Yep, sunshine through my window makes me happy! John Denver knew about which he sang. Too bad that he mixed drugs, alcohol and flying. Not just getting high but off the ground faster than you could land safely. I love the idea of flying but know that man was truly meant to fly, God wouldn't have invented airlines. Yes, I toy with the idea that if I were a lottery winner I would want my own plane but deep inside I know better. lets see, a plane, a hot rod and a tractor. yep, that seems to be about it.

Barb reminded me yesterday that the 3rd is Thursday. I seem to forget that just because my watch says it is the 29th tomorrow, I need to fiddle with the dials to be right. I hate it when this fancy dancy watch gets it wrong. I don't know what it would cost me to have one that gets it right. The other day on "How It's Made" they showed a watch being hand built with real rubies and gold parts. The selling price of that watch was $160,000. I don't want to know the time that much.

I guess the end of February is the time when I transition into March Madness. It will be interesting to have the NCAA tournament on several networks so I can watch an entire KU game. They have been cutting games down on ESPN so bad that I have yet to see much more than the last half of the first half. You would think that ESPN has several empty slots and they could show the first part of a game on one of their empty channels for those of us that want to switch. Oh well, it is really the last half of the second half that I really want to watch. Now if K-State can do their magic tonight and beat those pesky Longhorns my BIG XII season can be complete.

Have you seen those little robots that do the floors? I want one but it needs to do windows. I love to look out through a clean window but hate to clean them. Oh well, if life was perfect, I would stick out like a sore thumb.



Abundance Mentality

Once, a good friend of mine said that in his opinion, there was enough money in our Federal Budget that we really didn't need to worry about what the Government was spending. His "Abundance Mentality" was and continues to be the thinking in a lot of areas. I am afraid that I have to call BS on that and cause everyone to stand up and be aware that there is just not enough money to fund it all.

In our perfect world, the air would be clean and nice 100% of the time in 100% of the places. The problem with that is that is the sign of no manufacturing and people heating with Natural gas and no coal. Can we afford to have the EPA raise the prices until we have nothing to buy because there is no money? How about the people that shout no coal fired plants and then say don't build the windmills in My Back Yard. We said no to Nuclear energy and now it has been so long that I am not sure the Technology to Build a clean Nuclear Plant is even available.

The other day, someone compared the money spent on the Stimulus bill to the number of people hired. For what we spent, we should have been to put everyone to work but instead we spent about $280,000 per job. Is there enough money to borrow out there that we can afford to put everyone back to work? I don't think so.

Do we need to wonder how many new Federal workers have entered the labor pool? How big do we need to grow that number before it gets out of hand. Look at the Pension Plan pools and see how many people are paying in and how many Billions will need to be on hand in just a few years. Our abundance mentality should kick in and people should ask if we can't pay for what we have now, how can the congress be adding to that burden?

There may come a day that we all will need to look like a bunch of thugs to wake congress up to the fact that they can't continue to spend money on new things until they figure out how to pay for the things we have on the books. Unfunded mandates are nothing more than highway robbery and they don't wear a mask.


What a Nice Day

Yesterday was one of those days that started nice and kept getting better. Kyler, aka the short one, had a birthday celebration yesterday and we got to take his Auntie barb over for the party. Dave had to work. After the party, they all came over to our house for dinner. It was a nice dinner with great people. Oh, did I mention that I also got to see the Hawks play at Oklahoma on TV? Then we heard that Texas lost to Colorado and the topper was that Duke lost to West Virginia. I watched the end of that game and it was a real good one.

What do you think life is for? For me, work was always the way I got to head into the wind towards the end destination. Getting a better job mostly meant that I got more pay and would wind up with a higher retirement. So far, I don't regret much about my career other than I didn't spend enough time brown nosing the boss near the end. There wasn't much higher I could have gone, but I might have lasted a year or two more. Oh well, he died and I got to retire with my health.

It might get a little warmer today and with luck the clouds might clear off and with some sun, it will feel a warmer. The birds are here en mass and they eat everything I put out. There is no shortage of little mouths willing and able to eat anything that hits the ground. If I keep the water bowl full and a little scratch out there they will keep the chirping going.

Speaking of going, I'd better.



Did Ya'

Ever have one of those days where you can tell it would pay you to not operate heavy machinery? I think it started yesterday but so far today, I opened the back door to feed the birds and didn't turn off the ADT system. Chirp, Chirp Chirp and that wasn't the birds.... I went up stairs and made a pot of coffee and about 10 minutes later realized the coffee pot wasn't plugged in so it had done exactly what I told it to do - Sit there with out a gurgle. I sit down at the computer and find the wireless system not working.... Crap, Crap, Triple Crap. Yes, I am aware how wonderful my life is and those are at best Petty annoyances.

Today it will be another one of those round ball days that will be fun to watch and see who in the BIG XII wants a win more than everyone else. K-State gets Missouri at Bramledge and KU gets Oklahoma on the road. A K-State win might get them a first round bye in the BIG XII Tournament and a loss might even cost them a post season birth in the NIT. I did find it interesting that the paper was almost complementary that KU who hasn't had the same starting team healthy all season has only 2 losses. OK, some of the player absences were due to mismanagement of their priorities and suspensions. To me, Thomas Robinson's remarkable play in the middle of the death of family members and his return after 10 days after knee surgery is a highlight. I wonder how many other coaches would like to have a couple of the KU knuckleheads available for post season play. I hear that the K-State coach Frank martin will have good reason to make ugly faces after he has knee surgery later today. I wonder if he will be back playing in 10 days?

I posted some of Barb's bird pictures on Facebook and they came out almost blue. Barb isn't sure why her camera takes all white snow and turns it blue. Kind of like those old ladies with blue hair, there is just something about white that is wrong. You can Photoshop the blue out if you take the time. Who has time for de-blueing 25 to 35 pictures of birds. Not me!

Oh well, have a great day out there.



Friday Snow and Stuff

Friday is trash day here at Rabbit Run and in addition to getting the newspaper, I have to yard out the trash cans to the court. Thank god for Barb's front wheeled Buick that isn't much of a big deal. Probably the most exciting thing was that when I opened the back door to throw out some seeds for the birds I tripped the Security System. It works fine. There is between 3 and 6 inches of the fluffy white stuff all over the place. The trees all have about three inches stacked up on them and it is pretty. One nice thing is that this time the wind isn't blowing and it is just above freezing. Talked with my brother in Tulsa and this time all they got was rain. He said it was about 50 there when it snowed here.

Probably one of the biggest responsibilities i have is keeping the bird water dish ice free and full. The GFI circuit has been tripping and the dish freezes. I guess I probably need to buy a new water dish this year. It also trips the breaker by the bathroom sink so Barb's hairdryer doesn't work until I go re-set it.

Every once in a while, I get a case of what I call rumble gut. Something I ate doesn't agree with me and my guts just aren't settled. It isn't full on diarrhea but it does cause me to make a run to the bathroom a few times. It also makes me feel kind punk for a day or so. Oh well, what else did I have to do.

When the temperature was in the 60's this week, the birds were out and about finding things to eat that the melting snow uncovered. Now that there is a new coat of snow, they are back.

I can smell something good upstairs, Bye.



Life in the fast Lane?

Yesterday was so exciting that I loaded up a bunch of junk and made a Dump Run. Here in the heartland, that entails a trip to Waste Management's hill/pile north of town and about $45.00. It was nice to have the truck out and having the tires fairly balanced so 70 wasn't a thrill ride. In fact I'm glad I wasn't in the Ford Vicky or I might just have kept going on the crazy trail. I'm sure there was a casino some where near. On the way home, I stopped and bought Lottery Tickets to get that out of my system.

I am amazed that after all these years of sobriety and non-smoking, the urge hit me to have a good cigar and a beer was so strong. I managed to pass on both but I wonder if it was the strong smell of the dump that collected in my mouth and made me want to have something to over come the after taste of the dump. a cigar (I almost said a good cigar but that is a personal opinion) washed away with a good dark beer would have been just the ticket.

Today was totally different than yesterday. Instead of the sunshine peaking around the curtains, thunder rolled in just outside the house. That was followed by a sleet storm that was so loud that it sounded like a strong wind. About an hour later, it was just 1/2 inch deep and the 32 degrees keeps it from forming a sheet of ice. Yes, I know from 63 degrees to 32 degrees isn't all that big a deal, it is just that we want sunshine and spring even though it is February.

The Master Gardner is really feeling the spring thing. She had to go out and buy some potting soil and some seeds to start inside. Like all good gardeners, her trunk has a layer of dirt from carrying plants so she could have just used that dirt, but what fun is that? I will keep water and oil in her car but the trunk dirt is all her's to maintain - or not.

Oh well, this is a good book day so I will just do that until it warms up some. The longer days makes us all want to get out and play.



Fajitas and such

Last night we had Dave and Barbara over for dinner. I grilled a bunch of chicken Sunday and that smoky meat makes the Fajitas just yummy. I wasn't sure that three big breasts were enough so I cooked a couple of Rib Eye's. They were almost frozen in the meat keeper so I got to slice them thin and put them in a Marinade. I just have to tell everyone that our HyVee stores here in the Heartland get some of the best beef out of Iowa and their taste/ texture/marbling is superior to anything I can buy any where else at any price. Sam's club is close but that's where I buy my chicken. Throw in a little rice, some black beans and you have a tasty meal. (I like a little Guacamole and salsa but everyone else thinks the meat is so good that they hit those lightly)

I have finally given up trying to fight with one of the oil companies and hired a lawyer. Our Nephew Dan recommended a good friend and I have an appointment early next month. Tom gave me some expected advice on the phone and a path to take. Probably will have to go to Probate court in Clark County and have them sort it out.

Discussing legal matters with a couple of attorneys, one thing that was clear was the need for family planning. I promise you that anything you want done with your estate can be achieved if you put it in a will. Barb and I have a pretty straight forward will. She gets everything when I die and Dave gets it when she dies. Yes, I know it says that I will get everything if she dies first but she just won't let that happen. I am pretty sure that I don't really care what happens because there haven't been a lot of old guys in my family and Old women run frequent and deep in her family. Well, at least the are there, I'm not sure about the running part.

The weather is sunny but the southerly breeze made it kinda cool when I went out to get the paper. At least it feels a little nicer each day and a little longer sunshine. Is March madness far behind? Texas sure looked good last night against Iowa State. Gonna be a fun BIG XII Tournament in Kansas City. Wonder if I can convince Barb to go back to the Sprint Center and catch a couple of games.



Motivation Plain and Simple

In my Businesses and Leadership classes, I studied what motivates people long and hard. My problem is not anyone else, but myself. I need to get a couple of projects off the ground and running but just can't seem to get there from here.

I also can see ways to improve on the design of things but don't seem to have enough attention to detail to get things done correctly when I do them. There has to be a better way.

The other day, one of my nieces said that the winning lottery ticket was sold just a couple of blocks from her home. She said she needs to buy Lottery Tickets. Then i read that Lottery Tickets are the investment program for the math impaired. Yes, I from time to time buy tickets but I know that there was a better chance of getting killed in Vietnam than there is in winning the lottery. I am pretty sure that if I invested the time and money I spend standing in line and the petty sum I spend on something worthwhile, my life would be a lot better. It must be a dreamer thing. What would I do if.... Probably get in trouble. When in doubt, refer back to the old sayings. Wanting what you have is a lot better than getting what you want. That is especially true if you have everything you really need.

This morning on the news, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckaby said about out Congress, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. If the people and most businesses can plainly see that there is something wrong with borrowing to spend is wrong, why can't Congress.



Role of The Blogger

Yesterday Barb said that in my last couple of Blogs, I sounded a lot like a Republican - Duh Barb! She also wanted equal time on my blog when I use her as an example. I told her that if she wants her side published, she needs to get a Blog. I have lived with her for 43 years and don't need the criticism about misquoting her. Like most of us, she has ideas all over the place and I'm sure that if I tried to post her directly I would get at least one or two things wrong each time.

Can you imagine that Barb and I agree on one major issue. We both think that the bail outs were wrong and any stimulus will be in the wrong pocket the next time bonuses are passed out. The only thing we really didn't achieve consensus yesterday was that if all the pension plans went in the toilet as the stock market fell, why when it is back up to 12000 (+) are they not better? Of all my investments that have made that include the stock market, one small 401(k) that I put $12,000 in is at almost $20,000. Perhaps it is time to start to draw it out a little at a time. We do agree that having our GM stock go into the toilet and flush, and now reading about Bonuses being paid is a rub in the wrong place.

Yesterday evening about 3:30 we went over to the lake for a walk. It was 74 degrees with a breeze from the south. Last night, the wind turned to blow from the north and this morning it is 17 degrees. At least we do have a sunny day and the south facing windows will warm up the living room. We are in Kansas!

Barb asked me what was on my agenda today. The only thing I could think of was the KU vs Oklahoma State game on TV tonight. I sure hop that ESPN manages to show more than half of the game like they failed to do in the Colorado game. The first 7 minutes of game time went to show a free throw contest that went long and then it was the Nebraska Ambush over Texas. I guess to see Texas lose was almost worth it with KU almost 20 points ahead. I think one of the announcers said the KU game was decided as soon as the National Anthem was played. I am glad that my pay isn't based on how accurate I could predict the outcome of BIG XII games. Next year will be fun when everyone will play everyone home and away.

Write if you get work.



Role of Government

One of the major arguments here at Rabbit Run might be, "Does this Milk smell bad" or a more serious one about the role of Government. Does the more complex laws result in protection of our rights or the erosion of our freedoms? We generally agree that Government should not make laws that they can't or intend to enforce. It is things like Education where bureaucracies get built and many unfunded mandates result that cause us to disagree. In my perfect world, most of what is laws would be guidelines. For example, "No Child Left Behind" would not lead to de-certification of those schools unable to meet the mandate, just recognition for those that do. On the other hand, here in Topeka the outlying districts are headed to compliance and it is the inner city schools that are having trouble making it work. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. One side wants to throw more money at the problem and the other side wants to find out why it is broken. Neither way will really fix the problem. We all have to stand up and care and do something about it. Do what you did and you will get what you got!

In some ways, I am a hypocrite and want it both ways. In the area of Taxes, I want everyone to pay a share even if it is a small share. On health care, I want everyone to participate to the extent they can. Wouldn't it be cheaper for all if even the poor paid some?

One thing that is clear to me is that I don't think we have a clue what it costs us to have the Government we do have let alone if it piles new laws and regulations upon us. I wouldn't trust most people in Government to place a price tag on what they do now. If they did, they would have to charge more to do that.

As we near the last third of the Basketball season, it is fun to watch the pundits predict who is Number 1 and who is going to make the NCAA Men's basketball tournament. All the hype about K-State defeating KU last Monday and how Texas will be the new number 1 on Monday was put on hold because Nebraska beat Texas. I know it would be boring if the talking heads on the sports programs didn't make up stuff, but they sound so sure of themselves. After all, all the talk about defense adds to nothing if the other team out scores you. Even in an NBA All Star Game someone wins!

Oh well, another day of 70's here in the heartland.




I want Change(d) and I want it Now!

Where is all this anger coming from? Eat one piece of cheese and forever our politicians become rats! Yes, overweight fat rats that spend our money like they were never going to held responsible, but I digress. It seems like the whole world is overcome with anger and there isn't a lot of surety that change will make it all better. What will it be like when the world realizes that the strong government in Iran is needed to keep the whole damn place together. Lord knows the Sunnis and the Shias can't hold hands and pray to one god. Throw in a Jew or one piece of pork fat and see how fast it all falls apart.

I think it is fundamentally flawed that people don't understand our form of Government. I have no thought that the Senator and Representative we send to Congress will vote on every issue the exact way I feel. Can you imagine how schizophrenic it would be if they voted against Gun Control , for the death Penalty and against Abortion just the way I feel? Then what would Barb say when she sees that result. What about her? The truth of the matter is that we should understand what the candidates stand for and vote for the best one. That person will have to come home and answer for their votes at the next election. Who in the hell thinks that our Congress is like Nintendo or X-Box and we will all get instant gratification? Even an old conservative like me understands that some change will happen. I may not like it, but it might happen.

If people want to be mad, what about all the young people that are just disconnected from our Government and don't vote? Do they have it so good that they just don't care? Or, like I surmise do they not have a clue that what is going on in Washington today is their tomorrow. How the heck do they think they can have any form of retirement when the Government has a lot of that money headed to payinterest on the loans for the excess spending of today?

I guess there are a lot of people out there that belong to the NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) or the "I Got Mine" the heck with you club. Some of us belong in both groups. I belong in the "I got mine and will continue to complain that you don't have yours" group. I vote for the abundance mentality in everything but anger. Smile and get yours!




One of these days I might just wake up, smell the coffee and learn all the short hand abbreviations for common things. BFO is a "Blinding Flash of the Obvious". The other day I was driving my daughter-in-law home and mentioned all the controversy about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell.(DADT) She just said that it is all made up and that most of her friends have homosexual friends and no one in the real world really cares. At least the one's her age don't.

It does make me wonder why when we are faced with a BFO that things in Washington aren't working, why do so many of us focus so hard on DADT? I guess the old conservative in me wants to shout that traditions should mean something. The real world person that I am wants to tell the world that nothing ever stays the same and the only thing that doesn't change is that change happens. I think I am going to see if I can find a copy of the Movie," Fiddler on the Roof " and sing two of my favorite songs Traditions and If I were a Rich Man from that movie. It won't do much good, but it would make me feel better. At least, I could smile when I sing them.

Yesterday was a day sent right from heaven. It got to 76 degrees on the 17th of February and just flat melted snow from most of the place. The only places there is still any snow is in the piles where they had to scrape it up and put it somewhere. You can still find some very black lumps of snow here and there. By evening, it was warm, no breeze and just about as nice as a spring day in April. This morning the sun is out, no wind and about 30 at 8 AM. It will be up in the 50's today and while it is not quite as nice, PDG (Pretty damned Good).

The wife will be at the Lawn and Garden Show some today and tomorrow. She is a Master Gardner and will help run the booth where the kids learn about plants. The kids will get a chance to re-plant a little plant in a peat pot and take it home with them. Kinda like Johnny Appleseed but with a succulent plant. (No, I don't have a clue if that is how it is spelled)

Have a great weekend out there. Get outside, watch a little round ball and enjoy life, I will.

MUD - Mean Uncle Denny
ORAG - Old Retired Army Guy



Men spend a lot of time trying to make women happy without a clue to the underlying true things that make them happy. Instead of an expensive present at the next event, try a simple card, a box of her favorite candy (Think Chocolate) and a meal out where you talk. Women like experiences, not fancy things. A long walk holding her hand in the mall will make her smile a lot more than a fancy watch from the Jewelry store. One woman said that pictures of babies will put a smile on their face faster than diamonds. She also said that pretty fish do too, but Barb didn't agree with that.

Like most men, I hate to shop, I go to buy and perhaps get a hamburger afterwards. Barb like to shop and often comes home with things for everyone else except herself. I guess if I were smart, I would slow down and try to enjoy the experience of shopping. The problem is that the longer I am at the store the more I buy and I don't need a bunch of new crap. I really need a dumpster to throw things into and a way to haul it off at least once a week.

The weather here in Mid February is strange. After a couple of months that were cold and snowy, it has turned almost warm. Today it will be in the 70's and you can bet I'm going to get the bikes out, air up the tires and go make circles on the bike path at the lake. I feel the need for speed and a warm breeze in my face. Can you feel the warmth in my mind and see the smile on my face? Enjoy.




This is a fancy way to say that times are changing and businesses that can't or don't change will lose out. A story told in a lot of Business classes is the Conestoga Wagon company changed to become Studebaker and survived. Yes, we all know that Studebaker didn't change with the times and it failed. I read this morning that Borders is going to close a couple of hundred of their super stores and they are blaming it on hard times. I think they can't keep up with the pace of change and the electronic books are putting them out of business. No, I don't have an idea what they could do but they had better do it quick and well.

Look around your city and see where the video rental stores are? In most cases, Blockbuster and Hollywood Theater stores are closed because for the same money you can rent movies from an online provider and never leave home or have a late fee. For a buck, you can rent movies from the "Red Box" outside the local grocery store. The same change is happening to books and the book stores have to be paying the price.

The other day, I went to my local resale/used book store and the new owner was shipping out about 10 books to the online market. She is trying to reduce her inventory and meeting the market need to have some old books available at a much reduced price. Her on-line prices are a little higher than the retail market in Topeka and the customer pays the shipping and handling. The next week I went in to a store a lot like the first one and picked up a book. I mentioned that the new store owner was shipping on line and he didn't seem interested in that business. He was sitting there with only me in the store and he was eating a McDonald's breakfast. I wonder if the transference of business to the on-line market will pass this guy by. I feel sure that the owner of the other store is watching the market and transferring her business where it pays well.

Today, I read in the paper that Kansas is considering allowing the quick shops and Grocery stores to carry liquor and that will probably close the Mom and Pop Liquor stores unless they change. I have always thought it was stupid that back in the day when I drank, you could not buy a bag of ice, chips or mix where you bought the booze. Those that do not recognize the transference of money to their business and are not able to change to meet the new need will go broke. Do I feel sorry for them? Not really, they can invest and grow or close.

This morning, Barb commented that if you read the paper today, it confirms that the world is a dangerous place out there. Yep, living will lead to death and it is only how fast and where you live that will get you slower or faster. I would think that in places where the need for political change is high, there is a higher chance that you might get caught up in the change. For now, while there might be a big need for the entire Government to change, the stability of our system will make it not as dangerous to live here. Not sure how long that may last.

One big change needed is for our Government to either find out what it needs to do, or stop trying to do everything for everyone. At 13 trillion dollars in debt, we can't continue to do business the old way. I saw a piece on the news and it said that China is about to pass Japan in the amount of Gross Domestic Product. It is interesting that their annual GDP is about equal to our debt. Someday, we will have to start a transference of our money to China as their GDP is about equal to the Debt we owe them. Between the cost of oil and our Debt, things must change or we will become the Studebaker and no amount of Government ownership will help us.



What a Game!

As usual, the BIG XII has it their head that they all want to win. Can you imagine that? Season after season, teams lose some, win some and the world continues to rotate on its axis. I hated to see the Jayhawks lose their composure but this was only one game in a long season and there will be more to play. Perhaps now K-State will get in the big dance. I did think the newspaper headlines were great. Pullen it Out! One and Stunned! funny stuff and KU deserves all the bad press for now. They will move on and win a couple or not.

Today is Toilet day. Dave and I are going to replace the toilet at his house and if we have time one at my house. Not the first time and this time at least I will have help carrying off the dead toilet. I found toilets that are tall so it won't be all that hard to get up off them. they both have a flush power of 10 on a 10 point scale. We'll see how that works. The one I bought for my house has a liquids only flush and a solids one. Can't wait to see how that works.

Better go get my work clothes on and get the tools rounded up.



Sick Days or Daze?

I don't always get a flu shot but this year I did. For the first time in a long time Barb didn't and it seems like she has been sick most of December and January. If I could give her the gift of good health, I sure would. We were at Sam's Club the other day and she bought one of those 10 boxes of kleenex all wrapped up in plastic. Makes my nose red just thinking about it.

Almost every year, I get the tax records out for the previous year and spread them out on a card table here by my computer. This year I have to get the Partnership statements out early so I have a big old pile here to deal with. I probably will have the paper out for most of the time until April because I will have to pay.

I noticed that I got a notice from my retirements that i will start getting less because the tax brackets have been changed back to the old levels. You remember that our wonderful Government lowered the withholding to give us more money as a stimulus? It really pisses me off that all it does is add to the amount I have to pay. The good news is that I have the money to pay it, but it was stupid.

Going to a Valentines day breakfast. Bye



Great Day

Yesterday we went to Lawrence to see the Iowa State Game. It was a lot what I expected. The hawks shot about 60% and won coasting in. After the game, I drove to Kansas City and had dinner with my friend Harvey and his co worker, ED. I think Ed is the Architect on the job they are doing in Bentonville, AR. They were up making a visit to a building being built in KC. We had a nice dinner and a great visit. The total day was wonderful and I hope that we can have many more days like that.

One of the cycles of life, is how much we are supported by our parents when we are young and how much we support them at the end of their life. This is a delicate area as most people want pretty much support themselves at the end of their life. Just how can you help them without hurting their pride? I'm sure that we all face this with our parents and know how much more most of our parents gave us than we will ever give them back.

Oh well, weather is a lot better day by day and I am looking forward to soon being out more. Sure hope to be making circles with pedals on the trail soon.



Warmer Weather

After a week of below zero weather, we are ready to have a week where 40-50's is the norm. It might have gotten to a warmer temperature yesterday but we still have a blanket of white on a lot of the ground. I'm sure that it is like ice in our tea and keeps things cooler than we might wish. There is still some snow on the drive from a couple of snows ago.

Today is the last day we will get to see our Jayhawks play at home this year. Barb bought a 10 game ticket package and Iowa State is the last one. In the past, if we had read that a starting guard and the number six man on the team was hurt, we might have panicked. The good news is that the hawks are playing at least 9 and perhaps 10 deep this year and there seems to be little let up no matter who is on the floor. With the likes of Travis Releford and Mario Little to come in and give us some help, rest those injured warriors for later games. I don't think I need to yell that at Bill Self, he is getting the best out of his team this year. If you have watched much college basketball, the one loss to Texas is what you might suspect. Texas might have had more talent last year, but they never played like a team. This year they do and they have figured out how to win.

Oh well, had a nice day yesterday and hope we can do the same today.



My life in the Fast Lane

Today is the anniversary of Barb being fooled into going with me to Las Vegas in 1968 and getting married in the Chapel of the Bells. She was, is and will continue to be the Love of my life. To commemorate this, I have written this little synopsis of my life. There is not near enough of her in this short story but I think she'll understand.

I think my life has been really six decades stacked together like Lego's. The first 10 were the little boy years where I spent my time completely enraptured with playing and winning games with my friends. The second 10 were highlighted with the discovery of girls and my marriage to Barb. The next 10 were the Army years highlighted by a year (1968) in Vietnam. The next 10 years were the education and beginning of a career and the birth of my son. The next 10 were spent trying to get promoted to higher ranks and position and moving to do so. The next 10 were building and paying for the retirement home of Barb's dream and finally the last 10 years of my life have been about living and enjoyment from the retirement we built.

Let me elaborate a little on each decade. I think that the number one face on my life list of people is the first friend I ever had and that was Harvey. He and I had a bunch of sisters and I think that we used each other as a way to escape being in a female dominated world. He was a year older so I was the little brother but did my best to hold my own. I will throw in the names of Ron, Wayne, Dennis L., Neugene, John and Whitney in the pile of friends. The really sad part is that only Harvey, Ron and Eugene are still alive. Almost all of the adults in our lives are dead.

From the age of 10 to 20, I did the typical turn around about girls. They were yucky at 10 and by 20, I had found the love of my life. In between were Sheila, Connie, Donna and finally Barbara. Oh, there were a few dates in between but nothing more than a few dates or two. I went from a crush on the first to a lifelong commitment to the last. My life from about 15 to 20 was work, girls and school. The end year was the beginning of my Military years.

What can I say about the Military years? basic, AIT, OCS, Train for and deployment to Vietnam and then return. You can throw in the fact that I met and married Barb just three weeks before I deployed to Vietnam. I got out of the Active Army in 1969 and joined the Guard in 1971. I stayed in the Guard during my student years and starting out in my first job with Chevrolet. I found a full time job in the Guard in 1975 and moved to Ottawa, KS. For the next 5 years, I did my best to learn how to be a trainer and find a way to get promoted to Major. I also tried my best to learn how to be a father to our son. What was really important is that Barb continued to be the rock for our family.

I finally gave up trying to get promoted at the lower level and moved to Topeka. The first 10 years there I did everything I could do to fit in and become a good staff Officer. I bought a house and completed Command and General Staff College. I spent almost 10 years as a Captain and only half that time as a Major. Somewhere in this period, a Tornado came by and tore down our house and we were home at the time. We rebuilt that house and never fell in love with it so we looked for a new home to be called Rabbit Run.

The first time we walked into the property we were to buy, the front half of the property was a wheat field and there was no road in to the place. It was almost a year later that we found that the actual site we wanted was for sale. I will give Barb and Carrie complete credit for the design of the house. Barb was busy having it built and i was doing everything I could to get my career back on track and commanding an Artillery Battalion. I continued to be a Dad to my son but thanks to barb, that was a pretty easy task.

The last 10 years in the Military I was a Lieutenant Colonel and the a Full Colonel working hard to be able to retire with a paid off house and a retirement. Check on both sides. In 1997, at the ripe old age of 50, I was retired from the Civil Service and the Military on the same date. I am sure that my retirement was forced because of my disagreement with the General and the fact that I completely treated him with disdain. He was an idiot in my mind and he played loose with the rules about money. I did not and would not play his game and I am sure that he pushed the retirement button. The funny part is that I out lived him and got to retire with my health and enough wealth to enjoy the life we had and have.

The last decade of my life is now filled with pretty much whatever we want to do. I tell anyone that will listen that I have everything I need, most of what I want and a WalMart nearby. My son lives nearby with his wife and my wife continues to love and live with me.
Only time will tell how many more decades I will get to share this life but when I am gone, I home a lot of my family will know that lived life about as full as I could and hope to arrive in my grave all battered and bruised from the experience and get there at least a day before the Devil knows I'm coming. I plan to stop at Fiddler's Green and share a few cups of Muzzle Blast with my friends, and probably a few enemies. I hope you can hear the laughter of tales well told from that camp site over any cries of my departure from life here in Topeka.



It Be Cold Out There!

Barb was up early and has a picture of the thermometer on the window outside her kitchen and it is between 15 and 10 below zero. When I went out to fetch the paper about 8:30 the snow squealed beneath the tires because it was so cold. Barb said the weatherman predicted it would warm up about 40 degrees and still not get above freezing. Brrrrrrrr!

Yesterday I mentioned the 1971 Vega I owned while a student at KU. I bought a 1969 Chevelle when I came home from Vietnam and while I loved the car, it got terrible mileage. I had to drive from Leavenworth to Lawrence almost every day and there was no way I could afford to do that with a car getting less than 15 MPG. The Vega got between 25 and 30 MPG and was kinda fun to drive on the small county roads I took back and forth. What I failed to mention was the cause of all of the problems with the Vega. Someone decided that to cut the weight, they would use an aluminum block that was impregnated with silicon to fight the wear and then the problems began. First of all, if you could keep the water in your engine, it would generally last about 45,000 miles not the usual 100,000 miles we were all used to. If for any reason the thermostat stuck, or leaked (like mine did) the engine would lose all the water and the block would "slump" Once the block slumped there was nothing you could do but jerk it out and replace it. A lot of cars have aluminum heads and they can be "trued up" because the metal block they are on generally stays the same shape. Not true of the block in the Vega. What is frustrating is that the Pontiac version of the Vega had a motor they called the Iron Duke because it stayed with the car until it too died of rust about 5 years later. If you don't think they died of rust, just look around and see how many Vega's or Pontiac's of the same style you see out there.

Oh well, better get on down the road.



Just a couple of things

Has your dishwasher stopped doing a good job? The repairman that came out and did a recall told me a couple of things to do. First, in order to do a good job, it takes hot water in the first cycle. Most people have turned off the heating element to save energy and that just makes the first run almost cold. When you want hot water in your sink, how long does it take to get the hot water from your heater to the sink. That is the same source as the water going into the dishwasher. Probably darn near cold in the time it takes to run a couple of gallons of water into the dishwasher. On your next load, try running the hot water in the sink just before you turn the dishwasher on. Then, on your next trip to the Grocery store get a bottle of white vinegar. If you use the Apple Cider vinegar, your whole house will smell like pickles. Pour that in the dishwasher and see if that doesn't clean out the built up lime in the pump and motor. Third, switch you brand of dish washing detergent every once in a while to see if there is too much of the old brand built up inside. Most of us use way too much. End of lecture.

There seems to be a lot of Car Stories by the gentlemen I read. Let me remind you that I too lived through the era where we got 10 MPG and Gas was cheap. My worst car was without a doubt a 1971 Vega. It was less that three days old when I got stopped at the Petrified Forest Exit on I-40 by a cop that wondered what the hell it was driving by at 74 MPH. The Dealer in Kansas City was FELD Chevrolet and he put his name in metal letters on the trunk deck. The cop said he had never see a FELD and wondered if it was one of those imports. He did give me a warning ticket so it didn't cost me anything to assuage his curiosity. That dam little car blew a motor at 12025 miles and thank god the Factory replaced it. The thermostat gasket went and when it overheated, the whole block slumped. At 50,000 miles I looked like a county truck spraying for Mosquitoes and they replaced it again for little, At about 95,000 miles it just died ugly and no amount of new motor could make up for the things that had rusted off. For 1971-75 that little car was my travel to KU and then to work car. Once a week (generally Saturday, I drove it in the garage and had to tighten down all the bolts on the carburetor or it would leak gas all over the engine) I tried everything I knew to get the screws tight even locktight and nothing but regular maintenance worked. For some reason the Vega had itty bitty wheel bearings and if you didn't re grease them about every 15,000 miles they would burn up and eat either the brake drum or the spindle. One time it did both. Oh well, the crowning insult to the whole thing it was the ugliest car I ever owned.


Food Porn

I think the Bierocks or Beer rocks or Beer oaks, are based on German Cabbage rolls. They are one of my families favorite meals on cold days. It may be tough as heck to get the dough to rise or raise properly in cold weather, but the warm kitchen from the baking always manages to warm you up. Yesterday I went to the store and bought some meat for the cabbage rolls and decided that half bratwurst sausage and half hamburger would be a good mixture for the filling. Good choice. I cooked a large yellow onion and some garlic with the meat and then cooked cabbage in the juices. I took the meat out so I didn't over cook it. Barb made the rolls out of frozen bread dough and man were those beeroaks tasty. It didn't hurt that Barb also had enough dough left over to make cinnamon rolls. I guess if you have to be shut in on a cold winter day, you might as well have the best food you and your wife can make. If there is anything I like better than eating four or five for dinner is having one or two for breakfast. Kinda like cold pizza is another cold treat for my morning repast.

We managed to dodge the bullet again and got only 4 or 5 inches of snow yesterday and last night. It is cold as it can be out there and the creatures are only stirring up near the feeder and heated water bowl. It is almost 9 AM and it has only reached 5 degrees above zero. I don't think there will be much melting today.

At what point in time do women stop worrying about their children? Men for the most part watch their children as they go out the door and are proud that they can leave. Mothers will watch the empty nest for signs that the fledglings need to return. Dave worked late last night and Barb asked his wife to have him call when he arrived home safely. I guess that I came from a family that had the motto, "No news is good news." I guess her kindness and concern is one of the things I love Barb for, but I don't always understand. Just a note to all those young people out there - 43 years of marriage doesn't always result in understanding, only acceptance. You know, like that saying, "Lord Grant me the ability to change the things I may, The strength to accept the things I may not change and the wisdom to know the difference."

When I was a young man, looking for a wife, I decided that I may not have had the best role model for a father. I thought that a strong woman might be just what I needed. yep, I got one and so far it works.

Now get out there and do what you have to do and quit being a sissy you Jack-Wagon. (no, I don't have a clue what a jack wagon is)



Has the Whole World Gone Mad?

- Here we are on the heels of one of the most watched Super Bowls and the owners and players are talking about a strike so the Millionaires can have a bigger split of the Billions. I have not watched a baseball game since they went on strike many years ago. I openly tell the Football people the same thing. If you turkeys can't make it work, consider me gone, Gone, GONE! from the world of Pro Football. It is an obscenity to pay grown men to play a game. Most of the men make more that the payroll of an entire school.

- We continue to send money to countries where they hate us. our approval rating in Egypt is less than 17% and we send a Billion and a 1/2 dollars to support their Military. Stupid, Stupid, STUPID! Add this to the fact that we had to borrow an additional two Trillion from the Chinese and pay trillions to OPEC Countries and you might understand how much I feel that our leaders don't have any idea what's wrong, let alone what to do.

-Last night, Missouri was trailing KU 46-42 at halftime and the Missouri Coach was asked what he liked in the first half. He said, "Our defense was excellent." Is he crazy or did he not watch the game? KU and Missouri played what looked like an All Star Game with zero, repeat zero defense. 46 points was a season high for KU in a half and I'll bet 42 from Missouri was close. I didn't see MU in pre-season so I'm not sure but I'll bet in the BIG XII it was almost a record. KU went on to score 103 points. If that is defense, I'll eat a basketball. Hello, Has the whole world gone Mad?

What ever was wrong with the financial Industry, it is still broken. Talk to anyone that deals with JP Morgan, Bank of America or any large bank and ask them to rate customer service. What service you ask? The fact that they all delay posting deposits and rush the checks through so they can slam you for over charges. Try to get a bank to notarize a car title and get your billfold out cause they want paid for the simple things they did in the past to keep your business. Watch the news for the high round of Bonuses they will pay their executives this year.

Oh well, I have a good book and plenty of Hot Chocolate. Have fun out there.



Winchester 73

While the world watched some game on TV, I was watching a classic western, Winchester 73 with Jimmy Stewart. The plot waved in and out about a rifle that someone stole from him and his desire to kill his brother. Shelly Winters played a dance hall girl and made it all the funnier. There is nothing like a 1950's Western to make my day. Unless, it is a good War movie.

The funniest thing I heard all day yesterday was when I was told on facebook that my Grand Nephew (Twice removed?) was shouting at the TV, "Go Crackers." He is the son of a cheese head and it only seems natural that if Mommy has a wedge of cheese on her head that he needed crackers.

I finally got out of the house for a while yesterday. I have to do a little shopping this time of the year as I got married on 11 February and valentines day follows soon there after. In 1968, 2nd Lieutenant Dennis Petty convinced Barbara Schmoe of Yermo, California to go to Vegas and tie the knot. Best thing I have ever done I might add.

There is a minor snow front coming and we are predicted to get between 1-5 inches. They don't really have a clue. Tulsa got our heavy snow last time so it is very obvious that they don't have a clue.

Oh well, Have a great day out there



I Love Winter!

For the rest of the year, I look forward to snow, ice and cold temperatures. It is such a treat to be trapped in the house so Jack frost doesn't nip off my junk. Wait, as Rosann Roseanadanna would say - Never mind. That is such a lie!

Lets talk old cars a minute. You might think that a Volvo made in Sweden would be about the best car for cold weather. I had a 69 Volvo that dad wore out driving to Arkansas and I found a wrecked Volvo (73 Model, I think) It had a brand new motor and I drug the old one out and put the new motor in the old wagon. The first time it got cold, the damn thing wouldn't start. It wasn't getting any gas. I got it in the dealership and they had inside over the weekend. It started fine and they sent me home with a bill for basically doing nothing. Next morning, it wouldn't start again. I drug it over to the Armory and put it inside. next morning, it started fine. I talked to the guys in the shop and they said that I should never leave the tank under 3/4 full in cold weather and put a bottle of heat (Alcohol) in it every other time I filled up. Problem solved but dang, you would think they would have known that at the Dealership. Today, I try to keep the tanks full on all the cars but the unleaded gas seems to be dryer than the old regular gas was. I think there is also a little alcohol left over from the times I have to fill up at the one station that carries the Methanol brand gas.

I really do like the January and February Basketball season where the BIG XII ( soon to be the unnamed 10) play each other and beat each other up. Then the March madness will settle in and the fun will begin. If I could live in a really warm place and have coverage of all the Big XII I would be happy.

Yesterday Barb came in and said that if we could eat robins, we wouldn't have to buy any food for a month. This morning as the snow is melting away from the leaf piles, the robins are out stirring them to eat all the little tasty morsels they can find. I counted at least 50 just east and north of the house. I don't think it got below freezing last night so the melting goes on.

I haven't decided where I am going, but I am definitely going to escape the house sometime today. Probably just a run to WalMart but who knows. It is time the Ford got out of the driveway - We'll see.



Super Bowl

I don't care who plays or wins the Super Bowl. Heck, I might not even watch the commercials. There is just nothing I ever lost in Greenbay or Pittsburg. It seems to me to be another excuse to have a party when we are all shut in and can't be out. But, y'all have a good time ya'hear?

Now today will be a good time to watch round ball here at Rabbit Run. I can watch it on 42 inches of LCD TV or go upstairs and see it on 52 inches of screen. Either way, it is a lot nicer to be able to see the game in detail and hear when it is over. At the game it is hard to see who whacks who and should get the foul and after about 10 minutes at 120 Db, hearing is hard to do. We have gone to about 10 games in Lawrence and skipped the road trips this year. It was the year for a trip to Colorado or Iowa State or both. With Colorado jumping ship, that won't happen ever again so I'll just have to plan a trip to Hilton next year. For some reason I just don't want to go to Columbia or Manhattan.

Yesterday, I dug the Pickup truck out of the snow drift and drove it a few miles to charge the battery. I also gave it a tank full of gas as I hate to let it sit with almost an empty tank in cold weather. It drove pretty rough and man do I need to replace the steering wheel on that beast. Once warmer weather gets here that will be one of my shade tree mechanic jobs.

Better get things rolling, I hear Barb stirring around. Have a great day and a Super Sunday.




We came within a couple of degrees of setting a new record low last night. The furnace ran a lot. This morning, I actually drove the 100 yards out to get the paper. Barb's front wheeled drive Buick can get out and I will continue to use it until it is a little warmer.

Both of us have a little cold and it is causing our noses to run and we both have sore throats. Barb is on Moxicillin for an ear infection and should be impervious to a cold but those pesky viruses sneak up on you anyway. At least she won't have it settle in her ears this time.

My only job today is to make sure the bird feeder is full and the water dish ice free. I can't tell if Barb is ready to escape to the halls of the mall or not. She is walking 10,000 steps a day and the walls here at Rabbit Run close in when you walk around inside for a couple of days. I escaped a little bit yesterday and forgot to get potatoes and Lottery Tickets.

We had the kids over last noght for pulled pork sammies. Dave had worked but Barb has been home for two days. I guess the snow and cold just scared the State into ordering her to stay home. She took a tumble on Monday but by yesterday evening she was pretty chipper.

OH well, better close this down before I turn into a Dutch Uncle and try to give you advice.




Here near Topeka, we got between 4 and 6 inches of snow and it has drifted in places to near a foot. I drove out of my driveway this morning with Barb's front wheeled drive Buick. I think the Ford will probably have to sit for a few days. The real bad factor here is the temperature. The wind is from the north and it is only 3 degrees with the Wind Chill factor near -10. The good news is that the sun is shinning and sitting in front of the south facing window upstairs it is about 80. Barb loves to sit in front of the window and I have to sit on the shady side of the room.

Well, Bill Self can finally take winning in Lubbock off his bucket list. The hawks went in there in front of all 24 of the students at the game and whipped them like a rented Mule. The really bad news for Texas Tech is that they have to play Texas this weekend. I think we have a trip north to Nebraska and they are playing pretty good. If the JayHawk team that we know and love show up, it will be a great game and another victory. If they show up flat, we could come home with a bloody nose.

I think I'll clear off the south porch and throw some more seed out for the ground feeders. yes, the squirrels love it too but everyone needs a little help in frigid weather.

Gotta run.



Snow and Such

I can look out the window from the computer and there is about 1/4 inch of snow and if there are any flakes falling, they are so fine that you can't see them. The birds are all at the feeders in force so it might get a lot worse. We'll see.

February is finally here and my self imposed month of advice is complete. Good thing, I don't feel like I have much more to say. I have a few calls to make to see what oil well money was paid to the Petty Gang and what was paid to Mom. Then I get to unravel the taxes for last year.

There is another month of Basketball and we'll move into the season ending tournaments. I saw Texas play last night and they sure look good. The may look like Baylor by being long but they are deep and are playing like a team this year. Unless someone can find a way to beat them with speed and pressure they look like the season champs. Kansas won't get another crack at them until the BIG XII tournament.

Better get rolling.