Global Warming

If both sides of the argument line up their experts and debate the issue all you have is a bunch of educated assholes with fancy degrees lined up. I am sure that having lived outside for most of a year (1968) and having lived close to nature and its obvious vagaries here in Kansas I am able to speculate as well as the next guy. Every Asshole should have an opinion and here are mine;
  • First, I think the average temperature goes up in the summer and down in the winter. Cows put as much carbon in the air as do cars (Look up the chemical components of Methane). As for the polar caps melting and causing rain, go out in the next rain storm and tell me it is warmer when it is raining than when it is not. The clouds block the sunlight and while it does hold in what heat is available the blocking of the sun cools the earth, not to mention the evaporation of water cooling effects. The coolest time on record was when an asteroid hit the earth and covered the earth in a cloud cover. Go to Southeast Asia during the monsoon season and see what it is like. I will promise you that without all the clouds summertime in SE Asia would roast your butt off. (Not that it didn't give me prickly heat a time or two). If it is melting the polar ice caps and we are getting more rain, how do you explain the fact that all over the west the forests are burning hotter because they forests are drier? How can Hotlanta (Atlanta, GA) be so dry that Lake Lanier, home of the 1997 Olympics rowing is damn near dry?
  • Second, The sun is expanding each year a minute amount and will continue to do so until it eventually goes super-nova and explodes somewhere way, waaaay out in the future. The good news boys and girls is that it is a long time until that will happen and by that time most of us will be so long gone that it won't matter.
Talking about the weather is almost a futile effort as I'm sure that as I sit here there are enough people with lots of education and perhaps more common sense that will take the other side. For every example there are hundreds of examples of things just the opposite. Have an opinion, and have a great day. I will wear my coat when I go out because Global Warming hasn't warmed it up here enough to notice. MUD


What are you doing Jan 3rd?

I apologize if the scary old man in this picture scares you as much as it did me. I wore this shirt the next day and when I looked in the mirror it said that KU was playing TV. (Virginia Tech backwards)

Holy Snow Batman!

Did I mention that we are at 16.5 inches of snow for the month of December of 2007? That just happens to be 2 inches shy of an all time record. I'll bet it is related to global warming bringing the cold and moisture to Kansas. Someone call Al and tell him to send $ from his Nobel Prize. There are light flurries predicted between now and midnight Monday but the record will probably hold for another, more snowy time.
Even the outside cat tricked his way into the garage this morning so it cold, cold and more cold. With the sunshinning it is not predicted to get much above freezing today. I noticed thast when we were in Tulsa it was going to be about 40 today and almost 50 Sunday. What that means is that the warm air from the gulf is going to come here and colide with a cold front Monday. We'll see what those light flurries do to the record.


Mom is Home in Skiatook

We heard about the snow that was to arrive overnight and slipped down to Oklahoma yesterday and came back today. Mom is by the door there with a green tea on her left and a cat in her lap.
Had we been here with at least 4 new inches of snow this morning we probably wouldn't have gone. We left there about noon and the roads were clear (mostly) by the time we got back up here in Tecumseh, KS.
I have appreciated all the pictures and messages posted on the net and sent in e-mails. I wish you all a Happy New Year. MUD


Kansas Hat Travels

During the White Elephant Gift Exchange it is normal for someone to smuggle in a gift that has not been recycled and many people want. When it is their turn to select a gift each person ahs the choice of an earlier already opened gift or a new wrapped package. This year I think Asas Bob or Bob as he is now known brought a hat in a Walmart Sack. It went around the room several times like the bottle of wine and a silly cat picture. The first person to select the hat was my sister Myrna.I'm not sure these pictures are in order but somewhere in the process, Joe wore it for a while

Our KU Graduate Jennifer could not pass up a chance to wear it for a while.

It finally went home with Chris or Josh (?) He is a new member of the family and I have trouble remembering his name. He is Sue's son. (Not Myrna Sue but the other Sue)

I think we tried to draw names at one time but soon realized that as far apart as we are if is hard to know what someone else likes. This White elephant gift exchange is always good for a laugh. After this exchange there is always a pile of paperbacks that gets exchanged. Being last of the list from Barbara's family to get the books from out west we always have a nice little selection of books with the names of her family members written in the overleaf.
I hope your Christmas was a much fun as ours was this year. I further hope that these pictures brought a little joy as Barb tried to capture to fun. This is as close to Merry as we can get in the term Merry Christmas!


More Christmas Pics

This is our son Dave and his wife's best Friend Mel as they open their gift from Barbara N. They are both from the Star Wars generation and got little stuffed Yota's.

This is Mel with her singing dog. He was a one hit wonder as he only knew one song. Hey, for 10 bucks what do you expect?

Barbara asked for a hubcap for her car and I put this cookie dish in a sack and was she surprised when it wasn't a hub cap. The hub cap is on her car.

This is Dave's Wife Barbara N. Petty and her frogger socks. She loves frogs and Dave got her a nice cute pair of foggy socks. OK, I didn't pay attention enough and the socks were from my wife Barb and not Dave. She expects me to tell the truth when I am making stuff up to tell you.

This old fart is me sideways. I can't go straight from the card to my blog site if the pictures are sideways and I'm always too much in a hurry to go out and straighten them right side up.
This is my sister Myrna Sue and the KU hat that went around at least once. I think there is a picture of 4 or 5 people wearing it while they owned it during the white elephant gift exchange.
I hope your Christmas was as fun as ours and that you got to share a lot with all the members of your family. I actually picked out a present when we were shopping earlier and forgot it by the time we opened presents. It is one of those palm sized STODUKU electronic machines that has a million games stored in it. I got a jar of Hershey's kisses and Pistachios and a KU Orange Bowl Shirt. Oh, I also got a pair of new blue jeans because it embarasses Barb to go with me when all my jeans look so dirty. Merry Christmas to you.

Some of the People we Love

This is my sister Carol. We had our annual bash at her house this year. Anyone that didn't have a good time was just grumpy. You should have been there when Alan (Carol's Husband) showed up with a Bullshit Detector. I was deaf most of the rest of the day.

This is My mother with Jennifer, Carol's oldest daughter. Can you see the love in the eyes of these two?

This great couple is my cousin Robin and her husband Greg. Can you tell she's in love with that big ole' Okie? He is a great guy with almost as many funny stories as I have.

This lovely pair is my niece Becky and her co-writer friend Laurie. If they are slightly out of focus, they were in a hurry to leave and go shopping. I'm sure there is a pair of shoes out there saying "Buy me Beck, Buy me!"

If your picture isn't here, it is because we did get to see you lately. I will try to steal one or two more from a Blog site but most of these are taken with our D-70 Nikon by Barbara. I am out of time this time so I'll cut it off here and do more later.


Merry Christmas!

Things here at Rabbit Run Farm are fairly typical of most Christmases. My mother is here from Tulsa and we have a 10:15 appointment with the heart doctor. Barb is having a problem with her eye and she has a 9:15 appointment with her Optometrist. Me, I'm just going to hell in a hand basket and there isn't anything a Doctor could do.
The other day a 30 year old woman called into one of the radio financial talk programs and wondered why anyone would want to retire. All she had to do was ask anyone over 60 why they would want to avoid high stress jobs and the aggravation of getting out in traffic in bad weather and she would have her answer.
I hear thumping overhead so I'd better go see what help Mom needs to get her ready.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all...


This is stolen from a Blog!

Christmas Songs for the Unfortunate

1. Schizophrenia - Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder - We Three Kings Disoriented Are.

3. Dementia - I Think I'll be Home For Christmas.

4. Narcissistic - Hark The Herald Angels Sing About Me.

5. Manic - Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And...

6. Paranoid - Santa Clause Is Coming To Town To Get Me.

7. Borderline Personality Disorder - Thoughts Of Roasting On An Open Fire.

8. Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why.

9. Attention Deficit Disorder - Silent Night, Holy Oooh Look At The Froggy, Can I Have A Chocolate, Why Is France So Far Away.

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells........

Merry Damn Christmas - MUD


Christmas Family Tradition

This is my niece Carrie and her son's Joe on the left and Owen on the right. This is the first picture on the 2008 Petty Calendar that Barb is making for my mother. I think Owen is the January birthday.

This handsome young man is Kieth, the husband and gonna be father (Aug 08). He is a southern gentleman and his white elephant gift was the gorilla until someone rudely took it and I'm not sure what he went home with.

This is my niece Janet and her two daughters Amanda and Amy. Amy is the new bride of the gorilla holder above.

This is my niece Kim and her family. From left to right, Kim, Austin, Kenny and AJ or Andrew.

My family has for years tried to get together sometime prior to Christmas on a Saturday for a family get together. That leaves the actual Christmas day for close family celebration. Today was such a day for us. In spite of a winter storm coating the outside with snow we all met at my sister's in Lawrence. Our special guests this year were my mother and our niece Amy and her husband Kieth. I went to Oklahoma Thursday to bring her up and she came in spite of the travails of travel. Amy and her husband are expecting their first child sometime in August. Her sister Mandy came back to Kansas earlier this year but this was the first time we were able to get to visit with her also.
The meal of our family gathering is every one's favorite soup. We all bring a pot of the best we can and today was no different. I made a sea food gumbo with a side of rice. There was also a white Chili, an Italian meatball and pasta (pasta fajoli?), a taco soup, a potato soup and lots of desserts and side appetizers. The first soup to disappear was the gumbo. It had lots of shrimp, crab meat, chicken, sausage and okra. Lots of people told me it was good so I guess it was pretty good I had a little of everything and it was all good.
Our activity is the white elephant gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift and we take turns selecting the gifts and opening them. This year we went by birth date. The person born the earliest in the year got to select one gift and open it. The next person could either select take that gift or chose their own. On and on the selecting their choice and opening goes on until everyone had a chance to choose/open a gift. The first person had one final chance to choose any gift and exchange it for the one they finally wound up with. It is a hoot, because while most of the gifts are re-gifted for year to year, some of people slip in a nice gift. There was a bottle of wine and someone bought a Santa style hat with KU on it. I brought an old pair of Cowboy boots and one of the kids opened it because it was in a pretty KU sack. On my turn I took back the boots and the kid got to select a sack with a toy truck in it. I think it was fun even though at least one other person took home the gift they brought. It is not the gift that is important, it is the laughs and comments we all share.
There is no doubt in my mind that getting together as a family is one of the nicest things I've done all year. I hope you all have a family tradition that brings you closer together as a family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
PS, the ice was all gone when the thunder snow storm hit. It started with a 15-30 MPH wind and then it started to snow. About a half an hour into the storm the visibility was about 1/8 to 1/4 mile and the wind kept the snow blowing south for the first hour or so. By about 2 PM we started home and the roads were just getting drifted in spots. Their is either no snow or a drift of about two feet. The porch rail has at least 8 inches stacked up on it. It is on the south side of the house and is generally a pretty good gauge of the amount of snow that falls.


Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker - Word of the Week

We have a lot of woodpeckers living in our trees. One of the most common one's we see is a small black and white Downey woodpecker. The average less than six inches long and have a pretty short bill. One day earlier this year a larger version of that woodpecker started showing up at the suet feeder. The only woodpecker we can find that is close is a "Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker". Even if It wasn't one, I love that name. "You yellow bellied sap sucker, you" Sounds like a name that Yosemite Sam would call his horse after it threw him into a brier bush. The photo is courtesy of Barbara's fine eye and my Nikon D70.

Middle of the Week Musings

Do you ever wish for return to earlier more simple times? I do wish that the independence of our grandparents could be somehow distilled into a simple remedy for society. My grandmother lived on a Widow's pension from Grandpa's WWI service and by giving piano lessons. If you lived in Eldorado, KS in the 40's and 50's as a kid, you probably took piano lessons from Bessie Petty on west Central Avenue. As much as she screeched at me, I don't remember her complaining about property taxes due. I know she didn't talk about the high cost of maintenance and gas for a car, she didn't have one.
On the other hand, the 50's were a time that we crawled under our desks and prepared for the big bang that was going to blow our mutually assured destruction ass holes away. We even took a day out of schools and went to Clearwater to get away from the target of Beech Aircraft there in East Wichita. It was a hoot. One of the guy's mother had a convertible and we rode top down all the way there and back. You wonder why the baby boomers are screwed up? Our message was no matter how bad the outcome was to be, you could go in style and have fun doing it. Work hard? hell, you could pick up pop bottles and got to Womack's grocery store and get enough candy to rot out your teeth. Little Denny, can use Rotterdam In a sentence? "My sister ate my Halloween candy and I hope it rot her dam teeth out.
What is the sound of a 250 lb guy falling on the ice. This is a trick question, as you can't hear the fall for the big guy hollering "OH SHIT" as I fell. I'm not sure if I am falling more or because I am older the falls seem harder on my old body. Hell, as a kid I fell all the time, got up dusted myself off and moved on. Now days I need and extra Aleve and an ice pack to go out and feed the dogs.
Of all the cars you have owned, what is your favorite? Was it the first piece of junk you owned? Was it the one and only new car you purchased? (I will leave out the Vega that we purchased new as it was a bad dollar for dollar investment by any standard) Was it the car you proposed to your wife in? The first car you had sex in? I'll admit that the 57 Chevy in the garage is pretty darned high on the list but I can't drive it in bad weather. My old 53 Chevy pick-up truck is getting higher on that list all the time and I'm pretty sure that when I get the new door and fender on it will be about there. It does have a new radio but still needs an air conditioner for true summer drivablity. (How can you spell check a word that the dictionary doesn't know?) There are a couple of old Volvo's I thought pretty highly of but I'm sure that my dad influenced that vote.
Oh well, another hour shot to H, E, double toothpicks. See you on the flip side.


Sticks and Stones

Here are some of the new loaded terms that everyone is using to impress us with their intelligence:
  • CAVE - Citizens Against Virtually Everything. This is the backlash of citizens against governments spending sprees. Our local school district passed a 24 million bond effort last year and we don't have enough Elementary School class room space. I am a CAVE man that will run again for school Board only this time I won't leave my gloves on and play nice.
  • NIMBY - Not In My Backyard. This is the environmental "CAVE"men". They don't want to pay $150.00 a barrel for oil but they won't let us drill for oil in Alaska, off the coast of California or in the Gulf of Mexico. They know we are horribly linked to fossil fuels and yet demand we reduce our Carbon Footprint. They pass ordinances against solar panels in housing areas because they are ugly. If I hear one of those pointy headed geeks say windmills are ugly one more time I'll scream. One of the most majestic things I have ever seen is the graceful windmills across the skyline in Wyoming generating thousands of Kilowatts of power for the Big Sky State.

  • STAGFLATION - The economy is not growing and yet there is an increase in inflation. Duh, with the cost of filling up our gas tank at over $40.00 (Barb has a little tank) it should not surprise people that most of us are going to spend a little less for Christmas this year. Hell, I got our IRA certificates renewed at over 4% for the first time in years. Hang on boys and girls.
  • NRA. Never Re-elect Anyone. Hell, this is my term and I approve of it. I think the US Congress in both houses have filled up with people that have forgotten that it is our money not theirs they are spending. When a Senator comes up with a $2 million grant for a Woodstock museum they should be exposed for spending wily nilly. We have senators that have spent the past year and will spend all of next year trying to win the Presidency. They sure as hell aren't doing us a whole lot of good in congress. Wait, they probably aren't doing much harm by being gone. Let me think about this.
  • Liberals/Conservatives/Progressives and Regressives. Most of us are so complex that one label isn't enough. I tend to be a fiscal conservative but I advocate change in a managed manner. Without change we would stagnate but changing for the sake of changing is stupid. I do think that people are resilient and with half an ounce of push they will take care of themselves better than our government can. The free market will adjust lot better than the halls of congress could ever move. Could we have better government? Damn Straight, we just haven't found the right guy yet. Then we need to not re-elect that guy the next time.
  • Geeks - I am not sure what this name is from, only that someone applied it to the people that are one step away from what is normal. Who the hell is to decide what is Normal? We need to celebrate The Bill Gates of the world. Those guys that made Apple computers into a household name. (Jobe & whoever?) I think some of the neatest people I have met are those slightly quirky kids that my son and his wife have brought over. Techies, geeks and nerds are a flavor to be celebrated not scorned.
Those are just a few of the terms and things that were discussed this morning at my breakfast table. I am glad that we have a newspaper to cause us to challenge our thinking. OH by the way, our Attorney General resigned over a "Sex Scandal". Where the hell did they decide that it should be called that?
MUD - Mean Uncle Denny :)


Good Food Cheap

Yesterday I made a dog food run to WalMart and while there I went through the Grocery Store portion of the Super Center. I found some noodles that were "Alfredo" style that were about .66. I asked myself what I could do to jazz them up and as I passed the meat section, I found some 'Southwestern Chicken Strips". The package was 2 for $5.00 so I bought one. Over near the ice cream (one of the major reasons I was in the frozen food aisle.) there were some Green Giant frozen vegs in a bag marked "Steam in the bag". They were $1.24 Lets see, $ .66 + 2.50 + 1.24 = $4.40 for a nice little dinner for two. Not only cheap, it was a darn good meal. I would highly recommend the Green Giant vegetables and the chicken strips were pretty darned tasty. I'm real sure this meal would have fed three people and with another bag of the Alfredo noodles it would have for four. That would have taken the meal cost up to about $5.00.
I went to our local Ace Hardware store and bought Barb a Christmas Tree. I sure hope that sucker thaws out and takes a normal shape now that it is on the house. It was in that netting and it looks like a trash sack full of evergreen. Barb won't be home for a couple of hours so perhaps it will be more normal by the time she sees it. If not, I'll have to start over. The trees here at Rabbit Run have just grown too big to use so it is the bought kind for a couple of years until I get some new trees growing.


Tiger has returned! He showed up this AM with a healthy appetite and a need to be petted.
The truck battery didn't die, it was just on vacation. When I tried to remove it, I grounded it against the truck body and it sparked wildly. I tried to start the truck and it cranked well. Oh well.
Four mice in two days and then nothing. Either I wiped out the entire family or they have decided to not come where the traps are easy.
I will try to get Barb a Christmas tree today. I don't need one but she seems to want one. Oh well, MUD


Empty Cat House

With the ice storm and the new snow, Tiger has been missing for about a week now. My bet is that as smart and old, he is just staying put in one of the neighbor's barn somewhere. I'll bet he is living in the lap of luxury being fed by some concerned neighbor or in a barn with an ample supply of rodents. I'll bet he is high enough up the food chain that his wiles have taken care of him.
Speaking of rodents, I noticed that the dog food sack had a hole chewed in it about six inches off the floor. The hole was about an inch in diameter and I suspected a mouse. I generally plan a defense in depth in the garage against marauding mice but have been neglectful of my duties. I set five or six mouse traps along a ledge in the garage. They are well baited with peanut butter and they have never failed to draw interest. They either get licked clean or catch one of the stupid mice. I put them perpendicular to the wall and the mice try to put their noses in the little hole to work more peanut butter out. Then if they back up to avoid that trap they run into another. Had one mouse this week caught in two traps at the same time. I also saw the telltale dropping of a pack rat at Dave's when I went into one of the shed's. I need to reset a trap there as it has been a month or two since I have actively tried to catch one of the rats there. I went about a week that I caught a rat daily and they were scarce for the next couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure that I have mouse proofed his house but the outlying shed is another matter.
With all the ice and snow, I have not gone over to Dave's old house to finish the moving. It is too slick to drive the truck and pulling the trailer is out of the question. I guess I'll get a chance early this week when the temps warm up into the 40s. I think I have about one more load to get and then I'll start on fixing up the joint. I know it needs outside paint and that won't be possible for a few more months on the outside. The good news is that I have had some pretty good renters so I had enough saved to pay all the taxes. Just for a reference, half of my taxes was over $3,000.
I haven't loaded Turbo Taxes yet to see what effect our low withholding on our income taxes will cause in the way of an April 15 liability. The real test will come next year when there won't be half of a year withholding from Barb. I haven't found a program that can accurately predict
our taxes because of the source. Federal taxes don't apply to State retirement sources and State taxes don't apply to Federal retirements. We have both and I have a probably misdirected hope that they will almost offset. The real proof (or truth) will be when I get to sit down with the 1099s and W-2's. The good news is that either way I probably will have enough to pay taxes and penalties. The second half of the taxes are due in May and that is pretty close on the heels of the April 15th date. Might pay to figure out the taxes early and not let it be a surprise in April and May.
I know, piss and moan, piss and moan... I should be the happiest guy in the world to be in the shape we are in but I still have some reservations about the shape of our economy and/or the depth of our investments. The one thing I want to do this next year is to do some solar heating work. I know that both this house and Dave's new digs would benefit from added insulation and some solar collectors. Perhaps Kenny will be available to come down and put his torch and abilities to the building. We'll see. I have been reading Mother Earth News and getting ideas.



Well Sports Fans, Its another beautiful snowy day here at Rabbit Run. The weather man is predicting 3 to 7 inches of new white stuff and we have at least two of those inches on the ground right now. It was almost sleeting when I took the trash cans out to the court for the trash truck. It was a real fine hard snow then. Now it is big fluffy flakes and steadily falling in the lee of the house. I am downstairs on the computer and it is on the south side. On the north side of the house the wind is blowing about 10 to 15 MPH.
The grape vine tells me that my brother's electricity in Oklahoma has been restored and the queen is on her way home. My brother had her ensconced in a nursing home yesterday so she could get a chance to have a bath and attend their Christmas party. Good on both counts.
When I talked to Carol, she said that the Petty Family Christmas party will be held next Saturday at her house in Lawrence. Looks like Mom and Rick won't be there in person but will be there in spirit. We will all partake in our favorite soups. Dave's wife and I are going to collaborate on a sea food gumbo. I will gumbo and she will make rice in her rice cooker. I have chicken, shrimp, crab, Cajun sausage, okra and smoked sausage to go in the soup. I'll let you know next week what it is like.
Made a run to Kansas City to visit Chevy Duty (Old Truck Part CO) only to find it replaced with Classic Parts? I guess Chevrolet threatened them with a law suit and they changed their name. Same place, same parts, different name. I spent about $999 dollars on a door and a fender and misc parts to fix the truck after the wreck. So far I have spent about a third of the settlement on parts so we'll see what it takes to get her all up and running. I wonder if I have enough left over to fix up that 53 Chevy trailer I want?
Yesterday I had a discussion with a couple of "non-blogger" about why they do not have a blog. One was too busy to bother and the other felt it was too revealing and she was too private a person to feel comfortable exposing her life in a blog. I have relatives that also don't want their names and photos posted in this blog because they are trying to avoid public exposure. I wonder why I don't feel the least bit bad about pictures and information I put on this blog? Really? No! I am like a short order cook and sling the hash out there and you can either read it or not. Barbara seems to think it is because I can make stuff so fast that I don't have time to consider the ramifications of what I say. Little does she know that I can't type that fast. In fact, there are times that I am thinking of a word and type that word in place of the one I WAS WORKING ON. From time to time I hit the Caps Lock key in the middle of a sentence and find half of a sentence in Caps. Sometimes I correct it and sometimes I don't. Most of the time I bang it out there and then run the spell checker to see what I screwed up.
Barbara took my camera out to take some pictures of the snow. If there is a picture at the top of this blog it is all her work. She didn't like my picture of the snow through the window. Oh well, we'll see. Slow down and smell the snow. Our outside cat, Tiger, has been off the place for the last three days. Must have a girl friend or some nice family that took him in until the snow clears. Smart Cat!


Cold Morning in Kansas!

Good Morning Sports Fans. Oh wait a minute, did you see the steroid report and no longer believe in sports? What does anyone expect from professional athletes? Don't you think that professional racers put the biggest motors in their cars? Why wouldn't professional athletes not take steroids when they were legal? Wait, Wait, I really hate the game of Baseball anyway so what the heck, Bulk up boys, we'll pretend not to notice that you have a 68 inch chest and a size 20 neck.
Yesterday the temperature got to the mid 30's and we had rain for about two hours. Not liquid falling from the sky, but ice falling from all the trees, power lines and roofs. We have almost as many branches on the ground as still on the trees in Kansas. The power is flickering on and off as the branches move the lines back and forth. I can't imagine how dangerous it is for the workers to be right in the middle of replacing a line and for it to become hot because of movement of a line down the line.
I hope that those of you that use generators remember to disable your connection to the main line if you use a generator. Your little 5000 watt generator can make it a bad day for the linemen.
Speaking of power, this power problem makes me want to work hard to get off the grid for our main power. A combination of solar, passive and wind power is needed and I am not sure what to do first but I will work on a plan. Most of the plans I have seen recommend that we build a power building away from the House and do whatever it is we do there. With the trees in the woods it is probably best to build something in the field anyway. I want a demonstration straw bale barn anyway so perhaps I'll start there next summer. Whatever it is I'm sure that Barb will want it to like like a barn on the outside no matter what it does inside.


Winter Ice Storm

This is the Macro look at the storm outside. The ice is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick on anything that is not on the ground. We have had 2 1/2 inches of rain fall in the last 18 hours. I hear that it is this way all the way from Oklahoma City to Minnesota.

This is the micro look. The trees are hanging their heads with at least inch long icicles and when the wind starts they will drop branches everywhere.
My niece wanted me to drive to Tulsa to pick up Mom because they don't have any electricity. There is just no way I am going anywhere with the ice coating in the drive. I told her to head south and find a warm place to be. The beach at Brownsville is my recommendation. I love them but can't get there from here.

Bill of Rights Discussion

Lets start at the beginning:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This is pretty straight forward to me. The king outlawed the Catholic Church and made a new religion behind the name of the Church of England. In the new United States all person have the right to freely exercise their right to their religion and the Government cannot make laws to establish or disestablish the right to do as we darn well please.

The second half of that amendment goes on to address the freedom of the press and free speech. People could be put to death or at least imprisoned for speeches against the king and the government in a lot of countries.

I have listened to a bunch of discussions about where free speech should be limited. The only thing I have ever heard that I understood was that you can't holler "Fire" in a crowded theater if there isn't any fire. The rest of the limits begins to start us down the slippery slope.

Here in the heartland we have Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church aka God hates Fags.com. He pickets the funerals of Soldiers because he preaches that the soldiers died to support our Government and everyone knows about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" We are all going to hell because of that. He feels he is called to tell us that anyone that practices and supports homosexuality is doomed to die and God won't save you. Talk about walking the fine line. He feels that his religion calls for him to do this and he is petitioning his Government with a grievance he feels wrong. Crap! I hate this but I'm not sure where the slippery slope starts and stops. Oh well, Article II later.



It died Ugly!

Sometime last week my wireless modem died ugly. I talked to a help desk guy for about a hour doing many things to bring it back to life. I rewired, disconnected, reset and spent the week end feeling like a knucklehead for not being able to fix my problem. In my opinion it was the modem but yet, I did have the AT&T tech come out. First thing out of the box she pulled a new modem out of the truck and hooked it up. Minor tweaking and I was back on the air. Should have gone to Radio shack and bought a new modem. At least AT&T lowered their price from $139.00 to $79
.00 to replace my system.
I am back on the air now and as soon as I think of something worth saying, I'll say it. MUD


People aren't Stupid!

In the last 24 hours, I have more than one person tell me that the people out there are too stupid to realize what their rights are. I totally disagree. I think people have been lulled into a false sense of what's important and because of their lack of awareness they are lulled into a false sense of security. We need a leader that will stand up and tell us that times are tough and we need to get off our asses and make things right. There isn't going to be enough OIL in a few short years and we need to fix that right Damn Now!
When you can go out and buy a $200,000 house with no money down and not enough income to make the payments who cares? When you can't afford Medical Insurance and someone promises to give it to you, Who Cares? I Do.
I hope you do and I want you to get out and vote. Make the candidates stand up and be counted on for who they are and what they stand for. Throw out the Republicans and the Democrats that tell you it is all good and more spending by Government will fix everything. Make em stand up and defend their spending and inactivity on the important things. What are you important things? here are some of mine
  • Energy - we burn fossil fuels and complain that the price is too high. Screw that, the fact that we haven't made any new refineries and stopped drilling anywhere it belonged to us is at fault. Where are the solar centers and wind farms? Not here.
  • Controlling our borders. I don't give a shit if we have 2 million Mexicans a years come here if they are made accountable and pay their fair share for being here. Don't make it and bamn, you go home. Pay up or get out! To do this we must have a national identity card and control. Screw the lunacy of having my every move available to the government because of my credit cards, and aliens come her on a visa and stay..
  • Imports - We have killed our industry and import everything to the point that our balance of payments has weakened the dollar to it's almost lowest point ever. If you want to buy a foreign product, you should have to pay as much for it as they do. Why do you think the Japanese come here by the plane load to buy things?
  • Pick your own and put it here and send it to your congressman.


Warning, This is a Rant!

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of this Kitchen!
I would ask you all to stop and think a few nice thoughts about the people in Omaha after they were assaulted yesterday in a Shopping Mall so close to Christmas.
They are just like us and doing the best they can trying to make sense out of life and living the best they can. One gun toting wacko loaner gets his semi automatic rifle and now everyone is wanting all the "Assault Rifles" taken out of circulation.
As much as I hope the people there are able to put their lives back together, I pray that this doesn't become a rant from the left to have our guns taken away.
Here are the Rights the framers of the constitution forgot and were added to ensure that we as free people have the right to maintain our ways of living Free and Proud

Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution

The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Read these and think about it. Slippery Slopes be Damned. MUD

Got Hit Today

It started snowing about 8 AM and I needed to go over to the house on Valley Brooke and fix the front door. On the way there a car either slid into the intersection or didn't see me and drove into the intersection. He hit the side of my 53 Chevy truck on the right front fender, beat in the door and ripped the bottom corner of the cab open and hit the right rear fender. It is drivable but even more ugly than it was. The Police said that because they were flooded with accident calls they weren't going to come and take a report. We exchanged information and I will file a report as soon as it stops snowing and I can get to the Police station.
I told Barb to remind me to stay home next time. Trucks aren't the best vehicle to drive when the roads are slick. This looks a lot like the other side did when I got it from Idaho. At least the door opens, even if I have to tie it shut with a bungee cord. Oh well, another project for spring.


Yes, I'm OK

For those of you that read the last post, it might read like I'm a little down right now. Not so, I'm fine and strangely I find it strangely cathartic to write about Vietnam even thought there were some very frustrating parts. None of which were my fault.
Looking at the tickets to the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida and trying to figure out if we can and will go there. Kinda Costly and we are not sure at this time. May save our travel time to go to the Big 12 Basketball tournament. We'll see.


Tales from the field, Pt 2

The first night in the field in Vietnam was a disaster for the 6th Battalion, 84th Field Artillery. Someone decided that we were needed up the coast from Cameron Bay to support a Republic of Korea (ROK) operation. They were going in and cleaning up an area right after the Lunar New Year (TET-68) As you might remember, that was one of the biggest battles of the war and thousands of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the local Viet Cong got together and tried to kill as many Americans as possible. It turned into a slaughter for the NVA and it allowed the American firepower to be brought at will and set back their operation at least a couple of years.
I am convinced that had they just stayed in North Vietnam and stayed at the peace table in France they would have found a way to end the combat and then do exactly what they did in the 1973 time frame.
But, back to my story. We left our training and staging area in the Central Highlands near Ahn Khe in the early morning. The convoy to the new area took all day and it was a long dusty ride for a bunch of fresh from the States soldiers. Add almost a month on a boat to that and we were really worse for the wear. This bunch of fresh rookies finally arrived in our new position area just off the coastal highway right before dark. Someone had decided that we would put the entire battalion in one area and there were 18 howitzers lined up across the field. The engineers were there still stringing up a perimeter fence and someone brought in a D-8 Caterpillar to dig a hole and the resulting dirt mound had a searchlight jeep placed up on top to constantly scan the perimeter as it was finished. It was a bizarre scene for me. I knew that the searchlight jeep provided some help to the engineers but it almost destroyed our night vision as it went round and round the perimeter. To me it also gave anyone who looked a great view of where everything was. It was so typical that the leadership had decided that the threat from any local activity was low.
An artillery unit goes through a transformation from convoy travel to a tactical setting. In addition to unloading the guns, there was a lot of ammunition to unload and bunkers to be built. The priority was to provide fire for the operation going on in the hills to our west. The rule (I found out later) was that an artillery unit did not sleep until there was overhead protection for the crews. That meant in most cases a unit would operate continuously for 24 to 48 hours. Most of the people were beat and about three AM most of the people were putting up their cots and going to sleep for the rest of the night. There was no rain so most of the people put up their cots out in the open and racked it for some precious time asleep.
My Recon team (one LT, one Opn Sgt and a Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) ) were still with the battery as we hadn't been assigned to a unit out in the operation yet. I figured that we had a day or two and we would then go out. I worked the team hard to build a bunker near the rear of the area and had completed a splash way at least two feet high and hadn't started the top cover yet. My RTO had been on a gun crew during our stay at Fort Irwin and Sal knew his friends were pretty tired. Sal had been sacked out in the back seat of the jeep all day and wasn't as tired. He asked if he could go over to his old crew and help them. Sure, why not he was a young kid and most of the guys there had been with him for six months.
I am not exactly sure how long later. You must remember that this story took place almost 40 years ago and has been tainted by my memory lapses and added to by the BS factor that all good war stories suffer from. You know that if you tell a good story more than once it gets spiffed up to make it more enjoyable by the author and to the audience. Not in a malicious way but as i say, "Hey, its my story". I would estimate that it was between 3 and 4 AM I herd the first "Thunk" of a mortar. You would think that after hearing the outgoing 155 mm artillery a thing as simple as a "thunk" from a mortar over a thousand meters way would not be a big thing. I'm sure that a lot of the guys never realized what it was but I had a first hand experience on the perimeter at Ahn Khe and it sure caused me to sit up and take notice. That story will be later.
After the first mortar round landed and exploded inside the perimeter it was followed in rapid succession by another 25 or 35 rounds mostly aimed across the front of the position where the howitzers were lined up and then at the Searchlight on top of the pile of dirt. To say it was rapid and accurate is an understatement. We got our asses kicked by a small recon team and it was a blow that we never recovered from.
The mortar rounds landed all around the area and I did my best to turn into a turtle under my flack jacket and helmet. It never ceases to amaze me how distorted your perception gets when your adrenalin starts flowing. I was scared shit less and stayed right where I was. I'm sure that it was all over in two or three minutes and when I looked out at the scene, it was illuminated by a jeep trailer on fire at the side of the battery. We lost most of one gun crew, the unit XO and the Battery Commander were all wounded by shrapnel and were being taken over to the side away from the fire. The jeep trailer had been full of gas cans to help power the Fire Direction Center generators. They just hadn't had the time to put them in a sand bag revetment to protect them. Their priority had been to set up a tent and get operational. I don't fault them for what happened.
As it turned out, my RTO, Sal had been on the gun and the crew tried to swing it over towards the mortar position. One of the mortar rounds hit right between the open trails on the gun and wounded most of the crew. Sal was hit in the legs and he was told to run over to the side of the battery to get away from the gun. He saw the jeep trailer and jumped under the only cover he saw. (Cover is a term for something overhear to protect you) In this case it was a bad choice as one of the last rounds hit right in the bed of that trailer killing him and setting the gas on fire.
I went out to the battery and tried to organize the guns in case there was a ground attack to follow the mortar attack. I found that I had less than three of the six gun crews able to function and follow directions. We moved the wounded to the triage point for evacuation and did our best to get a head count of the wounded and missing. It was almost like the blind leading the blinder and chaos reigned. I took charge as best I could and it wasn't until a Major from battalion came over did I even begin to realize the trailer was a bond fire we didn't need. I told a couple of guys to get a fire extinguisher and put out that damn fire. Lots of noise and cussing followed and they finally did what I told them to do.
As I heard the fire extinguisher make a whoosh, one of the artillerymen said "Oh Shit" and promptly threw up. On the boat ride to Vietnam I had heard that sound hundreds of times and I went over to see what the matter was. They said there was a body under the trailer. I told them to get it out and they almost in unison said, "Fuck You LT! That ain't our job." I told them to cool down and let the fire go out for a while and we would tend to that later. I probably could have had the charged for disobeying an order but hey, I wasn't sure that I had the authority or time to press the issue. Besides, there were wounded to take care of and plenty enough to keep us busy.
That stupid Major from battalion came back over and asked about the casualties. I told him that all of the wounded had been moved to the evacuation point and as far as I knew we only lost one Killed in Action (KIA). I told him the body was under the trailer waiting to cool down enough so I could take care of it. He told me to get right on that and he didn't give a shit if I burned my hands doing it. (nice guy Huh) I went over and saw some steel banding straps off some box there. I looped the strap around the upper part of the body and pulled it out. The head and face wasn't completely burned but the lower part of the body was almost completely burned. I asked for a flashlight and tried to recognize the face. "Shit oh dear", it was Sal. He had a nose that was hard to miss. It was evident that the mortar round had caused a large piece of the jeep to almost cut his head off and than k god he was dead before the fire got to him.
I would like to tell you about the rest of that night but it was so blurred and went so fast that it was well into the next day until I had time to think or do anything but help the soldiers keep it together. We did put Sal's body in a poncho and take him over to the evacuation point. When we got there, I saw 9 or ten other bodies under ponchos also. By the time we got there. most of the wounded had been Medi-vaced to a field hospital somewhere. Of the 90 man unit we were down to less than 45 and there was a lot of work to be done.
Later on, I found out that a lot of the killed were in a fire direction center that had been put down in the hole by that damn searchlight jeep. I guess the mortar men had used the light as an aiming post and a round had gone down in the hole and hit right on the chart table as the Fire Direction Officer (FDO) had spread a map out to plot where to return fire. Almost the entire team was killed outright and the rest was wounded. I went over later on in the day and viewed the carnage. I found the LT's helmet and it still had part of his scalp in it. It was crushed from front to rear and the hole was a bloody mess. That was the first time I had ever smelled the stink of death in battle and the entire day is one that I still try to forget.
Part 2 is dedicated to Salvatore Agri, a kid who was a wonderful guy and dedicated soldier. My he rest in peace. MUD


Metaphore for Life!

The weather here in Kansas could serve as a metaphor for life. All week the weather men have studied the computer models and have changed the forecast each day. At one time it was to be 32 degrees with ice falling and making it slick as hell. The next it was to be rainy and 62 degrees and then they talk about it starting wet and cold and turning warm ending with a sunny day near 5 PM. I don't think they have a clue and have shotgunned solutions so they can say they got it right.
Isn't that a lot like our lives? We can build models and project things out in the future and sometimes we are lucky enough to get close and sometimes we don't. Somewhere between "Bravado and Bullshit" some people actually write books about how good they are at guessing. In my narrow world there is only the system of work hard and save your rewards that has worked for me. Actually to be lucky enough to marry a woman that saves your rewards is the way it worked for me. Even with that stroke of luck, I find myself surrounded with more things that I need.
I have often wondered if I am lucky to have escaped the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome of having served in Vietnam or if I am just too stupid to recognize the symptoms? Do I really like people or do I just crave an audience for my stupid jokes and stories? Why? I don't know, I just ask you to not tell me and spoil the fun.
On the lighter side, it has stopped raining for the moment and the birds are hitting the feeders like tomorrow it is really going to be tough. I feed Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Thistle seeds in a Finch feeder and a suet block. On days when it is headed for really cold, even the little birds hit the suet block. Mostly they line up and visit the sunflower seed feeder like planes on an aircraft carrier. They stack up in the trees and fly in one at a time, grab a refuel of one seed and fly out to rejoin their place in the stack. Mostly the finches gang around the six slots and drop the thistle seeds on the ground. The Woodpeckers will stop and dig out a seed from the suet block and then fly off. Quite often another woodpecker has to fly in and buzz the suet block to dislodge the current occupant.
I spent the day yesterday helping Dave move stuff from the old digs to the new house. It was four pick-up loads with a trailer and there is still a ton of stuff to move. I am not sure that after 12 hours of that if I am capable of doing even one run today. At least my typing finger is able to move today. (notice I said finger not fingers. I learned to type when I was cutting training schedules in the 1-127th FA in Ottawa, KS. We used the old stencil method and a long carriage manual typewriter. If you tried to type fast, the damn keys would clash and you would get lousy results. One finger at a time, one letter at a time and it would be a product that no one followed anyway.
I guess I had better wrap this up and while the bird crush has tapered off refill the feeders.