prepared to buy fish sticks now and then but stopping them just shouldn't be an option. Guys, learn to do something with them if they go fishing with you. If they say, does this make my rear look fat, Lie like a rug!
  • You are the only true source of happiness. If you think you will find it in something or someone else, you will spend the rest of your life looking for more of that. My mom had a poster on her bathroom door that said "True Happiness is wanting what you have not getting what you want".
  • The actualization of this is when you didn't buy that new car, the new boat and a lot of needless shoes and you get your house paid off. You cannot imagine the happiness of having everything you need and most of what you want and a Walmart nearby. (the Walmart part is a metaphor for being able to purchase those things you need at a reasonable price, even if it is where I find most of my bargains)
  • Life isn't fair. Hell, nothing is fair. Make do the best you can and learn from your mistakes.
  • Parents are not friends to their children. Friends will celebrate the good times, but leave you in the bad times. Parents should be there to hold your hand, change you diapers, clean up the vomit and pick you up when you fall. They will celebrate more than a friend but they should stick by you for the bad times.
  • Being old doesn't mean that you have all the answers. Hell, we don't even know half of the questions about what the heck is going on today. Do your best and that's more than enough.
  • Technology is one fast changing mother. There is no way that a guy that knows how to install an 8 track tape system is going to be able to keep up with everything a computer needs to do. If they offer an automatic camera, buy the damn thing and be glad you don't have to learn an F-stop from and aperture. If you have to learn something learn how to use Adobe Photo to clean up your photo mistakes. Oh by the way, do not believe anything you see today because of that photo editor program. They can put you anywhere doing anything.
  • keep learning and don't be surprised that someone will know more than you do. Life ain't Jeopardy but it is fun.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it. MUD


I hate War and Love Peace

No one is more willing than I am to lay down my life in the pursuit of liberty for others. I dedicated 31 years of my life to defending your right to stand up and say you also hate war. I would ask that you understand that I tell you that peace isn't something that spontaneously breaks out and happens. If there is some short instance where it showed up, mankind probably screwed it up by starting another war. I think if you honestly look at history not fairy tales you will see that peace is mostly established after wars and no country has spent more to rebuild other countries than the US has after two world wars.
The war in Iraq isn't about oil, it is about Saddam's stopping the UN from conducting inspections for weapons of mass destruction. His forces constantly fired on US aircraft enforcing the no fly zones and the intelligence agencies world wide said he had weapons and needed stopped. All he had to do was open the joint for inspections and everyone would have been happy.
I heard that all we have to do is sit down and talk to other countries and we could have peace. Until we figure out how to stop AIDS in Africa, peace isn't going to happen. Until we figure out how to reunite Korea and share the prosperity, peace isn't going to happen. Until the Muslim communities stop their hatred within their own religion peace isn't going to happen. I think the only thing that will ever unite them is a war with the rest of the world and man that isn't peace.
Let me make it clear that I think this is a pretty great place to live and I refuse to hate the soldiers for doing their job. If you don't like the way things are going, get off your butt and get elected and change things. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English thank a soldier.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Dennis

Savory Potato Pancakes

This morning I made an uninspired trip to the icebox to see if there was anything worth cooking for breakfast. Not one piece of pork available. I think ham or sausage (in about any form) is what a good breakfast needs.
Then I made a trip to the cupboard to see what lies in there. I found some dehydrated potato flakes and thought, hum, can these be made into potato pancakes? I put a cup of flakes, a cup of flower, cup of milk, one egg pinch of salt, little onion & garlic powder and a teaspoon of baking powder together and fried it in a mixture of corn oil and olive oil. Not bad for a first try. I have decided that it would be better if I added shredded cheese and made biscuits like Red Lobster. Talk about a base for biscuits and Gravy. (Right back to the shortage of pork darn it). I wonder if it could have been a good base for hush puppies with the addition of a little corn flower?
Oh well, the dogs loved the excess. I think it made about 8 nice sized pancakes and it was about five too many for us.
The weather man was right about today. It is dark and rainy outside and that should go on all week. Some spring break. Barb and I are going downtown to the Capital bldg to see the photographs from the Flint Hills that will be in the next edition of National Geographic. That part of Kansas is one of our favorites. The Konza Prairie holds a facination to us and we love to go there and see the plants and the beautiful Kansas sky as it changes like a kaleidoscope when we sit and watch it.
Have a great day.


Have I said that I am a Kansas University Basketball Fan? Barb and I watch the Hawks play every chance we get. Some year we hope to get to go to the games and follow them deep into the NCAA Play offs and hopefully to the Championship. I do feel it is important that I say that I am a KU fan win or lose. It seems to me that KU has always had a group of kids that are not only good at Basketball but good citizens. You know, the kind of kids that you could invite over for dinner with your mother and they wouldn't embarrass themselves or you. Mom would be hard to embarrass but hey, there is a first time for everything.
This is the first day of the official 2007 Spring Break. I have a shopping list made for a run to Wally World. Mostly the early list is filled with pet and pet care products. Even the cat has a few needs on that list.
Some time this week I hope to have a dry day to get up to the Outdoor Education center at Tecumseh South. I got Barb's gardens mowed out Saturday and need to get the garden at school ready to plant. There are a couple of wooden fence pieced that need carted off also. I will mow the grass short so it will get sunlight and start to green up quick. We are about to hit the first day of spring shortly.
This is a combination of two jokes for St Patrick's day. I got the first one from my sister-in-law and read the other one on line but I never pass up a good joke to embellish.
There was an Irishman named Patrick Michael O'Shanahan or "Paddy" as he was known to his friends. When he died, his wife found that she only had $2.00 in her rainy day fund. She went to the paper and wanted to have an obituary published. It was a dollar a word so she wrote "Paddy Died". The editor of the paper said, I'll give you three more words just to be fair to Paddy's memory. She wrote "Paddy Died, Boat for sale".
It seems that Paddy had $30,000 in his rainy day fund and left it to Mary Margaret O'Shay, a waitress at the local tavern. Mary put on a nice wake , a nice funeral and an even better open house after the funeral. Mary's best friend asked Mary what it cost. Mary said, " The wake was $500, the funeral about $6,500 and the after glow was another $500. The remainder will go for the memorial stone." Her friend said my, that must be a grand stone, how big is it? Mary said, "Oh, about two carats".
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it. MUD


Spring Break 2006

In 2006, Barb and I took a trip to Arizona as a part of the Elderhostel program. IT was specifically a photography class with an instructor from "Arizona Highways" who also has shot for National Geographic. I would recommend the Elderhostel program to everyone old enough to participate. They do a first class job of setting you up in a program that from the front door to the back door is all paid for. This includes meals, transportation and lodging.
The nearest thing I can equate it to is a sea cruise on land. We went to some very diverse terrain from Sedona with it's wonderful red rocks to Apache Junction east of Phoenix that is on the edge of the desert.
One of the biggest things that was pointed out to us is like real estate has Location,Location and Location, photography has that and timing. The bright picture above is location but without the interesting color and shadow variations of late afternoon or early morning. Our vacation this year was at our leisure so I was not out shooting either early or late. My error but with the fact I shot with a camera in one hand and a box of Kleenex in the other, no one else would have been out as much or as long.
I'm not sure exactly why the setting or early sun makes pictures so colorful but I suspect it has something to do with the atmosphere and how it turns the colors a different refraction and adds shadows.
I hope that many of you are moving with the technology to digital. The great thing for us is that most all of Barb's Nikon family of lenses work on my Nikon digital body. There was one that didn't seem to work well but out of a bag of five that ain't bad. The great lens the camera came with is pretty darned good. Barb is still shooting her film camera for the most part but has played with the digital and we have looked at the newer fancy dancy Nikon 200 but it is still a little too expensive. Perhaps by next year it will fall off a few hundred and we'll see then.
Spring Break 2007 is going to be spent for the most part here at Rabbit Run. There are a lot of spring time things to do and I like to get them done before the chiggers,ticks and snakes get out. I have a lot of projects this year and hope to get a few of them done to shape up the place. I want an arbor in the front of the house and a retaining wall on the backside. Mostly semi skilled labor items with a lot of back work thrown in. I also have grand plans to for some great bike riding this year so I need to get the old legs in shape for that.
The school board election is only a couple of weeks away and I am not campaigning hard. The good news is that my opponent isn't either. Perhaps we neither want the job deep down but are running for the heck of it. We'll see.
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it! MUD


St Patrick's Day Greetings

I'm not sure if any of you will be able to read this in this color but here it is anyway. It looks OK on the Preview but who knows what it will look like after traveling across the net.
My biggest wish is that you all have good health and can enjoy the day in the spirit for which it is intended. It should be a celebration of all the good things the Irish brought to the "U.S." and us over the years. I might note that many of them have been banned from my household but not out of punishment or criticism of the Irish. Barb doesn't like corned beef and cabbage. To the point that the smell of cabbage removes any good feelings she might be able to gather about the corned beef. Needless to say, the green beer has been on the "Not only no but Hell NO" list for about 15 years or so. I guess I will just have to settle for watching parades and celebrating being Irish is a very small part.
I'm not sure of all the parts that are Irish but "Boggs" & "Collins" are a couple of family names that sound Irish. I guess the important thing is that like our country, we are a joining of all the parts and celebrating them all is a good thing.
Yes, I have changed color for my JayHawks that destroyed a good Niagara team last night in Chicago. I think that all the talk about them losing in their first round needed to have a stopping point and they made that point with a slam dunk last night. Every member of the team scored except one. The bench scored 51 points and no one looked back as they ran down the court on fast breaks. It was a track meet and a Basketball game all rolled up into one big game.
May you have the sun in your face, the wind at your back and road rise up to meet you. MUD


Why did I paint the Truck?

Yes, I wanted the truck to be a rolling ad space for my candidacy as a member of the USD 450 School Board. The least I could do is spend a few dollars painting the truck to make it look nice from 25 feet away. In my effort to:
do shameless self aggrandizement! Every ego needs to be fed so why not mine! Really, do some people have no shame? Guess not. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! MUD

Where do they get this Crap?

If you haven't started NOT listening to the media's coverage, I want to share with you why I think it is headed directly into the toilet. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. Here T'is:
The day before yesterday I was in the garage painting the truck (10 cans of spray paint and a small blister on my button pushing finger). The radio was set on the same station that had carried the KU/Texas game over the weekend. Then the strangest thing of strange things happened. The program was Glenn Beck's "On the Radio" program and I couldn't believe my ears. Here was a guy that sounded more sane and sober than any of the Talk hosts talking about his opposition to the banning of Cock Fights in New Mexico. He thanked Louisiana for being the only state where you could go and watch an "honest to god" cock fight. He talked about how he would take his kids to watch and only in one State could they see this wonderful sport. He was advocating starting a "save the Kids" web site based on his opposition to the ban. After about 10 seconds of this, it hit me that it was satire and the more I listened, the more I laughed. Then the truth hit the fan. Of I should say the fans hit the phones. People called in and made complete fools of themselves telling Glenn why he was wrong.
The more they talked, the more mad people got. I'm sure that had the show's producers gone on, someone would have made a death threat. Finally, Glenn admitted that this was a ruse and there was no real way he could support a sport that is banned in 49 States. This morning his show had a "member" of Hillary's military advisory group on. The member described the credentials of the other members of the team and it was downhill from there. In terms of funny, I laughed my butt off. I understand the difference between satire and misinformation. I'm not sure that the great unwashed masses out there really do.
In today's paper, there was an article about the black community (Rev Jackson and Al Sharpton's) withholding of support to Barak Obama and his run for the Presidency. The point was, follow the dollars and see where they are flowing. In the past Jesse and Al could count on invites (paid for by the way) to speak to groups to raise money for a candidate. This article went on to point out that the Hotel room for one of these rallies ran over $4,000 for one night. Jesse and Al hung around in the last election to raise enough to get the matching Federal Dollars and then bailed out. Does anyone else find it less than surprising that Jesse fathered a child out of wedlock right in the middle of Bill's announced "Blackness" and the Lewinsky mess?
The final straw in the truth in the truth is the internet's announcements that you must notify all your family and friends immediately of some new and improves threat to our lives. The only problem with life is the staff of the site "Urban Legends" can't dispel all the myths as fast as people make them up. About the time a hoax is pointed out, along comes a minor spin on that and the story gets told and retold as the "Truth"
Well boys and girls, That's the truth and I'm sticking to my story. MUD


My Old Truck

This is a view of the 53 Chevy 5 window that I drive as my daily driver. It has a new V-8 motor, a new 700-R transmission and front disk brakes. I upgraded the steering to rack and pinion so it no longer drives like you are herding sheep. Needs a radio and an air conditioner but nothings perfect.
Tried to take a few pictures last night and had the wrong setting on the camera. The frosted windows this AM is just dew. The big white panels on the bed will hold my "Vote for Petty" as I am running for the local school Board. Last night I had my other love loaded in the bed. It was the recumbent bike I ride as much as I can.
As you can see from this picture, Jezabel, the old 50 ford is still sitting out in the yard. One of these days I may start on her but that's really Barb's call. I probably should raise up the steering wheel and drive a new car under it. When you look at how much a new car costs, fixing up an old one to drive isn't such a bad deal.


Easy Solutions

Why does it have to be hard all the time? Who said that some change has to be all bad? I think that we need to continually test the water and make sure it could be a little cooler or hotter in about every field. for example:
I don't think we want an unstable Government like Italy or one that has votes of Confidence like England but do we really need to have the same President for as long as we currently have it set up? Be truthful now, you were tired of Clinton at the end of 6 years and now President Bush is really out of favor. Perhaps three years would be enough for each term. No, I am not trying to stop Hillary from being there for 8 years. She will either make it or not!
Who said that 65 teams are enough for the Big Dance. KU's opening round opponent is the result of a "Play-in" Why is that not the case for all the Number one and two seeds? That could add 8 teams to the tournament. Try it for a year and see if all the bubble teams don't feel better? Going to the NIT is only a good thing if you get to host a home game or two. Again it is all driven by the dollar.
Our voter turn-out for the Primary election in this "off year" sucked. In the city of Topeka the school board primary was decided by 12% of the voters. I didn't get the finals for the county but if my memory serves me there were almost as many votes in the county as in the city but there are a lot fewer voters in the county. For the county school boards they do have some city dwellers but mostly they lie outside of the city limits and you only get to vote in your school board area. How can we increase voter turn-out? How about everyone that votes pay a dollar and get a lottery ticket. The winner gets all the money collected. I know, everyone will call it unfair and like a poll tax. Granny just can't afford a dollar. (She can smoke at four dollars a pack for cigarettes and buy her own tickets but lord forbid the Government adds anything to the process) How about the candidates go out and get petitions signed? That could be the vote and those results would be the final count.
If we all know that Education is the answer to making the next generation better for all of us, why do we resist making it cheaper, if not free? One of the nicest teachers I know is required to get a Masters Degree to teach pre-school. It is costing her several hundred dollars an hour and they require about 30 hours. If it is a requirement for the additional Education why don't we have a fund to pay for it? Sure she makes a little more after she gets the hours but the debt is almost too much for a starting teacher. Add the cost of a house, a car and utilities and POW! we are almost demanding that young people go into a better paying field.
The answer to these questions and many more involves all of us getting off our butts and doing something. Volunteer, Substitute teach, help your neighbors or just be a part of the problem. I know I am but what the Hey, I'm special. MUD!


What a Great Game

Just when I thought the last Texas vs KU game was as good as it gets, they play an even better game. It looked like the Hawks were going to get buried by the Longhorns and then they just started to turn it around. The Hawks were down 32 to 10 and many probably lost all hope. Slowly they turned it around and never looked back. Anyone that didn't enjoy the game is dead from the neck up. It had everything your would have wanted in a game. It might have been fair if the Hawks had let the Longhorns win the tournament this year but hey, Who ever said things in life were FAIR!
The weather here is great and about 70. I should have ridden my bike tonight but I had to paint some Vote for me signs. I am going to put them on the truck and park the truck at the local schools. It will be in the parking lot on the days I substitute and I will park it there and go ride on the other days. Should be a fun month. It will all be over in early April and either I will win or not!
One of these days I am due a rant about some of the crap going on at the National Level but it will wait. Write if you get work.


'Nother Saturday in the Heartland

It is early March and the basketball fans are settling in for the run of games we call March Madness. The Big 12 Tournaments are in full swing and Washburn Women ranked 3rd in DII women's basketball are playing in their opening rounds of their Championship run. So far I have managed almost 16 hours of round ball in two days and will without fail watch the hawks as they play K-State today at 1 PM. I will probably watch the other half of the bracket to see who will be KU's opponent tomorrow.
I plan on checking the tires on the bent sometime this morning and when it gets up to 60 about 3:30 today go to the lake and see if there is any muscle left from last year. I'm sure that a gentle ride will start my season well.
This time of year is that odd time that starts out cold and gets mild in the mid day. Things are just starting to get green but Frost is always there to nip anything that comes out too early. Our fruit trees have been fairly sporadic in the past couple of years. The peaches will make it one year and the apples the next. The one that almost always produces is the Asian Pears as they are late bloomers and almost always miss the frost. Barb wants me to get out my mower and mow her gardens down as a fresh start. She claims that will also spread any seeds left in the plants. I figure that most of the seeds have been eaten by critters or fallen on the ground by now but hey, what do I know.
Yesterday my nieces came over to visit Mom. They invited me over so I took stuff to make sandwiches. We had a nice visit and a good lunch. Janet, Carrie and Jennifer all came over from the east (KC & Wellsville) and I'm sure that Mom had a great time. It is always nice to catch up on what's going on in their lives. We also watched the KU Game but they cruised in the second half so we visited more than watched.
Better go see if there is anything I can do to help muck out the joint. I'm sure there is a floor that needs swept or a bird cage that needs cleaned.


What a Ride.

On Monday I taught High School Chemistry. On Tuesday I taught third grade. Today I had to take a day off because the third graders were tough on this old guy. My feet hurt, by body is tired and my mind is shot.
I really had to get some paperwork filled out for my Age 60 retirement from the Army Reserves. With three years on Active duty and another 3500 points (the equivalent of ten years on Active duty, my retirement should be a nice addition to my retirement fund. That will start in August and they wanted the paperwork early.
I see my School Board opponent has posted those little paper signs on wire supports all over the district. I am not going to do anything like that. I decided that those people that know me will vote for me and the other half of the people will vote for whatever name pops in their head. If it is his, so be it. I really don't think it will be a bad thing for the patrons of our district no matter who wins. He is a Gentleman and a fine father to his family. I am old.
I had a ball this morning going to the State Defense Building and visiting with all my friends (that are still there). Today I met a Major who was the son of one of my mentors. I didn't know him when I was active. A young officer that I mentored is his mentor and introduced me to him. The part of the business that doesn't change much is the secretaries. They are still pretty much in place and have all the true stories. The three fastest forms of communication are telephone, telegraph and tell a secretary.
Better get on with my work, I think I feel a nap coming on.


KU Wins the Big 12 Regular Season

Texas played the game of the season for the first half of Saturday's game in Lawrence. They played like a team headed for the finals of the NCAA. They are a freshman dominated team and just flat shot the lights out. Barb and I have always said that anyone can play with the Hawks for the first half. We also say that those that live by the 3 die by the three. They will play well and long in the NCAA playoffs. Now, Did KU cement their number one seed in the Brackets? We'll see. Hang On!

Trip Pics

In Tombstone, AZ the main street is closed for motorized vehicles. They have stagecoaches, gunfights and cowboys out there. I'm sure that a lot of you think this is what Kansas looks like but today we have tractors downtown not horses.
This is posted here not because it is such a pretty cactus but to show you just how blue the sky was there. Here we look at the clouds but if there aren't any clouds I guess the "blueness" of the sky will have to do. Besides, the sun on this cactus did make for a nice picture. I promise you I didn't have any special filter turned on and this was not "Photo shopped".
I wish you could all really see how skinny here is looking. She has been going to weight watchers and really looks great. I have always loved her but now she looks as good as she did when we were married. She did get to spend some money for new clothes but she spent almost as much on me. The sweat shirt hides the fact that she is "looking good".
The VIP billet at Ft Huachucua was the Hazen house. That is a family name from my maternal Great Grand-mother and means Cantor in the Jewish Church. It may look like an old Army Barracks from the outside but it was one really special place inside. It was also about as cheap as anyplace we stayed. Another Perk from my Military service. I can't wait until August when they start paying me for all those days away from my family. I hope you all have your seat belts fixed for March Madness and are near a good TV. KU will play its last game of the league play today and then on to the Big 12 Tournament. Followed closely by the "BIG DANCE" I do have the ability to opt out of teaching on days when the game is just too good to miss. MUD

The Truth, The Whole Truth and nothing but SPAM...

As I spend time with children I am often amazed at the level of crap they are willing to accept as "the Truth". I often tell my high school students they need to have their "built-in Crap Detectors" on full blast in this age of information overload. I have more than once had a "Myth" given to me as absolute ground zero truth because someone read it on the internet. There is a site called "Urban Legends" that clearly points out that it is just not feasible for McDonald to use Kangaroo meat in their hamburgers. The shipping alone would make the "rooburger" cost more than the best Angus burger. Jeez Louise, what will the future look like with the large amount of Spam thrown at us daily mixed in for good measure. Here are just a few of the things that hit me this week:
  • Where in all this discussion of Anna Smith was the fact that this is the second drug related death in this family and someone needs to make sure that people out there know that you can and probably will die early if you abuse drugs. Most social service agencies would swoop in and take the baby into a foster home until it is clear there is someone there with the ability to keep the baby alive. Who gives a good rats "patootie" (south end of a north headed rat) where she is buried?
  • Why does our society care who shaves off her pubic hair and shows it to everyone? She now shaves off the hair on her head and again "big stinkin' deal" Rehab, or not to rehab, who cares? If the name Brittany hasn't come to you yet, you are on the right side of life and know that infamy and famous are close but not the same. Get a life not a publicist.
  • Ex-President Bill Clinton was in Kansas this week and you would have thought a "Rock Star" was here. He filled the Landon Arena at K-State for a lecture and then came to Topeka for a meeting of the Democratic Party faithful. He was hailed as the second coming of Christ. Somebody paid $20,000 for his tie in an auction. Don't you'all remember that he was the guy who lied to us about cheating on his wife and having sex with an intern. He was disbarred for his actions and if any of us were guilty of such actions we would be vilified, crucified, and so far from what we want as our role model that he shouldn't even be allowed to land in a plane in Kansas let alone be asked to come here.
My point here is that the past has been changed as our recollection of history has changed. I am afraid that our books will have so much SPAM to cover that the history of today and tomorrow will be changed even before it is written. Not that anyone will read history. In the past our children learned to read then read to learn. Now they will learn to read so they can send text messages and read SPAM. MUD


Funny Stories

These are two stories that I have run across the last week and feel compelled to share them with you. I hope you will accept them as my Friday Funnies.

First the most inappropriate and least political correct. Of course it is a blond Joke.
  • A guy gets a call from the hottest blond he has ever met. She tells him about the new Jigsaw puzzle she got and really needs help. He tried to put her off until he had more time but she insisted that it is the cutest picture she has ever seen so he gives in and goes over to her house. She takes him in the kitchen and shows him the puzzle scattered on the kitchen table. He calmly takes her hand and says, "Honey I hate to tell you this but it never will look like a picture of Tony the Tiger and I would appreciate your help putting the cornflakes back in the box."
  • The next story is a real, no kidding story. One of my students at school is one of the cutest five year old kids. His Paternal grandfather is a Radio DJ and one of the nicest guys you would ever meet. His Maternal Grandfather is a Minister and even nicer than the other guy. But, a short coming in both is the need to say things and this verbosity/talent has progressed into the five year old. I think there is also a high level of self import there but not conceit, only a good sense of himself. On a vacation last week they were at the top of a mountain sitting at a table ready to go down the slope on skis. The five year old looks out on the beautiful vista and proclaims, " I have lived my whole life for this!"

Metal Art Work from AZ Trip

This is a sign support built with Re bar and topped with metal balls This is the sign for the sculptures shown in the next photo. Patrick Dougherty goes to different places and makes the houses out of cut saplings. The material he uses is different in every local. I seem to remember that at least one Indian tribe in the Southwest used this type design for a daytime structure. Wouldn't be of much use where there was a lot of rain but it was a lot cooler inside.

This is Barb in a structure made of Twigs. Just threw this in because I love her. Besides, she laughs at my jokes and knows the answer to most of them. For example, Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? Duh Dennis, at the bottom!

This light is three metal leaves on a pole that reflect light shined up from the ground. The lights were the outside spotlights inside 6" plastic pipe. Again, I didn't see them in the dark but can imagine they worked pretty well. They were also good spots for the dove up on top to sit and coo to try to get a mate.

This is one of many hand bridges that I want to copy for the creek at the bottom of the hill
here at rabbit run. The bottom rail is half of an I beam or "C" channel iron. The top rail is the same stuff with the open portion filled with mortar and polished river rocks. The uprights are simply Re-bar cut to length. If the bridge went over a longer distance the bottom rail could be made of 4" boxed steel. The floorboards were just treated lumberand I didn't take a picture of them for some dumb reason they were attached to the bottom rail a little further out on the opening.

This is one of the lights in a Metal shelter house. It was about 45 feet in diameter with a light hole in the middle. It didn't seem to make much difference that the metal wasn't painted there. Here it would rust out inside a couple of years and the dew would run orange off the poles and stain the concrete. The stars were about two feet across and about 6 inches thick. they had shapes cut in them with a torch. I think the bottom was also cut out so the light could shine downward. There was a light bulb inside and I wish I could have seen them at night.

Most of this is for my brother-in-law Putt-Putt and I hope he knows how much we thought of him during our trip. I wish we had been in Tucson with our camera when the bicycle shop there was open. They were making a recumbent type bike with the wide tires off the schwinn motorcycle look a-likes. They had a lot of different handlebar styles but were using the typical bicycle seats.