So Far, Step 1 worked

The green Buick is racking up miles like there is no tomorrow. In terms of old cars, it won't be a classic and worth keeping so we are just putting miles on it and not worrying about the dented fender , the minor hail damage, the missing hubcap and the driver's door window that won't roll down or up in one motion. At least MG has looked at cars in the paper and actually got out of the car on a dealership lot yesterday. She still has visions of that 40 MPG car that costs less than $10,000. At least she has looked at what is out there. She still doesn't have enough mad money in her rainy day fund yet to buy and pay cash for one of those $10-12 thousand dollar just off program cars, yet. OK, she really does but I won't try to convince her of that.

A couple of months ago, an unnamed source put us onto a new provision that would let a first time home owner borrow up to $7,500 to buy a home. It was supposed to be as a credit on their taxes. Now, I have read that this gigantic bail out may have a provision to make that a grant and not a loan. I am waiting for that to surface and then we will need to talk to a person about buying Dave's old house. I know that she is really scared to jump into the pool on the deep end but hey, every time she pays rent, my equity gets bigger. Might as well be hers.

We are going to get ready to fly to Dallas tomorrow and then drive to Waco for the Monday night KU/Baylor game. It is one of those dual purpose visits that will let us see what Baylor is really like and get us the heck out of Dodge for a couple of days.
I can't wait to see shirt sleeve weather again and I'm pretty sure that there will be a digital photo fest. I wanted to rent an HHR and see what they were like. We rented a PT Cruiser on our last trip and hated it so we wanted to see if the HHR was better. The only company that could guarantee that car was AVIS and they wanted over $400 to rent it for 4 days. Thrifty and Budget would rent us a car for half of that. Thrifty Rental Car had a deal that is a "Mystery Car" for about $30 a day (With so many taxes in Texas that it is really about $50 a day.) The last two times we rented a car we were given "whatever" they had so I figured that a mystery car couldn't be any worse.

I probably won't have time to update tomorrow so I'll see you on Monday somewhere south in Texas.


Up Late and Early

I feel a nap coming on about 2 PM today. I woke up in the middle of the night and now I am up kind of early. I am reading a book about the Civil War and the print is small. I can read it for about an hour and I have to go do something else. The book is Faction, a little history mixed into a good story that is made up. It is about what would have happened if Robt. Lee had won at Gettysburg and Grant was brought back East to save the Union and end the War. It is written by Newt Gingrich and I wish I had it in large print.

Just got off the phone with the K-State extension agent for Shawnee County. It was my interview for the Master Foods program I am going to start attending in a couple of weeks. It is my understanding that in exchange for about 40 hours of training, I will be required to provide 40 hours of volunteer work in the area of foods. As a person that loves to cook, I am looking forward to learning more about foods. The one area that I am very deficient is in baking. Barb does most of that and I do most of the grilling. She can grill and I probably could bake but just don't have the interest.

Barb and I have a collection of old worn out cars. Our newest is 11 years old, with almost 100,000 miles and a couple are almost as old as we are. Did I say "OLD"? Even our second oldest car is 51 this year. I am struggling on just how to go green in our transportation selection. Barb's goal is to have a car that gets 40 MPG and costs less than $10,000. What I want is the ability to have a car with a little over 100 mile range on batteries and have the ability to tow a trailer with a generator if I want to go on a longer trip. Yes, I would also like to have the ability to take our bikes on that trailer. I guess one of these days I am going to have to engage my mechanical engineer guy Ken in the project.

Today I saw a cartoon that a guy on his birthday realized that he was now old enough to have "Natural Causes" listed on his death certificate as the cause of death. When I was 20 and engaged in a war, it never crossed my mind just how old I would get to be. My concern was would I get older? Now each decade I cross into seems like a natural place to be. Kind of like when I was a Captain I wondered if I could ever make Major and Colonel was almost too good to hope for. When I got there, I always asked myself, "what would happen if we had a two promotion war". Now I wonder what 80 will feel like. Which is better, to have good health at 60 or live to 80? Would I settle for quantity over quality? I would rather die of exposure on an ice flow than suffer a long and painful death.

Kind of like the old Eskimo's are reported to wonder off and get eaten by a Polar Bear than be a burden. That is an old joke we always told in our family. Right before my Dad died he was in the VA Hospital. He had a very high fever and the only way they could get it down was to put him on one of those cooling mats that circulated cold water under him. He woke up and looked surprised and said, "Where are the Polar Bears". I am pretty sure that he knew the end was near.

Oh well, didn't win the lottery so I'd better go do something.



Kansas Day

The following poem is dedicated to Jenni at Prairie Air, Barb and oh what the heck even Maya Angelou;

I've been off on a journey; I jes' got home today;
I traveled east, an' north, an' south and every other way;
I seen a heap of country, an' cities on the boom,
but I want to be in Kansas when

You may ask about your lilies, yer vi'lets and yer roses
Yer asters, an' yer jassmims, and all the other posies;
I'll allow they all air beauties and full 'er sweet perfume,
but there's none of them a patchin' to

Oh its nice among the mountians, but I sorter felt shet in;
T'ud be nice upon the seashore ef it wasn't for the din;
While the prairies air so quiet, an' there's allers lots or room
Oh nicer still in Kansas when

When all the sky above is jest ez blue as blue kin be,
An' the prairies a wavin' like a yaller driftin' sea,
Oh, its there my soul goes sailin' and my heart is on the bloom
In the golden fields of Kansas when

by Albert Bigelow Paine
from the book Sunflowers a Book of Kansas Poems
selected by Willard Wattles
Published by AG McClurg & Co, 1916

Details, Details

Just a tidbit of Information to help you understand what the whole mess looks like. It looks like a lot of Pork Barrel spending to me and not the spark to get things rolling tomorrow, with the exception of the last thing for about 140+ Billion. This is what the House of Representatives passed 100% Democrats voted for and 0% of the Republicans did. Will this be the ammunition to bury the Democrats or the Republicans in the next election? I'll watch.

Highlights of Economic Recovery Plan Spending

$32 billion Funding for "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste
$20 billion +Renewable energy tax cuts and a tax credit for research and development on energy-related work, and a multi year extension of renewable energy production tax credit
$6 billion Funding to weatherize modest-income homes

Science and Technology
$10 billion Science facilities
$6 billion High-speed Internet access for rural and under served areas

$32 billion Transportation projects
$31 billion Construction and repair of federal buildings and other public infrastructure
$19 billion Water projects
$10 billion Rail and mass transit projects

$41 billion Grants to local school districts
$79 billion State fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid
$21 billion School modernization

Health Care
$39 billion Subsidies to health insurance for unemployed; providing coverage through Medicaid
$90 billion Help to states with Medicaid
$20 billion Modernization of health-information technology systems
$4 billion Preventative care

$500 per worker, $1,000 per couple tax cut for two years, costing about $140 billion
Greater access to the $1,000-per-child tax credit for the working poor
Expansion of the earned-income tax credit to include families with three children
A $2,500 college tuition tax credit
Repeal of a requirement that a $7,500 first-time home buyer tax credit be paid back over time
An infusion of cash into money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two
Bonus depreciation for businesses investing in new plants and equipment
Doubling of the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and new equipment purchases
Allowing businesses to claim a tax credit for hiring disconnected youth and veterans
Source: Associated Press


What's Good for Me May be Bad for You!

What does this patch of hard times look like for me? It means that the MG (Master Gardner) is a little tighter controlling the money and is working on increasing the emergency fund. The tougher the times look, the more she wants to accumulate money to get over the bad times. We have everything we need and most of what we want so why not save for our sake?

For you, that means that I won't be contributing to the "Spur on the Economy" spending that the Democratic party and the POTUS 44 is advocating. So, what I am saying is that what is good for me isn't good for you.

If I was truly not afraid, I not only would be not saving anything, I would be withdrawing some of the money I have saved in one of my Tax Deferred accounts and spending that to build a fire. That money would throw additional taxes into the pot for the Government and perhaps allow me to buy that new car (Dream on fool).

I absolutely stand opposed to the Federal Government adding to my part of the National Debt the $2,700 for this round on top of the $2,500 from the last round and the $1,200 from the incentive checks mailed out earlier this year. My portion of the National Debt went up $6,400 this year. I am out here paying off my debts and saving money and I feel good. How come the Congress of the US doesn't?

Is that their answer? What's good for them may be bad for me? Write it down that today, the 28th of January in the year of our Lord 2009 that MUD said that what's good for me may be bad for you and that the congress thinks that what's good for them may be bad for you. Am I the only one feeling screwed?


What a Hoot!

This is the most Dangerous Man in America?
This is a picture of Rush Limbaugh and I am proud to tell you that I listen to him whenever Barb lets me. Mostly I listen to him alone because it upsets her. I find him amusing, witty and generally what he says makes other people mad.
He is an entertainer boys and girls. He has found a way to get people to listen to him like fans of Oprah and that crowd does. The best way to ignore him is to not listen. The best way to keep him on the air is to raise hell about what he says. Generally I find about five minutes worth of truth and fun in his monologue and the rest is just fluff to raise the ire of listeners.
I hope the Democrats spend hours fighting with him over the first amendment question. Perhaps it will keep them too busy to think of ways to spend more money without a plan.

Dang, I did it Again!

Barb and I will have some great discussion at the breakfast table and I will head off to the basement to share my witty comments with you. I will stop and check my e-mail and by the time I have eliminated the spam and sent a note or two out I will have completely forgotten what the heck I came here for. Well, at least the brilliant insight I came here with. I would hate to have to start carrying a day runner to help me remember things. I probably would put it down and forget where it was.

What is totally amazing is the fact that I can watch Jeopardy on TV and remember some of the most obscure things. On our last trip to Tulsa we were watching Jeopardy with Mom and one of the questions was concerning the 7 wonders of the ancient world. I think most of the rest of the family thought the Great Wall of China was on that list. I remembered that only the Great Pyramid remains of the seven items originally on the list. Something about the light house, some stupid hanging gardens, and a Colossus. If they are gone why the heck would I remember them at all. If you make a list of later things, the Great Wall appears. But heck, If you look on the Internet, Kansas has a list of 8 things that they think is great or wonderful. Like you really could care about a giant ball of twine and a hand dug well. I think the First Territorial Territorial Capital in Lecompton is worth the trip but mostly because a friend (that supplies us KU tickets from time to time) runs it.

Barb just brought me a treat of apples with caramel sauce and nuts. That with a few great oranges thrown in keeps me supplied with vitamins and a smile. I bought the caramel sauce when she bought some no fat, no sugar added ice cream that was inedible. Even with the caramel sauce and some chocolate sauce it sucked. Like a lot of things it is probably still in the freezer turning into freeze dried ice cream that sucks.

We are going to Waco next week and will get to watch Baylor Bears tangle with KU. It is one of those Monday night games and no telling where we will wind up. My good friend Harvey is out of town and hopefully my other Texas friend Bob will be in town so we can have a nice visit. I might take the computer to stay in touch but we will fly down and I hate to carry too much on the plane. The last trip they charged us $15.00 a bag for everything we checked. Oh well...



A Conversation with Maya

Did you ever wonder what the guys is thinking when he hears poetry by Maya? Here is my rendition of a conversation going on in the head of most men have when they hear her... I saw Maya's poem down the side of Amy's blog site and just couldn't resist.

November 19, 2008 — Maya Angelou
MUD’s Corollary (MC)– The Other side of the coin

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to…
MC 90% of the fights in a marriage are caused by money problems. If the couple sits down and discusses money as equal partners and spend to support their life goals, this part of their life will be much easier

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…
MC Yes, and she should shop where she can get good pretty clothes. Over $50 For a pair of shoes that you wear only once or twice is stupid, STUPID, S-T-U-P-I-D

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …a youth she’s content to leave behind…
MC And it doesn’t need to be a reputation that you have to live down.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age….
MC Instead of the guys retelling about her in lurid details. You should see the details on the bathroom stalls all over America.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
MC A step ladder, a good pair of gloves and a willingness to learn. A good can of A&D Ointment never hurts.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …one friend who always makes her laugh…and one who lets her cry…
MC Hopefully he will be strong enough to laugh with you and cry if it really bad.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family…
MC And she doesn’t have to buy it new. Look around and shop for the best price wherever it resides.

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored…
MC Starting out with Tupperware glasses and grandma’s old silverware isn’t a bad place to start and work up from there. Besides, the good china only comes out once in a blue moon. Use the Corel and that way you can break a plate and not care. One of these days someone in the family will die and leave you at least one set of china (Or more if you aren't lucky)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …a feeling of control over her destiny…
MC Hell, She needs to work hard to make her destiny the best she can. Get an education, work hard and save a few dollars will do wonders for you.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…how to fall in love without losing herself…
MC If someone loves you, really loves you, you will be as a couple more than you were as singles. Plus it will give you someone to feed the dog when you get called out of town.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship…
MC Good luck on this one. Sometimes a foot needs stomped on and then you walk away. How are they going to learn. To think everyone will love you is child like.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…when to try harder… and when to walk away…
MC Most of the time no one will notice either way so run if you have to.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…that she can’t change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents…
MC I agree on the parents part but girdles and high heels have changed women for centuries.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…that her childhood may not have been perfect.. but it’s over…
MC Only when you want it to be over. Living your childhood over with your children is way cool. Go to Disney land and buy one of those stupid hats and a t-shirt that says I’m with goofy, and he doesn’t mind. (The one that I saw said she was f^&%*g goofy but she was being thrown out of the park)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…
MC And for best results, tell him what you like and don’t like.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…how to live alone… even if she doesn’t like it…
MC Crap, get a cat and over feed it. Alone is not so bad when you get to control the cable TV controller.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…whom she can trust, whom she can’t, and why she shouldn’t take it personally…
MC And have a built in crap detector turned on most of the time.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…where to go…be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…or a charming inn in the woods…when her soul needs soothing…
MC Man if you are looking for soothing in the woods you are in for a nasty surprise. Between the ticks, chiggers, the lack of toilets and you will hate sleeping on the ground.

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…what she can and can't accomplish in a day…a month…and a year… DREAM, BELIEVE, CREATE AND BECOME
MC Write it down and tell you significant other where you stand. And what about love, laugh and a good glass of wine now and then.

Single Digits Temps and Spitting Snow

Every morning here at Rabbit Run I get up, put on my coat and go out to get the paper. It is only a couple hundred yards from the house but I face a north wind on the way there. I get a pretty good idea what the weather is going to be for the rest of the day. In normal weather and without a cloud cover you can usually depend on the daytime high to be about 20 degrees warmer than it is early. Today it is only single digits and not predicted to clear 20 degrees. This isn't the weather that lays down a heavy snow. Those snowstorms are warm fronts meeting cold fronts and the air was pretty dry when this Arctic blast got here. This weather is the kind that just spits and sputters snow that is light and fluffy.

After I read the paper at the dining room table, I wonder downstairs to my computer to read and write. Here, I get a view of the south side of the house and the birds. My bird buddies show up in large numbers and I really enjoy watching them queue up to get seeds. Only the juncos show up in mass and seem to sweep the ground for seeds dropped by those messy finches. I swear the finches will pick seeds out of the feeder tubes and throw at least half of the seeds on the ground. I think the woodpeckers will work on the suet blocks to dig out some seed nugget and make a mess the juncos also like. I made the mistake of buying the "Wood Pecker" suet blocks at Tractor Supply Store because they were cheap. They have been getting eaten but a lot slower than the kind I normally buy. Walmart has one that is peanut flavored and has some berries in it. They don't last anytime. I will be at Walmart today or tomorrow and I'll restock on the best kind.

Last week I was reading about cooking cabbage on DYLN's blog and just had to jump in and make some. Everyone tried it but not with the desire I showed. There was about a bowl full left over and I put it with some smoked polish sausage. Barb didn't even try it and I cleaned it up. She made a sandwich with some left over meatballs I cooked. With only two of us here we normally have leftovers and manage to graze a few meals each week without cooking. I love the microwave where you can hit a leftover bowl of beans for three minutes and chow down. In fact, I think that beans just get better each day for about a week, Not that they last that long, as I love beans of about any type. I know it will come to my southern friends that I don't really care for black eyed peas. Can't say that I care for boiled peanuts either.

Yesterday I'm not sure that I really got it clear that budgeting your money should support your goals. Make sure that with every paycheck you put a little aside for the long term goals. Unless it is a need that shows up today, never buy anything on credit. If you know that your washer is not doing a great job, save $10 a paycheck until you can afford to replace it. I was with a young couple one time and they went into a jewelry store. They picked out their wedding rings and the guy got out his credit card. The young lady just pushed it back to him and looked the jeweler in the eye and asked him what it would cost if she paid cash. he discounted the sale by a significant percentage (greater than 5%). Only once in your life should you buy a new car. A gently used one is about half of the cost of a new one and you truly can pay off the debt in three years. Your house is about the only really long term investment I recommend. Then I tell my friends to pay for it in 15 years. Sometime sit down with one of those on line calculators on a real estate site and compare what a $100,000 loan costs if paid for in 15 or 30 years. At 30 years, you will pay off the value of the house twice. Unless it is a real crazy market, that is profit to the finance company and you won't get it back. Right now you won't in almost all markets.

Drink some hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate and stay warm. See ya' later Alligator.



What the heck is this bird?

This bird showed up today for the first time. I have never seen one here before. Do You have any ideas? It had a brown color with a gross beak. Barb thinks it might be some kind of sparrow but our bird books don't show anything like it.

General Thoughts

This morning I am in a strange mood. I feel somewhat philosophical but don't have that well defined edge or target for my wit or wisdom. After my second cup of Java and after reading the paper I am still just scattered. So, I will offer you some thoughts mixed in with a few of the things that I find good general lessons in life:
  • The best way to avoid costly mistakes is to make good decisions. The best way to learn make good decisions is by learning lessons from your mistakes. Yes, this is circular reasoning and directed at the cost of a good education. Even if you don't go to college, there are costs to life. In fact, I recon that my time at KU fulfilled a requirement but lessons I had learned and learned after that time are a lot more valuable. (Yes, recon is used as an attempt to be more colorful than Think)
  • Everyone should know what and when to do things. Sometimes day dreaming is good to help you set goals in life. When you finally can sit down and write out your goal, you are on the way to achieving them. Remember that you are not perfect and any plan is only good until the shooting starts. Plan a little for each day and then each week, then each month and then each year. Spending your money to support these steps is what life is all about. If you are not trying to get somewhere, you must be pretty happy with where you are. If you aren't happy, try to change what you are doing to make things better. If you do what you did, you'll get what you got! Is a big screen TV twice as good as that 29 incher?
  • I read this morning that the time to make promises is during the campaign. During the time in office it is time to govern and sometimes what you think in the dark of the campaign is not what you see in the light of the actual office. It is good that Barack has an 80% approval level right now. He has enough time to get his feet on the ground and room to grow or screw up before the honeymoon with the press is over. Trust me, the press is just looking for a good juicy story to help sell more papers or make a name for themselves.
  • Never say never or always about anything. If you have a point to make, use real life not hypothetical. Leave the story telling up to people that get paid to tell stories. It is best to tell how you feel than to make stuff up. At least people know where you stand and there isn't doubt as to what you mean.
  • When in doubt, feed the birds. At least you will have time to think about what you are going to do and will go off only 1/4 cocked not a full half cocked. For those of you that haven't been involved in the carrying of guns, the cocked in this case is when you have the hammer on a single action weapon pulled back and ready to fire. Not only did most cowboys not do this, they generally carried the gun with the hammer on an empty cylinder so if the gun is dropped it won't shoot you. Drop one of those old guns and they will shoot. Who it will hit is the only question.
  • One of the questions batted about on the blogosphere is Government. Do we need more, less, better or at a different level. I contend that the best government is done at the local or lowest level. The ideals here in Kansas are a darn site different than in New York. Besides, there are some questions that I don't want the Federal Government to answer.
  • What is wealth? What role does it play in our lives? Does the engine of our economy need to be sped up for us to be successful as a nation? How does the first 700 Billion dollars differ from the second 840 billion. If the first big ole pile of money wasn't effective don't we need to slow down and put the second pile in to the regular budget process and let it sort out with the rest of the wash. What war are we fighting? If throwing money at the War in Iraq was stupid, how is this a better battle?
  • Either George Bush was good or he was bad. Either he was smart and did the best he could and the recipient of a lot of bad things that happened on his watch, or he was evil. Make up your minds out there. It is pretty easy to play Monday morning quarterback in the plain light of day but when you day is full of dust from the falling World Trade Towers it might be a little harder. The personal experience of my family is that he is a good man and tried to do his best.
  • I contend that FEMA has hurt us more than it helps. People expect Big Government to step in at every step and fix all of our problems. About 1990 I worked in the Guard as the Military Support Officer and sent Guardsmen out on the order of the Governor to help people in emergencies. I would guess that 9 out of 10 people would go live with family or friends if they lost their house or were displaced. In most cases they had insurance to rebuild and did what they needed to do to move on. Two wonderful groups stepped in in those cases where there was a problem. The Mennonite Church sends groups to help people get it back together and the Salvation Army is there to mitigate suffering. I don't think it is the Government's responsibility to put you back where you were.

OK, Enough of this. Get another cup of coffee and move on with your day.



Stupid Me!

I worked hard all my life to head into the stable at the end of my career with a nice savings, and retirement benefits that would keep my daily bread on the table. I listened closely to those guys that advocated Tax Deferred savings and I pounded money into any deferred savings plan I could. Now that I am all stabled up, I find that I am faced with the prospect of paying 33 cents of every dollar to the Feds and 11 cents to the State when I use any of my investments.

Yes, I think it was smart of the government to entice me to save for them. When I think about the boat I could have had, the lake house I didn't buy, I wonder just what the heck I was thinking. At least I didn't miss any meals over the entire situation.

The only thing I can be happy about is that only my last 401 (k) has been headed into the crapper. At least I have only lost down to where it now worth what it was when I put it in the pot. I am thinking about drawing it out and taking the tax hit anyway. Thank god it is less than 5% of my overall investment strategy. Probably will increase my tax bill by 3 or 4 grand but what the hell, a penny here and a penny there is a few pennies. Barb thinks it is good to have investments to pay taxes on. Oh well...



Traveling Years Ago

In 1967, I was a bright and shiny 2nd Lieutenant fresh out of the Cannon Cocker School of Knowledge located in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Yes, I cannot spell the word O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A without breaking out in song, even if it is just in my mind. I was visiting my parents in Wichita, KS and due to report to Fort Irwin, California. There was no Map Quest in those days so I had to get one of those many State Maps of the Central and Western United States and plot out a route. I was going to travel alone and I figured that I could do it in two days. I was fortunate to have a car that I felt really good about and that Volvo could just eat miles and got pretty good mileage also.

The first leg of the trip was down U.S. Highway 54. It is a diagonal that was heavily traveled by trucks. If you have never had the pleasure of driving down one of those truck routes, you don't know what you were missing. The road had ruts where those trucks loaded with boxed beef from the Liberal Kansas area just impressed their wheels marks in the soft asphalt. If you had a car with a narrow wheel base you could have problems staying in the ruts. The Volvo was wide enough that you could almost go to sleep and if no one was stopped ahead of you. In the rain it was a dangerous time to drive as those ruts would fill with water and you would hydroplane from the top of the ruts from one side to the other. My dad had installed an "ARA" under the dash aftermarket air conditioner in the Volvo and it would keep you cool if you were right in front of the vents.

From Wichita to Liberal the scenery of the drive didn't change. You could see for miles and miles and unless you liked to see farms and a few cows there wasn't much to make the marking of miles on the speedometer stand out. In early June as the wheat is turning to face the harvest, it is a beautiful time to watch the yellow ocean wave at you. In Late July there isn't much left but stubble and even the cows are huddled around the stock tanks because of the heat.

About Liberal the mild transition from green and flat to almost desert. Through the Panhandle of Oklahoma (Where the wind comes....Dang, there is that song again) The plants really change and the weeds turn into a nasty yucca plant that guards it meager stalks with nasty points and barbs. Up near Wichita a farmer can count his cows per acre. I'm pretty sure that down in that part of the world it is acres per cow. Somewhere in that part of the world, I saw a sign for the Historic Highway 54 Association. I had no clue that there was anything historic about that heavily traveled ad truck grooved road. For the most part, the road into Tuccumcari, NM is a lot like the road on the other end.

I think I drove all the way to Albuquequerki (That stupid town about a days drive from Wichita) Yes, I could let spell checker fix the spelling, but I am leaving it in for literary effect. I'm sure that there are some of you that leave your spell checker on so you can make fun of those of us that write phonetically, sans the exactness of a degree in English. Did I mention that I picked up that infamous Route 66? I-40 was in its infancy and large stretches of it weren't completed and in many places you were forced off the super slab and onto a slightly wide asphalt road that went through a lot of little towns. In fact, in most places all the way to California they were so afraid their towns would fade away without the tourists they would actually end the Interstate and make you go through the small towns to get gas, groceries, tourist items and those bags you hung on your bumper that held water "just in case".

I will admit that there were some things about the old highway that were pretty spectacular. You found yourself winding around canyons and following the rivers and railroads in a lot of places. About the State line in Arizona you began to see a lot of people walking. If they had their arms empty, they were headed to town and if they had bags, they were headed home. In the small towns, there would be pick-ups with their beds filled with families. I guess it was just bad manners to not pick up as many people as your truck would hold on your way to town. Because it was daytime and late in the month, I didn't see the drunks out in force like we did on our later trips. I guess about the time the Government checks go out, going to town and getting drunk was one of the main past times.

I was on a fairly tight time schedule and limited budget so I didn't stop at many of those tourist traps. They were marked by giant arrows made out of 4 inch pipe that looked like they were stuck in the ground by a race of giant Indians to mark where you just had to stop. I really wanted to stop at the Petrified Forest and get some of that rock tree but I just kept moving west.

About the time I was crossing the California border in the heat of the day, I saw a car on the side of the road with the hood up. As soon as I stopped (I saw an Air Force Base Sticker on the car) I heard the baby crying. You know that cry of a new born that has kind of wobble in the cry. Wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a not a solid sound. There was a young guy probably a little older than me standing by the motor. Yep, it looked hot and probably dry.

I immediately told him that he needed to have his wife and baby go sit in front of that little ARA air conditioner in my car until they cooled down a little. There was water in the cooler where the ice had melted and she needed to wet down that babe and cool off. Momma did and the cries stopped very quickly. That baby was asleep in a new york minute.

Having worked in a gas station I knew that if there were no major leaks in the system, we could probably add my meager amount of water and limp to the nearest water. He wouldn't be able to run his air conditioner but we could get to the nearest town. By the time I got there, the radiator was cooled down enough to open it and put all the water from that little bumper bag and the remnants of the cooler water in the radiator and move on up the road. He didn't want to leave his wife in my car until I showed him my ID card and he realized that the only person that really mattered was the baby. Off we went. Just down the road a few miles was one of those Check-in Stations that California has to keep you from bringing in produce that might somehow have fruit flies or something. it was just being built and no one was there. There were barrels of water that the brick layers were using to make mortar for the building. We filled everything with water and headed to Needles. I dropped them off at a Chevy Dealership and headed for that last stretch to Barstow. I lost a couple of hours on my trip plan but I have never passed on helping people in need, especially if there is baby involved.

I cannot express the amazement of seeing Barstow as I entered it from the west. You come over a rise on the highway and there was a jewel ahead of me. The lights were amazing and right in the middle of no and dam-where here was an oasis. It was almost 10 PM and well over 100 degrees. I found the cheapest Motel I could find and checked in. Never mind that after I paid for the room that I didn't have much more than money for a cup of coffee in my pocket. I had no clue how to get to Fort Irwin and if I was late, so what. I ran the meager air conditioner in that motel full blast slept (Edited out for Two Dogs) on the sheets. You would roll off the hot wet spot over on the cool wet spot and sleep the sleep of a weary traveler that just drove over 1300 miles in two days, solo.

The next morning, I went out of the motel and wondered what the hell someone had done to Barstow? From that jewel last night, it had the look of a town seriously in need of paint and cleaning. A lot of the main street stores were empty and because it was pretty early no one was out. I finally found the road to Fort Irwin, passed the Del Taco (and recorded that location in my mind) the Santa Fe rail yard and headed north to my first assignment.

Later Alligator. MUD


Another Day, Another Dollar!

We had the kids over yesterday evening for supper. Barb has a new Weight Watcher cook book and we are trying some new meals. I am pretty sure it is a trick to slim me down as I feel that Barb is looking good. She has her mother' body type and has always stayed slim and trim. While I on the other hand, have managed to add a couple of pounds a year for most of my adult life.
Yesterday's meal was a turkey bean soup that I would call a turkey Chili. (They called it a turkey bean soup, Duh Dennis) The recipe called for white Canellini beans. Dave and I agreed that about any kind of bean would have been as good and black beans would be the best. I would have added more cumin and perhaps some more white pepper to spice it up even more. Everyone seemed to like it and I noticed the leftovers went home for today's lunch. I also cooked some cabbage with onions and red peppers in a sweet smoky sauce that was interesting. It would have been wonderful with some smoky pork but the purpose of the Wednesday meal is slim and trim and most of my pork meals aren't in the low fat category.

We discussed with Dave his plans for this semester at Washburn. He said he hasn't felt well or had the time to enroll for this semester. We have decided that it is his decision so for now are going to stay out of the controlling parent mode on the issue. We will be supportive of his decision and if needs to take a semester off, so be it. He has really been getting very involved with his employer, Best Buy. He has always had unique friends and to be really tight with the Geek Squad should not be a surprise. He isn't on the squad for right now but thinks he might be in line for a position there. He will probably be working full time between his Customer Service time on the phone and time with the Geek Squad. With his electronic talents and his customer service phone experience he is a natural.

What size is your TV? Dave has his heart set on a 50 inch LCD TV and hopes his boss(es) will see it in their hearts to discount a floor model when they are replaced with a new model sometime soon. I asked him about getting an old model and just how long he thinks it would last. He said that the LCD screens are good for at least 75,000 hours. He also said there isn't much else because everything else is electronic. Last time we were together in the store he showed me and it was the best picture in he store.

Yesterday, Dave said that his car was running a little strange. We went out and took a look at it starting under the hood. I gave him the Ken problem solving process. His recommendation is to start looking at the obvious first. Things like a vacuum line leaking. Is the Check engine light on? move on through the spark plug wires... and low and behold, a spark plug boot had fallen loose. One of those things that unless you actually grip the boot and move it it looked OK. Had all those things been OK, I would have taken it over to the local parts store where they have a computer that they will hook up and give you a reading. That reading will tell you what the computer has recorded as a fault and mostly it is "Plug and Chug" modules into the system until it gets better. It really pisses me off that the dealership charges you $80.00 to use their machine to tell you what needs fixed. That should be a part of the regular labor hours not a separate charge. For now, I don't own one of those handy dandy little engine check systems but one of these days they will be on sale or I will find one at a thrift store or Pawn shop.

It is kind of frustrating outside. The sun is shinning and it started just about 25 degrees. It ill get to about 40 and seem like it is time to be out. It just isn't quite warm enough to bike ride.. I know, if I was real hardcore (I'm not) I would get out there and make circles with the pedals. The lake path is now finished and should go over and do the 8 mile route.

Better get moving and do something. Have a great day out there.



What Should He Do?

There is a lot of talk on the net about what the Big "O's" first 100 days should look like. I'm pretty sure that he won't read this or care what I think but were I in his shoes here is how I would plan and conduct those aforementioned days:
  • Make Congress tell you what they think is important. Give them 15 days to bring together their brightest and best and to make a list of what they think they should do. Hell, they threw a plan together to raise 700 Billion in a couple of days. This should be a cake walk.
  • Bring together a group of citizens from each State and have them also do the above list for their State. Again 15 Days.
  • Have each Federal Agency do a list of their top priorities. During the same 15 Days.
  • Take these lists and war game the lists to help display and get understanding of the problems that need solved. 15 Days here also
  • Assign the problems to the levels that can solve the problems and give them 15 days to present their plan to solve the problems. This is the 45 Day level. I would have the appropriate levels present the success of their actions each 30 days.

No, I wouldn't present any new money to work on the problems. I expect the different levels of Government to have tasks they can't solve this year. Their input is the way I would build the next year's budget. They would report it in this format. Neat term - This Year's expenditures. Mid term the Budget request for the next three years. Far Term - Goals and Objectives.

I am of the opinion that the people out here want CHANGE. I think the new President has almost a clean slate to do what is needed. If the above steps need to be extended to 30 days not 15, I could live with that. I also expect to have two Dogs ride over on his unicorn even if it is messy.



Discriptive Language

I saw this in the store Today. I hope it would keep the Monkeys from flying out of my Butt.

Some things in my life have significantly influenced my language. Here are just a few of the descriptive phrases I use:

  • If I didn't invent Humongous, I was one of the first that used it to describe things bigger than normal comprehension.

  • In a New Your Minute. How fast can they strip your car of its wheels and radio? Yep, in a New York Minute.

  • Blinding Flash of the Obvious. When something said is so straight forward you can't believe the speaker got it so soon and clearly.

  • When my Dad had reached his limit of kids, he would tell us to go out and "Blow the Stink Off". One time when I was teaching a preschool class, I told them we needed to go out and blow off the stink. One of the little guys said, "But Teachor, we don't stink".

  • Dad would always try to wake us all up by shouting "All Hands on Deck".

  • One of the sayings from the rifle range that stuck with me was, "Ready on the right? Ready on the left, the firing line is no longer clear!"

  • There is a custom in the Field Artillery that you never give the affirmative "Right". You always use check. It drives non artillerymen crazy. Check, check, check and double check...

  • If things are going poorly, but organized, things are going to hell in a hand basket.

  • If things are going bad and so disorganized it is beyond recognition, it is FUBAR. That is Fucked up beyond recognition. I hope you will accept my apology for the bad language but I think you needed to really know what it is.

  • BOHICA! If you are again told to do something you know neither the sender of the message or you want to do, Bend Over, Here it Comes Again!

  • Fair. There is nothing in the world fair. Wait, never say never or always. As soon as you do, it will happen.

  • Cheap, Easy and good. There is just no way you can get anything that is all of these three things. Pick two and move on smartly.

I swear that in spite of what Amy thinks, I would never say "Monkeys flying out of my butt". I'm not sure what it means and perhaps some day when I figure it out I might use it.


Today's that Day!

Many of us thought that if we were ever to see the first Bi-racial POTUS, he would be one of the many that have led the fight to achieve equality in this great land. Not just another speech giver that has a way with words, but a roll up your sleeves, lead us to greatness kind of guy with the kind of vision that not only tells us to get off our butts but provides many ways to get the needed jobs done. The big "O" gets his chance today to start the promise and I wish him well.

I do however have many mixed emotions about where this great Change is going to take us. It is my biggest hope that we have a new leader that changes things in the manner we need not just the politically expedient way. I don't need another hand out, hell I didn't need the last one. What I need is a leader that sets a tough course and asks us all to follow. I don't want a POTUS that takes us to the promised land, but one that leads us there.

I think the clearest way I can say how I feel is in the simple story about my days on the Wichita State Campus shortly after returning from Vietnam. One day I was in a restroom and a young long haired student ran in and told me to hurry outside, they were gong to burn a flag. I calmly told him that he didn't want me there as I would be inspired to kick the shit out of some one burning the flag I had just fought for. He had every right to burn his flag, but he had better not burn mine. I had no arrest record and didn't think I would mind having assault on the stupid residing there. I just went back to class and put it out of my mind. I fought my war for the right to get an education and I damn sure was going to try.

I think there are a lot of us out here that just want to pay our taxes, pay our bills, love, laugh and work towards the goal of happiness. I am going to put bird seed in the feeder, read a book, play with the dogs and make sure I don't miss any KU Basketball games. I will not give up my god given right to point out where I think things are wrong. So far, the score is zer0 to zer0 and I'm watching.



What Did I start Now?

The other day I mentioned that I would like to see a basketball game in every Big XII arena. Next thing I know, we are headed to Waco. OK, I have friends in Dallas and it will be fun to get out of town and see my friends. I woke up from one of my many naps to find that now we are going to see Lubbock, TX in late Feb or early March. What have I started? I just hope the last addition won't interfere with my new classes. I have sent in an application for a foods class like Master Gardner only for food.

Every Thursday in for a month or so I will be traveling to Lawrence, KS for classes on food. There will be some interest in preparation, sanitation and menu. I will probably make some presentations to schools and adult groups. There was some mention of testing pressure cookers but I'm not sure what that is all about.

Last Christmas the kids bought Barb one of those picture frames that will display your photos. I saw a 2 MB card for it and yesterday I loaded pictures in it for about an hour. I found that I had about 10% of the darn thing full and if I spend the rest of the week I might get it to the capacity. At least there I will be able to use whatever pictures I wish without the Photo police demanding that I take their picture off.

Did you know that they are still playing football and will be until next month? Damn spell checker doesn't know what I want. It will approve Soupier Bowl, Soppier Bowl and Supper Bowl and I'm pretty sure they are all wrong.

Just when I got my basketball juices all worked up, I found that KU's latest victim is 0-3 (K-State, Boys and Girls). With Texas and Oklahoma out there, it won't be another undefeated season for the Hawks. Heck, there is a couple of teams out there that will put up a pretty good fight at their home. I have watched the Hawks get chased around Iowa state's floor at Ames, IA and those pesky Tigers over in Columbia have the rudest fans and play pretty hard to not get beat.

We are having a slightly warmer weather spell to make up for the cold December. Mid 40's today and I might try to get out some and try to increase my Vitamin D level. At least the front porch kitty showed back up. I think he was on an extended R&R to visit the girls and returned home to sleep in and get fed regularly. Oh well...



I thought I'd Never See...

  • A senator with almost no record in the real world get elected as the President.
  • A black President.
  • A congressional favorable rating lower than the President's and no backlash in the elections.
  • My Government spending money like it was theirs. Nah, I knew they were capable, I just didn't think the sheeple out there would take it laying down or encourage it. (Sheeple is the name I have applied to people that don't care what the hell is going on. Half of us didn't vote in the last election, most don't want to understand the problems if someone send them a check- These people are sheeple)
  • A time when both parties sent up a candidate for Election that no one really wanted (Except those that really wanted to see number 2 on this list)
  • A Time where Big XII Basketball was so bad.
  • Gas back under $2.00 a gallon. (Don't tell our Congress they'll think we want to increase the gasoline taxes)
  • Me so stuck for a real subject to write about.



Step 1

While searching for a good place to get "the Hell out of Dodge", the MG found a site for the Baylor Bears in Waco, TX. We are going to go there in early February to see a KU game. While it will be a little more expensive for the travel, the tickets are about half of the price of the Allen Field House Tickets. It should also give us a chance to visit two of my friends that live in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. My oldest, no my long timest, no my best friend, no one of my friends, Harvey and his wife Wyn Sue live there and we'll try to work in an evening or two with them.Harvey and I were friends when he lived a couple of houses down from us on Byrd Street. Another friend Bob B also lives near Fort Worth and I'm sure he and Bev will be up to a little time on the town. I have known Bob almost as long as I have been in the Guard. He is one of those guys that you can give a job to and it will get done. Not the thing you can say about all the people I have met.

This is step one for me of my desire to see a road game in every Big XII basketball arena. I admit that I haven't seen a game in Manhattan at the new Arena. The last game I attended there was in the old field house down by the Student Union. I think the Civil War was about over and the rubber floor hadn't been burned yet. I have that goal to accomplish without a timeline.

Today the temperature is supposed to return to just a little above "normal" for this time of year. I'm not sure what anyone considers normal in Kansas. We are likely to have a south breeze bring up warmth from the south and have a cold front pass within 24 hours that crashes the temperature to zero. I could tell it was much warmer this morning than yesterday as the frost free faucet worked this morning. When it is 20 or colder, I can even turn the darned thing on. This morning it worked fine. I went out to get the paper and while the breeze is blowing about 10 MPH from the north, it didn't feel nearly as frosty. Must be one of those weird southerly breeze being shifted around a cold air mass. There have been times when we would have I-70 closed by a blizzard in western Kansas and a tornado in south east Kansas. We also had it so cold that we had no water in Gas, KS but that is another story.

Yesterday I made a pot of bean soup. I think it is about my favorite kind. I misjudged the amount of soup that 1/3 of a bag would make. I say a bag, but Barb was making cookies on a stick and used the beans as holders for the pretzel sticks so the bag was pretty good size. I think I love beans because they are the meal that keeps on giving. Not that annoying burp kind, the kind that would power a furnace if you could harness all that methane gas. That reminds me of the time I went to the Doctor. I told him that some foods give me gas but it doesn't make too much noise or smell too bad. He gave me some pills and told me to come back in a week. When I got there for the second visit I told him that I still had the gas and it now smells terrible. He said that he cleared up my sinus problem and now I need to see an audiologist to get hearing aids so I can hear.

Oh well, better get on with my day. have a great weekend out there.




This Barred Owl was surveying the dinner table of birds at the feeders in our yard. I'm sure that he would appreciate a plump squirrel but would settle for a skinny Junco. Any food in the face of the cold is appreciated.

He Lied

I know that Topeka isn't a major market and many of the weather personalities are just trainees, but they should get the fact that it will snow over an inch correct. Just yesterday one indicated that the fronts pushing through are mostly dry and we will see 20's today, 30's Saturday and 40's on Sunday. Well, As I went out to put the trash out on the court, there is an inch of the fresh stuff and the temperature is 9 degrees. Not the zero of yesterday but COLD! Yes, I know that the local temperatures are weather and the overall is Climate. I still think Al lied and the sheeple believe him. I just swept off the back porch and put out some fresh seeds for the Juncos. They left long enough to have me outside but returned as I shut the door.

Change, You bet! I think the Democrats got hoodwinked. The President Elect is making a change, but most of the change is just away from the Bush politics back to the Clinton years. The appointees are the same kind of people we have been watching stumble around Washington for years. How about an Attorney General that recommended the Rich Pardon? How about a Treasury Secretary that didn't pay his own taxes? How about a Secretary of State who's husband accepted large donations to build his Presidential Library. Close Guantanamo, Sure, when and where are you going to put the Detainees. Can't call them criminals, it might hurt their feelings. How about the cost of the inaugural being three times the amount that many people said the lavish Bush inaugural was. How about Barack not following the Federal Election Guideline's that were meant to save the US money and raising three times the amount the Republican Candidate spent. Change, the color is changing from Green to Greener. Or if you had any accounting classes from RED to Redder.

Whoa, a hawk just swept across the yard and gathered in some one of the little birds for his breakfast. I guess the food chain is where you can find it. Whatever he grabbed he took with him and left. Last year a hawk killed a blue-Jay and the mate stood out there and made noise as the hungry hawk ate his prey then and there.

All of a sudden there is a rash of movies made about WWII survivors. I guess the rash of reality crap has people wishing for a return of more intense emotions. Oh well, wasn't planning on seeing a movie today anyway. See you in the funny papers.



In Search of Degrees

It was so cold it was Zorro out there, No Dumbass, Zero

As another Arctic cold front roared down through the Heartland, the thermometer went searching, for a degree or two to display. In fact, the displayed temperature was a sucking sound as the red fell below the mark of Zero. I think we need to have a new scale to ease our suffering. Rather than attempt to redistribute warmth to the frozen chosen, move the new Zero to about 30 below on the current scale and about 140 for the one hundred degree reading. This way, it will seldom, if ever, get below zero and over 100. I propose we call this the pity scale not the petty scale. It would take pity on most of us and our temperatures in Kansas would average about 20 to 80. That's the ticket, change the reading and you change the reality. Works for Congress.

Yesterday I made a refill run on all the bird feeders and was deliberately a little sloppy. The Juncos feed primarily on the ground and they are here "en mass" this morning to help fuel their little bodies. It is interesting to see them with their little feathers all fluffed up so they look fat. I can sit contentedly inside and pretend that Rabbit Run has food so abundant that even the birds are fat. When they have to waddle away from the house will I know I have really succeeded.

The only thing out of the normal is our missing porch kitty. He showed up three or four days ago with signs of a minor cat fight. He had what looked like a puncture by his left ear. You know the kind where a right cross thrown by a paw with claws extended would inflict. I hope he is off in the arms of one of the momma cats on a nearby farm. In the past he has found a warm place to hole up when he was wounded in battle. I think I did catch a glimpse of him late Tuesday night when I was coming home from the KU game.

I forgot to mention one of the latest things that bug me. Cell phones at movies or sporting events. One couple sat in front of us and they texed all the way through the game. What ever happened to people who were satisfied to watch a movie or a game. At least in the game there was enough light that the screen on the cell phone didn't hurt my eyes. During one movie last week there was a guy that held his camera phone up to take pictures of the screen and would ruin my night vision for minutes at a time. I am almost to the point where I am going to complain to management when people are so rude that they ruin it for others. I need a can of something really smelly that makes a fart sound so I can express my disapproval of cell phones. I can almost stand it when people go into a restaurant and talk so loud that I know what they had for supper and what they purchased at the store.

Oh well, I will just try to get over myself and move on. Warmly!



Where it started in 2006

The following is the first blog I wrote. Here t'is:

I start my day off with reading the local newspaper. There are several articles that I read each time and a few I avoid. Dr Bill Roy always has a rant against the Republicans and I avoid him about as much as I do Glenda Overstreet who is the the local NAACP president who has a son in jail for murder. My favorite is Harvey B. Mackay who writes a business column. He always has some little tidbit of wisdom and humor to lighten my day. OK, I don't miss the funny page very often but given a choice I will read the business column first. His column this week is about doing things the Cowboy way.
1. Don't squat with your spurs on. Don't be stupid and harm yourself. Pay attention to your business.
2. The easiest way to eat crow is while it is warm. The longer you take to own up to your responsibilities the harder it is to recover. People don't get fired for making mistakes, they get fired for covering them up.
3. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. I always said this was "Do what you did and you get what you got". The surest way to change something is to get up off your rear and change it yourself. (Or buy Mom a 42 in HD Plasma TV and I'll probably have to go over three or four times to help her reset the remote.)
4. One of my favorites is always drink upstream of the herd. Avoid playing with the office gossip, it'll p'ison you for sure.
5. If your are riding out in front of the herd always look back from time to time and make sure they are a followin'. There is a difference between leadership and thinking you are in charge
6. Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting him back in. You may not have control of what goes through your mind but you do have control over what comes out of your mouth. The last piece of advice comes from Texas Big Bender. "Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."
I'll bet a lot of you wish I had just talked about the needed bodily function after drinking three cups of coffee in the morning. Don't 'cha.

One final thing, I absolutely refuse to put hehehe in my blogs every third column. I also don't use those blasted little faces that smile, wink and do stupid things. Whatever.


Famous Quotes

As I struggled with the words to convey some of the thoughts I have, I went to an online site that contained Famous Quotes. I wonder if you will join me in thinking that truth is timeless:

  • The Victor will never be asked if he told the truth. A.Hitler
  • The art of leadership consist of consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention. A Hitler
  • It is well that war is so terrible lest we grow fond of it. Robt. E. Lee
  • I like whiskey, I always did and that is why I never drink it. Robt. E. Lee

How many people did the Russian's put to death? Do the numbers compare to Hitler's Holocaust? I contend that we will never know.

Are we focusing our attention on the Muslim's? Has the threat of drugs stopped? Is there no one else out there?

The lethality of today's battlefield is 100 times worse than the Civil War battles and yet the enlistment in the Military goes on full force.

The Devil Rum is binary. Either you are turned on by it or you are not. If you need to drink you shouldn't. I tell people that I am just a common drunk. I am sober and don't go to those meetings to stay that way.


Roundball in Allen Field House

Yes, I know that KU isn't going to be the National Champs again this year, Even the starters that weren't seniors left to go on to the lure of $ in the NBA. But, with that said, the KU vs K-State game in Phog Allen Field House was a joy to watch. Heck, just being there for the pregame singing of our Song and the National Anthem was a spectacle worth seeing at least once in your life.

A Lot of teams come into the Field House and are just shell shocked for about 5 minutes and by that time they have a deficit that is just about too much to overcome. At one time it was 18 to 0 and from then on it was a matter of resting the starters and keeping the game in check. K-State did mount a strong run in the second half but expended so much energy that they couldn't finish. The game dissolved into a free throw contest with K-State fouling out most of their starters. KU has a deep bench and just held on for the ride.

I went to the game with my source of tickets, Paul, and does he ever take the game seriously. When Sherron Collins turned the ball over near the end of the game he was angry. I reminded him that a player that scores 26 points should be able to have three turn-overs. I don't think he would have been happy if KU scored 100 and K-State nothing. Paul won't forgive KU for their seating policy. All tickets are the same price but where you sit depends on how much you give to the Williams Fund. Needless to say we sat high up and in the corner. I asked Paul how much the hard backed seats were and he said the same price except for the annual donation to the fund required to even qualify for the lottery to get one.

I have two cars. One is a 53 Chevy pick-up and the other one is a 57 Chevy. I really don't drive the 57 much as the insurance is very high and it does not include collision. If I keep it parked most of the time the insurance is about $100 a year. Drive it and that turns into a grand a year. The old truck has liability only as you can still buy fenders cheap. This last year I had a guy hit me and crushed the passenger side door. The insurance Company paid me $3,000 and the parts to fix it were less than a Grand. Yes, I am still working on getting the door to fit right but what else do I need to do.

Tonight the kids are coming over for dinner and Barb is going to try to make something with Orange Roughy. She does not normally eat fish so it might be fun to see how this turns out...

Today will be one of those sunny days that is deceptively cold. It was 31 at 10 PM last night with a Southerly breeze. This morning after the front came through it was hard to tell if there were any degrees showing on the thermometer. Tonight it will be counting negative numbers.



544 Byrd

Looking North from Beech you could see the parking lot behind my house and on the other side of that one of the many trailer courts.

When my Dad went to work at Beechcraft, he looked at the proximity of the house on Byrd Street to the Beechcraft Plant Number 1 and bought a one bedroom house on a 1/4 acre lot. If you stood on the front edge of the driveway, you could see the gate where most of the people used to enter the plant. If you looked east, you could see about 1/4 mile square of parking lot where the employees parked. For about 1/2 hour in the morning and 1/2 hour at 3:30 PM you weren't safe out on the streets near our house. In fact, the school got out at 3:15 to give us a chance to get home safely.

Add a 2 story addition on the back and add four children and you have the house my parents owned until they finally moved to the Lake by Rodgers, Arkansas in the 70's. Dad even made the concrete blocks the addition sat on. He bought a block maker and mixed the concrete in a portable mixer to make a couple of blocks at a time. I know that a neighbor had a block maker and I'm pretty sure that he bought one of two that dad owned. Dad built to the standards of the day and by today's requirements that house was pretty primitive. No central air or heat, linoleum floors and hard pressed asbestos impregnated siding. There wasn't anything like a storm door on most of the windows and wooden porches adorned the outside.

A lot of my neighborhood had BeechCraft workers through the 40's and most of it went to hell in the 50's as the newly affluent workers moved to new suburbs springing up around Wichita. I'm pretty sure that there were more mobile homes than houses and after they moved the salvaged Beechwood houses in, there were more apartments than mobile homes. There were a few people that had bought early in the neighborhood that held on to their first homes like they were on a life raft of Oakies and Arkies. At the first hint of prosperity, even they would flee like rats off a sinking ship.

On the south end of Byrd street, there were two teachers, two custodians for schools, and a whole host of people either in or in a related job to the Aircraft industry. The street as always filled to capacity with the children of the Baby Boom. Born in the era of no television, we all played outside and there were fewer shoes on a ball field than ball gloves.

One of these days I am going to put all the pieces of the story together and write about Ronny, Denny, MUD, NewGene (Eugene), Assie, Harvey, Gary, Larry, Wayne, John and Whitney. Sadly, three of these guys went early in life and not because of the Vietnam War. One of my friends in this list served as a rifleman for three tours in Nam and died in a traffic accident in Southern California.

More to come...




This is dedicated to Bean. She'll undersrand

During the year I substitute taught, I met one of the kids in the Behavioral Discipline (BD) room. It was difficult to make a close contact with him because he had been abused by so many family members. He was heavily medicated and closely watched. The first day or so I worked with him I didn't try to get him to do anything, I just read a book to him and when I would ask him a question checking if he was listening he would say, "Whatever". The second day I asked the supervising teacher if my student really liked anything. He told me that Basketball was a passion to the kid but no one wanted to go out in the cold and play. On with the coats and "get outside slick". During those moments we talked and he responded in a way that gave me a lot of hope for him. We played horse, used his spelling words instead of the word horse and I made him keep track of the scores. We graphed the scores and he wrote small stories about our playing. One day I asked him if he liked to write and he said only songs. Down to the library and he wrote about ten songs and typed them. We laughed and hooted as we would sing the songs (in some cases I did have to edit out a few inappropriate words). The Para that worked with him was off for two weeks and when she came back that job ended. I went to that school about a month later and stopped in to see my little friend. The para told me that he had just had a melt down and was in a special school in Kansas City. I left with a heavy heart that day. Whatever!

For some reason, I have the whatever feeling about travel right now. I kind of want to get the hell out of Dodge but can't make myself want to really go anywhere. I'm sure that I will enjoy being somewhere warm but just don't seem to have the get along in my get along. Oh well, Whatever!



This'n Such

I think you have met some of my friends through the stories I have repeated here in my blog. Stand by for more:

One of my friends helped his dad clean a bunch of wild rabbits back in the 50's and he caught Tularemia from that experience. He developed a high fever and darn near died from having his kidney's shut down. After the fever and illness he was never the same. I really didn't know him prior to his illness but he got held back in the 4th grade and was in several of my classes in school. In high school he was a Vocational Education student and spent half of his day out in the automotive shop. I remembered that he told us that in his class on brakes they had to do a brake job on one of the old jalopies that had been there many years. No matter what they tried something would always fail. My friend crawled under the car and taped a soda can to the frame so the brake pedal would have something solid to hit. He passed that portion of the class through the blessing of Coke and duct tape.

My good buddy Danny Rex and I had a lot of experiences that just were on the edge of go to jail and in fact I almost did. Danny called me one morning and asked me for a ride out in the country to get a transmission for his old Ford. He had bought a transmission and he had to take it out of the old truck as part of the deal. We went out there and I mostly watched but did some heavy lifting when he needed help. I took him home and helped him put the transmission in his car and everything was fine until... I got stopped by a sheriff's officer and was told that my car was seen out by a farm where a transmission was stolen. I immediately took him to Danny's house and Danny produced the bill of sale for the transmission. The officer read the information and told Danny there was only one problem. He had gone to the wrong farm to get the transmission. We had to go out to the farmer and explain what had happened and put the transmission back in the truck. Then we started all over and had to get the right transmission out and put it in Danny's car. Today, the police would have just taken us to jail but back then we were allowed to make things right without an arrest record.

I had a friend whose Dad was a trash hauler. As he went around his regular route, he would pick up all the trash there and often he would have an old bike or two at the end of the route. My friend Leon was one of those guys that to say he was different was an understatement. He acted weird and spent most of his day drawing comics. Each time he came to school, he had a different bike and no two looked like anything Schwinn had made. They were radical long before I ever saw radical any where else. Most had little front wheels, big back wheels and handlebars that later we called Ape Hangers. Most were painted that primer grey color and quite a few had pictures of things drawn in the paint. One day right after Christmas, Leon had one of his creations at school and I asked him if he would sell it. Immediately my Christmas money turned into transportation. I had the coolest bike on the block for about a week. As I rode that strange contraption, minor things began to happen. Bearings would fall out of the front handlebar tube, the pedals would fall off and the seat bracket broke. I fixed a flat on the front tire so many times the rim was sharp where my screwdriver pried the tire off the rim. In less than a month, my wonderful bicycle turned into a heap for the trash. A couple of weeks later, I saw him on that same bike. yep, Dad had brought it home and Leon put new parts on it and it was again for sale. No thanks Leon.

Today Barb and I needed to as my Dada would say "Get out and blow the stink off". We went to Lawrence, had lunch, hit a book store a grocery store and the came home. Wow, such an exciting life. Oh well...


3AM Visitors

Coyote (Not My picture)

About 3 AM, the dogs started barking very loud and often. There is at least one dog in the neighborhood that invites Taco to bark back and forth but the barking last night was a very territorial bark by both of the black labs. The kind of bark that would definitely keep you out of the yard if you were an intruder. In case you didn't look outside or were covered with clouds, the moon was in what the weatherman called the Full Wolves Moon* and you could see almost as well as on a cloudy day. A pack of coyotes came into the yard and one of them must have run into the electric fence and started the commotion. I turned on the outside lights and at least two of the coyotes were Right up by the house and didn't seem the least bit startled when I turned on the light. All at once, one of the coyotes started a yelping howl and off they went making a noise that just made the hair on the back of my neck tingle. I wasn't sleeping and after the noise caused a rush of adrenalin I didn't go to sleep for another hour our so. One of these days I need to get some friends together and go on a coyote hunt.

For the last year or so, I have really noticed the lack of rabbits here. When we first moved out here, the yard would move when you drove in the driveway at night. It would seem to be covered with cotton tails as the lights on the car would sweep across the lawn. Not so much anymore. We still have a lot of birds and squirrels but not many rabbits. I'll bet the coyote population is making a real dent on the hare population. Shame they can't get to the squirrels up in their tree nests.

* The weatherman explained the Full Wolves Moon as the full moon when the moon is the closest to the earth. It truly is closer and bigger. I think he said something about the brightness being 17% brighter that a full moon in the summer. The name is what the Indians called that period when the moon was full and the wolves would come near the camp investigating the trash dumps.

It will be in the 40's today and then look out for a Blue Northerner headed our way. Those cold clear windy days that seem to suck the warmth out of everything, If it wasn't bad enough that the cold works its way through your coat and gloves, the wind seems to drive cold into any small break in your protection. You will have to wear a long sleeve T-shirt, a long sleeved shirt and a sweat shirt under your coat and then wonder what the hell you are doing out. At least I have given up the idea that I will ever snow ski again.

On that topic, what will you stop doing and when will you stop as you age? I changed my own oil for years and felt good doing it. My first trip to Jiffy Lube about 10 years ago cured that fantasy. I know I won't ever roller skate again as falling down on a hard wood floor is an injury I will forgo. Ditto on skiing down a snow covered hill or behind a boat on water. I no longer can run, even slow. I can ride my bike but only in warmer weather. I do hope that I can maintain my mental ability, be it ever so humble. For now, I will retain my sobriety, not smoke and visit my Doctor and Dentist regularly.