Minnesota Star

Well, they did it again. If Jesse Ventura wasn't bad enough, the Supreme Court of Minnesota decided that Al Franken is the new senator for the State of Minnesota. They get what they asked for and lets see if they are laughing at the next election.

Way to go!


Oh No I Didn't, Oh Yes I Did!

I think I have mentioned the Master Foods training and follow on volunteer training I am doing. Yesterday I spent two hours on an empty stomach telling people about the value of a proper diet and watching portions. That speech includes the food pyramid and how you need to spread your calories across the spectrum for proper nutrition. Then, I packed up my stuff in the truck and headed west to the new Hamburger joint.

By my calculations, I consumed well over 100 grams of fat, well over 1800 calories and there was simply not enough vegetables to mention. I feel like Hugh Hefner teaching abstinence. At least I didn't eat much else for the day. If you read yesterday's blog, you will realize that I didn't think too much of the quality of the experience. It is hard to be a food snob and a food hog at the same time.

The weatherman is telling us that not only did the Heat Wave break, we are due to get another light cool front by the 4th of July. It is very nice out there this morning and it should be mid 80's for the high temp today. It is cloudy right now and we might get some rain. I need to go to Dave's and do some trimming and a little mowing so I hope not.

For those that try to remember that poem or use the knuckle method to remember the days of the month, today is the last day of June. We will start July tomorrow and the Shawnee County Fair is going to happen. I found out that I will get to help set up and judge foods. I will be paired with an experienced judge and get to put my training/taste buds to work. I know what I taste and what's good by my standards. It is the blue ribbon standards that I need to learn.

Guess I had better get moving on or my butt will set in place. Miles to mow.



Flower Pictures

Barb read the last blog and while I was out today she took some more pictures of the flowers here.
Asiatic Lilly

Regular Sunflower

Red Sunflower

It was a beautiful day here in Topeka. Hope yours was a good one also.

Cheeburger, Cheeburger, Petsi

There is a new hamburger joint here in Topeka named after a Saturday Night Live sketch. It is called Cheeburger-Cheeburger. I went there for my first and last meal. It was well after the normal lunch period and I got seated in one of the few empty seats. After about five minutes a waitress came over and we discussed what I wanted.

They have cheeseburgers from five OZ up to a pound. You can have your choice of 12 cheeses and so many toppings that the list is several inches long. I ordered mine on a platter so the fries came with the meal. The platter was 9.98 and with a chocolate malt plus tax it was $15.00 and some change.

First of all I would have expected that the cook in the kitchen who made my burger to order would remember to season the burger. It tasted like it had no flavor other than what was on the bun. I asked for grilled onions and got raw onions. The bun fell apart about half way through the meal and I'm not sure what the hell the pickles tasted like. Even when I ate one of them separate it had so little taste as to be just departed from a cucumber. The Onion rings (instead of fries) were five little skinny things that unless dipped in the special horseradish sauce didn't have any taste either. For the sake of brevity, all I can say about the chocolate malt is that it was cold and chocolate.

So, if you are in Topeka and have a hankering for a great burger, drive to Lawrence and go to the Backyard burger.


Monday Morning

What do you get when you are married to a Master Gardner and she has a great camera with a nice selection of lenses? Yep, pictures of pretty flowers. The nice thing is that there are flowers everywhere here in the Heartland his year because of the nice mixture of sun and rain. If you think the flowers are great, you should see the corn and soybeans.

These flowers were all captured through the eyes of Barb and some are from our yard. Others were seen on the garden tour. While mowing yesterday, I saw an area of Rabbit Run that is just covered with wild flowers. I also noticed this morning that we have a sunflower blooming with a red flower. I'll see if Barb can catch that one in a day or so. It is out by the butterfly garden and that garden is almost over run with milkweed. Should be a great year when the Monarchs start back south.


Lecompton Days

In the 1850's, few questions stirred up controversy with the passions as did the slavery issue. Kansas was a territory next to a slave state (Missouri) and many battles between the Free-Staters and the pro slavery people were held. In the effort to make Kansas a Free State a battle was held near Lecompton at Fort Titus. Col Titus was a pro slavery advocate and his homestead was attacked and he was captured. Lecompton was the Territorial Capital and a draft State Constitution was adopted there. The US Congress voted down that document and required new elections to be held to settle the question of Slavery in Kansas. During the Lecompton Territorial Days they re-inact this battle next to the Lane Museum. Dwight D. Eisenhower's parents met at Lane University. You would enjoy stopping at the Museum there in the old University building.

Very little of this would be done without the support of Paul Bahnmeyer This is the Fort Titus Sign by Lane University

A Cannon crew prepares for the opening salvo of the battle

The Free Staters Prepare to attack

The fort falls and the men and Col Titus are captured

They brought a rope to hang Col Titus.

He plead for mercy and was spared because he was a Mason.

All over the United States there are summer activities that bring people to the small communities to celebrate who they are. These activities help raise money to support the activities that promote the heritage of our past. We started with a chicken diner at the local church and then watched in the bright sun the attack of Fort Titus. After we left there was an afternoon full of activities and the day ended with a street dance.
I would encourage you to get out and see some of the activities near you this summer. I'm sure that the re-inactors would appreciate your being there.
On a happy note, the Weather Bureau announced that the heat wave in officially over for a short while. It was a nice morning when I went out to get the paper. The cool front passed here without rain and tornadoes here near Topeka. The high today will be in the 80's after Heat Index Temps in the 100+ range.
Have a great weekend out there.


Same Thought, Different Perspective

On NPR this morning someone pointed out that in Tienanmen Square, the person standing in front of a tank had courage. The second person said that the tank driver and his commander were the brave one's in stopping the tank. Clearly, a person would just crush beneath the tank but the driver and his commander were the one's that went against the might of the military to stop. They were the one's that had to stand inside the military and explain why the human rights of one person was as important. Clearly many of us saw the man standing in front of the tank and doubted about the safety of the man. Our perspective is important.

In Iran there is a movement to have people stand up for their rights and face the might of both the political party and the religious leaders in pointing out that they are in fact the reason for a country. I guess unless things are taken away from us we will not realize how important our freedoms really are.

On the morning talk radio here in Topeka, Dave Ramsey talks to people that are just striving to get out of debt and those newly arrived. I think he needs to have a program where those that have made it share experiences of how they live once they achieve financial freedom. We have been pretty much debt free for 10 years and fully understand the concept of income and outgo. If we want a new(er) car we save to get there. We don't have to worry about borrowing money to replace the big window in the living room the same month as replacing the A/C A Coil. Just this week I was talking to a retired friend who bought a new house a few years back. In spite of selling a nice house and having all their parents pass away, they are still making payments on the new house. Makes me wonder what they must think each month as they make that house payment.

Oh well, I didn't start this to gloat, only to point out that problems and solutions can and do look differently from different perspectives. This has been the week of deaths and I'll add another name to that list. Don Coldsmith a Doctor from Emporia who wrote about 40 books on the Plains Indians passed away at the KU Med Center. While at the Western Writer's convention he suffered a stroke. I would hope that when I die, I'm doing something I enjoy with a group of people I want to be with. At 83, he had lived a good life and I hope his family finds the memories of his life and his books ample reward for his life. He was one of the writers that gave a human face to the Plains Indians that made me aware of the depth of their lives and gave me a compassion for the true founders our our country.

Gave a great day out there.



How the Hell Did We get Here? What's next?

In the 70's, I studied at Wichita State and Kansas University. My study was Business as I tried to get a degree in Business without taking that dreaded Foreign Language. I finally settled on a BS in Business. The additional science credits avoided the foreign language. It did push me into calculus but I managed to scrape by with a D and pass was all that was required.

As I studied, I took finance classes, accounting classes and a couple of Tax Courses that did little to prepare me for the events happening out in the real world. In those days, banking and finance were two different worlds and kind of like the mythical Church and State separation they were not to cross breed or self pollinate. In fact since the depression they were directed to split with Banking to be a bit stuffy and Finance to be a little volatile or risky. (Glass-Segal Act of 1933)

As we entered the realm of Ronald Regan, there was a move to let deregulation take hold and some of the stuffy rules to be eased. The good news is that there was still a separation of the Congress and the Presidency that kept the pace steady in change but not one of absolute craziness.

Once the message of Ronald Regan began to hit home, we entered a period of asking why does the system control all the guidelines that work so hard to limit and restrict. Why should City Group not be allowed to make loans and then to capitalize the loans as investments? Beats the heck out of me, but it did fly in the face of what I learned in Business School. In 1999 the Congress and the President Bill Clinton asked those questions and in a lot of ways, the rules got thrown out with the bathwater. (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act 1999)

The age old tradition of citizens buying a home and that being the major investment in their portfolio changed to one of speculation in the whole market. I think it reflected the change in employment where people no longer worked for one company in one location their entire career. People began to move from home to home and job to job to move up rather than the age old move up in one system. Then somehow the profit in selling a home got untaxed and the whole system began to change.

Banks saw that they could capitalize the loans, they began to focus on growth through selling shares of an investment organization rather than protecting the loans on houses. Billions were made in the trading of the loans and transferring the loans to the Federal (Fannie May) system rather than managing the loans. It was almost like everyone closed their eyes to the excesses and if you could make more money by owning a home who cared? Simply put, people in California could buy a house, live in it for a couple of years and sell it for about a 10% a year gain. It did not matter how much money you could pay on the principle of the base loan, the gain would make everyone well. It was a Ponzi scheme so big that no one would or could shout stop for fear they would be left holding the bag. I cannot imagine a home in Topeka with no yard or place to park selling for $400,000. That is less than the average price for a home in Washington, D.C.

In my humble opinion, the limit of the amount of money that could be invested was reached and as the housing market began to slow, the payment of the mortgage began to be more important than what you could make on the sale of the home. Foreclosures have flooded the market and losses have the market swimming in red. The government owned the paper on more real estate than the market could bare. Those people that have been making money on selling and the capitalization of the housing market began to realize that the soft market has exposed the weakness of the whole mess.

The 8 years of Bush 43 did nothing to help clear up the mess and now that Barry has inherited the mess, everyone wants to know what are we going to do now. Massive debt has been placed on the shoulders of the taxpayers and the system shored up. If that was all the congress did for a couple of years we would all be well served.

What are they doing? As if they didn't understand the enormity of the situation, we have Government taking over the Auto Industry. Next they are proposing Cap and Trade (the giant Ponzi Scheme to give Congress all the money they want) and want to Federalize the Health Care system.

Cap and Trade will raise your utility rates by over $100 a month next year. If it cured the CO2 problem it would be a good thing. The truth is congress will not spend any of the money for bettering the environment. It will sweeten the pot of money the congress will have to spend next year. It will help rob the economy of needed capital and the slow down will further hurt the economy.

If you love the Medicare system and Social Security, you should love Federalized Health Care. I for one don't think the idea of expanding the idea of free Medical Care is a good idea. The States have faced the health care issue for years thanks to congress. I would encourage you to talk to your State Legislator to see if they think the system works.

Yes, I did move from how did we get here to where I fear we are going. You try to write it down any better. I'll be glad to read your side of this. I read that the Devil is in the details. The devil of this deal is that less than half of the people out there are paying attention. I'm not sure that half of them even begin to understand how important this issue is. Just when I think our Government should be in a hide and watch mode, they feel they need to try to right more wrongs with money they don't have.



Friday Stuff

Indigo Bunting
Yes, this my driveway and I'm too busy to move

Karen Stahel Garden at Tecumseh South School
Barb keeps this full of flowers and looking good

How much grass could a grass mower mow if I drive fast and not too slow

Clematis, love the flower, not the color

Dragonfly in the garden

Barb is always saying I need to post more pictures so I selected a few of the 85 on the card. I try to stay away from the 4 giga bite card because it has over 1200 pictures on it. With my machine, the individual pictures have to be downloaded or found and then only the new one's are actually put in a file. The first step takes about 10 minutes so I try to not go there.
Barb and I went to Best Buy the other day to pick up Dave and he indicated that they had the latest and greatest NIKON camera in their display. Never have I seen such a messed up system. The kid in the camera department actually opened about 20 cabinets before he admitted that the camera we wanted was no longer in the store. His boss (at least an older guy that looked appropriately pissed off about the whole thing) looked on the computer and said it is no longer on their inventory. I guess a $3,000 camera is just inventory to the person who doesn't have to pay for it. It really dawned on me that NIKON has a screwy way to number their cameras. They have figured out that their digital cameras should have a D and then a number but from there it is sheer madness to figure out what the new position is. For example they have a D3X that is about $6,000 and is the top of the line professional studio model. It had a lot of ability to capture pictures in a large format. It lacks the bells and whistles of the later models but is the choice for the capture of a lot of Megapixtels. There is a series of cameras from D40 to D90 (They did drop our D-70 number for some reason) and then there is a D500 and a D7000. Oh well, someone at NIKON should get this straight and renumber the cameras or issue a game guide so we will all understand.
I am normally a fairly compassionate person and I wish Farah had lived longer. In the case of that other guy that is a drug using, crotch grabbing child molester who died of an apparent overdose, I don't care. I love music but the music is the product not the person making the music. I think it is stupid to listen to people come on TV and tell us how bad the pain was and how that led that un-named pervert to taking multiple drugs to avert the pain. Take enough stuff, and you too will die at 50. A man should stand for something and put his money to a good use. To create an amusement park is not high on my list of those things he should do. Kill yourself with drugs, and I'll put you in a box and bury you away in my memory.
Better go find something to do. My back hurts this morning and I need drugs. Naproxin Sodium is the limit of that need.

Guess What?

Konza Prairie House. My dream garage/vacation home
Butterfly Milkweed. Pretty stuff

Asiatic Lillies in bloom.


We got another 1/2 inch rain yesterday.(Barb said 3/4's of an inch) It is hot as hell out there but the rain has arrived just in time most of the spring and early summer. IT is cool this AM and Barb wants to load up the bikes and go for a ride. I think that's a darned fine idea. See you all later.

Conundrum of the day: It seems like almost all the new tools are going digital electronic. That means that as often as not, I go to use a tool and find the battery dead. I am pretty sure that I can't just lay in a supply of the odd battery's so it means that I have to make a trip to Walgreen's
There has to be a better way. Most of them come in a 2 pack and the tire pressure gauge uses three. If I can't use the 4th battery right away, there is little chance I'll find it when I need it next time. Don't get me started on the disposal issue.



About 3 Hours

If you wonder how long I can stand to mow in this heat, 3 hours. About a half a gallon of water, 2 Popsicle's and a cold piece of pie later I may have enough energy to stand up in the shower. There was this one time I had to sit on the floor and let he water do the work. That which doesn't kill us can still be a beast.

Wow, it's Warm

The heat index hit 106 yesterday and it hit an honest to god 100 here in Topeka yesterday. Barb and I took a short road trip and when we would stop or slow down in traffic the AC would almost get warm. Way to hot to be out and about for long. Just as I saw it was 102 in Lawrence we saw a guy out on a mower. Crazy Man.
The new Garmin nuvi is very interesting. It did not find the Price Chopper store until we were in Kansas City. The good news is that it is right at the end of the 18th street expressway and 48th street. That store has produce from Mexico that I haven't seen any where else. Their cuts of meat were great for grilling fajitas and a sea food selection that looked great. We didn't partake of any of the meat because of the temperatures. We have one of those silvery bags from Sam's club but even with that it was way too warm for fish and an hour long car trip.
Yesterday on the cooking channel they showed two programs back to back that had my name written all over them. The first was my favorite fried foods section. What's not to like when Jiada De Lorentis eats fried doughnuts and they had tempura fried bacon. That program was followed by my favorite, BBQ. This close on the heals of Father's Day I still have some "Planned Overs" in the Fridge from Sunday. There was one dish that was BBQ shrimp. Not just shrimp on the Barbie, but cooked in a dish of hot sauce, butter and lemon. I'll bet I gained ten pounds watching that program. There was one segment where they covered Salt Lick BBQ down by Austin. I have been there and am not as big a fan of the hot vinegar based sauce in Texas. If they would let me bring my KC Masterpiece Hickory Smoke flavored sauce I would eat there often. (Or at least every time I am near there) I have started to put brats on the grill to serve with my chicken and steak. Oddly enough, I don't use a lot of BBQ sauce on the grill here. I believe that a good marinade and smoke flavor is just what the doctor ordered. Oh well, too hot to grill today.

Our porch cat was gone for a couple of days but arrived home hungry and full of weed stickers. He let me comb out most of them as he ate. If busy he will tolerate the brush. If not, he will hiss and bite. He still isn't too crazy about using the steel prongs on the tail when it is full of stick tights. I would feel better if he could gain some weight. I guess with all the traveling over to a nearby farm to visit the girls he just burns it off.

On an earlier post I mentioned the Flint Hills of Kansas. Those rolling hills don't seem like much at 70 MPH on the turnpike but get out and walk them and you'll see why I love them as much as I do. I know that Barbara loves them because she never missed a chance to take me to the Tall Grass Prairie or to one of the events scheduled in the Heartland. If you would like to see what's out there go to: http://flinthillsofkansas.blogspot.com/ I want to ride my recumbent in the Wamego 4th of July parade just one time.
Have fun out there.




On our trip to Spain, we could take pictures of wonderful buildings and places. What did Barb pick out? Kids. You can tak the teacher out of teaching but you can't take the kids out of the teacher
Young people can walk all day and have fun all night. Give me a good book and some down time or I get grumpy (ier)

Not sure where we saw this but my dad would second the motion.

I just read an article on MSM.com about the top 10 places to move to for a new job. Several of them have unemployment levels of 10% with housing prices that are unreal. I am personally glad that they didn't focus on the Heartland where housing is affordable and unemployment levels are in t 5-6% range. They did pick Omaha/Council Bluffs on the list but to pick Washington, D.C. with the average selling price of a new home at $490,000 is just ludicrous. In fact, I'll bet the person writing the article could not afford to move there.

I got a note from my pal Ken who did some work for me last year. He said he found one of his pay envelopes in his van. Not only did it have a date, it had real money inside. So typical of him, he rushed to the grocery store and bought groceries for one of his kids. With a house full of boys, they probably could use a resupply on a regular basis. I remember what it was like to be a hungry young guy. I could go to the fridge and just graze for hours. One thing I always try to do is pay a man what he is worth. Give me a good days work and I'll give you a good days pay.

Speaking of good days, it is summer here in the Heartland full blast. The heat index has pushed up over 100 a couple of days in a row. I can't imagine what life would have been like without AC. For that matter, I listened to a radio program where a survey was listing the top things people could not live without. Stupid things like cell phones and I-Pods were near the top of the list. My choice the dishwasher was number two and I didn't hear AC mentioned. TV was down to number 6 and I have no idea where computers are. But back to the main thought in this paragraph.... It is hot out there and if you don't have your work done by noon drink a ton of water.
I just read on Compost Happens a great description of the food I cook on Sunday for eating the rest of the week. Planned overs. They aren't left over, they are cooked for a purpose and will be served with gusto and pride. I don't go to the fridge and look for new things to cook, I look for the meat I have plans to cook over again in another form. Take that planned over steak, a couple of potatoes (Nuked in the Microwave and sliced up) some onion and the left over green vegies and cook them up in a skillet. I ate so much I had to wait a couple of hours to be able to eat some apple pie the wife planned over. I'm not sure what to call the vanilla ice cream on the pie. Other than good to go!

Better go see how long I can work today.. Nah, too damned hot. Going to take the Garmin Nuvi and the wife out for a ride.



Garmin nuvi

For father's day I got a Garmin nuvi navigation device. The unintended consequence is that I now have a front seat driver and a backseat driver. Turn rigt, turn right, turn right.....

No, Barb is a great friend and only tells me where to go when she thinks I'm lost.


Somewhere My Love

There waits a face book I'll understand. One that means something and one that I can really communicate with. One that will let me link up with our friends in Morocco. One that will kill the old me and keep only the new me. But in the mean time I'll just try to do with one that sends me about 20 e-mails a day telling me what was said on the new one. One that is more of a communications means than a twitter.

Father's day started with a Nice breakfast from Barb. I love an omelet with vadialla onions and cheese. A nice side of bacon, a sliced orange and a steaming cup of coffee ain't bad. I'm sure the kids will be over some time today and I'll grill up a boatload of meat. It will be nice in the fridge to make dinners out of. I'll cook burgers, brats, steak and chicken so there will be lots to eat for the week. If anyone goes home hungry it'll be their fault. I may make a run to the store in a little while to see if there is any of the vegetables I like grilled. Zucchini or egg plant cooked on the grill ain't bad. But, cooked with a piece of bacon in the microwave sure ain't bad either. Add a pinch of those wonderful sweet onions and I'm in hog heaven.

I have been reading Wilbur Smith's new book, "ASSEGAI" and have been really been enjoying it. It is in the period building up to WWI in Africa. It is after the Boer War and the Zulu uprising and it is a period I didn't spend much time studying. The build up to WWI in Europe had most of my attention and this is a nice change of pace. It also talks about big game hunting and that has always been of interest to me. Throw in a little love interest and I am now trying to finish it in good order. The Assegai is the short sword the Massai tribesmen used to kill lions with. I thought it was the Zulu sword but that one had a knob on the stick end of the sword to help pull it out of your opponent. The assegai was one that you plunged into your opponent and pulled it our when he is dead on the ground. Imagine that with a full grown lion. Nope, won't go there.

The weather here is the start of summer and the warm moist air has been pumping up from the gulf daily and at least once each day a thunder boomer or two has built up and passed over. Seems like the TV has been more of the weathermen than normal programming for a week. When the clouds really build up, the Directway TV stops bringing in the distant channels and we only get the local one's. Oh well, it the lights don't go our there is always a good book to read.

Barb and I have found a new hazard on the sidewalks when we ride. The Mulberries are in season and they fall all over the place. IF the birds eat them, there is also bird droppings to contend with. Over at the lake it is goose poop on the Shunga it is mulberries. It is always something.



It's My Money

This week, the financial picture has been made more and more obvious and I think that we all should be More aware. It is my money!
  • The new chancellor at KU was signed for more money than the old one and then some kind of magic bonus appears to take the salary from $350,000 to over $450,000. Say What. The Chancellor at KU lives in a house on the KU Campus and can't live on $350,000? Yes, it is my money and she should be ashamed.
  • Bob Perkins the Athletic Director at KU makes a million dollars a year? He gets to travel with the teams and see games in every campus in the Big XII and then gets paid? Yes, It is my money and he should be ashamed. His Boss makes $450,000 and I think that's obscene.
  • The Assistant Athletic Director at K-State signed himself to a five year contract (No other Asst AD in the BIG XII Has a multi Year contract) and wants to get paid for the other four years when he got fired for mismanagement? That's $800,000 of my money.
  • Almost 50 % of the people surveyed out there blame the current deficit on George Bush. The President didn't get to allocate or raise one dollar of the money we spend. It is the Congress's fault. OK, if you want to blame Bush for anything the first 300 Billion offered in the stimulus bill can be put on him. The other 400 Billion and the new Billions requested are on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Yes it is my money and the new Debt of almost $40,000 per household added by this bunch of "leaders" is my money.
  • Does anyone with half a brain really want the Government running Health Care? These are the guys that are running Social Security into the ground, the same guys that head up the VA and Medicare and you want them to be responsible? Yes, I want them to be responsible but not with my health care or money. It is my money and I am worried.

With all this said, it is your money too and why aren't you worried. I don't blame it on the Democrats, I blame it on all of congress. I will vote to "Never Re-elect Anyone". What could we do with the 10 Billion in Foreign Aide just approved. With all the red ink in Washington, we should have our hand out not our billfold.

MUD- With Red Ink for a purpose.

Konza Prairie
Over by Manhattan it is what the Flint Hills in Kansas are like.
One of the K-State Students found this Horned Toad baby
Who is Driving this Car? You could not see the head of the driver ahead of us.

This is MUD on the Shunga Trail. Dang, I thought I was smiling.

This is just a few pictures of my week. We went to the Konza Prairie over by Manhattan and walked a few miles of the "miles and miles of miles and miles". I fall in love with the prairie more each time I go there. The wildflowers were almost between blooms this time. You could see a lot of flowers getting ready to bloom but not very many right now.

As a kid when we went on Vacation in Arkansas we would catch the horned toad or "Horney Toad" by the dozen. It was strange to see one this far north. Kind of like the Armadillo is not found here but every once in a while one ventures this far north. There were two girls from K-State sitting by the path and looking at the toad. We talked a while and then moved on. Sure wish we had some kind of a camp stool along the way.

While we were driving to go riding on the Shunga, a car was in front of us. We could not see who was driving. That person must have been really short. Barb has a seat cushion to raise her up so she can see well. Oh well...

The last picture is me riding down the Shunga Trail near Topeka. We like to see something different from time to time. We parked over near the Brown vs Board of Education site and rode about five miles. So long as we were moving it was great. Stop moving and the heat and humidity made it sticky. In the shady areas it was pretty nice but there are a few stretches with no shade. Notice the bike helmet sans aluminum foil. Wonder where that smile went.



Little Known Dennis.Petty facts

  • I grew up listening to a radio in the evening not watching TV. In fact I didn't have a color TV until about 1975.
  • In spite of all the trouble I managed to get into as a kid, I read books like a monster. I'll bet I fought every battle in the Civil War through the Minneha School Library Biography's.
  • In spite of my career sitting behind a desk, I love to tinker with mechanical things.
  • John Wayne didn't make a movie that I haven't seen. I guess that makes me a closet cowboy.
  • I wore a uniform from 1966 to 1997. From the rank of Private to Colonel over the years.
  • Somewhere about 1955, a TV actor in Wichita, Deputy Dusty Rhodes showed cowboy movies each weekday about 3:30 for an hour and a half. I seldom missed participating in the saving of the fair maiden and the killing of bad guys and Indians. No, I don't hate Indians.
  • All my time in combat I never aimed a rifle and shot an enemy. I have found blood trails where the enemy was wounded or killed and the VC or NVA carried off the bodies from my artillery. In one instance we went back and searched for graves after an artillery ambush on an old position. Not fun in the heat of a jungle.

Heck, I can't even think of many more facts than these this morning. Perhaps later. I'm not sure why yesterday's post sounded so negative. I am really not depressed. I have an fridge full of meat to BBQ this weekend and am looking forward to spending time with the family.



Random Thoughts

This is the lion in the park in Ifrane, Morocco. The story is that a member of the Foreign legion carved it years ago and now everyone loves to have their picture taken with it.

Let me be the first to admit that I am not a techie when it comes to computers. I am a long time user and or the most part have learned to use the computer hands-on. There seems to be a move afoot to make it more difficult with each new machine on the market and I am nearing the time where I am not able to learn more and more complex things. It seems that I forget more than I learn and pretty soon I'll be expert at nothing. I, at one time, could learn a little about everything and be a mile wide and only an inch deep. I am more like a 1/4 mile wide of damp and getting drier.
I am sure that a part of my memory problems is based on my lack of "give a shit". The news is so depressing that I have for the most part have stopped watching. It occurs to me that no matter what I do, the world events just don't really effect me anymore. Unless and until our Government starts to draft us old retired guys, the elections in Iran just aren't my concern. It might be nice to know exactly what the weather is going to do but no matter of my awareness, the weather will happen. I can walk outside and know it is early summer here by the humidity and warmth. One cold front passing can stir up a heap of bad weather when the air is like this.

The other day, Face Book offered to change my name from a bunch of numbers to Dennis.Petty. Yep, changed it and now I am trying to make my account more relevant. I hate it when I pick out a bunch of pictures and start loading. The little chat window pops out and sure enough the half an hour I just spent goes for naught. If it would stop loading the pictures and half of them would be there, I wouldn't mind. No, they just go away. Nada, zilch, nothing.

Yesterday was the services for the late Athletic Director at KU. Dr. Bob Frederick was riding his bike in Lawrence and hit a pot hole. Never did hear if he was wearing his helmet but he did hit his head hard enough that he died. The paper said he was like a cowboy and "died with his boots on" doing the thing he loved. That's the way I want to go. Fast with a smile on my face. My last words will probably be like Butch and Sundance as they jumped off the cliff, "Oh SHHHHHIIIIITTTT!"



What would get this many Photographers into one place? Our Son Dave took the picture so that makes at least five people taking pictures.
Well, I recon a Five Generation picture would do it.
Front Row is My Mom, Virginia Schawo, My Sister Myrna, Her Great Grandson Austin.
Back Row my grand Niece Amy Kirkland and he mother Janet Nixon.
We missed this event and our son Dave took a lot of pictures and made us a DVD. Thanks Dave.


Pretty Soon

If this facebook thing keeps going, I'm going to be attached to about everyone. I open my e-mail and all I get is notices from face book that someone left me a message. I guess this constant contact world is coming to the place that everyone will be a friend of everyone.

Got an AC guy coming and I hear the dogs barking so better close here. The A-Coil inside the furnace unit started to leak and we lost our ability to cool. It isn't the temperature that is the bother, it is the humidity. We have been on a week long streak of some rain at least every other day. The AC is running now and the drain pipe is running a stream of water out of the unit into the drain.

It was nice that the AC Company could fit in a guy this AM. He had the new coil installed, the system charged and everything OK in under two hours. Good Stuff.



Wait a Minute!

About 10 AM I offered to take Barb and run away for an adventure. 1st mistake was I didn't have a plan, Second mistake was I offered to let her pick.

Humm, we haven't been to the Konza Prairie lately. ME - You mean the whole prairie? No silly, the trail through the Prairie. OK Said stupid me. No, I didn't lay on provisions, let anyone know our plans or bring extra water. If we had died, only the buzzards would have brought help.

Well, we arrived and it was kinda cool and nice. We start off on the lower trail for a leisurely .6mile walk to the trail up to the Radio Tower road. (That is another couple of miles up hill) but no, I thought it might be nice to just continue on the loop that goes another 4.2 miles. About half way through that 4.2 mile loop, we both look at each other and admit that we are pooped and would pay for a ride back to the car. But nooooo! the Master Gardner wants to cut cross country to get to the car quicker. I promise you that cross country on the Konza means a half mile of downhill, a half mile up hill, a mile down hill and a mile uphill. When we finally get to a place where it looks like there is a mowed path, the wife wants to go north up the path.

Well dear one, see that stone building. It is south of here and it sits right along the road back to the car. From the top of that hill it is .6 miles back to the car. If you go North, I haven't a clue how far it is or when they will find your body. As in the Infantry School Motto, "Follow ME" She did and for once I got an apology for being right. As if I had never walked in the woods with a perimeter road to keep from getting lost.

The good news is that she took me to Carr Hall on the K-State Campus and we had ice cream. She sure knows how to hit my weak spot when she tries.

Rule 1. If you want to run away, announce you are running away and then jump in your truck and do so. No second options if you do something stupid like select the Konza prairie to see the purdy flowers, take a damned water bottle. A nice map would help but stay on the damn roads.


Weekend Extremes

Yes, I know that no one makes me do what I do and most of my itinerary is self imposed. It just seemed like this weekend was one of extremes. I spent the better part of six hours over two days on the mowers. I also watched the Lonesome Dove movie for 4 hours on Saturday evening to find that there was another four hours on Sunday evening. I love cowboy movies and this was one of the greatest series made. But, 8 hours of cowboys and Indians is just too damned much. With a little creative editing it could have been an entire series for a season of TV. It was great to see the villain get killed but at least one of the ladies should have married somebody at the end.

Does anyone else notice that it is the middle of June and they just finished the Pro basketball season. By this time of the year, does anyone really give a good hoot in hell who won? So the Lakers won their 15th National Title? It seemed a little funny that when I switched over during a commercial some guy who's family owns the Lakers held the trophy up. If you don't play the game, your fingerprints don't go on the trophy until everyone in the game has touched it. He should have been fouled and his shot blocked by the water boy.

Barb and I have noticed that after being out of the country for almost 15 days, whatever it is that makes us allergic here is in full bloom. Our time in Morocco was almost sniffle free and I'll bet we have gone through a couple of boxes of Puffs since we got home. The post nasal drip has also given me a cough that is very annoying.

Barb is working on the pictures we took on our vacation and I'll bet 30% of them are the Special K's, Kendra and Katrina. They are a couple of beautiful young girls and their lack of awareness of the camera made for some great photos. I also got a chance to view some of the pictures of the family reunion taken while we were gone. The family reaction to Tickle Me Elmo was great especially in light of Austin's almost non awareness that it was funny.

Oh well, not much going on here today. Coffee, the paper and a little blog writing has been completed and it is only 9:30 AM. Gotta get busy with something. dang, it rained again this morning so outside stuff won't be too fun.



Wit & Wisdom

One of the discussions at breakfast on Saturday morning was the fact that Cessna Aircraft is laying off 1300 workers in Kansas. In a perfect world, demand would match production and our production would match our capabilities.

Now that we know that we don't have a perfect world, what do we need to do to change what we have into what we need. If we know that solar panels can replace 75% of the electricity we need in a typical application, why aren't we producing solar panels instead of building new coal plants and wind generating systems? If we know that super insulated homes cut the heating and cooling costs, why aren't we generating ways to post insulate homes?

If we know that we need to cut the number of cars out there and increase the amount of exercise we get, why aren't we building bike lanes in our cities? We seem to be able to build those damned roundabouts everywhere but only have a path around a lake nearby. My only real complaint about that is those damned Canadian geese that poop on the sidewalk. Perhaps I am a little mad at people that feed them on the sidewalk instead of the grass. The geese don't care where the bread falls, they eat it clean or dirty. Hell, they will eat it even if it is in the water. It is slippery and tastes like someone crapped a frog when it flips up in my face as I ride.

Sometime way early this morning I watched an installment of "This Old House". The builder of a really upscale home was working with Habitat for Humanity and did a post and beam home for one of their projects. He built a home in just a little over 25 days from start to finish. His innovations made it fast and energy efficient. Because it was going to be a Habitat home it also had to be simple for the builders once it hit the site. Most of the local labor was volunteer and semi skilled at best.

I watched a three car garage being built just up the road and they hit the lot with a crew of five and erected the structure in four hours and finished it the next morning. With out any solar or insulation work it was about $17,000. That is about $17.00 a square foot (no floor installed) add about $3.00 a square for the floor. I want to do one slightly smaller an add a storm shelter into the design.

Oh well, I didn't know where this was going when I started and now that I am finished, I'm not sure where it went, only that it did. I do know that a mower is calling my name and I sure don't want to get behind, again



Yesterday I went to one of the local Adult Care Facilities and assisted in a Health Care presentation. Those people are really watching what they eat and were very interested in how their diet effects their lives. The opening question is "Is there any really bad foods" The answer is no, there are only bad diets.

I am again convinced that somewhere there needs to be a combination of the Food Pyramid and caloric intake needs melded into a recommendation. for example. In the grains section, we should eat about two cups of grains/breads a day with half of that being whole grains. Oatmeal and brown bread comes to mind with the other half of that being bread, pasta or rice.

In the fruits and vegs, we need to eat three or four cups of these with a variable amount from each of the color groups. First is white. Beans, Cauliflower, potatoes and banana for one serving. Red - Apples, tomatoes. Yellow, squash, yellow beans and corn. Green - (the darker the better) broccoli, green beans, spinach. Blue - grapes, plumbs. One thing we all need to avoid is the 1,000 calorie trip to the salad bar. Forget the three dippers of dressing , all that cheese and ham and eggs. You can easily put 300 calories on top with each dipper of dressing.

Meat/Protein. The human body requires the equivalent of two decks of cards sized portions a day. Meat, seafood, eggs, tofu, some beans and we meet this requirement easily.

Dairy. Cheese, milk, Ice cream, yogurt and we easily meet this one.

Oil. We require oils in our food to maintain healthy bodies. What we don't require is everything fried and then additional oil as a topping. I cringe when I watch the cooking programs that add Olive oil as a topping to meals to help the taste. It is calories, calories, calories and not needed. If you have a whopper, a large fry and a shake you probably have exceeded your fat intake for the day.

Now I have made myself hungry and want to go up and eat two eggs fried in butter, hash browns fried in oil, Ham and toast with butter. I probably will settle for a nice whole grain cereal and one yogurt. Forgot to pick up the juice yesterday. OH well.



What do I put on my Business Card?

The other day I was looking through a bunch (yes, a pile) of things and found a 1000 card value pack of those little perforated business cards that you can feed a sheet at a time through a printer. My decision is just what do I put on the cards now that I am retired. Here are just a few of the ideas:
  • Retired. Only one boss and she hasn't changed.
  • Same old place to live, same telephone number, no cell phone or pager. None of that has changed in 19 years. About the time I started down the FACE BOOK Path, I got an invitation to Twitter. What the hell is that? I am pretty sure I don't twitter. Twitter along with the tumbling tumbleweeds. Isn't that a song?
  • Head Laborer for Rabbit Run Farm. Tote that mulch, dig that hole, are you going to mow again?
  • More stuff than places to put it.
  • Lots of neat tools if I can only find them. (See the part about stuff above)
  • Income exceeds outgo until Barry can find a way to rectify that.
  • About a $10.00 a week bird seed habit. About the same for the dogs. Wish I could say the same about the Lottery.
  • Soldier of Fortune. OK, ex soldier of fortune. The fortune part is OK but the Soldier part is way past my prime.
  • Master Foods Volunteer. When things settle down, I'll figure out what it is I really will be doing in this program. I have done a few events and it looks like the fair will be one big highlight. Going to a nursing home today to talk about food for people with poor vision. Not sure what this will be but I'll go help.
  • World Traveler. Will go as long as I can stand it or 11 days which ever comes first. I have to promise to throw away my oldest underwear in far away cities.
  • Recumbent Bike Rider. Mostly in fair weather. I ride on the bike trail around the lake and that darned goose poop is slick and when wet and tastes well, like poop.
  • Land Lord. I would sell these pieces of junk if I could figure out a way to have the same income. Most of my other investments have tanked and at least I have a place to live if I get thrown out of Rabbit Run. (Not likely but hey, you never know) Also, it is kind of cool to be able to buy tools and have some place to write them off. I know I have 100 screw drivers if I could ever find them.
  • Friend. This is probably a dubious honor that I have self awarded. For some reason I have several good friends and almost an equal number of enemies. Most of the friends are guys and most of the enemies are female. Go Figure.

You have the idea, more things to put on the card than space. Most of the information is not needed, kind of like this blog. But hey, 22,000 people have been here and not everyone left mad.




Once again, I drive through my old car knowledge and share with you some of the wheels I have owned through the years. I will promise you that for the most part I drove these cars until the wheels fell off and they wound up in a junk yard somewhere. There were a few exceptions like the following car that we are still driving. Barb's Skylark

This fine vehicle is the 1953 Chevy Five Widow Pick-up that I am still driving.
This is a 1978 Malibu that we purchased almost new and it ran until I sold it to a Niece that wrecked it. Ours was a sky blue with a white landau top. Cute car and one that I really liked.
This piece of crap represents a 1971 Vega I owned and drove back and forth between Leavenworth and Lawrence while attending KU. I truly had 100,000 miles on it and it had to be towed to a junk yard as it had died ugly and was rusting on the street.

My first new car was a 1969 Chevelle. It was a hog on ice and got the worst mileage of any car I owned. Fast and cute but not a good deal in any sense of the word. For some reason the fan belts always needed tightened or some special wax applied. I can't list the number of times that car left us stranded with a dead battery when everything appeared normal. We took it to the west coast only once and traded it in for the Vega. From Bad to worse.

My Dad sold me his Volvo wagon and I literally drove it to death. I bought a wrecked Volvo and put the running gear out of it in the wagon and drove it to death again. One of the best cars I ever owned. I'm sure that I started smoking a pipe because of this car.

One cute little car but an absolute waste of metal. This little MG was cute but not worth the time I spent trying to keep it running.

Dad sold my car when I went into the service and bought this Volvo. I drove it many miles and when I went to Vietnam gave it back to him. He wrecked it in 1968. I had to install seat belts to get it registered at Fort Sill and I'm sure that those seat belts saved his life.

Dad saw this car at a Gas Station and just knew he could make it work. This car was a pile of crap and Thank god I didn't have to drive it long or far. Shame on Renault

This is a 55 Chevy an I had a couple of them. Great old highway cars and I spent a lot of time and money keeping them on the road.
This is a Hillman. I had a red and black Hillman Californian that my sister and I shared. It was a nice little car but it did die ugly one trip to Arkansas when it overheated and burned the motor out. It had the prettiest paint color on it but the paint had died and no matter how good the wax was, in about a week the shine wore off and it was so dull it would not shine again. Probably today we could put some kind of a clear coat over the dead paint but alas, this car is long gone.

That is my collection of old cars I drove. I have one special I'll do later on. What did you drive?



Spanish Omlete

In 1968, I was in Vietnam and after a long six months there, I finally was able to fly to Hawaii and meet Barb for five nights and four days. (Or five days and four nights, I forget). It was a wonderful time and had nothing to do with the story only to set up why I was flying.

When we left Cameron Bay, Vietnam, we were served a horrible Spanish Omelet. It was a rubbery egg concoction filled with ham, onions and cheese. The only reason anyone ate it was that after a long period of C-rations it seemed like a good idea. To say most of us had almost terminal heartburn is an understatement. I'm sure that the meal had been cooked at least 12 hours earlier and had been reheated to bring out the delicate taste and texture. (Liquid heat on vulcanized rubber)

Upon arrival in Guam, the co-pilot came on the intercom. He told us that the local base had a meal ready but it was again the dreaded Spanish Omelet. The only way we could get a different meal was to wait about 4 hours for the next meal in the rotation. Let's see, delay 4 hours of the time we were scheduled to be with our wives or eat omelets. Bring on the Tums, we'll eat anything.

As we traveled to Hawaii, we began to filter through the toilet for our ablutions. Shave, shine and change clothes. I'm sure that some of the guys tried to wash at least their pits but that water was cold and I'm sure that it was a little blue. My seatmate was a Captain and he had the looks of a ribbon rack in the PX. He cleaned up great and looked like a uniform poster. His Khaki's looked so good on him that they must have been tailored by one of the Korean Tailors.

As he sat down on the aisle seat back there in the rear of the plane, the stewardess began to serve those dreaded omelet's. She was walking up the aisle with a tray of them and we hit an air pocket. She did her best to not wind up on the ceiling and it looked like something right out of a silent movie. The tray actually did not leave her hand but she did not have control of where that hand went. The sound was kind of like "PLOP", or "SPLAT" as a tray of six of those Spanish omelet's landed on the front of the Captain's uniform.

He immediately turned into a food fight survivor from the poster boy for the Army Uniform. I won't begin to relay the words he said but I will tell you that his mother would have used an entire bar of soap rinsing his mouth out. Simply there was nothing anyone could do but for him to return to the toilette and put back on his wrinkled smelly khaki's. He was mad, mad, mad but in the whole scheme of things, I'll bet his wife really didn't notice. I'll bet he was out of that uniform in a New York Minute.

Just as a post script to this adventure in wearing food, I brought one suitcase back to Vietnam with me. It contained a shirt and a pair of shorts that I had worn the last day in Hawaii. I didn't have time or care enough to have it washed, so I just threw it in the suitcase. When I got ready to leave Vietnam, an entire footlocker I had stored my other stuff in was gone. The only thing I could find to take with me was one pair of Khaki's, the underwear I had on and that suitcase.

When I got to Seattle, we went through Customs. They guy opened that suitcase and the smell hit him. He closed it and yelled "Next". I could have brought home an automatic weapon in there and he wouldn't have touched the contents of that suitcase. Oh well, Until next time.



Once Upon a Time

This Picture has nothing to do with the following story. It is here to show you what happens to your Pan Chocolate when the special K's get a chance to share breakfast with you. Yes, that big croissant has chocolate in it and the girls know which one is best.

In 1968, I was assigned to the 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery in Pleiku, Vietnam. I was a new Lieutenant, just married and so full of piss and vinegar that I didn't know what I didn't know. I was assigned as the Battalion Ammunition Officer and had as an additional duty, to fly convoy cover as my trucks hauled ammunition to resupply the Ammunition Supply Depot in Dak To. For the most part, the ammunition there was either used up or blown up during TET in Early 1968. The North Vietnamese Army swept down the road from the Tri border (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) portion of the Ho Chi Min trail and darned near wiped the area clear of US Troops.

One day after a morning of convoy cover and lunch, the pilot of the Bird Dog asked me if I wanted to see a little different part of Vietnam from the normal route from Pleiu to Dak To. We had been up and down that road for a month once a day and man was I ever tired of the same green jungle. On a lark, we took off while our trucks unloaded at the ASP and decided to fly directly east to where the border of Laos and Cambodia met Vietnam. The pilot told me that he had been told that daily enemy convoys were being driven up and down the trail and it was a target rich location.

We flew along the road headed east and watched as the road grew smaller and smaller and less of a road until it was almost a path barely one small dirt path wide. The further east we flew, the less signs of people were there until we flew directly towards a small set of hills the edge of my map was of border of Vietnam.

The pilot flew parallel to the ridge line of those mountains and finally pulled back on the stick and gave the bird some right rudder. Holy Shit Batman, not only was there a convoy along the Ho Chi Min trail, it was a heavy truck convoy and at the front and rear of the convoy was two of the meanest looking guns. They looked like a quad 50 and we called it a ZSU 23-4. It is a radar guided anti aircraft weapon with four 23mm guns and we flew right up on them. I'm sure that even if they hadn't heard the plane, they could hear the pilot swearing and telling me to do absolutely nothing until he got our plane back over the ridge top. We didn't draw fire because they were as surprised as we were. Had they been the least bit ready, that bird dog, one Army Pilot and his 2 button LT would have been smoked like a filter less camel. I'm sure that Mrs Petty would have been notified but there wouldn't have been much to recover.

When we got back over the top of the ridge, I got on my radio and notified my Battalion Headquarters of what we had seen. There was a 175mm gun unit nearby and (Wink-Wink) they were not in range and did not have clearance to fire into Laos. I'm sure that all the jets that flew that direction did not drop any bombs or strafe that trail. The pilot and I were ordered to fly straight to Pleiku and make a report. For some reason, I counted the trucks and ZSU 23-4's that day. The last thing I remembered seeing was a bunch of guys running back to their trucks and wondering if they had to start up the radar units to fill our tail full of lead.

I'm not even sure what month that happened, I was just sure that I was one lucky son of a gun to have surprised them as much as they surprised me. We didn't go out that way again in a bird dog. There was a day when we visited the waterfall behind a Mountangyard village but that's another story for another day.