Trip to Town

This is an analogy.  Every time we go to town, it seems to cost us a lot of dollars.  Today's trip included a new set of glasses, a tank of gas and a bag of groceries.  In fact, it was almost $600.00.  The good news is that we can afford it. Can America?

Now, we need as a nation to look at what we are doing every time we go to town,  Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and such.  We continually let ourselves get sucked into every one else's business and play policeman for the world.  Just a slight note to all of you that claimed the only reason we went into Iraq was the Oil, I haven't pumped a cheap gallon of gas in my car because of that war, Have You?    About the Afghanistan war, how many years have they been fighting one side or the other.  Does it really matter if a nation that is still in the 19th Century makes their women wear burkas?   Until and unless Iran does decide to do something stupid like attack Israel do we really need to rattle our swords at them?

I guess the question of the day is isolationism a goal we want to use or not?   I contend that we have no business giving foreign aid to anyone as long as we have to borrow the money.  When is the Arab world going to step up?  Just how many damned Mercedes can they buy before it is one too many.    I think that the Chinese probably think their propping up our National Debt is their form of  Foreign Aid.

The only good news I heard this week is that China is starting to have a backlog  of about 6 months of inventory.  The bad news is that the result of our consumers getting smarter or the fact no one has any more money to spend?   



Monday Musings

Most of the time I have more to write than I can remember when I start writing and other times I need a muse to help me get started.  I guess that is a result of the amount of coffee and sleep.   Either way, here is my daily dose for Monday.

On TV this week there was a story about college Freshmen and it said that most were born in 1994.  That's the year my son graduated from High School and a short three years before I retired.  It doesn't seem possible that these kids haven't a clue of many things I found normal and an everyday part of life. Not only do they not have any experience with records, they didn't have 8 - track tapes and in many cases the cassette tapes.  I wonder how many had the old VHS movies.  I plugged in one of the old tapes the other day and found that my player has not been used in so long it just didn't work.  Old age will do that I guess.

Over the weekend there was a story in the paper about an Ottawa, KS football player that broke his back lifting weights.  As a result he is no a paraplegic and working hard to find something so he can express his years of athletics he worked so hard to get ready for.  In the paper there was a picture of him in a tricycle bike that was way cool.  I sure hope he can afford one of those new modern carbon fiber ones and ride down the trail with a smile on his face.  I know that riding my recumbent bike has done wonders for my whole outlook in life.  It is nothing to go ride 9 or 10 miles and by the time I get home my pulse rate is back to normal in no time.   In fact I worked on my exercise bike earlier in the day and when I got home I wanted to see what a mile felt like on the stationary bike.  It has a feature that allows it to jump between the distance, calories used, total time elapsed and heart rate.  As I sat there after finishing the mile, the display stayed on for a while.  The only function that had anything in the counter was the heart rate.  In a few short minutes, my pulse rate just dropped back to a very normal range in the mid 60's.  I took my blood pressure cuff and took the pressure reading.  It was 120 over 77.  Sure hope that I can maintain this shape for a while.  I think my goal is to ride 10 miles a day either on the trail or the stationary bike.  

We are watching the hurricane in the gulf.  We are scheduled to go to Gulf Shores, Alabama in a couple of weeks and sure hope things there don't get washed away.  I'll bet that Amy can find us another place without much delay but I did have my heart set on that beachfront house there across the bay from Mobile.  Oh well, a couple of weeks between now and then so hopefully they will have it all sorted out.  I will throw in a pair of gloves and an old broom to help sweep up stuff. 

I think either today or tomorrow Barb will have me out picking fruit off the trees.  They are loaded and after eating an Asian Pear on the way back in from fetching the paper I can tell that everything is pretty ripe.  Barb likes to make a pear butter by cooking the pears in a crock pot and then putting the results in jars.  We'll see what she is up to a little later on.    

Gotta run.  See you tomorrow.




On NPR this morning, there is a talk show where a friend tries to tell his friend why he is bored in life.  He went over and looked at some of the details about the things in the oblivious man's home.  It was clear that the friend was oblivious to the details in his life and the recommendation was to pay a little more attention to the small things.

On the other side of that coin, it one of my motto's.  "Nine sveat the vider sheist. "  It English it is supposed to be an approximation of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff."    Life is an adventure of new things not a process of crawling over the small details in everything.  The memory in smart phones has made the memory of telephone numbers somewhat irrelevant.  Unless in an effort to cut down some of the monthly bills you go to a dumb phone.   If you have a Trac Phone never mind.

I have always been able to talk with about anyone.  But, I have also been accused of not really knowing what the other person is feeling.  Oh, I can tell the extremes but the people in the middle of their happy/sad cycle are hard for me to understand.

This morning,  the paper delivered a new Menard's catalog and there on the table from yesterday's mail was a new Harbor freight catalog.  Talk about a time user.  I managed to spend at least 30 minutes in each and an hour later, I don't have a clue what the details were, but I had a lot of ideas.  Just what I needed, lots of new ideas and enough projects to keep me busy until Christmas.  

Better get moving and see if I can find some way to complete the projects on my to do list.




Here in the heartland there is this strange wet stuff falling from the sky.  I has been so long that I almost forgot the smell of a good rain and how much I love it.


R U Hungry

For most of my life, I have been hungry for something new and good.  I never really went hungry as a kid, but I did seem to be hungry - a lot.  In that vein, I would like to share some of my favorite foods.

My dad loved a good hamburger and I'm sure that the special trips to the "Moo to You" in Wichita just reinforced that desire.  Oddly enough, my dad also took us out to an A&W Root beer place once in a while but it just never took hold in my desires.  My son loves some good root beer but I don't.   I do love a big old juicy hamburger, with all the fix-in's and hold the mayo.  Cheese or no cheese is not relevant to me.  Warning- No pink in my burger!

I don't know if my dad's Navy service was the cause, but we had Navy beans about once a week.  Throw in some ham and a side of cornbread and I'm in my danger zone of overeating.  I have changed my taste a little in that I now use pinto beans not those white navy beans.  I like white beans if I am making a smoked chicken chili but normally I eat pintos.  As kids we had Pepsi a lot with beans but I now prefer water or tea.

Take a good pork roast (or Loin) and smoke it on the grill with hickory.  From there you can go so many ways to delicious that it is not funny.  Chunks of pork in Spanish Rice is one of my favorites.   I also like to have pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. I never acquired a taste for coleslaw on my sandwich.  I do love coleslaw as a side dish with my BBQ but leave it off the sandwich.  I also love the new Bush's ranch beans as a side.  I think I overdosed on Pork and beans and now don't love the sweet beans.

My wife and son never had the love  of seafood that I have.   Shrimp, crab & lobster all are on my list of yummy.  In Little Rock, AR there was a place called SOB's (Shrimp, Oysters and Beer Hause) that I loved to visit at least once on each trip to North Little Rock.  Half a pound of boiled shrimp, a dozen oysters and a pitcher of beer was our normal order when I would take a couple of the guys there.  I have done a pound of shrimp but I then cut back to half a dozen oysters. I love the cold boiled shrimp or the warm shrimp boiled in beer.  Sadly, the last time I went through Little Rock the place was closed.  That is a format that I would love to open here in Topeka.  Probably would have to have some BBQ also.

Speaking of BBQ, if it isn't smoked meats off my grill, I think Famous Dave's is the bomb.  I have yet to have a bad meal there.  

For a while I was eating grilled rib eye steaks from Sam's club.  When my weight got to 270 and my blood test told me that my indicators were all out of whack, I had to stop that.  Oddly enough, a small sirloin steak at Texas Road house seems to do.   I do the salad and steamed veggies.

For some reason, the Outback has just delivered to me so many sad meals in the last 5 or 6 times I ate there that I have stopped going there.   Two of the six bad meals were their ribs.  They were so poorly cooked that they were inedible.  The only meal I had there that was good was the coconut shrimp.   

When we travel, I find that one pretty safe meal is ham and two eggs over medium.  They generally are served with some crunchy hash browns and an order of toast (Whole wheat and no butter please).  Serve a few cups of coffee and I'm good to go till lunch.

Dang, even after a great slice of home made bread a covered with crunch peanut butter I am hungry again.  Wonder why?




Ladies and Gentlemen,

It may come to you as a shock, but I am offended by the use of profanity on Facebook.  I don't care if you are posting a picture someone else made or not.  Facebook was supposed to be a social network not something you can go off on without recourse.  I love funny, sad, thoughtful stories and I don't mind pictures that you have simple copied from some web site.  Please try to remember that there are children out there that read Facebook and they don't need adults cursing at them.  (Yes, I am doing my best to keep from telling you to knock that shit off)  But I always was a bad influence.


Out of the Mouth of Babies

This morning two mothers reported on Facebook the cute things their children said yesterday.  It always reminds me of what Art Linkletter could get kids to say on his show. Also I always loved the tales Barb brought home from school.  One of my favorite stories was the one that Barb reported to me.

One of her students was to write down what they did during that summer.  Barb tried to help him  by having him verbally tell what they did before they tried to write it.  One little boy related the story about visiting his grandmother's farm  She had a lot of chickens and ducks.  Something got one of the hens and she just slipped the hen's eggs under the momma duck and she hatched them like they were hers.  As soon as the were old enough to get out of the nest the momma duck took the chicks down to the pond.  The sound went -peep, peep, peep, glub, glub, glub...   As it turned out, baby chickens can't swim.    Barbara saw the kids mother a little later on and the mother affirmed the story as true. Every once in a while I will crack Barb up by repeating the sound effects of that joke.  Peep, peep, Peep, Glub, Glub Glub....



Do I Gotta Resign?

OK, admission time boys and girls,  Much earlier in my life I went skinny dipping in the local pond.  I am sure that my mother would have not approved my playing doctor with the local neighborhood girls and there has to be more than one thing I have said that would have been classified as stupid when the words escaped my mouth.  In fact, as a soldier in Vietnam, a whole Company of men went skinny dipping in one stream to see if we couldn't wash off the stink of several weeks out in the countryside without the aid of a shower point.  The enemy didn't have to hear us coming, he could smell us at 1000 yards and I'm pretty sure that smell would gag a maggot. I will tell you that while we all smelled the same, not all men are created equal.

The point I am trying to make here is that we are the sum of our life and anyone that is perfect should be the President and the rest of need to shut up about anything that is not important.  How many Democrats would jump on the chance to blame Herbert Hoover for the great Depression but are no willing to accept that Obama should be painted with the same brush as the president when the great recession struck.  Heck, there are all sorts of theories about what created the Depression from the failure of the economic system to the failure of Government to act.  

All you have to do is look at the rest of the world and see that there are a lot of things going on where Governments meddled with laws, rule and regulations that has things all turned upside down.  Instead of blaming a skinny dipping congressman or one that says inappropriate things at even more inappropriate times, we should find a way to focus on the big deals and how to fix our problems.  It might be said that Government can't fix what needs to work its self out.  Either way, discussion by adults about the important things just might help us work our way out.  



I Don't Get it!

In my world, there is a minor controversy now and then but most of the time we can have family discussions without any name calling or threats.  If that works so well for me, why does the reality TV world have to focus on the little gripes and fights between people that go out of their way to not get along.  There is a program about the Boyd Coddington Hot Rod shop and the focus is always about there is not enough people to get the job done on time.  I am always thrilled to see the process of building the car and the results not the little crap between people.  I don't watch cooking shows to see the personalities or lack there of, but the food.  There is a TV program that focuses on a shop that builds MOPAR vehicles and the boss is the worst kind of a micro manager and he sets the tune for one fight after another.  Even West Coast Customs has kind of taken a turn that direction.  I don't want fake relationships but focus on why you are there.  I don't watch Cup Cake Wars but do they have food fights with cupcakes?

The other thing I have found offensive is the tendency to go to the nearest trailer park and find the most outrageous people they can find.  There is a redneck that is just plum crazy and hunts snapping turtles in water I wouldn't let my dog drink.  I have only watched the previews of Honey Boo Boo to know that the worst Georgia has added to our TV season.  I won't be watching.   

When I go to the theater, I carry earplugs anymore.  I have given up trying to fight them to turn the volume down or coming out feeling like my ears have been inside a firefight.  Why?  Do you really have to feel the explosions and bullets firing.  In the world I live in, we should go out of out way to help our children have good hearing not bone conducting vibrations.  Oh, by the way the way - If your mirror vibrates and your license plate needs to have the bolts tightened weekly, you will be deaf much earlier than I was.  Heck, I had one car pass that was playing the music so loud it made my mirror vibrate.

My ideal TV program has a staff of good writers that presents a nice group of people and interesting plots.  I never found Law and Order a consistent group of actors but the stories were so good that the changes were OK.  I'm sure that you have a favorite show and watch for many reasons.  I choose to not watch the fights between people on a regular basis.  Stupid people just get the old channel changer action.  


Old Stick in the Mud

Yesterday we invited the kids over for dinner and it turned out they were going to go to a movie later on.  They invited me so I went, not really knowing what to expect.  The Movie was Total Recall.  I think it was a remake of an earlier movie by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I vaguely remember some movie about him going to another planet and doing things that I don't remember the details of.   I will spare you the details of the new movie only to comment that it didn't make a lot of sense to me.  The premise of the movie was that you can change the reality of a person chemically and the rest of the movie was a lot like one of my bad dreams where I seem to run and jump and get chased for a lot of reasons non real clear.  The one difference in this movie was I didn't wake up at the end and smartly move on with my life.   

In my dreams, there is a thing that happens that tells me I am dreaming.  For years I smoked a pipe and if I am going along and light up my pipe I realize this has to be a dream.   One of the things I really hate is to be having kind of a bad dream, wake up to go to the bathroom and when I start dreaming again, the same old bad things continue to be happening.  Just once I would like to travel from a chasing dream to a fantasy of me and a pretty girl on the beach.  OK, I know that one grain of sand can turn a beach party into a bummer. But, it is my fantasy so no sand in sensitive places.

Over the years, when I have to make a hard decision or really do something I don't really want to do, I dream about that during the night.  Many times I have played out several scenarios and that has given me insight to help make the right choice the next day.   No, I don't profess that I have always been right in these events, just clearer about what the unintended consequences might be.  By the same token I tend to learn from experience and I really learn from the things that go bad the worst.  There is always one thing that gets in the way of really easy decision making. - Adrenalin. 

 I will promise you that most winners of the Medal of Honor will freely admit that they just were amped up and didn't consider that they could die doing what they did.  Well, until much later, that is.    I have a friend that was awarded the Medal of Honor as a Navy medic with a Marine unit in Vietnam.  As he was treating several wounded Marines, a hand grenade was thrown into the clearing where he was doing his best to keep the wounded marines alive.  Without thinking, he jumped on the grenade and it didn't go off.  He picked it up and threw it out of the clearing and it went off.  One of the wounded Marines told the hospital staff in Japan what had happened and 48 hours later my friend was out of the war and on his way stateside.  He is the first one to tell you that he should have put one of the dead marines on the grenade and let his family get the Medal ofHhonor. 

Oh well, I guess I am really a stick in the mud and should have stayed home and saved you from having to read this endless drivel.



Jury Duty

I have been selected for jury duty in a little over a month.  I know that many of you have been selected but this is a first time for me.  It sure as heck isn't because I have moved around a lot.  We have been here for about 22 years and I am on the voters rolls and in the phone book.  I think that I have seen all the shows of law and order and it has filled my head with all sorts of ideas.  I will do my best to record the blow by blow account of the process. (To be published sans names after the fact) For once I will really try to sit on my hands and not to influence or lead the process.  It will be hard for the old retired Colonel to go with the flow.

I would relish a long trial but I do not want to be sequestered off in some seedy hotel.  I don't watch the news here and I could give up reading the paper in the morning if there is coffee.  


Good Idea

There is an old saying that a good idea has 1,000 fathers and a bad idea is a bastard child.   I am currently not seeking that great or even good idea.  I thought it was a pretty good idea yesterday evening when Barb asked me if I wanted to go over to lake and ride my bike.  Her ankle hasn't recovered well enough for her to make circles with a pedal but she could take the camera and take a few pictures while I did.  Temperature in the mid 70's and not much wind was about perfect.  When the sun really started to get down low, I decided that it was time to stop riding on the Tin Man circle.  If I had trouble seeing cars, they must really have a tough time seeing me.  A 30 lb bike is no match for the 2000+ lb cars.  I think when the temp hits about 60 I will go back over and see if there isn't about 10 more miles to travel.  Here it is the 20th of August and the temperature is right at 50.  A little cool for my taste.  

I cannot imagine where the Democrats are coming up with all their hype right now.  Even in the most imperfect economy, I can't see how even Mitt if elected could make the kind of changes that really would hurt people.  "My 80 years old parents need their Social Security"  Yep and they are likely to live long enough to never see it change for them.  Chances are I won't see it change unless I live to about 85.  There  will be a change or the system will collapse in a heap.  Either they need to withhold more or pay less or kick in some Government support to the program.   Same for Medicare.  I think there was some changes needed in our Medical Care program but I don't understand the pay or we will fine you option.  It is the same for the making public utility companies to pay a carbon emission tax for using coal.  If the government made all the money go to cleaning up the air, i would consider the tax a fair idea.  If is has the potential of the fuel tax and the myriad of uses  it gets put to.  Our Highway Tax funds are used to stop gap all sorts of things instead of repairing roads.  

In my Humble opinion, the congress will change this election year and there will be a balance change towards the Republican side.  I don't think it is really good for us that a lot of these republicans are really ultra conservative but if they can figure out a way to help make some changes it might work out OK.   I just hope they understand that most of us out here in the Heartland really cherish our freedoms and more Government is not the answer we want to hear.

Over the weekend, several people debated how to make changes in our job market.  One side said that putting a lot of money in at the bottom hasn't worked in 3 1/2 years and the other side said that putting money in at the top didn't work for the previous 8 years.  In Kansas there is an initiative to relieve the tax burden for the small businesses to see what that would do for the State economy.  Not bottom up or top down, but floated in to the middle of the mix to stimulate.  Interesting idea but will even that work?  I guess we will have to wait and see.  I wonder how many fathers this will have if it floats like a turd in a punch bowl?

If the lunch crowd at the local restaurants at noon yesterday is any gauge, the economy is at least on its way to getting better.  Jason's Deli was packed from wall to wall at lunch.  I imagine that it costs about $10.00 @ to eat there and there were a couple hundred people eating.  Not a bad day let alone for the lunch hour.   After lunch we went to Best Buy to see our son Dave and he was busy playing Geek Squad and keeping everyone's computers up and running.  They don't seem too short of business either.  

Oh well, one thing for sure is that this fall there will be an election and in January there will be an inauguration for somebody.  Who will win? Best guess is somebody will win and unless you vote, you need to sit on your hands and not clap or point fingers at whomever is chosen by the electorate.  Less than 30% of the eligible voters voted in the primary so who you have on the ballot is just what floated to the top of the political cess pool not in all cases the best qualified.  



Getting it Done!

The back porch in the garage here at Rabbit run has been a nightmare for about the last 4 or 5 years.  I have added height to the steps and the sagging floor has just made it a wreck.  No matter what I tried, the slight movement would eventually work any stone and mortar fix unstable. Yesterday morning I just took matters in hand and did my best to build a set of wooden steps that could be adjusted if the floor drops more.  I might add that there is about 7 feet of sand fill under the floor there in that corner so some movement might be expected.  

I built a small landing for the first step and then steps down from there.  I hope that now you can change directions and then proceed down without having to have a hand rail on the wall.  It might make the midnight raid for an ice cream bar in the freezer a little more difficult but some prices must be paid.  I noticed that Dave's Barbara has trouble with the steps because of her knee.  The problem was really complicated with my wife's injured ankle.  Barb tripped on the stairs inside the house about a week ago and her ankle has a minor bone break and it really keeps her from walking fast or far.  I really do miss my Bike buddy too.

For a while I have noticed that the truck was having a problem starting.  The solenoid would click and then engage.  I was watching the charging gauge on the way home yesterday and noticed that it was not charging above 12 volts.  I took the battery out and charged it most of the day.  I took it back to the parts store and their tester said it was only holding about 335 amps not the 835 at normal temps or the 700 cold cranking amps.  The just replaced it at no cost.  I had replaced it in December last year and it was just a baby in battery terms.  Seems OK with a new one.  I'll keep an eye on the gauge for a while to make sure it is charging properly.

Yesterday, I got my first summons for Jury Duty in my entire life.  The bad news is that it is right on the heels of our trip to Gulf Shores.  I will probably have to come home a day earlier or two  than I would have.  Lets see, sit on the beach or wait for a trial.  Hum, wonder which  I would rather do?  I have always wondered why my name didn't seem to come up on the jury list.  I wonder if my Military Career got in the way.  I will profess to be on the side of Justice rather than mercy but I do think the evidence will speak for its self.   Haul the guilty rascal in and we'll see if he goes to jail or home.  At least I won't have a friendship with any of the lawyers get in the way.  I don't have many friends that are Lawyers.  There are a few relatives but not close friends.  Since I stopped drinking I just don't hang out in places where there are many lawyers.

I am personally fed up with the current election process.  I think clearly as I see it, the President has failed to bring us all together, raise our status in the world and restore the US to the place we once were.  Roll in the new guy.  We don't have to look further than the economy to see the facts of why.  I truly think Mitt understand what the problem is.  We'll see if he and Congressman Ryan's can right the ship of State.  I don't think i am ready for 4 more years of what we had.  Give Mitt a chance and if he can't make it happen, roll in a new guy.  We aren't electing god, only the President. 



Shhh Dennis, You are raising your Voice!

I consider myself nearer to the middle of the road in my beliefs.  I much rather would stand for something than have people think I have no position.  I think that a Decorated Veteran deserves the right to raise his voice and stand for his side some.  Perhaps I am a little more right on the bell curve but not extreme.  I think there should be some Government but not to the extent that it intrudes into every aspect of my life.  Laws, rules and regulations should smooth out some of the bumps in the road not pave it smooth for everyone.  A good way to say it is what I saw the other day - America stands for equal opportunity not equal outcomes.  

I think the idea of guns in the hands of the citizens is symbolic to Americans.  We won't let any government trample on us even though we have some of the most freedom.  The gun is the symbol of a citizenry that cares.  If there is a shortcoming right now it is shown by the apathy of people.

I think it is great that people are vocal about supporting their candidates.  What I don't like is when people simply repeat lies told by the press or politicians.   For example - Does anyone think that no matter how extreme either party is painted, that Social Security will be changed significantly for those currently on it?   By the same token,  offering a program to change it is a good starting place for a discussion.  Not end the discussion, just start it.  The old saying of - "Do what you did and you will get what you got." is a lot like the saying a "Tiger won't change his stripes."  I listened when Candidate Obama said so many bad things about Bush and offered to open a whole new breath of fresh air that would help bring prosperity and peace to the world.  He continues to blame everything on Bush and find a lot of things to talk about without facing the reality that he has performed worse for the economy than Jimmy Carter.  

With that said, do I really want the Government to be responsible for the economy?  Do I really want to paint it all one color?  No, of course not.  Government should bump things a little now and then but mostly stay out of the way and make it a good place for people to work.  Watch the move Dave and listen to what he says late in the movie.   "Have you ever seen the face of someone that just got a job?  They are on fire and feel like they can whip the world into shape."   Compare that with the idea of getting a welfare check.  Getting just enough to survive is no way to motivate people. Extending unemployment is nothing like getting people ready for a better job.

I wish the whole world could take the Leadership lesson I taught at the Kansas Military Academy.  I tried to use lessons learned to make people understand the difference in Leadership that motivates people and leadership that only tries to not dissatisfy.   I think a program that trains people for a better job are hundreds of dollars better than programs that just house and feed people.  Listen carefully, I do think there needs to be  a minimum level of support for people that have been tripped up by the poor economy.  With that said, I think that having goals and a way out is a lot more important than a place to live.  I sure as hell wouldn't pile all the people in that sinking boat into some public housing that paints them as poor with one paint brush. The government owns so many houses out there in our communities that a program to maintain these homes should be an part of the answer.  A person that once owned a home might be a better person to live in a house than it sitting vacant.  

My brand of leadership included talking with as many people as I could and ensuring that they knew that I wanted them to know their job and to do  good as the could at what they did.  I looked for programs that recognized good work not just punish the mistakes.  I think it is a hell of a lot better to look for points of light rather than work for zero defects.   I think a boss that talks about realistic goals will motivate and telling people to never make mistakes is just a way to stifle that creative individualism.  Also I always tell leaders to praise in public and punish in private.  

The final point I make is that making a mistake is not the end of things.  We all make them and living past them is a normal thing.  The thing that most systems won't tolerate is telling lies to cover up a mistake.  There is room for mitigation after the punishment is doled out but never in the fact finding phase.  



My Back Hurts, and other Comments from the Right Side

Yesterday evening I noticed my back was hurting a little.  I mentioned it to Barb and she asked me to recount the things I did the day before to hurt it.  Well, let me see - First I carried and loaded fence panels on the trailer.  I reloaded the panels (by myself) about half way home.  When I got home, I moved the fully loaded trailer over to the parking spot by hand.  And yesterday morning I fell off my bike.  Hum.  Guess I need to shut the hell up and go take a Naproxin Sodium (Aleve).  Kind of like Barb to see right to the core of things fast!

This morning it is 53 degrees here in the Heartland.  All July it was way too hot and this morning you would need a jacket.  We will go at least to the post office a little later and I will probably wear some jeans for the first time in a long time.  I wear shorts a lot in hot weather.  

I read in the paper this morning that there was a 6'1" 12 year old that weighed 300 lbs.  His mother said it was discrimination that he couldn't play pee wee football where the weight limit is 170 lbs.    Where the hell do people get these ideas.  The kid needs to learn the fundamentals by playing against large players.  Blocking a 150 lb kid is nothing like blocking a kid any where near his size.  All he would do in pee wee football is to learn to stand there and later on get knocked on his butt because he did not learn how to block not just use his size.   I can't imagine how many parents would withdraw their kids form a league that would allow a giant to play in their league.  Not to mention the chance of a lawsuit because he just tripped and fell on some poor little guy.   The article said that this kid wanted to learn to play and didn't feel ready to be on the middle school team.  What?  Not ready?  How ready do you have to be to play lineman at 300 lbs.  Must have been a slow news day.

Have we all lost it?  Mitt Romney made a lot of money in his life and he has that money invested.  He paid taxes on it and should be able to take advantage of the Tax laws that says that investment income is taxed at a lower rate. The tax laws are our laws, not his.  he didn't go out and write them just for himself.  I don't hate rich people because they are rich and want to stay that way.  I think rich is a darned good goal.  I am very proud of the fact that when I do my spreadsheet every year right before I do my taxes I have more than the year before.  If I want to be a millionaire, that is my goal not something for anyone else to be mad at.  What I make and save takes nothing away from you.  There is room in the world for us to both be better off.  

Everyone is all pissed off at Congressman Ryan because he had the balls to sit down and try to figure out a way out of the financial mess we are in.  If you start with the old saying, "Do what you did and you will get what you got."  and end with the other saying, "If you think things won't get worse, just do nothing and it will."  Clearly, Ryan and I both feel that we either have to cut spending or raise taxes.  I am in the camp that wants a little of both before it all falls down on us.  

The real problem is the NIMBY crowd.  That is Not in MY Back Yard group that thinks they have paid for everything so long they deserve everything. (can we say AARP boys and girls) I for one think that the government is a horrible example of who I want running things.  We don't deserve anything for free.  We need to understand that if government gives you something for nothing, someone paid for it with the sweat of his brow not yours.  

Oh well, my back feels better now. Getting things off your chest must help.  


Where to Go?

Barb and I got married in las Vegas, NV in 1968.  I was about to leave for Vietnam and I convinced her that we needed to get married.  That means that next year, we will celebrate our 45th year together.  Barb has kind of decided that we need to go somewhere to celebrate.  Our anniversary is in February so the emphasis will be on someplace warm.  

Initially we kind of thought that Hawaii might be a good place to go but it is kind of expensive and we really want someplace that is different.  Costa Rica is one place that kind of looks good and there is always Belize or Cuba.  Even Puerto Rico has been discussed.  I had a chance to go Puerto Rico years ago on a National Guard Conference and turned it down.  Back in the 80's, it wasn't the safest place.  But with that said, I went to Panama in 96 so I guess things just don't scare me as much as the idea of being there with the wife. 

One thing we have started doing is to take Road Scholar trips.  They were Elderhostal earlier but they morphed the name because the name brought up visions of sharing beds in dormitories.  Most of the time you stay in pretty good places and the food is almost always excellent.  I love the photography workshops because they always take you places that are interesting and you don't spend too many hours in a class room having someone discuss granite.  Because most good photo shots are taken early or late, they do sometimes make you feel like you a re burning your candle at both ends.  The good news is they don't make you go to each shoot.  You can sneak in an afternoon nap or sleep in for an early shoot.  There are a couple of bike trips they sponsor but the idea of riding 40 miles in one day is just a little further than Barb can mentally picture herself doing. 

Farmer's Tan on biker mud

We are going to Gulf Shores, AL next month for a week with several of my family members.  I am really looking forward to the trip and we will probably take our bikes on the back of the car.  I do have to remove the front wheel to keep it from sticking out on the side.  My bike is about a foot longer than the Ford is wide.  I sure hope they have some good bike paths.  I don't especially want to ride in the sand.  My bike has a tendency to over steer because of the steering geometry and I fall down in sandy places.  Been there, done that.

All in all, I really don't care where we go so long as it is warm and we can do something different.  I'm sure that Barb will find a great place and it will be cheap enough for her tastes.



Games Boys Play

You might think that at the age of 65, I would profess that I know what women do and what they want.  I will admit that like most of the men out there, I don't have a clue most of the time.  I can tell you what took me through life and nearer to the end, but I won't tell you it works for girls.  With that in mind, here is a look at my life through the games I played.

I would love to tell you that as a little guy, I played calmly with cars and that led me to a life of working on and loving automobiles.  What was really the truth was that we crashed, bashed and threw cars in such a way that you might think we hated those damned little plastic and metal cars.  I think the more paint we knocked off the cars the happier we were.  

One day I was watching a couple of brothers play with their neat trucks.  The six year old wanted the truck that his four year old brother had.  He managed to distract the little guy long enough to drive the big rig off making a pretty realistic diesel sound.  The little brother calmly walked over and with the truck in his hand gave the big brother a smack on the head with the trailer and shouted, "You Share!"   Pretty much for me that was a prime example of boys and their games.  

I think I gave you a pretty early hint that I was a "baby boomer."   In my neighborhood there was never a shortage of other kids to play with.  Most of the play time was divided pretty much by sex.  The real exception was the  evening games of kick the can but during the day we divided up and contested how much we could win by.  One of the major events was the giant baseball game held up the street.  My backyard ended with the parking lot for Beech Aircraft so it was not a real good place to play baseball.  We did manage to spread a couple of the fence wires so we could wiggle through if necessary but the Beech Guards would not let us post a kid over there to return balls hit beyond the fence.  

Up at the end of Byrd and Chamberlain was a wonderful area that no one had built a shack on.  It was about a block long and we built a ball diamond on one side of the field.  The outfield went on for a ways and we loved to play there.  One of our first projects each time we played was to do a police call and pick up the broken glass.  In our early days most of the guys didn't wear shoes let alone baseball cleats. In fact we had to share our baseball gloves so the infielders could all have one.  The outfield was mostly a bunch of little kids that would just chase down the balls hit out there.  It looked like a pack of wild animals scrambling after some poor prey animal.  I did see a soccer game with a bunch of second graders that had that same look of a mob chasing the bad guy.
To make it even, we would always choose up sides.  The older guys would be the captains and they would pick the first ten or so players each.  They would then just count the little guys and split that number up for the outfield.  In a lot of cases we didn't know (or want to know) who the mob was.  It was mostly little brothers and once in a while little sisters.   The point was that there was always some kind of a mechanism that split the important players in some manner that was kinda even and then just a split of the rest using math.  At the top of the batting order, the main guys would score a lot of runs and then at the end of the batting order the little guys would strike out or hit ground balls and be thrown out at first. None of that lets let everyone win crap for us.  It was cut throat, every team for its self baseball.  No one ever wrote down the scores so it wasn't as important that we had a record of the win, only that for that day, we competed and someone won.

As children of early 50's, we had all listened to war stories our dad's told told over and over.  We also had radio adventures of the lone ranger, the shadow and tales of the War Between the States.  Call it what you want, the war of rebellion, the civil war or whatever, it gave us a great deal of fun playing  Rebs against those dirty Yankees.   In my neighborhood there were a lot of kids fresh out of the hills of Missouri and Arkansas and  Yankees were the enemy a  lot.  I really didn't mind too much as I had a cub scout shirt and a yellow neckerchief and I loved the idea of charging through the infantry as a gallant cavalry man.  I will have to admit that the name Mount Calvary from the bible and mounted cavalry was almost a distinction we could not make.  It was confusing to make a Calvary charge while playing cavalry.  

All this play led up to my first exposure to organized sports.  My daddy was a member of the Beech Aircraft Employees club and I joined the little league team the first year I was eligible.  For some reason they picked birds as the names of the teams and we were the meadowlarks.  What a wimpy name for  a bunch of warriors.  True to the name, we went most of the season without a win.  What a downer that was.  I had played outfield and first base mostly. I could catch the ball when it was thrown at me and left field and first base was my game early in the season.  One day at practice, the catcher on our team was not there and the coach put me in that position.  I loved it from the first pitch.  Our pitcher was a tall skinny kid with an arm that was sure to go pro later on in life.  The other teams would just have their runners take off when he threw because our catcher had only a 50% catch rate and even then if he threw the ball towards a base most of the time the runner would keep running and get to the next base on a throwing error.  The first time a runner took off for second, I caught the ball and threw him out. I became the catcher for the playoffs.  There was a double elimination set up and everyone expected us to just lose two games and go home.  Especially when we played our first game against the Cardinals. Well, we did lose that first game to them but came through the losers bracket without another loss.  In fact, in addition to having the best battery, almost everyone on the team found their stroke and we won several games on the mercy rule.  Get 11 runs ahead and the umpire would call the game.  

In Junior High, I was the 6th best player on the team.  I sat on the bench a lot and got put into the game late - a lot.  I loved basketball and never did learn to like track or soccer.  I wanted to play football but really was never big enough to play at our high school.  We had some big old husky guys that would have torn a skinny white guy apart.  I did play basketball in a church league and loved it.  We didn't win a lot but we played our hearts out.

It was in basic training that I found out that I was among the best when you spread the events out and did them one at a time.  I was among the fastest runner, could throw the practice hand grenades into a target well and could do the overhead ladder to the max score.  The lane graders were always telling me that I could just drop off, I had the maximum score.   In fact, I completed Basic training with a score of 998 out of a thousand.  There was one guy that scored 999 because of my rifle range error I got beat by one point.  I hit my rear sight with my helmet when I jumped down into the fox hole position and shot two rounds short of the target.  I realized my error and ran the sight down and then back up the seven clicks and finished the course without a miss.  I qualified as Expert not High Expert.  That difference was two points.  I would have won the competition had it not been for that one error.

All of this led up to the ultimate game.  In 1968, I went to Vietnam and for a year played a game with an armed enemy.  I did everything I could do to find him and shoot him with artillery.  He did his best to ambush, mortar and shoot rocket propelled grenades at us.  I am fairly proud that I pretty much did my best and we did a pretty darned good job of shooting him before he shot us. (There was one time, our first night in the field that I wasn't in charge of that we lost a bunch but not after that)  But, as any one that has been on combat will tell you that the outcome is fairly binary.  Either you get killed or you don't.   I didn't.  

I attribute most of my luck in Vietnam to the almost endless series of games I played as a kid.  We ran, hid and hunted each other for hours.  

COL (Ret)

Jes' Lookin

Barb and I are scouting the used car pages and the for sale signs as we conduct our daily business.  Dave's car has about 150,000 miles on it and the head gasket on the Buick leaks some.  We are on the lookout for a good deal on a used car.  The bad news is that with the economy so poor, most people aren't selling their old cars, just driving them into the dirt. Barb has been pretty good in the past about finding good deals so we wait.

In Kansas City yesterday, my niece Carrie Craig, told us about the last car buying trip that her husband and son went on.  The looked and looked and found nothing that was anywhere near a bargain.  The finally wound up with a new Toyota for a couple of thousand more than a used one.  I ran into that same thing when I was looking for a tractor here at Rabbit Run.  The dealers said they were buying used tractors back from earlier customers and had to give as much or more on trade in than the customer paid for the tractor.   

Talking to Dan Craig, he is about to get his feet wet in the rental house business.  With the loan costs near 3.3%, he feels that now is the time to get in there and give it the old college try.  Even if he doesn't make a lot of money each month, he feels sure that in the long run the houses will pay for themselves.  That was our feeling and we did that years ago.  The really good news is that he has a Bank with a rental income management firm that will take care of the hassles.  I am the guy who shows up when the drains stop working for my rentals.  If the bank doesn't want to loan you the money for a rental, you get the loan out of the equity on your current house.  After a while the bank will loan you money on a second rental and you can daisy chain them together to build up a nice rental house base.  There are people that just can't buy a house for whatever reason.  I was blown away at the number of people that applied to rent our little house and the large amounts that were paying to rent their current home.

Dan and Carrie are adding on to their kitchen and right now things are torn up at their house.  The bad news is that starting next week it will really get worse.  The good news is that their last college student takes off for school tomorrow and they can eat salads out of the small fridge and there are many nearby eateries that serve great food.

Speaking of food, I am going to start working on a peanut butter and coconut milk sauce to put over grilled chicken and shrimp.  I had some for lunch that also had some red curry sauce with it that was wonderful.  I would have liked the curry sauce to be a little more spicy but understand that not everyone has my cast iron stomach.   I am seriously considering taking a grill when we go to the beach house in September.  I will also take a sack of my hickory wood.  I will probably buy charcoal and lighter there.  I have some ideas for grilled/smoked seafood.  Combined with my smoked chicken, we should be able to have one or two meals that just hit the spot.

The only time I have ever really had problems with my stomach was back in my drinking days.  I went to a restaurant in New Orleans, Copeland's was its name.  I had the blackened red fish and several scotches.  One or the other damned near ate the lining off my stomach and I had to eat Rolaids for about three months.  When things got back to normal, I find that if I can get the heat past my mouth, my stomach doesn't care. 

Better run.  I need to ride the bike but not sure if it is going to rain or not.  Goose poop has a slick component that just precludes traction on the bike paths.  Did I mention that recumbents don't always have fenders either?  



School Starting?

In the good old days of my youth, we had summer vacations from Memorial day to labor day.  here it is, today in the middle of August the kiddies are trooping back to school.  You couldn't go to a store here in Topeka without running into crowds buying clothes and stuffing backpacks with supplies.  Just up the road from us is the school that Barb taught at and I will again have to start the detour around the school zone for a few months.   At least Barb won't have to get up early and stay late to help pound knowledge into those little kids.  

Yesterday our friends from Morocco were passing through town and they asked Barb if they had left a bag with us on their way home last year.  Sure enough, Barb looked int he storage closet downstairs and there it was.  They had asked all along the way if they had left it with friends or family and we just had forgotten the bag.  The funny thing is that their girls, the Special K's, were in the closet where the bag was last week and they didn't notice it.  Barb made an Asian pear pie for Julie's Mom so we got it all matched up and delivered it to Julie.  Julie is teaching 6th grade this year and needed to go to the Teacher's store here in Topeka.  She had some things on order but she wasn't sure they would arrive in time for the start of their school at the start of next week. 

For the start of school, I will reprint a story from my childhood experience at Minneha Elementary in Wichita, KS.

Elephant Legs in the Cafeteria

As a child in Wichita I attended a school that was trying to grow as the “Baby Boomers” flooded the district with new students.  Our little four-room school at Central and Webb road grew into a three building complex up Webb road that housed the elementary, secondary and Junior High school.  I attended Minneha from Kindergarten through the ninth grade.

The families that sent their kids to Minneha were from three pretty distinct social strata’s.  The really rich kids came from Eastborough, which was a private community with their own police force.  The upper –middle class kids came from Forest Hills and the rest of us came from Dog-patch, which is one of the poorest sections in our school district.  Some of my friends felt outclassed by the rich kids but they didn’t bother me.  I could out run, out wrestle and darn sure out cuss any of them so they pretty much left me to my own devices.  What does a little kid know about class anyway?  I made friends with all of them and beat-up as well as got beat up by the bigger kids no matter where they came from or lived. I guess early on you could tell the differences from the clothes and probably later on by the smell. 

By the time I started second grade, there were three or four classes in each grade.  All the class sizes were 25 to 35 depending on exactly how they split the classes.  The new elementary school building was completed as I entered the second grade and just in time to be filled to capacity.

I am sure that there was a lot of thought on how they split the classes and they were sure to not put Denny L and Dennis Petty in the same class.  The same went for Eugene and some of the other neighborhood kids.  Some learning could happen if the real troublemakers were split into small groups.  Kind of a divide and conquer approach to mass education. 
The new building was an architect’s marvel with new and innovative designs throughout.  It was open and airy with high windows that let in a lot of light.  The main halls between the classes were probably 35 feet wide with a narrower hall in the middle by the offices and cafeteria.  It looked kind of like a giant hourglass lying on its side.

One of the highlights of our day was recess.  I’m sure that the teachers used it as an excuse to let us blow off the stink and calm down from the sitting in one place as we were pounded with new facts and the processed called math. Social studies meant learning not to spit on the playground and not killing each other when we played.  Our games took on creative names like “smear the queer”, full contact soccer and bombardment with the kick balls.  The smear the queer was kind of like tag only everyone was it and the queer had a flag and we all tried to take it away from that person. The game didn't get fun until someone got knocked down and everyone piled on.  Bombardment would go on until someone went to the teacher crying.  Usually it was one of the smallest kids in the class mad because they didn’t get to hurt anyone else.  You get hit and you are out of the game.

Each day somewhere around noon, we were taken down the hall to the cafeteria.  It was also a bright open room filled with smells of cooking food and laughter of children. After you went through the line and got your plastic tray full of food, each class sang the Doxology. “Praise God from who all blessings flow. Praise father, son and Holy Ghost – AMEN!”  And to think today they can’t even say a prayer in school.  Kind of like singing for our supper except it was lunch but we were little kids and who knew?

I don’t know what it was about school lunches that I liked the most but I liked about everything they served.  The cooks would add a little extra sugar to sweet things and always had lots of butter for bread and butter sandwiches.  I lived for the call of “Seconds” and always ate at least two or three extra bread and butter sandwiches.  I don’t remember if we had much mystery meat that was served later on in High school but the one meal I do remember was chili and cinnamon rolls. I don’t have a clue what elseWas served that day except a carton of milk.  I lived for that treat about once a month.  To this day I could eat a lunch of chili and cinnamon rolls but now I would want to wash it down with a Pepsi like we had at home.
Four, one foot thick pillars to held up the cafeteria roof to make it appear open and yet strong enough to stand up to a snow load.  Someone had the bright idea that to keep the poles from showing fingerprints they needed a linoleum wrapper from the bottom to about six feet up the side.  That gray wrapper had a curious design and even a more serious bad smell.  You guessed it. We called it elephant hide.  Because there were four pillars they looked like, smelled like and were appropriately called elephant legs.

Each day as we would finish our lunch, it became a contest to see who could stand by the pole and sniff the smell the longest.  In our terms the smell would “gag a maggot.”  I don’t remember anyone smelling it so long that they actually puked, but it was close.  The braver (read stupid in adult terms) you were the longer you could stand there and sniff the pole.  As one of the instigators of that little game, I had to prove my mettle first.

I’m not sure if the term champion would accurately describe the winner of that game.  Only the brave could or would last long standing there by those poles.  I always did my best to be one of the guys that lasted the longest.  I’m sure there was no written list of people that could do stupid things the longest but my name would have been there in Gold letters had there been such a list.  

The smell the pole game would end, as it was finally time to be herded out of the cafeteria.  We would go by the slop bucket and clean our plates of things no one would eat.  There was some kind of bread and tomato mush they served that to my knowledge no one ever ate.  The can looked like someone had been killing chickens on that day as it as running red with non-eaten tomatoes.  I like spinach but I’ll tell you that I was one of the few that did.  When ever it appeared on the menu the slop bucket would be green.  It would have looked like Christmas if ever breaded tomatoes and spinach were ever served on the same day. We would adjourn lunch to be sent out on the playground.  Real smart to let them stuff our stomachs with food and then go outside to run and play.  I’ll bet there was at least one merry-go-round puke each week.
I’ll end this little ditty with a warning to parents out there that you must pay attention to the “Law of Unintended Consequences”.  If you build something that is smelly stupid or just not normal, do not be surprised if kids don’t find something stupid to do with it.  Remember the “Elephant Legs” in the cafeteria.      



Borne legacy

I went to the movies with the kids yesterday and saw the latest Borne Movie.  It was very interesting but I found it a little too much action based and not enough character based.  I guess when you have to build in so much action you can't spend too much time on talking and hand holding.  The motorcycle scenes in Manilla were almost enough to make you dizzy.  It reminded me of the Mini-Minor scene in Paris from the second movie.  

As the end of the 2012 bike riding season approaches, I am looking at what to do with my bike this year.  I have looked on line at the components and am completely blown away at the variance in prices.  I see shifters from $16 to $200 and I won't even talk about the derailleurs,  We neither one need to worry about rims or tires.  I am looking forward to sitting down with my bike guru and discussing this on our trip out to Idaho this fall.  Cuppa joe, a great lap dog  and a long conversation.    

On Friday, my new renter called and it seems the sink was leaking on one side.  I went over and as soon as I touched the drain, it just fell apart.  It was that chrome over brass stuff and it just wasted apart.  You know you are in trouble when you open the cabinet and see the sun shining through the drain.  In addition to the entire drain needing replaced, I also replaced the faucet.  The darned hot water feed line also broke off without much pressure.  The good news is that I had bought a set of lines from an earlier job and didn't need them.  The lines were fairly filled with build up so it was time to replace them.  Did you ever notice that no matter what you do it will cost you at least $100 to open the cabinet doors?

We are considering what to do at Dave's house and  whatever it is, it needs to include some kind of a fraidy hole.  In Kansas you can't be too prepared.  They want some kind of a screened in porch on the back side and I want to close in the open porch on the south side.  Whatever happens, it will keep me off the streets for a while.

See you one the flip side.



Riding the Trails

Barb tweaked her ankle Wednesday night and we hadn't been out on the bikes much this week.  I took my bike over to Lake Shawnee trail this morning and rode around the lake clockwise starting on Tin Man Circle.  I had forgotten just how tough the hills on the east side of the lake are.  I think I went only 4 Miles Per Hour up the golf course hill.  My legs are feeling it a little.  I was going to ride a couple of laps around Tin man Circle drive but when I got back to the truck I just loaded up and came home.

My Bike builder put me onto what to do for Christmas presents.  There are a lot of really great components that will significantly upgrade our equipment.  I will rely on his good advice on brands etc. as we get closer.  I don't think we will need to do any upgrades on the tires but new shifters and derailleurs will be a good addition for both our bikes.. 

I am thinking this might be a good year to strip my bike down and have it powder coated.  I loved the color but it wasn't much for durability.  I think I have most of the chain slap kind of things worked out.   I am pleased with the way it rides and just how quiet it is as I ride the trails.  There is one hill on the East side of the lake that I always speed down if there is no one walking.  I got up to over 30 MPH and it was as smooth as glass. 

The men's basketball team just beat Spain for the Gold medal.  It is kind of fun to see a bunch of Professional athletes acting like a bunch of kids that have found a cookie jar.  I hope I can be that happy in the things I will do for the rest of the year.  

Have a great day out there.


Are They Over Yet?

The Last day of the Olympics has me about watched out.  I think I will plan my work for the week without any daytime TV involved.  There is rock to be hauled, paint to be applied and I'm sure there are a few things that will pop up for me to do.  I know I could spend a week just organizing my garage and the storage space at the rental houses.  

The good news is that the daytime temperatures are predicted to be in the 90's for the week.  In fact it was almost too cool to ride yesterday morning.  Barb tweaked her ankle coming down the stairs Wednesday night so she isn't going to be my bike buddy anytime soon.  I'll try to get over to the lake today and make a few circles anyway.

On Friday, we had our friends from Morocco visit for lunch.  To make it a nice visit, we invited several of our common friends to also be here. (Friends we have in common, there wasn't anything common about them)  It was a great visit and we all managed to have good food, good conversation and good times.  Typical of one of my meals, anyone that went home hungry did so because they wanted to.  In the past I was not a real fan of Filet Mignon.  I tend to go towards a Rib eye given a free choice.  I picked up some of the Filets at Sam's club this time and they were the best.  If the meat that WalMart is called Members Mark, try it.  That is the Sam's Club best and I sure like it.  I also did some pork and chicken and leftovers never go to waste.

Oh well, enough time wasted, I will move on and try to have some fun.  OK, I will probably watch the USA and Spain's Men's basketball game for gold.  



I Don't Understand

How can anyone look at what's gone on for the last 3 1/2 years and think that Obama deserves another chance?  From the get go, he said that the money he got congress to authorize would solve our problems.  In fact, we have just spent more money in 4 years (more than was taken in) that the last administration did in 8.  If you are young, the 4 Trillion addition dollars added to the national debt is your future mortgaged to the hilt.  One of these days we are going to wake up and find that the world will want their money back and at that time things will go to hell in a hand basket.  We will make the collapse of Greece look like a  weenie roast compared to a forest fire. 

I can't wait to hear all the Ryan bashing now that Romney has picked his running mate.  If the Dems are smart they will just let it go.  I thin k Joe Biden is about half smart and way short of what we would want to be the President.  

Has it been so long ago that everyone has forgotten that the Utah Winter Olympics were about to crash and burn and Romney came in, pulled it all together and made it happen without the loss of face we were in line for?  The Olympic Committee had so overspent the budget that it was a question if we could pull together the kind of support that was needed.  There were kickbacks, payoffs and collusion at every turn and Romney brought it all to a halt and made the Olympics work.  

Way to go Mitt.   For all of you that want to say something about his being a Mormon, remember that we have freedom of religion and the faith of the President is not as important that the faith the world has in us.  



Thoughts for today

Good Old Time Common sense - Why do we try to tell people that never listen, to do it  our way over and over and then get mad at them? 
Good Old Time Common Sense - The view never changes if you are not the lead dog.
Good Old Time Common Sense - If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Good Old Time Common Sense - If you do what you did, you will get what you got.
Good Old Time Common Sense - Wanting what you have is more important to happiness than getting what you want.
Good Old Time Common Sense - If what other people think or do really causes you concern, you are not paying enough attention to what you think or do.
Good Old Time Common Sense - You don't stop enjoying life because you get old, you get old because you stop enjoying life.
 Good Old Time Common Sense - When you think you are in a rut, get out. Good Old Time Common Sense - Try to remember what puts a smile on your face and do it. Good Old Time Common Sense - Money doesn't bring happiness. It is the lack of money that makes you sad
.Good Old Time Common Sense - Just satisfying a need doesn't always motivate people. It is the special touches that makes people smile.
 Good Old Time Common Sense - A poor plan well worked is worth more than a great plan never followed.
Good Old Time Common Sense - In an ambush, lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.
Good Old Time Common Sense - Being right doesn't always make the other guy wrong.
Good Old Time Common Sense - Your perception is just your reality. It may be right wrong or indifferent.
Good Old Time Common Sense - The value of this kind of stuff is just what you pay for it.
Good Old Time Common Sense - If someone does something stupid, don't ask them why they did it. It was stupid, OK?
Good Old Time Common Sense - Good intentions can often have disastrous results. At the very least it will often have unintended consequences.
Good Old Time Common Sense - Find the balance of things that make you feel comfortable and try to make that your schedule. The major categories are work, play, sleeping, planning and eating. The percentages are yours to do, or not.
Good Old Time Common Sense - Getting old(er) is not a problem if you consider the alternative.
 Good Old Time Common Sense - Spend the most money on the things you use the most. Why would anyone spend a couple of hundred dollars on a bed and thousands on a car?
 Good Old Time Common Sense - Medicine should help you not feel different. Illness should make you feel different. If what you take causes you problems, go see your doctor and try to change the medicine. Good Old Time Common Sense - If you just can't find it in your heart to like something, don't do it.
 Good Old Time Common Sense - If you think what you think, do or act like is important, go put your finger in a basin of water. If when you remove your finger and the hole stays in the water you just might be right.
 Good Old Time Common Sense - Stubborn people often think life is binary, Their way or the highway. Most of the time there are several ways and it is most import for you to find a way and do it.


Unintended Consequences

For those of you from Rio Linda, that is things that happen unexpectedly when you do something. Most of those actions are not in the basic plan or expected results.  By the way, do you know that Rio Linda is a Census Designated Place (CDP) and the reason it is mentioned by a well known talk show host.  I would encourage you to look up the term CDP.  

A great example of this is what happened this week when I worked on Barb's Bike.  Her rear tire went flat so I took it to the bike shop to have the tire replaced and the bearings in the wheel greased.  It takes a special tool to take off the gears and I didn't possess the right tool.  When I put it back on the bike, the quick disconnect that holds the wheel on was closed around the derailleur cable. (My error)  The bike would shift up but the spring didn't have enough force to let it go to a lower gear.  The unintended consequence was that it seemed to work OK but in fact would only shift down when she hit a bump.  

I think there is a lot of this kind of thing going on in Washington.  I think there have been tons and tons of things done to help make our lives better for whatever reason.  The sad part is that if there are unintended Consequences of those actions, the people that made the initial action  seem hell bent on keeping that action alive and unchanged.   It is that rigidity that causes me the most distrust in the system.

Our laws are based on Old English Law, but as times change, so have the laws.  There was a time when you would be put in stocks and put on display is you did something really stupid.  Now we hardly want to put people in prison for serious things.   First time offenders are often given probation or diversion for fairly major crimes. If that is an example, we know how to change. Now, back to the central theme.  Lets look at Social Security.  It was clearly a give away a lot like a Ponzi Scheme for the people in the program early.  The were able to draw much more that then put in or their money would have earned if they lived ling enough.  Now that the Baby boomers are retiring in droves as well as the number of workers on the decline, the system is projected to run out in 2033.  Actually, there is only enough money to pay 75% of the amount needed.  Clearly there needs to be something done to restore the program.  Thanks to the AARP and the threat of not getting elected next time, the congress seems unable to make the needed change.  Pay more into the system or less in benefits is the solution.  Do you think there is a solution in the works.  Hell NO!

I guess as an old retired Army Guy, I have seen changes come and go and while I have a tendency to want things to be stable, I understand that the world changes.  It is the change that is supported and that is allowed based based on the amount of trust we have in our leaders.  What has anyone in Congress done that restores our faith that they have a clue what is wrong let alone how to fix it?  What are the major things you think are in need of work?  here is my short list:
  • Spending needs to reflect not only the need to match income, but a payback to the amount we have in the hole to cut the cost of funding that debt.  Clinton got a lot of credit for balancing the budget but he didn't have any debt payback in there so all he did was move in the right direction not solve our problem.
  • National Identity Cards would go a long way to helping our Government know who we are and what we do.  It is one of the back bones of the Military and I think that it should be the basis for support anyone gets or gives to our Government.   The funny part is that I can't see how any kind of Health Care legislation can work without a centralized controlling card.  It would help control voter fraud, immigration (both legal and illegal) and eliminate the need for a Census as the government would know up to date who is here and where they live.  Tie the Post Office, Social Security, the Phone Company and the utility data bases together and bingo, everyone would need to be on the grid.  I think we are a heck of a lot more tied to the government than anyone wants to admit right now.
  • Change the way we tax. Base it on all sources of money paid and focus on the payers not the payees.  Take what you need and leave us the hell alone.  If the system already knows what I make, why would I have to file every April?  Why would someone that buys a big old house benefit more than a person that lives frugally?  (More Frugal, cheaper)   If it costs the government 13 cent, or any cents, of every dollar, take it up front and let me decide what to do with what's left over.  Close the loopholes and make everyone pay on any money they get from anywhere.  Investments, savings, welfare, income from work or anywhere it comes from, all pay a little.  No big shot exemptions no little guy escaping Scott free.  I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "Ass, grass or gas, no one rides for free." 
  • All Legislation should have a cost/benefit analysis attached and a sunset provision.  Trust me, if something is good enough an idea, it will come up as needing saved.  Gold Medal winners have a countries worth of fathers and bastards often are left out of the family will.  
  • One third of the Congress's time should be spent on where do we want to go, 1/3rd of their time on where we have been and 1/3 of the time on figuring out what it all costs.  I think they charge forward blindly and lack a clue on where we have been.  With a 14 Trillion Dollar national debt there is no doubt that they think money is free and don't know how to pay for the new stuff let alone pay the old debts.  
 Just some ideas from an old fart.


You Can't Believe Anything you See!

I was once a fan of photography where people would catch unique things in a photo. Barbara loves to find a bug on a plant and take its picture.  She also loves pictures of spiders.

Some of them are just spectacular.  With Photoshop, you can make anything seem real. 

If you look closely there is a Cardinal on the sign added by Barb.  Both photos are her work so I guess she has the rights to merge them.  This street sign photo was taken in Rogers, AR on our early morning bike ride. The Cardinal is a regular visitor to our bird feeder.

The other day my son and I had a discussion about Wikipedia where I told him that a lot of things get added to Wiki without any vetting.  He said something about a study that validates it as a source, and said it is fairly accurate.  I won't try to change his mind, but I will tell you that anyone that uses the internet or talk radio as a source may have trouble verifying the facts.  Especially talk radio that quotes internet sources. There was a saying that figures lie and liars figure but now they just write on the internet.

With all that said, have a great day out there.



I Dunno!

Is anyone else about Olympic-ed out?   Perhaps it is the inclusion of the professional Athletes that has worn out the fun.  L saw about all of Lebron James and the Williams sisters I needed earlier this year.  I was a heck of a lot more thrilled to see that 800 meter swim by the 15 year old than I was to see Phelps get his 20th something medal. 

This morning Barbara asked me to say those three little words every woman wants to hear.  I said "Rock Chalk Jayhawk!"  She smiled and shook her head.   Actually she asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride but we needed to wait until it was 70.  Can you imagine having to wait till it warmed up a little in August?

Today's paper had a small article about the fact that Marilyn Monroe died 50 years ago today at the age of 36.  That a pretty danged high price to keep from getting older.  I think I prefer the getting older part.'Cides I am way, way, way older than 36.  Do you know the best prevention for nudity after the age of 50?  Full length mirrors.  

Better go load the bikes, smiles and pedal circles to make.