Dennis is a retired Colonel living with his wife, Barbara, in Tecumseh, KS. Some of these Posts are filtered through the memory of a "not so Young Man" and you might have to utilize your built in crap detector to filter truth from memory errors. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. If you wish for peace, prepare for War. Our current Congress is "Stupid with zeros on the end...
Is there a place where you can get the complete skinny on facebook? Barb and I have been using it and there seems to be no rhyme or reason why or where things get posted. Things appear out of order and re-appear days later. Why does the system show you a picture and tell you that someone has been tagged? Is there some way I can turn off that someone found a little brown cow when they were playing farmville. I really don't care. It seems that everyone got a turkey right before Thanksgiving and everyone thought it was too cute to eat. Yes, it wasn't a real turkey so it would have impossible to eat.
So far KU hasn't released the report on Coach Mangino or let him go. The real problem is that I'll bet that it really helps the recruiting for next year to read all the crap. Wipe and flush the problem guys. Clear him or cut him, most of us don't care. I once listened to Jerry Clower tell a story about some kids coon hunting. The dogs treed a coon and one of the kids crawled up to knock the coon out of the tree. When he reached around the tree to grab the coon it turned out that he had a bobcat that wasn't partial to being man handled. The kid hollered out to his friends on the ground, "Shoot." The kid with the gun said, "We might hit you." The kid up to his armpits in bobcat said, "Shoot up here amongst us, one of us needs some relief."
Today is the last day our friend Mel will be in Topeka. She is moving to Austin and will load a U-Haul trailer today. I think I will probably go over to the Valley Brook house and help her and do some yard work. We'll see what happens with the possible sale of the house and unload it if possible. In fact, I might want to unload all my rentals this year and avoid the responsibilities. They all will need some serious renovation no matter what I do.
Oh well, have a great week out there.
Oh Boo Hoo!
Yesterday I found myself thinking that I would have coached the border showdown different had I been in charge. Such hubris to even think that I might have gotten the team to where they are. Kind of like the War in Iraq, I wouldn't have ended it the way it was done, but would I have really taken it to the same place had I been in charge? Oh Boo Hoo Dennis, pull up your panties and move on. My daughter-in-law says pull up your big girl panties and deal with it. You get the message either way, Right?
I ventured out into the shopping world yesterday and found that it looked a lot like a regular Saturday here in the Heartland. If there is a recession, a lot of people are not participating. Or, there is a lot of people shopping on credit. You should see the looks I get when I pull out good old cash to pay for my purchases. In fact, I had a couple of clerks looking at the cash register to see how to give me my change. How dare I actually give them the right change or give them 22 dollars for a 12 dollar purchase so I can get back a 10 instead of a bunch of one's. I swear that one clerk wanted to give me 10 one's because she was out of 5's. No, give me that 10 there in the drawer like the register says. No, I won't cheat you any more than I would let you cheat me.
Barb went to Lawrence yesterday and said that at 2:30 the place was empty. I asked her why and she said the game was on. Duh Dennis! I was home watching the game and I guess there were a lot of others doing the same thing. Oh well, this is where I started this whole post. I had better quit before I find myself doing it all over again.
Post Thanksgiving Thoughts
What do I get for the woman who has everything she needs. Kind of a mutual thought was matching sweatpants outfits. She did ask that I not buy her anything obscene on the sweatshirt and there is no need for Christmasy things as her post teaching wardrobe has all of that she needs. If we can't wear it or eat it, we don't need it.
For some reason, the subject of pie came up a lot when discussing Thanksgiving. Kind of like cookies comes up a lot at Christmas and cakes for birthdays. My momma told us a couple of years ago that she would much rather have a good pie than a cake for her birthday. It took us some convincing to get her to realize that sour cream/raisin and minced meat were her favorite pies and none of us really liked them. I think half a slice of pumpkin and half a slice of pecan pie with no whipped topping is probably near her favorite.
This morning I made potato pancakes with some of those garlic Mashed Potatoes. To two cups of potatoes I add a cup of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, one egg and just enough milk to be able to stir the mixture together. I find that I want a little more salt and pepper but that's my taste. Don't get in a hurry to turn them over the first time and remember to re grease the pan between batches. I hit the pan with spray canola oil and the put in about a tablespoon of butter in the pan. I didn't grease it the second time and the pancakes came out tasting just as good but kind of messed with ugly. A good piece of ham would have really hit the spot but we didn't have any ham this year. There was going to be only 4 of us and with 12 lbs of turkey we just didn't need a ham.
MSN which I use as my host site on Internet Explorer had an article of what to do with leftover turkey. They started the article with their opinion that there was no need to have a blah turkey sandwich. Don't those fools that most of us wait all year for that first good turkey sandwich. Perhaps after a couple of days we are looking for ways to hide it but I hit the mayonnaise with a little hot sauce and that turkey screams to be eaten. If you eat a piece of pumpkin pie right after that sandwich the spices in the pumpkin pie just zing when it hits that left over hot sauce. I may get some sandwich buns and make a hot turkey and wing sauce "PO boy" later on. Yes Virginia, I will probably make something with turkey and noodles but not until I have had my fill of sandwiches.
Going to be 60 today, I need to get out and do what my daddy would call, "Blowing the stink off" His mother would call it piddling around and I call it doing stuff. Might be a great day to take the bikes to the lake and make a few circles with the pedals.
I think there is an art where an author takes facts and weaves a story through the bones of fact and makes it funny, poignant, or exciting. The great teller of war stories adds to events and redacts the bloody parts depending on the audience. There have been times when Barb would tell me TMI (Too Much Information). That is her way of telling me to put a sock in it. I think that is a form of redaction that most husbands understand.
Now that Dave has helped me get my printer working, I am going to print a few of my war stories and try them out on my brother. He told me I should write a book. We'll see if he thinks that when he gets a bunch of the stories to read.
60 degrees here in the heartland today. There are a lot of things I need to do but I am finding a lot of writing energy today so here I sit.
I Don't get It!
Yesterday, I just happened to flip past a channel that was reviewing movies. They were showing scenes from the new animation/live action combination called Avatar, They raved over the scenes and the story line like it was the best thing since Gone With The Wind. Who doesn't want to see a paralyzed Veteran reborn as some kind of a genetic Mutant who turns rogue and saves a planet those money hungry Industrialists, using the Marines, trying to take over? Say What? Animation plus fantasy plus the age old story line about how bad we are, is a leading movie? That movie will not outdraw the movie with sparkling vampires that will stalk you. It will for $8.50 at the matinee take you to a world where no one had to pay any bills and miracles abound.
The second movie they reviewed is the new Sandra Bullock movie Blind Side which is a story about a real life family that takes in a black kid and helped him turn his life around. The story is real and should give us all a feeling that in spite of all the bad things people say about the rest of the world, there are pockets of hope about what some people are doing. To me, the real story isn't that this humongous Black kid became a professional Football player, but that a kid that was tested in the single digit achievement scores when he was 12, turned into a scholar that graduated in the top of his class at Mississippi State. After almost 30 years of reaching out and teaching kids, Barb will tell you that that is a real miracle. How many kids are there out there that with a little (Or in this case a private tutor 24/7) help can achieve more than they are now? I think most people have unlimited potential and it is our failure that we can't unlock it in everyone.
The movie Blind Side was given a "skip it" by both reviewers. I don't get it. I saw the same movie and came out a Democrat, do I dare say it a Liberal. (No, not really) I guess those guys already were liberal and didn't see the hard work it takes to succeed. I guess they didn't see the Memphis slums built in the 60's by the Johnson administration and the hell hole they turned into. I guess they think that no one needs to reach out to the kids more because we already gave. There is no amount of money capable of reaching people that have given up. The kids like the one's in the movie will continue to do/sell drugs and drink their 40's (Forty Oz. of Malt Liquor) until someone reaches out with the message that there is room for everyone in our society. The Housing projects turn into a Ghetto without hope. There is no army there holding them in but the hopelessness is stealing the energy right out of their lives. That was the message that I thought the Obama Administration was going to change and now we are still looking for ways to spend more money that they take in and it is a lot more of the same.
I Don't Get It!
It is pretty cold this morning. I noticed the dog's water had a skim of ice over the top and I'll need to get out and to run the electric line for the heated water bucket. That line is normally plugged into the electric fence but I haven't cleaned the leaves out of the fence and every time it gets damp, it blew the GFI. I will leave it unplugged to the fence.
To all my friends and family I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. My mind is in Birmingham when I day dream this morning. There the house is full of coffee smells, the giggle of Austin and setting up for the feast that will happen. Here, the coffee smells are fresh and only the lingering smoke smell from the turkey is happening.
Step one was to find a turkey that was big enough to feed four people and leave enough left overs for later. Step two was to put that critter in the Fridge to thaw. This morning I got up and performed step three, brine that sucker. I will leave it in the solution of salt, sugar and a few spices until about noon when I will start a fire on the grill for the smoke magic. In case you are a new reader, I was very lucky to find this property about 20 years ago. The land the house is on sits right in a grove of shag bark hickory. That means that all I have to do each year is to cut up one small tree and I have enough hickory to cook all season. I will probably smoke the turkey this year. About noon on Wednesday, I put all the coals on the up wind side and put a brined turkey on the down wind side. The lid has holes on that side and that forced the smoke over the bird as it exits the Webber grill. When I get the turkey done to the point that the outer surface is almost black, I will take it inside to sit in the fridge for at least one night. I will reheat the bird in the oven on Thursday. That period gives the smoke a chance to permeate the meat with all that wonderful hickory flavor. The beauty of a Webber grill is that while it will let the wood burn, it won't flame, only smoke. I am going to put the tail of the turkey over the hot coals and see if that will drip some fat to make an even sweeter smoke.
Sully commented about my garlic smashed potatoes. I cook a whole head of garlic right in the water as I cook the potatoes. I do break it up a little and mash each clove with the flat side of a knife. When the potatoes are done, I put a stick of butter, a package of cream cheese a little milk and mash the whole mess up. I do wash and cut the taters up but I don't skin 'em. A little salt and pepper to taste and serve 'em while they are hot.
We will have a green bean casserole (Just like it calls for on the package of the French fried Onions. Why mess with a good thing.
I will take the savory sage and the cornbread Stovetop stuffing, add some onions, celery, sausage and use chicken broth rather than water. If there is time and oven space, I will heat it up in the oven. If not, I will heat up the broth in the Microwave. I will precook the onions, sausage and celery either way.
There will be pies a baking, I think we have a pumpkin and our daughter-in-law will bring one of her famous pecan pies. (If'n it ain't pronounced pee-can, it probably is one of those damn Yankee wannabee pies) I read that the average American eats 8 slices of pie a year. I wonder how many of you slackers are not eatin' you share. Heck, I have already had 8 pieces in the last two months and there is an entire holiday season left.
My preference for the fruit salad would be to make it a Waldorf but the kids aren't that into mayonnaise or whipped topping. Probably will be a honey crisp and giant red grape fruit salad.
Sound like enough? Oh, did I mention the rolls with real butter? I think Ijust gained five pounds writin' about this meal.
Man, That Can't be Right Pt 3
Martha tells a lie
When an ambush interview pops up, it really pays to pay attention to what you say. Martha says Sarah Palin is dangerous and her message is all over the place, and yet Martha says you couldn't pay her to listen. Clearly one or the other is true. Care to guess which side of her mouth she is not telling the truth out of?
This morning a local sports person for the Capitol Journal was making a point about the difference in points scored by teams. He was curious how a team could beat one team 60 to 13 and then turn around and lose to another team 13-55. He made the point that ISU was 6-0 when they scored more points than their opponent and 0-6 when they scored less. Now, lets discuss the dynamics of a win. When you score more than your opponent you are the winner. When you score less you lose. DUH! I wonder how many people read that line and just didn't even stop to think that it was not news, but a fact. It did not support the main point of his article.
Last night we took the kids out to eat at Famous Dave's BBQ here in Topeka. They have a 1/2 family meal that includes a portion of everything they serve. Ribs, Chicken, Brisket, fries, beans, corn on the cob and corn muffins. I think it is supposed to feed two and we fed three and had food leftover. During our meal, we discussed our good friend Mel who is moving to Texas next week. Seems like her sister got Mel to hold their family Thanksgiving at her house three days prior to moving. We turned that around by inviting everyone to our house. Barb was feeling like that four people for Thanksgiving just wasn't enough. I think we doubled that number in one move. I just doubled the size of the garlic smashed potatoes.
Kansas had one lone Democratic member of the House of Representatives. He declared that a run in the next election will be a non starter. It will be interesting to see how far the Congress moves in the next election. Unless they all get their act together and figure out a way to encourage jobs, they all should be unelected. I don't think our national goal should for us all to eat at the McDonalds inside the local Wal*Mart where we work. Man, That can't be right.
Why are we here? Some say it is to serve God. Some say it is to earn money. Some say it is to just survive. I will admit that a lot of people have forgotten that the reason they have a job is to make money or serve the customers in the job they have. A part of the problem we have is that the MBA's are telling the CEO's that people are just another tool a company invests in. They hire and fire people with the vagaries of the economy. Have you talked to the kids out there in the workforce about how many of them are working part time? If they work a person less than 40 hours, they are part time and get no benefits. Man, that can't be right! There are fewer and fewer career paths each day. Perhaps in the Wal*Mart example above I should have said as we go from our part time job at Wal*Mart to our part time job at McDonalds.
On our dash to visit Mom over the weekend, I visited with a guy that was fixing breakfast at the Hotel we stayed in. He had retired from Phillips Petroleum and now at 80 his investments have led him to the place that he has to work a job to pay his bills. He freely admitted that he must be the worst investor in the land. His real estate investment lost money. His speculation in land lost money and the final blow was the collapse of his 401(Ks). At every step along the way, he was aggressively trying to make more and more money. My thought was as I got nearer to my retirement the return of my money was more important that the return on my money. Barb and I laugh that we lost money on our GM stock (14 shares) and our Delphi stock and all the paper money that one small 401K had made. It didn't lose my money, only the paper money it had grown into. I wonder how many broke older investors are out there because they didn't get a sound education from the University they attended.
My final word for the day is RISK. Money you make on your investments is based on risk. The higher the risk, the higher the interest. The problem is with the fact that few people understand that risk means that you might not get your money back. In this day and age, we all need to pay a hell of a lot of attention to that.
Man, That Can't Be Right Pt 2
Is it possible that Congress could cut the expenditures for everything else and not have to raise taxes? My thought is "When Pigs Fly." Let me explain why I say that. A Republican Senator from Kansas was a wounded War Vet from WWII. He served many years and retired a millionaire. Knowing what it costs to live in his hometown and in Washington and what he was paid in his job as a Senator, he should have been about to break even when he retired. Now, I know that he had been paid a lot of money since by the Pepsi and the Viagra people but he was darn rich when he retired. There are a whole lot more like him back there in Congress and it ain't fair. There should be some limit on the running for an office that limits the expenditure to no more than the pay for the office is. Otherwise, the candidates are beholding to people that give them lots of money. Jest Saying. "That Can't be right!"
I got a bill yesterday from the Cotton O'neil clinic and they want $15.00 for something that was performed clear back in March. Now, I know I paid all my bills as I go and all of a sudden a $15.00 bill pops up from March. Can that be right?
Oh well, I'm still waitin' for some pictures of Grandma Janet, Poo Bear, Ames and the little guy.
Man, That Can't Be Right!
Yesterday, we did our Thanksgiving shopping and stopped at the HiVee store on the west side of Topeka. It seems that right after the KC Chief's game there were a lot of people out shopping. The lure of turkey for .39 cents a pound was a big draw for us and a lot of others. I will cook the turkey and make my garlic mashed potatoes. There will be that green bean casserole and rolls with a Waldorf salad and pumpkin pie. If that isn't enough, I don't know what else to add.
There was a young teenager at the store and she was telling her mom that the store didn't have the kind of cheese ball she wanted. Nosy me, asked her what she wanted and she wanted a cream cheese cheese ball and I told her the age old cheese ball recipe I learned from my sister Myrna. Really it is fairly easy to start with cream cheese and flavor it the way you like it. I like to have one or two green onion stalks cut up and some cooked shrimp in mine. The flavor comes from whatever you prefer. Some people like Soy sauce, some like Worcestershire sauce and some just add salt and pepper. I find that about any spice or sauce you add is better the next day. Myrna always rolled her cheese ball in nuts and man is that a great treat. There is a new wheat cracker that is baked and comes in a bag that is just great with anything . The young girl looked at me and asked how did I know that would work. I said look at me, do I look like I know how to cook. Never trust a bald barber or a skinny cook.
When I went up stairs to get the name of the Worcestershire sauce off the bottle in the ice box, Barb wanted to know if I was using it in the description of the eggs she cooked. I am very careful to not make any fun of anything Barb cooks due to our Moose Manure Pie rule. There was this group of guys that went hunting up north and they made a rule that anyone that criticises someone else's work, had to take over that job. One guy was a fair cook and his food was good enough to keep the hunger pangs away. After several days of cooking he grew tired of that task and gathered some moose manure and made a pie. One of the guys took a big bite and shouted, "Holy Kerist (and he had a moment of clarity about the cooking duties he was about to inherit) That's the best Moose manure Pie I have ever eaten." So here at Rabbit run, we eat what is made or pass leftovers on quietly to the dogs. Most of the time I eat what is served as there is a big check mark in the food column under favorite.
More information will be forthcoming as I get closer to Turkey Day. I'll let you know if I am going to roast or smoke the turkey.
MUD the Chef, or at least the head turkey cook
Hawks Per Mile
Mom was fine, but slowly wearing out. She has a weak heart with an even weaker Mitral Valve that is allowing a lot of reverse flow as her heart refills. I guess at 87 the fact that it works at all is pretty good.
Rick and Becky had gone to the Tulsa Men's basketball game and we got to see them when they got home. I think that when the Roller Derby season kicks back up in February, we need to rent a van and a bunch of us go down to see her game on some Sunday evening. She is going to send the schedule and I'll work on the details. I'm sure that I'm going to make one game and I can take at least 4 in the Ford.
Low Motivation level
Some time in the next couple of days, I am going to look into the symptoms the septic system her at Rabbit Run has. The lateral line over to the downstairs bathroom and the laundry room seems to be sluggish and every once in a while the washer will cause the tub to kind of fill up with sludge out of the line. Normally it doesn't back up out the toilet bowl but this last time it did. I really think the toilet in that room is poorly designed and doesn't manage to flush with enough force but that also kind of describes my attitude.
Barb spent the day yesterday with one of those hide under a blanket migraines my granes or whatever you call it. She is much improved today and I am glad. She stayed home when I went to see Sandra Bullock's Blind Side. I loved that movie.
ShowTime and Direct TV have given us a free three month viewing because we are such a good viewer. (We pay our bill) Looks like I can now see Dexter for this season. On Friday night they ran last weeks episode a couple of times right after Californication. I didn't know you could show as much as that program shows. I guess the name should have given it away but... I guess I'm getting old.
Have a great day out there.
There is that new Sandra Bullock movie that starts today. She is so cute and talented that I love to watch her perform. It might be nice to see her not be a screwball in a movie. I read in the paper today that she has adopted a High School in Louisiana and is helping them recover from the damages of the hurricane. I guess 10 feet of water will tend to make it hard to come back without help.
Yesterday I waxed into the teacher mode and absolutely no one commented. I hope that there were lurkers out there that at least read some of it. It would be a shame if I threw a party and no one came. I do understand that many of you feel this is the beginning of the busy time of the year and you just don't have time.
The Foreign Exchange Students at the local university are going to hold their annual performance tonight. I noticed the president of that group is from Bahm Me Thout in Vietnam. Spent a couple of months there in 1968. We were camped out on the edge of the airport and spent most of our time sending helicopter loads of ammo to our forward base.
Round two of my new found allergy to cotton seed oil is Church's Chicken. It seems that their Honey Butter topping on their biscuits has Cotton Seed Oil listed as the second ingredient. All this time I thought it was the spicy coating or the jalapeno I would eat. Crap oh dear, I am now not able to eat biscuits on the road. I also found it listed on the ingredients of Laffy Taffee. No major loss there but i did eat a small box of it last night after the Church's biscuit. My mouth feels like someone brushed my lips with a wire brush. I guess i need to find out who else uses Cotton seed oil on their biscuits. I love gravy and biscuits and may have to forgo that luxury. Crap oh Dear.
Have a great day and an even better weekend. My thoughts will be with Janet and Mandy as they travel to Birmingham to have Thanksgiving with the Kirklands.
Recently, a friend on Face book said she was going to start using a system to keep track of all the things she has to do. This morning, the paper had an article on how families manage money. Both are worth a look and a discussion.
If you purchase the Franklin Covey planner, the system advocated there is a start. In some ways it is a little more complicated than I advocate for a novice planner but at least it starts you off in the direction of looking at the big picture. Why plan for today if you aren't moving towards your life goals? The alignment of where you want to be in the long run with the goals of today helps reduce the dissonance in your life. I think that when your time is limited, at least understanding the priority of what you have to do is a real start. For me it was a matter of scheduling my must do and at least listing the things I should do and even down to the things I will do. I would take the daily calendar and put down any required meetings or events. I would block in the things I must do and should do and have the remaining list attached for times I had a moment.
One of the most important things I did each day was to set down at the end of the day and plan tomorrow. After the office would clear out, I would take the required 10 to 15 minutes and plan the next day. I would also scan the in-box for new assignments and hot items that turned up. With the e-mail coming alive in our business, I would also see if there were any priority tasks there. Folks, don't fly your in box moment to moment. It is like spending your time logged into Face book and waiting for someone to send you something. It will keep you busy but let you accomplish absolutely nothing worthwhile.
One job that I had was the Military Personnel Officer. The guy ahead of me was a control freak and wanted to see every piece of paper that went through the office. I literally found myself with a foot of paper each morning and I was spending time sending it out to the branch leaders. My secretary would have time to buff her nails and bother me with conversations about her life. I soon had a meeting with the section leaders and asked them why I was sorting their mail. "Because the other guy did it." I asked them why they didn't (or he didn't) feel they could do their job? They all agreed that they were perfectly capable of doing the day to day stuff and bringing me the problems that needed a Colonel's authority. We discussed that if it was a normal straight up, by the book issue, they all could say yes. If it was controversial and or might cause someone to say something I needed to be informed. If it was a "no" answer, I signed the letter. You can't imagine how the work flow settled out. I got back to the job of managing work flow and Leadership with the people doing the work.
In the paper the article about managing money they said there are three common ways couples manage. First there is the age old way in which one person sticks his head in the sand and lets the other person manage. If that person is a good manager, great. If not, this is one way to have big explosions from time too time instead of discussions. The second way is for the couple to divide the bills and each person takes responsibility for part of them and then they maintain a separate set of books with their money. So long as each person takes care of their part, this is somewhat OK. The final way is the simple work by committee that means that once a week or bi weekly, the couple talk about their goals, amount of money on hand and where they are having problems. One person can maintain the checkbook (works best for us) and the other person carries mostly cash.
No matter what way you manage your life and your money, I find that meetings, car trips and discussions after the check book is reconciled are times to discuss money. Start with the future and discuss where you plan to be in the real long term (20 years), long term(5-10 years) near term (3 years) and finish with where you are today. Focus on the process of achieving your goals and not on the failures. (This is a heck of a lot easier after you have some money saved)
What ever you do, remember to take some time to laugh and smile with the person you are with. We can all be replaced but at least make it for a darned good reason.
Some of my Favorite Stories
I have often wondered how kids in the same family could grow up so different. I am sure that I did a lot of stupid things in my life and survived with all my fingers and teeth. I have a cousin that grew up on a farm and seemed pretty normal in his life. He was clearing a feed chopper and lost some of his fingers. The good news was it was his trigger fingers and I'm sure that (and a Student Deferment) kept him out of harms way in Vietnam. I have another cousin that while impulsive was just only a little more "Wild Child" than I was. He managed to have more than a few teeth knocked out and some terrific scars from a traffic accident. Mother said that one of the two of us was bound to be in Prison some day. he is now a guard at a Prison. Mom didn't know how right she was going to be.
My grandpa, Curly Fruits, said a lot of things to me over my lifetime but one that really stuck was the part about saving. He told me that if I would save 7% of my lifetime earnings I could retire early. He retired after 30 years with Shell Oil at the age of 50. Thanks to his advice (and day to day guidance from Barb) we did just that. I will be the first to admit that having a good paying job didn't hurt but Barb and I both saved the maximum we could far beyond the 7% Curly wished for. The only retirement money that has gone bust for us was the 14 shares of GM stock that I (like a fool) held on to.
Snowy Monday Morning
To all of the pundits that say Global Warming, I offer the one finger salute that I hope they think means "We're Number One" with the wrong finger elevated. Sometime before dawn, it started sleeting and only because the ground was still above freezing didn't turn commuting into a mess. I use the garage on days like this as the front and back porch are too icy to get down. As if to add insult to injury, it turned to snow and while pretty, it (thank God) didn't stick.
The turn in the weather means that the woodpeckers line up to get to the suet block. There aren't any empty perches on the finch feeder and there is one bird after another in the sunflower feeder. The ground is covered with the hopefuls that just want a little snack as it is dropped from one of the feeders. Those pesky woodpeckers just chop the suet up as they dig out the little pieces of corn. The guys on the ground ain't too proud to pick up the little pieces. In a little while, the squirrels will show up looking for their share of the bounty here at Rabbit Run. So what if it costs $5 to !10 dollars a week to feed the masses. As much as I have been known to profess a dislike for bushy tailed rats, I have been known to spill a few sunflower seeds on the ground.
Yesterday Barb and I went to Lawrence for breakfast and a little shopping. There is a "World Market" shop there that has that Kookaburra licorice that I love so much. It ain't cheap, but man is it great, soft and chewy. While there, I generally pick up some Ginger Peach tea for Barb. On a large display was this big red tin of Ginger Snaps. I found a small package of the same kind and bought the cheaper one's. Man do those Ginger Snaps hit the spot with a hot cup of coffee. Barb says they taste pretty darned good with the Ginger Peach tea too. Makes me wish I had gone for the $9.99 can. Barb's probably happy that I didn't cause you can't eat just one. Oh yes I "CAN". (as in a whole can)
Rabbit Run sits just southeast from Topeka and we are in the transition zone between the forest and the short grass prairie. We have a lot of trees and some open spaces that once were farming ground. The first time we saw this place the field where our orchard and garden are was a wheat field. Down by the well was a hay meadow now overgrown with trees. Some of the trees are trash trees but there is a good planting of Oaks starting to grow their way across the meadow. Each year, Barb has planted one or two more trees in our orchard. I think she has finally given up on the idea that peaches can grow here. We have pretty good luck with apples and those Asian Pears.
Oh well, enough of this travelogue. I would normally say that I need to get on with more important endeavors but today may be a good day to stay inside with a good book.
This weekend I cooked a bunch of meat on the grill and barb put a couple of burgers to good use as planned overs. They made the base for a chili bean soup that had a wonderful smoky flavor. While at the world Market I found a bar of chipotle Dark chocolate and added a square of it to a bowl of the soup. I can imagine how good it would be in a lot of other dishes. I left it our of the entire pan of soup to let barb have the flavor of the soup. Wonderful snowy day meal with the addition of cinnamon rolls there at the end. Kind of wish I had a Pepsi but hey you can't have everything.
Advertisements on My Computer?
While I am in the mood for a rant, I read an article about a couple living in Los Angeles in 380 square feet. Once upon a time, Barb and I lived in a trailer that was 8X38 feet from tongue to taillights. I'm pretty sure that the sidewalls were at least 4 inches thick so the real inside measurement was closer to 34.5 feet by 7 feet 4 inches. That is a little over 250 feet. At least in Los Angeles they can invite visitors to sleep in a tent in the yard. In Kansas that would have been possible only three or four months in each year.
Now, leap to modern day life here at Rabbit Run an you will find us with 3,000 square feet, a three car garage and storage space at one of my rental houses. Yes, we are up to about two cars per adult (2.5 to be exact) Four lawn mowers and a garden tractor. I started to work on the garage yesterday and realized that without a trip to the dump, I was doing little but moving things around. At least I could walk down some paths but I couldn't find most of the things I use on a normal day very quickly.
I started a system using buckets where I would put tools together by function. I started with a wood working bucket, an electrical bucket and a plumbing bucket. Now I find that I need a painting tote and some shelving to put all the electrical tools. Most of them come in those plastic cases but some defy me and once I have taken them out of the plastic box they don't seems to fit anymore. I won't even talk about nails, screws and fasteners located in about four different places. The good news in all of this is it will soon be too cool to work in the garage so it won't matter until spring. Crap.
Yes, we have the dreaded age old disease of not throwing things away. I am not sure when it really started but I can see that things start to accumulate in the storage areas and then the accumulation starts to migrate out into the living area. This disease deserves a double crap. I am almost past the point where we have everything we need and into that area where we have more than we can manage. I have seen the enemy and he is us.
It sure was fun last night to see the Jay Hawk round ballers play their first official game. The coach just kept a new bunch of kids on the floor and wore a pretty good team down and fouled out half of their starters. They showed up with only 10 players to start with so it was getting pretty tense there at the end to see if one of the assistant coaches would have to play. heck, KU could have loaned them a couple of guys that are going to red shirt and made it a little more even. It looked like the Harlem Globetrotters with all the dunks and pretty plays. There are still two players sitting out with injuries, two ineligible until second semester and three walk ones that didn't get into the show. last year the starters played a lot of minutes and this year it will be tough to stay in thew game. Throw the ball away or forget to play defense and you will find your butt on the bench. Way down the end of the bench. There are some freshmen sitting on the bench that should start for most teams.
Turned a little cool this morning and they are predicting moisture soon. It is cloudy right now so we'll see what it turns out to be.
Now, back to the criminal mind and just how stupid it can be... Last night, a 52 year old Topeka man lowered himself headfirst into one of those big exhaust fan vents to try to break into a local business that was a restaurant but is now a smoke shop. Well, the well played but not thought out idea just led to that idiot being stuck upside down in the vent for three hours. The fire department had to come out and lift/pry/rope him out of that vent. Yes, he went to Jail after they treated his rope burns. I guess he wanted a pack of smokes. I can't imagine how dirty he got in that vent.
Yesterday I went to one of the local Quick Shops to get a bag of ice. When I walked up to the counter there was this cute young girl buying a pack of cigarettes. The shop owner did card her and she was just barely legal. She paid almost $5.00 for that 20 pack of cigarettes. I told her that 10 years from now she will wish she had stopped smoking today. It would be easy right now and later on, she will have to suffer. She smiled and went off with the pack in her hand. I guess being an old man with a Witty word just wasn't enough. I wonder what an investment of $20.00 a week would be worth by the time she is 60... No, she will be like a list of my friends that smoked and not live that long. I ran into a friend this week and he told me about a buddy that drank and smoked himself right into a heart attack and died a month back. Oh well...
I guess I didn't make myself completely clear when I mentioned we want to go to see all the Basketball Stadiums in the BIGXII. I also want to see the Jay Hawks play the team that owns the Stadium. I don't want to be at Texas when they play their Tune-Ups for the regular season. Tonight is the first game for the Hawks within the regular season. They played two D-II schools and it was fun but not pretty. Tonight will be the first official game and it will be fun to see if Bill Self plays the Freshmen all at the same time again. In the last game, he played the walk-on's near the end of the game. Everyone scored and all played.
Yesterday turned out to be a great day for grilling. I had some great steaks, some hamburger, some chicken and some brats. Now the trick will be to eat it all in a timely manner. Barb made a wonderful pie with a brown Betty topping. Barb would commend me for eating the Schmoe Girl's breakfast of pie.
I have been doing some interesting studying about what the Internet has been saying about the States. 50% of all the people live in 10 States. Other than California and Texas, none of those States are in the top half of the most livable states. I can't imagine how, other than the weather, that California made the list. They are broke and people are leaving there in droves. Their property values are so down that people can sell there and only buy a 23 bedroom mansion in Idaho. At one time you could go to Idaho and find some nice housing values. The last time we were there I saw a horrible little house on a bare lot sell for over $40,000.
Oh well, other than the wind, it appears to be a sunny nice day out there. I have a couple of garages to get in order so better get started.
Today I went to the same store and spoke with the manager. he and I had worked together on a project a few years back and he was really nice and provided me with all the information he could. He even gave me the Corporation consumer number to call to ask them if anything had cottonseed oil in it. The representative I spoke with looked up the margarine and he said it was soybean oil. Then he looked up the biscuit info. They bake them and then brush them with a partially hydrolyzed cotton seed oil. I guess no more biscuits at Micky D's for me.
Once upon a time, my dad had a really bad reaction to cottonseed oil after helping unload a carload of cotton seed cake (What's left over as cattle feed after they mash the oil out.) I once upon a time had a bad reaction to scotch and a bag of granny Goose Potato chips while I was in the Army. Granny Goose uses cotton seed oil to cook their chips. I guess I will just have to be more vigilant about it from now on. The information I read indicated that a lot of times you won't have a reaction to a food allergen but once you do, you need to pay attention.
The Military was not like being a driver in a car. You didn't get to turn the wheels or honk the horn. Your control in the entire process was what bus you got on and where it was headed. You could get a transfer for a different bus, but for the most part you were going for a bus ride and someone else was generally in charge. You may have similar experiences to those riding that bus but as you are not the same, your feelings and recollections will be different as your backgrounds.
I entered the Military as a Draftee in 1966. At the grand old age of 19, if you didn't have a school deferment you were as good as drafted. It didn't hurt anything that when I went to Kansas City for a Pre Induction Physical that the bottom line was whole bunch of 1's followed by an A stamped on the Physical. PULHES were the categories, Physical, Upper Skeletal, Lower Skeletal, Hearing, Eyes and whatever skeletal was left. 1 was normal and 4 was bad.
They judged you starting from A (Like Prime beef) to F.
As soon as that information was returned to the Draft Board, they set me up for the next round of inductions 30 days later. In early September 1966 I began my road through the Military that ended finally in August 1997.
The first step in the induction process was another short round of physical inspections to ensure that we hadn't done anything stupid during the 30 days to change the category. They selected a bunch of the group to go to the Marine Corps and and the rest for the Army. The Air Force and Navy had enough enlistees at that time so you were either a Marine or a Soldier for my Cycle. For some strange reason I felt relieved that they stopped somewhere in the N's on the Marine list. Step forward and take the oath son. I didn't even think about evading the draft of not being inducted. I stepped forward and joined that group going into the unknown.
We were put on a bus late in the day and told that we were going to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Step one was the Reception Station. I will relate the rest of the story later.
For now, I want you all to know that my story is different in the details but the same in the feeling most of us had. We learned to stand in line and do what we were told. We might get to bitch about the details later but accepted what was right in front of us because for the most part we didn't have a clue what the hell was happening.
If you are glad to live with what you are experiencing, thank a Veteran. If you are unhappy blame a politician because they are the one's that have screwed up the things the Veteran's earned for you. For the most part, our Veterans are like Ron Sawyer in Kingman, KS and Harvey Blinn from Hurst, Texas that did their part and came home to live as normal a life as they could. Ron is a School Teacher and Harvey is a Construction Superintendent. Our world is built on the shoulders of people like that who served and came home to get on with their lives.
What Would You Do?
Today I am going over to my rental house and clean up the garage. It needed cleaned out after Dave and Barb left but I let it ride. I know there will be a trailer full of junk for the dump. After filling it up, I will probably make a run up north to the landfill.
It did rain some last night so the composted manure I spread yesterday got a good wetting down. It is in the mid 50's outside and should be a great day here in the heartland. KU will have another pre-season game tonight so it will be a good day.
Note to KC - I wondered how long it would take you to drop Larry Johnson. No one is worth that much trouble. Heck, a guy making millions of dollars a year should be able to stay in shape and keep out of trouble. The College ranks are full of guys that will get in there and block when they are needed and run when they are needed. A team that is 1-7 on the year should get a pretty high pick next year. I would trade that first round pick for a second and third round pick and go deep not early. But, I am not trying to make money from Football.
Don't Drink The Water!
Iowa State 2-4
Big XII South
Texas Tech 3-2
Texas A&M 2-3
For some reason, the football gods must be laughing at Big XII football this year. KU and Missouri are tied for last in the North and God only knows where Oklahoma is. After watching years of epic battles where Nebraska would perform 5 yards and a cloud of dust and Oklahoma would put on an aerial show, the game over the weekend was more like watching paint dry. Our KU Quarterback who was rumored to be in the running for the Heisman Trophy. threw almost more interceptions than complete passes for two weeks in a row. KU's running game is really labeled three and out. I think the only way it would be considered if you looked at the number of yards he scrambled sideways before he threw those interceptions. Memo to self, Don't drink the water in Lawrence, Columbia or Norman.
There should be a special place in Heaven for those fans that go out to watch Kansas City Chief's football. They have more ways to snatch a loss from the jaws of victory than anyone else. Why people go out and pay good money to see them play eludes me. Hell, I won't even watch them on TV anymore.
Barb and I went to the local Ace Hardware store to purchase some composted manure for the garden. Ten bags is a good start. Didn't take too long to apply. But you all knew that I could shovel it with the best of them, didn't you. If it doesn't rain today I will probably hook up the tiller and give it a good stir in. I for sure will turn it in the spring if I don't get it done this fall.
Hope that your week is nice and you all have a great time out there. I will be either raking leaves or off to distant points with Dr Friesen's book.
All I wanted was a Chicken Dinner!
As was the usual, there was enough chicken to feed an Army and I did my best to eat a goodly share of that wonderful treat. To make things better, there was heaping mounds of potatoes and that white chicken grease gravy that was just looking for a plate. I don't recall the vegetable but it was probably corn or green beans. Sheila's mom also made some dinner rolls that with just butter tasted like they had some honey in them.
After a nice lunch and lots of talk, we moved into the living room for a nice post meal visit. Sheila's mom looked at Sheila and said "Honey, your Dad and I think you are a little young to be getting serious." without missing a beat, Sheila said, "Mom you do realize that I am six months older than you were when you had me?" Shit oh dear, these people were talking kids and marriage and all I was there for was the chicken. Need less to say, I didn't work hard to get invited back to lunch after that.
It is my hope that the world continues to be served by people that have the desire to go to other countries and do the tough jobs. Dr friesen does indicate that a lot of countries now are being served by Doctors that are natives to their countries and trained in the US and England. In fact, he spent the last few years traveling and teaching some of those Doctors the art of Eye Surgery. I'm sure that his influence on the world was great.
Have a great day.
The topic this year is should the US significantly increase the social services provided to the people living in Poverty. Now, you might think that fiscal conservative would be so repulsed by the idea that I might not be fair. In fact, both affirmative teams won their debate and the second debate was clearly so close that I almost had to flip a coin to determine the winner. The first debate was a proposal to increase the size of the Job Service Corps to provide training in those skills that are energy driven. Solar, wind, heating, insulation, low voltage lights are the focus and paid for with the funds returned by the banks as they pay off the loans given them by the stimulus money. Winner on so many levels that I didn't have a problem with this one.
The second debate was to revamp head start and was so controversial that had the Negative team attacked it on the Topicality as not meeting the spirit of the topic that they could have won. There was no real expansion of this program, only qualitative improvements. They want a nationwide curriculum and for all the teachers to have a degree. The negative team had so many places to find fault that it should have been easy to defeat this proposal. They played softball and whiffed the fact that the proposal didn't meet the guidelines of substantial increase. Bummer for the negative team.
I think it is a wonderful topic for the National debaters to look at. They get to think of ways to improve what's out there and how to pay for it. A bonus for Barb and I was the fact that we got to meet the cream of the crop of the students today. Suits and ties, freshly washed faces and smiles around. 'Cides, Tupperware gets to sell all those "Totes" that are filled with facts and figures.
I hope you all get a chance to meet some of today's kids and see that in spite of the technology moving forward, the kids today are a lot more like the kids of my day. It did crack me up that the old timer of yesterday is now a timer function on a cell phone.
Get out and do something nice today. Going to be 70+ here and I for one will be out there with a big smile on my face.
Yesterday At Wal*Mart
Get ready, get Set - Roundball!
Talking Money $
Yesterday MSN had an article about five ways to become a millionaire. Their advice was to ----
----Drum Roll--- save early and often. Duh! Anyone that even begins to understand interest understands that compound interest is the easy way. What the hell do you do if your aren't 18?
Now for some tough straight talk. There is no free ride to any goal. The main reason you have goals is to lift your vision out of the day to day mundane crap and to focus on the future.
One of the comments on the article was that after being told to invest in 401Ks, one person said isn't that where everyone lost so much money? No, only the stupid ones. I for one have a 401K that is valued at what it was plus some small interest from a couple of years ago. Only the growth 401K I started a couple of years ago lost money. I want to point out that it didn't lose any of my money, only the paper profit it had made. In fact, it went down to almost exactly to the amount I invested and now has turned around and made back 25% of the paper profit. There are government bond funds out there that will return your money in a slow steady growth pattern. If your are nearing the end of your investing period, the return of your money is damn sure a lot more important than the return on your money. My investment in the growth fund is limited to less than 10% of my total. Diversify stupid. A scheme like the Madoff Ponzi scheme might have cost me some money but it darn sure wouldn't have wiped me out.
Real Estate - If you have some ability to fix up houses, you can generally buy fairly cheap, rehabilitate and rent with the goal of paying off the property. Our rentals didn't start making real income until we paid them off as I retired. Now they are returning a nice profit. Yes, there are days when the renter has to have someone hold their hand and come over to fix the garage door. There are times like today when our young tenant stops by to tell us she is moving to Texas. Now the decision is should we rent or sell? Either way, we aren't throwing bunches of money down a well or hiding it under our mattress. I vote for selling and paying off the small note on the last property we bought. This is one area that The Money talk program and I disagree. I will borrow money to purchase real estate when I have a good plan. I like to invest borrowed money on the basic property and my money on the improvements. I like to think my part of the investment is the part that makes the property really shine and thus be worth more. That is where the value of the property really increases and thus the value of my own investment increases at a higher rate. Somewhere in there, Barb always starts paying things off as fast as she can and secures the value of our total investments.
Debt - Is there anything more sweet than paying off a mortgage? I have managed to do that twice in this lifetime on our principle residence and a lot of times on rentals. The real nice thing is that we have built up our emergency fund and can buy a used car without talking to the finance company to help us pay for it. Once you get ahead of the debts, and have income left over when the first of the month comes in, you too will understand that the boat, a lake house and the new cars might feel good but nothing like the paid off debt.
Careers - yes, I understand that in today's world, there are few places that you can make a living and have a long career. Generally those places don't pay all that great and you might have to tighten you belt from time to time. Put together a couple of those careers and in the end you will have a foundation to buy butter for your daily bread when you retire. Teachers, firemen, police officers and Civil Servants are a few of the careers where you can put together a nest egg for retirement. If you can't save there, put money into your own 401K (Roth if possible)
My final word is that once you master the income and outgo part of money, you can then manage your money. Until you do that, the tail will continue to wag your dog. Once you understand what it is you need and what is is you are making, you can begin to separate needs and wants. Now get out there and earn money and help us bring back our economy to be the strongest one in the world. It doesn't matter what happens in China if you are in charge there.