Last Day of July

As a child, the last day of July was 2/3rds of the way through the summer. Now, the kids have only a couple of weeks left to the start of school. Normally there is a lot of hot weather left and time was spent swimming. With a lot of rain, there is still mowing left. Last night the sky clouded up early and it looked like we were going to get a lot of rain. Nope, not a drop.

Seems like there has been a lot of traffic deaths here in rural Kansas this week. One woman had her three daughters in the car and ran a stop sign only to get plowed into by an SUV. No one was wearing a seat belt and all were ejected. Only Mom survived. A motor cyclist over by Lake Shawnee went around a corner too fast and had to lay his bike down to keep from hitting a truck. No Helmet. Hes is in critical condition. I wear a helmet and gloves when I rode my bike. Oh well, not my call. I do thank little kids for wearing a helmet when I see them on the trail with their helmet on.

Better run. Fun tomorrow.



Nebraska Quiz

Turner Gill was a star at Nebraska and KU hired him as the new football coach after coach Mangino threw his last fit. Turner wants to get to know all the players so he used the quiz they used at Nebraska. There are 10 questions and they cover the wide range of family, friends and activities. There is one really different question - "What do you thing was the most important invention?"

One of the linemen gave a really different answer. He said a Thermos. The coach just had to ask why it was an important thing. The lineman responded, "Well Coach, it keeps cold things cold and hot things hot..... How do it know?"


Old Trucks

Yesterday the 53 Chevy Pick up had something go pop as I went into the driveway at the rental house. We filled the bed and a trailer with tree limbs and then drove it to Dave's house. As we shut it down, the left rear wheel was smoking. I got the garden hose and cooled it off so it didn't start a fire. A little later I drove it home and while it did get hot, it wasn't smoking. One of the brake pieces came loose and the shoes were pressing against the brake drum. I pulled it apart and found the brake cylinder was shot. Normally replacing that would be a 15 minute task once the part is on hand. For some dumb reason I worked on it for over an hour and finally when the heat index topped 100 I went inside to cool it off. OK, I took a nap and cooled down. When I went back outside later on, I applied some know how to the problem and fixed that part in about 20 minutes. I took a good look and realized that there were parts in the wrong place and I took off the other rear wheel to figure out what I had done wrong. It was messed up worse than the side that locked up. Another hour or two putting everything together correctly and finally I got to call it a day about 8 PM. We started yesterday about 9 AM cutting up a tree that had fallen and you would think I would have slept like a log. Not so much.

Our little great grand nephew in Oklahoma has been having some breathing problems. He is in the NICU and was moved to another hospital. Dave spent 4 to 5 weeks in an isolet when he was born in 1975. I really understand his mother's desire to hold him. He will be home shortly and everything will be forgotten.

Oh well, places to go and things to finish cutting down. Have a great day.




This year we have lost our matriarch and gained the newest Great grandchild. My mother left in April and Dexter H. Thompson was born yesterday. I guess it is fair that some come and some go or we would be up to our armpits in people. Our good friends the Parks lost a daughter way too soon and that makes me the most sad.

Barb suggested we go for a bike ride this morning and wanted to go somewhere new. We went over by the Brown vs Board Of Education Site and rode the Shunga trail from there back to Gage Blvd. I did a quick calculation and we went 12 MPH for 50 minutes. That figures out 10 miles by my calculations. Nice ride and the wind in our faces kept it from being too hot. I know that in a couple of weeks the Shunga trail will have some giant size rag weed so we won't ride there much more this year. The Lake Shawnee trail has very little rag weed near the trail.

This weekend the family will get together in lawrence for August Birthdays. Amy and Austin from Birmingham will be there and Sunday is my Birthday. My first gift was a coffee cup with a picture of the Special K's on it. Coffee in my belly and a smile on my face is a great way to start the day. In case you don't know, the Special K's are Katrina and Kendra Reimer visiting all the way from Morocco. They are with their family in Western Kansas right now and the house is quiet without the sound of little feet and giggles.

Better mosey on Boys and Girls. Things to do and people to see. Have a great day out there.



Election Season

I am not sure what your mail looks like now days, but here in Kansas the race between the two Republican Reps for the Brownback Senate seat is in full fling. Like mud that is. Both of them are to the right of Ronald Regan and every little thing that might be of any consequence is being hurled at us by Mail, the newspaper or TV. Sure be glad when this round of madness is over. The funny thing is that right now I don't really care which one wins. I am a little pissed off by a call the other evening where Jerry Moran's campaign called me and acted like they were a poll. I told them that I didn't see much difference and the caller launched into a here's why you should vote for Moran. If I had to vote right this moment that one thing would cause me to not vote for Moran.

Our Senator Brownback who created the whole mess is running for Governor. Our paper carried a few comments from his democratic opponent and she is a lot of french fries shy of a happy meal. They quoted her as one of those conspiracy nuts that talks about mind control and implanted microchips. Where do these people come from? Oh well, Brownback has well over a million dollars in his campaign chest and he will thump it after the prelims.

I just got word that our Grand niece in Tulsa is in the hospital to give birth to their son. That makes my brother a great grandfather. I'll bet he is among the best.

Oh well, better get rolling and get some things done early. It will be way too hot in the afternoon to be out and working up a sweat.



Freedom of Religion

Today I got a message that wanted me to write my Congressmen to help block the mosque from being built near ground Zero for 9-11. All I can say is that either you believe in freedom of religion or you don't understand what our freedom and liberties stand for. As much as I disagree with Fred Phelps and the WBC on their way of delivering their message, I wouldn't for a second stop it. I don't want people in the Catholic Church to not be able to give their opinion on abortion. I won't oppose where a church, mosque or synagogue is built. That is what we have freedom of religion.

I think it is immature for people to demand freedom and then want the Government to step in and silence or stop people that don't feel the way they do. Either we have freedom or we don't. I damn sure don't want the Government to get involved. Yes, this is the slippery slope speech that I will never tire of giving when I read another knee jerk reaction to something controversial.

I personally think abortion is a horrible way to have birth control. But, I in no way want my Government involved in a decision that should be between a woman and her Doctor. There are people that feel Government should be there to protect our freedoms. I want to know who is going to protect us from the Government when it steps in and takes over our personal choices.



Money in Our Lives

A long time back, long before I ever listened to Dave Ramsey, I met and married my wonderful wife, Barbara. We both grew up poor so we started out in life without too many expectations, and the ability to not let the wants of today take us places we really didn't want to or need to go. The thing that impressed me from the beginning was that Barbara had the plans on what her future would look like. She knew that she needed to finish her degree, start teaching, help her husband finish his degree, have at least one child, and do all this without going way far in debt.

To add to her great vision in life, she was more than willing to put money aside today to prepare for tomorrow. One thing that I think helped us was that from the first of our marriage, we both were paid on a monthly basis and had to really stop and look at a budget to get to the end of the month with money left rather than the alternative of having days left without money.

Step one for us was to finish our degrees with no or at least a very small student loan. The last semester Barb was in College she had to do her student teaching so she could not work. I think she got a $500 loan and because she taught in a title 10 school the Government paid most of it off for us. During our College years. we did have the GI Bill to help us and we both worked at small part time jobs. We were able to almost save all of the GI Bill money to pay tuition and we lived in a pretty small, paid for, trailer for our first two years.

I think the biggest thing for anyone to do is to plan, re plan and budget out your plan. Set your goals in terms of years. Looking at those goals, what can you afford to do this year looking at your projected income? That becomes the programs for that year. If you know you don't have room in the budget for a boat this year, you don't buy a boat. If you cannot afford to continue down your life goal list, you don't include those things you cannot afford to do. Start small in buying a house and work up from there. Our first home was a 38 foot trailer purchased for cash. We lived in that for a couple of years and sold it for what we paid for it. While on the GI bill, we were able to get into a low income housing apartments in Leavenworth. Barb taught school and I finished my degree. We found a house that was about to be repossessed and bought the couple out of their mess darn cheaply. In less than two years, we were able to sell that house for about 50% more than we paid for it. We have never lost money in real estate.

With my degree in hand, we started a family. Dave was not a stopping point in our plan but a planned holding pattern. For three years, Barb was able to stay home and be a full time mother. She was also able to finish a good portion of her Masters Degree in Special Education and when she was ready to start teaching again move in to that field a bunch of steps up on her pay scale.

When I went to work for the National Guard full time, there was a distinct chance that I would only get to stay until I was 50. There was a small chance to stay to 55 but I wasn't planning on it. That gave me a little over 20 years to work and prepare for the first step into retirement.

Barb set out with financial plans to put us in the best shape possible when that was to happen.
In 1983, our plans were upset when a tornado ripped our house off the foundation and we had to rebuild. Interest rates were well above 13% for financing and it really hit us hard to program the change in our budget. After the SBA stepped in and helped us rebuild, we paid them off in almost no time. We sat down and planned where did we want to retire is a little over 14 years. We built our house at Rabbit run and worked on a plan to pay it off as rapidly as we could.
During all of this, we were also putting money into retirement accounts as much as we could. We started with IRA's worked up to 401(K)s and because Barb was a teacher she could have a 403(b). We both were in a Government retirement program and paying into those funds at the same time. We bought real estate and poured every extra dollar from the rent into paying them off. We built assets for later not income at the time.

Now that we are retired, we feel blessed that we were able to do so debt free. We have managed to have the house of our dreams, the ability to travel and end the month with money left not days with no money.

You need to understand what is the difference between wants and needs. You need to understand what your budget looks like and how expenditures fit in the program for that year. You need to be able to lift your head up and look longer range than today. This is built on a foundation of a good education, hard work and talking about what you are going and how you are going to get there. Having a great marriage has made this a lot more fun and having almost no money concerns has made that marriage even better. (funner?)



Summertime and it's HOT!

Yesterday I was going to mow about 1 PM and after making a run to get gas in the non AC truck, I decided to wait until this morning. The temp was only 93 or 94, but the humidity drove the Heat Index well in to the mid 100 to 110 range. You could break a sweat getting up to turn on the fan inside a house with AC.

Barb and I rode our bikes yesterday morning at Lake Shawnee and officially we are over 100 miles this year. The Shawnee County Parks people have the lake looking so nice and most of the time the people on the pathway are nice and share. Every once in a while you will run into someone that doesn't think the rules apply to them. Yesterday a couple of old men were walking down the sidewalk and using almost the whole danged thing. I announced, "Bike on your left" and the guy on my side of the walkway just looked up but didn't move. Either he had no clue what side his left side was or he was a hard of hearing as he was stupid. Finally I told him that he needed to move over or get hit by passing bikes. The sidewalk is over 8 feet wide, just how much room does two old men need. A little later on, I met a pack of women walking 8 breasts wide on the sidewalk and at least two butts deep. They did move it down to 4 breasts wide and 4 butts deep. They were all having a great time and were talking up a storm. Would have liked to be a fly on that wall.

Better get out and fire up the mower. It is over 80 at 8:45 and going to be another warm one.



Truth, the Whole Truth and....Oh Crap

To know me is to know that I love to tell stories about myself and things that happened to me growing up. As in most stories, fables and tales, they are often embellished a little and with repeated telling they can be subject to "Fact Creep." I am also married to a fact checker that wants to know where I get the information when I get political. What do you say when you listen to a lot of sources and read a wide and varied amount? I will listen to the news and work on the computer and don't have a clue if that kernel of truth was planted or combined from many sources.

If you want the absolute truth, I don't have a clue where you could go in this day and age. I am convinced that while in the old days there was at least an editor in the paper business that was charged with the responsibility of honesty. We now know that a lot of what we read was based on a business decision to provide the news and enough titillation to keep the circulation of the paper high. With ratings driving revenue today, the news programs are headed to an area where they pander to an audience and have made the truth into entertainment. Even Dave Ramsey who helps his listeners make good buying decisions sells his books and seminars.

To expect bloggers or Face book writers to be absolutely truthful is over the line. It will be the truth to the best of my memory but as I get older, I often have trouble finding my car keys.

Oh well, have a great day.




To say I grew up poor is almost an understatement. I grew up in a neighborhood in east Wichita that was almost completely segregated. I am not sure if it was all the poor white trailer trash that kept the blacks out or the fact that most of the blacks in Wichita were too proud to live in Dog Patch. I went from kindergarten to the ninth grade attending Minneha and I either can't or don't remember any blacks attending school there. Was I racist because I didn't know any blacks, live near any blacks or meet any in my daily activities? I do tell people that the only blacks that came into our neighborhood drove a new Chevy Trash Truck and collected once a month in a Cadillac. There was also a couple of old blacks that drove a Chevy panel delivery and sold fruit and produce door to door. Did I know them? Nah, I hardly met them. I do remember that they almost always had some bananas that were over ripe and would give them to us.

All of a sudden, the city of Wichita looked around and realized that the baby boomers were about to hit the high schools and they lacked the capacity. My sisters graduated from a new high School Southeast and I expected to go there. Nope, I wound up in Wichita East, a school that was at least 50% black. Culture shock central. I got all the cross culture experience I could handle. One of my class mates was robbed at knife point in our locker room after gym class. They could have robbed me but not if they wanted any money.

It took me a lot of years to grow to understand that most people are more like me than I wanted to admit. I think we all want to have enough money to live without hunger, cold or too much heat. Love is just a thing that we all feel and no one has a monopoly on it because of race, color or creed. Pretty much you are either happy or not because what you have inside.

I'll bet that everyone out there has some prejudice they don't understand. I happen to like DelMonte Ketchup, McDonald's french fries and BBQ. Given free choice, those items would get picked for a lot of my eating. At one time I would have said Chevrolet but after having my GM stock was killed, I am not near as crazy for Chevy's. I am prejudiced but I don't think I'm a racist. Wait, I need to go look up what that word means so - stand by - Here is one book solution:

the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

I would like to think that I am not a racist but I really don't know. Is it possible that through my reaction I might have done something that was racist? Not on purpose, but hey, no one is perfect. I do wish people would really stop and look at themselves before they throw the term Racist around.



Laughter and Giggles

Our friends have been here for a couple of days and life has been full of laughter and giggles. We have had a lot of fun visiting and making sure they had a good time. Barb has a way of making everything fun and educational for the girls. they have looked up spiders, decorated a cake and planned and conducted their mom's birthday party. What a great time .

Tomorrow they will head off for Western Kansas and they are trying to get all their shopping done here in the land of Super Walmart. I guess out west in the little home towns Alco, Duckwall and Dollar general are the standard. They aren't bad, but somewhat limited in the number of brands they carry.

Yesterday, I went into Walmart and a bottle of water was $1.48. I saw a lady with a case of water and saw that it was $3.48 for a case. But, mine was cold. ?

Oh well, Dave is here and I need to run a few errands.



Photoshop Elements

Barb has been working with Photoshop Elements for a while now and has figured out how to make layers so she can blend pictures together. The picture below is one of the white tigers from the Safari Zoo in Caney, KS and a picture of the Reimers in Morocco. The reason for the post is to show people how you can no longer believe anything you see, read or hear. Plus it is a chance to make a picture of our extended family. I think there is nothing better in life than to extend, through friendship, your family.

Our house has been a joyous giggle for a couple of days now. Man is Barbara a great grandmother or aunt. She made cashew Blueberry pancakes this morning in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The girls are on an adventure as we speak. Can't tell you what it is for now.



Good Times!

White Tiger from Caney, KS in Morocco Picture by Barb

Our friends from Morocco are here and I'm loving it. We started today with a ham, eggs and potatoes for breakfast. I plan on sending Gerald into the arms of his family with the lust for real meat satisfied. Tonight I'm going to grill all sorts of good things and again I say that anyone that goes home hungry did so because they wanted to. We are even having guests over to help us celebrate with out guests. We will also have Dave and his wife, Barb, also.

The special K's (Kendra and Katrina) are off with Barb on a secret mission. I suspect it is to the Mall but with them, who knows where they will wind up. We are all going to meet at Jason's deli for lunch but with the big breakfast and the anticipation of supper, I think I will settle for a salad. (Or a Muffaletta or some gumbo...) The Reimers are off to a Doctor's appointment and a trip to their storage area. Me, I am just settling for some quite time alone here with the animals at Rabbit Run. Probably will go out and play fetch with Big Dog until it gets too hot for him.




I hate Facebook

- I hate when people say how they feel and not what caused it. "My foot hurts!" "Which one?" "Can you do anything about it?" "No" "Then what difference does it make?"
- I hate when people send confusing messages. Are you ill or just in love?
- I hate when people post from strange places and don't tell you where they are.
- I hate it when a new game pops up and I have to hide details of a new brown pony or new golden orb they need.
- I really hate the like button or when people post that I am not a good person unless I copy a message on my site for the 100th time. Just how many damn flags did we need to see waived on the 4th of July?

I really love that we communicate but I do wish people would take the time to really communicate.

Company coming so I'd better go kill some more dust bunnies.



They are at it Again!

Many of you have read this week that the Westborough Baptist Church is again in the news. After getting their pants sued off, the case is before the Supreme Court. Their defense for committing what most of us think is a heinous offense is the First Amendment to the Constitution contained in the Bill of Rights. It is based on the following:

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

The WBC, hereafter called the Church, has the belief that it is their mission to tell anyone not believing the bible the way they do, that they will go to hell if they practice Homosexuality. They think that to tell them they can't, is making a law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. They further feel that the freedom of speech lets them post their stupid signs. The right to peacefully assemble is their right to stand near a funeral and protest. The case before the supreme court is their redress of a grievance. Word after word from the 1st Amendment seems to support the Church's right to stupid and offensive speech.

It rips my heart to see anyone use soldiers as a bulletin board to post their feelings. The soldiers are a lot like me and feel like I did when I went to Vietnam. We are told to do a job the way the leaders of our country want us to do. We are given laws and regulations to guide us through what is with out a doubt the toughest job to do. To tell us to take a life and here are the legal ways you can do it is almost impossible when the bullets start flying. Soldiers are there to do their duty and to protest their funeral after they die doing their duty is without fail the most horrible thing anyone, let alone a church can do.

It is my hope that when he dies, all the dead soldiers will meet him at the pearly gates with signs that say to Fred, FAIL!

With that said, I think the church will prevail and our Free Speech will stand where it is, was and hopefully will be for as long as it can. One the other hand, while it is illegal to holler Fire in a theater, it is not illegal to shout fire if there is one.

Torn and disgusted - MUD


Life in the Slow Lane

Things here at Rabbit Run have been kinda slow lately and I am hoping that our visit from the Reimers will, speed up things a little. I did work on the garage yesterday and at least organized it so we could get in and around the west bay of the garage. Now if I can get the 57 started and moved over to the rental garage I can park my car inside. That may not happen this week but soon, I hope. (Soon means before the snow flies)

Today I will clean windows and then kinda clean up the walkways and such. Mostly I will take the leaf blower and clean the hickory nut pieces off the walkways and the deck. I am not sure how the squirrels can eat the bitter little bitty hickory nuts but they at least chew them open and leave a mess everywhere. There is no way you can walk outside without shoes for the hard sharp pieces. I haven't figured out an easy way to pick up the pieces to use in the smoker.

Yesterday evening we had Dave and his wife Barb over for dinner. It is always a treat to get to talk with them and laugh at someone different's stories. I am not saying we are boring, but Barb does tell me I need to get some new material. I guess after 42 years she has listened to all of them. Oh well, I'd probably get into trouble if I sought out new stuff. 'Cides, there has to be a story or two I have not embellished into a tale worth listening to.

This fall my High School, Wichita East, is having our 45th reunion. I am torn about attending. While it might give me something to talk about, I do not really have ties with many of them any more. There is always my good friend Harvey but if I really wanted to see him, I would load up and travel to Bentonville.

Harvey is one of the superintendents on the Walton Family American Art Museum being built there. I for one cannot wait to see the finished project if the work in progress is any example of what it will be. The museum is a work of art that will house a lot of works of art. There is a sign that said they will spend 100 million dollars on art work to fill it. I guess if I were in the Walton's shoes I'd want an edifice for the people to help remember who I was. For now, I'll just be glad that Barb can remember who I am and not be mad.

Better go see if there is any stink to be blown off or dirt unturned.



Are You Listening?

Yesterday on the radio I heard an advertisement by The DNC that said that not since the Clinton Administration have we held the national Debt in check. Did we want to re-elect the nasty Republicans that added to the debt for 8 years under Bush?

Are you listening America? There was a very short period that Bill Clonton almost balanced the budget in 1999 and in 2000. In spite of the balanced budget, he didn't eliminate one dollar of the debt. In 1993 when he took over the Debt was 4,351 Trillion and when he left it was 5.769 trillion. Today it is projected to be 15.744 as the OMB 2011 Estimate. (Go to the OMB website if you doubt these figures)

They all lie and looking back doesn't make me feel one damned bit better. Our individual share of the debt is $47,000 each. If the taxes are raised, do you have any thoughts that the debt will go down? When Pigs Fly.


Another fine day in the Heartland!

It is a calm, and sunny 74 degrees here at 8:30 in the morning. This weather remind me of the mornings in Minnesota except for the fact I am not covered with bug bites. There are a lot of people that aren't morning people that fight getting out of bed, I ain't one of them. I attribute most of that to the fact that I can fall asleep almost at the drop of a nap. 15 to 20 minutes will recharge my batteries like nothing else.

I really feel bad for our Black Lab. Since the death of Baby, he is alone out there in the pen and has taken every chance to escape given to him. He doesn't run off he just escapes. I have an electrified cattle pen around him and his thick fur protects him unless he hit his nose on the fence. he'll stay around for a couple of days after that but then I'll find him out on the patio making more noise than a freight train. His demise will come early if he ever snaps at Barb again. She stopped the car to keep from hitting him the other day and she opened her car door. He thought she wanted him in the car and he climbed in. Then when she tried to push him out the far door, he snapped at her. Not the behavior Barb will condone in big dogs. One more snap like that and he will take a trip to the Dog Pound. I think I'm going to work outside a lot today so I think I'll let him out and play fetch with a stick.

Oh well, things here at Rabbit Run are good. I have seen a lot of rabbits this past week and we are having great weather.



Fun Day

I think everyone should have a day like yesterday. For me it started out early and I had a fresh pot of coffee and the paper by about 6 AM. I got to read on a good book for a couple of hours and then I went to the Expocentre to see the Military Vehicle Display. All sorts of fun things to see there including a replica of the Swamp tent from M.A.S.H. . The fellow manning the display said that a brush fire swept through the tents in the hills of California and no one bothered to save the interior set used at the studio. What we saw was a replica and a pretty darned good one.

I was thrilled to see that a lot of the Military Vehicle Collectors were younger than I am. That means the hobby might have a chance to survive into the future. A lot of the collectors have figured out ways to help finance what is an expensive hobby. One person had a jeep and gear that you could have your picture taken in/with and he printed out a copy there on the spot. I didn't see what he charged but there were a lot of grandparents with their little one's documenting the day. Another guy had a dog house on the back of a vehicle and was making Dog Tags at $5.00 a pop. Long line there. One fellow had remote controlled tanks you could rent for a few minutes for a small fee. All ways to make old military vehicles live again.

The most amazing thing I saw was the grey Pontiac Ambulance in the middle of the auditorium. I thought it looked like the one that met Air Force One when they brought JFK's body back from Texas. I went to the front of the ambulance and sure enough there was a picture of that happening. I am amazed that that ambulance hasn't been snapped up by some collector and put on display in some Presidential Library or some Military Museum. It was a piece of history that a lot of us remember.

In the evening we went to KC to eat some of the BBQ cooked on/in the Craig's new smoker. It is a Webber so now I have grill envy. They did a mighty good job of pulled pork and ribs. Anyone that went home hungry did so because they wanted to. I took Dan a basket of Hickory chunks for future jobs.

We also played a game called Baggo or corn bags that you toss on a target that is a lot like horse shoes played with bean bags. Our host, Dan and I beat two pretty good teams and had a lot of fun. I may have to build a set so we can play here. a four by 8 sheet of plywood will make four targets and a little cloth and a couple of cups of popcorn will make a bag. It takes 8 bags.

Oh well, better get on with the day. have a great Sunday out there.



We Can't be in Kansas Toto!


Yesterday was about the most perfect day weather wise we have ever had. It started out cool (65) and the air felt almost dry. It was sunny with a slight breeze and a high of 85 and the sky was glorious. It looked like someone had taken a feather duster and painted a few wispy clouds here and there. It was a day for mowing and I enjoyed it a lot. It felt like the days in Hawaii without the humidity.

Tonight I am going over to the Craigs for a BBQ. They have a new smoker and it should be fun to see the results of Dan's efforts. Did I mention that I love BBQ? There isn't a kind of BBQ that I don't like. I have been known to cook "Planned Overs" to create meals for the next week. In fact, last night we had noodles, in a mushroom sauce and chicken thighs from Sunday. Mighty tasty with a bag of steamables veggies. I am going out to see what Hickory tree needs to be cut down so I can take him a bag of hickory for his smoker.

Barb's parents have a three story hotel in Filer Idaho and it needs painted on the upper two stories. Barb asked me if I had any ideas? Yes, get the spray gun ready, rent a hoist and go paint it. I am not sure if we need a road trip right now but in a few weeks. We have our Morocco friends coming on a week or so and I am planning on meals for them. I'm sure that Barb will have plans for me that include lots of cleaning too. Oh to hear the giggle of little girls here at Rabbit Run.

The paper today had an article about the PT Cruiser production finally being shut down. The article indicated that Chrysler didn't listen to the public and make a two door or a panel delivery van model as the reason for the decline. No Dear one, it was because it was a noisy piece of junk. I rented one in Idaho a couple of years back and it sucked. In addition to blind spots because of the sloping windshield, it was underpowered, didn't get great mileage and was noisy on the highway. To add insult to injury, a new car without cruise control was just stupid. If it had not had the buttons like it did, I wouldn't have really been so upset. PT Cruiser was so mass produced that it will continue to decline in value until like the Vega, there aren't any more on the road in a couple of years.

Oh well, good things to see today. There is a Military Vehicle Owners Convention here in Topeka and for five bucks I can go relive my youth and take a bazillion pictures.



Kansas Corporation Commission Letter

Mess with me and I'll write a letter to the Kansas Corporation Commission. For the first time in my life, I purchased an I-Phone with AT&T Service. I expected the phone to work and to get a bill from them on a monthly basis. What I did not expect was all the harassment that went with that bill. Consider us from the stone age, but we still pay our bills twice a month by mail. I don't care that you can accept electronic payment, direct bill or whatever you want, we pay our bills on the 1st and the 15th. Were I some 20 something that paid my bill when I wanted and missed some, I might understand a notice now and then.

The AT&T bill is cut off on the 15th and sent during the next business week. That puts it in our hands nearer to the 20th. Their imaginary date on the bill is a 28th due date with it not late until the 10th of the next month. On the due date, they would text message me that the bill was due. Then the system would generate a robo call near the 30th and a letter the first working day of the next month. Guess what, no matter what they do we pay our bills on the 1st and the 15th. I called the first time I got the bill and explained that I thought it was not necessary to get a text and then a call. They would get their money like AT&T/SW Bell has for the well over 40 years I have had one of their phones. The second time they batted for the cycle I called again and sorry was their answer. This month, I finally hit my limit when they texted, called and sent me an overdue notice on the 3rd. When I called on the 7th, they admitted there was no balance on the account. I told them I was going to cancel my service if they continued to harass me about the damned phone bill. The agent on the line went away to speak with her supervisor and sent me a voice mail that if I would write them a letter, they would stop the notices.

Now, I ask you does it seem fair that they can send me a voice mail and I have to send them a letter? Not to me. I hope the Kansas Corporation Commission doesn't see the humor in this either. I sent AT&T a letter and a copy of the letter I sent to the Corporation Commission. We'll see how they like that crap.

I am not happy about the fact that the dammed I-Phone requires a Voice Plan and a data plan. Then much to my surprise I find that I have to pay for text messages. For 80 bucks a month you would think that old farts who have a tough time doing text messages would get it for free. If I sent like a hundred a month it might be different. Guess what, if you call them they can block the incoming text messages. They will do that except for their own text messages about my bill. Crap, No Double Crap.

Today is clear and 65 this morning. It will only be 85 with almost no humidity and it will be a nice day to get out and "Blow the stink off." See ya'.



It is Good, but is it Right?

This morning the paper ran a story about a killer in California that was found because his son was run through a DNA test as he was convicted. Somehow, they determined what his father and mother's DNA profile was and inferred that his father was a killer of 13 people. They then followed his father and picked up a coffee cup he had used in a restaurant and matched the profile leading to his arrest and hopefully his conviction. This will get the scumbag off the streets and hopefully put to death to eliminate the possibility that he will ever kill again. No repeat offender has ever repeated once he was put to death. (Unless you mix Stephen King's stories with reality) The result is a good thing.
He was caught by a Familial DNA search. The result was good, but I'm not sure about the process.

DING, DING, DING, DING - where did anyone ever give the Government the authority to build a data base of DNA and then mine it for that kind of information? Why not collect DNA from everyone and get it done with. I am pretty sure that the Military collects DNA information for their "Mass Casualty" data base. It is to identify the soldiers in the case of a mass casualties. How hard will it be once the new Medical Plan is implemented to tie the Medical Data Base to our criminal finger print Data base and have information on everyone?

Let me say that I for one do not fear any bad results for me, it is the fairness of the system to use information collected and to be able to mine that data for results on people not in the Data base. Have a son in the Marines? Have a son in the Army or Air Force? You too can be looked at.

At what point will our loss of rights get press? If we are going to nationalize our data bases, lets get on it and make it illegal to be here as an undocumented Alien. I have carried a National ID Card for over 40 years now and am pretty sure that my DNA and fingerprints are on file. How about you?




In the earlier blog I said we go to Lawrence to visit HiVee. I just saw their ad and saw that it is HyVee. The HyVee on 6th Street in east Lawrence, KS has the best meat for the money. They have a butcher counter and do special things with stuffed pork chops and chicken breasts. I loved their Brats with all the different flavors but I have been informed that I need to restrict my choices to regular flavor.

I saw in their ad today that they have an "All you care to eat" buffet. What happened to the "All you can eat" buffet? Yes, I am using this as a lead in to tell you the story about the time Danny Rex and I got asked to not come back to the "All you can eat" buffet. My sister worked at a Crank's Drug Store in Wichita. They had this little cafeteria in the store and normally had a typical order off the menu spread. At noon during the week they had a buffet and I say the fried chicken from that buffet was the best I had eaten. When you are 14, it all tastes good but some better than others. Danny Rex, my good buddy, and I were out doing what we did normally and stopped in to eat. Man was I hungry (I was always hungry) and Danny didn't miss many meals. We sat down and started to eat. At least two chickens @ later, we were hitting out stride when the waitress came over and said they were shutting down the buffet and if we wanted any more we needed to get over there and get some. We did and we did. Just about the time I was going to unbutton the top button on my fly, the manager came over and sat down.

He said that he was glad that we liked his chicken but he would be grateful if we took our business elsewhere. He wasn't sure he could afford to feed many people like us. I told him that it wasn't my idea to call it an, "All you can eat buffet. He was the one that put up the sign." I did notice that the next time I went in the store they changed the sign to just Buffet.

Another time I was in Washington, D.C. with a group of Kansas Guardsmen on a visit to the National Guard Bureau. Here in the Heartland, we don't get a lot of seafood places so we took on the all you can eat night at the Chesapeake Bay Seafood House. The deal there was that if you bought say for example the shrimp, you could have all the shrimp or any of the cheaper items on the menu. Almost to a man we decided that the Alaska King Crabs Legs were the most expensive and that opened the door to everything on the menu. We ate like there was no tomorrow and put the shells in the middle of the table. After an hour or so, the waitress came over with a piece of paper and a pencil. She said she needed our names. I asked her what for and she replied, "For the Environmental Impact Statement because we had wiped out at least one harvest season in Alaska." For brevity, I'll tell you that she got great tips from us. I'm not sure if the advice to plant her corn early was what she expected but hey when you are full of fish, it is hard to be funny.

I'll skip the story of the Mammoth Cut prime rib at the Hereford House on our next trip for now. See you in the funny papers.


'Nother Bike Ride

Yesterday Barb and I went to Lawrence to ride our bikes on the south trail there. It also gives us a chance to hit the HiVee Store and the World Market. We have ridden over 90 miles so far this summer and will continue to do more as the summer goes on. Barb has had a couple of minor falls in the past week so I'm not sure what's going on. The worst thing so far is a barked shin but I'm sure it hurt.

On Facebook today I saw a site for Helmets in Hand. They have a sticker HIH. I think someone needs to re think that. It is the Helmet on Head that does the work. HoH. Oh well, good idea. I do tell kids that are wearing a helmet thanks when I see them on their bike.

One of these days the Monsoon season here in Topeka will end and the sun will shine again, I hope. Dave and I were going to make a dump run but I'm not sure with thunderstorms predicted it we will. I know there is at least two truck and trailer loads to be transported. I can do most of it by myself but having a second set of hands makes it a lot easier.

Better get started...



Well, Are You?

are probably an asshole if:
1. You have any image placed on your car of any person or animal urinating on anything.
2. You have any bumper sticker implying that your pets are smarter than an honor student.
3. You routinely have to hit your brakes on highways to avoid running into the car in front of you.
4. You park in front of (and block traffic to) a phone store for 45 minutes because it’s too inconvenient for you to park in the open parking spot 20 feet away.
5. You park in the loading zone at a grocery or drugstore while your significant other “runs in to get a few things.”
6. You flip your cigarette butts out your car window or toss them down in the parking lot and don't stomp on them.
7. You don’t wash your hands after using the bathroom.
8. You take 13 items to the ten items or less checkout line.
9. You knock something off a shelf at the grocery store and leave it on the floor.
10. You talk loudly on your cell phone in a restaurant.
11. You have any bumper sticker that insults the intelligence or morality of people of differing political ideologies.
12. You park your car across parking slot lines to keep people from parking next to you.
13. You park in any place that is not a legal parking spot.
14. You don’t see anything wrong with giving another driver the finger.
15. You “push the envelope” on red lights.
16. You “teach a lesson” to another driver.
17. You speed through residential areas.
18. You play your music as loud as you can.
19. You spit your gum on the sidewalk.
20. You see nothing wrong with getting drunk in public.
21. You use profane language in family environments.
22. You ignore pet leash laws.
23. You let your cat roam free at night.
24. You let your dog roam free to do “his business.”
25. You expect cars to honor your bicycle’s “rights on the road” but you ignore traffic laws while on your bicycle.
26. You spit in public.



5th of July

Somewhere about 9 PM last evening it stopped raining and WWIII broke out. I mean there were some people shooting of artillery simulators that were loud. Right about 10 PM, there was a continuous barrage that went on and on. I wonder just how much it cost the US to celebrate our independence with Chinese fireworks bought with Chinese money?

Other than the late night battle, It has been a quiet weekend with about an inch and a half of rain so far. The clouds are stacked up all the way to Oklahoma and headed this way. It is a soggy doggie out there. With all the moisture, I didn't get to mow the path around the edge of our property. Barb complained about the tall weeds blocking the path down by the well. All I can do is tell her to wait until it is dry enough to get the mower down there. Way too much water and mud right now.

Our 'nother daughter Met is here and about 10 AM we will all get together for brunch. There is no shortage of food. I'm sure that everyone will have enough to eat and then some. Big Dog will sit down by the dog pen fence and bark to get in on the food. Two evenings in a row he has made out like a bandit. We'll see if breakfast has any leftovers. I swear he makes a face when I bring him dog food to eat. He'll look in the bowl like, "Is that it?". He is such a hog dog that he eats it anyway.

Better slowly walk upstairs and see if I can figure out brunch.



Abraham Lincoln - The Gettysburg Address

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth
on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing
whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so
dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-
field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave
their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether
fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot
consecrate…we cannot hallow…this ground. The brave men,
living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it
far above our poor power to add or detract. The world
will little note nor long remember what we say here, but
it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the
living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the
great task remaining before us…that from these honored
dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here
highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom; and that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

November 19, 1863

80 Degrees on the 4th of July?

The sprinkle started yesterday afternoon and is predicted to continue most of the day. The day time high here in the Heartland is going to be 80. Strange weather, must be the results of some tropical storm in the gulf. The plants and the Master Gardner love it but the kids will be bummed out that their firecrackers will get wet. Oh well.

This morning at o'dark something I watched a story about Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The first thing said by the writer was that there were three Brigades in that charge across the field and that only the Virginia Generals got a lot of press about their exploits in that war. He said that perhaps there weren't enough pencils in Arkansas or Louisiana. Simple math would have told General Lee that his frontal assault wouldn't work. The ratio of attackers to defenders needs to be at least 3:1. There were 11,000 attackers and 7,000 defenders not even 2:1. Perhaps with enough artillery they could have overcome the results but the fact that the Yankees could bring a couple of thousand reserves when the few rebels broke through should have stopped that stupid plan. The one thing the South could not afford to do was to try to trade soldiers with the north. General Lee had done a good job maneuvering his forces for most of the war but that one bad decision was the seal on the Civil War. Had the Union Army chased the rebels home, it probably would have been the end but not quite.

It did give Abraham Lincoln (Republican) a chance to write and give the best speech I have ever read. My kind of speech. Short, Bitter-Sweet and right on point. His dedication of the cemetery to the Soldiers who gave their Last Full Measure has to be one of the best. Yes, I did have to go look up what a score was years ago. That was long before you could Google it.

Oh well, better go see to what I can do to salvage the BBQ if it is still raining this afternoon. I do have a bunch of chicken that I can bake with wing sauce and brats are OK boiled. Dang, that steak I had planned was sure sounding good.



Things 'n Such

Mom & Dad's Grave in Topeka
On Memorial day, I went by Mom and dad's grave to see if they had attached the year marker to the Bronze Grave Marker. In addition to the flowers we brought, someone had put some red roses there and left no card. The Cemetery also put an American Flag by Dad's marker because he was a veteran of WWII.

Today I started out bright and early to get a haircut and do some shopping for Dog Food at Walmart. At 9 AM the store was nearly empty. They had only three check-out lanes open and I went almost to the front of one line. A nice lady and her three year old daughter came in right behind me and I did get to say hello to them. Our lane had a display of Cracker Jack candy in it and there were three boxes for 97 cents. The three year old was just sure that Mommy was going to stock up. Wrong!
It may rain today and while it is still cool (80) the humidity is building and there is a cloud cover. I have no plans to go to the lake or anything like that so it is no big deal what the weather does. I grilled burgers for today's lunch when I fired up the grill yesterday. There is probably enough to use one for spaghetti sauce for dinner. I just love to use grilled burgers in other foods as "planned-overs" It is not quite as good as the Chicken breasts for stir fry but I love that smoky flavor.
Better go see if I can get anything good done before it rains.


4th of July Weekend

Everyone is so careful to tell everyone that the holiday means something different. Duh, it means only what it means to each person. You may give the school book solution but that doesn't change what the personal reaction to each holiday means. For example, I remember going over to Eldorado and putting flowers on the graves of my Grandfathers on Decoration Day. Memorial Day has devolved from decorating the graves of special people to one that is for service members only. Mom would have told you that she served in WWII by working and staying home with the girls.

The 4th of July for me always started with a week of popping firecrackers. I would steal, beg and borrow money to buy those danged little Black Cats just to set them off. For at least a week or two, the yard would be littered with bits of paper. I can only remember one time when I saw one of those 400 packs of Black Cats go off. It was awesome and there were enough unpopped one's to make a bomb. (That story has been told and I will skip the Denny does stupid here) I really don't remember going to many Fireworks displays as a kid. Mostly we would watch other kids shoot off roman candles as our parents would relay stories of kids that were burnt, maimed and blinded by stupid things done with fireworks. I think I have more scars on my feet from hot sparkler wires than anything. I really don't get off on them now, I wonder why?

My favorite story was the hot 4th of July we spent in Susank. For some reason we went to a drive in theater in Hoisington. They started their display with a large cannon that popped out an American Flag that fell to the ground like a large Flare. It was burning as it fell and it went right into a field next to the drive-in and set a wheat stubble field on fire. For the next half hour or so, the thrill was to watch the volunteer fire department show up and put out the fire. It wasn't any big loss to the farmer but it was fun to watch. By the 4th, most of the wheat harvest is way north in Kansas. I can remember being eaten by the Mosquitoes in Minnesota and once at Fort leavenworth. The display about three miles west of here is pretty good each year at Lake Shawnee. Probably won't go anywhere this year.

Better go plan and clean up to go shopping. Having a tough time deciding if HyVee or Sam's Club has the best meat. For bulk, Sam's Club has the best prices and for Brats, HyVee. Perhaps both...



Medal of Honor

I served for 30 + years in the Military and have witnessed many events that were decorated. Most were pretty well deserved and a few were just awarded. I for one would not wear a medal or ribbon for that award if I didn't feel I had deserved it.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to the recipient for actions that clearly were above and beyond and saved the lives of others. Most of the recipients will tell you that afterwards, they acted in the way they were trained and did not think about consequences, their future, or their family. They acted to save the lives of the men and women they were serving with. I find it hard to believe that every day there are not service members whose actions are worthy of the award.

Two Kansas National Guardsmen serving in Iraq were assigned convoy duty and they drove their vehicle in the path of a suspected car bomber as he approached the convoy. The driver exploded the car bomb and killed the driver and the NCOIC. These guys were Artillerymen working in a job they weren't trained for and yet they did exactly what most of us would do. It cost them their lives and saved the lives of others in the convoy. Medal of Honor? Nope, someone said they were just doing their job. How could Audie Murphy get the medal for shooting at the enemy from a disabled tank as an Infantry Officer and these guys not be qualified.

I asked Barb how she would feel about being one of the soldiers saved by someone else? She said Surviving ain't bad and she could get behind that. I guess it is all in your perspective. This is the 4th of July weekend and I hope you all listen to the sound of Freedom today and be glad we have the time, money and life to appreciate all we have.